Monthly Archives: March 2015
Time to Get FocusedTraining for a goal, whether it’s a 500lb deadlift, getting ripped for a photo shoot, or dunking a basketball is a surefire way to increase focus and take your fitness to another level. All of a sudden your trips to the gym go from “Ugh, I guess I’ll get my workout in” to “I need to hit 257 pounds on my bench press today if I’m going to stay on track to nail 315 at the meet.” But achieving a goal doesn’t just happen. You need to take the proper steps first. Namely, setting the goal and putting a plan in place.
Ready, Set, GoalSetting a goal seems like it should be a one step process. Look super-hot in time for my high school reunion or hit a height of 19 feet in the Pole Vaulting Nationals. But if your thought process is to simply skip right to the end game, chances are you’ll never get there. You need to find a connection to the goal and be able to put a plan in place. Here’s how you get that done.
Step 1: Where Do You Want to Go?This is the big picture, blue sky, pot-of-gold-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow that you’ll ultimately be looking to achieve. You can’t be wishy-washy. In fact, you have to be really specific. Goals such as “I want to look better on my wedding day than my bitchy Cousin Janet looked on hers” are way too vague (and, to be honest, a bit messed up). “I want to be 16 percent body fat by my wedding on April 19th.” “I want to lower my triglyceride numbers by 20 percent at my next doctor visit.” “I want to qualify for the regional Judo competition next fall.” These are all great goals as they are specific and measurable. The only caveat is that they do have to fall into the realm of actually being possible and realistic. So don’t make the mistake of setting the goal of becoming the UFC Middleweight Champion before you even have your first fight. Think in terms of smaller steps first that will ultimately lead you to that big goal. This is commonly referred to as “shrinking the change.” Now that you have a specific goal, write it down on a piece of paper, fold it up and place it under the refrigerator. Because once you set it, it’s no longer your focus—figuring out what you have to do to reach your goal is where your head needs to be.
Step 2: What Do You Have to Do to Get There?Winning a Judo tournament or losing seven percent body fat may be specific, achievable goals but there is one problem with them: They are out of your control. You have no say over what your competition may be doing to prepare for that same Judo tournament. Nor do you have control over how your body will react to the new diet and nutrition plan you have put in place in order to drop fat. So rather than getting fixated on the finish line, it’s time to focus on the behaviors that are in your control. Are you going to the gym five times per week? Are you drilling that new takedown technique that your coach showed you? Have you been keeping a food journal and emailing it to your nutritionist for analysis? You can only control whatever is actually in your control. Unfortunately, this is where most people fall down. These behaviors are the true work behind accomplishing your goals and can take a lot of effort without a lot of immediate reward. Going to the gym at 5 a.m. is hard. Resisting Doris-in-Accounting’s “world famous” banana bread every time you pass her desk is challenging. Getting punched in the face during daily sparring is painful. But establishing and repeating these behaviors is what it takes to get you where you want to go. Hey, no one said achieving your goals would be easy.
Step 3: Find an Emotional ConnectionThis is the stuff that will actually get you out of bed when the alarm sounds at 4:30 a.m. and get you sweating over a hot stove preparing meals on Sunday nights. You have to discover the personal significance behind your goals. If you’ve noticed that you are getting out of breath every time you walk up the stairs to go to bed at night,that fear can certainly motivate you to make some changes. If going to the gym and working with a trainer twice a week means you’ll be able to pick up your newborn granddaughter, you better believe you are going to be keeping those appointments. We are stuck in a statistical, pragmatic world that focuses so much on numbers and finish lines (I want to make this much money, I want to weigh this much) that we often lose the connection to why we actually want those things. Find that connection. Having the energy and mobility to play with your grandchild will always carry more value than seeing the scale go down by a few pounds and will get you out of bed instead of hitting snooze.
Step 4: Find the Man With the PlanNow that you know what it is you want to do, the behaviors required to get it done and why it’s important to you, it’s time to establish a plan. Of course, what the plan should be is completely dependent on the individual goal. I cannot emphasize enough how hiring an experienced professional can be invaluable in helping you devise a plan. Great coaches and teachers who have helped others attain similar goals know what it takes to get you where you want to go. Doing the work is hard enough in and of itself. So hire a pro to map out the path, make changes when needed, be a sounding board, and help keep you honest and accountable. It may cost you a bit of money, but the time, effort, and mental energy you’ll save in the long run will be well worth it. Source
- Overall Exercise Frequency: How often and how many times will we do any form of exercise (weight training, cardio, etc.) per week?
- Weight Training Frequency: How often and how many times will we weight train per week?
- Muscle Group/Body Part Frequency: How often and how many times will we train each muscle group or body part per week?
