workout tips

When Working Out Becomes an Obsession

As I hear from more and more of the great readers here, I am learning about all kinds of fitness concerns that you are all having. I love this, because it helps to show me a more accurate picture of what you all want to hear about. So many people see the person that we want to look like, and we compare our behind the scenes to their highlight reel. I am just as guilty of this type of behavior as anyone else. Even though I consider myself to be in decent shape, I can still see someone else working out that is bigger than me, and I get a little envious. Guys and girls, you have to remember not to think this way. By comparing yourself to others that might have much more experience, you are setting yourself up to be disappointed.

dedicated or obsessedThis kind of obsession can soon grow into a personality that you don’t really want to have. Sometimes, when this happens, certain people will start to be so obsessed with being the best, that they make bad choices. When you do not give your body the time that it needs to recover, you not only lose any gains but you put yourself in a bad situation. When you skimp on recovery and continue to break down your muscles, you make yourself more prone to injury. Also, good luck trying to actually get stronger or bigger, when muscles fiber doesn’t have the time to recover, you actually run a risk of making yourself weaker than when you started!

It is widely believed, that engaging in fitness activities can help to boost the immune system. As someone who rarely gets sick, I personally think that this is true. However, if you are not giving yourself recovery time, you are going to be seeing a complete reverse of this and could end up getting sick easier. For some reason, there is some great myth out there that the more time you spend at the gym, the healthier you are. This is not always true, however, a few people will be doing more harm than good when they push themselves to that much time spent working out. If you are thinking about a solution to maximize the effort you put in to being fit, make an informed decision. Heavy Athletics actually tried and rated the best legal steroids available, it is worth a read. Now, I don’t want anyone to think that I am condoning using actual steroids, that would be an idiotic decision, these are perfectly legal and widely available. Best of all, there are a lot safer than using the more dangerous method to try and cheat time. There is no substitute for hard work and continued progress, but there will always be things to take that can make all of this effort slightly easier to accomplish.

There is nothing wrong with spending your valuable time at the gym. As a matter of fact, it is one of the greatest things that you can do to stay in good health. Unfortunately, that line between being healthy and becoming obsessed can be a thin one. If you notice that you are suffering from a lack of progress, are getting sick more often than usual, or anything else out of place, your workout schedule might just be the reason. As a rule of thumb, 2-4 trips to workout are good for most people. To even need any more time than that spent working out, you will probably be someone who trains as part of their job. In that case, feel free to ignore the rule of thumb, as you will be needing to be working out at a whole other level.

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How Under Armor Plans to Revolutionize Fit Tracking

As we all are awash with all of the fitness trackers out there, something has come along to change the way that we track our progress. Under Armor has released what is known as the Speedform 2 Gemini. Although this doesn’t exactly roll off of the tongue, these shoes are really gaining some popularity. I want to note that I actually tried to look at getting a pair of these at the Under Armor website, and they were all sold out! How these special shoes work is due to the computer chip that they have in them. Yes, you read that right, there is an actual small computer chip within these shoes that is able to track everything that you do!

Well, maybe not every single thing but everything that you could need, if you are someone who wants to track your results. Measuring how far you go, as well as your pace, these shoes look like something out of the future. I had only heard of any sort of tracking being done with watches, and whatnot. With these shoes, you are going to get all of your information about your runs readily available. Another cool feature is that these shoes have a built-in calories burned counter within them. If you are expecting to shell out a small fortune for the Speedform line, you are in luck, these only retail for about $150. This price, especially when talking about sneakers, is nothing out of the ordinary. I think that these shoes will be a bigger and bigger hit, as time goes by.

More people are going to be in need of new shoes, as opposed to a watch, so these shoes could very well dominate the workout tracking market. Over at the Under Armor website, I could only see them available in the blue color that was featured. Due to them being sold out, as of this writing, I was unable to see any other colors. However, after doing a bit of searching, I was able to see some of the other colors and they all look really cool. I am partial to the light blue colored ones, just because it matches what I will usually wear to go workout.

Looking past the amazing tracking abilities that these shoes have, I also wanted to mention some other cool features for anyone that is thinking about grabbing a pair. From checking out this product, it looks like comfort was another big concern among the makers of these tracking shoes. The Gemini line is made to fit your feet with the 4D foam and seamless heel that these shoes have. One of the most annoying things about getting a new pair of shoes is having to take the time to wear them in. With the Speedform, you don’t have to worry about going on a first run in these only to end up accidentally kicking them off before you leave your yard!

