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I know there are a few on OL that exercise regularly or are just overall active with such things as hiking, tennis, and so forth. There are also a few here on OL that engage in these activities more for recreation because they enjoy it rather than specifically for health reasons or they just want to keep their girlie figure. I wanted to start this thread to see what everyone else does for exercise, if anyone has advice on types of activities, eating a healthy diet, safety, different videos if they workout at home, weight loss, toning, or just maintenance, aerobics, weight training, bodyweight calisthenics. Or even for the girls, classes that teach you how to strip for your men that gives you a wonderful workout.

It may offer variation in their own workout routine and help spice things up a bit so it won't get so boring when exercising. Exercising can be rather monotonous if you don't switch up every once in a while with something new. Plus when sticking with a certain routine and not switching up, your body isn't getting an overall good workout, muscles that aren't being exercised or stretched out enough, etc., although there are activities that will offer a full body workout such as swimming.

For the most part, I've been pretty active my entire life but active in the sense of hiking, jet skiing, and such. But in my early 20s, I started an exercise routine that was done to videos as well as some light weightlifting being done at home which I found to be very advantageous versus going to a gym such as Bally's. Convenience is the main one for me. I have tried many different activities and know what works well for me and my problem areas being a girl. So I am definitely hoping more women will respond to this thread as they will know what I am talking about and may have better suggestions on what they may do for their problem areas.

After gaining quite a bit of weight with my pregnancy with Chris and after healing from the C-section, I took up high impact step aerobics, which I know is hard on the knees, joints, to take the weight off. After I dropped the weight, I took up videos and free weights for muscle toning and lifting. During that time, I also discovered the tremendous benefits and differences between lifting weights versus bodyweight calisthenics which is using your own body weight as the form of resistance. I later found out this was called combat conditioning which I am sure Rich will be very familiar with because it has roots in martial arts. Certain branches of the armed services also uses combat conditioning such as the Marines and so forth. Out of all the things I have done for exercise, this is the one I swear by and use the most often. But mine is no where as extreme as some of the men I've seen as well as the women that are far more advanced. The benefits are tremendous in the way of better flexibility, endurance, strength, leans you out more as compared to lifting weights or the more traditional exercises.

Since I took about a year break from exercising as it became a major burn out for me, I've picked it back up again. I'm not that much out of shape but have the typical girlie problems and have gained a little weight since being inactive. I don't have the intentions of getting back into shape as to what I used to be and my workout that went along with that as I do not have the time to invest that much everyday. But since I am starting over kinda and getting back into it and not quite ready to do the full blown bodyweight resistance that I used to do, I've been doing a high impact step aerobic video tape at home which is around 40 minutes or so and then will head to the gym here on the premises and will walk/jog on the treadmill for about 25 to 30 minutes with speed and incline variations. Sometimes I do it all at once, depending on my schedule or will break it up, the stepper first thing in the day and then the treadmill later in the evening. Plus my son can come with me at night as he loves to come with me to the gym so it sets a good example for him to stay active rather than sitting on the couch and watching TV all day. Sometimes I do not have time to go to the gym but will do the stepper only. So my workouts are in between 40 minutes to about an hour and 10 minutes about 4 days a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. But for now, this has been my routine until I gain some strength back, endurance, and so forth. Then I'll switch it up and increase the load but will stay within the same amount of time to exercise that I have now.

I've tried many work out tapes and have found one lady that is wonderful, no nonsense and definite results. Her name is Tamilee Webb and I am sure some here have heard of her or her tapes. Yeah, and don't laugh, the tape series that seems to give the best results and I enjoy the most is the Buns of Steel videos.

Buns of Steel series

Guys can definitely respond to this thread as their input will also be valuable but I am hoping that some girls respond to this thread as they would have a better idea of what works best for the girlie areas. Plus all of this may help others get motivated to take up an exercise program if they have friends or others that are close by that are also working out as well. The health benefits are tremendous. It makes you feel absolutely wonderful, helps keep you thinking (well, it does me) helps self esteem and keeps spirits high so helps with an individual's sense of life and their optimism, gives you more energy, keeps you productive for sure, better sex, better sleep. The list can go on. Exercise is very good for the mind, body, and soul.

