Tag: training

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

 

 

Our Top 3 Workout Favorites For Fat Loss

Time to Get a Plan Together

Instead of waiting until January 1st to put some half assed plan together, get something ready now that will have you in the best position to get rid of that extra body fat. As I have always told my clients if you do not have a plan you plan to fail, especially if your goal is fat loss. Having a clear vision of what your goal is and knowing exactly what you need to do ahead of time takes out all the guess work and only relies on one thing….Your effort. So here are three of my favorites to include to help you with your fat loss goals for the new year.

Walking– Yes I said it. The most boring but simple thing you can add to any training routine to help get those extra pounds off. Walking can also have many variables to it as well which I like. For example, depending on your fitness level you can add extra 30 minute walking sessions at the end of workouts like an extended cool down, or put up the incline on the tredmill, throw a weighted vest on, and simulate a hike through the woods.

Weighted Carries– This exercise is a total body blaster without a doubt. After a solid weight training session add 5-7 sets of weighted carries. You can do 60 seconds on and 60 seconds rest as one set. If you have never done these before either load up a hex bar or just grab some dumbells and walk from one side of the gym to the other, going back and forth until your 60 seconds expire. Doing this will not only do wonders for dropping body fat but it will also help increase you strength over time as well.

Active Rest Between Sets– What “active rest” is considered between sets is almost like a super set for those that may be familiar. Active rest would be anything done in between your main working sets to keep your heart rate up and the pace of your workout. For example, on a leg day you could throw in hanging leg raises or some type of abdominal exercise in between each set. Or on a shoulder day do light weight lateral raises in between all main sets.

This list is clearly not the end all be all of exercises you can perform to cut fat, I just find these easiest to incorporate into a routine, and also love the walking for keeping it lower impact on the hips and knees. If you have any questions regarding workout routines feel free to contact us below.

fat loss

3 Major Benefits of Lifting Heavy

Why Lift Heavy?

In today’s modern world the majority of gym goers follow a protocol of high repetition sets, thinking the burn, or the pump is the way to achieve the body they want without understanding the true benefits associated with lifting heavy things. Here are just a few that you may not realize.

  1. Strengthening tendons- Not only will you get stronger muscles lifting heavy things you will get stronger tendons. Why is this important you ask? Well, our tendons are responsible for attaching muscles to bones, keeping everything intact. So whether you are an athlete or an average Joe, keeping your tendons healthy is a great benefit for your longevity.
  2. Better Hormonal Response- Lifting heavy in the gym does spark a great reaction in our bodies. What happens is when we lift heavy our bodies’ central nervous system kick starts the process for releasing testosterone and growth hormone, the two most important hormones for building lean muscle and burning body fat. Enough said.
  3. Maintain Healthy Bone Density- As we age our bone density tends to decrease. Lifting heavy weights can help you maintain healthy bone density as you age to help prevent osteoporosis. In fact one of the best exercises for elderly people to do is the deadlift.

Don’t Be Afraid

Most clients I deal with on a daily basis are scared of going heavy because they might hurt themselves. The truth is, as long as you are using proper form, injuries can be minimized and in most cases be eliminated from your training. Of course anyone that exercises knows that at some point in their lifting career they have had injuries, whether minor or major. For more information on how to set up a good strength training program contact us below and I will be happy to help you get started. 

Doing A Winter Bulking Diet? Read This First

WINTER BULK!

Alright, so it is that time of the year when every gym bro decides to do the “winter bulk” phase. Every time I hear these words it’s like nails on a chalkboard because most average gym goers think the definition of a winter bulking is eat as much as possible and lift. WRONG. Doing this will most likely have you putting on way more body fat than you ever planned on getting, and will even make your body more efficient at storing body fat due to the selection of foods you have been eating.

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

When bulking you still need to be giving yourself quality food sources to ensure you are getting enough protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to achieve your desired goals. Unless you have the genetics of a God this is the only true way to keep your physique somewhat together while bulking. Their are some rare cases out there where guys can put on 15-20lb and maintain a good physique, but those are one in a million. So to be sure you are going about things properly, get yourself on a proper meal plan geared toward your fitness goals. Having someone that can break things down and simplify things for you where all you need to do is execute puts you ahead of the curve that the majority of fitness minded people struggle with. In most cases, the average person has the drive and motivation to achieve their goals, the biggest problem I see is their plan is so far off from what they really need, that it’s impossible to get where they want following what they are currently doing. So for this winter season, keep the diet in check and do not use your bulking phase as an excuse to raid the fridge!

bulking, squats, winter bulk

Nfx Contact Form