Forget About The Gym! Play Rockband and Guitar Hero For Fitness

August 31, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Guitar Hero for fitness

In a previous post, I talked about unique ways to build muscles, forearms to be specific. The great thing about most unique approaches to building muscle is that they often put an emphasis on building functional strength. This is strength that you would use performing everyday tasks from pulling, pushing, climbing or lifting. These are benefits that you don’t get when using weights machines. These unique approaches are also very good for those that either,

1) Don’t have time for the gym

2) Simply not a fan of them

This is where RockBand and Guitar Hero would come into play.

Guitar HeroRockBand 2 for fitnessGuitar Hero 5
For those who don’t know, RockBand and Guitar Hero are music games that simulate a ‘Rock band’ experience via a games consoles (PS3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii) and plastic (instrument shaped) controllers.

It was the year 2005 and it had been a few months since I graduated. I was (and still am) quite active in the online business world and I loved trying out new games in my spare time. September had arrived and I picked up a copy of Guitar Hero (version one) along with the controller. I won’t bore you with my life story, so to keep a long story short,

‘ It led to many memorable nights rocking out on a guitar to classic rock songs and a new found level of virtual rock stardom’

Fast-forward to 2008 and these games had now evolved into hugely popular family/ friend’s music games, leading to a fun fuelled Christmas holiday season. But the games now included,

  • Drums
  • Microphones
  • Multi-player action (A physical or virtual band)

The key thing about playing these games over anything else is that you get the feeling that you are in a real band. You will sweat, rock out, take breaks and feel exhausted… just like you do in a real band. And if you have watched a real band on stage, whether it be the drummer, guitarist or lead singer, you will know that performing can be a hell of a workout.

Up until this day I would sometimes do 5-6 hours straight when playing RockBand. I usually like to be the drummer and I can tell you, it is a workout. The difference being that it’s a lot more fun than hitting the gym, and I would often play this instead of doing my usual ‘alternate’ home work out routine.

Being a drummer mirrors compound body exercises

Strong drummer

I’ve often talked about the importance of performing compound body exercises when working out, and by being a drummer in RockBand or Guitar Hero, you can develop similar results to what that exercise can give.

Playing the drums in general is a very strenuous task. You will use all 4 limbs to play a number of repetitive motions many times. Although the game is a simulation, the actions you perform are still quite real.

In a 4-minute song at 120bpm playing a standard 8th note rock beat, you’ll hit your hi-hat 960 times and your kick, snare at 120times.

In 30 minutes of playing you can raise your heartbeat to round 120-140bpm. That is a lot of sweat.

So the key benefits here in comparison to exercising is that you will be working,

  • All four limbs
  • Heart
  • Lungs

Ok, we know this is a fun and unique way to exercise, but be more specific, what muscles get worked and from what actions?

In RockBand and Guitar Hero you have different difficulty levels.

  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard
  • Expert

The real comparison between playing this and exercising in the gym is when you become an expert drummer.

Instruments and muscles worked

Cymbals

Once you start playing the cymbals on expert, you will feel worked out and the key muscles that will feel worked are,

  • Shoulders
  • Upper back
  • Forearms
  • Triceps
  • Lower back (If you sit up straight)

Bass

In both games you will get this as part of the drums and again, when you get to expert level and start playing fast you will lift your legs up more and that will work your,

  • Thighs
  • Shin muscles
  • Ankles
  • Calves

That does sound good and I’m all for new approaches to fitness, but I’m no skilled drummer, what can I do to practice the movements?

Without a doubt, jumping on RockBand or Guitar hero can be a challenge for beginners. Or some people may not want to take up RockBand, Guitar Hero or drumming and just want to perform the actions involved. For both here are a couple of things you can do.

1) Get some drumsticks and practice on a pillow, there would naturally be no bounce so you’re forced to pull the stick back up rather than relying on rebound.

2) You can do the same for your feet with the bass. Do this in front of the television. I’ve also tried this exercise when I am resting between weight lifting sets at the gym. This means I get to perform two workouts, my normal one and a drumming one, now that’s what I call a good use of my time! 🙂

If you have not yet played these games and wish to try after reading this, please keep this in mind.

Purchase RockBand game only (for the music tracks)
Purchase Guitar Hero drums (better quality)

  • In any form of exercise if you start to experience acute sharp pains, stop immediately. I’m talking nasty hard pain, especially in your chest. Not just mild discomfort.
  • If you are drumming and your wrist start to hurt, stop and rest them.
  • Also, build up your endurance exercises over time, if you haven’t played a single stroke before, start slowly, rest and then build up over time. This is to give your body time to adapt to the extra workload you are placing on it.
  • If you have any difficulty breathing, again, stop and go and see your doctor.
  • Lastly, if you haven’t done much exercise go and see your doctor first before starting just for a check up and get the OK to start again. I don’t want any of you hurting yourself following this advice.

