In today's June 15, 2009 newsletter . . .

  • EDT with a tweak

  • Fish Oil Scare Tactics

  • Enough about me. What about you?

EDT with a tweak

The following is a bodybuilding method from my book, Living the Fitness Lifestyle.

EDT stands for Escalating Density Training. I would like to say that it is my creation. But that wouldn't be true. The great trainer/coach Charles Staley figured out this one.

I’m paraphrasing now, but Staley explains EDT this way: Select a body part, let's say arms, and work them exclusively for 15 minutes. There’s nothing new in that, of course, but here's the rest of it. . .

  • You superset two opposing muscle group exercises.
  • For example, select a weight you can curl for 10 good, clean reps. Do the same for triceps extensions.
  • Use a stopwatch. For 15 minutes, superset the two exercises, doing 5 reps (not 10) in each set. If you reach a point where 5 reps are not possible, do 4,3,2 or 1. But don't reduce the weight.
  • Rest when you have to, but do as many sets as you can.
When you’ve finished, record your total reps for the 15-minute period.

Now here is the challenge

At each subsequent workout, keep doing sets of 5 reps with the same weight, but try to achieve a higher total during the 15-minute period. How do you do that? Your rest periods must get shorter. When you have gotten so you can do 20% more than your beginning workout total, increase the weight by 5% and start over. Anyone wanting to try it in its purest form should read Staley's material. My adaptation is a little different, which I’ll explain in a moment.

But either way, EDT is tough stuff, so the remainder of your workout should be designed for maintenance only. Use the 15-minute EDT period to really zero-in on one body part. In Staley's original, you rest 5 minutes after the first EDT session, and then do another 15 minutes, working the same body part but with different exercises. Here comes the tweak: Once around the block is enough for me, and I imagine it is enough for most people over 50.

In my version, I did preacher curls alternated in superset fashion with seated triceps extensions on an Icarian machine. The pump was great and I experienced some rep/weight capacity improvement. Did my arms grow another half-inch as a result? No. That's highly unlikely for someone my age (I was 66 at the time and already had 7 years of steady training behind me). Still, I had fun and was pleased with my modest gains. (Younger people with more growth potential on the same schedule should realize significant increases in strength and size.)

The rest of my upper body workout was for maintenance and consisted of 3 sets per body part, reasonably tough-to-get reps, but certainly nothing heroic. I worked this way once per week, and at my second upper body day during the same week, I did a maintenance only workout for my arms and the rest of my upper body. I did leg workouts on different days.

I would not recommend EDT for beginners. Beginners should first develop a solid fitness base with a program such as the one in Gray Iron: A Fitness Guide for Senior Men and Women. But after that, experimenting with different training methods and programs makes all the sense in the world. In fact that’s when the fun really accelerates.

Fish Oil Scare Tactics

An advertisement I read recently had the following headline: “Toss out those fish oil capsules . . . quick!” The ad went on to say that fish oil capsules are manufactured from large predatory fish filled with dangerous toxins, such as PCBs, mercury and other heavy metals.

To get safe omega-3s, the ad said, you should buy their product, which is a Krill oil (Krill are small, shrimp like crustaceans). It is a clever advertising trick. First they scare people about an established product, sold by a competitor, and then offer the safe alternative -- the product they are selling.

I have no way of knowing if their Krill oil is pure or not. And it is true that some fish carry dangerous toxins, typically large predatory fish. But their blanket statement suggests that all fish oils are loaded with dangerous toxins, and that is dishonest.

Of course it is smart to be certain you take a quality fish oil that is authenticated as pure. If you aren't sure about a product, ask a health care professional about it. I happen to take Vital Choice. Their fish oil comes only from wild, Sockeye salmon from pristine Alaskan waters. It is recommended by a number of well-known doctors. It is tested and certified by NFS International and the Marine Stewardship Council.

It is product worth your consideration. Click for more info

By the way, a subscriber who read about fish oil and omega-3 in my last newsletter sent the following note . . .

"Hi Logan,

"In reference to the above, my doctor recommended omega-3 fish oil (3,000mg twice a day) along with niacin to drop my cholesterol without meds. So far I have dropped it from 255 to 190. I certainly agree with you about the fish oil. It seems like they continue to find benefits from it's use. "Dale Miller

"PS..And thanks again for the newsletter."

Please note that Dale worked with his doctor to lower his cholesterol. Anyone with a medical problem should consult with a physician.

Enough about me. What about you?

Everyone has a fitness story, at least everyone who reads my newsletter. Why not share it with our readers on the Senior Exercise Central web site?

Here are few subjects and ideas that I know other readers like knowing about . . .

  • Do you have a home gym? Describe it and show a picture.
  • What motivated you to start working out.
  • Your favorite routine.
  • Special dietary practices.
  • Obstacles you've overcome.

Here is how it works.

Click to see this amazing compact gym system

The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to our subscribers. Our purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.

Always consult with your physician before making dietary changes or starting an exercise program.

Your comments or questions are always appreciated.


Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter