Harmonize Fitness
menu
Harmonize Fitness

Exercise

Exercise

Training variables: Recovery

17_tools
views
20

Do you give enough time for your muscles to recover before you hit the again? We all want fast results but high volume and frequency and lead to overtraining if we don´t get enough recovery.

Recovery and over training are highly misunderstood, many people don´t really understand the importance of recovery and how it affects their results for their goals whether it is muscle gain or fat loss.

Every time we train we put stress on the muscles we´re working, we are stimulating the muscles as a reason for them to grow, we are supposed to train every day with high intensity and effort, then we need to give time to that muscle group to recover. I cannot tell you exactly how much time your muscles need to recover, the time varies depending on each muscle we, the amount of volume, the rep ranges we are working in, the frequency but generally speaking it takes around 24 to 48 hours for our muscle to recover this is when we are lifting on the 10 – 15 reps, when we are lifting heavier on the 3 – 8 reps our central nervous system and local nerves get fatigue and it takes around 3 to 4 days even 5 days for the central nervous system and nerves to recover.

Central nervous system fatigues quickly and takes more time to recover than the muscles, if we do a high frequency training program lifting heavy weights meaning that we are hitting each muscle group twice a week, the muscles may be recovered, but the central nervous system hasn´t recover yet and it will lead to over training.

Many people when they stop seeing results and when they stop gaining muscle they want to increase volume or frequency or both and stimulate even more the muscle to gain more mass, this is not the solution, for some of this people instead of increasing volume or frequency lowering it may be the solution, they´re putting too much stress on the muscles and they’re not giving enough time to recover.

On the other hand there are a lot of people who stop seeing results and want to increase volume or frequency when this is not the reason why they plateau and it´s not recovery neither, it´s lack of intensity and effort, sometimes we just need low volume but high intensity, hard work is what gives us results.

Many people in the gym let their ego get in the way and they just talk about how intense they´re working out when in reality they´re not working as intense as they could. When we´re not progressing and getting results it all comes down to lack of recovery or lack of intensity.

If we are already doing a lot of volume for each muscle and we are not gaining muscle and we are sure that we´re working hard in the gym maybe we´re working a lot and our muscles are not recovering, lowering the volume for a couple of weeks or months and seeing how our body responds can be effective.

Also making sure that protein intake is enough for our body and muscles to recover, this does not means that we need to eat a lot of food and a lot of protein, just make sure we´re giving our body enough nutrients.

When we exercise we are breaking muscle tissue, the moment we finish the routine our body starts to recover, there are 2 key factors that we need to consider which are nutrition and sleep. We need to make sure that we are giving our body the nutrients it needs to recover, right after we´re done training is highly important that we eat a meal with carbohydrates and protein, the amount of each macro will vary depending of the goal you are following and the diet, for a balanced diet it may be high carbohydrates, moderate protein and healthy fats or for keto it may be high healthy fats and protein (when we are keto adapted we don´t need more than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day).

We also need water, it is important that we stay hydrated, I recommend you drink water before and after your workout specially if you sweat a lot. Electrolytes are also important but we´re going to talk about them in a separate post.

We also need to have at least 6 hours of good, quality sleep every night to help our body recover, I´m considering that our goal is to get in shape and sustain or get lean and stay lean and that we have a very busy life with school, our job and social life but we need to make some time to work out 1 hour each day and sleep 6 hours at least. If we do this and follow a nutrition program based on real, fresh food (adapt macros according to your diet and fitness goal) our body will be able to recover so that you can follow your workout program without any excuses.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Exercise

Training variables: Intensity

DSC_0084
views
49

There´s no other way to get amazing results, how hard you train will determine your results, if you give half of your energy you´ll get average or mediocre results, please don´t settle for less than what you deserve.

Getting in shape and getting an amazing physique and sustain it is simple but not easy, what you need to do is simple… it´s simple said that done. For guys who hate to feel that physical pain when working out it won´t be easy to get in shape. We all want to have an amazing body but not  all are willing to put the time and effort needed, not all are going to suffer in the gym and train as hard as they can to get what they really want.

This is the reason why most people don´t achieve anything worth having. Everything worth having takes time and sacrifices so are you willing to do whatever it takes, and to make some sacrifices to achieve your goal? If your answer is yes then there are no excuses in the gym. My workouts are not going to kill you or leave you breathless so I need you to train as hard as you can.

Now there´s a limit, you know your limit, you know how hard you can go to avoid all type of injuries and accidents, don´t let your ego get on your way, it doesn´t matter what everyone is doing what matters is what you´re doing.

It´s not only about working hard, you need to work smart there´s no reason to work hard if what you´re doing doesn´t work, you´ll be just wasting your time and effort. You need to be effective and efficient in this point I´m making half of the work for you, I´m sharing with you everything you need to know from nutrition, training, mindset, sleep and stress; the best tools you can use for each of them to get the best results. If you follow what I share with you you´re half of the way, you´ll be working smart now the second part depends on you. I´m giving you everything you need but I can´t put the time and effort for you, you need to do it.

