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Category Archives: Fitness

Fix Bad Posture

To fix bad posture one of the number one methods is to just stand up straight. That’s right what your mom has been telling you is the best way overall. If you practice sitting and standing straight all day everyday for 30 days; I promise you will be shocked by the results. Your posture will dramatically improve.

To find your normal posture take your shoulders and bring them all the way up and back and then let them hang down. This is your normal posture and a great way to work on shoulder protraction.

Shoulder protraction is caused by a tight chest, tight lats, and a weak upper back (rhomboids). The way how to fix bad posture problem would be working to strengthen the rhomboids twice as much as the chest and lats.

Exercises such as barbell rows and reverse cable flies will greatly help you fix your weak rhomboids. Also spending a lot of time actively and statically stretching the chest and the lats to relieve some of the tightness.

A great chest stretch is done by holding your arms bent at 90 degrees and leaning against a doorway with your chest sticking forward. To stretch the lats hang off of a pull up bar relaxed for at least 20 seconds 4x.

An anterior pelvic tilt is caused by tight hip flexors that pull the pelvis down from the front. Tight lower back muscles pull the pelvis down from the back symbiotically creating a steering wheel turning effect on your pelvis. The glutes are weakened by the position that your hips are in, and are unable to pull the hips into the proper alignment.

Improve Lean Muscle Mass Gain

To do this successfully, you will need two things…

  1. A fitness program providing an overloading stimulus.
  2. A diet plan providing a few more calories than you need to maintain your body weight.

Get these in order, and you will be on track to building lean muscle mass. This said, there are a few things you can do to take your results to a whole new level. Let us go over what these are so you can maximize your results…

1. Time Your Carbohydrate Intake. When it comes to adding carbohydrates to your diet plan, add them before and especially after your workout period. This is when your body is most likely to use those carbs. Eat them at other points in the day, and you may find you are putting on more body fat and less lean muscle as you are not maximizing your nutrient window.

Around 50% of your total carb intake for the day should come in the meal before your workout, your post-workout shake, as well as your post-workout meal.

2. Focus On Compound Movements. Next, when you do hit the gym, think compound movements. These are going to give you the best bang for your buck so to speak, allowing you to work multiple muscle groups at once.

These exercises include moves like…

  • squats,
  • deadlifts,
  • lunges,
  • bench press,
  • shoulder press,
  • bent over rows,
  • pull-ups, and
  • pull-downs.

Focus your time on these, adding isolation exercises to the mix only once these are completed. You will not build more lean muscle mass doing bicep curls all workout long.

3. Think Frequency, Not Volume. Finally, when planning your workout sessions, think frequency, not volume. While it is great to be doing multiple sets each workout, it is better to hit the gym more often than go overboard each workout session. Do too much each workout session, and it will take you a long time to recover, which will slow down your progress…

  • 15 to 24 sets each workout is the most you should aim to do.
  • some people may even get away with less – 12 to 15 sets per session.

Keep these points in mind, and you can feel confident you are on your way to muscle building success. Do not fear scale increases – if its muscle you are gaining: perfect.

Tricks to Burn Extra Calories

1. Dance – Join aerobics classes near you or simply tune in to a workout playlist in your favorite music app and have some dance at home. Shake your body for one hour. You will burn up to 300 calories.

2. Walk – Avoid sitting down at one place for longer and take some walk. Have a brisk walk for an hour and 21 minutes to burn 303 calories. Seems boring? Split it up into five 20-minute quick sessions throughout the day. Walk your dog, walk to work, or exercise your legs on treadmill.

3. Stand up – Have desk job? Be sure to stand for a total of 2 hours and 20 minutes throughout a day to burn 303 calories.

4. Clean up – Scrub, mop, setup furniture, vacuum, and de-clutter your space to keep your home in excellent condition to burn 301 calories within an hour and half.

5. Keep running – Go out with your dog or kids, play soccer, or just run around for 34 minutes to burn 308 calories.

6. Lace up the skates – Live up your childhood memories again with outdoor or indoor ice skating for 38 minutes to burn 302 calories.

7. Stretch yourself – You can burn 300 calories with fast-paced vinyasa yoga for an hour and 7 minutes. Perform morning and evening yoga sessions yourself or take a class of power yoga.

8. Jumping Jack – Do jumping jacks for four minutes by setting an alarm every hour. It is the fastest way to burn 300 calories or more in 8 mini sessions to uplift your mood.

9. Skiing – It is fun-filled adventure activity which doesn’t feel like hard work. Within 45 minutes, you can burn up to 306 calories within just 45 minutes.

10. Jump – Even if you don’t have jump rope, you can still jump for at least 13 minutes two times a day to burn 310 calories.

