Stronger arms, more speed

Are you trying to run faster? To be honest, runners aren’t necessarily known for their arms. It’s easy to neglect your top half when it seems like your legs do all the work. Failing to train your upper body, however, can hold you back big time. It may seem strange, but a strong upper body…

Stronger arms, more speed was originally published on Self Evolve

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Are you trying to run faster?

To be honest, runners aren’t necessarily known for their arms. It’s easy to neglect your top half when it seems like your legs do all the work. Failing to train your upper body, however, can hold you back big time. It may seem strange, but a strong upper body is just as important as trained legs to run fast and easy. With stronger arms comes a faster running pace.

Stronger arms will pump your way to faster running

stronger arms

“Have you ever tried to run without your arms? It’s weird, inefficient, and hard as hell. Arm drive is a big part of running– when your legs get tired, you use your arms more because of the kinetic chain; you can’t have one without the other.” – Pamela Geisel, exercise physiologist.

Building a strong upper body will help you maintain good form as the miles tick by. Also, that stable, upright posture can increase your endurance by improving your lung capacity. In addition, your oxygen requirement will be reduced, leading to faster runs while using the same amount of energy.

Avoid injury

Not only will you run faster you’ll also prevent injury and create bone density while building muscular strength. And don’t go for the light weights, you have to be willing to lift heavier things if you want to prevent injury, improve your speed and last longer while running. Lifting light weights for a high number of reps achieves the same goal as running- building endurance, not strength.

Most runners skip the weights since they feel like they don’t have time, but it’s easy to break it into 10 minute increments. Taking 10 minutes off the duration of your run and doing a quick strength set provides more benefits than 10 more minutes on the road.

Is your goal to PR?

If so, save the hard-core lifting for cross-training days so you can focus on getting in a quality, high-intensity run. Otherwise, schedule a short circuit of strength training exercises pre-run: A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that doing so can make you more likely to bust out extra reps and help you maintain proper form throughout. And if the weight room is intimidating, body weight can be more than enough. i.e. push-ups and TRX rows. Whatever you do, be sure to warm up with core exercises such as planks and side planks.

Do you workout your arms?

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Stronger arms, more speed was originally published on Self Evolve

Snowstorm Workout: When you can’t get to the gym

If you live in the Midwest, you know snow And this snow is snow joke. I was literally trapped the other day, and couldn’t get to the gym for several hours. Since it’s my job to actually be at the gym, I eventually got there and was able to sneak in a workout after my…

Snowstorm Workout: When you can’t get to the gym was originally published on Self Evolve

If you live in the Midwest, you know snow

snowstorm workoutAnd this snow is snow joke. I was literally trapped the other day, and couldn’t get to the gym for several hours. Since it’s my job to actually be at the gym, I eventually got there and was able to sneak in a workout after my shift. But if I didn’t work at the gym, I wouldn’t have been able to make it to the gym that day. And I would’ve either missed my workout (not an option) or had to have created a snowstorm workout. Being a personal trainer, this is easy for me. But for the average Joe, it may be hard to create a workout on a whim.

Of course, you could try to google a home workout, but the results may overwhelm you. With so many to choose from, you may just opt to sit on the couch surfing the internet instead. Well, no fear! Today I will share a great and easy workout that you can do virtually anywhere.

Snowstorm Workout

Tabata workout! Make the most of your time with a simple workout that can be done in as little as 4 minutes. This is all that’s needed to work up a sweat. The idea is to do an exercise for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. You do that 8 times and you’re at 4 minutes. You can stop there, or repeat the entire set to increase the time. Be sure to rest for a minute between sets though! Here are some body weight exercises you can do anywhere:

  • Mountain Climbers
  • Burpees
  • Squats
  • Push ups

How do you stay active on snow days?

