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Prior to discovering Objectivism 2 years ago, I received fairly little physical exercise, and suffered physically as a result. I believe that I implicity scorned the body as inferior to the mind, and therefore concentrated much more on the mind. Now that I have grasped that an individual is not a mind nor a body but rather the integration of the two, I am attempting to greatly improve the physical aspect of my life.

This being said, I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for increasing one's physical strength, nutrition, etc., in regards to methods of working out, valuable nutrition suggestions, increasing metabolism, increasing overall physical energy, etc.

Having scorned the body as inferior to the mind for so long, I am a relative newcomer in this area so any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

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I second that. Mike Mentzer's workouts are aimed primarily towards bodybuilders, but anyone who wants to get into or maintain their shape will find them shorter (half an hour once a week or so) and more effective than than any other exersize routines I know of.

"The ideal man is the epitome of physical and mental perfection." - Me

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  • 3 months later...

I have no special tricks, just the basics:

- get plenty of aerobic exercise, eg soccer, cycling, hiking

- eat a balanced diet, with a minimum of saturated fat

- drink lots of water

- get enough sleep

- stretch regularly, especially if you sit in front of a computer for long periods

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I've recently started working out myself, so I'll toss in a few comments here.

Mentzer is a really fun read. I just got his book "High Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way", and I've been picking through it a bit at a time. From the research I've done, I'm not convinced that his method is totally sound, but there are some very worthwhile elements to it.

I'm currently working with a slightly modified version of the Foundation Routine set up on the hardgainer.com website. If you're very new to weightlifting, the idea behind it is that you use a few basic compound exercises, on a three-day-a-week schedule, to give yourself the groundwork for all your future progress. I've literally just started with it -- I've gone to the gym twice since I decided on this routine. However, looking at some of the logs that people post of their progress, it looks like it works fairly well.

I'm hardly an expert in these matters, but if you say what you're trying to accomplish, I might be able to give some general advice based on what I've read. A better idea would be to go to a fitness website of some sort and post in their forum. (Check first to make sure it's not full of nutcases though; lots of them are.)

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  • 1 month later...

Amazing how “horribly wrong” some people claim Mentzer was when there is ample evidence that his principles do and have worked. I have actually gained 20 lbs in 10 months strictly using his workout. With no fat addition.

I looked at that hypertrophy page and it sure does look scientific. If I were a professional trainer or body builder, I might actually try to read through it, but not anytime soon. I want to be healthy with a large muscular physique, but, like me, there are few who want to look like that guy in the photo or spend their time learning whatever that says and compare it to all the other “scientific bodybuilding” theories out there to go workout. If you do, so be it.

Mentzer’s thoughts were not the end-all in body building, but he laid a pretty good foundation. His workout is very simple and shows good results for some time. If you are a not a beginner and not a professional body builder, his high intensity workout is just fine.

As a person progresses, then his workout knowledge, his charts, and his knowledge of his ability will also.

Its great to learn how to workout the best ways and to keep up with current thinking, but I really disagree with those who scoff at worthy ideas. And its worse when they turn around suggest some highly complicated and difficult theory.

Think of it like this: “I’m learning math. I just got this great book on algebra.” “Oh, that stuff sucks. Here’s this great guy who writes about differential multi-variable equations.”

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Amazing how “horribly wrong” some people claim Mentzer was when there is ample evidence that his principles do and have worked.  I have actually gained 20 lbs in 10 months strictly using his workout. With no fat addition. 

I looked at that hypertrophy page and it sure does look scientific.  If I were a professional trainer or body builder, I might actually try to read through it, but not anytime soon.  I want to be healthy with a large muscular physique, but, like me,  there are few who want to look like that guy in the photo or spend their time learning whatever that says and compare it to all the other “scientific bodybuilding” theories out there to go workout.  If you do, so be it.

Mentzer’s thoughts were not the end-all in body building, but he laid a pretty good foundation.  His workout is very simple and shows good results for some time.  If you are a not a beginner and not a professional body builder, his high intensity workout is just fine. 

As a person progresses, then his workout knowledge, his charts, and his knowledge of his ability will also. 

