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- Deanna deBara
Stiff Neck? Try These 6 Tips to Alleviate the Symptoms

Most of us experience a stiff neck from time to time—but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant (or less painful) to deal with. Luckily, there are steps you can take to alleviate the symptoms of a stiff neck and feel more loose, relaxed, and comfortable.

Let’s take a look at six strategies you can use to get rid of your stiff neck.

What causes a stiff neck?

Before we jump into tips to alleviate the symptoms of stiff neck, let’s quickly touch on some of the reasons why your neck might be feeling stiff—starting with posture.

“It’s no secret that most of us spend a good portion of our day looking at a phone and/or a computer screen,” says doctor of physical therapy and yoga instructor Kristina Kehoe. And all that time staring at a screen can lead to posture issues.

“Typically, we sit with what’s called ‘forward head posture,’ where the shoulders are rounded forward and the head is held forward, where the ears are lining up in front of the shoulder,” continues Kehoe. “This causes the muscles in the back of the neck and back to work harder to hold our head and neck up”—which can lead to a stiff neck.

Another culprit that may be playing into your neck stiffness? Too much stress.

“[When we’re stressed], we tend to hold a lot of tension in our shoulders or neck,” says Kehoe. “If you’re tensing your shoulders and surrounding muscles all day, these muscles can get tense and stiff.”

Not moving enough throughout the day—or staying in one position for too long (for example, sitting at a desk or sleeping in an uncomfortable position)—can also cause neck stiffness.

“The biggest cause of stiff neck is lack of movement,” says Tony Matoska, doctor of physical therapy and clinic manager for Athletico Physical Therapy in Muskego, WI. “Many people find themselves sitting in one place too long throughout the day, which causes joints to stiffen and muscles to tighten.”

Clearly, there are a lot of factors that could be causing symptoms of a stiff neck. But the question is, how do you alleviate those symptoms?

Do neck exercises…

One of the best ways to alleviate neck stiffness? Doing exercises and stretches that target the neck. Some exercises you may want to incorporate into your daily routine to alleviate the symptoms of a stiff neck include:

Chin tuck. The chin tuck exercise “will help improve posture throughout the day to avoid the forward head posture,” says Kehoe—and the stiff neck that can often come with it.

“To perform a chin tuck, you want to sit with a neutral posture—so shoulders in line with your hips and ears aligned with your shoulders,” says Kehoe. “Draw your chin back while keeping your jaw and shoulders relaxed.”

For best results, Kehoe recommends repeating the chin tuck between 10 and 20 times in a single session—and cycling through between 5 and 10 sessions throughout the day.

Upper trap stretches. The upper trap muscles are located on both sides of your neck—and “these are the muscles that get especially tight with stress since they’re the muscles we use to raise our shoulders towards our ears,” says Kehoe. “This stretch will help to decrease tension in these large muscles and can be very effective when stress is a main culprit of your neck stiffness.”

To stretch your upper trap muscles, “draw the right ear towards the right shoulder to feel a stretch on the left side of the neck,” says Kehoe. “If it’s tolerable, gently pull down on the side of the head towards the right [shoulder] to feel a deeper stretch.”

Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds; then, repeat on the left side.

Levator Scapulae Stretch. Another muscle to target if you want to loosen up your neck? The levator scapulae.

“The levator scapulae is a muscle to the side and back of the neck,” says Kehoe. “In my experience, a lot of knots live in this muscle when the neck is stiff. Stretching this area out can help with overall mobility and stiffness of the neck.”

For this stretch, “start by bringing the right ear to the right shoulder,” says Kehoe. “After you’ve achieved that position, slowly turn your head towards your right armpit. You should feel a stretch on the left side of the neck—but more in the back of the neck when compared to the upper trap stretch.”

Hold the stretch for between 20 and 30 seconds, then switch to the left side. Repeat the process two to three times per side.

…and yoga poses

Yoga can also be a great way to alleviate neck stiffness. Some yoga poses that are especially helpful for stiff neck include:

Standing Forward Fold. Standing forward fold is a foundational yoga pose that’s also great for the neck as it “allows gravity to help decrease stress on the spine in the neck and open up the joint space in the neck,” says Kehoe.

To get into the pose, stand with your feet hip width apart. Slowly roll your spine down to bring your hands towards the floor,” says Kehoe. “Keep a slight bend in your knees to avoid putting excess strain on your back.” 

You can either keep your fingertips on the floor or cradle your elbows in opposite hands. From there, “Allow your head to hang heavy toward the floor,” says Kehoe. “You can gently sway side to side or nod the head yes/ no if that feels comfortable.”

Remain in the posture for 5 to 8 breaths.

Thread the needle. This posture “helps open up the upper back and neck and relieves tension,” says Kehoe.

To thread the needle, “start on all fours,” says Kehoe. “Reach the right arm through the left arm, coming down onto the right shoulder if that feels comfortable.”

 Hold here for 3-5 breaths, then repeat with the left arm.

Supported fish pose. This yoga pose “helps to improve the mobility through your thoracic spine…[which is important because] when this area is not moving well, the neck can compensate and feel stiff,” says Jackie Fenton, doctor of physical therapy, yoga instructor, and owner of Bright Heart Yoga Studio.

To get into the posture, place a pillow, block, or foam roller between your shoulder blades and perpendicular to your spine. With your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, lean back against the pillow, block, or foam roller and put your hands behind your head, allowing your chest to open. Stay in the posture for 10 breaths.

Adjust your workstation

As mentioned, spending all day sitting at a desk can play a major role in neck stiffness. So, if you want your neck to feel less stiff, creating a more ergonomic workstation is a great step.

There are a variety of ways to update your workstation to be more neck-friendly, including:

Put your monitor at eye level. “If you’re spending the day looking up or down at a monitor, you will inevitably have stiff muscles because those are not positions that are great for our head, neck, or shoulders,” says Kehoe. “Keeping the monitor at a point where it’s level with your gaze allows you to maintain good posture throughout the day.”Adjust your desk and chair to ensure your feet are resting flat on the floor. “Make sure your desk height clears the knees and thighs,” says Matoska. “If your chair is too tall, use a footrest to ensure your feet are resting flat.”Use a headset for phone calls. Holding your phone between your neck and shoulders is a surefire way to develop a stiff neck—so “use a headset and/or place a speaker close for calls to avoid cradling the phone between your shoulder and neck,” says Matoska. Get a massage

Another great (and relaxing!) way to find relief from a stick neck? Booking a massage.

“Massage can definitely help a stiff neck…whether the neck stiffness is more acute or chronic,” says Kehoe. “Massage can help promote blood flow to tense muscles and improve muscle relaxation to help decrease pain.”

Let your massage therapist know you’re experiencing a stiff neck—and as they’re working, let them know if the pressure feels too intense or you find yourself tensing up.

For added benefit, ask your massage therapist to show some TLC to the areas surrounding your neck. “The upper traps and areas around the shoulder blades are common areas that get tight and sore with neck pain and are great to address during a massage,” says Matoska.

Invest in a new pillow

Do you find your neck is most stiff in the morning? “If you’re finding that you continually wake up with a stiff neck—and it improves over the day—it’s possible that your pillow may be a culprit,” says Kehoe.

If you’re using a soft, fluffy pillow, it may be time to switch things up. Kehoe recommends memory foam pillows that are contoured to allow the neck to stay in a comfortable, supported position throughout the night—as opposed to soft pillows, which don’t offer as much support and could be a contributing factor to stiff neck.

Try foam rolling

Foam rollers are great tools for workout recovery—and, as it turns out, they’re also great tools for dealing with neck stiffness.

To help alleviate symptoms of neck stiffness, you don’t want to actually foam roll on your next; instead, focus on your back.

“Rolling up and down the middle of your back (thoracic spine) is helpful for relaxing tight muscles and moving stiff joints,” says Matoska. “Working on extending your mid back backwards over the foam roller at different levels that feel stiff is also extremely beneficial.”

And if things sound a bit…crunchy during the process? Not to worry. “It is very common to feel pops and cracks as you foam roll, which are signs of pressure relief from stiff joints,” says Matoska.

The post Stiff Neck? Try These 6 Tips to Alleviate the Symptoms appeared first on Fitbit Blog.

- Fitbit Staff
There’s a New Way to Assess Your Heart Rhythm for AFib

You may have heard the term “AFib” before. But do you know how it occurs—or why it’s dangerous? Simply put, an arrhythmia is when your heart doesn’t beat normally—and atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common type of arrhythmia. It occurs when the upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly and out of sync with the lower chambers, which can increase the risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attack.* 

AFib can be hard to diagnose. It can come and go, so it may not be happening when you see your doctor or get an ECG. Palpitations and shortness of breath can be symptoms, but some people don’t have any symptoms. The good news, though, is that AFib is treatable. The earlier you identify it, the earlier you can do something. 

That’s where Fitbit’s Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications feature comes in.** The feature has been validated in a large clinical study and reviewed and cleared by the US FDA. Only a healthcare provider can diagnose AFib, but this all new feature can help identify if your heart rhythm shows signs of this condition—so that you can have a better conversation with your doctor about your heart health. 

How it works

You can check for signs of an irregular heart rhythm that may be AFib just by wearing your Fitbit tracker or smartwatch. When you’re still or sleeping, your device collects your heart rhythm data to check for irregularities in the beat to beat variation that may be signs of AFib.

Open the Fitbit app each day to sync your data from the previous night so that it can be analyzed.

After analysis, if multiple readings show signs of an irregular rhythm, you’ll get a notification in the app. Set up notifications from either the Heart tile or Discover tab in the Fitbit app. 

You got a notification… Now what? 

The feature is FDA cleared and validated in a clinical study, so if you get a notification, we recommend discussing this information with your doctor or healthcare provider to be evaluated further. Don’t make any changes to your medication or health regimen before speaking with them. 

The Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications feature cannot detect heart attack, blood clots, stroke, or other heart conditions. You should never change your medication without first speaking to your doctor. Results may not be accurate in people who take medication or substances that affect heart rate or blood flow.

If you think you’re having a medical emergency, call emergency services. The feature is not intended for use by people under 22 years old or with known atrial fibrillation. 

What devices is it available on?

Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications is currently available in the United States. Find it on Fitbit Charge 5, Charge 4, Luxe, Sense, Versa 2, and Inspire 2. 

To set it up, enroll in the Assessment section of the Fitbit app. 

Enroll in the Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications feature today.

More to know: The Fitbit Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications feature doesn’t analyze your data in real time and is not able to detect AFib continuously, especially during motion. This means it cannot identify all instances of AFib, and you may not get a notification even if you have AFib. 

*Lifetime risk for development of AFib is 1 in 4 for men and women 40 years of age or older. Source: Lloyd-Jones DM, et al. “Lifetime Risk for Development of Atrial Fibrillation.” American Heart Association, 2004. 

**Irregular rhythm notifications are only available in select countries and with select Fitbit products; not intended for use by people under 22 years old or with known atrial fibrillation. See fitbit.com/irregularrhythm for additional details.

The post There’s a New Way to Assess Your Heart Rhythm for AFib appeared first on Fitbit Blog.

- Leandra Rouse
26 Percent of Moms Say They Want Breakfast in Bed. Try Making These Banana Crepe Pancakes for Mother’s Day
RECIPE BY LEANDRA ROUSE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY SAMANTHA EMMONS

When making certain alternatives to your favorite foods, it is best to avoid attempting to recreate familiar flavors, but instead think of the dish as a category of its own. These “pancakes”, made without cereals containing gluten or milk ingredients, do just that. 

While they maintain a pancake shape and size, the egg base gives the pancakes more of a savory crepe flavor—making them a tasty and protein rich vessel to wrap around other favorite foods later in the day. We enjoy them in a traditional stack, covered with maple syrup for a weekend brunch. And we also love them served cold and wrapped around healthy fillings like almond butter, seasonal fruit, goat cheese or avocado—a protein rich and transportable snack!

The combination of coconut and almond flour is just enough to hold the batter together, while letting eggs be the star. The almond flour provides texture, while the coconut flour keeps them from getting soggy. Because of the crepe-like consistency, smaller pancakes are easier to manage while cooking. Keep them around 5 inches in diameter. 

Even if you are not expressly following a gluten-free diet for medical reasons, these pancakes are a dish that everyone can enjoy. The ease and tastiness of this recipe makes this a fantastic choice for Mother’s Day—or even a weekday breakfast. 

INGREDIENTS: 2 tablespoons coconut flour ⅓ cup almond flour ½ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt3 large eggs, at room temperature¼ cup non dairy milk1 teaspoon vanilla 2 bananas, one overly ripe for the batter and one ripe to slice on top  1 teaspoon neutral oil (for cooking)½ a cup low fat Greek Yogurt¼ a cup walnuts, toasted and rough chopped  INSTRUCTIONS: 

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl mix together the wet ingredients, leaving out the oil. Combine the two with minimal stirring and leave to rest for 10 to 25 minutes. 

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat with ½ a teaspoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, use a large spoon to add the pancake batter to the pan in 5” circles. Cook until the edges turn golden brown and small bubbles appear on the pancake. Flip and cook until the center of the pancake is firm. Approximately 2 minutes on each side. 

Keep pancakes warm in the oven until ready to serve. Serve with Greek yogurt, toasted nuts, and a drizzle of maple syrup. 

Makes 10 small pancakes or serves 3 people.

NUTRITION FACTS (PER SERVING, 3 PANCAKES): 

Calories 310

Protein 15 g

Total fat 18 g

Saturated fat 3.5 g

Cholesterol 170 mg

Carbs 26 g

Fiber 6 g

Total sugars 13 g

Added sugars 1 g

Sodium 480 mg

The post 26 Percent of Moms Say They Want Breakfast in Bed. Try Making These Banana Crepe Pancakes for Mother’s Day appeared first on Fitbit Blog.

- Deanna deBara
This Mother’s Day, Give Yourself the Gift of Better Sleep with These Tips

There are few jobs as tough as being a mom. And in order for Moms to take the best care of their little ones, they also need to be taking good care of themselves, and that includes prioritizing sleep. 

That’s why we’ve connected with sleep and parenting experts for their insights on why sleep is so important for Moms—as well as tips on how Moms can prioritize getting more and better rest.

There are few jobs out there as demanding as being a mom; children, especially when they’re younger, need near-constant care. And in order for moms to deliver the best care to their little ones, they also need to be taking good care of themselves.

Getting enough high-quality sleep is essential for moms, but it can also be a huge challenge. So the question is, why, exactly, is sleep so important for moms? And how can moms prioritize rest and get the high-quality sleep they need to show up for their kids and themselves?

Why is sleep so important for moms?

“Sleep is essential to our health,” says Dr. Kent Smith, sleep expert and president of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy. “That is true for everyone, but especially for mothers who often wear multiple hats and juggle numerous responsibilities within their families.”

Without proper sleep, moms can find themselves facing a host of health issues that make parenting (and life!) significantly harder. “Being a mother is a full-time job in itself, and not getting enough sleep, combined with the stress of parenting, can quickly lead to issues with physical health, mental health, and cognition,” says Dr. Chelsie Rohrscheib, neuroscientist and head sleep expert at Wesper.

But let’s be honest, getting enough sleep as a parent, particularly a new parent, isn’t common or easy. “Research has found that adults tend to function most efficiently and effectively when getting somewhere between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night,” says Smith. 

But very few parents are getting that much sleep (in fact, according to one survey, only 10 percent of new parents are getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night—and other research suggests that parents’ sleep doesn’t fully recover until their child is six years old) for a variety of reasons—including that their children aren’t getting that much sleep. “It is…difficult to get adequate sleep when our children are not great sleepers, and/or we have multiple children that are not on the same sleep schedule,” says Chrissy Lawler, sleep consultant, licensed marriage and family therapist, and founder of parenting sleep resource The Peaceful Sleeper.

In addition to dealing with children’s inconsistent sleep schedules, the pressures and responsibilities of parenting—and all that tasks and to-do’s that go along with it—can make it hard to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. “When we put our children to bed at night, there are a million things to do that eat into the time we should be sleeping,” says Lawler.

But regardless of the challenges, if you want to feel your best—as a mom and as a person—you need to prioritize sleep. So how, exactly, do you do that?

Sleep when the kids sleep

Before kids, you probably got all of your sleep in one long stretch (for example, from 10 PM to 7 AM). But as a new mom, with your baby needing love, attention, and food at all hours of the day and night, you’re not likely to get that much uninterrupted sleep time.

Which is why, if you want to prioritize sleep? You need to sleep when your baby does—even if that means ignoring your to-do list. “When your child lays down for a nap or for the night, no matter what else you have to do, grab some sleep as well,” says Smith. “It’s tempting to try to get some housework or errands completed, but getting rest whenever you can will pay off in the long run.”

Practice good sleep hygiene

When it comes to getting better (and more!) sleep as a mom, there are certain things that are out of your control; for example, you can’t control when your child will wake up in the middle of the night.

There are, however, things you can control, including how you spend the hours leading up to bedtime, and whether those hours help or hinder your ability to get a good night’s sleep. “Leave PTA projects, emails, social media, and the latest episode of that TV show behind—and focus on a more relaxing activity like reading, listening to music, or snuggling your kiddos,” says Smith. “Anything with a screen should be avoided, as the light in your device can cause sleeping difficulties by convincing your brain that it’s daytime.”

The more relaxing (and screen free!) you make your pre-bedtime hours, the easier it will be to unwind and fall asleep—and the better sleep you’ll get as a result. 

Limit caffeine 

When you’re exhausted—as many moms are!—you may think the answer to getting through the day is caffeine. But while one cup of coffee in the morning is fine, anything more than that can wreak havoc on your sleep.

“Although you [might] feel like you…need an extra cup of coffee (or five) to keep up with the demands of parenthood, too much caffeine too late in the day can keep you up all night,” says Smith. 

According to research from the Cleveland Clinic, caffeine can take up to 10 hours to fully clear from your bloodstream—which means that 2 PM cup of coffee can inhibit your ability to fall asleep at midnight.

Bottom line? If you want to set yourself up for the best night’s sleep possible, “try to keep caffeine consumption to the morning,” says Smith.

Get outside support

There is so much to do as a mom. So, “if you are finding there is not enough time in the day to get everything done and get the sleep you need, I highly recommend outsourcing what you can [and getting outside support],” says Lawler.

Outside support can take many different forms. If you have a partner, it could be asking them to take on some of the night duties (like feedings) so you can get longer stretches of sleep. If you have family members or close friends you can rely on, it might mean asking them to come over and watch your kids so you can get in a nap. If you have the financial means, it could mean hiring out some of your household tasks (for example, getting your groceries delivered or using a cleaning service to clean your home) so you have more free time to catch up on sleep. 

And if none of those options are available to you, a great place to get the outside support you need to get more sleep? Other moms. 

Connect with other moms and/or mom groups in your area; often, they’ll have resources that can help you get back some of your free time (like meal swaps or babysitting trades)—time you can use to get more and better sleep.

Seek professional help when necessary

As a mom, there are steps you can take to get better sleep. But if those steps aren’t working, it may be time to call in the professionals.

“Consult with your child’s pediatrician if their sleep seems unusual or irregular for their age and developmental stage,” says Rohrscheib. “Speak with your doctor if you develop symptoms of insomnia or excessive sleep loss, or if you start feeling depressed or anxious.”

The post This Mother’s Day, Give Yourself the Gift of Better Sleep with These Tips appeared first on Fitbit Blog.

- Deanna deBara
Brain Fog Getting in the Way of Everyday? Try These Tips for More Mental Clarity

If you’ve ever experienced brain fog, you know it can throw a wrench in everything from your mood to your motivation to your ability to concentrate and get things done. And whether that brain fog is a result of all the stress of the past two-plus years (we’re looking at you, pandemic) or the result of lingering COVID symptoms, if you’re experiencing brain fog on a regular basis, chances are, you’re ready to kick it to the curb—and move through your day with a better sense of focus and mental clarity.

But how, exactly, do you do that? Let’s take a look at strategies you can use to beat brain fog, increase mental clarity, and start feeling more focused, energetic, and motivated throughout the day:

Increase your water intake

Research has found that even mild dehydration can cause a decline in cognitive functioning, including issues with alertness—one of the telltale signs of brain fog. On the flip side, research has also found that proper hydration positively influences cognitive function—so, if you want to beat brain fog and increase mental clarity, one of the best things you can do?

Make sure you’re drinking enough water.

The general rule of thumb to stay properly hydrated is to drink eight eight-ounce cups of water per day, or 64 ounces total. 

If downing eight glasses of water feels overwhelming, you can also hydrate through your diet. “Eat more foods that are high in water content, like cucumbers and melons,” says doctor of physical therapy and holistic health and fitness coach Dr. Eni Kadar.

Eat for mental clarity

The foods you eat play a major role in how you feel—including whether you feel foggy or clear in the brain.

So, if you want to experience more mental clarity? Start by reviewing your diet.

Eating a lot of processed, high-fat, and/or high-sugar foods throughout the day? “High-fat and high-sugar foods are more difficult for your body to process and can contribute to brain fog,” says Kadar. 

If you want to increase mental clarity, swap out those processed, high-sugar, and high-fat foods for a more whole foods-based diet.

“Focus on getting as many nutrient-dense foods into your diet as possible—nutrient dense meaning foods that are close to their natural state, that aren’t packaged, processed and have an expiry date,” says Kadar. “Think of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, beans, and meat.”

Because brain fog can also be caused by nutrient deficiencies (for example, one 2013 study found that eating more protein and increasing body iron can boost attention, memory, and overall cognitive performance), you’ll also want to incorporate as many different types of whole foods into your diet as possible. “Get as much variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet as possible to ensure an adequate amount of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients,” says Kadar.

“Skipping meals can often lead to brain fog, difficulty concentrating, and low overall energy,” says Lorencz. “[Eating] breakfast and eating at least every 5 hours has helped many of my clients think more clearly and have more energy during the day.”

Prioritize exercise

Exercise is a must for improving mental clarity; research shows that regular aerobic exercise actually increases the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain associated with memory and learning.

So, if you want to beat brain fog and feel more mentally clear, you need to make exercise a priority.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week—so if you want to see your mental clarity improve, those benchmarks are a great place to start. 

In addition to a regular fitness routine that gets your heart rate up (like regular jogs or trips to the gym), you should also aim to move more throughout the day, particularly if you have a job that has you at a desk all day long.

“If you have a desk job or sedentary job, aim to stand up and move around at least once an hour,” says Kadar. “This helps with blood flow and energy, and also helps minimize any lower back and hip pain.”

Improve your sleep hygiene

Another common cause of brain fog? Not getting enough high-quality sleep.

“Brain fog is closely linked to lack of sleep because of the way sleep deprivation affects our ability to think and focus,” says Dr. Po-Chang Hsu, Medical Expert at SleepingOcean.com. “Sleepiness slows down the thought process and decreases reaction time. Additionally, lack of sleep may have a negative effect on one’s memory. Research also suggests that sleep issues make it more difficult for brain cells to communicate with each other, typically causing mental lapses.”

If you want to banish brain fog and increase mental clarity—and you suspect your sleep might have something to do with it—prioritizing getting more and/or better sleep is a must. And to do that, you’ll need to improve your habits around sleep, also known as sleep hygiene.

Your sleep schedule is a great place to start. “Establish a specific sleep schedule and follow it consistently,” says Hsu. “This means going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time every day—even during weekends.” 

Getting into a regular schedule allows “brains and bodies more chances to get restful, deep sleep, as it’s easier for the brain to follow stable circadian rhythms when sleep patterns are consistent,” says Hsu. 

In addition to getting on a more regular sleep schedule, other ways to improve sleep hygiene (and improve mental clarity in the process) include avoiding caffeine after 12pm, avoiding screens in the hour or two before bedtime (screens emit blue light that can mess with your body’s natural sleep cycle—also known as your circadian rhythm), and having a relaxing pre-bedtime ritual (like taking a bath or drinking a cup of hot tea) to signal to your brain and body that it’s time to go to sleep.

The post Brain Fog Getting in the Way of Everyday? Try These Tips for More Mental Clarity appeared first on Fitbit Blog.

- Kimia Madani
How to Start a Wellness Journaling Practice

You’ve heard it before: Journaling is a practice with a whole trove of benefits for mental and emotional health, sparking creativity, and more. But what about a wellness journal—one specifically dedicated to improving your well-being via the implementation of mindfulness practices, tracking new lifestyle habits and behavioral changes, and more? 

Thanks to Tiktok, where the hashtag #wellnessjournal has now garnered over 1.5 million views, the wellness journaling practice has skyrocketed in popularity over the past year.  

“Journaling is a great way to release pressure and reveal your authentic thoughts and feelings,” shares Leela Hoehn, founder and creative director of The Rainbow Vision, a paper goods and gift brand that designs tools—planners, journals, and more—meant to inspire those looking to add more creativity into their lives. 

“Having a journal is a great way to create safe space just for you,” Hoehn continues. “I love to journal because oftentimes I just need a place to allow myself to ramble and let the mental chatter come out. It’s usually when I’m just free writing that I come to some clear conclusions about how I feel, or a great new idea emerges.” 

Keep reading for ideas on how to get started with your own wellness journaling practice. 

What can you use your wellness journal for?

Brain dump first thing in the morning. Once you’ve chosen a journal you’re excited to crack open and start filling up, let it add some structure to your routine by starting your day with it. You can try morning pages to start with—either by setting a timer or a page limit, and then free writing until you reach your goal.

“I am a huge fan of morning pages,” shares Hoehn. “This is where you sit down in the morning and write and write and write and fill up several pages of your journal with just whatever comes to mind. You don’t have to have coherent thoughts, there’s no productive outcome. You can even write the same word over and over if nothing else comes to mind. When you do this you are allowing yourself to purge the mental chatter and get clear for the day. I’ve found that when I’ve allowed myself time to write at least 5 pages in the morning I can start my day with more calm and confidence,” she adds. 

Track habit or behavior changes you’d like to incorporate into your daily routine. Want to get more daily steps or start doing low-intensity pilates three times a week? Jot it down in your wellness journal. You can also create a weekly schedule for workouts or chart your little wins when it comes to setting an earlier bedtime target or not hitting snooze so many times in the morning. 

Need some extra help? Turn on Bedtime Reminders with Fitbit, and make it easier on yourself to follow through with an earlier wake time by setting your Fitbit to wake you up gently in the morning. With Smart Wake, you can set your Fitbit alarm to wake you up with a quiet vibration during a lighter sleep stage—and feel more refreshed in the AM. Here’s how: 

Set a silent alarm using the Fitbit app (or set one up directly on your smartwatch) and check the “Smart Wake” box. Using 24/7 heart rate and sensitive motion detectors, your tracker or watch estimates which stage of sleep you’re in—and will then wake you up while you’re in a lighter sleep stage, up to 30 minutes prior to your desired wake-up time. 

Notice patterns. In addition to setting goals, you can use your wellness journal to notice the patterns of behaviors you exhibit in your daily life. Stay general by touching on broader patterns, like congratulating yourself for biking to work instead of driving once or twice a week, or get as granular as you like. 

For example, maybe you notice that when you walk more throughout the day, you get better Zzz’s at night. 

You can use Fitbit’s Daily Readiness Score to help discover patterns like this as well. Daily Readiness on Fitbit Premium helps you understand your readiness to take on exercise or recovery each day based on three key factors: your activity, heart rate, and sleep. (Read more about one Fitbit editor’s experience with it here.)   

Set intentions. “Generally when I set an intention for the week I like to write down how I want to feel,” shares Hoehn. “No matter what I have going on that week, whether it’s filled with tasks and important deadlines, or it’s more loose-ended, I like to try and create a lens for my experience. A regular intention that I like to write down is ‘keep it fun,’ especially during my busier weeks. I can easily let myself feel bogged down and forget that there’s a lot of joy to be experienced even during the minutiae of everyday life. Having that reminder there helps me snap out of it,” she adds. 

You can also track the goals and intentions you’ve set by following up with yourself at regular intervals. We’ve all heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit; but are you checking in with yourself again at the three and six month mark to see if you’re still getting as much as you can from the new habits you’ve added into your morning routine? Whenever you’re ready, you can use your wellness journal as a reminder to get back on track.

Can’t get into gratitude lists? Try making a new kind of list entirely. Feeling bogged down by what seems like a never-ending to-do list—including one that seems to feature a whole host of new wellness tasks to try and items to tackle? 

Try opting for a “success list” instead—at least, within the pages of your wellness journal. This is exactly what it sounds like: a list of daily achievements or minor successes that you’re proud of yourself for making! Maybe it’s choosing to walk to work instead of taking the bus, or crushing your presentation (whether you gave it virtually or in-person). Maybe it’s finally implementing a breathwork practice into your day-to-day. You get to choose which accomplishments to include—and how to prioritize them. 

The amount of structure you decide to go with is up to you 

Ultimately, wellness—or more specifically, fostering a sense of well-being in your everyday life—is a process you make entirely your own. If you feel that a new wellness journal with all the bells and whistles, like graphs for habit tracking or a specific section for affirmations, for example, would work best for you, then good news: there are plenty of options available. 

Or, if you have a blank spiral notebook that’s been gathering dust in your bedroom or home office space, why not put it to use? There are no rules here—cultivate your wellness journaling practice in a way that feels good to you.   

The post How to Start a Wellness Journaling Practice appeared first on Fitbit Blog.

- Kimia Madani
Balanced Black Girl’s Founder on Creating a Space to Inspire, Ask Questions, and Share Resources for People of Color

In our new monthly profile series, Fitbit is seeking to amplify diversity in the world of wellness and fitness by featuring the voices of POC trail-blazers at the helm of these industries—industries that have discredited voices like theirs for too long. 

For our first profile, we’re highlighting the incredible work of Lestraundra Alfred, or Les, of Balanced Black Girl. We’re excited to share the conversation we had about what Les does as founder of the eponymous podcast, website, and wellness hub. 

Lestraundra Alfred’s first foray into the world of wellness and fitness began at the age of 20, when she was working her first corporate internship. Sitting in front of a computer all day did not lend itself well to high energy levels, and soon she began a quest for more energy. “I started exercising intentionally, and began drawing connections between what I ate and how I felt. After spending a few years heavily focused on physical wellness, I realized what was happening in my mind was just as important, which led me to personal development,” Les shares with Fitbit. 

That’s where the Balanced Black Girl podcast came in. On it, Les explores topics like well-being, health and self-care, spirituality, and more. She also created the Balanced Black Girl community as a mindful collective for Black and brown women—a safe and accessible space where members can chime in with their thoughts on the latest podcast episode, in addition to sharing their knowledge and important resources. 

Keep reading to find out more. 

FITBIT: You created Balanced Black Girl as a haven to provide Black women with the resources, support, and opportunities that are often lacking for them in professional spaces. What drew you to this work?  

LES: I love being a student of wellness, and found many of the voices that were spotlighted as leaders in the space were not Black women. I wanted to learn from fellow Black women who had expertise and experiences in various areas of wellness, and realized if I was also seeking that type of content, others likely were as well. 

So I decided to share the conversations I was having, and the podcast was born.

What’s a wellness or self-care trend you’re glad to see becoming more popularized? 

I think it’s amazing that so many people are having open, honest conversations about wellness, particularly mental health. Though I don’t think these important things are “popularized”, they are becoming less and less taboo to speak openly about, which is important for normalizing.

How about a trend you’re ready to put behind you?

The idea that wellness has a singular look or aesthetic. The journey to being well can look and feel so many different ways, and tying a singular aesthetic to what it means to pursue wellness is exclusionary and limiting.

Are there any changes you’re currently seeing in the industry that give you hope? 

In the industry at large, Black and brown voices are still largely left out. With many of us creating our own platforms and tables to spotlight what’s happening in our communities instead of waiting for mainstream wellness to catch on, we’re able to better serve those who are looking for our content.

Why, in your view, is it so important for there to be communities like yours that are intended for BIPOC women+ and non-binary folx? 

I recently read the book What Happened to You by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah, and it was such an eye-opening book. One major message that stuck out to me was that humans are truly designed to thrive and heal in community. When we have micro therapeutic moments in community with people who accept and care for us, it can go a long way in having healthy, vibrant lives. 

Being in community is truly how we heal, and this becomes even more important for those who are among the most marginalized.

What resources do you feel are most important for BIPOC folx to have access to? 

At minimum, access to affordable fresh food, clean water, equitable healthcare, and proximity to nature. These are basic necessities that far too many people, especially Black and brown people, don’t have access to but are so important. 

Additionally, accessible mental health services and safe spaces to heal in community are essential.Interested in connecting with Les? Check out her website here, follow her on Instagram and TikTok, and be sure to tune in to the Balanced Black Girl podcast, which has new episodes available every Tuesday.

The post Balanced Black Girl’s Founder on Creating a Space to Inspire, Ask Questions, and Share Resources for People of Color appeared first on Fitbit Blog.

- Dee Gautham
How to Find the Right Personal Trainer for You

The right trainer can accelerate your progress and get you results much more efficiently than doing it alone. They’ll help you create a plan to reach your goals, stay motivated, and stay accountable to get results. 

But there’s nothing worse than investing time and money only to find out that you and your trainer aren’t a good fit for each other. Taking the time to research beforehand can help you find a trainer who’s a good fit for your needs.

Here are some tips to find the right trainer for you. 

First, figure out what you need from a trainer. What are your goals, and what kind of support do you want? For example, are you looking for an all-in-one trainer to help with nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle changes? Or just someone to help with your workouts?

Do you want your trainer to have any specialities, such as prenatal and postpartum fitness, powerlifting, or marathon training? 

Next, get clear on how you want to be supported. Do you want in-person support, or virtual support? Do you want to workout at your gym or at home? 

Paint a clear picture of your needs, and the type of person you’re looking for—including any specific qualifications you’d like them to have.   

Do your research to find candidates. Most gyms have a listing of their trainers, their qualifications, and experience. Check out this list at your gym, and take note of any trainers that catch your eye.  

You can also ask friends and family for names of trainers they have worked with in the past to find recommendations. 

In addition, check out social media. Local hashtags (like #sanfranciscopersonaltrainer) can help you identify trainers in your area. 

If you’re looking for an online trainer who can help with both nutrition and fitness, you’re less limited by geography and can find someone online through social media.

Many post tips and videos showcasing their personality and training style on social media. This can give you a preview of what it would be like to work with them. 

Make sure they’re certified. The personal training and fitness coaching industry isn’t well-regulated, so there are many people practicing without a proper certification. Ask your trainer for their qualifications. NCSA, NASM, ACE, ACSM, NPTI, and NETA are all well-known and popular certifications, but there are many others. 

Schedule a consultation. Once you have a list of two or three potential trainers, schedule a consultation or session to get to know them. Some gyms offer a free first session with a trainer; others let you pay for one trial session. 

Understand the trainer’s personality, their coaching philosophies, and experience. 

Take some time to assess: 

Do you feel they are listening to you and your needs?

Have they worked with people like you before?

How, specifically, will they help you overcome your struggles? 

Do you enjoy spending time with them? Do you like their personality? 

Are they setting realistic expectations for you?

Make a selection, and remember to share feedback once you get started. Once you’ve found a trainer you like, start working with them. If you don’t like a specific aspect of their service, provide feedback! Your trainer is there to support you, but they aren’t a mind reader. Be honest with how you’re feeling and ask for any changes if you need to. 

Remember that a relationship is a two-way street. While a trainer can help provide a plan, guidance, and accountability, it’s ultimately up to you to put in the work. So if you’re not seeing the results you want, before you switch trainers, ask yourself if you’ve been consistently putting in the effort on your end. If you have, and it’s genuinely not a good fit, you can always try a different trainer. 

Hiring a personal trainer can help you reach your goals and stay motivated. But do your research before spending money to make sure that your trainer is going to be a good fit for you and your needs. By asking the right questions, you can find the perfect trainer for your needs. 

The post How to Find the Right Personal Trainer for You appeared first on Fitbit Blog.

- Kelsey Maloney
What is “Earthing”? Find Out How You Can Do It—and Become More Grounded

There are many ways to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, but one notable one in particular is through the practice of earthing. Earthing (also known as grounding) is the practice of walking or standing barefoot on the earth, or swimming in a lake or ocean, in order to connect to its innately healing energies.

You probably know the feeling—the urge to kick off your shoes and dig your feet into the grass when you’re in an open field or run towards the ocean when you get to the beach. It’s one of the most natural and oldest wellness practices in the game. Turns out, this practice may actually come with some unexpected health benefits too.

Keep reading to learn more about earthing, its benefits, and how to practice it.

What is earthing?

The earth’s surface holds a tremendous amount of natural energy called electrons. Grounding the human body for health, aka earthing, is the practice of tapping into this natural energy and transferring these electrons into your body through direct contact with your skin. In other words, once you make contact with the earth, you become connected to its endless flow of free electrons.

“The earth is naturally negatively charged, which means it has an abundance of free electrons,” says Kate Bernhardt, owner and founder of Ultimate Longevity. “When we are grounded, we are able to absorb these free electrons as needed in order to neutralize damaging free radicals, reduce inflammation, and support many other vital functions of the human body.”

The origins of earthing and its benefits date back thousands of years and have been recognized throughout history. “It’s nature’s design that living things walk (or crawl) barefoot on the ground, sleep bare skin on the ground, or live their lives in the ocean or another natural body of water,” says Bernhardt. “This was the way life existed for millions of years.”

However, eventually, people started to construct homes where we were no longer grounded when we were indoors. But even then, Bernhardt explains, shoes once had leather soles, which allowed us to be grounded whenever we walked outside. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that shoes with synthetic rubber soles became widely available, and once these were adopted, people were rarely grounded anymore.

“Although in the West we long forgot the importance of being grounded, many other cultures have always remembered how vital it is for our health to be in direct contact with the Earth,” says Bernhardt. 

Fast forward to the 1990’s, when Grounding Movement innovator and author of Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?, Clint Ober, started researching the health benefits of grounding. This was when the modern revival of the practice started gaining popularity.

What are the benefits of earthing?

Although scientific research for earthing has only begun in recent years, the results are already showing a promising connection between the practice and improvements in health issues.

“The most immediately noticeable effect people report from being earthed/grounded is that they ‘feel better’,” says Emma Archer from Groundology. “Scientific studies have shown that earthing can also prevent or reduce inflammation, facilitate healing, lower stress, improve sleep, and reduce pain.”

Some other impressive health benefits may include decreased cortisol, anxiety, and depression, improved mood, thyroid function, and other hormonal production and immunity.

How to practice earthing

Anyone can practice earthing and everyone should practice some form of it. Here’s how to get started:

Stand barefoot in a natural landscape. “Earthing can be as simple as going outside and putting your bare feet or hands in some grass or earth, or going swimming in a natural water source,” says Emma. To get the most out of your earthing session, try 30 minutes at a time, which should be enough time to ease any tension or stress.

Go for a walk barefoot (safely!). Go for a walk barefoot in grass, soil, or sand but remember to be aware of your surroundings and make sure it’s safe to walk without shoes.

“There are also important safety considerations that must be taken into account when selecting an outdoor location to ground, such as avoiding areas that may have recently been treated with pesticides or other toxic chemicals that could be absorbed through your skin while you ground,” says Bernhardt.

The good news is that you don’t need to be in a forest everyday to reap the benefits—just touching a small patch of grass will do the trick. The main takeaway is that being outside in greenery calms us down and cheers us up. Happy earthing!

The post What is “Earthing”? Find Out How You Can Do It—and Become More Grounded appeared first on Fitbit Blog.

- Katie Verburg
The Benefits of Wearable Weights—and When to Use Them

In today’s world, individuals find themselves more stressed than ever with increased work, less free time, and never ending to-do lists. While there are many ways to manage overall stress levels, research shows that physical activity continues to be a top choice to help lower stress levels, increase energy, and improve mood. 

While many want to start incorporating more resistance training into their routine, they may feel hesitant to join a gym with a monthly membership fee, or start spending money on expensive gym equipment for the home. One solution? Wearable weights! 

Adding resistance training exercise into the mix has a plethora of benefits including (but not limited to): increasing muscle mass, decreasing body fat percentage, improving overall strength, mobility, and balance, as well as an increase in self-esteem. 

Wearable weights, also known as ankle weights, give you the ability to add resistance to body weight exercises without burning a hole in your wallet! Ankle weights range in price from $20 to $60 depending on where they are purchased, and how heavy they are. 

Why would someone want to add ankle weights? Great question! Ankle weights are one of the most convenient ways to make the simplest exercise more challenging. For example, take basic walking, by strapping on a set of ankle weights it automatically adds an extra two, four, eight, or even ten pounds to that movement, increasing your strength and your stamina with the same movement.

In addition to general walking, there are many other uses for ankle weights, such as placing them around both ankles and performing lower body exercises, or placing them around both wrists and performing upper body exercises. Not only that, but instead of placing them around different body parts, hold them together and use them similarly as a dumbbell!

Some other examples include:

Seated Leg Extension. Place ankle weights snug around ankles, and take a seat with knees at 90 degrees. From this position, straighten the right leg out in front, and lift up until the right leg is parallel to the floor. Return the right leg to the start position, and repeat for the left leg. 

Overhead Press. Place ankle weights snug around wrists, bend the elbows, turn the palms away from body, and bring hands up towards shoulder height. Slowly raise both arms up above head until arms are fully extended. Return to start position, and repeat. 

Climbing Stairs. Place ankle weights snug around both ankles, and climb stairs either one step at a time, or skipping one step. Repeat as many times as desired. 

Walking from room to room at home, climbing stairs in the office, or doing a Fitbit virtual workout during lunch hour—adding wearable weights can bring that extra bit of challenge!

The post The Benefits of Wearable Weights—and When to Use Them appeared first on Fitbit Blog.

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- Fitnessista
How to eat for your menstrual cycle

Sharing tips on how to eat for your menstrual cycle and how to change up your nutrition throughout the month!

Hi friends! How’s the week going so far? I ended up catching an amaaaazing hot yoga class -it’s been way too long!- and also got a ton of chores done around the house. Today is triple 1:1 appointments and prepping for Total Body Reset. We start on Monday!! Don’t miss out.

For today’s post, I wanted to share a post from Mia all about how to change up your nutrition during your cycle. She asked me if I would be interested in a plan for my personal use, and I knew immediately that it would make an awesome blog topic. I shared a post here about how to change up your workouts during the month, and a podcast here about how productivity changes during your cycle.

Here are tons of tips on how to fuel your body as our hormones change throughout the month!

How to eat for your menstrual cycle Week 1 Low Estrogen

Choose to eat low-carb during the week of your period.

*Remember, day 1 of your period is the first day of blood flow.

Follicular Phase– On your period, aim to focus on anti-inflammatory foods such as fatty fish like salmon & sardines or take a high quality vitamin E capsule to help balance out inflammation from oils and seeds . Look for iron-rich foods like red/dark meat, legumes and lentils. Try to pair these with vitamin C-filled foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables for maximum absorption and bioavailability. Be sure to include many magnesium rich sources such as dark chocolate, almonds and pumpkin seeds.

Note from Gina: I wore a CGM the week I started my cycle and was SHOCKED to see how high my blood glucose levels were during that 5-day span. I had to eat lower carb to stay within a healthy zone, and felt so much better. I will absolutely be doing this going forward.

During days 1-10:

May see higher than average levels of blood sugar and impaired insulin sensitivity on the first day of your period, so aim to keep carbohydrates lower

Fasting is easier and appropriate during this time.

This may be a time that you finish your last meal of the day by 4pm and not eat until you’re hungry the next day.

Advanced fasting like 24 hour fasts for metabolically-flexible individuals may be used during this time when supervised.

Meals ideas:

– Salmon on salads with pumpkin seeds

– Fish cakes with sautéed kale and bacon

– Steak with broccolini and lemon

– Dark chocolate covered almonds

– Dark chocolate covered pumpkin seeds

– Greek yogurt, berries and almonds

– Eggs, sautéed greens, grapefruit

Week 2 Estrogen Peaks

Add in healthy carbs 

Estrogen spikes just before ovulation towards the middle of the menstrual cycle, around day 14. If you’re working out, keep in mind that this can cause tendons and ligaments to become more loose, which can result in injury. Estrogen crosses the blood-brain barrier and increases levels of serotonin, which can lead to feelings of lethargy and decreased motivation, so if you’re not up for your usual workouts and have a case of the “blahs,” perhaps you consider gentle activities like yoga and long walks. During this phase, progesterone and estrogen are elevated then drop, eventually causing bleeding. Since higher estrogen phase lends to more free fatty acids during activity, women may find that in this phase HIIT can feel challenging, since glycogen stores are more difficult to access and utilize.

During days 11-14:

Eat protein rich foods to help reduce physical and mental inertness

Protein can help repair tissues and speed up muscle recovery and soreness

Collagen powder may help boost muscle recovery and support connective tissues, hair and skin.

You may experience higher spikes in blood sugar during this time as well as some insulin resistance during ovulation

Focus on healthy fats and fiber to help detoxify estrogen (cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, broccoli sprouts, brussels sprouts, etc)

It is best not to fast. If you must fast, maintain 13-15 hours fasting.

Eat balanced macro meals during this time enjoying carbohydrates like potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, rice, and legumes.

Enjoy cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower.

Week 3 Estrogen levels are elevated and progesterone peaks

Luteal Phase– During the luteal phase, hydration is important because of the high hormones.  Despite noticing a decrease in thirst and increase in body temperature, it’s important to stay up on hydration during this time in order to avoid dehydration. Progesterone increases sodium excretion, so be sure to make sure you’re salting your food. During this phase you may notice an increase in bloat, which is due to water moving from the bloodstream into cells, which decreases blood volume.

During days 15 – 20:

Continue consuming healthy carbs

Electrolytes, LMNT, and minerals

Roasted potatoes with salt

Roasted vegetables Chipotle bowls

Mexican food

Week 4- Estrogen drops and progesterone peaks During days 21-28:

– Not a great time for fasting

– Normal blood sugar levels

– Enjoy carbohydrates

Insulin sensitivity is normalized

Adequate protein is helpful

Progesterone increases your metabolic rate as it’s a “hot hormone”

Appetite might be increased as well

In the 2-3 days before your period, lean into lower carb options, this is when you can experience some higher blood sugar levels. Things like avocados, bacon, red meat, eggs and non starchy vegetables are great to combat the higher blood sugar levels.

Vitamin E is anti-inflammatory and may help with any PMS symptoms as you approach your period.

Adding transdermal magnesium, magnesium glycinate or magnesium flakes in a foot soak or bath can help with PMS symptoms.

So tell me, friends: do you change up your nutrition throughout your cycle? 

If you’re looking for a reset for health and nutrition habits, especially as we head into summer, join us for Total Body Reset! All of the details are here. We’d love to see you in the group, especially if you’re looking for higher energy and happy, balanced hormones. Enrollment closes this weekend and we won’t be doing this again until fall.

xoxo

Gina

More:

Working out during your cycle

Seed cycling

Balancing your blood sugar and making healthy swaps

The post How to eat for your menstrual cycle appeared first on The Fitnessista.

- Fitnessista
The latest Trunk Club

Sharing what I got in my latest Trunk Club shipment, what I plan on keeping, and what’s going back. This post isn’t sponsored, and sadly last week, Trunk Club disabled their referral program. I still highly recommend it, even though I can no longer offer a discount code. 

Hi friends! How’s the day going? I hope you’re having a wonderful morning so far. I’m getting in an upper body workout and spending the rest of the day getting things together for a little pool party luau we’re hosting for the kids and their school friends this week. I can’t believe it’s the last week of school! I’m also trying to batch as much work as possible to get ready for the relaxed summer schedule.

A quick question: it’s been a little while, but I’m thinking about hosting Summer Shape Up again this summer. Is this something you’d be interested in doing? It would be 4 weeks of fitness plans, meal ideas, and giveaways, likely starting in mid June. If you’re in, please let me know!

For today’s post, I’m sharing the latest Trunk Club shipment! They no longer have a referral program, but all of the items are linked below if anything catches your eye.

The latest Trunk Club

Bardot long-sleeve shirtdress

I really wanted to like this dress because I like the understated print and the colors. In the end, I decided to send it back because it’s about to be 4000 degrees here in Tucson (no long sleeves again until November) and it was a lot of fabric.

