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23 Oct

The first of February 1994, that’s the day when a giant 5166-gram baby was born. That infant was me 23 years ago. Some people say that obesity and overweight is something that can be a part of your genes. However, I have had trouble keeping my weight down my entire life. Meanwhile, my brother, who consumed the same food and drinks as I did and played the same sports as I did, held his body tight and fit.

Unfair? YES. But what can you do about it? Stop whining about the unfairness of life and get shit done, that’s what I did. And this is my story about how I went from dadbod to Beachbod in 4 months.

My whole life I’ve been struggling with my weight and failed every single ‘magical wonder cure’ out there. I felt bad about my self and even went so far that I tried a powder diet where you drink powder shakes and powder soups all day to lower the number of calories consumed with the purpose of losing weight.

So basically, I was starving my self to gain that body and self-esteem I’ve always daydreamed about having. Of course, that didn’t work either in the long run. No matter what I did, it only worked for a couple of weeks, and then I came back to where I started. It was a hopeless journey.

Around mid-May in 2015, I booked a trip to Australia. And literally, the moment after I confirmed my booking, I started to think about the many times I would have to take off my shirt while in a sunny country like Australia and basically panicked the sh.. out of my self. I only had 4 months left till departure, and I was floppy AF. At that time I had just seen the new Wolverine movie and read about Hugh Jackman’s “Wolverine diet.”. So I decided to give it a go.

Intermittient Fasting

The real name of the diet plan is Intermittent Fasting. Intermittent fasting means that you divide your 24-hour day up in eating and fasting windows. So, what I did was to eat in an 8-hour window, so between 12am-8pm. In the last 16 hours of the day, I didn’t consume any calories at all. So no soda, no juice, no food, only water. And when I did eat, I made myself a WOK consisting of vegetables, chicken and an amazing sweet/sour sauce. Beautiful dish.

The reason why Intermittent fasting is so effective is that your body automatically burns calories just by going through your daily routine. But before your body burns away pure body fat, it will start with the food left in your stomach. After your stomach is completely burned out and empty of food, your system will start working on your body fat, and thereby you will lose weight.

Clever people say that it takes an average of 8 hours for the metabolism to burn away all the food in your stomach, and since you’re only eating in an 8-hour window, that leaves you with the last 8 hours of the day where your system burns pure body fat. So Intermittent fasting is actually pretty simple and easy, because you’re burning pure fat just by living. However, it is quite challenging to get used to these ‘window’ eating habits during the first week and maybe the second week. But since the human body is incredibly smart, you should feel comfortable after a week or two, since your body adapts to your new eating habits.

HIIT Training

But I was desperate! So I mixed this diet plan up with an insane cardio plan. High-Intensity Interval Training, also shortened as HIIT.

HIIT is a training plan where you only have to workout 30-60 minutes per time. Imagine that you’re at a running track, sprint 100 meters as fast as you can and walk back to the starting point. As soon as you’re back at the starting line, turn around and start your 100-meter sprint again. Do 10 rounds of walking and sprinting and you will quickly see results. You can do HIIT with many other cardio activities or even machines. I did it with a skipping rope.

As long as you make sure that you give it 110% for some time and then go down to 30% and back up again, it doesn’t matter what specific exercise you do. High-Intensity Interval Training makes your pulse go up and down which increases your metabolism drastically. And the higher your metabolism is, the higher amount of calories are burned daily.
I found that the 2 different sports plans are a perfect mix for me and my body.

Results

So I kept my diet straight through Intermittent Fasting, did my cardio with the HIIT program, and then I did standard weightlifting and strength training 5 times a week. That was the golden ratio for me, and it worked. I ended up with a toned body that I never thought could happen. It was tough at the beginning, but as soon as I started to see some results, I was hooked and motivated like never before. So, I just kept on doing my routine for those 4 months, and never have I felt so good about my self as I did when it was over.

I strongly encourage people to try this out. As earlier mentioned, I had tried every ‘magical wonder cure’ out there, and they just don’t work as promised. However, this training program mix is extremely effective if you do it right.

Before and After Hiit training and Intermittent Fasting

Author bio: Stefan Hildebrandt is the founder and co-owner of Sports Amigos, an online sports magazine, and sports gear review site.

22 Oct

It all started the first time I ever watched Fight Club. Brad Pitt took his shirt off and started clubbing guys across the face and I was scrambling to get a hold of an Argos catalogue so I could purchase a chin up bar and a “6 Minutes Abs” contraption. Fight Club made me want to do push ups.

 

The amount of discipline it takes to look like that is incredible and I’m too fond of beer and the occasional four pack of donuts to ever be as ripped as what Pitt was in Fight Club but a man can dream. Later on in the film Tyler says “is that what a man looks like with his shirt off?” when discussing a 6 pack drenched GAP advert on the bus so to be honest I don’t know what to think. Some actors have the unbelievable discipline and drive it takes to change their bodies in drastic ways, all to play the role of their dreams. I’m Tosh from Pop Nonsense and here are six actors who drastically changed their bodies for their roles.

 

Tom Hardy

To be fair Mr Hardy could appear on this list quite a few times but the role that we want to talk about in particular was when he became the United Kingdom’s most violent prisoner Charlie Bronson. Tom Hardy has always looked pretty healthy or easy on the eyes as my mum likes to say but for his role in Bronson Hardy had to change his shape and his look. Charlie Bronson has released books about his strongman feats and his fitness regime. In his younger years on the outside of prison he was a notorious street fighter. Hardy had to bulk up to look like Bronson (as well as shave his head and grow a killer moustache) but this was never going to be about the six pack this was always going to be about strength and raw power. Hardy had to eat loads and do nothing but work out to get the physique he needed. In actual fact there was very little in the way of weight training and his routines consisted mainly of push ups, dips, pull ups and hundreds upon hundreds of variations of these exercises. Spending all his time doing isolated lifts wouldn’t give Hardy the bulky look he needed. Full body compound lifting was the way forward to becoming the main who has lived the majority of his life in a 6 foot squares prison cell. What a film it is too!

