Workout Routines – Effective Use of Time

Workout routines are important for beginners, especially youth athletes. By setting up a well-rounded routine, you will be able to effectively use your time and get solid gains from your routine. What should you be trying to do in setting up your routines?

Workout vs Rest Days

You can not ignore the rest of your life so schedule workout days with rest days in between accordingly. Not only will it help you to organize your other activities around your workouts (or vice-versa). As a beginner, you need to be aware that you are not going to be able to go to the gym everyday. Your muscles will fatigue quickly when they are not used to lifting heavier weights. Your rest days are needed for your muscles to recover and rebuild. Muscle growth does not happen during your workout routines, it occurs during your rest days.

Effective Workout Routines

The most effective way to organize your workout routines is to concentrate on one or two body parts per workout only, usually opposed body groups like chest and back. Depending on the body parts being worked on a given day, do cardio as well. Doing a heavy legs day and then doing cardio involving your legs (running, biking) may be overkill on your muscles. Listen to your body …

Choosing Workout Routines

You will notice that I have said “Routines” with an “s” at the end. Doing the same routine over and over again will result in your body getting used to the process quite quickly and you will not see the gains that you expect to see. Change your routine regularly to “shock” your muscles into new growth. I have used a poloquin routine (several sets of low reps in a wave) for 3 weeks then switched to a more traditional routine with 3 sets of 8 – 10 reps. What works for one person will not needlessly work for someone else. Do your research and learn from those with experience. Try different workout routines from different sources and see what works best for you.

Goal Setting

Setting a goal for your workout routines could be the most important thing you do. You can not build a road map of how to get to a goal without knowing what the goal is! Do you want to lose weight? Gain muscle mass? Tone your body to get definition? Design your workout routines to capitalize on your desire for who you want to become. How you perceive your self physically will drastically affect how you see and see yourself emotionally.

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Choosing a Trainer – 10 Things Your Trainer Won’t Say

Choosing a trainer can be a daunting task. What do you look for and what should you be doing to find a GOOD one? Where are the pitfalls?

1. I Specialize in Marketing Myself as a Health Expert

Today an estimated 91% of health clubs offer it, and some 6.3 million Americans are signing up for sessions. But this growth has fueled competition causing trainers to battle to stand out. The latest way: specialization. Trainers offer expertise in such areas as injury recovery, cardiac rehabilitation and diabetes. Demand has increased for trainers dealing with overweight clients especially those with diabetes according to the American Council on Exercise.

Not all so-called specialists are properly trained. You'll find certification requirements for as little as a $ 500 fee and passing an online exam. John Buse, president of medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association, says when exercise is not done properly, any vision problems and nerve damage in the feet that some diabetics developed could worsen and in extreme cases, to the point of blindness or amputation .

2. I'll Push You Till You Collapse

It is not unusual to find a trainer over-training a beginner client to prove how out of shape they are and in need of their services. It's a sly ploy to get a larger client base. Given that 37% of health club members are beginners, personal trainers are large catering to the unfit. They're reaching out to seniors as well, since clients 55 years and older institute one of the fastest-growing segments of gym members. Nonetheless, many trainers are guiding clients with a less-than-gentle hand. The majority of people that come into the club have not worked out since their high school gym class. If you feel your trainer is too tough, speak up. Remember, you're the boss.

3. Beware: Might Not Work Well With Kids

One of the largest trends in fitness today: enrolling youth athletes in a little one-on-one training. Concerned about their kids' weight and lack of physical activity, parents are turning to personal trainers at up to $ 60 / hour. Seventeen percent of personal-training clients were between the ages of six and 17 in 2006; that's a 20% increase from 1998.

This niche is growing because rough 15% of American children are overweight. But not all health clubs have trainers who work well with kids or even know how to work them out safely. Even a good trainer with the wrong attitude can turn impressionable kids off from working out.

Suggest: Be selective. Ask for a trainer with a background in teaching, coaching, or child development. If your kid is involved in a particular sport, requesting a trainer with a similar background can help develop specific muscles and prevent injuries.

4. Bring a Friend and You Pay Half Price

Fees for personal trainers can be pretty steep. Sign up for a session with a superstar trainer and it could run you $ 400 / hour. With most trainers, there's a way to save 30% to 50% if you know what to ask for. More than 70% of personal trainers offer group sessions at a discount.

Most health clubs will not typically offer the group option to you but most personal trainers will work something out if you ask. After all, it's a win-win situation. For a group of three the average fee of $ 60 per hour is reduced by half for each client, while the trainer brings in about 50% more than he typically makes in an hour. It could also mean a better workout; there's a lot to benefit from group camaraderie, as long as you do not need a trainer counting every rep you do.

5. If I Let You Use the Equipment, You'll Realize You Do not Need Me

Does your trainer steer you away from the machines, making you crunches with a medicine ball instead? Trainers are sometimes told not to spend too much time teaching clients how to use the equipment for fear that once they get comfortable, they'll want to go it alone. That's why trainers may emphasize coordination exercises and rely on smaller props like stability balls, resistance tubing or bands, and balance tools, the three types of gear most frequently used by trainers. This type of “training training” helps prep clients for popular recreational activities like tennis and skiing, as well as basic movements like bending down during household chores. But larger equipment also has its benefits; it can bring speedy results in strength-building and help keep weight off.

