Harmonize Fitness
menu
Harmonize Fitness

gym

Training

Make training as simple as possible

17_tools
views
10

There´s a tendency to overcomplicate things knowing that the more complicated the more sure we´re not going to follow it, we tend to think that if something is simple it won´t work but there´s a big gap between simple and easy, even when the concepts to lose fat and achieve any fitness goal are simple they´re not easy.

We don´t need to spend 2 hours in the gym everyday and we don´t need to do a lot of different exercises for each muscle group, this only make things more confusing and we waste a lot of time, we don´t need to do a lot of sets and reps unless we´re looking for an endurance workout.

Nowadays most guys like to train one muscle group per day the 5 day split that we see most guys in the gym following, if we´re not a bodybuilder we don´t need to do this, a lot of guys give more attention and prioritize isolation movements so they spend a lot of time in the gym getting the “pump”.

If we keep in mind our primary goal which is improve body composition, gaining muscle while keeping body fat low then resistance training is a priority it´s more important than cardio. We need to follow workout programs that focus on helping us gain lean muscle so we need to be training 3 to 4 days a week on this, the days left we can do some cardio.

We can divide resistance training exercises in three categories, bodyweight exercises, compound exercises and isolation exercises. Bodyweight and compound movements are the best option to gain muscle and get stronger, the way to gain dense muscle is by getting stronger on those exercises.

Workouts based on simple exercises like pushups, pull ups, squats, handstands, leg raises, bench press, over head press, bent over row, barbell squats and dead lifts are simple and effective, to this we can add some isolation exercises to target weaker muscles or work harder a muscle group we want to stand out. What we want with resistance training is to get stronger in the 5 to 8 rep range and 8 to 12 rep ranges to build dense muscle.

Once we have our resistance training in place we can add some cardio workouts just a tool to help us burn some extra calories that will help us get leaner faster or to maintain a low body fat, we´ll also get all the amazing benefits of endurance. We don´t want to do a lot of cardio or make it the base of our workouts because it´s not the way to gain muscle.

How we design our workouts depend of what we like to do, if we prefer bodyweight exercises we can make them the base of our workouts and add compound movements as a second option, if we prefer compound movements we can use them as our base and just use bodyweight exercises to compliment the workout, we can use them both for a more complete workout and to get stronger on both.

Once we have this on place we may want to add some isolation movements for muscle that need extra work like calves, shoulders, arms and abs, just one exercise for each is all we need, calf raises, lateral raises for shoulders, dips for triceps and chin ups or barbell curls for biceps.

This may seems so simple and basic but it´s the truth and is what works, I´m old school, I like to stick with the basics and simple tools which end being the more effective. If we want great results as fast as possible we need to focus and stick with what works, whit the tools that are going to give us the best results in the shortest period of time and that we can sustain for the rest of our life.

Traditional fitness programs are in most cases not the best option, they overcomplicate things, they make everything harder than it is, they don´t focus on health. The reality is simple, focus o getting stronger on bodyweight and compound movements, add some cardio to burn extra calories.

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

Training

What we need to know about muscle hypertrophy

16_workout
views
26

In the last training post we talked about muscle fibers and how they play an important role for any fitness goal, today we´re going to talk about how those two types of muscle fibers are related to hypertrophy which is something we need to understand for muscle growth if we want to get the best results.

There are 2 types of hypertrophy which are  sarcoplasmic and myofibryllar. The 2 of them are related to the muscle fibers because depending of the rep range we are working is how we target each of them.

In sarcoplasmic hypertrophy the muscle increase in size because more fluid gets into the cell, we target slow twitch muscle fibers which are type 1, working around the 12 to 15 reps per set or more. If we want to get “the pump” this is where you need to focus on, this is also the most common rep range and the one we´ll see a lot more on gyms.

Since we are lifting light weights for high reps we can use the 3 types of exercises; bodyweight, compound and isolation (I´m writing a post for each).

This type of hypertrophy makes us a slave to the gym, we need to be training to hit the muscle otherwise we lose it. Is easier and faster to gain muscle and to look big with this one but if we take some time off the gym we lose those gains.

In myofibryllar hypertrophy the muscle cell increase in number, we target fast twitch muscle fibers which are type 2, working around the 5 to 8 reps per set. If we want to build lean dense muscle this is where we need to focus on.

Since we are lifting heavy weights for low reps we can use bodyweight and compound exercises which are the ones we can lift heavy weight, with isolation we can´t lift heavy because we can get injured.

This type of hypertrophy takes more time to build and to get big but it´s there to last,  we can take some time off the gym and it will take longer until we lose that muscle. What we need to consider is that here we are working our central nervous system and it takes more time to recover.

If our goal is only to gain strength we need to work on the 5 to 8 rep range which is type 2 or fast twitch muscle fibers if our goal is to get muscle mass faster we need to work on the 12 to 15 rep range which is type 1 or slow twitch muscle fibers. The best option for muscle growth is to work on both creating a program that focuses some days on sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and other days on myofibrillar hypertrophy or creating a program where we can combine both in the same workout.

When we combine both types of hypertrophy we make sure that we build lean dense muscle which takes longer but also last longer and we get “the pump” to look bigger, this also help us design workouts with high volume which is also key for muscle growth, there are many variables that come into play (we´re going to talk about all of them in separated posts for each) and that we need to consider to make sure that we give our muscles the stimulus they need but also enough recovery to grow.

We also need to consider that muscle growth is the results of the right stimulus, recovery and also proper nutrition which we´re going to talk about in a separate post.

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

Training

What we need to know about muscle fibers

20
views
38

Losing weight and getting in shape is one of the most common goals and then building an amazing physique, if you´ve been on this industry for a long time you know that every year new trends come out just like diets, some people prefer to stick with the basics while others love to try every new workout program, routine or technique.

We don´t need to follow trends, we need to understand how our body works and which tools we can use to achieve our goals, muscle fibers are one of the most important stuff we need to know and understand if we want to get the best results with our program.

We have two types of muscle fibers which are type 1 and type 2, knowing how this two types of fiber works and how you can hit them or target them is key to creating workout programs that lead to our goals.

Type 1 muscle fibers or slow twitch muscle fibers are target with light weights , high reps and short rest periods around the 12 to 15 reps and 30 to 60 seconds rest. This fibers are more efficient at using oxygen and they fire slowly and they can go for long periods of time before they fatigue, this fibers are more useful in marathons, swimming long distances or any activity that follows a steady state pace for long periods of time. This are used for steady state cardio.

Type 2 muscle fibers or fast twitch muscle fibers are target with heavy weights , low reps and long rest periods  around the 5 to 8 reps and 2 to 5 minutes rest. This type of fibers are able to fiber faster generating short burst of power, speed or strength and they fatigue more quickly. This are used for HIIT cardio type of training.

In fitness there are so many different goals and getting in shape is just one of them, improving body composition must be our ultimate goal but we can also gain muscle, improve overall performance, increase strength, increase endurance, etc.

The reason why some people are better in certain sports is because we´re all different and the combination of muscle fibers in each of us have an impact on our performance making us better at some types of activities but practice and our daily habits also play an important part on overall performance.

Knowing the combination of muscle fibers we possess and having a clear goal makes it possible for us to design a workout program that get us the results we´re looking for by considering our genetics and making use of them in the best way possible and not as an excuse.

If you are an professional athlete then it´s best to focus on your sport otherwise for normal people like me is not only about looking great is also about performing great in our daily activities so we our goal is to improve body composition and improve overall performance but we don´t need to get to any extreme is about getting in our best shape possible and for this we need to work both types of muscle fibers and this can be done with both types of training, cardio and resistance.

As you can see things can get really complex, whether we use this information or not depending of our goals is important that we understand how our body works at least the basics so that we can design a workout program that works for us. There are so many different programs out there which will give us results for a period of time but creating a personalized program for each of our goals based on our body and what we love will get us higher, it´s not the same to buy programs and depend of those than to have the information we need to create our own.

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

Training

Supersets and giant sets

25 Supersets and giant sets
views
100

If you hate cardio but want to lose fat, resistance training with supersets and giant sets and circuit training can help you get to your goal.

More people prefer resistance training over cardio for many good reasons, resistance training can be more fun and the way it makes you feel is amazing compared to long and boring cardio.

Giant sets are when you do three to four exercises with no rest in between, for example you can do pushups, incline bench press and flat bench flyes one after another with no rest in between until you finished the three exercises. This type of training is better on a 10 – 15 rep range with 45 seconds in between. If your goal is fat loss I recommend doing giant sets within the same muscle group.

The way this type of training is a great option for fat loss is thanks to something called post-exercise oxygen consumption which means that once you´re done with your workout your body is still working to get you to where you were before exercising, this increases your metabolism, increases protein synthesis and depletes glycogen from the muscles.

Working with giant sets is more demanding, you are increasing the amount of work and reducing the amount of rest between sets, this can be a type of HIIT for resistance training where you´re lifting weights and working the cardiovascular system.

Supersets can be used with the same muscle or two different muscles and it can also be used for muscle gains, for this I recommend superset within two different muscle groups for example chest and back, choose one exercise for chest and one exercise for back and do one after another with minimum rest in between.

When you start with chest and then continue with back your chest is resting, while you´re working on chest your back is resting. This active recovery helps you go higher in weight. For this type of workout you can use both types of hypertrophy, working from 6 to 12 reps.

To use supersets I prefer to follow a 3 day training split, legs – abs, back – chest, shoulders – arms and I work both muscles per superset for example I do one exercise for back and one for chest for a superset and I do 4 or 5 supersets.

For giant sets I prefer to work the same muscle per giant set, if I´m working legs I choose 4 or 4 leg exercises for a giant set. My favorite giant sets are the ones that combine bodyweight, compound, isolation and explosive exercises.

Using supersets for fat loss is a great option, building and maintaining muscle mass is important and using resistance training is the way to make sure to maintain as much muscle as possible, combining this training technique with periodization by changing rep ranges from 8 to 12 gives amazing benefits, this is my strategy and go to for my latest fat loss program and it works great.

As in all other training techniques it´s not necessary to use them but they can add variety to your workouts, if there´s a technique that you don´t like just try another one, there´s not one single way to get to your goal, there are many tools you can use so find the ones that works best for you and the ones you like more.

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

Nutrition

Are pre / post workout meals effective?

28 Prepost workout meals
views
93

I want to listen to your opinion and take about pre / post workout meals, do you think they are effective? or is it just an strategy to sell products?

I do believe that the most important meals of the day are the ones around your workout, specially post workouts meals, when we finish our workout our body starts to recover so we need to make sure that we´re giving it all the nutrients it needs, if your body do not have everything it needs it won´t be possible to recover and your next workout will suffer.

The faster your body starts to recover after the workouts the faster you can get to the gym and hit the same muscles.

During our workouts we lose water, electrolytes, glycogen so our body needs to replenish what our body lost. Being hydrate before, during and after is important but the amount of water will vary, our gender, weight, age and the intensity of our workout needs to be consider to get a more accurate number but around 3.5 liters for guys and 3 liters for girls per day can serve as a guide. Another important thing to consider is that we need to replenish electrolytes like sodium.

Glycogen is the preferred source of energy for our body and it´s the one it uses during intense workouts, to replenish glycogen simple sugars are more effective so the meal right after your workout is the one where you can have simple sugars this is why some guys and girls in the gym take sport drinks and others like gummy bears.

For protein our body does not use it during the workouts but we need to consume enough protein to drive protein synthesis and to keep this protein synthesis consistent some guys and girls take protein around every 2 or 3 hours with protein shakes, proteins bars or meals, whether you want to follow this or not depends of you, if you are following some type of intermittent fasting a protein bar or shake will break your fast, BCAAs can be a solution but just be sure that those BCAAs do not break your fast. What I consider more important is right after your workout, I prefer to take protein shakes right after my workouts and the best way to do it is with just water and protein powder this way our body can absorb it faster, milk and protein powder is also great.

Fat is also important for overall health, if you can cook your post workout meal make sure to add some extra virgin olive oil and you´re good to go.

The macronutrient ratios will vary depending of the type of diet you´re following, if you are on a more balanced diet between proteins, carbohydrates and fats or if you are following a ketogenic diet. If you are keto adapted then you need 50 grams or less per day to replenish glycogen, if you are carb adapted you need around 1 – 2 grams per pound of bodyweight per day.

If you are following some type of intermittent fasting try to schedule your workouts around your meals, if you have lunch and dinner it will be great if you workout before dinner or if you have breakfast and lunch you can workout before lunch or first think in the morning before breakfast but if this is the case consider that not everyone can workout in a fasted state.

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

Training

Training Frequency

07
views
302

How many times per week can you work each muscle group? Which body split is better for fat and muscle gain?

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.

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

If you are new to working out low frequency will give you amazing results, when you are starting out one of the most important goals along with getting in shape and losing weight is to develop good habits so following a low frequency and adding cardio is the best way to go. Another option is to try high frequency by doing full-body workouts 3 days per week on none consecutive days. This 2 options may seem contradicting but if you do full-body workouts 3 days a week the volume for each muscle group will be low and if you do low frequency and work each muscle group once a week you are able to add more volume. The goal here is to develop the habit of working out and we need to do it with things you like more, if you hate doing 3 or 4 day splits then it will be harder for you to get up and workout.

If the goal is fat loss and considering that you 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 your body the stimulus needed to keep the level of strength so that you maintain as much muscle as possible. With moderate frequency you can combine rep ranges, you can do one workout with heavy weight/low reps and the second workout with higher reps/lower weight.

If your goal is gain lean muscle mass you have 2 options, the first one is low frequency with high volume and high intensity, since you are working each muscle group once a week you 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 your muscles to grow. The second option is moderate frequency which causes more hypertrophy and it causes more muscle growth, you 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 it. The problem with this one is that if you are too short on time I don´t think you can focus on all muscle groups with the same intensity and if you are really giving your all in your workouts you will burn out. Recovery is crucial for muscle growth and if you are hitting each muscle 3 times a week they may not have enough time to recover.

All variables work together if you have high frequency you need to go lower in volume, with volume high you go lower in frequency, intensity also depends off 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 your goal is fat loss you need to make sure that you are giving your body enough nutrients to get you through daily activities and your workout while you are on a calorie deficit so that your body uses stored body fat.

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

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

Training

What is HIIT training?

05
views
143

You may have heard of high intensity interval training (HIIT) it has become popular over the last years and so many people love this type of workouts but, is it right for you? Nowadays you can buy so many different weight loss programs on DVD and do them at home, most of them are based on HIIT and circuit training which are awesome training tools but this is also the reason why most people end hating exercise and are not able to sustain their results.

HIIT is an intense form of cardio where you work in intervals, from there the name and even when some guys are able to do the routines some of them get so anxious and angry because it´s hard. On the other hand you have the people who love it.

The reason why so many guys prefer this type of cardio apart from being shorter in time is because so many experts claim about being the answer to fat loss which is not necessary true. There are more things that come into play for any fitness goal like nutrition, sleep, stress and they all work together so if your diet is right, you are in a calorie deficit then yes high-intensity interval training will help you lose fat and it has more benefits.

Studies show that HIIT burns more fat than steady state cardio and there are studies that show that HIIT can also increase body mass so considering this studies then this type of cardio is the way to go right? The problem I see with HIIT is that it impacts the central nervous system and it takes at least 48 hours to recover and if you don´t consider this it can lead to over training.

So how does HIIT help you burn more calories than traditional steady state cardio? The answer is EPOC. Actually 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 you are done with your workout. Once you´ve finished your HIIT session your 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.

One of the biggest problems with this type of cardio training is hunger, HIIT increases hunger so if you are fasting you´ll need to schedule your meals around your workouts or it´ll be harder to continue the fast or you´ll over eat in your meals. If your goal is fat loss you need to be in a caloric deficit and it may be hard for you to do this types of workouts, you may feel a lack of energy so it´s hard to give your all and push to your max and it may be harder for you to keep calories low so you may consider steady state cardio which can also help you burn fat.

 This type of training is based on intervals, you choose one exercise for example sprint and perform it for a short period of time, it may be from 20 seconds to 45 seconds and then you take a rest of 30 to 45 seconds and repeat those intervals 5 to 10 times. The time you are performing the exercise you need to make it as hard as possible, you need to give your all and then you recover to do it again.

I used 20 to 45 seconds of work and 30 to 45 seconds of rest, you can adjust this times according to you level and intensity of your workout, if you a really giving your all you may do the exercise for 20 or 30 seconds and take 45 or 60 seconds or more of rest to recover so that you can do it again.

Since you are giving your all for small periods of time this type of cardio takes less time to complete compared to steady cardio which we will see in the next post. In 10 or 20 minutes you are done with cardio so if you hate it this can be a great option.

You can choose 1 or more exercises to perform for this type of workout, sprints are the most common but jump rope or even burpees are great. Choose the one you like and perform the exercise for 30 seconds try to go as fast as you can, this workout is supposed to be intense so you need to put it all, then take 30 seconds rest. As I´ve said before you can adjust the time of the intervals.

If you are just starting you fitness lifestyle I don´t recommend you start with this type of training, if you are out of shape it will be so hard and you will hate it so steady state is the best option for some weeks or months then you can try HIIT.

I also don´t recommend you take this cardio as your only option, 2 or 3 days a week is all you need to get amazing results and avoid over training or burning out.

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