Tag Archive | "fitness"

Davey Wavey Wants To Get Your Body (And Booty) Beach Ready


By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Yes, it’s true – swimsuit season is here! Soon you will be stripping off the layers to reveal that body that hasn’t seen sunlight for months on end! And if you’re like most (gay) guys, you’re probably under the impression that your body needs a little work before stepping out in skimpy swimwear. No matter to what extent your body needs to be trimmed, it’s always a great feeling to get that workout in, which in turn will also help boost your confidence when beach or poolside.

So, here’s Davey Wavey to the rescue! His numerous YouTube videos about fitness and other topics (like why gay men hate their bodies so much) have thousands of followers and his website, DaveyWaveyFitness.com, is a veritable catalog of healthy living complete with exercise, nutrition and weight loss advice. And of course there are plenty of videos with lots of inspiration and to top it off they are certainly bad to look at, because Davey is usually half-naked in them. Just take a look at his Urban Street Workout below an tell me it’s not worth a second, third and fourth look. And how knows: maybe you’ll get inspired to get out there and do some of the exercises yourself!

His latest post is about a body part that most gay guys would want to have as firm and jutting as possible (especially in a swimsuit!): The butt! Davey recommends building the glutes (the butt muscles) by using the principles of progressive overload, which is basically increasing the resistance over time when performing a given exercise. Between many favorites he lists three exercises that will give you good results: squats, dead-lifts and lunges. All three cover more muscle groups than merely your behind but the focus is on your glutes. Click here to see other tips to train your behind and get video instructions as well if you’re unsure how to perform the exercise. Your beach body awaits!


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Trevor’s Tool(s)

By Dino Thompson-Sarmiento

He is a beautiful beast, everything is gargantuan and bulging on this man – his body carved by sweat, dedication and determination. As your eyes drink in his perfectly chiseled physique your heart is warned by his charm and gentle demeanor. He is funny and playful with a commanding presence whose soul blankets you with kindness. Trevor Adams, the perfect man is a successful fitness model, previous Playgirl “Man of the Month” and personal trainer. I called him up and asked if he would share some of his expertise with all the FENUXE Magazine gym bunnies and as usual he was more than happy to share his thoughts.

How many days per week do folks need to work out?
Trevor – Well it depends on your starting point. If you are just getting into the groove of things and the gym is a new experience for you, start off with just 2-3 days, skipping a day in between. It’s always best to get your feet wet first, this allows the body and mind to adjust, and then you can make the necessary adjustments after that. It’s best not to compare yourself to someone else and set your own (reasonable) goals and stick with it. If you’re a beginner, you may want to bring a workout partner or hire a trainer for motivation and instructional advice.

Should I eat before a workout and if I do what should I eat?
Trevor – It’s best to keep it simple prior to a workout in terms of consuming food. If you have a full stomach when working out, your body is focused on digestion and not working out. During the time of digestion, (and while working out) your body is supplying the stomach with oxygenated blood so your body is also having to redirect the blood supply to the necessary muscles which will result in you feeling fatigued. I would keep the calorie count under around 300 prior to a workout with strictly carbs/protein. If you can just consume this in liquid form (shake/smoothie) then you’ll thank yourself later as liquids absorb much quicker than solids and you shouldn’t feel the nauseous effects either.

What should I eat after a workout?
Trevor – I think most fitness enthusiasts would agree that protein and carbs are very important immediately following a workout. If you can accomplish this in a shake or smoothie formula it will absorb quicker. However, this most likely won’t curb your appetite, so you may want to incorporate quality sources of food (lean meat and carbs) for optimal results.

Will I have to do cardio?
Trevor – Well with all things considered, you don’t have to do anything, ha ha. You get out of something what you put into it – we’ve all heard the cliché. Cardio is great for a warm-up prior to weight training exercises or it’s good to do on the days where you may not have the energy for a full workout (with the weights) or if you aren’t an experienced gym-goer and cardio is all you know – it’s better to get in the gym and do something, however, you’ll find it more rewarding if you actually enjoy the process and don’t suffer through it. If you don’t look forward to your workout, guess what, you won’t be as enthused about coming back and you will undoubtedly quit.

Should I do Cardio or Weights first?
Trevor – I’d recommend cardio as a warm-up, slower speeds, progressing up to slightly faster speeds to get the muscles warmed up and then transition to weight training. Casual stretching is recommended soon after cardio as the muscles are more flexible at this point. Stretching while the muscles are cold and prior to a ‘warm-up’ will inevitably lead to a muscle tear or strain. Conversely, since weight training requires more energy, some people want to do it first, exhaust themselves, and then taper off with cardio. Either way can work – to each his own.

What is the best diet for weight loss?
Trevor – You’ll need to learn to start counting calories. If you don’t know your numbers, you’ll be dieting forever – there is no true way around it. That’s like trying to find out how much money you spent at the grocery store if you don’t have a receipt. The receipt allows you to itemize each product purchased and see exactly what the total is. If you can’t afford something, you browse the receipt, see what item doesn’t fit your budget and put it back, the price then becomes cheaper. A nutritional plan works the same way. If your day to day eating habits (nutritional plan) are under control then you’ll never have to diet again. A diet is a reduction in calories from your nutritional plan, so if your nutritional plan requires many calories per day and your diet requires much less – will you lose weight? Sure you will, however, you most likely won’t enjoy the process or quality of life for that matter. In addition, you’ll be yo-yo dieting for quite some time until you get your day to day eating habits under control. You can do this by counting calories and by learning the nutritional labels: protein vs fats vs carbs (macronutrients) and don’t forget to count the serving size as well. After counting your calories for each meal, beverage, and snack, (excluding water and diet sodas), jot these numbers down on a piece of paper for a week and get an average. If you don’t like the way you look at the end of the week, taper back a measly 500 calories per day. (doesn’t have to come from one meal) and watch the pounds fall off. If you want to taper off more, do so, you’re your own finish line. Best part is, you can still eat the foods you love but you now have a formula to follow to help you track your daily caloric intake and slowly lose the weight all without having to adhere to a traditional diet.

Are there any secrets or short cuts?
Trevor – There are many short cuts and here’s the short list: don’t keep ‘cheat treats’ accessible; this means at the home or the office. Keeping small ‘healthy’ snacks accessible (fruit, yogurt, lean cuts of deli meat, canned tuna fish, etc.) is a great way to help fight the cravings throughout the day and keep your calorie count in check (and your muscles fed properly). This doesn’t have to be done for every meal, again, try tapering off slowly. If you like regular soda, try switching to diet – by pouring half diet and half regular is a great way to taper off and although you probably won’t notice a difference in taste, you will see a drastic change in the calorie intake, (reg. 12 oz can of coke has 140 calories). Same with milk or other dairy products, you have the whole version of milk at 9 grams of fat per serving, all the way down to skim milk, with zero grams of fat. Jump from whole milk and taper to 2%, then 1%, then eventually skim – you can do it. You can’t begin something new without finishing something old, but the best transition is a reasonable transition. If you attempt to lose weight too fast, you will be fighting an uphill battle so move at your own pace but be consistent.

What are the pros and cons to using supplements?
Trevor – Well as you may know, the supplement companies make a lot of money from the consumers and often times will prey on their naivety. One shouldn’t always believe what the product is intended to do simply because of the athlete that endorses it. Yes protein shakes/bars are a convenient source of nourishment before or after a workout and can be cost effective and most likely won’t have any negative health effects, however, food is the purest form of nutrients. I think most of the negative effects that supplements will have would be the test booster supplements and perhaps the caffeine/ephedrine/aspirin supplements, better known as the ECA stack. Anything that is a stimulant and gives you energy has the potential for heart issues (especially if overweight), so as it indicates on the bottle, it’s best to consult your Doctor prior to use so you get a clean bill of health beforehand and also so you don’t give the product that was intended for healthy individuals a bad rap.

What if you are having trouble adapting to better eating habits – what can one do?
Trevor – The ‘tweaking method’ that I have discussed in a previous question and in my numerous blog contributions to Fitness RX for Men explains how to count calories, all while eating your favorite foods. It goes on later to explain how to tweak or taper off the calories or even select healthier versions or alternatives to these foods so the ‘process’ is much easier. It’s easier going to the party with friends that you know versus being in a room full of complete strangers, so while sticking with the foods you’re accustomed too and learning healthier alternatives, this should get you further along in my book. If you have a healthy nutritional plan, you won’t need to diet.

