January 30, 2012 | Filed Under Weightlifting | No Comments
Music can enhance performance or it can detract from it, radically. If you’re the sort who prefers music while training, here are a few ideas to keep in mind before you slip in your ear buds and get busy.
Know What Works
Like everyone, you have a favored style of music to get pumped up. Some people like hard rock, the whole time. Some people prefer indie rock. Classical music really fires some people up. Experiment, find what’s right for you, and if you don’t find it right away, keep listening and being attentive until you do.
Set the Mood
What emotions do you like to tap into when you train? Do you like to feel empowered? Angry? Mad? Tranquil? Blissed out? Think about what state of mind you find to be most useful when you enter the zone, and select songs that help you to slip into this mental space. Again, experimentation will help you find the right mood for your training music, and your preferences may vary from week to week or month to month.
Keep Time in Mind
You can also use your playlist to keep track of time during your workout. If you’re doing five-minute rounds, select songs that are five minutes long. If you’re using a sets and reps scheme and don’t want to break your flow, think about a continuous DJ mix that will give you wall-to-wall music without any breaks during the course of your session.
Remember Your Cool Down
You should know roughly how long your workout will be before you start. Keeping this in mind, the end of your playlist should have music that will help wind you down while you engage in some low intensity movement and stretching.
If you have a playlist you’ve been using for a long time and have grown tired of it, budget time before your next workout to sit down at the computer and draw up a new, more inspiring playlist. Like fitness and everything else in life, our musical preferences and what motivates us musically are not unchanging things etched in stone.
January 27, 2012 | Filed Under Weightlifting | No Comments
With an ageing baby boomer population, joint pain and joint problems such as arthritis are rapidly becoming major health concerns. Knee, hip and other “load bearing” joint surgeries are becoming increasingly more common. Unknown to many is the fact that a regimen of exercise that includes weightlifting has actually helped some people avoid surgery?
First up we need to dispel the myth that working out with weights can cause joint pain. If you experience joint pain caused by a weightlifting routine, you are probably doing something wrong. Chances are you are not warming up properly prior to weightlifting, lifting with poor technique, or too much weight, or are not allowing enough time for your joints to recuperate after sets. Proper weight training has been found to actually improve joint health, return functionality and decrease this pain.
Regular exercise of the joints replenishes joint lubricants and builds cartilage. Weightlifting increases the muscles around joints. Stronger muscles from weightlifting exercises offer more support to the joints. From the process of weightlifting you become physically stronger. This means you can participate in more activities, which make your joints healthier. We already know how weight training builds muscle and how that can improve your overall health and help you lose weight. All orthopedic specialists agree a sure way to reduce joint pain and improve joint health is to lose weight, and ease some of the burden on those weight-bearing joints like the hip or knees.
Simple common weight training exercises have been found to be the best to reduce joint pain of the hips and lower extremities, such as squats and leg extensions. If you are not already weightlifting just as a matter of course to improve health, and are experiencing knee or hip pain, now is a great time to start. Using proper equipment – not forgetting hand protection with your Gripads – will make a huge difference. Once you have eliminated your joint pain and start to realize all the other benefits from working out with weights, you can be well on your way on the road to better health and better fitness all around.
January 24, 2012 | Filed Under Benefits of Exercise, Weightlifting | No Comments
There are known to be many mental health benefits associated with regular involvement in weight lifting programs. Sticking to a weight lifting program on a regular basis helps to overcome depression and reduce mood fluctuations significantly according to many health experts. The intense exercises involved in weight lifting increases the dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin levels, effecting in turn mood improvements.
However, some people may become dependent on this emotional boost, in the same way as a jogger’s high, and may turn to an intensive workout whenever they are feeling low.
When weight lifting is practiced in a proper manner it can increase energy levels. A person will get used to the routine after the first few weeks and later will try and find more time to exercise. Over the course of time the benefits of weight lifting grow constantly as the exercises strengthen joints and relieve knee, shoulder and other joint pains, strains and problems.
More importantly, people who build muscle strength through biceps curls, leg lifts, squats and the like show much greater improvement in mental focus and the ability to make decisions and resolve conflicts than people who do only balance and toning exercises.
Weight training increases the capacity to work and lead an active life. The fitter you are, the more active you can be. There are so many more opportunities available to people who are healthier and fitter.
Exercise can give you both physical and mental joy, so long you do not exhaust yourself! When weight lifting is done correctly, and comfortably with the use of your Gripads you will actually feel less tired after you have finished your workout than before you began. You may even start to enjoy the feelings in your muscles during the sets as well as afterwards.
Weight lifting is a great way of getting away from your usual daily environment. While lifting iron, some people also experience an euphoric mental feeling! Enjoy the experience!
January 20, 2012 | Filed Under Healthy Lifestyle, Progress, Workout Routines | No Comments
The word “overtraining” seems to be thrown about all over the place these days. There are so many different muscle building and weight training programs on offer, and many of them appear to totally contradict each other.
