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Society now dedicates enormous attention to the well-being of people who fit into historically marginalized or oppressed categories. It goes well beyond preventing discrimination, but even limits words, phrases, and figures of speech that might be offensive. Academia, government, and the media all have adopted these policies out of the belief that even “microaggressions” can have harmful effects. But if that’s true, then why would such harms only apply to marginalized populations? Why wouldn’t those harms apply to everybody, including men, and even masculine men? In other words, why do we seem to only care about hurting some people’s feelings?

It’s a confusing time to be a boy or a man. In 2019, the American Psychological Association published a position paper concluding that “traditional masculinity” is psychologically harmful to men and boys.1 British psychotherapist Phil Mitchell calls out the terminology: “‘Kill All Men’, ‘Men are Trash’, ‘Male Privilege’, ‘Manspreading’, ‘Mansplaining’, ‘Toxic Masculinity’, ‘Patriarchy’, ‘Oppressors, not oppressed’, boys and men can’t turn a corner these days without hearing some phrase generalising males as privileged, abusive or scum.”2 He suggests: “Perhaps it’s worth wondering … how such attitudes may influence practice and behaviour that could subsequently adversely affect boys and men.”

In his commentary “‘Toxic Masculinity’ is Toxic Terminology,” psychologist Dr. John Barry, co-founder of The Center for Male Psychology, concurs that with “rare exceptions, the majority of information about masculinity we are exposed to is unreasonably negative.”3 Dr. Barry was a co-researcher on a pilot study published in 2020 that “found that around 85% of respondents thought the term ‘toxic masculinity’ is insulting, and probably harmful to boys.”4 Yet the term seems quite acceptable to mainstream commentators.

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It’s a confusing time to be a boy or a man. In 2019, the American Psychological Association published a position paper concluding that ‘traditional masculinity’ is psychologically harmful to men and boys.

In July 2023, the International Journal of Health Sciences published Dr. Barry’s new study assessing the views of over 4,000 men in the UK and Germany, which found that thinking masculinity is bad for your behavior is linked to having worse mental well-being.5 Conversely, he notes, “positive views of masculinity are linked to better well-being.” Seems pretty obvious, no? “It is almost unthinkable that we would need research to show that telling someone they are toxic can lead to having a less positive mindset,” notes graduate psychology professor Jack Darkes, Director of the University of South Florida Psychological Service Center. “And if one complains about being called toxic, it will be used as evidence of their toxicity.” Spot on. Any pushback is most likely met with an eye roll. Interestingly, being older was a significant predictor of mental positivity. “Older men grew up in a time when traditional manhood was valued,” notes Dr. Darkes, “and incorporation of this value into their core beliefs may make them less susceptible to messages of toxicity.”

Is it coincidence that an increasingly gender non-conforming, non-binary culture would gravitate away from embracing traditional gender norms? Of course not. But the fallout may be ugly. “Society is in danger of demonising boys and young men,” writes Nick Fletcher.6 “They are lambasted in schools by toxic masculinity crusaders and denigrated in popular culture. This environment is having a crushing impact.” Not a pretty picture.

It may be time to rethink. There’s an emerging effort to inclusively embrace everyone on the gender spectrum, even masculine men. Fitness guru Ali Gilbert is the “Queen of Men’s Health” and the founder of the Silverback Summit, a premier event dedicated to men’s health education delivered in an unfiltered, entertaining, and authentic manner.

I chatted with Ali about the sad state of masculinity during an interview for the virtual version of her Silverback Summit7 and look forward to joining her and countless experts in men’s health at the Live Event this November 9-11 in Austin, Texas, including awesome speakers like Dr. Eric Serrano, Stan Efferding, Bedros Keuilian, Jay Ferruggia, and more.8 The Silverback Summit skillfully merges the realms of medicine, fitness, and business, fearlessly delving into a wide array of men’s health subjects that others mostly shy away from, including masculinity, body dysmorphia, TRT, PEDs, diet, and training. No other event quite like this exists in the world. In an era when masculinity is evaporating, Ali leads an event for men who offer no apologies for being the men they are and want to be their best in every way. Hopefully, I’ll see you there!