As you can see, playing RockBand or Guitar Hero can be a quite radical, yet unique approach to improving fitness. You probably won’t gain any real muscle mass from doing so, as most of these activities are aerobic, but it will certainly increase your strength and endurance. Besides you get to kill 2 birds with one stone. Keeping fit while at the same time… having fun.

Do you play any musical instruments? If so has it had an effect on your fitness levels?

See you in the comments.

Incoming search terms:

Bugs Recommended Product Review: Prolabs N-Large 2

August 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Supplements, The Fitness Bug

N-Large 2 for protein gains

Prolabs N-Large 2

It’s that time again, to share the goodness with you all! I always do get asked about products that I have tried or tested, and I will continue to share whenever I do.  I actually started to use this product back in July, but I didn’t want to post anything about it until a few weeks had passed so that I could give a worthy verdict.

Product: N-Large 2 by Prolab (Monster supplement)

Focus: High Protein Gainer

MSRP: $23.99 for a 3.8lb (pounds) container (view the flavours and cheap supplement prices here)

Available: Online

Remember

Always aim for a good diet before beginning to take ANY supplement!

Why?

Because no supplement can be a replacement for a bad diet!

Just like cod liver oil, it can give the body any nutrients that it maybe lacking in, but it will not fix a bad diet. Get that in order first. If you want a good starter, check Bugs killer foods for fitness.

Many of you may have heard of or even tried N-Large 2, but for the purpose of those that are in the stayfitbug.com community on and offline and who have been asking, here is my verdict.

Now to begin with, I only decided to put this product to the test while I wait for newer product samples to arrive. They should be on their way in the coming weeks so keep your eyes pealed for some fresh recommendations.

N-Large 2 has gotten a lot of praise since it has been around, and after using it for 6 weeks, I can see why.

It works!

One of the key things I look for when trying these supplements is that they have to at least taste good, and this does taste pretty good for a supplement. If your supplement doesn’t have a good taste, then I really don’t see the point in taking it. That would be like voluntarily taking a disgusting tasting medicine… something you would not do. If you are, then stop!

N-Large 2 comes in 3 flavours

  • Strawberry
  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla

I took the vanilla flavour, as that tends to taste good in most food variations.

It’s all pretty simple to make,

1) Mix

2) Stick it in a blender (recommended)

3) Drink

That’s all but a 2-minute job, so there is no messing about. If you want you can make your own mixes, but I just stuck to the instructions on the pack. For those 6 weeks I drank it 4 times a day along with my usual meals, but 3 times a day is what the average person should take for this to start to work and show results.

In the first 4 weeks of using this, I gained a whooping 14 POUNDS! (ONE WHOLE STONE). For myself, that is a great weight increase and a boost in the levels of proteins that my body needs. To be specific on the amount of calories I would consume daily, it was approximately 1900 calories (4 servings). It sounds like a lot, but keep in mind that I would be burning a lot of calories during my workouts, and taking a shake of this stuff after a workout would help replace those calories that I had lost.

Just like my other supplement review over at recommended products, this one also gave me no side affects. Quite often supplements like these can leave you feeling bloated (a horrible feeling), but that was not the case here.

My only problem with taking N- Large 2 is that if you decide to take it, you must keep on taking it. If you stop then all that weight and muscle you put on will just start to disappear, even if you maintain your workout schedule (which I noticed around week 7). So make sure you start as you mean to go on whether it is once a day or 4 times a day.

All is good and well here, and as I stated. It works! If you decide to give it a try, then,

1) Go for the Vanilla flavour

2) Take it in moderation

3) Start off with the 3.8 lb container. (Should last you around 2-3 weeks)

See you on the next review.

Incoming search terms:

Gym Etiquette: Follow These Rules or Else

August 28, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Up until this present day, I have always considered myself to be a calm, cool and collective type of guy, and it would take something really ‘out there’ to piss me off and provoke me to cause harm to anyone. But if there is one place where I have almost been lead to cause harm to anyone, it is in the gym.

Below I’ll list some key do’s and don’ts and the gym etiquette that you should all follow in order to prevent anyone from being provoked at the gym. Once you do follow, we can all get along just fine at our favourite gyms.

Keep your distance

effective squats

Whether I’m doing squats, barbell curls, lateral raises or standing shoulder press, stay out of the way dammit!

Every now and again there would be some idiot that would walk right in front of me to get to the weights rack or close enough to cause a distraction.

Advice

First off this is potentially dangerous to both the individual and myself. Secondly, a mirror is needed to keep good form. Walking in front of it and breaking up my form is the ultimate way to provoke me and guarantee a beat down.

One machine at a time, please!

We all have to use the equipment fairly at the gym, but every now and again you’ll find some lounger messing about and bouncing around the machines. Usually it would be beginners or old people trying to get fit.

