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Exercise

Compound exercises, you need them!

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Every time I pass through a gym I see people doing so many different exercises for each muscle group which for me only makes the workouts more complicated, if you are one of those guys or girls who do a bunch of exercises for each muscle group but, you´re doing them for a reason, and you understand why then that´s great but, many people don´t understand why they´re doing certain things a certain way, they just follow some workout they found on the internet or the one that some  friend recommended them.

In the last posts we talked about bodyweight exercises now let’s talk about compound movements which along with bodyweight exercises are really helpful to get an amazing physique and improve overall fitness and strength.

Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that work several muscles at the same time which gives us the opportunity to lift more weight. The more weight we can lift, the stronger we get, and we gain more muscle (considering that our food program is right). This type of exercises have a lot of benefits including lowering the risk of injuries (considering that we don´t let our ego get in the way), we can do more in less time but it doesn´t mean that it´s going to be easy and we keep things simple.

Performing compound movements with free weights (barbells or dumbbells) is the best option even when we can´t lift the same amount of weight compared to gym machines or other equipment.

My approach to training is old school, sticking with a few basic exercises with high weight and low reps and adjusting some variables according to the goal we´re working on. Since compound exercises are multi-joint movements, we can lift more weight, so they are the perfect option to lift more weight in a low rep range.

Compound movements also require balance and coordination so as we keep increasing the weight our performance will improve too.

With compound movements we can lift heavy weight for 5 to 8 reps for hypertrophy to build lean dense muscle, we can go heavier in weight and lower in reps around 1 to 3 reps for strength and power and we can also lift lighter weight for 12 to 15 reps or even more.

Even when we can lift really heavy weight with this type of exercises I don´t recommend going to high to hit low rep ranges between 1 – 4, the lowest I will go is 5 reps, the reason for this is to avoid injuries, when we go to high in weight to hit the 1 to 4 rep range the chances of getting injured are really high, our body makes a huge effort and we need to make sure that our form and everything is right. If our goal is to improve body composition, to get in our best physique possible and sustain it we don´t need to go that heavy in weight and low in reps, working in the 5 to 8 and 9 to 12 rep range is perfectly fine.

When we are using compound movements it is simple and effective but it doesn´t mean it´s easy. And since we´re working on low reps and high weight things get harder meaning maximum muscle recruitment and high nervous-system activation this is the right stimulus for muscle growth and strength. Here we need to consider recovery, which is as important as our workouts, the central nervous system needs more time to recover so we can´t train the same muscle group 2 days continuously.

If our goal is muscle growth we can create a workout program that combines bodyweight, compound and isolation exercises and that uses both types of hypertrophy on separate days and hitting each muscle twice per week, this will give us the best results but we need to be careful how we design the program.

If our goal is fat loss, we can stay with bodyweight and compound exercises and focus on low rep ranges around 6 to 8 and make sure that we maintain our strength so that we maintain muscle mass.

We don´t need to do a lot of different exercises for each muscle group, keep what works and eliminate what doesn´t work. If we focus on key movements, we can build a great physique that is useful, there´s no reason to look great if we can´t perform great. Our goal is to improve body composition and build a physique we are proud of and that is useful for daily activities at our home or your job.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account if you like to keep things simple and effective and if you prefer short workouts compared to long workouts?

It would 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

Bodyweight exercises, a great tool!

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For someone who is starting their fitness journey or for someone who has many years training, bodyweight exercises are always a staple.

One day I found out some videos on YouTube about calisthenics and all the guys looked amazing, lean and in really good shape, I finished watching the video and I stood up and tried to do some pushups, for my surprise I couldn´t do any… not even one. I felt so weak and angry and realized how could that happened if some years ago I could do 50 pushups?

I practiced Karate for about 11 years since I was 5 and I was able to do 50 pushups, squats, dips and bodyweight rows. Remembering this got me really angry, I wanted to be able to do that same amount of reps on each exercise and increase weight with weighted vest to go low rep.

Bodyweight exercises are one of the best exercises to get in amazing shape for many different reasons, there are variables for each exercise for any fitness level from the simple versions for beginners to more advance versions and we can do them anywhere.

We will talk in future posts about muscle fibers and muscle hypertrophy and you may ask how you can apply those to bodyweight exercises and the answer is simple, we can take any exercise for example pushup and choose the hardest version for example one arm pushups (there are harder versions) and we do 5 reps to work type 2 muscle fibers and myofibryllar hypertrophy then we can choose a simple version like normal pushups and do 15 reps to work type 1 muscle fibers or sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. We can do this with all bodyweight exercises we can even do 100 reps if we want to go a little crazy and have some fun.

