MIC DROPS: A TRAINER? I DON’T NEED A TRAINER!


Well guy, you might actually need one…

Why does anyone need a personal trainer?

Well there are various reasons. All pretty logical ones, if you’re into that logic stuff. And since you’re clicking on my completely amazing “backed by science” blog here, I’ll give you a quick, slightly hilarious run down of why.


Pictured: So wrong. So very very wrong. We’ll save comment for a future article about advertising.

1) You have a motivation issue.

You would think that not feeling good, or fast, or strong, or able to lift something in the kitchen would be motivation enough to want to get in better shape, but for a lot of people they stack literally everything in front of the need for a better, healthier life. This can be tied into an accountability issue for a lot. There are some very proud people out there that won’t admit they need someone to bark instructions at them to do something in their minds, as trivial as exercise. But motivation and accountability go hand in hand. You aren’t getting to the gym, and you are justifying all your excuses to where it’s easy to dismiss making and developing better lifestyle habits.

Because really that is what it is. You’re replacing not-so-healthy habits with good-for-you habits. Fitness works when you make it a part of your life, not try and wedge it into your week when it’s easy. A good trainer will help you develop these. Or die trying.

2) You want to be educated by someone.

There are roughly 16 billion fitness articles on the internet. All of them claim to be right. There are some pretty easy ones, that are “backed by science” (no really, we mean it this time). A good trainer who is constantly learning, studying, trying out new exercises, taking seminars, and doing research are what you want, mostly to either get you interested in something or to answer questions. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean someone is certified knows everything. In fact, some of the best trainers I’ve met don’t have a million certifications (some can get certified and forget a lot of what they learned) but they are always doing things to make themselves reliable pillars of information. Like myself, I would like to have a brief answer to most anything. And if I don’t, I will get it as soon as I can to give them an answer.


The answer usually isn’t speaking in tongues either.

This also means that when you hire a trainer, you want to know they will understand proper form, basic nutritional information, and how to explain things in a way that make sense to someone who might not have any background in fitness.

3) When you do exercise, you don’t know what you’re doing:

Are you the type who wants to figure it out on their own? You might be. But when it comes to exercise you can do one of two things: watch a lot of bad form in the gym and copy it or spend hours looking online for how to do things right. And if you’re a busy body working a lot, you might not have that kind of time.


“Do you at least have time to check out my sweet watch? It’s pretty sweet…”

This is where hiring a fitness coach makes all the sense in the world. You’ll have someone who has repeatedly shown others how to do the basics, and watch in order to correct it. Trust us, as the leader of the <a href=http://www.metalmadefitness.bigcartel.com/product/defend-proper-form-unisex-shirt”>”Defend Proper Form”</a> movement, we see bad form in the gym a lot and wonder “they would benefit from even a few sessions to learn how to do this all the right way”. Developing good habits with fitness aren’t just limited to making it a part of your life, it’s doing it the RIGHT way once you’re in there.

4) Getting Some Results?

If you are not able to motivate yourself, if you don’t know what you’re doing in the gym or how to perform exercises, chances are you’re not getting the results YOU want. And becoming stronger, leaner, more flexible and healthier isn’t something you can just think about. The number one thing we hear from people as trainers when they come to us for help is “well, I’ll think about starting or getting sessions” but they’ve already been thinking about it for 6 months. In that six months, they’ve hurt their back, developed irregular exercise patterns, obtained bad form and gotten frustrated and stopped trying. This is the case a lot of the time.

This is why we train. To be that go to for YOU. To help you with all of the above.


That and we just got tired of flipping out desk over at a job before we started becoming trainers. It got expensive.

There are plenty of reasons to not get a SPECIFIC trainer, and believe us we’ve seen some bad ones. But just like a great metal show, don’t let that one bad apple keep you from going into the crowd and bouncing around and joining in. Chances are either at your local gym or personal training studio, there are trainers that will fit what you are looking for. Wish to train with a female instead of a male? Most gyms have both. Looking for someone with a diverse pallet of methods? You should want that in a trainer, as any trainer should never try and train every client only one way. Are you looking for a trainer that is a good people person that can really listen to your needs and create a program for them? Again, this is a good thing.


Pictured: Just turn in your certification and go home.

So it’s March 2016. Time to stop thinking about it and get to your local gym and INVEST in your health. While training might not seem cheap (and cheap training is a ‘you get what you pay for’ kind of thing) it is certainly a worthwhile investment that will be cheaper than constant hospital visits the older you get. Speaking from experience, living a healthy lifestyle has kept the clock from going mach 5 in my life, and I intend on staying as young as possible because of it, for as long as I can.

