workout tips

How to Effectively Bulk Cleanly

Bulking up is a process known to bodybuilders as a way to gain more weight, emphasizing on lean gains. There are two ways that you can go about bulking, which are clean or dirty. Get your mind out of the gutter, a dirty bulk is when there are, basically, no rules. If you want to gorge yourself with fast food, go for it, this is the essence of a dirty bulk. Being far easier than clean bulking, having no rules or exceptions when you bulk can lead to the obvious problem of fat gains.

When you get that first dose of weightlifting hunger, where you almost seem like you are in a constant state of hunger, the dirty bulk was my first pick. For some background on me, I was very skinny before I decided to bulk up. If you don’t care about having a little bit of a gut, you should definitely go with the dirty bulk, as it is much easier to commit to. For those of you who have been lifting for a longer amount of time, you will probably want to bulk cleanly.

A clean bulk is all about watching what you eat, you should be lifting weights to help bulk up, regardless of which way you choose to gain weight. Dedication and perseverance are two main traits that a clean bulk will take, you still have freedom to eat a select few of the foods that you want, gaining less extra fat in the process. How you will want to look, during your bulk, will help to determine which kind of bulking person you will end up being.

If time is an issue, you can get some extra help through using supplements. Being that it is the process in the title, a bulking stack is often seen as a great option. Stacking together different ways to help bulk you up, even more than the food that you are eating, is great for either a clean or dirty bulk. It is no wonder why so many use supplements to bulk up quicker, there are no additional calories to make that waistline grow, that is a part of the body that you DO NOT want to bulk up.

workout tips

Is it Safe to Exercise on an Empty Stomach?

If you are wanting to learn more about fasting types of training, welcome to the party! I have dealt with appetite issues most of my life and it doesn’t seem like they are going to go away anytime soon. I have grown accustomed to weightlifting with no food in my stomach, it has become second nature to me now. I wanted to get to the bottom of if you need to eat before you start lifting weights. When I eat a meal, the last thing that I want to start doing is moving around. I like to get my belly full and find the nearest couch and remote control. Having to break myself of that bad habit, I used to try to force myself to eat more before I drove off to my gym but I could never do it. I didn’t have a problem with my food coming back up, I just feel like I turn myself away from eating, in my head. What is well known is that once a battle is lost in the head, it is basically over.

Learning to apply the advice that I give to myself, also, I knew that I could not let those bad food thoughts stop me from ever again weightlifting on a stomach that has no food in it. As far as finding a definitive answer, opinions are mixed, regarding fasting or eating before you go to train. There are endless variables that will affect when you should consume food, such as: time of meals, what you eat in the previous meal, etc. If you feel uncontrollable hunger pain when you wake up, go ahead and grab a food that has good carbohydrates and be on your way. If, like me, even thinking about trying to eat before you lift makes you want to gag, just get your meal in once the lifting is all over. What seems to be the most agreed upon consensus is that what is more important than when you eat is what you eat, make it a healthier choice.

Also, your goals could play a critical factor in deciding when your own eating window is best used. For the purpose of an example, let’s suppose that Jill wanted to lose weight, while Max wanted to gain more weight. Jill would be best suited to eat after a workout, as she doesn’t want to just burn off what she ate, only twenty minutes ago. However, Jill does want to get rid of extra fat, she would need to eat after her workouts. Let’s look at Max, who is wanting to do the opposite of Jill and gain as much weight as possible. What Max would need to do would be to eat before his workout, so that the new food can change over into muscle. I wish that I could be more like the ones who load up on food, with no hassle at all, before working out but I have to work on mentally preparing myself to eat, at such an odd time for me. Teaching an old dog new tricks, I decided that I would try harder to eat at more appropriate times of the day. If someone hounds you for not eating before to train, let them know that it all depends on how you time your eating habits. As you so rigorously set aside time for activities, add eating onto that list and you may cure yourself of not being able to ingest anything before you train again.

workout tips

Is Stress Sabotaging All of Your Hard Efforts?

stop worrying so muchAre you the type that is always worrying about things that haven’t even taken place yet? I used to be a constant worrier, until it started negatively impacting my health. I’m glad that I stopped letting those little worries turn into big fears and was able to beat stress, for good. Others, who aren’t as fortunate, have stress eat them up until it consumes them entirely. As if there weren’t already endless writers telling you that stress is bad for you, you probably already know that. However, what you could not be aware of, is that the daily stress can actually reverse the work that you put in, while you trained! Findings show that juggling too much and becoming stressed could add more fat accumulations onto yourself. If you’re the one who is sweating as much as they can, week after week, while always weighing the same, you could be under insurmountable stress.

