Exercise

Work Harder, Get Stronger: How to Start Weightlifting

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:

  • Light
  • Moderately Light
  • Moderate
  • Moderately Heavy
  • Heavy

Here’s a more detailed explanation of each weight type.

Light

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.

Moderately Light

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.

Moderate

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.

Moderately Heavy

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.

Heavy

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:

  • Barbells
  • Dumbbells
  • Machines
  • Cables
  • Kettlebells
  • 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!

8 Mini Workout Tips To Try If You Have No Time To Exercise

8 Mini Workout Tips To Try If You Have No Time To Exercise

Too busy to exercise? Here are some mini workout routines to hack your weight loss plan even if your schedule shows zero downtime.

In between work, school, or taking care of the kids, you’re lucky if you find one second to yourself. You still want to exercise and stay fit, but your schedule is so busy that you just can’t seem to squeeze it in.

Only an alarming 23% of Americans get the exercise that they need. Don’t be a part of the population who struggle to work out. If you don’t have time–don’t worry.

Fortunately, you don’t need to spend hours on an elliptical just to get your daily exercise. Doing small exercises throughout the day only take a few minutes, and some can even be incorporated into your daily routine.

Who needs the gym to get in shape? Here are 8 mini workout tips you should try if you have no time to exercise:

1. Workout With Your Chores

Why not make chores your daily workout routine? Instead of dreading your chores, view them as part of an exercise routine. You may not think of chores as a workout, but the reality is that you’re doing work and getting physical activity.

Put extra effort into doing your daily tasks. Doing laundry involves heavy lifting, vacuuming your carpet works your arms and legs, and wiping down your bathroom can tone your biceps. Even something as simple as scrubbing the floor can give you an effective cardio workout.

2. Avoid Elevators

Yes, elevators are very convenient, but you don’t really need them to get where you need to go. Don’t take the elevator up to the eighth floor–go up the stairs instead.

Need more convincing to use the stairs? Simply climbing 2 flights of stairs per day can lead to a weight loss of 6lbs in one year. Now, just think how much weight you can lose if you climb 10 flights of stairs each day.

You can even try this exercise when you’re out shopping. Skip out on escalators when you’re at a store and work towards your weight loss goals on the stairs.

3. Break Parking Habits

Are you guilty of always trying to find the closest parking spot? Now is the time to stop that habit. Instead of searching for the spot closest to your destination, you should be looking for the farthest.

Parking far away forces you to walk a longer distance to the building’s entrance. If you have multiple places that you’re driving to that day, all that walking adds up. Just one simple adjustment can turn into an easy daily workout.

4. Take Advantage of Lunch Breaks

Maybe you’re stuck at work all day. By the time you get home, you have no time or energy left for your daily fitness routine. That’s why you should start taking advantage of your lunch breaks.

You might cherish your lunch break as a time when you can relax, have a bite to eat or chat with your coworkers, but you can also use this as a time to squeeze in a quick workout. You could go for a 20 or 30-minute walk outside your building depending on how long your lunch breaks are. Bring along a few coworkers and start a fun daily workout.

5. Don’t Drive to Work

Getting stuck in traffic during your morning commute is probably nothing new to you. But what if this irritating traffic can be avoided altogether? If you live close enough to your job, consider biking, jogging, or walking to work.

Spending all day behind your desk is just as bad as spending several minutes or hours behind the wheel. Your body just won’t get the daily workout it needs.

You could also try hopping off the bus or train early so you have a farther walking distance to your home or work. You might even find out that you’ll get to work on foot faster than if you were to take a vehicle.

6. Use Commercial Breaks to Your Advantage

Everyone knows that commercials are annoying–they interrupt your favorite shows and are incredibly boring. The next time you find time to relax in front of your TV, don’t sit through the commercial breaks. Make it a habit to get up and do an aerobic exercise while the commercials are on.

Commercial breaks are around a few minutes long and can occur several times during a show. Doing a variety of jumping jacks, push-ups, and crunches, as the commercials play can really make you sweat, and can even get you toned over time.

7. Learn to Multi-Task

Many people tend to avoid workouts because they have to get some other task done, but it’s really easy to do both at the same time.

Have to take your dog out? Go for a walk with him around the neighborhood. Maybe you’ve been meaning to get around to reading that book or finishing a TV show–read the book or watch your show while you’re on a treadmill or hitting the gym.

Having entertainment while working out can be your motivation to start incorporating a daily exercise plan into your busy schedule. Better yet, you’ll be accomplishing a task, while also reaching your fitness goals.

8. Have Fun with the Kids

Daily workout routines can be boring, but kids definitely aren’t. They’re bundles of energy, and never seem to tire no matter how many laps they run around your yard. Next time your kid wants to get outside and play, go with them.