METAL FOR YOUR GYM EAR: GADGET RETURNS TO DESTROY US

Sweden knows a few things about the word “heavy”. Countless bands have spawned from the Nordic Northern country known for many things, including (or at least according to ignorant Americans) where a bunch of free-wheeling Socialists have ruined their country and their bringing their brand of “make you go broke” to the states. While this is horribly untrue (just ask anyone with half a brain) what is true is Sweden is a place where quality, groundbreaking metal and crust/core has been produced for decades. Chances are you have a Swedish group in your all-time top ten, or your favorite band is influenced by one of them.

So if you’re totally green to Swedish heavy toonage, then you need to know because Meshuggah is Swedish. Nasum is Swedish. Disfear, Skitsystem, Wolfpack, Martyrdod and Birdflesh are all Swedish. And four dudes who make up a legendary grindcore band known as Gadget are Swedish.

So geography lesson aside, Gadget has been in grindcore exile for 10 years. But much to the delight of grindcore consumers worldwide, they have returned. And brought a nasty bastard of a record with them. “The Great Destroyer” is like being thrown onto a NASCAR track and getting hit by every car. Non-stop, ridiculous punches of blastbeat after blastbeat and violent screams of tormented streams of consciousness, Gadget seems as if they slow roasted this album the last ten years. It’s flawless in it’s delivery and quite possibly one of the tightest grindcore albums put to tape, ever. The production is quite simply put, a beast, as the genre has never sounded so brutal yet crisp and clean in every way. It’s destructive enough to satisfy any traditional fan of the sound, but mixed loud and pristine as if they had it analyzed by a team of the finest sound engineers in the world. But don’t let that last line fool you. The album, in all of it’s 17 tracks, challenge the greats like Napalm Death (who’s Barney Greenway does a guest spot on “Violent Hours) and Nasum in sheer intensity and viciousness.

The record is done in less than half an hour and during that time gives you zero breathing room, like being trapped under a stampede of Walmart shoppers on Christmas morning. Which is all you could ask for from a grindcore disc. Thankfully, Gadget gives you that and so much more on “The Great Destroyer”. The breakdown on “Dedication” is enough to earn this record an early spot on our 2016 top ten list. The return of Gadget is a potent as can be. Thank you Sweden for yet another amazing band.

MUSIC FOR YOUR GYM EAR : PURGE “CONJURE THE DEAD”

Beatdown or Deathcore or Down Tempo or whatever. Give it a name. It’s slow. It’s brutal. It makes you wanna punch shit. Sometimes it’s complex (The Voynich Code). Sometimes it’s deep and haunting (Black Tongue). Sometimes it’s hammy (90% of the bands). Really when you get down to it, metal is silly. 4 or 5 grown ups yelling into mics and spitting on people and shit. But I guess that’s why we love it right? RIGHT! So when you examine the endless crops of Deathcore Beatdown groups you have to figure what really makes them stand apart from each other?

That’s up to each listener to decide. We at Metal Made Fitness tend to have a weird sliding scale of awesomeness. And a newer band like Purge fits into the bracket of “fuck yeah” amazingly well. Their latest EP release, Conjure The Dead, really doesn’t slice any new bread in their respective genre. It’s more about “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” with the big, nasty, slow, angry, down tuned sickness with the bands we dig in Deathcore. And if they can add GOOD dynamics to the tracks and hit you with some shit that’s out of nowhere from time to time, then we can’t complain.

But on all accounts, Purge have a ton of potential in the studio honing their sound on future releases. They took their time to make sure the vocals don’t have the occasional crack in the voice you hear on lower budget efforts. All instrumentation is straight up punishing. Clear, tight, beefy as shit and a much welcome swing of the crowbar to the ears, over and over. And over.

And over.

This works for us because if we can lift heavy shit or do Kettlebells to a new band, we usually give them the thumbs up (thus why Black Tongue never leaves our gym iPod). Purge is exactly that. A band with a lot of upside in a genre often spitting out the same thing from the CoreCore factory until it’s blue in it’s collective face. For our money, Conjure the Dead was a good purchase that makes us excited for what this band can do more of down the road.

FUEL FOR THE FIRE: FLEX IN EFFECT

The world of fad diets. It’s out there. Continually trying to tell you their way is the right way. Don’t eat carbs. Don’t eat fats. Eat a lot of protein. Don’t eat too much protein. Makes me wanna stab my eye with a carrot sometimes. And that’s saying a lot because I’d rather eat a carrot.

So in hopes to keep the metal masses a bit on the up ‘n’ up, we figure that it’s best to give you the insight to making your own choices depending on your fitness goals. It seems forever and ever in the fitness world you would get scoffed at if you didn’t follow a bodybuilding diet that’s stayed the same for 340 years. Now we’re slowly learning a lot of people who go to the gym shockingly AREN’T bodybuilders (mind blowing) and might wish to occasionally eat a whole cake because WHY THE HELL NOT? But is it possible eat a whole cake and still look good naked/on the beach/at your family reunion/guest starring on The Big Bang Theory? I don’t know, because I haven’t eaten a whole cake.

