Effective 6pac building techniques

July 31, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

how to build abs and tone muscle

When i left high school, one of the first things i wanted to get into was working out, because i started off slim to average build. I eventually went from slim to bigger slim, like those i mentioned in (Muscles do exist). I didn’t want to start lifting weights before 16 years old because i knew it could possibly stunt my growth (good thing i didn’t – i am a sky scraping 6’2 now :)). So i started to workout using my own body weight using exercises from pull ups, push ups, sit ups, crunches, pull ups with weights and others. After 4-5 weeks i started to notice that i was getting more toned, but no real gains in muscle mass (that was ok – i expected that). But one area of my body that i saw develop really quickly was my stomach. Even though i was of a slim/ average build, my stomach never really was defined to begin with. But here is what i done:

– 30 push ups a night (50 when maxed out)

– 150-200 sit ups a night

– No change in diet

– Consistence and regularity

– 10 weeks…. then!

I take a look in the mirror…stop! and say ‘Heeey, i really do have a 6 pac’ 🙂

To this day people will stop and ask me ‘What did you do to get that?’ I tell them the above and i get a shock response. So i would assume that building a 6 pac is quite hard for most to achieve. It’s either that or i just worked damn for it. Although i did work hard for it initially, one thing is for sure… it wasn’t easy. So when you see all of these videos and adverts describing that you can achieve results in just X no. of weeks, it’s usually a false positive, or its based on a generalization that everyone has the same body type (which obviously is not the case). What has surprised me the most up until now (10+ years later) is that i have done RARELY any stomach exercises since then, yet most of what i achieved at the time has stayed the same. (don’t be mislead, maintain it)

So what were the reasons for my relatively quick results. Hard work? My physique? Regularity and consistency? Diet? I would say a variation of all of those things, but below are some of the best ab exercises for building a 6pac that you can take away and implement into your workouts.

Exercise #1 – Sit-Ups
Sit ups. How to build a 6 pac

This is the one that everybody seems to know about but the majority of people do wrong. Remember that the smallest adjustments can make all the difference and we want our workouts to be as effective as possible to get the most out of every minute we exercise (if in doubt ALWAYS ask!). Here’s how to do proper sit ups:

Lie flat on the floor with your legs stretched out and your arms beside you. Lift your knees up by bringing your feet closer towards your body – about the distance from your heels to your calf muscle. Cross your hands over your chest and lift your body all the way up so that even your lower back lifts off the floor. Stay there for about 3 seconds and then gently lower yourself. Repeat about 20 of these in 3 to 4 sets, but don’t strain yourself – especially if you haven’t done it for a while. As you build your ab muscles you can start making it more challenging by sitting on an inclined bench or by holding a weight over your chest. (My fave part)

Abs Exercise #2 – Crunches
crunches. How to build a 6 pac

Once again, lying flat on your back, pull your legs towards your body slightly. With your arms crossed over your chest tighten your abs by ‘pulling’ your abdomen towards your spine as you inhale. Now lift your shoulders off the floor and don’t lift your body all the way up – you just need to lift your shoulders to tighten your abs. As you lift your shoulders you want to exhale. Stay there for about 3 seconds and gently lower your shoulders. In the lowered position you should relax your abs. Now repeat.

The key here is to focus only on your abdominal area as you do this. Flexing your abs and proper breathing is essential – remember that your breathing originates in your abdomen with your diaphragm. Repeat 10 to 20 times and do 3 to 4 sets of these.

Abs Exercise #3 – Leg Lifts

leg lifts. How to build a 6 pac

Your abs are a very important muscle group as it is a ‘pivot point’ in your body. With leg lifts we use this deliberately to tone our abs. Lie flat on your back with your legs extended and your arms beside you (or on chest). Place your hands flat on the floor beside you and in this position, with your legs straight, lift your legs up as far as you can. Preferably your legs should be up in a 90 degree angle with the floor, but this might be difficult for some at first. Then, slowly lower your legs, but do not let your feet touch the ground. Repeat 10 to 20 times and do 3 to 4 sets of these.

Of course, these exercises are by no means the only way to get great abs, they are just some of the best abs exercises there are. Even so, you will still have to combine them with proper cardiovascular exercise like running, swimming or cycling as it will help you loose weight/work all muscle groups while targeting the abdominal muscles. I mentioned earlier that i didn’t change my diet much, but that’s just me. For most, you will have to control your diet. Fatty foods tend to ‘gather’ around the abdominal area which might make your workouts worthless.

Note: As i stated there are other methods out there to building great abs, below is a video that shows another good method of building great abs. Some of you may have seen, some of you may not. Either way, give it a watch.