Bodyweight exercises have so many benefits and they can reduce injuries when working out, with any bodyweight exercise we are moving our body through space and it requires more strength and balance but since they are compound movements or multi-joint exercises we are working several muscles at the same time and the range of motion is more natural which reduce stress on the joint and avoid injuries.

If we think about what type of training or exercise can get us in amazing shape and help us build an amazing physique it´s bodyweight, when we start we´ll find all exercises so hard to do and some of us feel terrible when we start with the most simple versions but that´s how we all begin, with time we start losing fat (if we´re following a right nutrition program) and we realize that the leaner we are the easier all exercises get. As we lose fat and get in better shape, we weight less so we need to push or carry less weight in the exercises, this is a great motivation to stay lean.

When we´re starting our fitness journey we´re are out of shape and we don´t want to go to the gym and feel embarrassed so what we can do is start in our home with bodyweight exercises as resistance training and jump rope or jogging as cardio training, this helps lose fat and get in shape, with this our self-confidence increases and then we can go to the gym to add more exercises like compound movements and isolation.

We all need to be able to do bodyweight exercises and yoga which both take a lot of skills like strength and balance, when we can control our body and our mind we are able to achieve amazing things in life, it´s amazing the physique we can build just by working on getting stronger and progressing through all different variations of each exercise and we add some yoga poses we learn new skills that will also help us in our day to day.

You can start today doing 10 pushups, 10 squats and 10 crunches. Go ahead start now!.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebook account what is you favorite bodyweight exercise and why.

It would 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

Cardio and resistance exercises, they´re different.

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We all know that exercise has many benefits, cardiovascular and resistance exercise are both great to help us get in shape, maintain a great physique and maintain optimal health but in the same way they both have some unique benefits they also have some differences and we need to understand this differences to get the best results.

Many of us think of cardio as the way to get lean, to get in shape and to lose weight we think we need to do it even when those sessions are long and boring. This is not completely true, cardio is not the best way to lose fat and get in shape or stay in shape, it is helpful if we use it the right way but it´s not necessary so if your goal is only to lose fat and look good physically you can skip it but cardiovascular exercise has incredible benefits for our health which we talked about in past posts.

The reason why many people in the industry make us think that cardio is a great tool for fat loss is this, there are research that shows that one hour of cardio compared to one hour of resistance training burns more calories while we are doing it so, thinking about weight loss as calories in and calories out if we want to lose fat  we need to do cardio to burn more calories right?

Not so fast, … with all types of exercise we send signals to our body and our body will respond accordingly to that signal. With cardio we are sending the message to our body to become more efficient at using calories.

If we´ve been spending the last years without doing any exercise, the moment we start working out it will feel like hell, we´ll be so tired and we´ll burn a lot of calories but with time if we continue doing the same exercise, for the same amount of time at the same intensity it´ll become easier and easier and our body will burn less calories every time we do it. If cardio is the only exercise we do, we may start losing muscle and now that our body has adapted to that activity our metabolism slows down. Our body adapts to that activity and becomes more efficient at using calories.

After following a weight loss program based on cardio for a long period of time we´ll need to do more exercise and eat less to sustain our results this is why  it´s almost impossible to maintain the results when we stop the program.

With resistance training the signal we are giving to our body is to get stronger, when we are doing resistance training we are giving a stimulus to the muscles and that stimulus let our body know that it needs those muscles so it needs to get stronger and grow to be able to make it through the next workout. This increases our metabolism because our muscles need more energy. If we want to get in great shape and sustain it without too much effort this is the way to go, focus on resistance training and we cannot forget all the benefits that is has for our health too.

We´ll be talking about improving body composition in different posts which means to lose fat and gain or maintain lean muscle mass, the way to do this is by making resistance training the base of our workout programs and we add some cardio according to our goals.

The best option for any workout program is to fit both resistance and cardio training, the way we design our program will vary according to our goals, there are different tools, types or techniques we can choose for each but what I recommend is to focus on resistance training for muscle growth (we don´t need to get big if we don´t want to) and add cardio to helps us achieve our goals a little faster so that we get the health benefits of both of them.

It´s not necessary to do both types of training the same day, we can create a workout program where we do resistance training some days and other days cardio or if you love working out like I do you can do both the same day every day if the program is designed correctly.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebook account which is your preferred type of exercise, are you more of a cardiovascular activity kind of guy or girl or do you prefer resistance training?

It would 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

Benefits of resistance exercises

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Do you lift weight or are you afraid that you will gain too much muscle and get big?

