Friday, June 12, 2015

The World of Bodybuilding and Drugs Part 2

Bodybuilders differ in their preparation before a contest.  Some bodybuilders will start to cut their calories and work on getting shredded (drop to a very low body fat level) from about 18 weeks out before the contest.  Some do 12-14 weeks I've even heard some do 6-8 weeks I guess they have some very good genes.  In the last weeks the drugs consumed will change: Toxicity of Weight Loss Agents.  Some use a thyroid hormone (triiodothyronine) and may use it with a bronchodilator (both come with dangerous side effects).  The athlete will then start to drop the amount of weight he is lifting just because he may be getting weaker (his training will pretty much stay the same) as his calories and carbs will be dropping.

During the last few weeks before the contest the bodybuilder will not be looking to add any more muscle. He will just work on keeping what he has so a steroid will most likely still be used.  He will also do cardio but there are some that just up their drugs and skip it.  On the night before the contest he will stop his water consumption (as well as salt intake) at about 6-8pm and take a diuretic (this drug is meant for a patient with high blood pressure) to get rid of water between his muscle and skin.
The shredded and dry condition on competitive bodybuilders you see on stage is a look no one can keep it is a painful and dangerous condition to stay in.  I have seen a few bodybuilders cramp up or pass out on stage both are unlikely but serious side effects.

All this work, preparation, and money just for a few moments of glory in the end even if you win the money you will have spent will be far more than the cash prize.  The sad part is that a lot of these drugs are taken by young guys trying to achieve the same pro bodybuilder look without knowing the dangerous and even life threatening side effects.  A lot of black market drugs are fake or under dosed since they are illegal you can't be sure what you are getting. I did not go into detail about the processes, doses and names of all the drugs consumed just because I don't want to somehow promote them.  All the steroids, diuretics, and hormones used by bodybuilders were made for patients with specific illnesses from osteoporosis, HIV, Turner syndrome, breast cancer to Parkinson's disease This is a dangerous practice that should not be taken lightly there are too many unknowns and risks.  Good nutrition and exercise are the only things you really need to get a good physique.  I (as well as a few others I know) have never injected a steroid or illegal drug of any kind so it is possible to stay clean.  There are limits to what our bodies can achieve in the gym and that is something we have to deal with.  Be proud of what you have achieved naturally.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The World of Bodybuilding and Drugs Part 1

There are a few things a competitive bodybuilder will do before stepping on stage.  A small group do compete in natural bodybuilding events but some even doubt these competitions.  Although the pros are known for taking a lot of illegal drugs most of the illegal drugs that are bought and used are from those that don't compete or ever intend to step foot on stage.  I did not know how popular supplements, legal and illegal drugs were until I started going to the gym.  From the very young to the very old they want an edge.  Some fall for the advertisements they believe it is not possible without drug consumption to get a physically fit body.  When I write that legal drugs are taken as well this doesn't mean they are not dangerous it is legal to buy insulin yet it is dangerous to take especially if you do not know what you are doing. Insulin has strong anabolic properties that is why bodybuilders take it.

A bodybuilder will start out preparing for a competition by bulking up this is the phase where he will go heavy on weights.  He will eat a large amount of calories to make sure his stack of anabolic steroids will give him as much mass as possible.  Even during the bulk up phase a bodybuilder will not want to over do it otherwise he may end up with too much body fat and a distended abdomen.  Bodybuilders also take growth hormone which will give them lean muscle but it comes with some dangerous and irreversible side effects.  If taken for too long your organs, hands and face will get bigger.   Bodybuilders take GH and Insulin because of their mass building properties.  In regards to lipogenesis (the formation of fat) GH inhibits it but insulin stimulates it.

Some anabolic steroids (such as testosterone) can give men certain side effects such as gynecomastia, hair loss and acne.  It has to do with genetics so you can't anticipate what side effects you will get.  The longer you take them and the higher the dose the higher the risk that you will get side effects.  Since some of these drugs are progesterones men can experience a nipple discharge. Some bodybuilders take anti estrogen drugs to counter act the gynecomastia.