How to get a 6pac (but in 3 minutes :S?)

Also view my Lower abs exercises pot on how to get ride of that fat in the lower ab area.

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Finding Love at the gym – The Do’s and Don’ts

July 30, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Find love at the gym while building muscle

OK, in the last post i talked about if you can really find love in the gym. Go read the post if you haven’t yet done so already. But here I’ll show you how (both ladies and gents) to actually go about approaching that guy or gal you’ve got your eye on.

Secrets for the shy type

Let me share a few secrets that will enable you to break the ice without looking like a stalker. Remember, while the gym is a great place to meet someone special, it is not as appropriate to flirt as you may do in a night club (you already know my thoughts on the night club!), yet it can require an equally detailed and thought-out approach.

Tips for men

Do’s:
• Be funny, relaxed, and playful.
• The biggest obstacle to socializing would have to be the iPod. If your person of interest is stuck in their iPod universe you’ll need to be clever and use non-intrusive solid eye contact. Be friendly, smile and look for a positive response. Be patient and work it sloooow (if you’re after one thing, she’ll sense it in a flash) and wear down the barriers. If you are receiving negative feedback it is time to move on and respect their space.
• Be prepared, pay attention to their workout regime (without becoming creepy about it!) as otherwise your person of interest may appear out of the blue, which could leave you a stuttering mess, causing you to lose that opportunity to interact. Have an ice-breaker prepared in advance, compliment her (again without seeming creepy) and once you know her name, use it! (I’m serious, do not forget her name!!!)
• Spin class is an excellent way to break the ice, the lights are down, music is high everyone is relaxed and playful. A great time to talk is either before or after the class. Just remember keep it relaxed, light and smile!
• Be friendly and fun! As i mentioned previously, great relationships often begin with friendships. Challenge them to a race on the treadmill, see who can crunch the most curls or hold the longest plank! It could leave you both in stitches (in a good way, not the medical way).

Don’ts:
• Flex in the mirror, grunt or act like Mr I’m-too-sexy for my….(you know the song)
• Over spray your cologne, heavy breathing requires fresh air, a nice light deodorant and fragrance is sufficient. (consider a nice smelling cream – it has worked for me. She’ll easily remember you this way too)
• Stare continuously like a stalker or disrespect personal space.

Tips for women

The gym a great place to find a partner who cares about their body and health. But how do you approach the guy your interested in, as he is there to exercise not socialize? (I am your prime example ;)) The last thing you want is a public rejection and have to return day in day out. There is a way to make this a win-win situation though, read on!

Do’s:
• Be warm, open and smile, you will ooze mystery and charisma. Men (and women!) love a lady who is light-hearted and fun. You will appear fresh, easy going, ensuring you will have them coming back for more.
• Make friends with the staff and other members; the more networks you are a part of the closer you will get to them.
• Ask around and see who might already know them. Find out if they are single for a start. Keep it casual and it will probably get back to them that you were showing an interest, which may motivate them to break the ice first!
• Ask them for help, for example, lifting a heavy weight on or off a machine (this is an acceptable reason). Then observe if they are happy to oblige and if so, try starting up a conversation. Of course if it feels/looks like you’re taking their valuable time and that the task is more a bother than a privilege, then you’ll know that making a move is probably not going to be well received. (this is goal driven time time ladies)
• Of course, if they are beginning to pay more attention to you and their gaze is getting more intense, ask them out! Seriously, girls…you are allowed to do it! Just keep it casual and light-hearted. If you have all the signs, casually ask them if they would like to join you for a drink. Short and relaxed is the key.

Don’ts:
• Avoid wearing overwhelming perfumes. (I don’t want to faint!)
• Don’t dress up as you were in a bar. Avoid the heavy makeup and, instead, opt for a new gym outfit, smell fresh and keep your look natural. (If you look great natural, i can’t wait to see you at your best! :))
• Don’t wear headphones as this can make you appear unapproachable (take the white buds off). To make it easy for him, invite him in with your smile, eye contact and a compliment to break the ice.

Meeting that someone special at the gym can be fun, so take a deep breath, be brave and say ‘hi’. After all, what’s the worst thing that can happen?….. just had a funny thought :D, but i’ll leave those thoughts in the comments. Now go get your girl (or guy)!

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Is the gym a good place to find love?