You need to do the workouts and feel the pain, think of it as the pain of change, that the stimulus saying to your body to change, to get leaner and grow there´s no other way.

Love the pain, fall in love with the process and enjoy the workout, specially cardio. It´s easier to enjoy resistance training and lifting weight or doing bodyweight exercises just by seeing what you´re capable of, doing the hardest versions of bodyweight exercises motivates you to stay leaner because you´ll find out that the leaner you are the easier it is to do them. With compound movements you can become addicted, just by thinking how much more could you lift makes it more enjoyable but you need to keep your ego out and don´t get crazy. Don´t try to lift more just to impress someone it´s so easy to get injured if you go by your ego.

How hard can you go? How much weight can you lift? How long are you willing to go hard? Can you go harder next time? You are the only one who knows if you gave all or if you could have gone harder, if you could have done one more rep, there´s a slight edge between how hard can you go and your ego getting on the way. Get strong in a safe way, focus on making every exercise and every rep as safe as possible.

My goal is to get you stronger and help you achieve your fitness goal by improving body composition but even when you won´t feel like dying compared with other programs I need you to train hard, to be focused on what you´re doing and to put the  effort needed every workout to get the amazing results you want.

If it´s hard for you to get through the physical pain every workout you need to work on your mindset, your body will achieve whatever you set your mind to, if you have a strong mindset where you can control your thoughts, your feelings you´ll be able to pass that physical pain. You get stronger in the gym and outside the gym.

Showing up is not enough, you need to put in the hard work, the amount of work you put at every workout is the results you´ll get, if you give 100% you´ll get 100% results.

It´s not enough to show up you need to make every workout as intense as possible the level of intensity varies from person to person depending on different factors, if you have an injury on one leg you may not work with the same level of intensity as you work chest or back. If you are starting the level of intensity won´t be the same as if you have been training for some years and you have more experience.

You  can use little volume and a lot of intensity and get great results, the amount of volume and frequency will depend on your goals, this variables will change also the amount of cardio you do if you want to speed up results but intensity needs to be high always.

Training and exercising when you have clear goal is not about making friends, if you just want to do some physical activity then it´s ok but if you´re looking to be the best version of yourself you need to go in there with your goal in mind, many people have the right program but are not working as hard as they can, they don´t get the results they want and they blame the program.

If you train hard you´ll get results with any program but most people stays the same for months or years, for me it´s discouraging to spend time working out daily to look the same, we´re looking for progress and results, I can share with you all the information but if you don´t apply it and don´t work hard the results will be minimum or will take more time to achieve your goal.

Make everyday count, make every workout count, go there and give your best, push as hard as you can but be aware of your limits. Try to be better than yesterday and don´t pay attention to what the others are doing, focus on your thing.

The mind-muscle connection can have a huge impact in many guys or girls, this technique helps them focus all their energy on what they´re doing making this a great technique to keep intensity high and avoid injuries.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Exercise

Training variables: Variation

16_workout
views
64

Doing the same thing over and over for years keeps us stuck, lead to plateaus, is boring and insane.

It doesn´t matter which is our current goal, variation is key to make our workouts different, challenging and get results, how much variation we need depends of the results we want.

There´s not a perfect workout or a program we can follow for months and months, our body adapts to everything so we need to keep changing things and challenging ourselves for our body to respond.

The time we´ve been training determines how long we can stay with the same routine, if we are starting our focus most be learning the exercises and movements until we feel comfortable to increasing weight, the more trained we are the more we need to change and vary our workouts, someone who has been training for 15 years or more may need to change every week.

To add variation to our workouts we can use the training variables we´ve been talking about which are volume, frequency, intensity, rep ranges, progressive overload and the exercises. This all are options we can play with on our workouts to keep our body guessing.

We can also use some advance techniques like supersets, giant sets, circuit training which we are going to talk about in future posts. This techniques are great to help us add variation and we can combine both the training variables with some advance technique according to our goals.

How we add variation to our program depends on many factors, where are we training, how much time per day we have to exercise, how many days a week can we workout, the equipment we have, etc.

There are some fitness experts and people on the industry that don´t consider variation to be necessary and they stick with the same program for months. This is what I think, if we want to look different, if we want to get different results we need to add variation, staying with the same goal for months or years don´t motivate us enough to exercise. We can follow the same program for 6 or 8 months and get results if we are progressing, progressive overload will give us results as long as we continue challenging our body.

Variation is necessary not only to get consistent results but also to add variety, avoid adaptation and keep our workouts interesting and fun.

The easiest and best way to add variation to our program is to change exercises or equipment, we can use compound movements like incline bench barbell press and change it for flat bench barbell press, then instead of using a barbell we can use dumbbells or we can use bands, we can change the grip.

We can start our fitness journey with bodyweight exercises only and we can start with the simplest versions like knee pushups, bodyweight rows and as we keep getting stronger we keep changing the level of difficulty on each exercise, then we can go to compound movements using barbells or dumbbells and then switch to the one missing (barbell or dumbbells) then we can add isolation exercises. Even a small variation in the exercise or equipment has a huge impact on our results.

