Tag Archive | "fitness"

BodySpace Member Of The Month Bry Jensen: Feel The Burn

The fit life moves fast when you are Bry Jensen. A quarter-century in, this Canadian model has flipped through gymnastics and dance studios, figure-skating rinks, and martial arts dojos.

At age 19 she began weight training. By 22, she was a kickboxing instructor, and a personal trainer at 23.

Bry is a sponsored athlete with Magnum Nutraceuticals and an impactful motivator to thousands of exercise enthusiasts.

She knows who she is and why she lifts. She can do it all, and she promises that she will!

Q What is the bigger challenge, being a fitness model or a personal trainer?

Being a fitness model requires more work. I say that because I am so passionate about training others that it never feels like work to me! I love watching people grow and progress and transform into happy, healthy people with great senses of self-worth.

By comparison, my own cardio seems a lot more grueling! Knowledge-wise they are the same, because you have to know what you are doing to train yourself or anyone else.

You were pretty skinny in 2009 when you started training, but were you out of shape?

I was insanely out of shape; there is no way to sugarcoat that. Walking up a flight of stairs winded me. Running was a no-go. I honestly thought I didn’t know how to flex, but the reality was I had nothing to flex! Most importantly, I was exhausted all the time. And at 19, I felt that was a sad way to be.

How do you feel about your physique now?

I feel amazing in ways I never thought I could. My energy levels soar. My strength is tremendous, and it often shocks people that this tiny girl could lift so much. I’m no longer hindered or restricted from living whatever sort of life I want. My body doesn’t hold me back now; it propels me forward!

Is music important to you, in and out of the gym?

It’s kind of funny because I don’t listen to a ton of music outside the gym—I’m a talk radio kind of girl. In the gym, though, music keeps me motivated. It distracts me from the inevitable slowdown of cardio, and also maintains my focus on what I am doing.

The change from chorus to verse is a great way to have a good feeling of how long your breaks are. Music can really help push me through a tough interval.

Fall Out Boy
Ramin Djawadi
Aloe Blacc
Meghan Trainor

What makes you a “fiery redhead?”

I definitely live up to the stereotype! I’m the perky redhead with all the sass! More than that though, fire has always been my signifier. I light candles to relax, can’t live without a good fireplace, and get really excited when there is a large fire around. I’ve taken up fire dancing too, and this feels so good to me! So, the fire in my hair must be the fire in my blood.

My mantra is “embrace fire.” I feel like I run on fire, and embracing that is all about allowing my inner drive to fuel me for success. Fire is a strong representation of power in the world, and embracing it is equivalent to embracing who you are at your core, and allowing your power to speak through you.

It’s also a nice metaphor for working out. The burn is so good, and you have to love it to ignite the superhuman you want to be!

Your interests are all over the place, from fitness to mythology and parkour. Can you do it all?

“I feel as if my passions for history, fitness, and travel are all governing forces in my life, but they complement each other nicely.”

Can do it all, and will do it all! It’s hard to say which interest is most important to me, because I feel like you can’t be a whole person if you are defined by only one thing. I feel as if my passions for history, fitness, and travel are all governing forces in my life, but they complement each other nicely.

History shapes the way I view and understand my world, but it also fundamentally influences my emphasis on context, and what it means to be a part of something larger. Fitness shapes the way I care for myself and how I structure my day and my lifestyle.

Travel shows me more of the world and inspires me to use my former passions to understand new places and cultures. They’re all so intertwined. Mythology is definitely a part of historical understanding. And, well, parkour is just awesome!

How did your life change when you signed with Magnum?

Magnum opened so many doors for me—not only in terms of exposure and my place in the fitness world, but also to a group of amazing people who touch my life every day, products that have truly helped me succeed, and lessons on what it means to thrive in fitness.

I am so grateful to be a part of this team whose members all conduct themselves with such integrity, who care for one another, and who go out of their way to open doors for their teammates. Signing with Magnum changed my life, in that it gave me a new family I now can’t imagine my life without!

You’re a modern, fit woman who is intelligent, empowered, strong, and feminine. What are we missing?

