Harmonize Fitness
Harmonize Fitness



How to maintain a lean physique


One thing is to lose weight, another is to keep that weight off and maintain a lean physique.

If you´re trying to lose weight or you´ve been trying for several times let me ask you something, what´s your real goal? Just to lose weight and not care about what happens next? Or do you want to lose weight, keep it off, maintain your results and maintain a lean physique? You´ve probably want the last one so that you can stop worrying about your weight, your health and you can enjoy life.

If you follow the right weight loss program you don´t need to worry about losing weight, plateauing or keeping the weight off, even when the beginning is hard because of the changes you need to make once you get comfortable with is you´ll see that it´s really simple and easy to lose weight and keep it off and you also have the freedom to enjoy life as you´ve never done before.

The reason why most programs don´t work and you don´t get the results or is impossible to keep those results if because they focus on the most common advice “eat less – move more”, they want to give you results as fast as possible without considering your health just so that you keep buying the products, memberships, etc. When a program focuses on calories they´re neglecting the most important factor related to weight gain or weight loss, hormones and metabolism. The reason why you gain weight, you´re obese or overweight is because your hormones and metabolism are not working efficiently and this is the reason why you find it really hard to lose weight and keep it off. Most weight loss programs make more harm and damage to your hormones and metabolism which cause plateaus (you stop losing weight), you regain all the weight and leads to yo-yo dieting and eating disorders.

To lose weight, keep it off and maintain a lean physique you need to focus on improving hormones and metabolism, if they are working properly it will be easier for you to lose weight, to keep it off and to maintain a lean physique unfortunately most programs ignore this. To improve your hormones and metabolism you need to focus on your diet, exercise is important and you do need to increase physical activity throughout the day and do resistance exercise but alone won´t improve hormones and metabolism as diet does.

For your diet you need to consider what you eat and when you eat, this two play an important role, if you eat 5 or 6 times a day, if you have 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and you have snacks in between because you feel you need them to give you the energy you need to keep going, or you feel dizzy, tired, low mood, etc; then it´s clear that your hormones and metabolism are not working properly. First you need to write down everything you eat, I know this is tedious and boring and sometimes hard to do but set it as a challenge, take one week, and write everything you eat, include all your meals and snacks, everything you drink even coffee and water, write that snickers bar or apple, that coke, everything. The next week try to be aware of why you´re eating, especially the snacks, every time you catch yourself eating that snickers bar or that can of coke, or a donut or any other snack ask yourself why you´re doing, are you really hunger? Is it because you´re anxious or stressed? Is it because you´re bored? Or just because of habit?

Then you´ll start swapping unhealthy options for healthy ones, you can start with breakfast, if for breakfast you have a bowl of cereal with milk, orange juice, coffee, or you have some bagels with jam or a sandwich swap it for some scramble or fried eggs with one or 2 slices of bacon. During this first weeks you don´t need to schedule any time to exercise, just focus on improving your diet and take short walks when you can especially right after big meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner).

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Can you work on different goals at the same time?


Have you ever tried to lose weight and gain muscle at the same time? Or to lose weight and get stronger? In most cases working on 2 or more goals at the same time is not possible, especially if you want to see results fast.

When someone is starting their fitness journey it´s possible to lose fat while gaining some muscle especially if they have a lot of fat to lose. When someone starts exercising especially lifting weights it´s really easy to gain muscle, you may have heard of this as the “newby gains”, this is why someone who is skinny or don´t have too much fat lose may get better results if they focus on gaining muscle first while staying at the same body fat and then lose fat.

As people get more advanced in the gym, the more time they have training it get´s harder to gain muscle and it gets harder to work on 2 different goals at the same time especially if they´re opposing.

There are some strategies you can use on your programs that will lead to improvements in different areas, for example if you focus on strength on getting stronger on compound and bodyweight exercises speed and power increases without you working on exercises or activities to improve speed or power in particular.

Lifting weights it doesn´t matter if it´s for strength or hypertrophy will increase your heart rate if done correctly which is another reason to prioritize resistance training over cadio exercise.

