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Exercise

Cardio Secrets to Reduce Body Fat

We probably all know that cardio helps reduce body fat, but what type(s) work best? How can you avoid wasting away lean muscle mass? Below, I’ll reveal some of the answers to these questions and provide you with cardio secrets to reduce body fat. 

Secret #1 HIIT it UP!
What is HIIT?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) (pronounced “hit”) sounds technical, but it doesn’t have to be. If you add HIIT to your workout program, it can help you reduce body fat faster and hold on to more lean muscle than regular cardio. Simply stated, HIIT involves 3 steps:

(1) Briefly perform exercise at a high intensity.

(2) Briefly exercise at a low intensity or rest.

(3) Repeat several times.

The term “interval” is used because periods of high-intensity exercise are separated by intervals of low-intensity exercise or rest. The latter is sometimes called the “recovery” period. Think of how little kids sometimes play. They dart across the grass at full speed. Then they slow down to a walk. Then they dart off again in another direction. And so on. They’re doing HIIT, and they don’t even realize it! The rules of HIIT are pretty flexible. The high-intensity period may last anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds. The recovery period may last the same amount of time.

1 Min Box Jump HIIT Interval
1 Min Box Jump HIIT Interval

HIIT vs. LISSC?

The opposite of HIIT is sometimes called “low intensity steady state cardio” (LISSC). If you walk for an hour at a steady pace on the treadmill, for instance, you are doing LISSC. Some doctors still prescribe LISSC for fat reduction. However, an increasing number are now telling their patients to “HIIT it up” instead. Why? Clinical studies provide compelling evidence that you can reduce body fat faster with HIIT than you can with LISSC. This is true even when you burn more calories during LISSC. In one study, subjects who performed LISSC for several weeks didn’t lose any fat, whereas those who performed HIIT did. This occurred despite the fact that those who performed LISSC burned 15,000 more calories than subjects in the HIIT group. Patient compliance may be higher with HIIT, possibly because it isn’t as boring as LISSC. The number-one excuse often made for not exercising enough is “I don’t have time.” HIIT workouts are much shorter than LISSC workouts. No more excuses! HIIT is associated with improved cardiovascular and metabolic function in people who are currently healthy as well as “at risk” patients. HIIT reduces both subcutaneous (“under the skin”) and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is the fat that you can see on your body. Visceral fat is stored deep inside your body, around organs. It has been linked to diseases such as diabetes. Because your muscles have to work harder during HIIT, it can do a better job of preserving lean muscle than LISSC. Too much LISSC can cause lean muscle to atrophy (aka, shrink).

“How can HIIT help me lose fat faster, even if I burn more calories during LISSC?”

Good question. Scientists are still trying to figure this out. Several factors may be involved. For instance, HIIT workouts may boost your metabolism in the hours or days that follow. Also, there is some evidence that HIIT may suppress appetite. HIIT isn’t a miracle maker. Keep in mind that the HIIT protocols used in clinical studies have often been pretty exhausting, more intense than you would likely do yourself. Also, individual results can vary, as is the case for any form of exercise.

Secret #2: Record it! Whether it’s HIIT or regular cardio, if you want to reduce body fat as quickly as possible, then you need to record your workout accomplishments. Doing so will help you ensure that they are progressive, i.e., your body is challenged to work harder during each workout. Make it easy for yourself! Duration and calories expended are two of the simplest things to record, and most modern cardio equipment displays both of them. During your next workout, try to burn more calories in the same amount of time. Or, try to burn the same amount of calories in less time. Record your accomplishments and try to beat them at the workout that follows.

Secret #3: Keep it fresh! It happens to the best of us: We start using a piece of cardio equipment, we become comfortable with it, and then we continue to use it, over and over and over again. Keep it fresh! Change your choice of cardio weekly, if not more often. This will make your workouts more fresh, fun and challenging. Changing things up may also help you avoid repetitive strain injuries. A well-equipped gym should have multiple pieces of cardio equipment to choose from: treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, Stairclimber, Stepmill, Kick Boxing Bags, etc. Use them all. Don’t limit yourself.

Secret #4: Try these sample workouts! There are a ton of HIIT workouts on the Web. Below is just a small collection that you can use to get started.

Stationary cycle: You can use this basic HIIT workout on a regular cycle or a spinning cycle. Warm-up: 5 minutes at low intensity. High-intensity spinning: 1 minute. Low-intensity spinning: 1 minute. Repeat 8 times. Cool-down: 5 minutes with gradually decreasing intensity.

