Love Notes by Jari Love

Posts in the womens fitness category

Strength-Training Myths

by Jari Love

Ask any trainer the biggest mistake a woman can make when it comes to staying fit, and they’ll almost always tell you the same thing: Avoiding the weight room. Thankfully, ladies of a certain age are realizing it’s time to start lifting some serious iron. “It’s taken a long time, but women are finally beginning to embrace the powerful benefits of committed and intelligent strength training,” says Holly Perkins, author of Lift to Get Lean and creator of Women’s Strength Nation, a virtual community dedicated to raising awareness about strength training for women. “Now it’s not about being skinny — women are coming to the gym to get strong and protect their health.”

 

On average, starting in our late 20s, women lose five pounds of muscle every ten years; after menopause, that loss doubles—creating a 3 percent drop in metabolism—per decade. The end result is almost always the same: Weight gain and weakness. But the right weight workout can undo the damage, and quickly.

 

So why has it taken so long for women to discover these benefits? It all boils down to these common misconceptions. Don’t let them hold you back from discovering the anti-aging power regular weight training provides.

 

  1. It’s a guy thing

The idea that only dudes frequent the weight room is long outdated. Over 87,000 women participated in the 2015 CrossFit Games Open and more than a quarter of them were over 40. “When I started studying strength training in the 80s, most of the volunteers were men,” says Wayne Westcott, director of fitness research at Quincy College and the author of Strength Training Past 50. Now, a whopping 70 percent are women. And their average age? 55. “Women get that what’s really at stake here is their health,” says Westcott.

 

  1. It’ll turn you into a hulk

“It’s so important to get the record straight about this fear of ‘bulk,'” says Perkins. “Ninety percent of women are physiologically unable to build muscle to the degree where they would be considered ‘bulky.’ It is simply a function of estrogen and lack of testosterone; You will never build muscle like a man’s, unless you are trying to achieve that result.” Instead, you’ll create firm, feminine curves—especially if you keep the rests between sets super short. “The less you stop between exercises, the more calories you burn, creating that lean, sculpted look,” says Perkins.

 

  1. It burns fewer calories than cardio

“Women spent decades buying into the myth that if they wanted to be smaller, they needed to do endless amounts of cardio,” says Nia Shanks, a strength training specialist based in Tampa, Florida, and host of the podcast “Lift Like a Girl.” But the message is finally getting through that to really boost your resting metabolism (lab-speak for how many calories you burn all day, not just when your body’s in motion) requires picking up the weights to increase your lean mass. “The muscles of a strength trainer burn 50 percent more calories than the muscles of a runner or walker,” says Westcott. That translates to you burning an extra 100 calories per day just by staying alive; over the course of a month, you could lose as much as 1.5 pounds of fat — without dieting.

 

  1. It’s hard to regain muscle once it’s gone

While it’s true that preventing muscle loss before it starts is the best way to stay healthy and strong—and keep your metabolism rocking like it did in your 20s—it’s never too late to undo the damage. When Westcott’s team recruited 1,619 men and women aged 21 to 80 to follow a progressive strength-training program, phenomenal things happened to their bodies. “In just ten weeks, they replaced an average of three of the five pounds of muscle they had lost in the previous ten years,” explains Westcott, who published his findings in the journal The Physician and Sports Medicine in 2009.

 

  1. Light weights are all you need

When you’re just starting out, those 5-pounders can do wonders for your strength and body. But the ultimate goal is not only to increase your lean mass, but to make that muscle stronger, denser, and devoid of harmful fat—which is why regularly increasing the weight you’re lifting is so imperative. “Every time you challenge your body with a heavier weight you’re creating more microtears in the muscle,” says Perkins. “As your body repairs those tiny tears with amino-acids, your lean mass becomes stronger, tighter, and more compact.” So how much should you be lifting? “You’ll be able to tell you’ve got the weight right if your form starts to get “a wee bit sloppy” on the last two reps, says Perkins. “Once 12 reps are a breeze, it’s time to move up.” Increase in increments of 2.5 to 5 pounds for free weights, and about 5 percent (of the total weight) for machines.

 

  1. You’ll never have time to fit it in

It’s already ridiculously hard to fit in your weekly walks and runs, right? Well, the great news is that it doesn’t take a lot of resistance work to make a major difference. Two full-body strength training workouts a week have been shown to be just as good as three when it comes to increasing strength and muscle mass, says Westcott.

 

  1. You need a gym

While Perkins is on a mission to get more women into the weight room, if it’s not your thing, that’s OK. “Home-based weights workouts are a great place to start, and can help you accomplish a lot,” she says. But if you’re interested in learning to regularly increase the weight you’re lifting, remember that you have just as much right to be in the weight room as the sweaty dude next to you. “Strength training is absolutely critical to your overall health and well being,” says Perkins. “Don’t let intimidation keep you from the powerful benefits that can change your life.”