How much variation we need will depend of our goal, if we want to lose fat then we can stay with the same workout program with almost no variation for 4 to 6 weeks or even 8 considering that we are using moderate frequency and different rep ranges to make sure that we maintain strength and endurance.

If our goal is maintenance we can have more fun on our workout and include different activities so we have the opportunity to try new exercises, or some advance training techniques. As long as we have our macronutrients on check and we´re doing resistance training and some cardio we can maintain our physique while trying different stuff and see how our body responds.

If our goal is muscle growth then we need more variation especially if we´ve been training consistently for some years. In this case it´s better if we keep progressive overload and periodization as a must every week and add variation by changing exercises or equipment every 3 or 4 weeks.

Exercising most be a habit and the only way to have the motivation to workout every day is by doing something we love or at least like or enjoy and keep changing things, we don´t need to make big changes, even the smaller ones have an impact on how we feel when we´re exercising and after.

Let us know in the comments below if you  follow the same workout program for months and how much variation is in your workout program?

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Exercise

Training variables: Progressive overload

17_tools
views
82

As with periodization this variable is key for lean muscle growth. Do you use it? Have you heard about it?

Fitness experts, gurus and trainers always do everything harder than it really is, it´s hard to find someone talking about progressive overload and if you´re looking to gain muscle mass this is the technique that will give you results. Most trainers follow the same routine for a very long period of time and when they get bored they do some changes. Mostly they go to the gym 5 or 6 days a week for an hour or more and do the same day split, with the same weight, the same sets and reps that´s why they always look the same.

It´s not only boring but also discouraging to train and don´t see any change in our body for me it´s a waste of time. If we want to improve the way we look we need to make every workout challenging enough. Muscles grow bigger and stronger in response to training stimulus, we need to continue making greater demands, to progressively overload the muscles by forcing them to do more than they´re accustomed to if we don´t do it there´s no reason for them to grow. Our body is not going to change unless it is forced to, this is why we cannot get comfortable in the gym, once we get to a comfort zone if we stay there we´ll plateau.

Progressive overload means increasing demands on the muscles continually to make gains in muscle size, strength and endurance. We can use progressive overload not only for resistance training it´s also a great strategy to use for cardio training. The most common way to use this technique is by adding weight, every time we train the muscle we must be able to lift heavier, this is how the few trainers that know this technique use it but there are some other options for you to apply it.

The first and easiest option to increase overload is increase resistance, this is the most obvious way to increase the demand on the muscle, we simply add more weight to the one we are already lifting, if we are lifting 60 pounds we can add 3 or 5 pounds more, this makes the exercise harder and we need to consider that when we increase weight our reps are going to reduce for a period of time, then soon enough we´ll be able to do the same reps we were doing before we add weight but now with the added weight, this means we got stronger and we´re ready to add some more weight.

The next option is to increase reps, sometimes it may be hard to increase weight especially if we workout at home then in this case adding reps is one of the options. If we lift 60 pounds for 6 reps then our next workout lift the same weight for 8 reps, and the next workout lift the same weight for 10 reps. As I mentioned before the best reps for hypertrophy is between 6 – 12 reps so when we get to the 12 reps we may consider another option to increase overload. Once we get to 12 reps don´t keep adding more and more reps indefinitely because we´ll be training for endurance and not muscle size.

Next option is to increase the volume which as I mentioned before is the number of sets, on the option before we added more reps so here we increase the number of sets. If we are doing 3 sets of the exercise then do 4 sets, by doing 1 more set we increase the amount of work.

Another option is increasing time frequency, by training the same muscle 2 times a week we increase the overload and we are making your muscle work harder.

The last option for progressive overload is to decrease rest time between sets, with resistance training the workouts are structured in sets and rests intervals, depending on the amount of weight we are lifting this rest intervals may be from 90 sec. to 3 min. instead of resting 90 sec between sets  rest 60 sec. or 45 sec. so we´ll be doing the same amount of work in less time and this requires our body to become more efficient.

If we want to see any change in our body we need to challenge it, we need to give it the right stimulus and the right signal for it to change, otherwise it will stay the same this is why we need to keep every workout challenging and max effort but also keeping our ego out of the way or we can get injured. If we keep doing the same thing over and over we get stuck, it can help us maintain our current physique but our goal must be to improve.

Training is not only about changing exercises, we need to get stronger, we need to force our body that´s when change occurs. In some cases and for different reasons it may not be possible to keep adding weight, reps or sets every workout, this is totally fine we just need to make sure that we maintain strength and progress as fast as possible, if our goal is fat loss since we´re on a calorie deficit it is harder to increase volume and lift heavier so our goal is to maintain muscle mass, when we´re sick it´s harder to workout and sometimes we need to skip workouts, we need to consider this and realize that it´s ok just get back to the gym and keep progressing at our own pace.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

ExerciseFood

How to lose weight and improve your health during quarantine!