Exercise For Energy and Vitality

One of the most important factors that I always stress to people is to think about their workouts in the long-term. For instance, my idea of working out is for life, not a thirty-day quick fix. I want to be able to move my body and stay strong my entire life and the best way to do that is to think of the long-term benefits of working out.

I am not trying to lose thirty pounds under any kind of time frame, I am not trying to push myself to the limit in every workout, I am simply focusing my energy into the movements that I perform each day and reach a rep goal – I have a rep goal for every workout.

If you are focused on losing weight and you want to lose say ten pounds in the next thirty days then this puts an enormous amount of pressure on you, you will feel stressed when it comes to your diet and your workout because you know if you get it wrong then you won’t reach your goal.

It is so much better to lose that weight over a longer period of time. This takes the pressure off of you, you won’t have to keep pushing yourself in your workouts until you feel exhausted just to try to lose some more pounds. That is not the right way to train, you will feel de-motivated and fatigued after your workout.

Training below this level you will still reap the rewards of your efforts and you will feel refreshed and alert, energised and happy. Feeling like this and you will actually begin to look forward to your workouts rather than dread them.

You only need to add 1 or 2 reps in each workout. You will progress slowly and steadily without expecting too much of yourself. It is far better to err on the side of caution when pushing yourself and leave some energy in the bank ready for your next workout rather than risk an injury which can set you back for months.

Training like this will give you more confidence in yourself, you aren’t in competition with anyone but yourself, so there isn’t any point in trying to kill yourself in your workouts. Leave enough room in your reps so you could complete another two reps before reaching complete failure.

I am not saying take it easy, you must test yourself in every workout that you do, but leaving those 2 reps will give you an edge, it will leave you with energy and make you feel great after your workout. You will be much more likely to look forward to your next workout rather than dread it.

Do Planks Daily

1. Mental Clarity and Focus

Yes! You will become mentally stronger as you add planks to your daily routine. It’s hard to hold a plank and think about a lot of other things. The pain from holding your body off the ground takes 100 percent of your mental attention. This allows you to clear your head of unwanted thoughts, stress from work, what to cook for dinner, and the list goes on. Even if you held a plank for 1 min every day, that’s 352 minutes of mental therapy a year.

2. Lengthen your Muscles

Since most people find themselves sitting for prolong periods of time due to work or lifestyle, the plank is a great exercise to lengthen your muscles from sitting. Tight hip flexors, rounded shoulders, and low back problems are all linked to sitting too much. Holding a plank will put your body in a position that extends the hips, promotes shoulder stability, and it can produce a stronger lower back. These reasons are more than enough to add planks to your life daily.

3. Location, Location, Location

While the plank can be done by anyone, it can also be done anywhere. There are no limitations and this allows you to be free. In the office, at the park, out in nature, at the gym, in your garage, or wherever you choose. I recall doing a plank on the Roberto Clemente bridge in Pittsburgh. By the way, it landed me a commercial. Take your plank wherever you go!

Stay Properly Hydrated

Simply put, 60-70% of your body is nothing but WATER – and this includes muscles, tendons, digestive system, everything.

You are constantly losing water through dehydration, sweating (especially if you train hard) and other bodily functions – and you need to make sure you replace the water lost on a regular basis, else your body just won’t function at an optimal level, regardless of how well you treat it otherwise.

Lack of water can affect you in many different ways. When it comes to training, a dehydrated person will never be able to achieve the same results as he would with proper hydration.

Symptoms of dehydration include sluggishness, not being able to recover well enough from your workouts, persistent headaches and much more. The exact symptoms will vary from individual to individual, but the root cause remains the same.

Despite the barrage of sports drinks, “post workout” recovery drinks etc out there, pure water is still and by far is the very best choice to stay well hydrated.

I recommend (as most medical experts do) drinking AT LEAST 8 glasses of pure water a day. This is simple enough to do, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t do it. And if your training hard, or are otherwise exposed to hot, humid (or other taxing) conditions, then you may need more – maybe 10 glasses of water a day as a minimum.

Other than water, green tea is something I highly recommend. When I was in China, this was an essential part of my “diet” – I NEVER started a workout without drinking green tea before.

In fact, there were many days I did not get a decent meal throughout the workday (wasn’t that easily accomplished apparently in the factory I worked at); and was tired and cranky when I got home – NOT the ideal way to start a tough workout immediately afterwards.

But, a glass or two of green tea later, and I was raring to go – and got great results as well. Green tea has numerous health benefits which I will talk about in a later post, but for now, let’s just say it’s an instant and immensely healthy “pick me up” – so if your not drinking some green tea during YOUR daily routine, start doing so now.