 

Christian Bale

Bale starred in the dark tale The Machinist in 2004 he had whittled himself down to a minuscule 110 pounds. It was rumoured that he wanted to drop down to 100 pounds but he was strongly advised by medical professionals to sway against the idea. Bale plays Trevor Reznik a man who is plagued by insomnia and as with all his roles Bale took this one very seriously. He had said in interviews that we would play a game with himself to see how long he could go without eating to lose the weight and surviving long periods of time on a diet that consisted of coffee and apples. As incredible as that is it’s what happened next which is the most unbelievable feat. Bales next film was the 2005 Christopher Nolan retelling of the birth of the Caped Crusader, Batman Begins. Bale transformed his body again from 110 pounds of bone into 210 pounds of pure DC muscle.

 

Hugh Jackman

A list like this wouldn’t be complete without the man who has defined the Wolverine character for damn near 20 years! He’s the only actor to appear in every single X Men film which includes his hilarious cameo appearance in X Men The First Class and unlike some of the others on this list underneath that T Shirt he looks like Wolverine all the time. He has pretty much admitted that his role in X Men has defined his lifestyle and he is in the gym and eating clean constantly. Henry Cavill (Superman) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) have to put in extra gym sessions and make massive changes to their diets when it comes to their shirtless scenes but for Jackman he doesn’t need to do much in the way of extra work. His training regime is rigorous and as you can see in X Men, X2, X Men the Last Stand, X Men Origins, X Men Days of Future Past, X Men Apocalypse and Logan the man adored his time playing the Wolverine and he will be sadly missed now that he has decided to walk away from the character. No doubt his training will continue though.

 

Chris Pratt

Funny man Chris Pratt has changed phenomenally and as I’m sure you will already be well aware of this but it wasn’t easy for him. It was only through sheer determination, strong will power and a total change in mental attitude that Pratt was able to achieve his goals. He is almost unrecognisable now. His role as Owen in Jurassic World has changed the public perception of Pratt turning him from sidekick to leading man and with a sequel penned in for 2018 entitled Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom we will be seeing a lot more of Pratt. His workout for roles like Star Lord in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy are as intense as his work ethic. Pratt managed to drop 60 pounds in 6 months for the role and it was rumoured that he weighed almost 300 pounds at his initial audition.

 

Jake Gyllenhaal

Gyllenhaal had bulked up more than once for roles. Take Jarhead for example, Gyllenhaal added some muscle for the role as a US Soldier but he took his training uber serious for his part in Southpaw.Gyllenhaal wanted to look like a real boxer so to help him achieve this he cranked out 1000 situps a day as well has his usual training regime. To play Billy Hope, Gyllenhaal spent 8 months working and refining his boxing skills along with some intense strength training.

 

Mark Wahlberg

Marky Mark is no stranger to the gym but when You are standing side by side with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in Pain and Gain you can see why he kicked it up a notch. Wahlberg packed on 20 pounds of muscle in 2 months the old fashioned way. Squats, deadlifts, bench presses, pull ups and heavy weights. Add in 12 square meals a day and you can understand why you looked so big in Pain and Gain.

 

Written by Tosh from the Pop Nonsense Team!

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15 Oct

Too Old Not To Play

As kids, many of us lived for the moments we shared on the field, court, diamond, or pitch. Friendships forged, character reviled, and countless memories made, but as adulthood settles in and responsibilities build up, we often yearn for something we don’t even know were missing.  What life often restricts us from is the freedom experienced when engaged in sport. In those simpler times, the mind is free from the worries and demands of a career and family. You play the game to have fun, and you have fun because you are playing a game.

But why is it that so many adults abandon this former source of joy. A study performed by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health revealed that while 75% percent of adults participated in sports during their youth, only 25% of them are still playing. This however didn’t stop these adults who are parents, from encouraging their children to play. In fact, 89% of those parents with a middle school or high school student saw sports as a beneficial factor in their mental and physical health.

So why is it that so many adults participated in sport, have children involved in sports, but yet themselves stay on the sidelines? This same study found that the leading reasons adults didn’t take part were health issues, lack of interest, or general inconvenience. While these can be argued as legitimate justifications, the positives provided through the involvement in sports are simply undeniable.

Physical Benefits

This may be the most obvious advantage to participating in sports as an adult. Many of us are aware that being active can have a positive impact on preventing heart disease, controlling weight, and improve muscle and bone health. These benefits can be achieved with regular exercise including running, walking, and gym routines. However, there are specific physical benefits that sports can provide that are often missed in those traditional workouts. Many team sports require a combination of running, jumping, diving, catching, and throwing that can assist in balance and spatial awareness. These types of movements are often left out of a gym exercise, but actually prepare you for the activities you face in real life.

Eric Sternlicht, a PhD and President of nutrition and exercise consulting firm Simply Fit, further explains that “When you are working at a fixed intensity, you tend to develop and strengthen only one system – like the heart’s ability to deliver oxygen but not the muscles’ ability to utilize it. During a game, you get spikes of activity, and end up recruiting and training different muscle fibers at varying intensities, which can help with endurance, stamina, power, and strength.” On top of that, it’s likely that you’ll find an increase in calories burned by moving at a competitive intensity. So not only are you training different parts of your body and working at a higher rate, but you are forgetting that it’s a workout all together, as your mind shifts to a competitive environment.

Mental Benefits

While we know being active is great for the body, it’s most impactful impression may be on the mind. Everything from motivation, stress relief, self-esteem improvement, and cognitive development can all be achieved with participation in sports. Studies have shown that people who dislike or feel awkward during their workouts will not continue with them. This is a situation that is common for many adults, who enter these spaces with the best intentions, only to quickly lose motivation. What sport does is take some of that pressure away, allowing you to focus on the joy experienced in competitive environment.

What can also be a huge boost to motivation is inclusion in a team atmosphere. Sports psychologist Karen D. Cogan, PhD, of the University of North Texas explains that “it’s a differently philosophy – you’re thinking more in terms of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.” Essential, creating accountability to the individual to continue participation, which in turn leadings to continued self-improvement.

Other cerebral improvements, that may be overlooked, are also found in those adults who continue to play sports. A New York Times article revealed that regular physical activity had been shown to increase new brain cells in the regions of the brain that are integral to memory and thinking. It’s also important for adults to continue to test their brain, and learning a new motor skill in particularly cognitively challenging. Previous neurological studies have shown that learning a new physical skill in adulthood can lead to increased volume of gray matter in parts of the brain related to movement control. Much like the use of brainteasers and crossword puzzle as a way to sharpen your brain, the addition of a new sport has the same effect with the added benefit of exercise.

