Build Your Scrawny Ankles – Don’t Forget To! (Muscles around them)

September 8, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

It’s that time again! It’s only been a few days since posting about ‘ building those neglected body parts‘, but I guess I am passionate about getting you to look your best and to look that little bit better than your peers. Anyhow, today is all about how to build stronger and better-looking ankles. I wouldn’t necessarily put scrawny ankles in the same category as chicken legs, as the exercises involved to build both do differ.

On most people (mainly guys), the ankles simply are not seen as a glamorous body part. You don’t hear people saying,

‘Ooh, flex those hot ankles for me’

Or

‘Take off those socks and let me see those lovely ankles’

It just doesn’t happen. However, I think this is not the case when women are concerned. Women ankles are naturally more feminine than a man’s set of ankles, and because of this, I find that ankles are one of the sexiest body parts there are (on a woman). This is why there is a market for ankle bracelets.

Why build a stronger and sexier set of ankles?

This is mainly targeted at guys, but if you are a lady and you have bony, unsightly and weak ankles, then this is for you too. So lets begin our journey to building strong and sexier looking ankles.

Strong ankles prevent injury

Injury is the number one reason why people take timeout from exercise and training, whether for sport or fitness training, but by having strong ankles you can prevent this. I have personally faced the benefits of this in previous sporting activities, especially in sprint training. There was many a time where I would literally not realize how fast I was running. I would suddenly stop running, yet my body would keep moving. When ever this happened early on in training it would lead to a sure injury, but as I began to build my ankle strength, my ankles would take the pressure and I would carry on as normal.

Improves balance

Having strong ankles will definitely improve your balance and not just for training, exercise or sporting activities either.

If you are,

  • On the beach having a fight in the sand.
  • On a very unstable train ride.
  • Take long walks regularly.
  • Take a serious blow to the body in a ‘real’ fight.

Stronger ankles will help you in all of these types of situations.

Building for a stronger and sexier set of ankles

Standing and balancing on one foot

Balance on one foot
Yes, I all know we done this in the playground as kids, but this is actually a very effective way to train your ankles to be stronger. What we didn’t realize as kids doing this, is that all that struggling and shifting around to keep balance is actually working the key muscles in our ankles. You can do this exercise anywhere, but only do it in a public place if you don’t mind that people might think that you are a bit loopy!

If you are already a highly balanced ballerina type, then try it with your eyes closed. Taking away one of your senses will make for harder work on your muscles.

Standing and balancing on one foot (with weights)

balance on one fit with dumbbells

This is basically weight training for ankles. This is where you will really begin to build up muscle and strength. What you do is grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them in each hand. All of the rocking from side to side will be the movements that will work the ankle muscles. If you wish, you can also use a barbell and place it behind your neck and balance with that.

Standing and balancing on one foot with weights (on an unstable surface)

build your scrawny ankles

Warning! Only do this once you have mastered the above methods.

This is a real challenge and definitely a step up from the two previous methods, but will again… strengthen and grow your ankle muscles. My favourite for this is to grab a set of towels and role them up together, stand on and balance.

Balance and coordination

Build your scrawny ankles

  • Put the weights down
  • Balance on one foot (or on an uneven surface)
  • Get some one to throw a ball at you
  • Or throw a ball at the wall (if you are alone)

This one is actually funny, as I used to do this all the time as a kid. But doing this will improve your balance and coordination while working your ankle muscles.

All of these techniques will do wonders for your chicken stick meatless ankles. The great thing about them is that they are simple to do and promote functional movements (and are unique, which most exercises like this are – forearms, neck). Start doing these today and in a few months time it would be great if you could post some before and after shots of your ankles for everyone to see :-).

Feeding the monster S-curvishly will help @vitoriagomes

Feeding the monster S-curvishly will help @vitoriagomes

How do you work your ankle muscles? Have you tried any of the above?

See you in the comments.

