The Million Dollar Question: Should You Get a Fitness Coach?
Motivating yourself is hard, ask anyone who works freelance. Going to the gym is often the same. Sometimes what you need is somebody to motivate you, to tell you that you are doing the right thing and that you can do this, that you are ever-so nearly there.
But hiring a fitness coach can help with more than just motivation. A coach is an expert who can tell you where you’re going wrong, what equipment and what exercises are the most effective. Sometimes a coach is all you need to ensure you meet your goals.
Some people start going to the gym in their teens, others in their 40s or older have never been to the gym. That is ok. The problem is the longer you put it off the harder it can become to know where to start.
Feelings of embarrassment at being unable to use the equipment or feeling you should give up after the first ten minutes are only natural.
A personal fitness coach can give you the confidence to be able to approach your first few times at the gym with the vigor you need to accomplish your goals.
Does the Gym Bore You?
Don’t lie, do you tell everyone you love going to the gym? Everyone says they love it but what they – and you – mean is you love having gone to the gym. You like the end result, the feeling you get after a good workout.
The feeling you get whilst you’re there, however, can be repetitive. And sometimes trying and failing at new routines can be disheartening. We can help keeping you inspired with our tips but they can only go so far in helping you stay in the game.
A personal coach can show you hundreds of different routines and show you how to take advantage of the more complicated equipment. They can also construct a routine that keeps you on your toes and does not involve you losing interest or focus.
Train For a Marathon Or Competition With A Fitness Coach
The biggest reason to hire a personal coach is if you want to train for a marathon or a competition. Some people do competitions or marathons because they involve setting goals on a big scale.
Such goals can help them prove to themselves that they are able to meet their personal goals or because gearing up for something big is the most effective way for them to get fit.
Either way, a gym coach can see you through the dark times as well as the good days if you decide to take on a marathon challenge. As you inevitably consider giving up out of fear or not being able to achieve your goals, they can be your guiding light.
Whilst it is possible to complete a marathon without training from a professional instructor, as celebrities who competed in the London Marathon have claimed, it is not advisable for most people.
As well as the motivating factors, running such a distance requires a level of pacing and self-control that only an instructor can safely advise you on.
Don’t Delay: Hire A Coach.
If you are hesitating about getting a fitness coach then the best advice is to just go for it. You can usually get a free trial and can get a chance to decide if you gel with your coach.
Remember you don’t have to have a coach with you at every session you do at the gym but one session once-a-week could really help you.
If you’re serious about getting fit why not get in touch and try our 9-week challenge with a personal coach.
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- By Humberto Hernandez — 1 year ago
Work Harder, Get Stronger: How to Start Weightlifting
The secret to getting stronger isn’t much of a secret. It’s weightlifting. We’ll show you how to start weightlifting and begin your journey to a stronger you.
Weightlifting has been one of the most popular fitness methods, for good reason.
Weightlifting does more than bulk you up. Strength training has a myriad of benefits; you gain more strength, you burn fat, and you’re able to keep more fat off for a long time.
Here’s the catch: many newbies aren’t sure where to start. Here’s how to start weightlifting.
To PT or Not to PT
When a beginner starts their weightlifting journey, they often debate about hiring a personal trainer, or a PT.
There are many benefits of hiring a personal trainer. A trainer can identify your current fitness stance and fitness goals and can develop an effective weightlifting routine for you.
The Benefits of Hiring a Trainer
Beginners can easily get lost in the myriad of weightlifting machines, weight types, and lifting techniques. Trainers are experienced in all of these areas.
Trainers are also your best bet to ensure you lower your injury risk and are in correct form.
Personal trainers are also beneficial if you plan on competing in competitions or if you need to lose an exceptional amount of weight. Trainers can provide fitness and diet tips to get you in the best shape of your life.
Trainers also closely monitor your routine, your progress, and provide constant motivation for slackers.
When to Not Hire a Trainer
What if you have a decent amount of strength training experience but are simply altering your weightlifting regimen? You’ll still benefit from a trainer. But if you’re comfortable with lifting, you can try developing your own fitness routine.
More PT Information
If you have regular (once a week) personal training sessions on top of solo workouts for at least a year, you’ll gain enough education and comfort in your fitness routine.
While hiring a trainer is almost guaranteed to give you the results you want, by going out and conquering your fitness goals, you’ll likely still gain the results you want. So hiring a trainer is a choice that you should consider.
How Much to Lift?