Humility and sincerity. All the qualities listed are great fundamental ones, but they lack a reflection of personal conduct that I really feel is the key in this industry. The most inspiring women I have met in the fitness world have been the ones I have walked away from, saying, “Wow! She is just the most genuine sweetheart!”

A complete modern woman is someone who cares about the people she interacts with. With empowerment comes feeling amazing about ourselves, but it must go one step further: to celebrating that with others and having them share that feeling. It makes you feel so good to be around someone who lifts you up and shares the positivity of her life!

“With empowerment comes feeling amazing about ourselves, but it must go one step further: to celebrating that with others and having them share that feeling.”

In turn, it makes me feel so good to be able to put a smile on someone’s face, and have them end our conversation knowing I really heard them.

What are some common lessons you share with people on BodySpace? How often do your “friends” approach you?

I get approached on BodySpace all the time, and I think that’s fantastic. People often want to know what sort of workouts I do or what I eat, so it’s a great opportunity for me to share the importance of personalized eating.

Many people want to know what it takes to be a fitness model or a sponsored athlete. The best answer to that is the simplest one: Know who you are, know your brand, and live it genuinely!

Can you reach everyone? Do you have to send thousands of personal messages?

No, and I don’t, because it’s more about just being there and sharing myself as openly and genuinely as I’m capable of doing. Sure, my inbox is always open, my personal messages are always turned on, and I do my best to respond to everyone, because those are the people who feel compelled to speak to me. However, they are not the only people who will ever cross my page, see my tweet or post, or see me bouncing around an expo.

If I can just get them to smile or think about something in a new way, then I have done the job I need to do for that person. I put myself out there and invite response.

How does BodySpace help you with social exposure? How does it stack up against other social networks?

“BodySpace has not only been fundamental in my establishment as an identity in the fitness community, it has helped me forge strong friendships and bonds.”

BodySpace has not only been fundamental in my establishment as an identity in the fitness community, it has helped me forge strong friendships and bonds—including with my hero, Jamie Eason. It also helped me establish my personal training clientele. Many of my long-term clients initially found me on BodySpace.

BodySpace differs from other networks in a lot of ways, since it has a specific function. This allows someone like me to share more than just thoughts or messages. It allows me to post every detail, from my weight to lifting stats and supplement stacks, and glean huge amounts of information from other people I idolize and respect. It’s one of the most complete social networks out there, for sure.

You’ve done a bunch of photo shoots over the years. Any tips for someone getting prepared for their first one?

Find someone you are comfortable shooting with, and who understands your experience level.

Prepare your looks beforehand, and make sure you feel amazing in them. Don’t hesitate to use a professional for hair and makeup—it can make a huge difference! Once you’re in front of the camera, make sure to not worry about what looks good—you can read the “does this look good?” face from a mile away.

Just loosen up, move around, and enjoy yourself!

Nutritional Regimen

A video posted by Bry Jensen (@bryjensen) on

Training Regimen

Supplementation Regimen

  • Mimic Magnum Mimic

    2 caps (either post-workout or before largest carb meal)

  • Magnum Heat Magnum Heat

    3 caps w/ afternoon snack (if preparing for photo shoots)

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BodySpace Member Of The Month: Nikki Walter, A Year Of Leading By Example

Nikki Walter is intent on changing the fitness culture in South Dakota. She hosts clean-eating parties, competes in the NPC and helps people on BodySpace!

BODYSPACE MEMBER OF THE MONTH: JORDAN METCALFE

BodySpace gave Jordan a safe haven to study, share, and progress among like-minded people. He’s made the most of it!

BODYSPACE MEMBER OF THE MONTH: ALLISON MOYER

Allison takes an open-minded approach to fitness and nutrition in order achieve a figure that can thrive in any athletic setting.


About The Author

BodySpace Members of the Month are chosen because they know how to use all the features of BodySpace to their advantage…

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BodySpace Member Of The Month Bry Jensen: Feel The Burn

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Sean Sarantos' Full-Body 5-Move Super-Shred Circuit

When I was in the military, I didn’t have a lot of time to work out during my long days on duty. To combat the time crunch, I made a full-body circuit workout to take advantage of every second in my workout. If you like to train fast and hard, this workout is for you.

