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

The underdogs of Instagram Influencers

As promised.. A few weeks back, I posted about the top Instagram influencers of 2018. Today I’m going to shine a light on the lesser-known but still awesome underdogs of Instagram. These are the people hustling every day to get their fitness motivation and advice out there. Workout ideas, diet help, and motivational quotes are…

The underdogs of Instagram Influencers was originally published on Self Evolve

As promised..

A few weeks back, I posted about the top Instagram influencers of 2018. Today I’m going to shine a light on the lesser-known but still awesome underdogs of Instagram. These are the people hustling every day to get their fitness motivation and advice out there. Workout ideas, diet help, and motivational quotes are just the beginning of what can be found on these accounts. Check them out today and be sure to like and follow them!

Underdogs of Instagram

  • run4donuts is a runner with my name and my passions! She loves to run, drink coffee, and eat donuts. She’s definitely ran way more races than me and is a little faster than me too. But I love her posts as they’re always inspiring me to lace up and run.
  • kemomarriott is crazy. I have to say I love his videos though! They keep me going, especially on the days when I don’t feel like working hard. He’s proof that hard work pays off.
  • pt_dunn is a freelance trainer in London. Aside from his sexy accent, he does Kobox which is where Fight Club meets Nightclub. I think I’ll move to London..
  • underdogs of instagrammixon_fitness is Batman at night and Clark Kent by day. A trainer who posts up great workout and fitness videos regularly over on YouTube. He keeps me coming back to learn more every week. To be honest, I usually steal his ideas and write about them. Just don’t tell him.
  • yogawithninauk is a vegan yogi who’s also recently pregnant. She continues to inspire me to push myself in my yoga practice, and shows me there’s no excuse to not work on my flexibility and strength.

Who’s your favorite Instagram underdog?

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The underdogs of Instagram Influencers was originally published on Self Evolve

Skinny-fat: High metabolism and poor diet combo

Some of us are blessed with height, others are blessed with beautiful teeth or perhaps gorgeous eyes. Genes play a huge role in many of our features, and some people are blessed with an extremely high metabolism that seems to never slow down. I have friends who can eat whatever they want and as much…

Skinny-fat: High metabolism and poor diet combo was originally published on Self Evolve

skinny-fatSome of us are blessed with height, others are blessed with beautiful teeth or perhaps gorgeous eyes. Genes play a huge role in many of our features, and some people are blessed with an extremely high metabolism that seems to never slow down. I have friends who can eat whatever they want and as much as they want and not even gain a pound. These people are referred to as skinny-fat. Indeed, they are thin and appear to be healthy when looking at their BMI, but upon further investigation they aren’t as healthy as they look.

Skinny-fat: skinny on the outside

Guys and girls alike who are blessed with high metabolism may feel like they have won the genetic lottery. They can literally eat anything and not gain a pound! I know for some this isn’t the case. Many guys and gals are steering away from the skinny look and prefer the more athletic/muscular/toned look. For those with high metabolisms, it can be a struggle to put on any weight, including muscle weight. They often have to eat even more than the average person just to keep up with their strength training and cardio workouts.

Fat on the inside

While these people look and feel skinny, their insides often tell a different story. Depending on what they’re eating, they may actually be holding on to more fat than what meets the eye. If their diet is high in unhealthy fats and processed foods, i.e. lots of fast food, they’re likely much more unhealthy than one would think. For most of us, fat is visible when we’re overweight. For someone with a high metabolism, their fat may be hidden. Fat can be found surrounding our organs and within our cardiovascular system. Oftentimes, people who look skinny may actually be carrying a lot of extra fat throughout their body systems. To combat this, muscle is needed in order to start burning the extra unseen fat.

Are you skinny-fat? What’s your favorite feature on your body?

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Skinny-fat: High metabolism and poor diet combo 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

Heart-rate: Where your heart’s at matters

Do you track your heart-rate? If you’re running on a treadmill or riding an exercise bike, there are usually heart-rate sensors on the handlebars. And when doing cardio, it’s normal to keep track of your heart rate. The general rule of thumb is to keep your heart rate between 60 to 70% max to burn…

Heart-rate: Where your heart’s at matters was originally published on Self Evolve

Do you track your heart-rate?

If you’re running on a treadmill or riding an exercise bike, there are usually heart-rate sensors on the handlebars. And when doing cardio, it’s normal to keep track of your heart rate. The general rule of thumb is to keep your heart rate between 60 to 70% max to burn fat, or 70 to 85% to be in the maximum cardio benefit zone. Your max heart rate is based on your age; it’s the equation of 220 minus your age. For me, my max heart rate is 189. But most people don’t know that they should also track their heart-rate when doing strength training.

Strength training and your heart

heart-rateIt isn’t enough to just lift heavy weights. You have to maintain an elevated heart-rate while lifting as well. If you rest for too long, your heart rate will drop and you won’t get as many benefits from your workout. Rest between sets is important, but you don’t want to go below 50% of max heart rate during your workout. If needed, do some squats, jumping jacks, or high knees between sets to keep your heart-rate going.

Beginners to strength training should aim to keep their heart-rate between 50 to 60% max. As you become more advanced, you can up this to 70 to 80% max. Most importantly, you should listen to your body to determine the overall intensity of your workout. Keep in mind, our bodies adapt and get used to exercises, so be sure to push yourself and increase the intensity over time.

Do you track your heart rate while lifting?

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Heart-rate: Where your heart’s at matters was originally published on Self Evolve