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Ask The Master Motivator: How Can I Motivate My Significant Other To Work Out? Rowing machine workout CrossFit: try it now! CrossFit: try it now! Interval training Interval training Interval training Interval training Interval training Interval training
 

Ask The Master Motivator: How Can I Motivate My Significant Other To Work Out?

Vital StatsName: James GrageBodySpace: JamesGrageHeight: 5-foot-10Weight: 175 lbsOccupation: Co-Founder and Vice President of BPI Sports Q "How Can I Motivate My Significant Other To Work Out?" Just like bills and household chores, fitness can mark a tipping point for relationships. It’s a challenge that might be more common than you think: one person wants to get in shape, and the other isn’t as motivated. It’s a two-fold problem and a recipe for insecurity and jealousy.Your partner might be threatened by your newfound passion and wonder why you’re doing it or who you’re doing it for. You might feel like he or she is unintentionally sabotaging your fitness goals. If you’re steadfast with your goals and start to achieve some success, it can become frustrating when you don’t see your partner making the same effort. You feel like you are trying to improve yourself, look better, and live healthier, and your partner’s lack of passion might upset you.So what do you do if you can’t get your spouse onboard with your new fitness goals and lifestyle? Try some of these tactics to help motivate your partner to make healthier decisions so you can live your lives together as one happy, fit family. 1 DON’T PUT YOUR PARTNER ON THE DEFENSIVE If you want your significant other to be receptive to what you’re sharing, don’t make him or her feel ashamed about current lifestyle choices. That’s only going to spark resentment. You don’t want to bully your loved one into making a change, which often results in a negative outcome down the road. Always keep your eye on the prize, which is having a healthy and happy relationship."If you want your significant other to be receptive to what you're sharing, don't make him or her feel ashamed about current lifestyle choices." 2 EXPLAIN WHY YOU’RE MAKING A CHANGE If your spouse is reacting negatively to your new fit lifestyle, it might be because your loved one simply doesn’t understand why you’re doing it. The solution? Communicate. Have a caring, understanding conversation where you explain the importance of your goals. Explain that you’re doing it both for physical health and for a healthier self image. Let your significant other know that you want to be the best person you can be, and that you want to train often and eat smart so that you can be around longer. Your relationship deserves that.Get your partner involved by asking for help. Some people are more motivated by doing things for others than they are for themselves. In some cases, the desire to help you will be a strong enough motivator for your partner to get active, as well. 3 HELP FIND A MEANINGFUL GOAL Just because you’re focused on achieving your goals doesn’t mean your significant other is equally as amped. Don’t assume your partner is working from your timeline. Instead of expecting him or her to feed off your energy, help your partner create inner motivation by pinning down a goal that has personal meaning. This meaning is going to propel your loved one forward and stay on-track during hard times. It has to create that spark. If your loved one is still having trouble finding a sense of purpose, help him or her set a time-sensitive goal—whether that be looking great in a bikini for an upcoming trip or shaving 20 seconds off a mile time for an upcoming race. This creates a sense of urgency, which might just be the push that’s needed. 4 CREATE A FRAME OF REFERENCE Sometimes we don’t realize how much we’ve slid off course until someone mentions it. One of the most valuable things about a relationship is having someone who cares enough to be your mirror and be honest with you. The important thing is being honest in a non-judgmental and loving way. If your spouse knows you’re doing it out of love, and not just being hurtful, it’ll be easier for him or her to hear the truth.Find a subtle way to bring your partner’s current health issues to light. An old photo or video is a great way for your better half to see how far his or her fitness has fallen. Another helpful reference point is getting your bodyweight and body fat tested together. While it’s a great way to see where you are for your age, it’s also a great tool for setting goals and measuring progress. 5 MAKE IT FUN Remember that not everyone shares the same interests. Explore different exercise-related activities until your spouse finds one that he or she enjoys. Cater to your partner’s personality type. Someone who’s self-conscious might shy away from group classes, while someone who loves heights might take well to bouldering. Remember that you can’t transform fitness habits overnight. First, you have to build a foundation."Explore different exercise-related activities until your spouse finds one that he or she enjoys." 6 MAKE IT A “TOGETHER THING” It’s easy for your partner to feel like he or she has taken a backseat to your new fitness goals. That can lead to resentment. Instead of letting fitness tear you apart, allow it to bring you together. While you don’t have to spend every moment lifting together, take the opportunity to spend some time training side-by-side. Try hitting the stepmill at the same time, or joining each other on a nightly walk or post-dinner run. Having a common interest and common goal can bring a relationship even closer together. 7 HELP CREATE MOMENTUM Getting started is always the hardest part. Find a way to give your partner a supportive initial push without being too forceful. Help your loved one test out fun things while encouraging him or her to dismantle the excuse word “can’t.” If your partner used to like to ride mountain bikes, drop into a bike shop on a Saturday. If you’re with a guy or gal who likes MMA, get a punching bag or sign up for classes at a martial arts studio. If your partner is brand new to fitness, take him or her to the gym for the first time. All of these things are easy to do, but they’re also easily left on the backburner. Help make sure they become action, not inaction. 8 SET THE RIGHT REWARDS Remember to reward yourself when reaching milestones. The act of treating yourself is bigger than a new pair of jeans or concert tickets. Treating yourself creates a positive association with your goals, recharges your batteries, and makes you eager to achieve your next major triumph. Help your significant other create small “stepping stone” goals and a complementary reward system that reflects something your partner really wants to do."Help your significant other create small 'stepping stone' goals and a complementary reward system that reflects something your partner really wants to do." 9 LEAD BY EXAMPLE Sometimes the smallest things make the biggest difference. Just like having your spouse’s support makes it easier for you to stay on track, the same is true the other way around. Stay strong for both of you. If your partner sees you get lax with your training or cheat on your meals, it just makes it easier for him or her to fall off the wagon. In the beginning, you’re going to have to be strong enough for the both of you. 10 ALIGN VALUES If all other efforts fail, take the direct approach and have a serious conversation with your partner about health. Remember that, even though this is a more direct tactic, you want to approach it with love and understanding. If you go in guns blazing, it simply won’t work. You’re just going to make your partner put up defenses. Make the conversation about values, principles, and beliefs. If you’re working hard at getting in shape and being healthy, then chances are you value your health, respect your body, and believe it’s a reflection of who you are as a person. When the personal values in a relationship aren’t in alignment, it’s bound to cause conflict. Take the time to talk things out and come to a mutual understanding. Who knows, maybe next time you’ll be headed to the gym together, hand in hand.About The AuthorContributing WriterVIEW AUTHOR PAGECheck out these awesome articles by some of the best writers in the industry.View All Articles By This Author

Rowing machine workout

Rowing machine workout

Hands up if you find the rowing machine a little daunting? We don’t blame you. On a treadmill, you run. On an exercise bike, you cycle. Perfect rowing technique, however, can seem far less straightforward, which means many people are steering clear of this effective piece of gym kit – and missing out on its big-time benefits. But, master the moves for this machine and you can expect weight loss, better fitness and increased upper and lower-body strength – all without the harsh impact that some cardio exercise can have on joints. ‘Indoor rowing is a complete form of exercise,’ explains Olympic rowing coach and Concept2 fitness expert Terry O’Neill (concept2.co.uk). ‘Rowing is a combination of cardiovascular and strength conditioning, making it a great addition to any fitness regime or training programme – for people of all ages with a wide variety of goals.’ Whether you’re a beginner or an Olympian, there’s a way to make rowing a key player in your workouts.Full-body workoutOne of the main reasons that people opt for a workout on the rower to get their cardio fix is because – unlike the treadmill, stepper and stationary bike – it offers plenty of added value. Using correct technique harnesses the power of both the upper and lower body, so your bum, thighs and calves will get a real push as well as your arms and shoulders. Rowing also requires solid activation from your core and back to maintain good form (particularly in the upper back) with each and every stroke, which means that a good session on the rower can hit almost every muscle, offering total-body conditioning. Plus, the cardiovascular movement of rowing gives your heart and lungs a great workout, too. ‘Indoor rowing is great for toning up, as it involves more muscle groups over a wide range of movement, with little pressure on the joints,’ says Terry. ‘No matter why you choose to row, the rowing machine will offer just the right level of resistance for your goals, as well as an infinite variety of workouts.’Fuss-free intensityIf you think rowing is just for steady-state fitness, think again – the machine is great for both endurance and interval training. ‘Because the rowing machine activates a large muscle mass, it helps you achieve better cardio results in less time,’ Terry explains. ‘It can also provide excellent anaerobic workouts complementary to explosive power sport training. Plus, indoor rowing is a great endurance exercise that really helps to boost both your heart and lung functions.’If you’ve ever tried high-intensity interval sprints on the treadmill, you’ll know how annoying it is having to repeatedly press buttons while you’re trying to run to adjust the speed of the belt. One of the great things about the rowing machine is that – although the resistance can be tricky to adjust once you’ve got going – you can control the speed simply by increasing or decreasing your own work rate. So, while some people enjoy longer, steady-state sessions on the rower, those looking for a heart-pumping interval sessioncan get on with focusing on their technique, instead of pushing buttons.Of course, the crucial element here is technique – the better your form, the more efficient your workout. Use the steps below to perfect your stroke and practise rowing at a comfortable pace until you’re ready to up your speed. The rowing masterclassUse these simple step-by-step instructions to get to grips with perfect rowing technique. Remember to avoid letting your shoulders round or your lower back arch beyond its neutral position. Ready, set, row!• Keeping your legs straight, lean back slightly with the handle close to your body and your forearms parallel to the floor.• Extend your arms fully, rocking your body forward slightly and keeping your arms extended.• Slide your lower body forward from the hips until your knees are above your feet, keeping your arms extended.• Push down on your feet to drive your body back, straightening your legs and leaning your body back slightly as you do so.• Pull the handle back past your knees towards your body to return to the starting position. Repeat.

CrossFit: try it now!

Can an all-encompassing, time-saving, virtually free workout that can be done anywhere and at any time really exist? By our estimations CrossFit pretty much ticks all these boxes.   CrossFit was born in 2000, when American fitness expert Greg Glassman applied his work with police cadets to everyday fitness training. He realised the best way to get results was to combine elements of weight training with long and short periods of high-intensity aerobic efforts. There are now more than 3,400 dedicated CrossFit boxes (name given to these gyms) worldwide.What is CrossFit?Essentially, CrossFit is an intense strength and conditioning programme with cardio circuits thrown in. Reebok CrossFit trainer, Steve Bradshaw-Haydock believes CrossFit is the only workout you need because it covers cardio, combat, survival, resistance, plyometrics, bodyweight, and endurance exercises. One minute you’ll be doing heavy weight exercises and next you’ll be sprinting for 400m.Why should you do it?CrossFit has the ability to make you fitter and stronger, as well as boosting your endurance, stamina and speed. The high intensity of each exercise engages your fast twitch muscle fibres, increasing your muscle power and performance. Most CrossFitters do three consecutive days then have a rest day.Regardless of your fitness level, the CrossFit programme can be scaled to your ability. Motivation is one of the key elements of CrossFit. If you finish the WOD before the person next to you, you’re encouraged to rally round them as a team to motivate them through the workout. Plus, you’re encouraged to track your progress by noting down how long it takes to do a WOD or how many reps of an exercise you manage in the specific time, which is a great motivator.Get started…There are currently more than 70 CrossFit boxes across the UK. To find your nearest, visit map.crossfit.com. You can try the workout by logging on to crossfit.com where you’ll find every WOD for the past ten years.Try one - or all - of these CrossFit circuitsTime yourself doing the circuits and monitor your progress. Maintain correct form at all times- don’t let the intensity ruin your form.20 burpees15 reps/12 reps/ 9 reps of: Squats, Press-ups, Sit-upsFinish with another 20 burpeesRun 1 mile, Row 2K, Run 1 mileRun 800m50 back extensions50 sit-upsRepeat 3 times21 reps/ 15 reps/ 9 reps of: Plank walkouts, Press-ups, Sit-ups, SquatsDo 250m row between each roundFor more fitness tips subscribe to Health & Fitness magazine. We’ll give you 3 issues for £1!