Ask prospective trainers how they'll help you. The best trainers serve clients by helping them become independent exercisers. It encourages trainers to prove to clients there's more to working out than using big machines, in part because of the benefits of functional training. They will offer a complete program designed with you in mind and not require you to have to see them for more details.

6. I Love to Gossip About You

Some trainers share personal info about their clients. It can be as innocent as a trainer talking to another trainer within earshot of other clients. But with more health clubs requesting medical information, which they often then make available to instructors, some clubs have had to crack down on disclosure.

Some clubs do not have a company-wide code of ethics by which trainers must abide. Unfortunately, the industry does not have the same federal regulation as, say, a psychiatrist that risks losing a license if he shares personal information. Before divulging private health information to your health club, ensure that it has a strict privacy policy. And think twice beforeouring your heart out to your trainer.

7. I'm Just as Qualified as That Guy

The personal-training industry has more than 70 certifying organizations. Some programs demand a broad-based understanding of human physiology, others require much less than their candidates. Standardized testing is missing in the industry. Applicants often can take either a weekend course or an online exam before calling themselves personal trainers.

8. Being More Expensive Does not Mean a Better Workout

Personal trainers charge more depending on experience and demand. Any fees you pay them are obviously an investment in your health. A more expensive trainer will not necessarily yield better results. In the end, it's about behavioral change. Finding someone who personally motivates you and with what you click is most important and that person may not be a top-dollar seasoned veteran. If he can not motivate you based on your personality style, you're throwing money away.

To find the right trainer, ask for a trial workout session before you hire one. Do a preliminary consultation which should include no exercise. Have an in-depth conversation about your personality and goals. Evaluate a prospective trainer's ability to produce results and ask for recommendations they have had.

9. When I Make It Big, I'm Going On My Own

The personal touch evaporated will only last as long as your trainer is still working at the same facility. I have personally had three trainers in a little over a year. Reason? The first one quit to do a different profession that paid more and the second one was promoted to manager at the other facility run by his gym.

The personal-training industry has high rates of employee turnover. Beside low salaries, the flexible nature of the job contracts those who want to work part-time while following other pursuits which may eventually take them away from the profession. This can also result in what happened to me – canceled appointments due to their “other” job calling them away. It is a good idea to ask about your prospective trainer's intentions and long-term career goals, especially if you're interested in purchasing a larger package of sessions.

10. I Have No Background In Nutrition But That Will not Stop Me

Personal trainers have been pushing certain nutrition concepts for years, but now many are playing nutritionist with no background? Not only that, but if you're facing certain health issues, nutritional advice given by trainers can sometimes do more harm than good. Nutritional supplements, when mixed with medication and strenuous exercise, can result in injury or even death.

Before agreeing to alter or supplement your diet based on a trainer's recommendations, ask questions, and notify your doctor. The best personal trainers will not jeopardize your health and will be willing to communicate with your doctor to find the best exercise plan for your needs.

Choose a trainer if you need professional help or motivation or do some reading and learn what you need to learn and plan your own workout routine. There are lots of books available. If you get stuck, see a trainer for a small number of sessions and ask for a specific workout regimen that you need.

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Exercise Recovery – 10 Ways to Speed Recovery

Exercise recovery is an essential part of any workout regimen. Your after exercise recovery routine has a big impact on your fitness gains and sports performance and allows you to train more effectively. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the importance of a recovery plan and as a result, its strong benefits get over looked. Recovery is essential to allow muscle and tissue to repair and build strength. Heavy weight training will make your rest time even more critical. A muscle needs anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to rebuild. Weight training routine specifics are covered in another post.

Here are 10 common tips to get your exercise recovery plan started.

1. Cool Down

Cooling down means to slow down instead of completely stopping after an exercise. Moving at a low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes after a workout helps remove lactic acid from your muscles and may help reduce muscle stiffness from developing. Cooling down is more helpful when you have another exercise session later the same day.

2. Replace Fluids

You will lose a large amount of fluid during exercise and you should be replacing it during exercise. Your body is 75% water and losing too much will cause dehydration and poor blood circulation to your brain and organs. Drinking after exercise is an easy way to boost your recovery. Water supports your metabolic function and nutrient transfer in the body. The longer you exercise the more fluid you will lose and more important the fluid replacement will be.

3. Eat Properly

Your body will burn its energy stores during exercise which means you need to refuel it if you expect your body to recover and repair the damage to muscles and tissues. It is even more important if you are exercising daily or trying to build muscle. You should try to eat within 30 – 45 minutes of the end of your workout and make sure you include some high-quality protein and complex carbohydrates. Specifics on pre and post nutrition is described in another post.

4. Stretching

Light stretching helps to keep blood flowing through your muscles and allow your circulation to get nutrients to your muscles and remove the build up of lactic acid and carbon dioxide. This is a simple and fast way to help your muscles recover.

5. Rest

One of the best exercise recovery methods is rest. It aids your body's ability to recover from just about any illness or injury as well as after a hard workout. Your body has an amazing capacity to take care of itself, all you need to do is allow it some time.

6. Active Exercise Recovery

Cool down occurs immediately after exercise. Active recovery happens the next day. Easy, gentle movement improvements circulation which helps promote nutrient and waste product removal through the body. In theory, this helps the muscles repair and refuel faster.

7. Massage

Massage improves circulation and helps your body to relax. You can try self-massage using Foam Roller Exercises to ease tight muscles and avoid the heavy sports massage price tag.

