The more things you try, the more you'll see how everything overlaps and can be used to make what you do better. So is how it is with dance and weightlifting. Crossing workout streams is not only doable but beneficial.
I want to briefly note that isolation does mean keeping other body parts still but not immobile. This is especially true of the rib cage and core. The two are connected, and you'll notice in the video that when one moves, they both move. When you do it yourself, though, you'll quickly feel a difference.
Today I go over a great and easy way to start getting healthier. Knowing your natural healthy posture is absolutely essential for a long, healthy fitness career. Practice it now and you'll both look and feel better than ever.
Fitness apps are an incredible way to track what you eat when you eat it. They're also phenomenal at marking the progress of your workouts. However, not all apps work for all people. Instead of getting caught up in using the "cool" apps that don't do anything for you, find one that works best with your goals.
Things to look for
Food Barcode Scanner
Entering food is an arduous task -- one that often turns people away before they ever get started. With a scanner that runs through your phone's camera, you can immediately enter what you're having when you have it. Because of this, it helps train you away from eating out since fast food and sit down meals lack barcodes.
Adjustable Macro Goals
It's true that when you start the only number you want to concern yourself with is your total daily calories. That being said, you also want an app that will progress with you as you become more invested. Apps that don't allow for macro changes will eventually have to be switched out for apps that do, meaning losing all of the data you've collected about yourself thus far.
Even if it's just weight progress, knowing if you're succeeding is essential, and a quick look at a graph relays this information immediately. Ideally, you'll want progress charts that will track the data as far back as you've been recording your information so that you can see your overall progress and not just snapshots of a tiny moment in time.
Things to watch out for
Additional Calories After Working Out
This is a bad, bad habit among apps out on the market today. They tack on the calories you burned working out to your daily total calories, giving you a much larger daily total to eat. However, this logic is severely flawed. You work out to lose weight by burning calories. If you then eat all those calories you just burned, you won't lose any weight. In addition, their calorie burn estimations for the exercises are severely flawed. My advice is to find a completely different app to track your workouts in.
I know all fitness apps have their own blogs, however, you want a fitness app where the blog is hidden. Instead of being a source of inspiration, these blogs tend to be nothing but a laundry list of people complaining and/or trying to rouse pity. These negative voices will only encourage your own negativity to weigh you down. Be proactive and avoid fitness app blogs altogether.
We all do it. It's the New Year, so that means time to finally exercise and eat right! And while most of it usually falls to the wayside by February, there are things you can do now to give yourself a fighting chance when the newness of the resolution finally wears off.
Don't hurt yourself.
Start slow and start easy. The longer you've gone without working out, the higher the hurt you're going to feel following your first day back. Instead of going balls to the wall, do light cardio or light weights. It's going to hurt tomorrow no matter what you do, but what you do will determine how much it hurts.
Don't starve yourself.
Start slow and start easy. The longer you've gone without eating healthy, the hungrier you're going to feel following your first day of clean eating. Instead of going balls to the wall, eat a little less each day and be honest about tracking your food. It's going to be challenging no matter what you do, but what you do will determine how challenging it is.
You are more likely to stick with your resolution if you get enjoyment out of it. It's that simple. Don't choose an exercise just because it's popular. Choose an exercise because it teaches you something you've always wanted to learn.
Take responsibility for yourself.
Do not EVER blame others for your inability to succeed. You are the captain of your life. Take responsibility for how you live it. And while there will always be things that happen outside of your control, success comes from learning how to adapt to your current circumstances so you can push forward and push upward.
Remember to rest.
Getting fit is equal parts working out, eating right and resting. That's right. Resting. Many people (myself included) fall into the trap of thinking that only working hard every single day will result in a great look. However, your body can only build this great look during your rest periods. Get enough sleep and take those rest days seriously.
After you've been lifting a while, you generally find you either want maximum strength or maximum looks.
When you're a weightlifter, increasing your strength is your sole objective. Powerlifters are an extreme version of this.
But why the lower number of sets and reps with high weight?
Heavy weights are well known for increasing strength, and you need more strength.
Why the 3-5 minute rest period?