References:

1. https://www.apa.org/about/policy/boys-men-practice-guidelines.pdf

2. www.centreformalepsychology.com/male-psychology-magazine-listings/why-its-not-ok-to-say-kill-all-men?rq=solanas

3. www.centreformalepsychology.com/male-psychology-magazine-listings/toxic-masculinity-is-toxic-terminology

4. https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10118127/1/8-21.barry_.pdf

5. https://ijhs.qu.edu.sa/index.php/journal/article/view/7968/1173

6. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2023/04/17/boys-have-been-left-devastated-woke-attitude-to-masculinity/

7. https://www.silverbacksummit.com/offers/zLRoD2Nf/checkout

8. www.silverbacksummit.com

The post Is Anti-Masculinity Toxic to Men? appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

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By: Rick Collins
Title: Is Anti-Masculinity Toxic to Men?
Sourced From: www.fitnessrxformen.com/lifestyle/is-anti-masculinity-toxic-to-men/
Published Date: Fri, 04 Aug 2023 12:35:49 +0000

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The Japanese 3X3 Interval Walking Workout

Japanese Interval Walking 3 jpg

Japanese Interval Walking 3 1 jpg

The overarching principle of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is that the harder you do an exercise, the more physiological benefits you accrue; thus, by incorporating intervals of higher intensity efforts in your workouts, you can get more fitness bang for your buck in less time. 

When we think about HIIT, we tend to think about going absolutely nuts on a fan bike or doing all-out sprints.

But as Dr. Martin Gibala explained on the AoM podcast, while high-intensity training rises above the level of the moderate, it doesn’t require a complete max out of your heart rate, nor is it limited to certain exercise modalities.

You can do interval training by pedaling like a madman on a bike, but you can also do it with a less strenuous approach. 

Enter Interval Walking Training (IWT), which originated in Japan.

This 3X3 walking workout is simple: you do 3 minutes of low-intensity walking (40% of peak aerobic capacity for walking — a little faster than a stroll), followed by 3 minutes of high-intensity walking (70%+ of peak aerobic capacity for walking). You repeat these interval sets at least 5 times, and do this 30-minute workout 4 times a week.

Your heart rate during the high-intensity intervals will vary according to your fitness level and age. One 68-year-old who participated in an IWT-based study had his heart rate go up to about 130 beats per minute during the fast intervals, so you’re moving at a good clip.

Even though IWT is highly accessible, studies that have been done on it show that it produces significant health benefits. People who did Interval Walking Training 4X a week for 3 months experienced significantly more improvement in their blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, leg strength, and aerobic capacity than those who did continuous, moderate-intensity walking. 

Hiroshi Nose, who developed Interval Walking Training, reports that among those who do IWT, “Physical fitness — maximal aerobic power and thigh muscle strength — increased by about 20 percent which is sure to make you feel about 10 years younger than before training, [and] symptoms of lifestyle-related diseases (hypertension, hyperglycemia, and obesity) decreased by about 20 percent.” IWT walkers enjoyed mental health benefits as well: depression scores dropped by half.

Walking in general is already one of the very best forms of exercise you can do, and IWT just helps you take its benefits up a notch. Hiroshi has used Interval Walking Training to get thousands of elderly Japanese citizens into shape, and it’s a great form of exercise if you’re in the older decades of life. But it’s also good if you’re just beginning your fitness journey and looking to get off the couch and start doing more physical activity. Even if you’re already a regular exerciser who’s in good shape, IWT is a nice way to mix up your usual neighborhood strolls while enhancing your health even further. 