Angie

PS: For the girls, I have some absolutely wonderful exercises for the butt, hips, and thighs if anyone is interested.

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Okay, I may not be "girlie," but I highly recommend for women OR men the books by Dr. Ellington Darden. University-trained in exercise science, he was the Nautilus fitness consultant for about 17 years, and also consults for Bowflex.

Darden's is one of the most scientifically-based exercise and diet programs I've encountered. No fads, just good empirically-grounded knowledge, whether for hardcore body builders or people just wanting to lose weight and gain muscle most efficiently. Darden, like the late Objectivist bodybuilding champ Mike Mentzer, learned at the feet of fitness guru Arthur Jones, the quirky genius who founded Nautilus. They all base their routines on brief, intense workouts that focus on very slow, controlled resistance exercise. Workouts are only a half hour or less, three times per week -- but they are plenty intense, and provide aerobic as well as anabolic benefits. The validity of their high-intensity, "super-slow" principles has been affirmed again and again in controlled tests. Exercising that way (combined with a good diet...my personal weakness!) gives you the fastest, most efficient results possible.

Darden's written a gadzillion excellent books on these topics. You can find a whole bunch of them here.

Specifically for women, I especially recommend his book Body Defining.

For younger guys interested in serious muscle gains and body building, try The New High Intensity Training.

For older fellas like me -- 40 and up (although the principles are just a valid for younger men) -- who are looking to get in shape and stay there, I wholeheartedly recommend Living Longer Stronger, which is simply outstanding. Probably the best exercise and diet book, all around, I've ever read.

Hope that helps!

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Hi Bidinotto,

Thank you for the input as I am always looking for better ways. I read it and the reviews, etc., and it sounds very interesting and I can definitely relate to the slow movement as the combat conditioning is similar where it is very controlled movements. You may go slowly into one pose but will hold it though and then slowly move out of that pose into something else but have also seen exercises that are more explosive. Some of it is kinda similar to what you may see in Cirque du Soleil using your own body as a form of resistance, very slow movement, holding it for a bit, then slow movement out of that pose into something else. And it builds some pretty amazing bodies. Is Dr. Darden's exercises similar to these? What I read so far it sounds like it. And if it is, I like it.

Also I read a bit on the diet and eating healthier and the 6 week plan. I'm diabetic so does he by any chance have any books with something similar or suitable for someone that has a health condition. I am definitely interested in reading more and will but I was curious if you could point me to some place more specific as to the different diets, etc. I've been to more than my share of dieticians and I eat pretty healthy anyway but I wanted to see if what he recommends would line up with my diet now. As you know, there are many diets out there such as the Atkins diet that some people can't or shouldn't start because of health problems, etc. But anyway, thank you for the input !! :)

Angie

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I'm glad Angie brought this up. I'm looking to start something -- completely from scratch, I'm a desk potato -- for purposes of flexibility, agility, strength, and general effectiveness. My aerobic fitness generally sucks as well, but I figure that will come with the other stuff I'll have to do. I've been seriously considering fitness boxing, which is everything but actual contact boxing, but haven't yet got around to checking out the local gym that does it.

Angie, can you provide more info on this combat fitness stuff? Thanks. Anything that I don't have to leave the house to do will help. Basic stretching will be a definite start; right now I'm as tight as someone twice my age. I'd love to do yoga but don't have the time. (I attended the intro to yoga at last year's TOC conference, much to my humiliation.)

Judith

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Hi Judith,

This is the bodyweight calisthenics aka combat conditioning where you use your own body weight as a form of resistance. It's quite convenient actually because you don't have to mess with machines, weights, etc., and can be done just about anywhere you want and you still get a very nice workout. Some of Tamilee Webb's videos are the same, no weights involved, uses bodyweight calisthenics. Her Thighs of Steel videos have many lunges from fast to slow to isolated movements from side, back, forward, squats, plies as well as isolated plies that can burn the fat off of any thigh as well as others. Your thighs will definitely be burning and shaking by the end of it. She also has videos that are much shorter as well if you don't have a lot of time. She uses elements of combat conditioning, bodyweight calisthenics. But hers are more of a gracious feminine nature. LOL But here are some links. There is another guy named Matt Furey or Matt Furry or something or other that also does the bodyweight calisthenics combat conditioning but that boy is hardcore and a bit scary. He's a martial arts expert and world champion fighter or whatever so he has the more extreme aspects of combat conditioning mixed in with different forms of martial arts. There are many sites for it and this one here seems to be more of the toned down version and not so intimidating. It ranges from beginners to the more advanced. BUT I wouldn't buy the videos unless they are reasonably priced. There are many other fitness experts out there that also incorporate the combat conditioning into their own videos. Tamilee is one of them but she's not as extreme as some of these guys are.