Advice

Use one machine at a time. Use it until you are completely finished with it then move onto the next and do the same. If we all follow that rule we will all be happy.

Put the weights back on the rack

Rack your weights

If you are in a good gym then you’ll often get one of the staff members re-racking the weights when things get messy. But in-between that time there needs to be rules. There is nothing more annoying than being ‘in the zone’, moving to another exercise, then finding the weights that you want are scattered around on different machines.

Advice

Put the weights back as you use them (unless someone requests to leave them on). Be bold at times. If you see the culprit causing the crime, confront them! Politely ask them to put them back.

I don’t want your sweat on my clothes

Sweat on weights machine
It’s the gym and most people will sweat, stinky sweat or not, sweat is sweat! Sweat carries bacteria and it’s an easy way for infections and diseases to spread. If you leave the machines sweaty, clean it up, PLEASE!

Advice

Always bring a towel.  I’m known to sweat a lot, buckets in fact, so I always bring a towel. If you are in a good gym then they may keep disinfectant around.

Slow ballads is not gym music, wear head phones

Music and exercise
You are probably thinking ‘who the hell listens to slow music when exercising’? I don’t know these people personally, but I have seen them in action. Running on the treadmill blurting out country music or pop ballads. This is highly non-motivating music. The gym usually has the TV or radio on, but when there isn’t you can hear others music.

Advice

To end all arguments with this, just wear headphones!

Don’t hit on all the girls (They all think we do anyway)

Most ladies at the gym are there to workout. Hitting on them with brute force will piss them off more than anything else. But if you are a natural smoothie and get yourself a date then you may want to consider changing gyms. If things don’t workout then I’m pretty certain she’ll be telling every one what a jerk you are, even worse, how crap you might have been in bed. (Her word against yours)

Advice

Hot girls at the gym

I have talked about this before. If you really want a date just go to a bar. Most people there are looking for the same thing. One-night stands or what ever.

You talk so loud, please lower your tone

Conversations

Depending on what type of gym you are in, this could be acceptable… or not.  If your gym is like a barbershop, then loud debates are sometimes acceptable. If so it’s probably the culture of that gym.

If not the gym you are will be more conservative, and you have to lower your tone. Pushing weights and trying to concentrate while someone is shouting in their conversation is highly distractive.

Screaming

When you are pushing weights you  sometimes have to scream. This is especially the case when doing bench press. Every rep counts and quite often requires a scream. But every now and again you will get extreme screamers.

Advice

Just cut it out, you really don’t need to. If you want to scream get a sex change and take yourself to Wimbledon, theirs no screaming rules in tennis… yet!

Wash your stinking pits!

Body odour at the gym

As I said, we will sweat. But keep your sweating till after your workout and not before please! There is nothing worse than finishing a heavy run on a treadmill, gasping for air and then swallowing a waft of someone’s deadly body odor! Now I am nice, but when ever this happens, I won’t hesitate to tell you that you STINK!

Advice

Do not fear the soap! This is not prison and you will not be anal raped.

Heavy lifters are ready to pounce
bodybuilder workout
Most bodybuilders are pretty cool guys, but every single one I have met seems to have uber amounts of testosterone in them. Because of this it seems they are ever ready to squeeze you into a pulp at any given opportunity should you annoy them.

Advice

Keep away!

Talk to me after i finish my set

I may have developed a nice set of pectorals and bulging biceps, and that may have impressed you. But if you are going to ask me a question, at least wait till after my set. Talking to me during will make me want to halt my set, catch my breath and provoke me to giving you a beat down!

Advice

1) Don’t ask questions during my set
2) Don’t ask questions during my break (I’m out of breath)
3) Make sure your questions require a yes or no answer

That’s that. Its not often I get things off of my chest but that about wraps it up. Follow these gym etiquette rules, and pass them on to your gym buddies, and then I think we will all live happily ever after while exercising at the gym.

See you in the comments.

Incoming search terms:

Stay-Fit Bug | Killer Foods for Fitness (part 1)

August 27, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug, The Food Bug

In the last few weeks there has been much discussion on and off of stayfitbug.com regarding what’s the best food to eat for fitness when exercising.  We are talking about food that is high in,

  • Carbs
  • Protein
  • Helps burn fat
  • Helps build muscle
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Provides pain relief

Now I could dive straight in and talk about foods that most of you know and that others are aware of. But I won’t! That’s just boring. What we will cover here are,

– Unique food combinations (with uncommon foods and those foods you are familiar with)
– Foods from across the globe

These are foods that some of the top performing sports men and women that you know of are stacking away in their guts, which help them rocket down the runway in their sport leaving their competition at the terminal!

I don’t plan to cover all of these in one week; I think that would be information overload for almost anyone. Besides, I don’t want you to get too excited from feeding you the secret formulas all in one go. 😉

Week by week there will be an update and most of this will come from myself, but also from community members and contributors.

