Narcissism at the Gym

Arab looking in mirror at gym

Narcissistic personality disorder

Although most individuals have some narcissistic traits, high levels of narcissism can manifest themselves as a pathological form as narcissistic personality disorder, whereby the patient overestimates his or her abilities and has an excessive need for admiration and affirmation.

Campbell and Foster (2007) review the literature on narcissism. They argue that narcissists possess the following “basic ingredients”:

Positive: Narcissists think they are better than others.

Inflated: Narcissists’ views tend to be contrary to reality. In measures that compare self-report to objective measures, narcissists’ self-views tend to be greatly exaggerated.

Agentic: Narcissists’ views tend to be most exaggerated in the agentic domain, relative to the communion domain.

Special: Narcissists perceive themselves to be unique and special people.

Selfish: Research upon narcissists’ behaviour in resource dilemmas supports the case for narcissists as being selfish.

Oriented toward success: Narcissists are oriented towards success by being, for example, approach oriented.

Narcissistic traits

-An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
-Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
-A lack of psychological awareness (see insight in psychology and psychiatry, egosyntonic)
-Difficulty with empathy
-Problems distinguishing the self from others (see narcissism and boundaries)
-Hypersensitivity to any sleights or imagined insults (see criticism and narcissists, narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury)
-Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt
-Haughty body language
-Flattery towards people who admire and affirm him or her
-Detesting those who do not admire him or her
-Using other people without considering the cost to them of his or her doing so
-Pretending to be more important than he or she is
-Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating his or her achievements
-Claiming to be an “expert” at most things
-Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people
-Denial of remorse and gratitude

Hotchkiss’ seven deadly sins of narcissism

Hotchkiss identified what she called the seven deadly sins of narcissism:

Shamelessness: Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.

Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.

Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.

Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person’s ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.

Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an “awkward” or “difficult” person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.

Exploitation: Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.

Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist there is no boundary between self and other.

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Body Image – Men

Your body image is what you think you look like. This may have no bearing at all on your actual appearance. Around one in four Australian men in the healthy weight range believe themselves to be fat, while 17 per cent of men are on a weight loss diet at any given time. Men also worry about being muscular. A desire to fit the ideal masculine image of lean muscularity means that over-exercising and the use of dangerous and illegal drugs (like steroids) are on the rise.

It’s estimated that about 45 per cent of Western men are unhappy with their bodies to some degree, compared with only 15 per cent some 25 years ago. Gay men and athletes are particularly vulnerable to poor body image or feeling insecure about their bodies.

Self-destructive behaviours
A negative body image encourages a range of self-destructive behaviours, including:

* Dieting – around 17 per cent of men are dieting at any given time.
* Eating disorders – one in 10 people with anorexia nervosa is now male, while 4 per cent of men are purging (vomiting, also known as bulimia) and about 3 per cent of men have problems with binge eating.
* Exercise dependence – around 20 per cent of regular exercisers (approximately 5 per cent of the population) are addicted to exercise, either psychologically or physically.
* Steroid abuse – around 3 per cent of Australian teenage boys use muscle enhancing drugs (like steroids).

A range of causes
Some of the factors that contribute to a negative body image include:

* Teasing in childhood and adolescence (for being too thin, too weak or too fat).
* Peer pressure among teenage boys to be tough and strong.
* A cultural tendency to judge people on their appearance.
* The emphasis on male sports players as role models for boys.
* Advertising campaigns and media coverage featuring idealised male images.
* Promotion by society of the ideal man as always being strong, lean and muscular
* Well-meaning public health campaigns that urge people to lose weight.

The figures could be higher
Most experts believe the real figures on eating and exercise disorders among Australian men could be much higher. Men are less likely to seek medical help than women for any type of illness. Since worrying about weight and body shape has always been seen as a ‘female’ problem, men are even less likely to ask for help, for fear of looking weak and effeminate.