The weight you lift depends on the results you want.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to lift extremely heavy to increase your strength, tone your body, and even bulk up.
Weights are separated into a few categories:
- Moderately Light
- Moderately Heavy
Here’s a more detailed explanation of each weight type.
These are weights you can pick up with ease. You won’t feel any strain and can even make it throughout your full set without feeling any tension.
Differentiating between moderately light and light weights are difficult at work. With moderately light weights, you should still be able to pick up the weight with ease. But at the end of your set, you’ll feel a little bit fatigued.
When you first lift a weight at moderate strength, you can easily lift the weight but you will have to use extra effort compared to the previous two weight types. You’ll likely feel fatigued after your set, but not completely exhausted.
This is where most people train. You’re able to pick up the weight but still feel like you need to make an effort for each rep. But you’re still able to achieve correct form and have a lower injury risk.
It’s ill-advised beginners lift heavy on their own without the aid of a trainer.
You’re not able to easily lift the weight and have to use all of your strength and effort to even do a rep. You’ll find doing each rep difficult and will feel completely exhausted after your set.
Which Weights Should You Lift?
For best results, you should lift all weights. Different workouts call for different weight types. You’ll also notice certain muscles can lift heavier than other muscles.
For example, you probably notice you can lift moderately heavy when you do bicep curls. But you have to decrease your weight significantly when you lift shoulders.
That’s because most people, men and women, are used to lifting with their arms and not lifting overhead.
The Different Types of Weights
When most beginners think of weightlifting, they usually only think of dumbbells and bars. While these are crucial weight types, there are many types of weights and they all have their benefits.
Here are the most basic weight types:
- Standalone weight plate (the weights that go on machines – you can also use these alone)
Which ones should you use? You’ll have to take your fitness goals and weight preferences into consideration. But beginners should try each weight type.
If you’re working legs, deadlift with barbells. When squatting, use kettlebells or a weight plate.
Then, use dumbbells for lunges. There’s a myriad of hamstring exercises you can do on the cables. There are also many machines that increase your leg strength, such as the leg press.
After you experiment with all weight types, you can substitute certain weight types with those you prefer.
Reps and Sets
“Reps” and “sets” appeared a few times in this article. As a beginner, you may not know what this teams. When you start weightlifting, you’ll realize how often you use this information.
A rep is each time you lift a weight. Reps are often combined with something called a set. Most weightlifters do two or more sets of a specific number of reps.
For example, let’s say you do 20 reps of ab crunches. You break the 20 reps up into two sets. This means when you do ab crunches, you do two sets of 10 reps.
How Many Reps and Sets?
Now that you know what reps and sets are, you’re probably wondering how many you should do.
Well, this depends on the workout and the weight you’re lifting.
Let’s make this easy and break up the reps-weight ratio in three categories: light, moderate, and heavy lifting.
Since heavy lifting requires lots of strength, several reps aren’t required for heavy lifting. But you won’t get results with light lifting unless you increase your reps.
Here are general numbers to remember:
- Light lifting: 40-50 reps
- Moderate lifting: 20-30 reps
- Heavy lifting: 5-10 reps
You can break the rep count in as many sets as you need. Unless you’re lifting heavy, most lifters do sets of 10-15 reps.
How Reps and Weight Affect Your Results
When you start lifting and make fitness friends, you’ll hear a ton of advice. Some people will tell you to lift lighter with more reps or lift heavier with fewer reps.
The truth is, both methods are effective. But every weightlifter is different.
Lifting heavy with fewer reps forces your body to use maximum strength. This results in quicker results; your strength will increase, you’ll bulk up, and get toned quickly.
But lifting only at your maximum not only increases your injury risk, but you’ll be less flexible. If you decide to jump into maximum lifting, go back and forth between heavy lifting and using lighter weights or resistance bands.
So you may think lifting lighter weights with more reps is the solution. But this depends on the results you want. If you want leaner and toned muscles, lifting light is the way to do it. You won’t bulk up or increase your strength as quickly.
This method is more challenging for beginners than they would expect. Lifting light requires endurance – something you develop when you gain experience lifting.
It’s easy to immediately feel fatigued after the 25 rep mark, especially when you’re supposed to reach 40 or 50 reps for one exercise.
No method is better than the other. It all depends on your weightlifting goals.
Creating a Routine
Finally, it’s time to create a routine. Many weightlifters focus on one area, such as arms or abs, in one day.