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Snowstorm Workout: When you can’t get to the gym was originally published on Self Evolve

Don’t be a starter, be a finisher

It’s easy to start.. You start out every year strong. This is the year I’ll… (insert New Year’s Resolution here). You have great intentions. Lose ten pounds, start working out, eat better, write a book, finish that thesis, etc. But how many of us actually finish what we start? Are you a finisher? I’m not…

Don’t be a starter, be a finisher was originally published on Self Evolve

It’s easy to start..

finisherYou start out every year strong. This is the year I’ll… (insert New Year’s Resolution here). You have great intentions. Lose ten pounds, start working out, eat better, write a book, finish that thesis, etc. But how many of us actually finish what we start? Are you a finisher?

I’m not pointing any fingers since I’ve definitely started many projects and goals only to stop and never finish them. It’s easy to start something, but way more satisfying to finish something. To crush that goal, no matter how small. To complete that big project, and be able to move onward and upward. The feeling of accomplishment is indescribable. But sometimes we lose motivation, discipline, or lack knowledge in regards to finishing our goals.

Stay motivated

Motivation is key to finishing any goal or project. If we see results, we tend to stay motivated. For example, if you continue to lose body fat week after week while dieting and exercising, you’ll continue dieting and working out. Staying motivated is one of the biggest hurdles we face. I like to look to positive social media accounts for motivational quotes and images. I try to share them on my social media as well in order to motivate others.

Be disciplined

There will be days where you don’t feel like eating well or working out. There will be days when you don’t feel like working on your projects. But you have to push through the thoughts that are holding you back. Most of the time, it’s mental. If you can push yourself to work towards your goals and projects despite not wanting to, you’ll be making progress towards being a finisher.

Do your research

If you get stuck halfway through your project, do your research. If you’ve been doing the same workout and stop seeing results, look up some new exercises to change your workouts. Research helps us expand our knowledge and make progress in reaching our goals. The more you know, the more you’ll accomplish.

What projects and goals are you working on?

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Don’t be a starter, be a finisher was originally published on Self Evolve

Supersets and why you should do them

What is a superset? And does it make you Superman? Yes and yes! A superset is performing two exercises back to back with little to no rest between them. Why, you ask? Because gainz! But in all seriousness, supersets are a great way to utilize your time and hit multiple muscles quickly. Typically, they use…

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

What is a superset?

And does it make you Superman? Yes and yes! A superset is performing two exercises back to back with little to no rest between them. Why, you ask? Because gainz! But in all seriousness, supersets are a great way to utilize your time and hit multiple muscles quickly. Typically, they use different muscle groups or movement patterns, though not always. Here’s why you should incorporate this method in your workout routine.

Benefits of supersets

  1. Short on time? The idea is that you’re doing exercises on different muscle groups during the time you’d normally be resting. So you get the same amount of exercises done in half the time.
  2. Build muscle! Supersets are a good protocol for hypertrophy as they help create the biological and hormonal environment necessary for muscle growth. By using your rest periods to do more work, the exercises in effect serve as active recovery for each other.
  3. Increase intensity! Shortening the rest period between sets will increase intensity by performing more work in less time. This is especially true if you are used to long periods of rest between sets.

How to build good supersets

supersetsAlternating upper body with lower body is a great way to get a total body workout done quickly. Put together three or four supersets using multi-joint exercises and do each for 8 to 12 reps and two to three times through. This is a solid resistance workout that’ll take 30 minutes or less. Other ideas include a push/pull upper body workout, utilizing antagonistic muscles. A sample superset workout is below:

2 Sets, 12 Reps

  • Squats
  • Lateral lunges (12 each leg)
  • 1 min rest
  • Barbell row
  • Push ups
  • 1 min rest
  • Shoulder press
  • Dumbbell chest press
  • 1 min rest

Do you use supersets as a part of your fitness regime?