Many of us are afraid of lifting weights and doing resistance training because we will get big, especially girls, fortunately this is wrong we won´t get big (unless that´s your goal which we will talk about how to do it in other post) but we will look lean, and toned. We think too much about this that we forget all the benefits for overall health that resistance training has to offer.

We know that resistance training gives the stimulus our muscles need to grow and get stronger, if we want to build an amazing physique resistance training is key there´s no other way to achieve a physique that looks lean, toned and strong without giving our body and muscles the stimulus they need.

There are different variables and training techniques we can use to get the type of physique we want (we´re going to see more in depth in other posts) so we need to have a clear goal so that we can design the best workout program.

As we get older we start losing muscle mass so we need to make sure that we build lean muscle and maintain it to avoid this loss as we age, it also increases bones mineral density which keeps our bones strong and improves physical performance on daily activities, it increases metabolism, improves body composition, helps us prevent injuries and chronic pains and as we see our body changing and getting leaner it bust confidence, increases self-esteem and helps lower anxiety and depression, it also slows and even reverse aging factors.

As we get older we are more susceptible to accidents and injuries so resistance training is a way to make sure that we not only look strong but that we´re actually strong, as cardiovascular exercise has many amazing benefits beyond fat loss and weight management which includes our brain and heart, resistance training also has a lot of amazing benefits that go beyond looking lean which include strong bones.

Resistance training can get really complex if we talk about all the training variables and advance techniques (we´re going to talk about them on separate posts) we can use to make our workouts fit our goals but if our goal is only to get in shape, sustain it and for health reasons we can keep our programs really simple what we need to consider is that both cardio and resistance have great benefits for health so if we can find ways to use them both not necessarily the same day that´s the way to go.

We don´t need to go to a gym if we don´t want, we can get a really good workout with bodyweight exercises and if we want to add more volume, we can add compound exercises. Going to a gym when we´re out of shape or starting in fitness is very overwhelming, we don´t feel good and don´t have the confidence so we can start at home with minimal equipment.

Making our programs based on resistance training is the best option, if we over do it with cardio we can lose muscle and that´s not what we want so we need to create the resistance part of our program based on our goals first, then we add cardio to help us achieve our goals faster and also to get those benefits.

If our goal is health and living a better life then keeping things simple with just a few exercises done correctly with the right amount of intensity and effort is all we need, we can get a great work in 45 minutes for resistance workouts and 15 minutes a day for cardio workouts or we can do them both and have an amazing workout in 60 minutes by doing 15 to 20 minutes of cardio and 40 to 45 minutes of resistance training. If you love working out like I do you can work out every day just making sure that you have enough rest and recovery which we´re going to talk about in future posts.

If you are new to exercise you can start doing 10 squats, 10 pushups, 10 dips and 10 crunches; you can start today with these 4 exercises and with time increase the reps. You can also do simple versions of each exercise like knee pushups, there are no excuses we can all start exercising today.

Let us know by leaving a comment on Twitter and Facebook when was the last time you did a pushup, squat or any other exercise and how many are you able to do today.

It would 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

Benefits of cardio exercise?

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Do you go to the gym and do long sessions of cardio? or do you prefer HIIT? Do you even do some cardiovascular workout or do you skip it because you hate it? Cardiovascular exercise has so many benefits for overall health, this includes the heart and brain.

Many of us think of cardio as the best tool to lose fat which is not exactly right but we tend to forget all the amazing benefits it has for our health.

We all know that cardio helps us improve endurance and overall fitness level it helps us get in shape and stay in shape. Daily physical activity is important, if we want to be healthy we need to exercise, our heart and brain we´ll thank us for doing it and we´ll feel a lot better every single day. Most of us do not get the amount of exercise recommend which is between 120 to 150 minutes per week, if we divide those 150 minutes into 7 it´s around 20 minutes daily we can all schedule 20 minutes every day to do some physical activity it can be as simple as taking a walk if we´re starting.

Some diseases and health issues had increased in the past years, the less we move and more sedentary we become the more health problems we face, it´s not only about obesity and overweight also depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular diseases are also related to a lack of exercise.

It blows my mind how we do not prioritize our health until it´s too late, until we feel bad or realize that something is wrong so we go to the doctor and take some pills hoping to get better which actually only treat the symptom but we got everything in our hands and we can prevent many health problems just by changing our lifestyle.

Doing some exercise for at least 20 minutes every day has a lot of amazing benefits which include improving our mood, keeps our brain healthy and avoid the risk of dementia, Parkinson, Alzheimer, studies show that cardio reduces decline in brain functioning and increase the growth of brain cells, it improves memory, it helps with depression and anxiety and we can get some of those benefits right after we´re working out and when we´re done like improving our mood, we feel a lot better when we finish and if we do it consistently we get the benefits in the long run.