To be continued ...

Friday, May 1, 2015

My Second Year at The Gym

During my second year at the gym I started to take supplements just a multivitamin and protein powder at first.  Eventually I took protein, mass builders and fat burners all from the local vitamin shop.  But even then my body did not look the way I wanted I did not realize the importance of reading and understanding food labels. The protein I was taking made me gain weight but most of it was not lean muscle it was fat.  The protein powder had a ton of sugar.  I made the shake with peanut butter and milk (more sugar and carbs) plus my diet consisted of bread, rice and pasta.  Carbs turn into sugar the body stores excess sugar as fat (lipogenesis).

I decided to switch to a no sugar no carb whey protein product.  Only then did my body start improving and giving me better results.  I also tried creatine which did work but the problem is that once you get off it the muscle size decreases as creatine gives you water weight via increased cell volume.  Some people have the type of body that although they may take lots of supplements their body still will not respond some of it may be poor exercise form or diet but some of it is genetics.  Some supplements can be dangerous so be careful (they are not FDA regulated).  I remember a friend of mine taking ephedrine got a heart attack the sad part was that it didn't work for him he didn't lose the weight he wanted it did work for my bodybuilding friends though. Don't rely on drugs if you are not responding well to your routine or diet change it up don't quickly turn to pills and powders they will be of little help.  There are supplements that claim to increase lean muscle mass and strength but all you get is a placebo effect not worth $70+.

I got the body I wanted when I got more experience and better eating habits all of this was done without any supplements.  I saw a lot of guys spending their whole paycheck on supplements.   Designer proteins, creatine can run you up to $60 each for a one month supply then you have to add the cost of the large increase in food consumption, the gym membership and other drugs that gym goers take; that is one expensive body.  Personally I don't think it is healthy to take a lot of supplements for long periods of time I have not taken any in over 6 yrs.

Final thought:
Aside from getting fit exercise improves neural connections in your brain and enhances memory and acquisition, according to a study published in Behavioral Neuroscience.  Another study found that regular aerobic exercise appears to increase the size of the hippocampus.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

My First Year At The Gym

At about the age of 19 I was invited by a few friends to the gym although it was not my first time I had never gone to the gym on a regular basis.  At that time I was very skinny/bony but I need to clarify that I still had no definition on my body so although I appeared skinny I had some fat (over 10%) covering what little muscle I did have so no vascularity either.  I had no structure, I did some of the exercises the wrong way since no one taught me the right form.  Eventually my friends stopped going and although I was the newbie I was the only one that remained after 3 months.  I admit that I had a lot to learn at the end of that year people could not tell that I worked out neither could I.  The only good thing that I got out of that year was discipline.  Eventually toward the end of that year I started to look for help the bodybuilders told me to pick one or two body parts to work on per day.  I used to work every hammer strength machine everyday that's how clueless I was.  I also did not do much cardio since I would get exhausted quickly I also found it boring.  My diet was also pretty bad I did not know much about biology or nutrition.

Eventually through magazines and questioning the right people I got the right routine, form and somewhat better diet.  It took a second year to see results that is also when I began to understand my body.  I learned about all the muscle groups, proteins as well as amino acids.

An important thing to consider is that if you want to increase muscle mass ask someone who has what you want.  If getting six pack abs is what you want make sure you ask someone who was fat and lost the weight some people are born with a fast metabolism no matter what they eat they will always stay lean.  The last factor that helped me last a whole year in the gym was the fact that I tried to connect I got a few partners to motivate me and push me when I felt lazy.  On my next post I will right a bit about what I learned on my second year and on the world of supplements and later on anabolic steroids.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Truth About Day Trading

Day trading stocks is not easy it requires a lot of discipline.  By this I mean that you need to develop rules and stick to them, easier said than done.  You can make mental/paper trades and in all of those come out a winner and exit/enter at the right times.  When you trade with real money that is another story emotions take over and you begin to behave differently.  The same discipline that I used to transform my body (eating healthy haven't had a cookie in over 7yrs, jogging, weight training) is the same discipline required to be a good day trader.  Consider this if I meet 10 stock traders 8 will have told me that they lost LARGE sums of money of the 2 remaining one will have broke even and the other either took small losses or small gains.  The norm is that most have lost money they couldn't afford to lose.  That is why you should only trade with money you can spare but almost nobody does that and that brings me back to my first point it takes discipline to do what you are supposed to not what feels good.