Is planking and strengthening your core as good as they say?
Trevor – Absolutely, your core is your body’s infrastructure and strengthening this region is essential in total body composition. You ever notice how boxers or fighters in general have really defined abs? This is mostly so they can throw punches with great effectiveness, (and take punches) all while being light on their feet.

I hear working out your legs is essential in weight loss – why is that?
Trevor – Well, next to having a solid core and a pumped upper body – you can’t have the skinny chicken legs now can you? You may think you’re King Tut, however, there are people talking about you behind your back. I hear them all the time. If you saw a big tree in the woods with a skinny trunk, trust me – it’d be the first to be blown over during a storm. The quads, as you may know, are the body’s largest muscle – and muscle feeds off of fat, so the theory is – if you have more muscle development, naturally your body will make better use of the fat for energy purposes (so don’t put the burden on your upper body mass solely). This will help you maintain your preferred weight easier; however, it isn’t an excuse to eat more fat. It also provides the body with a more symmetrical look and won’t leave you looking top heavy while wearing your speedos to the beach.

What can I do during office hours that will help me stay fit?
Trevor – Replace the cheat treats with healthier alternatives. For obvious reasons this will help you slim the waistline down a bit, but it will also cut down on your cravings for food so you don’t end up binge eating for lunch or dinner. Adjusting your workstation so you are standing and not sitting at the computer is not only better for the lower back, as it improves one’s posture, but you actually burn more calories while standing because your muscles are in use. If you’re able to take the stairs and not the elevator, do so. If your office is at the top of the Empire State building, get off the elevator a few floors below your floor and take the few extra flights of stairs the rest of the way. Challenge yourself to take an additional flight every week until you have reached your fitness goals, even if this keeps you out of the gym. If you like to eat lunch near your office, try walking there and walking back. Lastly, try walking during your lunch break after you eat – nothing too strenuous; you don’t want to vomit, but walk comfortably at your own pace. Where there is a will, there is a way.

For more information visit trevoradamsgym.com

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Get The Cover Look: Keeping It Tight

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Ever wonder what the models on the cover of FENUXE are wearing? Well, wonder no more because we are here to break it down for you!

Then again cover models Justin Tucker and Tyler Hendricks aren’t wearing much on this month’s cover, but their snug tights are both from Nike – Justin wears Nike Pro Combat Hyperwarm Tight ($70) and Tyler is in Hypercool Running Tights ($120). The shoot took place at Urban Body Fitness – thank you to Rad Slough and the staff for letting us use the facility!

Below are a few select shots from this month’s photo shoot along with a few outtakes that didn’t fit in the magazine. Enjoy!


All clothing by Nike
Photo: JR West


All clothing by NIKE
Photo: JR West


Tights and Top by adidas
Shoes by NIKE
Photo: JR West


Tights by NIKE
Photo: JR West


Tights by NIKE
Photo: JR West


Tyler’s outfit by adidas
Justin’s outfit by NIKE
Photo: JR West


Tights by NIKE
Photo: JR West


Justin’s outfit by NIKE
Tyler’s outfit by adidas (shoes by NIKE)
Photo: JR West


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Unwrapping Trevor’s Package

Dino Thompson-Sarmiento, Contributor

Christmas came early for me this year as I spent time interviewing spectacular fitness model, trainer, and December’s Playgirl Man of the Month Trevor Adams. He is captivating in every way; his physique would make Michelangelo forget David, yet his kindness would please Mother Teresa.

The 31-year-old is from Texas where everything is bigger and better … and Adams doesn’t disappoint. His beginnings were modest and troubled by family financial challenges. Growing up, he attended 13 schools in all, which severed his ability to connect with folks and put a wrench in achieving scholastic success. His father battled alcoholism and his only sibling is mentally challenged.

However, Adams managed to carve a career using his brawn and charming demeanor. He has graced countless magazine covers and is a prized trainer for many in Texas. I can only imagine how long the waiting list is. So now, I pass along my holiday treat to you in this candid interview.

Trevor, when did you come out as gay and what challenges did you confront?

I knew I was gay while growing up. My family was conservative, but not from a religious standpoint —more of a “what would people say” type of thing. It was best for me it to keep to myself. Once I moved out, I met folks that were more liberal and I felt comfortable being me. However, I don’t like labels. I think the word ‘gay’ has been punished. Many men have had same-sex experiences and it doesn’t mean you are gay as it is defined in our society.