If you´re starting your fitness journey you will get results it doesn´t matter what you do and you will improve in different areas at the same time, when you first start lifting weights it´s easy to gain muscle mass while losing body fat all this with low volume and frequency so when you´re starting, the goal is to find out the what´s the less you can do and get results because as you get more advanced you´ll need to increase volume, frequency and start using different techniques and finding ways to keep getting results.

Regarding cardio the same applies, if you focus on HIIT so many aspects of your health and performance improve, if you focus on steady state cardio in almost all cases your endurance improves but you may plateau if you´re not progressing on the exercise, with steady state cardio it gets harder to increase the challenge, you need to increase the time of the session or the intensity and the return is not as huge as with HIIT. HIIT take a lot less time to complete and there are different options to keep the workout challenging, with just a couple of minutes of HIIT per week your performance improves and your health also improves.

If you´re starting your fitness journey use the first months and year wisely because that´s when you can get amazing results on different fitness goals, but you´ll get to a point where this is not possible, when you get to this point you need to find strategies that help you improve on other areas without focusing on them, one of them is working on strength as we mentioned before.

Always concentrate on one single goal at a time and leave the rest as an added bonus, always set a goal and figure out what´s the best strategy that will give you the best results, that will move you toward your goal faster, some times those strategies or activities require a lot more work and effort but if you think about investment and progress or results then it´s better to invest time and effort to work hard on the activities and strategies that are going to give you the best results than to waste time and effort doing stuff that won´t move you forward fast enough or maybe the progress is really small.

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Training for muscle growth


Even when the most common goal for people to start their weight loss journey is weight loss, muscle growth plays a huge role.

I see a huge mistake with people who aren´t obese or overweight and they want to lose weight, in this case if you want to lose weight it´s because you want to look lean and toned but to achieve this you need to have a base of muscle otherwise if you lose weight you´ll only end up skinny so the first goal must be to gain muscle. You don´t need to get big if you don´t want to just gain strength and muscle mass and then you lose weight so you end up looking great. Or if you´re afraid of gaining fat along the way you can set your goal as improving body composition which means building lean muscle mass and losing fat, this takes more time and you need more strategies for your exercise and diet plan but it works great.

There are some people that want to get into fitness because they´re skinny so instead of losing weight their goal is to gain muscle, to get bigger. How much muscle you want to gain depends of you, you may want to build a lean and athletic physique that looks more like Christiano Ronaldo or you may want to build a superhero physique and look more like Thor or Captain America, or maybe you want to become a bodybuilder.

When your goal is muscle growth then your exercise program changes, for weight loss the goal is actually to lose fat so the workout programs are focused on maintaining strength with lower volume because being on a calorie deficit makes it harder to maintain high volume. For muscle growth the goal is strength with the right amount of volume and frequency, you need to focus on strength, getting stronger on certain movements in the 5 to 8 rep range and 2 – 3 minutes of rest between sets (compound and bodyweight) you need to consider progressive overload by adding more weight or reps each week and make this the base of your program, then add some isolation exercise in the 12 to 15 rep range and 60 to 90 seconds rest between sets to increase volume. Working each muscle group 2 times per week is a good frequency to get the best results. You also need to consider recovery, and sleep plays a really important role here, getting at 6 hours of high quality sleep is crucial but if you can get more do it. When you´re working on strength and progressive overload you won´t be able to work each muscle group on consecutive days because the central nervous system needs more time to recover. Even when some people recommend hitting each muscle 3 days per week in a program where you´re working on strength it won´t be possible.

Each workout should begin with strength exercises, the body weight or compound lifts, the ones you are using to get stronger on the 5 to 8 rep ranges, once you´re done with those you continue with isolation exercises.

When you are working out, it doesn´t matter if you go to a gym or if you exercise at home be really concentrated on what you´re doing, pay attention to the clock and how you feel so that you can get enough recovery on strength sets and you don´t lose momentum on isolation sets. Mind-muscle connection is really important, you may have heard about it, when you´re doing any type of resistance training your mindset need to be of contracting the right muscles, focus on form and make sure that you´re using the right muscles when you´re lifting or moving the weight. If you´re doing bench press or push ups you want your chest to be doing the work not your shoulders. You need to be able to contract the right muscle for each exercise without using any weight.