Ray-Ban sunglasses

I really liked the style of these and the fact that they weren’t too big on my face. I decided to send them back because the arms of the glasses felt really flimsy, like they’d easily break. I feel like I can get cuter sunnies at Nordstrom Rack for a fraction of the cost.

Boden Jersey dress

This is such a perfect black dress because the fit is classic, it has pockets, it’s a stretchy jersey material, and you can easily dress it up or do. It didn’t feel like anything special to me, so I sent it back.

FARM Rio Midi Dress

I was so on the fence about this one! I feel like these dresses are gorgeous and absolutely love this brand. In the end, the print felt like a little too much happening, so I sent it back. If you have any FARM Rio dresses you love, please link away! I also might lurk Poshmark.

AGOLDE Parker shorts with this Madewell tank

(with these sandals <– on sale!)

Shorts are SO tricky for me. I have short, muscular legs, a short torso, and all of the high waist ones look gigantic. The style of these are SO trendy and they fit really well, but were just a bit too big. I might try them again and go down a size. I kept the Madewell tank because you can never have enough classic Madewell tees and tanks.

Rails Sandy Tiered dress

You guys know I love everything Rails, so I had a feeling right away that this was a keeper. I’m going to have a tailored a tiny bit at the waist, but otherwise, it’s perfect. The fabric is light and soft for summer, and I love the print and tiered structure. I can already tell I’ll wear it a lot with sandals, block heels, sneakers and a jean jacket.

So tell me, friends: have you tried Trunk Club or anything similar? Where is your favorite place to shop right now?

xo

Gina

The post The latest Trunk Club appeared first on The Fitnessista.

- Fitnessista
Friday Faves

Hi friends! Happy Friday! The weekend is heeeeeere. What do you have going on?? The girls have triple birthday parties (WHEW!), and I’m looking forward to a margarita by the pool, planting some new flowers in the backyard (not the front yard, because javelinas eat them), and a new baking project (details below!). I’d love to hear what you have going on.

Something exciting coming up: another round of Total Body Reset. You can get all of the details here! Price will jump on Sunday night at midnight, so if you know you’re in, and want some extra support and accountability as we head into summer, now is the chance. 🙂 We are also very flexible with payment plans and don’t want price to hinder anyone from joining. If you need an alternate plan, email me: gina@fitnessista.com

It’s time for the weekly Friday Faves party! This is where I share some of my favorite finds from the week and around the web. I always love to hear about your faves, too, so please shout out something you’re loving in the comments section below.

Mother's Day 2022

(A beautiful gift from the girls and the Pilot. It was a build-your-own Zen garden from Flower Shop. They picked it up when we were in Scottsdale last weekend. I love it so much, and had a little too much fun putting it together.)

Friday Faves 5.13 Fitness + good eats:

Sakara 30-day reset. They sent me a little taste of the 30-day program and I have been LOVING the meals this week. The cookies and cream parfait was just a dream, let me tell ya. All of their meals are plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, and free or refined sugar. They also taste aaaamazing, are packed with nutrients, and feel like I treat because I didn’t have to try and make these beautiful meals for myself.

Sakara 30-day reset

Their 30-day reset comes with a guide, their metabolism bars (my fave bars ever), breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and complimentary online Pilates classes. Oh, and the cutest baseball cap.

sakara baseball cap - Friday Faves 5.13

You can check it out here – such an awesome treat for yourself! My code XOGINAH gets you 20% off sitewide, too!

This chopped Italian salad with basil swirls:

chopped Italian salad | Friday Faves 5.13

Read, watch, listen:

This version of one of my favorite Broadway songs. UGH so perfect.

Season 2 of Bridgerton is finally finished, and wow. So spicy and amazing – I haven’t consistently watched TV in forever, and feel like I couldn’t blast through these episodes quickly enough. Season 3, hurry up! Ok back to my books now.

Check out this week’s podcast episode with sustainable weight loss tips here!

Day of the Dead cookbook. The Pilot picked this up while we were at Hacienda del Sol for brunch. It’s packed with authentic Mexican recipes and I’m so excited to make some mole sauce from scratch and my first attempt at homemade conchas this weekend. It’s a gorgeous cookbook with beautiful photos, and I can tell it’s going to get a lot of love in our kitchen.

4 generations from Mother’s Day brunch

(Pic of 4 generations from Mother’s Day brunch)

5 health books you should read one day.

Going to update this Father’s Day gift guide, but if you’re looking for ideas, I have quite a few in this post.

Fashion + beauty:

New Rails dress. It came in the latest Trunk Club and is super soft. I’ll share a recap of all of the other goods next week.

New Rails dress | Friday Faves 5.13

If you haven’t tried our All Bright C serum yet, I highly recommend it. It changes the tone and texture of my skin and can help with age spots while protecting from further damage. I just ran out and ordered a new bottle.

Happy Friday, friends! What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today and I’ll see ya soon.

xo

Gina

The post Friday Faves appeared first on The Fitnessista.

- Fitnessista
103: Sustainable weight loss tips

Hi friends! In today’s podcast episode, I’m chatting all about sustainable weight loss tips. This is a common request I receive on Instagram and while I did a series of stories on this subject, I feel like it would be better to have it all in one spot in a podcast episode!

Disclaimer: due to today’s topic, I don’t recommend listening with kids in the car. They shouldn’t worry about how much they weigh —  they should focus on playing with their friends and enjoy being a kid.

Something worth mentioning here: weight loss is not the holy grail of health. Do not tie your worth to how much gravitational pull your body has towards the earth. It is possible to be considered *overweight* and feel amazing, and also have beautiful blood work and be healthy and vibrant. It’s also possible to be *underweight* struggling with health complications and feeling horrible. This episode is about finding a healthy weight for yourself, whatever that looks like, if that’s one of your goals. In certain circumstances, weight loss can correlate with many health benefits, like improved energy, blood lipid profiles, insulin response, blood pressure, etc.

I’m a big believer in having goals that aren’t focused on soley weight loss. Take pictures, notice how you *feel*, focus on all of the health foundations (nutrition, sleep, hydration, stress management, mindset, fitness), write down your strength or speed improvements, get your body composition checked (DEXA or hydrostatic), celebrate your wins along the way.

If your goal is weight loss, the key is to do this in a way that doesn’t make your hormones angry and give you the opposite result (increased inflammation, plateaus and/or weight gain) and do it in a sustainable way you can maintain. You want a method that doesn’t feel like you totally flipped your routine upside-down — to do this, build on habits over time.

103: Sustainable weight loss tips

Here are some of my tips:

– Assess your FULL routine (foundations of health, alcohol intake, stress, sleep)

– Add where you can and continue to build over time

– Give yourself patience and grace – look at failure as feedback

– Some of the things I think are the most important (protein intake to preserve muscle tissue, sleep, hydration, trying new recipes, move more)

– Only track servings/macros/calories if this is something you want to maintain

– Have a deep *why*

For all of the details, check out the full episode!! If you enjoyed this one, please take the time to leave a rating or review for the show – it means the world to me and helps me continue to book amazing guests!

Resources from this episode:

If you don’t have the famous sauna blanket already, it’s one of my favorite things ever and feels SO good. Check it out here and use the code FITNESSISTA75 for $75 off!

Join us for Fit Team! You can try it out here for just $7. I’ve extended the promo through tomorrow just so you can get May’s workouts and be ready to go this weekend! If you are looking for a phased workout plan based on results, this is your chance.

I love love love the meals from Sakara LifeUse this link and the code XOGINAH for 20% off their meal delivery and clean boutique items. I’m enjoying a shipment this week and it.is.life.

Get 15% off Organifi with the code FITNESSISTA. The green juice and gold powder are my favorites! I recently fell in love with Harmony and drink it like a hot cocoa in warm almond milk or add it to my smoothie.

Thank you so much for listening and for all of your support with the podcast! Please be sure to subscribe, and leave a rating or review if you enjoyed this episode. If you leave a rating, head to this page and you’ll get a little “thank you” gift from me to you.

The post 103: Sustainable weight loss tips appeared first on The Fitnessista.

- Fitnessista
5 High Protein Meal Prep Recipes

Sharing 4 high protein meal prep recipes! Some new inspiration if you’re looking to amp up your protein intake.

Hi friends! How are ya? I hope you’re having a lovely morning. We’re coming out the other side from dance competition straight into dance picture night at the studio (WHEW) and I’m looking forward to getting some work and studying for IHP done today. I’d love to hear about what you have going on!

Today, let’s chat about protein!! I try to hit 4-5 palm-sized servings of protein per day (based on my personal goals, activity level, body composition, etc.) and protein can be hard to hit if I haven’t done some advance planning and prepping. I’ve learned the hard way that it makes a huge difference to have protein in the fridge, ready to go. Each week, I’ve been taking time to chop veggies and make some protein staples. And so it’s been much easier to hit my daily goal.

For today’s post, I’m sharing some staple protein recipes if you’re looking for new inspiration! These are meat-based, but here are some ideas for my veggie and vegan friends: tempeh bacon, edamame, mung bean pasta, sprouted tofu scramble, and lentils in the instant pot.

5 High Protein Meal Prep Recipes(Had to use a stock photo because I have a hard time making meat look appetizing… and I think the asparagus is fake?? Taking votes)

5 High Protein Meal Prep Recipes Whole Chicken in a Crockpot

Prep time: 15 min

Cook Time: 4-6 hours/ 8 hours

Ingredients:

1- 3.5-4.5lb whole chicken, giblets removed, patted dry

1 sweet onion, chopped

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Place onion in the bottom of a 6 qt crock pot.  Add the chicken, breast side down. No liquid is needed as the chicken will make its own juices with the onion and grease from the fat from the chicken skin.  Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-6 hours until internal temperature is 165 at the thickest part of the chicken. Cool completely, remove skin & bones and shred the chicken or cut whole pieces of thighs, breasts, and wings to store for meals throughout the week.

Meal ideas:

BAS: big a$$ salad with all the veggies and avocado plus shredded chicken and Primal Kitchen Ranch dressing (I order mine it from Thrive Market)

Chicken with air fryer broccoli & whipped potatoes

Chicken enchiladas

Chicken salad

 

Sheet Pan Creamy Dill Salmon

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1- 1.5 lbs whole salmon filet

3 Tbsp avocado oil mayo

1 Tsp fresh dill

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tsp grainy mustard

Pepper

Salt

4 lemon slices

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place salmon skin side down. Combine the mayo and grainy mustard in a small bowl.  Spread evenly over the top of the salmon. Sprinkle with fresh dill, onion powder, salt and pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.

Meal ideas:

Add your favorite vegetables

Pair with a sweet potato or whipped potatoes

Place over zoodles

Serve with protein rice* or rice pasta

Cut into small pieces and put inside of a siete almond flour tortilla with greens and tomatoes

Make it a sheet pan meal by surrounding it with asparagus and chopped zucchini.

Add protein rice* if a starch is desired

*Protein Rice: 1 cup jasmine rice 1 ½ c. chicken bone broth. Bring rice and chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat, keep covered and let stand for 10 minutes.  luff with a fork and serve.

 

Juicy Brined Oven Roasted Turkey Breast

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 60-90 minutes

Ingredients:

3.5-5 lb Bone-in Turkey Breast

1 cup dill pickle juice

½ cup coarse salt, like Redmonds Real salt

1 tbsp onion powder

½ tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp black peppercorns

2 tbsp dried chives

2 cups chicken bone broth

2 tbsp ghee or olive oil

Directions:

In a 2 gallon ziploc bag, combine all ingredients except for bone broth & ghee/olive oil. Add just enough clean, filtered water to cover the turkey breast. Close the ziploc bag and place in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Remove the turkey breast from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Place in the bottom of a heavy dutch oven and add 2 cups of chicken bone broth.

Rub the turkey breast down with ghee or olive oil. Season with additional salt & pepper as desired.

Bake at 375 degrees for 60-90 minutes uncovered or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees when a thermometer is inserted in the thickest part of the breast. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Great for quick lunchtime meals!

Meal ideas:

Serve with broccoli & whipped potatoes

Serve with baked sweet potato and green beans

Turn into “turkey salad”

Serve in lettuce cups with peanut sauce

Serve with protein rice & asparagus

 

Bacon Burgers

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb grass-fed ground beef sirloin or ground bison

4 pieces of raw, thick cut bacon, chopped into pieces

1 egg yolk

½ tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

Salt

Pepper

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until just combined. Do not overmix the meat or it will lend to tough burgers. Form into 4 equal patties. Grill or pan fry until medium.  Remove from heat and serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Meal ideas:

Perfect for burger in a bowl for a quick, weeknight meal (serve with chopped lettuce, tomato, red onion, dill pickles, cheese if desired, and ketchup and mustard on top)

Breakfast burger with an egg on top and sauteed asparagus

Crumble over a baked potato and top with sour cream and chives

Great with grilled romaine, caesar dressing and sliced avocados

Turkey meatballs

Turkey meatballs

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb ground turkey

1/4 cup almond meal

1 egg

1 splash of Worcestershire sauce

Garlic powder, salt, and pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients – I like to use generous amounts of garlic power, salt, and pepper – using your hands until well-mixed.

Use a melon ball scooper and your hands to form 12-15 balls and place onto the baking sheet.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until browned and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let cool completely and the store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer in a Ziplock bag (<— this is my method).

Meal ideas:

Turkey sub with turkey meatballs, Rao’s marinara, and basil in your favorite wrap or on toast

Thai curry meatballs! Saute some veggies on the stovetop (like bell pepper, onion, zucchini, and garlic) and then stir in 1 tablespoon red curry paste and a can of coconut milk. Add the meatballs, heat through, and serve on zoodles, or your favorite rice.

Break up into crumbles and add to an egg scramble

Break up into crumbles and make tacos with 2 of your favorite tortillas, cabbage slaw, salsa, and avocado

So tell me friends: What is your favorite protein option to prep in advance? Turkey meatballs and eggs in the instant pot are staples around here.

Also worth mentioning again that I’ve been buying all of our meat and fish from Butcher Box lately and am blown.away. They have so many organic and wild options, they’re a B Corp, and everything has been super fresh and delicious. You can use my referral link for ground beef for life and $30 off.

Hope you have a wonderful day and I’ll see ya soon!

xoxo

Gina

More:

10 high-protein snacks without protein powder

5 easy meal prep salad recipes

My personal meal prep blueprint

How to cook salmon 10 different ways

The post 5 High Protein Meal Prep Recipes appeared first on The Fitnessista.

- Lindsey Bomgren, CPT
25-Minute Prenatal Barre Workout (No Equipment)
Get the boutique prenatal barre workout class experience at home with this guided full body barre workout! No barre experience or fancy equipment necessary - this workout will use just your bodyweight to build muscle, strengthen your core and pelvic floor, and safely get your heart rate up during pregnancy!
- Lindsey Bomgren, CPT
30-Minute Leg Day Workout For Women
Strength train your way to strong, sculpted legs, thighs and glutes with this full-length, 30-Minute Leg Day Workout video! This leg workout hits every muscle in the lower body with squats, deadlifts, and lunges -- the best leg day exercises in a 30-minute leg day workout for women.
- Lindsey Bomgren, CPT
10-Minute Pregnancy Leg Workout (SPD and Sciatica Safe)
Strengthen your legs, glutes, quads, thighs, hamstrings and calves with this guided PREGNANCY LEG WORKOUT! Safe for the first, second and third trimesters, and includes only bilateral movements to make it safe for anyone dealing with SPD or sciatica pain as well!
- Lindsey Bomgren, CPT
20-Minute Low Impact Strength + Cardio Workout
All of the intensity without any of the impact: that's what you can look forward to in this LOW IMPACT Strength and Cardio Workout! Modifications are offered to scale these eight low-impact strength and cardio exercises for beginners and pregnancy to advanced athletes.
- Lindsey Bomgren, CPT
35-Minute Prenatal Cardio and Mobility Workout
Tabata cardio intervals combine with full body mobility drills to get your heart rate up AND improve flexibility and range of motion. This is a great low impact prenatal cardio workout, that is safe for all trimesters, but challenging for all fitness levels as well! No equipment needed.
- Lindsey Bomgren, CPT
From shoes to shorts, sports bras and running belts - these are the best RUNNING GEAR picks from lululemon! Whether you're training for a marathon or going for a power walk around the block, these are some of the most-loved lululemon essentials for runners.
- Lindsey Bomgren, CPT
7 Sciatica Stretches to Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain
7 of the BEST sciatica stretches to relieve pain! This guided 10-minute stretch is designed to reduce pain in the hips, legs and low back by RELEASING the piriformis muscle, which can pinch the sciatic nerve. These are also great pregnancy sciatica stretches, and safe for all trimesters!
- Lindsey Bomgren, CPT
35-Minute Advanced Pregnancy Workout At Home
If you were active before pregnancy and have struggled to find workouts that are pregnancy safe but still challenging, THIS is the workout for you! This pregnancy workout at home is designed to safely build muscle and increase cardiovascular endurance through the first, second AND third trimesters!
- Lindsey Bomgren, CPT
8 Pregnancy Stretches to Relieve Back Pain in Pregnancy 
The BEST pregnancy stretches to relieve back pain in pregnancy! This 10-minute pregnancy stretching routine releases tight muscles in the hips, glutes, neck and spine to relieve lower back pain during pregnancy.
- Lindsey Bomgren, CPT
8 BEST Kettlebell Exercises (35-Minute Kettlebell Workout)
Do these 8 kettlebell exercise for FULL BODY Kettlebell Workout at home. Build muscle and burn fat with a single kettlebell (or single dumbbell). Modifications are offered to scale this full body kettlebell workout for beginners and pregnancy to advanced athletes.

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- Jordin Tinar
The Hidden Hormone Epidemic: A conversation with Dr. Aviva Romm [Part 1]

Are you ready to talk about hormone health? This is the episode that Robin has literally been counting down the days to, with her special guest Dr. Aviva Romm!

Today they dive deep into all things hormone health that we experience in our everyday life, as well as through the various stages and seasons we move through. Robin also asks Dr. Romm the questions that you submitted by social media and email to have answered, and the information she shared was so fascinating to hear.

As you know, Robin has been on a journey this past year with her own hormonal health, sharing with you as much as possible along the way. Bringing Dr. Romm on the podcast today is a tremendous opportunity to get an expert perspective on these important topics, and hopefully it empowers you on your journey to advocate for your health and to feel your very best.  

You’re not going to want to miss Part 2 of this special conversation next time on the podcast. We’ll see you then!

Show highlights: what you can look forward to in this episode!

There is a hidden hormone epidemic that exists, with several levels to why it’s hidden and so often normalized in society. Dr. Romm made a big realization after starting college years ago, and she considered herself a “trojan horse” when she went back to Yale decades later to get her MD. Hormone health is a critical vital sign of our overall health in a variety of ways, every day and not just during certain times of the month. We’re getting better as moms at admitting when something is off, but historically women have just kept going and tried to push through burnout.We often forget about the non-physical symptoms of burnout, but there are subtle signs to watch for and to be aware of.  The right types of foods, including carbohydrates, healthy fats and quality proteins, are absolutely critical for supporting our nervous system. Smart devices can be our worst enemy at bed time. Dr. Romm shares how to approach a sleep routine in the most optimal way. 

Links in this episode:

From The Balanced Life:

Join the Free 5-Day Pilates Strong ChallengeThe Balanced Life SisterhoodThe Balanced Life on InstagramSign up for The Balanced Life Newsletter

From Dr. Aviva Romm:

Dr. Aviva Romm’s Website & InstagramPodcast & Episode on Adrenal FatigueHer Latest Book, Hormone Intelligence: The Complete Guide to Calming Hormone Chaos and Restoring Your Body’s Natural Blueprint for Well-BeingArticles on The Pill & Personal Empowerment

Other links:

Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D.Article on UK Study, ‘Listen to women’: UK doctors issued with first guidance on endometriosisThe North American Menopause Society (NAMS)

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The post The Hidden Hormone Epidemic: A conversation with Dr. Aviva Romm [Part 1] appeared first on The Balanced Life.

- Jordin Tinar
Q&A: how I de-stress, the weekly task I don’t enjoy, and tips to stay active

Today we’re diving into an “Ask Me Anything” episode, where Robins answers your most asked questions from Instagram.. 

The questions Robin answers today are the ones that she thinks will have the most impact, and hopefully help as many people as possible.

Some are informative and specific to Pilates and exercising, and some are more personal as Robin reveals how she balances being a mom of 4, a wife, while running a business. You’ll also get a look at the new and exciting things that are coming to The Balanced Life this year! 

Show highlights: what you can look forward to in this episode!

By loving her career and being a mom so much, it gives Robin the ability to balance things as she moves through different seasons in her professional and personal lifeRobin doesn’t necessarily enjoy meal planning, but the real value in meal planning comes from reducing decision fatigue.How Robin and Matt are teaching balanced living to their children.Find time in your day to find at least one thing that you do daily to de-stress.  Robin gives specific questions you can ask yourself to determine when is the best time to work out for you.Movement can be medicine, and look at your health as an investment! Robin shares how to jumpstart your fitness routine if you don’t feel like you have the time or energy, or you’re dealing with chronic pain.Having a negative relationship with exercise actually led Robin to what she does today, and everything changed for her when she found Pilates.You don’t have to be perfect when it comes to your exercise routine, and give yourself grace, especially if you’re also raising children. Make small changes, and those small steps will add up to big results. 

Links in this episode:

Join The Balanced Life SisterhoodTry Pilates for free with the 5-day Pilates Strong challengeEpisode 19: Q&A with my husband: marriage, health + family balanceEpisode 34: Common Misconceptions about PilatesRaising Worry Free Girls by Sissy GoffPortable SaunaMagnetic Meal Planner

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The post Q&A: how I de-stress, the weekly task I don’t enjoy, and tips to stay active appeared first on The Balanced Life.

- Jordin Tinar
My favorite products + tips for hormone health

You know when you find something that feels like a total game-changer and you want to tell everyone you know? 

Well, over the past year, I’ve found several hormone-health-friendly products that have made a huge difference in my life that I want to share with you. They’ve helped me tackle stress, get better sleep, and improve my skin — all areas of my health that affect how I feel on a daily basis.

And while I’m by no means perfect, I do feel so much better as a result of making small changes to my daily routine and adding in these products.

Here are just a few that I’m loving lately…

This post includes affiliate links, which means The Balanced Life may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through the link!

Favorite Products

Non-Toxic CookwareReducing exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals in my food is essential. I love my Caraway set and Le Creuset (an investment for sure – I bought mine at their outlet) to help me reduce these chemicals on a daily basis.Clean Beauty products Your skin is your largest organ, so what you put on your skin is important! I love Osea for their serums + moisturizer, Ilia for their cheek stain, and Native Deodorant (I’ve been using this for years!). HydrationIt’s no secret staying hydrated is an essential part of staying healthy! I love using my large hydroflask to keep water nearby all day and have Harmless Harvest Coconut Water on hand for days I’m feeling a little more depleted and want some extra minerals and hydration support.Blue Light Blocking GlassesBlue light can really affect our sleep and our body’s biological clock (AKA circadian rhythm) when we look at screens late at night or too close to bed. By using blue light blocking glasses, you help the production of melatonin, which helps keep your body to its natural timing and get better sleep. I love these glasses and TBL team uses them too!Himalayan Salt LampThe warm pink and orange glow creates a calming and relaxing atmosphere within a room, helping to increase melatonin production for a comfortable night’s sleep.SupplementsI’ve talked a lot about my daily supplements on the podcast here!

Routines + Habits

Winding down an hour before bed with an epsom salt bath + a good book to help prepare me for a good night’s sleep.Keeping a lighter schedule in an effort to slow down (always a work in progress!).Morning sunlight as often as possible – this helps by triggering my body to stop the production of melatonin and increase cortisol, to help me feel away and ready for the day!Afternoon stretch + breathing breaks to calm my mind and refocus (and lowering stress-related hormones).Daily Pilates to help release endorphins and serotonin to help me feel my best (you aren’t surprised by that one, are you?).

Nourishing meals + snacks

I’ve been making a lot of smoothies with blueberries recently, like this one from Recipe Central! Smoothies are a great way to sneak in a lot of nutrients and help reduce inflammation.Eggs for breakfast for a solid protein and nutrient-rich start to the day. I love a good breakfast bowl! I also do my best to eat within an hour of waking to help keep my hormones and insulin balanced throughout the day.

While swapping out products isn’t a cure-all, simple changes to our products and routines can have a direct impact on our health and the way we feel each day, so I hope you find these helpful and are able to make small steps towards your healthiest self!

xo,

PS – These products and recommendations should not be considered medical advice. I encourage you to talk to your doctor so you can care for your hormones in a way that works best for you!

The post My favorite products + tips for hormone health appeared first on The Balanced Life.

- Jordin Tinar
Steps I’ve Taken Towards Hormonal Balance

Hello, hormones! Nice to meet you! This month, we’re talking about hormonal health.

Hormones often get overlooked, yet they are at the heart of our lives and wellness. They are fundamental to how we feel each day and how our bodies function. And we need to normalize talking about hormones and learn about our hormonal health before we find ourselves out of balance. 

In this insightful episode, Robin brings the conversation about hormones into light. She talks about getting to the root cause of our physical problems and dives into the key things she focused on over the last year, while overcoming hormonal imbalance. She shares actionable steps you can take to care for yourself and support healthy hormones. Stay tuned to learn what you can do to support hormonal health and maintain hormone balance! 

steps towards hormonal balance

Show highlights: what you can look forward to in this episode!

Hormones are the basis for just about every function in the body and affect almost every bodily process. We don’t always go to the root cause of the issue when looking to solve physical problems like acne, thinning hair, weight gain, or energy loss. We often go for a quick fix.Robin talks about the physical symptoms she was experiencing and what finally led her to search for the root cause and make a change.Robin’s healing process was gradual, but very effective. She shares a list of the key things she has focused on over the past year.We all need opportunities to reset. Robin had to become aware of when she was becoming overstimulated and learn to relax her body and calm her mind.Pilates has been helpful for Robin over the last year. It kept her moving without any added stress.We need to embrace where we are now, listen to our bodies, and allow time to heal when necessary. 

Links in this episode:

The Balanced Life SisterhoodThe Balanced Life on InstagramEpisode 51 with Berrion BerryEpisode 52: A Surprising DiagnosisSign up for The Balanced Life Newsletter

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The post Steps I’ve Taken Towards Hormonal Balance appeared first on The Balanced Life.

- Jordin Tinar
Announcing The Balanced Life Pilates Instructor Team

I have some exciting news to share and I want you to be the first to know! Check out this quick video below for the exciting announcement + exclusive details!

I’m so excited to announce that three expert Pilates instructors are officially joining us at The Balanced Life! 🎉

I’m not going anywhere – I love teaching and creating workouts for you. You’ll continue to see new workouts and more from me, along with more new workouts from Sheri, Becca, and Kaita inside The Balanced Life Sisterhood!

This means members of The Balanced Life Sisterhood will now get access to even MORE workouts, including a variety of lengths, styles, and focuses – all with our signature approach of grace over guilt, clear instruction, and encouragement to focus on progress, not perfection.

Get to know your newest Pilates instructors

Sheri’s love for the way Pilates makes her feel inspired her to become a certified Pilates instructor nearly ten years ago. Her calm voice and intentional approach to movement will lead you to uncover your strength, connect to your core, and learn to trust yourself, both on and off the mat.

As a Birth Doula she also specializes in prenatal & postpartum Pilates. She has a passion to educate and empower women to feel good in their bodies and celebrate the seasons of change in their lives.

Sheri lives in San Diego and loves spending her weekends exploring with her family.

Becca’s journey to take better care of her body moved her to become a certified Pilates instructor more than ten years ago. Her realistic approach to Pilates helps you gain more confidence and mindfulness in your everyday life.

She specializes in making Pilates accessible to everyone. Becca believes Pilates is for ANYbody and because it didn’t always come naturally to her, she has the words and tools to help others discover its joy.

Becca and her family live just north of Santa Barbara in Los Olivos, CA.

Kaita began her career in dance, which eventually led her to the world of Pilates and becoming a certified instructor almost 15 years ago. She was interested in how Pilates emphasized alignment and helped women feel good without trying to be perfect.

She specializes in an “embodied approach,” using the body as a tool for healing. Kaita will help you become more curious and playful with your Pilates practice to relieve tension, ease pain, and cultivate a deeper mind-body connection. 

After living in Santa Barbara for years, Kaita and her family now call Austin, TX home.

We can’t wait for all that’s ahead! If you’re not yet a member, we’d love to have you join us! Click here to learn more about The Sisterhood and we’ll see you on your mat soon!

xo,

PS – I also had these three women on the podcast recently where we talked about all things Pilates, including their inspiring journeys and more! Click here to listen and get to know Sheri, Becca, and Kaita even more!

The post Announcing The Balanced Life Pilates Instructor Team appeared first on The Balanced Life.

- Jordin Tinar
Restorative Pilates Workout

This quick and gentle, restorative Pilates routine is perfect for any time you are recovering from sickness, not feeling a hundred percent and don’t really want to push yourself, but you know a little movement will help you to feel better. You’re going to flow through a couple of classic Pilates exercises. breathe, stretch, and at the end, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of your day.

quick restorative Pilates workout

Come back to this workout anytime you’re looking to feel a little better and could use some good stretching + a boost of energy!

If you’re looking for more workouts like this, plus hundreds more, check out The Balanced Life Sisterhood!

The post Restorative Pilates Workout appeared first on The Balanced Life.

- Jordin Tinar
Women who Move us to Move with Kaita, Becca + Sheri

Today, in honor of Women’s History Month, we continue with our theme of women who move us to move! 

Sometimes, taking a Pilates class from a new instructor can help us connect with our body differently and assist us in moving forward on our Pilates journey! Robin is excited to have fellow Pilates instructors, Becca, Kaita, and Sheri, joining her on the show today.

In this episode, Robin, Becca, Kaita, and Sheri dive into what brought them to Pilates and talk about the transformation they have seen in themselves and the people with whom they work. They also share inspiring stories about the women who have moved them to move in their lives and discuss ways to let more people know about Pilates and make it accessible to people from all walks of life. Stay tuned to draw wisdom and motivation from these incredible women.

Show highlights: what you can look forward to in this episode!

Kaita, Becca, and Sheri talk about how they found Pilates and discuss their specialties.For Kaita, Pilates exercises are a container for seeing how you are doing in your body day-to-day in a non-judgmental way.Sheri loved seeing her client use Pilates to get stronger in her pregnant body than she was before.Growing as a Pilates teacher helped Becca open her mind and become less judgmental.Sheri, Becca, and Kaita share their thoughts on how to make Pilates more accessible and inclusive to different types of people.Kaita, Becca, and Sheri talk about the women who moved them to move.

Links in this episode:

The Balanced Life SisterhoodThe Balanced Life on Instagram

Recommended reading:

Caged Lion by John Howard Steel

Favorite beauty products:

Thrive mascaraBiossance Squalane MoisturizerRosehip Oil

The post Women who Move us to Move with Kaita, Becca + Sheri appeared first on The Balanced Life.

- Jordin Tinar
7 lessons from women in my life

March is Women’s History Month and in honor of that, we will be spending this month focusing on and appreciating the women who move us to move. 

The women in Robin’s family had a very profound influence on her direction and purpose in life. They moved her to move, motivated her to live an active and purposeful life, and helped shape and create the woman she is today.

In today’s episode, Robin shares seven life-changing lessons she learned from the women in her family. She dives into the power of unconditional support. She talks about the power of living an active lifestyle and the value of keeping a sense of humor in tough times. She also discusses the women who paved the way for her generation and explains why we should never take our health for granted or let stigma and shame define us.

Robin hopes that acknowledging and celebrating those women and sharing some of the lessons they taught her helps motivate you to take action toward becoming the woman you would like to be. Stay tuned today as Robin highlights some of the transformative lessons she learned from the women in her family! 

Show highlights: what you can look forward to in this episode!

The practical ways in which Robin’s mom showed her what it means to be supported, even when it made her uncomfortable or was something she would not have done herself. How the unconditional support Robin received from her mom helped her kickstart her Pilates career.The way that Robin’s mom taught her that she could work and follow her dreams and still be an excellent mom.The powerful lesson Robin remembers learning from her late Aunt Judy.How her Aunt Judy modeled what it looked like to live an active lifestyle through all seasons of life.The lessons Robin learned from her remarkable grandma, Linda.How keeping a sense of humor can help you through the most challenging times.How Robin learned never to take her health for granted.Why you should never let stigma and shame define you.The power in bringing issues of mental health or addiction to light.Robin talks about the brave and strong women who paved the way for future generations.

Links in this episode:

Join Move Together: 5 days of Pilates + MotivationThe Balanced Life on InstagramEpisode 40: How I overcame paralyzing anxietyEpisode 62: Mental health check-inSign up for The Balanced Life Newsletter

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The post 7 lessons from women in my life appeared first on The Balanced Life.

- Jordin Tinar
The Healing and Restorative Power of Pilates with Lindy Royer

Pilates offers an array of unique opportunities to grow in your physical, mental, and spiritual journey. Unlike other workouts, it’s a form of mindful movement. In today’s episode, Lindy Royer, Physical Therapist, Pilates Instructor, and Robin’s mentor and friend, shares her journey of coming to know and practice Pilates. 

Robin and Lindy discuss the power of the brain, rewiring our brains through mindfulness, creating a positive space in Pilates, and the mechanics of pain. Join Robin and Lindy for unique insight into Lindy’s work and her experience as a mindful teacher and physical therapist. 

Show highlights: what you can look forward to in this episode!

Lindy shares her backstoryLindy discusses how she changed her life after her divorce and years of alcohol abuse Pilates was reintroduced to Lindy during her rehabilitation and she’s never looked backRobin and Lindy discuss the internal journey of PilatesLindy shares the benefits of incorporating Pilates into your daily routine We have the power to rewire our brains What is pain and what causes it The importance of learning It’s important to learn to listen to your body. How Pilates has impacted Lindy’s life off the mat

Links in this episode:

Try Pilates with The Balanced Life Sisterhood Click here to start your 7-day FREE trial!The Balanced Life The Balanced Life on InstagramEmail LindyLindy’s Website

Share this podcast episode!

The post The Healing and Restorative Power of Pilates with Lindy Royer appeared first on The Balanced Life.

- Jordin Tinar
Back to Basics Pilates Workout

Build a strong foundation with this NEW Back to Basics Pilates Workout! This workout features 5 basic Pilates exercises.

If you’re newer to Pilates and are looking to build a strong foundation, you’ll love this routine. And if you’ve been doing Pilates for a while and want to go back to basics and focus on core Pilates exercises + principles, this routine is also for you!⁣⁠

Pilates for beginners

If you’re a Sisterhood member, you can play/download this workout straight from your TBL app.⁣⁠ If you’re not a member yet, click here to start your FREE 7-day trial and get immediate access to this workout, along with many other full length Pilates workouts, nourishing recipes, and more!

The post Back to Basics Pilates Workout appeared first on The Balanced Life.

- Sam Coleman
9 Best Dumbbell Ab Exercises for Core Workouts

Ab training has been a confusing and conflicting topic for many fitness fanatics for years. Some never train them for fear of a blocky waist, some train them daily to try and get them as cut as possible, and some train them for two weeks at the end of a leg workout only to forget about them for the next three months. Regardless of where you currently fall on this ab training continuum, it’s important to know how best to train them. By developing that knowledge, you can make informed decisions and remove any doubt about how to maximize your ab workouts. This article will cover the 9 best dumbbell ab exercises to build a defined midsection based on the functions and anatomy of the abdominal musculature, and give you tools of how to incorporate them into your training.

dumbbell ab workout

Abdominal Muscles Anatomy & Functions

The muscles making up the midsection that can be seen from the front are known as the anterolateral abdominal wall. This is made up of 5 muscles, ranging from deep-lying to superficial. The deep-lying musculature, like the transverse abdominis and pyramidalis, have functional roles, holding organs in place, increasing intra-abdominal pressure, and preventing hernias.

In this article, we will focus on the anterior core muscles that concentrically and eccentrically contract during ab exercises: the internal obliques, external obliques and rectus abdominis. The external obliques and rectus abdominis just so happen to be the muscles giving the mid-section a defined, well-developed and aesthetic look.

The Internal Obliques

oblique exercises with dumbbells

The internal obliques are the middle later of the lateral abdominal wall, sitting superficially to the transverse abdominis and beneath the external obliques. It is a broad and thin muscular sheet, with fibers that run diagonally up the abdomen. 

Origins and insertions:

The internal obliques have multiple origins and insertion sites. The anterior fibers originate from the iliopectineal arch, found on the lower section on the outside of the pelvis. The fibers angle downwards towards the midline on the front of the body, linking up with the transverse abdominis before inserting into the pubic crest and pecten pubis at the front of the pelvis. The lateral fibers come from the top of the iliac crest, the uppermost part of the pelvic structure.  These fibers run towards the front of the body, forming the rectus sheath, and inserting into the linea alba running down the center of the abdomen. The fibers angle horizontally and slightly upwards from the origin to the insertion points. Finally, the posterior fibers originate from the posterior iliac crest and thoracolumbar fascia. Their fibers angle diagonally up the torso and attach to the lower three ribs.

In short, the internal obliques originate from various parts of the pelvis, attaching closer to the midline of the abdomen. The fibers angle slightly down - in the case of the anterior fibers - or upwards in the case of the lateral and posterior fibers.

Function:

Like most muscles, the function of the internal obliques is determined by their origins, insertions, and fiber direction. When they are contracted bilaterally, at the same time, the trunk is flexed. If you contract one at a time, the trunk flexes laterally and rotates ipsilaterally (i.e. towards the same side). Crunching your torse to the left means the internal obliques on the left-hand side are contracting.

The External Obliques

dumbbell oblique exercises

These are the largest and most superficial muscle of the lateral abdomen. Sitting on top of the internal obliques and transverse abdominis, the external obliques give you a defined and chiseled look to your midsection, framing your abs. 

Origins and insertions:

The external obliques originate from the outside surfaces of ribs 5-12. The attachments get gradually wider on the rib cage as you go from rib 5-12, starting just outside nipple width at rib 5 and ending around the back of the torso at rib 12. The fibers run diagonally from the origin to its insertions - the linea alba, pubic tubercle, and anterior iliac crest. As mentioned before, the linea alba runs down the middle of the abdomen, while the pubic tubercle and anterior iliac crest are located around the pelvis. In essence, the muscle runs diagonally down from the ribs to various points closer to the midline, perpendicular to the internal obliques. 

Functions:

Although the fibers run across not alongside the internal obliques, the external obliques carry out essentially the same functions. Their unilateral contraction causes lateral trunk flexion and rotation towards the side contraction, while bilateral contraction causes trunk flexion.

The Rectus Abdominis

dumbbell ab exercise

This is the muscle that spring to mind when anyone mentioned ab training. The rectus abdominis is responsible for the often sought after 6 pack abs, sitting as the most superficial anterior abdominal muscle. The segments that make up the 6 - or even 8 blocks in some cases - are caused by tendinous intersections. Unfortunately, no amount of ab training will change how many of these sections you have, but well-developed muscles can make these intersections deeper, creating more visible and deep-set abs. 

Origins and insertions:

Originating from the pubic symphysis and crest at the pelvis, the rectus abdominis runs vertically up the abdomen inserting xiphoid processes and costal cartilages of ribs 5-7.

Function:

The primary function of the rectus abdominis is trunk flexion. However, it also acts to prevent lordosis and tilt the pelvis anteriorly. While the rectus abdominis is one muscle, it has multiple sections - often referred to as the lower and upper parts of the abs. The upper abs are more active during trunk flexion, and the lower abs work more on controlling the pelvis. However, they don’t work independently, so both will be stimulated during either action just to varying degrees.

abs workout with dumbbells

What Makes for a Good Abdominal Exercise?

Like any other muscle, the rectus abdominis and internal and external obliques grow best when standard principles of hypertrophy are applied to training. You should pick exercises that: 

Takes them through a full range of motion. Can be progressively overloaded. Use both eccentric and concentric contractions. 

Exercises like planks and carries have their place in resistance training. These can be excellent overall exercises; however, they fail to meet these criteria, making them an inefficient way to directly develop deep cut abs. Moreover, if you’re training program contains heavy compounds like squats and deadlifts, the muscles of your midsection are heavily stressed isometrically anyway. This is especially the case if you incorporate unilateral standing exercises. The exercises below are focussed on maximizing hypertrophy, so isometrics won't be included.

9 Best Dumbbell Exercises for Abs

With the above parameters in mind, below are the best ab exercises with dumbbells.

To keep things nice and neat, we are categorizing these weighted ab exercises by:

The Obliques The Lower Abs (Rectus Abdominis) The Upper Abs (Rectus Abdominis) The Obliques:

Despite them being two different muscles, the internal and external obliques work in synergy to produce trunk flexion, lateral trunk flexion and trunk rotation. The exercises below will target both the internal and external obliques simultaneously.

1. Dumbbell Side Bends

Unless specifically targeted, it’s rare for trainees to perform trunk lateral flexion in the gym. Side bends force you to stretch the obliques underload, a great driver of muscle hypertrophy. This stretch is relatively uncommon, with the obliques generally used to stabilize the trunk, in exercises like lunges, without a full range of motion. Lateral flexion is also a part of daily life, used when picking up the shopping, so strengthening these muscles in various ranges can only benefit your functional mobility.

How to:

To perform dumbbell side bends, you will be in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in one hand. Hold the dumbbell on the outside of your thigh with a neutral grip, thumb pointing forwards and palm facing your leg. Maintaining a straight arm, lower the weight down the outside of your leg by bending to the side. Keeping your chest facing forward, go down as low as possible safely. Once you’ve reached your safe range of motion, return to the top by contracting your obliques.

Watch exercise demo on Youtube

This exercise will train the obliques on the opposite side of the dumbbell. It can help you develop a better connection with the exercise if you use the non-dumbbell holding hand to try and feel your obliques on the working side.

One thing to be aware of is this exercise does not fully shorten the obliques. If you want to take them through a full range, pair this with an exercise like decline Russian twists (below) or even a cable side bend focusing on shortening the muscle.

2. Decline Dumbbell Russian Twists 

Russian twists, named because of their use as a conditioning tool in the Russian army, are commonplace in gyms globally. Their original version is performed by having your legs hover in the air and the upper and lower body in a V-shape, twisting to touch a weight down on each side. However, their form is hard to standardize and quickly becomes a hip-flexor test and neglects the goal of the movement, rotation. Adding a decline bench to secure your legs lets you focus on the obliques with added stability. These also allow you to train the obliques through a full range. As you twist to the right, shortening the right-hand side, the left obliques get a fuller stretch and going the other way does the same for the other side. One final benefit is that these train the rectus abdominis isometrically, especially the lower section, to hold the decline position. This means they can be a one-stop shop for an ab session if you’re short on time or just want to add a bit of volume to the whole midsection.

How to:

Sit on a decline bench, so the back of your knees are supported by the leg holders. Lower the upper body, bending at the hips and maintain a slight posterior pelvic tilt (i.e. don’t let your lower back arch). Lean the upper body back until you feel your lower abs contract to support you. Hold a dumbbell in two hands away from your body and twist to the right as far as possible safely, maintaining the pelvic tilt. Twist back to the center before doing the same on the left-hand side. Try to avoid moving too quickly and focus on working the obliques and abs.

Watch exercise demo on Youtube

3. Side Plank Touch Downs with Dumbbell

Unlike regular side planks, this variation lengthens and shortens the obliques through lateral flexion. They are also very easily accessible - not requiring heavyweight, which side-bends can, or a decline bench. This makes them an excellent option for a busy gym or home training.

How to:

Get into a side plank position - one elbow on the ground, chest facing the wall and the outside of your foot on the same side on the floor. Hold a dumbbell on the outside of the hip that’s pointing to the ceiling. You can also hold the dumbbell up overhead with your arm extended as seen in the video. Lower the inside hip to the ground and return to the starting position. Make sure you keep your hips square and chest pointing to the wall during the whole movement.

Watch exercise demo on Youtube

You should aim to keep your head, body, legs and feet in one straight line. If you find the range of motion too short, you can elevate your feet on a bumper plate.

The Lower Abs (Rectus Abdominis):

The lower abs can be hard to train and connect with for many, feeling the movements in their lower back or hip flexors. The dumbbell exercises below should provide you with stability and tips to make the most of your lower ab without falling into common traps.

4. Hanging Leg Raises with Dumbbell

One of the most common - and commonly butchered - ab exercises is the hanging leg raises. Done correctly, these force you to lift your legs by tilting your pelvis and crunching your abs. If you’re strong enough to perform these properly, they can be a great addition to your lower ab training.

How to:

Grip a pull-up bar just wider than your shoulders, using an overhand grip and dumbbell tucked between your feet. As the name suggests, the goal is to lift your legs. However, how you go about this is essential. From a dead hang, tuck your pelvis under and roll your hips forward, raising your legs up in front of you to about sternum height. You could go up to shoulder height, but be sure to keep the dumbbells secure. During the movement, think about bringing the bottom and top of your abs towards one another. As you get towards the top, exhale and slightly crunch your abs keeping your hips rolled forward. As your legs raise, it's important not to let your bum swing backwards, lengthening the abs as you try to shorten them. Slowly lower your legs back to the starting position.

Watch exercise demo on Youtube

This exercise often turns into swinging, momentum, and hip flexors. If you can’t perform this with straight legs, you can shorten the range of motion and make it easier by keeping your knees bent.

5. Roman Chair Leg Lowers with Dumbbell

Much the same as the hanging leg raises, this exercise focuses on the lower abs by controlling the pelvic tilt, working to prevent lordosis and bring the ribs and pelvis towards each other. Using the roman chair supports the lower back, giving you a surface to push into, adding stability. This makes the exercise easier to control and allows you to focus on contracting the abs without worrying about swinging backwards and forwards.

How to:

Face out of the roman chair with your back against the pad and dumbbell between your feet. Let your legs dangle straight down. Push your lower back into the pad and tuck your hips under as you bring your legs up. Continue to roll the pelvis under as your legs get higher and contract the abs as hard as possible. Once your legs are just above parallel to the ground, lower them down. You can bring your legs higher - if you’re able to do so - while crunching your abs to make this target the upper more.

Watch exercise demo on Youtube

Like the hanging leg raises these can be made easier by bending your knees to reduce the length of the moment arm. 

6. Incline Dumbbell Reverse Crunch on a Bench

The final lower ab movement is similar to the above but easier to perform. This makes them a solid option for a second ab exercise when you might already be fatigued or if you’re struggling to perform lower ab exercises efficiently. A second benefit is the bench means there is a definitive start and stop point, making them easy to track, standardize and ultimately progress.

How to:

Set a regular bench to a 45-60-degree incline - the higher the incline, the harder the movement. Lie back with your head right at the top of the bench and grab the bench behind your head with both hands. Your feet should be on the floor touching each other with bent knees and a dumbbell in-between. Bring your knees to your chest and push your lower back into the bench, tucking your pelvis and contracting your abs. Bring your knees into your chest with your bum off the seat and curling your bum under. Crunch forward slightly at the top. Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position by unfurling your abs and tapping your feet on the floor before going again. The Upper Abs (Rectus Abdominis):

The upper abs are generally associated with the trunk flexion and crunching motion people perform. This is typically what people think of when someone mentions ab training to them. The exercises below are variations to help you get the most out of upper ab training, improving on some common exercises.

7. Decline Dumbbell Sit-Ups

Despite this being in the upper ab section, this exercise attacks the whole rectus abdominis. This makes them another great movement to get the most bang-for-your-buck with your ab training. Additionally, they’re simple to progress and track, with a clear start and endpoint. Finally, unless you’re flailing around, these provide stability and let you really focus on the abs.

How to:

Sit on a decline bench with your legs secured - the steeper the decline, the harder the movement. Hold a dumbbell just in front of your face or chest - the further the dumbbell is from your abs, the more challenging the exercise becomes. Start the movement by crunching your abs and pushing your lower back into the pad as you sit up. Continue to contract the abs and tuck the pelvis under, keeping the pressure off the hip flexors and on the abs. Sit up until you're about 90 degrees from the floor, abs contracted, and pelvis tucked. Slowly return to the starting point, reversing the movement.