CrossFit: try it now!

CrossFit: try it now!

Can an all-encompassing, time-saving, virtually free workout that can be done anywhere and at any time really exist? By our estimations CrossFit pretty much ticks all these boxes.   CrossFit was born in 2000, when American fitness expert Greg Glassman applied his work with police cadets to everyday fitness training. He realised the best way to get results was to combine elements of weight training with long and short periods of high-intensity aerobic efforts. There are now more than 3,400 dedicated CrossFit boxes (name given to these gyms) worldwide.What is CrossFit?Essentially, CrossFit is an intense strength and conditioning programme with cardio circuits thrown in. Reebok CrossFit trainer, Steve Bradshaw-Haydock believes CrossFit is the only workout you need because it covers cardio, combat, survival, resistance, plyometrics, bodyweight, and endurance exercises. One minute you’ll be doing heavy weight exercises and next you’ll be sprinting for 400m.Why should you do it?CrossFit has the ability to make you fitter and stronger, as well as boosting your endurance, stamina and speed. The high intensity of each exercise engages your fast twitch muscle fibres, increasing your muscle power and performance. Most CrossFitters do three consecutive days then have a rest day.Regardless of your fitness level, the CrossFit programme can be scaled to your ability. Motivation is one of the key elements of CrossFit. If you finish the WOD before the person next to you, you’re encouraged to rally round them as a team to motivate them through the workout. Plus, you’re encouraged to track your progress by noting down how long it takes to do a WOD or how many reps of an exercise you manage in the specific time, which is a great motivator.Get started…There are currently more than 70 CrossFit boxes across the UK. To find your nearest, visit map.crossfit.com. You can try the workout by logging on to crossfit.com where you’ll find every WOD for the past ten years.Try one - or all - of these CrossFit circuitsTime yourself doing the circuits and monitor your progress. Maintain correct form at all times- don’t let the intensity ruin your form.20 burpees15 reps/12 reps/ 9 reps of: Squats, Press-ups, Sit-upsFinish with another 20 burpeesRun 1 mile, Row 2K, Run 1 mileRun 800m50 back extensions50 sit-upsRepeat 3 times21 reps/ 15 reps/ 9 reps of: Plank walkouts, Press-ups, Sit-ups, SquatsDo 250m row between each roundFor more fitness tips subscribe to Health & Fitness magazine. We’ll give you 3 issues for £1!

Interval training

Interval training

You've heard about the endless benefits of interval training, and they can be achieved almost anywhere, any time. But if pounding away on a treadmill in order to get your high-intensity interval fix just doesn't appeal, then why not take yourself to a high-energy, enthusiastic class? Hiitgirl is an all-female class that lasts only half an hour, but is enough to get your sweat pouring, heart pumping and muscle fibres firing.What is it? Hiitgirl is a haven for women who like to work hard, tough it out and get the benefits of exercise without leaving glamour at the door. At its core is ‘high-intensity interval training’ (hence ‘hiit’girl), but the exact format varies from class to class to keep participants interested and their bodies guessing.What are the benefits? High-intensity interval training raises your heart rate, improving cardio fitness. The high reps enhance muscular endurance and the nonstop work does wonders for weight loss.Our class was divided into ‘muscle moves’ (strength) and ‘meta moves’ (metabolism). For the first half, we performed moves like jumping squats, press-ups and lunges for 40 seconds at a time – going hell for leather – with 20 seconds’ rest between each set.The second half adopted a Tabata-style format for 10 minutes (20 seconds’ work, 10 seconds’ rest, repeat), performing moves like mountain climbers, crunches and burpees. An Ugi ball added a further challenge to the moves that test resistance and stability.The class only lasts 30 minutes but you’re encouraged to work hard throughout. At the end – when we were dripping with sweat and burning – we performed seated and standing sprints on a Schwinn Airdyne, which is like a stationary bike mixed with a cross-trainer. Our upper and lower bodies were forced to work together for an all-over workout.How hard is it? The super-short bursts of intense, hard work make the time fly by, while the swanky setting and community focus distract you from the sweaty graft! Intense but not intimidating, Hiitgirl is suitable for beginners and the advanced alike.Where is it? London and Harrogate. Visit hiitgirl.com.How much is it? From £72 for four anytime sessions or £99 per month for unlimited classes (off-peak).Do It Yourself The studio setting of Hiitgirl is part of what makes the experience unique – the attention to detail with glam décor creates a great vibe. However, if you’re not near Harrogate or London, there is a ‘Fit in 5’ challenge on the website hiitgirl.com. The videos guide you through a speedy, yet effective, workout wherever you are.

Interval training

Interval training

You've heard about the endless benefits of interval training, and they can be achieved almost anywhere, any time. But if pounding away on a treadmill in order to get your high-intensity interval fix just doesn't appeal, then why not take yourself to a high-energy, enthusiastic class? Hiitgirl is an all-female class that lasts only half an hour, but is enough to get your sweat pouring, heart pumping and muscle fibres firing.What is it? Hiitgirl is a haven for women who like to work hard, tough it out and get the benefits of exercise without leaving glamour at the door. At its core is ‘high-intensity interval training’ (hence ‘hiit’girl), but the exact format varies from class to class to keep participants interested and their bodies guessing.What are the benefits? High-intensity interval training raises your heart rate, improving cardio fitness. The high reps enhance muscular endurance and the nonstop work does wonders for weight loss.Our class was divided into ‘muscle moves’ (strength) and ‘meta moves’ (metabolism). For the first half, we performed moves like jumping squats, press-ups and lunges for 40 seconds at a time – going hell for leather – with 20 seconds’ rest between each set.The second half adopted a Tabata-style format for 10 minutes (20 seconds’ work, 10 seconds’ rest, repeat), performing moves like mountain climbers, crunches and burpees. An Ugi ball added a further challenge to the moves that test resistance and stability.The class only lasts 30 minutes but you’re encouraged to work hard throughout. At the end – when we were dripping with sweat and burning – we performed seated and standing sprints on a Schwinn Airdyne, which is like a stationary bike mixed with a cross-trainer. Our upper and lower bodies were forced to work together for an all-over workout.How hard is it? The super-short bursts of intense, hard work make the time fly by, while the swanky setting and community focus distract you from the sweaty graft! Intense but not intimidating, Hiitgirl is suitable for beginners and the advanced alike.Where is it? London and Harrogate. Visit hiitgirl.com.How much is it? From £72 for four anytime sessions or £99 per month for unlimited classes (off-peak).Do It Yourself The studio setting of Hiitgirl is part of what makes the experience unique – the attention to detail with glam décor creates a great vibe. However, if you’re not near Harrogate or London, there is a ‘Fit in 5’ challenge on the website hiitgirl.com. The videos guide you through a speedy, yet effective, workout wherever you are.

Interval training

Interval training

You've heard about the endless benefits of interval training, and they can be achieved almost anywhere, any time. But if pounding away on a treadmill in order to get your high-intensity interval fix just doesn't appeal, then why not take yourself to a high-energy, enthusiastic class? Hiitgirl is an all-female class that lasts only half an hour, but is enough to get your sweat pouring, heart pumping and muscle fibres firing.What is it? Hiitgirl is a haven for women who like to work hard, tough it out and get the benefits of exercise without leaving glamour at the door. At its core is ‘high-intensity interval training’ (hence ‘hiit’girl), but the exact format varies from class to class to keep participants interested and their bodies guessing.What are the benefits? High-intensity interval training raises your heart rate, improving cardio fitness. The high reps enhance muscular endurance and the nonstop work does wonders for weight loss.Our class was divided into ‘muscle moves’ (strength) and ‘meta moves’ (metabolism). For the first half, we performed moves like jumping squats, press-ups and lunges for 40 seconds at a time – going hell for leather – with 20 seconds’ rest between each set.The second half adopted a Tabata-style format for 10 minutes (20 seconds’ work, 10 seconds’ rest, repeat), performing moves like mountain climbers, crunches and burpees. An Ugi ball added a further challenge to the moves that test resistance and stability.The class only lasts 30 minutes but you’re encouraged to work hard throughout. At the end – when we were dripping with sweat and burning – we performed seated and standing sprints on a Schwinn Airdyne, which is like a stationary bike mixed with a cross-trainer. Our upper and lower bodies were forced to work together for an all-over workout.How hard is it? The super-short bursts of intense, hard work make the time fly by, while the swanky setting and community focus distract you from the sweaty graft! Intense but not intimidating, Hiitgirl is suitable for beginners and the advanced alike.Where is it? London and Harrogate. Visit hiitgirl.com.How much is it? From £72 for four anytime sessions or £99 per month for unlimited classes (off-peak).Do It Yourself The studio setting of Hiitgirl is part of what makes the experience unique – the attention to detail with glam décor creates a great vibe. However, if you’re not near Harrogate or London, there is a ‘Fit in 5’ challenge on the website hiitgirl.com. The videos guide you through a speedy, yet effective, workout wherever you are.

Interval training

Interval training

You've heard about the endless benefits of interval training, and they can be achieved almost anywhere, any time. But if pounding away on a treadmill in order to get your high-intensity interval fix just doesn't appeal, then why not take yourself to a high-energy, enthusiastic class? Hiitgirl is an all-female class that lasts only half an hour, but is enough to get your sweat pouring, heart pumping and muscle fibres firing.What is it? Hiitgirl is a haven for women who like to work hard, tough it out and get the benefits of exercise without leaving glamour at the door. At its core is ‘high-intensity interval training’ (hence ‘hiit’girl), but the exact format varies from class to class to keep participants interested and their bodies guessing.What are the benefits? High-intensity interval training raises your heart rate, improving cardio fitness. The high reps enhance muscular endurance and the nonstop work does wonders for weight loss.Our class was divided into ‘muscle moves’ (strength) and ‘meta moves’ (metabolism). For the first half, we performed moves like jumping squats, press-ups and lunges for 40 seconds at a time – going hell for leather – with 20 seconds’ rest between each set.The second half adopted a Tabata-style format for 10 minutes (20 seconds’ work, 10 seconds’ rest, repeat), performing moves like mountain climbers, crunches and burpees. An Ugi ball added a further challenge to the moves that test resistance and stability.The class only lasts 30 minutes but you’re encouraged to work hard throughout. At the end – when we were dripping with sweat and burning – we performed seated and standing sprints on a Schwinn Airdyne, which is like a stationary bike mixed with a cross-trainer. Our upper and lower bodies were forced to work together for an all-over workout.How hard is it? The super-short bursts of intense, hard work make the time fly by, while the swanky setting and community focus distract you from the sweaty graft! Intense but not intimidating, Hiitgirl is suitable for beginners and the advanced alike.Where is it? London and Harrogate. Visit hiitgirl.com.How much is it? From £72 for four anytime sessions or £99 per month for unlimited classes (off-peak).Do It Yourself The studio setting of Hiitgirl is part of what makes the experience unique – the attention to detail with glam décor creates a great vibe. However, if you’re not near Harrogate or London, there is a ‘Fit in 5’ challenge on the website hiitgirl.com. The videos guide you through a speedy, yet effective, workout wherever you are.