Suggest playing a game of tag or catch. You’ll be surprised at how tired you are after the fun and games end. Not only will you get your heart pumping, but you’ll be having a great time with your kid.

You Can Still Get Fit with No Time to Exercise

Having no time to exercise isn’t an excuse for not working out. You don’t have to dread timely trips to the gym when you can do quick workouts throughout your day. Before you know it, you’ll notice yourself losing more weight and having more defined muscles.

If you’re still struggling to lose that stubborn weight, we can help. Our Body Transformation Challenge can help you achieve your fitness goals in as little as 9 weeks. Visit our website to learn more.

Gym Couples: 6 Reasons Why It Pays To Work Out With Your Partner

Gym Couples: 6 Reasons Why It Pays To Work Out With Your Partner

Have you ever considered becoming one of those gym couples? You know the kind — the partners who lose weight and look great together. Here’s why you should.

For optimum ‘fitness goals‘ and ‘couple goals’ in one, nothing beats exercising with your partner.

But, couples working out together doesn’t just mean plenty of opportunities for Instagram-friendly hashtags and gym selfies featuring coordinating workout gear.

Becoming one of those gym couples can actually be a great way to strengthen your relationship while you both get stronger too!

Here are six great reasons why you and your partner should work out together.

1. Built-In Accountability

It’s all too easy to skip a workout when you only have to answer to yourself. Training with someone else keeps you accountable, meaning you’re more likely to stick to your exercise plan. And, who better to hold you accountable than your partner?

No one knows you and your usual excuses like your partner. And, no one knows just how to get you motivated when you’re having a bad day or don’t feel like exercising.

Couples that work out together can encourage and inspire each other. Not only will this bring you closer together, you’re both more likely to get a great workout in too.

2. Achieve Fitness Goals Faster

As author Antoine de Saint-Exup?ry said, “love is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction.” This is a great metaphor to describe how sharing goals with your partner – such as a desire to be healthier – can bring you closer, and makes it easier for you both to achieve those goals.

Bringing exercise and shared fitness goals into the relationship makes you both more aware of health and nutrition as a couple too. That means both of you are less likely to unintentionally sabotage your fitness goals with offers of takeouts or wine.

And, couples working out together also get to enjoy quality time with each other while getting in shape. Which is much more conducive to achieving your health goals than spending every night on the sofa with pizza and beer.

3. Increase Workout Efficiency

For those of you who are already confident in the gym, exercising with your partner can actually result in a more efficient workout.

Without us necessarily being aware of it, the presence of someone else increases performance. Through a combination of motivation and competition, performing a couples gym workout is a great way to boost your energy levels and improve your speed and efficiency.

Ideally, you’ll both be working out in tandem and switching between machines during super sets to save time. But, it’s also helpful having your partner there to spot you or keep an eye on your form. This ensures that you’re completing moves the right way, meaning better workout efficiency.

4. Have Fun

Having a workout buddy helps you enjoy working out and often makes gym sessions feel like less of a chore.

And, while there are plenty of solo gym moves, a great way to have fun during a couples gym workout is to incorporate some partner exercises. From simple in-sync squats to those brutal double dare crunches, partner exercises offer unique and exciting ways to challenge each other as a team.

You’re also more likely to try new methods and exercises if you have the support of your partner. That could mean going heavier on the weights, trying a new tactic such as a HIIT run, or attempting your first Pilates class together. As a result, you get to shake up your old solo routine and find different and enjoyable ways to work out in the process.

5. Boost Love and Attraction

Exercise results in the same symptoms of physiological arousal, such as shortness of breath, sweaty hands and a racing pulse. This has the effect of mirroring the thrill of romantic attraction. As a result, people often mistake physical arousal for romantic attraction.

In fact, studies show that couples report greater relationship satisfaction and increased feelings of romantic love after participating in an exciting physical activity together. The reason for this is the physiological arousal of the activity rather than the difficulty or novelty of the challenge itself.

So, while getting sweaty together might not seem a great way to make you appear more attractive in your partner’s eyes, psychological research shows that it actually does!

Working out as a couple gives you the chance to take advantage of this physiological arousal. And, it means that exercising doesn’t just make you and your partner healthier. Your relationship also becomes healthier and stronger as a result.

6. Reconnect as A Couple

The gym might not be the most romantic setting, but exercising together can be a great way for busy couples to reconnect.

Couples that work out together provide encouragement and support for each other. They also get to witness each other’s success, build trust and have fun as a team. Even suffering through a grueling workout routine or new class can be a great way to strengthen your relationship. Especially when you can both laugh about it afterwards, or console each other with soothing massages.

And, the very act of exercising together can help you reconnect as a couple. That’s because coordinating your actions, such as running at the same pace, creates nonverbal matching, or mimicry.

