Dumbbell Pullovers and why you should do them

Back in the classic era of bodybuilding, before steroids were a thing, the “squats and milk” routine was the number one method for getting ectomorphs jacked. What most people forget though is the third piece to this routine: pullovers. Squats for testosterone boost and whole-body muscle growth, and pullovers for the wide and thick barrel-chest,…

Dumbbell Pullovers and why you should do them was originally published on Self Evolve

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Back in the classic era of bodybuilding, before steroids were a thing, the “squats and milk” routine was the number one method for getting ectomorphs jacked. What most people forget though is the third piece to this routine: pullovers. Squats for testosterone boost and whole-body muscle growth, and pullovers for the wide and thick barrel-chest, and great back development. Bodybuilding greats swore that the dumbbell pullover played a huge role in their upper body development.

Arnold believed this exercise was responsible for expanding his rib cage. Though nobody knows for sure whether this is true, one thing is for certain: it’s an excellent exercise for the upper chest. For those of you out there wondering why you’d even want a thick upper chest, read on.

Benefits of a thick upper chest

pulloversNowadays, there’s too much focus on the flat bench press, which overdevelops the mid and lower pecs. As a result, you could end up looking like you have ‘man boobs’, even if you don’t. And for guys who have man boobs, this exercise can make them look worse by making them stick out more. A nice, thick upper-chest can really give your chest that stone-slab-like appearance. Also, if you have man boobs, a thick upper chest can help improve your appearance. The trouble is that isolating those upper chest fibers is no easy feat. Most people think the incline bench press is the only solution. However, the trouble with incline presses is the greater the incline, the more stress is placed on the anterior deltoid muscles of the shoulders.

Why pullovers?

To really grow a muscle to its maximum potential, you have to attack it from multiple different angles. Your chest muscles control the movement of your upper arm at the shoulder joint. Any movement where your upper arm is moving in toward the front of the body, will involve the pecs. Most people make the mistake that the only way to work the chest is to push something away from you or in a bear-hugging motion. This type of movement is called ‘horizontal adduction’ of the upper arms. But this is only one type of movement, which will limit your gains if you don’t change it up.

Dumbbell pullovers involve using upper arm extension. By doing this exercise, you work the upper chest from a whole different plane than if you were to do the incline dumbbell press. You stimulate different muscle fibers in a new way, leading to awesome gains.

How do you do pullovers?

Be sure to start out with a light weight and gradually increase over time. Lie on a bench with your head hanging over the end. Grasp the dumbbell from the side or from behind. Position the dumbbell over your chest with elbows slightly bent. Slowly lower the dumbbell over and beyond your head until your upper arms are in-line with your torso. Breathe in deeply while doing this. Slowly pull the dumbbell up and over the chest, back to the starting position. Breathe out while doing this. Repeat.

Do you incorporate pullovers in your chest routine?

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Dumbbell Pullovers and why you should do them was originally published on Self Evolve

Fat and why you need it

Fat-free does not equal healthy So many of my clients think they’re winning when they tell me they’re reaching for fat-free foods; i.e. yogurt, milk, and other dairy products. While it may seem like this is a great way to lose weight, I’m here to tell you that the right fat is needed in your…

Fat and why you need it was originally published on Self Evolve

Fat-free does not equal healthy

So many of my clients think they’re winning when they tell me they’re reaching for fat-free foods; i.e. yogurt, milk, and other dairy products. While it may seem like this is a great way to lose weight, I’m here to tell you that the right fat is needed in your daily diet. I’m not saying to go for the high-fat ice cream and yogurt, but next time you’re in the store keep these simple facts in mind.

Good versus bad

When it comes to fat, we want to focus on eating the right types. Unsaturated fats are necessary to live: both poly and monounsaturated fats. Both of these can help reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. What are some good sources of unsaturated fats?

  • Fish (salmon, trout, catfish, mackerel)
  • Flaxseed
  • Walnuts
  • Olives
  • Avocados
  • Hazelnuts
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • olive, canola and peanut oils

Fats to cut back on

Saturated and trans fatty acids should be used sparingly. Both can raise cholesterol levels, clog arteries, and increase the risk for heart disease. Artificial trans fats should be avoided at all costs, but saturated and natural trans fatty acids should be 7% or less of your diet. Examples include:

  • Meat
  • Poultry skin
  • High-fat dairy
  • Eggs
  • Cookies
  • Baked goods
  • Crackers
  • Icing
  • Packaged snack foods
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Some margarine’s

I don’t know about you, but I can’t hold myself back when it comes to cookies. And I eat eggs like they’re going out of style. But I do try to eat most of the other things on this list in moderation. And I try to avoid the cookie aisle as often as possible.

