Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mush to Muscle - Don Ross (1992)

 -- This comprehensive synthesis of current medical and evolutionary literature addresses key questions about the role body fat plays in human biology. It explores how body energy stores are regulated, how they develop over the life-course, what biological functions they serve, and how they may have evolved. There is now substantial evidence that human adiposity is not merely a buffer against the threat of starvation, but is also a resource for meeting the energy costs of growth, reproduction and immune function. As such it may be considered as important in our species evolution as other traits such as bipedalism, large brains, and long life spans and developmental periods. Indeed, adiposity is integrally linked with these other traits, and with our capacity to colonize and inhabit diverse ecosystems. It is because human metabolism is so sensitive to environmental cues that manipulative economic forces are now generating the current obesity epidemic. (2009)

Muscle magazines are packed with articles that explain how to change that smooth look for one that is defined. Many readers have the impression that these publications contain plenty of advice for anyone who wants a muscular body. There is a seldom recognized minority, however, who shake their heads at these articles and rarely last too long at the gym.

"Maybe it works for them, but look at me," they say in despair. I'm talking about individuals who are imprisoned my thick walls of flab -- people who are obese.

Adding to their discouragement are the profiles written about the popular physique and fitness stars. Most of these athletes tell of either being skinny or looking muscular from high school sports when they began lifting weights. Many describe winning their first physique contests after a year of training. But was there ever an extremely fat person who lost weight and became a bodybuilding champion, or who at least shed all those pounds to become muscular?

In 1959 a relatively unknown bodybuilder won the professional division of the Mr. Universe contest in London, England. Bruce Randall displayed wide shoulders and lats tapering down to a tiny waist, along with powerful arms and legs. His outstanding physique alone would have made him the talk of the bodybuilding world if not for the amazing fact that he had reduced his weight to 190 pounds from more than 400.

When Randall was in the Marine Corps, he decided that he wanted to be the strongest man in the world. The title, at the time, was held by the voluminous Paul Anderson, who weighed 350 at a height of 5'9". Randall believed that huge amounts of extra bodyweight would put him in Anderson's strength category, so he ate dozens of eggs and pounds of beef and chicken and rice and drank gallons of milk each day. By following this diet in conjunction with a heavy lifting program, he eventually blimped to gargantuan proportions.

After leaving the Marines, Randall changed his goal. He went on a very low-calorie diet and trained extremely hard. In an amazingly short time he was down to 185. Then he brought his muscle mass up to just below 200 to win the Mr. Universe.

Steve Davis promoted what he called the New Breed of bodybuilding and introduced couples posing to the bodybuilding world. With a streamlined physique of around 190 -- he later competed as an IFBB pro at 220 -- this Mr. World ran ads in IronMan magazine showing his popular, symmetrical body next to a before shot of a chubby, 285-pound Steve Davis.

He had been a football player in high school and had let his weight balloon. After taking up bodybuilding, he realized that shape and definition should take priority over size alone. On a high-protein diet he lost 95 pounds of fat to become a world famous physique star.

"Okay, so a former weightlifter and a former football player lost fat and became bodybuilding champions," you say, "but those men were athletes. They gained that weight on purpose. How about someone who started out fat and nonathletic? Did anyone like that ever make it to the higher levels?" 

Probably the best of such success stories is that of Ken Passariello, the '79 Mr. America and '81 Mr. Universe Lightweight winner. Ken was a roly-poly school teacher in Connecticut who had never been athletic in his life. At 5'4" he weighed a blubbery 260 pounds. 

Passariello's doctor warned him that he could face serious heart problems if he didn't lose the weight. He already had high blood pressure from carrying around so much extra poundage and living a sedentary life. Through diet without exercise he reduced to 185 pounds, but soon he had a new goal. After looking at the physiques in bodybuilding magazines he bought some weight equipment.

"I was too embarrassed to work out at the gym," he admitted. "I couldn't even do a single situp."