Social Benefits

As if enhanced mental and physical capabilities weren’t enough justification for adults to return to the field of play, the social aspect of sport may be the most essential. While maintaining a regular gym routine or waking up for a run every morning can have many of the same benefits, there a certain experiences that can only be exhibited through sports. Join a recreational team as an adult can be an integral part to our health and happiness. Research has shown that while fitness results may differ depending on the individual, there are other socio-emotional health benefits to participating in group or team athletics. Having routine practice or games encourages us to simply get out and participate in a social environment. This can be significant for those who struggle or are susceptible to depression and anxiety.

One thing many adults struggle with is the creation and maintenance of friendly social relationships. As jobs, families, or other circumstances may relocate individuals to new and unfamiliar regions, many are left without the comforts of companionship. Once you’re out of the school environment, it is very difficult to make new connections with those of shared interests. But with sports, you’ll be exposed to different groups of people, and given the opportunity to develop new and meaningful relationships.

Sport also have the ability to return us to a simpler time. Chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise stated that, “team sports take us back to childhood, so we start to play again. When you’re engaging with other people while exercising, you tend to stop worrying about whether you’re doing ‘enough’ and instead just get involved in the activity because it’s fun.” And it is this pursuit of fun that can lead to a physically, mentally, and socially healthier life.

So take out your frustrations and stress by joining your local rugby club. Sign up for a rec soccer or basketball league to achieve a new level of fitness. Make new friends and restore some enjoyment to your life by going out there and getting back in the game.

By Dylan Hamilton – Adult Athlete and Writer for SportsUnlimited.com. Sports equipment and athletic apparel at SportsUnlimited.com

07 Oct

Injury prevention when lifting weights is critical to seeing progress without interruptions to your gains. The last thing any serious lifter wants is to be sidelined for 6 weeks with an injury. It is even more important to start injury prevention early in a lifting career so that you do not become discouraged when lifting is painful, or you just cannot progress. But how do you prevent injury while simultaneously pushing yourself towards your limits?

 

The first and perhaps most impactful step to take is to maintain a healthy lifestyle outside of the gym. Proper hydration, protein intake, and sufficient sleep are vital to recovery after a heavy workout. Workouts are designed to create microtears in the muscle tissues, which in turn heal back stronger. If you do not provide the proper fuel and rest time for these microtears to heal properly, you put yourself at risk for a major tear or strain. Outside of proper nutrition and sleep, which may be difficult for some individuals, how can you decrease your risk of injury?

 

Talk with your trainer. No seriously, talk with your trainer. Get some constructive criticism. You may believe that you know exactly what angles you need to be hitting, if you are getting low enough, if you are positioned properly, etc. They might see something that you miss. They can help you take videos and discuss form throughout the lift. They can give you their personal favorite exercise to aid in building strength that will support your major lifts. Almost every gym employs individuals for this exact reason. In this day and age you can read about and watch every professional teacher talk about proper form and lifting technique, but there is no replacement for serious one-on-one consulting and feedback. Seriously, utilize this resource!

 

Now the tedious stuff. Form, technique, endurance, warmups/cooldowns, dynamic stretching before lifts, static stretching between lifts, maintaining proper supportive muscle strength such as the core and rotator cuff, and maintaining a healthy posture. These things can be no fun. In fact, they can be downright annoying to work towards. This is especially true if you are a weekend warrior or can only sneak in a half hour a day between work and getting back to your kids. However, they are more important than the major lifts. When you are working all day, you need to maintain core strength and proper posture to minimize the fatiguing effects that the work day places on your posture and muscles. If you have poor posture at work, it translates into poor posture while lifting, which in turn leads to an increased risk of injury. A 2015 study examined the relationship between posture and incidence of rotator cuff injuries in over 500 patients. According to the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, “Prevalence of rotator cuff tears was 2.9% with ideal alignment, 65.8% with kyphotic-lordotic posture, 54.3% with flat-back posture, and 48.9% with sway-back posture. Logistic regression analysis identified increased age, abnormal posture, and past pain as factors associated with rotator cuff tears.” Many lifters tend to work the “mirror-muscles” and end up with an anterior imbalance. Improve your posterior-chain muscles and improve your posture! Your body will thank you!

 

“I don’t have all day; how do I know what I should be focusing on?” That is the million-dollar question. What should people be focusing on if they have a limited amount of time? The simple answer is focus on something that you find enjoyable and will see benefit out of. If you enjoy upper body exercises, throw rotator cuff rehabilitative exercises into the mix to protect those shoulders. If you love deadlifts and squats, make sure your core can keep up with your legs and back. If you are a runner, stretch, foam-roll, and perform ankle mobilization and rehabilitation exercises to decrease your risk of plantar fasciitis. The long answer is a bit more difficult. Start with what your work out goals are, and discuss them and your current health with the appropriate health care provider. Looking to lose weight? Discuss an appropriate diet and workout regimen with a dietician, personal trainer, or your primary care physician. Looking to improve your posture? Talk with your local posture expert, whether that is a chiropractor, orthopedic, etc. Come up with a game plan surrounding your personal deficiencies (we all have them, mine is weak rhomboids and overactive pec major), and tackle it in a safe and effective manner. Once you have a game plan, start slow and start with the full intention of creating proper form that will last no matter how heavy you lift. Reevaluate your plan and your current health with your resources on occasion. Always remember that this path to fitness is for your personal benefit, and talking with others about where you are at and where you want to get to can only benefit you.

 

Joshua Marty D.C. is a chiropractor at Marty Chiropractic & Wellness in Lakeville, MN with an emphasis on sports performance and injury prevention.

03 Oct

 

The physical benefits of playing some specific sports include efficient and controlling the proper functioning of the body parts, proper weight management, lowering the level of cholesterol, improving circulation of blood, reducing hypertension, stress levels and controlled diabetes It helps in strengthening of bones and toning of muscles.

SKATING

Skating is a culture, a lifestyle, an art, and a game. Kids and many youngsters are doing it for many years, and now it has even become a favorite sport for all. Almost all age groups people like this sport. They use this sport for fun and riding purpose around park, street and college campus. However, We all can, get the benefits of this sport, even if do not really know what are its benefits, still, we love to play this game.

