Tag: training

A Few Tell Tale Signs Your Trainer Sucks

After many years of working in the fitness industry, you see a lot of things. From funny, to ridiculous, and just plain stupid, the gym attracts all sorts of walks of life. This is also the case for those that decide to become personal trainers. I myself at one time was a personal trainer, not that I don’t train people at all anymore, I have just limited my time due to life getting in the way. The personal training market, just like the fitness industry itself has skyrocketed over the last 15-20 years. Which in a lot of ways can be a good thing that people are becoming more interested in taking control of there health, and getting into shape. But when they are being led by someone completely incompetent in the field, it becomes the blind leading the blind, which is unfortunately what we see in most cases today on the daily. So….all that being said how is a new gym goer able to tell if there trainer is even worth there time? Well, here are a few tell tale signs that your trainer may be completely clueless.

  1. They are involved in a multi level marketing company that sells supplements. No I am not going to name names here, but say your trainer recommends supplements to you and you google them or go to their website and all it talks about is being a sales representative, or joining the team, its probably a scam. And if your trainer is trying to sell you product from them, it’s because they are clueless on nutrition first of all, and got sucked into this companies’ pyramid scheme, so guess what chuck, now they are peddling this trash to you to make up for losing a boat load of cash when they signed up to be a part of the scheme.
  2. Doing random exercises that they themselves have never even done before. This is a situation of someone who doesn’t really walk the walk as they say. If your trainer is having you do a bunch of random exercises that doesn’t seem to coincide with your actual goals, it’s most likely because they don’t, and your trainer is literally just making shit up as he or she goes, to simply occupy your killer 30-60 minute session! So in other words they are having fun with you to pass the time. Of course that’s in between checking there phone messages.
  3. They are on there phone more than they are training you! This is a no brainer one right here. If your trainer can’t even make it thru 5 minutes of your session without playing on there phone, to me it’s clear they don’t really give a shit about your training session and don’t care about what you are doing either.
  4. My favorite is the out of shape trainer. I mean honestly, how the hell are you training someone when you can’t even get your own shit together enough to get yourself in shape. And the fact that someone would want to be trained by someone who isn’t in shape is beyond me.
  5. Unable to program workouts. This one is huge which is why I saved it for last. Finding a trainer that actually understands how to properly program exercises into your routine to get you the best results is actually very difficult to find. It’s hard enough just to find someone who at least walks the walk, but finding a trainer that really understands the body, recovery times that vary for different people, and also finding a trainer that is willing to really listen to what you are telling them is how they should be basing your programming. In most cases, trainers will recommend exercise programs and diets that are really just a version of what they do. This is a massive error. Everyone is different. Your body is not the same as mine, and is not the same as the next person. That is why a good trainer will be asking you questions to figure out what foods you tolerate better in your diet to help you thrive, vs just plugging in random foods into a basic cookie cutter program. Or when it comes to exercise they should be learning about your history and background in training and exercise before trying to recommend anything. And did we even mention goals? Your personal goals should always be number one. If it doesn’t match to your goal, don’t waste your time with it, period. But too often newer trainers without enough experience will simply recommend what worked for them, instead of really dialing in to there clients needs. When this happens unfortunately the clients results are sub par in comparison to what they could have been. Okay so my rant is over now, hopefully some of you that read this learned something from this, and do not get taken for your hard earned bucks!

Volume vs Intensity? What is best for max results?

Rate Of Perceived Exertion?

Here is something I wanted to share with you guys to put things into perspective for you. How many of you have heard of rate of perceived exertion? If you have great, if not what this means is how much did you actually exert yourself during exercise. From one to ten, rate today’s workout. Was it a 6,8,or even a 10? Now, most people like to think they are giving a 10 effort every single time, but what if I told you that may not be the best approach? Let me explain…

Imagine you and I were at the gym together, and I asked you to do as many push-ups as you could possibly do until failure, not one more repetition in the gas tank. And, let’s say you did 20. Would it be wise to come back to the gym tomorrow and do the same exact thing? Would it be a good idea to even come back and do the same movement in 2 days? The answer is the same… no. But if I said hey, how about you only do 10 or 12 push-ups a day with good form, could you do this everyday? Think about it from this perspective, say you did your push-ups at 12 reps every day for 7 days in a row. You would have done 84 reps in the week. Now, if you did the 20 rep routine that you could only endure 3 times a week, not only did you beat your body up, you also only accomplished 60 reps for the week, which is 30% less volume! I have always been a big proponent of intense training, but if you are only able to do that training 3 good days a week, you may be leaving a lot of progress on the table. Mathematically speaking, in this tiny example there is a 24 rep difference in the week. Multiply that by 52 weeks in a year. You are looking at 1248 repetitions!