Creating a muscle growth program is actually simple but you need to start your workout with the right mindset, you need to make sure you´re giving your body enough nutrients so that you can get through your workouts, get stronger and grow and you need to make sure you´re getting enough recovery and sleep because that´s when your body is growing.

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Exercise for weight loss


One of the most common fitness goals is weight loss, you may have set this goal for you and you may have been working it for a long time, if you haven´t get the results you want then this post will help you.

When we talk about weight loss we´re actually talking about fat loss and maintain as much muscle mass as possible, we also want to make sure that we can sustain the results and even keep improving without huge sacrifices.

When it comes to weight loss most people talk about eating less and moving more and even when some people are able to get amazing results with this strategy a lot of people don´t get results or are not able to keep the weight off and there´s a huge reason for that so if this is your case it´s not your fault, you´ve been doing everything right following that strategy, the problem is that it´s incomplete, eating less and moving more is the last thing you need to consider for weight loss.

Most people who are obese or overweight are insulin resistant meaning that they´re body is not able to use carbohydrates properly, they´re metabolism and hormones are also damage and if you follow the advice of eat less and move more it will create more damage to your hormones and metabolism. In this case the first step is to focus on fixing the damage and everything going on with your hormones and metabolism first then you can eat less and move more and you´ll get amazing results. We´ll talk about this a lot more in other posts and social media.

The first step regarding exercise is to increase physical activity throughout the day, which is not the same as to schedule a session of cardio every day, just starting parking farther from the entrance on the office, mall, when you go shopping, use the stairs instead of the elevator, walk during phone calls or at least stand up, take a 10 to 15 minute walk after each meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner), schedule 30 minutes 3 to 4 days a week for resistance exercise and do bodyweight exercises.

Too much cardio, long sessions of steady state or HIIT can make it harder to maintain a calorie deficit, walking is the more efficient strategy for weight loss because it doesn´t increase hunger and it helps you burn calories, if you do two or three 15 minute walks after each meal you´re doing 30 to 45 minutes of walking it´s easier and more enjoyable.

When the goal is weight loss you want to maintain as much muscle and strength as possible so it´s better to work on 5 to 8 reps for each exercise, remember that the workouts need to be challenging, you need to feel the muscles working so every couple of weeks you may need to make the exercises harder by adding more reps, more weights or making a harder variation of the exercise. Squats, pushups, pull ups, dips, crunches, lunges are all great exercises and they are simple variations as doing pushups on a wall to more difficult variations like clap push ups if you like plyo exercises or one arm pushups.

This also applies for more advanced guys who like to lift weights, you want to maintain muscle and strength so high weight for lower reps is best, in this case you can work in the 4 to 8 rep ranges and focus on compound movements, you don´t need many isolation exercises because your goal is not hypertrophy, keep it basic and simple and focus on maintaining strength so that you maintain muscle mass.

When you´re losing weight you need to be on a calorie deficit meaning you need to eat less, if all your hormones and metabolism are working efficiently then it´s not that hard to lose weight, but eating less will have a negative impact on your workouts if you´re trying to do a lot or to push yourself really hard. Being physically active throughout the day is really helpful to lose weight, short walks after meals, a couple of session of HIIT per week is all you need while making it easier to maintain the calorie deficit.

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The problem with cardio


Cardio is great for optimal health, it has a lot of benefits as we´ve seen before, but too much of it can be counterproductive.

There´s a huge problem nowadays when it comes to optimal body composition, it´s not only that a lot of people are obese or overweight it´s also a lack of muscle mass. Lack of muscle mass is also a huge problem in skinny people, they may be slim and skinny but that doesn´t mean it´s healthy.

Muscle mass and strength play an important role on maintaining optimal health and longevity. When we talk about longevity we´re talking about quality of life, making sure that you live a long life with the best quality possible.

Most people when they´re working on losing muscle they give cardio exercise a high priority, some of them go for long sessions of steady state cardio, others prefer to take cardio or aerobic classes and even when they improve health especially heart and lungs, they help you improve endurance if you over do it you´ll start losing muscle mass which is the opposite of what we want. The goal when you want to lose weight is to lose muscle and maintain as much muscle mass as possible and if you´re skinny the goal is to build muscle mass.

