July, 2010 | Critical Bench

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Don’t Buy Tacfit Commando Until You Read This!

July 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Recent Posts, Reviews, Training

scottI recently reviewed a training regimen developed by two long-time trainers, Scott Sonnon and Ryan Murdock. Both guys are award-winning martial arts masters and from the looks of them have plenty of experiences in the military too.

TACFIT Commando: Hardcore Tactical Fitness Secrets of the Special Ops is their effort to introduce their unique trainings style to a broader audience. It’s not for the faint of heart though—this looks like some serious training that demands lots of guts and stamina. Let’s take a closer look and see what it’s all about.

The TACFIT Commando approach focuses on developing functional fitness, not just the “beach muscles.” Functional fitness develops the entire body and places a strong emphasis on developing your core. When you are “functionally fit” the body’s systems work together in harmony to produce really superior results. And that’s exactly the way that Scott and Ryan present TACFI—each element of the program is designed to work synergistically with the other elements. The TACFIT Commando routine is presented as a series of “missions” that together comprise the entire program.

The first part of the book describes the four elements that are integral to the TACFIT Commando program: High Intensity Fat-Burning Circuits; Complex Skills that promote “neurological sophistication;” Real Tactical Applications; and Injury-Proofing and Active Recovery. These elements are essentially TACFIT Commando’s foundation.

The TACFIT Commando program is cycled using a 7 x 4 training protocol. This approach helps you to avoid plateaus and keeps the gains coming. There are three different variables at the heart of the 7 x 4 training protocol: Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE); Rate of Perceived Discomfort (RPD); and Rate of Perceived Technique (RPT). These are ranked as “No,” “Low,” “Moderate” or “High.”

The TACFIT Commando workout schedule varies each day beginning with a no intensity day, followed by a low intensity day, followed by a moderate intensity day, which is then followed by a high intensity day every seven days. This pattern is follow for four weeks, which makes up the 7 x 4 training protocol. The perceptions of intensity are of course subjective because what is intense for one person can be a walk in the park for someone else. As you progress and your stamina improves, then your perceptions of intensity will change. So because your perception of what constitutes moderate intensity versus high intensity will change as you move through the program, you are constantly progressing.

tacfitchickThe exercises are performed using a modified version of the Tabata method. If you’re not familiar with the Tabata method, it’s a series of short periods of very high intensity followed by short periods of lower intensity. The TACFIT commando method involves 20 seconds of very high intensity exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle gets repeated eight times for a total of four minutes. Each day of the “mission,” the training follows this pattern with six different exercises. When you’ve finished all 8 rounds, you rest for 1 minute, then move on to the next exercise. Yeah, that sounds easy on paper but just try and you’ll feel differently, trust me.

The book lays out the entire program for you. Everything you need to know is right here. Every seven day period follows the same pattern of no intensity through high intensity. The book provides you with an incredible variety of exercises to perform—you won’t get bored. The exercise descriptions are clear and easy to follow and include pictures so you can easily learn to perform the movements. The authors include some great charts that provide some very useful information about heart rate, intensity and complexity.

Most of the exercises presented in the book are body weight exercises but nonetheless, for the bodybuilder there is a lot of value to be found here. For example, TACFIT Commando can be something that you work into your regular bodybuilding training routine to mix things up and keep your body from hitting a plateau. Another good strategy would be to take the basic concept of TACFIT Commando and swap out the body weight exercises with free weight or dumbbell movements—just make sure you’re careful with how much weight you use so you don’t knock yourself or someone else unconscious. So even for the bodybuilder whose primary goal is to size and strength, there is a lot to be gained from the TACFIT Commando program.

In any case, TACFIT Commando is built on a foundation of sound knowledge and practiced principles that produce results. So if you’re looking for something to really challenge yourself, you ought to definitely be checking out TACFIT Commando.


tacfit1
http://commandotacfit.com
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3 Untapped Fat-Burning Strategies

July 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Recent Posts, Training

You work out hard and you want it to show. But you won’t get the look you’re after if your hard work is hidden under a layer of fat.