My circuit is a high-intensity rush. You can finish the workout in about 40 minutes. In a few spots throughout the session, you can choose to rest completely or perform “active rest” exercises like jumping jacks, push-ups, burpees, or mountain climbers. Whether you rest or stay active, you will get the best possible workout you can do in this window.

This workout includes two exercises per large muscle group—legs and back—and one exercise per small muscle group. Most people don’t like doing legs, so I put them first in this session. Exhaust your legs right from the start to fire up your metabolic furnace and make your entire workout harder.

Right after you work on your legs, you’ve got a superset for back, and then you’ll finish with a series of exercises for the smaller muscle groups. At that point, there is no rest between exercises or supersets!

Check out the workout below, follow the tips for each exercise, and get the job done. Let us know what you think of the workout in the comments at the bottom of the page!

Tip: Take a left lunge step, a right lunge step, and then squat.
Active rest between sets: mountain climber or rest, 30 seconds

Tip: Try to keep your back as straight as possible, elbow s tight to the body as you pull down.
Active rest between sets: Push-up, 30 seconds

Tip: Try this on your knees to keep from swinging the weight or using your back.

Tip: For lateral raises, start with your palms facing upward, and then rotate your shoulder to finish with the palms facing downward. Keep your elbows at 90 degrees.



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The Best Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

It’s the time of year for everyone to gather ’round and chow down on a smorgasbord of good ol’ fashioned Thanksgiving staples: A succulent bird propped up on metric tons of stuffing; mountains of mashed potatoes and gravy; warm, airy biscuits; chunks of sweet candied yams; and enough pumpkin pies to make your eyes—and belly—bulge.

While a wonderful Thanksgiving feast is a venerable tradition, many of us want to enjoy these delicacies while staying on track with our fitness goals. Luckily, it’s easy to make healthy versions of your favorite treats. Armed with the right recipes, you can have your pumpkin pie and feel great about it, too!

Check out these delicious, nutritious, healthy Thanksgiving meal ideas!

Happy Bulksgiving!

Fear not, FitMenCook’s recipes will let you have your bulk and ensure that the post-Thanksgiving girth has been proportionately channeled to appendages other than your abs-blanket.

Your Guide To The Ultimate Paleo Thanksgiving

No grains, no problem. Recipes for a successful Thanksgiving dinner are only a click away! Paleo gravy, paleo pumpkin pie, and many other paleo-friendly recipes await. One of the recipes even teaches you to make a substitute for mashed potatoes out of … well, you’ll just have to find out, but we promise it’s good!

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If you’re looking to build lean muscle, these eight better-for-you protein pumpkin recipes will give you an extra dose of protein in the wake of a carb-laden holiday feast. Plus, protein is naturally more satiating.

Thanksgiving Nutrition 101

If you’re committed to steeling yourself against an all-out holiday diet apocalypse, you’ll need to have an action plan. Whether your goal is fat loss, gaining mass, or even maintaining your weight, here’s a handy nutrition guide for physique-minded folks of all fitness levels.

Innovative Training Tips For The Holidays

Your training shouldn’t fall by the wayside just because you’re on holiday. In fact, you can even do a bit of damage control by working out before the big feast! Even if you don’t have a gym, this is the perfect bodyweight circuit to help you feel better about hungrily tackling the oncoming big meal.

Classic Pumpkin Pie… Now With More Protein

Diet, meet this macro-friendly protein pumpkin pie! Even if you’re watching your calorie intake, this pie variation perfectly melds luxurious taste, reduced sugar, and adequate protein to let your inner pumpkin-pie-lover indulge in good conscience this Thanksgiving.

Healthy Thanksgiving To Fit Christmas!

For some people, battling the onslaught of decadent pumpkin pies and relatives who keep piling second and third helpings onto your plate can be a lofty and mentally draining endeavor. Fret not, fit warrior! Use Jennifer Nicole Lee’s holiday survival guide to equip yourself with the right mindset, plan, and belly-bloat-resistant armor to survive the holidays.