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

Why everyone needs a personal trainer

One of the main questions I ask every person I meet at my job is if they’ve ever worked with a personal trainer before. And if they have, was it a positive experience. If not, I dig deeper to see why. Most of the time, the response is that it was a great experience where…

Why everyone needs a personal trainer was originally published on Self Evolve

personal trainer

One of the main questions I ask every person I meet at my job is if they’ve ever worked with a personal trainer before. And if they have, was it a positive experience. If not, I dig deeper to see why. Most of the time, the response is that it was a great experience where they were able to reach their goals and have the body they wanted. If they’ve never had a personal trainer, I always ask if they have ever considered getting one. I ask this because I feel like most of us, at one time or another, have thought of hiring a personal trainer to help us achieve our goals. But we may have hesitated, likely over the cost of a trainer. Today I’m going to go over why I feel like everyone needs a personal trainer, at some point(s) in their life.

Why you need a personal trainer

  • Workout planning. “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” Benjamin Franklin had it right. If you go to the gym without a workout plan, you will just be winging it every time. And with that comes a lot of guessing and free-styling it, but also you’ll likely just do the same routine every time they’re at the gym. This isn’t ideal as our bodies get used to the same exercise and you will stop seeing results.
  • Tracking your progress. Most people only track their progress by weighing themselves, but this can be very discouraging. Especially since muscle is more dense than fat, the number on the scale may not change as much as your measurements and body fat. A personal trainer will take your measurements at least once every month or two to verify you’re seeing results.
  • Proper form and technique. Without any prior training or education in relation to exercise, it’s hard to know the proper form and technique for all exercises. Also, it’s hard to know what type of exercises will help you get to your specific goals. That’s where a certified trainer can help immensely.
  • Health advice. In addition to fitness and exercise advice, personal trainers can also help provide overall guidelines in regards to health. While we aren’t nutritionists or dietitians, we can give our clients a general idea of what they should be focusing on when it comes to their diet.
  • Avoid injury. This is huge. The amount of injuries that occur at the gym is substantial. Without proper form and technique, it is easy to hurt yourself. Having a personal trainer to demonstrate and verify that you’re performing exercises correctly mitigates the risk of injury.
  • Accountability & motivation. Having a trainer keeps you accountable. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t pay for a trainer and then not show up to my sessions. Money is a great motivator, and once you start seeing results the motivation will just start pouring in!

Exercise is complex

Exercise isn’t just science, it’s also an art form. The key to exercise is variety, and to know not only the right type of exercise but also the different variations is needed to reach your goals. Without proper knowledge and education, it’s hard to walk into a gym without feeling intimated. Big weights and barbells can scare off anyone. That’s where a trainer comes in.

Have you ever had a trainer? Or do you currently have a trainer?

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Why everyone needs a personal trainer was originally published on Self Evolve

Proper gym etiquette: what not to do at the gym

Stay classy, my friend The gym can be intimidating, especially for beginners. Outside of the normal gym rules, there are several unspoken rules that you should follow at every gym. Following these rules will help you have proper gym etiquette. Gym Rules 101 Shower and wear clean clothes to the gym. Don’t be stinky, no…

Proper gym etiquette: what not to do at the gym was originally published on Self Evolve

Stay classy, my friend

The gym can be intimidating, especially for beginners. Outside of the normal gym rules, there are several unspoken rules that you should follow at every gym. Following these rules will help you have proper gym etiquette.

Gym Rules 101

  • Shower and wear clean clothes to the gym. Don’t be stinky, no one likes to work out next to B.O. gym etiquette
  • Wipe down equipment. I wipe before and after using equipment, mostly because I don’t want to sit in someone else’s sweat.
  • Put equipment away! Put away those weights! If you’re using a bar, please put away the weights in some sort of order. Don’t make it hard for the next person.
  • Step away from the dumbbells. Let other people use the dumbbell rack, take a few seconds and move over after grabbing your weights.
  • Give people space. Don’t be creepy, don’t stare, and don’t get in people’s way. They might accidentally hit you with a weight if you get too close.
  • Don’t drop weights. Don’t drop dumbbells after a set, and don’t let the weight machines slam the weight down. If the weight is too heavy, go lighter.
  • Make sure others aren’t using a piece of equipment before using it. Especially if there’s a towel, water bottle, or other piece of training equipment nearby.
  • “Working in” with someone. If you see someone using the same equipment you need, you can see if you can work in with them. Keep in mind that if your weight is way different than what they’re using it may be best to wait until their done with the equipment first.
  • Getting advice from randos: smile and nod, say something like ‘I appreciate your input, but I’ve got to finish my workout now. I’m on a tight schedule.’ and move on.
  • Giving advice to randos: Don’t do it unless they are putting themselves or someone else in immediate danger.
  • Hitting on fellow gym goers. You know that cute girl who usually works out with the same guy all the time? Then she shows up alone one day and you’re all over her? Don’t be that guy. This happens to me all the time, please stop!