Interval training

Interval training

You've heard about the endless benefits of interval training, and they can be achieved almost anywhere, any time. But if pounding away on a treadmill in order to get your high-intensity interval fix just doesn't appeal, then why not take yourself to a high-energy, enthusiastic class? Hiitgirl is an all-female class that lasts only half an hour, but is enough to get your sweat pouring, heart pumping and muscle fibres firing.What is it? Hiitgirl is a haven for women who like to work hard, tough it out and get the benefits of exercise without leaving glamour at the door. At its core is ‘high-intensity interval training’ (hence ‘hiit’girl), but the exact format varies from class to class to keep participants interested and their bodies guessing.What are the benefits? High-intensity interval training raises your heart rate, improving cardio fitness. The high reps enhance muscular endurance and the nonstop work does wonders for weight loss.Our class was divided into ‘muscle moves’ (strength) and ‘meta moves’ (metabolism). For the first half, we performed moves like jumping squats, press-ups and lunges for 40 seconds at a time – going hell for leather – with 20 seconds’ rest between each set.The second half adopted a Tabata-style format for 10 minutes (20 seconds’ work, 10 seconds’ rest, repeat), performing moves like mountain climbers, crunches and burpees. An Ugi ball added a further challenge to the moves that test resistance and stability.The class only lasts 30 minutes but you’re encouraged to work hard throughout. At the end – when we were dripping with sweat and burning – we performed seated and standing sprints on a Schwinn Airdyne, which is like a stationary bike mixed with a cross-trainer. Our upper and lower bodies were forced to work together for an all-over workout.How hard is it? The super-short bursts of intense, hard work make the time fly by, while the swanky setting and community focus distract you from the sweaty graft! Intense but not intimidating, Hiitgirl is suitable for beginners and the advanced alike.Where is it? London and Harrogate. Visit hiitgirl.com.How much is it? From £72 for four anytime sessions or £99 per month for unlimited classes (off-peak).Do It Yourself The studio setting of Hiitgirl is part of what makes the experience unique – the attention to detail with glam décor creates a great vibe. However, if you’re not near Harrogate or London, there is a ‘Fit in 5’ challenge on the website hiitgirl.com. The videos guide you through a speedy, yet effective, workout wherever you are.

Interval training

Interval training

You've heard about the endless benefits of interval training, and they can be achieved almost anywhere, any time. But if pounding away on a treadmill in order to get your high-intensity interval fix just doesn't appeal, then why not take yourself to a high-energy, enthusiastic class? Hiitgirl is an all-female class that lasts only half an hour, but is enough to get your sweat pouring, heart pumping and muscle fibres firing.What is it? Hiitgirl is a haven for women who like to work hard, tough it out and get the benefits of exercise without leaving glamour at the door. At its core is ‘high-intensity interval training’ (hence ‘hiit’girl), but the exact format varies from class to class to keep participants interested and their bodies guessing.What are the benefits? High-intensity interval training raises your heart rate, improving cardio fitness. The high reps enhance muscular endurance and the nonstop work does wonders for weight loss.Our class was divided into ‘muscle moves’ (strength) and ‘meta moves’ (metabolism). For the first half, we performed moves like jumping squats, press-ups and lunges for 40 seconds at a time – going hell for leather – with 20 seconds’ rest between each set.The second half adopted a Tabata-style format for 10 minutes (20 seconds’ work, 10 seconds’ rest, repeat), performing moves like mountain climbers, crunches and burpees. An Ugi ball added a further challenge to the moves that test resistance and stability.The class only lasts 30 minutes but you’re encouraged to work hard throughout. At the end – when we were dripping with sweat and burning – we performed seated and standing sprints on a Schwinn Airdyne, which is like a stationary bike mixed with a cross-trainer. Our upper and lower bodies were forced to work together for an all-over workout.How hard is it? The super-short bursts of intense, hard work make the time fly by, while the swanky setting and community focus distract you from the sweaty graft! Intense but not intimidating, Hiitgirl is suitable for beginners and the advanced alike.Where is it? London and Harrogate. Visit hiitgirl.com.How much is it? From £72 for four anytime sessions or £99 per month for unlimited classes (off-peak).Do It Yourself The studio setting of Hiitgirl is part of what makes the experience unique – the attention to detail with glam décor creates a great vibe. However, if you’re not near Harrogate or London, there is a ‘Fit in 5’ challenge on the website hiitgirl.com. The videos guide you through a speedy, yet effective, workout wherever you are.

The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 3

30 July 2014

by Bodybuilding.comJul 30, 2014Back | Main | NextFor many people, nutrition seems like the great mystery in a fitness and body transformation. Many people work hard in the gym for years without seeing the results they want, while others around them score the bodies of their dreams seemingly overnight.Scores of people continually keep letting a troublesome craving or weakness dominate them, even when everything else in their nutritional life is in line. We're pretty sure you know someone who fits that description.Ultimate 30 Day Beginners Guide To Fitness: Watch The Video - 02:37Day 3 ChallengeRead about nutrition and explore the Bodybuilding.com recipe database. Rest from exercise, limiting yourself to no more than a brisk walk and your general daily activities. Nutrition doesn't have to be complicated! If you approach nutrition not as a hunt for "the answer," but as an education in the fundamentals, you can learn to fuel your performance and tailor your diet to your goals. Bodybuilding.com has thousands of articles and videos to help you every step of the way.You can learn about new foods, like the greatest fat you've never tried, or the forgotten fiber all-stars. You can explore new ways to add more protein into your diet, take a hands-on approach to portion control, or learn about the latest diet trends, from intermittent fasting to flexible dieting.Want to know where to start? Whether you plan to count your macronutrient intake—also known as your "macros"—down to the gram every day or not, you need to know what they are and what they mean. Start by learning what the macronutrients are, what they mean, and how to measure them.Step two is to become best friends with this page: our recipe database. Despite what you think "clean eating" means, you will learn—and we know from experience—that the best diet is the one you'll follow. That means food has to taste good at least some of the time—preferably most of the time—and our experts can help fill your life with delicious nutrition!Questions? Get them answered on the Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide to Fitness thread on the Bodybuilding.com forum!Back | Main | NextRelated Articles8 Shoulder Exercises You Must Do Body Transformation: Phillip Took His Training To The Next Level Amateur Bodybuilder Of The Week: Gavin Brings Intensity To Ireland! View All Workout Programs Articles About The AuthorContributing WriterCheck out these awesome articles by some of the best writers in the industry.View All Articles By This Author RATE THIS ARTICLEPOOR1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 EXCELLENTOVERALL RATING9.5Out of 10Excellent19 RatingsSUCCESS:Your comment has been posted! Because comments are displayed from oldest to newest, it will appear on the last page. ERROR:Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Integer mattis varius nisi eu aliquet. Integer mattis. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet Showing 0 - of CommentsFollow This Discussion by: Email comment on this article Log In to Comment (5 characters minimum) notify me when users reply to my comment Showing 0 - of CommentsFeatured Product Optimum Gold Standard 100% Whey Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein is Packed with Whey Protein Isolates & Fast-Acting HYDROWHEY Peptides! - Bodybuilding.com - Lowest Prices! Learn More about Optimum Gold Standard 100% Whey!

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How Eating More Fat Helps You Lose More Weight

30 July 2014

For years, decades even, we've been fed the lie that the best way to control calories and shed fat is to cut fat from our diet. Since fat contains more calories per gram than protein or carbs, it only makes sense that, in order to lose fat, you need to consume less of it, right? Wrong.Though totally flawed, this low/no-fat dogma was once upon a time aggressively embraced by the bodybuilding community. Bodybuilders have likely been successful on these diets due to their stronger-than-average dedication to the gym and the increased levels of dietary indiscretion—otherwise known as cheat meals—that are allowed when accompanied by high volume weight training.Regardless of past success with fat-restricted diets, lowering fat intake doesn't equate with dropping fat. A little fat could even help make your fat loss more successful! 1 Eating Fat Displaces Eating Carbs When you look at the macronutrient percentages of your diet, everything needs to add up to 100 percent. Eating more of one macronutrient means that your intake of another macronutrient needs to decrease. Regardless of your goal—fat loss, hypertrophy, or performance—you should meet your protein needs first, then adjust your fat and carb intake accordingly.Eating more fat means eating fewer carbs, and vice versa. From a fat-loss perspective, displacing carbohydrates by increasing fat in your diet sets the stage for an optimal fat-loss environment. Insulin, released by your body in proportion to the amount of carbohydrates you eat, is the major gatekeeper when it comes to nutrient partitioning—telling what nutrients where they can go. Lower overall insulin levels—achieved by reducing carbohydrates—allow your body to more readily access fat stores for energy while also allowing fat to enter and fuel your muscles.Eating more fat means eating fewer carbs, and vice versa. 2 Eating Fat Enhances Your Body's Ability to Burn Fat From a biochemical level, low-fat diets don't make sense. They don't condition your body to be efficient at burning fat. Instead, they ramp up the enzymatic machinery in your body so it becomes efficient at burning carbohydrates.Lower-fat diets can also have negative impacts on adipokines which impact fat loss. Adipokines are hormones released specifically from your fat cells. One such hormone, adiponectin, is a true fat-burning hormone that works to enhance your metabolism and increase the rate in which fats are broken down, curbing your appetite. Lower-fat diets lead to lower levels of adiponectin. 3 Eating Fat Makes You Want to Eat Less The hormonal and metabolic benefits of eating more fat are great, but one of the best benefits might be the satiating effects of fat. Nothing is worse than eating a lower-calorie diet that leaves your hungry all the time. This is traditionally a huge problem in diets which deny you foods with a higher fat content such as nuts, fatty fish, cheese, and avocado.Satiating fat leaves you feeling full. When the fat you eat hits your small intestine, it sets off a cascade of signals which includes the release of hormones such as CCK and PYY. These two hormones play a major role in appetite regulation and satiety; they leave you feeling full and satisfied. The more satiated you are, the less likely that you're going to sneak in snacks between meals or pile on a second helping.The more satiated you are, the less likely that you're going to sneak in snacks between meals or pile on a second helping.A Word Of Caution: Avoid this Big Fat MistakeIt's true, fat is good for you. That said, fat is not a calorie-free food. It's the exact opposite. Despite this rather obvious fact, many people have embraced adding ample fat to their diets with reckless abandon. While eating more fat—roughly 30-35 percent of your total calories, or more if you're low-carb dieting—is beneficial, these calories add up quickly, so be careful.Even if you aren't counting your calories and macros, it's good to have some level of measurement control. I recommend that you always measure fats and oils before using them. Dressing a salad with olive oil can quickly escalate from two teaspoons to two tablespoons, and one eyeballed spoonful of peanut butter can actually be the equivalent of three servings. Fats are delicious and easy to over-consume so, even if you are making an effort to eat more fat in your diet, make sure your efforts are calculated.Recommended For YouWhy You Need Whey Did you ever see a study that seemed to contradict common sense when it comes to the basics of exercise and supplementation? You're not the only one. Here's how to break down the flaws in anti-supp research and take away lessons you can really use!Everything You Need To Know About Greens Supplements Greens supplements are hot on the market, but misinformation can make the difference between them supplementing your health and bringing gains to a halt. Learn how to go green the right way!5 Ways To Grow More Muscle Day And Night! If you've got your diet and training fundamentals down but are looking to maximize protein synthesis, try these five master-level nutritional strategies!About The AuthorMike Roussell, Ph.D.Author, speaker, and nutritional consultant Mike Roussell, PhD is known for transforming complex nutritional concepts into practical habits...View All Articles By This Author