This nonverbal mimicry helps couples feel emotionally in tune with each other. And, through this, couples working out together report greater a greater sensation of bonding. A couples gym workout gives you both an opportunity to create this connection, benefiting your relationship and your health in the process.

Gym Couples Who Work Out Together Stay Together

If you’re both into health and fitness then it makes sense to combine your passion for exercise with your passion for each other!

And, with all these great benefits to becoming one of those gym couples, what are you waiting for?!

For more information, check out our FAQs, or contact us to find out how you and your partner can become the healthiest versions of yourselves!

12 Little-Known Weight Loss Facts You Should Embrace Today

12 Little-Known Weight Loss Facts You Should Embrace Today

Are you holding on to harmful myths about losing weight? They might be keeping you from being healthy. Here are 12 weight loss facts you should know today.

on Instagram The most underrated sentence on the internet today: Losing weight is hard.

Whether you’re trying to lose a few extra pounds or a couple hundred, you’re not alone. More than one-third of all adults in the U.S. are obese. Even kids are affected, 1 in 6 children are considered obese.

It’s no secret that shedding those extra pounds is an arduous task. And with all of the misinformation floating around the web, it’s easy to stray to the wrong path.

We’re here to help you debunk some of those weight loss myths you’ve been told your whole life, and replace them with some cold, hard weight loss facts.

Read on if you’re ready for some truth in your life.

Debunked: 4 Weight Loss Myths

Because everyone knows that everything you read on the internet is true…

That statement could not be further from the truth, my friend. Whether you were told that weight loss is all about willpower, or if you’ve ever thought that someone was healthy just because they are skinny, these common misconceptions will lead you down a very wrong path and could even lead to more weight gain.

Weight loss companies sporting supplements are multi-million dollar companies, and they feed off of these myths. While these lies may fool us, they don’t fool our metabolisms.

Stop the lies, and get debunked.

1. Weight Loss is About Willpower

It’s true in that willpower plays a huge role in weight loss, but it’s not the whole story.

There are so many biological factors that play in a roll in obesity and weight loss. A number of medical conditions can cause obesity, such as PCOS, depression, or hypothyroidism. You can’t pick your genetic code any more than you can pick whether you’re obese or not.

If you’re one of the millions of people affected by a medical condition causing obesity, no amount of willpower will help you lose the weight. Nothing that anyone can ever say to you will change that.

2. Fast Food is Always Bad

Just because it’s fast doesn’t mean it’s bad.

It’s about what you order, not where you order it. If you order a Big Mac, you’re looking at about 800 calories, but why not order a salad? Just don’t smother it in creamy ranch dressing.

For example, just a ranch dressing packet from McDonald’s has 110 calories. Try using their low-fat balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Instead of 110, you’re looking at about 35 calories.

Health consciousness awareness is booming, and fast food restaurants are trying to accommodate it. Many offer option like apples or wraps as healthier alternatives.

Fast food doesn’t have to be unhealthy.

3. Thin People Are Healthy

Sure, obesity is a huge factor in heart disease, diabetes, and much more. But that doesn’t mean that thin people are healthier. There are a lot of people that have naturally high metabolic rates, and those people tend to eat more trash food than someone with a slower metabolism.

With all that trash food tasting so good, it’s easy to forget that your body needs real vitamins. This can lead to many disorders like anemia, depression, autoimmune disorders, and much more.

In the same way, just because someone is obese doesn’t mean that they are not metabolically unhealthy. Fat cells are stored subcutaneously, meaning that they are stored under the skin. Some people have fat storage disorders, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of their body isn’t in top shape.

Learn what it actually means to be fit here in our podcast.

4. Diet Foods Are Good for You

It’s easy to fall victim of the marketing scam that diet foods really are. Junk food is junk food, even if it says “diet” or “low calorie” on the packaging.

Product packaging is made to market, not to inform. The truth of it is, diet coke is just as bad for you as regular coke, just in a different way. Sugar-free as it may be, something has to be there to achieve that sweet taste we all love.

Check out our body transformation food section to learn more about finding healthy foods.

Now, the Weight Loss Facts: Top 12

Now that we’ve decluttered your mind of a few weight loss myths, let’s talk about the facts. The main goal of losing weight is to boost your metabolism and limit your calorie intake. This doesn’t mean you should quit eating, but it does mean that you shouldn’t consume more calories than your body burns in a day.

These 12 facts are backed up with research and repeated studies to proven effectiveness.

 

1. Water Works

It’s true what they say about water, it can help improve weight loss.

Research shows that drinking water can potentially boost your metabolic rate by 25-30%. Even drinking just half a liter of water can increase metabolism.

Some studies suggest that often times when you feel hungry, you’re really just thirsty. Try drinking a bottle of water before you pick up the snack. If you’re still hungry in about 5 minutes, go for the snack.