Intensity

This is Why the Russians Kick Our Ass

In Russia, they utilize what has been coined as Eastern Block training, a style which incorporates a lot more volume being performed, with lower intensity. The only time the intensity goes up is when you get close to a competition. Other than that you are staying at that 6-7 intensity out of 10 range on your training sessions. But, staying disciplined and consistent with getting in your training sessions, which is key as you can see from the example shown above. So if you are ever wondering if you are training enough or too much because you aren’t seeing progress, I would suggest keeping this in mind. You may need to change up your training routine. If you are exercising 4 days a week, but always feel fatigued and sore, you might be going too intense and may benefit from breaking up your lifting session into more frequent workouts with less intensity. Either that or you are a novice and you have yet to discover what true exertion, or failure is. But that will come with time, just like anything else. That’s it for today, thanks for reading.

Knowing When to “Take a Day”

Live to Fight Another Day

The title is not a dead giveaway today so let me get right to the point. If you are currently following a specific training routine and are feeling very fatigued, sore, or tired. Almost to the point of you might accidentally injure yourself if you continue on, please utilize some wisdom and take an extra day to let your body heal. For example, I had a client today mention that he was supposed to be performing a 5×5 routine on his standing military press, but his shoulders are sore and he is still “feeling it” from his last training session. Feeling it, meaning he still feels sore and tight in those areas. So I advised him to skip out on the 5×5 for the day and lighten the weight up and perform 3 relatively easy sets of 10 reps. Gets the blood flowing to the area and will set him up for better recovery going into his next workout. After explaining this I finished my discussion with “live to fight another day”, which was the easiest way to look at it. Occasionally, you have to be able to listen to your body. I commend all of you out there that have the discipline to follow your routine to the letter, but you need to be able to identify when it may be a good time to throw in an easier session, to ensure you do not over do it and accidentally cause an injury. With more time and experience in the gym you will learn your bodies’ own limits and how much you can push on. In my opinion understanding this concept is almost as important as having the initial drive to get results in the first place. I can not tell you how many people I know that have been all in initially on their new program they started, and then 5 weeks into it strain a muscle that sets them back a few weeks. So when they do come back it is like starting from day one again. So remember, if you know you are not 100%, there is nothing wrong with living to fight another day.

deadlift split routine

Should You Take A Rest Day?

How Necessary Are They?

Going to the gym for a lot of us is more than just a task we do to hopefully help get us in shape. Personally, the gym is a way for me to stay connected to certain friends, and is also a phenomenal natural stress relief. But occasionally, it can be beneficial to take a day to re-charge your batteries and let your body have a day to relax. Going to the gym too often can potentially lead to over training, taking us to a point of diminishing returns, especially if you end up hurting yourself. Sometimes less can be more in this case. A few key indicators to pay attention to to notice if you need a day of rest are the following.

Your Grip is Weak- This one is easy and self explanatory. You may feel okay energy wise going in the gym, but when you go to pick up a given weight you normally use the weight feels like it is much heavier than normal. This is a sign you may want to just go do a simple walk on the treadmill and call it a day. Take the day and relax, get a good night’s sleep and get back at it tomorrow.

Your Joints are Talking to You- This indicator is more for the endurance athlete like a runner, or at least more common with runners anyway. Nagging, or achy joints can be a clear sign that you need to take an extra day to rest and recover. Ice down those nagging joints and take it easy for a day.

Energy Levels are low, even after a good night’s sleep- Have you ever slept a good 8 hours only to wake up feeling like someone ran you over with their car? Then as you start your day the initial brain fog you have never seems to dissipate? Yeah me too. I think we can all relate to these days a bit, considering in today’s modern world we are on the go constantly. Sometimes, just a good night’s sleep isn’t enough to recharge our batteries. Giving yourself that extra rest day can be all you need to come out fresh the next day, feeling good, and performing much better in the gym.

Listen to Your Body- One important piece to this topic I want to make sure I stress is paying attention to your body. Only you know how you feel, and you know exactly what I mean. If you are truly feeling weak, or are in real pain do not force yourself into a gym session that may end up leading to injury. But, on the flip side do not use these indicators as excuses either! Remember my post/rant about not “feeling it”. More often than not I will have clients telling me they are having an issue with their knee, or elbow, or they barely slept last night, whatever the excuse may be…..Yet they never called me upfront to let me know, they wait until we are about to begin to say something like this. Why? Because they truly know that they are fine and just don’t “FEEL” like putting in the kind of work today necessary to make change. So in a case like this, you just need to suck it up and get ready to work.

 

Image result for fitness images

 

 

 

Temporary Post Workout Fasting Beneficial?

Here is an extremely interesting topic for many different types of athletes and fitness minded folks out there. So let us discuss.

The Method Behind The Madness

The big idea behind post workout fasting has to do with the following. When you train with heavy weights, attempting to build muscle your body will naturally release growth hormone for a few hours after training. This has a number of benefits from enhanced fat loss, faster recovery from exercise, and muscle growth. The problem is, conventional wisdom has had lifters taking carbohydrates and protein post workout for years, but the issue with this is taking in the carbohydrates post training will actually blunt growth hormone and testosterone post workout, which could actually diminish gains in the long run. So if you are a lifter attempting to get the most bang for your buck from your training it would make logical sense to not immediately take in a meal or protein shake, but to wait a few hours to allow your bodies natural hormones to maximize. The only supplement you may want to take in after a weight training session would be a BCAA supplement with Glutamine to help you take in some essential amino acids post workout, further assisting the recovery process and aiding those hormone levels as well. BCAA’s are rich in Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. These along with Glutamine will help keep cortisol levels reduced, which is the key to keeping Growth Hormone levels up, along with testosterone.

