National IBD Awareness Week

What does the purple ribbon stand for?  That’s a pretty common question, right?  Everyone knows that the pink ribbon is a symbol of breast cancer awareness and prevention, so what about the purple ribbon?

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The purple ribbon stands for lots of things!  Some of which are Alzheimer’s disease, domestic violence, anti-gay bullying, and cystic fibrosis.  However, this week from December 1st until today it has stood for IBD awareness.

IBD stands for Irritable Bowel Disease!  Irritable Bowel Disease is somewhat of a blanket term Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.  If you’ve been following my blog, you know I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease five years ago(if you didn’t know that, then HI!  Welcome to my blog!)

Today, I’d like to tell you that I’m a little upset.  I’m upset with myself!  I was focusing on work and lifting last week and I forgot all about it being Crohn’s Awareness week.  At least I can forgive myself since I am posting about it today and giving IBD a little bit of the recognition it deserves!  We need to recognize that these diseases exist and work together to rid the world of them.  I’m about to tell you why this should matter to you even if you don’t know anyone who has IBD(besides me LOL).

Crohn’s Disease is a debilitating illness.

When I was 15, I started having some stomach problems.  At a time when I should have been happy and healthy and careless like everyone else, I was going to the bathroom 10 or 11 times a day.  There was blood in my stools and I was malnourished.  I didn’t want to eat but I forced myself!  I knew that if I didn’t eat but kept going on like that, that I would die.  I was losing weight insanely fast.  I was turning into a skinny-fat, malnourished mess.

..I was turning into a skinny-fat, malnourished mess.

me when i was sick

This was 8 days after I turned 16.  ..The calm before the storm.

I remember being six foot tall(1.82 meters), and older than most of my friends but being insanely weaker.  If they wanted to bench press or play sports, I wouldn’t have the energy or the strength.  I went to the doctor for all of this and after an initial lower GI they concluded that I was suffering from hemorrhoids. 

They gave me suppositories and sent me on my way.  I wanted so badly to believe them that I went my whole freshman year without getting any better.  I just sucked it up and dealt with it.  I’d go to the bathroom a lot but I think most of my teachers understood that I wasn’t healthy.

Finally, just eight days after I turned 16 I had gotten my license and it was a big day for me…but getting my license was the only reason I wasn’t in the hospital.  I didn’t want to wait, and I had gone my whole freshman year without treatment, so what was eight days?

Long story short, I waited way too long to get real treatment and I could have died.  As you see me in the photo above, I was very skinny-fat and it was hard to smile with all the pain I had in my abdomen and back.  Somehow, when you have a bad crohn’s flareup you can also have other digestive problems such as pancreatitis and gastritis.  On July 21st, when I was admitted to hospital, it turned out I was suffering from all three.

But this story doesn’t end negatively!  I was treated and given corticosteroids when I was in the hospital that healed my colon and digestive tract.  I started feeling better and over the years they experimented with different drugs.  However, also over the years I have discovered that drugs are bullshit.

I am still on one autoimmune suppressor and it’s called Remicade.  I get Remicade treatments once every two months and honestly, I don’t want them anymore.  I know that this sounds bad, but I have spent months at a time without my Remicade or other drugs and remained healthy.

Is this partly due to the residual effects of the drugs?

Sure it is!

But I firmly believe it is more because of how I handle stress, my environment, and my daily habits.  I used to be inactive, I had a lot of family problems that a 15 year old shouldn’t have to worry about, and I ate awful food.  Over the years I’ve learned a lot and I find that I may someday be a testament to the possibility that all of these illnesses popping up have more to do with processed food and less to do with bad luck.

If we continue to talk about these illnesses and even cancers, then maybe we can have the right people do real research on the significance of our diets.  I hope we can all further the discussion and possibly donate to Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America to further awareness and possibly help a young kid going through what I went through!

Remember that if the diet we eat is causing a rise in these types of IBD and cancers, that research and discussion could save lives and ultimately help us all live healthy lives.

To donate to CCFA, click here.

Edit:

I think I also need to leave a disclaimer!  I doubt anyone would read my post and think I’m saying they need to quit taking medicine, but just in case, don’t quit taking your medicine!  At least not without your doctor’s consent.  Try to do everything by the book.  If you do everything right and try your best, then you’re blameless among your physicians.  Keep that attitude and build a relationship with your doctors so that they can better help you.

 

Detox Tea..good or bad?