The worst thing a day trader can do is start off with a few gains and think that he is gifted and start taking on large trades only to encounter his first huge loss.  That is another point I want to make not all of the traders I meet start off losing some make $20-$30k but manage to turn that into a $50k loss. Then you have the guy that bought at the 52 week/all time high only to see his stock eat it hard.  I have traded for years so I have become better at managing risk.  I have seen so many things go wrong.  I have taken several painful losses as well as healthy gains there are so many scenarios and things that can and do go wrong that I could have not known or hedged for when I first started trading.  I unlike most started trading with small amounts of money to protect myself and to make sure I did not confuse luck with skill.

There are just too many things to explain that I would need to write a book, just know that until you see many personal examples of irrational stock behavior, mistakes as well as other things go wrong (problems such as having your Internet service interrupted in the middle of a trade) don't day trade or stock trade too aggressively.  From my experience you shouldn't trade stocks every single day I think the more you trade the more likely you are to make mistakes so don't over trade, sometimes just holding on long term can be a better strategy.  Finally, you can't compete against huge financial institutions so know that your trades will always be at a disadvantage compared to the big boys.  If you decide to day trade you are only hoping to take little bits here and there off the table.  In regards to trading speed is everything.  Therefore be cautious or try other ways of making money that come with less risk.

One last thought on Tuesday I day traded GoPro at 43.55 today it is trading at 40.45 overnight I would have lost $3100 that is one of the risks associated with day trading.  Instead I went ahead and traded Twitter at 50.58 (now trading at 50.29) which gave me a quick profit.  I don't hold allegiance to any stock I pick what seems profitable for the day this changes day by day, minute by minute.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

What To Do With Your Money In 2015

Most of the world's major economies are in deflation territory this makes it a bit difficult for investors to find ways to get returns.  India was one of the best performers last year their inflation rate is at 5%.  I went to a conference a few weeks ago and the speaker stated that the outside world was in a state of deflation as if we were not at risk, we have been experiencing low inflation December rates were 0.8% and January actually had negative inflation -0.1%.  In these cases you may be better off just leaving your money in the bank for the short term.  With a stronger dollar plus negative inflation your dollar gets more valuable without any risk just by holding on to it.  But long term deflation is not a good thing it will stall economic growth.  Low oil prices and low mortgage rates signal a drop in prices which can be good for consumers, let's assume the U.S. does not enter bad deflation it just continues with low inflation, investors will need to find a place to leave their money.

The world is looking for yields to grow their money there are no quality investments left out there to park money, no yield to be found.  What is scaring people is the risk factor of entering the stock market if the Fed decides to raise interest rates this summer.  That concern alone brought down securities on Friday.  It is likely to happen our economy has been growing without the Fed's help.  If the Fed decides to raise rates by how much will it do so?  Most likely stocks will still remain the only way to get decent returns the market may drop a bit with the news but eventually the world will need yield and this can mean that the bull market that started in 2009 will continue for a few more years.  It has been said by analysts that we are in the middle of a secular bull market.