 

  1. It’s all about muscle

If promise of a stronger, fitter bod isn’t enough to get you to pick up the weights, consider that it’ll also help protect your brain. When sedentary older adults began a program that combined progressive strength training and aerobic exercise, their cognitive function improved significantly more than folks doing aerobic activity alone, according to research by psychologists at the University of Illinois. Other studies have shown that just 10 weeks of progressive strength training can reduce anxiety, fatigue and depression and boost a sense of tranquility and revitalization in older adults.

 

  1. Bodyweight exercises are just as good

So, what about yoga, Pilates, and good ol’ fashioned bodyweight moves? Westcott and other experts agree that these kinds of workouts are a good an introduction to strength training, because you do use your own body weight as resistance. “But you’ll never be able to lift more than your body weight doing these types of programs,” notes Perkins. “I want women to think bigger.”

 

  1. You’ll see results instantly

While strength training is the most effective way to shrink-wrap your body with lean, shapely muscle, like with most good things, it still doesn’t happen overnight. “If you stay consistent with a strength training program, you will see the real and accurate results after 6-8 weeks, and not before,” says Perkins. So make the commitment, and then stick with it. You’ll be glad you did.

 

via prevention.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Tips That Every Personal Trainer Knows

by Jari Love

They clock in wearing sports bras instead of pencil skirts. Peek in their supply closets and you’ll see kettlebells and battle ropes instead of paper clips and spare pens. And in their world, toner has nothing to do with printers and everything to do with defined upper arms and shapely glutes. Personal trainers have dedicated their professional lives to building better bodies. We called up some of the best in the biz and picked their brains for the slim-down, firm-up tricks of their trade. 

  1. You can’t just do cardio … 

Walking, running, cycling, and other heart-pumping activities have a whole host of benefits—burning calories, boosting your mood, protecting your cardiovascular system. But when it comes to weight loss, you also need to head to the other part of the gym, where the barbells and dumbbells reside, says Michelle Blakely, a trainer at Blakely Fit in Chicago. 

Like cardio, strength training burns calories while you’re doing it, but lifting also comes with benefits that last far longer, Blakely says. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolism, which means you’ll burn more fat even when you’re just sitting on the couch. What’s more, strong muscles promote good form during your run, hike, or spin class, protecting you from injury and helping you reap bigger benefits from your sweat sessions, says Allison Hagendorf, a certified health coach with the American Council on Exercise.

 

  1. And heavier weights net you even bigger results. 

Functional body-weight moves like push-ups, squats, and lunges make everyday activities like lifting groceries or climbing stairs easier, Hagendorf says. Reaching for heavier dumbbells—those you can lift for only 8 to 15 reps—can stimulate the type of lean-mass production that truly transforms your body. “For someone who has never done weights, they may find they have a better body in their 40s than they did in their 30s when they start strength training regularly,” says Liz Neporent, a trainer and fitness expert in New York. 

Don’t fret about bulking up—unless you’re spending hours at the gym and pounding down massive quantities of protein, it just won’t happen. In fact, resistance training essentially “shrink-wraps” your body, tightening and firming you in all the right places, says Hagendorf. Your clothes will fit more loosely and you’ll look slimmer, even before the number on the scale budges. 

  1. The best workout won’t deliver without upgrades to your kitchen routine. 

They may not use corporate-speak like “synergy” and “touching base offline,” but trainers have their own sayings. Among the most popular: “You can’t out-train a bad diet,” says Samantha Clayton, a former Olympic sprinter and personal trainer in Malibu, CA. 

Your workout can complement your initial weight loss efforts and help maintain a new, slimmer physique. University of Alabama researchers recently studied women who lost 25 pounds. Those who did strength training and cardio three times per week offset the slowdown in metabolism that typically occurs after you shed pounds, staving off regain, according to the study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 

However, you’ll have to change your eating habits to see significant changes to your body in the first place. “Even if you’re doing everything right in the gym, if you aren’t eating to optimize your training, you’re never going to get the results you want,” Hagendorf says. Start with small changes—one less packet of sugar in your coffee, a side salad with your lunch. Keep that up for 2 weeks, and then pick two more minor adjustments. Eventually, you’ll build a nutritious and sustainable diet, says Liz LeFrois, a personal trainer in New York and a fitness expert on the streaming fitness site Acacia TV.

 

  1. But addition can be better than subtraction. 

Though you do have to watch what you eat, obsessive or near-starvation diets don’t work in the long run. Cutting too many calories breaks down the muscles you’re working so hard to build up, Clayton says. You may shed a few pounds at first by skipping meals or eliminating entire food groups, but the second you return to a regular eating plan, your beaten-down body and slowed metabolism actually trigger excess weight gain.