What do you say to young men out there who are questioning their sexuality?

Be yourself, eventually the world will evolve. Yet, I caution teens from coming out. I don’t think it is safe for them. I would suggest taking a “don’t ask, don’t tell” type of attitude.

That’s a bold statement. Many folks would disagree. Isn’t it best to be who you are and let people meet the real you, and perhaps break the chain of ignorance and discrimination?

I think they need to come out when they feel it is safe. Some kids are lucky and attend progressive/liberal schools with a good environment. Rejection is tough and bullying even worse. I say be discreet; you have your entire adult life to be who you are. My concerns are with the kids.

Let’s switch gears and talk about fitness. What advice can you give men in their 30s and 40s who may have a little pooch that they can’t get rid of?

If you are carrying excess baggage it’s really simple. You are eating too much and not exercising enough. You need to become familiar with calorie counting. Try to eat at home or get an app on your smart phone that counts for you. Be aware of what is going in to your body. Reduce bread, pastas, and ice cream consumption. One of the biggest mistakes is making dinner your heaviest meal. Eat carbs early in the day. Also staying active is important to keep your metabolism going. It naturally begins to slow as you age. Some caffeine is good as it keeps your metabolic rate high. I suggest sports drinks and coffee.

Where should a person start?

It is important that you realize that it is a process. You should never just go from 4,000 calories and switch to celery sticks. If you were consuming 4,000 calories make your goal 3,600 for the next couple of weeks until you eventually meet your desired calorie intake. Remember, exercising will allow you to have the little cheat meal without guilt. Something else to keep in mind is that the bigger the muscle, the more calories you burn.
What about losing weight in target areas?

That is a myth. People think because they are exercising one specific area they will lose fat in that area. Well, that is not the way it works. That fat will start to burn first in the area where you store the most fat. Something else to keep in mind is that genetics play a big part in the way you look and the way your muscles build.

What are your thoughts on cardio?

I am not a fan of cardio. I think you should do five minutes to warm up and spend the rest of the time in strength training. For those who say you aren’t working your heart, I say then you aren’t strength training properly.

Yay! (Who wants to buy my elliptical machine?) But looking at your body, I won’t argue.

I feel that running, particularly, is counterproductive and dangerous. The older you get, the less strain you want to put on your joints. I often watch folks doing excessive heavy lifting and they are doing so much damage to their bodies just to keep up with the guy next to them. There is no need to do that.

What about alcohol? What drink would keep the fat away?

None is the best policy, but red wine has benefits if consumed in moderation. You should not drink when eating your meals, as the alcohol blocks proper nutrition absorption, plus your inhibitions go down and then you’ll be eating dessert too.

Trevor, tell me a little bit about what feeds your soul. For example, what charities tug at your heart?

The Trevor Project is close to my heart. I want everyone to know that there is help just a phone call away at the Trevor lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. I am also passionate about animals and encourage folks to donate to The Humane Society and the ASPCA.

One last question. I heard about your encounter with a bottle of hair coloring. Can you elaborate?

(Laughter) Yes, I can. It was back during Hurricane Katrina. I happened to be near the Gulf Coast and I was bored because the city was shut down. I decided it would be a great idea to dye my pubic area. Apparently I left the dye on too long and I ended up with second degree burns. I was bedridden for three weeks and even got bed sores on my back because I was literally unable to move. It was definitely my worst injury ever and I warn folks not to do it.

Trevor, thank you so much and congratulations on being named Playgirl Man of the Month, and good luck on the Man of the Year selection.

Thank you, Dino and Fenuxe readers!

You can see more of Trevor at trevoradamsgym.com

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Get Fit with Stepp Stewart and Dr. Oz

We have all seen Stepp Stewart and his fun dance workout routines on the Dr. Oz show. But on October 15th we can actually take part in the workouts when Stepp and Dr. Oz appear at the Atlanta Fit Fest at the Georgia International Convention Center. Activities and classes start at 9AM and run the whole day until 7PM. People looking to get into a little friendly head-to-head can join in the fitness competitions starting at 5PM.

