The official newsletter of StrongFast Fitness
and Earthlings everywhere.
November 20, 2012
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In this issue...

  • What's New at StrongFast?
  • Feature Article: Fitness Gifts Part One
  • Fitness Found Online
  • Recipe: Lemon Pepper Chicken

What's New at StrongFast?

Turkey For StrongFast members and their guests, a free Black Friday workout to burn off some of those extra calories consumed the day before. It will be at 7:00 pm leaving plenty of time for crazy people to shop. There's no sign-up; just let Gary know with a message through our online system.

And starting Monday the 26th, there's a 5-week "Fit Not Fat" program running to help everyone avoid packing on the pounds during the holiday season. It's an online accountability plan with daily checklists and a group forum and is just $19 for the full five weeks. Space is limited! Learn more now!

A reminder that you can find a listing of all past issues of The StrongFast Planet at The link will appear at the bottom of every issue.
"I joined a health club last year and spent about 400 bucks. Haven't lost a pound. Apparently you have to go there."

Feature Article

Fitness Gifts Part One

gift Many people--including most StrongFasters--like to do some of their training at home. Obviously, it's very convenient, as long as you actually do it. If you go to a training facility like StrongFast or a gym, you're going to work out. When you're home, it's easy to get distracted and lose motivation (although being in a Blitz can certainly help). But what equipment is best for home training?

With the holiday season kicking in, some of you may be looking to bolster your List with fitness equipment. This article is Part One of a three-part series to help. Here, we'll look at strength equipment. In Part Two, we'll cover cardio equipment and in Part Three the best of the rest.

The equipment list is loosely based on cost from low to high. Most items actually have a wide price range, so there can be a lot of overlap.

  1. You. This is the easiest and clearly least costly option. There are many exercises to do with just your bodyweight, like pushups, squats, and lunges. You can get even more by adding simple things like chairs and stairs. But it's difficult to do pulling exercises without any equipment. It's also difficult to get an ideal resistance level: overweight people will struggle with just their bodyweight, and as they lose weight, the exercises will get easier making them less effective. There are options, of course, but still very real limits. But hey, you can't beat the price! On the other hand, you probably don't want to put this one on your List.
  2. Pull-up bar
  3. Pull-up Bar. You can get versions of these that fit in a doorway (like the one shown here) but beware of quality, space, and doorway damage issues. If you have a basement or garage with exposed rafters, it's easy and inexpensive to make one. Just be sure you know what you're doing, or get someone who does, to ensure the installation is strong enough. The homemade version won't look pretty under the tree, but it's still darn handy for doing pull-ups and chin-ups. If you can't pull yourself up yet, there are ways to self-assist to get a good pulling workout. And the bar also works great with...
  4. Resistance bands
  5. Resistance Bands. We took a look at these in the last issue. They're inexpensive, versatile, and compact. They can be awkward to use sometimes, and don't offer clear resistance increments (you can alter the resistance significantly with small changes in your setup), but they're an excellent investment and even better gift. They're also easy to carry home from the local sporting good store, easy to wrap, and may come in festive holiday colors.
  6. Dumbbells
  7. Dumbbells. Not the tiny colorful ones. Weights less than ten pounds are worthless for most anything but shoulder rehab or prehab, and the "right" weight can vary significantly by movement; for example, an overhead press takes less weight than a row. That usually means you'll need several pairs at varying weights, especially as you get stronger. You can get adjustable models to save space and, in the long run, money, but they're a sizable up-front investment. Still, dumbbells are a versatile and time-tested way to get stronger and make a great gift, even though they can be hard to wrap.
  8. Kettlebells
  9. Kettlebells. As with dumbbells, don't get light ones (in this case, no less than 20 pounds), and you'll need multiple weights, especially as you progress. But you can get by with just one kettlebell for each weight, and can do well for a long time with only two or three weights. But they cost more than dumbbells and you should get help with using them correctly, more so than with the other options here that are a little more intuitive. They do look pretty with a bow on them, but be careful about putting them on top of less sturdy gifts.
  10. Barbell
  11. Barbells. These can actually wind up being not-so-expensive, since used sets are commonly available (see craigslist). Of course, used items have less appeal as gifts, but that's another story. Olympic-sized weights are better for certain exercises (like cleans and deadlifts) but cost more, and the 45-pound bar may be too heavy for some beginners. You should also include a bench with a squat rack on your list to get the most out of your weights. Barbells take up more space (especially under the tree) than other options but are another time-tested piece of strength-building equipment and offer the biggest potential resistance levels.
You may have noticed there are no machines on this list. I don't like them, especially the kind of contraptions sold on infomercials. Some are a ridiculous joke, but even the machines found in gyms force you to move the way the machine is set to work, and that is rarely the way people move in real life. (As noted earlier, this is also a potential pitfall with bands, though they can be much more easily adjusted.) Good machines can be useful for body-builders, rehab, and a few other things, but you're better off with free weights.

I hope that gives you some ideas for your List (or someone else's). As far as gifts go, other than the first one, any of these beats the heck out of a toaster or the complete DVD collection for "Facts of Life". In my opinion, of course. Nancy McKeon fans may disagree.

Be seeing you.


Fitness Found Online

Mark Sisson has 7 Ways You Might Be Inadvertently Sabotaging a Good Night's Sleep. Add to the list, "You're not getting enough exercise." Unless you're a StrongFast member, of course.
A study with gymnasts showing no decrease in strength from a very low-carb diet compared to a Standard American Diet (with the appropriate acronym SAD). The low-carbers also shed fat, of course.

Recipe: Lemon Pepper Chicken

This is one of the easiest ways to prepare chicken, and super tasty! The recipe uses legs and thighs, but it works just as well with breasts. Now that grilling season has past, this is a great way to cook chicken indoors.
Moroccan Carrot Salad Lemon Pepper Chicken
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