To have or not to have my “rest”day

For most, Sunday is a day “off” from the gym, maybe even Saturday as well if you’re following the typical M-F workout; leaving Saturday and Sunday as rest days.

I’m totally okay with that…as long as your on track with your fitness goals: your losing the inches and the body fat % that your aiming for, the scale is moving in your favor, your strength is improving and overall your feeling better about fitness and movement in general.

If not… why are you not working towards those goals everyday? Yes, over-training is a thing, but a very difficult “thing to achieve” for most individuals. So what the means is: Attempt fitness 6-7days a week until you feel you’ve reach a good even pace. Even then I don’t really recommend going a complete 48 hours without any exercise or fitness.

Here’s an easy way to do that:

Monday: Workout 1
Tuesday: Workout 2
Wednesday: rest and recovery or work on core,mobility and conditioning
Thursday: Workout 3
Friday: Workout 4
Saturday:rest and recovery or work on core,mobility and conditioning
Sunday: Workout 5Restday

Rinse and Repeat, and modify as needed for your goals, abilities and progress. I usually like to follow the first 3 weeks of the month are ramping-up the volume and intensity of the workouts (for a progressive overload effect) and then de-loading the 4th week.

This approach helps to minimize over-training and injury while simultaneously producing high levels of strength, lean mass gains and body fat reductions and a consistent and repeatable basis.

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Want to make progress in the gym? HAVE A PLAN!

Seems intuitive and simple right? If you want to make consistent progress and achieve a goal or a specific task in the weight room, then you should have a clear path or plan to get there. Why waste time, money and energy if your not putting those efforts in the right places to get you closer to where you want to be? Seems a little…insane wouldn’t you agree? To keep showing up to the gym day after day, week after week, sweat session after session, and yet you get no closer to where you want to be. And in fact, it’s been weeks, months or maybe even years since you last remember basking in the emotions of moving more weight, hitting higher reps, running faster for longer, seeing a lower % of body fat or getting to a smaller (or bigger: a smaller % of people) number on the scale.

Take heart and if you’re serious about achieving those goals, then take time to prepare a proper plan to get there. Stop making gym efforts in vain and start moving towards the person you’re striving to become, one work out  at a time!

To be successful, you need a plan. Yet, what I see as a professional in the health and fitness industry is a severe lack of planning: whether that’s in reference to nutrition, workout programs or sleep and mood monitoring. I rarely see gym goers wielding a journal  to log the basics of a work out: Exercises used, load/reps/sets, rest times, and effort levels.

I wonder how these individuals know they’re making progress. Do they recall some of the above information from say, a work out 3 months ago? Or how about even last week? How do you progress  program forward if you don’t know where you’ve been. And if you don’t know where you’ve been, then how the heck are you going to know where you’re going? Simple: MAKE A PLAN.

I can recall on many occasions greeting a member as the enter our facility and promptly asking something like , “Hey Mrs. Jones! How are you today? What are you focusing on today?” … Long pauses are never a good sign  “Oh, um…just going to do a little cardio and abs I think.”…You think?!? Come on PEOPLE!

Stop being one of those people that don’t know where they are going in the gym and lets get your back on track to your goals. Use the example below to start planning today!

Example incoming:

Sunday 8/23/2015

Sleep: 7 hours, feeling really rested!

Mood: Optimistic and energetic

Nutrition: Protein oatmeal 2 hours before workout with 32 oz. of water

Routine: Total Body

Warm up: Foam rolling quads, glutes & 5 mins on elliptical @ 65% effort

  1. DB Squat, Curl, Press: Set 1= 25 lbs/15 reps 45 sec rest Set 2= 30lbs/12 reps 60 rest – Moderate intensity
  2. Ball Crunch: Set 1= 25 lbs/15 reps 45 sec rest Set 2= 30lbs/12 reps 60 rest – Moderate intensity

Cool Down: Static Stretch- Quads, calves, lats

Now imagine you take the example above, and used it over the course of a couple weeks worth of different work outs: you would have a good collection of data to reflect on to use to create future workouts that will greatly enhance the effectiveness of your future work outs in relation to getting you to your goals in safest and most effective way. This in turn will get your results, keeping your motivation and momentum high!

Happy Planning!

Calories in, Calories out…Does it all even matter?????

Of course calories matter! I wanted to briefly touch on calories. In a broad sense I describe why an individual should know at some given points in their training cycles roughly how many calories they are taking in, vs the ones they are expending through daily activities and exercise.