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Zuzka Light's Six-Pack Abs Secrets, Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

One of my secrets to a lean and fit body is daily exercise. I believe that consistency is the key when it comes to fitness, health, or any goal you want to achieve. If you can do something that will get you a little bit further every single day, changes will become inevitable and visible in no time.

The biggest challenge for most people is their busy lifestyle and lack of time. Most of my clients and followers have spouses, children, full-time jobs and a host of other commitments that keep their daily calendar overloaded. I never accuse people of making excuses for not having the time to exercise, because I get it. I don’t have time to work out either, and that’s why I have to be creative to find a solution for this common problem.

What I realized was that most busy people barely have 20 minutes to spare for their workout. It’s sad, but unfortunately it’s a reality. From stay-at-home moms to CEOs of big companies, you’ll find people who work really hard and barely have any time for themselves. Some days are better than others, but the question is, do you have to skip your training altogether? Is life just a constant struggle of taking one step forward and two steps back?

My Z-Blasts are simple, high in intensity and awesome energy boosters.

Those are the questions I asked myself a couple months ago when I came up with my 5-minute workout series, which I call Z-Blasts. These workouts are perfect for maintenance and to keep you on the right track. Your body gets the healthy amount of daily exercise no matter what’s going on in your life. My Z-Blasts are simple, high in intensity and awesome energy boosters. You’ll be amazed by what a Z-Blast can do for your mood!

The workout I have for you today is bodyweight-only, and you can do it anywhere, even when traveling and staying in a small hotel room. Another great thing about my Z-Blasts is that you can combine them together into a 15-minute workout, or you can do one 5-minute workout in the morning and a different one in the evening.

I have a lot of moms doing just that, because they can’t take more than 5 minutes at a time for themselves when they’re taking care of their little ones. Others like to do a quick 5-minute workout before they go to work and then again as soon as they come home in the evening.

I hope you’ll enjoy this workout! If you want to exercise with me daily, join me at www.zuzkalight.com and check out my ZGYM.

Six Pack Abs Secret
Watch The Trailer – 09:06

  • Complete 5 reps of each exercise in succession without stopping: 20 reps total equals one round. Complete as many reps as you can in 5 minutes.

  • Pushups Pushups Pushups
    5 reps
  • Plank Plank Plank Jump
    5 reps
  • Knee Tuck Jump Knee Tuck Jump Jump Tuck
    5 reps
  • Jackknife Sit-Up Jackknife Sit-Up V-up
    5 reps

The Exercises

Pushup

  • To start, your body should form a straight line. Don’t drop or raise your hips.
  • Bend your elbows to lower your torso to the ground. Push yourself up to return to the starting position. That’s one of your five reps.
  • Focus on keeping your midsection tight throughout. Imagine somebody is going to punch you in the stomach. What do you do? You tense your muscles. That’s what you want to do here.
  • Stare at the floor to align your head with your spine throughout. Don’t look up.

Plank jump

  • Start in a push-up position.
  • Jump forward without changing your arm or hand position.
  • Jump back to the starting position to complete one of your five reps.

Jump tuck

  • Stand up with your arms at your sides. This is the starting position.
  • Jump up, bringing your knees as high as you can, and slap your hands on your knees at the top.
  • When you land, you have completed one of your five reps.

V-up

  • Lie flat on your back with you arms at your sides.
  • Raise your legs while reaching for your toes with your hands at the same time.
  • At the top, your torso and legs will form a V—hence the name!
  • Return to the starting position to complete one of your five reps.


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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4 Ways To Deal With Fitness Disappointment

Have you ever gone into something will all of your heart and soul and come up empty-handed for unexpected reasons? Have you ever been preparing for a big competition or event and been struck with a crisis? A sudden trip to the hospital or an injury can leave you sidelined and force you to take time off from the gym.

Next thing you know, all your visions of the ideal physique, and all of the fitness plans you’ve organized to achieve it, are derailed.