Too much cardio will break down muscle especially if you don´t do enough resistance exercise, this is a huge problem especially with girls because they think that if they lift weight they´ll get big and huge like bodybuilders which is not the case, there need to be several things into place working together to build muscle and it takes a lot of time, if this is your case don´t be afraid of lifting weights, if you don´t want to get big you won´t get big you just exercise the right way to gain enough muscle mass to get a physique that looks tone.

Lets be clear, you don´t need cardio to lose weight and to make this bad news worse if you do it the wrong way it will cause more damage, certain types of cardio exercises or activities based on cardio can increase injuries, decrease performance, impacts on recovery from your resistance workouts so you need to find a way to use in a way that helps you lose fat and even be beneficial for recovery.

It doesn´t matter if you´re losing weight or if you´re maintaining your current weight and physique if you rely on cardio to achieve those goals every time you´ll need to do more and more of it and increase the intensity and if you´re not prioritizing resistance exercise and you´re not working on the other 3 principles of fitness (diet, sleep, stress) to make sure that your hormones and metabolism are working efficiently then with time you´ll need more and more cardio and a lower calorie diet just to maintain your weight and it gets harder when you want to lose weight.

Even when a lot of people recommend to do cardio every day it´s not beneficial, it can block your progress on resistance exercise and in the long term it can lead to damage on joints, if you already have problems with joints then cardio can make it worse.

We need to make a huge distintion here, in this case when we talk about cardio we talk about having a cardio session schedule whether it´s 45 to 60 minutes of steady state cardio or 15 minutes of HIIT. We do need to be active throughout the day but there are so many ways of increasing activity like walking when you´re on phone calls, parking farther from the entrance at the office, mall, when you go shopping, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking 15 minutes after each meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner).

Walking is actually the best form of cardio and physical activity you can do because it doesn´t have any negative impact and you can do it anywhere, you don´t need special equipment, finding opportunities to increase physical activity throughout the day just by walking is the best option when you´re starting your fitness journey, then according to your goals you can schedule 10 to 15 minutes of cardio a couple days a week and 1 or 2 HIIT sessions per week to help you lose fat a little faster or to improve performance.

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Can you outexercise a bad diet?


You may have asked yourself this question more than once, and maybe you´ve even searched it on the internet or talked about it and probably you ended up confused. Some people say that you can out-exercise a bad diet while others say it´s impossible, for me, it depends.

If your goal is to lose weight as long as you maintain a calorie deficit you will lose weight it doesn´t matter if you´re following a clean diet 100% of the time or if you´re eating unhealthy foods. At least at the beginning every one can lose weight just by eating less, but with time for some people it gets harder and harder to maintain the calorie deficit needed to continue losing weight and one of the reasons is that unhealthy foods are not as satiating as healthy whole foods, most of the highly processed foods are very high in calories so you don´t get to eat a lot of food while whole fresh foods are lower in calories, have more nutrients and are more satiating which gives you the opportunity to eat more while maintaining a calorie deficit.

Now, we need to mention insulin, people who are insulin sensitive will find it easier to out exercise a bad diet while people who are insulin resistant won´t be able to out exercise a bad diet. Our metabolism also plays an important role, people who have a fast metabolism or flexible metabolism have more freedom on their diet, they can eat a lot more unhealthy foods and exercise and still get amazing results while people with a slow metabolism or inflexible metabolism won´t get a positive result.

Hormones and metabolism play and important role on how food and exercise affects our body, the healthier we are the more freedom we have and the chances of out exercising a bad diet are higher when it comes to fitness goals like weight loss, maintenance or muscle growth.

Achieving a fitness goal like weight loss, muscle growth and maintenance is completely separate from optimal health, even when you can out exercise a bad diet and achieve your fitness goal that doesn´t mean you´ll be able to maintain optimal health just by exercising while you eat unhealthy foods. Every food choice has an impact on our health, the more unhealthy foods we eat for longer periods of time the more damage it does to our body and sooner or later we´ll pay the price. When it comes to health, we can not out exercise a bad diet.

I understand that we all want to enjoy life, we want to eat our favorite meals, snacks and desserts, this is why I always say to avoid them as much as possible, if you can choose healthy options 80% to 90% of the time and eat your favorite meals 20% or 10% of the time you´ll be fine. Also I need to mention that the healthier you are the more freedom you have, if you are on a healthy weight considering body composition, if you are fit and lean then you can have more of those foods you like, if you´re not as healthy you may need to be a lot more disciplined on all 4 principles of fitness for a couple of months so that you get healthier and then you can have more freedom.

We also need to mention the other 2 principles of fitness, sleep and stress. If you´re working on them making sure you keep stress levels low of follow strategies that help you lower stress every day and if you get enough high quality sleep the chances of out exercising a bad diet are higher. High levels of stress and poor quality or lack of sleep have a huge negative impact on our health and fitness goal, they affect negatively both of them so if you can lower stress and get high quality sleep every night your body is working properly which gives you the opportunity to have some unhealthy foods without getting a huge negative impact.

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Do you need to exercise every day?


We´ve talked a lot about exercise to help you lose weight and maintain optimal health, but do you need to do some exercise every single day? The short, yes!

If your goal is to lose weight and maintain a lean physique you can achieve that with 3 or 4 days of resistance training and no cardio if for any reason you don´t want to do cardio, but since you need to be on a calorie deficit to lose weight the days you´re not exercising you´ll need to go lower in calories and if you´re doing some physical activity every day you can keep your calories a little higher and maintain a deficit with exercise. When it comes to weight loss, cardio makes it easier to stay on a calorie deficit.

Now, we need to mention that losing weight is just the beginning, maintaining a lean physique is the ultimate goal, you don´t want to be on those crash or yo-yo dieting, you want to be able to lose weight and keep it off. A lot of people are so motivated to lose weight that they do everything they can, most of them followed the wrong programs and advice and end up causing more harm and damage to their body making it harder for them to keep losing weight and keeping it off. There are people that once they´ve lost some weight they conform with those results and slowly start getting back to their old habits which makes them gain the weight back.

One of the reasons why you need to exercise every day is to make it a habit, the only way you can lose weight and keep it off is to make sure you develop the right habits and one of those is exercise, you don´t need to do resistance training every day, you don´t need to schedule 60 minutes for cardio every day, but you need to make sure you are doing resistance training at least 3 to 4 days a week and be physically active throughout the day every day.

If you don´t develop the habit of exercising consistently then it´s easier to fall back on your old habits and you´ll start gaining weight. The best way to develop new habits is by repeating the activity you want to develop as a habit over an over this is why exercising every day is important. The first days will be hard, but with time you´ll get used to it and you´ll get to a point where it becomes part of your daily routine.

When it comes to overall health which includes physical and mental exercise plays a huge role, there are so many benefits that we get from exercising that we don´t get any other way. We´ve mentioned in other posts that physical activity improves mood, helps with depression ad anxiety and also plays an important role when treating dementia and other diseases like cancer.

Exercise is great for our heart and brain, it´s clear that the people who exercise consistently feel better, more energized and motivated, it´s easier for them to maintain a positive mood all day long and to concentrate on the task at hand, they´re also fitter and healthier.

Resistance exercise is so important to build and maintain muscle, we´ve talked about the importance of muscle mass and strength for health and longevity and we´ll continue talking about it, I consider it to be more important than cardio.

We´re supposed to be moving and physically active throughout the day and most of us spend most of out time sitting and this not only affects our posture but is one of the causes of health problems.

Exercise is not just an strategy to lose weight, it´s part of a healthy lifestyle, if you want to live your best life possible, if you want to be able to take care of your loved ones and every one around you, you need to take care of yourself first and exercise will help with that, if you feel great and look great you can help everyone around you, you can even inspire them to start making the changes needed to improve their lives.

Fitness is not only about losing weight and looking great, it´s about feeling great and being lean, fit and strong, maintaining optimal health so that we can live the life we want to live and enjoy it as much as possible.

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How to start exercising


A lot of people who get into the fitness industry want to lose weight, some of them want to build the best physique possible, others just want to lose a lot of weight and get in decent shape.

There are different reasons why girls and guys start their fitness journey, the most common are health issues or insecurities. For some, health is the major reason. Whether they got diagnosed with a disease or their doctor told them they needed to lose weight to prevent certain diseases, others are really skinny and want to gain some muscle to attract boys or girls, others are overweight or obese they don´t like the way they feel and look and want to make a change by improving their body physically. It doesn´t matter what´s your reason probably you may be living a very sedentary lifestyle for years so you need to take small steps.

If you´re sedentary chances are you don´t feel your best to start exercising, your body hurts and you feel tired, when you´re starting improving your diet is a crucial part you can even start your weight loss journey by improving your diet first, take 3 to 4 weeks to work on your diet, this will help you feel better, increase your energy and probably decrease pain in your body which will make it easier for you to start exercising. After those 3 or 4 weeks you can start your physical activity, the best option here will be to walk, go for a 15 minute walk after each meal breakfast, lunch and dinner, walking has so many benefits for overall health and if you do it right after a meal it will help with insulin. If you do these 3 short walks and continue your diet which needs to be low in calories you´ll start losing weight. Follow this for 2 or 3 weeks.

Now you can add resistance exercises, you might know by now that resistance exercises are key to help you lose weight and improve your health so now you need to keep with the 3 short walks per day, your healthy diet and schedule 30 minutes for resistance workouts, for most exercises you´ll be using your own body weight but you can also use light weights like dumbbells or resistance bands. You´ll be doing 10 squats, 10 push ups and 10 crunches. If you can´t do the normal version of it don´t worry, you can sit on chair and stand up 10 times for the squats, you can do push ups on a wall instead of on the floor, for all exercises there are simple versions you can do. You can add some bicep curls, triceps extensions, flies all of them can be done with resistance bands.

Every time you´re exercising make sure you´re focusing on your form, it might not be 100% right just make sure you do each exercise as best as possible and that you don´t get injured. As you keep exercising and losing weight you´ll see that it´s easier to perform the exercises and that your form improves.

Now, there´s something I want to make clear, exercising is hard, it´s supposed to be challenging, you need to feel tired, you´ll feel your heart rate increasing and you´ll feel your muscles working, but there´s good pain and bad pain. It´s really important that you talk with your doctor or health care practitioner before starting and that you´re aware of your body, do not try to go harder than what you can manage, but you do need to challenge yourself. There´s a difference between good pain and bad pain and when you´re starting it is hard to identify and know the difference this is why starting with bodyweight exercises, resistance bands or light weight dumbbells and walking is the best way to start, the chances of getting injured are less than working with heavy dumbbells, barbells or other exercises and equipment.

Since we´ve been living sedentary lifestyles and an unhealthy diet you need to start small, this is why going for short walks and improving your diet is the best option. A healthy diet will help you feel better, lower your cravings which makes it easier to stay on track and you´ll feel more energy and motivation to start exercising. These short walks will help you start adding some physical activity to your day, and both will improve your sleep, all this starts your journey and from there you just keep the momentum going.

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How to do resistance exercise without getting big


We´ve talked a lot about the importance of resistance exercise for optimal health, longevity and quality of life but you may be afraid of getting huge and big. If this is you, then continue reading.

If every time someone mention resistance training or weight lifting you think about bodybuilders or strongest men then the first point we need to talk about is that bodybuilders use drugs to get that big and they both eat a lot. For the rest of us is not possible to get that big because we´re not using drugs. Now, another point to consider is that it takes a lot of time to build lean muscle mass, fat loss is easier and quicker, but muscle growth takes a lot more time.

There are some points we need to make clear first, to get really big there need to be a lot of things going on and working together including the right type of training, frequency, volume and recovery, the amount and type of cardio also play an important role; then we also need to consider the diet, you need to be eating more and be really careful of the macros and calories if you want to gain muscle without gaining too much fat or if you want more freedom you can bulk which leads to fat and muscle gain.

In order to gain muscle you need to eat more, get the right amount of volume, resistance, frequency and recovery on your workout program. You can gain a considerably amount of muscle without using any drugs if all the variables are working in harmony, but it´s not necessary. Our goal is to improve body composition meaning having the right amount of muscle mass and body fat in most cases this is low body fat with a good amount of muscle mass which makes you look lean and toned but not big.

