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.

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

Starting A Workout Program You Will Finish

A woe that we have all shared, at one time or another, was getting started exercising. They say that a journey of a thousand miles will begin with a single step, this hold true for working out. Let me tell you some cold hard truth, when you workout for the first time, it might feel strange. You will be wondering if you are doing the exercises the right way, while fearing that you are doing them wrong. The good news is that every single one of us started in the same position that you were in, it’s all good! Muster up some confidence, get that workout gear on, and realize why you are starting such an endeavor, which brings me to my first piece of advice. Realizing why you are exercising and keeping that reason in the forefront of your mind will help you stick to a workout program. From losing weight to wanting to stick around longer, everyone has that one main reason that drives them to keep coming back to the gym. If you don’t have a reason, find one, it could be the one thing that keeps you going, even at the toughest of times.

Pick the Right Fitness Routine!

I would also advise you to setup a program that is fitting to your goals and abilities. Don’t panic at first, you can always change the routine that you are using, if it feels too challenging or not challenging enough. If you are spending most of your workout time on a treadmill and you want to get large, you are using the wrong workout program. On the flipside of that, if you are wanting to get skinnier but are spending most of your day weightlifting, you are going to get mixed results, at best. Have a good mix of different exercises, keep the ones you like most and ditch the rest of them. By doing this, you will have a more diversified lifts to use. In the old days, you would always hear that you should be stretching before a workout. Unfortunately, it turns out that this kind of stretching can actually raise your risk for injury. Which brings me to my final point, always read up on exercising. By learning new information like: results of studies, news stories, etc, you will stay up-to-date and it will keep you more informed.

success with starting workouts

As with anything, staying informed about something that you care about is always a smart move. Starting off in any endeavor is always going to be a bit nerve-wracking, nevertheless, do your best to stick to a fitness program and it will get easier. There will be those bad days but don’t let them get you down. Instead, prepare for a boost of self-confidence, in a way that you probably never thought you would have. You will sweat but think of each drop as a commitment to new lifestyle. Enjoy the journey, with a newfound sense of strength and looking good! Unless you want to be a walking pain, you have got to begin a fitness program as just that, a beginner. Stick with short bursts of exercise during those first weeks. When you begin at a slower pace, you are more likely to stick to a fitness program. Taking baby steps is the best avenue to go down if you want to really commit to getting fit. Those who are starting out and trying to set a new world strength record are only going to end up with two things: injuries and soreness.

workout tips

Why I Don’t Workout on Vacation

It is time to travel and escape that boring job for many months. You have stayed overtime and put in the hours needed to get ahead. Now, it is time for the vacation that you have always wanted but there is a problem. How are you going to be able to maintain such a strict diet and vigorous workout routine while away from home? My honest answer would be to use common sense. If you need a salad at dinner, eyeball the menu of wherever you are eating and do your best. If you spill over your calorie limit for the day by a couple hundred or more, you will be just fine.

Often, the fitness-obsessed among us will start panicking once they set their bags in their room, worried that they will freak out if they don’t get a workout in. First, sit down and let yourself chill out. There have been many studies done that actually suggest a one week break where you don’t lift weights or perform intense exercises for a week or more. Head over to the main desk of the hotel that you will be staying at and see what they have to say. Oftentimes, their jobs are to recommend services tailored to the guest needs and trust me, you aren’t going to be one of the first who are wanting to be fit.

working out in hotels

For example, when I recently stayed in Mexico, I was needing something to get my workouts in and I went to the front desk to see what they could do for me. They recommend a hike that was sure to be intense. I figured that would be a great way to start the day and off I went to the bus to my destination. I was so excited to challenge myself while on vacation, I am always looking for something to raise my adrenaline. The hike got me away from the work world that I wanted to escape for a while and it kept it pumped up. I was so ready to get back on the bus when I was done, I have to admit that I couldn’t keep up and had to call it quits early. After I came back to the front desk, all tired and sweaty, I gave him a tip and a thank you for one of the coolest experiences of my life.

Make Sure You Ask the Locals for Directions to Workout Centers!

Make friends with the hotel staff, they have often lived in the area and will be most valuable to find the hidden gems in their community. I often see people asking fellow travelers about what to do on a faraway trip, which amuses me. Why would you ask someone what to do to stay fit and workout on a vacation when they are in the same boat as you? Many hotels will have gyms setup within them, where you can bust out some reps to stay nice and buff at the beach. Another tidbit if your hotel doesn’t have a gym would be to lookup any local fitness centers or gyms, check around and you really end up surprising yourself. Listen to the locals can also be applied while you are out shopping at local spots. This is a wise tip if your front desk person is elderly or someone that you know does not see a gym very often.

workout tips

Get Fit with Your Pet: Fido Needs Exercise, Too!