 

Focus on what to add to your diet instead of what to take away. Piling more high-quality, nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts onto your plate provides your body with the fuel to tackle your workouts while also improving your overall health, Blakely says. You’ll feel fuller on fewer calories, and over time—about 6 months, to be precise—you’ll actually rewire your brain to crave healthy foods instead of junk, according to a recent study in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes.

 

  1. In the recipe for success, fun is an essential ingredient. 

Trainers have a rep for working you so hard you puke. Not only are such extreme efforts unnecessary for weight loss, they may be counterproductive both physiologically and psychologically. If you actively dread your workouts, it’s all too easy to make excuses to skip them, says Mike Robinson, of MZR Fitness in San Luis Obispo, CA, recognized as 2015 personal trainer of the year by the IDEA Health and Fitness Association. 

Meanwhile, many pastimes that bring you joy—like gardening, hiking, or dancing—count as physical activity, too. Incorporating them into your plan means you’ll actually look forward to exercise, getting you into a regular routine and melting fat with much less effort. “Many people think exercise has to be very difficult and complicated to yield results,” Clayton says. “They are pleasantly surprised to find out that it’s balance and consistency that improves your body.” 

  1. The other 23 hours of the day count, too. 

Regardless of whether you’re sweating with a trainer or on your own, a successful weight loss program requires an all-day approach to movement, Blakely says. You might not think things like fidgeting during a meeting or tapping your toe along with the car radio could truly make a difference. A landmark study in the journal Science found otherwise, calculating that small tweaks in daily activity patterns could help heavy people torch an extra 350 calories per day.

 

The scientific term for this phenomenon is non–exercise activity thermogenesis—in other words, all the calories you burn just going about your day. So while you’re probably sick of hearing about parking farther away from the grocery store and taking the stairs instead of the escalator, trainers know their most successful clients take this type of advice to heart.

 

  1. Getting fit isn’t actually that much harder than staying heavy. 

Yes, you will have to put some work into achieving your weight loss goals. But consider all the energy you currently expend wishing you had a different body and fretting about how you don’t have the time or energy to make a change. Trainers know the true secret to changing your body is shifting your attention away from what you don’t have and toward what you can achieve. “You just have to choose which one you want to put your energy into,” says Robinson. “Firmly commit and put your mind to losing the weight and your body will follow.”

 

  1. Weight loss isn’t your true goal. 

Often, people starting a new exercise program begin because they’re unhappy with what they see in the mirror. But a good trainer will ask you to drill down deeper. “Just keeping asking yourself the question ‘Why?’ ” Blakely advises. Often, the fourth or fifth answer reveals your true motivation. 

Take Blakely’s experience: “As I get to know the client, I’ll find they’re not going on vacations with friends because they know they can’t do the hike or the excursion as comfortably as they want. Or they’re not as spontaneous as they want to be because they know that their building is under construction and it’s overwhelming that now they have to walk a certain length to get somewhere,” she says. 

Clarifying these higher-level goals—even writing them down and sticking them to your mirror or fridge—can give you the motivation to stick to your plan in the face of temptation, Hagendorf says. Plus, you can often detect progress even before you start to see big aesthetic or weight changes. “The feel is the fuel,” Blakely likes to say; if you notice you’re not as fatigued, winded, or frightened of new challenges, you’ll know you’re on the right track regardless of what the scale says.

 

via prevention.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Reasons You Should Not Work Out Alone

by Jari Love

No matter how much you’ve made working out a part of your daily routine there are going to be days where it’s 5 a.m. and hitting the ground running is the last thing you want to do. Rest assured, even among the physically fit, you’re not alone. Having a partner to hold you accountable will make it considerably easier to overcome those groggy hurdles. But that’s not all. There’s a reason there’s burgeoning crop of apps designed with the sole purpose of helping you seek out a compatible workout partner. To find out more about the benefits of training with someone else The Cheat Sheet spoke with Ruben Belliard, co-founder of Warrior Fitness Boot Camp. 

  1. It’s more fun 

Exercising with a workout buddy is a social experience — allowing you to kill two proverbial birds with one stone. Instead of dreading going to the gym, working out will become a way of spending quality time with your significant other, a family member, a good friend, or a new career connection. Heard of #Sweatworking? It’s a thing. Studies also show that dates in which individuals join in a common activity versus exchange resumes over wine are more often successful. The extra endorphins and pheromones don’t hurt, either. 

As a whole, your workout buddy will most likely introduce you to new routines or encourage you to try a class you had never tried before, which will not only bring variety to your fitness regimen, but create a new inimitable bond between you. 