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Fat and why you need it was originally published on Self Evolve

Protein: building blocks of muscle

Muscular endurance and strength Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, or body builder, you need muscle. Even for those couch potatoes out there who don’t lift, muscle is still needed for everyday basic functions such as walking and sitting upright. Or for those times you have to carry every grocery bag all at once (team one-trip!).…

Protein: building blocks of muscle was originally published on Self Evolve

Muscular endurance and strength

Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, or body builder, you need muscle. Even for those couch potatoes out there who don’t lift, muscle is still needed for everyday basic functions such as walking and sitting upright. Or for those times you have to carry every grocery bag all at once (team one-trip!). But outside of skeletal muscle, there’s also the important cardiac and smooth muscle that keeps our organs intact and functioning properly. In order to build all muscle properly, we need to consume protein. And while you may think meat is the only option, I’m here to tell you it’s not.

Veggie protein

proteinMany people instantly think of chicken, beef, or pork when I mention protein sources. While meat has a high amount of protein, the animals we eat get their protein from their diet. And guess what? Cows, chickens, and pigs are all vegetarians. So we are just eating veggies through their carriers. While this may seem like a workaround and a reason for you to stop eating vegetables, it isn’t. Vegetables are still needed thanks to the awesome fiber and complex carbohydrates they provide. So be sure to cook up some veggies to eat with that meat!

Good sources of protein

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Nuts
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Tofu
  • Chia Seeds

And if you’re sitting here wondering where protein shakes and/or bars fall into this list, I’m here to tell you that natural sources/foods are always going to be better than a shake or bar. But when in a pinch, they work. Just be sure to pay attention to how much sugar is included. I recommend going with the 0g of sugar option when available. The less sugar the better, unless you’re looking to get some carbs.

What’s your favorite food to fuel your muscles?

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Protein: building blocks of muscle was originally published on Self Evolve

The FitExpo Chicago 2018

My first FitExpo experience was a blast! This wasn’t my first fitness expo ever, but it was the first time I attended this specific event in Chicago. Actually, it was in Rosemont at the Donald E. Stephen’s Convention center. With the help of Groupon, I got in on the low for a few hours Saturday…

The FitExpo Chicago 2018 was originally published on Self Evolve

My first FitExpo experience was a blast!

This wasn’t my first fitness expo ever, but it was the first time I attended this specific event in Chicago. Actually, it was in Rosemont at the Donald E. Stephen’s Convention center. With the help of Groupon, I got in on the low for a few hours Saturday afternoon. I had so much fun walking around getting lots of free stuff and watching the various types of fitness shows/competitions. To anyone considering attending the FitExpo in the future, this is why you should go.

Swag

Not only did I get two t-shirts, I also got tons of samples including a tub of protein. Like a legit 1 pound tub. I also got other samples of BCAA’s, pre-workout, and post-workout supplements. There was a heavy protein focus all through the expo, and my friends and I would joke with every vendor if their product didn’t have protein then why bother? 🙂 I mean, we were there for gains weren’t we?

Competitions

FitExpoThere were several bodybuilding competitions going on, and I kept getting distracted by the amazing guys and their abs on display. I literally stood staring as my friend was trying to meet up with me. Whoops. Other than bodybuilding, there were powerlifting, crossfit, max reps, and other cool fitness competitions going on.

Workout classes

We got to get a good workout in, mostly by walking around for many hours. But my friends did take on the Spartan obstacle course which was a condensed version of the Spartan race. While this was an additional cost (unless you do it right before they close), there were other fitness classes offered for no fee. Unfortunately, they looked cardio based and I had already gotten in my cardio workout for the day.

Deals

There were many deals going on at the expo. Nearly every product there was at least 50% off the regular price. I bought some great-tasting BCAA’s at half the cost. I left with more muscles than I entered with. 😉

Two thumbs up

All in all, I would highly recommend The FitExpo Chicago. It’s an annual event that occurs either in May or June of every year. I had a great time and I look forward to attending next year!

 

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Carbohydrates: complex vs simple and why we need them

To carb or not to carb That is the question. For many looking to lose weight, they tend to turn towards diets that are low in carbs, or cut out carbs completely. But this is not necessarily the best way to lose weight. Especially since we need carbohydrates in order to exercise and fuel our…

Carbohydrates: complex vs simple and why we need them was originally published on Self Evolve

To carb or not to carb

That is the question. For many looking to lose weight, they tend to turn towards diets that are low in carbs, or cut out carbs completely. But this is not necessarily the best way to lose weight. Especially since we need carbohydrates in order to exercise and fuel our muscles properly. But rather than reaching for that bowl of cereal or box of Oreos, I’m going to share some healthy, complex carbs you should incorporate into your daily meal-plan.