The event will feature interactive booths with health vendors and service providers. There will be live entertainment on the main stage featuring performances and lessons by a wide range of fitness experts. Attendees can enjoy free health screenings, cardio dancing, Zumba, spinning, line dancing, rock climbing and urban rebounding. Other fun things include special areas for kids and seniors and even a mechanical bull.

Dr. Oz and Stepp Stewart will be joined be a laundry list of who’s who in the fitness world. Expected guests include: Frado Dinten of the Biggest Loser, former Miss Fitness America MaDonna Grimes, award winning choreographer Hinton Battle and YouTube wonders Matt & Ginny.

Tickets are only $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for kids 13-17 (kids 12 and under are free).

Click here to get your ticket or to learn more about the great event.

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Gay Bar Tipping Tips Revealed!

Dear Mary,

I have a friend who’s not always participating in proper etiquette for a gay bar (if there really is such a thing). He always tips based on the price of the drink, i.e. if a drink costs $4.75, he only tips 25 cents. He rounds up to the nearest dollar, unless the change is over 50 cents. I always just assumed you should tip at least $1.00 on any drink even if it’s just soda. Are all queens that cheap, or am I over-tipping? Could you give a lesson in gay bar tip etiquette?


Liquored UP in the ATL

Dear Licker,

Miss Manners and I hang out a lot. I’ve been to the bar with her countless times and I cannot begin to tell you how much that woman can drink – but even when she’s eight shots of Jaeger into the evening, she tips a dollar a drink. She also sends thank you notes to all the guys she goes home with, no more than six weeks after the night. She’s classy like that.

Personally, I think of this as a sliding scale thing. I’m a straight woman who almost exclusively goes to gay bars so if there just happens to be a bartender who will actually give me the time of day over the 300 men waving money at him, well, that man deserves a big tip. If it’s your run-of-the-mill, had-to-shout-him-down-and-then-he-got-my-drink-wrong scenario, I’ll tip 20%, even if that is only a quarter. To be fair, though, if I only tip a quarter, I can buy more drinks and then I’m far more likely to do something like tell him he’s so fantastic he deserves my watch or phone or car as a special tip.

I think the most important thing to do is give your friend a really judgmental side-eye every time they leave a shitty tip. That way, the bartender will know you don’t approve and will be more likely to pay attention to you, and it’s a passive aggressive way to comment on your friend’s behavior, which is the only kind of aggression I’m comfortable with.

Cheers, ya’ll!


Mary Makers-McMark

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Events: Lace Up, Roll Out

In a city full of activities for gay football fans, gay swimmers, gay volleyball players and more, it’s borderline shocking no one thought of gay rollerskating. Next thing you know, you’ll tell us there’s no gay drill team (Hey, wait a minute…).

Lucky for the tube sock wearing quad-skater in all of us, Brad Williams, Jungle, and The Heretic are presenting a rollerskating extravaganza. Lucky for homeless LGBT youth, it’s a benefit for CHRIS Kids called Love Skate.

The Jan. 16 event being held at Skate-A-Long USA in Lilburn is no ordinary spin around the rink with a “Hokey Pokey” break. This is a gay rollerskating event, and you can’t have gay rollerskating without a drag roller derby race. It just wouldn’t be natural.

Rollerskating games and contests are on the agenda as well, including a wig snatch. Bring a wig, put it on, and when the organizers say go, everyone skates around and tries to snatch the wigs off one another. The last one wearing their wig wins – just like in life. Also, if you’re into the group thing, be sure to participate in opportunities to make new friends during Group Skates.

Games aside, Love Skate will roll far in benefiting the LGBT youth that CHRIS Kids supports. “We are ready to roll out colorful clothing and roller-boogie to support our mission to heal children, strengthen families, and build community,” CHRIS Kids director of development Beth Keller tells Fenuxe. “Brad Williams is so creative and a strong supporter of the community.”

Williams was motivated by two factors – to help those in need and to create an event that didn’t require staying out all night. “I hate to admit it but I’m getting older and find the late hours of going out to clubs sometimes wears me out,” Williams says. “Realizing that but also still wanting to have some fun, I came up with an event where people of all ages can come out, have a great time, and still get home early enough to get up and be productive the next day.”

If Love Skate goes well enough, Williams plans to make it a quarterly event benefiting a different charity each time. P.A.L.S. is already on board for the next event in March and Joining Hearts is being approached for a June date.