2. Keep Drinking Coffee

Forget everything you’ve been told about ditching your morning coffee. It’s not that coffee that’s bad for you, it’s the creamer and sugar.

Coffee is packed with antioxidants and is fantastic for your gut health. Research even suggests that your morning cup of joe can increase your metabolism by 10-29%, effectively helping you burn more calories.

It’s time to break up with your creamer, not your coffee.

3. Green Tea Boosts Metabolism

Similar to coffee, green tea is a great metabolism booster. Green tea contains small amounts of caffeine and something called catechins. Together, these chemicals work synergistically to battle excess fat cells.

Drink a cup of green tea in the morning if you’re not a coffee person, or try a green tea vitamin with breakfast.

4. Intermittent Fasting Is a Real Thing

Fasting is a popular weight loss technique, however, many people misunderstand it. Fasting is not meant for you to just stop eating. This leads to the belief that the less you eat, the less you way (which is totally false).

Intermittent fasting is intended to boost your metabolism. When your body gets used to a particular pattern, the metabolism can slow down and essentially go into a resting state. Change things up by intermittent fasting.

A popular fasting technique is 8/16, where you snack for 8 hours and then fast for 16.

5. Eat Less Refined Carbs

Carbs are not bad. I repeat, carbs are not bad.

What’s bad for you are refined carbs.

Refined carbs are things like bread, pasta, bagels. Too many refined carbs can result in blood sugar spikes.

Whole carbs are very different from refined carbs. Whole cards are unprocessed and are found in things like oats, bananas, oranges, and even beats.

When your body has a blood sugar spike, your pancreas goes into overdrive creating insulin in an attempt to counteract the blood glucose levels. Over time, this can lead to pancreatic damage and diabetes.

6. Muscle Weighs More than Fat

The purpose of this fact is not to help you lose weight, but to remind you that even though the sale doesn’t change, that doesn’t mean your BMI isn’t decreasing.

If you’re including regular workouts with your diet, which you should be, then you’re likely gaining muscle mass. Remember that muscle weighs more than fat, so if it seems like you’re gaining weight, there’s no need to fret.

The weight you are gaining is from muscle cells replacing fat cells. The scale usually goes up before it goes down.

7. Vitamin D is a Suspect for Weight Loss

We all know that vitamin D is great for bone health, but it has many more benefits.

Vitamin D is necessary for your body to even digest and absorb other vitamins. With proper vitamin D consumption, you can better absorb vitamins and in turn boost your immune system and metabolic rate.

One study found that people who have a vitamin D deficiency were more prone to obesity.

8. Men Tend to Have a Higher Metabolism

Men irritate women enough as it is, but this is one more reason. Men tend to have a higher metabolism than women.

Why?

Because men tend to have more muscle mass and more testosterone than women. Both of these are contributing factors to the body’s metabolic rate.

One study showed that when men and women who were placed on the same weight loss regimen, the men lost nearly twice as much as the women.

9. You Can’t Just Diet, You Have to Exercise

We mentioned earlier that muscle weighs more than fat, and that you should definitely be working regular exercise into your diet.

The reason low-calorie diets work is that the body starts using stored fat cells as an energy source. What most people don’t realize, though, is that the body will also start using muscle cells as an energy source. When you’re on a low-calorie diet, it’s critical to incorporate exercise into your daily routine to avoid muscle loss.

10. Eating Slower Can Help You Feel Full Faster

This one may sound a bit dumb, but we promise there’s research to back it up.

When you chew your food more slowly, your brain has more time to accurately register your hunger levels. This can help you feel full faster, and in turn, eat fewer calories.

A research study that was done on 30 healthy women showed that eating slowly lead to decreases in their energy intake.

11. Eating Spicy Foods Can Help

Do you have a liking to spicy foods?

Peppers contain something called capsaicin oil. The oil has shown to boost your metabolism when eaten in certain doses. This study showed that when eaten in a high enough dose, the capsaicin oil actually burned about 10 more calories per meal.

Fun Fact: Capsaicin oil is what gives the food it’s spiciness. The capsaicin oil binds with temperature receptors in your mouth and throat, effectively tricking your brain into thinking you’ve put something ‘hot’ in your mouth. This is the same reason why mint gum makes your mouth feel cold.

12. Sleeping is More Important Than You Think

At the end of the day, there’s sleep. A poor sleep schedule is strongly related to weight gain.

Studies have shown that people with deprivation are more prone to weight gain.

See, when you sleep, your body rests and resets itself. Sleeping renews your energy. When you have poor sleeping habits, your body doesn’t get the chance to renew its energy so it requires more calories.

Lack of sleep disrupts the hormones that control your appetite, ghrelin being one of them, causing you to feel hungrier more often. That’s the reason behind you craving sugar and simple carbohydrates when you’re sleep deprived. They give you short bursts of energy- which your body needs.