Stepmill workout #1: Level 5: 2 minutes. Level 12: 2 minutes. Repeat 8 times.

Stepmill workout #2: Level 8: 3 minutes. Level 10: 1 minute. Level 12: 1 minute. Level 16: 1 minute (or as long as you can). Go back to Level 8 and repeat. Beginners can skip Level 16.

Secret #5: Don’t overdo it. HIIT is intense. Start by doing it once a week. Increase it to twice a week as your stamina improves, and depending on your goals, up to three times a week. If you are doing both your weight workout and cardio in the same session, do weights first. If you find it difficult to recover, try doing cardio and weights on separate days. This may allow for better recovery and help you retain more lean muscle as you drop body fat.

There you have it!  Several secrets to make your cardio days work more for you, especially after you’re done working out. Have you tried this type of training before? If yes, then definitely tell me about your favorite HIIT workouts. I always like switching things up for myself and my clients. If not, go ahead, step out of your comfort zone and try the recommended workout(s) and let me know if you like them. 🙂

Stay Strong, Amber

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Exercise

GOING BAREFOOT

The cool thing about humans is that even though we can do long division, think about our place in the universe, program a week’s worth of meals, solve complex problems using logic, and perform other tasks indicative of high intelligence, we also retain the ability to perform hundreds of essential calculations on the subconscious level. For example, we don’t have to tell our pancreas to secrete enough insulin to deal with that food we just ate because the pancreas just does it without telling us. We generally don’t have to remind ourselves to breath. And, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to think about not rolling our ankles or tripping over our own feet. We should be able to glide gracefully across the ground.

Shoes get in the way, though. Think about it: we spend most of the day connected to the ground via our feet. Our feet, by virtue of their direct connection to the ground, tell our nervous systems what’s going on, where we’re going, what we’re standing on, how stable the ground is, how sharp and potentially injurious these rocks are, and so on. When you cover your feet with rubber, you’re covering up one of the most sensitive, nerve-dense areas of our bodies and giving up a lot of spatial awareness in the process. You’re basically blindfolding yourself.

The increased proprioceptive awareness gained while walking, running, hiking, etc. in a barefoot state generally carries over to the shoed state. What this means is that by occasionally acting like a dirty hippie on your time off , you can improve your overall awareness of how your entire body interacts with space-time–even when wearing weight lifting shoes. This will have huge implications for your lifting and overall athletic performance.

Don’t worry. This is not a plea for barefooted Olympic lifting. I don’t expect to see any Vibrams on the medal stand anytime soon. This is just a recommendation that folks spend more time without shoes, preferably moving around on natural ground, in order to improve their overall proprioceptive awareness, an awareness that will carry over to everything else you do.

Now, get out, explore and connect with the earth! In good health, xxxx, Amber

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Exercise

How to get STRONGER with AGE….

I have to be honest with you.

I am an aging athlete.

And regardless of how “old” you are, you’re aging as well.

Most days I don’t feel old. In fact, in a lot of ways I feel every bit as good as I did 10 years ago, maybe even better.

Other than the very very rare hangover that lasts for 3 days instead of 3 hours, life is pretty darn good for me.

But I get all these subtle reminders that I’m not 20 or 25 years old any more.

Weekends consist of working on projects around the house or on my businesses, spending time with my friends, or simply trying to rest and relax a bit.

I own two businesses that keep me incredibly busy, plus work at a local gym part time too.

And I simply don’t have as much time to train nowadays as I did back then.

Does this mean I shut it down?

Throw in the towel?

Take up knitting, coupon cutting or coin collecting?

Absolutely not – but it has definitely made me take note of where I’m at in life, and come up with workarounds for any perceived limitations in my training.

If you find yourself in that weird time of life when you still love training, but either you don’t have as much time, or your body is starting a slow revolt against your torrid love affair, then this article may be for you.

Below are some of my big ticket items to keep your training on track and for years to come.

BE REALISTIC ABOUT TRAINING TIME

As you get older, other things get in the way of your once precious training time.

The biggest thing to note is you probably don’t have 2-3 hours to train any more. Once faced with this realization you have two choices:

  1. Keep shooting for that “perfect workout,” only to end up frustrated and pissed off, or
  2. Come to grips with this fact of life, adapt and overcome.

Here are my quick tips to help get through your workouts faster, or at the very least, make them more time efficient.