http://www.workout-without-weights.com/?pp...CFRgJSQod5jk7fA

http://www.bodyweight-calisthenics-exercise.com/

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I'm glad Angie brought this up. I'm looking to start something -- completely from scratch, I'm a desk potato -- for purposes of flexibility, agility, strength, and general effectiveness. My aerobic fitness generally sucks as well, but I figure that will come with the other stuff I'll have to do. I've been seriously considering fitness boxing, which is everything but actual contact boxing, but haven't yet got around to checking out the local gym that does it.

Angie, can you provide more info on this combat fitness stuff? Thanks. Anything that I don't have to leave the house to do will help. Basic stretching will be a definite start; right now I'm as tight as someone twice my age. I'd love to do yoga but don't have the time. (I attended the intro to yoga at last year's TOC conference, much to my humiliation.)

Judith

Judith,

Have you also thought about Tai Chi as you seem to be the kind of person that would be interested in it? The mom of one of my friends does it and absolutely loves it. She's not an athlete but in great shape. Hell, stretching alone has benefits to it and most definitely Yoga has benefits as well.

Edit: I've been browsing when I get the time as I am looking for some DVDs rather than the prehistoric VHS tapes and came across a Yoga site you might be interested in. Yoga,com

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Honey, I am proud of you. I read your post and I want to praise it for two reasons: for the unique subject that you bring here, and for the conciseness in which you bring it. Without wishing to sound patronizing, your writing has improved tremendously from your very early posts of last year. Keep in mind: this is coming from someone who still has a lot to learn about writing—as it is a secondary hat I wear.

I can see people getting enthused from this post. It seems to me that you have inspired a few people already—and did so in a more effective way than Jane Fonda could with this crowd. (I don’t know if anybody here wants to take any kind of advice from a dense liberal). I’m sure that you will inspire others to pick themselves up and get onto an exercise program (if they are so inclined but have been merely putting it off). Hey, I would like to create a workout plan and do it side-by-side with you; I think it would be fun. Pump up the volume. You see! You inspired me. Of course, you always do. :heart:

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Since I've been browsing trying to find DVDs of my favorite workout videos and doing a bit of research, I've come across quite a bit. My videos have been used so much over the past 15 years or so that they're on their last leg and need to be replaced really bad. I saw this and know without a doubt it would be a lot of fun, even if being done just for yourself. So any woman out there who would just like to try it or even learn how to dance and loosen up a bit, um, like Kori, this might interest you and pretty sure you'd enjoy it. Of course, your guy will absolutely love it. But even if you decide not to do it for him, it would still be a blast to try it and learn it. I am sure many laughs while doing this workout can be had.

Art of Exotic Dancing For Everyday Women

Bella Online - The Voice of Women

Carmen Electra's Aerobic Striptease Workout

Now this article is really cute. If there are any older women here, this may make you smile. I know it did me when I read it. Such a huge part of women's lives so no need to go without as we age and think we lose the fun of it all. Here is a 64 year old grandmother that is having a blast learning how to striptease. She's got on her fishnet stockings, a pair of black workout shorts, and a white T-shirt. The trainer is a 56 year old lady who specializes in working with women who are 40 and older. Striptease workout for older women

Since I put up the Buns of Steel series by Tamilee Webb, I wanted to put up some of the other videos of hers that I also exercise to when I need something a bit different. Her Thighs of Steel series is also good. As you can tell, I am a fan of hers because so many of her videos work extremely well. She knows what she is doing and I don't find her to be irritating as I've found to be the case in other instructors, although production of the videos can be a bit cheesy. But that's not the point of why I'm buying them in the first place. If you get bored with the music or what have you, learn the video, and then turn the TV down and get your Ipod or what have you. I figure if anyone here is interested, here are a few more. She also has a few step aerobic videos that are good but not great. There are reviews on the site as well so if that may help.