  1. It keeps you accountable

No matter how exhausted you are from the ups and downs of everyday life, you’ll show up, because someone is relying on you. Knowing that canceling will not only impact your own wellness, but that of your scheduled partner’s, will ensure you make an added effort to follow through. There will be days that you really do not want to work out. That’s inevitable. Yet, having a partner to motivate you and get you into the gym will keep you going. Make sure to choose someone who has similar fitness goals so that your commitment levels are equal. It’s been proven that having friends who are healthy makes you healthier as well. So keep your friends close, and your active friends closer! 

Prefer group classes? Sign yourself up in advance, commit to a payment plan and force yourself into a situation in which you have little to no room to back out. 

  1. You’ll have support to try new things 

Having a buddy will help provide encouragement to try different things. Attempting a new exercise is tough, but having a sidekick alongside will help nudge you to try the more adventurous, potentially intimidating, but often remarkably effective workouts — like cardio dance classes, jumping exercises, or my specialty, obstacle courses. Like they say: There’s power in numbers, and the added confidence of having a co-conspirator of sorts by your side can provide that much needed kick to try something new. 

  1. You’ll get that extra push 

Your workout buddy will inevitably keep you competitive. Friendly competition, of course — nonetheless, it will add fuel to the fire of your workout regimen. Healthy competition between two buddies can motivate you to achieve a goal you’ve never reached for before, and intensity is the fire that drives progress. It’s been found that choosing a workout partner who is fitter than you are has positive effects on your ability to improve. Whether you’re trying to edge them out, beat their previous time, lap them around the course, or get in just one more rep, competition with a worthy opponent is unquestionably a compelling motivator and a sensation that can’t be replicated while remaining solo. Just make certain that you are not pushing too far outside of your limits and staying safe. Competition can be healthy, until it’s not! 

  1. You’ll be safer 

Having someone watching your movements and correcting mistakes isn’t only necessary for progress, but it’s also important for making sure that you are progressing safely. While pushing yourself to accomplish the next rep, it’s often difficult to keep an eye on your form, but a spotter will ensure that this crucial component does not fall to the wayside. You’ll also be able to safely attempt to push yourself into that extra (and important) rep — and to the point of exhaustion — without worrying that your muscles will give out and that you’ll risk injury. Your buddy will be there for you if something goes wrong and you need assistance. At the risk of being cliché, as in most things, when working out, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

via cheatsheet.com

 

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Does Exercise Make You Hungry?

by Jari Love

If you’ve stuck to a new workout routine, chances are you know what the fuss is all about: the exercise-induced endorphins, the sense of accomplishment after you crush a workout, the realization that you actually like being sweaty. But one thing that may not make you love your workout routine: that ravenous, want-to-eat-everything feeling you get after a workout. 

Since weight loss is a combination of burning enough calories and eating fewer calories to create a deficit, if you’re trying to drop pounds, chances are you don’t exactly love the fact that you want to eat all the calories in your fridge when you’ve spent the last 45 minutes burning just a fraction of that. So what exactly makes you hungry after you work out, and how can you change your habits? 

Why You’re So Hungry After a Workout 

It could be the type of workout you’re doing. Studies have shown that the more intensely you exercise, the less ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) your body produces, so a long, low-intensity session could be the reason why you’re ravenous. But other research in women shows that even those who exercise intensely eat more calories after exercise than those who don’t work out, so this isn’t the only appetite-inducing culprit. If you’ve just finished an intense session and still feel like downing an entire pizza, it could be dehydration. Many times our bodies mistake thirst for hunger, so if you’re not adequately hydrated during a workout, you may feel superhungry afterward. 

One study found that the more fit you are, the less you feel like rewarding yourself with food after a workout, so another reason why you’re famished after exercise might be your body and brain haven’t gotten used to your workout habit yet. 

How to Prevent Disproportionate Hunger After a Workout 

If you’re noticing that you’re eating more than you should after a workout, it can be discouraging to want to keep up with your routine. But regularly exercising at least 20 to 30 minutes a day is important for not just weight loss, but also for preventing diseases, boosting immunity, and feeling happier — which means quitting your gym routine because you may be eating a few extra calories is not a good excuse. Instead of forgoing fitness altogether, try these habits to see if they make a difference in your post-workout meal habits. 

– Try doing HIIT (high-intensity interval) workouts instead of low-intensity ones; these bursts can help suppress your hunger hormone.

– Drink enough water before and during your workout; here’s how to make sure you’re getting enough.

– Make sure you’re strength training at least three times a week; muscles boost your metabolism so you’re burning more calories all day long, even when you’re sitting at your desk.

– Eat a small pre-workout snack at least 30 minutes before your session so you perform better and won’t deplete your body of all its energy stores.

– Have a high-carb, high-protein snack after a workout, then eat your dinner a little later. It will help build muscle and energy stores, and eating a low-calorie pre-workout snack before sitting down to a meal can prevent you from overeating when you’ve got a full plate in front of you.