From the cool design, to all of the options that you have to keep track of your runs, the Speedform 2 Gemini line of fitness tracking shoes are a great choice. I can really see more companies looking to capitalize on this, so we might just see other companies throw their hat into the race to make a great fitness tracking shoe. Until then, it looks like Under Armor has a winner on their hands! My only complaint that I have with them, at the moment, is that I can’t get a pair for myself yet.

workout tips

Prioritizing Your Fitness Objectives

set priorities in the gym

When you have been working out for a while, there will always be that tendency to get burned out. This is something that is very common, so don’t worry if you are feeling this way. The good news is that there are certain things that you can do that can help keep you on the right track. I talk a lot on here about the importance of goal setting, but I wanted to offer a little bit of a different kind of method I have used to get through those slumps we all deal with. I had gotten rather sick of looking at the same old pages of my fitness notebook. Sure, I had all of my lift numbers in front of me but I felt that something was kind of off.

I began really looking through the entire notebook and going further and further back. It was when I had gotten nearly all the way back to the beginning that I noticed something. In the beginning of this notebook, I had actually listed some priorities that I wanted to make happen. First, I knew that I wanted to be able to bench press three hundred pounds. For some, this may not seem like that big of a deal, but it was all that I could think about. After that, I knew that I wanted to lower my body fat percentage to around 20%. With me, I gain fat pretty easily, and if I could find a routine that would help me get this number down, I knew that I would be elated. Beyond that, my last goal was to be able to get my bicep measurement to 16 inches or above.

After looking at all of these things that I had prioritized, I had figured out a sad fact: I had not met one of these priorities that I had set for myself about a year ago. I became very confused as to why I had not even really touched any of these things that, at one time, had been so important to me. As I began to turn the pages back to the present times of my notebook, I saw those priorities disappear and change to the boring old notebook, filled with just numbers. I realized where I went wrong with what I wanted to achieve and that was that I had forgotten how important these priorities were and what they were, as a whole.

These three items were all important to me but what I had figured out is how far apart they all were. Having a bigger bench press has nothing to do with me lower my body fat, and neither of those really had anything to do with growing my biceps. Luckily, I took some time and re-made my entire workout process with these priorities in mind. What I did was focus more on lifts that would help grow my chest and biceps. Along with that, I implemented more cardio into the end of my workouts, thereby lowering the amount of fat I have over time. If this sounds like something that is going on with you, think of changing up the lifts that you do. Align your workout plan along with your specific priorities and see how much more effort you put into what you are doing!

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What I Thought of the Recent Supplement Award Winners

As we come to another year, the big time supplement awards are in the books and we have an interesting list of winners this year. Here I am going to be talking about the winners and if I think that these picks were justified or not. There is a lot to cover so I will go ahead and get right down to it. For the mass gainer product, the award went to BSN. This is something that really made me happy to see. BSN has been putting out some excellent products in recent memory. Their preworkout, Hyper FX, was one of the best ones that I have tried and it garnered a spot in my regimen. True Mass is the product that won the award, and I think that that was a great pick. I have been using this particular product for the past couple years, off and on. If I am needing to really pack on some base weight in the colder months, this product is my go-to. They have a ton of great flavors and, with so many gross tasting mass gainers out there, it is nice to see one win that really deserves it.

I had also saw that Dymatize had won the award, as far as isolate protein powders are concerned. I thought that this was a great pick, if you haven’t tried any of the products from Dymatize, I would highly suggest checking them out as well. A while back, they put together a couple of great supplements that I had kept coming back to. Unfortunately, I know that they had changed around some of the way that their products were made. I don’t know just how true this is but I am glad to see that they are still getting some awards won. Beyond that, there were no real big surprises that I didn’t see coming. I think that all of the competitors that had won these awards were very deserving of them. Although I didn’t see any big upsets or products that I thought should have won that didn’t, it is interesting to see just how many of the newer brands out there that had ended up winning. I think that this is a big sign that we are seeing some new companies come up out of the blue to take over. Being that there are so many changes going on with what we take with us to the gym, these awards are showing the changes are really happening right now.

As we look to a future that is filled with products that are on the safer side, who knows what the award lineup will be next year? Either way, I look forward to seeing all of the changes that will be coming our way as we head into 2016 and beyond. I have been hearing some news about some new stuff coming out that could really change the way that we all train. However, these are early news stories, so only time will tell if these new kids on the block are going to be sticking around. Judging from all of the good reviews that I have been reading about, I think we are at a very good place right now with what companies are sending out for us all to try! I am really looking forward to seeing what the next year award nominees will consist of!

workout tips

Great Bodyweight Exercises That You Can Do Right Now

Ok, well maybe you should read this first, and then you can do these exercises. Not everyone has the time to go drive to whatever gym is closest. You also might not have the money to invest in an expensive home gym setup. Both of these cases are extremely common and acceptable. The sad thing is that some of these people who want to train but can’t find the time nor the finances to work out. Believe me, I have been there and even though I had the desire to get in good shape, I did not have the resources.