Overall Exercise FrequencySo, the first thing we need to decide on is how many times we will workout per week total. This would include weight training workouts, cardio workouts, whatever. It’s our overall exercise frequency. Now, this is the one that can vary the most because it depends on many factors specific to you and your goal (example: a fat person with the primary goal of losing fat may have 4 cardio workouts per week, while a skinny person with the primary goal of building muscle may do no cardio whatsoever). Because of this, it’s impossible to say exactly how often/how many times everyone should be working out per week total. However, there is 1 general rule I can pretty much definitively set in terms of everyone’s overall exercise frequency. And that rule is: take at least 1 full day off per week from all forms of exercise. That means, AT THE VERY MOST, you should be exercising 6 times per week total (and again, this includes weight training, cardio, and any other form of exercise). I’m setting this rule because I am pretty confident that there is no one reading this that needs to be or would benefit from working out 7 days a week. In fact, I’d say that there are many people reading this who should set their maximum total exercise frequency at between 3-5 times per week depending on their goal. Why? Because it’s not only NOT necessary for reaching your goal… it’s almost always counterproductive.
Weight Training FrequencyWhile too many individual factors come into play for me to get super specific about overall exercise frequency, weight training frequency is the opposite. I can get pretty damn specific here. If it isn’t obvious enough, weight training frequency in this case will refer to how often and how many times we weight train per week. My recommendation is: the majority of the population should weight train 3-4 times per week, and never more than 2 consecutive days in a row. Some people can get away with 5 (although few truly need it), and some people can get by with 2. However, for most of the people, most of the time, you’ll get your best results with either 3 or 4 total weight training workouts per week. This is based on the fact that the majority of the most highly proven and intelligently designed workout programs in existence are all built around doing 3 or 4 weight training workouts per week. The same goes for having no more than 2 weight training workouts on back-to-back days. These recommendations appear to create the sweet spot in terms of allowing for optimal recovery, and when recovery is at its best, your results will be at their best too.
Muscle Group/Body Part FrequencyAnd last but definitely not least, we have muscle group/body part frequency. Out of all the different exercise frequencies, how often and how many times you should train each muscle group or body part per week is by FAR the most discussed, argued, thought about, screwed up, and potentially confusing one of them all. That’s why I think the best way to fully explain it all is by taking a look at the pros and cons of each of the 3 most common muscle group/body part frequencies. Those 3 frequencies are:
- Training each muscle group/body part once per week.
- Training each muscle group/body part twice per week.
- Training each muscle group/body part three times per week.
Honey drains moisture from bacterial cells and also contains hydrogen peroxide, both of which annihilate bacteria. It also may help prevent scars by laying a fresh blueprint for new skin to grow on.Honey Remedy #9. Cuts and scrapes To heal a wound, clean the area, then apply a dollop of honey under a bandage to sterilize and protect the injury from bacterial infection. Manuka honey mends open wounds and may even prevent infections from developing in people who are susceptible to chronic wound infections, according to a 2012 study published in the journal Microbiology. “It’s like nature’s Neosporin,” Dr. Rouhani says. Honey’s antibacterial power results partly from its dense structure, which consists primarily of sugar in various forms, including glucose, sucrose and fructose. This high sugar concentration pulls water out of any micro-organism that lands in it, Dr. Rouhani explains. “It literally sucks bacteria dry.”Source
There’s good news for those of you who wake up to a bowl of cereal every morning, especially if your go-to choice is high in fiber. Hidden in that favorite box may be a prize better than a plastic toy. It just might hold the key to a longer life, according to a new study.No, this study wasn’t done by Snap, Crackle or Pop. Tony the Tiger was not involved in the making of this research. Some scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health have been researching the impact of cereal fiber on diet for years. They found that people who reported in surveys a diet rich in cereal fiber lived longer than those who chose less well in the morning. They had a 19% reduced risk of death, compared to those who ate the least amount of cereal fiber. Crunching the numbers even further, the authors found that high fiber cereal eaters had a 34% lower risk of death from diabetes and a 15% reduced risk of death from cancer. People who ate a lot of whole grains and dietary fiber had a 17% lower risk of all-cause mortality. Cereal fiber, they conclude, is one “potentially protective component” of a really healthy, premature death-preventing diet. The study was published in the latest issue of BMC Medicine. It drew from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study and included more than 566,000 AARP members ageds 50 to 71 from six states and two large cities. It excluded individuals who