With a diet that was 30% protein, 70% carbohydrate, and as little fat as possible, Ken began a serious bodybuilding program. A few years later he could draw a crowd of admirers by walking into an gym.  


Diane Polik, D.C., had been fat since she was 15. At 5'4" she weighed a soft, flabby 155 pounds. Through a serious bodybuilding program, daily aerobics and a constant, healthy, lowfat diet she changed her body composition. At 142 pounds she won the Georgia and Michigan Wolverine bodybuilding championships.

"In my case it wasn't so much a question of bodyweight as it was body composition," the Georgia chiropractor said. "I've gone back up to 155 in the off-season, but look solid at that weight now."

These people are living testimony to the fact that you can change your body and transform your whole life for the better. In order to do this you must visualize your goals and take an oath to stick to your exercise and diet program. Keep in mind that there will be times when you'll be discouraged, but never let it defeat you. Stay on track. It's not as complicated as you may have been led to believe.

Psychological Hurdles

Polik touched on a major reason why overweight people become discouraged -- the scale scare. Since muscle is considerably heavier than fat, people who work out while on diets sometime lose very little bodyweight. According to the scale, nothing is happening, and they don't always realize that their waists are diminishing as their physiques transform to those of lean body mass. It's important, therefore, to avoid the scale, since you'll experience ups and downs in weight.

A better criterion for progress is to measure your waist. If your waist measurement decreases as your strength increases, you know you're adding muscle and losing fat.

Polik also cautioned against binge diets. When she first began bodybuilding she'd go on very restricted diets that included "cheat days." At those times she'd go completely off her diet and slow the change. While diets like this can work for some, they can mean defeat for the naturally fat person. Just as the occasional social drink can blow an alcoholic's attempt to stay sober, junk days can easily rekindle eating disorders. Your chances of success are much better if you stay on a consistent diet that's low in fat and high in fiber and bodybuilding nutrients. Those fatty or sugary foods will become much less tempting as soon as you make the bodybuilding lifestyle a habit.

As in Ken Passariello's case many obese people are too self-conscious to join a gym. Both men and women are always telling me that they intend to start an exercise but first they want to lose the weight.
Dieting goes considerably slower without the calorie burning advantage of exercise. Most of these people give up in frustration and never make it to the gym.

In the past we were taught that when we restrict our calories our bodies burn fat first and then start on the muscle when the fat is gone. Body composition tests have proven that dieting without exercise burns both muscle and fat. Exercise, however, allows you to build muscle as you lose fat. Loss of muscle tone results in a hanging, weak appearance. People sometimes wind up looking worse after losing weight than when they were plump.

Muscular development acts as a fat burner. Muscle tissue is always contracting, even during rest and sleep. The caloric output of a person who has well-developed musculature is higher than that of a person who weighs the same but has less muscle tissue. It's easier, therefore, to remain lean if you work out regularly.

Fat, on the other hand, is inactive tissue. It causes an extra burden on the body and reduces your body's efficiency and stamina. The result is less activity, a slower metabolism and less desire to actively enjoy being alive. It's not surprising that oftentimes fat people eat less than thinner people. This leads many of them to believe their problem is glandular and that nothing can help. The good news is that you can change your metabolism to some degree with the following program.

So, get over the wasted effort of embarrassment and join that gym! It's like a plunge in a chilly pool. the thought is what's bothering you, but the reality isn't bad at all. You'll soon find yourself enjoying the workouts and wonder why you didn't start sooner. You'll be able to burn fat faster, keep it off easier, and develop an excellent physique along the way.

Mush-to-Muscle Diet

Fat burning takes place when you eat fewer calories than you burn in your daily activities. When you bodybuild, you must take in sufficient protein to feed muscle growth [which as a member of an affluent society you're likely already doing]. You also need fiber to keep the intestinal tract running cleanly and carbohydrates that are low in calories yet filling. [But don't make the mistake of confusing crap for carbohydrate intake.] Here are a few effective diet tips:

 - While red meat and whole eggs are excellent bodybuilding foods they are calorie dense. So avoid these foods and instead eat egg whites, fish, skinless chicken breasts and the like. Steer clear of pork.