Keeping yourself healthy is one thing but there’s an important aspect of your life that you might be forgetting about. Namely, the health and fitness of your pet. I know that my dog is pretty much like my child, I watch over him and want to do everything I can to ensure that he lives a long and healthy life. While you might have your nutrition in check, you need to stop for a minute and think about if your pet is staying as healthy as you are. For the pet owners out there, I wanted to put together some quick tips the next time you think about what is going into your pet’s diet. Exercise is important for pets, namely dogs, as this is what is ingrained into their mind. The simplest way that I could recommend you and your dog getting fit together would be to go for walks. Throughout the first years of my dog’s life, he never wanted to go outside.

Techniques to Keep A Pet Active Like You

exercising with a petI blame this on me because I had always raised him to be an inside dog. One day, I bit the bullet and decided that I would take him outside and he loved it. Flash forward to two years later, and we go out for walks and runs daily. My pet loves the feeling of getting to go outside and be free and I get to knock out a little bit of afternoon cardio, everyone wins. One reason why I wanted to talk about pet owners getting fit alongside the pets is because of a growing problem. This problem is that there are a large number of obese pets in the world. To make matters worse, it’s harder to recognize obesity on pets than it is for humans. Humans carry weight differently than pets do, so sometimes it makes it harder to tell if a pet is obese. While having a plump pooch may look cute for pictures, you could be actually doing your dog some damage. As it is with humans, obese pets are going to be at a larger rest for many diseases that are associated with being an animal. If you don’t believe that your pet isn’t getting enough exercise, let me ask you, how many times does your dog want to play fetch with you? You might be rolling your eyes and groaning as you read that last sentence but it’s true, the dogs want to be active and this could be a sign that they’re not getting the activity that they need throughout the day.

To summarize, if you want to keep yourself healthy while also doing the same for your precious pet, you both need to get moving. One stroll outside, whenever you have the time to do so, should be enough to keep your pet happy and satisfied. Would you sacrifice five minutes out of your day to take your buddy for a walk, instead of having to play fetch for hours on end? One last tip that I have for aspiring pet owner is wanting to keep their little one safe would be to always keep up with the recalls on food. A few of these have snuck by me and in one case I was actually feeding him something that was bad for him. After hearing about the recall, I immediately got him some new food. I am always of the belief that it is better to be safe than sorry.

workout tips

Going Back to Lifting Again Doesn’t Have To Be So Tough

First, don’t panic, taking time away from working out is very common. I have personally had to do this, when life got in the way and have always bounced back. To best determine the plan of action to take when coming back from some time away from the weights is the duration you were away. Some will freak out after being down with the flu for a couple of days that they will turn skinny, it doesn’t work that way. If you are out of action for longer than a few days, like weeks or a few months, you will lose some muscle. Once these periods of time where you aren’t lifting lengthen, the percentage of muscle lost will be higher in correlation.

I am overly positive, which is off-putting to some but let me offer you some free advice. Use your big return to getting into the old healthy lifestyle as a way to fix areas you didn’t focus on before. When I took my major break away from working out (which I hated), I was so ready to get back to a more action filled life that I cut no corners. I completely rebuilt my diet from the ground up and came back prepared with a great meal plan. In my mind, if I had to start working from the bottom, I wasn’t going to do anything that would make this journey any longer. Sure enough, after sticking with my bodybuilding type diet, I was getting big at a faster rate! In the past, the kind of accelerated growth would have taken, probably, three times longer as I didn’t take things as serious the first time around. The time before you plan that first re-entry into the workout world is when you prepare a detailed plan to fix any glaring weaknesses in your game.

Leave the Ego Outside of the Weight Room

Another useful tip you will want to remember is not to start right where you left off, in terms of weight you can move. The ego is the cause for many bad decisions being made and the gym is not a place where ego should get in the way. If you want to turn your favorite song up loud and do another set, do it. However, when you walk into a gym after not being there for three months, don’t think you will jump right back where you used to be. It might not make you feel like a macho man but start with what you can move (with proper form) for eight to ten repetitions. Congratulations, you just found your new starting point, it certainly won’t be where you finish up! The rate at which you are going to look like you used to, will vary from person to person. While one guy can get back to feeling good about himself, it could take the other guy longer. As long as you are physically putting in the effort, you will get back to where you used to be. Keep your head up and don’t let any naysayers get you down about taking on something this daunting for a second time. Instead, use the motivation that got you into the door to push through a million more of them. Also, think of this as future motivation the next time you decide you are going to take a break from weightlifting.