8. Ice Therapy

Some athletes swear by ice baths or ice massage. The science behind it reflects that by repeatedly constricting and dilating blood vessels helps flush out waste products in the tissues.

9. Sleep

Sleep is essential for anyone who exercises regularly. During sleep, your body produces Growth Hormone (GH) which is seriously responsible for tissue growth and repair.

10. Avoid Over Training

Design a smart workout routine. Recovery from excessive exercise or heavy training at every session will be more difficult and will result in fewer gains in the long run.

One of the easiest ways to develop an exercise recovery plan is to listen to your body. If you are feeling strong, workout normally. If you are feeling really tired and lack energy, do not over do your training that day. Let your body tell you when you are ready to train hard again.

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Should You Exercise When Your Muscles Are Sore?

With exercise programs like 30 Day Shred and P90X increasing in popularity, working out every day may seem like a safe idea. People new to working out or looking to maximize their time may hit the gym every day, thinking this will return the most gain. However, this is not always the case. Choosing when and how to exercise should include the following considerations.

Muscle Soreness

Those who push themselves hard, especially people new to exercise, will almost certainly experience delayed muscle muscle soreness (DOMS) 1-3 days after exercising. A question arises: Should I still exercise when I'm sore? Knowing the answer requires understanding the process of muscle damage and repair caused by strength-building exercise.

When you work a muscle beyond its normal limits, the muscle fibers will suffer tiny tears. Within 1 to 3 days, these tears should heal. An important component of the body's healing process is inflammation; the immune system seeks to protect injured areas of the body by surrounding them with fluids that facilitate healing. Healing muscle fiber tears involves manufacturing new fibers. As damaged fibers are replaced, the muscle grows in size and strength.

Soreness is a result of the inflammatory response. As such, normal soreness is a sign that your body is still working to build muscle from your previous workout. You may imagine your muscles bulging in size as you perform your workout, but the workout is purely the situation that gives rise to the real building, which occurs later. If you proceed to work out sore muscles, you will interrupt the healing process by causing further damage (tears) that will require more inflammation and cause more pain. New fibers will not have time to grow and replace damaged ones.

Exercising muscles that are still sore from your previous workout not only predisposes you to injury but decreases the efficiency of your workout as well. When a muscle is sore, leave it alone.

Alternating Workouts

For some people, going to the gym or sticking to a workout plan almost every day is necessary to maintain motivation and discipline. It is possible to exercise safely every day if you alternate the workouts you do. For example, you can do lower body strength-building one day, upper body the next and cardio on the third day. This cycle allows almost 3 days between each type of workout. Depending on the intensity of your workout and your fitness level, you may need more or less recovery time.

Reducing Muscle Soreness

If you're really working your muscles, there's no way to completely prevent muscle soreness. There are steps you can take to manage it, though.

One of the best ways to shorten recovery time is to ensure your muscles are getting the nutrients they need to repair themselves. All nutrients are important, but protein is especially relevant to muscle rebuilding. Try to eat a protein-rich snack within 20 minutes after your workout. Also stay well hydrated to ensure that nutrients reach your muscles.

Encouraging blood circulation to sore muscles will help flush out painful inflammation. Although inflammation congratulations healing to an extent, the body often goes overboard with it. Gentle stretching and massage are ways to keep the blood flowing. Some people choose the active recovery approach over complete rest in order to promote circulation. Active recovery entails doing very low-intensity activity to relieve soreness. If you're sore from running, walking could be your active recovery exercise. If your arms and chest are sore from heavy weightlifting, doing a small amount of body weight exercise like pushups would be a good choice. The key is to make sure the recovery exercise you're doing is significantly lower in intensity than the exercise that caused soreness.

Exercising when your muscles are still sore from your last session can lead to injury and prevent muscle growth. Protecting yourself from injury will enable you to meet and maintain your fitness goals.

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How To Use A Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor Effectively

Nowadays to improve fitness performance, people are turning to gadgets such as Polar Bluetooth heart rate monitors. As society becomes more health and fitness conscious, these devices will become even more popular.

Firstly, knowing your body's fitness level and what it can or can not do is very important. This can be done by gauging your body's reaction to various levels of intensity, volumes and durations in your workouts. This can help you determine whether you need to change a workout or intensify it to achieve your fitness goals.

A popular product that is able to boost one's fitness level and reach their peak performance is the Polar Bluetooth heart rate monitor. Polar had two main objectives for this gadget when they created it. Firstly, to simply measure cardiac rates in people and secondly, to link with smart devices through Bluetooth technology.

Why do I need to link my heart rate monitor with a mobile device?

So are there any real benefits of linking a monitor to a smart phone or mobile device? Although it may sound somewhat gimmicky at first, there may actually be benefits that suit your needs. The ability to use fitness apps on your mobile device while being linked to a monitor, can open up the door to all new possibilities.

Polar has recently designed the devices with the idea of ​​making them compatible with popular mobile apps. Measuring you heart rate is important because it shows you how well you're performing and what areas you should improve on.

Doing endurance or strengthening workouts can improve the pacing of your breathing and your cardio rate. Keep in mind that a lower heart rate generally shows that our heart is healthy and working great.

Note that the exact opposite could happen when you're just starting out. For instance, you may show a high card rate rate even after you've completed a quick workout or warmup.

To steadily improve your cardiorespiratory endurance, simply stick to your workout sessions on a consistent basis.