In deciding where to put money consider the global economy.  If inflation rates remain low then you don't need to make high returns to fight inflation.  Where are you going to get those yields from a bank CD? They are safe but will give you very little interest.  Real estate is another option the 30 yr fixed is at a low 3.99% yet a lot of people don't have the money to buy or the credit to qualify so renting is becoming more popular than ever.  If you believe that the stock market will crash or that it's due for a partial correction then maybe you should just put it elsewhere a business or more education perhaps. Emerging markets are cheap but don't look too attractive.  In 2012 I wrote that the stock market was the best choice for investors but now things have changed when I wrote that post the fed was not going to raise rates anytime in the near future and the dow was not at 3 times its price from the 2009 low.  Some experts state that the market is not too expensive in regards to earnings.  Financial advisers usually recommend that you put 60-70% of your money into stocks that number has recently changed to 50%.  Then there are those individuals that experienced the crash of 2000 and then again in 2007 (yikes!), they are hating this bull market because they aren't participating their money most likely is in the bank.  Invest carefully, stay informed and make educated guesses while considering your risk tolerance.

Monday, February 9, 2015

How I Stay Fit on a Budget

People think that starving is the way to lose weight it wont work it will affect your health it will make you lose muscle mass which is the opposite of what you want.  For people with slow metabolisms if you start skipping meals your body will fight back by holding on to more fat when it does get fed since it knows that it may have to wait a long time to get fed again.  So ironically you have to eat more often to lose weight just make portions smaller and more colorful.  I eat food that I enjoy which is healthy but of course not as tasty as fast food.  I don't feel too tempted over the years I have discovered tastier foods that I can consume that wont affect my body in a negative way.

At the gym I shock my body by switching my routine.  I don't stay with the same weight training exercises for too long and I jog at different speeds and switch it up with walks, stair climbing and bike riding.  Burning the last bit of fat on my abs was very hard it took a lot of reading/trial & error.  It's as if the fat around your lower abs knows that it has been there for years so it's not going away without a fight, it makes sense it took years to build it around your midsection it wont disappear in a matter of weeks.

I think people need to increase their odds of success by taking small steps and adding a bit of more exercise to their life and then little by little start tweaking their diet to a lifestyle they can transition into. You don't want to lose 20 lbs in a month by starving eating salads and dry chicken breasts with nothing but water and massive cardio.  This will result in a short lived weight loss what will most likely happen is that you will hate the change and not only put on the 20 lbs you lost but probably put on an extra 20 lbs.  Although I mostly drink water and eat lean protein, fruits and vegetables I didn't make the change overnight otherwise I would have not been able to stick with it.  When I started I didnt have the knowledge to know what food was good for me so it is essential to learn to read and understand food labels and the serving size being used.

Here is a healthy snack I like to munch on in between meals: Unsalted Dry Roasted Peanuts

I also eat unsalted cashews and almonds the point is to eat low sodium snacks so it has to be unsalted and remember that it is a snack to be eaten in moderation don't eat it all in one day.  I bought the generic type ($2.99) I am not promoting any name brand buy your favorite store name brand if available just as long as you save some money.

Nutrition Facts

Serving size 1 ounce about 40 nuts
Calories 160, total fat 14 grams 
 Mono fat is 7g,Poly Fat 4g and Saturated is 2 g
Carbs 6 grams, Sugar 1gram, Protein 7g, fiber 2 g

Mostly good fat (mono & poly) the saturated fat is what you have to watch out for!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Physical Fitness Tips

We all react differently to diets so what may work for me may not work for others it is a trial and error process.  I may be sensitive to carbs while my neighbor may not.  As a matter of fact my neighbor has a very fast metabolism so he can pretty much eat what he wants and stay lean at about 8-9% body fat.  The downside is that he has had high cholesterol since his mid twenties because he eats a lot of junk/fast food.  I live a low carb lifestyle I started out with a slow metabolism through the years I have gained more muscle mass which has helped since the more muscle mass one has the more calories you burn at rest.  Doing cardio regularly also helps to speed up my metabolism.  I also eat 3-5 times a day so my body doesnt feel like it needs to store more fat because it knows it will get fed several times through out the day.  To get my body to this state has taken years there is no magic drug no 30 minute video or an all in one exercise machine that can achieve this so save your money.