Watch exercise demo on Youtube

8. Swiss Ball Dumbbell Crunch

Swiss balls have gotten a lot of attention. Some herald their added instability as a great way to increase exercise difficulty and core activation, while others dismiss them as a way of decreasing weight used and deflecting attention from target muscles. In this case, the swiss ball is used because of its shape and malleability and not instability. By crunching on the ball and not the floor, you allow your lower back to arch and ribs and pelvis to separate, increasing the stretch on the abs. As previously mentioned, stretching under load is a great way to elicit hypertrophy, making this a very viable option.

How to:

Lie with your back on the ball, with your head off one side and glutes off the other. Set up a stable base by having your feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in front of your face or just over the top of your head. Like the decline sit-up, the further the dumbbell is from the abs, the harder the movement becomes. In the starting position, you should let your back arch with the curve of the ball. Crunch your abs, bringing your ribs and pelvis towards each other and push your lower back into the ball. Exhale as you contract. Return to the starting place, letting your ribs and pelvis separate to get a full stretch.

Watch exercise demo on Youtube

9. Bosu Ball Dumbbell Crunch

Much like the swiss ball, Bosu-balls have come under fire for some of the weird and whacky exercises people perform on them. Despite their perceived benefits and downfalls, they make a great addition to ab training. The ball side acts like a swiss ball, allowing you to stretch the abs further than you could on the floor. One additional benefit of the Bosu-ball is the flat back. This lets you set up in one spot without fear of the ball rolling away or changing position on your back. This variation mixes the stability and range of motion of regular and swiss ball crunches, making them an excellent weapon in the arsenal.

These are performed almost identically to the swiss ball crunch.

How to:

Lie on the ball half of the Bosu-ball, holding a dumbbell in front of your face or just behind your head. Start with your abs stretched and crunch by bringing the pelvis and ribs towards each other, exhaling as you contract.

Watch exercise demo on Youtube

dumbbell exercises for abs

Abs Workout with Dumbbells - Programming Guidance

Just like any other muscle, abs need to be trained with adequate volume and frequency, and with considered exercise selection and progressive overload. 

The midsection has been separated to help understand the functions and which dumbbell exercises target each area best. However, the obliques and upper and lower abs have huge crossover, and it’s almost impossible to train one part without another. For example, you might perform a hanging leg raise for the lower abs, but co-contraction of the obliques also causes trunk flexion, and the upper and lower abs can’t be isolated from one another. This means you don’t have to perform an exercise targeting each section of every session. You could train abs twice per week - one session using an oblique and lower ab exercise and the other using an upper and lower ab exercise - and get adequate volume everywhere. This is emphasized by their contribution to compound movements.

If you aim for 4-6 sets per week per section, spread across 2-3 sessions, you would likely be getting adequate volume, and you can always add more if it’s required. Finally, because of the difficulty isolating the abs, with the lower back and hip flexors keen to spoil the fun, lower rep ranges (4-8) are often impractical. Aiming for 10-15 reps on your first set can help prevent the reps from falling too far in subsequent sets.

You can also implement cool workout ideas like circuits, EMOM, AMRAP, and Tabata for your ab workouts with dumbbells.

Sample Dumbbell Ab Workout #1: Dumbbell Side Bend x 10 reps each side Decline Dumbbell Russian Twist x 20 reps total Hanging Leg Raise with Dumbbell x 5-10 reps

Repeat for 2-3 rounds. Rest as needed between exercises and rounds.

Sample Dumbbell Ab Workout #2: Decline Dumbbell Sit-Ups: 3 sets x 10-15 reps Side Plank Touch Downs with Dumbbell: 3 sets x 10 reps each side Roman Chair Leg Lowers: 2 sets x 8-12 reps Incline Reverse Crunch on Bench: 2 sets x 10-12 reps

You could switch between these two workouts for a month or so then switch things up once it becomes easy. You should also aim to progressive overload by adding reps (to the high end of the rep scheme) and then adding weight by using a heavier dumbbell. 

Final Thoughts :

Well-developed abs can make the midsection look defined with deeper cuts. However, this is dependent on your body fat levels. Regardless of your abs development, if your body fat levels are too high, your abs won’t show. So, train your abs hard with and without weighted ab exercises, but remember you’ll need to work on your diet to ensure they can be shown off. As the old saying goes, “Abs are developed in the gym and revealed in the kitchen.”

More core workout content:

Weight Bench Ab Exercises Bodyweight Ab Exercises Cable Machine Ab Exercises Kettlebell Ab Exercises Resistance Band Ab Exercises Ab Stretches

dumbbell workout for abs

- Kiel DiGiovanni
Unbiased Athletic Greens Review: Ingredients, Taste & Value Breakdown

Athletic Greens is one of the hottest supplements on the market, with its fancy advertising and all. It's marketed as a one-stop shop for all the nutrients you need. Stuff like vitamins and minerals, probiotics, antioxidants, prebiotics, adaptogens, and literally everything.

The greens powder ingredient list is pretty intense (we'll go over it below) and is very attractive, especially for us who would rather down a drink and not have to worry if we ate the right combination of fruits and veggies for the day. However, with such an extensive list, Athletic Greens is definitely not the cheapest. That begs the question…is worth it?

This Athletic Greens Review will go over everything you need to know about this green supplement, including;

Overview and history of Athletic Greens Athletic Greens Nutrition & Ingredients What does it taste like? Benefits of Athletic Greens Is it worth the price?

Alright. Let's talk about this greens powder supplement drink that probably tastes like lawn clippings, but maybe not; read on to find out.

Athletic Greens review Mayo Clinic

What Is Athletic Greens?

We know that talking about nutrition can be tedious, but it's a vital part of your fitness journey. We're sure you knew that too. Talking about creatine and beta-alanine is fun and exciting (kinda), but vitamins and minerals and all that other stuff just don't have that same intrigue.

While good nutrition advice would be to eat your daily source of vegetables and fruits, the truth is the guys you see talk about that rarely do. Not saying it doesn't happen, but few people actually eat that plate of spinach and baby tomatoes with a filet of white fish every day. To be clear, we are not knocking this at all; we're just saying it's not as easy and realistic as some influencers would have you believe.

And this is where Athletic Greens come in. Athletic Greens is marketed as the only nutritional greens powder supplement you need to cover your basis for vitamins and minerals. However, there are a lot of greens powders that do that. Therefore, Athletic Greens adds in probiotics, adaptogens, and other superfoods, making it the superior product (maybe, we'll see).

While it's called Athletic Greens, it states it's actually for everyone and uses some word soup to explain how life is like a sport. Or something. Could have just called it "Life Greens," but that's really neither here nor there.

Regardless, the cool thing about Athletic Greens is it was created by Chris Ashenden way back in 2010 in New Zealand to help solve some gut and digestive issues he was battling.

The mission of the brand is to empower people to take ownership of their health. This brand has a strong reputation and has been endorsed by professional athletes and health experts for its benefits.

Since then, it has been developed for over a decade to formulate what is claimed to be the perfect blend of vitamins and minerals. We like this as it shows there has been a lot of money and heart thrown into this product.

Also, while the brand makes a few other smaller supplements, they primarily focus on their superfood product which they call AG1. To be clear, that would be like Coca-Cola only perfecting Coca-Cola instead of releasing 50 different versions of their diet Coke. Again, this says a lot and is definitely impressive (at least to us).

What's Inside Athletic Greens?

A lot. There is absolutely no way we're going to list every ingredient and mineral, let alone actually go over them in this Athletic Greens review.

To give you an idea, we will summarize. Athletic Greens contains:

16 Vitamins 12 Minerals 19 Whole Food Nutrients 3 Probiotics 22 Adaptogens

So yea. As we said, there's a ton of stuff in here that should result in some serious health benefits.

As far as dosing, the majority of the vitamins and minerals are well above the 100% Daily Value of most of the vitamins and minerals.

However, looking over the vitamins real quick, we were surprised that they chose only to include 6% magnesium.

Being "Athletic Greens," magnesium is a bit of an odd mineral to leave out as it's involved in over 600 enzymatic reactions and has been shown to increase sports performance in studies. Further, athletes are known to be magnesium deficit, especially endurance athletes.

To be clear, just about every vitamin or mineral plays a vital role in human performance. And while Athletic Greens can't have everything (well, they kind of can if they wanted), it was just a bit surprising.

Overall, Athletic Greens has a wider range of ingredients than most other greens powders.

athletic greens review reddit

Athletic Greens Ingredients

While the vitamins and minerals are great, there are a ton of vitamin and mineral pills to take if you want their health benefits. There are plenty of greens powders on the market, making it difficult to choose the best one.

Therefore, we want to look at what we think sets the nutrient-dense, Athletic Greens apart, which is its addition of various potent compounds.

Probiotics 

One of the benefits of Athletic Greens is to improve your gut health. Probiotics are often confused with digestive enzymes because they both support the digestive process. However, the major difference is that probiotics are living microorganisms whereas digestive enzymes are molecules.

Probiotics are the term given to a large number of different microorganisms, which are individually known as strands. Each strand plays a slightly different role; however, the primary claimed benefit is that these probiotics help improve the gut flora. By doing so, your body is able to digest foods better, providing better nutrients to the body. Depending on the strand, this improvement in your gut health can offer various benefits.

Drinking Athletics Greens should help those with digestive health issues but everyone's experience will vary.

Athletic Greens carries three different probiotics:

Bifidobacterium Bifidum Inulin Lactobacillus acidophilus Superfoods

In addition to the probiotics, Athletic Greens also offers a massive list of different superfoods. Generally speaking, Athletic Greens has a more varied inclusion of superfoods compared with other greens powders available.

Just to give you an example, some of the superfoods included are:

Acerola cherries: These are also called Barbados cherries and sometimes called West Indian cherries. They have up to 50-100 times more vitamin C compared with lemons or oranges. Bioflavonoids: These antioxidants are found in foods such as black currants, rose hips, and green citrus fruits. Cocoa Bean w. Cocoa Flavanols: These bioactive compounds may help to improve blood flow, and fend off cell damage. Spinach: Rich in vitamin E and magnesium, this green vegetable helps to support immune health. Spirulina: This algae that grow in water is a powerful antioxidant that also has anti-inflammatory properties.

We can't break down everyone as there are just too many, but they collectively bring a whole host of various nutrients and compounds. A "superfood" is basically a food that carries a bunch of nutritional value in the form of vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, antioxidants, and any other compound that results in health benefits.

They claim that one serving of Athletic Greens gives you the same amount as 12 servings of green vegetables.

Adaptogens

Another variety of ingredients included is known as adaptogens. An adaptogen is a food usually used for medicinal purposes that are said to help the body adapt to stress and normalize physiological processes. In other words, they allow you to "adapt" to stressful situations.

Milk Thistle: This flowering herb is may help support healthy liver and galbladder functioning. It's thought that the antioxidant in milk thistle, called silymarin is the reason for the potential health benefits. Reishi Mushroom: This mushroom has been used in traditional Eastern medicine for centuries. It's thought that the molecules including peptidoglycans, polysaccharides, and triterpenoids provide benefits such as supporting a healthy immune system. It also might have anti-cancer benefits and help battle fatigue and depression. Kelp: This is a type of seaweed that provides much-needed vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. It's a great source of iodine and may help to enhance energy production and boost cognitive function. Policosanol: This is a mixture of alcohols that are derived from Cuban sugar cane wax. It contains octacosanol which may help lower cholesterol. Chlorella: This is a nutrient-dense freshwater algae that might help with cleansing the body of toxins while improving cholesterol levels.

Again, similar to the superfoods, there are way too many to give a complete overview of each one, but the most popular one is probably ashwagandha. Ashwagandha has become quite popular in the West recently and is famous for its ability to reduce stress.

This is important to keep in mind as Athletic Greens is much more than just a "multivitamin," as some claim. With the addition of these adaptogens, along with the probiotics, antioxidants, and everything else, Athletic Greens really is built to improve health from multiple angles. The addition of a wide range of natural elements helps to set it apart from other greens powders on the market today.

ag1 Athletic Greens review

How Much Does Athletic Greens Cost?

Cost always plays a factor in everything we purchase, including healthy greens powders. It doesn't matter how much we want something if it's out of our budget.

So you might find yourself asking "is Athletic Greens worth it?"

Athletic Greens has quite a few different options when purchasing. One group of deals are their pouches with 30 servings, with the other group consisting of travel packs with individualized bags.

30 Serving Pouches Of Athletic Greens One Time Purchase- 30 servings $99 ($3.30/serving) Single Subscription* - 30 servings $79 ($2.63/serving) Double Subscription*- 60 servings $149 ($2.48/serving)

* Includes: Premium Jar, Shaker, 5 Free Travel Packs

Athletic Greens Travel Packs One Time Purchase- 30 servings $109 ($3.63/serving) Single Subscription*- 30 servings $89 ($2.97/serving) Double Subscription*- 60 servings $169 ($2.82/serving)

* Includes: Premium Jar, Shaker, 5 Free Travel Packs

Overall Athletic Greens is a bit pricier than other greens powders but after over 10 years of perfecting the formula, it's not a bad deal by any means.

Try Athletic Greens reviews for athletic greens Athletic Greens

Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily is an all-in-one health drink with 75 vitamins, minerals, and whole food-sourced ingredients to help support your...

CHECK PRICE How Does Athletic Greens Taste?

A big question with a greens powder supplement you need to take every day is how it tastes. While we can't say for sure, surprisingly, most of the reviews we saw claim they actually like the taste of Athletic Greens. On the other hand, some say the greens powder tastes like you went outside and stuffed a bunch of grass in your mouth.

Although taste is subjective, we can tell you that most people are wildly exaggerating when it comes to how awful some say it tastes. Put it this way we've had much worse greens powders and this would rank in the top 5 that we've tasted.

It's ironic that people who want organic and natural food then expect to have a drink that tastes like it was made at Starbucks with a couple of extra pumps of syrup.

The most seemingly unbiased reviews say it tastes like grass, but it's not bitter; if you have an unpleasant mental connection with grass, get over that, and you'll be okay.

In our opinion, not everything needs to taste amazing, and the benefits likely far outweigh any issues with the taste. Also, keep in mind that we're not sure how you could give it a fantastic flavor without using something unhealthy. Overall we'd in our Athletic greens review we'd say it tastes better than other greens powders we've tried in the past.

athletic greens review 2022

Problems With Athletic Greens

No product is perfect, and Athletic Greens is no exception. For us, we have two main "issues" with Athletic Greens. You wanted an honest Athletic Greens review;  that's what you're going to get.

Abundance Of Ingredients

You might first wonder why containing so many great ingredients is a bad thing for Athletic Greens. Well, that's because one serving only contains 12g. With so many elements, we question if there is enough of each one to provide the supposed benefits. Remember, when taking any supplement, there is almost always a threshold you must reach to receive a measurable benefit.

To be fair, most of the Athletic Greens ingredients are in the form of extracts. On the ingredient list, they have a ratio next to them which we assume stands for their strength. For example, hawthorn berry extract has (10:1) next to it, which we would guess means 1 gram equals 10 grams.

However, the ingredients are all listed in proprietary blends, so the exact amount of each ingredient is unknown. Therefore, it seems impossible to honestly know how much of each food you're actually getting in each serving of Athletic Greens.

High Costs

Athletic Greens is undoubtedly not the cheapest super greens powder drink. In fact, it's likely the most expensive. We're not saying it's not worth it; we're just saying you shouldn't be buying Athletic Greens unless you're comfortable monetarily.

At the same time, it's hard to put a cost on health. That can sound cliche, but it's very accurate. Taking care of your body and decreasing illness and sickness can save you money. For example, one Athletic Greens review said that when they started using it, they went the entire year without getting a cold.

Now, let's say that means you saved two days from missing work. The money earned on those days you didn't miss would quickly drive the cost down considerably (obviously depending on how much you make).

At the same time, if you're in a better mood and have more energy to spend with the family (again, as many reviews state), it could very well make it worth it.

Athletic Greens Review: Final Verdict

When it comes to super greens, Athletic Greens does stand out amongst the others. Perhaps it's due to the marketing, but it has a strong following with plenty of very positive reviews.

Plus, it does contain a ton of unique ingredients that aren't found in other greens powders such as ashwagandha. The problem would be that we can't tell you how much ashwagandha it has in it due to its proprietary blends.

Therefore, we are relying on the backing of some of Athletic Greens more famous backers, such as Tim Ferriss, in the effectiveness of the project and the honesty of the company.

If you are looking for a greens powder superfood and have the money, Athletic Greens is definitely a good place to start. It is very likely to be the most packed and well-rounded superfood on the market. Even on some reviews which complained about the money, they did admit they felt better.

That being said, we would recommend getting the Athletic Greens subscription to save a good chunk of change. You can set up the frequency so you could even get the double pack delivered every 60 days to save the most money.

Further, you can cancel anytime and have a 60-day money-back guarantee. With all that in mind, if you are thinking about trying Athletic Greens, it is likely worth a test. We hope this Athletic Greens review helped to cut through all the noise surrounding this super popular greens powder.

Last but not least, always consult a medical professional before beginning any new supplementation whether it's consuming greens powders or even best protein powders on the market.

Try Athletic Greens athletic greens ingredients Athletic Greens

Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily is an all-in-one health drink with 75 vitamins, minerals, and whole food-sourced ingredients to help support your...

CHECK PRICE Athletic Greens FAQ What Is The Point Of Athletic Greens?

Athletic Greens is a greens powder that contains more than just vegetables or a vitamin and mineral blend. The main point of taking this greens powder is to help support gut health and aid in digestion, bolster your immune health, help with recovery from exercise and increase energy production.

Does Athletic Greens Cause Weight Gain?

No, this product only has 50 calories per serving and is mixed with water before consumption. In no way should this greens powder cause you to put on weight if taken properly.

Is There Protein In Athletic Greens?

Yes, in each serving of Athletic greens you'll get 2 grams of protein. That said, no one buys greens powders for their protein content.

Is Athletic Greens FDA Approved?

No, the FDA doesn't approve dietary supplements which is what this is classified as. Athletic Greens however is produced in a TGA-registered, GMP, and NSF Registered facility. When dietary supplements are NSF registered you can rest assured that the product is devoid of potentially harmful substances.

Are Greens Powders A Waste Of Money?

Greens powders can provide a simple efficient solution for boosting your body's healthy functioning. This type of convenient daily nutritional supplement can provide many health benefits but we would never recommend taking nutritional supplements in place of eating a healthy diet. If you have the discretionary budget to spend a few dollars a day on a Starbucks coffee then nutrient-dense greens powders are worth it.

When Should I Take Athletic Greens?

It is recommended that you consume it on an empty stomach in the morning upon waking up. Simply mix the green powder with cold water then drink it.

Where Can I buy Athletic Greens?

Athletic Greens are available directly from their website or you can buy it on Amazon.

**This post may contain affiliate links where we receive a commission on purchases you make at no cost to you. This had absolutely no influence on our review.**

Athletic Greens review Amazon

- Sam Coleman
Your Complete Guide to Mastering the Clean and Jerk

The Clean and Jerk is one of the two Olympic lifts. It’s a full-body movement that involves cleaning the barbell from the floor and then jerking it overhead. It relies on power production in both the lower and upper body. Further, it’s arguably more straightforward to learn than the snatch, the other Olympic lift. The only problem is learning chess is “more simple” than learning the snatch. Therefore, you will still need significant guidance to learn this movement. 

This clean and jerk guide is going to attempt to do just that. You’re going to learn:

What the clean and jerk is Clean and jerk muscles worked Benefits of the clean and jerk How to perform the clean and jerk correctly, step-by-step Important tips to master the clean and jerk Best variations and alternatives 

barbell clean and jerk

Before we go any further, we want to be clear that the clean and jerk can take quite a long time to learn and perfect. We strongly suggest that you continue to refer to this guide, and if you can, grab a specialty coach, at least for a couple of sessions. That being said, you can learn it on your own and we are going to try to teach you how. 

What Is The Clean And Jerk Exercise?

The clean and jerk is one of the two Olympic lifts and is the “heavier” of the pair. In reality, the clean and jerk is actually composed of two movements, the clean and the jerk (obviously), which are performed back-to-back. Both of these movements must be completed to count as a good lift. This fact requires you to concentrate on your upper body power just as much as your lower body power.

In a very tiny nutshell, the clean and jerk consists of you walking up to a loaded barbell, cleaning the bar up to your shoulders, and then after you catch the barbell and are steady, jerking the bar overhead. Your arms must be fully extended to complete the lift, and you must bring your feet together.

clean and jerk

That was a very basic explanation, but we will go over this movement in depth below.

Clean = Bringing the bar from the floor to a front rack position (aka clean position) in one swift, explosive movement.

Jerk = An explosive overhead pressing movement that involves both the upper and lower body to get the bar fully extended up overhead. 

It’s an Olympic Weightlifting Power Movement!

At its core, the clean and jerk is a true power exercise. The word “power” can be misunderstood and is often interchanged with “strength .”While they are related, when talking about performance variables, strength and power are quite different. The simplest way to distinguish these two is that strength is slow strength (like a heavy squat) while power is fast strength (like a squat jump). Power is the relationship between a load and time or space. 

The Strength and Conditioning Journal provides three formulas to calculate power1:

Power = work/time Power = force × (distance/time) Power = force × velocity

As you can see, with either formula, power is concerned with how fast an object can move. Everything about the clean and jerk screams power as it relies on you to generate enough force, in a concise time, to propel a heavy load vertically the length of your body. You must then use power again to drive the load overhead.

Muscles Trained With The Clean And Jerk

The clean and jerk is going to be a total body workout, so every muscle in the body will be involved more or less, either as a prime mover or a stabilizer. However, here are the major muscle groups trained and their function.

Lower Body:

The lower body will be the primary muscle group responsible for producing power. Literally, every muscle below the waist will be involved.

The quadriceps will be used at the onset of the movement to “push the ground away” on the initial lift-off. Still, it will be used throughout the movement as you never stop pushing! The hamstrings and glutes will work to extend the hips and are the most powerful muscles involved in triple extension. So as the quads start the movement, the hamstrings and glutes will take over and produce the power necessary to propel the barbell up. Even the calves will be responsible for creating ankle dorsiflexion (or coming on your toes). This is the third part of the triple extension. 

Back And Traps:

Every back muscle will be responsible for maintaining a flat back during the initial pull. If you curl over, you’re going to fail this lift, so you need a powerful back to withstand the forces. After the lower body gets the bar moving upward at high velocity, the upper back and traps perform a powerful shrug to continue this movement upwards. 

A powerful shrug can make or break your lift. Also, have you ever wondered why Olympic lifters have massive traps? This is why.

Shoulder And Tricep:

The shoulder and triceps will then finish out the movement, for the most part. Ideally, the shoulder and triceps will only have to provide minimal force to fully extend the arms. This will be due to the jerking motion created by the rest of your body, which you will learn. However, even if you get the bar above your head with very little effort from the shoulders and triceps, they are still going to need to be able to hold a heavyweight above your head as you stand up.

What Are The Benefits Of The Clean And Jerk?

The clean and jerk is primarily going to be used to enhance power in the upper and lower body. In fact, the clean and jerk is often the preferred power movement of many strength & conditioning coaches. Here are some of the reasons why:

1) Increase Power Production In The Upper And Lower Body:

The primary reason to include the clean and jerk is to increase power production in the upper and lower body. It will place stress on every muscle in the body and require each one to produce power. If you want to increase the power in both your upper and lower body, the clean and jerk is hard to beat.

2) Improve Your Athletic Performance:

Unless you are training to compete in Crossfit or the Olympics, one of the main reasons people will perform the clean and jerk is to improve their athletic performance. As mentioned above, it is the most complete exercise to improve power production in both the upper and lower body. This is important for athletes as power is one of the most essential fitness variables. For example, increased power can improve:

Vertical height Acceleration and change of direction Throwing distance Increase the speed and power of kicks and punches

Studies have repeatedly shown that clean and jerk can improve athletic performance as well as overall weightlifting performance2.

3) Improve Your Motor Skills Through Enhanced Neuromuscular Efficiency:

It’s clear that the clean and jerk is a very efficient power movement, but how does that occur? Increased power production is the result of your neuromuscular system working better together. This means that your brain can communicate better with your muscles to tell them to produce more force. At the same time, the movement is actually highly complicated. This not only improves your neuromuscular system as well, but it will make you much more coordinated.

4) Improve Your Other Lifts:

A higher neuromuscular system combined with greater coordination and greater power production will improve just about every other movement that you perform. Everything from running and jumping to squatting and deadlifting. It would be hard to find a movement that the clean and jerk won’t improve. It’s an actual total body workout that has a ton of benefits. It’s not just for the Olympic weightlifting community.

How To Perform The Clean And Jerk?

Let’s break down the clean and jerk into some more detailed steps. Here, you’re going to learn the setup, hand position, and all of the other specifics of the clean and jerk. Still, be sure to read the next section as well, as we’ll teach you methods to learn this movement more effectively. 

The clean and jerk can be broken down into several sections:

The Setup 1st Pull 2nd pull Pull Under And Catch Recovery Jerk Finish

We’ll go through each of these to make it as simple as possible.

The Setup:

clean & jerk

The initial setup is getting into position to perform the movement. However, this is a vital part of the movement as it will dictate how well you can perform the movement.

Come up to the bar with feet hip-width apart, and toes slightly turned out. Grab the bar just outside the legs. Bend down in a position very similar to the deadlift. The shoulders should be over the barbell. The hips should be higher than your knees and shoulders higher than the hips. Keep a straight and taut back with the scapula pulled back. The bar should be over your midfoot. 1st Pull:

how to clean and jerk

The 1st pull occurs when bringing the barbell from the ground to your knees.

Begin the movement by pushing the ground away from you. This will help with a vertical trajectory as well as activating the quads. As the bar comes up, your back should remain straight. Pull the bar straight up just in front of your shins. Keep your body weight over your midfoot. 2nd pull:

clean jerk

The 2nd pull occurs once the bar pasts the knees and ends after triple extension.

Once the bar hits your knees, you will powerfully perform triple extension (knee extension, hip extension, ankle dorsiflexion). The power from your triple extension plays a large part in propelling the bar up. You will also perform a powerful shrug and pull your elbows forward and high, very similar to a high pull. You want your weight over midfoot even as you come up on your toes. Don’t let the movement bring your forward. You want the bar to continue moving vertically as close to your body as possible. Pull Under And Catch:

clean and jerk lift

The pull under and catch consists of you actively pulling yourself under a bar while dropping into a front squat.

As the bar is moving up, you will pull your body under the bar. Drop into a front squat position as you throw your elbows in front of the bar and catch the bar on your shoulders in a front rack position. Settle in a deep full squat position. Recovery:

how to do the clean and jerk

The recovery is when you stand up from the deep front squat position.

You can perform a little bounce to get out of the hole if you need. Stand up with a front squat. Remember to keep a strong torso and push your elbows up. Jerk:

clean and jerk exercise

The jerk consists of jerking the bar overhead.

Perform a dip by bending the knees slightly while keeping no bend in the hips. Keep the elbows up! At the bottom of the dip, immediately power up by extending your hips and coming up on your toes. Once fully extended, let the bar continue up while you split your legs, one in front of the other. The front knee will be straight, while the rear leg will be slightly flexed. Finish out the jerk by extending your arms and locking out. The bar should now be locked out over your head. Finish:

clean and jerk form

The finish occurs by bringing your feet together.

Continue bracing your core with the barbell locked out overhead. First, bring your forward foot back to the center position under the bar. Then bring your rear foot up. Make any adjustments you need. Your feet must be side by side with the barbell locked out overhead to finish the movement.

Congratulations. You just performed the clean and jerk with proper technique!

How To Learn The Clean And Jerk?

If you’re like most individuals who attempt the clean and jerk for the first time, you’re probably thinking, “I definitely did not do that correctly”. The clean and jerk are very complex. Combining them is even more so. So, let us give you some important tips on training for it.

Segment Training:

The most common way to learn the snatch is to perform “segment training". Segment training is when you take a complex movement with multiple parts and break it down into smaller segments. You then practice those smaller segments independently and then eventually put them all together. 

Still, there are several ways to put the segments together.

Practice each one by themselves and then put them all together at one time. Practice each one by themselves. Then go to the first segment and add one segment at a time. Practice those two segments and then add another one. Practice one segment and then add another. Then add another. Similar to the previous but purely in sequence rather than practicing each one individually first.

It doesn’t really matter what one you choose as they are all effective. The point is not to train the clean and jerk as one movement right away.

Use Clean And Jerk Variations To Practice The Segments:

There are quite a few variations that can help you practice specific segments of the clean and jerk. Some of the more common clean and jerk variations are listed below.

High Pull: The main focus of the clean high pull is to help exaggerate the 2nd pull and triple extension. To perform it, you will basically perform the clean and jerk but stop after the 2nd pull. Essentially, you’re not going to squat and catch the bar. Instead, this clean and jerk variation aims to get the bar as high as possible. Emphasize high elbows and a powerful shrug.

You can also try using a snatch grip to change it up. Instead of grabbing the bar outside your legs, use a snatch grip, placing your hands on the ring markers.

Power Clean & Jerk: The power clean and jerk is precisely the same as the clean and jerk, except your not going to perform a front squat or split jerk to catch it. You are going to do a power jerk. After the second pull, you will catch the bar on your shoulders with minimal knee bend (you won't go into a full squat). This requires you to pull the bar for a longer length. At the same time, you can give your knees a rest. In fact, this is the preferred method for many non-competing athletes as it’s technically easier to perform than the clean and jerk but still elicits similar increases in power.  

(Power) Hang Clean & Jerk: The hang clean and jerk can also be performed as a hang power clean and jerk. The primary variable of this variation is that you will not pull from the ground. Instead, you will deadlift the barbell up and then perform a hip hinge to lower the barbell to somewhere on the thigh. This will be the starting location. Doing so will put most of the emphasis on the 2nd pull to produce a powerful triple extension.

You can also lower the bar to your lower thigh or upper thigh to alter the need. If you start higher, it forces you to produce more power with a smaller triple extension as your hips are extended more.

Types of Jerks:

The jerk we described above in the 'How to Perform a Clean and Jerk' section is known as the split jerk and it is the most common method for Olympic weightlifting athletes. However, there are two other types of jerks that are also acceptable in Olympic weightlifting competitions for the clean and jerk exercise.

The three jerks are:

Split Jerk: When you press overhead you jump into a split position with one leg forward and one leg backward, then you bring your feet into a bilateral stance once the bar is in the overhead position. Squat Jerk: When you press overheard you drop into a full squat. Your arms will be fully extended overhead in your full squat position, then you stand up erect. Power Jerk: When you press overhead you jump with your feet shoulder width and parallel and bring your hips down but not into a full squat (more like a quarter squat). Once the bar is fully overhead, you come up to the standing position. Note: You also have the push jerk which is similar to the power jerk except your feet don't leave the ground as you explode the weight overhead.

All three are acceptable forms in competitions, but the split jerk is the most popular since it generally allows for the greatest load potential. That said, practicing all three can be helpful for improving your overall strength in the jerk. A lot of pros use the split jerk in competition, but also use the power and squat jerk in practice.

As you learn the clean and jerk, feel free to implement different variations of the jerk itself to see how they feel for you.

How To Program The Clean And Jerk?

Because the clean and jerk is a power exercise, you would do better by using lighter weight. As it is a power exercise, you can actually produce more power with a smaller load as you can move it faster. Therefore, studies show that lighter loads of 40-60% allows a lifter produce the most power as it provides an optimal blend of weight and speed3. Most lifters can spend the majority of their time in this zone. If you are able to continue using the good form at heavier weights, you could venture up to 70% or even 80% once in a while. However, the key is in the cleanliness of your reps.

If you want to build a higher 1RM, you could then spend more time in the higher ranges of 70-90%. Still, you should move back and forth in between each loading zones to manage any build-up of fatigue.

That being said, you never want to use high reps with the clean and jerk. Remember, the primary purpose is to increase power. This is best done by performing a rep as “crisp” as possible. When you start to pile on reps, you will get fatigued regardless of how light the load is. When this happens, your form will suffer, and you will actually be hurting your progress. Below are the rep schemes we would suggest for the different loads:

40-60%1RM: 4-6 sets of 1-3 reps 70%-90%1RM: 5-6 sets of 1-2 reps

Rest 2:00-3:00 minutes between sets.

Also, you don’t have to always train the full clean and jerk as it can be a very taxing movement. Play around with different schemes. For example, for one training day, you could train:

Power clean and jerk Front squats Jerks

Then another session that week train the whole movement. Don’t forget about the variations and alternatives (see below). They are great exercises to use to improve the clean and jerk and they also provide a lot of great benefits too.

When training the clean and jerk, the number one rule is to not be in a rush! Take your time and treat every single rep like you’re on the Olympic stage.

Related: The Best Beginner Olympic Weightlifting Program

clean and jerk muscles worked

3 Clean And Jerk Alternatives

For whatever reason, maybe you can’t perform the clean and jerk. No worries. Here is a quick list of 3 alternatives you can perform that will also increase your power production.

1. Squat Jump:

clean and jerk crossfit

The squat jump is an easy way to produce lower body power without the technicalities. We prefer using either dumbbells or a trap bar when performing these, as they are much safer than jumping with a barbell on your back.

2.  Weighted Box Jump:

clean and jerk alternatives

Put a vest on and do some box jumps. This is an awesome plyometric exercise for power production. Like the squat jump, it’s a very simple yet effective exercise to increase lower body power production.

3. Sumo High Pull:

clean and jerk variations

This is similar to the high pull we spoke about above but consists of using a sumo deadlift stance. A little bit of a different stance to change things up. Perform the movement in the same manner by trying to pull the barbell as high as possible. 

And That’s The Clean And Jerk

The biggest piece of advice we can offer is to take your time and be patient. If you can, grab a trainer or a skilled friend. Watch videos and also take videos of yourself. One of the best ways to improve your lifting is by video analysis in slo-mo. It allows you to actually see what’s going on and what you need to fix. That being said, have fun with it. Once you learn it, we can promise you will start seeing massive improvements in just about every other area of your fitness.

When you are ready, you can also learn The Snatch!

References:

Coburn JW. Measuring Power. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 2012;34(6):25-28. doi:10.1519/ssc.0b013e3182708a7d Hackett D, Davies T, Soomro N, Halaki M. Olympic weightlifting training improves vertical jump height in sportspeople: a systematic review with meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2015;50(14):865-872. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2015-094951 Cormie P, Flanagan SP. Does an Optimal Load Exist for Power Training? Strength and Conditioning Journal. 2008;30(2):67-69. doi:10.1519/ssc.0b013e31816a8776
- Sam Coleman
Does Pre-Workout Break A Fast?

Fasting has become an extremely popular diet method to not only lose weight, but also to improve sports performance. While there are some ardent followers on both sides, the fact remains that fasting does have science backed benefits and can help lose weight. There are also proven benefits to working out fasted. We’ll talk about fasting below, but what we really want to address is a common question: ”Will pre-workout break a fast?"

A lot of people want to workout fasted, but they also want to drink a pre-workout beforehand to ensure they get a great workout in - it’s a double whammy on the fat loss front, right? The issue is, it’s actually hard to get calorie info on pre-workouts as it is technically a “dietary supplement”, so brands can’t have calories listed on their nutrition facts label. That said, the amount of calories in most pre-workouts is very minimal.

On a side note, some brands don’t even have all of their ingredients and dosages listed (we don’t like those types of pre-workouts - if it doesn’t have all of the ingredients with exact dosages on the label, it’s just a cheap standard blend!).

If the ingredients are listed on the label, then there are some key ingredients to look out for that can break a fast, which we will go over.

We hope this article will answer your questions. No more wondering if you are actually fasting or not.

In this article, we are going to cover:

Benefits of fasting What is fasting, technically? Does pre-workout break a fast? What ingredients in pre-workout should you look out for? How many calories are in pre-workout? Why pre-workout could actually be good for fasting

Let's find out if your favorite supp has wasted all those times you trained hungry.

will pre workout break a fast

What Are The Benefits of Fasting?

There are quite a few benefits from fasting that are supported by evidence. We specifically care about those that fall under one of two categories: weight management (weight loss or weight maintenance) or sports performance.

Here's a non-exhaustive list:

Improve insulin sensitivity Improve various metabolic conditions Aid in healthy weight loss Improve fat oxidation for endurance exercise Decreased hunger pains/cravings It may be better to help mitigate muscle loss What Is Fasting, Technically?

The most basic definition of fasting is ‘willingly choosing not to eat and/or drink’.

The two primary reasons being:

Religious purposes Enhance health, performance or weight loss

As we are concerned with fitness and training, we're only going to speak about fasting as choosing not to eat food for the purpose of health and fitness. We will look at the physiological effects pre-workout has on the human body, not if it breaks a religious code.

As a side note, there are different methods of fasting (time periods), and types of fasts, such as no calories or no food and water - p.s. going on an extended water fast while training is really stupid. Don’t do that.

We won’t get into the nitty gritty of fasting methods, as we really just want to focus on if pre-workout will break a fast, and if so, how and why. Regardless, this will apply to any type of fast, so it doesn’t matter.

What we will do is look at the physiological effects of fasting…

Physiological effects of fasting:

While you could say that anytime you're not eating, it is "fasting," the technical term is dependent on what happens physiologically. There have been several different attempts to describe when "not eating" becomes "fasting.

For example, one simple definition is when your body has completely absorbed a meal and fully digested it. This works on a basic level but to answer the question of "does pre-workout break a fast?", we need a little more technical of an answer.

For that, the best description is probably given by the famous fasting and metabolism researcher Dr. George Cahill. In his monumental study, he laid out 5 stages of fasting that he was able to identify1. These stages are based on the body's transition to different sources of fuel, specifically glucose from carbohydrates and triglycerides from fats.

Our bodies' preferred source of fuel is glucose, as it's readily available and easy to process. However, as glucose becomes depleted in the body, the body will start to rely on triglycerides as the human body holds a large amount of fat.

With that understanding, here are the 5 stages of fasting:

Stage 1(0-4 hours after eating): Your body has plenty of glucose to use for fuel. Stage 2 (4-16 hours after eating): Your body begins to digest food further, but insulin levels begin to drop. While you may still use glucose, it will come from your glycogen stores. Stage 3 (16-30 hours after eating): Your body still needs glucose to function, but there is none available. Therefore your body turns to the process of gluconeogenesis, which is when your body turns to non-carbohydrate sources, mainly protein, to turn into glucose. Stage 4 (2-7days): At this point, the body is leaving what we call fasting and begins to enter a state of ketosis. This is when your body begins to produce ketones for energy. Stage 5 (>7 days): We're not going to even talk about this.

Keep in mind that these time frames are for sedentary people. High intensity exercise can deplete our glucose and glycogen stores much faster.

So as we see, when people are asking, "does so-and-so break a fast," they are really asking, "Will the food they eat disrupt this transition of metabolic energy sources?" This is actually kind of hard to answer because it really depends on what stage of fasting they are in as well as what they consider fasting. As you see, fasting rests in a continuum.

In the fitness world, the vast majority of people asking this are using intermittent fasting, meaning that the vast majority of people aren’t fasting any longer than 20 hours. As you can see above, that’s barely getting into the 3rd stage so this population isn’t really doing hardcore fasting.

Does Pre-Workout Break A Fast?

The most important factor to this question is going to be what your pre-workout contains or what ingredients it consists of. As you likely know, a pre-workout can contain a wide variety of different compounds. Some of these could break a fast, and some couldn't. So instead of answering if a pre-workout will break a fast, we'll look at some common ingredients and see what they do.

The pre-workout ingredients of most concern in terms fasting are:

Caffeine Sugar Artificial Sweetener Amino Acids (BCAAs/EAAs)

We should also address one issue real quick first. One of the benefits of fasting is a process known as autophagy, which is basically your body's recycling system. It's when your body eats old cells and creates new ones. Some doctors or practitioners who take fasting very seriously will say that drinking anything other than water will break a fast because it can disturb the process of autophagy.

So…there's that. But this shouldn't even be a concern unless you fast for longer than 24 hours, as this tends to be the minimum time requirement for this to start. Again, as the vast majority of people reading this are likely on some form of intermittent fasting, this probably isn’t much of an issue.

Caffeine:

If your preworkout contains caffeine, you are good as caffeine DOES NOT break a fast. While there may be minimal calories, it's generally not enough to have any massive effect on your energy utilization or cause a spike in insulin.

Sugar:

Yes. Sugar DOES break a fast. In fact, this is probably the worst food to break a fast with as it will cause a massive sugar and insulin spike. No. Just don't.

Artificial Sweeteners:

So you might think you're ok with artificial sweeteners, but actually, this is up for debate. Studies are contradictory, and while most show that artificial sweeteners don't cause a spike in insulin, there have been some that do show a spike, mainly in regards to sucrose and saccharin2-3. 

Interestingly, this rise in insulin doesn’t seem to be directly from the sweetener itself, but what's called a "cephalic phase insulin release". This is when your body raises insulin in anticipation of eating so it seems that the taste of these can cause an insulin spike since they mimic sugar.

Therefore, if you don't want to break a fast, definitely stay away from the two aforementioned artificial sweeteners.

Still, if you definitely don’t want to break a fast and want to be 100% positive you won’t, you might want to stay away from all artificial sweeteners, so there goes basically every pre-workout.

Amino Acids (BCAA/EAA):

One of the biggest misconceptions is that amino acids don't have calories. Lies! We don't care what the nutrition label says; it's a lie! Let us explain, and it will make sense real quick.

Does protein have calories? Sure it does. Every gram has 4 calories.  What is protein made of? Amino acids. So amino acids have 0 calories, but when they form protein, they have 4 calories?

Obviously, this is silly. The problem is that a nutrition label can only assign calories to whole protein. Since amino acids aren't a whole protein so nutrition labels can't label them as protein. Therefore, you can have BCAAs or EAAs with “0 calories” listed.

The 9 Essential Amino Acids:

Histidine Isoleucine* Leucine* Lysine Methionine Phenylalanine Threonine Tryptophan Valine*

The ones with an asterisk (*) are BCAA's. If you see any of these on the pre-workout label, it will contain some calories.

How many calories do BCAA's have?

Surprisingly, your BCAAs actually have a bit more calories than whole protein. A study reported that leucine has 4.65 calories per gram, isoleucine has 4.65 calories per gram, and valine has 4.64 calories per gram4. So basically, every 10g of BCAAS has around 46 calories! 

Further, while it can sometimes be exaggerated and called a "spike," BCAA's can, in fact, cause your insulin to rise. So this is going to depend on why you're fasting and what you consider "breaking" a fast. 

How Many Calories in Pre-Workout Supplements?

If the pre-workout uses artificial sweeteners and doesn't contain BCAA's, it is likely to have zero calories (or a very minuscule amount). However, there are some exceptions depending on what other ingredients are in your pre-workout, but for most pre-workouts, 0 calories holds true.

When it comes to vitamins and minerals, they do not provide any calories, even though they are essential nutrients. 

But again, you have to remember that even though a pre-workout may have zero calories, the artificial sweetener may still cause a spike in insulin, which affects a true fast. 

pre workout fasting

So...Will Pre Workouts Break A Fast?

As mentioned before, we are looking at this question in the eyes of most fitness enthusiasts who use intermittent fasting for weight loss or sports performance. Also, we are making two assumptions before we give our verdict:

You're not drinking a pre-workout with other sugar and carbs You haven't eaten for 8 hours minimum, preferably 10

With that in mind, we don't think a pre-workout is really going to cause any negative effects on the adaptations you're looking for when fasting. The reason we give the minimum of 8 hours is that we want your glucose and glycogen to be extremely low. Being so, even if you do take a pre-workout with a few calories, it still isn't going to make a huge dent in your metabolism.

Further, we are going to assume you will eat after your workout; which is assuming you’re going to workout after you take your pre-workout. There’s a lot of assuming going on. Regardless, if you are going to eat after your workout, then that means you’re near the end of your fast anyways ,so you’re not really going to disrupt anything that won’t be disrupted in another hour or so. 

However, if you are fasting for reasons other than what we mentioned or are concerned about being on a "true fast," pre-workouts probably aren't the best choice. After reviewing all of the evidence, as well as looking at the opinions of fasting experts and followers, there seems to be contradicting information and answers. Therefore, you should probably stay away if you don’t want to take any chances of pre-workout breaking your fast.

Why Pre-Workouts Might Actually Be Good When Fasting:

We're going to flip the script real quick and suggest that a pre-workout might actually be good when you are fasting. This is primarily due to the caffeine in pre-workout, which can improve your body's use of fat stores for energy.

In fact, this study specifically found that after fasting, caffeine can "effectively increase" fat utilization5. We should mention that this was during aerobic exercise, but in our opinion, aerobic exercise is the most effective form of exercise to use with fasting. Therefore, we feel confident to say that pure caffeine is the best pre-workout for fasting. 

Pre-Workout And Fasting:

So that's about it. While we don't feel a pre-workout is going to have any negative effect on fasting for weight loss or performance, you should probably stay away if you're doing a true fast. You don’t want to take any chance of your glucose rising (tricked into it or not).

If you want to take pre-workout while fasting, and you aren’t so worried about some tiny effects that may occur, then just stay away from pre-workouts that contain any of the 9 essential amino acids, sucrose, or saccharin. All other ingredients should be fine.

If you're still concerned, you could always just pop some caffeine pills, enjoy the increased fat oxidation, and be confident you're still in a fast.

More frequently asked questions about pre-workout:

Do Stimulant-Free Pre-Workouts Work? Is Pre-Workout Good For Cardio? Why Does Pre-Workout Make You Tingle & Itch?

how many calories in pre-workout

References:

Cahill GF. Fuel metabolism in starvation. Annual review of nutrition. 2006;26:1-22. doi:10.1146/annurev.nutr.26.061505.111258‌ Pepino MY, Tiemann CD, Patterson BW, Wice BM, Klein S. Sucralose affects glycemic and hormonal responses to an oral glucose load. Diabetes care. 2013;36(9):2530-2535. doi:10.2337/dc12-2221 Just T, Pau HW, Engel U, Hummel T. Cephalic phase insulin release in healthy humans after taste stimulation? Appetite. 2008;51(3):622-627. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2008.04.271 Validate User. academic.oup.com. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/52/5/770/4651069 Collado-Mateo D, Lavín-Pérez AM, Merellano-Navarro E, Coso JD. Effect of Acute Caffeine Intake on the Fat Oxidation Rate during Exercise: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2020;12(12):3603. doi:10.3390/nu12123603
- Kiel DiGiovanni

The past weekend marked the 2022 HYROX World Championships that took place in the Las Vegas Convention Center on May 14th. This was first time in the race’s history, that the United States hosted the championships. Athletes from 22 countries competed for the chance to win it all.

Let’s look at the results of the 2022 HYROX World Championships.

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2022 HYROX World Championships Results

HYROX, dubbed the World Series of Fitness, is a race born in Germany back in 2017 and, since then, has had every World Championships hosted there. Finally, this year we saw the culmination happen in sunny Las Vegas.

HYROX is a functional fitness slash endurance race where competitors try to complete the challenges in the fastest time. This year we’ve seen some HYROX US events and European events, with the 2022 HYROX European Championships happening back in March.

As a reminder, the HYROX race is structured into eight functional workouts with a one kilometer run between each.

Here’s the breakdown of the HYROX race:

START 1 KM Run 1000 M. Ski Erg 1 KM Run 50 M. Sled Push | Men: 385 lb Women: 275 lb 1 KM Run 50 M. Sled Pull | Men: 275 lb Women 165 lb 1 KM Run 80 M. Burpee Broad Jumps 1 Km Run 1000 M. Row 1 KM Run 200 M. Farmers Carry | Men: 70 lb Women: 53 lb 1 KM Run 100 M. Sandbag Lunges | Men: 66 lb Women: 45 lb 1 KM Run 100 Wallballs | Men: 20 lb Women: 14 lb

FINISH 

2022 HYROX World Championship Men’s Results

Going into the event, the favorites to win were Hunter McIntyre and Ryan Kent as last year’s winner, and this year’s European winner, Tobias Lautwein, didn’t participate.

McIntyre started off with a bang by running the first km in 2:39, and he didn’t let up after that. He managed to place first in five of the eight workouts! McIntyre won the race with a two-minute lead over Kent to claim his second HYROX World Championship title. 