Raise your hand if you have ever eaten a whole cake? Ok, just checking.


Pictured: The NPC competition “secret weapon”.

For some people, following a Flexible Diet allows them to be much less strict with what they eat while staying in pretty damn good shape. So how does flexible dieting work?

Kind of simple. It’s the basic idea of tracking “macros” to reach a body composition goal. So how Macros work are like such:

1 G of Protein = 4 calories
1 G of Carbs = 4 calories
1 G of Fat = 9 calories

Pretty standard nutrition knowledge. It follows the concept that there are no good or bad foods, just macro ratios. But how does this equate to fitness goals?


Billie-Jean Nye is a macros machine.

“I’ve always had the mindset that to achieve my fitness goals that I had to eat strictly clean. That sugar and carbs were the devil and tracking my food seemed tedious.” says Billie-Jean Nye, who is a Canadian-based Bikini Competitor, that practices Flexible Dieting. ” I felt like I could never follow IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) because of these reasons. When really I was just scared to switch from what I knew… what was comfortable. I already weigh out of food all the time anyways, so what’s adding the step to enter it into a program, right?”

Before she started applying it to her training, she followed pretty typical competitor programs, without second guessing what she was putting into her body. And was hesitant to give the Flexible Diet a try.

“When I decided to switch to IIFYM/Flexible dieting I was skeptical at first,” she continues. “After seeing post after post of people eating pop tarts and ice cream I was pretty sure this was never going to work for me. But I had no idea what it meant to track my food and know exactly what was in it. IIFYM isn’t just about eating those types of food. But it does leave you the flexibility to fit those in when you can and when you need them!”

Which is the point of Flexible Dieting. To not mentally beat yourself up for having a treat while you occasionally indulge in fun or treat foods. And for her second bikini competition she gave it a try, after seeing some of her fellow competitors have success with it. But at first it brought the worry that allowing room to add in Oh-look-a-brownie type snacks would set her back many steps from all the hard work she achieved through the discipline. Later that worry dissipated, much to her delight.

For Vegan Fitness Guru Blair Wyatt, she was able to find almost a “food sanctuary” in Flexible Dieting, after dealing with the struggles of an eating disorder.


The before and after of Vegan Fitness athlete Blair Wyatt. 

“I have been practicing Flexible Dieting for almost three years now, and coming from previous struggles with binge eating and orthorexia, I have never felt more at peace with foods of all kinds, especially in prepping for shows!” says Blair. “Being vegan, Flexible Dieting made it a BREEZE to ensure that I was meeting my daily macronutrient intake leading up to my most recent show. Honestly, hitting fiber is never a concern for me anymore, and my intake of fruits, veggies, and whole food sources has increased dramatically since making the lifestyle change.”

For both competitors, removing the added stress of eating everything exactly as planned on a daily basis has helped both of them stay relaxed and focus on the fun part of competition, which is of course the gym.

“I’ve taken the term “cheat meal” out of my vocabulary and wow does it feel good!” exclaims Billie-Jean. “I no longer have to deal with the guilty feelings I would get after my cheat meal …. or often my cheat day. Now I eat for my goals and if I want something like chocolate or fries… well, I make it FIT! IIFYM has really helped me reclaim a positive connection with my food.”

And for plant based competitors that think following the tired and true bodybuilding formula of diet is difficult, Blair reassures that Flexible Dieting makes that the same concerns anyone has about going vegan and being an athlete are null and void.

“There are so many amazing resources and new foods out there for vegans, I was able to stay low carb, hit my protein, and come into my show feeling and looking better than I had ever imagined. Brands like Beyond Meat and Gardein have fantastic meat alternatives that offer a great deal of protein for minimal carbs, low fats, and they also include fiber and other vitamins, unlike the animal products I previously consumed.”


Billie-Jean proves discipline applied to the Flex Diet isn’t a non-stop “cake” walk. 

While there are some doubters in the public eye saying that flexible dieting doesn’t work due to it’s lack of restrictions, an optimist would quickly point out that any healthy diet, in order to work, requires discipline to keep it on track. And also one diet plan might work well for one person and not the other. This goes in the fitness world just the same. Where some competitors stick with the traditional bodybuilder diet leading all the way up to stage day, competitors like Billie-Jean have found what works best for her and her goals.

“I enjoy making whatever I want and just making it fit within my numbers.” Nye states. “It has given me a better understanding of food and what is in it. I now know exactly what I am putting into my body and I am making sure to get the proper nutrients I require. I am now 5 months post comp and only about 4 lbs up from my stage weight. I have energy and strength that continue to grow while I still remain fairly lean.”