So why does the big and bad enemy of all us, known as stress, cause increased fat storage? Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by all of us, one that is vital to living. This hormone affects your appetite and when stressors are having your cortisol levels increase, you react by eating more. The hunger signals that are sent out, tell your brain that you need to eat. What is really going on is that you aren’t any hungrier than you would have been, the cortisol just played a magic trick on your brain and it is one that always fools you. Since you can’t control how hungry an abundance of cortisol will lead you to be, there is only one hope: eliminating stress when you notice it. There are many various techniques tossed around about how to rid yourself of the stress that haunts your life. Instead of trying to tell you what did it for me, or overload you with endless possibilities, I suggest that you find your de-stressing technique. For me, it was taking thirty minutes, right before I would fall asleep, and listening to mediation tracks. It takes some getting used to but when I am having a day that just won’t end, turning on relaxing music with brainwaves puts me into a whole new world.

A repeating process can occur when you’re combining exercise into a stressful lifestyle, the effects of not seeing composition changes only adds to your burden. For the average worker, those feelings of a bad day can be easily washed away with an intense workout. It’s been a well-known fact that exercising can do wonders for lowering stress and controlling cortisol. As we all have different amounts of duties in our own lives, for those with too many obligations, turning up the intensity won’t be all that is needed to de-toxify from a limit-breaking week. I won’t lie, it isn’t always going to be possible to just avoid stress altogether, there will always be events that occur that we would rather not be a part of. You can browse through the bestsellers to find a method of teaching that will help you cope with stress, there are many available. If you aren’t a reader, look for some relaxing audio clips that you can load up while laying down. Truly attempting to tune out that voice we all know that wants to keep us biting our nails isn’t done in a day, with practice, you can finally shut those negative and stressful thought down and away from bothering you.


Bored this Summer? Visit a Local Recreational Center!

For those who are lucky enough to not have a full time job, the summer can be a time where your schedule is freed up. Many shut themselves indoors and sit around, wasting the day away. What you can do instead, is to do yourself a favor while also feeling less guilty about how you spend the Summer. A recreational center is in almost every town, if you don’t live near one, there is probably one in the next town over. Most of these centers will have a membership fee that needs to be paid, prices will vary, depending upon the establishment. Once inside, you should be able to have access to a locker. I’m sure that you know about the workout equipment that they have, if not, you will be shocked at the sheer variety of what you can use. Beyond the usual barrage of weights, there is a wide variety of activities to choose from. I will use my own local rec center as an example, going forth. First, you can find some really cool racquetball rooms, which is such a funny sport to me. I get it, it takes work to bounce that ball across a room, I just have no idea how the game is played, and this is after watching people play it! I feel too intimidated to walk into one of those big glass rooms with a ball and racket by myself, I would look like a total nerd. None of my gym friends will ever venture into the racquetball area either, I must not ever be able to learn how to play that game.

Not Just for Racquetball Players, Anymore!

If you prefer to hit the ground running, there are nice indoor and outdoor running tracks, all with four lanes each. The whole lane painting puzzled me, until it was explained to me by a friendly employee. The four tracks are put in place because not everyone will be moving at the same speed, some will run, while the older will want to walk. Have you ever been in a mall, bound and determined to get where you are going in a hurry, only to have slow walkers block your path? A similar situation occurs when joggers need to get moving and are stuck in place by the ones who only want to walk at a slow pace. If you prefer an activity that has more of a competitive theme to it, there are great basketball courts, at most rec centers. My local center provides basketballs for free, while others may have you bring your own into the facility. I know that, once I walk into the front doors of the center in my area, I will immediately be greeted by the smell of chlorine and pop music blasted on the big speaker system. It could annoy the more temperate man but to me, it is a soothing and familiar part of the week that I have grown to love.