But for now it’s CHRIS Kids’ turn to benefit from our drag-roller-derby-playing, wig-snatching group spin around the rink.

Love Skate

A Benefit for CHRIS Kids

Jan. 16 at 6PM at Skate-A-Long USA

$20 donation covers skate rental

Pre-sale tickets available now at Jungle or The Heretic

Directions: Take I-85N to Exit 102 – Beaver Ruin Road. Merge right onto Beaver Ruin and go 2.7 miles. Skate-A-Long USA will be on your left.

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Eats: The Real Chow Baby

Clear away all the static about supplements, workout routines, and diets and you’re left with one core issue when it comes to health and fitness: personal choice. Do I go to the gym today or drive right past it for a stop at Zesto’s? Do I buy that shake weight even though I would look like I’m trying out for Falcon Studios?

Dine-out choices in particular can make or break our health and fitness goals, and no restaurant in the city gives patrons more power than The Real Chow Baby. A recent stop inside the new Ponce location revealed significant changes from the popular Howell Mill location.

While the cozy red and black color scheme stays intact, co-owner Chip Joyner went for a new wide open layout. The bar and hostess station are up front and the kitchen is so open for viewing you can see every last grain of rice being stir-fried on the 5-foot-wide flat top grill.

But the create-your-own stir fry rules stay the same. A glance at the wall in the beginning of the line reveals a floor-to-ceiling menu with nutritional info to help guide you along.

Chow Baby’s lineup of vegetables, herbs, fruits, and meats is massive and flavorful. The Ponce location has expanded their gluten-free and vegetarian menus. There are more steamed items as well. We topped our brown rice with broccoli, cheese, cilantro, garlic, red onions, a boiled egg, green peppers, and mushrooms, then added chicken and sausage in a ginger lime basil sauce and let it fry. So we tempted ourselves with a cheat option or two.

10 minutes later our creation was on the table and getting devoured. There’s something about selecting every last ingredient of a meal that will satisfy the control freak in all of us. Washing it all down with Chow Baby’s gluten-free beer allows for a nice compromise between kicking back while staying health-conscious.

Staying in shape doesn’t mean you can never eat dessert again either. Cut down on portions and split a dish like Chow Baby’s tangy key lime pie with a graham cracker crust and you won’t feel guilty enough to double your time on the elliptical the next day.

It’s tough getting and staying in shape with so much temptation out there. Luckily Chow Baby is offering more opportunities to get real in 2011.

The Real Chow Baby

782 Ponce De Leon Ave.

Atlanta, GA 30306

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Lean + Hard for Life

by Benjamin Bradley

A new year means a new lease on life. New beginnings, new goals; a fresh new start. And new diets? New gym memberships? Isn’t that how you ring in the new year – through crash dieting and haphazard exercise? If you read ‘false start’ instead of ‘fresh start’, absolutely.

Instead of condemning yourself to a second or third-rate physique matched only by the number of helpings you indulged in over the holidays, turn this new year’s fresh start into a head start. Begin employing common sense strategies for changing your body composition from soft and smushy to lean and hard right now. Why is this important? Because you want to look and feel good while lowering your risk of developing heart disease and adult-onset diabetes (type II), and fit into those hot new jeans you bought at the Bloomy’s pre-sale!

Simple, logical eating habits will go a long way in reshaping your body for the new year and beyond. Eat for what it is you’re doing, or more specifically, eat for the next three hours of your life. Ask yourself basic questions like “Will I be watching TV for the next few hours?” You won’t expend many calories sitting on your rump watching A-List: New York. With that in mind, eat lightly; basing your sedentary meals on lean protein and healthy fats, and eat carbohydrates sparingly. Will you be running a 10k after this meal? Stock up on unrefined carbohydrates and lean protein with minimal fat.

How can you tell what it is you’re supposed to eat for any given frame of time? Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of fuel for anything physically demanding, and protein is for the growth, repair and maintenance of bodily tissues. Certain types of fat are essential in our diet for vitamin solubility / assimilation for brain and body function, but in excess may readily be stored as body fat since dietary and body fat share similar chemical structures.

As part of your resolution for 2011, re-frame food’s purpose in life by treating it for what it is – fuel for activity, not belly stuffing, you turkey. Be aware of the day’s demands and activities. Eat accordingly: sometimes sparingly, sometimes in reasonable excess, but all the time strategically.

Benjamin Bradley has over nine years of nutrition and fitness expertise. After studying Nutrition and Dietetics at Western Carolina University, through his ISSA Fitness certification he is now the Facility Trainer for multiple Atlanta area Anytime Fitness locations.

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Mystery Men: Waking From Atlanta’s HIV Slumber

Men who have sex with men. MSM. It’s the simple catch-all term used in studies to define gay and bisexual men. The term “MSM” doesn’t conjure up the typical light-hearted stereotypes that are associated with the word “gay.” MSM doesn’t sound fashionable or fun. It’s cold, clinical, and it’s exact. And it’s who we are.

Nationally, MSM represent 2% of the U.S. population, yet account for more than half of all new HIV infections. MSM are the only risk group for HIV in which new infections have increased steadily since the early 90s.

“Since the beginning of the US epidemic, MSM have consistently represented the largest percentage of persons diagnosed with AIDS and persons with an AIDS diagnosis who have died,” reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A CDC report issued in September revealed both encouraging and frightening results for Atlanta’s gay community. In a nationwide study, Atlanta had the lowest HIV rate among MSM versus all other cities in the study, at 6 percent. However, Atlanta was near the top of the list in MSM who did not know they were HIV positive, at a whopping 55 percent.

So why the mystery over the community’s HIV status?

“A Renewed Epidemic”

Tracy Elliott doesn’t hesitate when asked what the barriers are to HIV prevention.

“Apathy and indifference,” says the executive director of AID Atlanta. He cites a misguided feeling among many in the community that HIV is no longer a dangerous or deadly disease.

“There’s also a sense of fatigue on the part of people my age who’ve been dealing with this now for close to 30 years and people are tired of it,” he says. “But the danger is still there.”

Breakthroughs in HIV medication and science have also had the unintended consequence of giving a false sense of security. Those living with HIV/AIDS often take “the cocktail” – a combination of antiretroviral drugs taken to combat the disease.

Last December, on the heels of World AIDS Day, a 40-year-old American man in Berlin was classified as cured of HIV. The announcement came three-and-a-half years after Brown underwent a transplant of HIV-resistant stem cells for the treatment of leukemia. Doctors and scientists have been quick to point out that the treatment cannot be applied to the vast majority of HIV patients.

We should be clear that this ‘cure’ will in fact have almost no impact on the average HIV-infected patient,” says Bert Jacobs, a professor at Arizona State University at Tempe as reported by EmaxHealth.

It’s a combination of seemingly beneficial events that unfortunately lead to riskier behavior like unprotected sex. “The way that human beings react to risk is that it’s got to be pretty immediate before it significantly changes behavior,” Elliott says. “And the risk doesn’t seem to be nearly as immediate as it used to be. It’s still there but it doesn’t seem to be as in our faces as it once was.”

The numbers of young MSM unaware of their positive HIV status are skyrocketing as well, which doesn’t bode well for the future. “You just think about how many people are unaware of their status, and of course those people are much more likely to spread HIV as statistically shown by the CDC,” Elliott says.

“You have on your hands a renewed epidemic in a sense. It’s a different kind of epidemic but it’s still shocking and alarming.”

Eyes Wide Open

Whatever the excuses people find for not getting tested, the fact remains we’re still losing each other. We’re not losing a generation of gay men overnight like we were in the 80s and 90s, but we’re still losing each other.

“I had a friend in Indianapolis die over the weekend of HIV/AIDS,” says Elliott. “He was under 35 years of age, so this is still a disease that claims young and vital lives. This was an amazing musician who just had an amazing zest for life.”

The death has rocked Indianapolis’ gay community out of a peaceful slumber regarding HIV/AIDS. “Unfortunately it takes something like that to get us to recognize that this is still a very dangerous situation,” Elliott says.

The way to keeping something like that from happening in Atlanta is clear. Getting tested, asking a potential sexual partner’s status, and practicing safe sex are basic adult decisions.

“You’ve got to take responsibility for yourself and not depend on anyone to protect you,” Elliott says.

AID Atlanta

1605 Peachtree St. NE

Atlanta, GA 30309

Get tested Monday-Thursday, 12PM-7PM



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