the view can be different from here

…and I like the view

Ninety, one hundred and eighty. Degrees of angles. Degrees of angles we normally train in. Squats, bench presses, pushups. Most times when we do these exercises we do them at a square angle to the ground. We do our exercises this way because we need gravity to provide the needed resistance. So what’s the issue? Doing the same thing over and over, the same way. Repetition.

Resistance

Over time our bodies will adapt to a load being applied at the same angle relative to the muscles that are being worked. As our muscles adapt the less they respond to the load and the lessening of the benefits  we get from working out are realized.

Another benefit of incorporating angles into our workouts is it can target different areas of the muscles being worked. Also, it can help to maintain strict form when working out, preventing us from cheating an exercise.

How to

Lets look at the bench press or the pushup. Most times when doing this exercise our body is mostly parallel to the ground albeit on a bench when doing bench presses or the slight angle we realize when doing pushups. What if we raised our feet when doing pushups, or elevated the back part of the bench that supports our upper body when doing bench presses? This now changes the load from being distributed to the middle of our chest to more of the upper area of our chest. This also changes up what our muscles have been used to. I guarantee if you have been doing either of these exercises in the traditional sense and change it to incorporating this angle you will feel the difference. Now do the same but use a decline. With respect to bench presses, you will need a decline bench. For pushups, you can do your pushups by having your hands on a bench, couch, or anything that is about 12 to 16 inches above the ground, keeping your toes on the ground. Be sure that whatever you are using that it is stable and safe.

The same principle can be applied when carrying out dumbbell chest flies. Doing this exercise on an incline or decline angle will put the load onto the upper and lower chest area respectively.

Using an incline bench you can apply the same principle to when you do dumbbell bicep curls. With your back against the inclined bench, let your arms hang down, holding the dumbbells. Having your body at this angle, no longer parallel with your arms will make it almost impossible to cheat when doing dumbbell curls. If you try this, you will notice that the amount of weight you use will probably be less than when doing dumbbell curls the traditional way.

The traditional lat pull down, pulling down the horizontal bar directly from above you can also be modified to incorporate a new angle. If you pull down having your upper body on an 80 degree angle you will still be hitting the lats but you will also target more of upper/middle back area, similar to a seated cable row. Be careful doing this one that you don’t end up swinging the body because of the load being too high. This is not what you want to do, and could lead to injury.

Not everything

Not all exercises can be done this way, especially when exercising safely. These are just a few options to help you keep realizing the benefits from resistance training, another way to ‘shock’ the muscles.

It’s beneficial to you to incorporate different things in your workout routine. Altimately you are the one that benefits, the one that grows.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

all the blood that I would bleed

It’s about embracing the pain

You’re tired of sucking wind either when working out or doing anything mildly strenuous. You want to be able to make it through a workout, push yourself hard, and make a quick, or quicker than normal recovery.

You need to work out your cardio respiratory system. Time to build the heart and lungs. It can be tough but the payoff is tremendous.

Benefits

Stated earlier, the benefits can be realized when doing normal day to day activities such as going up a couple flights of stairs, having to walk a longer than normal distance, or something unexpected such as having to push your vehicle out of the deep snow (hopefully you haven’t had to do this).

The benefit of having a strong cardio respiratory system will lead to quicker recovery when working out. What I mean is it will take less time for your heart rate to return to normal. So you can push yourself doing interval training and have your heart rate lower quicker as you get ready for your next intense interval. So instead of being out of breath, heart racing when you are getting ready for the next interval, you will feel stronger and ready to go. That’s a nice feeling.

Another benefit is an increase in performance. Why? I’ll explain what the cardio respiratory system does and I think you understand how performance will benefit.

The what

The cardiovascular and respiratory systems work together to deliver oxygen and nutrients to body tissue, such as muscle. It is also responsible for removing waste. Our respiratory system takes in oxygen providing it to our blood, and it removes carbon dioxide, the waste product. Our cardiovascular system is what moves the oxygenated blood to our tissues, delivering oxygen and removing carbon dioxide.