Inline skates: If we talk about this sport, these days’ inline skates are going very popular. These are also called rollerblades. Inline skates are skates in which three or four wheels are arranged in a single line. Before buying inline skates, ask some questions from yourself how to choose inline skates? What is need of this? Is there any health benefit? Is this product is in your budget. By asking all these questions from yourself you will reach the conclusion are you buying the right product

If we talk about skates, there are several health benefits of this sport.

 

BENEFITS:

  • It helps in making the body flexible.
  • Helps in the full body workout
  • Physical Endurance of the body
  • Teaches Precision to the people
  • Improves control and Coordination
  • Helps in Burning calorie
  • Transfer skills To Other Sports
  • Teaches practice, patience, and consequences
  • You learn to grow by falling
  • Stress Relieving sport
  • Improvement of Overall Health

 

BASKETBALL

Basketball is a loved and overall favorite sport all across the world. It is very popular because it helps you to stay healthy and fit, this sport is the perfect choice as it includes a lot of health benefits.

BENEFITS:

  • Basketball helps to Burn Calories.
  • Boosts The Immune System.
  • Provides Strength to do the Training.
  • Boosts the self-growth and Mental Development.
  • Building the Bones and Strengths them.
  • Develops motor skills and Better Coordination.
  • Develops Concentration and self-discipline.
  • It helps to improve cardiovascular Health.

 

CYCLING

The idea of this sport came into eyes and was formed by Baron Karl in the year 1817.He is real invented the machine that will help him in walking and taking him to the royal gardens faster. This device included wheels but did not have had any peddles chains and gears. Also, it goes ahead by pushing the feet towards the ground. In this technology, this idea was eventually transformed into the modern-day bicycling and become a sport.

BENEFITS:

  • Toned and strengthened Muscles. it is an activity that involves a lot of pedaling that helps in improving the strength of muscles.
  • Improved Cardiovascular and muscles Function.
  • Easy Treatment of Diabetes.
  • Increased Levels of energy in the body.
  • Stress reduction and management.
  • Pain management and reduction.
  • Aid in losing weight
  • Lowers Risk of cancer.
  • Overall development of body

 

ARCHERY

Though the sports archery is usually taken as a simple sport only the truth behind this is that many archers really require a large amount of focus, endurance, and strength to perform well. If you are not known with the demands of this sport then you may be surprised to know that there are a lot of health benefits of participating in the archery. In addition to these physical benefits, archery can improve your mental health as well which is as follows:

BENEFITS:

  • Helps to improve the concentration power.
  • Increased mental focus
  • Increased walking capacity as the archer has to walk a lot while choosing the appropriate position.
  • Increased balance of the body
  • Hand-eye coordination attainment
  • Increased upper body strength.

 

BOXING

Boxing for fitness is so popular because everyone knows that it provides the best challenges and workout to you both physically and mentally. Boxing not only helps to tone your muscles and strengthen them, but it also proved to be a great stress reliever. Best of all, it burns many calories and can be also helpful in weight loss.

BENEFITS:

  • Increased toned muscles.
  • Building strong ligaments and bonds
  • Improved endurance of muscles
  • Increased cardiovascular muscles and strengthen them
  • Helpful in burning of fat
  • Improved power and strength
  • Stress relief
  • Improved body awareness and coordination
  • Improve core stability
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence

 

BILLIARDS

A famous game Billiards, known for its presence in pubs and bars.

BENEFITS:

  • Enables balance and stretching
  • Sharpens the mind by improving focus
  • Helps in building focus
  • It burns a lot of calories
  • It helps in sharpening of mind
  • Toning of muscles
  • Improves good hand-eye coordination
  • Improves cognitive skills like players imagination and visualizations
  • Fun for all ages as everyone can play this game

Author Bio : I am Koshial Robinson, Founder of Skateboard-guide blog, its a blog about skating tips, skateboard guide, product reviews, news, equipments, and events.

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02 Oct

How To Stay Fit While Traveling: 9 Steps

No matter how many pushups you grunt out or kale shakes you choke down, the bodies we occupy made of meat and bones and blood will fail us someday. And that’s ok. That’s part of what it means to be human. Travel, and exploring this weird world, is also part of what it means to be human. As we charge full-force into The Age Of Technology, more of us are saving up, ditching out and embarking on 3+ month world trips. If you fall into this category, but are unsure of how to stay fit while traveling, this piece is for you. Staying in shape 17,000 km from home, along with the other experiences you have while traveling, will change how you see fitness. This piece covers 9 tips to stay in shape while traveling that include travel workouts with no equipment, nutrition, making the world your gym, smart partying, and cutting yourself some slack. Vamos!

  • 1.Plan Ahead And Prepare

The best way to stay fit while traveling is to sit down and come up with a plan for how you’re going to manage your fitness on this 3+ month trip. Obviously you need to plan the actual country, flight & logistics parts first (at least 6 months in advance is a good jump-off point); Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Forum is a good place to start for that. But in terms of fitness, give yourself a month or so to prepare before you leave. Tighten up. Go hard at the gym. Eat right. Treat your body right. Get enough sleep. Lay off the booze. Do your research; find active/adventure activates to do in the various places you’re going to go and pick which ones you’re going to do. A multi-day trek, a peak you want to bag, a week-long bike ride through the desert, etc. Preparation also includes getting yourself a good pair of trail shoes/running/walking shoes. Everyday drivers. You’ll appreciate them.
Mentally prepare yourself before leaving on your trip as well. Realize you may miss workouts, you may get slightly out of shape, you may get sick, and that’s all ok. You’re on vacation! You’re gunning after the experience of a lifetime, not a physique.

  • 2.Remember The World Is A Jungle Gym

Depending on where you travel, you’ll have to get creative in order to get a good workout in. See that 7 foot brick wall at your hostel? There’s your pull-up bar. Rocks and cinder blocks on the beach are your weights, sand is your resistance trainer and old stone structures are your plyo boxes. Palm trees are for climbing, chairs are for dipping, hills are for sprinting. In my experience something deep in my primal brain is triggered when I go to battle with whatever I can find lying around. The world is your resistance trainer. Be a world-beater.
The key is that you can’t get self-conscious about how crazy you look holding a rock over your head doing split-squats red in the face while breathing profusely. I spent some time in the Caribbean and after two weeks of high intensity workouts (more on HIIT below) in the sand behind the hostel a friend asked why I was practicing my dances out back. In this case, my friend and I had a good laugh. But most of the time, you’ll never see that person giving you the sideways glance ever again. Who cares if you look like you’re summoning demons while doing alternate plyo split-squats. Get creative and stay weird.