METAL FOR YOUR GYM EAR: TEXTURES “PHENOTYPE”

Textures is a band that has really never strayed too far from the platform in which they began. Their debut, Polars, had a very youthful ‘djent’ like feel with some post-hardcore production in spots but the progressive attack was dominant in most songs, so you knew what you were getting into. After that, on the following albums, even while getting melodic, and more refined, the progressive metal stylings really were the glue of the sound. And if you’re a fan you know they really have hit their stride in the last two releases, Silhouettes and Dualism.

Phenotype completely blows those albums off the map.

And it takes a lot for me to say that because there are some outstanding tracks on both, and as full records, both are excellent experiences from start to finish. But Textures officially is dialed in, locked on target and prepared to own this genre now. Whatever you want to call aggressive progressive metal now, it’s theirs for the taking.

This isn’t to say you can’t identify with their influences at times. When they get heavy, you hear a little Meshuggah, or when they get epic you hear a bit of Devin Townsend, but then again, those two influence basically everyone anyways. It’s more a matter who has the sound that’s their own without being ripoffs. Texture is, without a doubt, their own band.

“Oceans Collide” opens with an outstanding energy that never really lets up through the whole album but it’s the second track, “New Horizons” that lets you know who’s in charge. In the course of about 90 seconds, the band goes from one of their trademark floating melodic phrases into a blazing assault of pit heavy mid tempo metal and then into one of the greatest fast picking guitar parts I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s like the song sums up the group in that short of amount of time. But what makes this album a signal of the band completely evolving into something nearly untouchable is what they’ve done to improve on all levels.

Dualism was a great record in that they paced themselves. It also had a very raw, almost strained vocal mix that at times sounded too on top of the mix. Phenotype has none of that. The mix is HUGE. And the vocals sit way better into the mix during the melodic parts but the compression on the screams is reminiscent of “City”- era Strapping Young Lad. The guitar mix is smoother, less crunchy and more blistering while Stef Broks drum work has to put him into the top 5 in metal at this point. As shown on “Meander” which is a quick drum beatdown that’s heavily effected for some cool audio candy.

By the time “Zman” and “Timeless” roll up to finish the 43 minute album off you’re still trying to catch your breath. But both finish the album with a soaring vibe that makes you want to hit the replay button almost instantly.

So in short, if you know this band, you’ll probably already own this by the time you read this. If you don’t and you call yourself a fan of ultra-talented musicianship, metal, and creativity, you owe it to yourself to download or buy this as soon as possible. If this doesn’t finish in my top spot for the year it will only be because someone named Meshuggah or Devin puts an album out in 2016. Otherwise, its Textures by a mile. The first great album of 2016.

BUY IT HERE

METAL FOR YOUR GYMEAR: CYPECORE SHOW THEIR IDENTITY

Time for another band we don’t know shit about. We stumbled across this group while doing our weekly You Tube research for killer new tunes. And let’s just say that FUCK YES describes our excitement here. All hail Cypecore.

Long and the short of it, they’re from Germany and live they apparently have a lot of theatrics. Which we like. Where other bands miss the mark with building a package that fits, this band appears to get the idea to create a sound, look and aura about what you do. Cheers to that!

Album wise, the Germans in Cypecore firmly have a grasp on what it means to be a futuristic sounding metal band. Remember Hord? Scarve? Old Fear Factory? Old In Flames? Well you’ll probably be stoked on these guys then. From the opening noise of the intro straight into “Saint of Zion” you get a heaping dose of punchy drums and razor sharp guitars cutting through the speakers with a mad demonic cyborg screaming for answers in a rundown broken world. The keyboards and electronics are sprinkled on all the right spots, like a tasty metal sundae. What could be better than that?

Another strength of the album is the choruses and melody. We’re not a HUGE fan of melody in modern metal because of lot of it has gone by the wayside of whiny metalcore boys living in a delusional relationship on Warped Tour. Fuck that. Give us melody where it needs to be and huge choruses the soar over the mix. That’s what you get with Cypecore. And it’s a formula that the genre of metal needs to balance out the opposing side of it all. For every sludgey analog tape-to-tape metal band we need futuristic sounding bands like this.

We’ll keep listening to this throughout the year but we don’t see why it couldn’t be a top ten album for us come December. It’s a sound we’ve loved for years and we’re glad Cypecore is doing it. Taking over where great bands like Hord left off.

MIC DROPS: YOU’RE NOT AN ALPHA

We have a confession to make.

The “SHE” tank top. It’s finally sold out and we at Metal Made Fitness can move on. But that isn’t the confession. Going forward the word ALPHA will not be printed on anything we make.

Somewhere along the lines of how modern life works, a definition was warped and twisted to fit posts on social media. It’s happened a lot, to many words over time. With “Love”. “Epic”. “Beast”.”Wolf”. And the latest, “Alpha”. Now we of course are guilty of this and attempted to slap it on a shirt to cash in on the craze, which we probably owe someone an apology for. It will never happen again. Please don’t make us sleep on a couch.


NO NOOKIE FOR YOU!

