Bodyweight Squats Muscular Endurance Challenge for You

Hey there, it's Mike from &

I told you last week that I'd be sending you out a training challenge this week. Well, here it is. I challenge you to try to beat my results at this little 5-minute routine. You'll see my results below.

I'm sure if you've been reading my info for some time that you know I like to get creative in the training routines that I recommend trying. I think trying different training styles and routines keeps things more interesting and can be motivating if you set specific goals for certain exercises.

In fact, if you didn't already see it, one of my unique training ideas was recently featured in the popular international magazine, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Jul/Aug issue pg. 18.

So my boredom buster this week is something I just thought up recently. I set a challenge with a couple of my training partners at my gym to see who could do the most repetitions of bodyweight squats in 5 minutes. I will qualify that these are meant to be full squats all the way down to thighs parallel with the ground, not the little "half way down" squats that you see so many people doing.

You basically just keep squatting for as many reps as possible in 5-min. You only rest a couple times here and there for a few seconds if you need it to help you keep squatting.

I liked this idea because I thought it would be drastically different from the normal 3 sets of 10, 5 sets of 5, 7 sets of 3, and so on. No matter how you break it down with weighted squats, you're usually in the range of 20-40 total repetitions in a given workout.

However, with max repetition bodyweight squats in 5-minutes, your numbers easily can get up to well over 100 or even 200 reps. Let me tell you... even though you're not squatting heavy weights with this unique training style, the high volume of repetitions really pumps your legs and gets you dripping with sweat. Also, if you're not used to this high volume, your legs will be in for some deep soreness for about 2-3 days afterwards.

So the results? Well, in my first attempt at 5-minute squats, I pumped out 157 reps. About a week later, I tried it again, and beat my 1st number by repping 163 squats. Then the following week, I once again beat my former scores by blasting through 169 squats. I had previously set the goal that I wanted to get up to 200 squats within the 5-minute time frame. And just last week, I finally beat my goal of 200 reps in 5 minutes by repping 206 squats!

Anyway, you can see that this is just one of the many quirky training challenges that I think up on a regular basis that keeps me interested and keeps things fresh. It's a good idea to pick a goal like this and work towards it for a month or two and then pick something totally different and work towards that for a month or two. This gives your body some good variety while also allowing for progression because of the short term consistency.

For example, this muscular endurance goal of 200 squats in 5-minutes is on the totally opposite end of the spectrum when compared to a different goal that I trained for last year when I was training in a pure strength mode working up to a 405-lb deadlift. Changing things up like this and training for wildly different goals at different times can really help keep you interested in your workouts.

Alright, so go ahead and give this little 5-minute squat challenge a try. Email me back with your results (remember full squats, no halvsies). Let me know if it's ok, and I'll post everyone's results in an upcoming newsletter.
Good luck!

Feel free to forward this link to any friends, training partners, or family that you think might want to try this training challenge.

If you received this link from a friend, you can sign up to continue receiving these Lean-Body Fitness Secrets Newsletters here

I'll be in touch soon,

Mike Geary &


Do Artificial Sweeteners Make You Fat? Natural Alternatives Including Stevia

Hey there, it's Mike again from & with your latest Lean-Body Secrets Ezine.

I wanted to talk about artificial sweeteners today because I've noticed that there's a lot of confusion and misconceptions revolving around these non-caloric sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners and the huge list of products sweetened with them are marketed to you relentlessly as "healthy foods" or "healthier" than sugar or corn syrup sweetened products. But are they really?

Just to clarify, some of the most popular artificial sweeteners on the market today are:
  • Splenda (sucralose)
  • Aspartame
  • Saccharine
  • Acesulfame Potassium (aka - acesulfame K)
These artificial sweeteners are used in abundance in almost every "diet" drink, "lite" yogurts, puddings, and ice creams, most "low-carb" products, and almost all "reduced-sugar" products. Heck, even most protein powders are loaded with artificial sweeteners too (just look on the ingredients and you'll usually see one of them).

Splenda is probably one of the worst offenders of claiming to be "healthy" as they say that it's made from real sugar. Don't be fooled! It's still an artificial substance. What they don't tell you is that Splenda is actually a chemically modified substance where chlorine is added to the chemical structure, making it more similar to a chlorinated pesticide than something we should be eating or drinking.

The truth is that artificial sweeteners are not even close to being healthy, and as you'll discover in a minute, can easily be just as bad for you, if not worse, than sugar or corn syrup. Most people think that they are doing something good for themselves by choosing the "diet" drinks or "lite" yogurts compared to the sugar-laden versions, but the problem is that you're exposing yourself to a whole new set of problems with the artificially sweetened drinks and foods.