July 29, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

exercise at the gym and find a dateI have always debated on places that are considered to be ‘good’ when finding a potential new partner. Some common places would include work places, the super market, private parties, a friend of a friend, online social networking/ dating sites and night clubs. Everyone reading this would have definitely met an ex or a current partner through one of those mediums, but lets talk about one of my favorite places to meet a potential future partner, lover, date, one night stand. 😐

The Gym

When i first started going to the gym some 10 years ago, my prime goal was (and still is) to exercise to get results with minimum distractions. That would mean less chit-chat with regular gym buddies and those beings that i do love ever so much (to an extent). WOMEN! Now the chit chat with other male buddies is an easy thing to not get distracted by, especially if your gym buddies have a similar ‘results driven’ attitude towards working out as you do, as at some point during the session everyone goes off and does their own thing. But if you attend a commercial gym, then the chances are really high that you will meet women.

Now i’m not just talking about normal women here. These ladies would be toned, shaped, fit, have sex appeal or any other positive words you want to use to describe them. In the outside world they may have a tendency to hide their bodies. As i mentioned in a previous post, if they are of a slim build and don’t flaunt what they’ve got, you would never know that they possess those lovely curves. But this is not the outside world, this is the gym, everything is on display and women will flaunt it (sometimes to impress the male species).

From personal experience, that is all one big distraction that i find hard to deal with when going to the gym with a hard core ‘results driven’ mentality. So i tend to stick to local gyms where everyone there has the results driven mentality…and nothing else but that. Now I’m not saying working out along side women or in a commercial gym is a bad thing, but one needs to determine there goals before choosing what gym they go to. It’s usually one of the two:

1) ‘results driven’ mentality = local gym (possibly single sex)
2) ‘results driven’ mentality and socialize, network….FIND LOVE

Now that we have that established…lets get back to the burning question.

Can you find love in the gym?
Of course you can find love in the gym, I know i have stated that i generally have a ‘results driven’ mentality. But if I’m going for an all round session (gym, swim, sauna) then a top notch commercial gym it will be. I get to socialize, relax, learn from others, use better equipment and meet ladies (sorry…i refuse to turn that switch off). Studies have shown that Some 75 per cent of women and 84 per cent of men say that the gym is a great place to pick up a date. And i agree. But why is this?

Show you what I’ve got (i see you looking…ever so discretely)

Now i would consider myself to be quite educated in the ‘reading peoples body language’ department, and after all these years, i can definitely say both sexes will show off to get each others attention. This happens every day/ everywhere in the outside world, but in the gym it really is in your face. The showing off has definitely caught my attention in the past, and probably will in the future to, but i have also been known to flaunt it at times too (i like to play the game to :P). Which ever sex does this..one thing this does do (assuming there has been no ‘aural’ communication as yet) is give incentive for that gym goer to keep coming back. Then they may find themselves purposely going to the gym on days they know they will both be there. Body language plays its part here, words eventually get exchanged…skip the nitty gritty details, and hey presto…you got a date!

Like minded

The gym is a great place to meet not just beautifully sculpted individuals…but to meet people with the same mind set at yours. This is why you could meet a potential partner, not just a date (like night clubs), as we all know… a good relationship is based more on compatibility of personalities rather than looks alone. Similarities to point out would be:
– both health conscious
– both results driven individuals
– both have a strong appreciation for presentation and appearance

Surely, the gym can’t be that good of a dating place, otherwise every one would be there?

That’s right, no one place in the world is good for every one, the gym included. Many women wouldn’t date men that approach them at the gym, they may see it as out of place. Although some women state that they don’t mind it as long as common sense is used, such as not approaching them in the middle of a set. Some women wouldn’t date a guy at the gym as they may think guys use the gym as a pick up place (some men do) and think ‘ OK, this guy is hitting on me today, who was he hitting on yesterday?’ But it’s all down to the individual, and for me, the gym is still a better place to meet someone than say a night club, as every one there (men and women) tend to be there for one thing.(I’ll let you figure that one out ;))

I would love a woman’s version of this. So if there any women readers here do drop me a line in the comments section.

Stay tuned. Part 2 ‘Finding Love at the gym Do’s and don’ts’ is up next!

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Treadmill vs Outdoors

July 28, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Cardio on the treadmill or on outside

We all know running is a vital part of exercising when maintaining a fit and healthy body. We can choose to run on the treadmill, or stretch and flex our legs in the outside terrain.

But which do you choose?

As someone who had sport built into me from a young age, the majority of training/running sessions happened outdoors. So for me, any running that i do will usually happen outdoors. It’s not to say running on a treadmill is a bad thing, it does have its benefits. Below i’ll describe the pro’s and cons of both:

As i stated, running on the treadmill isn’t a bad thing at all. And using the treadmill during those winter months will be more favorable for sure. The cold, rain, ice and snow of winter will wreak havoc on our fitness level and the condition of our bodies. No matter how hard we try to stay in shape, the bad weather and short days make keeping fit a difficult task. Running on the treadmill offers fitness and calorie burning benefits that are very similar to outside running. However, there are differences between outdoor running and treadmill running. The primary differences are:

– The lack of wind resistance

– A flat and unchanging surface

– The effect the moving belt has on your running or walking stride.

The main way to overcome this would be to have your treadmill workout routines mimic your outdoor training routine. But lets look fiurther into each of those that i have mentioned above.

The lack of Wind resistance

Ever since i was introduced to the treadmill in my teens, i never had been a big fan of this running machine. As i mentioned earlier, i was raised on the ‘train outdoors’ mentality. But i didn’t find out until later on the reasons why i disliked treadmill running so much. It was because of lack of wind resistance. The lack of wind resistance and the assistance of the moving belt make treadmill running slightly easier than outdoor running. So therefore i found it too easy, and going down a level in performance certainly will not improve your progress. When running on the treadmill you are running in place. You are not moving through the air. When you run outside the air creates resistance. It is estimated that outside air resistance creates an increase in your workload of between 2% and 10%, depending upon your running speed. The faster you run, the more of an effect the air resistance has on you. This problem is very easily overcome by elevating your treadmill to 1% or level 1. The slight incline will make your treadmill workout more equal to running outdoors.

A flat and unchanging surface

I have done quite a bit of outdoor running over the years and watched many others do their run also (which i’m sure most of you have), And every scenario goes a little like this (not necessarily in this order):

– A long run through the grass

– On to the pavement

– Dodging people or animals

-Run onto gravel

– A short hill to run down, run around puddles

Unless those reading this know better than me, there is no treadmill in the world that can mimic all the things that you face there (although it would be interesting to see such a thing built 🙂 ). The main negative result of this is the lack of proprioceptive training. Proprioception is an important skill when running on the treadmill. Proprioception is basically intuitively feeling and knowing the position and motion of your body, feet, legs, arms, etc. at all times. It is being aware of all of the different actions of your running stride. This is something that, to a limited extent, you do naturally. But to maximize your level of awareness, practice consciously being aware of your position on the belt, the amount of forward lean, the position of your hips, the angle of your feet and all stages of your running stride.

When running outside, you encounter all types of uneven and unstable running surfaces such as those i mentioned above. A changing surface will force your neuro-muscular system to become more proprioceptive because it must make split second adjustments in order to keep your body stable and moving in the right direction. The flat and even surface of the treadmill removes this valuable training opportunity. So, if you do most or all of your workouts on the treadmill, you should practice proprioception at all times. You can also use a wobble board. A wobble board is just what it sounds like. It is a board with a half sphere on the bottom of it. It “wobbles” when you step or stand on it. Performing exercises on this type of board will help build and maintain those proprioceptive skills.

Proprioception is important in all running activities, but even more so when running on the treadmill. Runners tend to allow the action of the belt and the lack of wind resistance to change their stride to a more upright, bouncy form with a shorter, less powerful stride. Being more aware of your running mechanics will make it easier to transfer your normal stride to the treadmill and visa versa.

The effect the moving belt has on your running or walking

I won’t talk about my dislike of the treadmill anymore, as i think you would have heard enough of it by now. But the only reason i do use it is to do what i call ‘entertainment running’. Which basically means taking it ‘easy’ while watching TV at the same time (don’t make a habit of this).

In general your running form should not change when you are training on the treadmill. Unfortunately, the moving belt of the treadmill can create havoc with your running mechanics. The moving belt can cause some runners to lean too far forward at the waist in an attempt to “keep up” with the belt. Other runners may run with an extremely “bouncy” stride or may run with a very short and tight stride. You can avoid these form problems by focusing on your running mechanics.

All runners should concentrate on proper form when they run, whether they train on a treadmill or the road. This is especially important for new treadmill users. It is much better to perfect your form right away, rather than acquire bad running form habits that may be hard to break. Good running form is the same no matter where you train.