DSC_0367
views
151

Improving your health and weight loss go hand in hand, actually weight loss is a result of poor health, the same steps you need to take to improve your health will help you lose weight. It´s frustrating, sad, disappointing to follow a diet or exercise to program and work hard for a period of time without getting results but, the problem is most weight loss programs focus on giving you results as fast as possible without considering your health and at the end of the program you´ve done more damage to your health and body.

You may had followed the most famous advice to lose weight “eat less – move more”, if you gave up it´s not your fault. How can you follow this advice if you feel tired and hungry? It´s clear that your body is not working efficiently so what we need to do is improve your health so that your body can work efficiently, and you can lose weight consistently and maintain your results effortlessly while enjoying life.

We´re talking about improving your health and losing weight in a consistent way and being able to maintain your results so it will take time. Even when you will see results in a couple of weeks you need to be patient. It took years to be where you are now so it will take you some time to get to you desired weight but, getting results which include feeling better every day and looking leaner will keep you motivated to keep going.

Weight loss goes far beyond counting calories or points if you want to make sustainable and more importantly if you want to be able to maintain those results in an effortless and enjoyable way.

First we need to change or reframe your goal, you don´t want to lose weight, you want to lose fat and maintain or gain lean muscle mass, this is what´s going to make you look lean, toned and build a great physique. To achieve this, you need to understand that everything you do sends a message or signal to your body so you need to make sure that every message you are sending is the right one.

Food and exercise are both crucial, both help you improve your health and lose fat, exercise helps you build a lean body with the right amount of muscle mass and body fat according to your height that makes you look amazing and food helps you maintain optimal health while supporting your fitness goal.

There´s something I want to make clear, your health and weight is within your control, you are capable of losing fat, getting in shape, building an amazing physique and maintain effortlessly and you are also able to improve your health and maintain optimal health in a simple way but, even when it is simple there are some sacrifices you need to make, you need to exercise and you need to avoid certain foods, I´m not saying you won´t eat your favorite meals, snacks or dessert ever in for the rest of your life, what I´m saying is that you need to avoid them for some time while you improve your health and then you can have some cheat meals.

FOOD

Everything you eat has an impact on your health and body, if you´ve tried to lose weight before by following the most famous advice “eat less – move more” you probably get some results but not the ones you were expecting and it was hard to maintain those results. The reason why is because food is not created equal, if you eat junk food you are sending the wrong message to your body, you are telling it to store fat and we can´t forget the fact that if you are trying to lose weight chances are you are obese or overweight and your brain and body works differently which makes it harder for your body to lose fat and it´s harder for you to stick to low calorie diets where you need to eat foods you don´t like.

You need to focus on eating healthy whole foods to give your body the nutrients it needs, your body needs proteins to build muscle (learn more about protein here), it also needs healthy fats to help you burn fat and absorb nutrients (learn more about fats here), it needs fiber, prebiotics and probiotics (learn more about fiber here, prebiotics and probiotics here) to maintain a healthy gut.

When you eat unhealthy, highly processed foods loaded with unhealthy vegetables oils, added chemicals and sugar that are all toxic for your body you are sending the wrong message to your body, it won´t find the nutrients it needs to function properly and it will store body fat. When you eat healthy, whole foods you are giving your body the nutrients it needs to function properly, and it starts using fat for energy.

Healthy fats you can eat are avocado, nuts, seeds, yogurt (low in sugar – full fat), you can cook with olive oil and coconut oil, some proteins are meat, beef, steak, chicken, fish, some carbohydrates are vegetables (corn doesn´t count as veggie) especially leafy greens and broccoli, beans and legumes, oats (plain, natural oats), brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, corn tortilla, dark chocolate (at least 75%), spices, salt.

Now that you are at home you have a lot more time to cook more, if you don´t know it´s a great time to learn, if you focus on whole fresh foods, like the ones I mention before it will be a lot easier for you to improve your health and lose fat. Apart from focusing on those healthy foods remember that you need to avoid or eliminate unhealthy highly processed foods (at least for a period of time) eating this unhealthy foods have a negative impact on your body and health and they will take stop your progress or even take you back.

EXERCISE

When you want to lose weight or actually lose fat and maintain your results you need to focus on getting stronger, when you get stronger you send the message to your body to maintain muscle and even build new muscle, for this you need resistance. Resistance can come from free weights like barbells or dumbbells or it can come from gym machines or it can come from your body weight.

Your goal then is to get stronger on bodyweight exercises and you do this by making every exercise challenging an example is getting stronger on pushups and building up to one arm pushups or one arm feet elevated pushups, one arm chin ups, pistol squats. These are really challenging levels of each exercise, but you can start with knee pushups, bodyweight rows and squats.

Here is a workout you can use as a guide:

Workout A – Lower body Workout B – Upper body
Squats – pistol squats 8 – 10 reps Pull ups – One are pull ups 8– 10 reps
Step ups 8 – 10 reps Pushups – One arm pushups 8 – 10 reps
One leg deadlift 8 – 10 reps Pike pushups – Handstand pushups 8 – 10 reps
Glute bridges 10 reps Chin ups – One are chin ups 8 – 10 reps
Knee ups – Leg raises 12 – 15 reps Dips – Weighted dips 8 – 10 reps
Calf raises 12 – 15 reps Back bridges

Cardio is not the best way to lose fat, it is helpful if you use it the right way but, we cannot deny that it has so many amazing benefits for optimal health so what you can do is take a walk, we need to be social distancing but if you can go outside for a walk alone it will help you lose fat faster, plus you get sunlight and it improves your mood, if you can´t go outside and walk then try jump rope, it will give you the same benefits. Take a walk for 15 to 20 minutes or 10 minutes or jump rope.

