Category Archives: beauty

It’s Hydrostatic, Orthorexic, Body Dysmorphic, it’s Greased Training!

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Did you see Richard Gere’s post on FB that’s been shared many times, the one about his super healthy friend who did all the right things and now is dying of two forms of cancer, versus another acquaintance who by all standards should have died long ago for leading an extremely unhealthy lifestyle? Doesn’t matter, we all know stories of people like that.

How about the meme about how exercising leads to you being alone when you’re old because all your other friends are dead, and in the meantime move while going nowhere (treadmill)?

I have, as most of us trainers have at some point, run into someone with either an eating disorder or an unhealthy exercise addiction, or both (as one tends to tie into the other). One client of mine couldn’t bear to see herself in the mirror, disappeared for a bit, came back with an amplified bosom, which bought her only about three weeks of happiness and self-confidence. Another was used to getting her previous trainer yell and push like an evil drill sergeant and had such conditioning from her bulimia that she could never do any movements that put her in a prone or leaning forward position without throwing up. Seriously! I only trained her one time then politely parted ways, as I refused to administer punishment for whatever was “broken inside”. Some challenges are best left to trained professionals in the field of psychology. Then there’s also the  individual with a touch of Munchausen Syndrome and orthorexia associated with bombardment of photoshopped images in the media or chasing the fountain of youth in denial of the reality that aging exists, even if you can slow it down.

The point is that despite all of us knowing that cigarettes cause cancer, having unprotected sex or driving while impaired are dangerous behaviors, some still do it. And we also all know that certain results are not achieved realistically or within the framework of what fitness marketers, even trainers, are selling you (unless proper expectations are explained).

I remember a client who told me that he wasn’t happy because after 2 years of training with me, he didn’t have the body of someone who trains twice a week with a trainer. All the education and expectations management in the world would not resonate, because people like to blame. You pay for a service, you want results. And when you get results but they don’t match your expectations, it’s the provider’s fault. Who’s to blame? Me for not educating, or the multimillion dollar assault of ad copies telling you that with just 8 minutes a day twice a week you will get the body of a demigod-looking model who has spent hours in the gym daily, slaved for years, entered dietary hell with the discipline of a Samurai?

The answer is somewhere in-between. There’s also the point where I have to, like the song says, “let it go, let it go”… I don’t hold that fork, I don’t buy the food, I don’t follow the clients for 166 hours a week (only 2, which is about 1.2% of the week), they have the info, the map, the instructions.

While you do need to get off your ass and train consistently, eat sensibly, you also need to understand that you can’t complain about the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do. At the same time, do you really need the six-pack abs? Do you need to bench press eight wheels? Yeah, OK, I’m all for a high goal to achieve, the journey, etc. I get it, no need to throw in some comment about that. Dig deeper is what I’m asking. Is the pursuit of the goal worth it? Don’t you have something better to do, like be fit, be healthy, have fun, work and do something you love (other than weightlifting) and concentrate on something that makes a difference in someone else’s life (and another weightlifter’s life doesn’t count!)?

Believe me, I get it. I too suffer from an occasional case of body dysmorphism, which changes frequently: too fat, not big enough, too slim, or chasing strength, size or whatever because of how good someone else’s marketing is over how confident I am in my decade and a half of training and education (academics and in the trenches). I too get confused. I too think some things matter when in the end, they don’t because no one’s going to care that I lifted X amount of weight, and no one’s going to remember that I lifted X amount of weight. The things I hope to be remembered for are the things I passed on to my clients, my friends, my children and strangers through books, blogs, workshops, training sessions, chance encounters. Things of ephemeral or lasting value that extend beyond the 73 inches of height or slightly wider wingspan.

Long story short: training appropriately, eating well, interactive physical play, solo activities done in a group matters. Extremes don’t. Do this to be around and pay it forward, not to get validated by 1000 likes on your selfie post only to feel like crap if your next post drops by a couple hundred.

We’re not the center of our own Universe, as I heard in the Love 4 Training podcast episode 16. And it’s very true!


The Shape Of Breasts

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Here is an excerpt (unedited or proofed yet) about the shape of breasts and how society viewed them a century ago, according to Georges Hébert, when it relates to judging or appreciating beauty in women.

“The shape of the breasts is considered wrongly by many as a criterium of beauty in a woman. “The breasts, that the whole woman”, we have heard in stupid refrains. In reality, the shape of the breasts only makes up one element of general beauty, and its importance is only secondary when compared to essential body parts: the abdomen, the chest, the limbs, etc.

It is, if we may, one of the first attributes of beauty among young women, but not in the adult woman, as of all her attributes, it’s the least durable.