Set the video game controller down, turn off that laptop, and give a rec center a try. You can have an awesome time checking out the multide of activities that await you. From picking up on a local basketball game, taking a lap on the tracks, or figuring out how to play racquetball (let me know how to), running out of things to do and being bored will be a woe of the past!

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Why Pokemon Go is Great for Trimming Down

slimming trainerIf you don’t know what a game called Pokemon Go is by now, you must have been very busy or you live under a rock. Either way, the game in which you collect little creatures hasn’t slowed down on the bestseller charts. Since the day it launched, I can’t go through one week without hearing it mentioned. I tried it out for myself and could easily see, within minutes, why so many are getting outdoors and collecting their favorite monster. It isn’t without its own dangers, all of which are attributable to bad people and not the game, many are finding themselves out of the house and outside. What you will notice is that this app gets you moving, right off the bat.

The style of Pokemon Go is that of map software, or the kind of HUD system, kind of like what is seen in Grand Theft Auto. While you are able to see a virtual version of you, in real-time, walk where you are walking. As you make a stroll down the location of your choosing, you will see these little creatures pop up, through your smartphone. There have been endless amounts of research that have gone into findings suggesting that younger people are staying inside more often. Being indoors and not getting the daily exercise that they should be, the Pokemon Go app is making big changes. Even in my little town, where our biggest landmark is a tiny lake, the craziness still lingers.

Many local residents have been making a stink about the infestation of Pokemon players but not because of their enjoyment of the game. What has been going down is that slow drivers, looking to catch every Pokemon, are having other residents frightened. According to what I have heard, you can see cars clogging up the roads, that expand over the entire course of the lake, just to get a glimpse at another creature to add to their collection. Do not play this game while driving, come on! For those who are choosing smarter actions, they are feeling the burn and enjoying the world around them. Being around Mother Nature, all while actively walking around is even aiming to help some gamers control their weight.

This game is free to get, which is a genius move, for a game that could have easily had people chomping at the bit to get their thumbs on it. Am I saying you should go and burn your gym membership, in favor of playing Pokemon? No, this game, as a fitness tool, is best used for those of whom would have never sought to change the course of their life before the game was released. The feeling of competition is shared and those looking to raise their trainer levels will go to greater lengths to make this dream a reality. The spirit of comradery will overtake those who may find a fellow journeyman along their quest to attain more of these virtual creatures. Next time you fire up this mobile craze, pack a step tracker with you, it will only add motivation when you see the fruits of your labor. For all of my fit freaks who picked up this craze, after you started exercising, don’t let the game replace your normal schedule. I love video games just as much as the next one but they can get addictive. I have had a few late nights of Fallout 4 totally wreck me getting any lifting done the next day, have more will to succeed than me.

workout tips

How Heavy of Weight Should I Be Using?

We get this question a lot, it is too confusing to enter a loaded up weight rack and know which type to choose. If you choose a weight load that is not heavy enough, it won’t actively work your muscles. Choosing to move weight that is too heavy for you to carry could harm you. I’m going to inform you about which school of thought I follow through you and then let you decide for yourself. There is also some new information floating around that puts a big twist on this question but we will get to that in a second. My opinion would always be to write up a mix of differing light and heavy lifts, incorporating them both into one awesome routine. I have never been one to put all of my eggs in one basket and I would never to that to my training. Different body types respond in various ways through strength training, it is best to try out alternate weight amounts to fine tune where you are able to carry out effective lifting.

What is truly hard to believe is that, studies are showing, you might not have to struggle with heavy sets of weight much longer. With participants in these new findings having nearly the same strength as ones that used only heavy weights, it is hard to argue that the golden rules of weightlifting could be all wrong. Arguing that training to failure is the key indicator of future growth, it is being said that weight size isn’t as important. I have always wondered what could be the end results, if I were to lift light weights but for really high reps. I’m not talking about stopping at twelve reps but trying to get to twenty five and higher, if I could. Training a muscle to failure means that you are going to be working it to the point of exhaustion.