You want to stay active and doing some type of physical activity to improve health and to lose fat and get lean you want to get stronger on bodyweight exercises so combining both of them gives you both benefits. Eating healthy whole foods helps you improve your health and sustain your fat loss goal; you give the nutrients your body needs to function properly.

Use this post as a guide to start your fitness journey, to start improving your health and losing weight, if you want to keep working on it, if you want to maintain optimal health and build an amazing physique to live an amazing life follow me on social media and keeping visiting this site. Also, if you have any comments, questions or doubts leave them on Facebook and Twitter, I´m glad to help.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Exercise

Training variables: Periodization

DSC_0084
views
116

Do you like to vary the rep ranges on your workout programs or do you prefer to stick to one?

Not many people have heard of this tool but it´s key to creating workout programs that gives you great results without hitting plateaus.

We know that variation is key to keep results consistently but for beginners it´s not necessary to keep changing their workouts every month, the more advanced and trained we become with time the more we need to add variation to our program even every week.

Most traditional fitness programs that use periodization use the basic or classic form that takes 2 to 3 months to complete where changes come every month, this can work great for people who is starting out in weight lifting but it´s not the best option for advanced guys and we can´t go too long with the same program. If we keep doing what we´re doing for a long period of time our body adapts and hits a plateau.

For periodization we are changing the rep ranges to hit strength and hypertrophy and we also change volume, we get stronger and bigger and results keep showing up daily, depending of the time we´ve been training is how we create a program using periodization, if we are starting out we can begin lifting lighter weights on the 12 to 15 rep ranges, we need to focus on learning the exercise and proper form, we can stay with this rep range for 3 to 4 weeks and then increase weight to hit 10 to 12 reps for 3 to 4 weeks and increase weight to hit 8 reps, at this point we must be more comfortable doing the exercises with proper form which is what´s going to help us avoid injuries.

If we are more advance it may be necessary to change reps every 2 or 3 weeks before our body adapts, if we have been training for many years we may need to change rep ranges every week, so a cycle can last 4 weeks and every time we begin the cycle again we must be able to lift heavier weights. On the first week we lift on the 12 to 15 rep range, the next week we increase weight to hit the 10 to 12 rep range, the next one we increase weight again to hit 8 to 10 reps and finally increase weight to hit 5 to 7 reps and start the cycle again.

If we set periodization this way we can keep the same exercises for a couple of months, periodization and progressive overload are both great tools and variables we can adjust to build muscle. Creating a program that last 3 to 4 months is the way to go, that program most include periodization adjusted to our level and variation also according to our level. If we don´t have a plan we can get lost, having a plan that tells us exactly what to do every day keeps everything simple.

Periodization can also be used with volume, we start with low volume, the next week go moderate volume, the next week we go high volume and the last week we go back to low volume. It´s almost impossible to keep volume high for weeks and weeks so this variable gives us the opportunity to go high in volume a couple of weeks and then lower it to give our body time to recover.

The way I prefer to use this variable is use it for rep ranges and volume it doesn´t matter what frequency I´m working on. Using periodization for reps gives us the opportunity to work on different rep ranges in the same workout program so in some workouts we work on one type of hypertrophy and other workouts on strength. Using it for volume helps us increase volume to make sure that we are giving our body the right stimulus to grow and then give it some weeks to recover so that we don´t over train or burn out.

As we get more trained we need to add variation to keep making gains, this is possible by playing with all the variables one at a time so we have a big number of combinations to make sure we don´t get bored and our body don´t adapt.

Periodization is the most complicated variable to adjust especially if we want to combine rep ranges and volume but it´s the best we can do to get the best results possible especially for muscle growth. It can also be used for fat loss if we have been training for some years but in this case using it for rep ranges only, keeping volume the same and moderate frequency is a great tool also.

As you can see, training can get a little complex in the beginning but once we understand all training variables it´s easy to create a workout program for our goals, we want to keep it simple and adjust some variables accordingly.

Share with us your thoughts on this variable and how you are using it. Leave your comment in the comment section below!

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Exercise

Training variables: Volume

17_tools
views
86

How many sets do I need to do? is it enough 4 sets or do I need more? can I do 8 sets for each exercise? We need to make sure that we´re giving each muscle the right stimulus to grow but if we overdo it we can burn out or over train so how much is too much?

In the last posts we´ve been talking about the training variables we need to adjust according to our goal to keep results consistently. Today we´re going to talk about volume.

Volume refers to how many sets we do per muscle group over the end of one week. Low volume means we do 2 – 3 sets for each exercise, moderate volume goes from  4 to 6 sets and high volume 8 or even 10 sets for a muscle group in one week.