  1. Even though knowing how many calories you eat and drink each day vs the ones you expend through your daily lifestyle and exercise activities isn’t the end all be all in moderating weight loss or weight gain, BUT it’s one of the best measures we to do so currently
  2. First thing is 1st, now that you know that calories do hold some importance in the realm of all things health and fitness, get started tracking!
    1. If your tech savvy, then looking in apps like:
      1. My Fitness Pal
      2. Lose It!
    2. If apps aren’t you’re thing, then start keeping small journal, noting and tracking items like:
      1. Date, Time of feedings
      2. Quantity & quality (calories and macros)
  • Water and other fluids consumed at each meal and throughout the day
  1. Can also log and track mood at each meal as well
  2. Now that you’ve started logging and have a few days of data under belt, it’s time to make sense of all these numbers you have in front of you
    1. Let us focus on the TOTAL calories consumed each day
      1. Add up all the calories consumed each day
      2. Calculateyour metabolic rate to figure out what your DAILY CALORIC NEEDS ARE.  (this will also factor in your activity levels ) Use this website:
        1. http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/
  • Now, if you’re looking to lose weight, then a safe amount to aim for is 1lb of fat a week. So there’s approx. 3,500 calories in a LB of fat. So take your DAILY CALORIC NEED and subtract 500 from it. This is the amount of calories you need to “aim” for each day, for weight loss
  1. If you’re looking to gain, then it’s the other way around, you need to add about 500 calories to your daily maintaince level to help support lean muscle gain. Even though you’re adding bulk to your diet, don’t take this as the ticket to load up on empty calories from fast food or junk foods. Stick with lean mats, good fats, whole grains, and plenty of servings of fruits and vegetables each day
  2. Now the hard part. You must decide on what needs to be changed about your current food choices and eating habits.
    1. I recommend circling or highlighting what you would like to change in your food logs, and then choose ONE habit at a time to focus on and master.
    2. Once you can complete that habit each day for TWO WEEK, then shoot for another habit.
    3. If you mess up its okay, try again the next day; but don’t take on too many habits at once. I know you want to do all the right things, right now, but you’re setting yourself up to be overwhelmed and to do “drop all the balls” instead of making consistent small progress

Quit making excuses…please…Making excuses does not produce results

noun
plural noun: excuses
1. a reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense.

Guys and gals, let me tell you that I work without a lot of different people on a daily basis and I can say that excuses ARE NOT like butt-holes, because people have many many many excuses… especially when in it comes to the health and fitness arena.

I’m going to BRIEFLY discuss a couple common reasons I feel people are excusing themselves from a consistent progress and/or justifying why they are not or have not achieved their goals and to becoming the person they WANT to be.

  1. I  just don’t have enough time Jeff!
    1. Okay, I get it, you’re a single mom with 3 kids and work two jobs; of course there’s always extreme cases where the “no time” excuses COULD be legit (even then you can make it work) but more times than not, it’s just a plain ole’ excuse in my books, and here’s why –> There’s 168 hours in a week. To lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle or just improve overall fitness, you’re looking at investing only 5 HOURS a week on a CONSISTENT basis to lifting and doing some cardiovascular work… so that leave’s you, oh…. 163 hours! Just take some time to think about that one the next time you drain 30 minutes here and 30 minutes there on Facebook or Instragram and then complain that you have stubborn weight you can’t get rid of because you don’t have the “time” to workout.
  2. Lack of a plan
    1. Just Google “workout plan for…” and you’ll find hundreds, thousands even of programs and workouts geared towards weight loss and muscle gain. Even though these programs are not individualized to you and your specific needs and goals and at times might require items or equipment you don’t currently have access to; it’s a platform to work from, and something is always better than nothing. And if you are serious about wanting to change yourself for the better, live longer and achieve the goals you have set for yourself, then I recommend investing in a health and fitness professional to design and guide your work outs or to just follow a simple program you find online. If all else fails, get good at the basics, on a CONSISTENT basis. Meaning, do 100 body weight squats, 50 push ups and a 2-3 minutes worth of core work like bridging and planking. If you were to just do that every day for a month, you would see IMMENSE changes in your body and mood, trust me.

Take some time today and figure out if your using either of the excuses above. Don’t let these rather small obstacles get in the way of you and your goals!

I have worked in many different jobs from being in the health and fitness industry, service industry and outside sales that entailed traveling on a regular basis. Regardless of my circumstances of long hours at work, being on the road and only having a resistance band to work with, and having to help raise a daughter, I always found time to make sure I kept my health a priority and so should you! WHERE THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY ..

Happy Lifting!

A few reasons to skip the seated chest press machine on your next work out

So your a member of a gym and just like most other members, you have some goals you would like to achieve.

Maybe you’re not very familiar with traditional strength building exercises like squats, dead lifts,Olympic lifts, etc. So instead of working out where all the meat heads might be grouped up, you gravitate towards the machine area(s) of your gym and that’s where you find some solstice: The machines are close together for less travel time, they are usually are arranged by body part for less confusion and heck, they even come with a nice picture and set of instructions of how to perform each exercise. So whats my big issue with these machines and using them as your predominant source of strength training?