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Arms Advantage: 5 Tips For A Great Arms Workout Routine

30 July 2014

It doesn't matter if you're a guy or a gal: defined, shapely arms look good. While compound exercises should be the staple of any resistance training routine, adding an effective arm workout to your usual split can add direct definition and size to your biceps and triceps.Although you already hit your triceps during your push or chest days, and your biceps on your pull or back days, isolating your biceps and triceps once per week will further improve your complete physique&mdsah;and everybody's favorite show-off muscles.Ashley Hoffman, Neon athlete and all-around badass, has a set of guns that would make many guys jealous. She also happens to have some great tips, and below you'll find one of her favorite workouts to help you get the most out of your biceps and triceps training.Arms Advantage Tip 1 We've all seen it: the guy doing biceps curls with his hips and lower back instead of his arms. Sure, challenging yourself with big weights every now and again can be helpful, but consistently choosing weight that's so heavy you have to swing it isn't going to get you much stronger."The key to a good arms workout is keeping your elbows at your sides," says Ashley Hoffman. "Use only your biceps or triceps to do the exercises, not your body's momentum to move the weight." Whether you're doing curls or extensions, keep your elbows pinned to the side of your body, which will stop you from using body English to move the load.In order for your biceps and triceps to grow, you need to make sure that they're the muscles being stressed. If you use your body to move the weight, you take away from the workload your arms could be doing, which could mean less change in the target muscle group.Arms Advantage Tip 2 One key to building lean mass is keeping your muscles under tension. The best way to do this is by increasing the length of each rep by pausing for some extra squeeze at the top of the movement. "When I do biceps and triceps exercises, I try to act like I'm flexing," says Ashley. "That way I know I am really targeting the muscles.""One key to building lean mass is keeping your muscles under tension."Yes, your muscles will be working throughout any exercise, but extending the time that your muscle is in its peak contraction can really increase its size. That squeeze can increase the number of muscle fibers you activate. The more muscle fibers involved in your lifts, the bigger your muscles can get."Try finishing your last set with a dropset or negative reps to deliver better results—and an enormous pump!"Arms Advantage Tip 3: Many of us know that the best rep scheme for hypertrophy (muscle-building) is around 8-12 reps. However, your body will eventually adapt to the routine if you do the same thing over and over again. So, if you've been curling 30-pound dumbbells for 3 sets of 10 for the last three months and haven't seen any changes, your program needs some help.Start by bumping up the weight. If you start to fail sooner than you'd like, grab a buddy and have him or her help you on those last few reps. You can also try using bigger weights for fewer reps early in your workout, and then progress to lighter weights for more reps as you fatigue. Try finishing your last set with a dropset or negative reps to deliver better results—and an enormous pump!The point of pushing your muscles past failure is twofold: most importantly, it helps your muscles adapt by becoming bigger and stronger, and secondly, pushing past failure means you'll avoid those annoying plateaus.Arms Advantage Tip 4 You want a sick pump? Do supersets. Supersets are a technique which calls for you to do two exercises back-to-back without resting. One of the best ways to employ this technique is to do a triceps exercise and follow it immediately with a biceps exercise or vice versa. By using this technique, you stretch one antagonist muscle group while contracting the other, which brings more blood to the muscles and sparks new growth.Supersets are also great because they save a lot of time. The limited rest means you get through your workout faster, leaving more time for showing off your growing guns."The limited rest means you get through your workout faster, leaving more time for showing off your growing guns."Arms Advantage Tip 5 Unilateral (single-arm) lifts can be beneficial to your arms training. Many of us are stronger on one side of our body. So, if you only use a barbell to do biceps curls, chances are that your dominant side will do more work, leaving your weaker side, well, weaker.By focusing on one side at a time, you'll be able to grow each arm evenly. Balanced and symmetrical muscles not only look better, but they function better so you're less likely to get injured.Single-arm lifts can also help you learn how to use your mind-muscle connection to better recruit and activate the right muscle fibers to do the work. Think about your triceps squeezing as you do each and every rep, concentrate on using that muscle, and only that muscle, to move the weight.Arms AttackNeed a fresh arms workout to put your newfound knowledge to use? Try one of Ashley's favorite arms assaults! This workout is built on supersets, one of Ashley's treasured techniques.Superset Barbell Curl4 sets of 15 reps EZ-Bar Skullcrusher4 sets of 15 reps Superset Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curl3 sets of 15 reps Dumbbell Kickback3 sets of 15 reps Superset Preacher Curl3 sets of 15 reps Reverse Cambered Bar Push-Down3 sets of 15 reps Superset Cable Rope Curl3 sets of 20 reps, last set to failure Cable Rope Push-Down3 sets of 20 reps, last set to failure   Spider Curl2 sets of 25 reps, last set to failure Recommended For You7 Tips To Skyrocket Your Motivation When your motivation begins to wane, small changes can make a massive difference. Learn how to refuel your drive when you feel yourself falling off the bandwagon.6 Ways To Strengthen Your Mindset Use these tips to revamp your mindset and multiply your motivation.Motivation Overdrive: 23 Ways To Boost Workout Intensity We all need a little kick to the behind once in a while. Here are 23 ways to increase the fun and intensity of your workouts so you feel more motivated to do them!About The AuthorShannon ClarkI’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.View All Articles By This Author

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24-Hour Countdown To The Perfect Workout

24-Hour Countdown To The Perfect Workout

29 July 2014

These days, more people than ever realize the power of performance nutrition. Unfortunately, realizing the power doesn't mean they perform it right! Many trainees figure that as long as they have a pre-workout in them by the time they set foot in the weight room and a protein shake after leaving, they're good to go. After that, they're off the clock.This approach is a great start, but it's by no means the end of the story, especially if you have dreams of building your all-time best physique. You may only spend an hour or so in the gym each day, but maximizing the results you get from that hour requires a 24-hour effort.Here's the play-by-play of what your day should look like, starting from the moment your previous workout ends. Note that this schedule is designed to have you doing a 5 p.m. workout. If you work out at another time, simply adjust the sequence of events accordingly.Are you ready? Set the clock!24 Hours Pre-Workout: You just finished one workout, and you're almost exactly one day from the start of your next. It's time for a shake!You may think this ritual is part of the workout you just finished, but in the larger context of recovery, it does more to support tomorrow's session. Fueling up immediately post-workout helps the body begin healing, repairing, and growing as quickly as possible so it'll be ready to attack the next challenge it faces with equal intensity. Skip it, and you put yourself behind the eight ball.No need to reinvent the wheel here. If you're looking to grow, take in about 0.25 grams per pound of bodyweight of a quality whey isolate protein powder along with 0.25-0.5 grams per pound of a fast-acting carbohydrate. If you're looking to lean out, or if your carbohydrate intake is limited, you could opt for double the whey and cut the carbs, like IFBB pro Amanda Latona does."Immediately after my training, I take 2 scoops of Isoburn protein," Latona explains. She says she prefers this method when she's in strict show-prep mode, since the additional incoming protein can spike insulin levels on its own without a carb source.23 Hours Pre-Workout: Your post-workout shake is in, and the nutrients are doing their job. However, your body is also feeling the damage of your last workout acutely right now, so it's time to eat up and give it fuel to keep recovering and growing. Recent research has concluded that the so-called "anabolic window" actually lasts somewhere around 3-4 hours long, so use this opportunity to make the most of it!Eat a solid meal at this time consisting of lean protein along with complex carbohydrates. Chicken, fish, beef, or turkey all work great alongside brown rice or sweet potatoes.19 Hours Pre-Workout: You're now gearing down for bed, preparing yourself for the most important recovery session of your day. It should last at least 8 hours, and if you're looking to add muscle, more like 9 or 10. Cut back on sleep, and your chances of having a perfect workout tomorrow decrease dramatically.In either case, don't go to bed hungry. Give your muscle tissues some amino acids to utilize throughout the wee hours. At this hour, you might think you can't beat the tried-and-true formula of casein, either as a powder or from a food like cottage cheese. But, there's a better option: casein along with a healthy fat like avocado.You might think you can't beat the tried-and-true formula of casein, either as a powder or from a food like cottage cheese. But, there's a better option: casein along with a healthy fat like avocado.Why include both? First, by feeding your body both fat and casein, two slow-digesting nutrients, you'll help counteract the muscle breakdown which occurs during your nightly fast. And second, healthy fats are crucial for maintaining or raising your natural testosterone levels, which can promote even greater growth.If you're training early in the morning without food or utilizing a dietary system such as intermittent fasting, you could boost this meal with some carbs. This is how BSN athlete Dr. Sara Solomon structures her day."Carb back-loading yields better outcomes with fasting and fasted training, so I purposely eat my carbs at the end of my eating window, which falls before bed," she explains. "This facilitates my fasted training workout the next day, because my glycogen reserves are fully saturated."Pro Tip: CheatAt Night!"I eat my cheat meal at night, and then the next day I train a major muscle group such as legs or glutes and use the extra food to promote greater gains," says Amanda Latona. When training the following morning, she'll take 10 g of BSN's Amino-X beforehand.10 Hours Pre-Workout: Welcome to the day of your perfect training session. It's time to prime your body with a solid breakfast! Don't think that only your pre-workout meal matters.Remember that what you eat now will take hours to fully digest, so this meal will definitely help fuel that workout.Eat a mixture of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats before you leave the house.If you're looking to get leaner, keep the carbohydrates lower and then add more later in the day—such as in your pre-workout or post-workout meal—to keep your daily total in line.9.5 Hours Pre-Workout: While you eat breakfast or immediately afterward, take some time to plan out your workout so you know precisely what you'll be doing when you hit the gym later on. Do this before your day gets busy and you head off to work, so you can give it your full attention."Each workout should be a carefully orchestrated plan with the main objective to destroy the targeted muscle groups.""Each workout is an opportunity to take another step closer to the physique you desire," explains IFBB pro Ryan Hughes. "Each workout should be a carefully orchestrated plan with the main objective to destroy the targeted muscle groups."As part of this plan, Ryan advises mapping out not only your workout session, but your pre- and post-workout nutrition, so you don't find yourself improvising or cheating during the day. Your time in the gym is precious, but it's brief. Don't leave anything up to chance.4 Hours Pre-Workout: Focus on lean protein, a few vegetables, and a good hit of complex carbohydrates.With four hours to go before you hit the gym, it's time for another protein-rich, slow-digesting meal. Focus on lean protein, a few vegetables, and a good hit of complex carbohydrates.90 Minutes Pre-Workout: How this meal looks will depend on your personal food tolerance level before exercise. Some people prefer having a shake at this time rather than solid food, because they find it doesn't weigh them down quite so much. Others couldn't imagine working out without this meal inside them.Regardless of what your meal looks like, aim to get in 0.25 grams per pound of protein along with another 0.25 grams per pound of carbohydrates. These can be a mix of slower-burning or faster-burning carbs depending on how long before the workout you're eating.The longer beforehand, the more you should favor complex carbs over simple ones.30 Minutes Pre-Workout: Your workout is getting close now, so it's time to pump yourself up. Do this by taking one serving of NO-Xplode mixed with water. People will do this just a few minutes before training, such as when they're in the locker room, but it's far better to give the ingredients more time to work. You don't want to be almost done with your workout before you feel it working!A pre-workout supplement helps boost your focus and concentration, improve blood flow to muscle tissues, and prevent fatigue. It's also one more great way to reinforce the ritual of training—particularly if you have a pre-workout you really like. "I'm so in love with the new formula," Latona says of the new NO-Xplode. "I actually look forward to drinking it, which then makes me look forward even more to my training session."Now is also the time to review what you plan to do in the gym so you're focused and fully prepared. If you're someone who likes to power up by watching a motivational video or reading an inspirational quote, this is the moment to queue it up and soak it in.2-3 Minutes Before The Workout: If you've followed all the steps up to now, your body is fueled up and energized, like a racecar rumbling on the starting line. You've lived a day like the pros do, and you're set to have the workout of your life. The only thing left is to prepare your intra-workout drink."Mix some AminoX with some water and head into your session," says Solomon. "This is especially vital if you're using an intermittent fasting approach; BCAAs can help further enhance protein synthesis in the skeletal muscle while in the fasted state." Fasted or no, soaking up these amino acids throughout the workout session will help maximize the growth stimulus your body receives.Now, get ready to do it all again. Are there any places you could be making improvements? Do you have any pro tips of your own? If so, let us know in the comments!Recommended For You5 Winning Workout Boosters! Every workout can get better. Use these pro tips to modify your intensity, timing, pre-workout strategy, and, especially, the nutrients you use to crush each workout.Glute Workout: 6 Ways To Build Your Perfect Booty It's all about the butt! Here are 6 ways to make yours rounder, fuller, and stronger so you can rock the heck out of those new jeans.Amanda Latona's 5 Favorite Exercises: The Hanging Leg Raise Bikini abs come from a clean diet and dedication in the gym! Try Amanda's favorite abs exercise today.