Those with Apple iPods, iPhones and iPads, they will need to install an app to make the monitor compatible with their respective devices. Apple have closed Bluetooth stacks which makes it incompatible with other Bluetooth enabled devices, like other competitive smart phones and tablets.

However, Android smart phones / tablets and other devices are not restricted in such a way so they're able to communicate with one another. While these Polar Bluetooth heart rate monitors are wirelessly linked to mobile devices, they can be strapped comfortably around the chest or abdomen area.

Using your devices together

1. When you first start using the fitness app as a distance tracker, obviously you'll need to switch it on and select a route.

2. Your heart rate monitor will then transmit data via Bluetooth to your mobile device.

3. The distance tracker mobile app will show you how much fat / calories are being burned.

4. It'll then show you your endurance level by calculating your cardiac rate. This will change over time as your speed and distance improvements.

What sets the Polar Bluetooth heart rate monitor apart from other brands is that it's much more compact and lightweight. When you workout, you'll barely notice that you have it on and that's how it was intended. If strength or endurance training are what you want to improve on, this device can help you get results much more quickly and effectively.

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How and Why You Should Try To Increase Your Lung Capacity

With sport today becoming more and more competitive, every little increase or advantage in every aspect of your sport or exercise counts to get to the top of your game. Here's how you can gain that little bit extra by increasing your lung capacity.

So how does an increase in lung capacity give you an advantage?

Nearly all competitive sports in this day and age require you to take on board and expel massive quantities of air in order to oxygenate your system. Technically speaking there are two ways you can do this.

1. Increase the physical size of your lungs
2. Increase the efficiency and amount of air able to enter your lungs.

We shall talk about the latter as this is quite obviously the easiest and most practicable one to achieve by most people. Let's look at some exercises you can practice at home to increase the capacity of your lungs since increasing your physical overall performance.

1. Deep Breathing

In order to increase lung capacity you must practice deep breathing. To do this it is best to open your arms wide to allow allow your chest to expand efficiently.

Breath in deeply filling your lungs to capacity. It is best to count to 2, Breath in counting one and two. Then exhale for three counts; one and two and three. Be sure to exhale completely leaving nothing in your lungs. If you fail to exhale properly and completely there will be air left in your lungs not allowing correct inhalation of the next breath. Very important.

2. Breath Out Under Resistance

A great way to build up resistance is to regularly blow up balloons! No it's not party time but a time to exhale under resistance. Blowing up balloons puts your lungs under stress and helps the lungs to get use to holding air longer stretching them out. When practicing this exercise breath in normally trough your nose exhaling through your mouth into the balloon.

3. Count While Holding Your Breath

A great way to help increase your lung capacity is to count while holding your breath. When you repeat the exercise count to a higher number. Keep repeating until you can not beat your last count. This exercise carried out on a regular basis is excellent in helping to increase your lung capacity.

4. Sing or learn to play a wind instrument.

If you learn how to play a woodwind or brass instrument it will greatly increase your lung capacity as you will be exhaling under resistance as talked about earlier. Maybe join a brass band, as well as increasing your lung capacity you will have lots o fun doing it!

Also may take the opportunity to learn to sing. Singing requires great breathing and air control from your lungs to perform correctly and sing vigorously. Have you ever heard opera singers talking about using the diaphragm to produce power.

5. Take in Extra Air.

Teach your lungs to get use to taking in extra air. How do we do this?

Find a non-PVC (PVC is highly toxic) pipe and sterilize the pipe by boiling it in water (you do not know where it's been!). The pipe should be wide enough to fit in your mouth ideally wide enough to open your mouth as wide as you can. The pipes only needs to be no more than a few inches long as it's the diameter we're after the length.

Place the pipe in your mouth once it has cooled from sterilization. Breath in through the pipe. If you breathe to quickly you will become light headed as you will be taking in more air than your body is use to. Practice this every day and slowly you will find you can breath in more deeply as your body gets use to the extra air intake.

6. Take up regular cardiovascular exercise

Take up regular cardiovascular exercise as this promotes the efficient use of oxygen throughout the body.

Idea exercises are Aerobics, Running, Swimming and Cycling. All these sports promote large intakes of air while exercising. It is a proven fact that swimmers when performing at their peak use oxygen three times more efficiently than the average person. A perfect exercise for increasing lung capacity.

7. Water Aerobics

Another great exercise and fitness regime to take up is Water Aerobics. Carrying out Aerobics in water requires extra effort which in turn leads to our having to use the oxygen in your body more efficiently leading to an increase in lung capacity.

Carrying out the above sports and exercises with promote weight loss and increase your lung capacity. Your energy levels will increase with eating healthily and drinking lots of water.

Note: Be sure to consult your doctor before taking on any vigorous exercise or fitness program

Long Term Training If Your Schedule Will Allow

High altitude training is a fantastic way to improve lung capacity. When you train at high altitudes your body is trying to take in more air than is physically present it is for your lungs to work harder. However, be careful as altitude sickness can take effect until your body adjusts. This can effectively take a few weeks or even a couple of months.


Not only will stopping smoking admit a healthy body but it will help the lungs to perform at their optimum. Also, as you are probably aware, smoking kills!

Breathing Exercises

Try these exercises during your everyday living. You can practice while driving, at the office, watching your kids do their sport, at home watching television etc.

Breathe in for 2-20 seconds, breathe out for 10-20 seconds, and slowly increase the rate. In no time at all you will find yourself breathing out 45 seconds-2 minutes if your practice enough!