  1. There is almost NO functional carry over and some of these movement patterns my confuse your body. What I mean, is sitting in a machine and performing an exercise does a few things:
  • It dis-engages a lot of your core and post musculature which is now being supported by the seat and/or other components of the machine being used. The more support the machine gives your body, less your body actually has to do. This is a problem because in real life activities outside the walls of your gym , you bodies core and postural position play a major rule in making movement patterns proper and sustainable keeping risks of injury low via balance and core stability which are negated in machine work.

2. Some of the movement patterns promoted by machines are non-functional. For example, when is the next time your going to need to be seated and push a load horizontally as seen in a machine chest press? Or when’s the next time your going to sit and have to wrap your arms around a barrel as seen in the pec fly machine? Most likely answer for both situations and most members = NEVER! Time is a very precious commodity and we as gym goers wants result, so why kill both in the gym with exercises or movement patterns that will have very little impact on your day to day activities and possibly robbing you of precious progress?

Get a better bang for your buck!

Start out with basic body weight movement patterns and routines. Master these primal movements before adding some light resistance or load to increase caloric burn and strength. These movements will promote functionality and help you to work a little harder in the gym in less time, which means getting you to your fitness goals in a safer and more effective manner.

My recommendation: Try this 100 challenge most days of the week. This template can be used as a warm up, a work out finisher, or it could even be the meat and potatoes of your program if your a beginner:

60 Body Weight Squats

10 Pull ups (trx incline rows, inverted rows or assisted pull ups <– working on decreasing assistance from week to week)

30 Push ups

I will end by saying, I think machines can find a place in anyone’s routine for certain benefits, but should by no means be the bulk of anyone’s program for the reasons stated above.

HAPPY LIFTING!

Let’s talk briefly about this “core” everyone seems to be talking about in all these fitness videos and articles

I wanted to briefly go over anatomically that the “core” is really comprised, and why  we should maintain a strong and balance core. I also briefly outlined a few exercises with slight progression and the acute variables or the parameters to exercise within and/or around.

THE CORE IS WHERE YOUR BODY’S CENTER OF GRAVITY IS LOCATED AND WHERE ALL MOVEMENT BEGINS

“Low-back pain is one of the major forms of musculoskeletal degeneration seen in the adult population, affecting nearly 80% of ALL adults.” –Inman VT, MD: Williams & Wilkins; 2005

  1. What is your Core? What are we talking about some apples here??
    1. Comprised of 29 different muscle groups
    2. Divided into 2 different sets of muscle groups
      1. The Stabilization System – Deep muscles that stables Lumbo-pelvo-hip-complex
      2. The Movement System – allows for movement of the torso and hips
  2. Why do we train our Core?
    1. It’s where all movement begins, so you must have an efficiently strong and responsive “base” to operate from
    2. This allows for optimum movement which we allow for a decrease in risk of injury allowing for your movements to be sustainable for a long period of time
    3. Significantly decrease the prevalence of lower back pain, which is predominantly seen in individuals who work in enclosed work spaces like offices or ones engaged in manual labor jobs
    4. Lower back pain estimated annual cost in the U.S. are greater than $26 billion

……catching the drift??? Training your core properly is a MUST!!

  1. How do I train my Core?
    1. Start out by training the “Stabilization” system
    2. Involves isometric or static holds, meaning, little or no net movement
    3. Begin each exercise by “drawing-in” or “pulling-in” our belly button towards your spine…and hold it there the entire set!
      1. Planks – Side Planks
      2. Floor Bridge – 1-Leg Floor Bridge
      3. Floor Prone Cobra – Ball Cobra & Ball Combo 1 & 2
        1. Pick out 1-4 exercises
        2. Perform 1-4 sets
        3. 12-20 reps
        4. Slow Temp
        5. 0-90s rest
          1. Perform for 3-4 weeks in progression then move onto the movement system
        6. Now were aiming towards that 6 pack!
        7. Still perform the “draw-in” technique on each set
        8. Involves trunk movement, and loading the core musculature
          1. Ball Crunch – Add resistance, rotations
          2. Floor Reverse Crunch – Floor Leg Raises & 1- Leg Raises
          3. Band rotations -Cables, multi-vector, increasing load
          4. Hyper-extensions – Ball hyper-extensions, add rotation, load
            1. Pick 1-4 exercises
            2. 2-4 sets
            3. 8-12 reps
            4. Medium tempo
            5. 0-60s rest

Happy lifting. Build that strong foundation and your house will be structurally efficient to stand the tests of time!