Abs of Steel

Abs of Steel 2

Buns of Steel 4 - Advanced

Buns of Steel 5

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Honey, I am proud of you. I read your post and I want to praise it for two reasons: for the unique subject that you bring here, and for the conciseness in which you bring it. Without wishing to sound patronizing, your writing has improved tremendously from your very early posts of last year. Keep in mind: this is coming from someone who still has a lot to learn about writing—as it is a secondary hat I wear.

I can see people getting enthused from this post. It seems to me that you have inspired a few people already—and did so in a more effect way than Jane Fonda could with this crowd. (I don’t know if anybody here wants to take any kind of advice from a dense liberal). I’m sure that you will inspire others to pick themselves up and get onto an exercise program (if they are so inclined but have been merely putting it off). Hey, I would like to create a workout plan and do it side-by-side with you; I think it would be fun. Pump up the volume. You see! You inspired me. Of course, you always do. :heart:

Thank you, honey. I do have to agree that my writing has improved and not so long winded as before. Yikes. So yeah, I've shortened them up quite a bit. :lol: Well, I hope it gets someone up and moving. I've picked it back up as you know so it will also help keep me enthused as well; that is, if anyone wants to take part in the thread. I'm pretty self-motivated anyway but nice to have a thread where people can talk about different isses if they want. I've been health conscious for quite some time so can help in a lot of different ways, just as someone else could do so if they are also active themselves. It can be anything and everything related to taking vitamins, eating healthy, exercise, health benefits of it, how it can improve sex life, boost energy, self-esteem, confidence, different routines, and so on. Thank you, honey, for noticing. Hey, I am sure when we get together we will definitely be active doing something or other.

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So any woman out there who would just like to try it or even learn how to dance and loosen up a bit, um, like Kori, this might interest you and pretty sure you'd enjoy it. Of course, your guy will absolutely love it.

LOL. It might interest me if it was just a video of a dude stripping. And even then...I've surprisingly just never been into the idea of stripping. Even if I was, I think I no longer have someone to do it for. *frets* :lol:

When it comes to exercise...I don't really know jack, so I can tell this thread is going to be helpful to me. I just started weight training this semester and I'm already kind of feeling it. Boy, I had biceps before, but when I benched...yowsa. Now I have triceps. :lol: I just wish that exercise could be fun. It's just not fun to me if I'm just chillin' by myself doing push-ups or what have you. Plus, if you do the same thing all the time, it gets quite repetitive.

Ange, you're definitely right though, working out totally lifts your mood/spirits. As does eating healthy. *reminds herself of this*

Good thread. I will hopefully have more to contribute as the semester wears on.

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Personally?

200 situps and 100 pushups a night, whatever time I can book in a weight room during the day. I forecasted for one Advanced Athletic Training per semester next year (think PE except way harder). Then there's baseball practice (or football depending on time of year). Then on the weekends I go to the fitness club for fun, rock climbing is a great way to exercise both arms and legs, although I don't have the body for it (probably 60% of my heigh comes from my upper body) and racketball is really fun as well.

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I need a low-impact workout for someone over 40, out-of-shape, with an injured back and a spare tire. Right now I just do stretching exercises, stairs and walking. Dayaaammm... I feel so fat.

Michael is getting me out walking a lot more. We walk whenever it is not freezing out. I am also seeing a chiropractor/naprapath twice a week for my back problem and now is not a good time to start exercising again without a trainer, because of risk of injury, although I'd love to have abs of steel. Confession: I used to do the Richard Simmons videos. :unsure:

I have decided to join Weight Watchers at work and lose some weight. It is pretty expensive, but I need a disciplined approach and I know that all this extra weight is aggravating my back and foot problems. They integrate exercise into the program as well as diet. Has anyone here been involved with WW?

Kat

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My parents were involved with WW.