Hunter McIntyre | 58:05 Ryan Kent | 1:00:26 Alexander Roncevic | 1:00:38 Tim Wenisch | 1:01:35 Dylan Scott | 1:02:10 Michael Sandbach | 1:03:17 Richard Ryan | 1:04:38 Jeffrey Voisin | 1:05:04 Tom Hogan | 1:05:09 Martin Michelius | 1:06:15 View this post on Instagram

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2022 HYROX World Championship Women’s Results

In the women’s division, there was a close battle for first place, but Kris Rugloski ended up edging out Linda Meier by 36 seconds to win the title.

Kris Rugloski | 1:07:21 Linda Meier | 1:07:57 Mirjam Von Rohr | 1:08:23 Alandra Greenlee | 1:08:38 Alyssa Hawley | 1:09:53 Terra Jackson | 1:10:15 Viola Oberlander | 1:10:20 Elisabeth Kholti | 1:10:20 Lauren Weeks | 1:13:02 Camilla Massa | 1:13:18 View this post on Instagram

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Watch the 2022 HYROX World Championships below:

CLOSING THOUGHTS

SET FOR SET congratulates all the athletes who competed over the weekend. It’s nice to see this newer race growing in popularity in the US, and we think that trend will continue for quite some time. Stay on the lookout for a race coming to a city near you. 

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- Kiel DiGiovanni

The 2022 Indy Pro, one of the biggest bodybuilding shows of the year, just wrapped up over the weekend. On Saturday, May 14th, top athletes came to the Indiana Convention Center to compete for a spot at the 2022 Olympia. The featured divisions were Men’s 212, Men’s Open, and Women’s Bodybuilding. Let’s take a look at the results of the 2022 Indy Pro below!

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2022 Indy Pro Results & Recap

Last weekend we saw the 2022 Pittsburgh Pro take place, where some big winners emerged. This weekend at the 2022 Indy Pro had a similar vibe in impacting the sport. This weekend, the three big winners were Blessing Awodibu in the Men’s Open, Bryan Balzano in Men’s 212, and Theresa Ivancik in Women’s Bodybuilding.

Men’s Open

Blessing Awodibu looked unbeatable from the beginning of the show. His plan worked to perfection as he took a long break from competition to put on the necessary size to be a top contender.

Last year Awodibu placed 3rd at this same event, so he’s definitely made vast improvements to his physique. Many thought that Justin Rodriguez would give Blessing a run for his money after his performance at the 2022 Arnold Classic and then his second place finish in the 2022 Boston Pro, but it was Charles Griffen who came the closest to the top.

Winner: Blessing Awodibu Second Place: Charles Griffen Third Place: Maxx Charles Fourth Place: Justin Rodriguez Fifth Place: Brent Swansen Sixth Place: Dorian Haywood Seventh Place: Walter Martin Eighth Place: Slavoj Bednar Ninth Place: Ross Flanigan Tenth Place: Ray Short View this post on Instagram

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Men’s 212

Bryan Balzano’s triumphant win is almost one of a movie. After having some serious health scares and multiple years away from the sport, Balzano managed to work his way back up by placing fourth in the 2021 Indy Pro. So, this win is a massive accomplishment as many never thought he'd be able to make it to the Olympia.

Winner: Bryan Balzano Second Place: Noel Adame Third Place: Enmanuel Rodriguez Fourth Place: Yumon Eaton Fifth Place: Abdullah Alsaif Sixth Place: LeLand DeVaughn Seventh Place: Teddy Gray Eighth Place: Boas Oliveira Ninth Place: Broderick Credell Tenth Place: Peter Castella View this post on Instagram

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Women’s Bodybuilding

Theresa Ivanick is back with this win in Women’s Bodybuilding. Last year she competed in Women’s Physique at the 2021 Chicago Pro, where she placed 7th. So we think she made the right decision to come back to the Bodybuilding division. Although there were only five competitors in this division, Ivanick led the pack from the beginning.

Winner: Theresa Ivancik Second Place: Stephanie Fisher Third Place: Lisa Kudrey Fourth Place: Donna Salib Fifth Place: Jada Beverly View this post on Instagram

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CLOSING THOUGHTS

SET FOR SET congratulates all the athletes who competed at the 2022 Indy Pro. The season is almost halfway over, but the three winners still have plenty of time to prepare for the 2022 Olympia that’s set to take place from December 16-18 in Las Vegas. We can’t wait to see what they bring to the stage.

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- Sam Coleman
8 Best Stretches for Triceps

The triceps are a primary mover in every upper body pressing exercise. Think about it - they help power bench press, push ups, overhead press, and dips. On top of all that, most people try to increase the size and strength of their triceps with isolation exercises. After all, this muscle, which makes up two-thirds of your upper arms, is important on so many fronts, both in and out of the gym. Not to mention, a well-developed set of triceps looks very impressive.

Now, like any other muscle, the triceps can get tight and overworked. In fact, the triceps are quite susceptible to becoming tight considering how often they are used in daily life and workouts.

Even so, the triceps usually get overlooked when it comes time for stretching. It’s likely because people just don’t know how to stretch the triceps. If that’s the case with you, it won’t be anymore…

We are here to provide you with the best triceps stretches for before and after your workouts. By stretching your triceps, you’ll help them achieve an optimal length, which is great for improving range of motion, recovering faster, and even reducing soreness.

Before we begin, it’ll actually be very helpful if you understand the anatomy of the triceps and all the benefits you’ll reap from stretching this horseshoe-shaped, posterior, upper arm muscle.

tricep stretch

ANATOMY AND FUNCTION OF THE TRICEPS MUSCLE

The triceps, which is more formally known as the triceps brachii, gets its name because it has three separate muscle heads.

Tri = Three. 

They are called the long head, lateral head, and medial head, because that’s exactly what and where they are in relation to the muscle itself. It’s very straight to the point. 

But, don’t get confused, it is still one single muscle. 

Each muscle head has a different origin point, but they converge and insert in the same place on the elbow.

The main job of the triceps as a whole is elbow extension.

However, let’s dive a little deeper into the anatomy and function of each individual muscle head, as there are some nuances you should learn. This will help you understand how to target the muscle better during workouts and how to stretch it fully. 

Long Head: The triceps long head makes up most of the triceps’ size and starts at the infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula. As such, it crosses the shoulder joint. This means the long head of the triceps is involved in some shoulder movements, particularly overhead pulling movements like lat pulldowns and chin-ups (shoulder adduction). The long head will also be more activated when the shoulder is in flexion (elbows up) because it is working from a stretched position. With that in mind, stretches that involve shoulder flexion will also target the long head of the triceps.  Lateral Head: The triceps lateral head is the muscle that gives your triceps the horseshoe appearance on the side of the arm. Its origin is the posterior surface of the humerus (upper arm bone). The lateral head is big and strong. It powers elbow extension when up against resistance.  Medial Head: The triceps medial head originates a little lower on the humerus. It’s right at the center. It is used every time you extended your elbow. In fact, when extending free from resistance, it’s pretty much just the medial head doing it. 

triceps muscle stretch

Again, any time you press or extend your elbow, you have your triceps to thank for that. When it comes to pushes and presses, the triceps really take over about halfway up the press. It’s the lockout muscle. 

THE BENEFITS OF STRETCHING YOUR TRICEPS

You all know the benefits of strengthening the triceps: improved lockout, strength, size, and better elbow stability. But what about the benefits of stretching the triceps? Well, here are a few:

1) Improved Range Of Motion And Performance:

When a muscle is tight, achieving a full range of motion will be difficult and the triceps are no different. If you have tight triceps, it may decrease your performance on the sporting field and leave gains on the table with all of your pressing movements. This is why dynamic tricep stretches are important before a workout, especially if they are feeling tight, which often happens since they are typically worked during more than one session per week. 

2) Better recovery:

Stretching the triceps after training helps the muscle return to its resting length faster and may help reduce soreness. When you stretch the triceps, you bring blood flow there to start the healing process after a workout.

3) Injury Prevention:

Triceps stretches engage all three heads of the triceps muscle and help to keep the elbows functioning properly, but let’s focus on the long head for a moment. Remember how the long head acts on the shoulder joint too? By stretching your triceps before and after upper-body exercises, you can reduce your chances of shoulder injuries. A well cared for long head muscle is key for shoulder stability and shoulder health.

tight triceps

HOW TO STRETCH THE TRICEPS

To stretch the triceps, you simply have to perform the opposite of elbow extension, which is elbow flexion. When your triceps contract, your biceps stretch, and vice versa. So, to stretch your triceps, you will flex your elbow in certain ways and hold the position. 

Also, as we’ve mentioned, the long head acts on the shoulders, so certain shoulder movements with holds will stretch the triceps, such as the popular overhead triceps stretch. 

Besides static stretches, you have dynamic movements that move your triceps through a full range of motion, which in essence, stretches your triceps. This is similar to when you are actually working out. If you are using a full range of motion, you are doing a form of dynamic stretching. But make no mistake, it’s not the same as static stretching (holding the stretching position for an extended period of time) or purposeful dynamic stretches (full range movements with short holds in the stretched position), so it’s important that you do both. 

With the tricep stretches below, you’ll see how all this works. But first, let’s talk about when to stretch, so you really understand each of the stretching movements to come. 

BEST TIME TO DO TRICEPS STRETCHES

When you want to improve the recovery and the length of your triceps, the best time to stretch them is after training when the triceps are warm. You’re more likely to see better results from static stretches when your body is warm. Holding a tricep stretch for 30 seconds to 2 minutes here works well.

It’s not just the muscle itself that gets stretched, the fascia that surrounds the muscle like webbing is also getting stretched. Think of the fascia as taffy. When the taffy is cold it is harder to stretch but when the taffy is warm it is easily stretched.

But that doesn’t mean you should only be stretching when the triceps are warm. Before a workout, you should be doing dynamic stretches. These are stretches that you hold for 5-10 seconds, moving in and out of the stretch. Essentially, they a movements with a full range of motion and usually involve slight holds at the end range. These will help promote blood flow, release muscular tension, and optimize range of motion to help get your triceps ready for the work ahead.

triceps muscle stretch

8 BEST TRICEPS STRETCHES AND FOAM ROLLS

Here are 8 great triceps stretches (2 are actually triceps foam rolling exercises) to insert before and/or after your training for improved recovery and flexibility.

1. Elbow Extensor Stretch:

triceps stretch

The anconeus muscle is a small muscle located at the elbow, attaching to the humerus and ulna. It is engaged during triceps extension but is there to provide support and stability. This stretches the triceps and anconeus from a different angle and is a great stretch for those who don’t have the shoulder mobility to place their hands all the way behind their head.

How to:

Stand in front of a box around mid-thigh height. Hinge down to the box and place your elbows on the box, underneath the shoulders with your palms facing down. Lean your torso forward slightly keeping your back in neutral until you feel a stretch in your triceps. Hold for 30-60 seconds. 2. Overhead Triceps Stretch:

overhead tricep stretch

The overhead tricep stretch is an oldie but a goodie. But if you don’t have good shoulder mobility or your feel any pain with this stretch please stop. Here you will control the intensity of the stretch by how far you can place your hand behind your head. Plus the amount of pressure you apply to the elbow. Both will alter the intensity of this stretch. The overhead tricep stretch is great for your triceps as a whole, but especially the long head.

How to:

Standing upright with your feet shoulder width apart, place your right hand behind your head and between your shoulder blades. Place your left hand on your right elbow and push down on it while the working arm resists the push. You should feel a great stretch in your triceps. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and then repeat on the other side. 3. Triceps Dip Stretch:

how to stretch triceps

The triceps dip stretch is similar to the dip exercise, but you hold the bottom position to stretch your triceps using your torso as resistance. Not only will you stretch your triceps, but this one opens up your chest and shoulder muscles too, as well as your lats. You can alter the lean and the bend of the elbows to increase or decrease the intensity of this tricep stretch.

How to:

Sit on the ground, bend your knees, and place your heels on the ground. Place your hand behind you with your fingers pointing away from you. Then dip the elbows until your feel a stretch in your triceps. Keep your chest up, shoulders down, and back in neutral while leaning back. Hold for 30 seconds. 4. Tricep Stretch Against Wall:

stretching triceps

The tricep stretch against the wall is another great triceps stretch that allows for a really deep stretch. Much like the other stretches above, you can control the intensity by how close you are to the wall and by how my pressure you apply to the wall.

How to:

Stand close to a wall with an upright posture. Touch your right hand to your right shoulder and place your arm on the wall with your elbow pointing up high. Lean into it until you feel a stretch in your triceps. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Then repeat on the other side. 5. Reaching Down Tricep Stretch:

best stretches for triceps

The reaching down triceps stretch is similar to the overhead triceps stretch except you are stretching both triceps instead of one. By actively reaching down you can control how intense the stretch is and adjust it according to your needs. If you have trouble putting your arms behind your head, avoid this variation.

How to:

Stand tall and place both hands behind your head with your elbows kept high. Hold your hands together and rest on your upper back. Reach your hands towards the ground and gently pull until your feel a nice stretch in your triceps. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. 6. Horizontal Tricep Stretch:

cross body triceps stretch

This tricep stretch has you reaching across your body instead of going behind your head. This is a good basic stretch and is also perfect for anyone who has any issues with their elbows or shoulders but still needs to stretch their triceps. You’ll be able to adjust the intensity of this stretch by how hard you push it and into the back of your elbow. Plus, with this stretch, as a bonus, you’ll stretch the hard-to-reach posterior deltoid too.

How to:

Standing upright, bring your right arm across your body. Place your left hand on your right elbow and apply pressure until you feel a stretch in your right triceps. Your right arm should be underneath your left arm. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat on the other side. 7. Triceps Foam Roll Side-Lying on Floor:

foam rolling triceps exercises

Foam rolling the triceps is one of those hurt-so-good exercises. Yes, it hurts, but it will loosen up the muscle for a better range of motion if you do it before training, and it brings healing blood flow for improved recovery if you do it after training. When performing this triceps foam roll exercise, focus on the sore spots of the triceps and be careful not to roll into too much pain. This will negate the benefits of this exercise.

How to:

Lie on your right side and bring your left leg over your right leg by your right knee. Straighten your right arm overhead and place the foam roller below the elbow. Use your left foot to push the foam roller back and forth over the triceps. Perform 10-15 rolls and switch sides and repeat. 8. Tiger Tail Triceps:

triceps muscle

The tiger tail triceps roll is performed with a tiger tail foam roller but can be performed with a PVC pipe or something similar if you don’t have one. Here you can apply as much pressure as you can handle to the sore spots on your triceps. Plus, as a bonus, your quads get some love too.

How to:

Place your right foot on a bench and the tiger tail on your right thigh. Place your right arm on the tiger tail just below the elbow. Push your right triceps up and down the tiger tail being careful not to roll over your elbow. Perform 10-20 rolls and then switch sides and repeat. WRAPPING UP

You probably spend a lot of time strengthening your triceps in your exercise program, so you should be spending time stretching and rolling the triceps too! It will benefit your upper body strength and performance as well as the health of your elbows and shoulders. These 8 tricep stretches and rolls performed before and after your workout routine will release muscular tension and improve your triceps' flexibility and range of motion big time. 

We recommend doing a couple dynamic triceps stretches before your workout and a couple of static triceps stretches after your workout. You don't have to do each tricep stretch in one session. You can switch the stretches up each time if you’d like. Also, incorporate some foam rolling into your routine once a week. You can foam roll a little before your workout and a little after. There’s no need to spend more than a few minutes rolling out your triceps! Happy stretching and rolling!

More Stretching Content:

Lat Stretches Bicep Stretches Chest Stretches Ab Stretches TFL Stretches Piriformis Stretches Levator Scapulae Stretches
- Kiel DiGiovanni

One of the all-time greats in the sport of bodybuilding, Flex Lewis, announced his retirement on the first episode of his podcast, Straight Outta The Lair. The surprising retirement news came from Flex Lewis as he was speaking with his wife Ali about future plans. Let's get into this major announcement!

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7-Time Mr. Olympia 212 Flex Lewis Retires From BodyBuilding 

The seven-time Mr. Olympian shocked the bodybuilding world when he announced his retirement on Friday during the recording of his podcast. The podcast episode covered numerous topics, including his family’s move to Las Vegas.

Around minute 22 of the podcast, Flex gets to the juice and says, “There’s no real easy way to say this, but it’s time. Bodybuilding has served me well. It has opened up some amazing doors for me, but it is time for me to hang up my posing shorts.”

It seems like Lewis is satisfied with his remarkable career and now wants to move on to a new chapter in life to be present for his family more, as he just recently had his second kid.

During the podcast, we also learned of some health issues facing Lewis; he said it was hard for him to eat as much as he needed to if he wanted to pursue the dream of winning the Olympia in the Open division.

The past six months had been rough for Lewis as he described waking up daily with nausea and dry heaving. He couldn’t pinpoint the exact cause, but now that he’s down about 25 pounds, he feels much better, thanks to a diet change.

At the end of the day, Lewis said he made this decision alone, and it was the right time to walk away.

Watch the full podcast episode below where you can see Flex announce his retirement and future plans

WHO IS FLEX LEWIS?

Flex Lewis is a Welsh bodybuilder that holds 7 Mr. Olympia titles in the 212 division. The name Flex actually originated from his childhood when he was 6-year-old playing rugby due to his ability to break tackles.

It was at age 12 when Flex fell in love with bodybuilding. Looking up to Arnold and Tom Platz, he started lifting secretly at home when he found some of his father’s old weights. At 15, he stepped into the gym for the first time and never looked back.

By 19 years old, Flex entered his first bodybuilding competition and won Junior, Mr. Wales. He then went on to win Junior Mr. Britain four weeks after his first show.

Flex moved to the US to pursue bodybuilding and ended up in the mecca; Venice Beach. From there, Flex became close with some of the biggest names in the industry.

From there, let’s look at the biggest wins of his long, dominant career:

2008 Europa Pro 202: 1st Place 2009 Atlantic City Pro 202: 1st Place 2011 British Grand Prix 202: 1st Place 2012 Mr. Olympia 212: 1st Place 2012 British Grand Prix 212: 1st Place 2012 EVL’s Prague Pro 212: 1st Place 2013 Mr. Olympia 212: 1st Place 2013 EVL’s Prague Pro 212: 1st Place 2014 Arnold Classic 212: 1st Place 2014 Mr. Olympia 212: 1st Place 2014 Korea Grand Prix 212: 1st Place 2014 EVL’s Prague Pro 212: 1st Place 2014 San Marino Pro 212: 1st Place 2015 Mr. Olympia 212: 1st Place 2016 Mr. Olympia 212: 1st Place 2017 Mr. Olympia 212: 1st Place 2018 Mr. Olympia 212: 1st Place

CLOSING THOUGHTS

We know Flex originally had his eyes set on competing in the Men’s Open at the 2022 Olympia, but he made the smart choice to step away from the sport. With so many deaths coming in recent years, we’re happy to see he put his health and family as his number one priority. SET FOR SET wishes him well and thanks him for the awesome memories and contribution to the sport.

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- Kiel DiGiovanni

IFBB pro-Derek Lunsford recently took to his Youtube channel with an interesting chest and calves combination workout. Read on to learn a new chest movement that you've probably never done before.

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Derek Lunsford Chest & Calves Workout

Derek Lunsford is an American IFBB pro bodybuilder that's caught the industry's attention over recent years. He won the 2017 NPC USA Championships Overall to earn his IFBB pro card, then won the Tampa Pro 212 right after that.

Since then, he's competed in the Olympia every year and never finished worst than 5th place. Lunsford won the 2021 Olympia in the 212 division, and he plans to do it again this year.

With his track record, we can guarantee he knows what he's doing in the gym, so check out his chest and calves workout below.

Cable Chest Flys

Derek starts the workout on the cable machine as he's speaking to someone off camera. Lunsford says he usually starts with warmup sets of 15-20 reps, but today he's not going over 12 reps.

The first exercise we see Derek perform is the cable chest fly. He does one set standing up straight with slow controlled reps, then the camera cuts to him completing a set of flys where his body is bent over, and he's bringing his arms together down in front of himself.

Incline Dumbbell Press

After a brief posing session, Lunsford's second exercise is an incline dumbbell press but at a slight incline. It looks like he's performing sets of 8-12 reps here. We see him move up in weight with each set.

The first set starts with dumbbells weighing 40 kg (88 lb). By the fourth set, he's pressing 72.5 kg (160 lb ) dumbbells. He said the 10 plus reps he got felt great, and he thought about jumping up 20 lb in each hand, but at the end of the day, he's a bodybuilder that focuses on hypertrophy, not strength. 

Incline Dumbbell Flys X DB Hammer Press

Derek moves on to incline dumbbell flys, where he executes each rep in a slow eccentric and concentric movement while focusing on squeezing his pecs. After his last rep of flys, he goes right into a dumbbell hammer press.

Decline Dumbbell Flys With Resistance Band

As the camera cuts to Derek's next exercise, we see an unorthodox setup where he has a resistance band wrapped around his back while holding each end in his hands along with the dumbbell handles.

After he finishes up some reps, he talks about why using the band in conjunction with the dumbbells works so well. He says the band creates extra tension that pulls his shoulders back, so you really have to squeeze at the top of the exercise, which is different from a normal dumbbell fly, where the exercise usually gets easier as you bring your arms together.

Decline Dumbbell Press With Resistance Band

Lunsford then uses the same technique with the resistance band as we see him completing some decline dumbbell presses with the band. This exercise seems to tax him to the max as he went to failure.

Smith Machine Bench Press

Next up, we see Derek performing bench press on the Smith machine. His technique and form should be noted, as he has his elbows flared out a bit to target the upper chest. He's also trying to get a maximum pump, so he's doing faster partial reps up to 15.

Seated Calf Raise

After his chest exercises wrapped up, Derek hopped on the seated calf raise, where we saw him perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps. The majority of the reps done here were super slow on the way up and down until he busted out some rapid-fire partial reps towards the end. He finished off with a dropset where he went to failure. 

Seated Toe Raise

This is a rare exercise to see in most gyms. It's the opposite of a calf raise, where you'll lift your toes up instead of targeting the tibialis anterior at the front of the shins.

At the end of the video, Derek talks about why he hit the chest and calves on the same day. He then imparts some motivation by saying even if you don't feel like going to work out, sometimes you have to push yourself. He says it's not about ego lifting; it's about coming to the gym and doing the work to improve his physique.

Always focus on form!

Sample Derek Lunsford Chest & Calves Workout

We don't know the exact set and rep scheme featured in the workout above, but we'll go with the range he spoke about briefly. This workout is meant to get a great pump, so focus on the form and contraction, not the total amount you're lifting.

Cable Chest Flys: 3 sets x 8-12 reps (change upper body position each set: start standing up straight, then finish the last set with your body hinged forward) Incline DB Chest Press: 4 sets x 8-10 reps Superset: Incline DB Flys x DB Hammer Press: 2 sets x 10 reps (each exercise) Decline DB Flys With Band: 2 sets x 12 reps Decline DB Press With Band: 1 set x 8-12 reps Smith Machine Bench Press: 2 sets x 12-15 reps Seated Calf Raise: 4 sets x 12-15 reps (the last set is AMRAP dropset, reduce weight 30%) Standing Toe Raise: 2 sets X AMRAP

Note: Keep 1-2 min rests between sets.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Derek Lunsford is one of the top bodybuilders in the world, and we can see he's taking it super seriously to remain the 212 Olympia champion this year. We loved to see some unorthodox movements like the dumbbells combined with the resistance band, and we can't wait to give it a go!

Subscribe to our Newsletter Email Address Images courtesy of Derek Lunsford's Instagram //
- Sam Coleman
How to Avoid Overtraining & Burnout in Fitness

We know you love training but are you training too much? Is the big bad overtraining boogeyman gonna get you? Is overtraining even real? Or maybe, you're just experiencing a little burnout. What's the difference? And by the way, how fine is the line between overreaching and overtraining?

That's a lot of questions, and this article will attempt to answer them all and more. We will go over what you need to know about burnout, overtraining, and overreaching.

Table of Contents:

What is burnout in training? What is overtraining? What is overreaching? Signs of overtraining & burnout Ways to prevent and treat overtraining and burnout

We hope you're not burned out reading yet cause we haven't even begun.

symptoms of overtraining

Burnout And Overtraining

Burnout and overtraining are two terms that are used to describe a general decrease in performance or motivation to go to the gym. While sometimes used interchangeably, we believe the symptoms of overtraining and burnout are very different.

In fact, the difference is recognized even now by sports psychologists, with research being conducted to distinguish the causes of each1. If you are a coach or sports psychologist, it would be very important for you to know the difference so you can treat them properly for your clients.

Regardless, these two are definitely related and can exacerbate the other, but we feel it's important to distinguish the two. If these are two different conditions, then that means there are different causes and different solutions. Therefore, let's look at burnout and overtraining separately so that we can identify the symptoms.

What is Burnout in Fitness?

When we refer to "burnout," we are talking about a condition created by an overload of stress that causes an imbalance in one's life. This stress can come from your family, social life, work, and training. The stresses and pressure can become too much until one feels like they're always on the go, and one can never rest. In a cruel twist of fate, this overload will cause a person to become distant and disinterested with what they once loved due to never being able to relax. 

It's even more twisted that it's really only possible for highly motivated individuals to really experience burnout as this group puts unrealistic expectations on themselves.

How this might look in the fitness world is giving yourself the goal of being the #1 bodybuilder in your state. Therefore, you train and train and train, but you're not getting the results you want, so you start canceling dinner dates or missing family events so you can train. Or maybe you can't enjoy yourself at a party because you can't risk having a beer. While you might be fine physiologically, your mental health begins to take a beating as you're not enjoying what you're doing, and there seems to be no answer. 

Other examples could come from being over-obsessed with your diet, looks, or whatever. What used to make you happy has become a chore, and worse, you're not getting the results you were hoping for. You begin having trouble managing your family, job, and relationship because you can't risk messing up your training or nutrition.

Unfortunately, this is quite common in the fitness world and arguably more common and even more serious than overtraining. Actually, when compared to overtraining, you’re probably much more likely to catch some form of burnout.

burnout fitness

What is Overtraining?

While burnout is a sign of too much mental stress, overtraining is a sign of too much physical stress. It can happen when someone is working out too much with inadequate recovery.

In a perfect world, a person will recover before they go train again, particularly for the area they are working that session. But with overtraining, there is still leftover fatigue, so when you go to the gym, you pile on more fatigue. This excess fatigue compiles over time until it reaches a point where your performance is dramatically affected.

However, overtraining can affect a lot more than your performance in the gym. You can develop symptoms from overtraining like:

Chronic fatigue Compromised immune system General discomfort Weight gain A decline in mood and mental health

This decline in performance isn't necessarily caused by damage to the muscles though but actually from the inadequate recovery of the central nervous system and improper levels of hormones. It all starts with the overproduction of cortisol, which then alters your adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine levels through a series of reactions. This is similar to dominoes falling one by one and creating more and more chaos. 

At the same time, we also need to say that many people can over exaggerate overtraining. It’s not going to happen in a week and it likely isn’t going to happen to guys running average training programs. Our bodies are resilient and they can take a lot of stress before they have overtraining symptoms. So while we want you to be aware of overtraining, we also don’t want you to freak out every time you wake up and are a little tired. 

What's Overreaching?

Overreaching is another term that is sometimes used with these conditions. However, overreaching is drastically different as it's done on purpose and is a planned period of time.

It's done to elicit a response known as supercompensation. This is your body's adaptive response to excessive stimulus so that your body will be able to handle that same stimulus easily in the future. In fact, super-compensation is at the heart of progressive overload.

Therefore, overreaching is when a coach will put excessive stress on an athlete, usually an experienced one. However, they know the athlete won't be able to handle it for long so they will then allow the athlete to recover for an extended period of time. Essentially, it is strategic overtraining. 

It's a bit more complicated than that, and we will write up another article on this in the near future, but that's really all you need to know for this article.

Signs That You Are Burning Out

In reality, burnout from training has similar symptoms as any other type of burnout, such as occupational burnout. Unfortunately, burnout is not as easy to spot in the early stages as overtraining is.

However, here is a list of signs and symptoms of burnout. We will try to list in the order it may appear. But keep in mind, it is far from a definitive guide as everyone is different.

Symptoms of burnout in fitness:

Always feeling busy. Unfortunately, this can be exhilarating for highly motivated people, so they will initially like this feeling. You begin to always feel anxious like you should be doing something. Again, it is hard to tell if this is bad or not in every circumstance. You feel really guilty if you miss a session. You begin to feel disillusioned with training. You're not really sure why you're doing it. Develop sleep issues and constantly think about training. Never fulfilled or happy. You almost feel antagonistic towards training. Develop general apathy and possibly headaches. Social life and work begin to deteriorate due to your relationship with dieting and training. Basically, any enjoyment is lost. The idea of not training makes you feel very anxious.

As you see, many of these symptoms are quite common in everyone at some point in their life, at least the first three, and many even experience number four at some point. 

Signs That You Are Overtraining in Fitness

There are a lot of signs that could develop due to overtraining. Some of the very first signs and symptoms of overtraining you may experience are:

Waning motivation lessens the more you train. Unusual soreness or general stiffness, especially when getting out of the bed in the AM. A drop in performance in the gym. The feeling that you can't produce power in the gym.

If you experience any of the above. Stop training. Give yourself a week of rest, or whatever you need to recover.

These are the first warning signs, and they will only get worse. You'll hear this more than once, but you can't out-train overtraining. We'll talk about what to do below.

If you do continue to train, you can expect to experience these overtraining symptoms, which can have long term effects:

Inability to concentrate or study (can affect school or work). No motivation to socialize. Sleep disturbance. Low Testosterone levels and chronic high cortisone levels. Some men report erectile dysfunction or lack of sexual drive. Severe loss in sports performance. Severe drop in motivation.

None of those sound fun at all, so do yourself a favor and pay attention to the first group of symptoms. 

how to know if you are overtraining

How To Treat Burnout

Unfortunately, burnout can actually be harder to treat than overtraining. Well, the cure is actually quite simple and simply consists of a person stepping away from the sport or activity that is causing chaos in their life. However, getting a person to do that depends on their relationship to what's causing the burnout. 

For example, if it's someone who just got a little overzealous with their training, a couple of buds could slap him on the back of his head, tell him to cool it with the curls, and hit the bar. If the guy could let it go easily, then he'd be able to get over it fairly soon.

However, if the person has developed an unhealthy obsession with a sport, it could require professional mental health. It's not uncommon for athletes to form their identity with a sport, and telling them to let it go can be like telling someone to shoot their dog…it's not going to happen.

If the burnout is at a level where it has caused serious psychological issues, they need to speak to a professional therapist (i.e., not us) and start dealing with it. Like any obsession, it can take some time to fully recover. 

In either case, the person will need to sit down and reevaluate their life goals. We are not therapists but writing these things down can help tremendously. When you write, it allows you to see what your life looks like and also forces you to acknowledge what’s happening.  

How To Treat And Prevent Overtraining

The bad news is that we have heard of some very, very rare cases of people who developed such a bad case of overtraining that they never fully recovered. Remember, overtraining is actually caused by dysregulation of your hormones. Anytime you mess with your hormones for a prolonged period of time, you are putting yourself at risk of long-term damage. However, the good news is that long term effects of severe overtraining syndrome is very, very rare, as mentioned. 

That being said, you will have a much shorter recovery time by spotting overtraining early as recovery time will grow exponentially as you pile on your overtraining. Therefore, you'd be wise to chill if you think this may be happening, as, again, you can't out-train overtraining.

If you do catch a case of overtraining, the best way to treat overtraining is to simply cut back on your volume and intensity significantly. Think about it like a prolonged deload. Also, if you're dieting, you may need to stop for a while as being in a caloric deficit does put stress on the body.

This doesn't mean you need to bulk, but you should be at maintenance at a bare minimum to give your body plenty of fuel. However, if you have been in an extreme caloric deficit, you’ll likely need to be put on a reverse diet and possibly see a professional.

You may also want to include some light recovery work to replace the time away from intense training. We're talking about simple walking or a cycle around the park. Just be sure not to turn it into a HIIT session! 

The above would be enough for mild cases. If you have a more severe condition, you're going to likely need to just stop training altogether for some time.

However, at the its heart, overtraining is simply caused by a program that does not properly balance training with recovery. 

Here are some basic things you can do to mitigate your chance of developing overtraining:

Be sure you have an adequate amount of recovery. SLEEP! You need to read this article on the Importance of Sleep! Don’t follow an extreme low caloric diet for an extended period of time. Perform active recovery on days off or light aerobic work. Follow a program with a proper amount of volume and DON’T ADD VOLUME. Consume an appropriate amount of calories and protein, specifically carbs and protein. Hydrate!

what is overtraining

Tips To Prevent Both Burnout And Overtraining

We saw that these two are clearly different, but there is also plenty of overlap. Further, some practices can definitely help with mitigating the development of burnout or overtraining. 

1) Be Honest With How Much You Can Handle:

If you have read SET FOR SET for any length of time, you have heard us many times before talking about the importance of choosing the proper frequency. In our opinion, there's really no reason the majority of the population needs to train six days a week. Five days a week can even be a lot. Four days tend to be the sweet spot for most people and can help fight both burnout and overtraining. 

First, it's only four days meaning you have plenty of time to explore your other interests or work on relationships. Secondly, it's only four days, so you have three full recovery days. You would need to train pretty damn hard to develop overtraining on four days a week. If you’re not sure what to do, give this program a shot: 4-Day Upper Lower Split.

Therefore, just be honest about how many days you can commit when you start a program. If you're unsure, you can handle five days and train for four days. If you're not sure, you can train for four days, train for three days. You're going to be much happier, and your relationship with the gym will be much healthier.

2) Take Deload Weeks Or Time Away:

Similar to above, take a deload or even time away. To be honest, it's not uncommon for us to just step away from the gym for a month when we feel we need it. And for the love of God, don't be that guy bugging his girlfriend to go to the gym on holiday. We're not saying just be a lazy fat ass, but if you're stressing about training on holiday, you are probably developing some unhealthy habits. Instead of going to the gym, going swimming, kayaking, ATV, hiking...just go outside and enjoy yourself!

The point is, don't be afraid to take time away. In fact, while we might not always plan a deload, we will use three-day weekends or vacations as our deloads. Love the gym and love living life. They're not mutually exclusive. Actually, they're quite complementary and you’re missing out if you forgot to enjoy life.

3) Incorporate A Hobby Or Cross-Training:

Similar to the above, find another athletic hobby or get involved in cross-training. For example, MMA and boxing are awesome complementary activities for weight training. You get to spread your social circle, have a sport that works different muscles and movements, AND you'll get fit as heck too! 

Other awesome options are:

Cycling SUP or paddling SCUBA or freediving Swimming Basketball Fishing 

Again, the point is to have other interests and hobbies to engage in. Therefore, let's say you're just not feeling the gym. Instead of getting anxious, you can now grab your board and go surf, knowing you're not being lazy. Better yet, you're having fun!

Burnout And Overtraining Final Note:

Burnout and overtraining are both serious conditions that can affect your performance and your quality of life. The good thing is that they're both easily preventable. If you do feel that your burnout is more serious than accidentally taking on too much work, reach out to a coach or friend or someone you can talk to. We're often enemies of our minds too often, and talking can greatly alleviate this stress.

And above all, unless you’re getting paid, don’t take training so seriously. By all means have goals and pursue them with 100% effort. We just don’t want you to live a life full of no fun just so you don’t mess up your gainz. After learning all about overtraining and burnout, you can see there clearly is such a thing as "too much of a good thing".

burnout vs overtraining

References:

1. Main LC, Landers GJ. Overtraining or Burnout: A Training and Psycho-Behavioural Case Study. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching. 2012;7(1):23-31. doi:10.1260/1747-9541.7.1.23

- Kiel DiGiovanni

The 2022 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Junior World Championships that started on May 2nd just wrapped up on May 10th. This prestigious competition took place in Heraklion, Greece, and brought the world’s best young weightlifters together to see who’s the strongest in their respective categories.

Let’s look at the final results of the 2022 IWF Junior World Championships!

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2022 IWF Junior World Championships Results

The week-long competition produced several new world records in multiple weight classes. A few of the highlights during the event included:

American weightlifter, Hampton Morris of the 61 kg (134.2 lb) class crushed a 160 kg (352.7 lb) clean & jerk to set a new world record. The 18-year-old Iranian lifter Alireza Yousefi in the 109+ kg (239.8 lb) class beat his own clean & jerk record by 1 kg setting a new world record with 239 kg (527 lb). Rizki Juniansyah of Indonesia in the 73 kg (160.6 lb) class bested his own junior world record by snatching 156 kg (344 lb). Bohdan Hoza of Ukraine in the 109 kg (239.8 lb) class also beat his own world record after reaching a 195 kg (430 lb) snatch.

Found below are the results from each weight class with the athlete’s total lift (best snatch & best clean/jerk) in kg.

IWF Junior World Championships Men’s Results

55 kg Class

Garnik Cholakyan (Armenia): 240 kg Jose Manuel Poox Peralta (Mexico): 234 kg Mustafa Erdogan (Turkey): 228 kg

61 kg Class

Hampton Miller Morris (USA): 276 kg Kaan Kahriman (Turkey): 269 kg Solis Daniel Stiven Caicedo (Colombia): 267 kg

67 kg Class

Weeraphon Wichuma (Thailand): 311 kg Fehmi Yusuf Genc (Turkey): 307 kg Gor Sahakyan (Armenia): 302 kg

73 kg Class

Rizki Juniansyah (India): 341 kg Alexey Churkin (Kazakhstan): 329 kg Ryan Henry Grimsland (USA): 327 kg

81 kg Class

Hakan Kurnaz (Turkey): 324 kilograms Mahmoud Hosny Elsayed (Egypt): 324 kg Saba Asanidze (Georgia): 324 kg

89 kg class

Maksym Dombrovskyi (Ukraine): 345 kg Suren Grigoryan (Armenia): 340 kg Mahmoud Gamal Mohamed Abdelaziz (Egypt): 339 kg

96 kg Class

Garik Karapetyan (Armenia): 370 kg Tudor Bratu (Moldova): 364 kg Yasser Usama Hemdan (Egypt): 359 kg

102 kg Class

Sharofiddin Amriddinov (Uzbekistan): 372 kg Petros Petrosyan (Armenia): 363 kg Hamada Mohammed K.H. (Palestine): 361 kg

109 kg Class

Bohdan Hoza (Ukraine): 410 kg Ammar Rubaiawi Ali (Iraq): 359 kg Fernando Bonnila Granja Arley (Colombia): 355 kg

+109 kg Class

Alireza Yousefi (Iran): 416 kg Mirkhosil Mirzabaev (Uzbekistan): 388 kg Bohdan Taranenko (Ukraine): 374 kg View this post on Instagram

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IWF Junior World Championships Women’s Results

45 kg Class

Sharad Garud Harshada (Indonesia): 153 kg Cansu Bektas (Turkey): 150 kg Teodora-Luminita Hincu (Moldova): 149 kg

49 kg Class

Windy Cantika Aisah (Indonesia): 185 kg Gyaneshawari Yadav (India): 156 kg V Rithika (India): 150 kg

55 kg Class

Nina Sterckx (Belgium): 204 kg Svitlana Samuliak (Ukraine): 192 kg Jamila Panfilova (Uzbekistan): 186 kg

59 kg Class

Daphne Guillen Vazquez (Mexico): 203 kg Katherine Estep (USA): 200 kg Tatiana Mosquera Caceres Karen (Colombia):199 kg

64 kg Class

Julieth Alejandra Rodriguesz Quintero (Colombia): 221 kg Queysi Julissa Rojas Gonzalez (Mexico): 215 kg Marie Mantaropoulos (France): 204 kg

71 kg Class

Neama Said Fahmi Said (Egypt): 237 kg Olivia Lynn Reeves (USA): 236 kg Mariana Garcia Gomez (Mexico): 222 kg

76 kg Class

Bella Nancy Paredes Arreaga (Ecuador ): 235 kg Daniela Ivanova (Latvia): 222 kg Duangkamon Khongthong (Thailand): 221 kg

81kg Class

Dilara Narin (Turkey): 230 kg Emmy Lizette Gonzalez Velazquez (Mexico): 227 kg Fatma Mohamed Sadek (Egypt): 221 kg

87 kg Class

Tursunoy Jabborova (Uzbekistan): 238 kg Elizabeth Caridad Reyes Entenza (Cuba): 226 kg Avery Elizabeth Owens (USA): 222 kg

+87 kg Class

Hyejeong Park (S. Korea): 281 kg Hyoeon Kim (S. Korea): 253 kg Aisamal Sansyzbayeva (Kazakhstan): 252 kg View this post on Instagram

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CLOSING THOUGHTS

SET FOR SET congratulates all the athletes that competed at the 2022 IWF Junior World Championships. Multiple records fell, and new champions were crowned. There’s so much promise for these athletes, and we can't wait to see what some will do at the 2024 Paris Games.

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- Sam Coleman
T-Bar Rows: Benefits, Muscles Worked, & How To

If you have a small back, it’s probably ‘cause you’ve been ignoring the T-Bar Row. Big mistake. T-bar rows are perhaps the best exercise you can perform to add mass and strength to your entire back. And yes, we do have the bent over row in mind when we say that. Not that the bent over row is a bad back exercise, because it’s awesome! And that should tell you how much awesomer the T-bar row is...at least in many cases.

This article will go over what you need to know about t-bar rows:

What is the T-bar row? Benefits of T-bar rows T-bar rows muscles worked How to perform the T-bar row correctly Different grip variations of the T-bar row How to build a massive back with the T-bar row

It’s time to say goodbye to your small back - we know it’s small because you haven’t been doing T-bar rows 😉

t bar row machine

What Is The T-Bar Row?

The T-bar row is a compound movement that uses a simple machine consisting of a platform to stand on as you straddle a bar fixed at one end. On the non-fixed end (the end you hold), a handle is attached that shoots off on either side, making it resemble the letter “T.” In addition, most T-bar machines also consist of handles that keep going straight to allow a neutral grip. Lastly, a weight collar attached to the end allows you to load plates. This essentially creates a bar that can pivot as you lift it while allowing you to easily add or take away weight.

standing t bar row

The T-bar row is one of those exercises that is a bit of a mix between free weights and a machine. It’s not a pure free weight exercise as the bar path is fixed to an extent. However, it’s not really a machine as it’s merely just a rod that can pivot.

While the path is fixed in terms of the arc, it will make going up and down (as it’s on a pivot), the load can still sway left or right. Compare this to the Smith machine where the load can only go up and down. That being said, we would say it heavily leans more towards being a free weight exercise as there is a lot of stabilization going on.

Standing vs Chest Supported T-Bar Row Machines:

chest supported t bar row

Some T-bar row machines will place you in a standing position and some T-bar row machines will have a chest support which has you leaning forward. The main difference between the standing T-bar row machine and the chest support T-bar row machine is that you can go heavier when standing as it allows for more momentum to be used, whereas the chest supported T-bar row creates a strict form. Both are good in their own right and the same muscles will be worked. 

Landmine T-Bar Row With Barbell Set Up:

t bar row with barbell

T-bar rows can also be done with a barbell landmine set up (or simply shoving a barbell into the corner of a wall) and the right attachments. With a landmine set up, you can connect various attachments to the free end of the barbell (a T-bar row handle and/or a D-bar handle attachment) and perform the T-bar row in the exact same way as you would with a T-bar row machine.

So, if you don't have a bonafide T-bar row machine, but you do have a barbell and some attachments, you can still do T-bar rows and all of the following information still applies. 

Note: You could even do a T-bar row without handle attachments by placing your hand stacked on the handle of the barbell just below the loaded sleeve. No excuses not to do T-bar rows over here!

t bar rows

Benefits Of T-Bar Rows

As you’ve already heard us say a few times, we love this exercise. You could probably guess that’s because there are a ton of benefits. If you did, you would be right. Here are the top benefits of the T-bar row.

1) Can Be Used For Mass And Strength:

Many exercises tend to be either better for strength or hypertrophy for whatever reason. T-bar rows really lie in the middle and can be used effectively for both. It’s great for building strength as you can safely load a lot of weight and perform reps with good form. This is due to it being on the pivot, which tends to be just enough “help” to make this possible.

On the other hand, you can use lighter weight to get a lot of volume for hypertrophy work. Still, there are multiple grips that let you hit the muscles from various angles, which is vital for optimal muscle growth.

2) Allows Multiple Grips To Hit The Muscles A Bit Different:

As alluded to above, T-bar rows allows multiple different grips that can be used to provide a slightly different stimulus. For example, here are a few different grips and how they will affect muscle activation differently.

Overhand Grip: This is your standard grip and will hit every muscle in your back Underhand Grip: Will get a little bit more activation in the biceps and possibly the traps Wide Grip: Causes more activation in the lats Neutral Grip: Allows the most amount of weight and takes stress off the elbow.

This ability to use different grips makes the T-bar row machine extremely versatile and easy to use. Plus, you can use different grips in the same session. For example, most people can use more weight when using the underhand grip. Therefore, a common practice would be to perform as many reps as possible with your overhand grip and then perform a drop set. However, instead of dropping weight, you just switch to the stronger underhand grip and rep it out.

3) Easy To Load And Unload:

When you start using big weight, this actually really is a big deal. One of the most annoying things about free weights is loading the barbell. However, the collar on the T-bar row is elevated, making it very easy to swap out weights. This makes it extremely easy to load as well as perform drop sets. Again, this might seem like a lazy benefit, but when you just finished loading a ton of plates on a deadlift, it’s nice to be able to just throw a plate on a collar and go.

4) Safe To Use:

Because the load is fixed to a rod that pivots, it can add a bit of safety when compared to performing the bent over row. Because it’s fixed, you are able to stay sturdier and keep a tighter back. As mentioned above, this tends to make it easier to perform rows with correct form even when using heavier loads. All of the above can make it a bit less stressful on the back (but you’re still gonna feel it, in a good way).

T-Bar Row Muscles Worked:

When it comes to the muscles you’ll train, it’s literally every single muscle in your back AND your biceps. In fact, it will even train the erector spinae with an isometric hold as you will be leaned forward in a similar fashion as the bent over row. Other than that, the other primary back muscles trained are going to be the lats and traps.

t bar row workout

How To Perform T-Bar Rows:

The T-bar row exercise is fairly simple to perform. However, there are a few important cues. Here’s how to perform T-bar rows: 

Load the T-bar with the desired weight. Stand on the foot platform while straddling the T-bar. Bend down using a form similar to a deadlift. Get down low and grab the handlebar with an overhand grip. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Stand up with the load, again, in a similar fashion as a deadlift. Bend over at your hips to let your torso come down. Push your hips back with a slight bend in your knees. Ideally, you want your torso to be parallel with the angle of the bar. If you’re too high, the bar will come too low as it pivots. Pull by bringing your elbows back, keeping them at an angle to the torso. Keep your shoulder pulled back and concentrate on pulling your elbow back. If you concentrate on the load, it can cause you to use your biceps too much. Bring the load up to your chest. Let the load down until your arms are fully extended. 

The most important things to keep in mind when performing the bent over row are your back angle and driving your elbows back. It can help to think about pushing your chest forward as you’re pulling the load up, as if you’re driving your chest forward.

t bar row benefits

How To Program The T-Bar Row:

The T-bar row exercise is going to definitely enhance your back training. That being said, there are a few ways you can program it and use it to build mass and strength. Therefore, here are a few methods you can use to enhance your training. 

a) To Build Strength:

To build strength, you’ll want to use loads at or greater than 85% of your 1RM. As you probably don’t know what your 1RM is, this would be a weight that allows you to perform 6 clean reps. When training for strength, we like to use four or five sets to ensure we are getting enough volume at this load. 

You can use any handle grip, but we would suggest using the neutral grip or underhand grip once in a while, as these allow the heaviest load. Again, feel free to still rotate through the hand grips occasionally.

b) To Build Mass:

To build mass, you’re going to want to use a lighter load from around 80-70% 1RM. As you’re able to perform more reps, you can just use three sets. For these, we could recommend messing around with the wide grip as it’s a lighter hand placement anyways. Further, the standard overhand grip works well, but you can play with any of the grips. 