More oxygen will be delivered and more carbon dioxide will be removed as efficiency increases. One large influence on this is what is called stroke volume. Stroke volume is the amount of blood that can be pumped in one beat of our heart (specifically the left ventricle). The typical amount of blood that is pumped in one beat is 70 milliliters. As we become fitter the ventricle becomes larger and stronger, able to move more blood and contract with more force. When resting, our body required a specific amount of blood to be circulated. For someone who is fit, and has a larger than normal stroke volume, the heart does not have to work as hard to deliver the amount of blood needed.

When we are training the effect of having a larger stroke volume means more blood is pumped to our tissue than someone with a smaller stroke volume. I’ll try to explain it this way. You have two people filling a balloon with air, one with a pump that with each stroke delivered 1 litre of air, and the other person, the fit person, had a pump that delivered 2 litres of air with each stroke. The balloons are the same size, requiring 100 litres of air to fill it. The amount of strokes per minute are the same for both people, 20 strokes (think of heart rate, each person’s heart rate being 185 bpm’s when working out). The average person, who can only pump 1 litre per stroke requires 5 minutes to fill the balloon (20 strokes/minute x 1 litre = 20 litres per minute).  The healthy person requires only 2.5 minutes to fill the balloon. The healthier person can move more air per stroke requiring less work overall. Apply this to the heart and it makes sense why someone with a larger stroke volume, a healthier cardio vascular system, can accomplish more work at the same heart rate than the person with the smaller stroke volume. Does that make sense? Maybe? If it doesn’t, or it seems convoluted, let me know.

The what

So what do we do to improve our cardio respiratory system? Cardio training. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you that you have to start running. Cardio training does not have to include running, or biking, or elliptical machines. Now you like me, right? I’m going to change that. With what I tell you next, you may end up hating me. I’m ok with that because I know you will benefit from what I’m going to tell you, and that is my goal. I’m doing this for you, not me.

If you follow my blog, have read some or most of the articles you probably know I’m a fan of intense workouts. Slow and easy is not for me. I’m not going to get into why because I have done that in other posts. What I’m going to do is layout some options you can use to help you become better, stronger.

Intervals: Interval training can be a number of things. Tabata is a good example of interval training. 20 seconds of full out work followed by 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes total (or longer if you love pain). 60 seconds of 90% intensity followed by 30 seconds of 60% intensity work. Another example could be 90 seconds of 90% work followed by 30 seconds of 60% work. There are so many benefits to interval training. Better utilization of glucose (provides energy to our body), higher resting metabolism, growth in our stroke volume (yeah!), etc.

Intervals can vary quite a bit. From the 20 second work 10 second rest of tabata to 3 minutes work, 1 minute rest of another interval method. The work you do can be anything as long as you hit the targets. Jump squats, burpees, sprints, mountain climbers, clean and press, etc. If you want to run on a treadmill, go for it. It’s up to you.

Other options

Are there benefits to activities such as going for bike rides, quick walking, jogging or none interval activities? Sure. Different benefits but they are there. We can’t do interval training all the time because it is taxing to our body, and our body needs time to recover from these hard workouts. Throwing in a non-interval training activity is a great way to add variety to our workouts and there may also be other benefits realized. Some people when they run can turn their mind to a place that brings them peace and relaxation, and happiness. There’s a lot to be said about benefits of this. Peace of mind is a beautiful thing. Exercising should not be totally exclusive to one activity. That’s how we end up with imbalances and sometimes boredom.

It makes sense.

Add interval training to your workout. Start off easy, one session per week. Get out of your comfort zone and push yourself. Do this for a month and I know you will be pleased with the results. Kill it. Have no mercy when you train and you will ultimately be triumphant.

It may not feel that way, but trust me. You are awesome and you will kill it. You always do.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

Put me back on the line

Give me more of a reason

I look at things that happen in my life, things that I see, questions asked, people’s experiences and I look at these things and see if I can find a lesson in them. Maybe find something that I can pass onto you that helps you with your training and helps you reach your goals quicker.

That has always been the purpose of my blog, to help. To help you grow in the part of your life that is fitness. If only one article has done that, than I have succeeded.

A new one

I recently revisited a client of mine that I started training about eight weeks ago. This client of mine is very goal oriented and had a specific goal she wanted to achieve – to better her game by increasing her strength and power.