I know you're probably frustrated by all of the contradicting messages you hear each day about which foods are good for you and which are bad. I'm sure just today you probably saw some clever ad or commercial somewhere screaming health benefits for a food product that is loaded with artificial sweeteners. Don't worry. Just stick with me and I'll get past the marketing hype for you and decipher the truth. I'll also give you some ideas for great alternatives to artificial sweeteners as well as alternatives to sugar or corn syrup sweeteners.

The fact is, artificial sweeteners vs. sugar or corn syrup is really just a battle between two evils. Which evil is worse?

I'm sure you already know the problems with sugar or high fructose corn syrup sweetened products. The excess empty calories, blood sugar spike, and resulting insulin surge this creates in your body not only promotes fat gain, but also stimulates your appetite further, making things even worse.

On the other hand, artificial sweeteners save you calories, but there's growing evidence that they can increase your appetite for sweets and other carbohydrates causing you to eat more later in the day anyway. Therefore, you don't really save any calories at all. Also, studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can stimulate high insulin levels in your body too, which again can promote fat storage.

All of the 4 artificial sweeteners listed above are nasty chemicals that the human body is simply not meant to ingest. However, most of us are ingesting a whole lot of these chemicals on a daily basis. Aside from the problems I touched on so far, other health issues that have been related to artificial sweeteners in scientific studies as well as observations are:
  • some have been linked to potential cancer risks
  • negative effects on the liver, kidneys, and other organs
  • stimulating cravings
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • developmental problems in children and fetuses
  • headaches
  • and too many more issues to list
Now some of the above potential health problems are definitely not proven as fact in studies. However, some of them have been shown in animal studies given high doses. Regardless of the fact that any real health problems for actual human use are not proven yet, I don't know about you, but I'd rather protect myself and steer clear of these possibly dangerous artificial chemicals.

Of course, despite all of the health issues potentially associated with artificial sweeteners, the companies that sell the products will continue to claim that they are fully safe and they have studies that prove that they are safe. The bottom line is that the body was not designed to deal with foreign substances like artificial sweeteners. Take my word on that one.

So what are your options for alternatives? Well, your best alternatives for sugar or corn syrup are either raw honey, organic maple syrup, or even a little-known high antioxidant syrup called sorghum syrup (common in the southern US). Even though these alternatives still have the same amount of calories as sugar or corn syrup... honey, organic maple syrup, and sorghum syrup actually provide some nutrients and antioxidants, so it's not just empty calories. Empty calories stimulate your appetite more because your body is lacking nutrients.

Now you're probably thinking that you'd like to still save on calories but avoid the nasty artificial sweeteners. Good news... You can!

You've probably seen me reference this natural sweetener in a lot of my recipes. It's called Stevia. I've been using it for years as an alternative sweetener when you still want to save a little on calories and sugar.

Stevia is not artificial like the other chemical sweeteners I mentioned above. Stevia is a natural non-caloric herb. It is a South American herb and when dried into a powder, has a sweetness about 200-300 times stronger than sugar. Something interesting that I heard recently was that artificial sweeteners are banned in Japan, and therefore Stevia is a very popular alternative over there.

One problem I've noticed with using Stevia is that the pure powder is a very powerful sweetener, so you can easily use too much. However, I've found some good Stevia products that use a bulking agent added so that you can measure out the stevia powder in direct comparison to measuring sugar.

I've yet to see any negative reports or health concerns regarding stevia and only positive potential health benefits. I definitely give Stevia my seal of approval. Do yourself a favor (and your family), and if you are currently an artificial sweetener junkie, please consider switching to stevia.

One of the best products I've found over the years is made by a company called Steviva. They have an excellent stevia product blended with another natural sweetener called erythritol. I suggest giving it a try! Just look for the "Steviva Blend". You can use it in your coffee or tea, to sweeten up plain yogurt, added to smoothies for extra sweetness, on cereals or oatmeal, in baking, or where ever else you might need a sweetener but want to reduce the sugar content.
If you want to grab some, here's the link:

Steviva Stevia Blend

Well, that's it for today. I hope you enjoyed this important discussion. Feel free to copy/paste this link and email it to anybody you know that might be overdoing the artificial sweeteners. If you received this link as a fwd, you can certainly sign up to receive these free Lean-Body Secrets Ezine issues

Stay lean,

Mike Geary &