The most efficient running posture is one that is mostly upright and relaxed, with a slight, whole body, forward lean beginning at the ankles. You should not lean forward at the waist. Your chest should be pushed out and your shoulders back and relaxed. Avoid all tension in your upper body. Tension is a form wrecker.
Leaning too far forward at the waist will cause a stumbling, high impact motion that will slow you down and put excessive stress on your knees, hips and ankles. Leaning backward will cause you to run with too much vertical motion and will also stress your hips and back. Even the totally vertical posture that many running experts recommend has some built in stride issues. When running with a very vertical posture, you tend to reach out with both your legs and arms. This wastes energy and slows you down A slight, whole body, forward lean will enlist the help of gravity just enough to assist with directing your momentum smoothly forward. Keep your hips pressed forward and your butt tucked in. Visualize standing face first against a wall. Press your hips forward so the front of your hips touches the wall. Running with your hips forward will help keep your motion going forward instead of up and down. It will also allow you to drive your knees efficiently forward. Your foot should touchdown on the ball of your foot, with your foot directly under your center of gravity, not on your heel with your foot in front of your body. If you land on your heel you are over striding and are putting too much stress on your knees and hips. You are also putting on the brakes with each stride. Landing either flat footed or on the ball of your foot minimizes the impact and keeps your forward momentum going strong.

So there you have it, the treadmill does have its good points and bad points. The main issue and most obvious issue is where the moving belt can suddenly swipe you off your feet (Youtube for many a demonstration!). This can lead to sudden embarresment and cause possible injury to your knees, hips and back. Be careful!

You have to be swift if this does occur. Quickly grab the sides of the treadmill and lift yourself up.

You need to have a quick, compact running stride, which is also the best outside running stride. Count the number of strides you are taking in 1 minute. If you are running correctly you should be taking approximately 85 – 95 full strides per minute. If you are taking less than that you are spending too much time on your feet.

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Athletic Body Building: Why Your Training Doesn’t Result In An Athletic Body

July 27, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Build an Athletic BodyOk, so not everyone out there wants to be a muscle bound tough guy with a ‘hard man’ image. Most exercisers want the strong, lean body of an athlete. But sadly most of the workout programs out there are bodybuilding workouts and will never work. Luckily, a lot of trainers have learned that to look like an athlete you need to train like one.

You Are Still Training Like A Bodybuilder

Whether you know it or not, most workout programs are based on bodybuilding type training. If you can rattle off muscles, talk about split workout routines and think your training should only be about building muscle… you have a bodybuilder mentality. If you base your workout program on a bodybuilding program, you probably will fail to reach your athletic body goals.

First, most bodybuilding workouts only concerned with maximizing muscle growth are very long. And unless you have 2-3 hours to spend in the gym every day, you are not going to get the muscle building results like the pro bodybuilders do. And some of you might be thinking that since you are going to do a “similar” workout, but shorter, then you’ll get the “athletic” muscle you want and not the puffed up bodybuilder look. How has that thinking been working out for you so far?

Second, to build an athletic body you need to train more like an athlete, and less like a bodybuilder. Athletes look the way they do because they are fit. So, you need to train to increase your overall fitness level. Plus, you need a nice balance between strong, athletic muscle and low fat. So, you need to build strength and size and lose those performance robbing pounds of fat.

You Need Multiple Workouts To Get The Athletic Body

I wish I could tell you there was one workout that could satisfy every goal. But the truth is, some people need more work in one area than others. For example, some people have a low level of fitness and need to work on that before they can be concerned about building muscle or losing fat. They just don’t have the physical capabilities to get through those type of workouts.

On the other hand, some people are fit and lean, but need to put on muscle (Myself). Or, they put on muscle easily, but need to shed a few pounds of fat to look more like an athlete. But no matter how you look at it… you need to address fitness, fat loss and muscle building at some point to ultimately achieve the athletic look you desire.

You need to rotate between three different kinds of workout with different major goals… Fitness, Fat Loss and Strength & Size. Each of these workouts should be slanted to the specific goal of the workout, but not work against the other goals. For example, when you are doing the fitness workout you could put on muscle and burn fat. When fat loss is your goal you should be burning fat in a way that also increases fitness and builds (or keeps), useful muscle. Same for the strength and size workouts.

So, the key to getting the athletic body you want is to change the way you think about working out. Stop training like a bodybuilder if you don’t want to be one, and start training like an athlete if you want to look like one. Use a variety of workouts designed to build the athletic body you seek, without sabotaging the other performance and appearance goals. I think you find that by approaching your workouts this way… you’ll build the strong, lean, athletically muscular body that not only performs great, but turns heads as well.

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I really do have muscles…Can’t you tell?

July 26, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

This is a topic that has affected me for all of my training life to date. What this means, is that you train like a body builder and have the muscles like a body builder but don’t appear very ‘body builder like’ when fully clothed. For myself this doesn’t bother me one bit…… 😐

Who am i kidding, of course it bothers me, as the usual reasons a guy works out is to build muscle, increase strength and look physically healthy (to the opposite sex – Any guy that says different is lying!)