– Stick with it. As your body adapts to your new healthy habit, you’ll figure out what works for fueling it while still sticking to your weight-loss goals. 

via popsugar.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Get Motivated, Get Moving

by Jari Love

Get Motivated, Get Moving 

Do you have a hard time getting to the gym, sticking to your healthy eating habits, or pushing yourself as hard as you can at the gym? 

Motivation and determination can get you almost anywhere. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated and meet your health goals. 

Identify your Motivation 

Having a goal=having motivation. What is your goal? Once you find your goal you will find that motivation to achieve that goal quickly follows. Take a minute to identify what your goal is—be specific, vague goals like “losing weight” or “being more attractive” are not specific enough to motivate most of us. Here are some specific motivation inducing goals: 

  • I want to have the energy to play with and keep up to my kids
  • I want to improve my cardio-vascular health and reduce my cholesterol to extend and improve my life.
  • I want to lose 15 pounds before my class reunion so Football star Bobby will be sorry he broke up with me
  • I want to run 5 km in under 30 mins 

Once you have that specific goal in your mind it is easy to find the motivation to make choices that will help you achieve that goal. 

Document your Goal 

Write down your goal. Once it is written down it feels more official and you are more likely to stick to your plan. Write down your goal and stick it where you will see it often—by the fridge, in the car, on your bathroom mirror. By frequently reminding yourself of your goal you can keep your motivation for achieving it high. 

To take it one step further, write down steps you need to take towards that goal and give yourself a mental boost each time you achieve that step for the day. It doesn’t have to be a huge step, but everytime you take the stairs rather than the elevator, for example, feel proud of yourself. Each time you see your written goal, or steps it takes to get there, take a moment to visualize yourself accomplishing your goal this will help maintain your focus. 

Make a Plan 

Once you know what you want then it is time to map out how you will get there. Make a plan you know you can stick with rather than just putting down grandiose aims. 

Figure out what you need to get done to achieve your goal and how you will fit these steps into your schedule. Write it down. Once you know why and how you are going to achieve your goals the motivation will come naturally. Also choose an exercise program that you enjoy—don’t force yourself to jog everyday if you hate jogging. 

Call a Friend 

Tell everyone about your goal. Once you tell people you’ve made it real. Enlist the support of your friends, family and co-workers. If you make yourself accountable to people other than yourself you are more likely to follow through on your plan. Calling a friend to workout with you, or swap healthy recipes with when you are feeling less than motivated can also pull you out of your funk and re-light that motivational fire.

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

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Mistakes Stopping You From Building Muscle

by Jari Love

Sometimes it seems like you’re doing everything you can to eat right and stick to your training program, but that tape measure around your biceps just doesn’t want to budge. You’ve reached the dreaded plateau. Nearly every athlete goes through this type of training blockade at some point, and it can be seriously frustrating. You obviously don’t want to throw in the towel, but overdoing it could leave you susceptible to injury. If lifting doesn’t seem to be getting you anywhere, you might be making some huge errors that you haven’t considered. Avoid these five mistakes, and you’ll be back on track before you know it. 

  1. Not eating enough of the right foods

Sticking to carrot sticks might seem like a good way to lose the pudge and pack on muscle, but restricting your diet too much is one of the worst things you can do. Men’s Fitness said muscle growth isn’t possible without a calorie surplus. The article went on to explain that insufficient food intake forces your body into starvation mode, which causes you to shed muscle and store fat. And if you just hit the gym, you need to feed those ailing muscles as soon as you can. According to Men’s Health, eating shortly after exercise helps repair muscles. Skipping that post-workout meal could cause your muscles to break down, so pack a snack or recovery drink. 

Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can eat whatever you want, though. Even the most intense exercise regimen won’t make up for a crappy diet. About Health said eating too many refined carbohydrates and high-fat foods will keep you from achieving your ideal physique. And don’t forget about protein — BuiltLean said every individual is a bit different, but men interested in losing weight should try to eat their desired body weight in grams of protein. If you’re looking to lose weight to get to 190 pounds, that means you’ll want to aim for 190 grams of protein. If you’re trying to gain weight, you’ll want to increase the amount a bit. 

  1. Always sticking to the same routine

Many guys in the gym always head for the same weights, do the same number of sets, in the same order every single time they work out. It might be easier on your mind, but it’s also easier on your muscles. If you want to see improvements, you’ll need to step away from the arm curls occasionally. Muscle & Strength explained the body adapts to stress, so it no longer sees the need to grow once it’s used to a certain level of exertion. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to work past this plateau once you recognize the problem. Muscle & Fitness recommended changing your order, switching exercises, increasing weight, or doing more repetitions. You don’t need to develop a new routine for every session, but expect to alter your workout every 4 weeks or so. 