I liked the idea of training this person because her goal was very specific and I felt it would be very challenging. She is a very athletic person, I have known her for probably the last 4 years and already knew her work ethic. This is partly why I had no issue leaving her on her own to train. I have said in previous posts that I don’t feel that everyone needs a personal trainer for all their workouts. Some people? Yes. But not everyone.

The purpose of this visit was to reevaluate her performance and to touch base as to the next 4 weeks. I was anxious to see what the results would be.

No hiding

I said I was anxious but I was also nervous. There is no hiding from the results, or massaging the results to provide a different outcome than what it is. The numbers don’t lie. It can be like shining a bright light onto you. Success or failure, there can be only one outcome.

Success! The reevaluation showed lots of positive gains. Vertical jump increase, drastic increase in leg strength, increase in chest strength and so on. The program I had put together worked and I am seeing the results.

But the results were not evident to my client, until we measured them.

Tracking

It wasn’t until I tested my client again and compared the results to the initial test that she realized that she was making gains. Part of this is due to a good part of the program designed around exercises using body weight making it difficult to see increase in strength since no dumbbells or barbells were being used.

At the end of the evaluation my client was so pumped seeing the increase in strength. Could she of seen this earlier? Absolutely.

Journal. That’s it. Recording each workout on paper. Capturing what you have accomplished. It’s also a good way to capture your general feeling that day; tired, energized, strong, weak. A journal can be a great way to see your progress as weeks go on and to keep yourself motivated in reaching your goal, or goals. I think we underestimate the value of capturing each workout and the impact it can have.

The payoff

If my client had a journal, she probably wouldn’t have been as surprised at the results. It was the action of me reevaluating her that showed the gains made, but it didn’t have to be. The gains were there, just not being measured. Record everything, from day one.

How do you measure your progress if you don’t know where you came from?

Yours in health,

Darryl

the stars are alive, and they are in my reach

the flame flickers, reaching, grasping, waiting with it’s hand outreached.

I consider this the third post in my series regarding adding strength and muscle.  The first post was the challenge that I’m sure you accepted. The second post deals with the progression made so far. This post I will talk about things that you may be doing that in affect could be sabotaging your progress. Will there be more posts in this series? Yeah, I think so. Stay tuned.

It’s what we do

Restless. You want to add the poundage of muscle onto your frame, but you are that type that when in a gym, or anywhere working out you cannot just ‘sit there’ counting the seconds or minutes. You try to take a 2 minute break between sets but no matter what you try you can’t. You find yourself waiting no more than 30 seconds, or maybe a minute. The fact is you won’t be adding the muscle you would like to unless you take that rest. Try it yourself. Look at how much weight you use when resting for 2 to 3 minutes compared to how much weight you currently use between sets. I bet you that with the longer rest you are using more weight each set. Why? Because the body needs that length of time to replenish its energy stores used to lift weight. Rest, slow down, and relax. Enjoy it. You’ll be glad you did.

Minimalist. Are you eating enough or are you eating the same you always have. We know where that has gotten you, nowhere when it comes to adding muscle. If we don’t have the protein intake needed for our muscles to grow, they won’t! Personally, I’d rather be on the side of too many calories than not enough. Once you hit that point of knowing you are consuming too much, you can always scale back.

Enjoy it. I always think this sounds funny when I say it, I love food and I love eating. If you do too, enjoy it more and get in those quality calories. If you can, keep track of the amount of protein you are consuming daily. Try to spread it around too. Don’t try to consume larger amounts of protein in fewer meals. Have that protein always available for your body to use it.

Stress ball. Relax. Yeah, I know. It’s easy for me to say, isn’t it. But it’s true. Stress can be good, it helps us react to threatening situations but if stress isn’t dealt with properly it can be detrimental to our weight gains but worse, it can be detrimental to our overall health. As westerners I think we missed the boat on how to deal with stress, and how to relax. I don’t think meditation gets the respect it should. Hopefully it will now that the technology exists to show the benefits of meditation.