Other forms of herbal tea are also great – jasmine tea, white tea, oolong, and black tea – but my personal favorite remains green tea.

Just make sure your getting high quality green tea, preferably from China or someplace where the culture mandates drinking it on a regular basis. And always use tea leaves, as opposed to tea bags – tea bags contain crushed tea, which is bad for you.

And avoid colas, coffee, sodas, and any “soft drinks” with sugar in them. These are not good for you, dehydrate you, and have no positive benefits whatsoever – so if you must have then, have them in moderation, and make sure to drink enough water to compensate for the dehydration these will incur.

Kettlebell Training

Before we dive too deep into an explanation of how to set the most effective tempo for strength gains, it’s important to get an understanding of how tempo is measured in these cases. There are various tempos, so it’s important to know what the numbers really mean. In the case of 1010, the first number defines the amount of time spent in the eccentric phase, or the “relaxing” phase of the exercise. The 0 indicates the amount of time spent pausing after the relaxation phase. The third digit signifies the length of time spent in the concentric phase, or the phase in which the muscle being exercised is flexed. The final digit signifies the amount of time spent pausing after the concentric phase. To help visualize this, in a pushup, the eccentric phase is bending your arms and lowering yourself toward the ground, and the concentric phase is pushing yourself back up. So, at a 1010 tempo, one second is spent going down, then one second is spent going up, with no pauses before or after either of these motions. For a 4010 tempo, 4 seconds are spent bending the arms and going down toward the ground, and one is spent pushing up. For exercises that demand explosiveness and fast flexing, the tempo may include an “X” instead of a number. This is commonly seen in the Olympics where X0X0 tempo lifts are commonly performed; explosive eccentric and concentric phases, with no pauses before or after either. For hypertrophy exercises and attempts at mass gain, the most effective and commonly used tempo is 40X0.

When taking tempo into consideration, changes can be made to the amount of time your muscles are spending under tension. Time Under Tension, or TUT, is a measure of how long a muscle, or group of muscles, is under the weight of the load. When it comes to strength training and maximizing muscle mass, more TUT is necessary. For strength training with kettlebells, 40-70 seconds of TUT is the optimal time period, anything shorter than this would result in lesser hypertrophic gains. Basic math can be done to see the difference in Time Under Tension between tempo and non-tempo training. Taking a look at the real-world variance in the different tempos that are used is a good way to paint a picture for why it’s so important to include tempo training into your kettlebell workouts for strength gains. For a typical 1010 kettlebell overhead press for example, a single rep will take approximately one second to push and one second to relax, making the total length of the rep 2 seconds. Over the course of about 12 reps per set, this equates to 24 seconds of TUT. However, if you are adhering to tempo training, the length of a single rep will change. If switching to a 40X0 tempo kettlebell press, the flex will be immediate and there will be no pause at the apex before dropping the weight back down and relaxing for 4 seconds. When the kettlebell returns to the resting position, there is no pause and it is immediately lifted for the next rep. The total time for this rep is about 5 seconds, with a total of 60 seconds of TUT for a set of 12 reps. When taking tempo into account, the same weight, reps and sets can be used to achieve better strength training results. This is why tempo training is so important for real mass and strength gains. If you’re only taking into account reps and sets and disregarding the time taken to complete each of these, you will be missing out on making large strength and mass gains in your kettlebell workout.

When your goals are to increase strength and mass, many people often increase the weight of the kettlebell that they are using and make adjustments to sets and reps to maximize muscle gains. Although this is an effective way to increase strength, it’s important to note that tempo can also be altered to get the most out of each rep. Although it may take more concentration, tempo training is one of the most effective ways to successfully reach your strength training goals with kettlebells.

Recovery Spin

I started away from the house and left the sub division and onto the bike path. As I made my way down I climbed landscaping boulders and rolled over small snow hills that are left over from winter… oh wait, it’s still winter! Anyway, I was having a great time on the bike, as recovery days should be. I made my way over the bridge that crosses a section of the lake I live by and proceeded to leave the bike path for pedestrians walking their dogs and themselves. Occasionally I would hit a nice rock garden that the fat bike would completely absorb.

Up ahead I notice a significant snow hill at the end of a parking lot, it was in the shade so I figured I would give it a go, and it ended up being awesome! I made it up two snow peaks and back down to the parking lot. As I approached the other end of the parking lot I noticed another snow pile, this time out in the open and in the sun, I inspected the back side to make sure there was not a big drop off. I still had a funny feeling about it but proceeded to gain speed on my second approach, this was steeper and I was going to need a little more speed to get over the top. Not doing the math, warmer temps, snow pile in the sun equals soft snow, I ended up sinking in near the top and going over the handlebars! I am sure a few people in their cars passing by got a great laugh!