Changing your routine will also keep you from getting bored. According to Men’s Fitness, you’ll struggle to make gains if your workouts aren’t interesting anymore. That might mean trying something you’ve never done before, which could seem a little bit intimidating. Instead of shying away from something because you’re afraid you won’t be any good, Outside Online says to embrace the challenge. Incorporating new moves will help prevent muscle imbalances that can lead to injuries. 

  1. Screwing up sets

Even if you’re trying your hardest for every lift, you aren’t going to see results if you’re taking a 10-minute break between each set. Besides, you don’t want to be the obnoxious guy who hogs the same bench for an hour while swiping through photos on Tinder. Muscle & Fitness reported one study found people who rested less than 1 minute between sets actually burned up to 50% more calories than those who rested for 3 minutes. 

The number of sets, as well as repetitions, you complete also has a huge impact on your ability to grow muscle. Bodybuilding.com said you should be aiming for 12 to 20 sets of eight to 15 repetitions for areas where you’re trying to see growth, but you can get by with less for muscle groups where you aren’t looking to build as much. And while your ego might tempt you to pile on the weight, it’s not the best idea. SimplyShredded.com said you’ll see more gains if you stick with something managable, maintain good form, and go for more repetitions. 

  1. Not getting enough rest

Inadequate sleep can lead to all sorts of health problems, like heart disease and diabetes. It could also be the culprit behind your fitness plateau. Men’s Health said getting enough sleep is crucial, because it’s the best way to help your ailing muscles recover from lifting sessions. The article also said that constant exhaustion can make you feel like you’re working out harder than you actually are. If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, make sure you’re doing everything you can to wind down. The Huffington Post suggested reducing the amount of caffeine you consume in the afternoon and shutting off all electronics at least an hour before you turn in. 

Sleep isn’t the only type of rest you should consider, because you can still be overdoing it while getting plenty of shut-eye. If you’re hitting the gym for hours every single day, that’s just too much. MuscleMag said no one should be lifting more than 2 to 3 days in a row without taking a day off. For folks who have hit a serious wall, taking a little break will do a world of good. 

  1. Overdoing cardio

Any good fitness routine involves a combination of cardio and strength training. Figuring out the proper balance is the hard part. Men looking to build muscle can completely derail their efforts if they’re spending too much time on the treadmill. Men’s Fitness revealed going overboard on cardio sessions depletes your cumulative calories, which are necessary for muscle growth. It’s especially problematic if you’re exercising on an empty stomach. The article went on to say this will force your body to burn muscle as fuel. 

So how much is too much? It really depends on the individual. Born Fitness suggested keeping it to three or four sessions, lasting between 30 and 40 minutes. If you prefer high-intensity intervals, stick with two to three sessions. Even with these guidelines, though, you may have to adjust depending on how your body reacts.

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Sculpting Exercises for Troubled Areas

by Jari Love

Admit it, we all have 1 or 2 troubled areas that we’d like to focus on. But remember, spot training doesn’t work when it comes to fat loss. You can train do 1000 crunches a day and that doesn’t mean you’ll get a 6-pack. But spot training does make those individual muscles stronger, then your cardio intervals and meal planning with help shed the fat that covers your new muscles. 

But in the next couple of blogs of this series, I’ll give you some exercises for troubled areas that you can do at home or at the gym. I’ll also give you a weekly workout plan. Today, we’ll focus on Sculpting Exercises for troubled areas. For demonstrations of these exercises, check out any of my Get RIPPED videos where we use these exercises for maximum fat burn. Follow the chart below for the frequency, Intensity, Timing and Type of exercises for your fitness level. This is what personal training programs look like. 

Lunge with reverse flye (upper back, hamstrings, quads): Step one leg back, bending the knees, so one knee almost touches the floor. As you step back into a lunge, extend you arms back like wings on a plane. As you flye your arms back, squeeze your shoulder blades like they are squishing a pencil. Return arms to starting position by your hips and stand feet back together. Alternate legs. 

Modification: Seated Reverse Flye: Sit in a chair, bend forward at the hips, keep chest proud and back straight. With straight arms, extend arms out to the side and behind you, squeezing that invisible pencil in between your shoulder blades. 

Crossover squat with pullback (butt, quads, hamstrings, chest, shoulders): Imagine taking a curtsey with hand weight. So do a curtsey, with underhand grip of your weights, pull weights up to your bra line under your armpits. Step out of the curtsey, and relax arms back down to your side. Repeat on other side. 

Modification: Regular Squat with Pullback – Place feet shoulder width apart with toes pointing forward. Squat down, and as you stand out of your squat, pull the arms back up to your bra strap line. 