  • 3.Exercises Without Weights

Exercises without weights are key to stay fit while traveling. Use your time away from the resources of a weight room to make sure your form is dialed on the basics like pushups and squats. Listen to your body; nothing exposes weak spots and areas for improvement like exercises without weights. Push yourself. Get more pushups this week than last. Maintain a static hold longer than you could before you left on your trip. That is the definition of how you get stronger.
Below are a couple examples of body weight exercises that you can do almost anywhere;

    • -Body squats
    • -Lunges
    • -Pistol squats
    • -Pushups
    • -Pullups
    • -Dips
    • -Vertical pushups
    • -Planks
    • -Wall sits
    • -Static holds in down pushup position and deep squat position

 

 

Crossfit Travel Workout: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

I get it. The word “crossfit” conjures up images of people who cannot so much as take a breath without muttering, “you should do crossfit” before exhaling. But there are real benefits to a crossfit travel workout. Here’s how to do it;

  1. 1. Download a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) timer app onto your smartphone.
  2. 2. Everyone is different, but I like three 15-second sets back to back with a 15 second rest (45 consecutive seconds work, 15 seconds rest).
  3. 3. Choose 3 body weight workouts from the list above.
  4. 4. Each 15-second set is full clip, as many reps as you can get before switching to the next.
  5. 5. You’ll repeat this 7-10 times, and that can be considered a full set. Some days you’ll be able to get 3 full sets, some days only one. Either way. You get the blood pumping in just 10 minutes. WHAT.
  • 4.The Goal Of Travel is Experiences, Adventure and Meeting New People. You Don’t Travel to Maintain Your Physique.

This can be tough to wrap your head around after spending years dedicated to achieving peak physical condition. But like we’ve eluded to before. You’ll have stories about your 3-month adventure through Southeast Asia when you’re 90 years old as you sit down to dinner with your grandkids. You’ll learn more about the world and people and yourself in those 3 months than you have in the past 3 years. While you should do your best to stay fit while traveling, even Zoolander understands “There’s more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good-looking”.

  • 5.Leave Weight Gainer And Supplements At Home

You don’t need them. They take up space, they add weight and they will not make or break your plan to stay healthy while you travel. But if you insist, try to limit it to a couple essential supplements like Vitamin B, BCAAs, zinc, etc. Many parts of the world are not accustomed to protein powders and you may very well be less-than-kindly greeted upon your arrival in Singapore when they find your “Hypertrophic Myo-Whatever Weight Gainer 7000”. To them you’re a foreigner bringing in a kilogram of mysterious white powder. Buckle up, that’ll be a fun 48 hours.
Instead, use the money you’d spend on that weight gainer and those supplements to pay for something crazy. Go paragliding or get your diver’s certification. Plan an overland trip. Get a guide for a big peak in the country you’re headed to. Go bungee jumping. Or just use that extra cash as a buffer for your budget.

  • 6.Walk. Run. Surf. Bike. Hike. Climb. Everywhere

Staying fit while traveling means staying active or finding opportunities to get active. Instead of catching a taxi, ride a bike. If you’re new to a city, go for a run and explore it. If you’re by the beach, go surfing (learning how to surf is perhaps the most physically and mentally exhausting thing I’ve ever tried). Use MeetUp to find a group of locals that hike in the area. Maybe there’s a trail-running crew. These are some of the best ways to meet locals or travelers that you can link up with for a big portion of your trip. Get out there.

  • 7.Be Smart About Nutrition And Partying

It’s very easy to get sucked into the party scene when you travel. All the sudden 3 months go by and you realize you haven’t had a conversation with a local or tried any real local foods. You’ve been in a quasi-blackout state speaking your native language with your countrymen eating pizza. That’s being a tourist. Be a traveler. Get away from the party scene every once in a while. Exploring and transformative experiences are things alcohol doesn’t facilitate very well. Added bonus- you save a ton of money. With all that said, don’t be afraid to indulge. But just be smart about it. Keep the beers to light beers. Stay away from sugary soda mixers. Don’t always shoot for a blackout night.
If you want to stay fit while traveling you cannot let yourself fall into the sugar traps that exist in so much of the developing world. The land of cheap and plentiful sugary snacks is the land of addiction. Literal physical addiction to sugar and carbs. Watch out for that trap. Buy fruit instead of processed sugars. Eat vegetables when you can and try to limit the rice intake. Drink water when you’re craving carb-filled salty goodness.
Ah yes, water. Drink more water. Keep a water bottle with you at all times. Drink a bottle when you wake up and a bottle before you go to bed. Use your trip as an opportunity to really juice up the muscles and tendons and joints.

  • 8.Y.O.G.A.

Remember that overall health and wellbeing is about more than just physical fitness. There is a mind element as well. Use this time to get flexible and get strong. Yoga strength is different than explosive strength, and it will make you stronger. You’ll be in some of the most beautiful places on Earth while you’re traveling, so make sure to breathe deep and stretch deep.

  • 9.Take It Easy On Yourself

Look. You won’t adhere to your “Stay Fit While Traveling” itinerary as strictly as you think you will. This is the nature of traveling. You’re dealing with the unexpected and the unpredictable. Do the best you can, where you are with what you have.
Traveling will change the way you see the world around you and the way you view yourself. Don’t let the desire to stay in peak physical condition stop you. You can stay fit while traveling. You can have the experiences of a lifetime without sacrificing everything you’ve worked for. So get after it.

 

My bio: Jake Muniak is the founder of SEO For AI, a digital marketing agency focused on helping small businesses prepare for the explosion of technology that accompanies machine learning. He manages SEO For AI from abroad while doing his best to follow the guidelines above.

03 Sep

 

Right now I’m extremely busy, I’m burning the candle at both ends and I’m finding it extremely hard to get to the gym. That being said, I’m still going. Here’s a bunch of advice and tips that I use, I hope it helps!