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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 2

29 July 2014

Back | Main | NextIt's time to set foot in the gym and begin the training portion of the Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide to Fitness. Or, if you prefer, you can perform this movement at home or outside in your yard or a park, provided you have an exercise ball (also known as a Swiss ball) and a medicine ball. Watch today's video with Kathleen for the details!Ultimate 30 Day Beginners Guide To Fitness: Watch The Video - 03:21Day 2 challengeComplete a general warm-up Conduct your first workout using bodyweight exercises Below, you can see the workout program you'll follow. You can follow it from this screen, print it out, or even load the trainer into your BodySpace profile and receive it that way. If you have any questions about one of the movements, just click on its name to see an instructional video.If you're going to be at the gym and are wondering how heavy of a medicine ball to use on the chest pass and scoop throws, it's OK to err on the light side. With time, figure out a weight that leaves you winded but not overwhelmed after 12 reps. If you find you enjoy this full-body workout, keep it in your back pocket when you need a quick, simple routine someday down the road!And remember, if you have questions about today's workout or anything else related to this trainer, you can get them answered on the Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide to Fitness thread on the Bodybuilding.com forum. General warm-up Elliptical Trainer5 min Alternate Options:Bike or Treadmill Resistance Training Single-leg Balance Reach3 sets of 12 reps Prisoner Squat3 sets of 12 reps Medicine Ball Chest Pass3 sets of 12 reps Medicine Ball Scoop Throw3 sets of 12 reps Inverted Row3 sets of 12 reps Weighted Ball Hyperextension3 sets of 12 reps Plank3 sets for 30 seconds each Back | Main | NextAbout The AuthorContributing WriterCheck out these awesome articles by some of the best writers in the industry.View All Articles By This Author

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Body Transformation: Zero To Hero In One Year!

28 July 2014

Vital StatsName: Horia-Paul SchiopuEmail: dude0796@gmail.comLocation: Constanta, RomaniaWhy I decided to transformMy passion for bodybuilding started when I was a mere 9-year-old. My father used to compete in bodybuilding himself, and he'd watch CDs and DVDs from his collection with bodybuilding competitions, movies, and training.Although I had no idea what was going on, I remember how I admired these muscle-packed, shredded physiques. I thought to myself: "Man, if I ever get to be half as big as these guys are, I'll be more than happy." I admired and looked up to my father, looking to his medal and photos with pride and hoping to one day become national champion as he once was.As time passed by, I kept reading bodybuilding magazines and watching videos, but I never got motivated enough to actually start going to the gym and train. When I turned 16, I'd begun to think more seriously about bodybuilding and asking my father about taking me to the gym and training.On the night of the March 8th 2013, my father told me he'd take me to the gym the next morning. On our way there, I set up my goal: I would compete next year at the National Championship.Before After AGE 16 / HEIGHT 5'8" / BODY FAT 9%AGE 17 / HEIGHT 5'8" / BODY FAT 5.2%Post To FitboardHow I accomplished my goalsStarting out lifting, I didn't really know much. Under my father's guidance, however, I learned many new things and managed to improve at a steady rate. I became interested in becoming better and stumbled upon Ben Pakulski's intelligent approach to bodybuilding, which hooked me immediately.My appetite for knowledge seemed insatiable. I wanted to learn as many things as possible to become the best version of myself. I also discovered and fell in love with Kai Greene's more poetic and philosophical way of seeing things. (An interesting thing about Kai is that being the best bodybuilder in the world today doesn't let it get to his head and is very humble and nice.) I owe my motivation, knowledge, and progress to these three guys—my father especially.There surely were moments in which I thought about quitting, but one glimpse of my father's photos in my room I got right back on track to sleeping, training, and eating properly. As of April 27, I am proud of myself because I've succeeded in taking part in the competition.Although I was disappointed in my placing (4th place), the experience was unforgettable. Everybody congratulated me for what I've managed to do in one year of training.Apply Here To Be A TransformationOf The Week! Bodybuilding.com honors people across all transformation categories for their hard work and dedication. Learn how our featured transformers overcame obstacles and hit their goals!Supplements that helped me through the journey Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Universal Nutrition Animal Pak Dymatize Liquid Super Amino Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydro-Whey MuscleTech Platinum 100% Creatine MuscleTech Platinum 100% Glutamine Dymatize Liquid Super Amino Diet plan that guided my transformationI try to eat every 2 to 3 hours in order to stay anabolic throughout the day. Oats 100 g Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey 1 serving Dried Cranberries Handful White Bread 100 g Grilled Chicken Breast 150 g Bananas 2 medium-sized Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey 1 serving Omelet Egg Whites 2 Whole Eggs 3 White Bread 100 g Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydro-Whey 1 serving Bananas 2 medium-sized Steak 150 g White Rice 85 g Cottage Cheese 1/2 cup Wheat Germ 1/4 cup Training regimen that kept me on trackI train 5 days a week, training each body part every 7 days in order to allow myself enough time for recovery and hit it hard with high intensity every time. I firmly believe that short, intense workouts in the 6-10 rep range give the best results.For me, training for a longer amount of time tends to stop me from growing. Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip3 sets of 10,8,6 reps Incline Dumbbell Press3 sets of 10,8,6 reps Dumbbell Flyes3 sets of 10,8,6 reps Flat Bench Cable Flyes3 sets of 10,8,6 reps Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown3 sets of 8,6,6 reps One-Arm Dumbbell Row3 sets of 8,6,6 reps Lying T-Bar Row3 sets of 8,6,6 reps Barbell Deadlift3 sets of 8,6,6 reps Bent Over Barbell Row3 sets of 8,6,6 reps Flat Bench Lying Leg Raise4 sets until failure Weighted Crunches4 sets until failure Barbell Shoulder Press3 sets of 10 reps Side Lateral Raise3 sets of 15,12,10 reps Arnold Dumbbell Press3 sets of 10 reps Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise3 sets of 12 reps Barbell Shrug3 sets of 15,12,10 reps Scapular Pull-Up3 sets of 10 reps Upright Cable Row3 sets of 12,12,10 reps Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press (EZ-Bar)3 sets of 12 reps Dips - Triceps Version (Weighted)3 sets of 10 reps Triceps Pushdown3 sets of 12,10,8 reps Tricep Dumbbell Kickback3 sets of 12,10,8 reps EZ-Bar Curl3 sets of 12,10,8 reps Seated Dumbbell Curl3 sets of 12,10,8 reps Concentration Curls3 sets of 12 reps Barbell Squat7 sets of 6,8,10,12,12,12,15 reps Leg Extensions5 sets of 6,8,8,8,8 reps Lying Leg Curls5 sets of 12 reps Standing Leg Curl5 sets of 12 reps Leg Press5 sets of 8,10,12,12,12 reps Seated Calf Raise5 sets of 15,15, failure, failure, failure Standing Calf Raises5 sets of 15,15, failure, failure, failure Donkey Calf Raises5 sets of 15,15, failure, failure, failure What aspect challenged me the mostWhen I started out, I didn't pay much attention to what I was eating, not counting my macronutrients and calories. When I saw that I gained a few pounds of fat, I started tracking everything, avoiding the same mistake again.I also used to stay up late and play video games, which prevented me from sleeping enough and recovering from my training. I let that passion die and now go to bed earlier, so I can get at least 8 hours of sleep every day.My future fitness plansI've begun training for competing next year at the 2015 National Championships. I intend to compete at a heavier weight class with at least 10 more pounds of muscle than I did this year.Of course, I hope to win the title and bring it back to my family. My dream is to take part at the Arnold Classic Europe in 2 or 3 years either in physique or classic bodybuilding. I am willing to learn, train, eat, and be as dedicated as possible in order to achieve this goal."Research the field. Gaining knowledge is just as important as gaining muscle."I also have high hopes of studying physiology, as bodybuilding has put me on this path.Another thing I love doing is sharing the things I know with others, helping them fulfill their fitness goals, and I've promised myself I will never let anything get in the way of this. There's this quote I love, and it goes something like: "Strong people don't put others down…they lift them up."Suggestions for aspiring transformersResearch the field. Gaining knowledge is just as important as gaining muscle. Make a diet plan and assess the results every 3 to 4 weeks, tweaking the plan accordingly. Never quit. If you believe in yourself, you will succeed eventually. Do not waste your time on your haters. Do not listen to what they say. Motivate others just as others motivate you. How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goalsI visit Bodybuilding.com on a daily basis. I look for inspirational people, product reviews, new exercises, training plans, competition results and photos, threads on the forums, and more. It was the place I could find the most information about tanning for my competition, which was crucial and helped me a lot.The database of information here is huge, and everybody should take advantage of it to know more things, which might prove helpful in their fitness journey. Anybody who wants a change in their physique should get on Bodybuilding.com. It provides everything one could need.Horia Paul's Top 5 Gym Tracks"Till I Collapse" by Eminem "Bleed It Out" by Linkin Park "Coming Undone" by Korn "Animal I Have Become" by 3 Days Grace "Du hast" by Rammstein Recommended For YouHow To Lose 100+ Pounds In 1 Year! If Steve had downtime, he was either training or preparing meals. That dedicated plan of attack drove him to lose 102 pounds and 30 percent body fat in one year!Body Transformation: Eric Hicks Torched 131 Pounds To Reveal Ripped Muscle! Eric refused to follow his dad's diabetic fate and committed to change his lifestyle. See how he lost 131 pounds with a healthy mix of training and nutrition!Body Transformation: Micah Van Yperen Went From Pudgy To Pumped Up! Micah completely changed his body composition as a teen and turned fat to muscle after years of hard work in the gym and kitchen. See how you can too!About The AuthorTeen Transformation Of The WeekHave you made a dramatic change either by gaining muscle of by losing all the weight you have been hoping for?View All Articles By This Author