Lets begin

Porridge with bread

Porridge to build muscleEat porridge to build muscle

I’m starting with porridge, as this is an athlete’s favourite. It is made up of rice, wheat, barley and corn and my favourite brands that provide this are Ready Break and Quaker Oats. Eating this every morning will fill you up till lunch for sure, but if you want to really boost your carb intake,

Add Bread

White or wholemeal, both are good. Bread is filled with carbs so you really are packing it in here. But be warned if you do this make sure you wake up early and give yourself plenty of time to digest it. It will take an hour at least. If not, you might just throw it all back up.

Instructions

  • Get 1 or 2 slices of bread
  • Spread butter
  • Slice into medium sized pieces
  • Mix and blend with porridge

Salmon rolls in Nori

Eat fish oil

Good for cardiovascular fitness

The reason for eating fish is because of the oil inside of it. By eating fish, it will lower your heart rate and you will consume less oxygen during intense training or exercise. The fatty acids in fish oil need to become incorporated into muscle and heart cells to have an effect, and that takes weeks of consumption.  So either,

– Take fish oil pills
– Or eat Salmon rolls in Nori

Why salmon in Nori?

Nori is a sushi wrapper made of seaweed. So along with the benefits of the fish oil you consume, you can add seaweed to that. Seaweed is good because,

  • Great for digestive health
  • High in nutrients, low in calories
  • May improve heart health
  • Good for de-toxing your body
  • May help regulate hormones (helps in preventing cancer)
  • Goes well will other healthy foods (like salmon)

Now that’s a mix!

Here’s what you need to make Salmon rolls in Nori

  • 1 pack of Japanese Yaki Sushi Nori (roasted seaweed – .75 oz pack)
  • 3 cups uncooked Japanese sushi rice
  • 1/2 cup Japanese rice wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 1-tablespoon salt
  • 4 oz thinly sliced smoked salmon
  • 1 tube Wasabi paste (Japanese horseradish paste)
  • Strips of thinly sliced carrot
  • Strips of thinly sliced peeled cucumber
  • Optional thinly sliced ripe avocado
  • Optional sesame seeds
  • Optional: favourite dipping sauces for the Nori rolls (soy sauce, wasabi sauce)

Chocolate milk

chocolate-milk to rehydrate

Good for hydration

Milk is better than water or sports drinks at re-hydrating the body after exercise, as milk has more electrolytes and potassium.

Add chocolate

The addition of chocolate gives milk the perfect balance of carbs, protein, and fat for a speedy muscle recovery.

Peanut butter and jelly/jam sandwiches

It always is a good idea to eat after a workout. The perfect meal would consist of

  • 400 calories
  • 20 to 30 grams of protein (to build new muscle)
  • 50 to 65 grams of carbohydrates (to repair old muscle)

And Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches contain just that!

This is a favourite in Europe and the UK and I definitely grew up eating it. But I didn’t realise its greatness until I was much older,

Recommended

  • Pepperidge Farm Bread
  • Plain white bread
  • Or toasted if you find it the bread is too soft
  • Santa Cruz Organic Dark Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter

Peanut butter and banana toast

This is one of my favourites, especially as a pre-workout snack. It works best with by using a proper toast maker as it prevents the filling from spilling out of the sides.

This meal has a good source of fat, protein and carbs.

Ingredients

  • Bread
  • Peanut butter
  • Banana (sliced)

Instructions

  • Toast the bread in toaster
  • Spread peanut butter on toast
  • Arrange banana on top of peanut butter
  • Eat and enjoy!

If you really want to spice things up add honey. That’s it for this week, but I’ll leave you with a picture.

Peanut Butter, Banana and Honey Open Faced Sandwich - Food for health

See you in the comments.

Incoming search terms:

Getting Your Groove Back After Injury

August 26, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Avoid gym injuries

If there has been one thing that has affected me (like some kind of chronic disease) since I began to workout, it would injury. Whether it’s been self-inflicted or not, this has been the No.1 reason that has hindered me in achieving top workout results.  In my case, it had been an on going battle with a dislocated shoulder. Once you have a dislocated shoulder, it can always come back out, all it takes is for one odd ‘out of motion’ movement to happen and ‘pop’… out it comes. Injuries like this not only affect you physically, it also affects you mentally as well. The mental aspect of an injury will lead to thoughts such as

‘I’m injured, I’m gonna be out of action for weeks… again!’

‘That pain was insane… what if it happens too many times, my arm my fall off!’

Some of it might sound a bit silly, but when you are in pain you can’t help but think the worst. But it doesn’t have to be like that, after all, there is a positive in every negative. A silver lining in every dark cloud!

You can still workout

You can still work out because most injuries consist of one muscle or joint. Yes, if you workout while injured you may feel pain from moving that injured muscle, but most of it is psychological. Just isolate that muscle completely with bandages or whatever else you may decide to use.

