How To Get The Best Night’s Sleep

In today’s modern world sleep has been put on the back burner in many people’s lives. The average person today is burning the candle at both ends, during the week and then attempting to play catch up on there weekends. New research has actually been showing that the “playing catch up” game doesn’t work. In fact practicing this messes with your natural circadian rhythm and over time can increase your risk of heart disease. So your best bet is to get as much quality sleep as you can consistently each night. Here are a few surefire ways to help you get that quality sleep you are looking for.

  1. Try not to eat anything within 2 hours of bedtime. Not eating before bedtime will help the body release the correct hormones, like GH(growth hormone), which will help promote more restful, quality sleep.
  2. Take a warm bath followed by stretching before bed. Keeping the muscles nice and relaxed before bed will help put you into a sleep state faster.
  3. Be sure to ditch the blue lights! This includes tv, phones, and computers. Blue light from these products can be very disruptive to your sleep.
  4. Keep it cool in your room. Heat can be a tough environment to get the body into a sleep state, so be sure to have the ac on if you plan on getting quality rest.

Nutrition Fx quality sleep

Don’t Skip Leg Day! Here’s Why

Don’t skip leg day

How many times have you heard the phrase, “don’t skip leg day” in one form or another? Probably 1000 times by now. Besides having twigs for legs, not training your legs adequately can actually hinder your results in the long term, not just for building muscle, but losing body fat as well. In fact, one of my favorite trainers out there today Mark Rippetoe has been noted for saying, “if you do not squat, you are not working out”.  And to be honest I have to agree with him to a point. Squatting is easily one of the best overall exercises for your body because it involves so many different muscle groups besides your legs. Your entire body is literally involved in the movement top to bottom.

Great but I can’t

On the flip side to this I already know I am going to have a bunch of people out there saying squats are great, but due to certain circumstances they can not perform the move. That is okay because there are plenty of different leg exercises you can do that will work in place of a barbell squat. Three simple moves that come to mind are lunges, split squats, or step ups. Check out the photos below for a visual. The biggest take home message I want everyone to understand here is just because you have certain issues with mobility or maybe a past injury doesn’t mean you have to skip out on an area all together. We call this throwing out the baby with the bath water. Just do the best you can to still work through the issue. You will benefit much more from this than doing nothing at all. Skipping out all together will hinder progress and limit your true potential in the long run.

Nutrition Fx Smith Machine Squats

Split Squat

Nutrition Fx Lunges

Dumbell Lunge

 

Nutrition Fx Dumbell Step Ups

Dumbell Step Up

 

Best Program For Size and Strength

Everyday

Probably at least twenty times a week I get asked my opinion about what is the best program I can get on to put on muscle. And surprisingly this is not just coming from young men wanting to get bigger but all walks of life. The importance of holding onto muscle tissue as we age has become more well known in the masses, especially to seniors in their golden years. As we age we tend to begin to lose muscle tissue, which is not good because this can be beneficial to have in our day to day lives. But, more importantly, staying physically active, especially with weights can help keep your immune system boosted, bones stronger than average, and keep you chasing around those pesky grand children. So old and young here is my opinion on the best program for putting on some quality muscle.

How do we define best?

Determining what the “best program” is for size and strength to me would be one that does not require a user to be in the gym every single day to get results, so lets lay that foundation out from the get go. I have been a firm believer my whole life of lifting weights 3-4 times a week for best results. Exercising 3-4 days a week and really focusing on movements that will give us the best bang for our buck because we are all busy people, and do not have all the time in the world to run around doing 15 different movements in a given time frame. That being said, for me anyway, whether it be Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, it’s all relative. Pick three days spread out through the week, train hard and effective, and that pretty much sums it up. The next issue at hand is what to do on these three days?

The Movements

Here is a list of exercises that could be considered some of the most effective for putting on quality muscle and getting stronger in no particular order…

Squat, Deadlift, Standing Military Press, Bench Press, Bent Over Rows, Straight Leg Deadlift, Barbell Shrugs, Pull-ups, Dips.

Truly on this list you could develop an entire program with just these exercises and be extremely successful at putting on lean muscle and losing body fat in the process. For more information on these movements stay tuned into our other media outlets such as instagram and facebook for more information on form and technique.

