Up the Ante and Move Out of Your Comfort Zone!

February 10, 2014 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

weight_lifting work_out harder

Just like in everyday life situations whether it be a job, change of lifestyle or whatever it is you are trying to improve… if you stay in your comfort zone, it’s not likely that you’ll achieve anything greater than which you already have.

If you do take yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ll probably make many mistakes in trying to improve or change whatever the goal is, but those mistakes will improve ‘you’ as a person and in the long run will lead you to achieve greater things!

The same can be said with weightlifting and exercise. If you lift the same weights or keep to that same treadmill routine for to long with out changing it, you will get used to it and you won’t achieve much more than that until you ANTE UP!

It’s all a part of the ‘no pain, no gain’ game, but the question is, when do you ante up?
I know for sure that this question affects everyone in a big way when working out, as it has certainly affected me in the past, and I’m quite a big enthusiast on ‘change’.

Quite simply, you need to ante up once that exercise starts to become too easy. But even then it is to late. You need to ante up before ‘easy’ sets in… push yourself a little.  If everyone in this world pushed themselves to their utmost capabilities, I think the world really would be an amazing place.

If you are doing arm curls for example, and your routine is:

  • 8 reps
  • 3 sets
  • At 15 kg

Ante up!

Aim for failure and start:

  • 5 reps
  • 3 sets
  • 20kg

You might feel like you aren’t achieving much initially, but give it 2-3 weeks, muscle memory will start to set in and it will begin to feel like the norm. Now where would you be if you stuck with the original plan and didn’t ante up?

The bottom line is that in your workouts or in any activity where you are trying to progress and achieve, you need to step things up a gear. You will surprise yourself, and when you do, don’t forget to drop me a comment here and thank me for it. 🙂

How do you get motivated and ANTE UP!

See you in the comments.

Don’t let swine flu upset your workout routine

January 30, 2014 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

How to stay fit and healthy with swine flu

With the recent news about the huge increase of swine flue cases, it’s natural for everyone to feel a bit edgy right now. Sit on a train in the city and dare to sneeze…WITHOUT covering your face :o!. The reactions you will get won’t be nice to say the least! I wouldn’t be surprised if it caused fights.

In general, trains are one of the worst places to travel in regards to catching flu or other things from people. Previous studies  show that one sneeze can spread through 6 train carriages. That’s

ONE SNEEZE…. THROUGH 6 CARRIAGES

That has to be swine flu breeding ground central.

AVOID (if you can)

But for people reading this, you have probably already thought,

‘ I really don’t wanna get ill right now, it will set me right back in my workout program

…’And i really don’t think i’m ready for death yet either!’

I know i thought this. Infact, i always think like this, as set backs really do P*** me off. You know…all those months of hard work, gone in a matter of weeks (6). But this swine flu thing seems a bit more severe. People really are dying from it, even the healthiest of the healthy! YIKES!

So how can we fight against this TODAY?

If you are already working out, or have started to follow my recent posts :). Stick to it!

But heres what you should do:

Train: 45 minutes a day, 3 days per week.

Do: Any Cardio exercises (weights or running). That will push your heart rate to 70-75% of its maximum (subtract your age from 220 to find yours).

Eat: Foods with vitamin C (will boost your immune system).

Run: Outside. Exposure from the sun will increase your levels of vitamin D which is good for your respiratory system.

Drink: 2 litres of water a day and add a litre for every hour of exercise.

DON’T

Try and sweat it out ‘possible flu symptoms’ if you begin to feel ill. This will cause further dehydration and stress the immune system.

I am currently following and sticking to this plan, so do follow and implement this into your routines also. If you do have anything to add, drop your ideas in the comments section.

STAY SAFE!

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Working Out is Boring! Lets Just Dance (part 1)

September 10, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

You guessed it! I am back on my quest to find the most entertaining ways to exercise, and why not? You get to kill two birds with one stone.