As mentioned above, a fun way to perform T-bar rows as a last burnout set is to put on a weight and first perform reps with the most challenging grip. Then, once you reach a point where you’re a few reps before failure, you can use the next grip. Continue this until you get to the neutral grip that allows you to lift the most weight.

What this would look like is:

Wide Grip → Standard Overhand Grip → Underhand Grip → Neutral Grip 

Again, this is just a unique version of the droplet that you can perform with the T-bar row. 

If you’re really wanting to train your back, train it twice per week and include the T-bar row both days. On one day, you’re going to want to build strength and train to build mass on the second. This is a great way to optimize your training to ensure you get the best of both worlds.

The T-Bar Row Is The Back Exercise You’re Missing!

T-bar rows are simple, effective, easy to perform, and versatile. Plus, it’ll definitely increase the size of your back. There’s really not much else to say about this exercise, so do yourself a favor and start making the T-bar row a staple of your back training. It definitely needs to be part of your back training routine.

If for some reason you can't do the T-bar row exercise, good news, we have some great alternatives to T-bar rows for you.

whats the best back exercise

- Sam Coleman
The Best Strongman Workout Plan

In an industry that is oversaturated with functional training (a mix of effective and not so effective), it somehow skipped over the most functional form of strength training, strongman training. Strongman training is likely the most effective form of training that you have never tried, and it’s time you start.

With the rise of some strongman athletes making their way onto Youtube, TV, and even films, their sheer size, along with huge personalities, has brought this sport a little farther into the mainstream. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of misconceptions about what Strongman training is and how to do it.

So, in this article, we’re going to break down this excellent strength sport and show you how to train Strongman. We have an entire Strongman workout plan for you to follow! As long as you have a solid foundation of strength training under your belt, you can start this Strongman program. 

In this article, we’re going to cover:

A brief history of Strongman What is Strongman? Misconceptions about Strongman The benefits of Strongman training How to train Strongman The perfect Strongman workout routine

Time to become a Strongman!

strongman

A Brief History Of Strongman

When people think of Strongman, they think of massive guys lifting baskets full of women and bending bars. And that would be a pretty accurate description. However, these dramatic displays aren’t just for show (but that’s definitely part of it too).

Strongman could be considered the oldest of strength sports as the one-arm overhead lift was part of the early Olympics. However, its roots are generally traced back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, when circuses and sideshows were all the rage. Strongman athletes would travel with these shows or perform at different venues. In any case, they were performing feats of strength.

In this aspect, Strongman was indeed a show to entertain people. Think about it, it’s a lot more exciting to watch a guy bench press a few ladies than it is to watch them do a barbell bench press. The athletes would actually compete against each other in an attempt to perform bigger and better Strongman shows. 

Still, these odd lifts also gave them an advantage as they allowed them to lift near maximal weights night after night without building up fatigue. Odd object lifting is a staple of Strongman, but it’s also very complicated. If you have ever tried to lift a rock, you would know. Strongman weights are different...

As barbells were literally made to lift, they are even and shaped to lift maximal weight. Odd-shaped objects are awkward and uneven, making them significantly harder to lift. However, if you trained with them regularly, you would be able to lift these objects relatively easily while still displaying an impressive feat, yet not destroying the central nervous system. 

Fun Fact: The father of bodybuilding, Eugene Sandow (the guy on top of the Mr. Olympia trophy), started his career as a Strongman performer.

What is Strongman?

So what exactly is the sport of Strongman? It’s probably much different than you think. Most assume it’s just lifting heavy things, which it does have, but Strongman actually looks a lot more like Crossfit than it does powerlifting. By that, we mean that it has a vast array of events that requires athleticism just as much as it does absolute strength. If we could use just one word to describe what you need to be successful in Strongman, it would be “moving strength.”  

Competitions will generally include 5 different events or Strongman lifts. Athletes will cycle through these in an attempt to do well and earn points. Every organization could have a different scoring system, but generally, it goes something like this:

1st place - 10pts 2nd place - 9pts 3rd place - 8pts …..

That being said, there is also strategy involved as well as strength. For example, you could push yourself hard and move up a spot in one event. However, this may cause too much fatigue and hurt you for the rest of the day. 

Let’s look at the different types of lifts common in Strongman workouts, as well as the type of events.

strongman competition

Types Of Strongman Lifts In Training & Competitions

The sport of Strongman has 5 major types of lifts. However, within each of these types of lifts, there are numerous different Strongman exercises. 

1. Deadlifting:

strongman exercises

Deadlifting is a massive part of Strongman. However, it’s a lot more than a deadlift with an Olympic bar from the floor. Deadlift events could include:

Axle Bar Deadlift Silver Dollar Deadlift (18”) Tire Deadlift

While all of these consist of lifting a stationary object off the ground, they all have unique variables that separate them. For example, an axle bar is a deadlift with a thick bar that is harder to grip.

2. Overhead Pressing:

strongman lifts

If you ever meet a Strongman, their overhead press is probably stronger than yours. There is no overhead pressing in Strongman as they like pressing overhead instead. Like the deadlift, overhead pressing consists of a lot more than pressing a barbell. Different styles of overhead pressing include:

Log Press Axle Overhead Press Yoke Press

Fact. if you want to train Strongman you must improve your overhead pressing.

3. Carrying/Moving:

strongman workout

There’s actually a good chance you’ve trained Strongman before. If you have ever trained the farmer carry, you’ve trained Strongman. The farmer carry is one of the few Strongman lifts that has become somewhat common in your average gym. That’s awesome as it’s such an effective exercise. While it’s the most popular carry, it’s not the only one. Other carries include:

Stone Carry Sandbag Carry Zercher Yoke Carry Husaffel Stone 

Check out 2019 World's Strongest Man Martin Licis carry 880lbs uphill

4. Loading:

strongman workout plan

Loading events are those that require an athlete to lift an object from the floor and either place it on an elevated object or lift it over an object. This may or may not include carrying the object first. Some of the best example of this include:

Atlas Stone Over Bar Atlas Stone To Platform Sandbag Over Bar

5. Pulling/Dragging/Pushing:

strongman workout program

Another huge aspect of Strongman is moving heavy objects by pulling them. However, this can be either done by remaining stationary (pulling with the arms) or pulling with the body (lower leg). As you’re starting to see, there are A LOT of possible events in Strongman. Within this category, there are events that include dragging or pushing. Regardless, the primary aspect is moving heavy objects that you can not pick up. Some everyday events include:

Truck Pull Truck Push Chain Drag

Above are the main categories of events you’re likely to see in Strongman that’s hardly an exhaustive list. For example, while not as common, squatting different objects is seen from time to time. There are also pure grip events, with the most common being the Hercules Hold. Basically, anything that requires you to move something heavy could be in Strongman.

Types Of Events In Strongman

Above are the Strongman lifts that you may see, but there are several ways they could be performed. This is where Strongman gets interesting, as it’s much more than just max weight.

Maximum Weight:

Maximum weight is simply trying to lift the most amount of weight you can see in one repetition.

For example: Complete a max deadlift 

Maximum Reps:

Maximum reps events will give you a time limit, usually under 1:00 or less, to perform a lift as fast as you can.

For example: Complete a 405lbs deadlift as many times as you can in 30 seconds. 

Fastest Time:

Fastest time events will give you a list of lifts you need to complete. You then must perform the events as fast as you can.

For example: Complete a 405lbs deadlift five times as fast as you can.

Medleys:

A medley is similar to fastest time events but will have you perform different Strongman lifts. Usually, these lifts are in the same category.

For example, look at what a deadlift medley might look like:     

550lb wagon wheel deadlift 350lb axle bar deadlift 500lb frame deadlift Complete 405lb straight bar deadlift 3x

Races:

Races can include any type of event where you need to do a series of moving events as fast as you can.

For example: Carry 3 sandbags 10m and put them in a wheelbarrow. Next, push the wheelbarrow back.

Again, these can be done with any of the above lifts as well as combined to make one event. For example, you may be given a minute to complete a medley, then perform as many reps as you can on the last lift as many times as you can.

strongman training

Misconceptions about Strongman

There are a lot of misconceptions that surround the sport of Strongman. This is primarily due to the way it has presented itself in the past as well as today. Further, the part of Strongman that people do know is that massive guys with beards and tattoos are the only ones who participate. Admittedly, there are a lot of beards and tattoos, but there’s a lot more to Strongman than that. Here are some common misconceptions 

"Strongman Is Just Lifting Heavy Things"

As seen above, lifting heavy things is just one aspect of Strongman. There are a ton of events, and moving heavy objects is much more common than static lifting. Also, you run a lot more than you think. The point being is that there are a ton of events in Strongman. In fact, if you speak to different Strongman who has competed in 5+ comps, it’s not uncommon to hear them say they’ve never repeated the same event.  

"Most Strongman Are Fat, Or You Have To Be Massive To Be Successful"

This is an understandable misconception as the guys you see on TV are usually fat and massive. However, while elite Strongmen are massive, they’re actually not as “fat” as you think. In fact, elite Strongman athletes sit at around 18%bf. While they’re not “cut-up,” 18% isn’t really “fat.” 

What’s going on is they have a ton of muscle mass on their body. Studies estimate that, on average, Strongman athletes have 23% greater lean mass than NFL linemen. Therefore, they look fatter than they are as that muscle has to sit somewhere.

Still, they are massive human beings for sure.

However, that’s only the top athletes competing in the open division. Just like powerlifting, Strongman actually has weight categories, with 105kg being the heaviest before the open...although, there are even much lower weight categories than 105kg, with 90kg probably being the lowest “popular” category. While still not tiny, it’s a far cry from 150kg+.  

"You Have To Be Strong To Compete"

So you don’t have to be strong to compete in Strongman? Well, you do need to be strong, but beginner Strongman comps have weights that are definitely attainable by anyone who wants to train properly. 

Again, there are several different Strongman organizations as well as independent gyms which hold Strongman contests all the time. These events will almost always have a “novice” category that has weights lower than the upper categories. To be clear, these weights will still be respectable, or else it defeats the whole point of the sport. However, they are much more manageable. For example, instead of performing max reps on a 585lb deadlift, the novice may have you use 450lbs. The point is that instead of assuming a contest is too heavy, take a look at the weights first and then decide.

strong man

The Benefits Of Strongman Training

Strongman workouts are an excellent training method that everyone should implement. Here are just a couple of the reasons you should give it ago.

1) You’ll Get Strong:

Obviously, while other methods of training can obviously get you strong as well, Strongman training has a way to get you even stronger. This is due to a couple reasons. The first is because of Strongman's use of unconventional exercises which challenge the body to a different extent than regular training resulting in bigger gains. Secondly, the entire point is to get stronger! It’s like progressive overload on steroids. Strongman pushes you as the goal is to lift more and go faster.

2) It’s Fun:

Lifting weights can get boring. We love it, but there are moments where it can seem repetitive. While the same thing can definitely happen with Strongman, the types of Strongman lifts offers a lot more variety to keep you entertained. 

3) You’ll Improve Your Athleticism:

Strongman athletes are surprisingly athletic. Moving is a large part of the sport, and you will gain athleticism. Plus, you need to figure that these guys who weigh 350+ are moving pretty fast. Now picture if you maintain a more modest physique yet implement their training.

How To Train Strongman

Training for Strongman is quite similar to strength training with a few specific variables. Below are the variables you need to include in your training to prep for a contest. 

a) Grip Strength:

what are some strongman exercises

You’re going to need grip strength to be successful in Strongman. Besides the fact some events are grip specific, you’re going to be holding and pulling things all day. Even if you can use straps, your gripping muscles are going to still get a workout and fatigue.  

b) Massive Back Strength:

best strongman exercises

Pull, pull, pull! Strongman is known for their massive backs and incredible pulling strength. There are a ton of ways to improve your back strength, and we recommend doing all of them. Any type of rowing, pull-ups, ropework, all of it. T-Bar rows are a favorite, and pull-ups. A lot of pull-ups. 

c) Overhead Pressing Strength:

strongman workouts

The same as the back. Start pressing anything and everything over your head. You should definitely make….no, you need to make overhead pressing the priority while letting horizontal pressing (bench press) work as accessory work. While there’s nothing wrong with the bench press, a lot of Strongman opt for floor presses and the close-grip bench press to improve their lock-out strength.

Still, definitely work on your overhead pressing with both barbells and single dumbbells as single overhead pressing is common, such as circus dumbbells. Also, if you can improve your push press or push jerk, you’ll already have a huge advantage as both are allowed in comps (unless specifically said). Also, don’t forget partial presses such as pin presses for your Strongman workout.

d) Zercher Squats:

do strongman sqaut

Zercher squats are great exercises to include in your Strongman workout as they do a good job mimicking loading events. They place massive stress on your core as well as the back in order to hold the weight. Plus, they’re uncomfortable, which is something you need to get used to.   

e) Anaerobic Conditioning:

strongmen

You must include anaerobic conditioning in your Strongman workout program as conditioning for Strongman is vital. One of the best ways to do this and mimic events are with EMOMs, as they force you to work before you’re fully recovered. Other forms of training, which can effectively train events as well, is to complete repeated efforts or maxima runs. Examples could include:

:30/:30 farmer Carries 10M sandbag carry X 3. Rest 3:00 

f) Steady-State Cardio:

do strongman do cardio

Perform at least one 30min steady state session of cardio a week at a minimum. Improving your aerobic system can greatly increase your ability to recover in between events. One of the biggest issues new athletes face is the build-up of fatigue on comp days. Some aerobic conditioning can fix this.

The Perfect Strongman Workout Plan

Below is an awesome 4-day Strongman workout plan for people who want to truly become a strong man. Ideally, this would include an “event” day where you can actually get your hands on some actual Strongman implements. However, we want everyone to be able to use this Strongman workout program, so we’ll only include exercises that use implements that most gyms have. 

Run this program for 3 months.

Note: You’ll see a * next to some exercises. This means they have some specific instructions, which are listed below our Strongman workout program. 

Session 1: Push Press 3X3 + 1 Drop Set AMRAP w/ Strict Press/ Overhead Press* Chin-up 4x6 Dumbbell Kroc Rows 2x15+ Floor Press 3X6 Landmine Row 3X6 1-Arm Kneeling Landmine Press 3X8 Standing 1-Arm Cable Row 2X12+  Session 2: Rack Pull Or Block Pull 13” 5X5 Box Squat 4x6 Farmer Carry Deadlift X 3 then 10m Farmer Carry X 5 Romanian Deadlift w/ Snatch Grip 3X8 Dumbbell Goblet Carry (hold as if going goblet squat) 3X10 (go heavy) GHD Reverse Hyper Extensions/ Nordic Curls 3XRPE7  Session 3: Strict Press 5min EMOM w/ 3 reps @85% AND Strict Press 10min EMOM w/ 5 reps @75%* Bent-Over Row 3X6 + 1 Drop set using Fat Gripz** Close Grip Pin Press 3x8/Z-Press 3X8*** Sled Pull 5X10m Sled Push 5X10m Bicep Curl/Hammer Curl 3X12+ Session 4: Deadlift 5min EMOM w/ 3 reps @85% AND Deadlift 10min EMOM w/ 5 reps @75%* Single Dumbbell Overhead Press 3x5/arm Zercher Squat 3X6-8 (can go lighter if it hurts too bad) Farmer Carry 5X10m (Last rep, go as far you can)**** Leg Press 3X15+ (RPE9)

Notes on *'s:

*Alternate EMOM rep schemes every week **Fat Grips are rubber attachments you can attach to implements to increase the width of the bar. Awesome grip training tool ***Alternate every 3-4 weeks ****Use Fat Grips on your warm-up sets

And remember to include at least one steady-state cardio session of at least 30min every week. 

As for rest days, ideally you'd have a rest day between session 2 and 3 and two rest days after session 4. That said, you can organize your weekly training according to your schedule, just make sure that you are recovering properly. 

Progressive Overload For Strongman Workouts:

Progressive overload is going to work exactly the same as any other style of training. As you progress, you’ll attempt to load the implements a little bit heavier. You can also try to perform more reps as well. If you do this, stay within the same range. For example, if you’ve prescribed 5 reps, don’t work up to 8. Stay in the 4-6 rep range.  

You’re Gonna Love It!

Strongman training is awesome, and you’re gonna love this Strongman workout plan. If you are really interested, we would highly recommend you look in your area for a real strength gym that may have some implements for proper Strongman exercises.

As mentioned, Strongman training is becoming more popular, so basic equipment is common in strength gyms, such as tires, yokes, and logs. This is ideal because nothing beats training with the actual implements. Nevertheless, the Strongman workout routine above has everything you need to get started with your Strongman training, and you don't need any actual Strongman equipment. The workout plan can be done as long as you have access to regular gym equipment for the most part. And, if you do have access to some Strongman equipment, you can swap out some of the equipment. For example, instead of strict pressing a barbell, strict press a log bar. Just run the routine in the same fashion.

Now, you just need to sign up for your first novice Strongman comp! This is how you truly become a strong man or strong woman.

Other Workout Programs:

The Best Olympic Weightlifting Program for Beginners The Best Powerlifting Program The 5 Best Strength Programs PHUL Workout Program PHAT Workout Program Powerbuilding Program

how to do strongman

- Sam Coleman
Casein vs Whey: Similarities, Differences, & How To Use

Wait a minute, there’s another protein other than whey protein? If you’re one of those, who ask yourself that, you’re definitely going to want to read about the “other” protein called casein. If you have heard of casein but are still unsure what the deal is, you will want to read further about casein vs whey. Casein and whey are like peanut butter and jelly...no, like peanut butter and almond butter. They’re both excellent, and both have purposes. However, like almond butter, people don’t know enough about casein. In this article, we’ll fix that.

Here's what you'll learn:

What is whey protein? What is casein protein? Similarities and differences between whey and casein protein supplements Unique benefits of casein protein powder Who should use whey? Who should use casein?

casein and whey

What Is Whey And Casein Protein?

If we’re going to talk about “what casein is” or “what whey is,” we might as well talk about both of them at the same time. That’s because whey and casein actually come from the exact same source and are much more “related” than most people think. Whey and casein are both milk-based proteins meaning that they come from mammals’ milk.

Now notice we said, “mammal” and not just “cows,” as many just assume. That’s because whey and casein protein are found in the milk of basically all mammals, including human breast milk. Yep, you drank casein protein as a little baby and didn’t even know it.  

Actually, while everyone is talking about whey and cows, studies show the milk from a human breast has a significantly higher whey to casein ratio at 70% whey and 30% casein (actually 50/50 by the time milk is lactated but still)1! Speaking of, we have a protein powder idea we’re producing now called “Mama’s milk protein!” Would you buy it?

Anyways, enough about breasts. Let’s talk about udders because that’s where the vast majority of people are going to get their milk. As hinted above, most other mammals have a much lower whey to casein ratio.  For example, cows are at about 20% whey to 80% casein! This means that even though whey is talked about much more frequently, cows produce 4X more casein.

So when milk is produced by cows and collected in tin buckets (because we think that’s how they still milk cows), the casein and whey proteins are all mixed up with all of the other compounds found in milk. In case you were wondering, 1 cup of raw milk has the approximate macronutrient breakdown:

Calories - 160 Protein - 9g Carbohydrates - 12g Fat - 9g

This means the cow’s milk is around 22-23% protein. As mentioned, out of these 9 grams of protein, casein makes up 80%, while whey makes up the last 20%. Anyways, the milk we drink (assuming the milk you drink comes from cows) is then sent off to pasteurization which degrades the nutritional quality slightly but generally leaves the same composition of 20% whey to 80% casein.  

In order to make whey protein powder, it must be separated from the casein and other compounds. Whey will actually come from the milk shipped to cheese producers rather than milk distributors. Once the cheese producers receive the milk, they will first pasteurize it.  

After, they will then introduce an enzyme complex called rennet. This enzyme will cause the milk to curdle, which means the casein protein will form into little solid balls. If you have ever had milk go bad and seen the solid chunks that form, that’s actually the casein.  

After this process, what’s left is the curdled chunks of casein and a watery substance with the leftover whey proteins, fats, and carbohydrates (lactose). This watery substance is then shipped off to be further filtered and dried, and viola’! You have your whey powder.  

A little bit more involved than that but that’s basically where we get whey and casein.

Similarities & Differences Between Casein and Whey Protein

So above, we basically talked about where casein and whey come from. Now we want to compare them and look at both similarities and differences.  

1) Whey Has More Leucine Than Casein:

While whey and casein in powder form both have an excellent amino acid profile, whey comes out on top. This is for having an essential amino acids profile that’s more suitable for muscle protein synthesis (MPS) due to its higher branched chain amino acids (BCAA) content, especially leucine. Compared to casein at 8%, the leucine content of whey sits around 11% making it one of the richest leucine foods there is.

This is vital for muscle growth as leucine is the most essential amino acid for MPS; in fact, leucine is what triggers the entire process making it the most important amino acid for weight training. And in fact, that’s precisely what studies show. When comparing whey to casein, whey protein produces a higher spike in protein synthesis both at rest and after resistance training2. This is key for muscle growth. 

However, there’s another quality of whey that could cause this higher spike in muscle protein synthesis.

2) Whey Protein Is A Fast-Acting Protein, Casein Slow Acting:

You’ve probably heard that whey protein is a “fast-acting” protein before. What this means is that whey is easier to break down and digest into amino acids. Once the amino acids have reached “free form,” they can enter the bloodstream to be used for muscle recovery.

Not only does your body break down whey protein faster, but doing so gives it a “bigger hit” of amino acids resulting in a larger spike. This is perfect for right after your workout as your muscles are craving amino acids for repair. 

On the other hand, your body has difficulty breaking down casein due to its makeup. Remember how they are produced; whey stays a liquid while casein solidifies. Anyways, because it takes longer to break down, a smaller stream of amino acids is released into your bloodstream, resulting in a smaller peak.

However, because casein breaks down slower, the smaller peak will remain for a more extended period of time. In fact, some studies have reported the difference in duration has been 90 minutes for whey and 4-5 hours for casein3. This is probably the biggest difference between casein and whey, and what affects purchase decisions.

3) Casein Tends To Be More Satiating:

To begin with, of all macronutrients, protein is the most satiating. This means that if you were to eat 200 calories of carbs, 200 calories of fat, and 200 calories of protein, the protein is going to keep you feeling fuller much longer.

One of the reasons for this is that protein is hard to break down. If you were to think about food sources, what do you think is more difficult to digest; chicken breast (protein), banana (carb), or oil (fat). 

However, above, we just talked about how whey is a fast-acting protein, which is digested easier than casein. This means that casein sits in your digestive tract for a longer time, which can keep you feeling fuller.

In fact, when you mix a whey protein shake and a casein protein shake, the casein is significantly thicker. It’s common for people to report that a casein shake with the same caloric value as whey is considerably more fulfilling. This can make casein a great option for fat loss.

4) Casein Is Usually More Expensive:

While this doesn’t seem to be as drastic anymore, casein seems to be a little more expensive than whey. For example, we can compare the prices of a whey protein from Dymatize and a casein from Dymatize

Dymatize Elite 100% Whey: 67 servings/25g protein: $59.79 Dymatize Elite Casein: 50 servings/25g protein: $62.33

*Just a heads up, those are affiliate links where we will receive a small commission if you purchase. We are fans of Dymatize so that's why we chose them.*

So while casein is a few dollars more, you get 17 fewer servings. Still, when compared to a whole food, whey and casein are both cheap protein sources.

casein vs whey protein

Caseins’ Unique Advantage

Casein does hold one unique advantage over whey that can’t be duplicated by whey. That is, casein works excellent as a pre-sleep protein.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean nighttime protein; this means you purposefully drink a casein protein shake 30 minutes before you go to sleep. Due to it being a slow-digesting protein, it can maintain elevated levels through the majority of your sleep!  

This massive chunk of time was greatly ignored until recently; sports researchers started to think if we’re just wasting this period of time for recovery. Turns out we are. Concerning drinking casein before sleep, a meta-analysis concluded:

“The consumption of 20–40 g of casein approximately 30 min before sleep stimulates whole-body protein synthesis rates over a subsequent overnight period in young and elderly men…In addition, pre-sleep protein consumption can augment the muscle adaptive response (muscle fiber cross-sectional area, strength and muscle mass) during 10–12 weeks of resistance exercise in young (men).4"

Again, this benefit is unique to casein due to the fact it is slow digesting. We should also mention that studies show that casein decreased protein degradation best when using relatively large doses, with 30-40g being the most beneficial.

Who Should Use Whey?

Whey protein has been around forever and is the go-to protein source for the majority of athletes. However, when comparing whey with casein, it really only has one major benefit, albeit a big benefit. That protein is a fast-acting protein with a high leucine content, making it perfect for a post-work shake. Being that this is the primary reason people take protein shakes, it’s a pretty significant benefit. 

Therefore, any athlete or weight lifter can benefit from whey protein as a post workout protein source.

Who Should Use Casein?

Even though casein is lesser-known than whey protein, it’s actually a much more versatile protein source. In fact, with more research being done on casein, it’s becoming the go-to protein source for general use.  

Most people just assume that because whey protein is fast-acting and causes a higher spike, it’s the better protein source. While this might be true for post-workout, there’s no research to suggest that this higher spike in amino acids has any other benefit. For example, if you are at work and have a protein shake for a snack, there’s no reason you need a fast-acting protein. 

However, because it is a slow-digesting protein, that spike remains for a longer period of time. Therefore, unless you have a shake post-workout, a casein shake might actually be the more suitable choice. For example, if you like to make a protein shake in the morning, using casein will leave you with elevated levels well into lunchtime.  

At the same time, casein could also play a bigger role in weight loss. As mentioned, protein, in general, is extremely beneficial in contributing to fat loss, and high protein diets are highly effective in weight loss. However, due to caseins consistency, it could help keep you feeling sustained for longer and curb cravings.

Finally, we can’t forget about casein’s benefit as a pre-sleep protein. That can basically help everyone.

Whey vs Casein Protein Powders: Final Verdict

They’re both fantastic! The only negative thing we would say about either is that too many people have acted as if whey is the only protein source for too long. To be clear, whey is incredible and likely the best choice for a post-workout protein choice.

However, there are other proteins out there that are better for different circumstances. In fact, whey itself has different variations such as hydrolyzed whey. Regardless, casein is another protein source and is much more versatile while bringing some unique benefits.

At the end of the day, here is how we would suggest using whey and casein protein powders:

Use whey protein supplementation for your post-workout protein source. Use casein as a general-purpose protein supplement. Use casein for a meal replacement for weight loss. Use casein as a pre-sleep protein.

If you want to further your understanding of whey protein powder, we also did a write-up on the differences between whey protein concentrate and whey isolate: Whey Concentrate vs Whey Isolate.

Want to Buy Protein?

Best Protein Powders on the Market Best Lactose-Free Protein Powders on the Market

casein vs whey for weight loss

References:

Martin C, Ling PR, Blackburn G. Review of Infant Feeding: Key Features of Breast Milk and Infant Formula. Nutrients. 2016;8(5):279. doi:10.3390/nu8050279‌ Tang JE, Moore DR, Kujbida GW, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2009;107(3):987-992. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00076.2009 Dangin M, Boirie Y, Guillet C, BeaufrèreB. Influence of the Protein Digestion Rate on Protein Turnover in Young and Elderly Subjects. The Journal of Nutrition. 2002;132(10):3228S3233S. doi:10.1093/jn/131.10.3228s Reis CEG, Loureiro LMR, Roschel H, da Costa THM. Effects of pre-sleep protein consumption on muscle-related outcomes — A systematic review. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. Published online August 2020. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2020.07.016
- Sam Coleman
7 Best Face Pull Alternatives That Work The Same Muscles

Face pulls have long been a staple in powerlifting and more recently they have gained popularity in bodybuilding. Heralded as a way bulletproof your shoulders, improve your posture, and blow up your upper back and rear delts, they quickly became commonplace in many programs. However, they have some limitations and might not be the most efficient way to improve your physique. This article will outline the anatomy and functions of the muscles used in the face pull exercise before providing you with a range of exercises that can be used to replace or supplement them.

face pull

Face Pulls Primary Muscles Trained

The face pull targets the upper back around the scapula and rotator cuff. The primary movers of face pulls are the mid-traps, rhomboids and rear deltoids supported by some smaller muscles in the rotator cuff. The involvement of the teres minor and infraspinatus in the rotator cuff is heavily influenced by what technique you decide to use.

Anatomy and Function of the Muscles Trained

Rear Delts:

Located on the back of the shoulder, rear deltoids are the most posterior of the 3 heads of the deltoid. Well-developed rear deltoids provide stability to the shoulder joint and, as the most superficial muscles, give your shoulders a 3-D look from all angles. This muscle is often overlooked compared to the anterior (front) and lateral (side) delts. The front delts get hammered during push training. While the side delts are often specifically targeted with isolation exercises such as lateral raises.

Origin: The rear delts originate from the spine of the scapula, which is the ridge running along the top of the shoulder blade.

Insertion: Despite varied functions and origins, all deltoid heads insert in the same place: the aptly named deltoid tuberosity. This is around halfway down the humerus on the outside of the upper arm.

Function: The rear delt is a non-pennate muscle, which causes the fibers to pull directly from the origin to insertion. The primary function of the rear delts is shoulder extension, both in assisting the lats and in horizontal extension. They are activated when extending the shoulder from many angles and in a multitude of movements, including narrow grip rows when the arms are tight to the body and reverse flyes with the humerus closer to 90 degrees. Contracting the rear delts also externally rotates the shoulder joint, pulling the insertion on the outside of the upper arm towards the origin on the shoulder blade, which occurs during the face pull exercise. This makes rear delts a common target for those looking to improve poor posture and internally rotated shoulders.  

Rhomboids:

Made up of the major and minor parts, the rhomboids sit underneath the trapezius. While they are not completely visible, their development increases the thickness of the upper back. 

Origin: The minor originates at the lowest vertebrae of the cervical spine (C7) and in the first vertebrae of the thoracic spine (T1), where the bottom of the neck meets the upper back. Just beneath this, the major originates from T2 and T3 of the thoracic spine.

Insertion: The minor inserts at the medial end of the scapula spine and the major along the scapula's medial border. As medial means "towards the middle", these are located on the inside of the scapula closest to the spine. The major inserts along the inside ridge of the scapula, and the minor to the innermost corner of the ridge on the top of the scapula.

Functions: The primary function of these muscles is to retract the scapula, bringing them together closer to the spine, an important action in the face pull. As the origins are slightly higher than the insertions, the rhomboids also cause slight elevation of the shoulder joint. Like the rear delts, the rhomboids are often targeted to improve posture and stability at the shoulder joint and prevent scapula winging.

Mid Traps:

The traps are the most superficial muscle of the upper back, with three distinct sections with varied functions. The mid traps give the upper back a thick and detailed look when well developed and are key in a well-rounded physique. 

Origin: This section of the traps originates - like the rhomboid - on the processes the cervical and thoracic vertebrae (C1-T3). 

Insertion: The mid traps insert on the acromion and superior crest of the scapula spine, which are the furthest tip and top border of the scapula respectively. 

Function: Their primary function is retraction of the shoulder, pulling the shoulder blades together, which occurs during the face pull. The origin and insertion run almost perfectly horizontally across the upper back so mid trap contraction caters almost exclusively to this function.

Teres Minor and Infraspinatus:

These two muscles of the rotator cuff can be involved in face pulls, but it depends on the technique. Rotator cuff strengthening is commonplace in rehab and prehab to improve shoulder stability and health.

Origins: These muscles originate on the scapula, with the teres minor on the lateral (outside) border and infraspinatus on the infraspinous fossa below the scapula spine.

Insertions: These both insert on the outside of the humerus on its greater tubercle, located at the top of the bone on the outside.

Functions: The teres minor and infraspinatus have similar functions: providing glenohumeral stability and externally rotate the upper arm. If you perform face pulls by eternally rotating the shoulder as you bring the rope attachment towards your face, with hands higher than the elbows, these muscles provide a helping hand to the rear deltoids. Like the other muscles in this list, these are often strengthened to improve shoulder health.

face pull exercise

Why is the face pull a good exercise?

1) They counter internal rotation:

Internal rotation of the shoulders can be caused by overemphasis on muscles like the chest, anterior delts and lats. When short and tight, these muscles cause internal rotation - exacerbated by extended periods of sitting, increasingly common in modern life. As you might have guessed from the functions of the muscles used during face pulls, one of their main benefits is they strengthen the muscles involved in external rotation - preventing common injuries like impingements. Additionally, good posture shows off the muscles you’ve worked hard to build.

2) Prevent scapula winging: 

You might have also guessed the second benefit of face pulls following the muscle function section. Just like their ability to strengthen external rotators, the face pull strengthens muscles like the rhomboids to prevent scapula winging. Scapula winging can be caused by repetitive movements and can negatively impact more than just your training, hindering your daily life if untreated.

3) Stabilize the shoulder joint: 

Both of the above benefits lead to this one. Face pulls don’t just train the superficial muscles. When performed with external rotation they strengthen the rotator cuff muscles, which stabilize the shoulder joint. A stable shoulder joint is crucial when looking to develop your back and the rest of your upper body, giving you a solid foundation to make the most of your training.

4) Isolation:

Now for the fun stuff - hypertrophy. Compound exercises should, most likely, make up the brunt of your training - providing the best bang for your buck and hitting a range of muscles at once. However, isolations allow you to add volume to muscle groups without undue systemic fatigue from which you might be unable to recover or straining supporting muscles that could cope with the extra workload. The cable face pull does just this. They add volume to your upper back and external rotators without adding volume to your lats or requiring support from the lower back.

5) Constant tension:

Although not unique to face pulls, the cable machine allows you to redirect tension. This can increase the amount of time during a rep that a muscle is under keep tension. During face pulls it is possible to place a significant amount of tension through the working muscles for the entire range. The muscles are working through a full range, making sure as many fibers as possible are trained. More tension over a full range equals a greater training stimulus that adds up to increases in both size and strength.

face pull alternatives

Flaws and limitations of the Face Pull Exercise

1) Unstable:

One key area for consideration during exercise selection is the ability to progress with exercise while maintaining the same form. Unstable exercises or exercises requiring you to fight to maintain position can make this exceedingly difficult. With face pulls, as you increase the weight, you have to fight to prevent the cable machine stack from pulling you over to maintain an upright posture - especially an issue for lighter, stronger lifters. Light face pulls are a great exercise, but as you get stronger they can quickly morph into a battle to stay upright instead of upper back isolation.

2) Strength curve:

Although we discussed constant tension, we didn't say it was consistent. Muscles are typically weakest at their shortest position, followed by the longest and strongest in the middle range. However, face pulls exacerbate this by including a rope to pull apart, increasing the moment arm, making the exercise even harder at the shortened position. The cable face pull exercise will likely under-stimulate the muscles at the long and middle lengths or be too heavy for the final range.

3) Technique, impingement, and hypertrophy:

This section covers a sticking point with face pulls. What is their purpose? If your purpose is to strengthen external rotators, you want to keep your hands high above the elbow. One issue with this is that external rotators are smaller and weaker than the muscles of the upper back involved in retraction. The external rotators will fatigue first, limiting stimulus to the mid traps and rhomboids. If you perform face pulls with the elbows and hands in line with one another, you place less stress on the rotator cuff muscles and more on the upper back, but the repeated internal rotation can leave you open to impingement, with shoulder pain being a common complaint.

7 Best Face Pull Alternatives 

Here are the best face pull alternative exercises to target the same muscle groups.

1. Reverse Dumbbell Flyes:

rear deltoid 

Just like face pulls, reverse dumbbell flyes are often a staple in programs. Their first benefit is their accessibility. The rise in home training means people often look for ways to mimic gym movements at home, using more accessible equipment like dumbbells. Secondly, as dumbbells are independent, this exercise facilitates flexibility regarding their range of motion and wrist and upper arm position.

This adaptability lets you find the best mind-muscle connection, focusing on the muscles you’re looking to grow. Finally, although you’re in a bent-over position, the bigger moment arm is caused by the spread arm position. This means you can use less weight and still put the muscles under tension, making the unstable bent-over position less concerning.

To perform this exercise, hinge at the hip so your upper body is just above parallel to the ground.  Hold the dumbbells with a neutral or pronated grip, depending on what feels best for you. Let your arms hang down with slightly bent elbows. Maintaining this elbow position, pull your shoulder blades together separating the dumbbells until they are about 90 degrees from your shoulder. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. 

One consideration for these is the strength curve. Like the face pull, the reverse dumbbell flye is very difficult at the contraction and easy at the bottom. Reverse dumbbell flyes should complement other exercises in your training that stress the muscles at longer lengths.

2. Reverse Cable Flyes:

alternative to face pulls

This rear delt fly variation lets you fully stretch and contract the upper back musculature under tension while providing greater freedom and range of movement than face pulls. Like the dumbbell alternative, the widespread arms cause a larger moment arm, reducing the weight required to put tension on the muscles. This makes stability less of an issue than face pulls, and the upright position is easier to maintain than the bent-over variation. 

Set the cable up in line with your upper chest with standard handles attached. You can also set it higher as pictured above for a high-to-low form. Grab each handle with the opposite hand and stand tall with the shoulder protracted. Keep your elbows slightly bent and at around shoulder height. Retract the scapula, squeezing them together and pulling the cables apart. Once you’ve reached full contraction, slowly lower and bring the weights back to the start.

3. Chest Supported Reverse Flys:

rear delt fly

This might seem like an obvious addition following the first two face pull exercise alternatives, but they are an important addition to the list. Providing all the benefits mentioned above and removing any momentum and concerns over instability by supporting your upper body on the bench. This can let you focus on the muscles you want to grow and not expend unnecessary energy just trying to stay in place.

These can be performed with either dumbbells or a cable machine. For the dumbbell variation, set the bench on the lowest incline available but still allow your hands to hang freely without touching the floor. Line up your chest with the top of the bench, straddling the bench with feet on the floor on either side. Perform reverse flyes just as outlined above. For the cable variation, you’ll need the narrow set cables.

Put the cables on the bottom rung, with a bench in line with the center. The bench needs to be set on an incline, meaning when you perform the reverse fly the cables are moving in a straight line, in line with the direction of pull of your mid traps. This might take a bit of practice! Like the dumbbell variation, straddle the bench and lie with your chest at the top of the bench and feet on the floor on either side. Perform the reverse flyes just like the cable fly version with more stability!

4. Reverse Pec Deck:

What is better than face pulls?

If you’re looking to blow up your rear deltoids, look no further. If you’re using face pulls to grow your rear deltoids, then swapping them for or supplementing them with a pec dec is a no-brainer. This machine isolates the rear deltoids, allowing you to focus on an often-lagging area. On the flip side, this means supporting muscles - like mid traps, rhomboids and external rotators - won’t be getting trained. Makes sure you don't end up neglecting these muscles too!

Set the seat so you’re facing the machine with the handles at chest height. With a tall chest and overhand grip pull the handles apart with a slight bend in your elbows. Once your upper arm is about in line with your shoulder return to the starting position. 

The point of this exercise is to attack the rear delts, so aim for most of the movement to come from the shoulder girdle and not from trying to squeeze your shoulder blades together too much. 

5. Band Pull Apart:

face pull alternative at home

As I mentioned under the reverse dumbbell flyes, more and more people are starting to train at home with access to equipment limited. Bands allow you to mimic some gym exercises at a fraction of the cost and without giving up your living room for a home gym. Band pull aparts target the upper back musculature, being particularly difficult in the short range as the tension increases. While the strength curve isn’t perfect, it does allow you to add some volume or warm-up the upper back easily and effectively.

Hold the band in both hands with your arms raised in front at shoulder height and with slight tension on the band. With your elbows slightly bent, pull your shoulder blades together keeping your chest up. Once you’ve fully contracted your upper back, slowly bring your hands back to the starting position.

One thing to bear in mind is that this is a difficult exercise to track and progress. You can increase reps, add pauses, increase the band tension through a heavier band or greater tension at the start. This is an exercise you’re likely to have to go by feel, taking sets close to failure with standard progression metrics at the back of your mind. 

A resistance band can also be used as a face pull variation.

6. Cable Machine External Rotations:

cable face pull alternative

The exercises above are all great when it comes to training the mid traps, rhomboids and rear delts. However, they all neglect active external rotation - a key component of face pulls (if the hands come above the elbows). Cable external rotations address this, targeting the teres minor and infraspinatus in the rotator cuff and rear delts.

This movement is often used to treat shoulder injuries or poor posture and can be a great way to keep injuries at bay. An additional benefit of these is that they’re single arm. This can be particularly useful when training smaller muscles as it allows you to focus on the target area.

Set the cable up to elbow height with a standard cable handle attachment. Stand perpendicular to the handle, holding the cable with the opposite hand (i.e. if your left shoulder is closer to the cable hold it with your right hand). Bend your elbow to 90 degrees and use a neutral grip. Stand far enough away that you’re holding the weight off the stack. Set your shoulder blade back and down by retracting and depressing it. Externally rotate the upper arm. Make sure your shoulder stays set in place. Once you’ve externally rotated as far as possible, slowly go back to the starting position. You’ll likely need to start light. You should feel this around the shoulder blade as a “pinch”, and you’ll feel it in the shoulder too.

7. Wide Grip Bent Over Row:

face pull vs row

This targets the same area as face pulls and benefits from being a big compound move. As a rowing variation, you can use more weight providing greater stimulus to the whole body. Muscles like the lats, lower back, hamstrings, glutes and biceps all have to pitch in to support. This makes them a time-efficient way to train and can be a staple in a program with or without smaller complementary exercises.

With a pronated grip about 6 inches wider than shoulder width, hinge at the hip so you’re just above parallel to the ground. Start with protracted shoulders and row the bar into the middle of your chest with elbows flared to about 80 degrees, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slowly lower the bar back down, maintaining the elbow position. 

Compounds are a great addition to your training. It is important to remember that by taxing more muscles they produce more fatigue, so be careful when replacing face pulls with wide grip barbell rows. This is especially true for those close to their limits of systemic fatigue and if supporting muscles are close to their maximal recoverable volume.

Bonus Exercise: Wide Grip Barbell Bent Over Row With Stirrup Handles

This barbell row variation lets you target the upper back and rear delts, without your wrist and shoulder position being dictated by the barbell. The addition of the handles also forces you to move slowly and carefully, without momentum, to make sure the bar sits balanced on the handles. This means you must focus more on the target muscles and contracting them with purpose. The handles also increase the range of motion, letting you pull your elbows further back before the bar hits your chest.

This variation is almost identical to the wide grip row outlined above. The only differences are that you’ll need to slide a barbell into two standard non-metal stirrup cable handles set at about 6 inches wider than shoulder width. The barbell obviously won't fit in the carabiner clip so you will slide it into the actual handle itself. You can twist the handles to a neutral grip, semi-pronated or pronated grip depending on what feels best.

Like the wide grip barbell row, hinge at the hips to just above parallel. Go from protracted to retracted shoulder blades as you row the bar into your sternum. Keep your elbows flared and squeeze your shoulder blades before slowly lowering the bar back to its starting point.

Upgrading your face pulls:

We would feel remiss if we didn’t include one way to upgrade your face pulls. By using a long rope attachment, two long handles or two ropes at once, you can increase the range of motion. This allows you to externally rotate further and stops the movement from being limited by the rope length.

While this isn’t a perfect solution, it does provide some extra freedom of movement which can be the boost you need to get more from the exercise. 

Programming Guidelines:

As mentioned before in the article, the bulk of your training should be compound movements. This ensures all the main muscle groups are hit and is an efficient way to approach your training. Face pulls can be used to supplement these without adding too much more systemic fatigue and train muscles focussed on external rotation.

The isolation moves in this article should be viewed in the same way, as an accessory to the larger movements. The compound moves on this list can either replace the face pull or if face pulls are considered essential for your goals, used alongside them.

Remember, the extra fatigue accumulated from compounds means they’re best utilized if your systemic and supporting muscular fatigue is lower. One thing to be aware of is that by replacing face pulls, which target the external rotators when performed with high hands, you're reducing volume on these muscles. You’ll likely have to add in external rotations to replace this.

If you have any questions about the face pull or its alternatives, please let us know in the comment section below. We hope these exercises can help you build an impressive upper back and upper arms!

Related Content:

Seated Cable Row Alternatives T-Bar Row Alternatives Upright Row Alternatives Pull Up Alternatives
- Kiel DiGiovanni

The 2022 CrossFit Semifinal in-person live competitions will begin in just over a week. The 2022 CrossFit Semifinal contests run from May 20-June 12th at locations throughout the world.

CrossFit announced all the top athletes across all divisions that are set to compete in these Semifinal competitions.

Let’s take a look at the elite division athletes set to battle it out in the 2022 CrossFit Semifinals workouts below! 

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2022 CrossFit Semifinals Athletes & Workouts

After the 2022 CrossFit Quarterfinals wrapped up last month on April 24th, we’ve been waiting to see which athletes would be scheduled to compete at which events.

As a short refresher, below is how the athletes from each region made it to the Semifinals:

North America: The top 120 athletes and top 80 teams of the Quarterfinals made it to the Semifinals. Europe: The top 60 athletes and top 40 teams of the Quarterfinals made it to the Semifinals. Oceania: The top 30 athletes and top 20 teams of the Quarterfinals made it to the Semifinals. Africa/Asia/South America: The top 30 athletes and top 20 teams of the Quarterfinals made it to the Semifinals.

Individual rosters below:

The qualified athletes will compete in their respective regions, check out the Instagram post of CrossFit Games showing all the elite athletes that made it to the Semifinals.

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2022 CrossFit Semifinals Workouts 

CrossFit just released the Individual and Team workouts that we can expect to see the athletes face off during the live 2022 CrossFit Semifinal events.

We know that the 2022 CrossFit Quarterfinal workouts tested the most formidable athletes, so we expect these to do the same, if not more!

Workout 1: 2014 Regional Event 5

The first workout is based on speed, agility, grip strength, and determination. Athletes will have top conditioning if they want to do well here.

10 Rounds for time:

1 legless rope climb (15 feet) Run (170 feet) 

Time Cap: 11 minutes

Workout 2: Barbell Complex

In the second workout, the athletes will have to know their way around a barbell if they want to shine. It’s all about strength and power with this one!

3 Attempts for max load:

3 Cleans 2 Front Squats 1 Jerk (Shoulder to Overhead)  View this post on Instagram

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CLOSING THOUGHTS

We’re looking forward to seeing some of the top athletes across the world compete at the 2022 CrossFit Semifinals. Stay tapped in for updates and results of the 2022 CrossFit Semifinals!

Who do you think will come out on top?

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- Sam Coleman
13 Best Bodyweight Biceps Exercises

The barbell and dumbbell bicep curl is a rite of passage exercise. They are one of the first exercises people learn. And for beginner and advanced lifters alike, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your biceps swell after each rep. Plus, when you’re doing them in front of the mirror, it’s a flex-time baby.

That said, when it comes to biceps training, you don't NEED free weight equipment. Did you know you can build your biceps with just bodyweight exercises?

Who knew! Yes, you need to be more creative to build your arms with bodyweight bicep exercises, and having a few tools around helps to get an even more satisfying biceps pump, but it can be done.

In this article, we’ll dive into:

The biceps muscle anatomy & function Ideal tools for bicep workouts at home The 13 best bodyweight bicep exercises Programming tips and tricks for building bigger biceps

Ready to get your flex on? Let’s go.

bodyweight bicep exercises

BICEPS MUSCLE ANATOMY & FUNCTION:

Biceps is the Latin term for two-headed muscle and the bicep is the main muscle of the anterior upper arm. The biceps short head starts on the scapula (near the ball and socket joint) and inserts into the forearm bone the radius. The biceps long head starts on the supraglenoid tubercle of the scapula (a small projection of the scapula near the shoulder joint) and inserts on the radius bone near the short head.

The biceps cross two joints, the elbow and shoulder, so it acts on both.

As a whole, the primary function of the biceps is elbow flexion (aka curls). The biceps supinate the forearm as well (rotate the forearm laterally), and this movement is more powerful when the elbow is flexed.

As for the individual heads, the biceps long head helps with shoulder abduction and inward rotation of the arm, and the biceps short head assists with shoulder adduction.