We have a decent guess on how this all started with “alpha”. People seem to think doing one single thing defines you as such, as means to latch on to something to boost a larger than life online persona. “I have a gym membership, now I’m a wolf”. “I bench press something, I’m now an Alpha”. “I have a set of testicles, I’m a beast now”. “I bought a new hat and keep the bill flat, I am an alpha wolf!!”

So here is your reality check.

Roughly 45-55 million people in the Unites States have a membership to the gym. Around 300 million or so get up in the morning and go to work, most early in the day. These two things don’t make you an Alpha. Neither does taking selfies Bro. Sorry.

Alpha defined by nature is “a male of a species deemed fit and suitable by the females to procreate with”. That’s it. And unless you’re actually using your sperm to constantly impregnate females for this specific purpose, not for pleasure, then you’re not an “Alpha”. Also by doing this, you’d be replenishing your Pride, which you don’t have, because you’re also not a lion. Or a wolf. Or a carnivore for that matter.


Pictured: A lion. Not a dude you know.

More so, everyone can’t be an Alpha. If you have nothing but “Alphas” running around, then it loses it’s zest and weight, like hundreds of people wearing the same cool shirt at a night club. It becomes a waterered down version of itself. Beyond that, a person can’t claim to be an Alpha (it’d be like calling yourself God essentially…Charles Manson did that and look where that got him) because the only people that MIGHT fall into this category would never call themselves an “Alpha”. And others would promote them as such, whether they want the tag or not. But like anything else, as soon as an article is posted saying “25 signs you’re an Alpha” everyone instantly goes to it seeing if they match up to some random websites definition as if that matters. IT DOESN’T. At all.

Do you have a beard? Great. Doesn’t mean you’re an alpha. Can you lift something heavy? Awesome. Still not an Alpha. Tattoos? I got those. Doesn’t make me an Alpha. Hold a job? Make car payments? Own a home? Started a business? Pay off a credit card? Traveled to a beach? Good for you. Good for us. Doesn’t mean we’re “Alphas”.


You’re a vitamin Bruh, not an Alpha.

No the actual natural definition is not really used in modern life. It’s using this “Alpha” as a state of mind or mindset of living, as in “Uber” or “Over all” or superior to all others, and again, if everyone runs around thinking they are, we just have a society filled with ego, which continually feeds the “look at me” syndrome that is unfortunately taking away the “us” and converting it into a “me”.

We use terms all the time jokingly or seriously to define us, our attitudes and the work we do. This is one that just flat out, when you look at it head on, is a stupid way to describe one’s self.

Bill Gates is the richest man in the world, worth 79.2 billion dollars. This by modern life would put him at the top of the food chain. I’ve never once heard of him describing himself as an Alpha. He’s too busy creating charities to help people, and setting up foundations. Is he confident in his abilities? Probably. Do you hear him bragging about it? Not really, no.

By this modern definition of how people might stick that tag on to someone, I’ve met in person, ONE, in my whole life who I could give that nod to. Matt Hume, the former MMA champ who runs AMC Kickboxing, I would consider an “Alpha”. Not because of things he’s done but how he conducts himself with his business, his craft and how he treats others. My time at AMC Kickboxing I got to see how he would interact, push people to their best, be tough on students, teach and instruct with 100% of himself at all times. It was a thing of beauty. But what defined him mostly was although he is a proud guy, he’s also extremely humble, with a quiet confidence and does not have to prove himself to anyone, ever. He’s not posting on social media non-stop about how his badassery, hastaging his life a day at a time. Since then, I’ve met many capable people, determined and passionate. People who have focus and drive. People who love what they do. And in my 38 years he’s STILL the only person I could ever give this tag to. What’s ironic is he’s a good dude and probably would never even want that tag to begin with.


You know he’d be hashtagging that shit #AlphaDog if he instagrammed. But Charlie don’t Instagram.

I know that with this confession it is an admission of fault. Looking back on making the SHE shirt with the Alpha tag on it was something I can call the one mistake I’ve made with the brand so far, and I can learn from it. Going forward, we’ll find better words to empower our faithful followers.

Powerful. Strong. Determined. Compassionate. Driven. Humble. Focused. Amazing. Awesome. Many of these words apply. Be all these. But you’re not Alpha.

METAL FOR YOUR GYMEAR:KOMBUR & FEIGN BRING NEW NOISE FOR THE NEW YEAR

So since we run our album of the year qualifiers from December to December, there are a few albums we’ll review that snuk into the guidelines. And since there is a chance that the major lame-ass metal sites miss stuff we enjoy (like Metal Injection hates Deathcore as to where we love lifting to it…) we get other albums a fair shake where they might not.

And two new Deathcore albums we’re pretty into at the moment are the latest from two bands on a smaller popularity scale. But we’d like to thank the youtube channel Brutal Core Music for highlighting. So props to you guys. Here’s the new heavy shit.