Cut Your Rest Periods

Coming from a weightlifting/bodybuilding background, it wasn’t a stretch for my warm-up and ensuing squat and/or deadlift session to take up to 1.5 hours.

And while that’s probably the “optimal” prescription (taking 4-6 minutes of rest in between sets), it just doesn’t always work in the real world when you’re pressed for time.

In this case, try working on 1-2-3 minutes rest instead of going for full neural recovery. It’s not perfect, but its’ better than nothing. I try to get in  and out of the gym within 1 hour these days. As long as my interruptions are nil, I’m able to accomplish this.

Get The 80% Done

Far too often we get caught up in the training minutiae and forget to focus on the big picture.

I like to use the following analogy:

Imagine you only have 15 minutes to train. Are you going to spend that time squatting? Or doing biceps curls?

I think you know the right answer. And, if you’re really pressed for time, go in and crush your warm-up, do your big lift for the day, and go home.

Use More Circuits or Superset Training

When I was younger, I never used supersets or circuits in my personal programming, but they’re a necessary evil at this point in time, and can be more fun.

And lucky you, there are tons of options based on how much time you have available, and what your current training goal(s) include.

Here are just a few ways to use supersets and circuits to get through a workout faster:

  • Use push/pull supersets on upper body days. Do this with all your big lifts, and even for direct arm training.
  • On lower body days, hit your main exercise (squat, deadlift, etc.) and then perform all your assistance work in either a superset or circuit fashion.
  • Perform the entire workout as a superset (this works best with smaller lifts and exercises).

Hit 1 or 2 BIG Workouts a Week

Often you’ll have one or two days of the week where you have more time than usual to workout. Maybe it’s a weekend day, or you have a day off during the week when you have more time to train.

This is the opportune time to crush a big workout.

This past summer I was as busy as I’d ever been. The best times for me to train were on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

I could only squeeze in a 40-50 minutes workout on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but on Wednesday mornings I’d have 1.5 hours to train. This was my “big” lower body workout and I’d try to get some serious volume in on front or back squats and deadlifts.

This way even if I only got in single-leg and accessory/supplemental work the rest of the week, I still had that big workout to lean back on.

The only rule to this workout is to make sure you’re hitting a ton of big, compound movements. You can pump, sculpt, tone and blastify those little movements any other day of the week, but not on your BIG day!

Even if the rest of your training week is lower in volume and intensity, you can still see some great progress by pushing yourself on that one workout.

This first portion of this focused on damage control and how to work within a training session. Next, let’s look more at the big picture, including ways to get more miles out of your body.

MIX UP YOUR TRAINING

As we get older, our body doesn’t tolerate/handle stress as well as it did in the past.

While we can blunt a lot of these effects via smart recovery (covered next), we can also get smarter about how we’re training.

If you personally know me and how I train, you know I’ve evolved from a full-blown excessive-compulsive, cardio queen (whose body and joints hurt all the time) and a bodybuilder style of training, into someone who rotates my training emphasis throughout the year. Basically, changing my training with the 4 seasons.

Here’s a very loose representation of how I do this:

  1. Corrective/Movement Focus/Rehab (3-4 month block); typically winter
  2. Strength Focus (3-4 month block)- spring
  3. Metabolic Conditioning/HIIT Training/Sprints/Power, (3 month block)-summer
  4. Transformation/Bodybuilding Focus (3-4 month block)-fall

If your goals are more performance based, you could rotate emphases like this:

  1. Movement/Foundation Phase (4 months)
  2. Strength Phase (4 months)
  3. Athletic Phase (4 months)

The second example is more where my training is going at this point in time. If I break it down appropriately, I can spend the first training block re-building and improving upon my movement foundation.

The second block I can take that awesome movement foundation, and throw a serious dose of strength on top. This would be the ideal time to push big lifts like the squat, bench press, deadlift and overhead press.

Sled Push 240lb
Sled Push 240lb

From there, if you’re feeling frisky take that strength and convert it to power, and eventually to power endurance. Just imagine how much ass you’d kick in the rec volleyball tournament training if you’d actually trained like an athlete for the previous year!

And if the joints are feeling beat-up coming off the strength phase, switch it up and do 3-4 months of higher repetition bodybuilding work.

The point I’m getting at here is this:

Instead of pounding your head against the proverbial training wall of one physical quality (i.e. strength, endurance, etc.) consider rotating emphases throughout the year.