The key thing here is that you must change your mind set from,

‘I’m out of action, time to curl up into a ball and cry’

To

‘What exercises can I do now that I’m injured’?

Better yet, try and avoid injury altogether by warming up, warming down and stretching before every exercise.

How to workout when injured

A key thing to avoid is compound exercises. These exercises work all joints of the body, such as doing rows and squats. When you are getting back into the groove of working out there are some things to keep in mind, some may seem like common sense, but many still seem to forget them.

Take it slow

You will naturally still want to push yourself like you do normally, but slow it down, you’re still injured.

Alternate exercises

By doing this you will prevent possible further injury, as working on one muscle group repetitively in one motion can lead to that.

Slight Pains or sores

If you do start to feel pain on your existing injury or else where, STOP!
Rest for a day, and then come back. If the pain persists after this then you should definitely see a doctor… (We don’t want your arm falling off now…eh)

It could possibly be a sore. If it is, you will probably feel soreness 24hrs after the workout, not during. The cure is simple. Rest and eat some pasta with meat and drink coffee or green tea. (Helps with muscle recovery)

Don’t try to be a hero

No one cares that you can train in pain. But you will care once the doctor tells you that you have a near terminal injury that will put you out of action for good. That is not cool, trust me, I’ve seen it!

Exercises to perform when injured
Lat pulldowns

Now that you know what not to do when injured, I’ll now describe what you can do when certain muscles are out of action.

Shoulders and elbows

Shoulder or other upper body injuries often allow the most possibility for continuing traditional cardio exercise because the lower body can still be worked on. This would include activities such as,

  • Walking (Treadmill – with care!)
  • Stair climbing
  • Cycling
  • Elliptical trainer

And exercises such as,

  • Leg press
  • Ab crunch
  • Lunges
  • Low back extensions

Circuit training routines are another option. By doing a circuit with the above exercises you will maintain strength and power in the non-injured muscles and joints. Do these 4-5 times a week and you won’t even realise that you had an injury to begin with.

Leg and knees

This is a tough one, because almost all exercises require the movement of the knee joints. Being injured here might leave you wanting to reconsider and stay at home, but don’t give in. Key activities would include,

  • One-legged cycling
  • Kayaking
  • An upper body ergo meter (hand cycle)
  • Swimming

Key exercises would include,

  • Pull-Up or Assisted Pull-Up
  • Chest Press
  • Lat Pull down
  • Overhead Press
  • Seated Cable Rows

Lower back injuries

These types of injuries really are no joke. If you get an injury here, be sure to consult with your doctor first, as further damage will almost definitely put you out of action for more than 3-4 weeks. Activities would include,

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Recumbent cycling

Key exercises would include,

  • Chest Press
  • Lat Pull down
  • Overhead Press
  • Seated Cable Rows
  • Leg Extension Machine
  • Wall Sit

Foot or ankle injuries

Providing that you can still walk and move around and only one foot is out of action, you have plenty of options to workout while injured. Activities would include,

  • Rowing machine or a stationary bike with one leg
  • Swimming is a possibility

Key exercises would include,

  • Leg Extension Machine
  • Chest Press
  • Lat Pull down
  • Overhead Press
  • Seated Cable Rows
  • Stability Ball Push-Up
  • Ab ‘Bicycle’ Crunches
  • Hanging Leg Raise

There you have it. No longer will you be curling up into a ball and crying when you are injured. If you are, it’s not likely that your body will change much in 3-4 weeks of being out of action anyhow. They key thing here is finding or keeping that motivation going and keeping in the groove. If you do have troubles doing so, I’d be happy to be your gym partner 😉

See you in the comments.

Incoming search terms:

The Importance Of Goal Setting When Working Out

August 25, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Setting workout goals

How often do you here these types of quotes from your peers?

‘ I’m so out of shape, I will lose weight and be real skinny someday’

‘ I hope I can build my body up one day, I am just so scrawny’

How often do you see these individuals succeed in their statements?
I probably know the answer, but I’ll let you answer that.

Then you may have peers that state quotes like,

‘ I’m so out of shape, I really need to get fit within the next 6 months for that wedding, I can’t have people seeing me look like this’

‘ Christmas was really good this year, but damn, I have put on some serious weight. I’m gonna be dancing at Rio carnival in 3 months time, this puppy fat has to go’

Now how often and how many of your peers do you know that follow that through? I’m guessing you know a lot that try and a few that succeed. (Sometimes continuously succeed)

The difference between both sets of individuals is that one was specific and detailed about what they wanted to achieve and set time limits in which to do so, while the other was vague, gave them self ‘an out’, and didn’t!

A goal without a time limit is no goal

The bottom line is that if you want to start achieving in your workouts, start setting time limits to achieve them by. Once a time limit is set, you have no choice but to take action and do what ever it takes for those actions to be translated into completed goals.