We all need more. Sleep. That’s it. As simple as the word, it really is that simple. You will want to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night so the body can rebuild, become stronger, become bigger. That is the goal, right? If you aren’t sleeping, why is that? Do you know? Can you do something about it, maybe the previous point can help? Getting the proper amount of sleep can be tough, I know this because I am there myself. What can you do? Some say if you are going to eat before bed time, eat foods high in protein (a plus) and fat because this will regulate your blood sugar and prevent a rise in blood sugar possibly impacting your ability to fall asleep. When lying there in bed, breathe in through the nose and exhale out of your mouth, nice and slowly. This rhythmic breathing can help to relax the mind and body.

By no means do I pretend to have the solution. I wish I did.

Playback. Are you keep a log of what it is you are doing? No, why not! How is it you know what you did last week, or what you did the last workout? Are you resting the proper amount of time between sets, are you lifting more that the last workout, do you know what you did yesterday? Besides being a great motivator, a log helps you get the most out of your workouts be knowing what you did previously, and letting you know what it is you need to do today. Recording what it is you are doing, number of sets, number of reps, rest, amount  of weight helps you stick to the program and will help you get there quicker. It also allows you to review what you did against what you were supposed to do and make changes if necessary.

Also, a few weeks in you can look back at week one of your log and marvel at the progress you have made.

I wish

I don’t have the pill, I don’t have the magical answers. I wish I did. I can only provide recommendations to you to help you achieve your goal. There is one thing I will say that I think is probably the most important. If you take only one thing away from reading this, take this: Believe in yourself. Know that you can do it. Why? Because you can! I know you and I know what you can do, and you can do this. Don’t ever doubt it.

Yours in health,

Darryl

虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ず。

Koketsu ni irazunba koji wo ezu

No pain no gain. Words to live by, right? It depends. It depends when the pain happens. We need to experience pain from working out but that pain needs to be later, not during the workout. If we aren’t experiencing pain after the workout, we have not challenged our muscles significantly for them to grow and become stronger. What about during the workout?

Injury

Experiencing pain during a workout is your body telling you to stop, right away. The pain you are experiencing is because you have injured yourself and if you continue to work out, you will only aggravate the injury, possibly making it worse. Stop and treat the injury.

Understanding what is it

Some people make the mistake of taking being uncomfortable as being in pain, and tend to stop because of being uncomfortable. I’ve written a few posts on the power of the mind, and this is a case of the person become defeated by the mind. Being uncomfortable is not fun, most people prefer not to be. But we need to be uncomfortable to realize any gains from working out. You need to learn the difference between being in pain, a pain that is muscular or skeletal and being uncomfortable. If you never do, you will never experience the gains you are looking for.

What kinds

Muscular pain can be a pulled muscle, or worse a torn muscle. You can also experience injury of the connective tissues, the tendons. With these types of injuries you should follow the rule of RICE. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Rest. Stop what you are doing and get yourself somewhere comfortable. Relax and enjoy some downtime. Ice. Put ice on for 15 minutes and then remove for 15 minutes. Do this until swelling has gown down. You can make your own flexible ice pack by putting water and rubbing alcohol into a zip lock bag and throw it in the freezer. Or you can use a bag of frozen veggies. Compression. Use a tensor bandage to add compression. Elevation. Keep the injured area higher than the heart. If after a while you still have swelling, or are concerned about the injury, see a doctor.

Injuries to our skeletal system such as a fracture, break, or sprang should also follow the RICE rule. Again, if swelling remains or you are concerned about the injury, see a doctor.

If you have experienced any of these injuries you need to let that area recover. Give it the rest it needs. Coming back and training that area too soon can lead to extending the time to recover to 100%, or could lead to a more serious injury of the area. If you are someone who needs to workout, see what options you have that remove that injured area from the workout. See a personal trainer for ideas if you need to. An injured foot is a great time to train the core. An injured arm could be a great time to train the legs. Be flexible in ideas as to what you can do. But give the injured area rest.

Smart

Training smart. I always say it. Training smart will result in getting more out of your workout, and lessening any chronic aches and pains you may experience down the road. Train hard, hard enough that you do feel the muscles aching the following day, or two. That’s the pain you are striving to capture.

Listen to your body. Respect your body. Love your body and it will love you back.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Of all the words of mice and men

It’s not for the things you’ve done, it’s the things you haven’t done.