 - Eliminate dairy products, especially cheeses, as well as sauces, oils and butter. Keep your fat intake low. Remember, fat is much more calorie dense than protein and clean carbohydrates.

 - Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, but limit the quantity, as they are loaded with natural sugars. Make a dressing of vinegar and lemon juice with a dash of sugar substitute.

 - Cut out all refined sugar, and if you're new to this you might be quite surprised at where you find it. Check ingredients before you eat anything. Sugar is added to almost everything in the supermarket of today, and it's even more prevalent in the foods of 2015! I imagine. A few months without refined sugar and the craving will go away. Honestly, just give it time and don't waver with some 'cheat day' nonsense. If you want to know how cheat days go ask a recovered alcoholic or drug addict. Not so good, and why tease yourself? Salt, sugar, fat. Just cut yourself loose from those if you want to get lean. Really, it's not the method itself that's complex, it's following it consistently over enough time to see the results you want. You do want to see them, don't you? Stop looking for an 'easier' way and simply knuckle down to the task at hand. Harden up, and not just your body. Hone your mind until it's the diamond it was meant to be.

 - Avoid the fad diets. Don't search around for a diet that allows you to eat high fat foods like bacon, red meat, etc., and then wonder why you're not losing the weight. You should feel light at all times, even after eating a meal. At first it may seem wrong and might take some getting used to, but hang in, it will be worth it.

 - If you experience hunger pangs, nibble on plain popcorn, lettuce, celery, etc.

 - Have complex carbohydrates in the form of organic brown rice, yams, oatmeal, etc. Find out more about carbohydrates and learn the difference between low and high glycemic index types.

 - Drink water, a tall glass every few hours throughout the day. You don't have to guzzle gallons a day to be fully hydrated, and there's no need to carry around a bottle and sip from it every two seconds.

 - Eat three meals a day, or if it works for you divide the three meals into five or six smaller ones. But don't think it's necessary to eat six meals a day to lose weight efficiently.

 Here's a sample diet. Use it to formulate your own eating plans, but stick to the main foods and method mentioned. You don't have to slavishly follow a diet example verbatim. Use your head, design your own diet within the method and stop being so helpless. Wait a minute! It's 3:52 p.m. and I'm late for my Day 17, Meal 5 intake. Get a life. A nice lean and self-directed life.

1 cup oatmeal with four egg whites, no salt, milk or butter. Use a pinch of zero calorie sweetener if you like. Or don't. Foods actually have tastes without adding spices. Who knew! Tea of coffee, black.

8 ounces broiled fish, large vegetable salad with vinegar and/or lemon juice only.

8-12 ounces broiled chicken or turkey, no skin. Small baked yam or sweet potato, dry.
Again, food has taste, you just forget how to sense it.

Three days a week (two if you're not losing weight after the first month) have a piece of fruit with each meal and an extra meal that's smaller than the other three. It's good to have a few more calories on certain prearranged days to keep your metabolism from slowing down to adapt to the lower food intake the first few months. Or, some days you may want to have an extra-low calorie day. Substitute low fat, low sodium chicken broth for your second meal on those days. Once you're losing weight at a fairly regular pace you can fast one day every few weeks. "At a fairly regular pace" is not something that you measure in the space of a week. This isn't a fad diet, it's a long term weight loss and maintenance plan. Be patient, be strong, and do it for the long run. Stop dreaming of beer, and bacon triple-cheese pizza And stop trying to find that diet that tells you it's all good to eat like a spoiled child.

Fat Cutting Routine

If I had to sum up in one word the secret of working out for fat reduction that word would be


Increased activity burns calories and can provide the residual benefit of increasing your resting metabolism. Begin your fat burning workout with an aerobic warmup -- either a ride on the stationary bike or a walk on the treadmill. These low impact aerobic activities won't stress the joints and tendons of the overweight person the way jogging or stair climbing might.