Its great to learn how to workout the best ways and to keep up with current thinking, but I really disagree with those who scoff at worthy ideas.  And its worse when they turn around suggest some highly complicated and difficult theory.

Think of it like this:  “I’m learning math.  I just got this great book on algebra.”  “Oh, that stuff sucks.  Here’s this great guy who writes about differential multi-variable equations.”

I don't mean to bash Mentzer, but his theories have zero scientific evidence behind them, & are based strictly on his imagination. Sure HIT might work for some people, but that doesn't mean another program won't work better. I agree that HST can be confusing since it's based on independent, peer-reviewed research, & not somebody's imagination. There is a layman's book being released soon, so wait for that.

"HIT or HD

To understand any comparison to HIT or HD use the following definitions:

Intensity = percentage of voluntary strength. In HIT terms it is equal to “perceived effort”.

Maximum capability - maximum voluntary strength

HST does not equal HIT. Except perhaps that they both have an H and a T in their acronyms.

- HIT's measuring stick is based on strength (performance).

- HST's measuring stick is based on growth (size).

- HIT is based on how hard it feels to lift a weight.

- HST is based on progressively loading the tissue.

- HIT's goal is fatigue.

- HST's goal is hypertrophy.

- HIT is based on a philosophy of stress.

- HST is based on the physiology of muscle cells.

- HIT came from the imagination of Mr. Jones.

- HST came from the research of dozens of independent researchers.

Understand that it is not necessary to train at 100% voluntary strength levels to stimulate "growth". This is one fundamental difference between Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST) and HIT. HST is designed only to stimulate growth. Strength of course will increase as well during HST training but this is not the primary goal of the method. It isn't necessary to push against a weight that won't move (due to load or fatigue) to induce the necessary strain to muscle that leads to growth.

After years of training I realized that I would never get any bigger training the way I was unless I could get stronger, but I couldn't get any stronger until I got bigger. I had to discover a way to get bigger without getting stronger first. The HST method allows a person to get bigger before they get stronger. Accomplishing this is dependent on frequent loading (hitting same muscle at least 3 times per week), rapid progression in loading (mandatory increase in weight every workout), and Strategic Deconditioning (a week or so completely off to allow the muscle to become vulnerable to the training stimulus).

HIT training takes this "deconditioning" too far. They think the muscle is "recovering" when it is actually past recovery and beginning to decondition thus allowing the stimulus to work the next time the muscle is trained. Unfortunately, the rate of growth is greatly dependant on the frequency of the stimulus. So with HST you hit a muscle at least 3 times as often as with HIT, and growth is greatly accelerated."

- Bryan Haycock

"I used HIT-type training principles before I began to analyze muscle-cell research. It should be understood that HIT and Heavy Duty are not based on muscle-cell physiology. HIT and HD are actually based on Selye's GAS (General Adaptation Syndrome) more than anything. Jones and Mentzer loved to talk about philosophy and logic, but seldom ever mentioned a sarcolemma, MAPk, myogenic stem cells, or even such obvious things as intracellular IGF-1. The reasons they chose to ignore such basic principles of muscle cell physiology remain with them.

HST differs methodologically from HIT primarily in the fact that HIT uses extremely infrequent workouts and requires that the lifter always use 100% RM weight loads regardless of the condition of the muscle. Conversely, HST incorporates a training frequency based on the time course of elevated protein synthesis after training, and weight loads sufficient to induce hypertrophy based on the muscle's current condition. These types of things can't be determined without acknowledging how muscle cells respond to loading, so HIT and HD couldn't be expected to incorporate these methods.

My only other problem with HIT is its blind devotion to "intensity." Intensity as described by Jones, is based on perceived effort, and doesn't necessarily measure a set's ability to stimulate growth of the tissue itself. The authors of HIT and HIT-type routines believed fundamentally in GAS, supercompensation, and the intensity myth perpetuated by popular muscle magazines in the 80's. All three of these principles are, at best, only indirectly related to muscle growth."

- Bryan Haycock

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  • 1 month later...

Do some sort of strength training; drink enough water; get enough sleep; do some aerobic exercise; minimize carbs (especially worthless carbs like white bread); eat plenty of good fats, vegetables, and lean protein.