Complex Carbohydrates

Next time you’re in the kitchen, whip up some of these quick and easy food items to incorporate complex carbs in your meal.

  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain bread
  • Fruit (especially when you can eat the skin for extra fiber)
  • Starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin)
  • Beans, lentils, and split peas
  • Popcorn (just skip the salt and butter and use spices instead)
  • Quinoa, bulgur, and millet

Simple Carbohydrates

Things to cut back on include the following:

  • Sodas and juices high in sugar
  • Cookies and crackers
  • Chips (sorry guys!)
  • Candy
  • Added sugar
  • White bread
  • Cereal

Be sure to read labels and look for how much sugar is in the food item prior to buying it. It’s best to aim for lots of complex carbohydrates and to not over-indulge in the simple carbs.

What’s your favorite carb?

 

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Carbohydrates: complex vs simple and why we need them was originally published on Self Evolve

Should you work out until you puke?

Have you ever worked out so hard you puked? After a recent extra-tough training session, the topic of vomit came up at the gym. Some people think it’s not the worse thing to push yourself until you puke, especially if you’re out of shape. These people see puking as a side effect to working out,…

Should you work out until you puke? was originally published on Self Evolve

Have you ever worked out so hard you puked?

After a recent extra-tough training session, the topic of vomit came up at the gym. Some people think it’s not the worse thing to push yourself until you puke, especially if you’re out of shape. These people see puking as a side effect to working out, similar to calluses and popped eye blood vessels after reaching your squat PR. But most people find it disturbing to puke during or after working out. And from a personal trainer who manages trainers and handles hundreds of clients, I’m here to share my opinion on the matter of puking before, during or after a workout.

To puke or not to puke?

First of all, if you’re eating the right foods and performing the right exercises for your fitness level, you shouldn’t be puking ever. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked out to the point of feeling nauseous but have never puked before during or after working out. I think there’s a fine line between puking and feeling nauseous. When I do feel nauseous, I tend to pull back a little bit while working out. Whether that means taking a short break or slowing down (cardio) for a minute, I allow my body just enough slack in order to not actually vomit. This is best both for me and those around me.

Ideally, instead of pushing yourself into nausea, monitor your heart rate and make sure it’s between 65 to 85% of your maximum during your workout. It’s good to sweat, but not good to vomit. Next time you’re at the gym, keep these pointers in mind: watch your heart rate, drink lots of water, and push yourself in relation to that heart rate and not until you’re dizzy.

How do you push yourself to workout hard?

 

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Functional training: my two weeks at F45 training

Have you heard of F45 training? Functional training is the newest trend straight out of Australia. Or maybe it’s been here all along, but now there’s a name for it. F45 training is the newest studio popping up all over the Chicagoland area. It’s 45 minute long classes (yes, you have time) that will literally…

Functional training: my two weeks at F45 training was originally published on Self Evolve

Have you heard of F45 training?

Functional training is the newest trend straight out of Australia. Or maybe it’s been here all along, but now there’s a name for it. F45 training is the newest studio popping up all over the Chicagoland area. It’s 45 minute long classes (yes, you have time) that will literally kick your butt. With over 4000 exercises in their database, no two workouts are the same.

Why functional training works

First of all, it’s functional. This type of training helps you improve everyday functions such as balance, walking, opening a jar, and lifting heavy objects. Ok, maybe you don’t normally lift heavy objects. But do you drive or sit in a chair? Did you know most people who sit most of the day end up having terrible posture? But functional strength training can help correct your posture!

Also, it’s great since every time you show up for a class it’s a different workout. This leaves your body guessing so that you avoid hitting a plateau! They also have weights that go relatively heavy so that over time you can increase the amount of weight you’re lifting. The only weird part about F45 is there’s no stretching at the end. But you can do your own stretches as long as there isn’t another class right after yours.

But is it circuit training?

Yes and yes. The classes are split up into strength classes, cardio classes, and a mix of both. But all of them target almost all of your muscles, so you will get a full body workout. While circuit training is great to burn fat in the beginning, in the long run it can actually decrease your muscle mass which leads to increased body fat. We definitely don’t want this, so not really sure how great the F45 training will be in the long run.

What are your thoughts on F45? Do you like functional training?

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Functional training: my two weeks at F45 training was originally published on Self Evolve