This part has to do with muscle recovery and is a main difference between bodybuilding and weightlifting. The longer rest period has been shown across multiple studies to result in overall bigger strength gains. The rest also allows you to continue lifting, resulting in more gains.
More scientifically, it's the resynthesis of CP (creatine phosphokinase) that's being accounted for. CP is a chemical stored within the muscles that helps with the breakdown of another chemical - ATP. ATP is a chemical in your body that is broken down to produce energy. Think of it as firewood floating around in your body. As soon as you need it to, it'll burst into flames to get you going. Together, you have ATP-CP, a source of energy your body uses for about the first 45 seconds of an exercise. After this, the CP stores are depleted.
Because weightlifting requires explosive movements for about 45 second, you deplete your CP stores. According to research, these then take about 3-5 minutes for almost total resynthesis. Following the replenishing of CP, you can once again perform explosive (but short) heavy lifts.
Why compound lifts?
You're moving heavy weight. Your body can't do this for extended periods of time. Therefore working as many of your muscles as possible using the fewest number of lifts results in the greatest overall gains.
When you focus on how your body looks, you are a bodybuilder. You're not concerned with being strong, you're concerned with looking fantastic. Mr. Olympia is an extreme example of this.
But why the higher number of sets and reps with moderate weight? What about the shorter rest period?
Your goal here is to grow muscle fast. This happens through high set numbers combined with short rest periods. While information is still limited, we do know that when the CP from the ATP-CP is kept from fully regenerating, there is a buildup of lactate - a form of lactic acid. This accumulation then results in faster muscle growth. However, this muscle growth does reach its peak much more quickly.
Why the isolated lifts?
This is simply to give bodybuilders more control over shaping their bodies. Just imagine how frustrating it would be in a character creation screen if each time you adjusted your hero's arms, their chest changed as well.
In short, BlizzCon was fantastic! The weather was perfect (as usual) and the atmosphere indescribable. It's always so exhilarating being surrounded by thousands of others that share a love of video games.
As the first post since the event, I'm going to write down a summary of where I was able to get to before having to take off.
30 minutes steady state cardio
Delts: 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Military Press - 20 lbs
Barbell upright row - 30 lbs
Barbell rear delt raise - 30 lbs
Front lat raise - 5 lbs
Back : 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Barbell shrug - 38.8 lbs
Straight leg deadlift - 38.8 lbs
Bent over row - 38.8 lbs
30 minutes HIIT
Chest: 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Bench press - 35 lbs
Incline bench press - 35 lbs
Decline bench press - 35 lbs
Triceps: 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Close grip bench press - 18.8 lbs
Triceps extension bar - 15 lbs
Hamstrings: 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Self-assisted inverse leg curl
Lying leg curls - 33 lbs
Deadlift - 60 lbs
Biceps: 2 Exercises - 4 sets - 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Barbell curl - 16 lbs
Drag curl - 16 lbs
30 minutes steady state cardio
Quads: 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Squat - 55 lbs
Leg Extensions - 55 lbs
Front squat - 38.8 lbs
Glutes: 3 - 4 Exercises - 4 sets - 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Hip bridge - 58.8 lbs
Bent knee good mornings - 38.8 lbs
All fours kickback
30 minutes HIIT
Repeat Day 1 weight routine
30 minutes steady state cardio
Daily Calories: 1700
Average weight: 113 lbs
What I Learned
Don't eat too little. I started freaking myself out 4 weeks before BlizzCon, dropped my calories to 1500 and was tempted to drop them further. Do NOT do this. Because I was depriving my body of energy, I began losing some serious muscle progress. I then bumped myself up to 1700 and started to gain muscle while still losing fat. Rule of thumb: if you feel like you're starving yourself on a cut, you probably are.
Change isn't fast. This is both for positive and negative change. I stopped working out about five days prior to the Con and will start working out again on Tuesday. That's two weeks of not working out and shoving my face with fabulously fatty foods I hadn't tasted in two months. Currently, I weigh 115 and still have that bitchin' leg definition I was so proud of before leaving. The point is to not get too upset with yourself if you can't stick to a schedule for brief stints of time. Just get back to it as soon as you can, and it's all good.