Get the pots on

Every morning I put a cup of coffee on. I find that when i consume caffeine I’m able to work longer and train harder.

 

Fill your tank

Get a good breakfast in you! These might seem like obvious tips but I don’t miss my full English breakfast ever!

Set a goal

Set short term goals. Think more on the lines of lose 2lbs by Friday or add 10kg to my deadlift in a week! not get shredded in time for Ibiza!

Phone a friend

You’re more likely to hit the gym if you’ve got a buddy there with you. Having someone who is stronger than you boosts your intensity of your own session by 200%! mental! so hit the gym with your ripped pal!

Bank on it

Use the app Pact to help motivate you! It charges you every time you don’t go to the gym and will pay you every time you do. I honestly love this idea! You can earn between $0.30 and £5 a week if you hit your targets.

20 Aug

If you’re someone who doesn’t like taking a break much, the sort of person that skips rest days, then please listen up! While its amazing to be dedicated skipping your recovery is doing you harm!

Here’s what happens to your body when you don’t take the time to recover from intense exercise (or endurance events!):

  • Glycogen stores are depleted. Your glycogen decreases. This isn’t something you want to get rid of! Glycogen is your body’s energy source! Decreasing this means your muscles will fatigue much more quickly!
  • Corticosteroids increase.  So cortisol and cortisone aren’t good for weight loss and actually add to stomach fat retention. Elevated levels of this hormone will depress the immune system too! So basically overtraining gives you a higher chance of being sick.
  • Your heart goes into overdrive. Both your resting heart rate and training heart rate will be increased. Chill a bit! don’t hurt your heart.
  • Your performance will be worse. Your ability to perform will plateau without a doubt! it might even get worse and by perform im talking about continuing training, growing muscle, getting stronger etc.
  • You’ll lose muscle mass. Constantly breaking down your muscles with no recovery means no more muscles.
  • You’ll feel pretty bad. The tiny tears in your guns won’t be able to heal and this will result in inflammation, swelling and tenderness.

Seriously do not over train!

01 Aug

6 over rated exercises

It’s very easy to get emotionally attached to your own workout and think it’s the best. Yes we know working out is not a religion, but we continue to practice it like any other person of real faith on the planet. We all have our own sacred cows when it comes to our routine, but it turns out we’re probably better not being devoted to the cause, but better treating our regular routine like our other relationships – easy to get in a rut, and much more beneficial when we shake it up a bit, work on it, and keep it fresh.

 

In addition to making the same moves part of our routine week on week, do we ever consider our lack of real gains may be down to slavishly following our favourite exercises rather than turning things over and embracing the new. Life is change people, we want to put the effort in for our bodies and our overall health, so let’s start embracing change in our workout routines.

 

If you find yourself hanging on to session after session with no real benefits, it might be time to step back and get your usual practices under the microscope. I hate to say it, but you may be hanging on to some exercises which are not doing you much good, and you also might also be practicing stuff that while impressive, may be doing you harm. It’s not my place to judge, but once I dropped running for lunging I made gains which would have gotten me laughed out of both the gym and the local running club. But the gains in terms of symmetry, definition, balance, posture and lower body strength were undeniable.

 

Time to shake it up I reckon. So here’s six sacred practices from the mists of time you need to drop as they’re probably doing you no good at all.

 

1 – Burpees – If you are in the UK you’ll be like WTF is a Burpee?

 

Do real U.S. soldiers call it this – for us Europeans it’s called a squat-thrust – burpees indeed?!

 

The burpee (let’s go with it) came about in the 1940s to test the fitness of candidates for military service during World War II. I personally discovered them during Karate training classes in the 80s as a child, and being of a larger frame, I never got much from except sore knees and ankles, which I later learned are usually alarm bells for “this is hurting you rather than helping you”. Today, as it was back in days of yore, the Burpee is notoriously common in CrossFit and metabolic conditioning workouts. I think it ends up there through tradition rather than usefulness.

 

Okay, burpees can raise heartrate in a short period of time, but there’s no way it’s mandatory for general fitness. If you’re not prepared for the burpee, it can be a harmful and debilitating exercise. There are simply too many moving parts, changes of position and focus on the outdated idea of physical exhaustion being beneficial for the risk-to-reward ratio for it to be very useful in any modern exercise programme.

 

I reckon the reason most folk do this exercise is to help bring their aerobic conditioning up to scratch. That’s an excellent goal, but there are better ways of doing it without putting your shoulders, wrists and lower back at risk. I’ve written before on how debilitating lower back pain can be to general fitness, with severe spinal pain putting not just your workouts, but your whole life on hold. So as a rule of thumb, I’d leave well alone unless you’re able to complete sound bodyweight squats and push-ups as standalone movements. Speed and strain are never a good measure of a successful or a beneficial exercise routine.

 

2 – Sit-Ups

 

So a thousand sit ups a day for an impressive six-pack “yeayah go me”. It’s a story as old as time. Do sit ups before breakfast and some at your morning ‘Huel’ break. Why not do a few on the bus home from the gym. I hate to say it, but the benefits of the sit-up are mythical and not at all factual. Time we out this one to bed and got on with real movement for real fitness.

 

“But it’s influencing your core” you say and yes targeted regional fat loss is possible at the very highest levels of sport. The truth is however, for most of us mere humans, the sit-up isn’t doing a great deal for us at all.

 

I reckon most of you are gone and burpeeing and sitting up this article out of your system by now, but the real-life science of targeted abdominal fat-loss is simple enough – it doesn’t work for the average person doing average level training. A strong muscular contraction is powerful for enhancing results, but in the case of the sit-up, it’s not doing a whole lot for most of us.

 

Basically, if you’re carrying any substantial amount of body fat, especially fat around your middle, or in technical terms the abdominal wall, a more generalized fitness program would be far more beneficial in both the short and long term. Ultimately, building muscle, burning fat, and monitoring your nutrition will do you far more good than pounding out endless sit-ups.

 

If you want more prominent abs and you concentrate mainly on strength and lifting, considering practising direct core training is an incredibly powerful alternative. Build lean muscle and if you’re lean enough to see an aesthetic benefit, then power to you, but you’d probably be doing sit-ups from now to doomsday to achieve the same results.