So how do you know if you’re overtraining? The truth is, everyone is different and everyone responds to weight training differently. One definition of overtraining is where you train your body above its capacity, meaning it cannot recover and adapt quickly enough to be prepared for the following training session.
You may or may not experience the following symptoms when you’re overtraining. With some people you only have to look at them before they start training and you know they’re overtraining. Here are some common symptoms you may feel:
· You can’t seem to get any bigger (lack of weight or muscle gain)
· You don’t have enough energy at the beginning of your workout
· Your target muscles are still sore from the previous workout when you work them again.
· You find it hard to get to sleep and have a good night’s rest
· You have a general lack of energy throughout the day
· And in extreme cases you may feel depression and anxiety
If this sounds like you, before you start thinking about your routine, you should take a week off. Don’t train at all for one week. Your body needs the rest and recuperation time. You will find that the week after your rest week your body will be fired up and ready to go!
Now you have to look at your daily life and plan a routine to fit in. When you look at your daily life you need to consider things you can change, like your fitness, diet and rest time. What you do in your every day life really affects your workout.
Overtraining prevention is up to you. All you need to do is follow a few of the basic principals in muscle building. Quality over quantity, eat big including lots of carbs and protein and rest up between workouts. Good luck with your training!
January 18, 2012 | Filed Under Weightlifting | No Comments
These days, there is a lot of confusion about how many sets and reps to perform to build strength vs. muscle mass. There is an antiquated notion that exists stating that you should do a lot of reps to increase your muscle tone and a low number of reps to increase muscle size. Oddly enough, this is exactly opposite from the reality.
The best way to increase strength is by doing low rep sets with heavy weights. You don’t want your muscles to feel fatigued at the end of your workout. Always keep one rep in the tank. This type of training allows you to tone your muscles, making them tighter and less soft looking. Usually 3-5 reps provide a good range for building strength. You could easily perform 5-10 sets for this type of workout.
The best way to increase the size of your muscles is through high rep training to fatigue. By exhausting your muscles, you force them to grow larger. However, with the increased size comes a tendency for muscles to look a bit softer and bulkier. A good range for muscle mass training is 12-15 reps. Muscle mass reps provide a softer but bulkier look.
An additional consideration when training for strength vs. mass is how long it takes to complete reps and how long to rest between sets. When performing strength reps, it’s best to take a controlled approach, nearly pausing between each rep to give your nervous system a brief instant to recharge. For mass reps, training to fatigue is the goal so you can perform a faster set of reps to really torch your muscles.
Needless to say, the best muscle building approach incorporates both muscle mass reps and strength reps. You can build bigger muscles with mass reps and then tighten those muscles with strength reps. Additionally, you can use different rep schemes for different parts of your body. Just remember to always take your Gripads along so that your hands don’t get fatigued!
January 15, 2012 | Filed Under Benefits of a Regular Workout, Workout Routines | No Comments
It’s a sad but true fact that to maintain your hard-earned workout results, you have to stay fit by continuing to exercise regularly. In layman’s terms – use it or lose it! Without a doubt, you will eventually lose whatever fitness benefits you gained by working out when you stop exercising.
There are many misconceptions about what happens to the body when an individual stops exercising. The most common is that the muscles turn into fat. This, however, is a physical impossibility since muscle cells are completely different from fat cells.
What really happens is that muscle cells become smaller or atrophy and fat cells become bigger. This leads to a change in appearance from firm and lean to soft and flabby.
The main concern of athletes or serious fitness buffs is how fast and how much of the cardiovascular benefits they worked so hard to achieve will be lost due to detraining. Researchers have found that muscular strength will return to pre-exercise levels after only four to 12 weeks of detraining. Muscle size is also reduced. This is why many people notice that their bodies are “sagging” after a few weeks of not exercising.
You don’t have to lose all your fitness benefits if you are forced to stop your workouts because of injury, school or office work or going on vacation.
Researchers have found that muscular strength and size can be maintained by doing one to two weight-training sessions per week. This is good news if you have to stop working out due to a hectic and rushed schedule. By doing just one weight training session per week, you can maintain your strength until you can resume exercising regularly.
However, don’t push this recommendation to its limits. You can’t do a once-a-week routine indefinitely and expect to maintain your strength and muscle tone. Be sure to get back into action as soon as you feel ready!
January 12, 2012 | Filed Under Exercise, Workout Tips | No Comments
Most bodybuilders avoid running like the plague. Running, some gurus point out, is a waste of time for serious bodybuilders. And if anyone does run, it is only done for a few weeks before a contest. You can see why lifters are wary of running – long-distance runners are usually quite thin. That is, you don’t see too many buff marathon runners. However, it is also true that the idea of notmixing running with weight training needs to be re-examined.
Running, it turns out, can be beneficial for bodybuilders and weight lifters, and there are a few good reasons why some running should be included in a training program.
Quicker recuperation is a vital element in building up muscles, and aerobic fitness produces this effective recovery better than anything else. The more efficient you can make your oxygen use process, the quicker your recovery. Running is a key aerobic exercise, an exercise that some consider the very best of all the aerobic exercises. Running really improves the efficiency of the body’s recovery process and it also has another superb benefit – burning off body fat.