It's good if you can get involved in a competitive sport, or adopt a dog that you have to walk. A date to play tennis or a dog that needs walking provides added incentive.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alp is correct.

I went from 286 lbs to 216. More importantly, from 28% body fat to 11%. I am currently 248 still 11% (the difference is muscle). I am 6'2", 34 year old male.

Before I mention how, let me state that the exercise community often suffers from the same disease that Objectivism can succumb too - too much theory and discussion and not enough doin'. Try it, test the results, if they are what you want, then your method "works". Regardless, if the "theory" agress or not. As the title of this web site say, "Reality".

Here's how I did it:

1. Extreme low carbs. Extreme. I have been avoiding carbs for four years. I get medical check up once a year and I'm happy to say I'm happy it works.

2. Weight-lifting three times a week. I don't follow any specific weight-lifting philosphy, but I would say 80% is made-up of Mike Mentzer's HIT. I'm not going to go in a discouse, as I said above, try it and see if it works. But, I will give you one tip: WORK HARD! Most people life too light weight, too easily. You must STRESS your muscle.

3. Aerobic. HIIT-style. Hight Intensity Interval Training. Basically, it means very high speed bursts of aerobice activity, followed by a short rest, and again, and again and again. Total about 10 minutes. Not the 20-minutes-hardly-break-a-sweat routine.

4. As mentioned above, water, sleep.

regards,

Michael

http://rl096.com

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Hi MinorityOfOne,

thanks for the tip. I meant to put a password thingy and disclaimer that it should only be downloaded if one owns the originals. (Which I do, of course). I'll do it now.

I also finally registered for this site!

This is probably the wrong thread for this......but I have always had a question concerning the above issue. I will put a password on my site, but for academic inquirey, is one actually in violation of copyright laws just by making the books (or music, or software etc) *available* to others? Isn't the person who acquires the items the one who is in violation? This issue was really brought to my attention of the music industry's suiing of the file-traders, actually the ones making the songs available, not the ones actually downloading it!

anyway, thanks for looking at my site!

regards,

Michael

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Thanks Daniel,

I guess that answers that!

However, just for fun, one could take that to an extreme and say that leaving my book on a table at a coffe shop is "..introducing it into a retrieveal system" where someone could take my copy as opposed to buying their own copy at the bookstore next door.

Also, I reserve the right to "reproduce" publications such as articles, books, newspaper clippings etc. in electronic form (I used to photcopy) whether the copyright "allows" me to or not. I bought the book (or whatever) and I'll do with it whatever I damn well please! (other than making copies and giving/selling them).

Just because something is legal, doens't make it right, and just because something is illegal doens't make it wrong.

The copyright could say "...no one shall read this material while wearing a yellow shirt". But, that doesn't mean I'll do so. I know its a silly example......

Anyway, the spirit of what you said I agree with, of course. I guess having those ebooks available for others to (easily) download, would be similar to leaving 100 photocopied copies of a book at the coffee shop (next to the bookstore!).

thanks for the response - technically I can't make any copies or make avialable in any form the books I bought.

regards,

Michael

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  • 10 months later...
I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for increasing one's physical strength, nutrition, etc., in regards to methods of working out, valuable nutrition suggestions, increasing metabolism, increasing overall physical energy, etc. 

Nutrition is a huge subject, but I think most experts would recommend a balanced diet low in saturated fats and sugar. Salads/veggies, whole grains, some meat, other proteins, some dairy. The weight issue is simple in principle: burn as much or more energy than you consume. Implementing it is the tricky - and difficult - part. Try to find a method to be objective about what you are eating, such as the Weight Watchers point system. They have a way of quantifying foods you eat in terms of points, in such a way that encourages a good diet. Simply counting total calories per day is another. Nutrition labels on foods have values expressed as a percentage of 2,000 and 2,500 calorie-per-day diets.

Personally, I like to run. Other than the shoes and some clothes, it's cheap, you can do it almost anywhere, and it gets you outside. You can run solo, or with friends. Most cities have bike paths or areas where you can run, walk or bike off the street. If you're worried about injury (knees, whatever) you can learn to run in a way that's efficient and easy on the body.