Questions I get asked all the time are,

‘ How long will it take till I get a 6 Pac’?
‘ How long until I lose weight’

If the human body were a processed computer with strict rules, those questions would have a valid answer. But we are not, and the answer is variable and dependable upon how hard you work and the energy you put in. And the answer to those questions would be,

‘What are your goals?’ and ‘Do you have a time limit to achieve them by?’

Setting goals and dates to complete them by

Realistically, the first few goals you set might fail; it could be due to reasons like,

– I didn’t eat right
– It was a half hearted attempt

THAT’S OK!

It could be that you didn’t reach it because of self inflicted injury.

THAT’S OK!

You might have nearly got there and done almost everything right, but still didn’t get there.

THAT’S OK TOO!

Why?

All of the things that you would have learned above would have taught you what did/ didn’t work, will allow you to analyze everything and lead to more frequent successful goal setting and achieving them when you do. All of it is failure, but it’s all necessary and for you to get into that process to start achieving.

If you do reach your work out goals, whether you are losing or gaining weight, and even before the time frame that you set, you will feel great!

‘SUCCESS’

Successful workout routine

You will feel great and on top of the world, and you will no doubt flaunt your body in front of any and everyone (rightfully so, you worked you’re a** off to get there). But don’t brag too much (unless you are the arrogant type that just knows they are better than everyone 😐 )

Be humble about it and focus on what you want to achieve next and be proud to boast about the failure aspect of the whole process (because we all know you faced hurdles and failed … right? 😉 )

We all know how difficult it can be to obtain optimum results when working out. But to give yourself a fighting chance in achieving them, start setting some goals already.

What goals have you set and how far did you get in achieving them?

See you in the comments.

Incoming search terms:

Gym Partner Or No Gym Partner?

August 24, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

find-a-gym-partnerFor as long as I can remember, I don’t think I have ever had a solid gym partner. Yes, I’ve met and trained with many people on the odd occasion, but for me I choose the solitary route because,

  1. People tend to distract my concentration and slow me down.
  2. I have UBER amounts of self-motivation.
  3. I’m quite self-aware.
  4. I enjoy my own company.

Also, when you workout alone you get to meet more people than when accompanied by a partner, because you often appear more approachable when alone. When this happens you get to learn from other peoples knowledge and experience and that knowledge and experience has been key to what Stay-Fit Bug has become up until now and towards the goals and themes of the site!

The solo route works for me, it may even work for you to, but in general you will be better off training with a partner.

Humans are built for social interaction

Get social at the gym
I first began to realise this in the early days of Athletics training. Unlike a team sport such as football or basketball, athletics training can get very lonely and you need quite a high drive and willingness to achieve to stick at it.

Mankind is also a social being by nature, and when you take away the word ‘social’ from that being, the outcome can be quite dramatic.

examples

  • Ever lived alone for the first time?
  • Ever watched the movie I AM LEGEND?

Lonely Human at the gym

Get the picture now?

This is the reason why having a gym partner is vital, because of the social benefits it brings. Lets look at all of the things that I am missing out on from being a solitary bore of a gym goer. 😉

It’s good to talk

Whether you are going to or coming from the gym, it is always great to have a good conversation along the way. It also keeps you punctual so that you actually go to the gym, and it keeps you awake and in the zone.

Goal setting

An important thing to do when striving for anything, is to set goals. Keeping to them is the hard part, but by setting them with a partner you are more likely to follow those goals through.

It doesn’t happen overnight

Most things that are worth achieving don’t. But by having that partner to cheer you on when achieving results seems to be slow, it will keep your motivation and confidence levels up.

Spot a spotter

Everyone has experienced having to shout out to someone ‘hey, can you spot me’? When you have a gym partner you have the benefit of spotting each other.

Avoid injury

As a solitary gym goer you can and will learn from others as I stated, but these people aren’t at the gym to socialize, and probably won’t be with you 24/7 to baby-sit you. Once you have a gym partner you can learn from each other and correct each other on the fly when either of you is performing an exercise incorrectly.

Share experiences

This goes hand in hand with being ‘social’. Once you have a partner, going to the gym is no longer seen as a chore (even though it never should). It can be seen as a great experience or day out, similar to going out to a bar, watching a football or basketball game or any other social activities you do when out with friends. It’s even better when you go to a good gym, as you get the full luxury treatment and you both get to work on your goals at the same time.

Competition spurs motivation

I had to leave the best till last!

Competition at the gym
If there is one thing that we all do constantly, it is comparing ourselves with others! We compare with our peers and with the famous, when we should really only be comparing and competing with ourselves. Overtime we should only compare with our past selves in order to track progress and improvement, but for the most part, due to our nature, comparing with others is what it will be.

But in regards to training, comparing with others is a huge bonus, and in this case, comparing and competing with your gym partner!