First off we downloaded the new album from the Texas-sized ass kickers Feign and their new album The New World Order. Taking a few nods from the might Black Tongue and Humanitys Last Breath, Feign manages to integrate the industrial style which melts so perfectly with Deathcore, or should be. A tight production and punchy-as-fuck drums along with a whole parking lot of Pro Tools trickery make this for an interesting listen when you’re kicking back, pushing the new modern limits of Deathcore with a progressive vibe, but in the gym, you just want to punch someone with bad form in the face when tracks like “Hatriotism” or “Exile” come on. This is one band to keep tabs on in the American Deathcore scene. Their style would fit perfectly opening up for anyone from Whitechapel to I Declare War. The New World Order is a powerful release with a lot of Deathcore standard fare, but a lot of intelligence in it’s delivery as well.

For the next review, let’s fly in our magic metal jet to France where the heavy music is always outstanding and unique. Kombur is a vile progressive Deathcore pile of pain that pushes bounderies, like any French band would it seems. Their new album I Am Alpha isn’t talking about some dude in the gym who thinks because he has a membership he’s an alpha wolf or whatever. They’re talking about the superior beatdown you get put through on tracks like “Challenge The Clock” or “The Fallen”. And you’re all “hey, I hear melody! THERE SHOULDN’T BE MELODY IN DEATHCORE!”. To that we say “eat shit” because there is no rules in metal, k? And Kombur shits all over the rule book in the same way many of the french bands do in their respective genres. Hard hitting, punishing but with a lot of daring attempts at melody and progressive technique as well.

Both albums are quality. Click the hyperlinks to check them out.

FUEL FOR THE FIRE: AMINO IN CHAINS

The Branched Chain Amino Acid playing field is full of pretenders and very few contenders. 


Ch-ch-ch-changes….

Sometimes I wonder if we should just relabel the fitness industry as the “Hype Industry”. It seems as soon as a good product is released you have 15 articles coming out about how it’s debunked, unnecessary and a waste of time. A good example is the Elevation Mask topic. Trust me, as a user I’ll get to that some other time but just like those who see something awkward and are quick to dismiss it there are plenty of other products on the market that are a part of an ongoing debate.

Branched Chain Amino Acids are no different.

So what are they? Well to get you ramped up to the argument if you’re new to it, BCAA’s as they are referred to, are a threesome of essential amino acids, a “menage a trois” of lathered up building blocks, wrestling naked in a vat of lube, climaxing for your muscles. Maybe. Possibly. Gross.


It might look something like this, just not as horrific.

But they’re essential, meaning in order to get your gains Bro, you need to make sure you’re getting these. The three suspects, Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine, met in a club, took some MDMA and went home and have been in an essential union ever since, but they’re doing it for you and your swole. Hilarious to think about it like that, isn’t it?


Pictured: Something the bible probably doesn’t condone as a workout.

Leucine, who provides the money shots in the scenes, directly stimulates protein synthesis. Isoleucine, who would be the dominant number two, improves glucose metabolism. Valine is a distant third in the scheme of things and while essential, kind of just lays there and takes it. And if you don’t have a diet or a food plan that is written by a complete schmuck, you should be able to get plenty of all these through the proper amount of protein. This is the first argument as to why they are overrated: if you eat right, you get enough as is.

So why buy them? Because just like anything else you buy, you’re sold these through FLASHY PICTURES and HOT BABES and BUFF DUDES and EXPLODING GRAPHICS AND FONTS with things like “Improved immune function” and “reduced fatigue” or “increased levels of post-exercise muscle growth and SWOLE!”. Coming up with stuff like this is really simple.


DRINK THIS AND YOU WILL BECOME A FUCKING GREEK GOD!!!

And a lot of the studies out there on people where it claims taking extra BCAA’s are necessary are generally skewed results, where test subjects are people who are ALREADY PROTEIN DEFICIENT. I know huh? But that’s marketing for you. The other reason why it’s not needed, as stated earlier is, you can get it from whole foods already.

So when SHOULD you be using this stuff? Ever heard of fasted training? You have now Bucko! But if you hate hyperlinks, here’s the skinny….consumed food breaks down into molecules that cells use, and are released into your blood. Insulin is also released and it’s job is to push these little guys into cells. If you eat correctly insulin levels remain up and erect like Peter North for a couple of hours. This matters because insulin blocks the breakdown of fat cells in the body. When you’re body enters a fasted state when it’s done taking all the nutrient from your food you’ve chomped and insulin levels go below normal levels. When you exercise in that state, you’re in the state of accelerated fat loss. And lifting shit in this state has been shown to be pretty effective.

But when you do this, muscle breakdown is increased also, and that just fucks up your gains over time. No good. This is where drinking BCAA’s during a workout is the most effective.