However, neither of them will give you sustained energy and you’ll find yourself hungry and tired again in about an hour.

All in All, Just Don’t Lose Yourself

Most of us want to lose weight, whether its 10 pounds or 100 pounds. The reality is that there are healthy and unhealthy ways to do it.

Making small lifestyle changes is the healthier way to shred any unwanted weight and we hope you got the information you need with these weight loss facts.

If you’re interested in adding exercise to your daily routine, try our 9-week challenge. Your personal coach will guide you through fitness exercises and even help you create a meal plan that works for you.

Or if you’re just interested in learning more about us, check out this short video.

Most importantly, no matter what anyone says, just be you. Remember, your weight measures your gravitational pull, not your worth. Follow us on Instagram so you get a little bit of motivation every day!

12 Brilliant Gym Tips For A More Efficient Workout

12 Brilliant Gym Tips For A More Efficient Workout

Do you think you’re wasting time at the gym? Efficient workouts equal fewer excuses. Here are some gym tips to help you trim the fat off your workout routine.

Do you workout regularly? If so, you’re already in an elite group.

According to new research, although more than 75% of people claim they want to get in shape and look great, only 31% actually make exercise a routine habit.

Yet, are you getting the most from your time at the gym? Do you leave with sweat dripping, adrenaline pumping and those exertion-fueled endorphins running in your veins? Or, are you still struggling to see the results you crave?

If it’s the latter, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re sharing 12 simple gym tips that can help you supercharge your workouts and bump up the ROI on that membership.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

1. Start with a Plan

You walk into the gym and take a long look around. There are treadmills on one wall, ellipticals on another and a giant weightlifting area. It’s inspiring. It’s exciting. It’s also incredibly overwhelming.

You spend more than a few minutes figuring out which area you want to visit first and which part of your workout you want to prioritize.

Does this scenario sound familiar?

If so, try planning out your next gym workout. Before you even get in the car and head out, jot down what you want to focus on, how long you want to spend there and in what order you’re going to tackle it all.

Doing so not only helps you stay organized and start your workout quicker. It also makes sure your heart rate doesn’t drop as you spend time perusing the options. One way to ensure you’re always ready to go? Have a backup plan ready in case the machines you want are full.

2. Shorten and Strengthen Your Workouts

It seems like simple logic: The longer you workout, the better you’ll look and feel, right?

Not quite.

If your usual gym session includes exercising for an hour or two at a slow, moderate pace, it’s time to kick it up a notch. Studies show that interval training, or working out in smaller, 10-30 minute bursts with rests in between, is more beneficial than marathon sweat sessions.

Why? You’ll increase your heart rate, build your endurance and maximize your speed when you focus on working your body to its top capacity. When you go for longer, something has to give and it’s usually your body’s performance.

So, the next time you’re looking at the indoor track and dreading that five-mile stretch you’ve been doing, try tackling one mile instead and see how much more powerful you feel.

High-Intensity Interval Training

A popular way to add shorter, more powerful workouts to your gym routine is to try high-intensity interval training or HIIT training. Put simply, this is the method of dividing your overall workout into blocks of intense exertion along with designated times for rest.

Focus on exercises that get your heart rate and lungs working to their top capacity, and sustain the movements for a few minutes at a time. Of course, if you have any cardio or health concerns, talk to your doctor before trying a HIIT routine. It is also recommended against for those just starting out in their fitness routine.

3. Add Protein

After an especially exhausting workout, your muscles need to rebuild themselves. This is true for both cardio-centric exercises as well as strength-building ones. To amplify the results you’ll see and improve your body’s ability to bounce back, it can be helpful to add an element of protein into your post-workout meal or snack.

A simple protein shake, made with either whey or soy, is a great way to recharge and refuel after your time at the gym. You can also find protein bars and other snacks that make refilling on the go both simple and quick.

While you sip or munch, you’ll be helping your body repair any damage it sustained during your workout. You’ll also give your immune system a boost, rebuild your stored glycogen, and regrow your muscles. It’s a simple trick that can cap off a great session and help you see results quicker.

4. Pump the Right Tunes

It might sound unimportant, but the idea that the right music can affect your workout is backed by science.

While there is no one-size-fits-all playlist that will make you magically grow those muscles you want, your best bet is to stick to jams that make you feel seriously inspired. From the soundtrack to Space Jam to Madonna, anything goes. One rule? If it puts you to sleep or makes you want to cry, save it for another time.

Instead, invest in a great pair of workout headphones and turn up the dial on those energy-infused rockers that make you want to holler, howl and show your strength. Start the playlist while you’re on the way to the gym and let that feeling follow you.