The people that I work with who are the most beat-up share (at least) two qualities:

  1. The focus almost solely on one physical quality of training (at the expense of others), and
  2. They do little, if nothing, to make their training more general and preventative in nature.

Please, don’t be one of those people!

Now that we’ve covered training, let’s talk about the little discussed aspect of improved training at all ages: Recovery.

GET SMARTER ABOUT YOUR TRAINING WITH RECOVERY WORK

I hate to break it to you, but you’re not the spring chicken you once were.

But you can offset a lot of the aging related process by simply getting smarter about your recovery, and being more precise as to when you push your body.

Here are just a few things I like to focus on with my athletes, clients and myself.

Get More Sleep!!!

I cannot stress this enough! Sleep is a hot topic with me for 2 reasons:

  1. There’s a ton of new information coming out lately about sleep, sleep debt, it’s impact on the body, etc.; and
  2. With working non stop to build 2 new businesses, there’s no way I’m getting enough sleep these days.

I read somewhere that the average American sleeps approximately 6.5 hours per night, and that that average has dropped significantly over the past decade or two.

I make it a goal to sleep at minimum 7 hours per night, but I also know that if I’m getting 8-9 (instead of 7) my training, mood, work and life in general are significantly better.

One other ninja tactic with regards to sleep and training: If you work a strange or irregular schedule, do your best to plan key training sessions around the time(s) when you’ll get the most rest.

Don’t Forget about Mobility Work, Foam Rolling and Stretching (both active and passively)

“What got you here, won’t get you there.”

I love when someone meets me for a consult or assessment and brags about how little stretching, mobility work, and foam rolling they do.

Yet strangely enough, they’re standing in front of me because they can’t train or compete at the level they’d like because they’re injured!

As we get older, we have to get smarter and more diligent about recovery. We can’t just sleep more – we have to do all the little things that we probably ignored in the past.

DSCN0745

Here’s what I recommend:

If you’re in your 20’s, you can probably get away with (at minimum) stretching/foam rolling twice per week in the evening. If you’re in your 30′s, you should get at least three recovery sessions in per week.

And as you can imagine in your 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, the amount of time you need to spend on recovery goes up drastically.

It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it works well for a lot of the clients and athletes I work with.

Get smarter about recovery, and I guarantee your performance goes up as well.

SUMMARY

You, me, and everyone around us is getting older.

It’s one of those things in life we really can’t change.

But by getting smarter about how we train and recover from our workouts, we can continue to see positive changes in our strength, physique and athleticism for years to come.

Use one (or all!) of the tips provided above, and let me know how they work for you.

Live long, eat real food, sleep more and train hard my friends! XXXX, Amber

 

 

 

 

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Exercise

My Coaching Approach to Getting You Results

Over the years, I’ve fine-tuned my coaching approach toward my clients, based on constant research and a desire to go beyond mainstream advice and delve deeper into fitness and nutrition. I personally don’t really have this amazing success story, as far as I didn’t lose 100 pounds to get the way I am now. I just simply wanted answers. My research has led me to where I am today and also provided an effective and health-based philosophy. Here’s what I have to say about my approach and getting results:

At the end of the day, we all should be trying to get as healthy as you possibly can. That’s the only thing that’s ever going to make sense, regardless of your goal. If your goal is just to look really good in a bikini, and that’s the only goal you have and that’s as deep as you ever intend to get with it, it doesn’t matter if you don’t pass through health. Any results you get will only be temporary.

The success of my approach is based on a variety of factors that all work together. I never and have never separated the concepts of exercise and nutrition and sleep and stress. Those are all components of creating a healthy human. To pretend that one of them is more important than all the others and can be your saving grace all by itself is ridiculous.

So that sounds great in principle, but people always wondered how I actually achieve this success with clients. Here are two things that I help clients with in order to attain remarkable results:

Nutrition:

Although I encourage a holistic approach to fitness, at the same time nutrition is a cornerstone for my clients. The results that you see here are at least eighty percent nutrition. If you think you’re gonna be able to come here and out-train bad nutrition, you’re going to have to rethink that.

However, I don’t simply tell people what to eat and what not to eat. I also offer nutrition classes that are free and open not only to gym members but also the public. I do this because I want people to come and learn and bring their friends and family, those people they need on board in order to change.

Strength Bias:

In terms of physical conditioning, I believe the most important factors are strength, walking, and mobility. Metabolic conditioning – a mix of HIIT and sprint training – is the icing on the cake. First and foremost is gaining strength and re-gaining mobility.