Start with five minutes, or longer if it's comfortable. Each day increase the length of the ride by a few minutes, until you're doing a full 30 minutes. Your movement should be vigorous but not so much that it winds you. It's the consistency over time rather than the intensity that makes this type of aerobic work effective.

It would seem logical that the best way to work out would be very high reps with extremely light weights. While this will burn fat, there will be much less muscular development, if any. To get the results you want you need enough resistance for muscle growth combined with continuous movement for increased metabolism.

One of the best programs that includes both of these factors is the push-pull superset. A superset is a set in which you do sets of two different exercises, one right after the other -- in this case exercises that work opposing muscle groups. For example, you do a set of bench presses followed by a set of bentover rows.

When you perform an exercise and reach your final rep, you need to rest long enough for the lactic acid wastes to clear out of the muscle and new oxygen and nutrients to be absorbed. Otherwise, you'll barely be able to perform any reps if you try to do a second set just seconds after completing the first. With push-pull movements one muscle group recovers as you are working the other, so you need much less rest. Try to position the weights close to each other so you can eventually move through this workout nonstop.   

The following is a three-way-split routine. You train our upper body on the first day, work your lower body on the second, and do your midsection and extra aerobics on the third day. Perform the exercises themselves at a medium speed with controlled return movements. The main objective is to keep the rest between sets to the bare minimum, but remember that you must progress to this stage. Start with longer rests and fairly light poundages, and work on progressively shortening these rest periods. Once you're moving nonstop, you can begin to increase the weights as your strength and conditioning improves. If you've ever witnessed a skilled, seasoned lifter go through this kind of workout, it will give you an idea of what's actually possible over time.

Day 1: Upper Body

Stationary Bike (or similar aerobic work) - 30 minutes.

Superset 1:
Pulldown, superset with
Behind the Neck Press - 2-3 x 12-15 each.

Superset 2:
Bench Press, superset with
Bentover Row - 2-3 x 12-15.

Superset 3:
Flat Bench Flye, superset  with
Bentover Lateral - 2-3 x 12-15.

Superset 4:
Triceps Pushdown, superset with
Barbell Curl - 2-3 x 12-15.

Day 1: Lower Body

30 minutes low intensity aerobic work.

Superset 1:
Cable Crunch, superset with
Good Morning - 2 x 20 each.

Superset 2:
Leg Extension, superset with
Leg Curl, 2-3 x 15.

Superset 3:
Deep Breathing Squat, superset with
Standing Calf Raise, 2-3 x 20.

Day 3:

30 minutes low intensity aerobic work.

Perform the following on a flat board or mat. Do one set of each nonstop. Work up to 25 reps apiece.

Leg Raises
Knee Ups
Alternate Leg Raises
Crunches - elbows to opposite knees
Low Back Arches
Standing Side Cable Cramps
Treadmill (or similar) - 30 minutes.

On the midsection exercises aim for a continuous flow and get your heart pumping and a good sweat.

Breathe deeply as you work through this program. Suck in that oxygen to combust the fat. Realize that a complete change takes time. It took you years to get fat. You can't become muscular overnight after that. There are ways to speed the results, however, and they include the following, as well as others.

1) Use more MOVEMENT in your everyday life. When possible walk rather than drive, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do your own landscaping and household chores, schedule more activity into your daily routine and DO LESS SITTING.

2) Turn off your mind to fattening foods. Think of the way they make you look rather than their taste. Think of sweets and fried and fatty foods in terms of them being destructive, as being poison or pig feed. Once you've perfected this mode of thought dieting will be no problem.

3) Be persistent. Set short-term goals. For example, an inch off your waist, 10 more pounds on a supersetted exercise, or finishing your program with the same weights in less time. Once you reach on short-term goal plan the next.

4) Visualize the body you want. Keep in mind that every day on your program is another step toward that short-term goal which is another step toward that long-term goal.

This program will work.
You have the instructions.
The rest is up to you. 

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