It’s also important to do cardio; have a cardio day or two each week and do about 10-15 minutes of cardio after lifting to burn more calories.
And never forget to stretch! Stretching decreases your risk of injury and you’ll improve your flexibility.
First, decide what you’re training. To start, you can divide your days between upper body (arms, chest, and back), core (abs) and legs (hamstrings, glutes, and hips).
After you’re comfortable lifting, you’ll know your muscle groups and can devote days to one or two specific muscle groups.
Then, take about five minutes and stretch out those muscles.
And now you can start lifting! To start out, don’t go too intense. Take about 15 or 20 minutes to lift.
End with a little bit of cardio. Once you become more experienced, you can stop post-workout cardio or replace it with light lifting or resistance bands. The goal is to burn extra calories but cool off from the intensity of weightlifting.
Now You Know How to Start Weightlifting
Now that you know how to start weightlifting, what are you waiting for? Start picking up those weights! If you need extra help, try our 9-week challenge!
- By Humberto Hernandez — 1 year ago
Tracking Your Progress: How to Take Body Measurements for Weight Loss
You don’t have to rely on the scale to track your weight loss process. Find out how to take body measurements for another way to see your progress.
Want to learn how to take body measurements for weight loss? Then you’ve come to the best place! We’re going to tackle on the sensitive topic of losing weight, and everything it involves.
Many people all over the world struggle with weight loss. It’s no mystery that there is an obesity issue in the United States. But what is the culprit behind so much weight gain, and can we stop it?
We’re going to be answering all your questions about weight loss and tracking results. We’ll take a closer look at all your tracking options, and what’s best for you. You’ll also gain more tips and tricks for keeping up with your weight loss process.
Keep reading to see the best options for tracking your weight loss body measurements!
Getting Healthy and Losing Weight
You’ve made the choice to lose weight, congratulations! That’s one of the hardest parts done. In truth getting healthy and losing weight is all about the right mental state.
That’s where tracking progress carries the most power-encouraging focus. You may be wondering: what’s the point of tracking progress?
While some choose to venture into losing weight without a plan, the best option is to have a goal. Goals are achievable! Tracking your progress is what will get you from point A to point B.
Are there other benefits to tracking? Yes, in fact, there are several. We want you to have a full understanding of why tracking progress is a great option for everyone.
Let’s examine each benefit closer.
Benefits of Tracking Progress
It’s fun to see the difference in your body from start to finish. You might consider taking before and after photos to show everyone your progress. Tracking your measurements is vital for your weight loss progress.
It’s more of a mental habit to focus your brain on continuing to lose weight. In our modern age, there are many temptations that can get us off the path of weight loss. There’s fast food at every street corner, and full-time jobs make us sleepy.
All we want at the end of the night is to curl up and doze off with a full belly, right? This throws a major wrench in the gears when we’re trying to lose weight. That’s why tracking your body measurements will keep you from slipping up.
You’ll see the exact body parts you’ve been neglecting. You’ll know how to better tailor your nutrition plan. Plus, it’ll target a workout routine to get better results.
You’ll get to decide if you should get serious and hit the gym or do at home workouts. Let’s break apart all the benefits of tracking your progress during weight loss.
Keeping Up Your Motivation
Motivation is crucial for losing weight, so you want to ensure you are practicing the best habits. Listen to music, and get yourself ready to pump some iron. Tracking your progress is a good habit to remind you of your success so far.
It’s also going to show you where you need to focus your energy. For example, if you are noticing more weight in your tummy area, you might avoid heavy carb lunches.
Another culprit behind tummy fat is stress hormones! In that case, try out some meditation workouts at the office or during lunch. Quick yoga poses can also release tension that gets stuck in your shoulders from hours of desk work.
It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of everyday life. Tracking your progress is a great way to get your mind clear and practice mindfulness. Which leads us to our next topic.
Being Mindful and Understanding Your Triggers
Another benefit of tracking your progress is that you develop mental resistance. That means that it displays all your triggers, and helps you become more mindful. Mindfulness is helpful for losing weight, but also maintaining weight loss.
As you track, you will notice patterns or trends in your data. You will see a clear picture of what makes you overeat or indulge. You can start to avoid foods or drinks that cause your weight to spike.
Drinks like alcohol can sabotage your weight loss goals, so keep up the focus. This can be hard to avoid when you want to have a normal social life. Going out to restaurants is a popular way to socialize, or have work meetings.