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8 Major Mistakes Limiting Your Muscle Growth

28 July 2014

In the relentless pursuit of more muscle, we can often become our own worst enemies. This is particularly the case when we hear that something worked for ... well, anyone: a friend, a pro, a guy in an ad, or the biggest guy in the gym. Ask them—they're usually begging you to, right?—and you'll get a crazy answer about two-a-days, double-dough pizzas, and twice the recommended dosages.The truth is that many of these guys succeed in spite of their excesses, not because of them. Here's a list of what I believe are the eight biggest mistakes that bodybuilders make—all of them a case of doing more when less would have been better. Take a look and see how you could be wasting your time, money, and energy. 1 Taking too many supplements Supplements are called supplements for a reason. They are supposed to fill the gaps in your whole food diet and help you get more from your efforts in the gym. They are not, nor will they ever be, a replacement for a proper diet or hard work.Time and time again, I've talked to people who blow most of their monthly food budget on overhyped supplements when what they really need is steak, sweet potatoes, and other basic whole foods, supported intelligently with basics such as protein, fish oil, creatine, and pre-workouts.Make sure that your diet is nailed down before you start adding anything more than those to your routine. You'll get better results by mastering basic nutrition than if you have a subpar diet with superior supplementation. 2 Adding more volume and workouts In my opinion, people spend way too much time online arguing about whether or not overtraining is a "thing." Focusing on that dodges what I feel is the real question: Is it possible to train too hard, too often, and for too long? The answer, I can say from experience , is yes!The "more is better" mentality that has permeated bodybuilding is not beneficial, especially when it gets applied to the length and frequency of workouts. Why? Because, your muscles grow outside of the gym, after your workouts."Is it possible to train too hard, too often, and for too long? The answer, I can say from experience , is yes!"If you train hard enough, the work you perform in the gym will cause microscopic tears and trauma to your muscles. The work you do outside of the gym—eating, drinking water, stretching, supplementation, and especially sleeping—repairs this damage. When you train a muscle hard again before the repair process is complete, you not only rob yourself of growth, but you open yourself up to more injury and unnecessary pain.If you want your muscles to grow bigger and stronger, you need more recovery, not less. Let your muscles fully heal before training them again, and you'll enjoy faster, injury-free gains. 3 Setting more elite expectations Chances are you have an image in your head of what you'd like your body to eventually look like. Perhaps it's someone you have seen before. That's how a lot of people communicate their fitness goals: "I'd like to look just like him. He looks great!"Maybe it's a personal trainer at your gym, a professional athlete, or just a random picture you saw somewhere. Regardless of whom it is, I bet that person spent years, or even decades, building his or her body.Please don't think I'm saying you can't achieve what you want. I'm simply recommending that you set realistic expectations about your progress and the timeframe required to achieve it. If you don't, you'll get discouraged, and that can take all the fun out of your lifestyle. Because, don't forget, it's the overall lifestyle—not a certain lift, program, or dietary trick—that creates lasting results.Enjoy your progress, and take satisfaction in setting and reaching your realistic goals. Then set new ones and get back to work!"I'm simply recommending that you set realistic expectations about your progress and the timeframe required to achieve it. If you don't, you'll get discouraged, and that can take all the fun out of your lifestyle." 4 Eating more dirty calories By now, we've all seen enough "It's OK, I'm bulking" memes to last a lifetime. In real life, the joke isn't on some random baby or squirrel, it's on that guy we all know (or are) who pounds pizzas, burgers, and ice cream until he could be mistaken for a fat person—if not for his incredibly developed forearms and calves.All kidding aside, I see way too many people with offseason diets that are—shall we say—loose. They end up blowing their body composition and nearly dying on the stairmill when they finally decide to get cut. Not only is the excess weight unhealthy, but they end up spending massive amounts of time dieting away the body fat they put on, and as a result, lose more muscle than if they had just stayed a little leaner.Would you rather take three steps forward and two steps back, or two steps forward and one step back? I'm going to go with the option two, because it's a whole lot less walking—both figuratively and literally—to go the same distance. It'll also feel far better along the way."If you want to learn from the pros, study their principles, not their workouts. Follow their training tips or exercise recommendations, not their overall workout volume and duration." 5 Performing morepro-level routines What better way to get legs or arms like an IFBB pro than to copy their workouts from their latest article in a bodybuilding magazine, right? Wrong! While there are plenty of great technique tips you can learn from the pros, you should hesitate before following their actual workouts on a regular basis.Why, you ask? The athletes performing these workouts have been training at a high level with near-perfect diet and supplementation for a long time. They have coaches, nutritionists, and years of muscle growth to support everything they do. Put it all together, and they're simply more acclimated to perform heavier workloads than the average person.If you want to learn from the pros, study their principles, not their workouts. Follow their training tips or exercise recommendations, not their overall workout volume and duration. Otherwise, it's a recipe for the type of overtraining I talked about earlier. 6 More routine changes You've no doubt heard that you have to change things up to continue making progress in the gym. I agree with that statement, but it's how people change that I often disagree with. Instead of modifying the amount of weight used, the rest between sets, or the set-rep scheme, they'll completely change exercises, or they'll swap their training splits on a dime. I have a couple of issues with this.First of all, in bodybuilding, there are certain movements that are irreplaceable for gaining mass, such as the squat and deadlift. These lifts require an immense amount of skill and practice to perform properly with a strong mind-muscle connection. If you're not practicing them regularly, you're probably leaving gains on the table.Second, many programs feature loading and de-loading phases, or alternating light and heavy weeks, that can't simply be plugged into another program. Bouncing back and forth between routines can cause some parts of your body to get overdeveloped while others remain undertrained.Do yourself a favor and give your program a chance to work. Follow it all the way to the end, especially if you've never done that before. You'll be surprised how well it works! 7 Listening to more advice You know what they say about opinions right? If you're going to seek training or supplementation advice from someone in your gym, make sure the person knows what they're talking about. And until you make sure, be suspicious!"If you're going to seek training or supplementation advice from someone in your gym, make sure the person knows what they're talking about."I've witnessed bad advice being doled out plenty of times, but more importantly, I've heard stories about people looking terrible for their shows, causing personal health problems, or just not progressing like they should, all because they were taking bad advice from the wrong person.No one knows your body better than you do. And if that's not the case, I'd recommend you spend time getting more in tune with programs, workouts, and stacks that are built around the fundamentals. That way, you'll know what straightforward heavy training feels like for you, so you have a benchmark to compare to when the time comes to start cutting, getting ready for a show, or making huge offseason gains. 8 Pushing more weight Sure, that single you did with 495 on the deadlift sounds awesome when you tell the story later. But was it more beneficial to your physique than pulling 405 for 8 reps? That's debatable, particularly if you had to break every form rule in the book to get the bar above your knees.When you get to the gym, leave your ego at the door. Lifting heavier than you should opens up the door to injuries, chronic soreness, and slower progress than if you perform your exercises with an appropriate training weight.When was the last time you saw a bench press on an NPC stage during a bodybuilding contest? How about a leg press contest on the sideline of a football field? You haven't, because weights are simply tools to help athletes get better at their sports.Exercise is not the sport in itself, unless you're a powerlifter or weightlifter. And if you are, then you already know that big round numbers only matter in specific settings.If you're looking for a unifying takeaway from all of these points, it's this: think more, follow less. Analyze your training, nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset ruthlessly, and don't be afraid to question what anyone says. If you find yourself wondering where the line between "enough" and "too much" is in your training, hit me up in the comments!Recommended For YouAwesome Arms Workout: Arms By Labrada With coaches like Lee and Hunter Labrada, you'll get exactly what you need to add size and strength to your biceps and triceps. Here's their awesome arms workout!5 Techniques To Turbo-Charge Your Muscle Growth You can't beat the classic movements when the goal is building a strong, balanced physique, but you can make them even more effective with these five tried-and-true overload techniques!How To Build Muscle Without Adding Fat Before you start obsessing over the hard math of macronutrient calculation, make sure you've got your dietary priorities in place. Here's a guide anyone can use!

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7 Training Tips To Power Up Your Lower Chest!