You need all the tricks you can get your hands on to burn fat, and you want to do it quickly and efficiently. After all, who has hours to spend on the endless drudgery of a treadmill?

Are you gonna bury those washboard abs under a layer of pudge? Or will you tap into these three fat burning secret weapons? This is the stuff those really ripped guys at the gym have figured out and aren’t telling you, cause they don’t want you showing them up!

By the way, I “stole” these three tips from the TACFIT Commando program developed by my friend Scott Sonnon. He released an updated version of the program today.

Shooting A Zombie With An AR-15

Shooting A Zombie With An AR-15

Untapped Fat Burning Tip #1:
Exploit the “EPOC” effect with high intensity interval circuits

Contrary to what mainstream fitness has been saying for decades, long slow distance running is not the most direct route to fat loss. It’s true that moderate intensity, steady state exercise uses primarily fat oxidation as fuel, but that isn’t the total picture.

In a study done to compare the fat burning benefits of traditional “cardio” training and high intensity intervals, two groups were assigned different training regimens. Group A performed the regular moderate intensity cardio regime (ex. jogging or bicycling) for 20 weeks, and Group B performed a high intensity interval training routine for 15 weeks. Group B lost nine times more fat than Group A — and in 5 weeks less!

Why are high intensity intervals so much more effective?

Interval circuits place such an intense demand on the system that it takes your body up to 36 hours to work its way back to homeostasis (a normal state). That means you’ll incinerate calories for hours after you finish training, even if you’re just lying on the sofa. That aftershock of fat burning potential is called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC).

Plus, high intensity interval training is fast! That means you no longer have to spend 30 minutes to an hour jogging your life away on a treadmill. You can spend more time pumping iron instead.

EPOC Generating Bodyweight Workouts —> Click Here

Untapped Fat Burning Tip #2:
Build muscle to burn fat.

tacfit-articleWe’ve known for years that muscle tissue is highly active metabolically, and it helps us burn more calories during the day. So more muscle equals better fat burn, right? Unfortunately that’s only partly true — and not to the extent we once believed. A pound of muscle is now thought to burn an extra 6 calories per hour (as opposed to the 25 or more per hour we once believed). You’d have to pack on an awful lot of beef to make much difference.

But that’s only one side of the equation. Muscle mass provides a number of other important benefits, foremost of which is better management of insulin. Insulin is your “storage” hormone. Its job is to transport fuel into your cells. The higher your ratio of fat to lean tissue, the less sensitive your lean tissue becomes to insulin. Basically, when your body fat percentage creeps too high and insulin comes knocking, your lean mass stops answering the door. If you see a vicious cycle in all of this, you’re right!

One way to encourage your muscles to start answering the door again is through resistance exercise aimed at growth. Why is it important to improve insulin sensitivity? Well, if your muscles don’t answer the door, guess who will… Yep, your fat cells are always ready with a warm welcome.

To top it all off, long slow cardio can actually cause you to LOSE muscle because it increases your level of cortisol. If you focus instead on short bursts of high intensity effort using exercises that target the entire body in all its ranges of motion, you can actually BUILD muscle while you do your cardio! Fat burning just got easier, and a lot more fun.

Untapped Fat Burning Tip #3:
Use lactic acid to spike growth hormone

That burn you feel in your muscles when you’re in the middle of a workout is caused by the buildup of lactic acid. It’s the “misery” that keeps non-exercisers from working out, and it’s the rite of passage hardcore trainers push for simply as a matter of masochism.

But there’s much more to it than that. The lactic acid burn is also your body’s trigger to start the secretion process for human growth hormone. And growth hormone acts to build lean mass AND reduce fat.