  1. Exercise/ keep fit
  2. And have fun

Hopefully some of you have tried playing Rockband or Guitar hero after reading last weeks post. But it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day and this is a new post!

It’s time to start dancing to keep fit!

One of the reasons that dancing for fitness works so well is because traditional cardio training can get boring, and when you get bored, you lose motivation. Motivation is the very thing that you need to successfully maintain a good level of fitness.

Because dancing has so many variations and forms, it will be impossible to cover them all in one post. So welcome to part one of,

‘Working out is boring! Lets just dance’

Salsa
Salsa for fitness

Salsa is great for both men at women, and for all of the men reading this, if you have not yet tried Salsa then I suggest that you should. The first time I saw guys dancing to salsa, I suddenly felt that something was missing from my ‘lady magnet-attracting’ arsenal, because all of the moves involving salsa dancing scream pure class and elegance… something that will get you the best of ladies on and off the dance floor.

The moves are sexy, yet they don’t need to be sexual, unlike some other forms of dancing (which usually promote a vertical representation of a horizontal desire).

This Latin dance is also popular in nightclubs and health clubs and all types of salsa dance are being taught as ‘dance fitness’. Salsa also has a strong global presence too, from the far-east (India, New Delhi) to the wild wild west (US, New York). So no excuses here… get Googling.

The Benefits

  • Practice good form
  • Looks graceful and elegant
  • Attractive to the opposite sex
  • Boosts self-esteem
  • Learn to dance in rhythm (with it’s ‘have to move’ feel)

Cardio training comparison = Moderate intensity training (Do 2-3 salsa sessions a week)

The extras

  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Use inhaler less (if you have asthma)
  • Eases stress and tension
  • Great for mind and soul

Ballroom Dancing

Ball room dancing for fitnessball room dancing for fitness

I mentioned that salsa dancing can be elegant and graceful. But ballroom dancing steals the crown on that front. I personally would never have been seen dead doing this dance, but after seeing how some entertainment moguls have brought this to the media mainstream and how good it can be, I began to think twice.

Benefits

  • Posture – Good for back muscles, spine and spinal chord
  • Balance – Strength in ankles
  • Flexibility – Increase Range of Motion

Cardio training comparison = Moderate intensity training

Pole Dancing
pole dancing for fitness
Ladies, this one is for you, and you shouldn’t feel offended or uneasy by taking this up for fitness. In some parts of the world, Pole dancing has a bad stigma against it and is often perceived as just another form of stripping, while in some countries like Japan (how ironic), it is fully embraced and highly recommended as a fitness and sport activity.

Cardio comparison = Moderate to high intensity (3 -4 times a week with weight/ strength training)

Unless you have already been working out or have a natural strong upper body and core, taking up pole dancing will be a struggle to begin with as it requires brute upper body strength.

Think about it: One arm is supporting most of your weight as you try to propel yourself into a move or two.

pole dancing for fitness

So prepare to approach this form of dancing with some ‘here’s what I prepared earlier’ upper body strength. But again, this is not traditional cardio training, so not only will you be keeping yourself fighting fit, you’ll get to have fun, entertain and party with it.

As you can see so far, all of these dances are great alternatives to your everyday cardio or weight training routines. When you perform in these activities you won’t feel like you are exercising, will definitely not get bored, and you get to throw in some extra health benefits too. But stay tuned for part 2 of,

‘Working out is boring! Lets just dance’

See you in the comments

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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.

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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.

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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

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The importance of stretching

August 12, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

How to stretch and Bulild a lean body Knowing that one must stretch really is old news that we all picked up back in our physical education days. But as the years go own, it seems more and more people seem to forget not only that they need to stretch, but the importance of doing so. A scenario for you:

”You workout at the gym and your friends Tom, Dick and Harry all start their workout after you at every session. You notice (subconsciously) that Tom and Dick stretch before every session, but you also notice (subconsciously) that Harry doesn’t. A few months pass and one day you are having a conversation with Tom, Dick and some other gym friends and in-between that conversation some one asks ‘By the way, where’s Harry these days?’ and Tom would say ‘ I think he’s injured…pulled a muscle or something not to sure why or how!’.