The total volume we do for each muscle at the end of the week will vary according to our goals and also how trained we are, the amount of volume for someone who is starting won´t be the same to someone who has a couple years training or someone who is highly trained. The more trained we are the more volume we need and the more we need to be manipulating all variables to avoid plateaus.

For someone who is starting resistance training doing 3 to 4 sets and 2 or 3 exercises for each muscle group is enough volume.

Volume applies to both types of hypertrophy, myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic, this two types of muscle growth differ on the amounts of reps we do per set , we can focus on myofibrillar hypertrophy to build dense muscle by doing 3 to 4 sets of 5 to 8 reps each for 2 or 3 exercises for a muscle group, if we want to focus on sarcoplasmic hypertrophy we can choose 2 or 3 exercises for one muscle group and do 3 to 4 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

The total volume per week will vary according to our goals, if we want to lose fat considering that we must be on a caloric deficit then volume must be low, it´s hard to get in high volume when we are eating less and the goal is to maintain muscle mass so there´s no reason to want to do more than what we are capable off. With this goal and using low volume we can go for 6 to 8 reps for 4 sets using bodyweight and compound movements to focus on keeping strength, this way we make sure we´re not losing muscle mass.

When we want to gain muscle mass high volume help us make more gains, we can combine both types of hypertrophy in a high volume program, since we are eating more we must be able to do more work and still give enough time for our body to recover, meaning we increase the total amount of sets we do on each exercise in a 4 or 5 days split so we´re hitting each muscle group once a week.

If you are new to the gym we need to get use to working out and low volume will give us results so doing 3 sets is a great way to start, if we are more trained we can go with moderate volume which works great for all fitness goals, if we are highly trained we can do high volume for a period of time and then go back to moderate or even low volume. If we go high volume for a long time we will burn out, we all have a lot of things going on in our lives so there´s no reason to stress a lot more our body and muscles with high volume, we can do them for 4 weeks and then reduce volume for 2 or 3 weeks.

We can do moderate frequency which we talked about in the last training post and keep changing volume and rep ranges with a variable called periodization this gives our muscles the stimulus they need to grow and it also gives them some time to recover after some weeks of moderate frequency, moderate volume and high intensity.

If we are working hard, smart and intense we may only need low volume to get amazing results, if we increase the volume we just need to make sure that we have enough time to recover specially if we are focusing on myofibrillar hypertrophy because the central nervous system fatigues quicker and takes more time to recover. Eating enough and giving our body nutrients to repair and recover is key, especially on high volume programs.

The best option is to keep changing volume, going high volume for a couple of weeks is a great way for muscle growth considering that we go low volume for a couple of weeks to allow recovery. This is what I would do for someone who has been training consistently for a long period of time. For someone who is starting we need to start with low volume prioritizing developing the daily habit of exercising.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Exercise

Training variables: Frequency

16_workout
views
114

How many times per week can you work each muscle group? Does we need to increase and lower frequency according to our goals? I´ve heard this questions a lot and they both refer to training frequency, here there´s not a right or wrong answer although there are some tips you can use to get better results.

There needs to be a balance between frequency and volume and we also need to follow a good nutrition program that supports the amount of work.

Frequency refers to how many times per week we work each  muscle group, we´re going to divide it into low, medium and high frequency. If we follow a typical or the most common training split in bodybuilding which last 5 days plus one or two days of cardio or rest we have low frequency because we are hitting each muscle group once per week, if we follow a 2 days split or a 3 days split and do it 2 times per week it´s medium frequency because we are working each muscle group twice per week and if we do full-body workouts 3 days a week that´s high frequency.

So the question is what is the best frequency for each fitness goal? and the answer is it depends of some other variable specially volume and intensity and it also depends of the other 4 principles of fitness and the time we´ve been training consistently.

If we are new to working out,  high frequency by doing full-body workouts 3 days per week on none consecutive days is a great option. If we do full-body workouts 3 days a week the volume for each muscle group will be low on each workout The goal here is to develop the habit of working out and we need to do it with activities we like that gives us the best results possible, if we hate doing 3 or 4 day splits then it will be harder to get up and exercise.

If the goal is fat loss and considering that we need to be on a caloric deficit it may be hard to do high volume workouts so moderate frequency is a great option, hitting each muscle 2 times per week gives our body the stimulus needed to keep the level of strength so that we maintain as much muscle as possible. This option is great for someone who has been working out consistently and it´s already a habit. With moderate frequency we can combine rep ranges, we can do one workout with heavy weight/low reps and the second workout with higher reps/lower weight.

If our goal is gain lean muscle mass we have 2 options, the first one is low frequency with high volume and high intensity, since we are working each muscle group once a week we are giving them enough time to recover but if the volume and intensity of each workout are not right it may not be enough stimulus for our muscles to grow. The second option is moderate frequency which causes more hypertrophy and it causes more muscle growth, we may not be able to do a lot of volume but keeping the intensity high is crucial.