How much weight? How many reps? What days do I do certain movements?

All these questions in the headline should be coming next out of anyone’s mouth. Well, that’s great that I should be doing these moves, but what do I do with them? Here is a simple way to set up your training. Push day, Pull day, Leg day. Push day being a bench press and standing military press day. Pull day being a Deadlift and Bent over row day. Lastly leg day being a Squat day. Without going into a crazy amount of detail on one post here if you are interested in getting a customized training routine built for your goals, please just email me at derek@nfxfit.com and we can work together on this one-on-one. For the sake of time I can tell you your rep count on main movements such as deadlifts, benches, and squats should be in the 3-6 rep range to put on quality muscle and get stronger. The weight you should be using on these movements is completely dependent on your current strength level. This can be determined by doing max effort lifts on these moves to help you gauge what weight you can use to train with on a weekly basis.

What about assistance work?

When you hear someone talk about assistance work what they are referring to are other exercises besides your main lifts for that day that you can perform. For example, on a push day you will be using a lot of chest, shoulder, and tricep muscles. So one might throw in a tricep exercise at the end of their training session to help get stronger triceps. The theory is if I get stronger triceps, I get a stronger bench press and stronger in general. But, all too often I see clients get too carried away with doing extra assistance exercises and end up taking away from there end results. So make sure you are keeping your eye on the ball so to speak with your training. Always be focusing in on those core movements to help you. If you add assistance exercises that’s great, but do not make them the bulk of your training.

Getting Started

To get started with a new program you do not have to be a total guru. Use some common sense to gauge what you can do, and what ever you do do not over reach your boundaries. If you haven’t squatted in three months, do not expect your squat max to still be where it was. Most likely you have lost a good amount of strength here, so start slow. Patience and consistency are your two best friends when it comes to getting results in the gym. Just remember to keep moving forward and do not give up. It takes time for anything that is worth while so hang in there.

training

 

 

Do You Need To Change Gyms?

Should I Change Gyms?

This is a question I think doesn’t get asked often enough and leads people to complacency and “average” thinking very quickly when it comes to getting the results they want at the gym. Here are a few simple things to ponder on to make you either realize you are where you need to be, or it’s time to move on.

Biggest Fish in a Tiny Pond

Are you the biggest, strongest, fittest, most consistent gym goer at your local 24 hour spot? If so….It’s time to switch gyms. Why you ask? You need to surround yourself with people of your caliper or hopefully you can surround yourself with people that are even better than yourself to help keep your competitive fire alive. If you are an advanced lifter training with beginners, novices, and intermediates at the local YMCA, you may look like the hulk there, but the truth is you may be robbing from your own potential.

What Does Your Gym Really Offer?

Where I am going with this one is does your gym offer personal training, classes, or anything that could be of benefit to your overall goals, or are they offering you free candy, pizza, and soft drinks as an incentive because you decided to show up to the gym today? Clearly the pizza and candy is a problem if you have any amount of drive to make yourself better. And if you actually think that a gym giving away this kind of crap is okay, then please stop reading my blog because you clearly do not get it, and you never will….Seriously thou. So make sure that your gyms attitude and motivation is looking out for your best interest, otherwise make a run for it.

How Is The Atmosphere?

When you are at your gym working out, are you noticing a lot of like minded people working toward something? In other words, no matter their fitness level do you notice good effort being put in or is it more of a social club? You can have all the motivation in the world heading into a gym, but there is something about going in the gym and seeing a whole crowd of people that could just as soon be at a coffee shop bullshitting about nothing. It can take your motivation level from a 10 to a 4 pretty quick. Gives you the impression that as long as we show up and eventually get through our lifting routine we should see some results. Now, if you have been a gym avid gym goer for some time you know this is a fairy tale, but if your newer to the gym scene, this type of environment can be extremely impressionable on you. So my advice here is, find a gym where you notice people of all ages really putting in some time and work. These are people you can most likely learn something from. The only thing you will learn from the social club is who won the game last night.