The most difficult aspect of avoiding triggers is resisting temptations. This is where tracking your progress comes in to save the day. It’s harder to give in to temptation when you know the consequences of overindulging.
While it’s hard to say “no,” you’ll be glad that you were strong and hit your weight loss goal.
What Are Body Measurements
We know tracking progress results are beneficial to our weight loss. Now, let’s get into what body measurements are. Body measurements are measurements of body parts like the neck, arms, torso, hips, and so on.
In America, the metric system most people use is inches to record track results. You might have a fitness coach that uses a tape measure for the body measurements. Most times, they use this to jot down your starting body measurements.
They wrap the tape measurement around each body part and see the total number of inches. Here’s everything you need to know about body measurements…
How to Take Body Measurements
Taking body measurements is all about precision, and placing the tape in the right place. It’s also important to note that taking body measurements will vary in women and men. That’s because, of course, women have a bust.
For the most part, the common body measurements for weight loss are:
- Waist [tummy or gut area]
These areas will reduce in inches as you lose weight. It will also reveal details about your workout. Here’s an example.
If your waist is smaller, but the legs are bigger, then you’re practicing cardio or leg exercises. You body measurements are telling, and will more often tell you what you need to focus on.
How to Measure Biceps
Measuring biceps might be the trickiest of the body measurements. Don’t worry, it’s easy so long as you remember “flex.” That’s right when you’re measuring a bicep, you’ll need to flex the muscle.
The goal is to get the tape measure around the bicep at it’s highest point. The best way to tackle this measurement is to have the person flex their arm up. Then, tell them to flex their bicep muscle.
Wrap the tape measure around the bicep. Be sure not to pull too tight or let it hang loose. You want a good, solid tension on the tape measure for an accurate reading.
Then, write down the total inches on your recording device.
How to Measure Forearms
Measuring the forearm is along the same idea as the bicep. This measurement can be done with the arm pointing straightforward. Again, tell the person to flex their arm muscles, which will flex the forearm.
Wrap the tape measure around the forearm, below the elbow. Don’t put the tape measure on the elbow, and don’t get to close to the wrist. You’re looking for the highest point the muscle juts out.
Make sure your tape measure is level to the zero. Check the tension on the tape measure. Is it too tight or too loose?
Once you check all your bases, go ahead and take your measurement. Record the amount in inches in your recording device.
How to Measure Shoulders
Face the person you are measuring head on. Take the tape measure and hold it horizontal to the person. Then, place one end of the tape measure in the center of their chest area.
Take the other end and wrap it around their body so it goes over their back and around the other shoulder. Allow the other point to meet with the first end of the tape measure.
This is your measurement. Again, check for tape measurement tension and level the ends starting at zero. Record your measurement.
[For Women Only] How to Measure the Bust
Like a shoulder measurement, wrap the tape measure around the person. Keep the tape measure straight and horizontal. With a gentle tension, wrap the tape measure around the back of the woman.
Fishing the tape measure under each arm, let it rest against either side of the chest. Be sure to align the tape measure at the highest point of the bust.
How to Measure the Neck
The neck is the easiest measurement of all. For men, you’ll want to wrap the tape measure around the middle of the neck, below Adam’s apple. For women, it’s measured around the middle area of the neck.
Here, you want to ensure that the tape measure is straight and horizontal. Check the tense as usual, and line up the tape starting at zero for accuracy.
How to Measure the Waist
The waist for women is at the smallest point. Unlike muscles, you want to get the smallest point where the waist comes in. Picture putting on a belt.
You want to be sure the tape measure is straight and in a horizontal line. If it drops the reading will be inaccurate. Keep a solid tension on the tape measure to avoid inaccuracy.
Wrap the tape measure around the smallest point of the waist. Most times, this is between the space of the bottom of the ribcage and above the belly button. For men, you can gauge placement like women.
Use your hip bones for guidance. Feel out the area above to find out where your body caves in the most on each side.
How to Measure the Hips
For both men and women, you’ll want to wrap the tape measure around the width of your hip space. Include in your measurement the highest point of your bottom. Wrap the tape measurement straight, tense, and horizontal.
Be sure to align the measurement with the zero for accuracy. Record your measurement.
How to Measure Thighs and Calves
The idea is the same with these bodies parts as it is for the others. You want to get the circumference of the thickest, or highest point of the muscle. Measure each leg by itself.
Wrap the tape measure around one thigh in the mid-section of the quad area. This is about three or four fingers down from the pelvic region. Remember, that the goal is to measure around the high point.