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Getting Your Girl To Do Yoga Will Lead To Better Sex

September 6, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

yoga for fitness

For all of the female readers here, I do apologize for the headline. I’m not sexist… promise! 🙂 . If you don’t already know, I will explain why taking up yoga for fitness will not only lead to building a lean, flexible and supple body, but the wonderful things it can do for your sex life.

For guys

You get to really test your strength and endurance.

For gals

You’ll be giving your guy PLENTY of reasons not to ever stray ever again.

For both

Increased excitement and fun.

A lot of what you read here has been learnt from various ladies that I have met since beginning to workout. They just happened to have a lot of experience and knowledge in yoga, knowledge that eventually got passed down to myself.

Does yoga really improve ones sex life?

Well… I wouldn’t have bothered to take the time out to write this if it didn’t. That would be a waste of your reading time… something that I would never do to you. So read on!

Guys… tell this to your ladies. Ladies… do as stated!

Yoga increases blood flow

Many of the positions that you perform during yoga sessions allow for the blood to flow a lot more. This is especially the case with positions like ‘the eagle pose’.

This position will send blood rushing to your pelvic area. When this happens it will make you hot, and when you put that heat together with stimulation, your desire will shoot through the roof.

Yoga strengthens the pelvic area

We always hear personal trainers and fitness geeks talk about the importance of building ‘the core’ (myself included). The pelvic floor is a part of that core, and when you work these muscles it will improve your’ range of motion’ (how far you can extend a particular joint- supreme flexibility). This in turn will give you,

  • Stronger contractions
  • Stronger releases
  • More intense orgasm

Yoga eases tension and pain

In my early days of training, I would lay in bed at times with my ‘then’ partner, and they would say to me ‘Gosh, I like muscles and everything, but you are so tense!’ This is the same with women who workout, especially those who do moderate/ high intensity training. The bad thing about being tense is that it will also affect the pelvic floor area, and when this happens, good enjoyable sex turns into ‘work’. If it does get to that stage you might as well stop, and if you don’t, you might just break something (click…crack… snap!). Doing Yoga will ease pain by releasing that tension and relaxing your hips. This will make for a MUCH better sexual experience for both.

Get that mojo back… and some chakra action

chakras in yogachakras in yoga

What are chakras?

This is all yoga language. Basically, your sex life is governed by these chakras. It is the body’s energy that centres around your spine. When your chakras are in healthy working order, you’ll find that your sex life will be pretty healthy too, and yoga moves like the triangle and seated open-angle pose will stimulate your chakras.

Looking at the image above, your three “sexiest” chakras are

  • The root chakra (located at your perineum–the area between your pubic bone and anus),
  • The sacral chakra (in the centre of your lower abdomen)
  • The heart chakra (in the centre of your chest)

Yoga enriches these critical areas with blood and “prana,” which is the life force (Yoga talk again). That will promote openness and decrease sexual inhibition, which will prepare you for sexual action and leave you feeling much happier overall.

Yoga is a confidence booster

The outside world is a noisy place, as we all know, with all sorts of information flowing in and out of our brains daily. Taking a yoga class will help you relax your mind in peace, allowing you to be more aware of your ‘actual’ self and understand your own needs.

Once you begin to adopt this mind frame, you can then easily translate this understanding and self-awareness to your partner. And when you do… they will know and love you for it.

Fantastic! You read on and got to the end of the post. My only advice to you now is to consult with your partner and try it out, and when you do, don’t forget to thank me for stepping your sex life up a gear.

Yoga combined with male enhancement pills can make your sex life amazing.

Do you and your partner do Yoga as part of your fitness regime?

See you in the comments

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Help Me Bulk Up My Long Giraffe Neck!

September 5, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

longneck

As it stands, I am still on my quest to solve the problem of building those muscle groups that simply get neglected (forearms, Legs), yet are very important in regards to developing a well rounded muscle bound body.

In a previous article I talked about those individuals who have plenty of muscle, but don’t appear to have any when fully clothed. A big contributor to this issue is having a long neck, or just a very un-muscular one. But today we will discuss how to overcome this.