The biceps also aid the anterior deltoid with shoulder flexion and together with the triceps they support the humeral head in the shoulder joint for shoulder stability.

biceps muscle

CAN YOU BUILD YOUR BICEPS AT HOME WITH JUST BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES?

When it comes to building muscle, you need two things, resistance and time under tension. Both of these can be achieved at home or in the gym. Your body doesn’t know what type of resistance you are applying to it. The body has no magic switch that determines whether you are working out with dumbbells or your bodyweight.

It just knows resistance, and bodyweight works fine for most body parts, including the biceps. With time under tension, it is thought you need to apply between 30 to 40 seconds per set to spark muscle growth. When you’re working with bodyweight, this is achieved in a few ways:

More reps Slower rep speed on the concentric and eccentric contraction Pauses and isometric contractions

All this can be done in the comfort of your own home, without any equipment.

It should be noted that we are NOT saying bodyweight biceps exercises are superior to dumbbell bicep exercises or any other equipment, or even that they are just as good, but we are saying that you can build your biceps without them. Of course, if you do have access to equipment, you have a greater advantage of building your biceps because it's easier to progressive overload with weight and you'll have more exercise variety. Nevertheless, even with just your bodyweight, you have plenty of biceps exercises, as you are going to see below.

IDEAL TOOLS TO HAVE FOR TRAINING BICEPS AT HOME:

When it comes to bodyweight biceps exercises, it is helpful but not essential to have a few tools handy. Here are a few of our favorite implements to have around for bodyweight exercises.

Towel: Everyone should have a towel. A towel will act as the handle to be able to access your bodyweight resistance. Pull Up Bar (aka Chin Up Bar): A pull up bar is the most important calisthenic tool you can have. It will go a long way for your at home biceps workouts. With it, you can do one of the best bicep builders around, the chin-up. But if you don't have it, no worries. There are still plenty of exercises. Squat Rack: In an ideal world, a squat rack would be even better, as it comes with a pull up bar, and you can do inverted rows and bodyweight curls using gravity as resistance with a barbell set into the rack. But, if you had all that, you might not be looking for bodyweight bicep exercises in the first place, unless maybe you just don't have dumbbells. Or, you simply prefer training relative strength (bodyweight). Note: You can replicate an inverted row/curl with two chairs and a pole along the center, but make sure it's safe. Suspension Trainer: A cheap and great option to train the biceps is the suspension trainer, with TRX being a prime example. With this, you can also do inverted rows and variations of bodyweight bicep curls. Resistance Band: Resistance bands pair beautifully with bodyweight exercises, especially for upper arm exercises. We won't include resistance band bicep exercises, as they aren't technically bodyweight movements, but if you have bands, here are our favorite resistance band biceps exercises.

Even if you don't have these tools, there are still workarounds to training the biceps at home. As you will see with these best bodyweight bicep exercises, there are plenty of options. Literally, all you really need is your body.

best bodyweight bicep exercises

13 BEST BODYWEIGHT BICEP EXERCISES

Here are the 13 best biceps exercises you can do at home. Some will purely be bodyweight exercises, while others will use the tools we mentioned above.

It would be nice if you have a mirror around too, to admire that biceps pump!

1. Bodyweight Side-Lying Biceps Curl:

body weight bicep exercises

Having the stability of the floor and the weight of your torso by lying on your side you will perform a biceps curl that trains your biceps in a small but intense range of motion. It helps to lie on a mat or something soft as you will be pressing your forearm into the ground. Doing this on a solid floor may be uncomfortable.

How to:

Lie on your left-hand side and then bend your knees to 90 degrees. Place your right hand behind your head or have it resting on your side. Place your left hand under your left leg grab your left leg and pull up until you feel a contraction in your bicep. Pause for a beat and slowly lower down to the ground. Repeat for the desired reps and then perform on the other side.

Best rep range: 10+

2. Bodyweight Standing Biceps Curl With Neutral Grip:

biceps at home

With the bodyweight standing bicep curl you need a solid anchor point to hold on to. Because of this, you’ll be training grip and forearm strength as well as training your biceps. Be careful here not to pull yourself toward the anchor point but to initiate the movement by bending your elbows.

 How to:

Stand up straight with the anchor point at arm’s length. Take a firm grip with both hands in a neutral position (palms facing in). Curl yourself towards the anchor point and keep your shoulders down and chest up until your elbows are fully flexed. Slowly lower back until your arms a straight and rest and repeat.

Best rep range: 10-20

3. Biceps Leg Concentration Curl:

bodyweight bicep curl

Like the classic concentration curl but using yourself as resistance. With this exercise is best to sit up high so your legs are hanging completely free for a bigger range of motion. You are lifting your leg with your hand but you need to apply your own force and perform slowly to get enough muscle-building tension on the biceps.

How to:

Put a few cushions on a chair and sit down with the working leg hanging above the ground. Put the working forearm on your inner thigh and grip underneath the knee on the opposite leg. Curl up your leg while actively pressing your leg down to provide extra resistance. Make sure your elbow stays on your thigh. Once your hip is fully flexed slowly lower down and repeat for reps.

 Best rep range: 10-20

4. Reverse Push-up:

push up for biceps

You all know push-ups train the chest, triceps, and shoulders and have great core stability benefits. But when you move the alignment of your hands by reversing then produces more elbow flexion which gets the biceps more involved. This is an advanced push-up variation that places more strain on the wrist and anterior shoulder so ease into this one with fewer reps and good form.

How to:

Get on your hands and knees and position your hands shoulder width apart with your fingers facing toward your toes (as much as possible). Straighten your legs and get into a solid front plank. Slower lower to the ground by bending your elbows until your chest is just above the ground. Push back up until your elbows are fully extended. Reset and repeat for reps.

Best rep range: 8-15

5. Mind Muscle Biceps Curl:

bicep curl no weight

This biceps curl is all you because it is you that provides the resistance. By squeezing your hands and focusing on the mind-muscle connection between you and your biceps, you slowly perform a biceps curl using just your body weight. To get the most out of this exercise, you must do your best to provide maximum tension. When you lose this tension, end the set.

If you don't believe that you can build muscle by just using forceful contractions like this, read our article on mind muscle connection.

 How to:

Stand tall with your arms by your side about shoulder width apart and palms in an underhand grip position facing away from you. Form a fist with both, actively squeezing your hands. Slowly perform a bicep curl, making sure to create max tension on the way up. Squeeze your biceps tightly as you curl the air and reach the top. Hold the contraction for a couple seconds. Return slowly to full elbow extension and rest and repeat for reps.

Best rep range: Do this for time making sure to get between 40-60 seconds of time under tension.

6. Lying Double Legs Hammer Curl with Towel (Body Moves):

bicep exercise with towel

This unique hammer curl looks like a sit-up, but it is not. You are using your torso as the resistance to perform a biceps curl. Because you’re holding a towel in the neutral grip position, you’ll train your biceps and forearms from a different angle. The trick is to keep your spine neutral as to not put too much pressure on your back.

How to:

While at the top of a sit-up position, wrap a towel behind your knees and grip both ends of the towel with palms facing inwards. Lower your torso down to the floor and then lift your feet off the floor. Use your biceps to slowly lift your torso off the floor until you can sit up as far as you can go. Slowly lower your torso to the floor only using your arm, not your abs. Repeat for reps.

Best rep range: 8-15

7. Lying Double Legs Reverse Curl with Towel (Legs Move):

at home bicep exercises

Similar to the exercise above except you are using a reverse grip. The reverse grip trains the weaker forearm extensors which are important to strength for better muscle development of the forearm and to prevent strength imbalance injuries to the wrist and elbow. It's also a good way to target the long head of the biceps.

How to:

While at the top of a sit-up position, wrap a towel behind your knees and grip both ends of the towel, so your knuckles are facing toward you. Lower your torso down to the floor and then lift your feet off the floor. Use your biceps to slowly lift yourself off the floor until you can sit up as far as you can go. Slowly lower your torso to the floor only using your arms. Reset and repeat for reps.

 Best rep range: 8-15

8. Lying Double Legs Hammer Curl with Towel (Legs Moves):

how to build biceps at home without weight

Similar to the lying double leg hammer curl above except your using your legs as resistance and not your torso. Now as you’re at the top of the sit-up, your core strength comes into play to hold this position. You need to actively resist with your legs here to provide the necessary resistance.

How to:

Sitting down with your legs straight and ankles crossed over, place a towel underneath your knees and then sit up straight. Grip the towel with a neutral grip tightly. Perform a curl, curling your knees towards your chest while actively resisting with your leg to give you the resistance. Slowly lower to the starting position and repeat for reps.

Best rep range: 8-15

9. Inverted Biceps Curl:

biceps workout

With the bar biceps curl, think inverted row but you are using your biceps and not your back. The movement is all in the elbows, and since you arms a little wide, it's good for targeting the short head of the biceps for some arm thickness.

This is ideally performed in a squat rack with a barbell, but you have a few options if you don’t have one. If you have two very stable chairs and a strong pole or bar that you can set at the tops of the chairs back rest, but be careful as you need to make sure it's safe and the bar can support your weight.

If you have suspension trainer you can also use that, of course. Or if you have access to a playground or have play equipment at your house you can do an inverted biceps curl on it. You can get creative with other options too, but please make sure it can support your weight before repping out. 

How to:

Set the barbell in the squat rack at your desired depth. Lower is more difficult and higher easier. Get underneath the barbell and grip with an overhand grip shoulder width apart. Straighten your legs and engage your glutes and core to get your body in a straight line. Curl your chest towards the barbell until you cannot go any further. Slowly lower down and reset and repeat.

Best rep range: 8-12

10. Inverted Close Grip Biceps Curl:

bodyweight bicep workout

The setup for the bar close grip curl is the same as the above exercise except your curling with your hands together. Close-grip curls target the long head of the biceps, which gives the biceps that nice peak when you flex. This is a progression from the shoulder width variation above.

Note: You can replicate this if you have two very stable chairs and a strong pole or bar that you can set at the tops of the chairs back rest, but be careful You need to make sure it's safe and the bar can support your weight.

How to:

Set the barbell in the squat rack at your desired depth. Get underneath the barbell and grip with an overhand hand together grip. Please adjust for comfort. Straighten your legs and engage your glutes and core to get your body in a straight line. Curl your chest towards the bar until you feel an intense contraction. Slowly lower down and reset and repeat.

Best rep range: 8-12

11. Close Grip Chin-Ups:

chin ups

Chin-ups are the ultimate upper body, back, and biceps builder because you’re using your entire bodyweight as resistance. It's not just the best bodyweight bicep exercise, it's also the best of the best bodyweight exercises. And all you need is a pull up bar.

As for the close-grip variation, it takes things to another level by training the long head with even more resistance. Essentially, the close grip places extra emphasis on your biceps/upper arms and a little less from your back, and it increases the range of motion...Make sure to flex after this one.

How to:

Grip a chin up bar with an underhand grip with your hands around 6 inches apart. Again, adjust the grip for comfort. From a dead hang position pull your body up to get your chin/upper chest to the chin up bar.   Lower down to the dead hang position and repeat. For added difficulty, hold the top and middle positions for time. These would be called isometric chin ups, and they are great for building even more strength.

Best rep range: 5-15

12. Standing Suspension Arm Curl (Elbows Up):

bicep curl no equipment

The beauty of the suspension trainer biceps curl is twofold. First, by adjusting your feet you can make this curl more or less intense so everybody will be able to do it. Second, the inherent instability of the suspension trainer will train more of your body's stabilizing muscles, improving your balance and stability. This is more than just a biceps curl.

How to:

Set up a suspension trainer on the middle length setting and grip the handles with your palms facing up about shoulder width apart. Walk your feet in or out to your desired intensity. Extend your arms back to full extension. Curl the handles towards your temples and keep your elbows high. When your biceps are fully contracted slowly lower to the starting position and reset and repeat.

Best rep range: 10-20

13. Suspension Trainer Side Arm Biceps Curl:

bicep workout without weights

Standing laterally to the anchor point this suspension on arm curl with train your biceps from a different angle for better muscle development. Not only do you provide more muscle-building resistance for your biceps but you strength imbalances between sides and train your lateral stability too.

How to:

Stand side on the suspension trainer, grab one handle and straighten your arm. Adjust your feet to your desired intensity. While standing straight, curl your hand towards your ear until your biceps are fully contracted. Slowly lower to the starting position and reset and repeat. Repeat on the other side.

Best rep range: 8-15

BODYWEIGHT BICEP WORKOUT: IDEAL REP RANGES AND VOLUME

Muscle and strength are built in a variety of set and rep ranges. The key here with bodyweight bicep exercises is time under tension. As previously mentioned anywhere between 30 to 40 seconds per set is a great spark for muscle growth. This can be achieved with more reps, a slower rep speed, or using pauses and isometric contractions.

When you’re training primarily with bodyweight exercises using normal rep speed, the ideal rep ranges will be higher, between 10-25 reps for 2-4 sets. This ends up being between 40 to 100 reps of total volume, which will provide plenty of muscle-building stimuli.

However, when you slow your rep speed down or use pauses for isometric contractions, reps between 6-12 work best, depending on how long it takes you to get 30 to 40 seconds of time under tension.

A short note on isometric contractions, it is when the muscle produces force but there is no movement.

Isometrics works great with bodyweight exercises like pull ups, chin ups, and inverted curls. The biceps can be strengthened and activated extremely well with isometric contractions. You just need to really squeeze your biceps tightly. This is especially important if you have limited equipment to train your biceps and are doing bodyweight bicep exercises.

For example, performing elbow flexion with palms up underneath a countertop. Now the amount of force you produce is on you. The harder you press your palms up with this exercise the more you will feel it. When doing something like this, contractions of four to seven seconds for 10 to 12 reps works well.

For bicep body weight exercises that are difficult, like chin ups, you will have to just do your best with rep and time under tension. But the great thing is, you can easily progressive overload by doing more reps and then eventually adding an external load like a weighted vest. Chin ups are among the best bicep exercises, weights included.

WRAPPING UP BICEP BODY WEIGHT EXERCISES:

When you’re doing a bodyweight bicep workout at home without access to free weights, it pays to be creative and think a little outside the box. With a mix of bodyweight exercises and makeshift tools you have around your house, you can get in a great bicep workout and eventually build biceps worthy of flexing.

Other Bodyweight Exercises:

Bodyweight Shoulder Exercises Bodyweight Back Exercises Bodyweight Chest Exercises Bodyweight Triceps Exercises Bodyweight Leg Exercises Bodyweight Core Exercises

Bodyweight Workouts:

Bodyweight Full Body Workout Bodyweight Lower Body Workout Bodyweight Upper Body Workout

The Ultimate Calisthenics Workout Plan

- Sam Coleman
How Much Caffeine Should Pre Workout Have?

You scream, I scream, we all scream for caffeine! That's a 100% original jingle with no inspiration from anywhere. Maybe that's true, and perhaps it's not, but we can all agree that we all do scream for caffeine. We love it. That's why coffee and tea are the most consumed beverages in the world. And let's be honest, green tea tastes like piss, and the only reason anyone really drinks it is for the little buzz. Personally, it's not a big enough buzz for us because it's just not enough caffeine to make the tinkle water worth it. And that got us thinking, how much caffeine would we need to drink toilet water? Kidding, what we really want to know is how much caffeine should a pre workout have if we want to actually see benefits from it?

That's what this article is going to discuss.

What is caffeine and how does it work? How much caffeine do pre workouts have? How much caffeine should pre workout have? What pre-workouts have the most caffeine?

how much caffeine should pre workout have

What Is Caffeine?

Caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world. And make no mistake about it; caffeine is a drug in the truest sense of the word. That's a good thing because this psychoactive effect gives caffeine its ergogenic benefits. 

Once it's consumed, caffeine is rapidly absorbed into the gastrointestinal tract and appears in the bloodstream within minutes. Because it is able to pass through virtually any membrane, it is easily transferred throughout the body, including the brain.

Interestingly, it seems that the liver does not remove any caffeine, meaning that its absorption rate is nearly 100%.

Naturally, caffeine can be found in a wide variety of food sources, with the most common being various green tea leaves, cocoa, and coffee plants.

too much caffeine

What Exercise Performance Benefits Can Caffeine Give?

While the benefits of coffee are relatively understood, its mechanisms are still being studied. However, researchers have a decent understanding and believe that many of the performance benefits come from its effect on the central nervous system (CNS).  

1) Delays Fatigue:

Perhaps the most studied athletic benefit that comes from caffeine is its ability to prolong exercise. For example, this study found that caffeine supplementation lengthens the time to exhaustion and increases overall exercise performance, oxygen deficit, and maximal oxygen uptake1. 

We should mention that this tends to apply to endurance events or intermittent sports such as soccer. However, improving oxygen uptake is definitely not a bad thing and no one said you can’t take a pre-workout before endurance exercise!

2) Increase Cognitive Function And Focus:

We all know that taking caffeine makes you more productive or at least increases your attention. While this may just be focusing on watching cat videos on Youtube, it can also mean staying more focused when you get to the gym.

Further, this doesn't just refer specifically to concentration on a topic, but caffeine can actually improve your motivation to carry out a task. In our case, caffeine can motivate us to kill a session or set a PR on our deadlift.

3) Mitigate Pain Brought On By Exercise:

One of the components of caffeine's action on the CNS is the release of dopamine. When an athlete takes caffeine before exercise, dopamine can be released into the body, which can lower any discomfort or pain brought on by high-intensity exercise. This is important as pain can decrease the firing rate of muscles as well as raise the rate of perceived exertion (RPE).

This exact phenomenon has been found to actually occur in studies where caffeine ingestion has been found to decrease the pain experienced in athletes. A lower RPE could mean more reps which could mean more gains2.

4) Improve Muscle Firing:

As mentioned, previously caffeine was thought to be beneficial only for cardio and endurance. However, this is one of the areas that shows this may not be the case. Newer research finds that caffeine may actually have a more direct effect on muscular function than previously believed.

This is likely due to caffeine improving the sensitivity to release calcium ions, ultimately increasing force production3. This is exciting as this directly affects anaerobic performance such as lifting weights.  

Average Caffeine Content in Pre-Workout Supplements

If you have been around the supplement game for any length of time, you'd realize that caffeine is one of the primary ingredients used. As you saw from the benefits above, this isn't really a surprise as caffeine brings a ton of proven benefits.

That being said, it's not uncommon for pre workout supplements to underdose the ingredients that they put in their product. Basically, this means that a company will put in a small amount of a particular ingredient just so that they can claim the product has it inside.  

The problem is that the majority of substances used in most pre workout supplements have a minimum threshold. In other words, your body needs to ingest a certain amount in order to see a benefit. Think about it like drinking beer. Beer will get you drunk but half a can won't do it.

The problem with answering this question is that the answer can fall on a huge range, from zero mg (yes, some pre-workouts don't have caffeine) to 420mg (this is the most we have found, find out what pre-workout it is below!).

That being said, it seems like the average pre workout with caffeine provides around 150-250mg per serving.

pre workout supplement caffeine

How Much Caffeine Should Preworkout Have?

So now let's talk about how much caffeine pre workout products SHOULD have. The good thing is the answer is pretty straightforward. The recommended dosing for caffeine as an ergogenic aid is 3-6mg per kilogram of bodyweight4.

Here's a basic graph to give you an idea of what this dosing looks like. As you look at these numbers, keep in mind your average cup of coffee gives 80mg per cup, as do most energy drinks. 

70kg (154lbs): 210mg-420mg

80kg (176lbs): 240mg-480mg

90kg (198lbs): 270mg-540mg

100kg (220lbs): 300mg-600mg

110kg (242lbs): 330mg-660mg

So right off the bat, we see that all of these recommended doses for caffeine are higher than many of the doses used in some pre workouts. Still, that's when using the lower range of recommended dosing. Further, if you are a bigger person, you're even more likely to not be getting an optimal dose.

Unfortunately, this is another problem with trying to properly dose caffeine with a premixed pre workout as the optional amounts are different for everybody (but we have a cheap solution below!)

Therefore, if a pre workout is going to promote beneficial effects with caffeine, we think that 300mg is the sweet spot. Reason being is that 300mg is a pretty high dose that will be plenty for most guys. 

While 400mg is obviously more and might be good for some guys, it could be too much for others. Considering that you can always add caffeine (see below) to a pre workout but you can’t take it away, we think 300mg is the optimal dose. 

For most people, 300mg will provide plenty of energy, without the crash.

What Pre Workout Supplements Have The Most Caffeine?

Not all pre workouts are packing a measly 150-250mg of caffeine. Some have more. Much more. Let's look at the pre workout caffeine content in some popular pre workouts known for providing high doses:

ProSupps® Mr. Hyde® Xtreme: ProSupps may deliver the most caffeine we have ever seen in a pre workout supplement at 420g per serving.    RedCon1 Total War: Total War brings a total of 320mg per serving, with 250 coming from caffeine anhydrous and 70mg coming from di-caffeine malate. Rich Piana 5% Nutrition 5150 High Stim Pre-Workout Powder: Another pre workout supplement with 400mg per serving, but would you expect anything from Rich Piana to be light in stimulants? The caffeine from Rich Piana is said to come from 8 different sources which is likely more of a marketing gimmick.   Myoblox LOCO: While marketed as a nitric booster, Myoblox LOCO also packs a whopping 400mg of caffeine per serving.  

As mentioned above, don’t mess with these unless you are familiar with how you react to caffeine. While very rare, people can have serious adverse reactions to high doses of caffeine. There is most certainly a thing as too much caffeine.

pre workout supplement

Disclaimer: This article contains some affiliate links where we will receive a small commission on any purchase you make at no additional cost to you. We appreciate the support. 

Other Options For Caffeine:

Again, the main problem with pre workout is that the optimal dose of caffeine is different for everyone and depends on the person's size. However, a preworkout only delivers a set amount of caffeine that may or may not be enough for an individual.

Unfortunately, this is just the nature of the beast, and there's really not much you can do about it. You could take more, but now you're risking overdosing on other compounds, not to mention that pre-workout isn't the cheapest supplement on the market.  

The good thing is that caffeine is cheap; actually, it's really cheap. If you find that your pre-workout isn't really delivering as much caffeine as you'd like, you can easily just buy some caffeine tablets to use in conjunction.

For example, this bottle from Prolab contains 100 pills which pack 200mg per pill for just $7.19 (on 04/18/22). That's insanely cheap. You can either take the whole 200mg or break it in two or quarters.

The point is that this is a very easy and affordable way to up your caffeine intake if your pre workout doesn't have enough.

Pre Workout With Caffeine: Our Analysis

While caffeine is definitely essential as a preworkout ingredient, we actually don't think it makes sense for caffeine to be your deciding factor when buying a pre workout.

As mentioned above, caffeine tablets are insanely cheap at just 0.07 for 200mg. While some of these pre workouts might not underdose their caffeine, instead, they will use their high caffeine content for marketing to persuade lifters to pay a higher price. In reality, 400mg of caffeine only costs 0.14 cents and is hardly something to pay a premium price for.  

To be clear, we’re not saying a pre workout is bad if it has or doesn’t have caffeine; we’re just saying a low dose shouldn’t persuade you to not buy it if its other ingredients are good.

Instead, we would recommend looking at other pre-workout ingredients such as arginine or citrulline. Use the inclusion of different compounds to help you choose what pre-workout to buy, and if it comes with our suggested 300mg of caffeine, then awesome. If it comes short, you can always increase your caffeine consumption with a caffeine pill.

caffeine in pre workout

References:

Stadheim HK, Stensrud T, Brage S, Jensen J. Caffeine Increases Exercise Performance, Maximal Oxygen Uptake, and Oxygen Deficit in Elite Male Endurance Athletes. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2021;Publish Ahead of Print. doi:10.1249/mss.0000000000002704‌ MOTL RW, O’CONNOR PJ, TUBANDT L, PUETZ T, ELY MR. Effect of Caffeine on Leg Muscle Pain during Cycling Exercise among Females. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2006;38(3):598-604. doi:10.1249/01.mss.0000193558.70995.03 Rousseau E, Ladine J, Liu QY, Meissner G. Activation of the Ca2+ release channel of skeletal muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum by caffeine and related compounds. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. 1988;267(1):75-86. doi:10.1016/0003-9861(88)90010-0 Guest NS, VanDusseldorp TA, Nelson MT, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2021;18(1). doi:10.1186/s12970-020-00383-4
- Kiel DiGiovanni
Built Bar Review: Honest Taste Test From Protein Bar Lovers

You're here for an honest Built Bar review, and that's what we intend on providing you. For this review post, two of us from the SET FOR SET team tried each bar from a Built Bar 12 count mixed box, including regular and Puffs.

We came to some compromises on taste and texture where we had slight disagreements. Of course, the taste is subjective, and we all have our own preferences, so we’ve tried to marry our favorites with the most flavorful bars that others will enjoy.

Below is a list of all the Built Bar flavors that we tasted:

Double Chocolate Mint Brownie Coconut Peanut Butter Brownie Coconut Marshmallow (Puffs) Coconut Almond Cookies N' Cream Churro (Puffs) Banana Cream Pie (Puffs Raspberry Cherry Barcia Salted Caramel 

Let's get into the no holds barred Built Bar review!

Built Bar Review

WHAT IS BUILT BAR?

Built Bar was founded in 2018 in Mapleton, Utah. The founders set out with one goal – to make the best-tasting protein bar. Ambitious, yes, but the taste is the deal breaker for most when it comes to protein bars, regardless of the protein content.

But Built Bar has very much begun to achieve its goal of a great-tasting protein bar, along with creating one of the healthier options. Built is now one of the fastest-growing protein-bar brands, and they have over 50 flavors to choose from over a variety of products including Built Boost and Built Broth.

This dedication to flavor and healthfulness has led to a truly remarkable brand and what we think is a pretty good-tasting bar. It seems to us that Built has tried to create a bar that resembles a candy bar rather than a full-on meal replacement bar. This is a unique approach, and you’ll see how a little later on.

**This post contains affiliate links where we may receive a small commission on purchases you make at no additional cost to you. This IS NOT a sponsored post and we only recommend products that we thoroughly enjoy.**

BUILT BAR TASTE TEST REVIEW RESULTS

Here are our taste test results from our straightforward Built Bar review of the mixed 12-pack.

A quick note – these bars come in two varieties, regular and marshmallow-infused bars. The standard bar consists of an outer chocolate layer with flavored filling. The filling is a bit chewy, which was unexpected. The Puffs version has a marshmallow-like filling, which is lighter, airier, and less chewy than the regular filling. More on how these compare below.

Double Chocolate: 5/5

We loved this Built Bar flavor, one of our favorites, double chocolate combined a chocolatey outside with a not-so-chewy chocolate filling. There were heavy hints of cocoa, which pulled this bar together.

We found that chocolate flavored bars usually tend to be hit or miss – either the dark chocolate is too bitter, or the milk chocolate is too sweet. This protein bar almost resembled a German chocolate cake in candy bar form.

Built nailed this, and we think the cocoa is the key. We also believe that protein powders tend to mix better with chocolate flavors, which is possibly why this works so well.

Chocolate protein bar Mint Brownie: 5/5

We really liked the Mint Brownie; in fact, it was our third favorite. We think mint can be overdone and often is. We're not huge mint fans, so we expected this to taste artificial.

But in this case, Built did a great job of using authentic mint flavor. Mint also tends to go well with dark chocolate, so this was a good combination. We'll say this came through like a subtle peppermint patty and less like a brownie. But we prefer it that way. Maybe you will too.

Mint chocolate bar Coconut: 5/5

Another classic flavor, done well. The Built Coconut reminds us of a Mounds bar – milk chocolate filled with shredded coconut. Although the Built version is a little lighter on the coconut, and the filling is less shredded and more of their chewy center.

This flavor wasn’t as chewy as some others – it could be the fact that coconut has a lot of fat, which doesn’t blend well with starches or gelatin. In any case, this was a classic flavor done well, and the chocolate coating made it that much better.

Built coconut Peanut Butter Brownie: 5/5

You can’t go wrong with the chocolate and peanut butter bar combination, and Built proves us right. Peanut Butter Brownie is a crowd favorite in almost all forms. This bar has more peanut butter than chocolate, but the peanut butter isn’t overdone, which is good for eaters who could stand to have less.

The filling wasn’t nearly as chewy as we’ve come to expect, which is a good thing. Overall, Peanut Butter Brownie was one of our favorite flavors. If you love peanut butter flavor then you can expect the Peanut Butter Brownie bar to satisfy your taste.

Peanut butter bars Coconut Marshmallow: 4.5/5

Built nailed the coconut flavor. The Puffs version of the coconut flavor was well done. But, again, Built didn’t overdo the coconut, and it mixed so well with the chocolate coating.

The Puff filling was light and airy with a not too chewy marshmallow texture. Overall, this was a great combination, and that’s coming from people who aren’t die-hard coco-NUTs! 

Coconut Marshmallow bar Coconut Almond: 4/5

The coconut almond bar is similar to the coconut but with a touch of almonds. So it’s closer to Almond Joy. Some people love coconut, but not us. We like coconut enough when combined with chocolate and almonds, like in a candy bar or granola bar, but we don’t seek it out. So this was a pleasant surprise for us.

The filling was just a bit too chewy. Again, we're not sure if this is distinct to some ingredients, but there were a few flavors with a filling that was just too chewy and gummy and for us, Coconut Almond was one of them. But if you're a sucker for Almond Joys then the soft chewy texture might not be an issue for you.

Coconut Almond flavor Cookies ‘N Cream: 3/5

We have high standards when it comes to this flavor. It’s one of our favorite flavors of ice cream, and we love the cream sandwich cookies, especially with milk. But, sadly, this bar didn’t bring us that fuzzy feeling.

Cookies N' Cream isn’t just a flavor to recreate; it’s a meal, an experience. We think where these bars fell short is too much sugar that overpowered the cream flavor (which is mostly fat) and a lack of cocoa to lend to that cookie flavor. More successful versions of this bar would include cookie pieces and actual cream, but that comes at the price of more calories.

Built Bar cookies n' cream bar Churro Puff: 3.5/5

The Churro Puff didn’t quite do it for us. We're not big fans of any snack that replicates the churro flavor. In our experience, these bars rely too heavily on cinnamon and brown sugar, even though those are the essential ingredients in a churro. But a churro is more than that – a churro is a freshly baked, slightly chewy pastry.

We think Built did a good job balancing the cinnamon and sugar, though. They didn’t overdo the cinnamon, and the flavor was definitely reminiscent of a churro.

We’ll also say the Puffs filling redeemed this flavor; had it been the regular chewy filling, we think we'd have liked it less. Overall, we just found this flavor a bit bland. But kudos for going after a reasonably unique flavor. 

Built Bar Churro flavor Banana Cream Pie: 3.5/5

We love Banana Cream Pie, but it’s the pie that gets us and not the banana flavor by itself. This flavor was okay, but we just don’t want this flavor in a bar unless it’s got bits of pie crust or similar real-food bits. But that’s our sense of entitlement coming through.

If you like Banana Cream Pie, this may be a hit for you. They hit the creamy banana taste well, but we think it generally tasted too synthetic. A Banana Cream Pie tastes excellent because you have cream, banana chunks, and pie; it’s the sum of its parts, and when you remove some parts, it loses its luster.

Built Banana chocolate creme flavor Raspberry: 3/5

Disclaimer: We're not huge fans of fruit-flavored bars unless they have dried fruits and such, so more like a granola bar. That said, this bar wasn’t terrible, and it reminded us of raspberry jelly.

We love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which made this an alright flavor. But we just think it’s always hard to replicate any fruit flavor – they usually come out tasting artificial, like syrup.

This bar definitely had a more natural, raspberry jelly-like taste, but it was still a bit too sweet for us. The filling was a bit too chewy for us also.

Built raspberry bar Cherry Barcia: 3/5

Despite the clever name that resembles our favorite summer-time flavor of ice cream, this bar just didn’t do it for us. Instead, it tasted like chocolate-covered cherry cordials. We like those but can only handle one before their sweetness gets to us. Same thing here – this bar was just too sweet.

The nice thing about this flavor is that it contains actual dried cherries so that you will get a true cherry taste, but that just isn’t for us.

Cherry Barcia Salted Caramel: 5/5

We saved the best for last with the Salted Caramel. Built knocked it out of the park with this flavor as the sweetness and saltiness are a match made in heaven. The smoothness and creaminess of the caramel made this one an instant hit. 

If you're a fan of most things salted caramel then this one surely won't disappoint you. The only issue we can find with this flavor is that it may prove difficult in eating only one at a time!

Built caramel low carb protein bar Built Bar Price, Nutrition, and Ingredients

Below we looked at a few factors that played a part in our overall Built Bar review. After all, when shopping for protein bars there's more to consider than just the flavor. 

BUILT BAR Price

You can find Built Bars in some retailers as well as online. Single bars retail for ~$2.77, and 12 packs (single flavor or mixed) go for $29.99. 

This is average compared to other protein bars but may be on the high end for some. In any case, the price is reasonable considering the great flavors and quality ingredients.

Below is a table that compares the price of Built Bars to similar bars.

PRODUCT SINGLE BAR 12 PACK AMAZON BUILT BAR $2.77 $29.95 GATORADE PROTEIN BAR $1.74-$2.49 $18.00 PURE PROTEIN BAR $1.24 $13.49-$21.79 QUEST BAR $1.94-$3.99 $20.99-$25.99 Nutrition

Here we discuss the nutrition facts and ingredients of Built Bars.

Built Bars are more nutritionally well-rounded than most protein bars: they’re low calorie (~130 calories per bar), low in sugar and fat, high in protein (~17g per bar), and boast limited ingredients.

Built Bars also have a pretty high fiber content, about 6 grams per bar. This is about 20% of our daily value and much higher than most other popular protein bars. Due to the 6g fiber, the net carbs are lower than most protein bars.

In terms of nutrition, protein is always in demand, but the fiber is one of those underrated nutrients that is just as important. That’s just our two cents, but these bars tick all the nutrition boxes.

Here is how Built Bars stack up against some more popular protein bars.

The figure below compares a handful of critical nutritional factors like total calories, sugar, fiber, and others.

PRODUCT CALORIES WEIGHT (g) PROTEIN(g) SUGAR(g) FIBER(g) BUILT BAR 130 49 17 4 6 GATORADE PROTEIN BAR 350 80 21 25 <1 PURE PROTEIN BAR 200 50 20 2 2 QUEST BAR 190 60 21 1 13 Ingredients

Built Bars are among a handful of bars with a limited ingredient list. This is all around a great accomplishment, especially when trying to mix nutrition with taste. Of course, this comes at a cost, and the cost here is using sugar alcohols to replace actual sugars. Not a wrong choice, but if you know sugar alcohols, you know they don’t digest well.

Most sugar alcohols are highly water soluble, so they may give you an upset stomach or other gastric discomforts, especially at high amounts. Fortunately, Built Bars aren’t heavy on sugar alcohols. We had 4 bars in the course of a couple of hours, and let’s just say no one was running to the bathroom.

Below is a screen grab of the ingredients list from a Built Double Chocolate bar. The ingredients listed are found in most of the bars, except for a few flavorings.

As you can tell, the ingredients are pretty standard. The only ingredients we feel are worth noting are erythritol and gelatin. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, which adds sweetness, but can also cause stomach discomfort.

Gelatin is an emulsifier that creates a jelly, chewy filling. There’s nothing nutritionally relevant about this, but it makes bars really chewy, which may be weird at first for some.

BUILT BAR REVIEW FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall, we would score Built Bars with a solid 4.5/5 for taste, nutrition, and ingredients. There aren’t many bars that can compare in all three areas.

We think these bars are perfect pre- and post-workout snacks, but we wouldn’t recommend them as a meal replacement, and we doubt Built would either. There's no such thing as the perfect protein bar but these are close to it.

Here are a few key points from our review:

GOOD

Taste: Overall, these bars tasted great. The flavors were true to the labels and what we think that the natural flavor should actually taste like, except for a few, which are typically hard to recreate, like Banana Crème Pie. They aren’t too sweet, which is good because we think many bars use sweetness to mask other less desirable flavor characteristics.

Ingredients: Built Bars are nice because they have minimal ingredients. They have the standard proteins and corn starch but go easy on the emulsifiers and stabilizers. They’re not quite as simple as an RX Bar, but Built has done an excellent job of making a good-tasting bar with as few ingredients as possible, ESPECIALLY SUGAR.

Gluten Free: We aren't gluten intolerant, nor do we see gluten as the world’s prime evil, but gluten can be a nightmare for some. Most of the Built Bar line is gluten-free, so these bars may be an option for you if you have gluten sensitivity. Also, that’s another ingredient off of the list.

Puffs vs. Normal: Built Bars come in a ‘Puffs’ variety – a marshmallow-infused version of their more simple flavors, like coconut. The puffy filling is more dense and chewy than an actual marshmallow, but it does the job and tastes good too.

Size: These bars are great as a pre- or post-workout snack. They’re small, low in calories, but high in protein. They are not a suitable meal replacement. Some may see that as a bad thing, but you really should not be eating bars in place of whole meals.

BAD

Chewiness: All the bars had a very chewy center – too chewy, in fact, for our liking. We think this has to do with ingredients like gelatin and cornstarch. These ingredients are usually added to increase stability and thickness (meaning chewiness). Unfortunately, this makes the inside of the bar very chewy – think Swedish Fish. This was probably the least desirable characteristic of these bars. The filling would get stuck in our teeth. That’s fine if we're eating a gummy bear, but not something we expect when eating something called “Chocolate Brownie.”

Flavor Selection: While Built has created a few dozen flavors, they’re all dessert or snack flavors, which gets a little redundant and washed out since that’s what all the other bar makers are doing. That’s not to say the flavors aren’t good, but we suppose we’ve gotten used to the more basic variety, so we're a hard sell.

After all these bars, we must say we really like what Built has to offer. We like being able to choose between the regular and Puffs varieties. We enjoyed the simple ingredients list, the high fiber content, and the budget-friendly price. We hope that this mixed box Built Bar review can help you make a decision if you're in the market for protein bars. However, at the end of the day what's delicious to you is a personal preference so try them for yourself.

We're looking forward to trying more Built flavors!

Built Bar nutrition facts

BUILT BAR FAQ:

Now that we got the Built Bar review out of the way, let's get into some common questions people have about Built. 

Are Built Bars Healthy?

Yes, Built Bars are one of the best protein bars on the market. Built Bars are low in sugar and calories and high in fiber and protein. You'd be hard-pressed to find many comparable healthy options that taste great. 

Are Built Bars Heart Healthy?

Yes, Built Bars are a heart-healthy protein bar option. Built Bars have low sugar content and high fiber content. This combined with the fact they use a limited amount of ingredients makes them a great choice for health-minded individuals. 

Do Built Bars Cause Bloating?

Built Bars can cause bloating for some people. We didn't experience any stomach issues but some people have a hard time digesting protein powders and Built Bars are made with whey protein isolate. Those with lactose intolerances or other gastrointestinal issues should be cautious when consuming protein bars such as Built. Or you can check out the 12 Best Lactose-Free Protein Powders Of 2022.

Where Are Built Bars Made?

As we mentioned above, Built Bar was founded in Utah and has never left. The company still manufactures all its products in American Fork, Utah, and employs over 300 hundred people.

Are Built Bars Good For Weight Watchers?

If you're in the Weight Watchers program and on the lookout for low-carb protein bars that taste good then you should give these a try. With the current flavors and Built Bar ingredients, each one will be 3 WW points. So when you're craving a candy bar grab one of these next time but don't eat the whole box in one sitting.

Does Built Have A Loyalty Program?

Yes, you're in luck! Not only is Built Bars cost relatively low compared to other protein bars they also have a "Built Bucks" program. You can earn these "Built Bucks" by buying the products where $1 spent equals 1 point. Other ways to earn these points are by sharing on social media, following them, or writing reviews.

Where Can I Buy Built Bars?

Built Bar sells its healthy products direct to consumers via its website or you can buy Built Bars on Amazon. You can also try your luck with some retailers depending on your location.

If you do buy Built Bars let us know what your favorite flavor was down below.

Related: 14 Best Protein Powders Of 2022 

- Sam Coleman
15 Best Bodyweight Triceps Exercises

A major muscle of the upper arm, the triceps brachii extends your elbow, knows when to relax so the biceps can contract, and stabilizes the shoulder joint. And since it is the only muscle on the back of the upper arm, investing the time and energy into strengthening it is important. Fortunately, you don’t need fancy equipment or expensive dumbbells to get muscular arms. You can achieve defined triceps by following these bodyweight tricep exercises. 

After reading this article, you’ll have a strong understanding of:

The triceps anatomy and functions How to build triceps without weights Training variables for bodyweight exercises that can improve your technique At home bodyweight tricep exercises and the ideal reps for each

bodyweight tricep exercises

TRICEPS MUSCLES ANATOMY & FUNCTION

A large, thick muscle on the back of the upper arm, triceps brachii refers to the muscle’s three heads, or points of origin: the medial head, lateral head, and long head. The three muscle parts end at one insertion point, which is the posterior surface of the olecranon process of the ulna, the elbow joint capsule, and the antebrachial fascia.

The lateral head is the strongest and most active during extension at the elbow joint, and its origin is the posterior aspect of the humerus superior to the radial groove. The long head origin is the infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula, and the medial head attaches at the posterior aspect of the humerus inferior to the radial groove.

Functions:

Extension of the forearm at the elbow joint: i.e. Fully straightening your arm to reach outward for something. Stabilizes the elbow joint: i.e. Keeps the joint still while the forearm and hand perform movements such as writing. Stabilizes the shoulder joint and prevents shoulder displacement during adduction and extension: i.e. Reaching out to the side.

triceps exercises

CAN YOU BUILD YOUR TRICEPS WITHOUT WEIGHTS?

Achieving defined and muscular triceps does not require spending hours in the gym lifting weights. The secret to building this muscle is using exercises that target all three heads. Effective bodyweight triceps exercises can improve the muscle’s power, strength, and tone - no equipment required. And because at home tricep exercises are so convenient, it's easier to stick to your routine. Consistency is key to muscle building.

TRAINING VARIABLES:

Creating an effective routine of at home triceps exercises involves targeting all three muscle heads. Simple movements such as bringing your hands closer together or lowering your forearms to the ground can change the angle enough to target a different tricep part.

These simple strategies create the defined horseshoe look we strive for with the tricep muscle and prevent imbalances between the three parts. Including all 15 of these bodyweight exercises in your workout is overkill, but make sure to include a few so each muscle head gets worked.

Selecting exercises that require different hand positions is an easy way to target the different tricep parts. There are also harder variations of triceps exercises no weights involved, so as your triceps get stronger, you can swap out beginner moves for some of the more challenging options. 

bodyweight exercises

BEST BODYWEIGHT TRICEPS EXERCISES

These 15 tricep exercises require no equipment and will effectively strengthen and build the backs of your upper arms. We are confident that these are the best bodyweight exercises for your triceps muscles.

1. KNEELING BODYWEIGHT TRICEP EXTENSION

bodyweight triceps workout

Kneeling bodyweight tricep extensions are one of the best beginner bodyweight triceps exercises. Keep your elbows tucked into your side, and pay attention to whether you feel this move in the chest or triceps. If you feel it in your chest, adjust your arm width until you feel it in the back of the upper arms.

How to:

Start with hands and knees on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart. Lower onto the forearms, and lean forward, enabling your elbows to support your body weight. Straighten your elbows as you raise your body off the floor. Palms and knees should remain on the floor. Do not let the elbows flare out. Bend your elbows to lower the forearms back to the starting position. 2. CLOSE GRIP INCLINE PUSH-UP

push ups for triceps

A variation of the classic push-up, this version emphasizes the triceps brachii while also working the chest and shoulders. Use this exercise as a burnout move by placing it at the end of your triceps strength training routine. 

How to:

Stand 3 to 4 feet in front of a flat bench. Lean forward, placing your palms on a bench or something similar. Your thumbs should be touching and your fingers spread out. Your toes remain on the ground with the heels lifted. Tighten your core and keep your back straight. Your body should be in a straight line. Bend the elbows, lowering the chest to the bench. Straighten your elbows, pushing yourself up to the starting position. 3. SIDE-LYING PUSH-UP

triceps workout without weights

Your top arm will feel the burn in this bodyweight exercise, although your chest, upper back, shoulders, and core will also benefit. 

How to:

Lie on your side. Stack your shoulders, hips, knees, and feet, wrapping your bottom arm around your waist. Place your upper hand flat on the ground right by your upper arm. Spread your fingers for extra support. Press your palm flat into the mat, pushing your body up. Continue pushing your heels into the ground. Once your arm is straight, slowly lower back down to the mat.  4. REVERSE TRICEP DIP

workout at home for triceps

Focus on only lowering yourself to the point where the upper arms are parallel to the floor. Hold it here for a moment before pushing back up, and your triceps will be on fire by the end of your set.

How to:

Lie face down with legs extended and the tops of your feet lying flat on the ground. Your arms are wider than shoulder-width and in line with your shoulders. Your spine is flat and elbows bent. Extend your arms pushing your upper body upward so the chest is upright and the spine extended. Gaze straight ahead, and keep your elbows tucked into the side. Your legs stay flat on the floor. Bend at the elbows, lowering your upper body back to the mat. Once your upper arms are parallel to the floor and elbows are at 90 degrees, begin slowly pushing upward again. 5. FOREARM TO TRICEP EXTENSION PUSH-UP

best bodyweight tricep exercises

This tricep push-up is challenging, and if you can’t complete more than a few, ease into this move by performing the exercise against a wall. Once you can do 3 sets of 8-12 reps against the wall, progress to this version. 

How to:

Begin in a plank position with the forearms and palms flat on the ground, parallel, and shoulder-width apart.  Push up, straightening your elbows as you lift them off the ground. Continue until your arms are straight. Lower your elbows until they’re just above the ground but not touching it, and push up again. 6. CLOSE-GRIP PUSH-UP

exercise for triceps at home 

The close-grip push-up is a challenging exercise, and if you find that you can't do at least 6, start on your knees. The only difference in form is that instead of starting in plank, both knees begin on the ground. Your upper body should stay in line with your thighs and upper legs.

How to: 

Start in the plank position with your wrists underneath your shoulders and fingertips pointing forward. Keep your neck and back neutral and core tight. Place your hands about two inches apart and bring the elbows in close to the ribs.  Bend your elbows, slowly lowering to the ground. Slowly straighten your elbows, lifting to the starting position. 7. STANDING WALL TRICEP PUSH UP

bodyweight exercises for triceps

This bodyweight exercise emphasizes the triceps and engages the biceps, chest, anterior deltoids, back, and abs, making it a great upper-body move. It’s also easier on the joints and enhances upper-body flexibility.

How to:

Stand an arm’s length away from a wall, extending your arms and placing your hands flat on the wall. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width. Bend at the elbows, pressing your body toward the wall until the elbows are at 90 degrees. Straighten your elbows, pushing against the wall to return to the starting position. 8. TRICEP FLOOR DIPS

tricep dips

Challenge yourself by contracting your triceps at the top of this movement before lowering down. To create a larger range of motion, raise your butt higher off the ground.

How to:

Start on the floor with your back facing down, hands shoulder-width apart, directly under the shoulders. Your legs extend in front of you with a slight bend in the knees. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Straighten your arms, keeping a slight bend in the elbows. Slowly bend the elbows, lowering the upper body toward the floor until your arms are at 90 degrees. Slowly push your body up to the starting position.  9. TRICEP CHAIR DIPS

triceps chair dips

For beginners, bringing your feet closer to the body, placing them entirely on the floor, and bending the knees will provide more stability. To increase the difficulty, straighten your legs with only the heels on the floor.

How to:

Sit on a chair or bench with arms at your sides and feet flat on the floor, hip-distance apart. Place your palms by your hips with fingers gripping the front of the chair seat. Move your torso off the chair, extending the arms. Your butt should hover over the floor. Here, you can have your legs closer to the body by bending your knees and keeping the entire foot touching the floor, or extend your legs with only the heels touching the floor. Slowly lower your body by bending the elbows to a 90-degree angle. Push up to the starting position by straightening the arms. 10. TRICEPS & CHEST CHAIR DIPS

bodyweight chest and triceps exercise

The "parallel" dip easily one of the best bodyweight triceps exercises there is. For this tricep dip progression, use stable chairs that allow for good grips on the backrest. You may want to place dumbbells or heavy books on the seat areas to keep them stationary during the movement. If your chairs don't seem stable, get creative at home and look for a pair of objects or piece of furniture that is parallel, horizontal, and sturdy. Whatever you choose needs to withstand your weight, have a flat surface top or bar-like grips for your hands, and provide room underneath for you to dip. Finally, keep your body as upright as possible to target the triceps. If you start to lean forward, the exercise will work the chest muscles instead. 