 

 

Why you need to deadlift

Do you even deadlift?

For those of you that are new to working out you may not even be familiar with this exercise, but the vast majority of folks know at least vaguely what a deadlift is. It is that move where you pick the bar up off the ground and set it back down. Simple enough right? Not so much. Form and technique are extremely important with this move so it may take some time to get your form down, but once you do, this exercise is the best hands down for a total body workout.

Every Major Muscle Group

The deadlift literally hits every major muscle group. From your legs, glutes, hips, entire back, and core. This is why it is also the most taxing on your body. One time a week is more than enough for using this move in your routine if you are an average gym goer. Some top powerlifters will deadlift 2-3 times per week, but they are only using maybe 70% of what they could really do and focusing more on technique only, while one of those workouts are actually at a training weight that is more suitable to building strength or building muscle.

Form Check

The proper form on a deadlift varies depending on which coach or guru you talk to, so I will give a basic definition of what your form should look like and give an image below that shows good technique.

For starters…Do not lift in shoes with a heel what so ever. This will naturally pitch you forward when you get in the ready position to pull. Either lift in bare feet or in something like a chuck taylor or reebok crossfit shoe.

Feet

From here step up to the barbell. Your feet should be far enough under the barbell to where it looks like the barbell would cut your foot in half if it were to keep going toward the floor. This is considered the best position to be in so you get the best and most balanced push from the floor. Your feet should be about a foot apart, maybe slightly wider if you are a bigger guy, or someone with large hips. Once your feet width is figured out, your toes should be pointed slightly outward to help incorporate more glute and hamstring muscles into the workout.

Hands

Now that your feet are in the correct position reach down and grab the barbell with both hands. Make sure your hands are at about a shoulders width and are not too wide. This will change your starting position and make the exercise even more difficult than it should be. For your grip I would start out with a hand over hand grip. Where both hands are over the bar. This will be shown in the image below.

Knees and Chest

Now that your feet and hands are in the right position bend your knees and raise you chest a bit. When you do this you should feel tight. This means you are just about ready to pull. Last thing to mention is your head position. When you lift your chest DO NOT raise your head up high as well. This will put you in a bad position to start your deadlift. Your head should be in a neutral position, meaning when you get into position your eyes should be looking at the ground about 12-15 feet in front of you, not looking at the floor, or looking up, just ahead of you 12-15 feet.

Pull! Wait…Push!

Now that you are in the right position you are ready to pull. But here is the number one thing to remember. A deadlift really isn’t a pull as much as it is a push with your feet. Yes you are pulling the weight off the floor, but pretending to push your feet through the floor will give you the best possible strength out of the starting position. The deadlift requires that hard push off the floor and then the back takes over on the mid range to lockout position. Check out the video tutorial below. This will walk you through what we just discussed above to give you a good visual of how to perform the movement. If you haven’t already I highly recommend adding the deadlift into your weekly routine. Not only will you get stronger but your physique will tighten up as well. Give them a shot!

 

Weight Training For Beginners

Where to Start

For someone just really breaking into weight training for the first time it can be overwhelming to say the least. You walk into a gym full of all walks of life, staring at you like you are the new kid in school. And the best part is, after about 10 minutes they realize you have no idea what you are doing. Sounds inviting right? Wrong, in fact these last few sentences are the reason most people never step foot in the gym and take control of their health. So this being said, having a solid plan put together before you blindly walk into the gym will help you get way ahead of the game compared to most.

Try This

Taking into consideration that you haven’t really ever exercised with weights I think the easiest way to get started would be to break down your workouts into a 2 day split. One day upper body, followed by a day of lower body. This way it makes the exercises you do easy to categorize. This 2 day split can be performed twice in a week. Monday and Thursday can be upper body, and Tuesday and Friday can be lower body. Then take Saturday and Sunday off for recovery. Also by flip flopping the days between upper and lower it allows you to recovery well between sessions. This can be done week to week for a long time before you would really need to switch anything up.

The Details

From here you need to put together a program for each day. For a beginner I would recommend doing moves that involve MORE than one muscle group. These types of moves are called compound movements such as the bench press, military press, or bent over rows. These moves will give you the best overall bang for your buck results wise. In fact, a great program for beginners that involves compound movements is the 5,3,1 program. For a great explanation and breakdown of the program check out the creator, Jim Wendler’s website. There is a lot of content out there written on this so I would highly recommend it. For a detailed exercise routine I myself can always lend a hand so if you would like any help with putting together your own customized routine feel free to contact us and I will help you as well. A custom routine would really focus more on the intricacies of your own personal goals. For example, say you were a former athlete and wanted to keep your legs strong and in good shape, well you would be doing a completely different routine from someone training to get a 400+lb bench press. So remember different goals will require a different focus. Nutrition Fx weight training

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