However, that all changed when I began to look into body weight exercises. These exercises don’t require that you buy any equipment and you can do most, if not all of them, within the privacy of your own home. Needless to say, if you are ready and able, there really is no excuse to not do these exercises if you are serious about getting big.

One of my favorite exercises that only uses your body weight would be the dip. Sure, you can get some crazy dip machine but you can really get your weightlifting process started with a good base of using dips that only require you doing them, nothing extra needed. Now, how you do them will be up to you. However, I usually use a couple of chairs but feel free to try what works well for you. The main thing that you want to remember when doing dips is that whatever you are using to balance yourself on is STABLE.

good way to dip

That means that anything that cannot safely support your body weight does not need to be used. So, don’t go and grab something plastic or like that. We want to use stable and strong materials. Find what works best for you and use it, it is really as simple as that. As you start out, you will want to keep your feet on the ground, as this makes the dips easier to do. As you are able to do more and more reps, you will then want to start propping your feet up as well. By propping your feet up and having them off of the ground, you will notice that the dips become more challenging.

Another great way to build strength and muscle by only using your own body is by doing pull ups. Yes, you might remember these from gym days in school. The funny thing will most likely be that you can do about as many now as you could when you were younger. Don’t be discouraged, a pull up can be one of more grueling exercises that you can do. However, with the difficulty of them, also comes some amazing results that you are going to get.

good way to do pull ups

I would consider dips and pull ups to be some of the most beneficial lifts out there. There is a reason why you can see so many different people doing these exercises, they work incredibly well. You will definitely be feeling the burn here but your muscles will thank you for it, as they start growing! If you are beginning this kind of at home fitness program, be sure to start out slowly. People who have not done much in the way of working out before can expect to be sore. You can help to ease this soreness by starting out with a couple of reps.

Everyone has to start somewhere and by simply making the decision to start, you are already ahead of those who never will take the actions to change their live! Don’t be discouraged, you may begin lifting now!

workout tips

One Way to Ease the Boredom of Working Out: Music

If there is one thing that has saved me from a bad workout or just being bored, overall, it would have to be music. Sure, you can listen to whatever they are playing on the speakers at your gym (if they have speakers). However, I prefer to listen to music on my own terms and choose what it is that I hear. Especially because my local gym plays nothing but top 40, all day and every day. Now, that isn’t to say that there is anything wrong with that kind of music. I actually love most pop music and listen to it all of the time, just not while I am really pumping iron. If you haven’t done it yet, I highly suggest getting a mp3 player and then heading out to go workout. One thing that I don’t really like about hearing music over the radio at my gym, is that all of the fun parts are removed from the songs, you know what I mean! One big benefit of listening through music on your headphones is that the artists can say whatever they want. Some of those words really get me through an exhausting workout day. Better yet, did you know that it is actually proven that listening to music while you lift weights can help you to lift more?
workingouttomusicrules
The one thing that you are going to have issues with, possibly, is that you need to be extra careful of your surroundings while your music is playing. There is nothing worse than jamming out so hard that you bump into someone or do something embarrassing like that. I have been the person who has bumped into someone because I had my music too loud, needless to say, it was more than a bit awkward. After all, these people there are working just as hard as you are so be courteous (I don’t care how hard the song goes). There are a bunch of great songs out there that almost seem like they were made for pumping iron to. No matter what style you like, there is going to be something that will help to motivate you. One secret reason that I enjoy bringing my music with me to the gym is because it is a mega time saver. It seems like I am always super crunched for time and never have enough of it to listen to anything that is new. Because I am able to bring my iPod with me to workout, I can use that time to catch up on some stuff that I haven’t heard before.

Be sure to load your music player up with all different styles of music to find what works best for you. It doesn’t always have to be heavy metal cranked up as loud as it will go, branch out and you might surprise yourself. Personally, I can’t really get the weights moving to any kind of sappy ballads, but to each their own. Another thing that I want to mention is to be sure to get a nice protective case for whatever you decide to bring with you. I can’t count the number of times that I rip out a headphone cord or miss my pocket when going to put my music player up. This can lead to a broken setup pretty quickly!

workout tips

Reasons Why You Had A Bad Workout

Yes, it is something that will happen to any of us from time to time and it can be quite shocking. You go into help get your body more fit than it is was before, when the dreaded bad workout day hits you. If there were lifts that you were doing easily a week ago, now you find that you can’t come close to that level of strength. Perhaps it could happen when you get on the treadmill and find out that you are gassing out about fifteen minutes ago. No matter how this occurs, you will surely want to begin looking for reasons as to how this had happened.