How to:

Stand between two chairs, placing your hands on the backrests. Bend your knees slightly, keeping your back straight and your torso upright. Place your bodyweight in the fully-straightened arms, and bring the feet up, bending them behind you. Slowly bend your arms until your upper arms are parallel to the ground and elbows bent to a 90-degree angle. Keep your back straight, and elbows tucked into the sides. Push your body up by fully straightening the arms. Repeat. 11. UP AND DOWN PLANK

what are the best tricep exercises

This is really a great exercise for nearly the entire body, as most planks are. Get the most out of this exercise by doing it slowly. Keeping the core engaged will also give your abdominals a solid workout.

How to:

Begin in a plank position with your entire body engaged. Lower the right elbow to the mat followed by the left so you end in an elbow forearm plank position. Put your right hand on the mat, straightening the elbow. Place your left hand on the mat, straightening the elbow so you’re back to a full plank. 12. ONE-ARMED TRICEPS DIPS

how to build tricep muscles at home

This challenging exercise is a progression of the tricep floor dip exercise as it requires a lot of upper body strength to complete. In addition to burning out the triceps brachii, it also works the gluteus maximus and quadriceps.

How to:

Place your hands palm down and shoulder-width apart on a bench or chair with your knees bent in front of you and feet on the ground and arms supporting your body weight.  Straighten your right arm and left leg in front of you. The left fingers are pointed laterally away from the body before bending the left arm. Slowly lower your body until your elbow bends at a 90-degree angle and the upper arm is parallel to the floor. Drop the hips straight down toward the ground, staying close to the seat. Hold the dip for a second, and straighten your arm back to the starting position. 13. TRICEPS EXTENSIONS (EASIER)

tricep extension no weight

You do not need gym equipment to replicate this move. You can use a kitchen countertop, kitchen table, or the back of your couch as substitutes for a bar in this exercise. Just look for something that is stable and at the correct height. There should be room for the body to extend and the head to lower. 

How to:

Stand an arm’s length away and grasp onto a bar or an alternative, such as a kitchen table or bench, using an overhand grip. Extend your arms but keep a slight bend in the elbows. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width, toes on the ground with lifted heels, and your back and legs are straight in a push-up position. Bend the elbows, pressing the body toward the bar until the elbows are at 90 degrees. The triceps are parallel to the ground with the head directly underneath the bar. Straighten the elbows, pushing against the wall to return to the starting position. 14. TRICEPS EXTENSIONS (HARDER)

bodyweight triceps extension

After mastering the incline push-up, progress to this exercise. Position yourself the same way, but only place your fingers on the bench. A different hand placement allows you to bring your head down further and work the triceps even more.

How to:

Stand 3 to 4 feet in front of a flat bench. Lean forward, grasping onto the edge of the bench with arms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. The legs are extended, and the toes remain on the ground with lifted heels. Tighten your core, keeping your back straight. The body is in a straight line. Bend the elbows, lowering the body down so the head is in line or slightly under the bench. Do not let the elbows flare out. Straighten the elbows, pushing yourself up to the starting position. Repeat.  15. DIAMOND PUSH-UP

no equipment triceps exercises

Proper hand placement in the diamond push up ensures the triceps work. This version is more challenging than a standard push-up or wall push-up, so you may have to work up to your normal reps range.

How to:

Start on the hands and knees with the hands under the chest. Place your index fingers and thumbs so they touch, forming a diamond shape. Straighten the arms to elevate your body, and form a straight line from the head to the toes.  Lower your chest toward your hands by bending the elbows. Keep the elbows tucked into the sides. Just before your chest touches the floor, pause, and then straighten the arms to push back up to the starting position. IDEAL REP RANGES & VOLUME FOR BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES

When putting together a routine for bodyweight triceps exercises, select 3 to 4 movements, and swap them out for more challenging versions as you progress. Perform 3-4 sets of each move, including 8-12 reps per set.

For a more challenging triceps exercise, such as tricep dips with two chairs or diamond push ups, aim for 6-10 sets per rep. Aim to work the triceps 2-3 times a week. 

GOOD EQUIPMENT FOR TRAINING TRICEPS AT HOME 

After working these bodyweight exercises into your fitness rotation, you may be ready to elevate your routine by adding resistance bands or suspension trainers. These are inexpensive equipment options that can lead to further tricep gains. Equipment is not necessary for triceps exercises, but it can be a great way to continue gaining strength and varying your routine.

Other Bodyweight Exercises:

Bodyweight Shoulder Exercises Bodyweight Back Exercises Bodyweight Chest Exercises Bodyweight Leg Exercises Bodyweight Core Exercises Bodyweight Biceps Exercises

Bodyweight Workouts:

Bodyweight Full Body Workout Bodyweight Lower Body Workout Bodyweight Upper Body Workout

The Ultimate Calisthenics Workout Plan

- Dr. John Rusin
Full Range of Motion FOREVER  Forget 90-Degrees
Full Range of Motion vs. Partial Range of Motion Training

Is this even a debate? Full range of motion, FOREVER.

Forget this 90-degree nonsense that defies every established principle of biomechanics, movement anatomy, neurophysiology and motor skill development that’s been producing muscle, strength and resilience results for hundreds of years.

But to avoid absolutist black and white “do THIS, not THAT” context, I believe that partial range of motion deserves a more nuanced discussion surrounding the range of motion spectrum, and how best to navigate it for gains across the board.

But spoiler alert, ONLY training at 90-degree joint angles is just fucking dumb (my honest opinion)…

We Are De-Evolving, Inside The Gym and Out

I’d argue that people who strength trained 50 years ago were achieving BETTER results across the board than the confused, frustrated and information innondated person today scrolling a social media feed in search for the next fraudlent faker shilling a new quick fix.

A big reason for this dubious de-evolution phenomenon is “new and innovative” coaches and training methods taking a steaming shit on the scientific theories and principles of human anatomy, physiology and movement mechanics. Like the established science doesn’t even matter.

This is the training equivalent of feelings over facts.

Today’s Training Reality

Today, we’re seeing a rapidly de-evolving world population (highlighted by our epic struggles right here in America) with record levels of preventable pain, sickness and lifestyle diseases strickening people from all walks of life.

But what does that have to do with the already outlying population of active gym goers and fitness fanatics?

People on the cusp of being obese, struggling with orthopedic pain and injuries OR barely hanging on by a thread both physically and mentally are desperate AF. And no one loves quick fix solutions more than desperate people.

Unwilling (or unable) to do the things that we know will produce results? Time to scroll instagram to find the next short-cut that will get me BIG, get me STRONG, get me LEAN or get me HEALTHY with the most minimal work involved.

You’ll find a lot. But the only problem? None of this shit works, especially 90-Degree only training.

The RIGHT Way To Train Range of Motion

When did strength training get so fucking complicated? Remember the days where you went into the gym, had a plan to learn some big lifts, perfect your form and add a little weight to that great form as you got stronger and needed more stimulus?

Those days are gone. But not because they don’t work to product results (this is actually the most effective way to get results if you want to get technical).

It’s because people are too physically and mentally lazy to do the work, and too physically and mentally weak to buy into a longer term solution for success across the board.

So what is this simple, predictable AND time tested progression I’m referring to?

Full Range of Motion Strength Training 101

Here’s what a simplified strength training progression for muscle, strength and injury prevention SHOULD (and always has) look like:

Establish a full range of motion movement pattern Load full range of motion movement pattern Continue to overload full range of motion pattern Specialize with extended and partial ranges of motion

See steps 1-3? For a vast majority of people, this continual progression will take months, if not years of learning, developing, fine tuning and perfecting these 6 foundational movement patterns for proficiency, load capacity and overall skill development.

And for many? They will never leave this cyclical steps 1-3 process, which is absolutely fine.

We need to remember that movement is an ever changing landscape in the human body. Over time, due to chronic daily postural positions, change in lifestyle or work demands, sleep, stress, nutrition, hydration (and a host of other multi-factorial variables) things change. They get better, they revert back. Your body is a fluid environment.

So being able to maintain step 1 for life is HUGE! And the greatest thing about establishing, maintaining and gaining range of motion for life is that it gives you the best ability to build muscle, get strong AND stay healthy.

Yes, results STILL matter, contrary to popular belief on shiny object social media fitness and training.

How Is 90-Degree ONLY Training Even A Thing?

The above outlines a pretty clear cut scenario for intelligently training according to the range of motion spectrum. But this entire “debate” if you want to call it that begs the question, why is 90-degree only training even a thing? And who in their right mind would ever adhere to such absolutist (and incorrect) models of training and movement?

The problem today is weak, frail, piss poor movers want to take the short cut and buy into this 90-degree bull shit because it’s inherently easier. It’s cheating, it’s half repping, it’s not full range of motion, and it’s a straight up ego stroke. Fits a majority of clowns perfectly.

Is there a place for partial rep squats, deadlifts, presses, pulls? Absolutely. But this should serve as a more advanced method for intermediate to advanced trainees WHILE only making up less than 10% of total training volume througout a week. NOT the entire program, Jesus I can’t beleive I’m needting to address this once again. But here we are.

Think of partial range of motion like sprinkles on a sundae. Is ice cream and chocolate sauce fucking delicious without beads of processed sugar shaken on top? Absolutely it is. Will covering your sundae with loads of sprinkles make the entire thing taste like shit? Likely, yes. But will the perfect amount (and the right flavor for the right person) enhance the taste? It can for sure.

But the audacity that it takes to somehow say that 90-degree only training is superior to full range of motion is just unbelievable, literally. Whether you’re attempting to build muscle, get strong OR (especially) stay healthy, full range of motion is a clear cut winner.

What Full Range of Motion Looks, Feels and Functions Like

And just when you think barbell bench pressing to the chest is “full range of motion” think again. Full range of motion isn’t dictated on bar position relative to the floor or your body, but rather the full excursion of a synergy of joints, muscles, and soft tissues working in unision with one another at their terminal limits.

This principle holds true for squatting, deadlifting, pressing, pulling, rotating OR any more isolated work with single joint emphasis. Full range of motion is full range of motion, period. Establish it, train it, load it, maintain it.

If you can do that (for life) you will be in the best possible position to be strong, healthy and HAPPY that you didn’t buy into the BS that’s continuously being peddled on social media.

So the next time I have to empty my inbox or DM’s full of questions about “what do you think about 90-degree training vs full range of motion training” I’ll just link this article. Thank you for listening to my common sense training talk.

About The Author

dr john rusin

Dr. John Rusin is a sports performance specialist and injury prevention expert that has coached some of the world’s most elite athletes, barbell sport competitors, and over 10,000 clients from all walks of life with his innovative pain-free performance programs and systems, which has gained him the reputation as the go-to industry expert for rebuilding after pain, injuries or plateaus. Dr. Rusin is also the founder of the Pain-Free Performance Specialist Certification (PPSC) that has certified over 10,000 personal trainers, strength coaches and rehab pros from across the globe in the pain-free performance training

The post Full Range of Motion FOREVER <br> <span class='subheadline'>Forget 90-Degrees</span> appeared first on Dr. John Rusin - Exercise Science & Injury Prevention.

- Dr. John Rusin
Arnold Palmer Press For Shoulder Strength & Stability
Here’s What You Need To Know…

1. What do you get when you combine a legendary bodybuilding exercise with a functional flare for shoulder health and performance? Introducing the best press you’re NOT doing, the Arnold Palmer Press.

2. Using a single kettlebell in the palm of your hand and press it overhead with elements of rotation and abduction out of a half kneeling position. There you have it, the perfect shoulder friendly upgrade from the traditional Arnold Press.

3. The beauty of the Arnold Palmer Press is its asymmetrical setup, increased surface area contract of the palm on the bell, combined with rotational ranges of motion being stabilized by the fascial sling system.

4. Program the Arnold Palmer Press in higher rep ranges (8-20) with a strength and hypertrophy emphasis. This move is best trained as an accessory exercise, or as a core emphasized pressing finisher to any upper body training day.

A Mix of Lemonade, Iced Tea And Sweet Shoulder Stability

Ah, the golden age! The 1960’s were nothing short of superb. The legendary golfer Arnold Palmer invented his namesake drink combining lemonade with iced tea in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. And adonis Arnold Schwarzenegger was originating now classic bodybuilding exercises at Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach, California. All seemed right with the world.

But little did these 2 sporting icons know that it would take another 52 years for their innovative efforts to be combined into the ultimate shoulder saving exercise, by our very own coach Taylor Van De Loo, that combines elements of the original with a new age functional flare on shoulder mobility, stability and health. And with that said, I’m proud to present…

Introducing The Arnold Palmer Press

The Arnold Palmer Press combines an unconventional single arm kettlebell palm press with the rotational elements of the classic shoulder building Arnold Press to create synergy out of natural asymmetry. Both the palm placed on the bell AND the rotational functional sling system range of motion work together to ease structural shoulder stress while unlocking mobility and range.

Add in the half kneeling stance and base of support, and there you have it, the most effective shoulder friendly functional finisher you’ve ever used that will improve your mobility, build your shoulders AND help to challenge hip and core stability simultaneously. Looking for a catch all upper body shoulder finisher? Here’s one of the best I’ve ever used.

Your How To Guide To Overhead Press Like The King

Coaching Notes:

Get into an active half kneeling 90-90 position with your front leg opposite of the side you’re kettlebell pressing with. Actively engage your glutes and adductors while gripping BOTH feet into the ground. Brace your core with 360 degree tension linking the mid section to the legs Place a kettlebell in your hand holding the “bell” portion of this weight. Start the kettlebell in front of your face with tension throughout the body. Note the opposite arm should be strong, braced and out to the side like a cross. Press the kettlebell “out and up” overhead in a controlled range of motion. Achieve full overhead range of motion with biceps next to ear without compensating. Lower the weight eccentrically in the exact same rotational range you pressed with. Continue pressing for the desired rep range, then switch to the opposite side. Arnold Palmer Press Training & Programming Considerations

The Arnold Palmer Press is best programmed for upper strength (8-12 reps) or traditional hypertrophy (12-20 reps) rep ranges to challenge the shoulders, hips and core with more total time under tension and technical skill proficiency. Multiple sets with approximately 30-60 second rest periods (make sure to train both sides!) will be ideal for eliciting the desired training effect.

Due to the rotational components of the dynamic overhead kettlebell palm press, the anterior, middle and posterior aspects of the deltoid, along with the posterior chain scapular stabilizers will all be directly targeted as the dynamic muscular movers.

But an overhead press is build on a foundation of a rock solid core and lower body. The half kneeling stance should kick on stability from the glutes, adductors and ground foot contract, while irradiating tension up chain into the core and abdominals to link up this kinetic chain from the ground to the fingertips upon the press.

Like any other pristinely executed functional exercise, key attention should be placed at ALL areas of the body to gain, maintain and scale static tension at the legs, hips and core, and smooth articulate motion at the shoulders and arms.

Tack the Arnold Palmer Press onto the tail end of your next upper body training day as a brutal metabolic stress finisher to give those shoulders a little more love through a complete range of motion while challenging the core and heart rate.

OPTIONAL: Drink an ice cold Arnold Palmer as a post-workout carbohydrate replacement for best results

About The Author

dr john rusin

Dr. John Rusin is a sports performance specialist and injury prevention expert that has coached some of the world’s most elite athletes, barbell sport competitors, and over 10,000 clients from all walks of life with his innovative pain-free performance programs and systems, which has gained him the reputation as the go-to industry expert for rebuilding after pain, injuries or plateaus. Dr. Rusin is also the founder of the Pain-Free Performance Specialist Certification (PPSC) that has certified over 10,000 personal trainers, strength coaches and rehab pros from across the globe in the pain-free performance training system since 2019.

The post Arnold Palmer Press For Shoulder Strength & Stability appeared first on Dr. John Rusin - Exercise Science & Injury Prevention.

- Dr. John Rusin
Lat Pulldowns Don’t Train The Lats?  Debunking This Dubious Lat Pulldown Claim...
Lat Pulldowns It’s In The NAME

Claiming that Lat pulldowns don’t train the LATS is quite literally one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Next thing you know we’ll have IG influencers claiming triceps extensions don’t train the triceps, biceps curls don’t train the biceps, abdominal crunches don’t train the abs, and calf raises don’t train the calves (unless you’re me)…

This sensationalizing of the ineffectiveness of simple staple NAME SAKE exercises needs to stop. Because the reality is, biomechanics and human anatomy has NOT changed in hundreds of thousands of years. And certainly NOT in our lifetime. But instead of bitching and talking shit about dubious statements like the above, lets break down this incorrect claim with some more context…

The “Isolated” Roll of The Lats

lat pulldowns In isolation, the lat’s textbook action is to adduct, extend and internally rotate the humerus (upper arm bone). If you dive into the anatomical actions of the lats one layer deeper you’ll learn that the lats also play a secondary roll in rotation and stabilization of the torso (upper and lower) along with the pelvis.

But the “bro” action that many perseverate on is indeed the action of the upper arm relative to the rest of the body. The so called “isolated” action beloved by bodybuilders and booty chicks alike. But here’s the problem, muscles don’t function in isolation, they function in INTEGRATION. Especially the lats.

The Complicated Shoulder Complex

muscles of the shoulder As the broadest attaching muscle in the human body, the lats are synergistically tied to the muscles of the upper back complex (comprised of 16 muscles around the shoulder blade) and also the pectoralis complex on the front side of the body.

So simply put, in order for the lats to fire and create dynamic movement, the upper back AND the pectoralis groups must also be active playing rolls in dynamic stability and mobility to potentiate the lats to ultimately carry out their primary actions.

Unless you’re dead or knocked unconscious and hooked up to electrodes or EMG’s, there truly is NO isolation. Not from a biomechanical perspective, and certainly not from a neuromuscular perspective. The brain is always on, and since the brain controls the body, we will ALWAYS have relative tension, recruitment and potentiation in muscles, especially those that have a local active mover in the vicinity.

And since the lats are anatomically tied into the shoulder complex (comprised of 4 synergistic joints and countless muscles that work, overlay and interact together in a myriad of different positions around the most mobile joint in the human body, the glenohumeral joint) there is truly no great argument for lat isolation during training or exercise.

So What About The Traditional Lat Pulldown Exercise?

lat pulldowns Respecting the synergistic nature of the lats, lets take a look at the traditional lat pulldown exercise (the original name sake exercise for lat development) knowing very well that the lats fire in ALL types of lat pulldown variations and derivatives (sorry, it’s just simple science).

Trained in a pure vertical plane of motion (as many lat pulldown machines are setup) the shoulder blade’s rotation becomes more apparent and dominant, hence creating increased targeting at the upper back, and slightly less at the lats. BUT the lats are still working.

Think of the lats, upper back and pecs “sharing” the load necessary to move a weight throughout a complete range of motion of an exercise. If we need 100% as a total to complete an exercise, that 100% is shared between these 3 key players. To what degree remains the question, and the foundation of this debate.

If your goal is to get as strong as possible, then integrating as many muscular movers as possible into the lat pulldown exercise is going to be advantageous. This means bigger grip, more upper arms, and absolutely intense amounts of upper back recruitment to control that free floating shoulder blade on the thoracic cage.

But for muscular hypertrophy (AKA bodybuilding), or trying to bring up a weak point or linchpin in the kinetic chain, there would be great benefit to getting MORE out of the lats, and having less recruitment from the other secondary muscular players in the movement itself.

NOTE: It’s worth repeating that there no such thing as ISOLATION

Making Lat Pulldowns More Lat Dominant

Making a traditional lat pulldown more LAT dominant isn’t rocket science, it’s anatomical (and neurological science). Simply use a slightly “off” angle of pull with arms slight out in front of the torso angle to create more targeting at lats, and less at the upper back.

And if you want to go one step further, freeing the hands in order to rotate more naturally, or preferentially, having the hands assume a more neutral (palms facing one another) position while incorporating the anteriorly directed plane of motion of the pull, can also reduce the amount of recruitment at the biceps and upper back, theoretically placing more directly over the lats.

 

In real time execution, this may look like leaning back slightly in traditional lat pulldown machine setups (where the cable is coming from above you and you’re seated with your knees under a pad) OR using a chest supported position on an incline bench with single OR double cables to achieve a more optimal angle of the lats to be the first line of action and the primary targeted musculature of the exercise.

With the equipment options available today, there are a million and one different setups that can both target the lats to their full potential in the pull pattern, but also allow the vertical or “off plane” pulling pattern to get as strong as possible (as safely as possible on the shoulders) for training.

Don’t be a slave to a single exercise variation, especially lat pulldowns. With the combination of the broad attachment points of the lats, and it’s synergistic relationship with the upper back and shoulder complex, there are MANY ways to benefit from this traditional exercise.

There you have it, lat pulldowns 100% train the lats (no matter the setup). But various setup positions, executional styles and anthropometrics will indeed dictate the amount of targeting and recruitment of the lats (in combination with other muscular players).

So can we stop claiming that lat pulldowns do NOT train the lats?

About The Author

dr john rusin

Dr. John Rusin is a sports performance specialist and injury prevention expert that has coached some of the world’s most elite athletes, barbell sport competitors, and over 10,000 clients from all walks of life with his innovative pain-free performance programs and systems, which has gained him the reputation as the go-to industry expert for rebuilding after pain, injuries or plateaus. Dr. Rusin is also the founder of the Pain-Free Performance Specialist Certification (PPSC) that has certified over 10,000 personal trainers, strength coaches and rehab pros from across the globe in the pain-free performance training system since 2019.

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- Charley Gould
Barbell Good Mornings: Is The Risk Worth It?

BUT Aren’t Good Mornings Bad For Your Back?

Perhaps no exercise rose to infamy more quickly than barbell good mornings when, in 1969, Bruce Lee reportedly blew out his back while performing them. He had to take a layoff from training for a long period of time thereafter, and while he did get back to training (to no one’s surprise), it was said that he battled back pain for the rest of his life.

Bruce Lee aside, there’s an ongoing debate amongst fitness professionals as to where or not the barbell good morning is a “bad” exercise. However, one point that virtually everyone can agree on is that some exercises – not just barbell good mornings – are unequivocally better than others from a risk vs. reward standpoint.

For example, while both trap bar deadlifts and barbell deadlifts are safe and effective when done right, there’s no denying that the former is a lot easier to perform well – and far less likely to be butchered – than the latter.

Why does risk vs. reward matter? For fitness professionals and gym-goers, weighing risk vs. reward should be one of the primary drivers – if not the primary driver – of exercise selection. If there’s a significant risk to performing an exercise, the most sensible approach is to ditch it in favor of a safer alternative. It sounds like common sense, sure, but common sense isn’t always so common.

Common Sense Is Uncommon In Training

Going back to barbell good mornings, there’s one camp – namely, powerlifters and Westside Barbell devotees – who swear by their ability to strengthen their squat and deadlift numbers while reducing injury risk under load.

Conversely, there are others who avoid barbell good mornings at all costs; after all, if Bruce Lee – the Dragon himself – can get hurt during barbell good mornings, who’s to say that anyone else is immune?

The question then becomes, what’s the deal with barbell good mornings? Are they safe, or are they dangerous? Are they effective, or are they worthless? Most importantly, should you and/or your clients perform them?

As is the case with any other exercise selection question, the answer boils down to risk vs. reward.

The Good: The Purported Benefits

Hamstring tightness? Should you be stretching or strengthening? | Movement Systems Physical Therapy

For those who aren’t familiar with them, barbell good mornings are a posteriorly loaded, top-down hinge movement. They’re almost identical to Romanian deadlifts (RDL’s) in terms of the muscle actions and muscle groups involved, with the only difference – albeit a big one – being that the bar placement on the upper back changes the position of the load the subsequent lever profile.

Like any other hinge movement, barbell good mornings train the posterior chain – namely, the glutes and hamstrings – via hip extension. As such, they provide a loaded stretch throughout the backside, strengthen the spinal erectors – whose basic job is to maintain structural integrity under load – and challenge the upper back and scapular stabilizers to work to keep the bar in place.

Above all else, however, the most common reason for implementing barbell good mornings comes down to their “sport-specific” benefits to powerlifting. For the squat, they’re used to train strength out of the hole in the midst of technique-gone-wrong situations. As such, they’re meant to aid lifters who have a tendency to shoot their hips up on the initial ascent – which is common under maximal loads – by helping them build reversal strength on the eccentric-to-concentric transition.

Barbell Good Morning Benefits For Deadlifts

As for the deadlift, barbell good mornings are used to reinforce full-body tension and “big air,” train anti-flexion with a full loading of the posterior chain, and place a focus on lower back strength and upper back stability (i.e., not rounding at the upper back).

Perhaps most importantly for powerlifters, barbell good mornings are often used to develop strength and stability in otherwise “disadvantageous” positions – under maximal loads, no less – which is said to make them useful for reducing injury risk if/when technical breakdown occurs.

The Bad & The Ugly: The Risks

6 Low Back Pain Symptoms, Locations, Treatments & Causes

Above all else, the primary risk of barbell good mornings stems from the fact that they can impose a boatload of shear force onto the spine, which is basically defined as force applied parallel to the surface (or close to it). Since shear force magnitude is one of the strongest predictors of both acute injury risk as well as chronic low back pain, it’s not something to be taken lightly (1).

Per Dr. Stuart McGill, there are two types of shear force. The first is reaction shear, which occurs as a result of gravity pulling the load and the upper body towards parallel. The second is joint shear, which is the sum of reaction shear and muscle/ligament shear, or how much load the passive structures (e.g., discs, ligaments, fascia) have to take on.

As to how barbell good mornings impose shear force, the biggest issue is that it’s tough to avoid rounding at the lumbar spine at the bottom of the movement. While lumbar flexion isn’t bad in and of itself, the story is entirely different if/when rounding occurs with a posterior load at end-range flexion. As both elements are present, the otherwise protective musculature of the low back becomes “silent” and loses its ability to contribute – a phenomenon known as “flexion-relaxation” – which shifts the brunt of the load onto the passive structures, in which case things can get ugly pretty quickly (2).

Moreover, end-range lumbar flexion – in comparison to lumbar flexion elsewhere – is also the point at which there’s a three-fold increase in shear force as well as a simultaneous decrease in shear tolerance (3,4). Add to the fact that reaction shear is at its greatest when the upper body is parallel to the load (as it occurs during barbell good mornings) and the result is a perfect storm of spinal stress.

To make the waters even murkier, insufficient upper body mobility and/or a lack of scapular stability can cause the bar to roll forward onto the neck, which not only increases shear force but also puts the shoulders into a potentially troublesome position of extreme external rotation and abduction.

Weighing Risk Vs. Reward: Are Barbell God Mornings Worth It?

All in all, the list of risks that accompany barbell good mornings sound eerily similar to the disclaimers at the end of a prescription medicine commercial. Does that mean that they’re a bad exercise? Not necessarily. Does that mean that they’re a bad exercise for non-powerlifters? Probably.

To steal a hypothetical example from Eric Cressey, say that there are 100 gym-goers. Right off the bat, about two-thirds of the group – say, 65 people – are likely too deconditioned to perform heavily loaded barbell movements, let alone good mornings. Of the remaining 35, 20 are probably better off focusing on alternative hinge-based exercises to strengthen their posterior chain with less risk, while another 3 may have to stay away due to previous back issues. Of the 12 individuals left, 8 might find that their technique breaks down when they go heavy, in which case they should stick to light-to-moderate loads. The final 4? Have at it!

The point is that, for almost all individuals who aren’t powerlifters, barbell good mornings are probably a bad idea. Taking the risk vs. reward concept into account, there are simply too many equally effective – if not more effective – alternatives that are safer and easier to perform well (as detailed below). Why not opt for those? As the old cliché goes, there are many paths that lead to Rome.

Likewise, there are many paths – namely, many alternative hinge movements – that can produce the same training effects as barbell good mornings with significantly less risk.

So Barbell Good Morning Are A “Bad” Exercise?

Does that mean that they’re a bad exercise for powerlifters? Not necessarily. In many cases, barbell good mornings can have unparalleled “sport-specific” benefits. Due to their posterior loading, they not only have a direct carryover to squats (and deadlifts, albeit less directly), but also target low back/anti-flexion strength and stability in otherwise vulnerable positions, and thus mitigate injury risk under a maximally loaded bar.

Still, the caveat is that powerlifters should take an honest look in the mirror and assess whether or not they can perform them with technical mastery while maintaining full-body tension, spinal neutrality, and a strong brace.

Even then, hoisting up big weights during barbell good mornings comes with the price of higher axial loading, which may hinder recoverability and rob training capacity for future training sessions. As such, while barbell good mornings have merit for powerlifters, they should still be programmed strategically and performed with an emphasis on pristine technique.

Alternatives To Barbell Good Mornings

Like any other exercise – excluding the big three lifts for powerlifters – barbell good mornings are far from mandatory. Above all else, selecting exercises should be done by prioritizing movement patterns first, and then plugging and playing thereafter based on individual goals, needs, training/injury histories, etc.

If barbell good mornings are the wrong choice for you and/or your clients, the following options are safe and effective alternatives.

Multi-Joint Barbell Good Morning Alternatives

For those who like pushing big weights on multi-joint movements, there are several suitable alternatives that can deliver all of the same results with less risk.

Zercher Good Morning

The most direct alternative is the zercher good morning performed with a barbell or dumbbell(s), as it provides all of the same benefits as back-loaded good mornings with a couple of additional perks. On top of working the posterior chain all the same, using an anterior load creates a counterbalance that makes it easier to push the hips back more authentically.

At the same time, they facilitate full-body tension almost by default, as there’s a huge need to create a 360-degree brace to prevent the bar from falling forward. Plus, the anteriorly loaded position provides immediate proprioceptive feedback and heightened body awareness, which can aid in reinforcing spinal neutrality.

Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

The second alternative is the RDL, which can be performed with a barbell or trap bar to allow for heavier loads, or with dumbbells/kettlebells to scale up the reps with ease.

The beauty of RDLs is that they’re almost identical to barbell good mornings from a mechanical standpoint – as they employ similar degrees of hip flexion/extension as well as knee flexion – albeit with an anterior load that reduces shear force and mitigates the risk of buckling under a bar.

From a muscular standpoint, RDLs show a bit more hamstring activity and a slight decrease in glute activity compared to barbell good mornings, although the heavier loads that they allow for may outweigh the slight trade-off in glute recruitment.

Check Out This Article For The Best 30 RDL Variations

Glute Focused Barbell Good Morning Alternatives

For targeting the glutes more directly, there are several exercises that can produce similar or more pronounced training effects than barbell good mornings with significantly less risk. Hip thrusts, for one, are a more biomechanically efficient exercise in that they strengthen the glutes at the end-range of hip extension – unlike barbell good mornings, which involve less hip extensor activity near lockout – while allowing for heavier loads and minimal axial loading.

Back extension and reverse hypers are additional options that can, in the same manner, hammer the glutes while sparing the spine. Albeit a much different motion, single-leg exercises like Bulgarian/rear-foot elevated splits squats, reverse lunges, 1-leg squats, and step-ups can hammer the glutes just as hard or harder than barbell good mornings with minimal risk and virtually zero axial loading.

Hamstring Focused Barbell Good Morning Alternatives

Aside from RDLs, back extensions and 45-degree back extensions have been shown hit the hamstrings harder than barbell good mornings with a similar order of contractions (glutes, hamstrings, erectors). Other options that target the hamstrings more directly like glute-ham raises and leg curl variations (e.g., machine, stability ball, slideboard) have been shown to elicit moderately higher levels of proximal hamstring activity and far more activity in the distal regions.

Low Back Focused Barbell Good Morning Alternatives

Low back strength can be targeted in a myriad of ways, most notably via similar hinge exercises that allow for heavy loading (e.g., front-loaded good mornings, RDLs, barbell/trap bar deadlifts). By the same token, some studies have suggested that glute-ham raises may hit the erectors even harder than barbell good mornings (5). Other options that can train low back strength with minimal stress include reverse hypers, back extensions, and more “direct” exercises like back extension iso-holds.

So, Should You Good Morning?

Powerlifter or not, there’s no denying that the risk-to-reward ratio of barbell good mornings is hardly favorable. While they may have merit for powerlifting purposes – especially for serious powerlifters, like the monsters at Westside Barbell – that’s not to say that they should be stuck into programs dogmatically and without reason.

For everyone else who doesn’t compete in powerlifting, barbell good mornings probably aren’t worth it.

Quite frankly, there’s a wide array of alternatives that are just as effective – and in many cases, more effective – than barbell good mornings with exponentially less risk. No exercise is mandatory, and barbell good mornings are no exception.

About The Author

charley gould

Charley Gould, CSCS, PPSC, CFSC, USAW

Charley is a former professional baseball player, current strength-and-conditioning coach, and writer for T-Nation and Bodybuilding.com. He specializes in helping individuals look, feel, and perform like elite athletes. Gould is the head of sports performance at Universal Athletic Club in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Follow Charley on CharleyGouldSC.com and Instagram

REFERENCES

1. Norman, R. et al. “A comparison of peak vs cumulative physical work exposure risk factors for the reporting of low back pain in the automotive industry.” Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon) vol. 13,8 (1998): 561-573.

2. Descarreaux, M., Lafond, D., Jeffrey-Gauthier, R., Centomo, H., & Cantin, V. (2008). Changes in the flexion relaxation response induced by lumbar muscle fatigue. BMC musculoskeletal disorders, 9, 10.

3. Yingling, V. R.. “Shear loading of the lumbar spine, modulators of motion segment tolerance and the resulting injuries.” (1997).

4. Potvin, J R et al. “Trunk muscle and lumbar ligament contributions to dynamic lifts with varying degrees of trunk flexion.” Spine vol. 16,9 (1991): 1099-107.

5. McAllister, Matt J et al. “Muscle activation during various hamstring exercises.” Journal of strength and conditioning research vol. 28,6 (2014): 1573-80.

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Charley Gould, CSCS, is an assistant for the PPSC and former professional baseball player. He specializes in helping individuals look, feel, and perform like elite athletes. Charley is the head of sports performance at Universal Athletic Club in Lancaster, PA.

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- Dr. John Rusin
You Should Exercise Every Day And Here’s Why
The NEVER MISS A DAY Mentality

Long term life changing RESULTS are not achieved with quick fixes, fads or hacks. They are forged through strong daily habits, consistency and hard work, FOREVER.

Every single day is an opportunity to move the needle on your own HEALTH. Seeminly small simple actions taken today (and every day there after) will pave the path to altering and upgrading your life through the power of compounding interest.

But that’s the OPPOSITE of what we’ve been told we must do to ultimately achieve the desired results we are after.

In a mainstream media and society transfixed on QUICK FIXES, it’s becoming harder and harder to create life changing results due to a lack of consistency, sustainability and overall automated health habit formation.

When it comes to your HEALTH, anything worth doing is worth doing every damn day. Including exercise, here’s why…

A Personal Anecdote of Consistency In Exercise (And Beyond)

And over the last 20 years I’ve used the NEVER MISS A DAY mentality to structure my schedule and stay consistent with training and exercise.

As I’m a huge believer that if you have true aspirations to be your HEALTHIEST, you should never have a day off from moving your body and training your mind.

Moving meaningfully every damn day is a non-negotiable for me. And it’s become a cornerstone practice for many of my clients with goals of looking, feeling and functioning their best. Both physically AND mentally.

Whether it’s a structured training day or unstructured physical activity or exercise, movement moves my mind, body and soul and is the impetus for my role as a father, family man, friend, colleague and coach.

Exercise provides the central cornerstone of my lifestyle. And honestly, it’s one of the driving forces that has allowed me to chase my passions and purpose in all aspects of my life.

The Perfect Exercise Schedule For Health & Longevity

Without my daily dose of movement, I am not at my best for myself or anyone else around me.

It’s the foundation of my lifestyle, and each day it provides me with a massive positive ROI that is unrivaled and unmatched. Nothing I’ve found (with the exception of sleep) is as effective as ingraining movement into my life.

With that said, here’s my recommendation for structuring a weekly schedule around the NEVER MISS A DAY Mentality to amplify your efforts across the board:

Strength Train 3-4x Per Week Cardiovascular Train 4+ Times Per Week Walk 10+ Minutes 7+ Times Per Week Mobility Prep 7+ Times Per Week Recovery Breathing 7+ Times Per Week

These are simple scheduled health habits that create the blueprint for HEALTH success.

exercise

And while these additions to your exercise week do NOT need to become overly complicated (as that will deter away from consistency), they do need to be practiced mindfully and meaningfully.

As no one every achieved world-class results AND sustained them just going through the motions…

Strength Training

Strength is the cornerstone of physical performance. It’s the central physical characteristic that can directly influence and improve ALL other ancillary physical characteristics. No matter your focus or goal, STRENGTH must be a priority.

Utilizing 3-4 days per week of primary strength training ensuring you’re training all 6 foundational movement patterns is a requirement. Keying in on ONE big lift per day and getting STRONGER will keep you focused and gaining.

Cardiovascular Training

Your heart is the most vital organ in the human body.

Without it’s health and function, you will cease to exist. So training the heart and adjacent cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory systems is one of the most important focuses for health, longevity and performance alike.

Mixing in a few days of longer steady state cardiovascular training (preferred 30+ minutes of Zone 2 training) with higher intensity interval training for heart rate variability and conditioning is the perfect recipe for HEALTH.

Walking

The best exercise with the MOST benefits (when done consistently).

It’s easy, effective and FREE. And that’s why walking is a mandatory physical practice for EVERYONE.

In order to benefit fully from the cardiovascular, regenerative AND mental benefits of reciprocal based bipedal locomotion AKA walking, you should walk 10+ minutes without breaks, stopping or change of pace (jogging or running).

Walk at a brisk pace that elevates your heart rate enough to know you’re doing SOMETHING, but also does not impede the natural gait cycle and synergistic muscular recruitment that makes walking a joint-friendly option.

This physical practice should take place EVERY single day, if not multiple times a day.

Mobility and Maintenance

Do something to make your body feel and function it’s best every single day.

Whether it’s going through some simple soft tissue work or stretching, OR spending 10-minutes completing a full 6-Phase Dynamic Warm Up with a more well rounded approach to maintenance, it’s the key to consistently feeling great.

I classify “body maintenance” as anything that makes your body better off. This could also be considered regeneration and recovery modalities along with movement from the categories covered above.

Breathing

Breathing is a mandatory vital signature of human beings. You cannot live without breathing. But you cannot live WELL without breathing appropriately for your specific needs at any given point in time.

Breathing is a movement skill just like a squat or a deadlift. And it should be practiced and improved over time to have more control over its functional transference to the central nervous system’s response to stress and stimulus.

No matter your activity or goal, breathing will help you perform (or recover) your best.

Never An Easy Day Without Exercise On The Agenda

And with full transparency, there are dark days where doing ANYTHING seems like an impossible feat. These are the days where getting in and getting the work done are MOST important.

On these challenging days I recommend warming up, prioritizing cardio and walking and forcing your body to move. And almost every time, you’ll end feeling FAR better than when you started.

But isn’t that the point?

The power of your body’s physiological response to movement is massive. It effects ALL aspects of life, physical, mental, emotional and psychological.

It’s the most effective MEDICINE on the market today. And it’s FREE.

It all starts with ONE day. And then the next.

Building habits, creating consistency and showing your body and mind that it DEPENDS on movement to be it’s best. That’s my goal for every single client and coach I work with.

Movement is medicine, and exercise is our daily dose of proactive, preventative HEALTH care.

About The Author

dr john rusin

Dr. John Rusin is a sports performance specialist and injury prevention expert that has coached some of the world’s most elite athletes, barbell sport competitors, and over 10,000 clients from all walks of life with his innovative pain-free performance programs and systems, which has gained him the reputation as the go-to industry expert for rebuilding after pain, injuries or plateaus. Dr. Rusin is also the founder of the Pain-Free Performance Specialist Certification (PPSC) that has certified over 10,000 personal trainers, strength coaches and rehab pros from across the globe in the pain-free performance training system since 2019.

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- Garrett Sawaia
One Size Fits All Does Not Work For Fitness

When it comes to feeling your best, things like clothing and food portions aren’t labeled as “one-size-fits-all”, so why should fitness be any different?

In a world where fitness is now just a click of a button away on the internet…..

Online Training Programs and Follow Along Workouts have been clogging up our feeds within the past year.

Which could be seen as a “good” thing in terms of convenience and consistency, but also a very “bad” thing when it comes to injury and training longevity.

Based on the exercise selection and lack of variation/alternatives that I’ve seen out there, one of the biggest problems I’ve found with many of these types of programs is that the instructor/trainer is completely unaware of who their audience may be on the other end of the screen. (Ex: 25 Push-Up Challenge) This shows me that there is an apparent lack of REAL WORLD coaching experience.

Now, the average person watching these videos may think that the BEST way to squat is with a barbell on their back, or that ONLY pushing a barbell over their head is the way to get the results they are looking for, simply because the influencer on Instagram or Youtube told them so.

As much as these exercises can be effective in getting stronger and more fit; It may not be the BEST exercise variation for that particular person when it comes to training longevity.

We are ALL Different

• Different Lifestyles

• Different Structures

• Different Pasts

• Different Goals

• Different Fitness Levels

 

 

Regardless of any of these issues, I DO believe everyBODY should be moving regularly and training in the following movement patterns on a weekly basis.

Push (Upper Body Horizontal/Vertical) Pull (Upper Body Horizontal/Vertical) Squat (Knee Dominant) Hip Hinge (Hip Dominant) Lunge (aka Asymmetrical Single Leg Stance) Carry (aka Locomotion)

 

But, I also do NOT think everybody should be using the SAME variations per one of these patterns. That is where the beauty of SMART TRAINING techniques and standing out as a credible coach really shines. So let me help.

Imagine this… You have a big night ahead and you want to feel and look your best.

You decide to hit the mall to grab the newest pair of Reebok Pumps or Air Jordans. The excitement is building as you walk into the store keeping your eyes peeled for those size 11s.

You find the New Releases, but all they have left is Size 14 in the Pumps and a Size 9 in the Air Jordans.

Now What??

Do you go bigger and look ridiculous OR do you try to squeeze into those tiny Air Jordans and be in agony all night? I would say it’s time to either try a different sneaker or a different store in order to find the pair that will both look and feel how they are supposed to.

 

It doesn’t matter if you’re training in person, in a group, or even virtual.

“Fitness Training should BUILD YOU UP and make you FEEL BETTER, Not BEAT YOU DOWN and make you FEEL BROKEN.”

– John Rusin

Working out should NOT only be to work up a good sweat, but also in terms of longevity, becoming an overall better and stronger version of yourself.

Here are my TOP 2 boxes I like to check when finding the best exercise selection or variation for someone when it comes to programming these patterns.

1⃣ How Does it Look?

As the coach, we see people move for hours upon hours each week, we should have a pretty good idea if something looks good or not. The exercise chosen for the client should be the variation of the movement pattern that can be performed with the most pristine form.

 

2⃣ How Does it Feel?

As the client, this is where the communication factor is of the utmost importance. If the exercise is causing unwanted pain, we coaches need to know that in order to adjust the exercise itself, or the way it is being performed.

Once we can ✅ both boxes, we can continue to build off that specific variation with heavier loads using the same 2 principles.

This method will give us plenty of progression space while at the same time keeping the client as pain free as possible through load.

 

 

The PPSC does a fantastic job with their pyramids for each Movement Pattern, showing both variations and also alternative exercises based on a person’s needs.

Now with gyms coming back into full swing, these same methods should not only be applied to your one-on-one clients, but more importantly implemented in group settings.

Once you learn the benefits of these different variations and alternatives, you pretty much can find that a person of any limitation or fitness level can use as the foundation of a specific exercise in order to guarantee overall success on their fitness journey.

Here are a few videos based on some of my main go-to variations/alternatives that I find work the best in this “One Size DOES NOT Fit All” approach:

 

Squat SSB Squat

Coaching Tips: This is a more comfortable alternative to someone who suffers from shoulder pain during a Front or Back Squat.

 

Box Squat

Coaching Tips: This is a good alternative for someone who finds that a traditional Barbell Squat bothers the lower back as it limits range of motion. This can be used in both front and back barbell squats, as it also gives us a sense of comfort to have the box there as we sit down and back.

 

Landmine Squat

Coaching Tips: Changing the vector angle, the landmine gives us some feedback to stay not only in a good position on the way down, but also on the way back up when we establish power from the bottom.

 

2 KB Squat

Coaching Tips: This is a great variation to get someone used to keeping the pillar completely stacked in a front rack position.

 

Goblet Squat

Coaching Tips: My favorite squat variation, as it has so many benefits when it comes to maintaining pristine position and learning and mastering the squat pattern in its full range of motion. This can be done with both a Dumbbell and/or Kettlebell.

 

Goblet Box Squat

Coaching Tips: The variation I use when introducing load to the squat pattern. It helps establish proper position, control, and power in the movement. The presence of the box also makes people feel safe and also can help with someone who suffers from lower back pain during a free standing squat due to the limited range of motion.

 

Bodyweight Squat to Box

Coaching Tips: This is the first variation I introduce to teach clients the proper mechanics of a squat. It helps establish proper position, control, and power in the movement. The box also makes people feel safe and also can help with someone who suffers from lower back pain during a free standing squat due to the limited range of motion.

TRX Squat

Coaching Tips: This is the safest variation and teaching tool as you can use the straps for assistance during the full range movement pattern.

 

Hinge Trap Bar Deadlift

Coaching Tips: This is by far my Favorite Deadlift tool. The trap bar has handles that are raised, which shortens the range of motion and in turn keeps people in a better pillar position, therefore putting less stress on the lower back. Also, with the handles being on the side of your body in a more neutral position, it becomes a lot more shoulder friendly as well.

The trap bar is so versatile that you can either be in a more hip and/or knee dominant position. I have also found this variation easier to learn which has an overall higher reward than risk when getting stronger.

BB RDL

Coaching Tips: The RDL is the KING of all true Hinge Exercises. I have found even when using a Barbell, the rewards outweigh the risks due to its top down eccentric component. The stronger the RDL becomes, the carryover to other deadlifts becomes even greater.

DB/KB RDL

Coaching Tips: The RDL is the King of Hip Hinge Exercises. Learning the Pattern with tools like Dumbbells or Kettlebells not only gets the body used to hinging under load but also takes our hands and shoulders out of that “fixed” position like a barbell.

It’s a great alternative if a Knee Dominant Exercises continues to cause knee pain.

KB DL

Coaching Tips: The Kettlebell is the go-to variation to learn how to brace and activate while lifting heavy objects off the floor. This can also be done with the kettlebell raised off the ground to limit the range of motion in order to properly establish pristine pain free position in order to transition to other Deadlift Variations.

A great alternative to try if a Knee Dominant Exercises continues to cause knee pain.

Rack Pull

Coaching Tips: The range of motion of a rack pull is limited to just the top part of the lift and is a great way to work on your deadlift form. Using this higher position is ideal for mastering the brace and activation of the lats and upper back and will help you get you overall stronger in the same areas of a deadlift, but with less risk of lower back pain.

 

Feet Elevated Glute Bridge

Coaching Tips: It does not matter if you are bridging from the floor, off the bench, and with or without load, the Bridge is a great HIP HINGE exercise to get the body to learn how to use the hips through its proper range of motion. A great learning exercise but also a go-to lower body movement to help with lower back or knee pain. No matter where this falls on the pyramid, it always finds a way into my programs due to the risk/reward ratio.

 

Horizontal Push

 

Neutral Grip Bench Press

Coaching Tips: A Barbell forces you to be in a fixed position, I have found using a multi-grip bar can be a better option by putting your shoulders in a better centrated position that can help with shoulder pain associated with a standard Barbell Bench Press.

 

DB Bench Press

Coaching Tips: Using Dumbbells not only forces you to work harder unilaterally but also takes you out of that fixed position that a Barbell does during a traditional Bench Press which could be a better option for shoulder health.