For more HIIT protocols, from the accessible to the challenging, listen to this episode of the AoM podcast:

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By: Brett & Kate McKay
Title: The Japanese 3X3 Interval Walking Workout
Sourced From: www.artofmanliness.com/health-fitness/fitness/the-japanese-3×3-interval-walking-workout/
Published Date: Tue, 09 Apr 2024 17:35:28 +0000

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The Miracle of Men, Women, and Couples: Allowing Our Vulnerabilities to Bring Us Together

a couple of miracles

a couple of miracles 1

It isn’t easy being a man in today’s world. The same is true for being a woman. Finding the right partner and creating a joyful, long-lasting, marriage is truly a miracle. In their book. In their book, A Couple of Miracles: One Couple, More Than a Few Miracles, Joyce and Barry Vissell share their life journey. Joyce, a nurse/psychotherapist and Barry doctor/psychiatrist, offer wisdom for men, women, and couples who are wanting to find the secrets for a long and successful life, career, and marriage.

I have known Joyce and Barry for many years. My wife, Carlin, and I attended a couple’s retreat with them to celebrate our tenth anniversary. Our forty-four-year marriage has been enriched by our time with Joyce and Barry.

Joyce and Barry have been a couple since 1964, have raised three children, written ten books, and helped countless people in their workshops and counseling practice. They can be reached at SharedHeart.org. I recently did a podcast interview with Barry and we explored their work, the new book, Barry’s work with men, Joyce’s work with women, and their joint work with couples.

I recently attended a men’s retreat with Barry and seventeen other men from around the country. It was a unique and wonderful experience that I recommend to all men. From the very beginning Barry invited us all to be vulnerable and share the real challenges we were facing in our lives. He started by sharing his own, things that most of us hide, even from ourselves.

“We need to let our partners see us more deeply,”

said Barry.

“We need to feel and express our feelings. Men sometimes feel hurt or afraid, but we’re often taught to keep it well hidden.”

Barry went on to share some of the real problems that he and Joyce have experienced in their own lives. As others shared, hearts opened, tears were shed. We talked about our hopes and dreams and our losses and betrayals.

I shared my experiences, having been married twice before, and the shame I felt being “a twice-divorced marriage and family counselor.” I talked about my forty-four-year marriage to my wife, Carlin, and my fear and anguish at the thought of losing her.

Barry shared his own fears of what he would do if Joyce died. Other men opened up about broken promises and broken marriages. Several men had recently dealt with relationships that had recently ended and shared their pain and anger.

 “Outwardly, we often present a strong, competent image,”

said Barry.

“Showing our human frailty to our loved ones gives them a very wonderful gift of love. When we feel sad, instead of covering it up with activity, we can share it with a loved one. Instead of jumping into an angry posture every time we feel hurt, the vulnerable and courageous approach is to reveal the hurt feelings directly, without anger or resentment.”

Barry acknowledged that many of us were in relationship with strong, competent, women. He encouraged us to also recognize “the little girl” that lives inside each of the women in our lives.

When I returned home after the end of the retreat, I shared what Barry had said about “the little girl” within. Carlin wept with recognition.

“I’ve spent my whole life taking care of others,”

Carlin said.

“I haven’t done a very good job taking care of the little girl inside me.

I held her and let her little girl be vulnerable, as she has so often held me as I let the little boy in me reveal his worries, fears, and pain. I used to think that it was manly to suffer in silence, to be forever strong for others. But I now know that our vulnerability is our real superpower.

I have been somewhat obsessed with life and death for a long time now. When I was five years old my father took an overdose of sleeping pills when he became increasingly depressed because he couldn’t support his family doing the work he loved. Though he didn’t die, our lives were never the same. I grew up wondering what happened to my father and when it would happen to me. For most of my life I blocked out the terror of my childhood.

I grew up like many males, denying my own vulnerability, and imagined that if I were smart enough and successful enough I could outrun my fears and furies. At various times I acted like I was the lone wolf, top dog, alpha male, lone ranger, superman. I didn’t trust others, particularly other guys, who I felt I needed to compete against in order to get women, money, power, and glory I craved.

That changed for me when I joined my first men’s group in 1979. Carlin has said on many occasions that the reason she believes we have had a successful forty-four-year marriage is because I’ve been in a men’s group for forty-five years. Our group continues to meet, though three of our members have died. I’m now the eldest member of the group as I recently celebrated my 80th birthday.