This style of training, being one of high intensity, is destined to provide what any avid gym goer would want. Having worked with both styles, I can safely say that if you are going for pure size than training to failure is like jumpstarting your muscles. Where you do stand on the thought of concentrating on failure training, instead of focusing on heavier weights? We will see how quick word will get around because I am positive that some of the keyboard professors will get in on this study, in an attempt to put it down. I like hearing the findings of these tests that were done, trying to awkwardly bring up something that is too heavy can really put you in danger. Working your muscles for such a long time that they fail will still bring you those next day cramps and minor aches. Pyramid training, in which you adjust what you lift per each set, has always been my go to for when I need to change they way I am built, working yourself to failure is just another form of the pyramid lifting.

Will the New Studies Have an Impact?

I prefer lifting heavy weights when I am working on larger groups but when focusing on  singular muscles, I can step down what I am lifting with. I am creating a new weekly lifting regimen that will apply the emphasis on failure resistance training. I look forward to giving the grunts and groans I make, when moving around overloaded equipment a rest!


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Make Room for Chocolate in Your Diet Regimen

You read all of the information from the so-called experts out there and it seems like they are flip flopping every week. First, you hear that one food is good for you and right after that they are all saying that it is bad for you. One of the foods that is so sought after is chocolate, what if I told you that this wonder food can actually help to lose more weight? Studies are actually showing that chocolate isn’t as much of a hindrance to staying skinny as has been told to us for years. Of course, you have to take everything in moderation and this sweet food is no exception. I wouldn’t go out and buy every candy bar that you can get your hands on, thinking that you will be dropping weight like crazy. There is no harm in keeping some chocolate on hand and eating a small amount when you feel the urge. As you know, chocolate milk has been named as a great post workout drink for recovery. Who knew that actual chocolate, in its purest form, would be associated with weight loss?

Now, the studies that were done did mention that the chocolate needed to be of the darker variety, meaning not the sweet tasting treat that you were most likely dreaming of. I used to have a bad desire to eat chocolate constantly and I wish that someone informed me of this study during that time. For anyone who is worried that they could end up seeing their face breakout in sets of pimples when consuming chocolate regularly, worry not, that is an old myth. I think that my parents told me about the dangers of chocolate giving me pimples, even though this wasn’t remotely true. Maybe mom and dad were hoarding all of the chocolate for themselves by telling me little white lies. Don’t go running and buying that first piece of chocolate that you see, 70% cocoa, or higher is what should be used to help lose more weight. Hearing about the required cocoa amount isn’t the greatest news for me, as I was planning on telling people that I could shed weight with just eating Reese’s peanut butter cups.

I admit, me and my stomach have a weak spot for that delicious chocolate and peanut butter mixture that I don’t know if I will ever shake. My reason for consuming these treats when I get done lifting is that they have peanut butter in them and that can’t be bad for trying to grow, right? The darker dark chocolate chocolates, ones in which the minimum percentage of cocoa will be in should have a bitter taste. If you have dug around those bags of mini bars, in search of the elusive simply dark chocolate bars, you will be in luck and should adjust to the higher cocoa amounts with ease. I can’t say that if I was serious about dropping some extra weight, that I would go for any candy over vegetables and meat but, to each their own. Lighten up and enjoy chocolate, in moderation, and sticking to a diet will not seem as hard. Call it a psychological impulse but including one or two snacks that you just can not go without will have you less likely to overindulge. You see, if you take every cheat food out of your eating routine and never indulge, you are driving on a road that has tons of twists and turns. This new and bumpier road that you are on will lead you right to temptation and back into the overeating that got you to need a change being made in your life, in the first place. Life doesn’t have to be as serious as those experts we talked about earlier would have you think.


workout tips

Can Lifting Weights Enhance Bone Density?

It has been well documented that weightlifting can be a great way to keep you looking and feeling great. I still remain amazed at learning about the benefits of regular weightlifting that have evaded me, over the years.  However, did you know that your bones can also get stronger by performing weight training? With milk being one of favorite drinks, I haven’t had too many issues with my bones. Having known people who have had bones break, I have heard that it is not an experience that I want to ever have happen to me. If you don’t think that broken bones can happen by surprise, tell that to someone I know that broke both of their wrists at the gas station. One quick fall brought this man’s hand to his chest, in an attempt to break his fall, and his wrists paid the price. If you have ever hurt your wrists, you know how it can feel to lose all of that freedom you once had. It appears that squats are going to be your best bone strengthening exercise, if you only want to pick just one.