Talking from experience, having a long neck is a bad thing, because when you,

  • Wear a shirt (and trousers)
  • Wear a suit and tie
  • Wear a collarless jumper

People simply cannot tell that you are finely chiseled underneath the clothed armour. So for appearance sake (and we all know you build muscle to impress others), building a strong and powerful neck is crucial, and when you do build it, you will,

  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Give the impression of power and strength

But looks aren’t everything! By developing strong neck muscles you will,

  • Prevent injury (From performing many everyday tasks and during fitness and sporting activities)
  • Protect your spine and spinal chord

What are the neck muscles?

strong_neck_musclesstrong trapezius muscles

The 3 main neck muscles are,

  • Splenius
  • Sternocleidomastoid
  • Trapezius

These muscles are responsible for flexion, extension and rotation of the neck.

How do you build the neck muscles?

Now that I’ve gone over the textbook stuff, lets talk about how to build muscle onto your giraffe neck. When people think of muscles around the neck, they would probably have these exercises in mind.

  • Front dumbbell raises
  • Lateral raises
  • Wide grip pull ups

These will all be great contributors to forming a great set of upper body muscles, namely your,

  • Deltoids (Shoulders)
  • Upper back muscles (Traps)
  • Triceps
  • Wings (The latissimus dorsi)

But one must put a real focus on developing the neck and ONLY the neck, here’s how.

Implement safety first!

1. Dedicate a ‘neck only’ day for exercising. This is to make sure that your neck doesn’t suffer from fatigue from doing other exercises. It also allows for more concentration, I guess you could this as one big isolation exercise.

2. Make sure you stretch before, after and in-between every neck exercise. The classic rotate left, rotate right neck exercise will be good enough. Either sitting or standing, turn your head to the side, as though you are looking over your shoulder, and make sure that you don’t raise or lower your head. You can use your hand to press against the side of your head to create more resistance (Hold for 10-20 seconds and do it 3 times for each side). By doing this you will stretch out the three main muscles – the splenius and levator scapulae on one side and the opposing sternocleidomastoid.

3. Ensure that you have the correct form… Always!

4. Use full range of motion

The exercises

The best thing about ‘these’ exercises is that you can perform them at anytime, regardless of where you are. In fact, perform each of these exercises as you read them. That should make for some truly interactive reading 🙂 . Now it’s time to say good-bye to the long neck!

Make sure you are comfortable and relaxed in all of the exercises described, whether sitting or standing.

Neck Flexion

Target muscles: Upper trapezius and the splenius

This one is simple but very effective.

  1. Begin the exercise by bending your head forward, allowing your chin to drop towards your chest.
  2. Stretch until it feels tight.
  3. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then gently raise your head back up.
  4. Do this ten times and several times throughout the day.

Neck Extension

Target muscles: Sternocleidomastoid

I call this one ‘Mr Noddy’.

  1. Place your hands on your forehead
  2. Apply tension
  3. Tilt and push your head down to your chest
  4. Keep the tension and raise it back up
  5. Do this ten times and several times throughout the day

Upper Trapezius Stretch

Target muscles: Trapezius

This is the triangular shaped muscle that connects your 2 shoulders and head together in the upper back area. This exercise is an important one as it will keep your neck flexible and help prevent injury.

  1. Put your right arm behind your back.
  2. Hold the right side of your head with your left hand.
  3. Use your left hand to gently tilt your head toward the left.
  4. You should feel a gentle pull on your right side, from the side of the neck down to the shoulder.
  5. Hold for this position for 10 to 20 seconds.
  6. Relax and repeat three times for each side.

The Chin Tuck

I call this one the ‘double chin’.

  1. Using either hand, put your fingertips against your chin and gently push your head straight back.
  2. Keep looking forward as your head moves back.
  3. Hold the position for five seconds, and then relax.
  4. Repeat this movement 5 times.