You have read the mission and you have accepted it. It might have seemed somewhat daunting, but you knew you were up for it. It’s something you have been wanting to do and have been having trouble doing it, or getting the anticipated results. But this time it’s different, this time it’s going to happen.

Where are we

About a week and half ago I wrote an article on what you can do to gain 5lbs of muscle in 4 weeks. I laid out things to do, and things not to do. Some of them easy, some of them more challenging. Things like getting an adequate amount of sleep. Yeah, we all wish this was easy to do. Getting the right amount, or even too much protein can be tough too. But I don’t want to talk about these things necessarily.

It’s been 11 days! Well, eleven since I wrote the post. Where are you in project five lbs? 4 days, a week, or 11 days? How are you making out? Have you been weighing yourself? If you have, relax if you haven’t gained weight yet. The body may not necessarily respond right away. It might take two weeks to see an increase of 2 or 3 lbs. The worst thing you could do is start to worry. When we worry, or create stress our body responds by releasing cortisol, a hormone that can be harmful if we don’t handle the stress correctly and do away with it. Don’t sabotage the work you have been doing.

Keep going

If you have hit a stumbling block, don’t quit! Keep going. Push out your date if you have to. Reevaluate that roadblock and put together a plan to deal with it in the future. It’s not the end of the world (that stress thing again). Instead, focus on the positive things you have been doing. Feel good about them. You should.

A slice in

It’s a small slice in time to see what you can do when training specifically, for a specific goal. Try to manage things so you are able to keep on track.

If it’s late, and you haven’t worked out, do it anyway. Once you are into it you’ll feel better and you’ll feel better afterwards, nah, you’ll feel fantastic because there won’t be any guilt! You’ll then go into the next day carrying that high you felt from your workout. Believe me, it’s a great feeling.

But don’t sit there contemplating it. Sometimes you have to say f*ck it, and just get it done. That’s it.

4,3,2…

Week 4 will be here in no time. Fly by just like that. Welcome that week with that 5 lbs. of muscle on your frame. Who knows what comes after that. I’m thinking another 5.

Yours in health

Darryl

Hold hold the light that fixes you in time

Finding out who we really are.

You’ve been with your trainer for about 2 to 4 weeks and you’re contemplating cutting the cord. Ahh, the pain, how dare you! Ok, I will get over it. Being a personal trainer I know I’ll have clients that need me there every workout, and I know I’ll have clients that don’t. That’s fine. I’m not in the group that feel everyone needs a personal trainer every workout. So you are ready. You feel that you are ready to work out on your own. You have your schedule, your exercises and you are confident you have the technique down.

But you are a little hesitant. There are questions on your mind. Will you be able to perform as well without your trainer being there to push you? Will you remember how to do every exercise you were shown? Will you remember all the nuances?

All valid concerns.

It comes down to

I think it can be said that if you are someone who needs to be pushed, who isn’t a self motivator when it comes to exercising, you may want to rethink the decision to start out on your own without a trainer. A personal trainer plays many roles, one of them being a motivator. The motivation can come in the form that you are paying for their services so you want to get your monies worth, or your trainer knows what to say and do to get the most out of you. Probably the latter, I hope so since that should be happening.

There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s ok to have to have someone there to push you. If that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.

The art

Technique is another area that a trainer services are invaluable. Improper technique can lead to short term or long term injury. Some people pick up proper technique fairly quickly, just like some people learn to ride  a bike fairly quickly. If you aren’t one of those people be sure you talk with your trainer. Your trainer should be able to tell you that she or he is comfortable in you doing your workouts on your own, and that your technique is satisfactory. If your trainer has concerns they should be voicing them. If you choose to ignore those concerns that could be a risky decision.

Something you can do to help you understand the proper technique for the exercises you are doing is to ask questions. Remember, you are responsible for your health and well being, not your trainer. If you aren’t asking questions when your trainer is there you are passing up a great opportunity to better understand technique. Questions such as ‘where do I keep my elbow?’, ‘should I lean forwards or backwards’, ‘what if I can do more reps when I hit the number I’m supposed to do?’. If you can’t think of anything to ask when doing the exercises, try to think of questions after the workout when you are home and can reflect on the workout. There aren’t any stupid questions, well, there is. The question that doesn’t get asked. No one is going to ask the questions for you, it’s up to you.