Healthy competition will spur motivation, no doubt about that. There will be days when you both finish your workouts, one of you will take your top off, the other will follow suit and the competitive talk will begin. There may even be others around comparing and stating that one of you looks better than the other. If you happen to be the one lagging behind, even though you have been following the exact same routine as your partner, watch how your competitive drive soars off into the sunset.

All of the above are all great reasons to have a gym partner, but do keep in mind that you need to have a good partner, one that,

  1. Is hard working
  2. Shares the same goals as you
  3. Has a competitive edge

And if that person is you, who knows I might drop the solitary training and take you on as my gym partner 😉

Do you train alone, or with a partner?

See you in the comments

Incoming search terms:

Will Working Out Affect My Tattoos?

August 23, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

The answer to that question is yes! See you in the comments… Tattoos on muscles, Tattoos on Fat

Ok, now that would have been pretty boring. Let’s look deeper into it.

I have always thought that tattoos look great when done well, and when it is on the body of a toned or muscular person. I am yet to get a tattoo as of now, although I had always planned to get one. It could be that I just love my natural skin too much? Well… probably not.

The main reason I haven’t yet got one is because of this ridiculous fear that I’ll one day get loads of free time, eat tones of great food, get a dedicated personal trainer and start to develop monster size muscles! 😐

All of which will affect my tattoo if i get it before that happens.

In some way I do plan and hope that will actually happen (To an extent), but it probably won’t, as I’m more of a ‘maintain muscle’ type of guy.

Either way, If you decide to get a tattoo and you are certain that most of your life will evolve around fitness and exercise, then it would be a good idea to plan before hand what it is you want to do with your body in the long run. Yes, life can be unpredictable and plans will probably change due to issues regarding,

  • Change in metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetics

But you still need to have an initial plan. One good thing to do would be to analyze the last 5-10 years of your life and note any natural changes your body had faced. That will give you a rough idea of what to plan for and when to get a tattoo.

Will my tattoo stretch?

Stretchmarks from Tattoos

A general rule of tattooing is that if the underlying muscle gets bigger, the skin has to stretch to cover it. The tattoo is in the skin, therefore, it has to stretch as well. So yes, it will stretch. But lets look at some body types and the way it affects both.

Low metabolism types

If you have a tattoo and you are one those who come into this category, then overtime your tattoo is more likely to stretch as it is very likely that your body weight will fluctuate over the next 5-10 years. Realistically you cannot state a 5-10 year plan when you first get your tattoo, life just doesn’t work that way. But if you do notice it starting to look bad, all you need to do is get a ‘touch-up’ and it will be fine.

High metabolism types

If you decide that you are going to develop a body builder body within 1-2 years and know that you will follow through with that, then it’s a good idea to wait and see how your body develops. If you get impatient and get your tattoo before you do, your tattoo will stretch.  If so, again you can just get a ‘touch-up’. But that’s not too cool after a while.

Where not to get a tattoo?

stretch marks on shoulders

Area’s to avoid would be,

  • Lower back (for ladies)
  • Stretch mark areas

The reason why ladies should avoid getting a tattoo here is because of issues to do with pregnancy. The weight around this area is likely to change and when it does, so will your tattoo, so it’s a no go tattoo area.

If you’ve ever seen those guys that get tattoos early on in life, around the front shoulder areas and then start to workout, you will know that those lovely tattoos they once had don’t look so lovely any more!

Get a tattoo in a low affected area

If you are like me, have a ridiculous fear of getting a tattoo before becoming magically muscular, but want to get one, get one in a good tattoo area that is less likely to be affected by body weight changes. Key areas would be,

  • Upper back
  • Hands
  • Feet

If you do get one in these places, be warned, once you have one tattoo you will become an addict and want more. And if you have a plan outlined like I stated that you should, then you’ll probably change your plan and build your tattoo filled body regardless.

Consult with the artist

tattoo_artist drawing on muscle

Consult with a professional tattoo artist on the design and placement.

(There will be expectations of the ink spreading with age and changes in body size that will have to be accounted for to keep the tattoo distinguishable for life).

Design and placement is actually a big part of getting a good tattoo… something that flows with your muscles. Avoid designs that require white or yellow colours, as they are quick to fade and could require touch ups every five years or so.

To sum it up, if you want to get a tattoo, get one! Unless you have a drastic change in body weight and size, most of you won’t get big enough or loose enough weight for it to affect a tattoo. And of course, more tattoos designs for men are always welcome, if you want to show them.

Have your body weight changes affected your tattoos?

See you in the comments.

Incoming search terms:

Help! I Can Barely Lift My Own Body Weight, How Do I Start?

August 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Bugs Workout Routines, The Fitness Bug

Build strength with bodyweight

When I first began to get serious about working out and improving my body strength, I was still a student. I wasn’t entirely broke like most students are, but paying for a gym membership would definitely sting my bank account every month. Even so, I didn’t let that stop me and I at least wanted to make a start.