In regards to building muscle, one would assume that increased muscle mass would lead to a ‘perceived’ increase in size on first appearance (when fully clothed). For slim, average build or tall guys this is not always so. Unless you get REALLY BIG in size (body builder big). Then you will always have the appearance of a slim (slightly bigger slim) person. Your frame just doesn’t seem to change. Below are examples of people of both types:

Slim to body builder big

Triple H (WWF – Professional Wrestler)

muscle buildingbodybuilding tipsbodybuilding tips

LL Cool J – (Music Artist/Actor)

building lean bodyll2secret to get big biceps

Slim to slightly bigger slim (or looks slim when fully clothed)

Ryan Reynolds                          Booker T                                     Christopher Gorham

(Actor)                                         (Wrestler)                                    (Actor)

building lean bodytips on weight liftingworkout tips for a lean body



If people can’t tell from first appearance that you are a muscle scuplted individual underneath all those clothes, it can be both a gift and a curse because:

a) You build muscle to aim for the natural, healthier bulkier look when clothed…but don’t! 🙁

b) When that top does come off, peoples perception of you changes ‘for the better’. And that really can be a good feeling.

Women’s bodies are the same. If a woman is of a naturally slim build yet has a fantastic figure, unless she shows it, you would never know she was hiding those wonderful lumps and bumps that she possesses. I’m not sure if the whole ‘showing off’ thing is a problem for a woman. But i know that it is for a man. It is for me, and for the people that i have met over the years, they state that is a problem for them to. Since that is the case, the solution for guys is simple.

IF YOU’VE GOT IT, FLAUNT IT

Yes, we do hear this saying all the time. But not all people follow this through. I guess it all comes down to the individual and what their goals are. But if you do have a well sculpted body and the masses can’t tell that you do. SHOW IT OFF!. Wear clothes that will complement your physique. This especially applies to taller guys, as most tall guys will naturally look long and lanky.

Usain Bolt (world record holder – 100m, 200m)

workout tips for a lean body

I wouldn’t suggest wearing clothes that are too tight (unless that’s your kinda thing of course). But stick to fitted t-shirts, fitted shirts, vests and tailor made tops and suits. Avoid the baggy clothes.

Do this and the reactions you’ll get from people will be positive for sure. You will definitely notice a difference. It will also boost your confidence, self esteem and may even lead to good opportunities (cover of Mens Health Magazine anyone? 😉

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Working out on vacation aka The hotel work out

July 24, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Hotel Workout for home gym resultsEveryone needs a vacation every now and again, whether it’s a city break to a top European destination, the Caribbean or the Far East. But at the same time we do live in a body conscious world and the thought of staying in shape will be at the back of your mind when you are away. The worse thing would be to come back home after a short or long break away and realize you’ve either lost your muscle mass due to some hardcore partying or piled on the pounds. And then you are left with that Homer Simpson feeling, you look at yourself in the mirror and say,

‘doh’!!

It’s the same thing as not maintaining your frame when you’re in your home country and get distracted by illness, injury, stress from work, girlfriends, boyfriends. And then you get back to the gym and realize what an idiot you have been for stopping your workout routine.

So, is there a solution to this problem that we will all inevitably face at some point through out the year while on vacation?

Of course there is, when there is a will there is a way (woops, common cliche again :|)

The solution is called the Hotel workout!

What is the hotel workout you may ask?

The hotel workout is exactly as described, because everything that you do in this workout can be done in the room of a hotel. But you can do it anywhere really.

The first thing you need to ask yourself is why do you go on vacation. Because asking yourself this will tell you if this really is for you or not.

Why do you go on vacation?

– Relax

– Get away from it all

– Enjoy yourself

Those are the reasons i go on vacation for. I would assume it would be the same for the majority of others who do also.

If you view working out as a chore and you see it as a means to maintain basic health, then any kind of working out while away probably isn’t for you.

But if working out is an integral part of your life, like it is for myself, then what i have outlined below is something you can take away with you this summer while you’re away (or any other time of the year)

The Hotel Workout

Set aside 20 to 30 minutes everyday for your hotel workout. Yes, every day. Since you’re not lifting heavy weights, you don’t need to worry too much about muscle soreness or muscle breakdown. Your muscles will fully recover by the next day.

Find a free weight

Now for your props. Look around the room for something that weighs about 10 pounds and that you can hold easily in one or both hands. Be creative—a filled duffle bag, a laptop, a lamp base or even your kids! :D—just about anything you can lift will do.

One set, keep moving

When working out, do one set of each exercise and move quickly from exercise to exercise with little rest in between. Remember, you only have 20 to 30 minutes before you head outside to start your vacation day! The lack of rest will keep your heart rate up, and the variation between upper and lower body exercises will keep you from over training your muscles.