workout tips

Why Boxers Should Be Strength Training More Often

higher strength infoWe see so many different clips of boxers using jump rope and speed bags to get better at their chosen sport. You have viewed all of the big montages in various boxing movies. We see actors that look totally jacked sparring and doing everything that a real life boxer would be doing to train for a big fight, with the exception of one glaring omission. Have you noticed that we really don’t see any weight lifting being performed in these montages? When talking about boxing, the Rocky movies will have to come up. I remember some light lifting happening in that series, although it was mostly the evil Russian Ivan Drago.  I am not the world’s foremost boxing historian but I do remember seeing some boxers who would swear by the importance of strength training. Namely, Mike Tyson, one of the sport’s most notorious figures and a powerful puncher, he would lift weights to help him attain such power. I do think that a big part of success in boxing will come down to genetics. However, that doesn’t mean that certain attributes can not be trained and worked on, until they hit their full potential. A boxer might think that, as long as they are doing some kind of weight training, that they will be a power puncher in no time. While it is great to implement weights into any type of training program, how you lift is just as important.

Any aspiring or professional boxer will need to make sure that they are lifting for strength, not size. Sure, it would look great if you were walking out to the ring. A massive figure with a hulk like physique could make any opponent potentially quiver in their boots. If you want to last more than one round, the weightlifting that you do will need to contain weight that is heavy, at low repetitions. While not being the best for looks, this kind of training will create more strength, putting much more force behind any kind of swing.

To illustrate this point, watch a boxing match that consists of two different body types. The first thing that comes to my mind is one of the Ali vs Frasier fights. Ali was made up from a skinner build, with very good definition, while Frasier had far more mass than his opponent. As historians know, Ali was able to beat his opponent (in one contest, at least), even though his was much smaller. I don’t think that every boxer needs to lift weights, seven times a week, but weight training should still be an essential piece of their training schedule. As long as you training to increase your strength, performing lifts are not going to make you worse at a sport, on the contrary, more punching power is something that every boxer should want to have.

The importance of cardio, in any sport, including boxing is extremely important. When talking about this sport, there are different weight classes. Depending upon which weight class a fighter is in, will determine the times that they need to lift some weights. In most cases, the heavier weight classes, like heavyweight, will require more lifting to ensure that their strength matches up with their natural size. When talking about the lower classes, you will see fighters that have less mass but are more toned up. This amazing tone is the results of much cardio being done.

workout tips

Is It Possible to Train Your Brain While You Exercise?

I am sure that you have heard nearly a million ways that you can work on how your body looks. What if I told you could get fitter, while also giving your brain the workout that it so desperately needs? Luckily, there has been some new studies and the results from them point out which exercises are able to tune up the old noggin. There was actually an amazing series of tests that we run, in order to best determine which specific kinds of exercise were best at bringing about increased brain activity. There were all kinds of exercises being tested here, from cardio to bodyweight training. Sorry to all my fellow weightlifters out there, but the results show that cardiovascular exercises was where it was at, in terms of the highest amounts of brain activity while being performed.

I guess that the senior citizens that I always see walking around at my local mall were on to something after all! In all seriousness, the results of this study are a great incentive to anyone that is on the fence about whether they should be running or not. You owe it to yourself, and your brain, to give them both the kind of activity that they so need. Something of note for all of these tests that were run is that increases in brain function directly correlated with how many miles were run. I suppose that now we can add the ability to exercise your brain as another incentive to get you running. Not only great from staying nice and trim, cardio is also great for keeping your heart healthy.

train the brain

As we all get older, our brain can begin to dull a bit, if not maintained properly. Think of your brain like a car, if you had a vehicle that you never put any time or effort into its upkeep, how long do you think that car will hold up? Stress is something that we all have to live with, at one time or another, running can help to fight off those stressors we have from everyday life. Be sure to read more about the study, over at the website of the New York Times, this is something that really should not be missed. The implications of these studies and how they will be used to further discuss the benefits of running, especially among older people will be known for years to come. If you want to start training your brain by utilizing your own two feet, assess your current ability to run. Never start off sprinting, as that will burn you out quickly. Instead, stick to something that is made up of walking in place, or slowly jogging. As you begin to see what your endurance levels are, you can adjust the fine spots of your regimen, in order to increase your jogging ability over time. I do have to say that I am surprised that lifting weights did not do more for raising the levels of brain activity, this does not bode well for the whole dumb guy lifting weights stereotype! The next time that you forget why you walked in a room, lose your keys, or have your brain just generally work against you, go get some running shoes on and go for a jog! You might just end up coming back from your run smarter than you were before!


workout tips

Which 90s Action Movie Star Physique Do You Want?