There’s nothing more irritating in the human experience than disappointment, especially when it occurs for reasons beyond your control. Worse still, perhaps it’s something you caused that could have been avoided in hindsight.

Next time you’re groveling in the pit of despair, don’t forget how integral—albeit frustrating—a part of life disappointment is. Understand these four simple truths, and you’re well on your way to dealing with disappointment like a champ.

Truth 1:

This isn’t a foreign concept to anyone, is it? It started when you were a child. Do you remember wanting that Christmas present from Santa that wasn’t under the tree? How about the shattering realization that the crush you had on that guy or girl was unrequited? Can you remember a time that you slaved over your homework, expecting a high grade, only to be devastated when you barely passed?

“No matter where you are on the ladder of life, we’re all vulnerable to disappointment and change.”

Why, then, does disappointment in adulthood come as such a shock? While we’d all like to think there’s a lifetime max capacity for it, that’s not the way things work. You can make one of two choices: Duck and miss or swing and try to hit the ball.

No matter where you are on the ladder of life, we’re all vulnerable to disappointment and change. So breathe and put things in perspective. Remember, it’s not a personal attack.

Truth 2:

Adversity and learning to deal with disappointment in a mature way can lead to insight and wisdom. It can also be your chance to lead by example. Whether it’s your co-workers seeing how you handle the unexpected, or your kids looking up to you as a role model, you alone have the chance to shine in moments of misfortune. It’s not always easy, but sometimes it’s the only choice you have.

I’ve experienced this in my own fitness career. In 2009, I had to scratch from a show halfway through because I messed up and missed half of judging. It was beyond embarrassing. I had been training for four months to get on stage and in the end, I completely dropped the ball.

Still, I tried to make the best of it. Sure, I wished it’d gone smoother but, by channeling attention away from my loss, I gained a bit more insight on how to triumph over disappointment. Plus, on the bright side, I got to eat pancakes 20 minutes earlier than I was expecting to. How bad could things be?

Truth 3:

Physique competitions in particular have a way of showing yourself and others who you really are at your core. I have seen it all backstage: tears, swearing, throwing shoes, even sabotage. But I’ve also seen women who rush to help with a suit malfunction or a smeared contest tan, MacGyver broken shoe straps back together, and provide unwavering support and comfort to competitors backstage. Competing really brings out the absolute best or the absolute worst in people. This again is where disappointment and your ability to keep your composure come into play.

“Physique competitions in particular have a way of showing yourself and others who you really are at your core.”

A disappointing placing after months of dieting, training, and sacrificing your social life hurts—especially when you know you look better than the last time you got on stage. You feel like you earned a higher placement, yet the cards didn’t fall in your favor.

Disappointment instills leadership skills to help others in the same position later down the road. You might know how this feels or, if you haven’t personally experienced the sting of defeat, you can easily imagine what it feels like. Why not help someone in that situation? When you’re in the world of fitness, you have a beautiful opportunity to lead when someone comes off the stage feeling defeated, their shoulders slumped and eyes lowered. It’s your responsibility to point out the bright spots and reassure athletes that their hard work wasn’t a waste of time.

Truth 4:

Hubris has been the downfall of many. Overconfidence and cockiness happen in every pursuit. In the world of fitness, it’s almost a daily occurrence.

Nobody should be on a pedestal and, from that perspective, disappointment can be humbling. Disappointment brings people down a few notches. It wipes the slate clean and reminds us that we’re all on a level playing field and that we need to treat others with respect and compassion.

A humble attitude, gracious sportsmanship, empathy for others, and ceaseless modesty are all long-lasting consequences of disappointment that end up as the foundation of empires and legacies. The humility learned through unfortunate experiences can be healing, motivating, and inspirational to others who have been slapped down by the hand of disappointment.

It’s Your Choice!

Disappointment can own you forever or change you completely; the choice is yours. Whatever you’re going through right now, find the lesson, teach others, and keep your head about you. Perspective, especially when it comes to overcoming unexpected circumstances, is everything! Not only can it help you, but you’ll have a chance to help someone else later down the line by setting an example. Pay it forward with a humble heart, and you’ll find that wisdom always trumps the disappointing times.