Extra credit cardio

If you have a full hour to work out, follow your 20- to 30-minute workout with 20 to 30 minutes of moderate outdoor cardio. Run on a trail or the streets, hike up into the hills, or swim in the pool. Keep your heart rate up and consistent for at least 20 minutes.

Add some resistance

If you’re really serious about staying fit while on vacation, consider buying some high-quality resistance bands like the All Body Express from TRX. These resistance bands can be attached just about anywhere and will enable you to do most common exercises that require a weight much more effectively.

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How to increase your metabolism

July 23, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug, The Food Bug

how to increase metabolism and build a lean body

As i mentioned in the last post. For all you low metabolism types out there, I really do have your best interests at heart. So…how can you become more like us high metabolism types? Well before you do anything change your mind set from ‘I’

Learn more about HCG weight loss diet.

to ‘I need to increase my metabolism’. Over the years I have always heard people say that ‘they need to lose weight’. This is wrong, and I would frequently have to correct these individuals and get them to say ‘I need to increase my metabolism. Why? Yes… you will lose weight, but without increasing your metabolism, you will put that weight straight back on!

So what are the benefits of increased metabolism?

– Lose weight and burn fat with less amount of activity
– Process food a lot quicker which prevents your body from having unwanted fats during workouts

Oh…us high metabolism types have it good 😀

However, as i have previously mentioned, there are many factors that affect the metabolism such as age, gender, weight, hormonal changes, diet, genetics and daily physical activities.

Ok, that’s great. But how can i actually do this and become like you skinny people?

Here’s How:

Build up lean body mass

Metabolism decreases with age. To improve metabolism and exercising is one way to offset this problem. Lean muscle burns calories and the more you have the more calories you burn, even while resting. The amount of muscle you have is a strong determinant to the ability to burn calories and fat. Doing cardio exercises can boost your metabolism rate, and doing resistance or weight training can help building muscle. Building muscle is one of the key ingredients in losing fat and it is more effective than any weight loss or diet plan. Besides doing the cardio exercises, you might first take some simple tasks as walking or going up and down stairs to burn off calories.

Eat breakfast daily

Many people do not eat breakfast (I still don’t understand how people can do this!). Most of them think that it might help in losing weight if they consume as less meals as possible a day. However, they don’t realize that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast boosts your metabolism rate and provides energy for the day. Alternately, the metabolism decreases if you don’t eat breakfast or eat later in the day. Haven’t you noticed that those people who eat breakfast are thinner than those don’t?

Don’t skip meals

Skipping meals is a wrong concept to most people who want to lose weight. What they don’t realize is that skipping meals will only make your metabolism slower, making the food you eat digest slower. This in turn will pack on the fats and turn the excess energy to unwanted fat.

Have a well planned meal

It is much easier to lose weight if you have a daily or weekly meal plan. You may plan what, when, where, and serving size daily. Also, you might want to write down what you have eaten for every meal, and check whether it is as healthy as possible.

Have smaller portion meals

Consuming 4 to 6 meals a day every 2 to 4 hours can increase your metabolism rate. It also gives the body a steady supply of energy and prevent over eating. You should increase your intake of healthy meals rather than stuffing your face full of junk food!

Drink more water

Water is not only a lubricant of the body, it also flushes the body out and keeps the kidneys operating at maximum efficiency. Lack of water causes the operation of the body’s functions to decrease and lower the metabolism rate. You should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

Sleep well

Getting a good night’s sleep can boost the body’s operations and metabolism. According to some researches, it stated that people who do not get enough sleep tend to gain more weight. In addition, the body uses sleep to heal and muscles are regenerated.

Sugar is bad

Taking too much sugar might overload the body and cause many serious health problems such as obesity and diabetes. Sugar might transform into fat and stick onto your body if it is excess. The human body cannot deal with a large amount of refined sugar that maybe present in your meals.

Spicy food

Spicy food is a good friend to boost the metabolism rate and help losing weight because of its ingredients. Therefore, eating some spicy food is good for your body. (Nandos anyone? :P)

Green tea is good

As we all know, the Japanese have healthier body’s and live better than most of us over in the West. Drinking green tea is one of the key reasons behind that. Both green tea and coffee contain caffeine, however green tea can boost metabolism without any side effects to the body, and it can prevent oxidation to the skin.

Take higher energy foods including whole grain, beans, fruits, and vegetables

Taking these meals can provide more balanced energy to your body and assist with losing weight. It can also improve the process of digesting food.

Increase daily activities

Increasing your daily activities not only gives you a higher level metabolism rate, but also tend to burn more calories.