Also try breathing techniques. Try breathing in for five seconds, hold it, then let it out for five seconds, pause, and repeat. Once your lungs start to become accustomed, then you can breathe in more deeply, take longer breaths and pause for a longer amount of time.


Whenever you become lightheaded, breathe normally.

Do not exercise in open water without you know how to swim.

Do not perform these exercises without consulting your doctor.

Always swim with a buddy or some other supervision.

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Hiring A Personal Trainer

If you've just made the commitment to start putting in the time and effort to get into better shape, the next step for you might be looking into hiring a personal trainer.

Having someone there by your side every step of the way comes with some serious benefits. First, you'll have their guidance in terms of proper form. Using proper form is a must if you're to stay injury free and get optimal results.

Second, they'll also be highly motivated. By working with a personal trainer, you can stay the course better as your sessions will be constantly changing.

Finally, they're also going to help teach you advanced conditioning techniques that will help you progress faster and learn new fitness skills. You've never got that going about a workout on your own.

So as you can see, there are plenty of benefits to using a personal trainer. But, how do you go about hiring a personal trainer?

Let's look at the main points to think about:

Their Certification

First have a look at their certification. Do they have a degree? A personal training certificate? Make sure that the trainer you're choosing is well educated and knowledgeable to provide the right information you need to know to reach your goals.

While a degree does tend to be better than a certification, you have to take the full picture into account.

Their Experience

Next, also think about their experience. If a personal trainer has worked with people just like you and have bought them the results the results you're after, chances are they can do the same for you.

Do not hire someone who is not specialized to work on what you want to achieve. For example, if you want to lose weight and your trainer has only helped men add more lean muscle mass, you may want to choose someone who's catered to your goal set instead.

While they may have the knowledge to be able to help you, real life experience accounts for a lot as well.

Their availability

Finally, also make sure that you inquire about their availability. Decide first how often you want to be seeing your trainer – whether it's once per week for a check-up or if you want them there by your side each and every workout, and then make sure the trainer you're thinking about using can accomodate .

The last thing you want is to run into a problem where you can never see them because they're too busy with other clients. Make sure that they are available to meet your needs before signing on with them.

So there you have the main points to consider about choosing your personal trainer. Choose wisely and they will be a great ally to help you get to your end goals. Some more advice can be found at my site –

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Twice-Weekly Pectoral Blasts

Sounds nice – make it twice! We all know that the best way to create some growth in a pair of lagging arms is to hit them twice a week. Maybe we toss in 6 sets of heavy-ish triceps pressing at the end of Monday's chest day, and biceps enjoys a few sets of curls on the tail end of Tuesday's back training session. Then, they enjoy a full 12 to 16 sets apiece on Thursday, the day devoted to only arms.

But how in the world would translate this to assist with a lagging chest? Unless you're a powerlifter (you can see your own feet, so that does not seem likely!), You know the chest is a muscle group requiring a ton of recovery from tough sessions. How in the world would we hit the chest TWICE every week? Obviously, it would deliver some new growth, but recovery?

We would start our training week with LEG day. That's right – leg day. Heavy squats, leg press, lunges, leg curls of many varieties, then calf raises til the cows come home. Then, when legs are shot, you would limp over to the smith machine and knock out 4 straight sets of heavy – very heavy – incline bench press. This would not be enough to scorch the muscle group for 4-5 days, but it would have been enough to SHOCK those fast-twitch muscle fibers (the ones powerlifters love so much) into some stimulation. Then, before you start ripping up too many fibers, you're done!

Tuesday is back day. Wednesday is rest day. Then, Thursday becomes your standard chest day, with much higher volume of sets (16 to 22) as you move from incline to flat to declines presses with barbell and dumbbell, then hit the machines. After this, you'll need 3-4 days to rest, which will take you right up to the following Monday (leg day) when you will quickly start the chest again. The system would look like this:

Day 1 (Monday) – Heavy Training – 4 sets of heavy safe incline benching

Day 2 (Thursday) – High Volume Training – 16 to 22 sets of your standard chest workout

It will take a bit of adjustment, but inside of a month, you'll be very used to this. Your chest will now enjoy 104 mini-growth sessions each month, instead of the usual 52 sessions, which means you have twice as much chance to grow. Good luck!

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VO2 Max: What Is It?

Maximum VO2 or maximum volume of oxygen (VO2max) is also known as maximum oxygen uptake. It is a term that reflects a person's aerobic endurance, aerobic power or cardiorespiratory fitness level. It is the highest rate of oxygen consumption and delivery to active tissues that can be obtained during maximum or exhaustive exercise.

A person's aerobic power is a good indicator of success in endurance events such as marathons or long-distance cycling although good performance requires more than a higher VO2 max than a fellow competitor.

The volume of oxygen delivered to resting body tissues is much lower compared to a person engaged aerobically at their maximum. In both cases, the body is responding to the needs of the resting or “working” tissues in delivering oxygen. Oxygen delivery depends on the respiratory system and the cardiovascular system.

VO2Max is expressed in milliliters of oxygen consumed per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml / kg / min). This individualizes VO2.

Delivery of oxygen to the working tissues during exercise is improved with an aerobic endurance training program. Blood flow to active muscles increases, blood volume will increase, more capillaries are available for blood to flow, and there is a more effective distribution of blood to the tissues that really need the blood (muscles vs. the digestive organisms). The active tissues become better at extracting the oxygen from the blood.