 

3 – Running

 

Runners. We need to be careful how we approach runners. Never tell a runner that their human worth is unrelated to their ability to crank out mileage. It’s not safe, it’s not useful, and they may harm you for saying it. For all round exercisers, the runner should never be confronted about the benefits of their chosen vocation.

 

It is almost impossible to coach a runner. It is the one area where pain is overwhelmingly doing more harm than good, but changing their plan in order to train around potential injury and show-stopping pain is like pissing in the wind when it comes to advising your dedicated runner.

 

Runners are a certain breed of people, so why are these (often incredible) athletes a challenge? It’s possible that this discipline attracts them for reasons other than health. Evidence suggests that certain athletes are “harm avoiders” meaning that they are drawn to routine and predictable practices.

 

How many runners do you know who continue to train while injured. I know more than a few and I’d answer, “most of them”. Okay many runners use endurance training to control their calorie output, but you shouldn’t really be involved in activity that frightens you to stop when you depend on that activity to burn of thousands of calories. There are healthier and safer ways to exercise, get healthy, and make real gains other than running.

 

I’m not much of a runner myself, but I have had a period of being emotionally attached to running and experiencing the “runner’s high” that’s associated with long duration exercise. It’s good to be mindful that every exercise has its own benefits, but runners often use their workouts to improve their outlook on life. Do not be duped into painful and challenging conditions being equal to good health and real functional fitness.

 

Lifters can alter training loads, methods, means, and frequencies more easily. Running is a single movement. Yes, take lessons from the commitment, but make sure you create more wiggle room that allows healthier, stronger and more resilient bodies for the long haul.

 

4 – Pull-Ups

 

That first real pull up is a doozy isn’t it! My first real, no leg help, no cheating pull-up was a moment I repeated again and again until my arms were dying. It’s worth remembering however that too much of a good thing can affect your net gains in a negative way.

 

Let’s face it, if you can only do a few quality pull-ups without assistance, then you’re not really getting anything from it.  Once someone gets a pull-up for the first time, the very thought of using accommodating resistance like a band or pull-up machine is considered beneath them. This results in tons of “skill work” instead of any structural work, which elicits strength and hypertrophy-based benefits. As anyone who has focused on power sports knows, working at high frequencies, volumes and intensities on any given movement can be pretty hard on the body.

 

The truth is, pull ups are not good for your joints at all. It takes a great deal of strength to do pull ups properly where that energy would be far better used in working on coordination and motor control. In turn, developing these skills would enable you to pull-up safely utilising stable and correct movement.

 

You may be burning empty energy if you can’t get into a full range vertical pull, or you lack the motor control to stabilize the shoulders through the range of motion involved. Continuing to practice this is simply throwing gasoline on the fire.

 

There is already a strong body of evidence which proves that pull-ups can result in shoulder and lower back pain and injury. So please, as someone who longs for a better back and regrets past mistakes, be smart about your pull-ups.

 

Read this: Stop doing them if you’re no good at them; work your whole body to get stronger over time, and then try again. You’ll soon realise how minor they are in the grand scheme of physical training.

 

5 – Hamstring Stretches

 

“Yeah I have a hamstring injury” said everyone with sudden lower back pain. It’s never crappy movement patterns or a weak core to blame. I’ve seen it again and again; athletes and lifters almost religiously stretch their hamstrings because they think this muscle group is too tight.

 

I used to stretch my hamstrings every day, but I noticed doing it for months on end didn’t bring about any improvement at all in terms of flexibility, mobility, movement patterns, or relief from pain. It wasn’t working and it took me too long to get out of the rehab purgatory I was in.

 

Stretching without results is not only a waste of time, but it may be working against you. Muscles simply don’t get any longer; they maintain a certain tone or tightness based on neurological impulse. So yes, strategic stretching works in terms of reducing tone and tightness, but if it hasn’t worked for you by now, I hate to be the bearer of bad news – it probably isn’t going to.

 

I’m not saying stretching doesn’t have its place, but if it isn’t alleviating pain, you ought to look elsewhere. Doing anterior core activation drills such as active straight leg raises and dead bugs will help so much more. Don’t waste time guessing if drills are working, just touch your toes. Test this before and after your core stability work, and assess the results for yourself.

 

 

6 – Barbell Bench Press

 

This is a controversial one. In every gym across the land, someone is doing a horrible twisted interpretation of the barbell bench press. It’s a shocking but true statistic (I’ve proved this by using at least 11 or so gyms in my lifetime…ahem).

 

Bench press is very hard on the shoulders and does little for the aesthetic musculature of your pectorals. It’s incredible how many people gravitate towards it for reasons more to do with gym rituals and gym image than actual results. Many people don’t know their results kind of suck, since the bench press does directly train and pump up the mirror muscles.

 

The cold truth is, If you can bench press without pain, or without drastically compensating your movement pattern, range of motion, or tempo, you’re fine. Otherwise, leave it alone until you’ve either figured it out yourself or been taught and fully practised the correct method.

 

If you want a bigger chest – and we all do, don’t think the barbell bench press is the best pressing variation. Try Bench Press Without a Bench for example.

 

In addition, please for goodness sake don’t for a second think anyone cares how much you can press. This information is about as useful and interesting as a friend’s holiday snaps or a detailed account of a mate’s dream they had after eating cheese on crackers after midnight. Don’t be that person…not cool…not cool at all.

 

So, the conclusion is – slay those sacred cows, take an interest in learning about your muscle groups and how they can be worked best. Don’t get in the rut of practice for practice sake. Mix it up a bit – it works in the rest of life, so why not in your regular workout.

 

 

29 Jul

The Benefits of Lunges

how to do a lunge

​So legs eh? Yes you walk around on them, run with them, use them to swim with – other than why would you spend your time training them. They’re not exactly the first things you think about when you want to get ripped or add mass.

The more dedicated lifter will train their legs, and it is essential to have good legs and a strong back if you want to get big weights off the floor.

But there’s so much more to leg training, and lunges offer excellent benefit to definition, leg shape, size and general health and fitness. These brilliant exercises are mostly unrecognised and are seen mainly in comedy films when an unfit protagonist tries to make an effort to get fit in a silly training montage.

Training your legs is hard work, especially when you’re starting out or trying to make gains in size. The common exercises like barbell squats and leg presses are efficient in gaining mass on your legs, but the humble lunge is an excellent bodyweight exercise which can be an incredible addition to your arsenal of adding bulk to your legs. Overlook it at your peril. You may be missing out on a less brutal form of mass building than the traditional presses and squats.