A 2006 study from Brazil which measured four different repetition protocols determined that what they called Functional Isometrics was the most potent metabolic stimulator. Hold a static position under enough of a load and you’ll feel the burn… That same burn is what you should shoot for in your cardio training if you want to tap that GH release and send your fat metabolism into overdrive.

It’s not a magic bullet, but it does play a powerful role in your quest to shred your physique. Sounds like a good deal!

You don’t have to spin your life away on an exercise bike to get the shredded look you’re after. And you don’t have to sacrifice your hard-earned muscle to get lean. All you need is an intelligent program that taps into the most efficient fat burning methods available today.

You can spend a lot of time and energy putting your own program together using these principles. Or you can let the experts do it for you. One of the most effective program designs I’ve seen — and one that taps into all 3 of these principles and more — is TACFIT Commando. And the cool thing is, it doesn’t require ANY equipment whatsoever. So you can build muscle and burn fat no matter where you are or how busy you get.


NEW Tacfit Commando 2.0
http://www.commandotacfit.com

How To Lower Estrogen Levels For Men

July 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Hormones, Nutrition, Recent Posts, Training

arm
Testosterone is the primary hormone that gives men their “male” characteristics. Once a boy hits puberty his body gets flooded with testosterone and he becomes a man. Testosterone is responsible for the proper development of male sexual characteristics. It is also important for maintaining muscle bulk, adequate levels of red blood cells, bone density, sense of well-being, and sexual and reproductive function. On the flip side, women have estrogen, which is the female “equivalent” of testosterone. In women, estrogen is what is responsible for the proper development of female sexual characteristics.

So men have testosterone and women have estrogen, right? Wrong. Men actually have testosterone and estrogen–women have both too. The difference is that men produce about ten times more testosterone than women do (and vice versa). So though our bodies are dominant in testosterone, we also produce low levels of estrogen.

In fact, a certain amount of estrogen in men is necessary for proper body function. Too little estrogen and we run the risk of developing osteoporosis and other conditions. Too much though and we start developing female characteristics, which is not a good a thing–for health or the ego.

As men age their testosterone levels will naturally start to drop (by about one percent per year). Similarly, their estrogen levels will start to increase.

When estrogen levels start getting high in men, health problems start to arise. Elevated estrogen levels in men have been shown to contribute to prostate cancer and heart disease, along with gynecomastia–also known as “man boobs.” Since higher levels of estrogen are typically accompanied by lower levels of testosterone, other changes occur including loss of muscle mass, fatigue, low libido, erectile dysfunction. Lastly, excessive estrogen in men raises body fat and can contribute to diabetes and high lipids.

talmanttoughBut it’s not just older guys who experience higher levels of estrogen–it happens to young guys too. Guys who don’t take care of themselves are far more likely to show elevated estrogen levels than men who are in good shape. For example, testosterone begins to convert to estrogen in men as they age due to the aromatase reaction.

Aromatase is an enzyme that plays a role in converting testosterone to estrogen and is found most prevalently in fat cells. Therefore, the more body fat a man has the more aromatase and the more estrogen he is likely to have. So you see, a younger guy who is overweight with excess fat–especially around the middle–will likely see a spike in estrogen levels accompanied by a drop in testosterone levels.

Rule number one to avoid excessive estrogen levels: maintain a healthy body weight–build and maintain lean muscle mass. In particular, pay close attention to the fat around the middle of your body. These fat cells are known to produce aromatase, which can lead to higher estrogen levels in men, thus changing the hormonal balance.

There are plenty of other things that can lead to higher estrogen levels in men too so guys of any age should be aware of the following:

Medications: Some medications can cause estrogen levels to rise so be on the lookout for estrogen-containing drugs, steroids, ulcer medications such as cimetidine, some antibiotics (tetracycline, ampicillin, etc.), anti-fungal medications and antidepressants. Since there are more medications that can cause this effect, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Illness: Certain illnesses also cause spikes in estrogen levels including some tumors of the testes, adrenal and pituitary glands, liver and lung, cirrhosis (liver disease). Kidney and thyroid disease may elevate estrogen levels as well.