Single-leg squat with lateral raise (glutes, hamstrings, quads,  medial delts, core): Stand on one foot, with the other foot behind you or in front of you. Squat down on one leg, like you’re sitting on a chair. As you stand up, lift the weights up to shoulder height, keeping the arms as straight as possible. 

Modification: Supported Single Leg Squat – hold onto a chair to do squat. Do Lateral Raise separately keeping arms bent to a 90 degree angle. 

Lateral lunge with L-Raise (glutes, hamstrings, quads, medial/lateral delts): Start with feet together and arms holding weights by your side at 90 degrees. Step your left foot out to the side as far as you can into a lunge. As you lunge, keep your elbows at 90 degrees, raise your left arm to shoulder height in front of you, and your right arm to shoulder height to the right side. 

Modification: Wide Squat with L-Raise keeping arms bent to 90 degree angle. Make sure knees stay behind toes for Wide Squat. 

Push-up (chest, shoulders, back, core): Get into a plank position, with hands directly under the shoulders. Push your heels back and imagine a string pulling the crown of your head in opposite directions. Bend your elbows and lower towards the floor, keeping that strong plank position with no sagging in the hips. Bend till your elbows are at 90 degrees and return up to plank position. Repeat. 

Modification: Floor Pushup on knees, or Standing Pushup Against Wall

 Tricep Kickback with leg extension: Standing, holding weights in hands with elbows at 90 degrees. Lift your left leg back, like a leg lift. As you lift your leg, straighten your elbows, squeezing the triceps. 

Modification: Tricep Kickback on knees without doing leg extension. 

Bicep curl with knee-up (biceps, hips, quads):  Stand up, with arms holding weights at your sides. As you lift your right leg up, bend your elbows and lift your weights as a bicep curl.

 Modification: Do Bicep Curl without the knee raise. To replace the knee raise – lie on floor on your back and to alternating Toe Taps to work the abdominals 

Sculpting Intervals: Advanced / Intermediate / Beginner

Frequency: 3-4x per week / 3x per week / 2x per week

Intensity: Do 3-4 sets/15-20 reps 2-3 sets/15 reps 1 Set/15-20 reps

Time: 60 minutes / 30-60 minutes / 45-60 minutes

Type: High Intensity,3-10lb dumbbells / Body weight or3-10lb dumbbells / Body weight or 3-5lb

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

8 Best Stretches for Lower Back Pain

by Jari Love

 Back pain is the worst. The. Worst. 

And if you haven’t had a bout of back pain yet, count yourself lucky… and prepare yourself to join the ranks. It’s estimated that 80 percent of the adult population will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

 I, myself, am no stranger to the pain. In fact, I’ve struggled with chronic low back pain for more than 10 years. I’ve tried everything: OTC medication, massage, chiropractic care, stretching, foam rolling and yoga, just to name a few. Most people do best with a regular pain management regimen that includes a variety of treatments, but I swear by the following yoga-inspired stretches to help keep my back limber and pain free. 

  1. Cat/Cow

 Start with a neutral spine while on your hands and knees. Take a slow breath in through your nose as you arch your lower back, stretching your pelvis and head toward the sky (Cow Pose). Breathe out slowly as you reverse the movement, tucking your pelvis under as you look toward your navel (Cat Pose). Each breath should last a count of three. Continue alternating between Cat and Cow for five full repetitions. 

  1. Child’s Pose

 Start with a neutral spine while on your hands and knees. Shift your hips back over your heels and stretch your arms forward as far as you comfortably can. Relax into this pose as much as you can, allowing your pelvis to feel weighted, sinking into your heels. Hold for 10 seconds, then shift forward onto your hands and knees (you can even shift into Cow Pose if you’d like — arching your back and tilting your pelvis up) before sinking back into Child’s Pose again. 

  1. Downward Dog

 Start with a neutral spine on your hands and knees. Then, begin by tilting your pelvis up toward the sky, and push through the balls of your feet as you lift your knees from the ground, pressing your hips up to the sky as you slowly straighten your arms and legs as much as you can. Allow your head to hang loose between your arms. If your hips, low back and hamstrings are tight, you may not be able to straighten your legs all the way. Do what you can and try “pedaling” your legs back and forth for a deeper stretch on each side by bending one knee, then the other, as you straighten the opposite leg as much as you can. While you do want to press your heels toward the ground, they do not have to touch down. 

  1. Plank

 A strong core can help prevent back pain — and the plank is one of the safest exercises to perform while experiencing back pain because it doesn’t require movement to be effective. Simply form a straight line from your head to your heels. You can start with your knees and forearms on the ground, holding for just 10 to 30 seconds at a time. As you get stronger, try the exercise with your legs extended or in a high plank position. Work your way up to holding each plank for a full 60 seconds. 