Neck Side Bend

Target muscle: Sternocleidomastoid

This exercise is similar to talking on a mobile phone while your hands are busy doing other things.

  1. Begin by tilting your head so that your right ear moves toward your right shoulder.
  2. Take it to the point of tightness or discomfort, but not to the point of sharp pain.
  3. Relax and return to the starting position then tilt your head so your left ear moves toward your left shoulder.
  4. Be sure not to rotate your head, or to raise your shoulder toward your head.
  5. Do this 10 times each side.

There you have it folks! Your official guide to eliminating your giraffe neck once and for all. Keep doing these exercises regularly and sooner or later you will develop a strong and powerful neck that will make you stand out from the crowd. Now here is the goal i am setting you,

strong neck

😉

Do you have a long neck?

How do you build your neck muscles?

See you in the comments.

Fix your neck... Dress for it - Born Tough

Fix your neck… Dress for it

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I have man boobs! How can i fix my chest?

September 3, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

This has been an on going problem for me, ever since I built my body up for muscle mass. But guess what’s surprising? I have a mesomorph body type; I am in my 20’s, yet my chest is in danger of being classed as having man boobs.

I have yet to fix the problem entirely and I have since had ladies make jokes that I have an A-cup chest… something some ladies don’t even have! This can affect anyone from those who have built muscle to those who want to lose fat. So for all those who have this same problem, read on and together we can all build our chests to how they should really look on a man.

Watch your diet

In general, man boobs would usually exist on those individuals who have 30% body fat or more and their chest would look like this.

Fix Man boobs

Whenever this occurs, on almost any specific part of the body, there isn’t really any solid way to fix it apart from refocusing your diet. One will need to keep their saturated fat intake down. Tomorrow I will be posting ‘Killer foods for fitness (part 2)’. This will cover some of the best foods you can include in your diet to keep the fat off. If you are having real trouble you can always refer to ‘How to increase metabolism‘.

Once you have got your diet under control, you then want to get your body fat percentage down to at least 15% before you start to do any man boob fixing exercises.

What to avoid

If you are currently hitting the gym whether you trying to lose weight or gain muscle, it doesn’t really matter, man boobs are man boobs and you have to get rid of them. Maintaining a good diet is down to you, but in the gym, the one exercise that is regarded as the ‘manhood’ of all chest exercises is what you must avoid.

THE FLAT/ DECLINE BENCH PRESS

Why?

The classic flat or decline bench press exercise mainly focuses on the lower part of your chest (An area that you have already developed). By continuing to do this exercise you are only building up this area more. This will only hamper your efforts in fixing your man boobs and to build the perfect chest. What you need to focus on is,

INCLINE BENCH PRESS EXERCISES

This is the exercise that you want to put at the forefront of all your exercises at this man boob fixing stage. The incline bench press is the exercise that will give the support and structure for your upper chest. Here are the key incline bench press exercises that will work your upper chest.

  • Barbell incline bench press
  • Dumbbell incline bench press
  • Front dumbbell raises

Work your upper back

The key reason for adding upper back exercises to your workout is to create balance. Not only that, it will also,

  • Strengthen your ability to bench
  • Prevent shoulder problems
  • Improve your posture

And best of all, it will give your chest a great side view, making it look bigger!

Once you have finished with those, your chest will have gone from this,

Classic man boobs

To this

perfectronaldPerfect chest muscles
Building a perfectly shape chest isn’t always easy and like most things, it will take hard work and effort on your part. But once you have fixed those man boobs, the key thing is to then find a balance out and work with a variety of exercises to ensure you maintain the chest you have developed. Before I leave you, here is a routine to take away and follow AFTER you have fixed your man boobs.

This workout consists of more sets, more reps and will hit the chest from every angle and will give you the ultimate definition.

  • Barbell or dumbbell bench press (flat and incline) 3 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Dumbbell or cable fly’s 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Push-ups – 3 sets of 20-50 reps

Do you have man boobs? Have you managed to fix them?

See you in the comments

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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

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