Swimming is an excellent full-body exercise that's low-impact. You use a huge amount of energy swimming, and it's great if you have back trouble. At my pool, there's even a regular group that walks in the pool instead of swimming.

Biking is great for the scenery and exercise. You will appreciate the Tour de France once you've tried to ride a few miles at any significant speed.

Lastly, the venue: health clubs are too pricey for me but are definitely nice and good if you want guidance from a trainer. I found that a local university offers recreation passes for around $170 a year, so that's what I got. Indoor running track, exercise equipment, Olympic-size pool, racquetball, etc. Maybe you can find a deal like that, too.

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[...] I am attempting to greatly improve the physical aspect of my life.

This being said, I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for increasing one's physical strength, nutrition, etc., in regards to methods of working out, valuable nutrition suggestions, increasing metabolism, increasing overall physical energy, etc. 

Having scorned the body as inferior to the mind for so long, I am a relative newcomer in this area so any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

First, accept the fact that learning to make the most of one's body takes time and experimentation. Knowledge doesn't come easily.

Here is a summary of what I have learned, based on my experiences and on the testimony of specialists I trust. These approaches may help if your long-term goal is to live as long and well as possible.

First, 80% of good health and long life is nutrition, and 20% is exercise. When you think of the tons of food we put into our bodies, is it any wonder that it has an effect on health?

For nutrition, I would recommend one of the following programs. Note that a "program" does not just mean a diet (which only means a regular pattern of eating). It also means regular, frequent exercise -- daily is best, and in a variety of forms from stretching to aerobics to weight work and posture exercises.

1. The Pritiken program (or something like it): regular exercise, plus an omnivorous diet (mostly plant foods, but with some very lean dairy and meats in small quantities). This is very low fat (less than 10% of total calories consumed, if I recall correctly from 30 years ago).

This program saved me from heart disease 30 years ago (at age of only 30 years). You don't need to go hungry or count calories. Eat as much as you want but eat lean foods. Lean means low fat (of all kinds) and low protein. One of the big myths of our time is that high protein (more than 50-75 g/day) is good for us. With only a few exceptions, most people benefit from a diet of 35-50 g per day, assuming a full variety of proteins and a sufficient amount of food overall. Another big myth is that "carbs" are bad for you. The carbohydrates that are bad for us are the ones that are refined and simple -- especially sugars, but also white flour and so forth. Complex carbs -- such as a bake potato -- are good: filling, low fat, low protein, nutritious, fibrous.

2. The Dean Ornish program is more severe on the diet side: mostly just plant foods but with small amounts of nonfat dairy products (mostly for Vitamin B12, which cannot be provided by plants). Once you learn how to deal with it, the diet side can be just as delicious as an unhealthy diet. You don't need to ever go hungry or count calories.

3. The McDougall Program is the most severe diet. It is a therapeutic diet mainly. Follow it until your symptoms -- obesity, heart disease, arthritis, whatever -- are gone. This is a strictly plant-based diet. No calorie counting. It is very low fat (about 5 to 10% of daily calories) and low protein (about 50-75 g per day). Eat as much as you want, concentrating on unprocessed starches (such as potatoes, rice, and other grains), vegs, and fruits. This program takes the most adjustment, but you need never go hungry. I eat four huge meals a day and struggle to keep my weight up. (I am 6 feet tall, 135 pounds, and exercise two hours daily -- as much for pleasure as for health.)

I have been following an extra low protein version of this program (already low compared to SAD, the Standard American Diet) to cure 40 years of inflammation problems: dermatitis, iritis, tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis, and colitis. Now, after being on the McDougall program in a low acid-producing version (which means mostly just low protein), ALL of my -itis problems are gone except for a smidgen of the dermatitis which is still fading away. Four years ago I was so crippled I was shopping for a wheel chair. Now I can walk up to 2 hours a day, have no heart disease (at age 60), or any other medical problems.

If you choose this -- the most severe -- approach, start with his book on the regular program (not the max weight loss program): John McDougall, MD, The McDougall Program: 12 Days to Dynamic Health. The "to" means "toward" -- it doesn't mean you can fix health problems in 12 days. Good news: you need read only the first third of the book, which overviews the program. The rest consists of helpful appendices.