Instead of putting some token lunges at the end of a leg work out when you’re already done in from squatting and pressing, put your lunges up front and you’ll see clear benefits of prioritising the exercise.

Let’s take a fresh look at lunges – we’ve identified 6 real benefits to the exercise which we hope will encourage you to put them at the heart of your leg work.

 

  1. – You don’t need to go anywhere or use any equipment to lunge.

Lunges can be performed anywhere, and I do mean anywhere, perhaps not at a funeral or a christening, but you get the point. You don’t need an occasion or a venue or a piece of equipment. You can simply … well … lunge.

You might want to add a dumbbell or a barbell to your lunge, but your own bodyweight is sufficient enough to get the optimal benefit from this exercise.

Make lunges a regular part of any exercise session, do some lunges after stretching in preparation for a run, or do some at home or in work. I work in an office to pay for my supplements, and I find a set of lunges while the coffee pot is brewing is a perfectly acceptable way to get the creaks and cracks of desk sitting out of your joints; and it entertains colleagues too, especially on a tight trouser day – will they burst – will they not burst – you know how it goes. Do a few walking lunges around the park, your legs are getting bigger and in better shape and you’ll entertain a few dog walkers as well.

Basically, there’s no reason not to do them. You can do them anywhere with a little bit of space.

 

  1. Lunges are great for mass building

I may be over egging this, but there really isn’t a better exercise for building leg mass. Okay leg presses and squats are the traditional big two when it comes to training your legs, but do not overlook lunges for mass building.

Lunges will undoubtedly tone your muscles well, but lunging targets the glutes, the quads, hamstrings and the calves making them one of the finest compound exercises. A positively brilliant set of exercises for helping you pack on some serious mass.

Compound exercises are great because they target more than one muscle group at a time when you do them. This helps with the overall building of muscle and naturally benefits your body.

If you are serious about lifting or generally creating more impact with your workout, lunging does not only make your muscles larger, it makes them much stronger. Stronger legs generate more power which means you can work with heavier and heavier loads. Done regularly you can create a useful cycle of power and growth.

Lunging will add benefits to the traditional squats and presses as well. You may not be noticing a great deal of growth in your leg muscles using the big two. Adding regular lunges to your routine will help develop some good leg mass.

 

  1. Lunges are versatile

I’ve covered a lot about the versatility of lunges on point one, but it is worth drilling down into the detail of not only the versatility of lunges in terms of the spaces and opportunities you can create to do some lunging, but also the benefits of tweaking and varying your lunging technique to get maximum results from this exercise.

Lunges are one of the most versatile exercises in your arsenal of workout moves. They are the perfect exercise to keep your leg workout fresh and interesting.

You can lunge from a stationary position, you can do a walking lunge, or consider exploring the benefits of side lunging which adds yet another dimension to this compound exercise.

If you’re in the gym you can lunge with dumbbells, or a with a bar on your back, or even with the kettlebell. In fact, you can increase the impact of lunges by adding almost any weight to your back, hands or shoulders.

Okay there’s no denying a lunge is pretty much a lunge, but each different version will exercise the main muscles as well as stimulating different muscle groups in the lower half of your body.

 

  1. Lunges improve posture.

 

I’ve already mentioned that I mostly work at a desk all day. It’s a story that’s repeated everywhere as more and more people are now working in stationary or sedentary desk jobs. Our bodies were never designed for these levels of inactivity and back and joint issues are the most common ailments for the office worker.

I struggle sometimes with back pain, for which I point the finger of blame at myself for not taking regular screen breaks, and not utilising tasks where I can move about to break up my seated work.

It’s not all bad news though – lunges are actually proven to improve posture and increase overall spinal health.

A lot of heavy compound exercises will not help your posture or your spine. If fact they can do the opposite by putting pressure on your spine and causing compression in your discs. It is essential you look after your spine and strike the right balance of exercises to keep you fit and take care of your skeleton.

Lunges are an incredibly good exercise for decompressing the spine. Walking lunges and other variations are proven to decompress the spine and alleviate pressure from it. This improves your overall posture, alleviates back pain and contributes to negating and preventing back pain and back issues in general.

So, there’s the bonus there, get strong defined legs and improve your back health by adding simple lunges to your routine. As I said, have a stretch at work and don’t be shy about doing a lunge or two in the workplace for those all-important posture issues.

 

  1. Lunges improve your balance

Don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re going to tip over when you first start to do lunges. The exercise itself teaches you proper technique as this simple move forces your back into an upright position and stretches your leg muscles as you perform it. Incorrect technique means you will be unbalanced or topple over. It is important to take advice on how to lunge properly and to take your time to practice the technique properly.

Lunges are considered a to be a unilateral exercise, which means that they target both sides of the body evenly.

You want symmetry in your legs and you want to increase balance and co-ordination. You simply won’t get the same benefits from squats as these do not even come close to the lunge in terms of balance, coordination and stability.

 

  1. – Lunging is “functional”

Here we go, another website putting “functional” in inverted commas. Surely all exercise contributes to body functionality, right. Yeah not necessarily. Can I escape a lion or an angry mob with torches if I’ve been concentrating on squats and presses. Probably, but the squat is a truly “functional” exercise as it contributes to strength and fitness you can use in the real world.

People are moving away from training to simply look good. It’s all fine and well getting ripped, but you want to be able to put that muscle to use in every day circumstances as opposed to only having a body that is a machine which is useful for operating gym machines.

Look at these big musclebound folks you see who can bench press astonishing weights. That’s great for the gym, but what use is it in everyday life? Will they be as strong outside the gym when you need to bend over to pull some weeds or tie your laces or pick up the ping pong ball for the thousandth time because you suck and are the worst table tennis player in the office break out area? Okay that last point might be a personal one, but it still stands to reason that there isn’t a great deal of use in putting a tone of effort into building a body that doesn’t in turn become more useful for real life activities.

Lunges are a great example of building functional strength and fitness, because you mimic similar actions in everyday life. Lunges make you more flexible and improve your posture which are things you can take outside the gym and make useful every day.

Get on to the humble lunge, it’ll change your legs, your back and your everyday life.