Sticking with the same type of movement, I would also have to assume that leg presses are going to help out your bones, as well. The heavier lifts that will require the use of your entire body or, at least, most of it are going to be the best choices. Having stronger bones isn’t just something that was made up to sell milk, it is essential to avoiding a painful trip to the hospital! Having a big wall of muscle to help protect everything inside of it can’t help but make your chances of avoid an ambulance ride that much better. Hitting the weights as hard as you can isn’t going to entirely protect you from ever having the agony of a broken bone but a stronger foundation breaks down less easily.

bones in your leg

If you want to have another safety measure in place, after hearing about that fateful gas station story, milk is an amazing source of calcium. Also, if you are using any supplements, along with your training methods, you are likely to get more calcium. Not every study has agreed that bones can be strengthened through only physically demanding weightlifting but a large majority of them showed positive relationships. It is of the utmost importance that any of the exercises that help bring more resistance to your bones are performed in the correct manner. You stand a better chance of breaking your bones, through improper posture, than you would ever having a shot at making them stronger. If you don’t know how to properly do a squat, here is a site that could help you out. Being the team behind one of the best starter workout programs that got me my first taste of success, I highly recommend going to have a look at their site. Although I wouldn’t consider myself a weightlifting beginner anymore, there is still a ton of information at their site that always has me learning something I didn’t know. This should go without saying but please never just take a guess at how to carry out a weightlifting movement. If, by some chance, you get it right the first time, you are more likely to make a fool out of yourself.

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Microsoft Ending Xbox Workout Program Soon

If you have been using the Kinect accessory with your Xbox console to follow along with the free fitness videos they have, you could soon be in for a big surprise. The sunset plan will be removing the videos and workouts, contained within the Xbox Live service. Many users are fuming at hearing this announcement, arguing that the content they paid for is now being removed. I feel really bad for anyone who had purchased this content, only to end up not getting to use it. This situation is growing even worse for those who never got to once use the content that they paid for, only to hear about it being removed from the server. Yes, this means that, even if you purchased something and assumed you were going to be able to keep it, this content will be removed. I think that the sunset plan is a big blow to those who use their video game consoles to stay fit. I find it odd that this company has worked so hard to merge the fitness and video game crowd into one group, only to take away all of their content.

Hurry and Use The Fitness Videos While You Can

Perhaps, we could see Microsoft bending to the will of the people and reinstating the fitness content but I doubt that will happen anytime soon. From what I have heard, this sunset plan will not roll out entirely, until next year. If you have purchased any of the workout videos, for use with the Xbox console, you still a limited time to get the most out of the instructional workout videos. I love being able to enjoy new technology, like anyone else. As so many platforms of media have moved to a cloud type service, it does have its advantages. When I would want to workout at home, I didn’t miss having to load up the car and head down to my local game shop.

Using the new Xbox live system, it has been very easy for me not break a sweat tracking down the game that I needed. If it turns out that this technology means that I can’t keep content that I have paid hard-earned money for, I don’t know if this new way really is the best way. At least when I drove to the game store to get a game, I never had to worry about anyone coming into my house to take it away from me! There are Kinect games that you can buy physical copies of, to restock your library after the sunset plan wipes out all Xbox Fitness content. I understand that big companies like Microsoft can only allocate so much space to their wide array of games. It just makes for a headache when games that you use, along with content you have paid for, end up on the chopping block. I have seen many a person flip out when the servers for their online play end up getting cut off but losing what you have paid for is a slippery slope to find yourself on. I can only hope that the Xbox Fitness application being removed will bring us all a new and improved exercise program on this console! It is tough enough to find a good fitness game that fits your goals, taking them away can’t help the continued merging of gamers and the fit crowd.

workout tips

How to Start the Journey to Shredded Abs

You’ve been flipping through your favorite magazines and you keeping seeing a sight that makes you a little envious. The man on the cover has a physique that anyone would want but you are just focused on the abs. Ever since Brad Pitt played his role to perfection in Fight Club, men have sought after having a defined six-pack. I have some good and bad news, regarding information on how to start getting those abdominal muscles that you want. The good news is that anybody can have the kind of six-pack that makes people swoon.