Take more pictures. I have a severe lack of progress pictures, and for that, I am sad. But it's never too late to start! Every month I will start posting progress pictures here as I get ready to take on some seriously buff Sonya cosplay next BlizzCon.
This blog is definitely going to continue, but I'm going to slow down the posts to about one each Sunday. And, as always, feel free to send me any topics you'd like to see or any success stories you have. It's great to hear!
As for next week: where to shop for food in Anaheim during BlizzCon - a great question I was asked while down there.
Until then! :D
Do I need to do a killer ab exercises?
Do I need to do a lot of crunches?
Will special foods slim my stomach?
Do I need to do a lot of cardio?
Should I skip carbs or fats?
Should I get one of those special ab workout things from the commercials?
Right now, you have ab muscles. They've been there since birth and they'll be with you until death. To get them to show up, though, you need a combination of two things:
Of course, these two things take hard work, and hard work doesn't sell too well.
I want you to take a look at these photos right here:
Who is Kimberlee?
This beast is my sister.
When were the photos taken?
The first photos are from March of this year.
The second of the first photo is from today.
The second of the second photo is from August.
How much has she lost?
24.5 pounds in 7 months.
As of today, she is 158.
What's her goal?
Hit 130 pounds. After that, who knows?
What's her diet?
Daily calories: 1400 - 2000
Macro split: 35% carbs, 20% fat, 45% protein
Has she mentioned any benefits?
She talks about feeling happier, healthier and having better posture.
What has she been physically?
Les Mills routines at the local YMCA.
Can I do this?
Yes. You can do anything you want so long as you have to courage to push yourself.
Even though she's been making stellar process for months now, there have still been moments of despair where giving up appeared more tempting than continuing. To help stay strong, she built herself an incredible network of support made up of family and friends. Apart from cheering her on, they've also provided some tough love when those dark days tried to move in. In the end, though, the support could only do so much. The ultimate choice to keep going has been in her hands this whole time. It's her that's had to push through and rise above, something that no amount of cheering can accomplish.
Kimberlee is a prime example of internal strength, discipline and fortitude. I am beyond proud of what she has done and am excited to see what she will do.
You've only got 30 minutes in your day to get a full body workout in. What do you do?
Do you want to get built or do you want to get lean?
Get Built Routine
Warm up: 5:00
This is a solid warm up but feel free to do your own if you have one.
3x8-12 Inverted Row
3x8-12 Pike Press
*REST 30-60 SECONDS BETWEEN SETS*
Cool down: 5:00
Jessica Smith is a personal favorite of mine.
Get Lean Routine
Do cardio for 30 minutes. There should be a warm up and cool down at the start and finish.
Literally any of these videos will do what you want so long as it gets your heart bumping.
Do steady state. Do intervals. Do whatever you find most enjoyable. The only stipulation is that you have to be breathing hard through most of it. Because of this, if you go with lighter cardio, expect to have to find a more intense regime about a month later.
4 more weeks until the big event!
Though this sounds amazing for many, what happens when you haven't even started getting ready? Should you even try? Where would you even begin? Is it worth it?
Should you do it?
There is no better time to start than now. Even if it's only for four weeks, I can promise you that you will look and feel the best you've ever felt when BlizzCon gets here. Why? Because you will have achieved goals and touched the surface of your potential.
Where would you start?
Choose diet if you can't choose both. After all, it's your eating habits that determine how much extra fat hides your muscles. The more you can slim this down, the better you will look even if the only exercise you get is walking to and from your car.
Is it worth it?
Testing your limits and pushing your boundaries is always worth it. It's what keeps that spark of life still going even after the hard times. It's what keeps you believing in yourself. Don't fall prey to the malaise that runs so rampant in today's world. You were born for greater things than being a consumer. You were born to be a doer.
A doer of what?
That's something you'll only find out by embracing challenge and staring fear dead in the eyes. Sure, be scared while you do it. Everyone is. Just promise to never let this fear stop you from going after your dreams.
Fear is the mind killer. Kill fear before it kills you.
Co-host of HeroesForge, founder of Battle to Be Better, gamer, singer and all around happy person.