28 July 2014

For many guys, the lower pecs are the most difficult area of the chest to fully develop. That's about to change. Not because we're the proud owners of a magical exercise that'll finally build that slow-to-grow region, but because we've developed seven strategies which take direct aim at shallow lower pecs.To add thickness to your lower chest, start by abandoning the "one lower chest exercise is enough" mentality when it comes to chest day. To focus on a stubborn area, it's too late to pick your parents, but not too late to dig deep into your bag of chest-training tricks.Besides adding specific lower-pec exercises, you can also manipulate your routine and boost your training intensity by adding techniques such as dropsets, rest-pause sets, or even negative reps. Addressing all of these elements is your best option to re-ignite muscle growth and give your lower pecs a big lift.Try these seven tips to power-up your lagging lower chest! 1 Train Lower Chest First Many a chest workout has deservedly started with the bench press, but when you prioritize a particular area, you should start your training day with an exercise for that area when your energy is fresh and your strength is high. In this case, do a lower-pec move like decline barbell press right off the bat."Do a lower-pec move like decline barbell press right off the bat."If you traditionally do declines later in your workout, you will notice right away that you're significantly stronger when doing them first. That's the idea: tackle the target area with weights it hasn't had to push before. Above that, don't be afraid to push heavier weights for lower reps than you normally do. If you typically do declines for sets of 10 reps, increase the weight and do sets of 6-8. Don't underestimate the impact that a novel training stimulus has on a target muscle. 2 Do a Second Lower-Pec Movement Later in Your Workout THE LOWER CHEST EXERCISE LISTPress (multi-joint exercise)- Decline Barbell Press- Decline Dumbbell Press- Smith-Machine Decline Press- Decline Machine PressFly (single-joint exercise)- Cable Crossover- Decline Dumbbell Fly- Decline Cable FlyBodyweight Moves- Incline Push-up (feet on floor)- Bodyweight dipWho says you have to do only one lower chest exercise per workout? While you normally want to do various angles to hit all the muscle fibers in your chest—often flat bench, incline, and decline—by using a decline bench set to a different angle than your first decline exercise, or using a totally different decline-focused machine, you can work those lower-pec fibers in different ways for better development.Just avoid doing lower-chest exercises which closely mirror each other, such as the decline barbell press and Smith-machine decline press, each done on a bench of the same angle, or decline dumbbell presses and barbell presses at the same bench angle.In addition to introducing a second exercise from a different angle, train the muscle in a slightly different rep range. So if you did the first exercise heavy for sets of 6-8, do the second with slightly lighter weights for sets of 10-12. The multiple relative intensities are great for increasing strength and size. 3 Target the Lower Pecs with Single-Joint Exercises "The high cable crossover (with the pulleys attached to the top), decline-bench fly, and cable fly all target the lower chest while eliminating contribution from the triceps."The high cable crossover (with the pulleys attached to the top), decline-bench fly, and cable fly all target the lower chest while eliminating contribution from the triceps. With single-joint exercises, use a slightly higher rep range than what you'd do for presses. Like other isolation moves, these are best done at the end of your chest workout. 4 Incorporate New LowerChest Movements Granted, there aren't a lot of "new" choices here, but anything you haven't done in a while becomes "new." For example, if you tend to always use the barbell, it's time to choose dumbbells or a machine.Besides changing equipment, you can also make slight adjustments to the equipment you already use. Set the decline bench a notch above or below your usual setting. Another favorite of mine: Sit sideways on the Hammer Strength decline machine—which has independent arms—so you can push across your body rather than just straight out.Weighted parallel-bar dips are another great compound movement to try. To target your chest, lean forward by bringing your feet up behind you, and allow your elbows to travel away from your sides as you come down. 5 Train Chest After a Rest Day This is a strategy pro bodybuilders use because you typically have more energy and a fully stocked glycogen supply after a full day of rest and solid nutrition. If you do chest in the middle of your training week, however, make sure you don't train delts or triceps the day before; they need to be fully rested. 6 Turn Up Your Training Intensity With AdvancedTechniques Training to failure is your first step to building muscle, but training past failure for 1-2 sets of several lower-chest exercises can push you into the growth zone. There are many techniques to increase intensity; here are four great ones!Forced reps: Ask your workout partner to help you lift the weight after you reach muscle failure so you can do a few more reps.Heavy rest-pause: Choose a weight in which you can do just 6 reps (your 6-rep max), but do just 3 reps. Rest no more than 20 seconds, and then do 3 more reps. Alternate this work/rest sequence for five cycles and you'll end up doing 15 reps with your 6-rep max, an impressive growth-producing stimulus. Choose an exercise which allows you to quickly get into position, like a machine chest press.Negatives: Once you reach failure, instead of ending your set, have your partner help you lift the weight, and then take five seconds to lower the weight on your own. Do as many reps as you can until you can no longer hold the eccentric contraction for five seconds.Dropsets: Once you reach muscle failure, immediately reduce the poundage by roughly 25 percent and continue repping to failure. You can even do this a second time when you hit muscle failure again. 7 Finish with a Bang Here's a lower-chest finishing move I learned from a trainer named Tucano in Rio de Janeiro many years ago. I swear the guys down there don't know physical limits, and it shows.Parallel-Bar DipsDo unweighted parallel-bar dips to finish your chest workout. Start at the top, arms extended, but not locked out. Take a full 10 seconds to lower yourself, counting slowly. Instead of pressing back up, place your foot on the apparatus and "walk" your way back to full arm extension, pushing off the footplate to raise yourself. Immediately do another 10-second negative and again walk back up to the top.Controlling the speed of the descent gets increasingly more difficult; your set ends once you can no longer make 10. By then, you'll have achieved the lower-pec pump of your life.Recommended For YouStacked Caps: Craig Capurso's Heavy-Volume Shoulder Workout Suffering from ski-slope shoulders? Build a pair of mountainous deltoids with this heavy, high-volume shoulder session from Craig Capurso!Steel Wheels: Craig Capurso's Heavy-Volume Leg Workout Legs lagging? Wheels out of air? Kick your lower body development into overdrive with Craig Capurso's heavy volume workout!Craig Capurso Back Workout: Loaded To The Max Big backs are wonders of the fit world, but they aren't built in one workout. Load your latissimus for the long haul, and start building with this heavy duty workout.About The AuthorBill GeigerBill Geiger, MA comes to Bodybuilding.com after six years as Group Editorial Director with MuscleMag and Reps magazines in Toronto.View All Articles By This Author

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Be More Than Strong. Be Tough!

28 July 2014

These days, it seems everyone is training to become something other than what they are. They want to be strong if they're weak, ripped if they're round, huge if they're shrimpy, or they want to build enough endurance to achieve an elite finish in a race they've never run.This is all admirable, no doubt. But take people outside of the constraints of their sport, their gym, or their favorite Instagram filter, and they wither in the face of all kinds of personal, professional, and physical challenges.Why? Somewhere along the line, they lost grip of their toughness.Very few people possess both great strength and true toughness. Some of these rare individuals lead virtually 'normal' lives, and you couldn't pick them out of a lineup. Some ascend the elite ranks of professional athletes. I prefer these specimens spend their energy defending our country in the military or protecting others on our police and fire departments.My favorite place to find one of these ultimate warriors is standing beside me when the shit hits the fan, and thankfully, I often do. Let's talk about toughness, what it is and isn't, and why you need to build it.What is tough?What does a tough man or woman need?Strong grip and arms for carrying or grappling A core that can withstand a heavy load or a hard blow A cool head, even when in physical pain The ability to focus amid action and distractions Enough cardiovascular endurance to persevere in an emergency Legs that don't quit, but can also explode into speed The ability to recover quickly and get ready for more Far too many guys at the gym mistakenly believe size and strength automatically make them tough. Undoubtedly, this comes from the animal kingdom: size tends to intimidate. But some animals don't follow the rules. A 50-pound wolverine can fend off a 1,000-pound grizzly bear if it comes between him and a meal, or her and her young on the wrong day. Likewise, big gym bullies may rue the day they try to intimidate some little guy who thinks like a wolverine.I'll admit the practice of getting one's body physically strong takes a certain amount of toughness. Stressing your body against heavy resistance, on a regular basis, is not an easy process. It's a brutal grind in the pain-zone to complete those vital final reps.If you've ever fought through the urge to quit during a set of breathing squats or endured the burning in a high-rep set of calf raises, you know it's not for the weak of heart. But if you think that's enough to prepare you for the worst life can throw at you, you're sorely mistaken.So what's the difference? One dictionary definition of strong is: "able to withstand great force or pressure." Look up tough, and you'll see: "strong enough to withstand adverse conditions." The two may seem interchangeable, but they're not. Toughness is strength and then some. It's strength forged by adversity. It's closer to strength coach Dan John's definition of fitness, "an ability to complete a task," but more like "an ability to complete the task," whatever the task might be.One of the dog breeds said to be both strong and tough is the pit bull. In my extensive experience, it seems to me that it's pretty much mandatory for every gangbanging drug dealer to own one. My SWAT team has served many high-risk search warrants where these dogs were part of the intruder defense system.I'll admit the practice of getting one's body physically strong takes a certain amount of toughness. Stressing your body against heavy resistance, on a regular basis, is not an easy process.But get this: Despite their massive builds, very few pit bulls stand their ground when faced with the overwhelming aggression of a legitimate SWAT team entry. They tend to hide or run for the closest exit. The same often holds true for their big, ripped owners. After hundreds of SWAT missions, I noticed that these reported badasses seem to lose their nerve when faced with a true challenge.Conversely, I'm reminded of a night the team had an armed standoff with this skinny dude holding the high ground on his front porch. He glared at us as I watched a flash-bang device explode at his feet. The concussion shook the entire neighborhood, but he didn't even flinch.This is the type of guy that concerns me—the type of guy who seems to lack the ability to quit. I would sooner face a hundred hulking giants who are squeamish about combat than one little dude with an attitude like: "Is that all you've got?"We Don't Need To Be StrongFor the vast majority of us, physical strength is not a necessity in our everyday lives. The process of becoming physically strong has become a choice ever since the advent of computers and automation.Very few jobs still require physical strength. Most jobs favor brain over brawn and even blue-collar workers see their muscle be replaced by machines. Follow a team of warehouse workers for a day, and you'll find they probably walk 16 miles but never have to lift anything more than 20 pounds, because most companies have strict rules prohibiting lifting anything that could lead to an on-the-job injury.Strength is even more of a rarity in our free time. Life gets easier every day, but people still complain about every little inconvenience. We live in a country where people take the elevator up to the gym to get on a stair climber. Parents tell their kids stories about what they had to endure "back in my day," but I have no idea what horror stories my kids will be able to conjure up to tell their kids about how bad they had it "when I was your age."Of course there's an upside to this. In the absence of adversity, we have the privilege of choosing to eat healthily and to live longer, active lives. We can train to make ourselves more attractive. We tell ourselves we would have the strength to perform a task if the need arises, but mostly, I think we just enjoy feeling like we're strong, even if deep down we kinda doubt it.The decision to "toughen up" is an even harder choice to make, because doubt goes out the window. If you want to be tough, you have to expose your weaknesses ruthlessly and eradicate them. You have to embrace challenges that are tougher than you—for now, at least—and spend your hard-earned time and money to do so. Your road to "tough" is like becoming a vegan or a Hare Krishna; it has to make sense to you, even if everyone else thinks you're nuts.Make the ChoiceI believe that every living creature is born with its own level of strength and toughness. However, once you're a self-aware adult who realizes the value of toughness, you can also cultivate both of these traits with time and determination. Certain exercises can help, but the way you approach your training objectives overall is more important.Want to know where to start? Build physical strength systematically however you wish, but mix it up with tests that push your limits, legs, and lungs in cruel and unusual ways. Make use of hills, mountains, bodies of water, and other natural landmarks that defy categorization.Occasionally test yourself against reps that can't be counted, races against superior opponents, WODs dreamed up by sadists, or challenges that you know from the front end will make you hate life before you're finished. These are the sort of things I wish I had utilized when I was preparing for a TV adventure race.To Fight or Not To FightYou can't talk about toughness without talking about fighting. Some muscle-bound behemoth may be able to deadlift a townhouse, but if he's afraid of his own huge shadow, no one would describe him as "tough."We need an unyielding determination to complete the mission regardless of the adversity we face.Alternately, consider that the average Navy SEAL weighs in at 175 pounds and stands 5-foot-10. That's a far cry from massive, yet a SEAL is my ideal absolute tough guy because of what he can do with what he's got.The Internet seems to back the idea that you have to be combative to be tough, since it's the kingdom of the tough-guy typist and the keyboard killer. School kids can choose to avoid any face-to-face contact in favor of engaging in anonymous cyber bullying.Back in my day, kids wouldn't dare to openly talk smack about someone they feared, for concern of an actual confrontation. Today, why would @KickAssThug really need to be tough when he can Tweet challenges to @MikeTyson, all day long and he'll never need to back it up?But here's the thing: You don't need to fight to be tough. You just need to have strength you're afraid to use, and you can access when you really need it. You can integrate some of this into your training in simple ways, but not easy ones, because nothing that builds real toughness is easy. You do your best to survive the worst, and then you trust it will work when you need it to.I've never been a big guy but I have ingrained in myself the mindset that if someone tries to kill me, they'll need to cut my head off and hide it where I can't find it. I'll never quit. Those of us who have sworn an oath to keep others safe don't need to be big and strong.We need an unyielding determination to complete the mission regardless of the adversity we face. That's the toughness we seek, and it's in the background of everything we do inside of the gym and out of it.What's your mission, and how do you prepare for it? Let me know in the comments.Recommended For YouCrossFit Competitions: How To Prepare To Perform Your Best Heading to your local box to do the house WOD is one thing, but learning how to prepare your mind and body for a competition is an entirely different beast. Here's how to prepare for a CrossFit competition!CrossFit Workout: Heather Welsh's High-Intensity Interval Mountain Workout Learn how CrossFit Games athlete Heather Welsh uses hills and trails to burn fat, build stamina, and boost her speed! Think outside the box.Next-Level Living: Six Hard Truths For Advanced Lifters The rules change once you're no longer a beginner, but your desire to keep growing and improving only gets stronger! Heed these six rules to maximize your results for the long haul.