In closing, I urge clients to give this sort of stuff a lot of thought because I would say 90% of getting in shape is mental. It’s getting in the right frame of mind, day in and day out consistently that is going to get you the absolute best results. And you do not have the time to waste wanting to deal with issues that can already be avoided such as these above.

nutrition fx gym

 

 

STOP Ego Lifting!

A Mild Rant

Today’s topic is more of a rant than anything else. So I go to the gym today and I noticed this issue more than I care to say, which is absurd. Do not get me wrong there is nothing wrong with being motivated and ready to workout, but please perform your lifts properly. You will not get anywhere trying to throw on another 10-20 pounds of weight, when the original amount was already too much as it is!

Learn Proper Form 

So my message today is make sure you are doing your lifts correctly, with proper form. If you have a spotter they should not be getting a light workout helping you lift the weight off your back. I literally saw this from three different groups within 30 minutes. Do a weight you can handle on your own. Your spotter is there for a lift off, and support just in case you can’t get the weight, not to curl it off your chest when it caves you in!

If you need help learning proper technique for the love of god drop the ego and ask someone. If you know you are already doing something wrong the worst that could happen is you actually learn how to do it right! And if you are worried about asking and “looking stupid” just remember the dumbest question is the one not asked, especially in the gym….Because when you fuck up, everyone sees it. Ok I’m done now. Tell you what just don’t end up like the folks in this video below.

 

Almond Joy Protein Smoothie

So I ended up making this smoothie recipe by accident the other day when I was trying to make a low carb meal replacement shake for myself. Check it out.

Almond Joy Smoothie

2 scoops whey revolution protein powder

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

12 oz 50/50 blend of almond and coconut milk unsweetened

4 ice cubes

blend!

Super easy to make, has only 8 carbs, and it is delicious.

almond joy smoothie

Should I Compete?

Am I Ready?

Being ready to compete in a bodybuilding or fitness competition takes a ton of hard, work, consistency, and dedication to not only your lifting routine, but your diet as well. Week after week you will be on the grind, unable to stray from the contest prep diet to ensure you get the best results possible going into your show. These two basic principles will never go away if you desire to do shows. But, if you are questioning whether or not you should compete and you haven’t before here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself.

What are your reasons for wanting to compete?

Is it for the love of the sport? Is it because you want to be the best? Or is it simply a fun challenge? Well regardless, you need to have some strong reasons why you are doing this, because when you start getting closer to your competition, your depleted, and not able to eat certain foods, being able to justify your means can sometimes be tough. You start telling yourself, well who really cares if I do this or not, or i’m not going to place well anyway etc. People will justify anything when they are uncomfortable or when the going gets tough. So keep in mind that whatever reason you are deciding to do this better be a good one.

Who are you?

No really though….What I mean is who are you trying to be? There are a ton of different federations and divisions these days so you could go a bunch of different routes. You have regular bodybuilding, physique, classic physique etc. All of these carry with them a different look to achieve. For visual images I urge you to look up the difference in the builds of these competitors, and different body weights they carry for the show. Before starting any show prep, get a good grasp of who you really are and who you are not. Do not let someone talk you into doing a bodybuilding show when you clearly have the build of a physique guy.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes?

Bodybuilding and Fitness are extreme sports in that it takes a great deal to get your physique to a top level. So, if your goal is to not only compete, but to become a professional you gotta ask yourself are you willing to do whatever it takes to not only compete but to win? The bodybuilder of today has there competition schedule down to a science from there training, diet, sleep schedule, and supplementation, everything is planned out.

One last note

I want to leave all you future competitior’s with one last piece of advice moving forward. Do not get frustrated. There are a few things you need to keep in mind. For your first show you will not be ready. I don’t care how much prep you do you will not be ready for your first show. In fact there is a good chance you will not even make the top 10. But that’s okay. You are not expected to come out of the gates getting first or second. That will come with time. The first step is going through the prep the best you can and then moving forward from there.

 

contest prep nutrition fx

Orange Creamsicle Smoothie Recipe

Here is a new addition to our smoothie recipes for those of you that love orange creamsicle. Check it out!

Orange Creamsicle Smoothie Ingredients

1 small orange peeled

2 Tablespoons of heavy whipping cream

splash of orange juice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 scoops whey revolution

ice cubes, approximately 4

whey revolution protein smoothie