Measure the right leg the same. For the calves, start off with one leg. Again, look for the highest point of the muscle and wrap the tape measure around.
If you flex for one measurement, stay consistent. You’ll need to flex for all measurements to avoid mistakes later on. It’s good to make a note if you keep a body measurements chart or have a record keeping.
Body Measurements and Record Keeping
There are different ways to keep track of your progress. You might have a paper journal or graphing paper notebook. Some prefer other avenues like smartphone apps or even excel spreadsheets.
How you choose to record keep is up to you and your convenience. Each has its perks. Weight loss smartphone apps are versatile and nifty. You can download food apps for tracking food items you intake or tracking your workout.
If you like to check your heart rate during a workout, this is a great option. There are apps which will break down each food item you ingest. Some split foods into different percentage groups of nutrition.
This makes it especially easy to see your calorie count, macros, or fats/carbs/proteins. From here you can see if you are eating too many sugars or taking in too much protein.
Changing Your Life With Us
Want firsthand help on how to take body measurements? Let us give you a hand! Try out our popular 9-week challenge for the ultimate body transformation.
Leave 2018 in the past, and embody the new you with a literal new body. This challenge will get you access to all the resources you’ll need to make the change of a lifetime. You’ll get information on diet and nutrition, and workout routine tips and tricks.
- By Humberto Hernandez — 10 months ago
Keep It Simple: How to Apply the 80/20 Rule to Your Healthy Lifestyle Design
Are you tired of feeling guilty for “cheating” on your diet?
Does the guilt cause you then to overeat for several days afterward which sabotages some of your progress?
Are you looking for an easier way to manage your healthy lifestyle choices? So you can stay on track and finally meet (or maintain) your weight and fitness goals?
If so, then applying the 80/20 rule to your diet and exercise plans may be the right fit for you.
What Is the 80/20 Rule?
The 80/20 rule comes from the famous Pareto principle that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. While this originally related to the distribution of wealth in Italy, it’s now being applied to other things, including healthy lifestyle choices.
By following the 80-20 rule, you will focus on eating well and exercising 80% of the time. For example, eating well and working out during the week and indulging (a bit) on the weekend. Or, if you tend to go out with your coworkers for lunch on Friday or out with your friends on Friday night, perhaps your indulging days could be Friday and Saturday. The choice is yours.
In short, it doesn’t matter which times/meals you choose to have as your 20% indulging time, you need to keep it under 20% of the time.
What Can You Eat Following the 80-20 Rule?
For the majority (80%) of the time, you should focus on eating healthy, nutritious foods.
This includes a low-calorie breakfast, packed with protein and fiber to keep you full longer and fight off the desire to snack (or eat those bagels one of your coworkers loves to bring to the office). By limiting your calories at breakfast, you start your day off on the right foot.
Lunch and dinner options can vary widely depending on your personal preferences. Focus on whole foods that offer a variety of nutrients: lean proteins, whole grains, and veggies and fruits chosen from the colors of the rainbow.
For snacks, choose foods like nuts, yogurt, fruits or veggies with hummus or salsa.
During your 20% “indulging” time, try to choose things you really enjoy. Don’t grab the first sweet or salty snack that comes your way. Make it something you have been craving all week or that you don’t want to live without.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you get to eat an entire pizza or a whole pint of ice cream.
While following the 80/20 rule, as with any dietary plan, practicing portion control is a key factor for success.
How Much Exercise Do You Need to Do?
This equates to a minimum of a half-hour each day (Monday through Friday) and a weight training session two days a week.
Or, if you prefer or your schedule doesn’t allow time every workday, you can add some time to your workouts and cut the sessions down to a few days per week.
How you choose to get your half-hour of “moderate activity” is up to you.
Walking at a rate where you are breathing harder than normal but can still talk well enough to keep up a conversation works fine.
Of course, biking, rollerskating, dancing, running, or any other kind of physical activity you enjoy works just fine, too!
Many may find keeping an exercise log beneficial in making sure they get the right amount of each type of exercise each week.
You just need to get moving. Your heart and body will thank you!
Give the 80/20 Rule a Try
Try following the 80-20 rule diet for a few weeks and see how great you’ll feel. Say goodbye to guilt and not having flexibility in your healthy lifestyle choices. Losing weight and staying fit doesn’t have to be complicated.
The right mindset doesn’t hurt either. For more about that, here’s a podcast about how to maintain the right mindset to succeed following the 80/20 rule.