My plan was to initially use my own body weight to increase my strength and size by doing the following,

  • Push-ups
  • Dips
  • Pull-ups
  • Squats
  • Lunges

After about a week of getting into the routine I realised that I had one slight problem.

I could barely lift my own body weight!

I WAS WEAK!

This was especially noticeable with pull-ups. I would do,

3 sets

Reps
1. 10
2. 5
3. 2
(To failure!!!)

In my view that was just simply pathetic strength endurance for a young and generally fit guy, almost embarrassing. Not to mention that these were ordinary pull-ups too, no wide/ close grip, which is where most people initially struggle.

With that said, things did improve over time, but that was with the assistance of weight training.

The key thing to take home here is that using your own body weight for exercising (Functional training) is still the no.1 method for increasing your strength, balance, flexibility, and natural muscle development. Below I’ll outlay some methods of how this can be done.

Green fitness Exercises

Before you even decide to start increasing your strength from doing bodyweight exercises, you may want to start doing these first, especially if you are as weak as I was. This would include taking up activities such as sprinting, riding, climbing, hiking or yoga. All of these activates will improve your functional strength, strength that you would use performing real world activities.

Start with the basics

Once you have a routine in place, then you may begin to consider starting to use your own body weight to increase strength. Earlier I mentioned that I started with,

  • Push-ups
  • Dips
  • Pull-ups
  • Squats
  • Lunges

These are a great set of body weight exercises to start with. I would recommend that you structure your sets ‘To failure’. Which means that you push your self until you can push no more.

Example

Sets 3

Reps
1. 10
2. 8
3. 6

Everyone’s strength levels will be different, so change your sets to suit.

Advance to this

Once you have become quite competent in those exercises, get yourself a dipping belt for your pull up exercises, this will allow you to add weights to your body to increase the difficulty of the exercise. Then add these into the mix,

  • One-arm push-ups
  • One-legged squats
  • Handstand push-ups
  • Headstand leg raise
  • Mahler Body Blaster
  • Knee Jump

All of these exercises can be quite challenging, so I wouldn’t recommend jumping straight into them unless you know that you will be competent at doing them.  If you do then here is a routine to follow,

  • Handstand Push-ups – 5-10 Reps
  • One-Arm Push-up – 5-10 Reps
  • One Legged Squat – 5-10 Reps
  • Knee Jump – 5-10 Reps
  • Headstand Leg Raise – 5-10 Reps
  • Mahler Body Blaster – Work up to 25-50 Reps

If you really want to test your strength and you think you are an expert, try out the exercises in the videos below. If you do manage to perform all of these exercises with no trouble at all, then you must post a link in the comment sections of you doing so. If you do, I will be very impressed. Not even I could do some of these, and I’m quite an animal when it’s time to ANTE UP!

To conclude

Lifting weights will always be a superior way to increase strength and in quick succession. But if you’re a beginner, just want to be strong and have a naturally toned body, then this would be the way to go.

What are your experiences with body weight training?

See you in the comments.

Incoming search terms:

Introducing Bugs Weekly Workout Routine

August 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Bugs Workout Routines, The Fitness Bug

Bugs workout routineIt’s Friday folks! The weekend starts today. Well… for most it should, if not then enjoy the time until it comes. By now, I hope most of you have enjoyed the posts and topics I have covered so far on stayfitbug.com. That will not stop! But today it is time to introduce workout routines, those of which I have personally experienced. This is to be known as:

BUGS WEEKLY WORKOUT ROUTINES

Every week I will post a workout schedule, some cardio based, some weights based or a variation of both, and the results that you can aim to achieve from doing them. By outlaying the results you can expect to achieve, it will be easy to identify if the post will be related to you or not. They will be based on what I’ve learned from being an athlete and from since being into fitness, and how effective I found them to be.

Today’s workout routine: Beginner weight training (building for muscle mass)

Ideal for: Beginners and those with busy schedules

I find that it is always best to try and start your workout week on a Monday. This allows you to fully utilize the weekdays and keep your weekends for rest days. Remember this (Balance)

Make sure you perform 1 – 2 sets of Warm-up exercises. Stretch before every first set.

Bugs Workout  Week # 1

KEY

Flat bench press

Flat bench press

Incline bench press

Incline bench press

Dumbbell Flys

Dumbbell Flys

barbell shoulder press

Shoulder press

Lateral raises

Lateral raises

Abdominal crunches

Abdominal crunches

Wrist curls

Wrist curls

Chin ups

Chin ups

Lat pulldowns

Lat pulldowns

bent over rows

bent over rows

Dead lifts

Dead lifts

Bench dips

Bench dips

Squats

Squats

Leg curls

Leg curls

Calf raises

Calf raises

Standing barbell curl

Standing barbell curl

Seated barbell curl

Seated barbell curl

Wrist curls

Wrist curls

Read more

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Incoming search terms:

Next Page »