I continued on to Lake Michigan and then on the way back home I found a new two track that was recently made and had some cool wooden planks in place to get over a marshy section. This was a great new experience, not sure I want to try and cross the railroad bridge over the river…

Improving Physical Fitness at Home

Inspiration and Motivation Can Change You

Most of us feel lethargic throughout the day, especially when asked to do some hard work this is because of lack of physical activity and motivation that slow down our metabolic rate. Have you noticed that sportsmen look so smart and energetic than average people? I suggest you to select an iconic power sport personal and admire his or her talent. The concept of staying fit and fine doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to regularly visit the gym. Practically there are hundreds of ways to stay evergreen like a sport man.

Walk Like an Ostrich

Twenty first century surprised us offering big tummy and polished hairless head. No matter how huge you are, wake up in the morning and start walking as far as you can. Do not forget to use a pedometer that can count your steps and can say the distance you covered. Please do not move like a tortoise chatting with your friends. Walk as fast as possible until you feel a big drop of sweat hanging on the edge of your nose. But if you already developed any sort of cardiac disease, do not walk too fast, maintain a moderate speed.

You Are a Great Runner!

Experience your athletic endurance. Running regularly for at least two kilometers is good for the heart. It’s a great cardio exercise that increases our heart rate to an extreme level and burn out more fats than any other form of exercise. If you don’t have any cardiac problem you are free to run, but if you are suffering from cardiac disease like hypertension, then avoid running to stay fit, because there are many other ways I will tell you latter through which you can have the similar effect without putting extra stress on the heart.

Tales of Gym Addicts

Mentally you may be fitter than a gym goer, but in reality you never felt that. Doing intensive cardio exercise at the gym may help you to get a tummy-less trimmed physique. The good news for you that you can perform cardio exercises at home also, in that case you can use a gym cycle and treadmill. I recommend you to drink some engineered energy drink that can improve your performance for a long period of time. After practicing vigorously (if you don’t have cardiovascular disease) fold your treadmill and keep it aside. Cardiac patients should not run on the treadmill without doctor’s advice.

Yoga Can Stretch Your Mind

This is probably the easiest way to stay fit at home because most of us have almost no time to spend over wellness of mind and body at a health club or on the field. Physical fitness doesn’t necessarily mean huge biceps and eight pack abdomen muscle. Today’s biggest problem is indigestion, acidity and light headedness. Yoga is very helpful to regain your lost energy. This is a powerful method to improve concentration and physical ability and vigor. Yoga can cure most diseases and gives you an evergreen look. But practicing yoga at home may be sometimes difficult, but not impossible though. As a beginner, you can take a lesson from a yoga guru. The power of yoga can essentially boost your sex drive and keep you looking younger than average people.

Healthy Living

The basics. You move, you sweat, you burn fat, and do good things for your body. That’s it in a nutshell. Going a bit deeper, exercise is an activity that engages various complex units in your body. Think about the skeletal system; more than 200 bones providing structure to your body. Tied to these bones are muscles, and between them lie tendons. Ligaments link the bones together.

To enable any physical movement, muscles need to be activated. Intracellular reactions occurring in less than a millisecond allow muscles to contract, bringing bones together or moving them apart. The point of all this has to do with calories or energy expenditure.

The Calories. Exercising burns calories: it is a vehicle for expending energy.

Exercise is the best way to keep your body in great shape – literally and figuratively. Not only does it help with weight control but it also offers a multitude of benefits. Exercise increases your body’s ability to fight and prevent disease: this suggests activity has always been a prerequisite for stable health.

Fitness. Generally speaking, physical activity elevates your fitness. Your body, with its flexible nature, becomes stronger and more efficient when its physiological processes are placed under stress.

Think about how blood flow is essential for your body’s functioning. Every tissue and organ requires a sound input and output of blood. In simple terms, when blood flow is improved, everything works better. When your heart is stronger, it is more efficient and can supply the various systems of your body with the required oxygen and nutrients. When blood flow is impaired, health problems begin to take shape, and disease starts to develop.

Exercise helps elevate your fitness and in turn, your health.

Physique. Exercise plays a direct role in determining your physique. Thankfully, this is all the motivation many people need to be active.

Stimulating your muscles, especially through resistance training, can enhance your physique through muscular adaption. Weight loss, through caloric expenditure, helps you become leaner. A big reason why we tend to find leaner physiques more attractive is it’s correlated to good health. In other words, good health is ideal and is a byproduct of a physically active lifestyle. Just don’t forget nutrition is also part of the equation.

Exercise works to improve your health and well-being. It is a tool to enhance your life and what you can get out of it. It is worth your time, so never hesitate to make an effort.