Cardiovascular exercise is great for our heart it increases blood and oxygen flow throughout the body, we cannot forget that our heart is a muscle. It helps lower blood pressure; it increases oxygen in the muscles which helps them recover and work harder.

Cardio is a great tool to help us lose fat, get lean and stay lean if we use it correctly, it may not be the best option, but it helps us achieve our goals faster. If we go to a gym we´ll see most people on the treadmill, bicycles or other cardio machines doing long and boring sessions, this type of cardio workouts are called steady state where we go for at least 30 minutes usually from 45 to 60 minutes at a low to moderate intensity depending of our level for the entire time.

Another type of cardio is HIIT (high intensity interval training) this means that we do an exercise for example sprints for 10 to 30 seconds as hard as we can, and we rest for 30 to 60 seconds and we repeat it for several times.

Studies show that HIIT burns more fat than steady state cardio and there are studies that show that HIIT can also increase lean muscle mass so if we consider this studies HIIT is the best option for fat loss and to stay lean.

So how does HIIT help us burn more calories than traditional steady state cardio? The answer is EPOC. If we compare the calories burn on each type of exercise (HIIT and steady state) we´ll see that we burn more calories with steady than with HIIT, but the benefits of HIIT come after we are done with our workout. Once we´ve finished our HIIT session our body´s metabolism stays high burning more calories for some period of time, this is called excess-post- oxygen consumption. It´s the amount of oxygen your body needs to get back to normal.

Doing some physical activity is important at least 5 days a week, HIIT is a great option or doing 20 minutes of an intense session is also great, if you´re starting you need to start small, going for a walk at least 5 minutes at your own pace and start increasing the intensity and time, it needs to be challenging so stop what you´re doing and go for a walk.

If you haven´t exercise for a long period of time then the best way to start is to schedule 20 minutes every morning and take a walk, you can start tomorrow by setting your alarm clock earlier and go for a 20 minute walk tomorrow morning, it will be hard to wake up earlier especially if you don´t get enough high quality sleep (we´ll talk in other posts how to improve sleep) but once you wake up get up and do it, and do not stop until you´re done. When you finish you may feel tired but for the rest of the day you´ll feel better, with more energy.

Do this and let us know how what was the hardest part, was it getting up of bed? or starting the walk? you wanted to give up halfway through? how did you felt the rest of the day? Leave your comment on our Twitter and Facebook account.

It would 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

What does body composition means?

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Probably you´ve heard many people talk about losing weight but how many people have you heard talk about improving body composition?

Weight loss is a very common goal but it´s not correct, we think that we need to exercise for one hour or more 5 to 6 days a week and finish each workout drenched in sweat, so tired and wake up the next morning sore plus we need to eliminate all foods we love and eat chicken, broccoli and white rice… boiled, over and over.

This is how must weight loss program are designed, to help us lose as much weight as possible as fast as possible but this is not the right or healthiest way to do it, it actually cause a lot of health problems which is why it is so hard to sustain our results.

Most of us when we decided to lose weight we do it because of health issues or insecurities, maybe we don´t feel good about our body and the way we look or people made fun of us. In any case the goal is to get in our best shape, sustain it and be healthier; not precisely lose weight.

Improving body composition most be the primarily goal in fitness. Body composition means that we have the optimal amount of muscle mass and the optimal amount of body fat, the numbers of what is optimal varies from person to person according to our height, age, sex, etc; and also the type of physique we want to achieve.

Our goal is to get a physique that looks great with the right proportion of muscle mass and body fat but also we want to focus on health, it´s not only about looking great physically is also about feeling great so that we can perform great in all our daily activities, health is a priority.

Improving body composition means that we´ll be losing body fat and increasing muscle mass. In some cases, especially in people who are out of shape is possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. In other cases it´s harder to do but it can be done, in this cases it is better to focus on losing fat while maintaining muscle mass first and then gain muscle while staying lean.

The benefits of improving body composition are to stay in a healthy weight with the right proportion of muscle and fat to look lean, toned, muscular and athletic.

We all know that obesity and overweight are dangerous but excess weight whether it´s body fat or muscle tissue is unhealthy and can cause health problems, with excess weight our body needs to work harder for even the normal functions to keep us alive, it takes a lot more effort for our body to pump blood and oxygen  throughout the body this are some of the negative effects.