There´s one more option for muscle growth which I´ve seen a lot of people using which is high frequency, working each muscle 3 days a week with full-body workouts. I personally don´t like this one but you can try it and if you like it and get results keep doing it. The problem with this one is that in most cases I see people using it to try to gain muscle mass and see results faster but more it´s not always a good thingg. Recovery is crucial for muscle growth and if we are hitting each muscle 3 times a week they may not have enough time to recover.

All variables work together if we have high frequency we need to go lower in volume, with volume high we go lower in frequency, intensity also depends of the amount of volume and frequency and they all need to consider enough time to recover. But to set the right frequency the other 4 elements of fitness also play an important role. If our goal is fat loss we need to make sure that we are giving our body enough nutrients to get through daily activities and the workout while we are on a calorie deficit so that our body uses stored body fat.

If we want to gain muscle we need to give our body enough nutrients to recover, repair and grow and also enough energy to get us through the workouts.

We also need to have good quality sleep every night and rest and keep stress low. Our body recovers while we are resting and sleeping if any of this elements is not on point we won´t see great results.

Let us know in the comment sections how many times are you working each muscle group per week now and it you´ve tried different frequencies which one gives you the best results?

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Exercise

Training variables: Rep ranges

17_tools
views
119

If you´ve been training for a while do you vary rep ranges on your workout programs according to your goals or do you stick with the most common?

In fitness we can achieve different goals from fat loss, muscle growth, strength, power and for each of them we need to work on different rep ranges and that´s what we´re going to talk about in this post.

For the last months and years I´ve seen a lot of guys and girls interested in knowing which is the best rep range they need to focus on, as many other things in training there is not a right or wrong answer and I consider all of them to be great options.

If we go to a gym we see most guys and girls working in the most common rep ranges which is 10 to 15 and most of them do the same thing over and over for months which at least for me it gets boring and we hit plateaus. Working on different rep ranges keep our workout challenging which is what we need if we want our body to change.

It all starts with our goal, we can use resistance training for all goals just by changing the rep range we use, it´s not the same to train for power than to train for endurance the rep ranges are as follow:

1 -4 for power

5 – 8 for strength

8 – 12 for hypertrophy

15 – < for endurance

With this we know in which rep range to work according to our goal, for muscle gain we can use strength and hypertrophy on the strength rep range we´ll be building dense muscle also called myofibrillar hypertrophy which is the one that last and with hypertrophy rep range also called sarcoplasmic hypertrophy we are able to gain size faster but it doesn´t last, if we take some time off the gym we start losing that size. This two rep ranges are the ones we can focus on more to build an aesthetic physique.

For power and strength rep ranges we need to use compound movements which are the ones where we can lift more weight, for hypertrophy and endurance we can use compound and isolation. The endurance rep range can help us burn fat and sometimes gain some muscle, we can use all types of exercises, compound, isolation and bodyweight.

If our goal is to gain muscle mass then the best option is to focus on building dense muscle mass by focusing on the strength rep range around 5 to 7 reps using compound and bodyweight exercises and add some isolation exercises for weaker muscles using the hypertrophy rep range around 8 to 12 reps.

Getting stronger on the first 3 rep ranges specially around 5 to 12 reps by using a tool called periodization is an awesome strategy that keeps us getting stronger and gaining muscle mass, if we get stronger on the power and strength rep ranges we are able to lift more weight on the hypertrophy rep, gaining muscle is about getting stronger (we also need enough quality food and recovery).

When we work on power and strength the central nervous system gets stressed a lot and it takes more time to recover so we need to consider volume and frequency when training on this 2 rep ranges, with hypertrophy and endurance the central nervous system doesn´t get the same amount of stress.

Weight loss and gaining muscle are the most common goals so strength and hypertrophy are the most used rep ranges but once we achieve our goal taking some time and maintaining it gives us the opportunity to work on the other 2 rep ranges. When we train for power we need to be really conscious and focused on form to avoid injuries, I personally don´t like to work below 5 reps, I mostly go from 5 to 7 and 8 to 12 focusing on building dense muscle with bodyweight and compound movements and sometimes I add some isolation exercises. Sometimes I use the endurance rep range with bodyweight exercises specially when I want to lose fat and I could go for 50 reps in some exercises.

Our ultimate goal is to improve body composition and get a physique that is useful, we don´t want a body that looks incredible but it´s not able to perform, by this I don´t mean that we need to be pro athletes what I mean is that we want a body that looks amazing and that performs great in our daily activities and also in case of an emergency.

All rep ranges have their space on training and they´re all great options for different goals, using all of them using periodization keeps our body guessing and making your workouts fun and challenging. Since working out most be a habit then we need to understand all the variables will be talking about to be able to create or adjust our programs accordingly to be able to build the type of physique that we want but also to keep each workout fun and interesting.

Share with us in the comment section which is your favorite rep range and the one you are working on now.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Exercise

How to lose weight at home!

DSC_0098
views
253

For some of us staying at home is hard while for introverts is just what they need but, we can all use and take advantage of the situation and develop some healthy habits that will carry on for the rest of our lives. Those healthy habits will help us maintain optimal health, lose weight, get in shape and maintain a lean physique while enjoying life.