Running is one of the most effective calorie burning exercises around. A bodybuilder that weighs 200-lbs. will burn about 1,229 calories for every 60 minutes he/she runs at a pace of 8 mph. This means that a 200-lb. lifter, as long as he consumes an appropriate number of calories per day, will create a 3,687 deficit and thus cut approximately 1 lb. of body fat every three 60-minute running sessions.
Running is a perfect tool for enhancing recovery, speeding up the metabolism, and all this without cutting into muscle size. Of course, it is important to remember that you are not trying to become a marathon runner. A session or two a week (with some middle-distance running and sprinting) will be enough to bring about the desired results.
January 9, 2012 | Filed Under Healthy Lifestyle | No Comments
Sleep is essential for a person’s health and wellbeing, according to most health experts. Yet millions of people do not get enough sleep and this has been linked to increased health risks in a number of areas such as heart disease, obesity, and chronic fatigue.
One of the most critical components to any successful weight lifting program is ensuring that you get enough sleep for your muscles to repair themselves. It is important especially if you are stuck at a plateau in your routine, as getting enough sleep is critical to your progress.
Here are some common sense hints for getting you the sleep your body deserves:
1. Get plenty of regular exercise and try to complete your workout at least three hours before bedtime. Exercise increases the amount of deep sleep you get.
2. Eat dinner two to three hours before bedtime and minimize liquid intake. Heavy dinners tend to keep us awake, as do meals that are high protein. Some people report better sleep with a glass or warm cow’s milk or soy milk.
3. Begin slowing down at least one hour before bedtime. Take thirty minutes before bed to use for relaxing, such as soothing in a warm bath, meditating, reading a book, and/or listening to calming music.
4. Avoid products containing caffeine. If you have trouble sleeping, this is very important! Try not to consume caffeine after the early afternoon if you have problems getting to sleep.
5. Avoid alcohol close to bedtime, as it will interfere with your sleep later in the night.
6. Avoid foods and drinks high in sugar. As your sugar level drops during the night, your sleep may be disrupted.
7. Establish regular times for bed and for waking.
8. Improve your sleep environment, i.e. comfortable mattress and pillows, quiet, dark, comfortable room temperature. People report that they sleep better when they take the TV out of their room.
January 3, 2012 | Filed Under Motivation, Strength Training | No Comments
Strength training can be an important aspect of a balanced workout, and most experts recommend adding at least twenty minutes of resistance to your cardio workout at least three times a week. While you plan out and follow through on your goals, bear the following tips in mind to help you stay on track.
Target Specific Areas
It’s okay to drift randomly from one machine to another, but you’ll get better and faster results if you target specific areas and dedicate deliberate attention to each one. If your abs or arms need extra work, think about this as you plan out your routine and the rest of your day.
Make Frequent Changes
Don’t let yourself get bored. Change your workout at least once a month so you stay balanced and aren’t tempted to start going through the motions.
If you’re not getting the results you want or if you’re in pain or demotivated at the end of every session, something’s wrong. Make sure your goals are challenging enough to yield change and progress, but also within realistic limits.
Protect Your Hands
Hand protection is an important part of any strength training plan. Weights and machines can be rough on your palms, and a loose grip on heavy objects can be dangerous. Make sure you choose a glove or pad that stays put, allows full range of motion, and is clean, comfortable and durable. Gripads offer all of these benefits. Don’t let injuries, blisters and abrasions get between you and your goals.
Get Help When You Need It
Lifting weights and working out on your own can be a great way to get started, but eventually, it may be a good idea to get some professional advice and coaching. A trainer at your local gym can help you set and attain reasonable goals. Meanwhile, working out with a friend or partner can be a great way to get and give mutual support and objective feedback.
January 3, 2012 | Filed Under Workout Routines | No Comments
There’s no doubt that regular exercise is an important part of any healthy lifestyle. Your workout– both cardio and resistance training– can slow the aging process, strengthen bones as well as muscles, help you maintain a tight profile, and even improve your oxygen intake, your mental focus, and your sleep habits. People who exercise regularly tend to be more energetic and more positive; they tend to get more out of life. If this describes you, congratulations! And if you don’t yet have a regular workout plan, now is the perfect time to start.
To get and stay motivated, make sure you give yourself every advantage. Choose a fun, appealing venue or gym, and make sure you have the right gear, including appropriate shoes and hand protection. You’ll also want to make sure you choose a time of day that works for you. If you’re a night person, don’t try to get up at dawn each day to force in an hour of jogging. Run in the evening at sunset or before going to bed. Involve a partner or friend in your resistance training plans. Working out with others can keep you on track, and it helps to have someone close by who can offer objective advice and constant support.
Most important, it’s a good idea to make sure you look forward to your workout each day. So keep things fun! If you run outdoors, choose a scenic path. If you head to the gym for an hour or two, find one with an atmosphere and social scene that you enjoy. Sign up for a class or join a sport that interests you. We all love to learn new skills and meet positive new people, and there’s no stronger motivation than a desire to be good at something you love.