I keep my body fat at 7-8% it is very hard for me to stay like this year round the low carb consumption takes its toll.  If I go higher on my carb, fat and protein intake I can bench press 220lbs but when I stay at 7-8% with low carbs its a big change on my strength I will only be able to bench 180lbs.  That also depends on peoples bodies for me to stay very lean can be tough to handle while someone else can easily handle staying at 6% body fat with little change not feeling tired at all.

I also tend to feel more cold since I am not insulated by a thick layer of fat so I need to dress up more than most people when I'm in the cold.  I also consume less calories than the average American so this translates into less body heat.  There are days were I consume more carbs and fat it's not a good idea to cut out carbs drastically or for very long periods of time just consume the good kinds found in fruits (but don't over do it) and vegetables. Pick whole grains, fiber over white starches and refined carbs.

Here is a snack I treat myself to during the winter it is a healthy way to consume chocolate my version of hot chocolate:

Ingredients: Creamer, Natural Unsweetened Cocoa, Sugar Free Cool Whip and Equal Sweetener (I usually use Stevia but I only had Equal in the house when I wrote the post)

Nutrition Facts

Equal Sweetener - Zero calories,sodium carbs and fat
Use 2-3 packets or as you like

Cool Whip Sugar Free serving size 2 tablespoons about how much you should use:
Total fat 1gram, Carbs 3 grams, Sodium 0

Creamer Serving Size 1 Tablespoon about how much I use:
Total Carbs 1 gram, Fat 0.5 grams,  Sodium 0

Hershey's Cocoa Natural Unsweetened Serving Size 1 Tablespoon
I use about 1-2 depending on the cup size I will use
Total Fat 0.5 gram, Carbs 3 grams, Sodium 0, Protein less than 1gram, Fiber 2 grams

I like to have healthy drinks in between meals a lot of times people believe they are hungry but what they really are is thirsty this is a better alternative to a nice tall glass of warm water.

Hot chocolate sold in supermarkets is usually full of sodium I found that my version is healthier and keeps me warm in the winter while not affecting my six pack abs 

Final product! a shout-out to my coworker Vivian for the christmas mug

Friday, January 30, 2015

Save Money By Cleaning Your Home

Hoarding is a compulsive disorder in which people buy and hold on to things until they barely have space in their home to move freely.  Whether you are a hoarder or just a person that buys a bit much cleaning your home regularly can save you lots of money.  When you start buying things to the point where you lose track of what you own you risk overspending by purchasing items you will never have a use for.  Make a rule that you will never buy new items without getting rid of old ones first. The math is simple if you add but never subtract at some point you will run out of space in your home and lose money in the process.

Sell your items online or via a yard sale to pay for new ones this works well with clothes and electronics.  When cleaning the most important place to start is in your kitchen if your refrigerator is a mess you risk buying more food than you need and having food go bad regularly this is a health hazard.  Do yourself a favor and clean out your fridge regularly get in the habit of checking expiration dates and keeping a close eye on what goes in and out.  Spoiled food will contaminate all the food in your fridge costing you money not only by making all the food in your fridge unedible but also affecting your health and adding to your health care costs.  Bacteria reproduces quickly you may not be able to see it but if you get food poisoning or infections from your home the missed days of work and visits to the doctor add up.  I like to keep my home free of clutter everything is accounted for and old items I no longer need get sold or thrown out before new items are purchased.  You should take out trash regularly and practice good hygiene I suggest to disinfect all handles, doorknobs, keyboards, light switches and faucets often.  Hands carry a lot of germs you will be surprised at how often without noticing you touch (80% of infectious diseases are transmitted by touch) your face (germs enter your body through the eyes, nose and mouth) without ever washing your hands.