5. Do a Digital Detox

One surefire way to get less from your workout? Hop off the treadmill every five minutes to respond to that group chat, take a picture of your gear or post on social media.

Not only are you allowing your heart rate to fluctuate as you momentarily disengage, but you’re also losing that valuable mental focus. If you must have your phone on you, activate airplane or vibrate mode. Otherwise, leave it in the locker room.

6. Know Your Weights

You might be tempted to grab the heaviest weight at the gym to push yourself and look cool, but take a step back from those dumbells.

Using a too-heavy weight is just as ineffective as using one that’s too light. When you try to lift a boulder, chances are you can’t do many repetitions, if any at all. The ones you are able to manage are likely not executed properly.

On the other hand, a too-small weight isn’t activating your muscles effectively. The key is to find that sweet spot. Ideally, you want a weight that requires effort to lift and move but isn’t uncomfortable to curl.

It might take some trial and error but look for one that allows you to finish out your rep set. You want to challenged and struggling just a bit on the last few reps, but not throughout.

7. Journal Your Workouts

Just as a dieter monitors what he or she eats, if you want to get the most from your gym exercises, it’s helpful to write down your progress.

Keep track of when you exercised, what you did and how you felt. You might keep your notes in an old-fashioned notebook or on a fitness app. Either way, be specific. Note how many reps you did, what weights you used and any other important details.

When you go back the next time, take a look at your notes and see where you can push yourself a little. Add a few more reps, use a slightly heavier weight or incorporate a new machine you haven’t used yet.

8. Focus on Compound Movements

Wondering what to do at the gym? Your best bet is to find exercises that pull double or triple duty.

Known as compound movements, these are ones that work more than one muscle group at a time and at least two of your joints. While there is a time and place for bicep curls and other routines that laser-focus on one area, compound workouts are a great way to maximize your time.

As you do these moves, you’ll build muscle mass, exert more energy, and burn more calories. Not sure where to start? Try a simple lunge or squat. Or, take that bicep curl a step further and flow into a shoulder press.

9. Find an Exercise You Love

It sounds simple, but one of our best workout tips is to find a workout routine you actually enjoy doing. If you aren’t passionate about something, your initial enthusiasm will only take you so far. After that, you’re just going through the motions, often to no avail.

Our interests and goals change over time, so don’t be afraid to reexamine your routine every so often to make sure it’s still enjoyable.

Whether you love running, biking, hiking, lifting or anything in between, find a workout that brings you alive both physically and mentally. That’s the only way to ensure you stick with it in the long run.

Still need a little motivation to summit that mountain ahead of you? Try reaching out to a personal challenge coach who can encourage you to push ahead on your fitness journey.

10. Fine-Tune Your Form

All the repetitions in the world won’t give you results if you’re not doing them correctly. While it’s fine to add on more weight as you grow stronger, make sure you’re not sacrificing your form as you do so.

This is where a personal trainer can be valuable. Work with one at your gym to make sure you’re performing each exercise the right way. Doing so can help you prevent injury and safely engage all the muscles you’re supposed to be working.

While you’re still learning, stick with a lighter weight and focus on maneuvering it before you build up to a higher level.

11. Train Your Brain

Exercise is as much about mental strength as it is about physical. To this end, it’s helpful to focus your mind on each part of your workout as you’re going through it. Think about the muscles you’re activating, your posture, and the form you’re trying to maintain.

As you do so, you’ll automatically become more invested in the routine rather than just going through the motions. If you find yourself spacing out, talking with others around you or watching the television screen too often, take a break to re-center.

12. Get More Rest

If you think your muscles are working during your workout, you should see them afterward. As your body repairs itself from the exertion and strain you put on it, this is a valuable and important time in your fitness regimen.

If you’re pushing through back-to-back workouts without resting in between sessions, you’re denying your body that vital time. It’s no wonder, then, that you haven’t seen the immediate results you’re looking for. As your muscle fibers are put to the test, they develop small tears that must heal to grow.

Moreover, the next time you visit the gym, you’re not only sleep-deprived and sloppy, but you’re also setting yourself up for injury.

Though it might be against your nature to indulge in rest, it’s essential that you do so. If you suffer from insomnia or have a difficult time falling and staying asleep, it’s worth a call to your doctor to address any underlying health conditions that might be attributed to the issue.

Ace Your Next Workout With These Gym Tips

We all want to make the best use of our time at the gym. It’s why we make the trek up there, gear up and carve out space in our schedule to sweat. Yet, it’s frustrating to think that you can put so much into your workout and still feel dissatisfied with the results.

That’s where we come in.

Our team of coaches is dedicated to making sure you don’t run through your next workout aimlessly. We’ll work one-on-one with you to help you define, refine and achieve your fitness goals. From the foods you eat to the routines you perform, we understand that great health is a lifestyle, not a fad.