reported extreme-energy intake, which is common, since scientists believe these survey takers are not totally accurate in what they report. That left them with over 367,000 people. This new study builds on others that have shown that cereal fiber and whole grains have apositive impact on your life if you want to avoid cancers, inflammation and obesity as well. Does that mean that eating a daily bowl of your favorite purple horseshoe marshmallow-sprinkled cereal is doing your body right? Well, don’t court the leprechaun quite yet, dietitians say. Those cereals have sugar among their top ingredients, so dietitians suggest you avoid those. If you want to get the daily serving that these researchers say showed a difference in risk reduction, you need to eat at least 10.22 grams of cereal fiber per day based on a 1,000 kcal daily diet. If you want to get your fill with just one serving of cereal, aim for those that have “fiber” in the title or list at least 10 grams of fiber per serving on the label. Fiber One lists 14g per serving. Kashi GoLean lists 10g. Mini-Wheats lists 8g. If you can’t stand the taste of high-fiber cereals, don’t worry. Other popular cereals such as Cheerios have about 3g of fiber per serving, as do Honey Bunches of Oats. Oatmeal is a good source of fiber too. Whole grains and regular dietary fiber also may help reduce your mortality risks, the study found, and those can be found in a large number of products. Consider oatmeal or a non-high fiber cereal (3 to 5 grams), eat a piece of wheat bread (about 5 grams) or a whole wheat tortilla (about 5 grams). Black beans are a rich source for dietary fiber (19.5 grams). And add even some fruit like apples (a large one has 4.5 grams) or a half a cup of blackberries (4.4 grams) all of that would add up to this ‘higher’ total that may improve your odds of living a longer life. And if you don’t want to spend hours reading labels at the grocery store, dietitian Lori Zanini said she tells her clients this fiber rule of thumb: “No animal product will naturally have this,” Zanini said. “Plants are where you should go to find fiber. It only comes from the cell walls of plants.” Most Americans, she said probably don’t get the amount of cereal fiber or whole grains recommended as advantageous in this study. “But once you consciously seek it out, it does become easier,” Zanini said “And with the wide variety of ways you can get fiber into your diet it isn’t hard, especially if you know it may help your health.” The operative word is “may,” study author Dr. Lu Qi said. Keep in mind the study looks at connections; it doesn’t show causality. To definitively show cereal is the key to long life, the professor at the Harvard medical school and Harvard’s school of public health said, you’d need a clinical trial that would look at this specific issue. That said, Qi personally is a believer in the breakfast food. He said he eats cereal regularly to start his day. Harvard even provides breakfast for free to the faculty. And if it’s good enough for doctors at Harvard, they may just be on to something. Source
- David Guetta, Afrojack & Nicki Minaj – “Hey Mama” – 86 BPM
- Flo Rida, Sage the Gemini & Lookas – “GDFR (K. Theory Remix)” – 73 BPM
- Big Data & Joywave – “Dangerous (Spacebrother’s Electro Stomp Remix)” – 126 BPM
- Fifth Harmony & Kid Ink – “Worth It” – 101 BPM
- Madonna – “Living for Love” – 123 BPM
- Imagine Dragons – “I Bet My Life (Alex Adair Remix)” – 117 BPM
- Bleachers – “Rollercoaster” – 163 BPM
- Maroon 5 – “Sugar” – 121 BPM
- Yellow Claw & Ayden – “Till It Hurts” – 146 BPM
- Penguin Prison – “Calling Out (Elephante Remix)” – 128 BPM
- For heavy loads and max efforts, use the Vasalva maneuver. Val-what? The Valsalva Manuever is a technique that involves taking a deep breath immediately prior to lifting and holding that breath while you lift. Using this method, “You’re creating a lot of intra-abdominal pressure,” Tamir explains. This increase in pressure creates a strong foundation for your body and allows it to handle more weight. Before approaching a max-effort deadlift, for instance, lifters would stand over the bar and prepare for the lift. Right before setting their grip, they would take a deep breath in and hold that air inside the lungs throughout the rep.Wait — holding your breath during exercise? Wouldn’t that be dangerous? Some research has indeed claimed that the increase in pressure caused by the Valsalva maneuver could have negative health implications (increasing risk of stroke for example). However, a comprehensive recap done by Jonathon Sullivan, associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Wayne State University/Detroit Receiving Hospital, explains this risk mainly applies to those with preexisting conditions such as uncontrolled blood pressure or other cerebrovascular issues. As with any piece of health advice, it’s best to check with your doctor prior to getting under the bar just to be safe.
- For sub-maximal loads, use bracing. The term “bracing” was first coined by Dr. Stuart McGill, a leading researcher in spine mechanics. Bracing involves activating all of your core musculature from all angles to create a “superstiffness” of the midsection. This bracing creates stability throughout the entire core and reduces injury risk. For example, while performing a lateral raise, lifters should tighten their midsection as if they were about to be punched in the stomach (actual punch not recommended!). This involves more than just pulling in your abs. Instead, imagine tightening your abominals, lower back, lats and obliques for 360 degrees of tension. Now, hold that throughout the exercise!