Do Not Blame Yourself

First things first here, do not blame yourself for this occurring. This happens to all of us, at one time or another, and usually is just a freak thing that happens. Although, it is hard to pinpoint the exact reason this will occur and how you can spot it to prevent it, there are factors that will cause those terrible workout days. Here are a couple of the biggest ones that have happened to me and others.

Make Sure You Are Following A Good Diet

The first reason would be poor nutrition. Has someone been cheating on their diet recently? Maybe you decided to go through the drive thru a couple more times than normal. There could have been an incident where you maybe didn’t really get a great breakfast or lunch that day. For whatever the reason, nutrition, or lack thereof, is a big reason as to why you didn’t have the best workout take place.  To prevent this from taking place in the future, be sure to have a proper nutrition regimen in place. Whether you set alarms for your meals, or just become more disciplined with your diet, these things will pay off tenfold in the gym.

Get Enough Sleep at Night!

Another common thing that can wreak havoc on your workouts is lack of sleep. This is the biggest factor, for me, as to why I have those bad workouts sometimes. For most of us, it is tough to get eight hours of sleep, let alone the more sleep that we need for being so active in our lives. If your body is not properly rested, your muscles did not get enough rest, I can guarantee it. When this happens, you will know it when you are about to hit the weights. Your muscles, not having had enough time to rest, will not be strong enough for you to really push yourself like you did before.

To prevent this from happening, try to get more rest by taking certain steps to help with this. For one, leave the electronics away from you when you are in bed, if possible. Having a phone or tablet by your side, will keep you checking it or distracted from getting the sleep that you need. If you can, you can also make the decision to turn the television off at a certain time. Now, these two things are going to be easier said than done for some people, like me. One thing that I did to help myself actually get a normal nights rest was to use melatonin, this is a natural supplement that you can get most anywhere. I have had a great experience with using this supplement, but that does not mean that everyone else will experience the same joy that I did.

If you make sure, that your diet and sleep schedule is in check, you will really lower the chances of having another one of the devastating bad workout days again!

supplements

What is the Difference Between SARMS and Steroids?

Something that has long been a question in the fitness community concerns the more stronger supplements out there. There has been a lot of confusion concerning the difference between steroids and SARMS. Both of these products have their similarities and differences. Although I can’t recommend that everyone use these types of products, I did want to give my readers more information on them. If you do choose to use these supplements against my advice, I wanted you make a well-informed decision.

When we discuss SARMS, we must first know that this word actually stands for selective androgren receptor modulators. This sounds like something you need to bust out a textbook for, but let me explain it a little bit better. SARMS are supplements that allow you to build more muscle through how those supplements will work in your body. One big benefit of SARMS over actual steroids for most is that the SARMS are usually in the form of a pill. Unfortunately, this did not completely absolve those supplements over being risk free. Both types of products that I have discussed are very strong and therefore can have side effects. To be fair, SARMS  actually have had far fewer and less serious side effects than actual steroids, making them a more popular choice among people visiting the gym.

Being that SARMS are in capsule form, this makes it easier for most people to take. Even though, some incorrectly assume, that SARMS are totally safe just because they are easier to ingest. As you know, steroids are usually taken through a needle, which scares off many people and I understand that completely. I am always someone who has stayed away from needles throughout my time lifting weights. I don’t even like going to the doctor to get a shot, so I knew that steroids would never be something that I wanted to try. Another benefit that SARMS had, before they came under fire, was that they were usually easier to obtain. SARMs have only recently began to face opposition, while steroids have faced this for decades.

Both of these types of supplement are created to help you build more muscle. Although, each SARM or steroid will have their own types that will give you different results, most will primarily be used for adding more muscle to you. The future of these kinds of supplements does remain in turmoil, as both have faced heavy opposition in the world. Steroids are definitely not allowed to be used and this has been something that has been in place for quite a while. As this has happened, companies have actually found way to skirt these issues. By creating supplements that can mimic the effects without actually being the products themselves, there are plenty of new products popping up here and there.