So now that you know there are some benefits to taking BCAA’s during a workout, you should know that very very few have the correct balance in the mix. Considering Valine doesn’t do much of anything, you really only need to take Leucine more than anything, since it’s the most important. But unless you wanna drink something that tastes like Highway 99 at 3am down an alley, you opt for a BCAA mix which usually has some kind of Stevia or Blue 56 flavor, which may or may not be the taste of real Windex.

So that’s the breakdown of why you may or may not need them. So do we take them? We do generally since we workout in a semi-fasted state a few hours from our last meal after work. We’ve noticed a difference after taking two different products. And remember we only recommend something touted as Vegan friendly because fuck any product that harms our animal friends. You know how we roll.

The first is produced by Kaged Muscle, which is the brain child of bodybuilder and trainer Kris Gethin. Nice guy, very into his products and if you go to the site, it has a lot of good information and science on his products. And he happens to make a vegan friendly BCAA. Though while unflavored giving it the taste of the chalk or brass, I can’t tell, the product itself is everything it claims to be. A clean mixing powder that dissolved instantly in water, and is free the evil DUCK FEATHERS AND HUMAN HAIR which most every BCAA is made out of. It’s derived from sunflowers and has a 100% vegan fermentation process. We did a one jar cycle of it which lasted two months. Good results and a good product. Our only wish is that even though it’s primarily a company that only makes this one product that is animal free, it’d be cool to see them release a Plant Protein to accompany it. While we like companies branching out, no pun intended, we do prefer to support companies that minimize it’s harm to them, if not 100%.

Enter the fine folks at Clean Machine. Started by Geoff Palmer, the idea was to create products for the folks that lift heavy that do so without hurting critters. We’re into it. So we opted to give the BCAA mix a go. Also devoid of DUCK FEATHER AND HUMAN HAIR, Clean Machine goes the route of fermented corn BCAA’s. It’s zero everything else which means no carbs, sugar, artificial this or that when it comes to the usual suspects. The one perk we do dig about this the Coconut Water powder that gives it natural electrolytes. So you get all your hydration WHILE you’re getting the BCAA’s needed during an intense workout. Geoff also explains another important factor in his process.

“Our line of products contains only natural ingredients, they use synthetic ingredients.” Geoff proclaims. “Some companies may call Synthetics “vegan”, but the source of the raw materials they start from before the chemical synthesis process could be derived from animal products. We do not use synthetic ingredients. All of our fermentation ingredients are from plant sources. That is why we can be 3rd Party Certified Vegan, while most other companies are not.”
And with 25 plus years in the natural products industry we’re going to bet a shiny nickel that Mr. Palmer and the Clean Machine crew have done everything possible to make their products as legit as possible.

So there is about the most comprehensive rundown of the BCAA topic as we care to get into. We have some metal to listen to now. Remember as with any product, ignore the hype, do your googling and find out the best resources of information before throwing all your money into the fitness industry marketing machine.

THE FIT AND THE FURIOUS: NADEGE CORCORAN

It’s been well documented that we have a thing for Canadians, especially in the fitness industry (and metal, but that’s for another discussion). If you were to ask us most anything about Canada we could probably tell you. Except New Brunswick. We really are in the dark about that part of the True North. We know it’s population is less than a million. It’s near Nova Scotia. They speak two languages. And there is at least one plant based fitness competitor there that is Metal Made. Other than that, we had to Wikipedia the shit out of it to figure out anything else about it.

But Nadege Corcoran calls it home. Just as she calls the gym home. Or the stage home. In a short amount of time she has already built a super impressive resume from competition. Bouncing between bikini and figure, Nadege has never finished lower than 7th (once) and maintained top 4 placing at minimum in all her other shows, showing the dedication she has not only to her training and pushing herself to stay in show ready form, and at her absolute best. And she owes a lot of it to her “For The Animals” diet keeping her strong, lean and able to train and recover like she’s training for the Olympics.

And with a busy palette of shows coming up in 2016, her focus remains the same. This includes the IFBB Natural International qualifier in New Brunswick in June and the IFBB Nationals in Winnipeg, which we’re pretty sure she’ll train her ass off for both. It’s how they roll in Maritime Providences.

MMF: So have you always been a gym rat? Did you grow up into sports or is this a new thing for you?

Nadege Corcoran: For some reason I was always seen by everyone as “active” but I really wasn’t. I played a bit of badminton and swam when I was younger but never really saw the inside of a gym until 3 years ago when I joined CrossFit. My big awakening was when I got lost in the trails in a park and had to go up a very steep hill to get back and had to pause a few times to make it up the hill. Then I realized I had to do something! I’m still a bit baffled that I stuck to CrossFit even though I was petrified!