Move forward

So how do you know your workouts are working now that you are on your own? A journal is a great way to keep track of your progress. Keep track of weight used, number of repetitions, number of sets. If running keep track of time and distance, elevation if running on a treadmill. Also enter into your journal how you feel during and right after your workout.

When working cardio by running, biking, etc., the length of time it takes you to get your resting heart rate back is a good indicator of your fitness. If your heart rate returns to resting in around 1 minute you are doing really well.

Keeping a journal of these things will allow you to see if you are progressing, plateauing, or regressing. If you find a couple of weeks go by and you aren’t making any progress it might be the right time to call your personal trainer and talk about a reengagement.

No right or wrong

It’s alright to use a personal trainer bits at a time. A personal trainer does not have to be a year long commitment, for most of us. Understand your needs and goals and if you are meeting them than that’s great. That’s the goal, isn’t it?

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

five

I don’t know my right from left

Working hard and not gaining muscle? Frustrated? Thinking you’ll never gain anymore muscle? Absolutely it can be frustrating to put everything into your workout but not make any gains. It’s hopeless isn’t it. You’re going to stay at this weight forever. Unless you change what it is you are doing.

Five

Five pounds. Five pounds of muscle in 4 weeks. How would you feel if you added five pounds of muscle onto your body? I’m thinking you’ll feel awesome and you’ll be surprised that you were able to add muscle.

It can be done. It’ll be hard work, dedication, and sticking to a schedule but I know you can do it. And the four weeks will go by so fast it won’t seem like an inconvenience at all.

Plan

So what can be done in four weeks? What needs to be done that I haven’t already been doing? Let me lay it out for you and see if you have been doing some of these things that have been negatively impacting your growth.

Reps. How many repetitions are you doing when working out? 10, 15, 20? Are you doing so many reps because you want to work harder? That’s ok, but by doing a high amount of repetitions, your body will not add the muscle you are looking to add. Instead of doing higher reps, lower the amount of reps and increase the amount of sets to add muscle. Stick between 4 to 8 reps and increase the amount of sets to 4 – 8 based on the number of sets you would like to do. Higher reps do work your muscles but it will not facilitate the adding on of muscle.

Failure. Are you stuck in the world of numbers? The program says to do 8 to 12 reps, and you get to 12 and stop. Could you have done more? Yes? Than you need to add weight so when you get to the maximum rep you are fatigued and have to reach in deep to pull off that final rep. Your muscles respond better and will grow when worked to failure.

Progression. Try to add weight every workout. It can be a small amount of weight; 2.5, 5lbs based on the activity you are doing. Let’s look at the bench press. If you are benching 100lbs, 5lbs is 5% of the weight you are currently using. The benefit is it’s a small increase, your body will respond due to working harder to work with this weight and you are making gains! If anything it’s a boost to your self esteem and could help keep you motivated.

Sleep. What is the easiest thing you can do to add muscle? Yeah, sleep. Although it’s easy to do, it may be hard to get it. But let’s try for four weeks. Shoot for 8 hours every night if you can. During sleep your body produces more human growth hormone then during the day when you are awake. This is also when your muscles are repairing from the stress you’ve put them through during your workout.

I know it can be hard to get eight hours of sleep. We have to work, than we have things we need to get done when we come home from work. And what if you can’t get to sleep? Try these things and see if it helps. Leave your electronics out of the bedroom. Just the light off of electronic devices can interfere with sleep. If you tend to snack in the evening, snack on something that is high in protein such as almond butter, peanut butter or have a protein shake. This helps to regulate your blood sugar and could lead to a deep sleep. Breathe in deeply through your nose then release by breathing out of your mouth. This should help in calming the body and mind. But there is one thing you don’t want to do, don’t stress out if you are having troubles sleeping. Stress if not released is not healthy for us as it produces cortisone, the stress hormone. We need this hormone for the fight or flight reaction when the situation calls for it but if we don’t react either way, our body will continue to produce cortisone which is detrimental to our health.