I found a video that has someone kind of helping explain about the alternatives that are currently out there. There are way too many to list here so I figured the video would get you started in the right direction. Beyond that, you can look around at the various sites that still offer some of these products. I believe that the legit ones should only be offering alternatives so be sure to thoroughly check out each place that you go to avoid any kind of trouble popping up.

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Terry Crews and His Fitness Philosophy

Terry Crew’s Fitness Philosophy: An Amazing Concept that Will Lead to Brilliant Results

terry354

In a recent Reddit interview known as an ask me anything or, AMA for short, Terry Crews really brought to light a great fitness philosophy to have. He mentions that before you really are fully able to commit to a fit and healthy lifestyle, you first must set one important habit, going to the gym. Now, he did not mean going to the gym, working out for three hours your first time and making a commitment to push for that same intensity and drive every time. No, what he meant was to literally go to the gym. If you’re someone who is not ready to make the commitment to work out yet, it does not matter. He basically states that you just need to make the habit of literately getting to the gym and from there your options are limitless. If you wanted to go to the gym, sit there and read a book, this is what he meant.

What This Philosophy of Working Out First Meant

At first, I had to reread this a couple times before it fully dawned on me how brilliant of an idea this was. So many people seem to start working out and then find that their drive and desire decreases and that is usually what leads them to quit working out and being fat altogether. This is something that I have seen with many family members and friends and I have to say it is really heartbreaking to watch. You kind of see that glow disappear from them and they seem less happy after they break their commitment. I think that every beginner should heed the advice of Mr. Crews and simply start going to the gym just to make it a habit.

Fitness and Habits: How They Are Related

As we all know, habits are a great indicator of success. If Arnold did not have the drive and ambition to keep going to the gym, he wouldn’t have become the megastar that he was. For some of us, we don’t share that right out of the gate and need to make sure we put something in place to get us in the habit of just going to the gym. I think the idea behind this is that once you’re there and you do nothing enough and watch other people work out your drive will increase and you will want to do it yourself.

For me, I know there is a big-time truth to this. For example, we all know how scary the first week of the job can be. Then, one day you wake up and find that you’ve been going and doing the same job for 10, 15,  and 20+ years. It is the importance of habit the play such a rude in your success as far as business is concerned. You will have to build different habits, whether it be eating or working out. The power of habit is an amazing one and if you’re on the fence about starting to get in better shape, try making a drive to the gym one day. I know there will be gaps in your schedule where you will have some free time, just take something that entertains you, or even play games on your phone. Just bad habit of going to the gym, repeated overtime, is a big key to success and changing your life for the better.

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Intra-Workout Products: Taking Fitness to New Levels

The longer that you work out, the more you may look to supplements to provide you with some sort of guidelines. Some will meet specific goals and there will be others that don’t really need the goals you think you need, until you try them out. I had read about intra-workout supplements for quite a while and honestly I was never really that blown away. I thought it was some sort of hokey scam because after all if you’re drinking water or a sports drink, isn’t that enough? On a whim, I decided I might as well trying out big time from on my favorite companies as they were having a sale to see if it really worked out well for me.

intra workout supplements

I got the supplement in two different flavors one was lemonade and one was cherry. Although I did read about the benefits of using a BCAA product, I didn’t really read well enough as to learn about how horrible they mix with water. I immediately had to get shaker cups with the ball in them before I could even get anywhere near this product. Let that be a note to you all people, do not try this or any other BCAA product by mixing with a spoon and a tub, it just will not work out well. After mixing this product for the spoon and cup, I was left with some sort of foam and it was super not drinkable.

So after mixing it up the right way, I found out, although I wasn’t crazy about the consistency, that the drink actually tasted really well. The drink did give me mild heartburn afterwords, but this is something that is common with me and these drinks and is has always been that way. The drink tasted great and, I thought, after a couple workouts, that I really was noticing some benefits. Namely, I was able to have increased endurance and stamina which really help me push my workouts to the next level.

I would sip on the drink, whatever portion I didn’t finish, after my workout and noticed that I was able to actually feel less fatigue after my workouts. This is such a big deal because at the time I was actually smoking cigarettes, shame on me! Even though I was making that silly mistake, it was pretty cool to know that I was able to have a little more endurance as I needed all the help I could get. The lesson that I learned from waiting so long to use intra workout supplements is that it is a shame to to judge a book by its cover.

I came up with the silly notion that the supplements would not provide me with any real benefits and because of that I missed out on using these for quite a few years. However, now that I know just how well they work I do keep them in rotation in my supplement regiment. Do I find them to be my number one best supplement for building any kind of muscle? No, but I still do enjoy them quite a bit and I think that they will most likely always have a place in my supplement cabinet.