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Supplement Company Of The Month: ProSupps

28 July 2014

Company StatsName: ProSupps LLCFounder/CEO: TJ HumphreysIn Operation Since: February 2012Facility Location(s): Corporate & Manufacturing Office Allen Texas; Sales & Graphics Sunrise FloridaWebsite: www.ProSupps.comSupplement companies, like all other businesses, are created out of a complex web of personal and economic circumstances. They fill a need, take advantage of an opportunity, and in the case of ProSupps, help keep a dream alive after a tragic loss.Founder T.J. Humphreys's company arose from the remnants of Professional Supplements, a promising company started by his late friend and IFBB pro bodybuilder Art Atwood.The new version of the company started without a single product to sell , and in just two years, was offering two dozen ergogenic aids, including the breakout pre-workout Mr. Hyde, to athletes around the globe.ProSupps is the July Supplement Company of the Month and is nominated for three 2014 supplement awards.Learn more from T.J. and ProSupps spokesmodel Jennifer Nicole Lee and see why this group of passionate people has skyrocketed into prominence! Q How did you meet Art Atwood and come to be involved with his business? T.J. HumphreysArt and I became friends many years ago when he owned a supplement line called Professional Supplements. I then owned Lone Star Distribution, a distributor for Professional Supplements. He picked my brain, asking me how he could get better distribution through different retailers and wholesalers.I was just jumping into bodybuilding and competing. Who would be a better coach to have than IFBB pro Art Atwood? We traded notes: He taught me how to be a bodybuilder, and I helped him on the sports nutrition side. We became really good friends. He even moved from Wisconsin to Dallas on my recommendation. He thought Dallas was awesome.When Art passed away in September 2011, his family reached out to me. His sister noticed that my name came up in a lot of Art's journals. He loved to take notes about formulations and sales strategies, and he mentioned my name numerous times.When she searched for me, aside from the magazine covers and bodybuilding shots, she discovered that I was involved on the business side as well. She asked if I was interested in helping to build the brand. In January of 2012, I bounced over to take the job as CEO of Professional Supplements.How did Professional Supplements become ProSupps?We basically had the name and nothing else to sell. When Art passed away, the one product he was selling was called Pure Karbolyn, and the company that was making it for him no longer dealt with Professional Supplements. The name was the only asset we had.I convinced my friend Brian Ikalina, who is now my VP of Sales, to join me in the business venture. We knew a bunch of guys who were unhappy where they were working, knew where Brian and I were going, believed in us and where we were going, and didn't take "no" for an answer. We would build a brand together! We started from scratch, built the brand, the logos, colors—everything.I AM AN ATHLETE TOO Watch The Video - 02:10Companies want to be household names, but in this industry you need to be a locker room name. How did you grow so rapidly?When you look at our brand, one thing that guys and girls put a lot of trust in is the brand identity. When people talk about ProSupps in the locker rooms it's a brand that speaks to quality and efficacy. The message starts with the way we brand the products and market them and finishes with the way they work in the gym.We were one of the first companies to put agmatine sulfate in our pre-workout powder. We were the first to use three different kinds of caffeine, because one of the main criticisms people get from taking pre-workouts is that they come crashing down after taking it. We knew what we wanted to formulate and we knew which ingredients to use to make our products superior to all others."The message starts with the way we brand the products and market them and finishes with the way they work in the gym."It doesn't matter how pretty the product is. If somebody buys it, takes it, and it doesn't work, your lifespan in the business will be short . We knew coming into the business that we wanted to win over our customers with effectiveness--by making our products work. That provides long-term value and success of the brand.You have two pre-workout products, Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. How do they differ?There are huge differences. We wanted to have two pre-workouts because we felt like there was an audience that wanted them. There are either two different audiences, or there is a consumer who likes the benefits of two polar-opposite pre-workouts.Dr Jekyll was built as more of an endurance, pump-type formula with low stimulants and low caffeine. It's for somebody who likes to get energy without lots of stimulants. Mr. Hyde is for people who are most effective in the gym environment with a high-stimulant formula. We answered both calls.The characters' storyline plays perfectly into how those two products worked out. Mr. Hyde is your animalistic side, with tri-source caffeine, yohimbe, pikatropin, and agmatine sulfate. If you take it once, there's nothing that you could take today, yesterday or years from now that could compare to it. With Mr. Hyde, we built a product that is unmatched.We wanted to make a pre-workout that wasn't just a bottle full of stimulants. That's an inexpensive way to get people an immediate kick, but from a performance standpoint it doesn't answer the call. We added ingredients that supply an athlete with a performance matrix.Should users cycle off of your pre-workouts, or just switch back and forth between the two?If someone has an interest in cycling off a high-stimulant pre-workout, Dr. Jekyll is the perfect fit. That said, because Mr. Hyde has three different kinds of caffeine, two of which are time-release, desensitizing your receptors isn't as big a risk as a product that just uses a high dose of one kind of caffeine.A lot of people stack the products! Because Jekyll is a pump formula, a lot of our guys—including myself—will take a scoop of each to get both a pump and a stimulant matrix.How do you balance transparency and with a desire to protect your flagship products' formulas?It is important we make any stimulant-based product to be totally transparent. If you're a performance athlete—and a lot of our customers are—you want to know how much caffeine and yohimbe are in it so you know how much to hydrate before an activity.In other products, like Halotropin, which is a natural test booster—the formula was developed by Art Atwood himself. That product has a proprietary blend, since used a very unique ingredients in specific dosages that make that product work. Unfortunately in this industry there are a lot of knockoff products. The formulas can be very similar. Trusting them is hard.When you are looking for transparency, you want to know what is going in your body; that is why we made the investment in a manufacturing facility. Less than 5 percent of brands can boast that they have complete control over their manufacturing. I wanted to have those controls and safety benefits in place. I wanted to make sure that we were completely compliant in every aspect of the business.If you were to come to my facility in Allen, Texas, I could put you in a lab coat and walk you down the line to see your Mr. Hyde, Halotropin, or Dr. Jekyll, or AminoLinx being made every single day.What are some of your newest products?We just launched PS Whey, which has been a huge success on Bodybuilding.com and a weight gainer called IncrediBULK—it was totally fun to come up with that name!Then, of course, Hyde RTD. These are some of the best advances in the industry, and I've been in it for 15 years. The Hyde RTD has taken the consumer market by storm.When you look at our brand, people truly love what we are doing and what ProSupps means to them. I get daily emails from consumers who love what we stand for.That's a rare thing these days, when you have hundreds of different brands, to have consumer embrace the vision of the brand, the marketing, and the people behind the brand, it fuels all of us. It keeps us going.Athlete Interview: Company StatsOccupation: ProSupps SpokesmodelAge: 39From: Rochester, NYEducation: B.S. International Relations, University of TennesseeFacility Location(s): Corporate & Manufacturing Office Allen Texas; Sales & Graphics Sunrise FloridaWebsite(s):jnlmethod.comjnl-fitness-studiojennifernicolelee.comYou were a staple on Bodybuilding.com for years. What have you been up to lately?I just love Bodybuilding.com! It's the number one online community for all things health and fitness related, chock-full of great information and inspiration! I have been blessed to be featured many times on Bodybuilding.com.I've been busy! I have authored lifestyle and fitness motivational books, now have a globally recognized accredited workout method called JNL Fusion, and appeared in a blockbuster hit movie directed by Michael Bay starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson called "Pain & Gain."I still run my online fitness studio with a presence all over the world, and now I'm proud to say that I have become the official spokesmodel for ProSupps!You made your mark in fitness long before ProSupps existed, why join its ranks?I have a solid 10 years-plus in the fitness industry, with more than 73 magazine covers and many exercise DVD productions. I've traveled around the world promoting fitness and products. I don't say this to impress you, but to impress upon you that hard work always pays off. You have to earn your stripes, and never give up on your dreams, passion and always do what you love best!"In order to be successful, you have to surround yourself with the best team and companies in the world."In order to be successful, you have to surround yourself with the best team and companies in the world. This is where ProSupps comes into play. It is the fastest growing supplement company in the world, a brand built from scratch through pure passion. I admired how ProSupps is committed to providing the highest quality products possible through its highly skilled team and dedicated experts. I am honored to be the Official Spokesmodel for ProSupps.I coach and consult with VIP clients around the world. ProSupps has everything to offer in a complete line of lifestyle, fat loss, and muscle-fueling products. I listen to their fitness and wellness needs, and then I am able to create an amazing supplement plan for them—all from ProSupps.Which ProSupps products have you taken? What's your favorite?"Never give up. Success is just as simple as that."I depend highly upon our newest "star" product, the Mr. Hyde RTD. I love the ease of use and the design of the product. It gives me the right dosage in one container; it's mess free, fuss free, and clump free.I also love Vanish for my energy management. It's much more than a fat-burner. It gives me mental clarity and a mood boost as well. The TC-F Whey Isolate is my go-to protein source post-workout.When I'm writing, or have to be on set for long hours, I rely upon iFocus to help me stay highly focused and truly engaged on what is going on-helping to keep my attention and stay in the moment.What is your most important fitness tip?Never give up. Success is just as simple as that. When you don't give up and you don't quit, you will end up being successful! So keep at it and never stop! Repetition is the mother of skill.You can't work out once and then be fit the rest of your life. Fitness is a journey to be enjoyed, not a one-time event. So have fun with it! Treat yourself with the best ProSupps supplements and your mind, body, and spirit will thank you. Make it fun, try new things, and enjoy the ride!Always believe in yourself. When I was 70 pounds overweight, I tried to lose the weight over and over again, only to gain it back, and no one believed in me. It wasn't until I believed in myself that I was able to "unzip my fat suit" and finally achieve my fitness goals, and maintain my weight loss success.There are no excuses. If I can do it, you can do it too!Recommended For YouSupplement Company Of The Month: Dymatize Dymatize is a giant of the supplement world. Its products cover spectrum of customer needs and get tested like no other. If you have a goal, Dymatize can help you achieve it.Supplement Company Of The Month: Image Sports The most important thing about any supplement is whether or not it is effective. IMAGE Sports is growing up fast because of its supreme focus on efficacy.Supplement Company Of The Month: Gaspari Rich Gaspari will go down as one of the most recognizable physiques of all time, but his legacy didn't end on the stage. He went on to built a supplement empire.

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