Drugs: Using illicit drugs is another sure-fire way to cause a jump in estrogen so stay away from anabolic steroids, marijuana, cocaine and other drugs that can affect hormone levels.

Alcohol: Moderate drinking generally doesn’t cause problems but frequent benders can. Drinking excessively can increase the body’s conversion of testosterone into estrogen, especially in fat cells. It can also block the liver from effectively eliminating excess estrogen.

Environmental exposure: Things that we run across in our daily lives can also contribute to elevated estrogen levels in men. The list of pesticides, chemicals and herbicides that have the potential to cause estrogen-like effects in the body is lengthy so do yourself a favor and avoid them as much as possible.

A number of experts have also begun to believe that there is a link between the ingestion of hormone-enhanced food and elevated estrogen levels. More research is sure to be done on the subject so stay tuned. In any case, hormone- and pesticide-free, unprocessed foods are best for your body so stick with those.

I’ll write that article for you next. In the mean time if you’d like further information on losing man boobs click here for a trusted resource.

Flavia and Vince Del Monte Wedding Trip

July 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Life, Recent Posts

My wife and I just returned from Niagra Falls, Canada where our friends Flavia Dragos and Vince Del Monte just got married.

Congratulations to the happy couple. They both come from great families. It was a time to celebrate and rejoice and to thank the Lord for bringing them together.

The food was amazing. After the ceremony which took place at the Niagra Parks Botanical Garden we headed over to Club Italia which was founded by Vince’s grandfather.

We got there at 5:30 and didn’t stop eating until 10:30pm. It was awesome. The wedding was a blast. Check out the video below to see the wedding parties do a dance routine during the introductions. That was really cool. We also heard some really really passionate and well prepared wedding speeches along with a video presentations. Good times all around.

I got to meet up with some of my fitness buddies like Lee Hayward, Dave Ruel, Adam Steer, Mike Geary, John Romaniello, Joel Marion, Eric Wong, Patrick McGuire, Craig Ballantyne and a crew of other people.

I didn’t realize it but Niagra Falls, Canada is like a mini-Vegas. Lots of stuff to do from boat rides, helicopter rides, tours, bike paths, a wine trail, casinos, bars, clubs, a space needle building, a sky wheel, haunted houses and more. We didn’t have time to do half the activities we wanted, but there’s always next time.

Here are some pictures from the trip.

Niagra Falls, Canada

Niagra Falls, Canada

Me, Karine and Dave Ruel aka The Muscle Cook

Me, Karine and Dave Ruel aka The Muscle Cook

My Wife Courtney & I Before Ceremony

My Wife Courtney & I Before Ceremony

Patrick McGuire, Dave Ruel, Mike Westerdal, Lee Hayward

Patrick McGuire, Dave Ruel, Mike Westerdal, Lee Hayward

Here Comes the Bride!

Here Comes the Bride!

Vince Anxiously Awaits His Bride

Vince Anxiously Awaits His Bride

Exchanging Vows

Exchanging Vows

Time To Party - Pic From Video Below

Time To Party - Pic From Video Below

Vince Del Monte and Flavia Dragos introduced as Mr and Mrs. Del Monte for the first time. Very entertaining wedding party dance routine. The girls dance to Beyonce’s Single Ladies. Check out Joel Marion’s dance moves in the background.



 

They both looked phenomenal for their special day. They’re off on their honeymoon in Europe right now and totally enjoying themselves because they both have been busting their butts in the gym to get ready for the wedding and the honeymoon.

Do you have an event that you’re trying to get in shape for?

If so check out Vince’s The Best Of Series. It features all of his best muscle building and fat loss exercises on DVD.

The cool thing is you can keep using the same workout your on right now and just use some of these exercises in your program.