Back when they did it, one weekly meal of liver was compulsory. They tried everything to make it edible.... liver curry, liver burgers, liver and apple salad.... it failed miserably.

I once lost about 12kg's (approx 30lbs) in a month on the Atkins diet (no carb). Its a bitch to cook for but it works.

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I need a low-impact workout for someone over 40, out-of-shape, with an injured back and a spare tire. Right now I just do stretching exercises, stairs and walking. Dayaaammm... I feel so fat.

Michael is getting me out walking a lot more. We walk whenever it is not freezing out. I am also seeing a chiropractor/naprapath twice a week for my back problem and now is not a good time to start exercising again without a trainer, because of risk of injury, although I'd love to have abs of steel. Confession: I used to do the Richard Simmons videos. :unsure:

I have decided to join Weight Watchers at work and lose some weight. It is pretty expensive, but I need a disciplined approach and I know that all this extra weight is aggravating my back and foot problems. They integrate exercise into the program as well as diet. Has anyone here been involved with WW?

Kat

Hi Kat,

Here are some low impact sites. This might help because of your back injury. Honestly, the Tai Chi looks really interesting. Also swimming is wonderful. But videos are so convenient, some can be done anywhere you want, at home, work, etc.

Chair Dancing

Toning Mind and Body - Tamilee Webb

Cathe Fredrichs - low impact

Tai Chi for beginners with David Carradine

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Believe it not, Angie sweetie, I use to workout. I just never talked about it with you. I use to go to a club called Good Life. It was a love/hate affair. I loved a good workout because a great workout attends to the body, the needs of the mind, and the needs of the spirit. A great workout circulates energy, clears out stagnancy and dissipates negative inertia and creates openness, vitality and fluidity. But the hassle of all those other sweaty people got in the way.

I knew I had a good workout when I felt exuberant and cleansed afterward; when both my mind and body felt alive and free of blockages. The air all around me seemed light and buoyant, and my body had a sense of ease. I knew I had good workout when there is no doubt that I have just exercised, that I have done enough, and it is time to rest. I use to sleep like a baby after a great workout.

I also use to be a big fan of biking, the biking where you need to peddle. And I use to swim a lot and that was a workout in itself. Now you got me missing that feeling. I think it would be great to workout with you. It would be great because of all the benefits I list—and for all the benefits you listed. :)

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A quick looks suggests there is lot of good material. I need to start doing something from recent events. I was seen by my doctor today and everything is pretty good but there is always room for improvement.

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Have you also thought about Tai Chi as you seem to be the kind of person that would be interested in it? The mom of one of my friends does it and absolutely loves it. She's not an athlete but in great shape. Hell, stretching alone has benefits to it and most definitely Yoga has benefits as well.

Edit: I've been browsing when I get the time as I am looking for some DVDs rather than the prehistoric VHS tapes and came across a Yoga site you might be interested in. Yoga,com

I've never really thought about it, other than that it always seemed like one of the soft martial arts, and that if I'm going to do a martial art, I'd do one that can do some damage. :D I've got a yoga tape at home that I've never watched. Sigh.

I ordered a book from Matt Furey's site. Let's see what happens. I'm better at books than I am at videos.

Judith

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Have you also thought about Tai Chi as you seem to be the kind of person that would be interested in it? The mom of one of my friends does it and absolutely loves it. She's not an athlete but in great shape. Hell, stretching alone has benefits to it and most definitely Yoga has benefits as well.

Edit: I've been browsing when I get the time as I am looking for some DVDs rather than the prehistoric VHS tapes and came across a Yoga site you might be interested in. Yoga,com

I've never really thought about it, other than that it always seemed like one of the soft martial arts, and that if I'm going to do a martial art, I'd do one that can do some damage. :D I've got a yoga tape at home that I've never watched. Sigh.

I ordered a book from Matt Furey's site. Let's see what happens. I'm better at books than I am at videos.