This approach has produced some impressive numbers, particularly for the ladies. Seventy percent of the women in the gym deadlift over 200 pounds, and I can think of at least two female clients over 52 who can do a strict pull up. This is the stuff that gets me out of bed in the morning…Getting someone fit for the first time in their life at 52 years old.

Thanks for reading. This is what I do, now, what do you do to find the motivation to get what you want?
T

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Exercise

Today’s Training Tip

Today’s Training Tip – Measuring Your Progress:
If you’re really interested in measuring progress, make sure to do it on various levels (not just the scale). Keep track of your body fat pinches and or circumference measurements. Keep track of your training intensity and PR’s. Keep track of your energy levels, moods, food choices, sleep patterns, self confidence. The scale is one “measurement” out of so many. We are not defined by the scale but what we do, how we feel and how we treat others.

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Exercise

Why should workouts be based more on rest?

Rest and exercise are usually thought of as opposites, but they are actually complimentary and dependent upon one another. Just as night can only be defined in the context of day, exercise and rest are similarly connected. Rest is the single biggest determinant of exercise intensity. Without intense workouts, fitness results will be lacking and without rest, intensity will be compromised.

Think about it this way: a champion sprinter who attempts two 100-yard dashes immediately back to back with no rest will see a serious drop in stamina during the second race. The intensity generated in the first run would severely impede the performance of the second. With no rest between races, the sprinter could not physically or mentally muster the same effort. Resting between the two races is required to reset the body. Only with rest would the sprinter be able to push his body to its max for a second time.

The above scenario illustrates the concept of rest-based exercise. By focusing attention on rest during training, it is possible to reset both mental and physical capacity to achieve more than would be possible without it. A Rest-based workout is a new training philosophy developed by Dr. Jade and Dr. Keoni Teta, both NDs and CSCS ad founders of Metabolic Effect. It preaches that rest in a workout is not only a good thing, but should be the primary goal of any training program focused on delivering real results.

The more you rest, the harder you will push. The harder you push, the more you will have to rest. Rest and work in exercise are dependent upon one another and together deliver far better results than can be achieved with pacing.

The language I like to use is push until you cant, rest until you can. Some people take lots of shorter rests, while others prefer longer periods of rest. With rest-based training you use rest strategically to generate just the right intensity for your individual metabolic needs.

Push hard, rest hard and then do it again. Thats how you achieve the metabolic responses we want in our body to create a flurry of hormones which burn fat and build muscle.

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Exercise

Foam Rolling Basics

Foam Rolling – The Basics

So… you may have seen people at your gym rolling around on a strange looking foam roller. You may wonder what the purpose of foam rolling is, and if you should be using it.

What is a foam roller?
 A foam cylinder, approximately 6 inches in diameter. They vary in length and density.

Why foam roll? 1) provide self massage; 2) break up adhesions in the muscle and/or fascia and 3) increases blood flow to these areas. This helps you recover faster from workouts and keep your muscles ready to train.

How to foam roll? 3 methods to foam rolling – 1) trigger point (tight, painful spot) and just apply pressure there or 2) small lateral movements against the muscle direction, or 3) roll along the muscle (like the sweeping strokes of a massage therapist). Or a combination of the above.

How often? 10-20 min, 5-6x a week or daily, before and/or right after a workout if possible.

Some cautions: foam rolling might be painful on chronic tight spots, but listen to your body as it shouldn’t feel like injury pain. DON’T roll over joints or injured tissue

Basic Muscle Foam rolling: Quads/hamstrings/calves/feet/glutes/IT Band/adductors Lats/rhomboids/chest (lying horizontally)/anterior deltoid

Hope this information helps you feel more comfortable approaching the foam roller in your gym. Start by sitting on it, then slowly begin to roll around on it. Enjoy and keep that face relaxed when you roll over those hot spots. 😉 xxx, Amber

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Exercise

Life Stressors May Be Holding Back Your Training

This post will give you a better understanding of how life stressors may be holding back your training, as well as strategies to manage them more effectively.

Enjoy! 😉 xxx, Amber

—————

“I’m tired.”

“I’m overtrained.”

“I have no energy.”

“I ate like crap the other day.”

“I had a long day at work.”

“I feel fat.”

“My genetics suck.”

I remember my last year of College taking 4 classes, doing an internship, working 32 hours a week, homework, projects, and training.