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4 Ways To Deal With Fitness Disappointment

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Cat stretch + thread a needle

Cat stretch + thread a needle Feeling stiff? The cat stretch is a great Pilates exercise to increase flexibility in the lower back.How toKneeling on hands and knees, exhale to curl tailbone under to round the spine and stretch lower back; inhale to return to flat back.Add rotation: Thread right hand under the left arm and rotate torso to the left, return to start and reach right hand to ceiling and rotate to the right.NEXT: 10-minute flexibility workout>>Don’t forget to join our fitness community on Facebook.

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Cat stretch + thread a needle

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AMP: Marc Megna's 8-Week Aesthetics Meets Performance Trainer Phase 1, Day 2

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Cardio output training consists of steady-state work done for an extended period of time. Today, you’ll choose your cardio weapon of choice—the treadmill, the stair climber, or the stationary bike—and work for 40 minutes. You’re not doing intervals or sprint work, so you’ll keep a consistent speed for the entire workout. This type of cardio will build your work capacity and cardiovascular function, which helps you perform better. Cardio workouts will also help you burn fat so you can uncover that excellent physique.

The goal of this workout is to keep your heart rate at 130-150 beats per minute (bpm), but measuring your heart rate can be difficult without a device. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, go by feel. Your heart rate should be elevated, but you should not be so out of breath that you can’t hold a steady conversation.

Don’t forget that your nutrition habit for this phase is to eat every 2-4 hours. This is an essential part of the AMP trainer. If you’re not fueling your body often and with healthy, whole foods, you won’t see the results you’re after. This habit might be difficult for the first couple of weeks, but it will soon become second nature.

  • Jogging-Treadmill Jogging-Treadmill Cardio Of Choice
    40 minutes at 130-150 heart beats per minute


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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 13

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If you’re still sore from your ramping set workout two days ago, we apologize! Many people find that when they experience delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), it’s actually worse two days after training than it is the first day. This may seem unfair, but it’s really common.

But if you’re rubbing a tender chest or lat muscle as you read this, hearing that you’re not the only one isn’t much consolation. You want to know how to make it better! And we can help there, too, because today, you’re going to learn about self-myofascial release, also known as “foam rolling.”

Ultimate 30 Day Beginners Guide To Fitness:
Watch The Video – 02:53


Day 13 Challenge

  • Perform another “ramping” workout, this time for the upper body.
  • Learn about foam rolling, and try it if you’ve got a roller at your gym or house.


Roll With It

There are a number of different self-release techniques, all with the same goal: to help spur the natural healing processes of your soft tissues. These techniques apply pressure to the tight muscle tissue, which it interprets as “Danger! Too much tension! Relax!” This causes a reflexive reaction that simultaneously causes the muscle to lengthen and relax. Effectively, it could be thought of as a light switch that turns off a muscle that is in danger of hurting itself. Although, to be clear, we aren’t putting muscle in danger!

The concept of what we are doing is the same as that of a deep-tissue massage. The main difference is that it doesn’t cost much since you do it to yourself. There are various ways to incorporate this technique into your training, but the most common method is foam rolling either before or after your workout.

Before a workout, rolling can be a great way to increase your mobility and range of motion in the area you’re working—for example, rolling your quads and IT band before leg training. After training, plenty of people find it helps them recover or avoid that “restless leg” feeling that can come with hard lifting or cardio.

How much tightness you have and how much discomfort you can handle will determine what device or surface you can roll out on. The white foam rollers, which are probably the most common, are a good place for inexperienced people to start.

Someone who has been at it awhile may find those too soft and prefer something harder, like a black foam roller or knobby rumble roller. With time, experienced trainees will use everything from foam rollers to PVC pipe and lacrosse balls to help them target specific muscles.

These are probably the five most common muscle groups people foam roll:

  1. Calf
  2. Latissimus dorsi
  3. Gluteus maximus/minimus
  4. IT Band
  5. Quadriceps

Here’s how to begin: Lie down on the floor. Apply pressure to the middle or “belly” of the muscle you want to work, using your bodyweight to increase the compression. Slowly roll over the muscle, pausing on “hot spots” when you find them for about 20 seconds. Don’t roll over the joint itself; stay on the muscle.