Reduce fat consumption

Increasing metabolism and losing fat is a simple equation. The fact is that you must always burn more fat than you take in, so let’s start by reducing fatty and oily food. You should also reduce your intake of sugar and carbohydrates.

By doing the above, it might improve your metabolism rate. If you stick to it you will start to see result within 3-4 week, and then you will truly be on your way to entering the world of the skinnys. Don’t stress over each little thing, but if you eat right and exercise, you should see a decrease in body fat. Most importantly you will have a healthier lifestyle and a much more energetic and happy YOU!

And of course, as we age, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Prevention rather than detection by taking up health insurance.

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10 Reasons to workout

July 20, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

workout tips

Why do you work out? Might seem like a no brainer question to answer, but I do get asked this on the odd occasion. May be you should ask yourself this question too. Once you have, the answers should be something like this:

1. Better Sex

Exercise increases circulation, which helps with muscle endurance, strength and flexibility. It also helps prevent erectile dysfunction and impotence.

2. Less Stress

Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happier and more relaxed

3. Fight Disease

Exercise helps fight cholesterol, heart disease and osteoporosis

4. Lose Weight

Exercising increases metabolism, which helps you lose weight and keep it off!

5. Better Immune System

Exercise strengthens the heart and lungs and slows down decay of the immune system, making for a healthier body

6. Better Sleep

Exercise creates a natural dip in body temperature 5-6 hours after working out, helping you fall asleep faster and have a deeper sleep.

7. Reduce Blood Pressure

Exercise not only reduces high blood pressure, it helps prevent it.

8. Prevents Cancer

Exercising regularly could help prevent colon and breast cancer.

9. Prevents Diabetes

Exercise reduces the risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

10. Longer Life Expectancy

Exercise prolongs life. People who exercise regularly live longer.

There you have it. The next time some one throws this ‘no brainer’ question your way, respond with your 10 reason arsenal. Better yet, show and prove it. Which ones you choose… I’ll let you decide 😉

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Muscle building from Fat, Muscle building from Bone

July 20, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Like most great things that are achieved…it will take time, hard work and perseverance (cliche i know! but still relevant). Building muscle, getting toned, ripped, cut or what ever you want to call it can be a thrilling, fulfilling and rewarding experience. And this applies to all types of people, Thin boned or Big boned! But the mistake i see people make is that they approach the cause in the same way. To get desired results you need to determine which body type you are first (Just look in the mirror, or down at your feet :|) and then build your workout routine around that body type. Below i will describe how you can achieve results for both body types.

Big boned

building a lean body


The most common ‘wrong approach’ to building muscle comes from people of this body type, especially guys. As mentioned in a previous post (Confidence), most people probably do workout to get results and then show off there newly chiseled bodies off to attract the opposite sex, and again…why not. It will boost your confidence which will increase your ability to build muscle . But big boned people tend to want to build muscle over the fat that they currently have. This will not work! What one has to do is:

1) Lose that unwanted fat FIRST

2) Get toned

3) Build muscle from your newly toned body

This makes perfect sense to most people. But the reality is, that people (mainly guys again – sorry gents!) will have excuses for not doing so, usually stemming from being scared of change or other personal attributes. The common things are.

1) I want results quickly (summers’ around the corner)

2) I’m not really fat, but i do want to get in shape.

I’m not really fat, but i like my current size.

I don’t want to look like a skinny guy.

The last statement is the most common. And it mainly comes from younger or inexperienced people. It is understandable for sure, and even though they know they may lose there current look for only a short period of time, it is still enough time to allow confidence levels to fall. And those thought processes are probably what leads to the ‘wrong approach’ mind set.

So remember:

LOSE IT…TONE IT…BUILD IT!

Thin boned

thin

Ok…you body types will have things a little easier than your Big boned counterparts. I should know, i started off this way! The problem here is completely reversed. Thin boned body type individuals tend to be slim, not because they don’t eat a lot of food (quite the opposite actually). It’s because they have a very high metabolism. This is both a gift and a curse because:

1) You can eat like a pig and care less about calories

2) Your wardrobe will be pretty consistent through out most of your life

3) But you can’t put on weight naturally and instead of worrying about calorie in-take you worry about staying off of that treadmill (Maintain)

What these body types need to do is structure their workout routines and daily meal schedules so that there workouts are as affective as can be (Muscle mass + Cardio). The key benefit of being this body type is that you are either already ‘ripped’, or you can get ‘ripped’ in a matter of weeks rather than months. But it will take months to build and maintain that muscle mass for sure. That is the hard part!

So remember:

RIP IT… BUILD IT… MAINTAIN IT!

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