I do have some bad news for you, as I bust down a bunch of half-truths that I have read about how to really get a better looking stomach. You have probably seen the people, with big bellies hanging out, spending their time at the ab station, sweating through crunches. With this in mind, the first exercise that you need to plan out is going to your pantry and cleaning it out of junk food. I know you were probably expecting some top secret exercise but I want to present you with truth, rather than false hope. If you hate working out and find it easier to look better by changing your diet, you will have a much easier time getting abs. If you are a person that hates dieting, it might take more time but you can still get the abs that you have always wanted. You don’t have to be some crazy person, inspecting every inch of the label and calculating everything, just to find out if a food you want is safe to eat.

better absIf you know one, I would say to meet up with a dietician to help you come up with a meal plan that is fit for you. Getting shredded abs is going to mostly be about reducing the fat that is your stomach, not by endlessly working out that specific muscle group. If you were wanting to get abs by only exercising, thinking that enough crunches will trim down all that fat, are in for a rude awakening. Also, you shouldn’t train your stomach every day, regardless of how bad your diet is, as abdominal muscles are very easy to pull. Because your abdominals are not built like the large muscle groups, like triceps, chest, and leg muscles, they will not hold up as well to increased resistance and repeated strain. I usually will only work out my abs once a week, once you have the fat trimmed down, the abs really start to pop out. From there, it just becomes a battle to stay on the new diet path that you have written up for yourself. If I had to put into percentages, I would say that getting a six-pack is about 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercising, does that help to put things in perspective? As far as the fancy as seen on television offerings that claim to sculpt abs in weeks, how effective do you think they will be? I’m sure that a few of these workout innovations probably are good for getting abs. However, no matter how many workout products you buy, if you don’t have a very low body fat percentage, your efforts will be in vain. Take it from someone who tried, for years, to get the abs I wanted through just working out, you have to have a fat burning diet setup and ready to use.

workout tips

Three Reasons Hiking is A Great Way to Exercise

Are you thinking about heading out into the open and taking up a nice hike? If hiking out in the open is a hobby that you already participate in, congratulations, you are doing yourself a service! If you aren’t much of the outdoorsy type, you may want to rethink this decision, as there are some great benefits for your overall health. Look closer at the reasons below that, if you want to stay healthy, deciding to hike could be the right decision for you to make!

Reason number one: You will lose more calories!

Hiking is all about getting up and getting moving, therefore it is a great method to utilize, if you are wanting to keep everything trim. Once you get your heart rate up to a certain amount of beats per minute, the body will start burning off calories as an energy source. Hiking is different from walking on a treadmill in the air conditioning. For one, temperature changes will have a varying effect on the amount of calories that you burn. Also, hiking is all about tackling terrain that will differ from step to step, keeping you on your toes (no pun intended).

Reason number two: You will be more interested in this activity.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that walking in place isn’t going to be the most fun thing in the world. If you are staying in one place, the scenery never changes and this saying has never been more true than when we apply it to exercise. When you are out in the wilderness on a hike, it isn’t just about exercising. As a matter of fact, you can escape from the world, while out on a hike. Chances are, you won’t even be paying that much attention to the effort that you are exuding and will be focused more on the scenery that is all around you.

hiking to be fit

Final reason: The possibilities are endless!

If you do decide that you enjoy a good hike and want to take it to another level, there are great hiking spots all across the world. There are endless resources to find that perfect hiking destination for you. Who knew that combining a hobby with getting in better shape could be so much fun? You can grab a map, pick a location, and head there to start your own aerobic workout. However, how far you can go will all have to do with your own personal comfort level.

Get that heart rate up, hit the trail, and start up a different approach to getting fit. Although, it isn’t for everybody, a good hike could be an activity to think about doing, as the weather outside stays at a nice temperature. The only drawback that most have, when it comes to hiking, is the weather and the fact that it doesn’t always cooperate with your plans. There are dangers to walking around outside when the temperatures are too hot or too cold. You could risk passing out and when you are in the wilderness, away from most of civilization, that isn’t really a good idea. Take this piece of advice, from someone who has been hiking a time or two, wear comfortable shoes! Nothing can derail a good hike quicker than lugging around in heavy footwear, you will be doing more harm for yourself than good, in this situation.