Plump to PUMPED

I’m seeing celebrity advertisements all over the place for different detox teas….so what’s all the hype about? Obviously it intrigued me enough to do some research and I found that Detox herbal teas have been in use for centuries…..and here I thought it was the “new thing to try”. During my research, I read that when you are undergoing a detoxification program, your body is ridding itself of the built up toxins we’ve accumulated through diet or your environment (perfect after indulging in that yummy Thanksgiving dinner). These toxins are most commonly found in the liver and kidneys and after just passing my very first kidney stone (p.s. if child-birth is anything like that pain, I will most definitely be getting an epidural!), I thought to myself, GET THOSE TOXINS OUT!!! I never want to experience that pain ever again!  After doing a quick Amazon search on detox teas, I was definitely overwhelmed by all the options. I spent about 3…

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Secret To Avoiding Thanksgiving Overeating:

This is interesting but I say pig out!

I also have a question for a lot of you fitness buffs! I am quickly becoming a fitness guy myself and I love writing fitness articles. I noticed something odd though…

I have been eating more and still looking leaner. My waist keeps getting slimmer and my shoulders keep getting broader. I believe that counting calories is important, but it doesn’t seem to matter for me.

What do you think? Is it a genetic gift or is it common in weight training?

u-VIB Blog

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Chew More, Eat Less

6402952341_165ac9f79f_mAccording to the Calorie Control Council, an international body representing the low and reduced calorie food and drink industry, the average American could consume as much as 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving.

The main holiday meal including turkey and all the trimmings and must-have sides, a slice or two of pie, as well as a hefty dose of booze can load you down with 3000 calories.  The remaining 1,500 calories come courtesy of hours of pre-dinner grazing on chips, breads and dips and other insalubrious appetizers and nibbles.

Note this whopping calorie count doesn’t include breakfast or that night-time leftover turkey sandwich supper.

Short of being the holiday Grinch and smugly refusing to indulge in the communal feasting that is inextricably linked with Thanksgiving, is there anything that can be done to stave off the seemingly inevitable pile-up of festive pounds?

Indeed…

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The Perfectionism Prison

Awesome post by “Persist To Fit”! I highly recommend you check it out! I know that I have struggled with this “stagnation” due to some need for perfection.

Remember, taking one wrong step is probably better than doing nothing at all.

Persist to Fit

I think it’s funny that I used to consider one of my strengths in being a perfectionist, I now know that is the farthest thing from the truth it was (and still can be) a weakness of mine.

Perfectionism traps you and creates that feeling of ‘stuck’ that so many feel on a day to day basis.  People living like this become so consumed in their relationship with perfectionism that they fail to make any moves.  The perfectionist is too worried about taking the wrong step to even take the first step into their journey.

Perfectionism is the killer of dreams.

Ask anyone who has a dream un-acted upon, why they have not gone after it yet or why they have not taken the first step, it’s probably some bullshit about how they don’t have resources X, Y, and Z. And they have nowhere to start, and they don’t want to fail…

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Being Thankful For A Successful Future

Yesterday, we talked about what we are thankful for in every single day of our lives.  I got to thinking about this “attitude of gratitude” and I remembered the idea of practicing affirmations to sort of “fake it ’til you make it”. 

Basically, I would venture to assume that practicing affirmations can lead you to success in whatever field you are practicing.  Not only would you live in the present with joy, but you would succeed with your dreams by practicing gratitude for your future success.

I also remember a wise man saying “You don’t do things for what you’ll get out of it.  You do them for who you will become!”  If you’ve been following me for very long, you know that’s an Elliott Hulse quote.

So in all respect to reality, you may not be successful.

…at least not on your first attempt.  But if you dedicate yourself to a mission and practice gratitude, you will find that you are growing into a different person through the challenges and tribulation.

So what does this mean?  Why would we practice affirmations?

While I can’t say that you should do something, I can offer up my own experience because(although it is limited) it’s all I have at the moment.  I mentioned in yesterday’s post, where I listed 5 things I am thankful for(click here to read the post), that I am mostly thankful for the experiences I have gained in this past year alone.  I am 21 and so far 2015 has been the best year of my life.