I thought that we could lighten up a bit here, so I had to flashback to the days when I was a little bit younger. I vividly remember going to the video store (yeah, that far back) and renting the new action movie that would come out. The heroes of my time, Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Van-Damme, all of the greats! I know that some of you grew up on those classics of our time and a few of you may aspire for the look of said action hero. Here are some great ways to achieve the body type that you want to have.

  1. Pure Mass Above Everything – The Arnold LookarnoldBy far, the hardest one to obtain anything close to this list, the Arnold look is not for wimps! To begin to mold your body in the look of Arnold, you will be needing to gain mass ASAP. For this, I recommend simply eating big and lifting big, you will get there but it will take quite a long time. Use a mix of mid-level reps with a heavier weight, not your max but around 75% of it. This will be a long and grueling process, but that is what you can expect when trying to replicate the best of all time.
  1. Definition with Some Mass – The Jean Claude Van-Damme Look jcvdGet ready to run, you will need some high level cardio to get the cut JCVD look that we all know and love. Along with that, concentrate on isolation exercises with high rep sets. We want the process that causes muscles to grow to happen, as opposed to gaining new levels of strength. That being said, bulking up a bit would add to the definition, just do it clean!
  1. The All Natural Look – The Chuck Norris Look chucknorriThis look requires less work, but make no mistake, Mr. Norris is in really good shape. I mean, have you seen this guy lately, he is in his 70s and still looks like the same guy from Walker, Texas Ranger. I would be a happy man if I end up aging half as well as Chuck Norris has. Anyways, to attain this physique, you just want to do some light to medium cardio, in order to keep your fat down. Since you probably won’t be hitting the gym for any real strength training, don’t slack off on your cardio. You will need to have that, or a strict diet in place to stay in the shape that Norris is in.

I feel that most of us grew up watching these amazing action films throughout our younger years. I, myself always thought that I wanted the Jean Claude look, however, as I kept lifting, I strived for more of the Arnold look. I wanted to throw an honorable mention to Sylvester Stallone as well. I ended up removing him because of how close his look would have fit into Arnold’s. A lot of the famous looks that those action heroes have has occurred because of their genetics. What is really out there to think about is that even though most do look similar, these men are all made up of separate muscle systems. Meaning that, even though most of us just see bulked up guys, there are actually a ton of small differences that make a difference of night and day!

workout tips

Training Apparel Choices You Shouldn’t Make

When it comes time to step out of the house and start up a killer workout, you don’t want what you wear to hold you back. Believe it or not, I have been noticing my fellow gym goers with things on that not only are unsafe, but draw laughter from everyone else around. I am here to be your friend and show you some mistake that you might be making before you even pick up a single weight.

First, why are some of you not wearing any shoes to the gym? There are rules that are set in place to combat this from going on, but in the world of twenty-four hour gyms, it isn’t always a rule that is enforced. Far be it from me, to tell anyone how to dress, but this is just ridiculous. If you don’t care about keeping your feet and toes, keep on showing up to train barefooted. If you care about keeping everything on your body where it is, get a pair of shoes. You don’t need to get anything fancy or even new, for that matter, just get a pair of shoes. Also, wearing flip flops while pumping iron is another no-no. Come on, this is about as close to being barefoot as you can get. I remember guys getting kicked out of the weightlifting classes I took in college for this very reason.

Something else I have ran into is people not checking their surroundings while they exercise. I actually saw why not to do this happen right in front of my eyes, and it is a somewhat gruesome tale, you have been warned. Anyways, there was someone in that same weightlifting class that was known as not being the brightest bulb. I have always been taught about the golden rule, so I was always nice to him. Cut to a couple of months down the road, while we were all doing on daily workout. The day in question was an arm training day. The poor guy that I was just talking about was doing some dumbbell exercises and wasn’t looking at where he laid his weight down. Unfortunately, he ended up crushing a couple of fingers between the dumbbell that he was using and the weight plates that were already on the ground. Needless to say, he had to go to the hospital to get a couple of fingers reattached. He ended up being just fine, so there was light at the end of the tunnel, but I have always checked the floor now since that day.

Before mentioning this one, I want to note that I have seen men just as guilty of this faux pas: not wearing enough when you go to lift. Not only are you subjecting too much of yourself to whoever might be in the building, but you could face getting your membership in jeopardy by dressing too showy. There will always be a special time and place where you can wear that new skimpy outfit but the fitness center is not that place. You don’t need to bundle up and dress like you are going outside in a snow storm, but be dressed appropriately when it comes time to put in some work. If you don’t know what is appropriate and what isn’t to wear, think about what you would wear to go to the grocery store. If what you have on to go workout does not pass this test, go and change into something else.