I knew nothing about lifting but the coaches were amazing. I learned all the proper lifts and started feeling strong. Then I was hooked to working out! And the pushed me to understand what training with intensity was. I was fueled by wanting to turn my body into a tank that wasn’t afraid of a little hill. From there I eventually wanted to tackle goals other than “increase the weight on the bar”. So after 6 months of Crossfit, I switched to personal training and uncovered “gym workouts”. Dumbbells, barbells, machines, etc. I fell in love with it and came home one day saying “I wish this was a sport!” Little did I know it was! So it’s fairly new to me. 2.5 years. And I’m not a gym rat… I’m a gym unicorn for sure! (laughs)

MMF: So from all that when did competing come into play?

Nadege Corcoran: The fact that I, myself, spent so many years thinking that I had to eat animal products to be strong and healthy is what I want to help eliminate by stepping on stage. I don’t want to slander people for eating animal products. I was there myself and I know it is mostly from misinformation, peer pressure and a lack of listening to our inner self. It’s a journey and I don’t want to displace pain to animals by causing pain to humans. You attract more bees with honey! (…and leave the bees and the honey alone!) So instead of cramming something down someone’s throat I find that competing gives me a platform to showcase what veganism can do. It prompts people to ask me “how” and that helps. Most people that have that nagging feeling that what the massive industrialized animal product industry is doing isn’t ok will be prompted to ask questions. Veganism for health is also a gateway drug to veganism for the animals and for the environments in my opinion. So Health and Fitness is a great place for many to start exploring a plant-based diet.

MMF : Tells us about your experience with your first show, on stage. What you went through, how it felt to get up there, the kind of prep you did?

Nadege Corcoran : That’s a tough question for sure! There are so many things I could say! I LOVE doing things that are difficult so keep that in perspective with my answer. So when I say I loved it, remember that a piece of me loves conquering the impossible. So if that isn’t naturally in a person, they would have a totally different answer. The hard work and the dedication that it takes to get ready to step on stage is definitely not something I imagine everyone would enjoy. But I did! And I still do!

Essentially, I compare it to someone who loves running who shows up at their first race. It’s exciting and so motivating during training to have that date. The difference with a race is that everyone around you is super excited for you all the time. They love to see people running with them. They understand that to have a race you need many many runners and the finish line is the goal. Not placing. Even when you are trying to do a certain time to qualify for a certain high profile race. You don’t wish worst on other runners, you just run as best you can.

 ..The fact that I, myself, spent so many years thinking that I had to eat animal products to be strong and healthy is what I want to help eliminate by stepping on stage…”

Competing is similar in the sense that “show day” is like “race day” (exciting and motivating). BUT competitors there are not the same as runners… At least some of them.

People “size you up” and I found that very hard. Inside I am super competitive, but I hate seeing someone sad and self criticize because they compare. Which is probably the type of empathy that led me to veganism to begin with. So I found it hard to not self-sabotage in the competitive world. I would say that this is actually a very good thing that came out of that for me personally. It allowed me to come into my own and remain kind to people who maybe are hard on themselves but realize that they would do that regardless of me. So I do my best. Always.

But seriously overall it was a great experience! I have to say that my team, Blueprint Athletics, and my coaches have a lot to do with that. We are generally a very happy bunch the whole time backstage and we love the experience which produces amazing energy to feed off of. And for prep, my coaches support my goal of health first the whole way so I love prepping! Again… remember that I thrive off of really difficult challenge and I really enjoy rigor and structure.

MMF: A lot of people find it hard to be married or in relationships in this training lifestyle and or being vegan. How essential is the support you get from your guy to what you do? Is he also vegan?

Nadege Corcoran : I stay focused on the fact that I myself wasn’t vegan or into fitness when we met. And we have the same “live and let live” philosophy. So that’s first and foremost. I’m the one that changed and he does love me and support me. But he would support me in anything that betters my life and I would do the same for him.

So to answer the question, his support means everything to me! But him doing what I do is not important. There are times where competing gets hard on the schedule and there just seems to not be enough hours in the day and if it wasn’t for his understanding it would be mentally straining to get him to understand that I can’t “just skip this workout” or “eat this one bite of sweets” (which is what I hear other competitors go through when they don’t have a supportive spouse).

As for him being vegan, if you asked him, he would say he is not vegan but that he mostly follows a plant-based diet. But really… I can’t remember the last time he bought eggs, dairy or meat. So…..

As for working out, he’s always liked running more than anything and I learned to love that as well. Now that my strict competition schedule is loosed up a bit and I can workout a bit less structured, he has been joining me at the gym and he is following Robert Cheeke’s Shred It plan. He’s already feeling/seeing amazing results! I just joined the gym I go to so I think he got the bug (and I’m out of control excited about it!!!

Overall though, him supporting me is extremely appreciated and makes my life so much easier! BUT I’m ultimately I’m my own hero. I would do this with or without support. It would be more challenging if he wasn’t so supportive, but I would still be doing this.

Photo creds: http://www.Maghoodphotography.com
Stage Shot: Garry Bartlett photo