Deja vu for anyone?

I’ve seen this scenario time and time again at every single gym I’ve been to, and I believe that this is a no.1 reason for interruptions and injury in the gym (along with doing it all wrong). But in this case it’s about what people aren’t doing right!

Like most people I learned early on, the importance of stretching before taking up any high performance activity, as I saw first hand the results and damage caused from not doing so from other family members activities. But one must act on that knowledge once it’s acquired. It seems that some people think they are either invincible, lazy or for guys, they may have an immature or stubborn view that stretching is for girls or wimps! This unfortunately happens quite often, and when it does, you’ve got a Harry on your hands.

So what does stretching do for you?

Stretching improves joint range of motion, improves the function of your muscles and improves neuro-muscular control or efficiency.

Flexibility is the range of motion around a specific joint or a set of joints. Every movement you make from daily activities, exercise and sports require your joints to move through a full range of motion. Therefore a lack of flexibility will lead to muscular imbalances and eventually injury. (Harry)

The good thing about stretching is that it can be done anywhere, at home, on the track or at the gym, but it’s important to first understand the principles of warming up and warming down.

Warming up

Prepares and readies your muscles for exercising and this will prevent injury.

Warming down

Is what you do after you exercise.  Doing this will help your muscles recover and reduce soreness.

Just be sure not to stretch for more than 30 seconds on any one muscle and to never bounce. Always hold firm and still.

What stretches should one perform?

building lean body

All of the above are stretches that you should perform. My favorites have always been quadriceps, calf, standing hamstring and hip flexor stretches.

What will stretching improve?

  • Improve you flexibility
  • Feel better overall
  • Improve your posture
  • Reduce your risk of injury
  • Relieve pain
  • Counteract aging
  • Improve muscle recovery after workouts
  • Reduce stress

That’s really all there is to it and is aimed mostly at all the ‘Harry’s’ out there (You know who you are)! Be a Tom…. or be a Dick! 😉

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Machines vs Free weights?

August 4, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

free-weights-vs-machines

This ongoing debate regarding free weights (low-tech apparatus) vs. machines (high-tech apparatus) for strength training never does seem to end. While each can help you build strength there are definite pros and cons for each. I have had experience with both, which I’m sure most of you have. But to answer the question on the superiority of free weights versus machines, it is first important to know what one’s goals are. I personally like to use free weights more, as i know they will give me quick results. My upper body I am not to concerned about when working out, but my lower body muscles take much longer to develop and grow, so using free weights works in my favor. Since every one is not like me, I will outline the pros and cons of both.

Machines

The most important component in any strength training program is safety. If you are new to strength training or if you are working out alone, variable resistance machines are your best bet. While machines can be a viable option for serious weight training, they are best for beginners, senior and recreational athletes.
For those that have injured your selves from working out incorrectly, variable resistance machines are preferred. They provide a more controlled motion and specifically isolate certain muscle groups. Machines also allow you to track progress and provide objective feedback while increasing the protective participation of the healthy limb or muscle groups.

To sum it up
Pros

  • Faster workouts – Ready to go stationary apparatus
  • Reduced risk of injury – Great for beginners (Doing it all wrong)
  • Easy to use – Self explanatory, no personal trainer
  • Useful when recovering from an injury – Isolate particular muscles, can maintain activity in your sport

Cons

  • Increased risk of pattern overload injuries – From repetition of working the same muscle groups
  • False sense of strength gain – (why i like free weights)
  • Mistaken sense of safety – Forgetting about common sense, not knowing your limits
  • Locked-in-place body movement patterns – Forces unnatural body motion

Free Weights

Free weights promote quicker strength gains and they require more balance and coordination than the weight machines. Free weights recruit more muscle groups than variable resistance machines, which tend to only isolate specific muscles.