Eating. I’m going to call this the second easiest thing to do. And who doesn’t love to eat. How many calories are you consuming daily? Don’t know? You need to find out, and write it down. Keep track over a couple ‘normal’ days to see what your caloric intake is. Then add 500 calories to your day. Ideally you want to consume these calories by eating protein rich foods. Peas, quinoa, tofu are foods all high in protein. If you think about the process of adding muscle by breaking down the muscle you have, and then the body repairs the muscle adding to it, how would it do this without the adequate amount of protein? Also, if you have been maintaining the same body weight even though you are active, adding 500 calories should result in weight gain regardless. And that’s the whole idea of this post.

What you don’t want to do is snack on processed carbs. Eating processed carbs will increase your blood sugar causing your body to create more insulin to counter the increase in blood sugar which can lead to disease due to inflammation. If your 500 calories are going to be partially comprised by carbs, stick to complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, whole fruits, or whole grains.

All for $19.99

I don’t know what else to say other than that’s it. Low reps, more calories, sleep, overloading.

Four weeks. 28 days. How fast did your last four weeks go by? I’m thinking fast. Look at each day on it’s own. Live only in that day. For four weeks take each day as a separate unit. There is no tomorrow, there is only today. Then deal with tomorrow tomorrow. Then do the same. That’s all you can do. By living in each day you will find that tomorrow doesn’t matter and you will achieve what you wanted for that day. If you look too far ahead it can become overwhelming and you could lose focus.

Tomorrow will always be there.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

It’s still getting worse after everything I’ve tried

What if we decide to break these walls?

It’s already 2 weeks into the new year. So how are things going? I’m thinking things are going one of two ways: you’re well on your way to reaching your fitness goal, or you are already thinking about other ways to spend your time than in the gym.

Did you read my last couple of posts and instead of going full blast you decided to ease into it? I hope so because that is a good strategy to keep motivated and not get burned out. If you are starting to struggle to keep motivated and to keep going to the gym or wherever it is you train, I think now is a good time to reevaluate your approach.

Stand back

Evaluate why you are having a hard time to get motivated. I’m going to list some things that can impact motivation and see if one or more of them seem to be applicable:

  • Lack of sleep – If you are tired due to lack of sleep the primary thing on your mind is getting sleep. It can be tough to get motivated just to carry out simple things when tired so no wonder you are having a hard time getting yourself out for a workout.
    • Remedy: Umm, sleep. That’s it. Try to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep if you can.
  • Getting sick, lack of energy – If you find that you are becoming sick more frequently than normal, are lacking energy even when at the gym there’s a good chance you have over trained. Sometimes we feel that if working out for an hour is beneficial than working out for 2 or 3 hours should be even better, right? Not necessarily. If you aren’t eating properly, getting the proper rest, and have awesome genetics than you are venturing into the territory of over training. The immune system becomes compromised and we get sick
    • Remedy: Stop over training! Reduce your workout by 50%. Do that for a week or two and see how you feel. Listen to your body and what it is telling you. One of the worst things that can happen when over training is injury. A way for your body to get you to finally listen and stop training.
  • Poor eating – Food is the fuel for our body that gets converted to energy. Garbage in / garbage out. If you aren’t eating well there is a good change you aren’t feeling well too. The food we eat has a big influence on our moods.
    • Remedy: Educate yourself on proper nutrition. Or to keep it simple start to eliminate simple carbs such as juice, pop, chips, candy, etc. Start eating complex carbs such as grains, vegetables. Check to see if you are getting enough protein for your body to rebuild itself. A general rule is .5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight based on your activity level. The more active the higher amount of protein needed. Be sure to eat healthy fats too. Olive oil, coconut oil are good oils to use.

The same message

More of my posts lately have been focusing on how to get to the gym or wherever it is you workout instead of what to do when you are there. Why? Because if you aren’t even working out than what good is it knowing proper technique. We are at that time again where the gyms are full. But, not much longer and they will start to empty, again, like they did last year, and the year before that and…

Will this post make a difference? I don’t know but if it keeps one person working out instead of packing it in than it’s a success.

Don’t quit. Take one day at a time. Be in the minority and be proud of it.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Outside, every time I look up I am reminded…

If we don’t do it, who will?