MY LAWD I was extremely busy, and evidently, this led to mental stress.

I started to say things like the statements above, and the mental stress started to affect my training and that was a huge, huge DEAL-E-O.

Im writing this because I feel too many people overlook the component of life stressors when it comes to getting optimal results.

These days, everyone wants to know the magical programming design to build muscle, hidden gems to fat loss, the gold standard macronutrient ratio for their nutrition program, perfect supplementation stack, and then some.

What we all tend to forget is that life stressors that we deal with on a day-to-day basis, lead to mental stress, which have been proven in studies to lead to performance decrements in training.

You can have the “perfect training and nutrition program,” but what if your sleep is always lacking?

Your cortisol levels are chronically elevated through the roof?

Your blood pressure is constantly sky rocketing?

Or your energy levels are sinking like a ship?

The “perfect program” will suffer because of these life stressors and so will your results.

I don’t want you to look at this in a superficial way or a black and white answer type of thing. Im asking you to think critically here and come up with your own opinions.

The truth is we all have life stressors and some we can’t get rid of, but we sure can control them so our training doesn’t suffer.

I want you to look at these life stressors more as how they could become a big problem if they become chronic in your life and you don’t find a way to cope with them.

And with that being said, let’s look at my Top 5!

Stressor #1- Occupational Stress

Corporate world 9-5’s, commuting, being micro managed, meeting project deadlines, driving in revenue, working your ass off to get promoted, wanting to round house your boss because they’re always nagging at you, etc..

Does all this sound stressful?

While stress can have detrimental effects, evidence suggests that stress plays an essential role in developing a healthy body that is able to cope with the various demands thrown our way on a daily basis.

It is very likely that you’re getting off work, going straight to the gym, and have experienced some kind of occupational stress which could affect your performance when you’re training.

The Occupational Stress Fix

While going through your warm up phase, put on your “GET FIRED UP” playlist, think positive about your upcoming workout, and imagine how you’re going to man handle that squat.

If you shift your mindset away from work mode, you will be more immersed into your workout and thus you will have a more effective training session.

Stressor #2- Social Stress

Social stress can be as tough as occupational stress, if not tougher.

The reason being, you can have the best job in the world, fanciest car, and a house that MTV would feature on “Cribs,” but if you don’t have a social life, or aren’t socially accepted, then everything else means Jack.

Everyone wants to be socially accepted whether they admit it or not.

Social stress can also be family issues or changes, relationship issues, and sexuality issues. Social stress can lead to mental stress, anxiety, depression, decrease cognitive function, among other decrements. So it’s imperative that you exercise at a high performance level so these stressors won’t affect your training.

The Social Stressor Fix

If you’re dealing with a lot of social stress try joining a team or taking a group class like a fitness bootcamp, TRX, Pilates, yoga, CrossFit, etc.

The environments in these group classes are very supportive and encouraging. There’s a lot of camaraderie built and this could be a sure way to help you cope with and improve your social stress.

Stressor #3- The Mind-Body Connection

A quote that really sticks with us is by Dr. Layne Norton:

“Your mentality becomes your reality.”

If you’re inherently negative and constantly think about negative outcomes, then you’re most likely going to face negative results.

The same thing goes for being inherently positive.

There are hundreds of studies showing again and again that decrements to health due to the mind body connection are real problems. Mental stress is related to an increase in various potentially harmful chemicals substances such as:

  • Cortisol which degrades proteins, including white blood cells,
  • Antibodies, resulting in a decrease in immune function, and consequently,
  • An elevated rates of sickness.

This also leads to cerebration (thoughts), which is one reason why people that are stressed often have sleeping disorders and it’s because they’re up worrying all night.

The Mind-Body Connection Stressor Fix

The minute you step foot into the gym, make sure to get your mind right.

Do this by playing some good-up beat music (so good that you want to show off your dance moves), get a good warm up in, and get pumped up for your workout.

Who knows, you could have had a hell of a day at work, with the spouse, the kids, the babies mama or daddy.

Play it safe and set the positive mood for a more productive workout.

Don’t bring that energy draining negative vibe into the gym and definitely don’t be that person in the gym walking around giving everyone dirty looks. YOU AREN’T THAT TOUGH!

Stressor #4- Stress Disorders

Stress is not always a bad thing.In fact, stress is absolutely needed for growth.

However, the real problems occur with abnormal and chronic stress responses.