..not because it was easy!  Because it was hard.  I went through a lot of problems this year, faced a lot of adversity, cut off a lot of harmful relationships, and began a journey of self-improvement.  This year was the best year of my life thus far because of the all of the challenges that I had to overcome, so that I could become someone new.

if-it-doesnt-challenge-you-it-wont-change-you-quote-1

..and throughout this whole year, I couldn’t have had as many small victories if I had not practiced positive affirmation.  I constantly told myself I would succeed at any small SMART goal I had, and I did!  As I said, this year has been all about self-improvement and I am a lot healthier, stronger, happier, and wiser than I was a year ago.

..and while I’ve done so well this year, I have to remember that we all have humble beginnings.  I am still certainly not where I want to be in any of my long term goals, but I am working to achieve them.  2 quotes come to mind as I think about this journey, or change, that we should all attempt to go through as we constantly affirm that we will succeed:

  • One is supposedly a Native American quote.  I’ve seen it on Facebook several times and when I looked it up, I couldn’t find who actually said it, but here it is

wolf quote

 

  • I also want to mention a Bible verse, Matthew 26:24, as it seems to be implying the same thing.  It’s interesting how two completely different cultures stressed the same sentiment.

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My point is you could challenge yourself so that you can grow and be the type of person you would be proud of, and to guarantee your success you could practice affirmations.   Thanks for reading and my challenge for you today is to not only think of 5 things you are thankful for,

but also 5 things you will be thankful for when you succeed at whatever your goal may be.  Whether they’re materialistic things or a better character, I’m interested in reading your responses.

 

What I Am Thankful For This November

It is November, and if you are living in the United States or Canada it is a month of Thanksgiving!  I got to thinking that it was so strange that we celebrate this here and not everywhere, and that we don’t practice our attitude of gratitude every day.  So, no matter where you’re from and no matter what day it is I think you and I should practice our gratefulness all the time!  So, I want to list Five Things I Am Thankful For Every Day!

  • I am so thankful for my grandmother who is my biggest supporter.  I always know that no matter what I am going through, that she always will love me and support me.  She always listens to me and helps me through all of my problems.  Since my grandfather died, her and I have always had each other and she has pushed me to be an overachiever.  When I was younger, she used to make me study all the time and now I’m hoping to be successful with the values that she instilled in me.
  • I am incredibly grateful for my health.  I made my blog, Maxed Out Muscles, after having a Crohn’s Disease flareup in April.  I recovered in May, and it has officially been six months since I was sick!  I am hoping to go for a year, and eventually succeed in being symptom free for the rest of my life.
  • I am thankful for the feedback from all of my friends on this site.  All of you who I didn’t know, I am so grateful that you have lent your support and commentary on my posts.  I am so thankful that we have had discussions and interviews.  I hope to give you good content, and I hope to read more great replies! 🙂
  • I am happy for my weight lifting results.  They are modest but they add up over time.  I know that when I look back to my starting point, it is a day and night difference.  So without a doubt, I say to you time after time that consistency is the number one thing involved in seeing weight lifting results.  ..and perhaps results in any field.
  • I’m thankful for how this year has gone!  This is the number one thing, and possibly the most basic.  It isn’t possible for me to be thankful for this year without all of the things I mentioned above, but this year has been so important to me.  Without seeing the long term results and consequences of my choices this year, I am so grateful for all of the experience I’ve gained.  I would say that in this year alone, I have made more decisions and stuck to them than in any other year of my life.  I have grounded myself in some core values, and chose a direction for my life and have so far, consistently, stuck to it!

I can only hope that every thing I am going through leads me to more results and success.  However, whether I’m successful or not I am thankful for who I am becoming because of these things.

I hope you have too many blessings too count and that you have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

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A Thanksgiving Turkey!

Also, Feel free to comment below what you are thankful for this year!  Or, if you would like to, reblog this post and write 5 Things You Are Thankful For This Year!  I am really excited to read all of your great responses.

You are your own worst enemy…

The Fit Pin-Up gives great advice and personal experience.

On any kind of journey, be it fitness, weight loss, self discovery, you name it, we’re faced with obstacles.  One of the biggest obstacles that I see on a regular basis – not only in myself, but in everyone who I come across – is the trouble of excuses.

The trouble with excuses is that they come too easily and it is all your fault. 

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Sleep is such a wonderful thing!

Mike from Ground Pounder Fitness makes an excellent point on the importance of sleep. I try to sleep eight hours every night. Admittedly, that can be difficult when I have a lot to accomplish in a day…

..but that poses an important question:

Are your daily struggles more important than your health?