If you’re just getting started, our nine-week challenge is a great place to begin. You’ll transform your physique from the inside out, learn valuable gym tips and amaze yourself in the process. In the meantime, feel free to contact us with any questions. Your transformation is our motivation!

How To Create A Daily Exercise Plan That Works For You

How To Create A Daily Exercise Plan That Works For You

If you’ve started working out countless times but you can’t quite stick to the routine, don’t give up. Here’s how to create a daily exercise plan just for you

Who hasn’t decided to lose weight at one point and time in their life? In the beginning, there is a lot of enthusiasm, but as time goes on it becomes harder to stay motivated. Even if you’re paying for a monthly gym membership, you may not stay the course and it becomes money down the drain.

Creating a workout plan and sticking with it requires commitment and motivation. You may want to hire a fitness trainer, but he won’t be with you seven days a week.

Asking friends and family members to hold you accountable is a good idea, but is it realistic. If they see you are not taking their encouragement to heart, you will be left to figure it out on your own.

So what is your going to do to stay focused and engaged? Continue reading for our tips on creating a daily exercise plan.

Create a Plan with Realistic Goals

The first step to make a workout plan that is suited for you is to include realistic goals. It is easy to say you will run five miles every day. But how likely are you to do it if you don’t even own running shoes?

Get real with yourself and consider goals that you can actually reach. Start small and increase exercises, repetitions and time limits as you go.

At the end of each month reassess your goals and adjust according.

Make a Personal Pledge

Creating a workout plan is a great decision. Wanting to live a healthier lifestyle is to be commended.

Before sharing your goals with others, make a commitment to yourself to reach your ultimate goal. You can do this by creating a personal pledge.

The pledge can include a mission and vision statement that outlines the reason you are on this journey. It can also include what it will mean to you to reach your ultimate goal.

Next, include a few specific things you want to commit to. Examples could include things like working out three times a week, eating healthily or losing at least five pounds a month.

Date and sign the pledge, and then place it somewhere you can see it daily. You can also be creative and decorate the pledge or place it in a unique frame.

Create a Work-out Calendar

Establishing set times to work-out can help keep you moving forward. Whether you are working out at a set time of the day, or sessions scheduled at varied times, having a calendar is a good idea. Calendars also help you stay organized.

Your calendar can be a physical paper calendar that you hang on a wall or place on your desk. It can be something on your computer or a digital calendar on your phone.

Calendars can be used to set schedules for your work-outs. You can also use it to notate that you exercised and what exercises you performed.

Make your calendar a source of motivation by writing accolades for a job well done.

Get an Accountability Partner for your Daily Exercise Plan

Accountability partners aren’t necessarily people interested in working out but should be individuals that understand the importance of doing so. It can be a friend, relative, coworker or acquaintance.

You want someone who is genuinely committed to helping you reach your goals and will be empathetic when you struggle. You do not want an accountability partner who is judgmental or will quit if you don’t reach your goals.

For the partnership to work the two of you would need to sit down and come up with a plan that is mutually acceptable. Next, you will determine effective ways to help keep you motivated and accountable to your milestones.

Keep in mind that the accountability partner is only a part of your daily exercise plan, not a requirement. If the relationship with the partner is not working, you can always find someone new. Before severing ties, make sure you are not self-sabotaging because you’re being called to task.

It doesn’t hurt to have multiple accountability partners.

Try an Exercise App

In the digital-driven world, there is an app for everything. If you have a smartphone, you can always have fitness tips and instructions at your fingertips.

Apps like Fitbit helps users track their activity, exercise, sleep, and weight. It is an ideal workout companion worth looking into.

Some work-out apps offer users a community they can connect with to share ideas. Some even offer playlists, maps, recipes, and other healthy lifestyle tips. More importantly, you have a means for automatically tracking your work-out activities.

If you are really good with apps and digital gadgets, you will want to make a comparison of the numerous apps on the market. You may find one to eliminate the need for a paper calendar and act as an accountability partner.

Join a Workout Group

Workout groups are a good way to stay motivated. They also make work-outs fun and engaging. Having the opportunity to meet new people can also lead to new friendships and openings to network professional.

Exercise groups can make a workout plan more enjoyable. They can also expose you to new ways of exercising.

When most people hear the work-out group, they immediately think of a group of people at the gym participating in exercises led by an instructor. Not today. In the world of exercise, a work-out group can mean cycling, Taekwondo or a Zumba class.

Don’t limit your search for workout groups to the local gym. Consider looking into meet-ups and other social sites that bring people together.

Incorporate New Activities

Exercise comes in many forms. At its core, it is a physical activity that promotes good health and physical fitness.

One reason people don’t stay engaged or committed to their workout plans is that they often become boring and repetitive. If you want to keep exercise exciting create a workout plan that includes multiple activities.