An important key here is to relax. You won’t want to, because if you have any tightness then this will be uncomfortable and you will attempt to brace yourself. Don’t do it. Find your happy place, breathe deep, and relax. This will take experimentation, so be patient and try to learn to enjoy the pain!

Need more instruction? We’ve got guides to rolling the major muscle groups in our Exercise Database. We’ve also got other articles packed with techniques to help you get over your DOMS and get back to training more quickly!


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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 13

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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 12

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People who hike and climb in the mountains like to say that food never tastes as good as when you’ve cooked it yourself after a long, hard day. This applies to fitness, too. Food tastes great when you’ve done your time in both the gym working up a sweat, and in the kitchen making it. If your food isn’t delicious and nutritious, don’t fret. You just need some new recipes!

Ultimate 30 Day Beginners Guide To Fitness:
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Day 12 Challenge

  • Explore Bodybuilding.com’s recipe database and recipe content.
  • Try your hand at cooking a new recipe!

Get familiar with our recipe database, and you might find yourself getting excited about cooking for the first time in your life. We’ve got recipes to last all day, from breakfast to your post-workout shake, healthy snacks to salads, marinades to make your meat tastier, and even fool-proof protein desserts. We also have recipes to fit every event and season, courtesy of Kevin Alexander of “Fit Men Cook,” Anna “Protein Pow” Sward, and plenty of other regular contributors.

Earlier this week, we told you that you’ll most likely eat more than you’re used to in this trainer. This should be a prize, not a punishment. As you rest up from yesterday’s tough workout, today’s challenge will seem simple enough: Find a recipe that makes you go “Hmm,” and give it a go!


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More Recipe Ideas

9 Healthy Whey Protein Recipes

Looking to bump up your protein intake? Trade in the shake and embrace the bake with these 9 recipes from the athletes of Optimum Nutrition!

5 Healthy Protein-Packed Spring Salad Recipes

These 5 salad recipes are healthy, full of protein, and are super easy! What more could you ask for?

All Flavor, No Downside: 5 Simple, Healthy Marinades

Marinades are the simplest, healthiest way to take a bland diet and make it brilliant. Don’t wait another day to start using these recipes!

About The Author

Check out these awesome articles by some of the best writers in the industry.

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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 12

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Mind Over Muscle: Your One-Rep Max Mental Checklist

While bodybuilders aren’t known necessarily for doing single-rep maxes, your one-rep max (1RM) on key lifts means much more than determining your pecking order among the gym’s elite. The 1RM is also useful for directing your future training plans, which makes it essential to occasionally max out on major movements.

While knowledge is power when it comes to planning, it also has a heavy influence on strength performance. Despite the high-tension physical strain of lifting—muscles and tendons pulling on bones, human frames overcoming iron and gravity—1RM testing isn’t dominated by the physical form. It’s actually a carnal demonstration of a robust mental state.

When you venture into the territory of testing your physical limits, you’re more likely to succeed if you follow a process—a mental checklist of sorts—that prepares your mind to lead your body in battle against metal and inertia. That battle can often be won or lost before you even touch the weight.

Follow these five steps to dominate your next max-effort attempt against a massive load of iron.

1 Visualize the Lift

Let’s start with visualization, which begins days, weeks, or even months before your body even engages the barbell.

My college defensive coordinator drilled visualization into my training habits. Our daily instructions were to visualize successful plays when we woke up and again before we went to bed. On Saturday afternoons, it was as if my team had already played the game because we spent so much time visualizing the outcome. Lifting is no different.

Throughout your training cycle, visualize yourself successfully lifting your goal 1RM. In your mind’s eye, picture your performance: the weight on the bar, the gym around you … see your body forcefully defy gravity.

As you visualize, feel. Feel yourself strain to move the weight; feel the positive emotion from accomplishing your goal. The goal of visualization is to create the entire environment in your mind so your neurology is accustomed to it at game time.