This process, a little too simplistic, which consists of judging the beauty of a woman according to the shape of her breasts comes without a doubt from the following fact: on an under-developed trunk, skinny or fat, the breasts first catch the eye, because, as a rule, these organs present defects of which the most common ones are exaggerated volume and sagging. They thus appear to have a capital importance, because their misshaping alone breaks the general harmony of the body.

On a well developed trunk, on the contrary, with well-defined muscles, normal breasts barely get any attention.  

They are well molded onto the chest and solidly anchored to the pectorals that they look as if being entirely part of these muscles. In the preceding case, they seem added to the chest, which seemed inconvenienced to carry them.

The same observation could be applied to the basin and buttocks, which always appear too big when the trunk is muscularly atrophied.”

Have we learned anything? I do believe Georges is right: a fit, muscular, lean woman’s body will draw more attention as a whole, without specific focus on any area, as she will project an attitude of health, strength and beauty at once, not limiting her to esthetics, but to the Holy Trinity of fitness and attractiveness, intellect notwithstanding of course.


Latest peek at photos from the upcoming book

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Because pictures tell a better story.

Many thanks (chronologically based on photography sessions) to Nick Bustos, Patrick Hartsell, Melody Schoenfeld, James Neidlinger, Ron Jones and Jennifer Winkelman for making yourselves available amidst all of your activities and busy lives to be part of this fitness project, shot by Antje Anders.

I also want to thank Throwdown and XFit Brands David Vautrin and Ted Joiner for lending us their facility and equipment!

Here is a sampler of jumping, lifting, throwing, climbing, fighting as well as some fundamental/basic educational exercises from the upcoming book based on Georges Hébert’s training program design.


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The impact of abdominal training on health, strength and beauty

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A little excerpt from the section on abdominal training, its importance and impact on health, beauty and strength, from Georges Hébert’s book:

The importance of abdominal muscles is capital, from an esthetics standpoint, as well as from strength and health standpoints.

 When their development is insufficient, the abdominal belt is soft and mushy. There is a risk of herniation as a result of any effort, even of low intensity, after a fall, a simple misstep, a coughing spell, etc.

The internal organs (stomach, liver, intestines) improperly supported collapse under their own weight and make the belly protrude. The more this protrusion is pronounced, the more out of place the internal organs are in relation to their normal position. The resulting swelling render any effort hazardous. [PIC]

 Severe constipation, without success from medical prescriptions or pharmaceutical drugs, sometimes has no other cause than weakness in the abdominal musculature, or a simple lack of muscular training in that area, which helps promote waste elimination.

 Breathing movements are always incomplete if the straight abdominals, exhaling muscles by excellence, are weak.

 A woman’s most important natural act, childbirth, is all the more facilitated that the abdominal muscles are powerfully developed.

 As we just mentioned, not only do these muscles provide a shield for the anterior section of the body from ribs to iliac crest, but, additionally, any effort, be it pulling, pushing, lifting, etc., activates them more or less. Natural actions themselves: forced exhale, coughing, sneezing, shouting, defecation and finally childbirth, cannot occur without their engagement.

 The future mother who keeps her abdominals “in shape” can continue well into her pregnancy, without risk, all sorts of natural and functional exercises, just like females in animal species. Her pregnant belly is reduced in volume, as a result of the firmness of her abdominal belt. Delivery is produced with extreme ease, in the fashion of active primitive women, without the necessity of a midwife. She is able to immediately resume her activities. Her stomach suffers no misshaping.

Abdominal weakness, by contrast, produces excessive pregnant belly volume. Any work or training becomes impossible early on, because of the nuisance caused by the belly’s distension. A simple walk often causes great fatigue. Any intense effort is dangerous.

Childbirth, in that case, is painful; it necessitates many days of bed rest for the organs to settle back in.

After delivery, the belly remains distended, like an empty sack, with stretch marks.

Such is the physical inferiority of the civilized woman, inactive with no abdominal muscles, in relation to her primitive counterpart. When she delivers a child, she is treated as if she were ill. The natural act becomes delicate and dangerous instead of being “easy” and safe.

In Antique statues, the power of the abdominal muscles is striking in men as in women. The abdomen is a true muscular fortress. Sculptors understood the capital importance of these muscles, and their work proves they were considered like the primary attributes of health, beauty and strength.

 We can say that in civilized societies, the abdominal muscles of men, like women, have become weaker and weaker as the practice of natural and functional exercises, which would develop them, dropped: throwing, climbing, etc. The wearing of corsets, among women, has been a new cause of abdominal weakness.

 Several generations will be needed, through training, before we can see the return of remarkable and powerful musculatures seen on Antique statues, especially when it comes to oblique muscles. Only a few athletes have such perfect development.