Do you give up on your health in order to achieve a goal? and is it worth it?

Do you put yourself first?

If you take good care of yourself, I’m guessing you get adequate sleep..right?

Join the conversation! 🙂

Ground Pounder Fitness

I never knew how much of a difference adequate sleep made in one’s life until I had to live a summer of sleep depravity and now have gotten back on track of getting 8+ hours of sleep per night.  I functioned all summer on about 4.5 to 5 hours and maybe 6 on the weekends.  I made it through, hit all my workouts, and basically survived.  But, I did deal with a few lingering issues that I just couldn’t shake…muscles more sore than normal, a few minor injuries that didn’t want to heal as they should and some days I would be in a total state of disarray.  But, now I’ve been forcing myself to get at least 8 hrs of sleep a night.  This has been going on for about 3 weeks now and I can tell such a difference!  My workouts have been more energized, my strength and…

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Will drinking Protein Powder help with weight loss?

Unequivocally, yes! 🙂 Protein powder will help you lose weight as long as you are using it to for proper macronutrient intake within your calorie deficit.

Alex Rinaldo

I didn’t realize how many people were under the assumption that drinking protein powder would help them lose weight until one of my clients asked me about protein powder last week…

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A Belated Monthly Progress Report

Today is the day!  I stress this sentiment every day.  Every day is the day to make progress and record results.  Every day is another day to be the best that you can be!  To read one of my best posts that stresses that sentiment, click here.

Now, I’d like to share with you some results I have made in the gym!  I haven’t done this in a couple of months, and I was intending to make a monthly progress report.  However, the journey of a natural lifter requires perseverance and results do not always come every month.  Without further ado, I give you my (semi) monthly lifting report:

This is what I could lift 3 months ago!

This is what I could lift 3 months ago!

Legs:

I can now easily rep out 225(102 kg) on squats!  I am really proud of that and I can quickly becoming strong enough to do 275 as a one rep max.  I am hoping to achieve that weight soon so I can set my next SMART GOAL for 315.

I don’t quite know the weight conversion but I can now max out all of the leg machines and I am using the leg press where I typically throw on a lot of plates.  Today I put 360 lbs(163 kg) on the leg press and went for reps.  I had a good time working my legs this Sunday afternoon and I am happy to share those results!

Back and Biceps:

As I’ve said some new personal records on leg day, I also set some new records on back and bicep day.

Yesterday was my back and bicep day, and I managed to lift heavier on my deadlift than ever before!  I did 315 lbs(142 kg) for EIGHT reps.  I didn’t attempt to go higher because usually I can only do three reps at that weight.  I was tremendously proud and surprised that I could do so much more!  (ALSO, A LITTLE DISCLAIMER:  I count deadlifts as a main workout on back day because they work every muscle on your posterior chain.  You could count them as a leg workout or a back workout, or even a shoulder workout because they work almost every muscle in your body)

I immediately went on to do bent over rows and knocked out 185 lbs fairly easily.  I did some shoulder presses with 55 lb dumb bells and managed to get about six good reps.

Keep in mine that the bicep work I am about to talk about is all dumbbell work and not with a barbell as in the picture above.  My barbell curls are about 80 lbs now.  When I went on to my biceps, I managed to get about eight strict curls on each arm with 40 lbs.  When I did restricted curls, I only aimed for 30 lbs and did them nice and slow to get really feel that burn! 🙂

Chest and Triceps:

Here is where we hit all my plateaus!  I am only getting slightly stronger in this group, but some of my reps are feeling less forced so I am assuming that I am near the end of this long plateau.  I am only at 185 lbs (83 kg) on bench press and struggling to get four reps, and that’s where I’ve been for months now.

I am under the impression that it’s an easy fix, though!  I feel like I have neglected some tricep work and that is why my bench press and (other) tricep related exercises are lacking.  I have been hitting them hard and, as I said, the reps feel less forced.  I am almost to the point of maxing out my local gym’s chest fly machine and I feel that, when my triceps catch up, I’ll be able to do a lot more weight in all my other chest-tricep exercises.

Conclusion:

I’ve been training hard, and sometimes I don’t see huge results while other times I see remarkable results!  As I’ve said in the past, consistency is key.  Just remember, if you work out hard for a long time you may not see the results you want…

..but if you don’t work out at all, you will see NO results!  Keep moving forward and have some MAXED OUT MUSCLES!

maxed out muscles