Judith

Oh, my God, Judith, you're going in for the kill..lol....Matt Furrey or something or other?? To my understanding, he's like diehard extreme. Wow. Honey, you know there are others out there that do the combat conditioning bodyweight calisthenics that aren't as extreme as he is, you know, quite a bit more toned down. LOL Damn, girl, why didn't you just get the Navy Seal Special Forces training manual or something? LOL You can also look under law enforcement training, Navy Seal training, boot camp training that's for beginners and your everyday type of individual and you should find combat conditioning books and how they go about it. But I am sure he can offer many many exercises for beginners that will be very beneficial. I hope it goes well and definitely have to let us know how it goes with him.

Angie

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Believe it not, Angie sweetie, I use to workout. I just never talked about it with you. I use to go to a club called Good Life. It was a love/hate affair. I loved a good workout because a great workout attends to the body, the needs of the mind, and the needs of the spirit. A great workout circulates energy, clears out stagnancy and dissipates negative inertia and creates openness, vitality and fluidity. But the hassle of all those other sweaty people got in the way.

I knew I had a good workout when I felt exuberant and cleansed afterward; when both my mind and body felt alive and free of blockages. The air all around me seemed light and buoyant, and my body had a sense of ease. I knew I had good workout when there is no doubt that I have just exercised, that I have done enough, and it is time to rest. I use to sleep like a baby after a great workout.

I also use to be a big fan of biking, the biking where you need to peddle. And I use to swim a lot and that was a workout in itself. Now you got me missing that feeling. I think it would be great to workout with you. It would be great because of all the benefits I list—and for all the benefits you listed. :)

It's a wonderful feeling. It gives you tons of energy but you can get tired 3 or 4 hours later, at least in the beginning and that's how it was for me and still is, especially if I get a great workout. But when I get more time, I want to post some stuff about vitamins, etc., and what I take. A vitamin B 100 complex or vitamin B 50 complex will help with energy amonst several other things.

But I'm not much of a gym person, although can be motivating for some that like to have others around. I had a membership to Bally's when I was younger and not many there was interested in getting a good hard workout. It was more of a meat market which was a total turn off. It's like, hello, I'm not here to pick up on guys, you know, have full blown makeup on, hair all done up and trying to impress Chuck or Sven in the weight room and they're terrified to break a sweat because their mascara might run. OY And then having to wait for the machines was a drag for me. Kinda a pain when you get off one machine, good heart race going, feeling loose and revved up, and then go over to the rowing machines or stair climber or what have you and find 2 or 3 people waiting in line at every single machine. You know, it kinda breaks the rhythym and momentum you got going. Then you figure, okay, gym is open 24 hours, maybe I can do the early morning workouts. You know, be at the gym at 4 am, great way to start the day off, no one there. YIKES There are benefits to going to the gym for others but not really for me. The only time I would go is if it is a very small gym or class or one on one with an instructor at a gym, etc., such as they have down here and is very common for very small groups for kick boxing or one on one kick boxing, etc.

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Darden's is one of the most scientifically-based exercise and diet programs I've encountered. No fads, just good empirically-grounded knowledge, whether for hardcore body builders or people just wanting to lose weight and gain muscle most efficiently. Darden, like the late Objectivist bodybuilding champ Mike Mentzer, learned at the feet of fitness guru Arthur Jones, the quirky genius who founded Nautilus. They all base their routines on brief, intense workouts that focus on very slow, controlled resistance exercise. Workouts are only a half hour or less, three times per week -- but they are plenty intense, and provide aerobic as well as anabolic benefits. The validity of their high-intensity, "super-slow" principles has been affirmed again and again in controlled tests. Exercising that way (combined with a good diet...my personal weakness!) gives you the fastest, most efficient results possible.

Oh man...Can't seem to avoid stepping in it around here.

Darden's ideas are applicable only in a very narrow context. I don't think they're very well grounded in evidence. In fact, a very recent meta-analysis (an important one in my opinion at Arizona State) of a very large number of studies concluded very much in direct opposition.

The problem is that for NATURALS, training effectively depends a great deal on training status. The overly simplistic approach of those in the Jones camp is largely abandoned by the elite in any sport, including bodybuilding (if that can be called a sport) and never was it mainstream, because it was sub-optimal.