How can you get there if you don’t know where you are going?

Where is it you are going? Do you know? I don’t mean a place to travel too, but where is it that you want to be. If you don’t know where it is you are going, than what drives you? Most people need goals. They need goals that can be measured and quantified. Some of us don’t. Some people are quite happy doing the same thing every day without a specific goal. That’s ok. If you are able to push yourself with only knowing that you will continue to get stronger than I guess that can be looked at a goal in a sense. But for some of us a specific goal can do a lot to keep us motivated and keep us going to the gym, or fitness class, or whatever it is you do. Goals can be a great way of keeping yourself engaged.

Lofty

In a previous post I talked about a goal that I had and what I did to keep myself on track to achieve it. Would I have been able to achieve the same results if I didn’t clearly layout my goal? I don’t know. Maybe. I can’t really say for sure because I can’t go back and try to do the same thing minus the goal I had. But I do know that goals help us keep ourselves on track and help us achieve what it is we are trying to achieve. Goals are also a great way of keeping yourself motivated. You can also use goals as a way of rewarding yourself for all the hard work you have been doing.

Some of us are fortunate that we don’t necessarily need goals to keep motivated. I have seen it myself. Some people are so motivated that they can bring it every time they workout. They have such a drive to be stronger and better that they don’t need specific goals. They are motivated already by the desire to be better.

But, if we create goals that are unrealistic we run the risk of defeating ourselves and actually doing more harm than good. We need to keep our goals realistic and achievable.

Goals and sub goals

Goals can be many things. A long term goal can be to increase your body weight with muscle by 20 lbs. This can be achievable within one year more or less based on the number of years you have been training, diet, technique, etc.

But it can be tough to stay motivated for the year trying to achieve this goal. What can be done then to keep motivated and not lose focus of the goal? We can break this into smaller goals.

Breaking this down into smaller goals that we can achieve in less time will help keep the motivation going. Let’s break down this goal of achieving 20 lbs of muscle in one year to gaining 5lbs of muscle every 3 months. Definitely something that seems to be in reach. Or you can break it down further if needed. How about 3lbs in 6 weeks. Yeah, that’s definitely something that seems more in reach. It also allows you to make adjustments to keep on track if needed.

Having these smaller goals will help you achieve the large goal. It comes down to the fact that we need to keep ourselves engaged in what we are trying to achieve. If we don’t break down the goal into smaller goals it’s easy to lose focus on that target and it’s easy to lose motivation. A year is a long time. Six weeks on the other hand is something that we can reach out too, something we can grasp in our hands and hold on to. It’s quite tangible.

Think about it for a minute. Six weeks is easy to measure. Create a calendar for the six week period. Put on that calendar what you plan to do for that day. Live only in that six week period. Don’t look forward to your 1 year goal. There isn’t any need to. If you live in each 6 week period, every period you reach your goal you will have the satisfaction of knowing you succeeded. That is the reward. You should feel really good about that! Take that feeling of satisfaction to the next 6 week period and repeat.

Wow, it’s now one year later. That’s the idea. When you focus on these smaller time slices you no longer see your overall goal as this huge, maybe unachievable goal. An example I can give is my black belt test. I knew I was in for a 7 hour day of hard, physical work. If I looked at that test as a 7 hour test, it would have been very overwhelming. Instead I took each smaller part of the test and focused on completing that segment. 5 mile run, done. Physical requirement, done. Drills, done. And so on and so on. If I didn’t do this, I probably would have been over whelmed by the magnitude of the test.

Realism

Do you know your goal? Is it realistic? I hope so. If your goal is way out there, you’ll never achieve it. Our goals need to be something that we can actually achieve. No matter how we break it down, if it isn’t achievable we will only end up feeling defeated. That feeling of being defeated will do more harm than good. Keep your goal realistic. If you don’t, you can do more harm than good.

Why bother

If you are getting what you need out of your work outs without setting specific goals than good for you. But, I want you to try something. Set a goal. Make it a short term goal. Now do your best to achieve it. I think you will find that your work outs aren’t what they used to be. They are better and they are delivering more results. Funny how that works, isn’t it.

Yours in health,

Darryl