You may have followed different weight loss programs wanting to lose weight, I´m sure you´ve worked so hard but for any reason you didn´t get the results you were expecting or you were not able to maintain those results. Let me tell you something, it´s not your fault, the fitness industry do not mention the truth about weight loss and they sell you fast, quick and easy results that do not focus on what matters and are actually not thinking about your health and the food industry makes it harder for you by selling you tones of unhealthy, highly processed foods.

Improving your health and getting in amazing shape doesn´t need to be that difficult, you don´t need to follow strict low-calorie diets and spend hours in the gym. It´s simple and you can enjoy life, so what we´re going to do is use this time in a productive way, I´ll share with you some tips and steps you can take to improve your health and lose weight, on this post we´re going to talk about food and exercise only to keep it simple and short but remember that the 5 principles of fitness are important so may want to read other posts from our site to learn how your sleep, stress and your mindset also play an important role.

EXERCISE

You do not need to go to a gym to have a great workout and build and amazing physique, our goal is to improve body composition, you want to gain lean muscle mass and lose body fat so that you get a great looking body. You need to get stronger through resistance exercises and add some cardio to burn fat and maintain a low percentage of body fat, when you combine both you also get all the benefits for overall health.

Resistance is resistance, it can come from barbells, dumbbells or other equipment but it can also come from your own bodyweight you only need to make every exercise challenging to trigger strength and muscle growth. With bodyweight exercises you can start with the most basic movements like wall push ups, knee push ups and build to a more challenging level like one arm push ups or one arm push ups with feet elevated.

You need to add some cardiovascular activity to help you burn fat a little faster, since you can´t get out of your home you can do some jump rope, dancing, kickboxing. Find an activity you can do at home and that you enjoy, if you have an elliptical or bicycle use it.

Here is a workout program that you can do or use as a guide:

Workout A – Lower body Workout B – Upper body
Squats – pistol squats 6 – 8 reps Pull ups – One are pull ups 6– 8 reps
Step ups 6 – 8 reps Push ups – One arm push ups 6 – 8 reps
One leg deadlift 6 – 8 reps Pike push ups – Handstand push ups 6 – 8 reps
Glute bridges 10 reps Chin ups – One are chin ups 6 – 8 reps
Knee ups – Leg raises 10 – 12 reps Dips – Weighted dips 6 – 8 reps
Calf raises 10 – 12 reps Back bridges

Squat is the simple version and pistol squat is a harder version of the same exercise, push ups is the basic level but you can go easier like knee push ups or more challenging like one arm push ups, do the one the matches your level. Do 3 to 4 sets of each exercise.

Do workout A on Monday, then workout B on Tuesday, on Wednesday do some cardio activity at home, on Thursday workout A and Friday workout B, on Saturday and Sunday do some cardio activity again. For cardio try to keep the workouts around 20 minutes long of moderate intensity.

FOOD

Food is an important part of any weight loss program but during this time we need to keep it simple, our body needs protein, healthy fats and fiber so you´ll be focusing on those foods that also keep you full for longer and if you want to take it to another level you can try intermittent fasting which gives you so many benefits for overall health.

This is what I recommend, you can have 3 meals per day, or if you want to try intermittent fasting then having 2 meals a day in and 8 hour period is the best option, you can have breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner, you got to decide what works best for you 😊. If you want to learn more about intermittent fasting click here.

I´m sure you´ve gone to a store in the last days and you found some items or products completely sold out. In situations like the one we´re living most people tend to buy a lot of unhealthy, highly processed products this is good for one reason, if you focus on health and nutrition you can still find some groceries available. You need to be aware of what you buy and how much, consider that this is global so think about other people and try to buy what you need and maybe a little more so that we all get what we need.

Here´s a list of the foods you can buy:

Nuts, sedes, nut butters, meats (beaf, chicken, fish, salmon) stock on your refrigerator or freezer, eggs, yogurt, nut milks, almond and coconut flour, frozen vegetables and frozen fruits, olive oil, coconut oil, spices, sea salt, dark chocolate (al least 70% cacao), oats, rice, legumes, canned fish like tuna*, some processed meats*, water, coffee, tea.

Consider that there are some products that last longer than others, you can buy some fresh veggies and fruits for the first days. Also consider that some processed foods contain sugars, unhealthy fats, vegetable oils and other unhealthy ingredients so look for the ones that contain less of this unhealthy stuff.

Now, you need to be creative and mix and match all the ingredients, if you only have 2 meals a day you don´t need to think about food 5 times a day or 3 times and 2 snacks, having 2 meals a day will lower your stress, if you are not use to intermittent fasting you can have 3 meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner but try to skip the snacks.

Drink water and make sure you stay hydrated; you can have coffee and tea just avoid them at noon especially coffee because it can impact negatively your sleep.

This guide will help you start your fitness journey and make some changes to your habits that will help you improve your health and lose weight. In future posts I´ll share with you how you can still have your favorite foods and snacks so don´t forget to follow us on social media and you can also leave all your comments and questions on our Facebook and Twitter account.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam