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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

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The benefits of yoga

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Have you ever do yoga? Do you hate, like it or love it?

There are those who love yoga and those who hate it. It´s amazing how though and challenging it can get and we cannot deny that it will give us an amazing workout.

Yoga is not my preferred type of exercise but I can´t deny that it has amazing benefits, I´ve practiced it for some months and I realized that the slow paced workouts and holding a pose for a number of seconds is not what I love to do in terms of exercise, it is though and challenging the part I liked about it was improving balance and how I need to be concentrated on what I do to maintain the pose, even when I love and prefer to lift weights and cardio I take one day a week to do yoga.

It´s true that yoga helps us improve flexibility, mobility and posture but the ones that make it an amazing exercise option is for improving balance and reducing mental health problems.

The mind-body connections when we are doing any pose needs to be at point, we need to be really focused and center on what we are doing otherwise we´ll lose balance and fall off the pose we also need to get strong so that we can sustain our body weight in any pose and hold it.

Yoga workouts include meditation and breathing techniques that go hand in hand with the pose we are working on, all this combined encourage relaxation which is incredibly helpful to reduce stress it also helps to reduce depression, anxiety and improve mental health, the way yoga combines breathing, meditation and poses by creating harmony is what our bodies need to relax, calm down and stay in the present moment.

Yoga is not the same as stretching or calisthenics, even when we can use some of the exercises or poses from yoga as stretch exercises what gives yoga its plus is the breathing techniques, we can be stretching but if we don´t know how to breathe through the poses we´ll only be stretching, with yoga we learn to breathe and meditate, we are focused on our body, how our mind, body and soul connect is amazing you get in touch with ourselves in a very deep level.

Yoga is a great way to get lean for people who doesn´t want to lift weight and do intense or long sessions of cardio and it´s also low impact, it is perfect for people who love a physical activity that is more calming but that increases strength so that they can looked lean and toned without getting bulky. This is why it´s so popular among girls. and women.

I don´t know about any other type of exercise that combines physical activity with breathing techniques and meditation as a way to calm the mind and body, to relax us and lower stress while exercising. One way to improve anxiety and depression is to focus on yourself and to stay in the present moment not letting your mind wandering in the future or the past, yoga does this amazingly apart from breathing techniques and meditation during the workouts we need to be fully focus and present to maintain balance and hold the poses when we harmonize your body, mind, breathing, emotions is when we can start healing ourselves.

With all this, our blood pressure lowers, it keep systems of our body like nervous system, immune system healthy, the hormones on our body are in balance, etc. so love it or hate it, it has amazing benefits not only to get in shape but for overall health. When our body is in synergy meaning when everything is connected and working in harmony at the same time is when amazing things happen.

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

Fitness goals

Best diet for muscle growth

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Do you believe that when our goal is muscle growth we can eat everything we want?

Many people in the industry take muscle growth goals as a bulk phase where they eat more than what their body needs and gain some muscle and a lot of fat, they also eat more unhealthy foods because they can eat more so they add more cheat meals to their program.

It doesn´t matter what´s our fitness goal we need to follow a nutrition program that we can stick to as a lifestyle, that keep us healthy, that support a healthy weight and the one that makes us feel great and perform at peak. The only thing we do is change the amount of food we consume according to our current goal.

The best diet is one that focus on all 3 macronutrients and is more balanced between proteins, fats and carbohydrates, we know that protein is crucial for muscle growth and also skin, hair, nails, etc; we also know that healthy fats are highly important for hormones and energy and carbohydrates are a source of fiber and energy.

We need to keep protein high around 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight, fats around 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight and for carbohydrates we can go from 1.5 to 2 grams per pound of bodyweight. Take this numbers a guide and adjust as necessary. It´s possible to gain muscle in a ketogenic diet we just need to make sure that we´re getting the right amount of protein.

For muscle growth we need to be in a calorie surplus and we can adjust that calorie surplus each day according to our workout by using a tool called carbohydrate cycling, the days of resistance training we go high in carbohydrates and the extra calories we need will come from carbohydrates, on cardio and rest days we can los carbohydrates and stay at maintenance.

Foods like eggs, meats, poultry, fish, yogurt, nuts and seeds are great options for protein and fats, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil are great for cooking, vegetables are a great source of fiber which is also important for our gut health, oats, amaranth, quinoa, corn tortilla and brown rice are a good option for carbohydrates, beans and lentils are also good.

We need to listen to our body, even when we´re eating whole, fresh foods there are some of them than can cause problems in our stomach and make us feel bad, we need to find which those foods are and avoid them. We need to make everything easier for our body by finding the foods that work best for us, the ones that are easier to digest, the ones that doesn´t cause any negative impact on our stomach, that give us energy and increase performance and productivity. 

Whole, fresh foods are always the best option for any fitness goal including muscle growth but for some of us it may be difficult to get the right amount of nutrients especially protein this is why some people use supplements like protein powders, or BCAAs.

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

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Is it hard to maintain muscle?

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Have you ever started a workout program to gain muscle and at some point you wonder if it´s possible to lose that muscle? will all that hard work and effort at the gym can be lost? The short answer is it depends of how we gain that muscle.

We actually don´t need to be that concerned about losing muscle mass because we want to develop the habit of working out and lift weights and if we´re training the right way and if our programs are right there´s no need to take time off but I understand that sometimes we got job travels or we want to take some vacations and it may be hard to find a place and time to workout.

We´ve talked before that there are 2 types of hypertrophy and our workout programs can trigger one of them or both, this is what´s going to define if we can maintain the muscle we gain or if we lose it.

In myofribryllar hyertrophy we´re working on 5 to  reps and for sarcoplasmic hypertrophy we work on the 10 to 12 or 15 reps. If we follow a workout program based on 5 to 8 reps we build lean dense muscle, this type of muscle takes more time to build but it also takes more time to lose it, if we follow a program based on the 12 to 15 reps were going to get better results, we will look bigger faster but this type of muscle growth is also lost faster.

The truth is that if we stop working out for months or years we´ll lose muscle, if we don´t use it we lose it. The type of hypertrphy we trigger throughout our workouts and the type of muscle we gain is what makes a difference on how fast would we lose it.

If we focus on strength on the 5 to 8 reps and we train for some years here to get stronger then we build lean dense muscle and it will take more time to lose, we can take a couple of months off the gym and we may not notice a huge difference, this type of muscle is there to last longer and is useful.

If we focus on 12 to 15 reps then we work on the pump, will look bigger but this type of muscle won´t last much, for some just a couple of weeks off the gym is enough to start losing seize, if it comes fast we lose it fast.

This is why the best way to train is to use both types of hypertrophy whether it´s no the same workout or on separate workouts, we can program our workout with cycles and each cycle hit each muscle twice one with low reps around 5 to 8 and the second workout with higher reps around 12 this will help us gain lean dense muscle and also look bigger faster so when we´re on vacation a couple of weeks we can lose some muscle but not all.

Our goal is always to maintain as much muscle mass as possible it doesn´t matter the situation so if we´re going on a trip we may find it hard to train this is why we take time at the gym and put the effort in to build dense muscle that last longer but if we´re able to workout we can´t deny the opportunity, we can use this occasions to work with bodyweight exercises and focus on really high reps, some guys like to do 100 pushups, squats, crunches, this is a great way to vary our workouts and get some exercise in.

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

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Benefits of stretch

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Most of the guys I know that love to lift weights do not take time to stretch, they just warm up and cool down to avoid injuries and don´t consider stretching to be that important but it has some benefits that can improve their performance on the gym and increase their results.

Since we´re living very fast paced times and our daily lives keep us living with chronic stress we all need to find ways to reduce stress to have good quality sleep every night and to be able to deal with stressful situations the best way possible. Stretching is a great tool for this, we spend most of our day sitting and stressed out, if we take some time to stretch and breath through the exercises before going to bed it will help us reduce tensions from our body and muscles and this reduce stress, if we reduce stress before going to bed we also sleep better.

Stretching also helps us increase mobility and improve posture, even when we try to sit straight after long hours in the same position mobility is reduce this why some people recommend that we do some stretching exercises every hour even if you are in your office. If we don´t want to be stretching at the office for any reason we can do 10 to 15 minutes when we get home or right before going to bed.

Stretching also reduce pain in muscles and joints, pain in most cases is caused by bad posture and stress so when we relief the tension from our body by stretching we lower pain which gives us the freedom to move more and do more activities without pain.

For working out stretching also have amazing benefits, first avoiding injuries which is a most, stretching before hitting the weights and if we´re going to work out outside and it´s cold it help us prevent injuries by getting our body and muscles ready for the training session. This also helps to improve performance during our workout by increasing flexibility and mobility.

Another benefit that many people don´t consider is that it improves range of motion. When we are lifting weight, the more damage we do to the muscles the better and with full range of motion we are making more damage to muscle tissue which means more growth. I´ve seen people that don´t do full range of motion and the reason they don´t do it is because they can´t, their range of motion is limited but they don´t want to stretch they prefer 10 to 15 minutes of cardio as a warm up and cool down and even when cardio has a lot of benefits it won´t help you improve flexibility, mobility and range of motion.

What happens when we stretch is that we are lengthening our muscles and connective tissue and this reduces tension. We don´t need to spend 30 minutes stretching and we don´t need to work out to stretch, we can do it in the morning or every night before we go to bed, with 10 minutes you´ll start noticing the difference.

We can add one day to our workout program and focus only on stretching, we can take our rest day and see how our performance in and outside the gym improves. Training is a puzzle and every piece of the puzzle needs to be consider from resistance training, cardio training, recovery and stretching they all work together to help us get in shape, to get the type of physique we want and to help us perform as best as possible in any activity, from the gym, in our home, at work, vacations.

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

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Do we need to exercise every day?

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If you hate doing exercise you may be waiting for a no to be the answer and the truth is you don´t need to go to the gym every day. There are two cases in which I recommend going to the gym every day, if you are one of this cases then you may consider scheduling one hour a day to workout.

First if you are beginning your fitness journey and you´re just starting training, the reason why is because to sustain our results and stay lean almost effortless we need to develop the habits necessary and exercising is one of those habits we need to develop. To develop a new habit we need to do the activity we want to develop as a habit over and over and over again, habits are develop through repetition and getting up to exercise is one of the most difficult so we need consistency, if we schedule one hour of our day and we get up and do some exercise every single day whether we feel like doing it or not, don´t think about it just get up and do it, it´ll be easier and faster to make this habit stick.

Second if we want to get results as fast as possible, the more consistent we are, the more effort and hard work we put to our goal the faster we´ll achieve it so if we want to achieve our goal as fast as possible we need to do exercise every day, at least 6 days a week, if we are patient and we don´t mind going slower we can exercise 4 days a week.

The reason why most people hate exercise is the pain and struggle and that most of the time they hate the workouts and routines add to this that  it takes time to see results and those results are not what they were expecting, as they keep losing weight they see that they need to eat less and less and do a lot of exercise to maintain which gets to a point where it´s almost impossible to sustain it.

If the workouts and routines are based on some activities or exercise that we enjoy doing or are fun it´ll be easier for us to do them and the results we get are also important to motivate us and continue with the program.

My goal is to make fitness part of your life and making the training part more enjoyable and fun giving you the best results possible, that you love the way you feel and love the way you look, this is why the programs are different from most fitness programs.

If we exercise everyday we develop the habit faster and get results faster, our progress in the workouts will also be faster. We´ll be doing 3 to 4 days of resistance training to maintain and build muscle and the 3 or 4 days lefts we´ll be doing cardio to help burn fat.

Since we´re working on developing the habit of working out daily there´ll be days when we don´t feel like doing it, get up and do it anyway by not listening to the negative thoughts on our mind and all the reasons why we don´t need to do it today and just shutting up all of them and doing our workout we tell our mind that we are stronger, we are conditioning our mind and body to do what we need to do when we need to do it.

Even when the workouts are hard they are more enjoyable, on resistance training we want to get stronger, getting stronger means more muscle and on our cardio workouts we´re burning some calories to lose fat, they´re simple and effective. We´ll be performing 3 to 4 exercises for each muscle and we do some cardio that we love.

We´re keeping things simple sticking with the basics and taking out all the complicated things that don´t give us much results. The simplicity and effectiveness of the workouts will make it easier for us to stick to the program and to develop the habit o daily exercise.

Exercising everyday has so many benefits for our health which combined with the other 4 principles help us live a more healthier life and achieve so many things, it´s not only about looking good, the goal is to live the life you want to live.

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

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Make training as simple as possible

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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

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What we need to know about muscle hypertrophy

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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.

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Pam