Free weights are also more versatile than machines because they allow for more variations in range of motion, motions that we use day-to-day. Free weights require balance, and they tend to promote more activity of the joint stabilizer muscles. Finally, they are considerably less expensive than most of the machines on the market. You can perform a complete strength training routine with a few dumbbells, and a little imagination. (Home vs Gym)

However, free weights require the help of a spotter, and result in more injuries than machines. Careful instruction and training is necessary to master the art of free weight lifting. (Beginners… take it slow!)

To Sum it up

Pros

  • Increased use of stabilizing muscles – Abs, Erector Spinae and some leg muscles
  • Similarity with everyday activities – e.g. bent-over rows, bicep curls and step-ups
  • Improved balance – Ever tried using or incorporating an exercise ball?
  • Increased use of brainpower – Proprioreception (your brain tells the body where it is)
  • Convenient and inexpensive – For the traveler, the busy, the broke guy, home exercisers

Cons

  • Increased risk of injury when not using proper form – Make sure you know what you are doing
  • Decreased efficiency – i really do hate waiting for others to finish with the weights

Although i prefer using free weights for most of my workouts, an ideal training program should incorporate both free weights and machines on alternating training days. In order to get the most from both muscle strength gains and joint stability, you should focus on free weights for some exercises and machines for others.

The bottom line is that you should use the strength training equipment that suits your training needs, is safe, and is convenient. However, if you are comfortable using free weights like myself, you may see greater strength gains here than with machines.

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The Chicken Legs Syndrome

August 1, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug, The Health Bug

How to build leg muscles

This is a thing that affects most men (myself included). You know, legs as wide as your ankles 😮 . I may have been blessed in the high metabolism department, but because of that, i grew up suffering from what i call ‘ The chicken legs syndrome‘.

What is the chicken legs syndrome?

It may not be as drastic as having legs as wide as your ankles (well it is for him >>), but it is legs that are skinny enough to drive that nagging fear of not wanting to wear shorts in the months leading up to summer, or fear of wearing lycra if you’re an upcoming athlete. Of course some athletes like 100/200m runners get away with it, as a ‘model’ 100/200m runner would have skinny lower legs muscles, but very high and powerful calf muscles (which gives them the very much needed short bursts of energy).

Most guys that do go to the gym won’t have too many problems building their upper body muscles. But the leg muscles are a much larger muscle group than those up above, and they require much more work if you want to increase their size. The majority of people tend to turn away when faced with difficulty in anything that we may face in life, and it’s no different here. Guys would beef up their upper body muscles, forget to work on there legs and end up looking top heavy. Being top heavy is bad because it affects and can cause:

1) Imbalance

2) Unnatural look

3) Performance (especially in a sport)

And it’s very noticeable. Working this muscle group is also essential for developing and maintaining a high metabolism.

So how can we beat chicken leg syndrome?

As i stated, it won’t be easy, but with some persistence, perseverance and by following the basic guidelines below, it won’t be long until you find yourself joining the Fat legged brigade.

Start as you mean to go on

You must start working on your legs from day one. If you fail to do this the results of your upper body workouts will start to surpass the efforts of your lower body workouts. When imbalance does start to occur, it will be hard to catch back up and will start to turn into a game of cat and mouse.

Alternate

Your leg workouts. By doing this you will be working all of the necessary muscles so that none get left behind. So be sure to implement that into your plan.

Keep up the cardio

Cardio exercise and other sports do stimulate your muscles to a certain degree. This usually isn’t enough to result in muscle growth, but it is essential for maintaining muscle activity.

ACT NOW! ….well not just yet. This is just a starter on the menu. Stay tuned for the next post. I’ll be outlining some of the key exercises that started to work for myself.

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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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