Oxygen requirements will vary dependent on body size and age, among other factors. An adult woman will likely have a lower maximum oxygen consumption than a similar sized adult man because of greater fat-mass and less fat-free mass plus lower oxygen-carrying capacity. As we age, our maximum oxygen consumption will decrease, most likely because of aging and a more active lifestyle than when we are youngger.

Genetics contributions greatly to a person's VO2max value, in fact, more so than any other factor (such as age or body size). Some people, as a result of a chronic endurance training program, will increase their VO2max while others, on the same program, may not improve it at all. And, the person who is already fairly cardiovascularly fit (high VO2max) is less likely to experience the degree of improvement with an aerobic training program that someone who is less aerobically fit will.

To test for a person's VO2max, one could take a maximum VO2 test. Such a test would require a person to run on a treadmill to near exhaustion. Because most people are not interested or willing to run to exhaustion, there are a variety of submaximal tests to estimate VO2 maximum. These would require a person to exert less than all-out effort on a prescribed protocol using a treadmill, a step, or a bicycle ergometer.

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Build Bigger Biceps – Run The Rack!

Everyone would agree that toned arms on a woman and well developed or down right big arms on a guy are sexy! Biceps are one of the most commonly worked out muscle groups at the gym and there's countless activities and exercises to target them. However there's no need to be doing 10 different bicep exercises, because they're all doing the same thing. The bicep is the muscle that flexes the arm at the elbow joint. Biceps brachii is the latin word for it, which means “two headed [muscle] of the arm.”

Want bigger arms? My all time most favorite bicep exercise is called running the rack. Give me any guy or girl that boasts about their guns, and I guarantee I could bring them to their knees with this bicep exercise. Hardcore bodybuilders may refer to running the rack as a “monster set” or any exercise set where you do not allow your muscle to relax or recuperate between repeated sets of the same exercise. Rest assured, you do not need to be a gym rat or even have a personal trainer or spotter to do this exercise; anyone can run the rack and be on their way to sexy arms!

In this case, “running the rack” refers to a rack of dumbells, however you can also do it using cables, or even the preachers bench / curl machine. Here's how it works:

1. First you need to know what dumbbell weight you can effectively curl for one set of 10-12 repetitions before needing to rest (where you can barely do one more repetition). If you do not know this already, just grab a weight and try it out.

To begin your “run the rack exercise” you're going to choose a start weight that's about 75% of your max weight. For example, if your max weight is 40 pounds, you'll start with a 5 or 10 pound weight. The heaviness of the weight is not the important part of running the rack.

2. Grab your starting weight dumbbells, assume proper stance and form and do 5 repetitions of bicep curls. WITHOUT resting, put down the first set of dumbbells and immediately grab the next heavier weight and do another 5 repetitions. You're not even close to being done yet! As soon as you finish your second set of repetitions, you need to grab the next heavier weight and do 5 more reps, put those down down grab the next heavier weight and perform yet 5 more reps! After you've completed the 4th set of 5 repetitions, without rest, go back down the rack and do another 5 repetitions of each of the weights you just completed.

(5lbs) + 5 reps (15lbs) + 5 reps (15lbs) + 5 reps (10lbs) then rest. Congratulations, you've just run the rack! This is by far one of the best tips to build your biceps !

After a couple minutes rest try running the rack one more time! If you can make it all the way up the rack, and all the way down again I guarantee your biceps will be on fire and it'll feel like your arms are about to fall off. Not only that, but the tiny 5-10lb weight you started with will feel like you're trying to lift a MAC truck!

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5 Things You Can Do to Prevent DOMS

You know how it is … you finally drag yourself back to the gym or the class, you feel great, you are really proud of yourself but the next trying to get out of bed is agony! It does not seem fair.

Is this a “good” pain?

Is it all in the mind?

Can I prevent it?

DOMS stands for delayed muscle muscle soreness. After the first session of exercise for a while or when we do a hard race or training session sometimes the next day there is some soreness – but the following day it is even worse!

The muscle soreness usually peaks between 48-72 hours.

When muscles are pushed beyond their comfort zone little microscopic tears in the fibers result. This is accompanied by accumulation of lactic acid and localized swelling.

Eccentric loading of the muscle is the worst offender. (Eccentric contracting is when muscle contracts while it is lengthening eg going downstairs, running downhill, lowering a weight). The muscles are then stimulated to grow back bigger and stronger.

Can I prevent DOMS?

  • Sports massage helps prevent DOMS by removing lactic acid and increasing blood flow. Elite athletes have sports massage after every training session so they can train just as hard the next day but also preventing muscle tightening resulting in poor performance and injury.
  • It is important to gradually increase your training program. Write out a 3 month plan and a break it into stages where you are fairly disciplined about the extra weight you will lift or the distance you will run. If you do too much too soon, the muscle does not have a chance to adapt, and will accumulate fatigue and be sentenced to injury.
  • The other thing that reduces DOMS is wearing compression garments . These support the muscle, assist removal of lactic acid and speed up recovery. Some runners and cyclists wear them during their training, some wear them afterwards in the car on the way home from a race.
  • Ice baths also help. Many runners swear by it when marathon training. Elite athletes and rugby clubs use them after every training session so their athletes do not suffer soreness and can train just as hard the next day. According to some research there is no benefit from ice baths, but anecdotally from the athletes we treat in the clinic and from personal experience, we do rate ice baths. As we live near the beach- a great thing to do after a hard workout is go down to the water and walk in and stand there (or swim if you are brave enough!) For 10 minutes or so.
  • Active Recovery is important if you have pushed it too hard and feel quite intense muscle soreness- the quickest way to get rid of it is NOT doing nothing. Instead aim to do something the next day that increases the blood flow without straining the muscles too much like swimming, a gentle cycle or a sports massage.