"the late Objectivist bodybuilding champ Mike Mentzer" was a complete nutcase. But more importantly, he did tons of drugs including stimulants and lots of steroids among others (and I won't mention that whole urine-drinking thing). No conclusions can be drawn when these powerful drugs are confounding results. Viator was REgaining and most likely on drugs too - two things that would make training style of little consequence.

Most bodybuilders trained more like Arnold during their development (Mentzer and Viator included). Even Yates, one of the more recent successes touted to train in a Jones style, doesn't really train like that. Inevitably, the training volume is higher when scrutinized.

The problem is that for beginners and steroid users, any program works. I do not think that it's a coincidence that these concepts also allow for maximum throughput in a fitness facility. For naturals, especially advanced naturals, his programs are not appropriate. In beginners, the intensity is too high for optimal gains and increases risk for a REDUCTION in benefit and is therefore also not advised. The core ideas about working hard and adding weight to the bar are good ones, and in my opinion is really the only reason why some people show results.

Now, I will say that some of the Nautilus machines are good. But Darden's training ideas, like himself are just relics of the past, with no real lasting value in my opinion.

FWIW, I am a competitive natural bodybuilder (drug tested events only) - not that that means I'm right, but I do study this stuff a great deal and I coach many BB'ers as well. I have had two regional wins (one got me a pro card as a heavyweight). I have had a second place national finish (back when I was a light-heavyweight) and I beat the winner three months earlier. Oh well, such is life in the whacky world of bodybuilding.

I may give a national title another go, now that I'm a little bigger, but it's usually in August and family vacations with the wife and kids are a higher priority.

Bob

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Hi Bob,

Well, different strokes. I'm certainly not a bodybuilder, competitive or otherwise. I started working out far too late in life. My experience has been during those periods over the past decade when I chose to get serious about strength gains and weight loss.

I found that high-intensity single sets using slow, controlled reps -- coupled with progressivity (adding weight and/or reps to each workout) -- worked very well for me for rapid improvements.

I couldn't say, a priori, that such a system will work for everyone. Hypothetically, one form of workout (multiple sets vs. single, high-intensity sets) might be better suited for people with fast- or slow-twitch muscles, for example, or for people at certain ages, or for men vs. women, etc. But the theory makes a lot of sense, and it has worked for me when I've stuck with it. I do know that the Darden program has been very successful for people wishing to lose weight without recourse to aerobics, for example.

The problem with all the examples you cite, or that I could cite, are that none of these individuals represent "controlled experiments." Yes, guys like Mentzer were really wacky, and I don't think much of his theory-heavy approach, which strikes me as extremely rationalistic rather than grounded in empirical scientific evidence. Steroid use is epidemic in the bodybuilding field, as you know.

Then there are the inherent problems of meaningfully comparing the efficacy of different approaches to exercise. Even among "natural" bodybuilders, people rarely do fixed routines: precisely the same routine each workout, with the same time-under-tension per each rep, etc. Could a given individual have cranked out "one more rep" if he really tried hard enough? Or done one more exercise? How are we to know?

Thus, it's hard for any given person to chart precise progress from workout to workout. For that reason, it becomes virtually impossible to compare the results for two people doing the SAME routine, let alone the efficacy of different kinds of workout routines. However, "superslow" routines, usually done with a stopwatch or timer, adds a level of precision to charting progress that severely limits "cheating."

In sum, I'm comfortable with people doing whatever kind of exercise that they enjoy, and that gives them results. It beats the alternative.

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Well, with that post, I agree with mostly everything you said.

I agree that the bottom line is intensity and progression. The rest is just details. People who fail to progress usually are missing in one of these two. More advanced folks tend to need higher volume and that's my problem with the Jones/Darden/Mentzer camp. Pump anybody full of enough drugs and any program will pack on strength and mass including sitting in front of the tube all day.

"which strikes me as extremely rationalistic rather than grounded in empirical scientific evidence"

Agreed, totally.

"I do know that the Darden program has been very successful for people wishing to lose weight without recourse to aerobics, for example."

Sure, I get into contest shape with very little cardio. It's all about thermodynamics. Diet is critical, cardio is optional for weight loss (but healthy). In fact, Darden's approach wouldn't be half bad for a dieter but in my opinion it's less than optimal for packing on muscle.

Bob

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