Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Information Overload

I just counted the health/fitness blogs that reside as subscriptions on my iGoogle home page. The number is sixteen. Plus I hit a few more that are linked from other sites from time to time. In some cases, a lot of the information is repetitious and the respective bloggers are in agreement with each other. In other cases, there are several different views on what is the optimum thing is to eat or exercise to do. I find it all very fascinating and it's also motivational. But on the other hand, it can be very confusing. What does one believe or act upon when the advice is contradictory?
I'm in pretty good shape when it comes to my beliefs in diet. The folks I read are in agreement for the most part. I eat meat, leafy and cruciferous vegetables, some fruit and nuts, and eggs. I don't fear fat. One area where there is some disagreement is over dairy. I fall somewhere in the middle in that I do eat full-fat Greek-style yogurt and also use butter from time to time. So I'm ok on that front--no great struggles. I'm also ok with the general blueprint for exercise. I mix up some high intensity work with low intensity cardio and resistance exercise. The part of that equation where I struggle is the last one. There are so many widely varied opinions on what to do in the weight room that I'm not sure what the best course is for me. Do I do the low reps/heavy weight, or high reps/lower weight, or pyramids, or whatever. I've flip flopped a couple times from doing the hierarchal sets prescribed by Art Devany, and the 3x5 routines of Mark Rippetoe. I finally cried for help by way of a comment on Mike O'Donnell's blog and his answer was: "Do both!" Well, hell--that settles that!! I'm starting from such a low point (especially my upper body) that I guess it really doesn't matter a whole lot at this point. I'm going to make some gains no matter what I do. So I think I finally have a plan which is: be random. I'g going to continue to do 3x5 (or 4x5 or 5x5) and then throw in some Devany-type pyramids in when I feel like it and see where it takes me. I'll lean more towards the lower rep stuff because my reading indicates that is better for achieving the lean, hard look I want (as opposed to "getting big").


Stephan said...


I just read Pavel Tsatsouline's "Power to the People" and found it very informative. Despite the "evil Russian" image that he milks, he makes a lot of sense. He advocates 2 X 5 of heavy weight, never to failure for strength without bulk. One or two extra sets (still not to failure) for more bulk.

He says to focus on just a couple of exercises (mostly deads). I'll be testing out his advice over the next few months. So far so good.

I agree blogs are all over the place when it comes to lifting. I think part of it is they work toward different goals. I'm more interested in functional strength than body building, so Pavel's approach is good for me.

Dave Clary said...

Comrade Stephan, :-)

Now THAT would be a case of coming full circle for me. If you go back and read my introductory post, my whole fitness quest began with taking up kettlebells, and then I found a link to MDA in the Dragon Door forum. I have Pavel's Enter The Kettlebell book and video. I get a kick out of his crazy Russian shtick--maybe because I spent 20 years of my life fighting the cold war!

Stephan said...

That's right, I remember now. Are you still using the kettlebells? Did you not like Pavel's approach?

Dave Clary said...

I liked Pavel's stuff but I sustained and injury (bad strain of a hip flexor) that I believe came when I started doing kettlebell snatches. I I could make a decent program out of nothing but kettlebells except that it would require buying some more bells (and they aren't cheap). I can stack all the weight on a bar that I want at the gym for free.