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How to Choose a Personal Trainer

If you're reading this article then the thought of hiring a personal trainer has crossed your mind at least once or twice. You may be asking, “do I really need one?” The answer is simple. If the question is asked, then the answer is yes. Follow your intuition.

You've already made the decision to make a change. Whether it's health, fitness or physique related, the decision to make a change in your life is important enough for a call to action! The problem is that this change requires two things you may not have enough of at the moment, information and motivation.

The information component is actually the easy part. There are a thousand books on exercise, weight loss and bodybuilding out there if one were so inclined. I personally feel that we should have learned all we need to know about this stuff in grade school, as it appears to be kind of important to us now. Anyways, we're here now and we have to move forward. So, getting the info about how to exercise and what to eat is readily available, but no matter how good the instructions are, they never seem to live up to the hands-on approach of an instructor, teacher or coach.

The motivation component simply can not be replaced by anything other than a good personal trainer, and it includes both inspiration and accountability. The lack of proper motivation is really the main reason why most people fail to follow through on new and challenging endeavors in life, and body transformation is no exception.

It seems to be human nature that most of us will let ourselves down, but for some reason we will fight to the bitter end to impress someone else. We just do not want to let our mentors down. The people we respect and care for hold us accountable. They keep us in line, and a good personal trainer will follow suit.

A great personal trainer will also inspire you! I know it sounds obvious, but we all have self doubt no matter how successful we are in other areas in life. When a trainer describes how they have the same exact challenges that you're facing, and have overcome them, it's much easier to hold on to the idea that it's all possible. The universal law states “if someone else can do it, so can I.” It's pretty powerful stuff, but we have to really see it in our personal trainer. They have to look the part and be the part through and through. We have to know that they're human too and have all the same opportunities for success and failure. If they can do it, so can I.

As far as qualifications go, it's very important to find an educated and experienced personal trainer. In an ideal world, your new trainer is a doctor of alternative medicine with a specialty in fitness. Keep on dreaming. Or if you must, seek out and hire this ultra-trainer if they exist! But seriously, you're going to want to hire a personal trainer who's more than looks the part. The more schooling, the better. The more experience (in years), the better. If I had to pick one over the other, I'd go with schooling. There are a lot of experienced athletes turned trainer with good genetics out there, but just because they get good results by beating up their own bodies does not mean they will need to be able to teach you how to lose weight in a safe manner. Your trainer should at least understand the basic principles of safe body mechanics and physiology.

Personal Trainer Certificates are always a good place to start, but beware. Some of the most respected certificates can be obtained from a weekend course ending with a multiple choice written test. It's a decent way to prove basic knowledge, but far from providing skilled experience. If it's at all possible, try to find a trainer that majored in exercise physiology at the college or university levels. It's your safest and best bet.

Again, if you're considering the idea of ​​hiring a personal trainer, then it's probably the right thing to do. The reasons for your success or failure always come down to cognition and emotion. What you know and how you feel. Choosing the right personal trainer can be just what you need to fill in the blanks and help propel you to greatness! Good luck with your choices and may you find the success you deserve!

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Some Like It Hot!

Thirty-Four degrees this week! That's before the humidity even comes into play. Training in this type of heat can be counter-productive and downright dangerous. It baffles me when I actually see someone doing their personal training outside under those conditions. Sweat, contrary to popular belief, does not equate to weight loss. It is water that you are losing. Sweat is your body's natural cooling system. Training under extreme conditions will not equate to body fat loss. Only the loss of the most essential product the body needs to function. H 2 the 0!

Here are some quick tips to keep moving, keep fit, and more importantly keep safe.

1 – Swimming – A great workout for the entire body. Incorporating some functional movements (squats, push-ups) on the deck of the pool or in the shallow end followed by some laps of the pool is a great change of pace and a great way to stay cool.

2 – AM / PM – Making sure you get you're training in first thing in the morning is never a bad idea. It is a little cooler and the air quality is definitely better. If your day slips away, wait until the sun goes down and go for a brisk walk or bike ride. The afternoon should be all about hydration!

3 – Air Conditioning – Seems like a simple enough concept. Your health club temperature should be 20 degrees Celsius / 68 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is not you need to address this concern with the club's owner / operator. You are paying a premium for quality and service. If either is lacking this is obviously an issue.

4 – Short & Sweet – The combination of extreme heat and poor air quality can be exhausting. Beginning a training session already fatigued can be overwhelming. Doing a quick thirty or forty minute circuit keeps you moving and it will not floor you for the rest of the day.

5 – Hydrate like crazy – I broke a pretty decent sweat writing this today. We will lose a higher percentage of water on these type of days. Even if you consider your water intake to be generally good please drink more on those super-hot days. Throw in a Gatorade to keep you 'electrolytes balanced and to replace the salt you will lose through sweat.

Symptoms of Dehydration

  • Loss of focus and ability to concentrate
  • Headaches / Migraines
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Dark (yellow-brown) urine
  • Overall fatigue and dizziness
  • Unable to sweat
  • Heart palpitations or shortness of breath

You have to pick your battles while exercising. In extreme conditions implement a few different strategies and live to fight another day!