Proper Gym Etiquette

Overall, just keep in mind the following three rules and you should be fine: be aware of your surroundings, be cool, and act like it’s your equipment. For the guys and gals out there looking for their swolemate, keep in mind that confidence and independence are some of the sexiest traits you can have. 

What drives you nuts at the gym?

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Proper gym etiquette: what not to do at the gym was originally published on Self Evolve

8 exercise habits that are holding you back

There’s nothing more satisfying than conquering a great workout. The feeling of pride after smashing a challenging new exercise or activity is pretty incomparable. In addition to the emotional benefits of working out, there are also a ton of physical benefits to fitness. Many people incorporate workouts into their daily routines, but what they may…

8 exercise habits that are holding you back was originally published on Self Evolve

There’s nothing more satisfying than conquering a great workout. The feeling of pride after smashing a challenging new exercise or activity is pretty incomparable. In addition to the emotional benefits of working out, there are also a ton of physical benefits to fitness. Many people incorporate workouts into their daily routines, but what they may not know is how seemingly harmless habits can affect their health. These eight exercise habits could be doing more harm than good when hitting the gym.

Eight Exercise Habits

  1. Doing way too much cardio. While it may seem like the key exercise habitsto getting in shape and maintaining weight loss, cardio should be done in moderation in order to see overall changes.
  2. Watching the calorie counter. One of the most harmful things you can do is focus on burning tons of calories and not on developing your individual sense of physical health. Instead of watching numbers and playing the calorie guessing game, focus on doing activities that help you feel your best.
  3. Setting unrealistic goals. Ok, so you want to lose five pounds and/or attempt shredding your abs into that six-pack you’ve always wanted. That’s great. Do you want to do it in a week? Not so much. Instead of focusing on a big resolution, focus on small daily steps that help you get towards your overall goal.
  4. Hitting the gym every single day. There’s such a thing as too much working out. Rest and recovery days are just as important as those workout days. There are many bad side effects to training everyday, such as trouble sleeping, weight loss plateaus, and exhaustion.
  5. Skipping stretches. Stretching improves posture, increases flexibility, and even preps the body for later in life when the hips and legs tend to become a bit sorer. Stretching can help avoid cramps, muscle imbalances, and muscle spasms.
  6. Saying “no” to cooling down. The American Heart Association warns that cooling down is nearly almost as important as the workout itself. Incorporating a walk, stretch, and deep breathing into the end of a routine will allow the body to gradually decrease its heightened blood pressure, temperature and heart rate.
  7. Not drinking enough water. Water keeps your body moving and adequately fueled during workouts, so you need a ton of it to keep going, before, during, and after your workouts. It’s smart to bring your own reusable water bottle in order to fill up and keep moving.
  8. Sticking to the same routine. Once you find something you love, it’s easy to make it into a habit. But if you do the same thing day-in and day-out your body will hit a plateau. Switching up workouts every few weeks is ideal, it’s best to keep your body guessing.

Do you do any of these exercise habits?

Next time you’re in the gym, keep these in mind. At the end of the day, it’s all about you feeling your best. Keep it fun and don’t focus so much on the numbers.

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8 exercise habits that are holding you back was originally published on Self Evolve