Start visualizing every day—morning, night, and between sets while training—at the beginning of your training cycle. Keep visualizing your success until the moments before you attempt your 1RM.

In your mind’s eye, picture your performance: the weight on the bar, the gym around you … see your body forcefully defy gravity.

2 Set Your Mental Intensity Lever

Psychological intensity is the lifeblood of heavy lifting. Moreover, you have the ability to practice controlling said intensity by creating a mental intensity lever.

Psychological intensity is the lifeblood of heavy lifting.

This practice is rooted in visualization. I can’t give you the exact visual—you’ll have to create one with your own imagination—but you need a lever and numbers to rate your intensity. Start by imagining an actual lever that, when pulled, increases your concentration and strength. My lever ranges from 1-10, where 10 is maximum intensity. During warm-up sets I systematically crank the lever, working from 5-10.

Even though you’re not maxing out during a regular training day, you need to get used to feeling what maximal mental output feels like and associate it with your lever. So crank it up to 10 just once during your last warm-up set, drop down to 8 or 9 during most of your working sets, and get to a full 10 again during your last working set.

Let’s use the deadlift for a tangible example of how the lever works:

As you approach the bar, close your eyes and picture the lever next to your right hand. Grasp the lever and pull it hard until it reaches your desired intensity. Grab the bar, set your position, and match your performance intensity with your lever intensity.

It’s abstract, and it seems a bit New Age, but this really works. Build your mental intensity lever and put it into practice right now. When your big-lift game day arrives, you’ll find a new intensity level you didn’t know you possessed.

3 Engrain Coaching Cues

No matter if you coach yourself or outsource your training process, sound coaching cues are necessary for strong lift performance. Like the previous two checklist entries, coaching cues are engrained in your procedure months before your max attempt. The goal is to make these cues automatic, so conscious thoughts about starting position, lift engagement, and lift completion become unnecessary.

However, revisiting cues before approaching the bar for your ode to “human conquest over inanimate iron” is always a good idea.

As you practice your final visualization in the moments preceding your lift, remind yourself of your coaching cues for all phases of the lift. Start with your setup and make sure you master the necessary steps for good positioning. Move on to lift engagement: Is your first movement guiding you to your final destination? Are you in good position to lock the weight out?

Develop a list of 2-3 cues for each part of the lift and rehearse them religiously before yoking the bar to your will.

4 Get Aggressive

In 2014, aggression is viewed as an archaic psychological relic, a remnant from centuries gone by, and unnecessary for function in the civilized world. Yet it still hangs about, cultivating land within our psyches. A 1RM attempt is the perfect opportunity to harvest its yield as mental nourishment.

Getting angry is a “to each his own” type of process. I can’t offer you a step-by-step primer on rousing your inner beast to let loose on a barbell. I can, however, recommend that you find a dark place in your psyche and provoke it. This provocation coincides with ramping up your mental intensity lever. The combination turns aggression into applied performance.

Be mindful, however, to not disregard your coaching cues. Blind anger is a hindrance; focused aggression is an enhancement.

Blind anger is a hindrance; focused aggression is an enhancement.

5 Take Care of the Little Things

We’ve journeyed through mental territories that most training articles detour. We also engaged in processes that most don’t consider. Acquiring exciting new skills and perspectives, however, doesn’t award us license to disregard the diminutive, seemingly mundane tasks that keep our minds worry-free.

Start with procuring a trustworthy spotter. Knowing a person is there to save your skin—should any hazard reveal itself—is priceless for peace of mind. No need to waste mental energy that would be better spent on accelerating mass.

Sometimes collecting the little rocks permits us to move the big ones, so be sure to secure sturdy weight clips tightly to your plates, clear your lifting space, and make sure you’re not attempting an ego lift.

Now, check your list—check it twice if you have to—and go crush your next 1RM.

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Your Perfect Body: Visualize, Then Actualize!

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About The Author

Todd Bumgardner works as a strength and conditioning coach and manual therapist at Ranfone Training Systems in Hamden, Connecticut.

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