Final suggestion: If you follow one of the programs above, or something like them, then buy the books and study them thoroughly. My experience is that websites are nearly useless because they are too fragmented.

Questions?

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Just go to this guy's page. I think he died a while ago, but anyway, he was an Objectivist and a body builder.

Mike Mentzer

How old was he when he died? What was the cause of death?

P. S. -- Relevant to my previous post, the correct spelling is Pritikin, not Pritiken. Typos happen.

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How old was he when he died? What was the cause of death?

P. S. -- Relevant to my previous post, the correct spelling is Pritikin, not Pritiken. Typos happen.

He was 50 when he died of a stroke. Interestingly, his identical twin brother, Ray Mentzer (also a body building champion) died 12 hours earlier of kidney failure. However, Mike Mentzer was a chain smoker in his later years who rarely exercised. He had become very overweight. I think his death was due to genetic predispostion to certain illnesses coupled with an unhealthy lifestyle in his middle years. Its a trajedy.

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He was 50 when he died of a stroke. Interestingly, his identical twin brother, Ray Mentzer (also a body building champion) died 12 hours earlier of kidney failure. However, Mike Mentzer was a chain smoker in his later years who rarely exercised. He had become very overweight. I think his death was due to genetic predispostion to certain illnesses coupled with an unhealthy lifestyle in his middle years. Its a trajedy.

The fact that both Ray and Mike died so close together the police did do a cursory investigation. Pretty quickly they figured it was genetic related. Their family history was filled with men who died very young. Ray and Mike both had been quite ill for some time. Arnold, who made peace with Mike for the robbery of the 1980 Olympia, offered to "talk" Ray into seeking medical help or even helping with bills. He never got the chance to do so not that Ray would have taken the advice. Ray was known for knocking back bags of burgers when other builders were cutting. Incredibly enough, Mike was actually always a smoker, even when he was competing.

Mike's mind was incredibly sharp but his body was not. If you have a chance to see the video he shot the day of his death, he and Ray both looked like bodybuilders who let things go. Plus hindsight being what it is, you can really tell just how sick they both were. I think it was amazing that they both managed to live as long as they did all things considered.

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  • 2 months later...

I've tried a few different workout programs (including Mike Mentzer's weight training program, which didn't do jack for me). I used to weight lift a lot and got in great shape from it, but it is very time consuming. I've found that the best method for me is to do military exercise programs. Every branch of the military is slightly different in its physical requirements, but most have physical requirements like this:

Run 1.5 miles in 12 minutes

Do 50 push-ups in 2 minutes

Do 50 sit-ups in 2 minutes

Do 5 pull-ups

(Done with 2 minutes rest in between each exercise)

The standards are a little lower for women (perhaps unfair, but few women can do that many push-ups or pull-ups). If you can complete all of these minimum standards you're in pretty good shape. I do this routine 2-3 times per week, changing things when I so desire. Currently I'm up to 75 push-ups in 2 minutes, 80 sit-ups in 2 minutes, and 11 pull-ups. I like this routine because it's simple, quick, and doesn't cost anything (except for maybe a pull-up bar, but you can make your own pretty easily).

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The standards are a little lower for women (perhaps unfair, but few women can do that many push-ups or pull-ups). 

It is unfair, and the only justification would be that, physologically, pull-ups and push-ups don't test a woman's physical capabilities as well as they do a man's.

I could understand that; women, in general, have greater difficulty building upper-body strength than men do. Personally I've never managed to do a single pull-up in my entire life, but I can press something like 450 pounds with my legs effortlessly.

The military shouldn't be interested in fairness, though; if women have to do the same things that require upper-body strength the requirements should be the same regardless.

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My own personal favorite is just mild to hard calisthenics, coupled with half an hour on an exercise bike 3-5 times a week. Plus I just try to watch the fats a little bit. But seriously, if you're looking for a nice easy way to get started, try a good calisthenics program (John Basedow, who advertises often on ESPN, has one that is effective, according to a few friends of mine).

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