When your home is finally clean it will be much easier to maintain, you will feel good about yourself and save plenty of money all while enjoying better health.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Investing in Oil

With oil (WTI) at $44 the barrel investors have been trying to call the bottom.  Coming down from a high price in the $100's oil can still go down further and stay there for awhile but if you are young or just have the patience to wait it out you should consider starting to buy some shares in the energy sector.  These oil companies' stock price have dropped: Halliburton (HAL), BP PLC (BP) and Chevron Corporation (CVX) therefore investors at the end of 2014 started to buy them. Obviously they failed to get the shares at the bottom yet it doesn't mean it's a totally bad play no one can call a perfect bottom or top your goal is to try to get close enough.  With that said these companies should be on your radar if you are trying to invest long term or want to add a piece of the energy sector to your portfolio.  If you want a little more diversification (GE) has about a 15-20 percent exposure to oil this lets you be in the game but not as aggressive.  Another thing to consider is that these companies all pay dividends so you will be paid as you wait.  Lastly some experts believe that the days of $100 oil is gone and that some oil companies are in more trouble than they realize.  I still went ahead and decided to put some oil exposure into my portfolio.

Do Not Wait Until You Become Rich To Talk To Women

At a young age I had a few questions about girls so I went online and found an article on how to talk to women.  The article's writer told young men not to wait until they became rich to talk to women especially the ones they really like.  I guess young men think that money is the only way to get the women they want.  I agree with the writer not just because money is not the most important thing in life but it is obvious that not everybody on this earth is destined to become rich.

What I see most guys struggle with is the initial conversation when you introduce yourself.

How then will you talk to her?

Don't worry if you are shy or get nervous just get a job as a sales agent after speaking to so many people the task won't be as hard practice is your friend.

In my case things worked out a bit differently not intentionally anyway it wasn't necessarily the money but the fact that the money gave me access to more education which gave me confidence and the topics to go up to the women I like.  The more education I got the stronger my network got which opened more doors to get me more educated attractive women in my path.  Years before I might have had the guts to talk to these women (assuming that I had access to them as some of these women are only found in labs of Ivy league schools doing research) but my lack of education would have limited my conversation and would have made it difficult to keep them.  It is not necessarily the money but the level of education to give them a stimulating conversation.  You want them to feel confident by just being around you.  A more educated man has a larger array of tools to court a woman with and skills to pass on to his offspring which is a quality attractive well educated women look for.

My advice is to get better educated you don't need to be wealthy just get involved in many areas learn how to fix cars, read online periodicals, volunteer at an art gallery, this will give you a wide array of topics to connect with all sorts of women.  It will make you a better provider in the future when you settle down with the wife of your dreams.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How To Live Debt Free

1. Live Below Your Means
If you make $2000 a month live on half, all your expenses should come up to more than $1000 otherwise you will always live paycheck to paycheck.  If you find yourself living on more than half your monthly income then make the most of it for now but eventually start cutting costs and possibly look to relocate or find a better paid job.  Never cross the line and spend more than what you make.

2. Ask
Do not be afraid to ask people for advice or a lead to a better job.  Tell people what is on your mind if you need to call the bank to let them know that you forgot to pay your credit card bill and would like them to waive the fee then go ahead and do so.  Society and the law don't reward those who stay shut yet the world is yours if you just learn how to ask.

3. Entertain and Eat On a Budget
When you buy healthy food (which can be expensive) shop for deals and don't eat out as much until you can afford to do so.  Take your own lunch to work this can be healthier and a money saver.  You don't need to overspend when hanging with friends unless you have the money to do so, get creative you can rent a movie online and watch it with several friends the laughs is what you're really after.

4. Protect The Things You Do Buy
If you make a major purchase this is the one time that you want to pay with plastic. You did the right thing you worked hard and saved but you will not pay with cash or debit.  A credit card will protect you from unnecessary headaches if you have a bank credit card you can read the fine print/benefits and see that they protect you from defective products, theft etc. You can see it as a big brother having your back at the time of purchase there are many advantages so long as you pay for that item in full once your credit card bill arrives.

5. Inform Yourself
The best way to stay out of debt is to develop healthy spending/saving habits and this starts by educating yourself through people, stories of those who have sank into massive debt, blogs, periodicals, videos and books.  I never heard a teacher in school tell me to stay out of debt or tell the class how to develop healthy spending habits perhaps they were all in debt so they couldn't teach what they did not know.  Therefore it is your responsibility to learn and protect yourself financially.