Improving body composition is key to getting in amazing shape and sustain our results, if we do it the right way it´s easy to maintain. We don´t want to lose weight, we want to lose fat and maintain or build lean muscle mass so we need to train the right way to give our body the stimulus it needs for muscle growth or to maintain muscle but this doesn´t mean that we´re going to get big it will build a lean and toned physique which looks great otherwise we´ll end up being skinny which doesn´t look sexy or attractive.

Cardiovascular and resistance training are both important for health and to improve body composition, we´ll see in later posts how we can use them to achieve our goals and the benefits of both.

If our goal is to get in shape or build and amazing physique, live healthy so that we can live our best life possible we don´t need to overcomplicate things, by keeping everything simple and stick with the basics we´ll get amazing results, if you want to compete in any sport then we need to pay more attention to all 5 principles of fitness and adjust them to fit your goal and your life.

Body composition.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebook account if you´ve heard before about body composition and if your goal is to lose fat or gain muscle. We want to know more of you so that we can help you achieve your goals.

It would 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

Exercise to improve health? Here are some benefits.

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If you want to improve your health and improve your life then, exercise is a priority. There´s a reason why we focus on 5 principles of fitness as a tool to help us live the life we want and deserve and exercise is one of those principles.

Most of us spend so much time sitting whether it´s in front of a computer when we´re working or our car to get to the office and back home, or in the sofa watching tv. We´ve become so sedentary and this lack of physical activity is causing so many problems on our body and health. I know we´re all busy with jobs and school it can be hard to schedule some time to exercise but, if you want to live your best life possible then you need to make some time to exercise every day, if you have time to watch tv whether it´s a tv show, a movie, Netflix or you spend a lot of time on social media you have time to exercise and you don´t need any equipment, just comfortable clothes and a pair of good sneakers are all you need so there are no excuses.

You don´t need to spend hours in the gym or exercising to get all the benefits, if you´re new the goal is to develop the habit of exercising every day so you can start with 15 minutes and from there increase intensity and time, the best part is that you need to do what you love, I´m sure that there´s some physical activity you enjoy it can be running, walking, jump rope, lift weight, calisthenics (bodyweight exercises), practice a sport, etc; the only way to develop this habit is by doing something you like otherwise it will be like hell and you won´t stick to it.

Exercise helps us build the type of physique we want whether we want to look big like a bodybuilder or superhero or if we want a more athletic  look or we just want to get lean and stay in shape. It also helps us maintain a healthy weight focusing on body composition which is our primarily goal and we also want our physique to be useful. Exercise also has amazing benefits for our heart and health so it´s key if we want to maintain optimal health.

We will divide exercise in 2 categories which are cardiovascular and resistance training, both of them are important they both have a positive impact on our body and health and there are some benefits for each of them that makes them important. Some of the benefits we get from resistance training we won´t get them with cardiovascular exercises in the same way some benefits from cardiovascular exercises can´t be achieved from resistance training.

One of the benefits we get from both of them is lower stress and improve mood. Chronic stress has negative effects on our body and health, it takes our hormones out of balance and increases inflammation, increase blood flow, improves insulin sensitivity which are some of the negative consequences so reducing chronic stress and finding ways to keep this type of stress low is a great tool to maintain optimal health.

Exercise also improves quality and quantity of sleep, lack of sleep or poor quality sleep also has negative effects on our body and health so we need to make sure we get enough high quality sleep every night, exercising especially in the morning has been shown to improve sleep.

Exercising or doing some type of physical activity every day is one of the fitness tools to maintain a healthy weight and improve our life, some simple steps you can take to start increasing your daily physical activity are:

1.- Take a 10 minute walk after breakfast, lunch and dinner,

2.- If you work in an office and spend most time sitting try to stand up and take a walk for a couple of minutes every 60 to 90 minutes, it can 3 minutes or 5 minutes or even 2 it depends of the amount of time you have.

Fitness and exercise is not only about looking great, is about feeling great, maintaining optimal health and being able to perform at peak every single day. Fitness is a tool to help us feel great and live our best life possible so even when we need to develop healthy habits we can´t get obsessed with it. We can´t let our life revolve around exercise or fitness we just need to find ways to use as many tools as possible to lose weight, stay lean, maintain a healthy weigh considering body composition in an enjoyable way so that we have the energy and concentration to work on our goals and achieve the success we want.

Benefits of exercise

Exercise is a great way to improve our mood, sleep, focus and energy so you can start today by taking a 5 minute walk after your next meal, it doesn´t matter if it´s breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you can take a 5 minute walk after those 3 meals that´s perfect, do it for 1 week and let us know how you feel by living a comment in out twitter or Facebook account.

It would 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