Healthier choices
A negative body image develops over the course of your life, so changing it can take time and effort. Suggestions on improving your body image include:

* Reflect on your experiences and try to unravel the influences on your body image from childhood.
* Try weighing yourself less often.
* Make a pact with yourself to treat your body with respect, which includes eating well and not embarking on punishing exercise routines, or taking drugs.
* Try to strike a healthy balance between being concerned about how your body looks vs the way it functions.
* Get informed by reading up on body image issues.
* Develop a range of reasons for exercising (such as stress release or improved concentration), rather than concentrating only on changing your body shape.

Type of help available
If you are feeling depressed about your body, or if you are developing destructive behaviours (like crash dieting, binge eating or compulsive exercising), then professional help is a good idea. There are counsellors and psychologists, trained in the areas of body image, who can help you change negative beliefs and behaviours.

Where to get help

* Your doctor
* Counsellor
* An Accredited Practising Dietitian, contact the Dietitians Association of Australia
* The Eating Disorders Foundation Victoria (03) 9885 0318 non metro callers 1300 550 236

Things to remember

* Body image is the way you perceive, think and feel about your body.
* Poor body image is becoming a male problem too, with around half of all men feeling unhappy with their body shape or size.
* Figures on male anorexia, bulimia and exercise dependence could be much higher, since men are traditionally reluctant to seek medical help.

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Most Important Factors To Consider When Losing Weight And Burning Fat


In general, people will practice cardiovascular activities and forget about weight bearing exercises when it comes to burning fat. Yet there are still many trainers who will say that aerobic exercises burn off fat and weightlifting is only used to build muscle bulk. This statement is not entirely correct because the more muscle mass one acquires through weight-bearing exercises, the more he will burn fat calories even at rest.

Cardiovascular activity combined with weight training will result in much more effective fat loss. Cardiovascular exercises will raise muscle metabolism during the activity and for a short time after the exercise session. Weight training, on the other hand, will raise your muscle metabolism during the exercise session and for a long time after the exercise session. Some high intensity trainers have even seen their metabolism rise for several days following their training session.

Performing adequate weight training exercises should limit your repetitions anywhere from 1 to 20 (more or less). Such resistance on muscles will make their tissue leaner and stronger. The muscle development will take place during the rest period following the resistance training. Therefore, sufficient rest periods are essential.

Whether your goal is to tone or build muscles, it is important to know what happens during the muscle training process. When lifting weights, muscle tissues are torn apart (at the microscopic level) from the stress, and it’s in the recuperation period that your muscles become stronger and, therefore, able to support the extra stress. Usually the recuperation period required is 24 to 48 hours after the weight lifting activity.

The last most important factor to consider when trying to burn fat or lose weight is that lots of muscle mass can be lost as a result. As muscle mass will keep your metabolism high, try to avoid quick weight loss through miracle diets or starvation. This weight loss will be regained just as quickly. Instead, opt for a gradual fat loss routine by combining weight training and cardiovascular activities, and allow muscle mass to build up and increase your metabolism. Results may take a little longer, but they will last for a longer period of time.

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Benefits of Rowing

Whether you already row or are considering rowing to keep in shape, lose weight, cross-train for another sport, compete on the water or rehabilitate from injury or surgery, rowing is the complete exercise for you.

Arms, legs, chest, back, abs—even your mind. Your whole body gets a complete workout from the efficient, rhythmic motion of rowing. Rowing is such a great exercise in so many different ways.

* Low-impact (easy on the knees and ankles)
* High calorie burner (because it uses so many muscle groups)
* Great for joint health (joints move through a wide range of motion)
* Upper body (completes the stroke)
* Lower body (the legs initiate the drive)
* Works the back and abs too!
* Superb aerobic fitness (great for cardiovascular fitness)
* Relieves Stress (for overall health and well-being)

This is different from the rowing you may have done as a kid in a rowboat. The difference lies in the sliding seat. Your legs compress and extend with every stroke—in addition to the more obvious work being done by the back and arms.

Legs: You begin each stroke with your legs compressed and your shins vertical. You initiate the drive with the powerful muscles of your legs, and finish with your legs fully extended. Rowing promotes both strength and flexibility through this wide range of leg motion.

Arms: At the catch, your arms are outstretched; at the finish of the stroke, they have pulled the handle into your abdomen. As with the legs, this range of motion promotes both strength and flexibility.

Core: chest, back, abs: At the start of the stroke, the power of the legs is connected to the handle by means of the arms and the core muscles of the body. Then the back is more fully involved as it swings open through the middle of the stroke. Finally, the body is stabilized at the finish by the abdominal muscles.

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The Advantages Of Training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu


If your goal is to become a fighter or to be able to defend yourself completely, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu has significant advantages over most other martial arts. It remains the only single style that addresses all areas of fighting completely without the need for cross-training. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu was designed as a fighting style to defeat other martial arts, where styles like Boxing, Karate, Kung Fu and Tae Kwon Do all specialize in striking someone, none of them present solutions for someone who is pinned on the ground; conversely, Jiu-jitsu offers solutions for defending against striking attacks while standing and on the ground in addition to all methods of grappling attacks. With the popularity of contests like the Ultimate Fighting Championship, you will see people naming their styles as Wrestling or Kickboxing, but they all (and must) supplement their training with Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. To this day, there are still fighters entering the cage with Brazilian Jiu-jitsu as their only method of training to ensure their victories.

The Military has recognized the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu as a martial art not only for sportive contests, but in the real world as well. America’s Army cannot afford to buy into theories or Hollywood myths about martial arts; for a soldier, knowledge of martial arts is life and death, not a hobby or a film script. Through a scientific method, trial and error and process of elimination, The United States Army chose Brazilian Jiu-jitsu to be the core of their Combatives Program. In 2002, SFC Matthew Larson re-wrote the Army Combatives Manual (FM 3-25.150) and made Brazilian Jiu-jitsu the backbone for the entire work. Today, it is hard to find any elite Military or Law Enforcement agency that does not incorporate Brazilian Jiu-jitsu as a serious part of their doctrine.

12 reasons why Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is great for your mind and body:

1. Losing weight and gaining a ripped functional body

2. Helps release stress through riveting physical activity

3. Teaches you to protect yourself and your loved ones

4. Surprise yourself with what you’re capable of achieving

5. Avoid confusion and unnecessary situations

6. Make lifelong friends

7. Gain greater vigor and energy throughout the day

8. Quit cigarettes and other bad habits

9. Become full of self-confidence and self-love

10. Learn ways to change what you don’t like about your life!

11. Jiu Jitsu teaches you to move and to use your body improving your coordination

12. Gives you another goal to achieve in life, should you choose to master the art or achieve success in competition

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7 Ways To Achieve Fat Loss

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Bodybuilders Nutrition Myths


How do bodybuilders keep going on this diet of myths and contradictions?

Professional bodybuilders look great during competition, and most of them believe that their ‘ripped’ physiques are at least partially the result of their carefully planned nutritional programmes. However, new research carried out by Janet Brill at Florida International University indicates that most bodybuilders have weighted down their minds with a load of nutritional bunkum. At best, these faulty beliefs waste bodybuilders’ money; at worst, they may actually make it harder to produce the rock-hard physiques which bodybuilders desire.

After surveying 309 male and female bodybuilders, Brill discovered that the following myths about nutrition were prevalent:

Myth No. 1: Protein supplements are necessary to build muscle mass. Fact: Whenever a bodybuilder lifts a weight during a workout, carbohydrate – not protein – provides the necessary energy. Therefore, large amounts of carbohydrate are required to carry out the strenuous training needed to stimulate muscle growth. The excess dietary protein which bodybuilders consume isn’t funneled directly into muscle production; in fact, the builders’ bodies actually convert extravagant quantities of protein into carbohydrate, which is then metabolized for energy.

Myth No. 2: Carbohydrate loading just before a competition helps to ‘pump up’ muscles. Fact: When carbohydrate (glycogen) is stored inside muscle cells, water is stockpiled, too, so this belief seems logical at first glance. After all, maybe that accumulated water could make muscle fibres swell up a bit. However, if carbo-loading really produced a ‘maximum pump’ marathon runners would have gargantuan arms and legs instead of their characteristically scrawny appendages. Indeed, scientific research has shown that carbo-loading doesn’t expand muscle-cell diameters at all.

Myth No. 3: Carbohydrate loading stretches the skin, making muscles bulge. Fact: Carbo-loading doesn’t broaden the muscles, so there’s no extra pressure put on the skin. Also, carbohydrate isn’t stored in the skin, so there is no reason for the body’s outer covering to change in any way.

Myth No. 4: Consuming extra quantities of sodium increases muscle definition. Fact: The hypothesis is that the additional sodium will pull water into muscle cells, making the muscles expand, but there is absolutely no evidence that this actually happens. In fact, the extra sodium is usually simply dumped into the urine.

Myth No. 5: Sodium restriction increases muscle definition. Fact: Again, there’s no supportive evidence, but this widespread belief, the exact opposite of Myth No. 4, gives a good indication of the nutritional confusion which prevails among bodybuilders.

Myth No. 6: Bodybuilding magazines are the best source of information about sports nutrition. Fact: Bodybuilding magazines can’t survive on subscription sales alone; they need the advertising revenues which they receive from nutritional-supplement manufacturers. It’s doubtful that bodybuilding publications will ever bite the hand which feeds them; after all, contradicting the unverified nutritional claims made by supplement makers could lead to a loss of advertising.

Myth No. 7: ‘Growth-hormone releasers,’ including amino acids such as arginine and omithine, are effective alternatives to steroids for enhancing muscle growth. Fact: There’s no solid evidence that the releasers have an anabolic effect.

Not surprisingly, Brill found that only 1 per cent of bodybuilders get their nutritional information from registered dietitians. The same percentage of builders derive their dietary information from family members and friends – or from television! In contrast, about 50 per cent of all bodybuilders receive their primary nutritional advice from other bodybuilders, and 17 per cent rely on bodybuilding magazines. Overall, ‘someone who has recently won a contest is viewed as a far more credible source of nutritional information than a nutritionist or an exercise scientist,’ notes Brill.

How do bodybuilders look so great – when their nutritional beliefs are so flabby? I will have to let you use your imagination to resolve that strange paradox. *cough* STEROIDS!!! *cough*

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Muscle Memory


Although the precise mechanism of muscle memory is unknown, what is theorized is that anyone learning a new activity, or practicing an old one has significant brain activity during this time. The walking child is gradually building neural pathways that will give the muscles a sense of muscle memory. In other words, even without thinking, the child is soon able to walk, and the muscles are completely accustomed to this process. The child doesn’t have to tell the body to walk; the body just knows how to do it, largely because neurons communicate with the muscles and say, “walk now.”

Muscle memory thus becomes an unconscious process. The muscles grow accustomed to certain types of movement. This is extremely important in different types of training for sports. The more often you do a certain activity, the more likely you are to do it as needed, when needed. If you’ve kicked thousands of field goals, exercise physiologists assume that the likelihood of being able to kick one during an American football game is pretty good through muscle memory. You don’t have to think, “I need to make this kick.” Your body already knows how to do it.

This is one of the reasons that with many activities that involve the body’s muscles, like playing an instrument, learning appropriate technique is always stressed. You want your muscle memory to reflect the correct way to do things, not the incorrect way. Your muscle memory can actually play against you if you’ve constantly been practicing something the wrong way.

Music teachers often make this contention. It’s a lot harder to teach someone who’s been playing an instrument for a few years because the first step is breaking them of all the bad habits they’ve acquired, which are now part of the muscle memory. Similarly, if you learn to bat, throw, kick or pitch wrong, your muscle memory has to be overcome, and new neural pathways formed to be a better athlete.

Most top level athletes and performers in a variety of fields believe that muscle memory is best developed when the same activities are practiced over and over again, with any corrections of form that are needed. Continual practice may mean you can make that perfect golf swing every single time (or almost), or hit a high note every time if you’re a singer.

Some may say Muscle Memory is a myth, but ask yourself this. Why is it possible for an athlete to come back from a horrendous injury, such as a broken leg. But still be able to come back, and still be able to perform at the same peak level again.

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Mental Health


Are You Bipolar?

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) causes serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior–from the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other. More than just a fleeting good or bad mood, the cycles of bipolar disorder last for days, weeks, or months. And unlike ordinary mood swings, the mood changes of bipolar disorder are so intense that they interfere with your ability to function.

During a manic episode, a person might impulsively quit a job, charge up huge amounts on credit cards, or feel rested after sleeping two hours. During a depressive episode, the same person might be too tired to get out of bed and full of self-loathing and hopelessness over being unemployed and in debt.

In the manic phase of bipolar disorder, feelings of heightened energy, creativity, and euphoria are common. People experiencing a manic episode often talk a mile a minute, sleep very little, and are hyperactive. They may also feel like they’re all-powerful, invincible, or destined for greatness.

But while mania feels good at first, it has a tendency to spiral out of control. People often behave recklessly during a manic episode: gambling away savings, engaging in inappropriate sexual activity, or making foolish business investments, for example. They may also become angry, irritable, and aggressive–picking fights, lashing out when others don’t go along with their plans, and blaming anyone who criticizes their behavior.

Common signs and symptoms of mania include:

* Reckless, intrusive and aggressive behavior
* Denial that anything is wrong
* Abuse of drugs and alcohol
* Increased sex drive
* Excessive spending
* Increased energy and restlessness
* Abnormally euphoric mood
* Little sleep needed
* Feeling unusually “high” and optimistic OR extremely irritable
* Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about one’s abilities or powers
* Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
* Talking so rapidly that others can’t keep up
* Racing thoughts; jumping quickly from one idea to the next
* Highly distractible, unable to concentrate
* Impaired judgment and impulsiveness
* Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences
* Delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases)

Why YOU Think you are JESUS: The Spiritual ‘Delusions’ of Bipolar Disorder

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Mental Fitness


One cannot consider himself totally healthy if he is mentally declining, emotionally unstable or energetically unbalanced.

A de-conditioned mind can exhibit symptoms from poor memory, slow thinking and difficulty learning to more serious problems such as Alzheimer or Parkinson’s disease. Mental fitness is therefore just as critical, if not more so (your mind controls your body), as a fit body.

The mind like the body, if not used, will begin to deteriorate, diminishing one’s longevity, independence and quality of life. Think of the mind as a muscle that requires consistent stimulation in varying ways each day to stay mentally fit. If we neglect to exercise our muscles, they become soft and weak. If we fail to use our mental muscle we become susceptible disease. It is not however predestined that one will lose his mental capacity. In fact research strongly suggests that regular physical and mental exercises can keep the mind clear, sharp and functioning optimally throughout your entire life. Begin a regimen to maintain mental vitality.

Key ways to keeping your mind healthy

# Exercise your mind
1. Read stimulating books and magazines.
2. Do crossword puzzles.
3. Do calculations in your head.

#Reduces or eliminate drug and alcohol consumption
1. Cut back on drinking and going out drinking on the weekends.
2. Do something new, Instead of parting on the weekend, go for a scenic drive or a walk or a run at the beach, or even a hike up the mountains, this will get your mind and body away from drugs and alcohol.
3. If someone or something is a bad influence on you, you might consider changing your circumstances.

#Follow a regular exercise program, learn to reduce stress in your life
1. Hire a trainer.
2. Do fitness classes.
3. Join a martial arts gym.

# Maintain a health, holistic diet
1. Eat more veges and fruits.
2. Cut back on sugar.
3. Cut back on fast food.

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