Carlin has also been in several women’s groups which give her the love and support that only women can give. We also have been in a mixed group, we call “The Village Circle” where men and women can learn to love and support each other.

Joyce and Barry have had a similar path and offer counseling, retreats, and much more. You can get their latest information at SharedHeart.org. The world needs more miracles. We need each other and the world needs each of us to be the best men and women we can be.

We live in challenging times. Vaclav Havel, Czech statesman, author, poet, playwright and dissident, offers an important truth about the times in which we live.

“I think there are good reasons for suggesting that the modern age has ended. Today, many things indicate that we are going through a transitional period, when it seems that something is on the way out and something else is painfully being born. It is as if something were crumbling, decaying, and exhausting itself, while something else, still indistinct, were arising from the rubble.”

In a recent article, “Men and Relationships,” Barry says,

“Over the years of working with men and their relationships, not to mention my own 59-year relationship with Joyce, I have seen some central issues emerge.”

He goes on to enumerate eight areas that are particularly important. Number eight is “Reach Out More to Other Men.”

Barry says,

“Many men tend to isolate themselves from meaningful relationships with other men. I have observed that many men are nearly starved for father/brother love. Because of our fear of this need, we have pushed away half the population of the earth. Practice vulnerability with other men, and you will find it becomes even easier to be vulnerable with your partner. Deepening your friendship with a man leads to deepening your friendship with yourself. And this allows you to become more accessible to your partner.”

Barry and Joyce practice what they recommend to others. Both Carlin and I have benefitted from their wisdom over the years. You will too. You can visit Barry and Joyce here.

If you appreciate articles like these, come visit me, Jed Diamond, here.

The post The Miracle of Men, Women, and Couples: Allowing Our Vulnerabilities to Bring Us Together appeared first on MenAlive.

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By: Jed Diamond
Title: The Miracle of Men, Women, and Couples: Allowing Our Vulnerabilities to Bring Us Together
Sourced From: menalive.com/the-miracle-of-men-women-and-couples/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-miracle-of-men-women-and-couples
Published Date: Sat, 06 Apr 2024 02:32:57 +0000

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The Right Way to Do Leg Extensions for Strong and Meaty Quads

leg 7 1 jpg

leg 7 1 1 jpg

Last month, I talked about how I’ve reincorporated weight machines into my strength-training workouts to good effect.

This year, we’ll be doing some articles on how to use various weight machines properly. One of the benefits of using machines is that they have a much easier learning curve than lifting barbells. But there are a few things you should know about using each in order to avoid pain and injury and use them most effectively for building size and strength.

First up in these tutorials is the leg extension machine, which targets your quadriceps and your quadriceps alone. 

There is some folklore out there that the leg machine can cause injuries and puts too much stress on the knees. But this isn’t borne out by research, which has found that leg extensions are safe, including for ACL rehabilitation

There’s also a myth that leg extensions aren’t functional. But quad strength translates to everything from walking to running, and particularly to explosive movements like jumping and cutting. Also, because people often use compensating muscles when doing other leg exercises (especially if they’re dealing with injuries), leg extensions, by isolating the quads, can help correct strength imbalances created by these compensating strategies. This is useful in preventing new injuries, as well as re-injuries, particularly a second ACL tear

Not only are leg extensions a safe strength-building exercise, they also help give you defined and meaty legs, so you can confidently wear your shorty shorts around town. And, since you’re only moving a single joint, they perform this function without requiring the kind of recovery you need after doing the squat or leg press. 

But since leg extensions, like all exercises, are only safe to do if you do them right, let’s get into how to perform them properly.

Setting Up the Machine

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My home gym, plate-loaded leg machine doesn’t have as many adjustment options as one you’ll find in a commercial gym, so I couldn’t dial in my position as much as you might be able to, but this a generally good set-up position.

The leg extension itself is a simple movement. The big thing you have to pay attention to is setting up the machine before you start doing them.

There are several adjustments to make to the machine before you begin this exercise to ensure ergonomic comfort, maximization of strength-producing, hypertrophy-creating force, and the prevention of undue pain and strain on your joints: 

Weight stack/plates. There are different schools of thought on what weight you should use for leg extensions. One is that you should go with lower weight because you’re only using a single joint to move the weight, and you’re not able to exert that much force without form breaking down. To get the hypertrophic stimulus with lower weight, you’ll need to do high reps in the 15-20 range. If you’re going to go the high rep route with leg extensions, perform them at the end of your workout, so you don’t fatigue yourself for the main leg exercise like the squat.





The other school of thought is that as long as you can perform the reps with good form and without pain, you can stick to the traditional 8-12 rep range prescribed for hypertrophy and go heavier.





Experiment and find what works for you.

Seat back distance. The seat back can be adjusted forwards or backwards. Positioning it correctly will minimize undue strain on your knees and allow you to produce maximum force. You want to move the seat back so that when you sit down, your knees are not too far in front of the edge of the seat’s base, nor too far back. Your knees should align with the leg bar’s pivot point. The creases at the backs of the knees should sit against the edge of the butt pad. 

Leg pad height. The pad that will sit on top of your lower legs can sometimes be adjusted up or down. The pad should rest where the ankle flexes. Not up on your shins or down towards your toes.

Leg bar range of motion. The leg bar can be adjusted so that it sits more or less under the seat’s base. The further back it sits, the greater the range of motion that will be possible on your leg extensions. Adjust the leg bar to full depth to maximize the range of motion. 

There is sometimes also a pad that can be adjusted over the thighs to lock them down. As your butt/legs shouldn’t come up if you’re positioned correctly and do the exercise properly, this pad isn’t necessary. 

Once you’ve got all these adjustments in place, you may want to make a note somewhere of the numbered positions of each piece, so the next time you use the machine, you won’t have to spend time fiddling around and making the adjustments through trial and error.

Doing Leg Extensions

leg jpg

Now that the machine is set up right, it’s time to do a proper leg extension: 

Slow and controlled. The big mistake people make with this exercise is bouncing/swinging the leg bar up, using momentum, and letting it drop back down. Instead, you want to lift the bar up and bring it down in a slow and controlled manner. Slow and controlled is the path to hypertrophy.

Lift the bar. As you raise the leg bar, you’re not lifting your butt and hips up. You’re not rocking back and forth; only your legs are moving, not the upper half of your body. Butt stays in contact with the seat’s base pad; back stays in contact with the seat’s back pad. Lean back a little. Grip the handles to keep your butt down.

Steadily bring the bar up until you reach full knee extension/peak contraction. Pause for a second during this top hold. Squeeze. Feel and relish the burn.

Lower the bar. Much of hypertrophy happens during the eccentric phase of a lift, so lower the bar in the same slow and controlled manner that you lifted it — its descent should take a full one to two seconds. 

Rather than slamming back down, the weight should just gently touch the weight stack as it returns. Once you hear it lightly clang, lift the bar up again and do another rep.

Toe position makes little difference. Keeping your toes straight ahead versus angling them a little inwards or outwards can create small differences in which parts of the quads get worked. But unless you’re an elite bodybuilder, this isn’t something you need to worry about. Keeping your toes straight or tilted slightly in is fine. Do whatever feels most comfortable for you, as this will help you produce maximum force. 

Go for full range of motion. Go all the way up and all the way down with each rep. If you can only lift the leg bar halfway up, the weight is too heavy.

Go hard. Don’t just mindlessly crank out leg extensions, tacking them on to the end of your workout without giving them much effort. Just going through the motions won’t build muscle. You should be doing sets that bring you within one to two reps of failure.

Sure it hurts, but it hurts so good, baby. 

Leg extensions can be done using just a single leg at a time, which can be useful for addressing strength imbalances.

Because leg extensions only work the quads, they should be done in a program that includes other leg exercises like squats, leg presses, and lunges. 

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By: Brett & Kate McKay
Title: The Right Way to Do Leg Extensions for Strong and Meaty Quads
Sourced From: www.artofmanliness.com/health-fitness/fitness/how-to-do-leg-extensions/
Published Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2024 14:13:02 +0000

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