  1. Cobra

 Cobra helps strengthen the lower back while maintaining flexibility in the spine. Lie on your stomach with your legs stretched behind you. Place your palms on the ground, in line with your shoulders, but in front of your chest. Breathe in through your nose as you press lightly through your palms and tighten your back to lift your chest and shoulders from the ground. Hold for three seconds, then lower slowly as you breathe out. While your palms act as support, you should actively engage your back to lift your chest upward. Repeat the exercise five times. 

  1. Figure 4

 Figure 4 does wonders for stretching your hamstrings and hips, both of which can contribute to low back pain. Lie on your back, your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your right foot from the floor and cross it over your left knee so your right hip rotates outward. Lift your left foot from the floor, bringing your left knee toward your torso. Reach your hands around your left thigh to help pull it toward you and deepen the stretch. If this feels comfortable, use your right elbow to press your right thigh away from your body, then begin to slowly extend your left knee, straightening your left leg as much as you can. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side. 

  1. Happy Baby

 With a soft mat or thick towel beneath you, lie on your back, your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bend your knees in toward your chest, lifting your feet from the ground. Grasp around the outside of your feet with your hands, pulling your feet down toward your body (your knees should remain wide as you do so). Hold this position, stretching your low back and hips, then start rocking slowly from side-to-side to lightly massage the muscles surrounding your spine. Maintain the position for 30 to 60 seconds. 

  1. Easy spinal twist

 Maintaining the flexibility of your spine is incredibly important, even when you’re hurting, but if the idea of overzealous twisting makes you want to run for cover, I don’t blame you. The easy spinal twist is truly safe for everyone — just make sure you listen to your body and only twist as far as it will allow.

Lie on your back, your arms stretched out to the sides, your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor. Look over your left shoulder, then allow your knees to “fall” to the right as far as is comfortable (in a controlled fashion) while keeping your left shoulder anchored to the ground. You should feel a nice stretch through your left hip and low back. Hold for five seconds, then rotate back to center before repeating on the other side. Perform three to five sets. 

via sheknows.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Eat Real Food for Weight Loss

by Jari Love

Most people think that weight loss comes from giving up the foods that they enjoy and that staying skinny means never enjoying eating out again. While some dietary modifications are necessary for success, you hardly have to stop eating for pleasure. There are a few tips that will let you bend the rules a little more and still succeed, and we’d like to share them with you.

Meat Isn’t the Problem for Weight Loss

While more doctors are advising that you should eat less meat, only a few are saying don’t eat it all. Much of the issue with meat being linked to illness comes from pollution that animals absorb when they live in factory environments, not from the meat itself. Even the famous vegan doctor Michael Greger cited carcinogens from industrial environments, not the meat itself, as the cause of disease.

The solution to this issue is simply to eat more local meats and just moderate your portions. Meats do provide protein and iron in large amounts. Grass-fed beef is far richer in nutrients and is easier to digest.

Sweets Are Not the Problem for Weight Loss, Either

Natural sweeteners are an excellent replacement for processed sugars, just don’t heap them onto your food. Honey is an excellent sweetener that is also known to help loosen sinus congestion. So is maple syrup. Cookies can be made with raw cane sugar and can also be sweetened with natural molasses.

For Weight Loss Whole Grains Are the Best Choice for Breads and Cereals

Did you cringe when you were advised by a diet plan to eat a hamburger without the bun? Then forget you were ever told that. We already know that meat isn’t the problem, you just want to have a better burger.

So go ahead, grill that quarter pounder, and serve it on a good quality, wholegrain bun. Whole grains undergo less processing and retain more nutrients. Buns made from whole grains typically aren’t enriched with chemicals, but read the label to make sure.

Cereals made from whole grains are available in every grocery store. They are nothing new, and nowadays, they are so popular that you can easily find a cereal that is not only healthy but tasty. Wholegrain cereals that include natural berries, raisins and other sweet fruits are fine. The fruits add a bit of flavor and help you absorb the iron.

Whole Foods Make Your Body Work Better

Weight loss isn’t just about cutting calories and carbs. A lot of times, people are a bit overweight just because their bodies are slow to metabolize foods. Processed foods move more slowly through your system and waste byproducts back up. This slows you down and makes you feel lethargic.

Whole foods digest quicker and your body doesn’t have to do as much work to process them. As a result, you can lose weight just by eating better-quality foods and not having to count calories all the time. You do still need to moderate your portions, but the RDA labels on most foods will give you the information you need.

Look At the Food Labels and Plan Accordingly

If your recommended daily allowance of carbohydrates is 300 grams a day, just look at the labels of foods you are eating and see how many carbs you’re consuming. Check the labels for a few days, or maybe a week and take a few notes. Then make your daily plan according to the recommended daily allowance. All that’s left to do is just make sure you eat a fun-enough variety of foods so that you’re still enjoying life.

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

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