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Welcome to the Third Dimension

From my experience, many are yet to emerge from the dark ages of training. The popularity and influence of bodybuilding has crossed over into the mainstream and has made training in a two-dimensional manner almost ubiquitous. In essence, this means that most of us focus upon sagittal plane motions (forwards and backwards) and little use is made of frontal plane (side-to-side) and transverse plane (rotational) movements.

However, those of us who have ever moved should know and feel their bodies moving in a three-dimensional manner. Thus, when training, it is important that we involve a combination of front and back, rotational and side-to-side movements. If we want our training to improve our performance, then it seems to be obvious that training in a manner, which does not allow us to move in a three-dimensional manner we will not transfer to the performance goals we are after. Not only this, we are condemning our bodies the capabilities to perform to their full potential!

It is my intention, therefore, to introduce many to the third dimension of training. Training in a manner, which incorporates all planes of motion can have some substantial effects on your body. You may find that you are able to break through training plateaus or more simply, injuries that have preceded you from carrying out certain activities may be reduced. Training in three-dimensions Obviously Promotes far more movements and consequentially, stiffness and soreness of muscles is also reduced, alleviating the risk of injury. Not only this, but better aesthetic qualities ensue, as moving in three dimensions often requires more energy to be utilized, increasing the potential to burn fat. Also, it is my belief that muscles react to bones moves moving and joints feeling these movements (reasons for this belief are beyond the scope of this blog post!). So moving in 3 dimensions stimulates more muscles to react and so there is increased potential for muscle growth and definition. These points alone are a powerful enough reason for relocating your workouts into the third dimension!

As it stands, many are prescribed two-dimensional exercises as a means to there being some transferable benefits to activities an athlete engages in. As an example, I as a boxing enthusiast have previously been guided to improve the power of my punch through executing exercises such as the bench press. This is flawed on so many levels! Boxers, are never lying down (except on the canvass!), Boxers do not just move in one plane of motion, and the power of a punch is derived from powerful rotational movements in the hip and thoracic spine. Boxing is a three-dimensional sport, so training must reflect these movement statements in order to ensure direct application to the activity. This will reduce the risk of injury, as our bodies will have grown accustomed to moving in the way that it should do, through the promotion of good functional movement patterns. So for example, if I want to improve a boxers jab, I will not have them lying down on their backs and pushing a barbell! I would look at the movements involved through the body and build exercises to better weaker movements and to make those stronger movements more effective.

Following on from this, it is amazing what can be done with the simplest of exercises to make them more three-dimensional. For example, to make the Squat more three-dimensional you could experiment with the positioning of your feet to allow the gluteus maximus to be mobilized through different planes of motion. There are 27 different symmetrical foot positions of the squat involving how wide the feet are apart, if the feet are level or if one is in front of the other or if the toes are inward or out ward facing. To take this further, you could alter in which the hips move- forwards, backwards. Many traditional exercises have intense potential to become 3 dimensional, have a go and experiment!

So, it is of the utmost importance for you to look at movement demands of your sport and day to day activities and ensure that your training transitions into the third dimension if it is not there already. More importantly, it is important to realize that the human body reaches is potential by being challenged in a three-dimensional manner.

Motion is Life

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With Weight Training, As In Life, We Must Walk Before We Can Run

Weight training routines and fitness routines in general are often started in earnest and with the intention of making it a permanent and positive life change. Unfortunately the majority of these routines do not last and the person that started the weight training program winds up feeling defeated and even worse than when they started the routine in the first place. I think this happens for a lot of reasons but at the end of the day it usually just comes down to the person no longer having the motivation. Why this motivation is lost is what I am concerned with and what I hope to help people with that are struggling to find their own motivation to start or to continue their own routines. I think one of the largest saboteurs of motivation is the classic case of overdoing it.

Overdoing it seems to be a problem I see lots of times with people. They want to completely revamp their diet, quit smoking, and go to the gym 6 days a week. All of this is wonderful if the person can stick with it but useless if it's too much of a shock to the system and just ends up being too much and too abrupt a life change for the person to handle all at once. Again, if you can make a complete and positive life change like that and immediately and forever stick to it by all means do so but it's not practical for most. Some might find it easier to try and walk before they can run. For example, instead of saying I'm going to quit smoking, completely change my diet and hit the gym 6 days a week why not compromise and ease into your new healthy lifestyle instead of just jumping in the deep end. Allow yourself half of whatever you smoke a day now, schedule 4 days to hit the gym and give yourself a cheat meal a day. Try that for a month and you'll be amazed not only at how you're able to stick with it but how much easier it will be after a month to go completely cold turkey off of cigarettes and add an additional day at the gym per week. Baby steps is my point here, folks. On this note, once you get in gear and start weight training remember that an injury now will absolutely derail you. The chances of a newcomer returning to the gym after an injury are far less than someone that has already been doing it for some time and has already started seeing and feeling the results. So start off safely and with low weight. Get the feel for the weights first and practice your form before increasing the weight.

Lastly, if you do falter in your routine try not to be too hard on yourself. Keep your chin up and get back at those weights and in time I promise it will just become a part of your DNA. A weightlifter will just be what and who you are (or at least a part of what and who you are). If you need inspiration we're always here for you!

Train Smart,
Chad Hamilton

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