For instance, some people might typically operate in a persistently hectic environment. These environments contribute to alarming numbers of mental ailments including 16 and 32 million cases of depression and anxiety.

These same people will often make excuses to avoid physical activity. This is when stress can cause serious ailments and diseases.

If you don’t utilize the nutrients and energy being supplied by your body during the high stress responses, several diseases can occur such as:

  • Diabetes,
  • Obesity,
  • Immune suppression,
  • Cancer,
  • Asthma,
  • Allergies,
  • Indigestion, and
  • Cardiovascular disease.

Now of course these are somewhat extreme examples, but stress definitely plays a role in their development.

And if that isn’t enough to convince you, consider the fact that fat loss, sports performance, and even hypertrophy could be hampered by a chronically elevated stress response.

The Stress Disorder Fix

If you typically operate in a persistently hectic-daily environment and are always under high stress, consider hiring a personal trainer or fitness coach.

A qualified trainer or coach can take a lot of the guess work out of your training and nutrition program, and make your fitness life a lot easier.

Stressor #5- Nutritional Stress

Nutritional factors can be closely related to stress disorders and can become serious problems if you don’t monitor them.

If you don’t have a degree in biochemistry, it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed with information online. Or worse, you could be learning from under-qualified local gurus telling you to eat nothing but tilapia and broccoli “because it’ll thin out your skin.”

Poor nutrition (or nutritional counseling) could  lead to frustration and depression, or even eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, etc.

The Nutritional Stress Fix

Hire a sports nutritionist, a reputable coach, or a trainer that has a nutrition background.

These professionals will take care of the nutrition side for you, and hopefully educate you along the way. If you’re a real go-getter, you could even take a basic nutrition class or self-educate yourself with the right resources.

Summary

Stressors in life can absolutely affect your training. Even if you have the most optimal training and nutrition programs, your body can still put the kibosh on your progress in seconds flat.

Numerous studies show mental stress can cause decrements in performance and even hinder adaptation moreso than physiological stress.

And while  you can’t remove all the mental stress from your life, you can learn how to cope with it.

Monitor your life stress as seriously as you would your training and nutrition programs. Failure to do so could be the difference between achieving your physique-related goals, and another month (or year) spent spinning your wheels

 

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Exercise

Have you taken the “exercise doesn’t cause fat loss” claim a bit too literally?

It’s true that “eat less, move more” is an overly simplified, ineffective piece of weight loss “advice,” akin to a psychiatrist telling a depressed patient to simply “feel better.” However, that doesn’t make it a downright falsity. Exercise is an essential part of losing unwanted adipose tissue and you can’t ignore it forever and hope to lose the fat you want to lose. I don’t think it’s helpful to look at exercise as a mechanistic obliterator of calories, because that can enable the “I’ll eat this cupcake and then run for twenty minutes on the treadmill” mentality that just doesn’t work. But exercise is a potent enhancer of hormonal function. It can raise testosterone, growth hormone, and improve insulin sensitivity (all of which improve fat loss). It can divert the calories you do eat toward lean muscle and away from body fat. It can divert the carbs you eat toward refilling muscle glycogen. All in all, as long as you don’t overdo things, exercise is an important ally in fat burning and lean mass accumulation

Categories
Exercise

Save Time with SuperSets

So what is a SuperSet? A SuperSets can be defined as:  The act of performing a set of one exercise directly after a set of a different exercise. This has the dual benefit of saving you time in the gym and enhancing fat loss. This tool is great to have in your fitness arsenal.

 

Enhance Fat Loss:

1. Supersets (w/ moderate to heavy weights) will enhance fat loss better than long cardio bouts or standard straight sets because between each exercise you have little to no rest.  This raises heart rate and keeps it elevated throughout the workout. This jumpstarts your metabolism.

 

Saves time:

2. These back to back sets can save time and prevent overtraining as well. Overtraining occurs when you don’t give yourself enough rest and proper nutrition to recover (when workouts are too long, testosterone levels slowly decrease and cortisol levels rise-this is opposite of what you want). Superset training keeps workouts short and places a lot of focus on training a certain area of the body very intensely.

 

HOW TO DO IT: Perform a couple straight sets of chest exercises, like bench press or machine press, then include a superset of dips and push ups at the end. Perform as many supersets back to back as you can, then rest and eat. Avoid doing too many supersets for the same body parts too often. This could lead to overtraining or adaptation.