This is perfect for people with flexible schedules and free time in the early mornings, evenings and weekends.

Tennis

Tennis is a great way to exercise. You can get a great workout learning to play tennis if you’ve never played before. Or you can sign-up for cardio tennis, which gets the heart pumping while learning tennis drills.

Cycling

Cycling is something you can do with a partner or alone. Many cities are installing bike trails as well as making city streets bicycle safe. Purchasing a bike is an investment that will pay off in the long run.

Cycling also gets you outdoors and can take you on many adventures.

Swimming

Like tennis, swimming is an activity that has just as many benefits for the novice as it does the experienced participant. Gyms and fitness centers that have swimming pools often offer water aerobics, which is a great way to exercise.

Some local governments offer free or low-cost swimming lessons at recreation centers that have swimming pools.

These are just a few suggestions. Any sport or activity that increases your cardio can be used to keep you moving.

Plan Your Meals

Part of a successful exercise plan is monitoring what you eat. It makes no sense put all that work into exercising, losing weight and toning up, to keep the same poor eating habits.

Having a meal plan helps you monitor your calories. It also helps you keep a set schedule for your meals.

As you build your own workout plan, consider looking into meal prep. This way you have pre-planned, prepared meals that allow for portion control. With meal prep, the focus is on nutritious low-calorie meals that include a protein, starch, and vegetable.

The ultimate goal is to stay away from menus that require too many ingredients.

Take Part in a Fitness Challenge

Fitness challenges are a good way to jumpstart your daily exercise plan. These challenges are typically designed to provide everything you need from a daily schedule to menu ideas and guidance from a trained professional.

During the challenge, which usually lasts several weeks or a few months, you will learn everything you need to build your own workout plan. The fitness instructors will teach you everything you need to succeed.

Do your research ahead of time to ensure the challenge you choose is right for you and your fitness level. Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by thinking the exercises or daily schedule is too advanced. Ask the trainer to recommend a different challenge.

Once you have the right plan, take what you learn from the personal fitness coaches and incorporate the techniques into a personal plan. Modify the plan to create an ongoing strategy for the fitness lifestyle you can continue going forward.

Later on, if you find yourself falling off the wagon by doing it on your own, take a moment and regroup. Don’t be afraid to return to a more structured challenge under the supervision of a fitness coach.

Make Sure You have Recovery Days

Exercise doesn’t have to be all work. Truth be told, you should have a couple of days that are not focused on specific exercise activities. When creating a workout plan always incorporate recovery days.

To some, the best thing to do on recovery days is to relax and not think about exercise. In reality, recovery days are days set aside to recover from intense activities or training.

Your recovery days can be the weekend, or they can be dispersed throughout the week. Here are two good activities that can be done on these days.

Nature Walks

If the city you live in has a good parks system, they usually include a walking trail. Set aside time to walk the trail and enjoy nature. This can also be a good out for couples to have some time together or to get the kids outside.

Nature preserves are also a good way to relax and unwind, while still partaking in low-impact exercise.

Yoga

Not only does yoga improve your mental, physical but also spiritual well-being, it also improves your flexibility and muscle strength.

Yoga is an activity you can do from the comfort of your home, at the beach or in a yoga studio. Because it can be done alone you can decide how to incorporate it into your daily exercise plan.

Dancing

Ballroom dancing, country line dancing, and Stepping are all fun activities that are also relaxing and fun. There are other dance types, but you want one that is low impact. Some dancing requires a partner so the added bonus can be a night out on the time with a loved one.

The ultimate goal of recovery days is to stay active while allowing the muscles to recover from intense workouts.

Give Yourself Accolades

As you continue on your journey celebrate your accomplishments. It’s a great motivator to keep moving forward on your journey.

Accolades can be as simple as a Post-it note attached to the bathroom mirror, stating “You Did It!” You could also buy celebratory stickers to notate the days you reach your daily goals. If every day has a sticker, reward yourself with a treat or gift.

If you have a favorite motivational saying, produce t-shirts with the quote to wear to the gym. Customize your work-out gear with personal mission statements.

Another way to stay motivated is to purchase a dream outfit. Keep it in a garment bag, but attach a letter from a loved one acknowledging your accomplishment. When you reach your goal plan an outing to wear your outfit, and then read the letter.

It’s all about motivating yourself and staying the course. Celebrate yourself whenever you can, to remain positive.

We Hope You Found These Tips Useful

Creating a daily exercise plan has many variables. Exercise is key, but there are other components that bring your healthy lifestyle full circle. Most importantly, you will need a positive state of mind and a commitment to change your overall approach to exercise, eating and goal-setting.

If you enjoyed these tips and would be interested in participating in a body transformation challenge, contact us today.

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