We need to mention that how hard or easy it is for you to gain muscle and get big also depends of your body, for some people it´s easier to gain muscle and start looking big than for others and some exercises can have a greater impact on your physique than others.

For most people who want to build that lean body and especially for girls lifting lighter weight for higher reps is the way to go, lifting heavy weight for low reps and adding more weight or reps every couple weeks which is called progressive overload lead to muscle gain so for most people who want to stay lean then lighter weights is the way to go. You can do squats, bench press, shoulder press, overhead triceps extensions, bicep curls all of them with lighter weights. You can also use resistance bands but stay with light resistance. Another point you need to consider is to not train to failure in any exercise, if you´ve gone to a gym you may have seen people training to failure which means they can´t do another rep, this is one technique for muscle growth so avoid it.

For cardio, boxing and kickboxing work great for most people who want to stay lean, they are great for toning your muscles. Some types of cardio like bicycle are not the best option for some people because they can end with bigger legs than what they´re looking for. Crossfit can also be a problem for some because it can make you big.

Now we can´t forget that to get big you need to eat more in most cases, there might be some exceptions but you need to keep in mind and also be really aware of any change in your body, if you´re getting big, are you gaining muscle or fat? Are you paying attention to your diet?

For most people especially girls lifting lighter weights for higher reps without going to failure will give them the results they want, a lean and toned body and adding some boxing or walking for cardio is also beneficial.

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Why NEAT is helpful to lose weight and keep it off

00 Intro

If your goal is to lose weight and keep it off but you don´t like doing long sessions of steady state cardio and you don´t like HIIT neither then you need to continue reading.

NEAT – Non-exercise activity thermogenesis is all the physical activity we do every day that is not scheduled as exercise. If you go to the gym or exercise at home for 45 minutes doing some type of resistance workouts and other days you do long sessions of steady state cardio or HIIT then those do not count as NEAT.

Some examples of NEAT are cleaning, shopping, buying groceries, taking the stairs, walking from the parking lot to the entrance of your office, home, mall, it´s all about physically active throughout the day and not remain sitting on a chair or the couch for long periods of time. If you´re living a sedentary lifestyle then NEAT is very low and you need to find ways to increase physical activity daily this can be by going for a walk after lunch or dinner, if you remain sitting on a chair for long periods of time then every hour get up and go for a walk just a couple of minutes.

If weight loss is your goals then you know you need to be on a calorie deficit and NEAT makes that calorie deficit a lot easier, the more physical activity you can add each day the more calories you´ll burn so you see results faster (considering you´re on a calorie deficit and your metabolism and hormones are working properly). Energy expenditure has to be greater than the energy you take in from food so instead of creating a big deficit by lowering calories just increase activity.

NEAT not only helps you lose weight but it also helps you maintain optimal health, we all know that to maintain optimal health and a lean and fit physique we need to follow healthy habits and routines, one of these routines is to be more active every day. We know that being sedentary is unhealthy but technology has change our lifestyle making a lot of things easier for us so we developed this sedentary way of living, the problem is that we´re designed to move, to be active during the day.

You´ve probably hear this 10,000 steps as a tool for weight loss, this is a good strategy but not everyone is able to count and not everyone will be able to get 10,000 steps daily because of their job and in some cases this can lead to failure. Do not make it a priority to hit 10,000 steps every day, just make sure you find ways to increase physical activity.

Some activities that help you increase NEAT:

  • Walk your dog
  • Go for a walk after lunch and dinner
  • Walk while you´re talking on the phone
  • Clean your house
  • Wash your car
  • Take the stairs
  • Park farther from the entrance
  • Gardening
  • Spend more time standing

If you have a 9 to 5 job and spend most of the time sitting then you need to find ways to stand up, if you can get up every hour an walk for a couple minutes do it, if you can spend some time using a standing desk that´s also great, by being on your feet it´s easier to move around because you´re already standing. You can also take breaks, you can take 5 minute breaks every hour and do some stretches and walking, you can clean your desk every morning when you arrive or before leaving.

Let us know by leaving a comment below and on Twitter if you´ve tried to increase NEAT before or if you´re going to give it a try.

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