BB Floor Press

Coaching Tips: Another Variation to combat Shoulder Pain associated with a standard Barbell Bench Press by limiting Range of Motion and Increased Eccentric Control which in turn could be more shoulder-friendly.

 

DB Floor Press

Coaching Tips: This is my Go-To place to start when introducing an open chain loaded horizontal press. This works great as it limits Range of Motion and Increases the Eccentric Control which in turn could be more shoulder-friendly. Even when shoulder pain appears in most horizontal or vertical pressing motion, this usually will be one of the safest options.

 

Band Assisted Push-Up

Coaching Tips: This variation helps build strength and confidence working from the floor in a push-up. The band will also give assistance and feedback to the hips to maintain that neutral position.

 

Incline Push Up

Coaching Tips: The incline push up is a great starting point when learning the push-up. Using a bar on a rack or smith machine is the most ideal as we can increase or decrease the height of the bar based on strength, technique, and progression.

 

Vertical Push

 

½ Kneeling Bottoms Up Press

Coaching Tips: The half kneeling position gives us more ground contact and can ultimately help us maintain a stronger pillar position. A bottoms up Kettlebell Press requires a lot of stabilizers and irradiation throughout the body to keep the shoulder supported in order to move freely.

I have found that this ‘bottoms up’ position is the only complete overhead pressing variation that many people who usually suffer from shoulder pain when overhead and loaded have found success with. Start light, work the overhead pattern, and progress accordingly from here.

½ Kneeling OH Press

Coaching Tips: The half kneeling position gives us more ground contact and can ultimately help us maintain a stronger pillar position. This is a great variation to work on when maintaining core stability is the main issue during a vertical press.

 

Incline DB Press

Coaching Tips: Vertical-”ish”… A definite go-to variation when an overhead press is limited due to improper position and/or pain. A great alternative to try if overhead pressing causes shoulder pain or lack of overhead mobility occurs.

Landmine Press

Coaching Tips: The Landmine Press is a great variation to increase shoulder stabilization, movement quality, strength, and pillar stability. It reinforces proper overhead pressing mechanics with beginners and also those who may have limitations when pressing overhead. A great alternative to try if overhead pressing causes shoulder pain or lack of overhead mobility occurs.

 

Horizontal Pull

 

3 Point Row

Coaching Tips: Once we understand how to sit into the hips, the 3 point row is a staple for myself and all my clients. It has many variations to keep it fresh and boatloads of benefits such as strength, hypertrophy, and shoulder health.

Not only are we working one limb at a time through a full range of motion of your shoulders but your core is also putting in the work as well to resist lower back rotation during the movement.

 

Chest Supported Row

Coaching Tips: Most Rows, particularly a bent over row, require you to engage the whole body while sitting into a hip hinge throughout each set. This can become very difficult, therefore the back becomes rounded and could cause back pain as the body struggles to stay stable.

Using the incline bench to lean your chest into creates a more supported row. This variation will take the rest of the body out of the equation and focus more on the row technique itself while progressing the weight. Compensation of the lower back is virtually eliminated.

 

Cable/Band Row

Coaching Tips: I love this variation, it can be used with a cable or a band. It can also be used in a half kneeling position like shown, standing, or seated.

Maintaining position and adding a bit of rotation, it can really help to understand and feel true movement of the scapula during the row, which will lead to increased shoulder health.

Once this optimal movement is established, it will make life so much easier when it comes to performing any type of row variation.

 

Band Pull Apart

Coaching Tips: This pull exercise has many variations of its own, strengthening the muscles of the upper back and improving posture for long term shoulder health and resilience.

This variation also helps teach protraction and retraction of the scapula which often is lost through poor lifestyle changes. It can be effectively programmed into your warm-up routine, as an accessory movement during the workout, or a high volume finisher.

Face Pull

Coaching Tips: This pull variation strengthens the muscles of the upper back and also improves posture for long term healthy and resilient shoulders. This variation also helps teach the protraction and retraction of the scapula which often is lost through poor lifestyle changes.

It can be effectively programmed as a warm-up, accessory movement during the workout, and also a high volume finisher.

 

 

TRX Row

Coaching Tips: This is a go to Pull Variation that I use to teach how to pull the shoulders DOWN and BACK. This exercise also can help prevent injuries to the shoulders and due to the core stability and pillar stacking components, will help improve low back health.

A great Upper Body alternative to go-to if ALL Push variations cause shoulder discomfort.

Inverted Row

Coaching Tips: Once you Master the TRX Row, here is the next progression to shoot for. A super effective pull exercise which forces you to maintain proper pillar position and core stability while building a strong back and maintaining healthy shoulders.

 

Vertical Pull

 

Band Assisted Pull-Up/Chin-Up

Coaching Tips: This is a variation of the granddaddy of vertical pulls. Giving you some of the same strength and hypertrophy benefits, the band is also used as a ‘teaching tool’ to help maintain proper pillar position during a pull-up/chin-up.

The core is one of the first things to break during this exercise, so the band will give you enough assistance to better dial in for a more effective and pain free pull-up.

 

Cable/Band Pulldown

Coaching Tips: Instead of pulling yourself up, try pulling something down in a similar fashion. This variation is a better fit for most when it comes to pulling vertically compared to a pull-up.

This variation is a good way to help keep the shoulders healthy in this plane of motion while also building strong and solid lats.

High to Low Row

Coaching Tips: Similar to the lack of overhead mobility and range or motion of a press, going overhead may not always be in the cards. This is a great “Vertical-ISH” Pulling Exercise that has very similar benefits without the need of full overhead Range of Motion.

Even if someone has great overhead mobility and core stability, this is still an amazing exercise to program quite a bit using a band or cable to maintain healthy shoulders while also building a big, strong, and resilient back.

 

Banded/Cable Straight Arm Pull-Down

Coaching Tips: This is a big go-to variation to help “find and feel” the Lats and is very shoulder-friendly, especially when using a band. Make sure to keep constant tension on the band from all sides at all times. This helps activate the stabilizers of the shoulder and works really well keeping the shoulders moving through a greater range of motion.

 

Lunge/Single Leg

RFESS

Coaching Tips: Keeping Minimal Tension on the back leg. This is an amazing exercise for single leg strength, stability, and hypertrophy. Keeping a strong pillar position and not “breaking” at the Hips, this is an effective exercise which you can work from the bottom up and also limit the ‘Range of Motion’ by raising the floor in order to keep this as knee-friendly as possible.

Single Leg Box Squat

Coaching Tips: The Pistol Squat is a true single leg exercise, but quite honestly I do not program it much. It’s a very advanced exercise, which rarely gets performed with pristine form and I believe has minimal “bang for the buck”. Luckily, we can simulate a similar single leg squat pattern in different ways.

Here is one of those variations, the presence of the box gives clients that sense of security and also can help reduce the risk of joint pain during the movement due to the limited range of motion.

Step Down Squat

Coaching Tips: A second variation of the Pistol Squat, the Step Down Squat, involves Stepping Down from a higher surface in turn helping to maintain a better position of the pillar on a single leg. Controlling the eccentric and being able to either shorten the box or raise the floor to limit range of motion if needed is also a plus. This will help decrease possible knee pain during this single leg movement.

Reverse Lunge

Coaching Tips: Another favorite Single Leg Exercise, I have found using the Reverse Lunge as the lunge of choice cleans up a lot of knee pain during movements like split squats or even squats due to the stepping back motion. This can help understand how to use the hips to sit into and load the front leg only.

This is a very easy exercise to start loading comfortably once the movement is perfected. Do not hesitate to use something like a pad to raise the floor to limit the ROM until you find that “sweet spot” where no pain occurs.

SL RDL

Coaching Tips: This may be my absolute favorite Single Leg exercise. Not only does it completely help you dial in to the Hamstring and Glute, but it is also very knee friendly and helps with single leg stability. To get the most out of this exercise is to work slow and controlled on the eccentric, and isolate the posterior chain throughout the movement.

This can be used with many other load variations; such as KBs, Cables, Steel Mace, Sand Bag, etc A great Lower Body alternative to go-to if single leg squat or lunge variations cause knee pain.

 

Kickstand RDL

Coaching Tips: The Kickstand RDL is a fantastic hinge variation that bridges the gap nicely between your bilateral RDL to a Single Leg RDL. This exercise is a staple when trying to truly locate the glute on a single leg with just minimal support of the back foot.

 

TRX Reverse Lunge

Coaching Tips: This is the safest variation and teaching tool because you can use the straps as assistance during the full range movement pattern. Great for understanding the Lunge movement, and a definite go-to if free standing lunges cause knee pain. Do not hesitate to use something like a pad to raise the floor to limit the ROM until you find that “sweet spot” where no pain occurs.

 

Step Up

Coaching Tips: The Step Up is a basic single leg exercise and functional motion that should be in any program. Going up a step pain free is a must to get through everyday life. Use the height of the step and load giving to progress accordingly.

 

Lateral Lunge

Coaching Tips: As we should be able to move in all planes, this single leg exercise variation is a must. The lateral lunge also works the adductors which are often neglected in a program. Using a TRX as support is also a great way to teach this movement if needed.

In Conclusion

When it comes to improving someone’s quality of life, as coaches we need to make sure we have their best interests in mind instead of our own.

I have found it is less about “What” exercise is being performed and more about the “How” and “Why” when it comes to consistent progression, training longevity, and results.

@media only screen and (max-width:1024px) {.fusion-title.fusion-title-3{margin-top:0px!important;margin-bottom:20px!important;}}ABOUT THE AUTHOR@media only screen and (max-width:1024px) {.fusion-title.fusion-title-4{margin-top:10px!important;margin-bottom:10px!important;}}Garrett Sawaia

Garrett Sawaia is a PPSC Assistant and well-known trainer in the New England region. Sawaia specilizes in group training under the umbrella of strength and conditioning. With a diverse background ranging from performance to commercial fitness, Garrett’s expertise has been featured on sites such as PPSC and DrJohnRusin.com. Email: CoachGarrett.tptma@gmail.com Instagram: @gpscoaching

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- Logan Dube
Myofascial Lines: An Integrated Approach To Core Training

Chest day or push focus? Back day or pull focus? I’ve always found language to be a fascinating thing to pay attention to. In the Pain-Free Performance Specialist Certification we talk about language in the context of empowering clients to work around pain and focus on what they can accomplish and build on instead of telling them what’s “broken” or unavailable in their training. We use screens and assessments to determine what opportunities exist to improve movement quality and capability. We use the movement pattern pyramids to choose appropriate versions of the squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull and carry exercises for each client. We use the 6-phase dynamic warm-up to clean up weak/painful links and facilitate motor learning to help clients train pain-free for life. This coaching philosophy unites thousands of PPSC coaches in unlocking performance and longevity for themselves and their clients.

WHAT ARE MYOFASCIAL LINES?

But what does all of that have to do with myofascial lines? Well, it comes back to language. When I first started working as a personal trainer, we viewed the body as a series of opposing muscle pairs: chest & back, biceps & triceps, quads & hamstrings. Program design was then a recipe of individual ingredients thrown into the pot one at a time. Beginner clients did each machine in the circuit or performed a series of bodyweight and dumbbell/barbell exercises in either total-body or split body programs. I remember accommodating pain/discomfort/imbalance by picking a lighter weight or skipping certain exercises altogether. Some clients ended up with just a lot of stretches. And we carried on that way for quite some time.

Before I go any further, I want to clarify something. There’s nothing wrong with machine or dumbbell exercises. There’s nothing wrong with split body programs. There’s nothing wrong with meeting a client where they’re at and helping them get into the habit of showing up at the gym, gaining some confidence with basic exercises and feeling the benefit of consistent exercise. There’s also nothing wrong with more advanced participants using machines and more muscle-specific exercise techniques. Progress is progress. Strength gained is beneficial. Doing a form of exercise you enjoy is important. So, if you’re currently employing this type of program/service and you feel like it’s working for you, by all means carry on!

AND if you want a deeper understanding of movement, you want more variety in your programming, you’re looking for solutions for people with postural opportunities and the need to workout around pain then let’s get into talking about movement success and viewing the body through the lens of myofascial lines.

MYOFASCIAL LINES (aka anatomy trains, kinetic chains, slings, etc.) are continuous chains of fascia, connective tissue and muscles that link parts of the body, often from head to toe. The history of fascial research is surprisingly short. Andrew Taylor Still MD opened the American School of Osteopathy in 1892. In original papers he specifically described fascia as “a covering, with common origins of layers of the fascial system despite diverse names for individual parts. Fascia assists gliding and fluid flow and is highly innervated. Fascia is intimately involved with respiration and with nourishment of all cells of the body, including those of disease and cancer.” But it wasn’t until 2007 that his papers were presented internationally, and it took until 2012 to address his ideas of fluid flow.

A lot of the research regarding myofascial lines comes from studying cadavers and it’s easy to find images on an internet search of what the lines look like separated from the rest of the body. Why this matters for movement is that a line of connected tissue dissipates or manages load, movement, change of direction, etc. throughout its total length – not just in the area we perceive the work to be happening. Restriction or lack of integration of the line means opportunity for improved movement or, in some cases, pain and dysfunction. Let’s look at some specific examples:

SUPERFICIAL BACK LINE

myo fascia lines

-Flexor Digitorum Brevis

-Gastrocnemius

-Hamstrings

-Sacrotuberous Ligament

-Erector Spinae

-Scalp Fascia

The superficial back line involves bend & extend patterns like squat, hinge & lunge movements. The example I like to show when teaching this line stems from the standing toe touch. This would be an assessment of overall back line mobility – some people can easily touch their toes and others struggle to do so. People that can’t reach their toes often claim to have “tight hamstrings.” But, as we’re about to find out, that’s not always the case.

Start by standing feet hip-width apart and slowly slide hands down your legs reaching towards your toes. See how far you can get just by gently hanging. Don’t reach or bounce to try to gain more depth. This is your pre-test. Then take a trigger point ball and roll the bottom of your feet – especially the arch and heel. Proceed to foam roll the soleus & calves. Now retest the standing toe touch. Feet hip width apart, slowly sliding hands towards toes. The goal is to see if the range of motion has increased. (For people who can already touch their toes you might now be able to take palms flat to the floor or you might notice a reduction in the stretch sensation even if your hands travel the same distance.) If you notice a significant improvement (which is common enough) what does this mean?

While the perception of the standing toe touch is that it’s a hamstring stretch, applying the soft tissue techniques to the bottom of the foot and the calf actually increased ROM. That’s because restriction or tone anywhere in the line affects the overall mobility/function of the line. (What might blow your mind even more is that performing soft tissue work on the quads might actually increase that forward fold ROM more than performing soft tissue work on the hamstrings! We’ll get to why in a moment.)

SUPERFICIAL FRONTAL LINE

myofascial lines

-Extensor Digitorum Longus and Brevis

-Tibialis Anterior

-Patellar Tendon

-Quadriceps (including the Rectus Femoris)

-Rectus Abdominis

-Sternalis

-Sternocleidomastoid

The superficial front line also involves bend & extend patterns but at the bottom of the deadlift when the superficial back line is lengthened, the front line is shortened. In a cobra or up dog yoga stretch the front line would be lengthened while the back line is shortened. Similar to how we used to imagine muscles pairs, the myofascial lines are actually synergistically opposed. That means they work together to manage mobility & stability in all movements and planes of motion.

So, let’s come back to the idea of the quad soft tissue work and how it affects the hamstring. If posture, training habits, etc. result in an overdeveloped quad group then we end up with tone and a lack of synergy between the front and back lines. Foam rolling the quad (with a focus on pillar position) helps downregulate tone (globally) and allows for more range on motion in the toe touch.

The other way we demonstrate the importance of synergy in movement is with the foundational movement pattern pyramids. Notice that supplemental exercises for the squat include glute and hamstring-focused movements for more vertical squats and quadricep-dominant movements for “hingey” variations. The difference between programming leg extension and leg curl machines vs programming a zercher squat and a sissy squat is that in the more functional viewpoint, the superficial front and back lines are in play during both movements but with a different focus, different ground contact points (zercher squat is an active/planted foot whereas sissy squats are predominantly focused on the balls of the feet,) and different requirements of glide through the fascial lines.

ZERCHER SQUAT SISSY SQUAT VARIATIONS

Thanks to PPSC Coach Shawn Adair AND puppers for the Squat videos!

LATERAL LINE

lateral line myofascia

This one’s my favourite. Call it a soccer goalkeeper bias, but traditional workouts don’t train the lateral line to its potential and yet, for reasons you’ll soon see, it’s holding the key to unlocking performance!

-Peroneus Longus and Brevis

-Anterior Ligament of the Fibular Head

-IT band, TFL, Glute Max

-Lateral Abdominal

-External and Internal Intercostals

-Splenius Capitis and Sternocleidomastoid

The superficial back line promotes the hinge pattern, but did you notice that glutes are not actually connected to that line? The gluteus maximus – the focus of so much program design, Instagram poses and influencer hype, is actually here on the lateral line! In the PPSC we teach a particular set up for the P4 activation drill – banded glute bridge because it accesses all 4 of the movements the glutes facilitate: hip extension, abduction, external rotation and a posterior pelvic tilt. Let’s break that down a little further. The connective tissues of the lateral line actually start at the first and fifth metatarsals (the tissue on the first metatarsal travels under the foot and then wraps behind the ankle to run up the side of the leg through the peroneals.)

So, starting with the feet in a slightly externally rotated position and cueing up an active foot or tripod stance (big toe, little toe & heel) is the first place we can make a difference as coaches in terms of dialing up tension and stability through the lateral line. Second, the posterior pelvic tilt establishes strong pillar position (but be careful – some people will be in a neutral position with their feet on the floor so DON’T need to add additional posterior tilt. Whereas other clients will still have an arch in their low back with their feet on the floor and so need to be cued into a neutral position by engaging a posterior tilt.

The goal is neutral – use the posterior tilt cue as needed!) Once the pelvis is set in the ideal position, we cue up abduction to help increase glute recruitment and to create better centration at the hip. NOW we can ask for breath, bracing the pillar and the movement into hip extension. There’s a HUGE difference between this execution and the low tension, disconnected, “isolated” hip bridges we see in clinics, gyms, home workout videos and group classes.

BANDED GLUTE BRIDGE SIDE PLANK VARIATIONS

Incorporating the lateral line in programming should be a huge focus for all pain-free performance coaches. But that doesn’t have to mean fancy, fast or explosive movements. Here’s a few of my favourites: side plank variations, lateral lunges, iso squats with abduction and glute bridge variations with abduction! And since the right line is synergistic to the left line, it can be common to see imbalances between sides. *A bilateral/symmetrical program will not solve asymmetries! This adds to the importance of NOT neglecting the lunge pattern and unilateral work.

BACK FUNCTIONAL LINES

-Latissimus Dorsi (L)

-Thoracolumbar Fascia (crosses the body)

-Gluteus Maximus (R)

-Vastus Lateralis (R)

-Subpatellar Tendon (R)

FRONTAL FUNCTIONAL LINE

-Lower Pectoralis Major (L)

-Lateral Rectus Abdominis (L)

-Abdominal Aponeurosis (crosses the body)

-Adductor Longus (R)

fascia

While there are more fascial lines, the last one we’re going to look at in this article is the synergy between the back and front functional lines. We talk about contralateral movement (opposite arm & leg) in several of the foundational movement pattern pyramids but it becomes most obvious in the carry pattern. Outside of the Ministry of Silly Walks, humans actually perform a lot of movements with the rotational bias of contralateral movements. We see it in walking, running, sport, and dance all the time. It’s also what babies progress through as they explore and earn development positions from rolling to crawling to walking.

I had a few experiences in my own rehab and training where dedicated effort to work on one limb/joint (let’s use left shoulder for this example) was frustratingly incomplete. I was cleared as “good enough” to get back on the field but I didn’t have the same confidence and performance as pre-injury. But the nature of competition meant that you taped up and focused on doing your part to get the team a win. It wasn’t until off-season (or even years later as I got into yoga, fascial stretch therapy, kettlebell flow and animal flow) that I realized and worked on imbalances in my ankle/knee/hip on the RIGHT side and suddenly noticed that my LEFT shoulder felt better than it had in years!

I’ve found a lot of success in helping clients achieve pain-free movement and discovering work-arounds for their “non-fixable” issues by incorporating more contralateral movements into their programs AND these types of movements lend themselves really well to improvements in the set up, co-contract, breathe, brace and move style of coaching that we teach at the PPSC. When we link the whole body into a movement, the added focus and challenge of maintaining total body irradiation means that there’s more to progress over time that just intensity and volume!

CONTRALATERAL EXERCISES (Dead Bug & Quadruped Variations) TRAINING UP THE MYOFASCIAL LINES (KETTLEBELL AND LANDMINE)

But Logan, based on what we’ve learned at the PPSC, doesn’t every movement train core? Isn’t that the point of pillar stability and the bracing techniques?

High five – you’re right! BUT at the same time, we talk about the Carry pattern and incorporating developmental positions into our training programs. For a lot of people, we’re going to see Core Stability deficits when we put them through the Train Smarter Strategy Session. That means we need to have strategies and exercises to bring up weak areas or patterns for our clients to ensure that they move better, train successfully and can work on getting stronger over time. I use the following exercises for new clients with big deficits, sure. But I also use them in my own warmups and workouts and with clients who have trained with me for a long time and are long past any corrective or foundational phases.

Remember what John says – the lowest exercises on the pyramid can always be programmed. When you load them correctly, they can be punishing! The same goes for how we progress our 6-phase dynamic warmups and for how we periodize our programming long-term including stability/foundation and de-load phases. Not every client (myself included) is chasing a 500lb anything. Taking these mostly bodyweight exercises and changing their training effect via variables like ROM, speed, complexity and volume can be just as beneficial as manipulating load!

There are LOTS of ways to train core in these lines but I’ve pulled together a few of my favourites – some may be familiar to you and, if I’m lucky, some might be brand new! I’m also showing some mobility drills which I would use a P3 progressions for clients who need to work on mobilizing in certain lines. The linchpin P3 drills taught in PPSC are still my go-to but some clients need/want more mobility and/or variety!

CORE & SUPERFICIAL BACK LINE MOBILITY DRILL – CRUNCH 2 EXTEND

Image result for superficial back line

Start supine with knees bent and feet flat, bringing hands beside your ears *light touch – avoid pulling the head into flexion

Curl up (leaving low back on the ground) and then bring knees to elbows – your goal will be to keep 1 side in contact here throughout the drill!

With feet dorsiflexed, drop one heel towards the ground and then extend the leg (hovering, not resting on the ground)

Keep your knee straight and pull your leg/toes towards your face – stop just before your knee bends *really work to keep your crunch tight – this is active mobility for the whole back line!

ALTERNATE LEGS – slow tempo is the way to go; I’m a fan of a block of time rather than reps. Make the focus QUALITY reps in the given amount of time. *that also means quality breathing. I usually cue inhale on the heel drop and exhale on the leg flexion since maximizing the spinal flexion links to the exhale.

SUPERFICIAL BACK LINE CORE: BRIDGE PROGRESSIONS (HAMSTRING BONUS)

There’s over 5 minutes of 3-5 reps of exercises in this compilation video. Here’s a couple things to think about: The glutes are not part of the superficial back line. But of course, they are important in hip extension. 2-foot bridge exercises are the place to start, especially with clients who have a hard time finding pillar stability (ex. low back arch, rib flare, failure to achieve full extension, mild back pain with doctor’s approval to exercise)

GROUND BASED EXERCISES are going to allow for more proprioceptive feedback in the supine position, making it easier for clients to feel the position of their pelvis and spinal alignment. Take the time to make sure they are set up, braced and breathing properly before having them lift their hips. It’s tough to improve movement when dysfunctional strategies/muscle imbalances are already engaged!

TOP-DOWN EXERCISES (like a bodyweight hip thrust on a box) have an awesome isometric opportunity. Getting your client set up in full extension and asking for a timed hold is a great way to progress from floor-based options. Again, adding movement before clients have proper awareness of pillar stability and the desired movement (ex. hip hinge, not spine rounding/arching) means we are either accepting less than optimal form and we’re going to load them prematurely, increase the risk for injury and/or create frustrating plateaus.

OFFSET VARIATIONS – none in the video unfortunately – are a great way to start to move towards unilateral loading. The kickstand or 1.5 stance options create a “working leg” but maintain the ground contact which helps clients manage rotation.

SINGLE LEG VARIATIONS now incorporate the functional lines (and the spiral line… haven’t covered that one yet. Note: ask for it in the comments if you want more of this stuff!) As Rotation King David Otey revealed in his Master Class lecture, implementing rotation starts with anti-rotation & anti-flexion drills (after dynamic mobility!) Performing bodyweight single leg bridge variations is a kick ass way to increase the challenge, add integration and see carryover into regular life and athletic movement. And if you coach clients to good stability and irradiation, they will feel their glutes in new, exciting and fiery ways!

BRIDGE EXERCISE DEMANDS BREAKDOWN – the video is mostly grouped via type of equipment so it’s not a straight progression flow like the awesome PPSC programming pyramids

Should actually show a low ROM 2-foot hip bridge Next up would be the full ROM 2-foot hip bridge 1st exercise in video is full ROM single leg hip bridge (added contralateral arm pattern)

BANDED GLUTE BRIDGE – technically a progression but also a great way to feed abduction for clients who need the physical cue so could be used as the first bridge exercise

BLOCK HIP BRIDGES – adds adduction. Tight adductors are still weak. I like this variation both for people who demo adduction in the squat and bridge screen AND for clients with a really weak core. Cueing up adduction connects to intrinsic core activation via the…? Functional Front line! Great choice on a lunge-focused day.

HIP BRIDGE MARCH would be a great option after an offset hip bridge or for clients who can manage rotation successfully. This incorporates an iso-hold with alternating single leg focus. Harder than it looks – this is your opportunity as a coach to make sure that anti-rotation is rock solid before progressing to loaded hinges.

HIP BRIDGES VS. GLUTE BRIDGES – up here in Canada I teach that hip bridges are ground-based and glute bridges are elevated. You don’t have to be like me, just wanted you to know where I’m coming from. Complaints can be addressed to my ex-pro boxer assistant instructor and PPSC event bodyguard @luishuete on IG. Cheers! *The added demand of “glute bridges” is that we’ve removed the proprioception from the mid-low back and glutes. Clients will have to know where neutral is in order to generate pillar stability and keep it through the hinge movement. Most common error is the pelvis heading for the floor and the ribs staying elevated (aka, rib flare = low back arch) You could add an offset glute bridge (I’ve also seen it called “B Stance”) between the 2-foot and 1-foot variations.

Adding a plate, DB, sandbag, etc. is a great way to add load without going straight to the barbell. While YOU might think that no barbell = no bueno, your clients may not feel the same way. The barbell hip thrust is a good exercise but it can be timely to set up and cumbersome to get into. Especially for clients with mobility issues (older adults, return to fitness clients, etc.) Put yourself in their shoes, load them progressively but do it in a way that is comfortable and that builds their confidence!

HEELS ON BOX – increased hamstring demand because you’re isometrically “pulling” the box towards your butt as your lift the hips *not appropriate for something working to overcome synergistic dominance (aka hamstring cramp) in a bridge BUT a great exercise to strengthen weak hamstrings once they can do it successfully!

STABILITY BALL VARIATIONS – increased hamstring demand (isometric “pull”) and obviously increased stability demand. The ball will reveal if you put more weight in one foot vs the other. I love programming these for less-traditional clients (people that get bored or are scared of the iron) AND as primers for big lifts or that sweet end of workout burnout set.

The straight-leg hip press variation is great because it focuses on hip extension – not the hamstring curl. Call it a curl regression. I use it a lot for newbie clients, especially older female clients who need to work on years of sedentary posture/core strength deficits. The stability ball really makes them focus on control and quality. So, it’s challenging without being heavy/risky. Lots of ground contact and a small ROM.

The glider variations are sneaky tough. Since you’re staying quite low to the ground, watch for clients arching their back. It’s a big challenge to stay in spinal neutral WHILE doing the hamstring curl. For sure a more advanced bodyweight variation!

BOSU PLATFORM TILTS – challenges the client via instability and lots of older clients (and athletes) need foot & ankle exercises. Even though it’s iso-hip extension, you’ll feel the work shift in and out of hamstrings and you flex and point.

Now we look at adding complexity with total body integration. Some clients get sick of “those boring floor exercises” when they are focusing on single movements and yet their movement quality or pain-free training options are still limited. This is what I call “hiding the spinach in the chocolate cake” – I need them to build up some foundational capabilities but they need to enjoy their workouts and “get sweaty” or else they’ll quit me because it felt too much like rehab. And while these may look simple, especially with lighter loads, this is actually myofascial fitness! Incorporating different lines, different movements, maintaining the standards of each movement in concert – heck yes!

TRX HAMSTRING ROCK VARIATIONS – if you’ve completed a suspension training certification, you’ll know that the exercise is easier or harder based on the pendulum principle. If you start past the anchor point (closer to the wall than where the TRX hangs down) it’s pretty easy because gravity moves you down towards the anchor point and you can use a bit of momentum to make it up the other side. But if you start further away from the wall that the anchor point, you now have to “pull uphill” the whole way. If you really came to play, feel free to add a row at either the knee extension or knee flexion part of the rock OR go single leg like HERE!

SUPERFICIAL FRONT LINE MOBILITY DRILL – COBRA *Shown here is the assessment.

0-6 inches is a low score

6-12 is moderate

12+ is exceptional (assess for hypermobility!)

For clients who score low to moderate, the assessment is the exercise. It can be regressed by putting the hands on the floor beside the ribs to slightly assist with the lift. It can be done for reps.

SUPERFICIAL FRONT LINE ADVANCED MOBILITY DRILL – FASCIAL BURPEE Image result for superficial front line

This is done for 3-8 reps at a time. It’s NOT cardio. It’s NOT for weight loss/HIIT/burning calories. Movement quality is KEY. Getting tired means loss of the myofascial “bounce” we’re looking for. Example: I use it in the P6 superset for advanced clients before a heavy front squat KPI or OH squats, clean & jerks, snatches, overhead carries, etc.

SUPERFICIAL FRONT LINE CORE: PLANK PROGRESSIONS PLANK EXERCISE DEMANDS BREAKDOWN

RKC PLANK – as we teach in the intro for PPSC, this hardstyle plank teaches total body irradiation. If you’ve taken a Canadian PPSC (or I snuck into one of a few US based courses) we take things up a notch by trying to extend the sternum away from the belly button WITHOUT dropping the ribs out of the pillar. As on the happy skeleton pictured above – imagine the lever length from the front of the pelvis all the way up to the sternal manubrium. Increasing the length of that space really dials up the challenge in the plank when you fight to maintain a neutral spine.

PLANK TAPS (the Davies test) is a shoulder stability assessment (if you want it to be.) The original test is hands 36” apart (but I’ll scale this a bit for clients under 5’5”) and you allow the client 3 tries of 15 seconds. If you take the testing parameters out of it and slow things down, it’s a great P3 drill for clients who need to work on core & shoulder stability. *You can also have them perform this on an incline using a bench or box. Watch for the feet or legs getting floppy/knees bending! Cue up those tight quads to keep the front line integrated.

Hello triceps (my fave!) I watch most people perform this with a lot of torso rotation. Imagine your whole back is a tabletop and the drinks are really full. Don’t spill anything! This increases core stability, irradiation (especially when you centrate the shoulder properly by screwing the hands into the ground and engaging the pecs & lats) AND your triceps will get much more work!

Arm extensions & box climbs could be called quadruped progression/bird dog variations too. Similar to the hi-lo plank, there’s an anti-rotational demand (so that means the functional & spiral lines are in play!)

PLANK TO PIKE (and inchworm/pushup combos) are some of my go-to drills for shoulder stability on pressing days. The down dog position (pike for you non-yoga types) is a loaded overhead position but because it’s closed chain (hands on the ground) you can stop at any point in the ROM. Since we endorse PAIN-FREE training, for some clients that means only a few inches of movement into that pike at first. You can also perform this on a box/bench so that more bodyweight is in the feet instead of the hands/arms/shoulders. This one also shows up in my upper body ESD and/or active recovery days. Adding the knee/shin/ankle taps is rotation via dynamic mobility (so requires a prerequisite stability!) and can be a nice spiral decompression.

PLANK ROTATIONS – an easier place to incorporate the rotation vs the pike position (especially for people with limited hamstring ROM.) I like cueing this one to be mostly thoracic rotation so if your right arm is reaching up towards the ceiling, thing about squeezing the right glute and trying to keep the front of the right hip pointing down towards the floor. For lots of people this will mean that their arm doesn’t make it anywhere near the ceiling. That’s ok.

LANDMINE PLANK PRESS – a cheeky way to program for clients who want to press but who need more core work ;b But, in all seriousness, a killer P4 for a press day. Take a wider stance with your feet for sure.

LANDMINE CABLE PRESS – similar to the landmine drill but harder. You can cheat a bit and push down into the barbell to stabilize in the landmine version. Nowhere to cheat with the cable! I do this one with a light weight (obvs?) and an open hand since it’s more about core and shoulder stability than grip strength & irradiation through the forearm. I find this also helps with less trap engagement. Foot drivers like plank jacks, toe taps, etc are just more variety. Once clients have a baseline stability, drivers make iso-holds more interesting/bearable. These are GREAT ways to challenge more advanced group participants while still being able to show the holds for your beginners.

PENDULUM PLANK – adds in a little bit of lateral line mobility Stability Ball (or TRX or Glider) Crunches & Pikes – I’ll be honest, I haven’t programmed a floor crunch in a long time (besides just doing random stretches and ab stuff when I’m watching TV.) And I’m not a fan of the hip flexor dominance and pulling on heads/necks that I see a lot of at the gym. However, I dig and do these plank-based flexion movements a fair bit. Bonus shoulder stability, less spinal flexion but still a ton of demand on the abs? Yes please!

ADD ROLLOUTS HERE – I love/hate them. They hurt every damn time. That’s probably why I don’t have a video of them – my face would be inappropriate and/or anyone who could lip read might get offended! Lol. But seriously, rollouts are great – IF YOU MAINTAIN THE PLANK! Don’t hero a standing to full rollout with an Instagram-worthy booty popping up!

PLANK SIDE DROPS – capitalized to show my mad love. These feel AMAZING (or you are suddenly informed of your complete and total lack of lateral and spiral mobility. Depends.) But either way, you owe it to yourself (and your clients) to try them out. Keep your hands flat and active, arms straight and only go down/over as far as you can maintain your stability, breathing and level of comfort. If you’ve never done them before, ease in. You’ve been warned. And encouraged 😊

Just kidding… here’s the rollouts. Well, some regressions anyway. See better humans rocking them out here. #goalz

RAQS – who says core has to be all static and slow? Plank show up everywhere!! For clients who can do them well, throw them some fun sometimes! (Works well in group programming.)

Hope that gets some programming juices flowing!

BASIC RULES:

Know how to do it yourself before your program it. You should know how to set it up, what it feels like, where the likely “leaks” are AND how to regress and progress it before you show it to a client. Walk the walk. Do the work. Master the craft.

You still have to squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull & carry at least 2x per week. Often the movement in this article will be P3, P4, carry regression or emotion choices. As with the “complexity” options, you can work developmental positions or core standards into some of your other exercises. This is ESPECIALLY important for people who don’t like weights as much. I know, it’s a bummer. But they are out there. And they need our help. Zumba is great, but it’s not training. Learning how to put your own preference for the iron aside and show up FOR YOUR CLIENT is pretty important.

You can earn the right to show them barbell things by starting first with smart/safe training inside of fun and non-scary exercise options. My mom has been working with personal trainers for about 6 years now. But she only started doing barbell RDLs and elevated deadlifts 2 years ago. It’s pretty freaking awesome that my 66-year-old mother does barbell lifts (and kettlebell stuff and TRX burpees) but her kind, patient and client-centric trainers who worked with her from day 1 knew better than to throw that at her at the beginning.

Lighten up sometimes – training should be fun! You either “have to” or you “GET TO” do it for the rest of your life!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Logan Dube

Logan Dube is an Instructor for the PPSC and Functional Training Specialist based in Canada. Dube is currently working as Director of Fitness Education for Fitness World Canada as well as serving as Director of the BC Personal Training Institute which has certified over 1500 personal trainers since 2013. With over 20 years of experience as a coach and trainer, Logan retired from a varsity & pro soccer career and has since worked through all levels of the fitness industry from training young athletes all the way up to advanced aged clients, and has worked through a wide range of business formats from running a studio business all the way up to multi-unit leadership for a large commercial gym chain. In addition to PPSC, Logan is also a master instructor for TRX, RIP trainer, Trigger Point and Hyperice and curated 15+ CEC-approved courses via internal education for SNFC.

The post Myofascial Lines: An Integrated Approach To Core Training appeared first on Dr. John Rusin - Exercise Science & Injury Prevention.

- Dr. John Rusin
How Much Does Personal Training Cost?  In-Person, Online AND Everything In-Between

No matter how many coaches I talk to, the same questions always comes up in conversation: how much should I be charging?

There can be an automatic “it depends” response attached to that questions but it gets asked so much for a reason. Most coaches out there really have no idea how much they should be charging.

Nobody (and I mean NOBODY) wants to feel like they are being paid less than they deserve. It’s a shitty feeling to think you aren’t being valued they way you truly believe you should be. For this reason, coach David Otey and I have teamed up to give you the rundown on how to navigate your hourly rate.

The Foundation – The Fitness Industry

how much does personal training cost?

Check out the full details for this graph on the PTDC HERE

Lets be very clear from the jump – this is a service industry. That means there is a multi-factorial approach to understanding how much is the “right” amount to be charging someone in personal training.

For the love of god, don’t go to Glassdoor and look up how much a personal trainer should be making. In my area, the average Personal Trainer should be making around $60k according to them and national average is around half of that (just over $30k).

What!?

No wonder so many coaches out there are charging below what they should be.

I don’t know about you but I have never qualified myself as “average” by any comparison of what I do from a day to day basis. There is nothing average about what trainer’s can provide for their clients from detailed preventative measures to life enhancing programs.

Personal Training has gotten a crappy rep for a long time as a career choice and we are here to take a stand and say – fuck that.

Value is a measure of social qualification meaning how much personal training is worth is 100% based on the perception of the public and what we as practitioners bring to the table – so lets fix that!

Deciding Your Personal Training Rate

I know, this can be a tough conversation with yourself if you aren’t used to debating what you deserve. For that reason, I am going to give you 5 direct categories to help you better gauge how much you should be charging for your time. Those categories are:

Current Local Rate Level of Experience Distance Traveled Level of Service Challenge of Scheduling

Using these 5 Criteria it should be an easy way for your to troubleshoot the process and figure out what is the most appropriate hourly rate for yourself. A system like this allows for adjustment based on where you are, when you are training, location of sessions, etc.

So ditch the guessing game and start to approach your sessions with more certainty to create a truly reliable career.

Current Local Rate

how much does personal training cost?

If you are training in a certain region anywhere in the world, it’s important to know what the going rate is within a 15 mile radius. Without this information, you are really operating in the dark.

The current local rate is the baseline number you can operate off of when creating your hourly rate from the beginning. Plenty of big box gyms have already done hours and hours of market research to find out what the appropriate number is – so use that.

Finding this number shouldn’t be difficult either. Contact or find out the pricing from 5 of the local gyms in the area by you.

These gyms should range from luxury facilities to smaller boutique training studios. This is going to give you a range of numbers to look at and evaluate where your service will be sitting at.

To start – it would be most appropriate to use that number that is the mode of the 5 prices (most frequent). This will give you a baseline of what the common dollar amount is and where you can begin your journey.

Keep in mind, the remaining four variables will adjust the price up or even down based on the other things you are bringing to the table. Honestly, rarely does the price go down from here unless you are teaching jumping jacks in the park.

Level of Experience

how much does personal training cost?

This is where I see the most trouble. Usually, not in the way you would imagine.

“I know I am a new coach and I don’t have a lot of experience so I only charge X amount”

NO, NO, NO, NO, and NO.

One of the most fundamental parts of value in a service is understanding that you are providing that service. That means, I don’t care if you got certified YESTERDAY – if the going rate for training is $60/hr you should be charging $60/hr.

You are a CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL. Embrace it!

Not to mention with private training outside of a facility you should be charging more in general because of the customized experience you can provide for them (we’ll talk about this in the service section).

Experience should also be a blend of education and hours practice. Years in the industry unfortunately doesn’t hold as much weight as people would think. So to categorize this one we have 5 levels:

New – +$0 Seasoned Trainer – +$20 Highly Sought After – +$40 One of the Best in your Region – +$60 One of the Best in your State/Province – +80

This add on with go on top of the baseline hourly wage from your area.

Also, be honest with yourself in your ranking. Not everyone is best in a 100 mile radius and that’s okay. Most importantly, know your worth and identify how to move up the chain.

Distance Traveled

how much does personal training cost?

If you are working with a private client, you have to remember time is money. The hourly rate you are charging is going to go hand in hand with how much time this is absorbed by working with this person.

Operating out of your home gym can be a great move but understand you can’t up your fee for someone driving to you.

However, if someone is going to ask you to travel to them – that’s a different story.

This is where you would extend your hourly rate for up to 15 minutes on each side. The maximum I would add is 1/2 of your hourly wage if you are traveling 30 minutes of more total to that person and back home.

To be completely clear – you shouldn’t charge someone more if you are a travel only operator or work in a dense city like NYC where it is already expected. In those circumstances, the base rate is already much higher because of the anticipated travel.

But for the instance you have someone that doesn’t want to come to you and wants you to train them in their home, that would cost extra. This means equipment traveling, eating into your schedule, disrupting time you could be training others.

Be realistic when it comes to this variable. Don’t outprice yourself because you are being greedy.

Level of Service

how much does personal training cost?

What kind of experience are you providing for the clients you work with?

The amenities can completely change how people view training with you compared to others. It’s the differentiator in value.

If they train at your home gym, do you have:

Full Gym Towels Music (they can choose the playlist) Energy Drinks Protein Shakes Air Conditioning

Those all MATTER, a lot.

The better you can customize their experience the more you should be charging for your time. The energy drinks, clean towels, protein shakes – they aren’t free.

But if I asked you would you rather have all that readily available for you in a workout and you can listen to whatever the hell you want I bet most of you would be on board.

The experience is everything. The better you can customize that experience the more valuable your time and space are!

Challenge of Scheduling

how much does personal training cost?

Ever try to book a beach vacation in the middle of summer? Oh, it’s more expensive than during the fall? That’s because of demand.

How many clients have ever asked you, “I want to train on Monday’s and Wednesday’s at 5:00pm!”

Sweet, get in line with the rest of them. That’s a prime spot!

Your time should be just as valuable and shouldn’t waver on that. Especially if someone is demanding to book on the half hour and that would ruin a 2-hour timeslot for you to accommodate this one person. I personally wouldn’t suggest that but I have seen it happen.

Find a way to collaborate with the client and let them know when you are free and when you are not. With a wide open calendar, you shouldn’t be upselling the 7:00am timeslot. Once you already have 30 sessions per week and people are all eyeballing that 7:00am timeslot, then you can talk.

What It Looks Like

With all 5 categories taken into consideration it’s time to figure out what the realistic rate is for you.

how much does personal training cost?

Example 1 – If the going rate for training in your area is $50/hr. That is where we start.

Okay, I am a new trainer so I would add nothing on top of that from the experience side.

I have a gym ready for them but they want me to train them at their house which is 10 minutes away from mine (20 minutes total). This would be an additional ($50/hr*33%=$16.50) so the new rate for that person would be $66.50.

I have adjustable dumbbells and bands I bring to the session which is the right amount of equipment and they chose an ideal timeslot.

For this client, I would charge $66.50/hr

Example 2 – If the going rate for training in your area is $50/hr. That is where we start.

I have 10 years experience and multiple certifications. I am a master trainer at my previous facility. I would add $30/hr to my rate.

I travel no distance because they are coming to my home gym so my travel is from the couch to the garage. Add $0

I provide Protein Shakes and towels as well as they can choose their music. Add $20/hr.

They chose a timeslot that has been open so add no additional money.

Their training hourly rate is $100/hr for this client

Just remember, this isn’t a scale to squeeze the orange for all its juice. This is to make sure YOU are being paid accordingly. I wouldn’t implement this with all existing clients immediately (that’s how you create a lot of conflict) but any new clients coming up should be under this model.

And whenever you are in doubt, ask in the PPSC Coaches Group what other people are charging until you get comfortable with this model.

Online Training

how much does personal training cost?

This is an extremely hot topic in today’s fitness industry that saw many professionals forced into a virtual and online space over the last 16 months due to in-person restrictions.

But for real? If you’re a coach who is training clients online, what should you be charging? It’s not as simple as a single one size fits all number. Actually, it’s not as simple as charging what you’re worth, either…

Online Training vs. Virtual Training

how much does personal training cost?

Lets start with what ONLINE TRAINING actually is. Online training is a service provided by fitness professionals to remote clients. Online training consists of setting up a personalized and custom training program, delivering it AND coaching it up through remote NON-real time communication like direct messages, emails, chats to ensure quality execution, loading, recovery etc.

If you’re thinking “yeah, no shit!” stay with me here. Online training and VIRTUAL training are two different things. So what is virtual training? The delivery of a REAL-time training session by a fitness professional with a remote client. Including programming, coaching and of course, communication.

Think of virtual training as almost exactly the same as in-person training, just instead of being in the gym physically with that client during their training session, you are on a screen with that client while they are training, again in REAL-time.

Before we get into what online training should cost, lets discuss virtual training costs. This one is simple, virtual training sessions should cost the SAME as in-person training sessions. They should not cost LESS. If anything, they should be valued MORE due to the elimination of many barriers of entry and execution by the client.

how much does personal training cost?

Depending on your expertise, market, and of course, NETWORK, virtual training should cost anywhere from $80-250 per session. Not per month, but per session.

These clients should be training with you at the same frequency as in-person clients. So likely 2-3 days per week for 80% of them. And for those select 20% of outlier clients, you’ll train them 4-5 times per week on average.

Lets do some quick math here. At the low end of virtual training, each client training on average 3 times per week is worth approximately $1000 per month in revenue.

And at the high end? Each client is worth approximately $3000 per month.

Again, this is NOT online coaching, this is VIRTUAL coaching.

Online Training Pricing

So what about online training? How does this compare? You may be thinking to yourself, “Damn, I need some virtual training clients!” and yes, you are probably right. But many times, the same restrictions as in-person training are present. Mainly scheduling conflicts and commitment levels.

We can simply eliminate scheduling issues and also price and/or frequency challenges by offering an online training solution allowing clients to train whenever they’d like (without you needing to be there with them in-person or on the computer) and also make it more affordable for them to train with you as compared to again, in-person or virtual.

If this is the model you’re interested in using, this is my pricing hierarchy of what online training should cost in tiers:

how much does personal training cost?

An expert coach is one who you likely read their articles, go see them speak at major conferences or certification courses, and have a long track record of world-class results and respect in the industry for doing a tremendous fucking job. They are the elite.

A quality coach not only gets the job done, but are true professionals in the field. Maybe they don’t have the “big name” of an elite expert coach, but they are masters of the craft.

A newbie trainer (not a bad thing, everyone’s been here) is a fitness professional with 1-3 years of experience IN-PERSON training clients. They are still learning, and leveling up their knowledge and expertise each day.

A fitness hobbyist is NOT a coach. They are someone super into workout out and training. They don’t have the knowledge in program design, client management, exercise science, or anything for that matter, but they are into helping people get moving and get active.

And the bottom rung? Fake ass IG influencers who are young, inexperienced, immoral, unethical and all around offer the shittiest possible product via lying and cheating their way into your bank accounts on a monthly basis. They sell their ass as a way to convince people they can do it too.

how much does personal training cost?

I hate these people, they are what’s wrong with the industry. And they are taking away from the great fitness professionals working to make an impact on real clients with real health and fitness goals.

OK, so I got that off my chest. But here’s the cold hard facts. Managing an online training client (well) takes about 20 hours per month of time investment to program, coach, fine tune, check in and manage that person.

So keeping this in mind, here’s what that breaks down to from an hourly basis on the hierarchy of online training costs:

Tier 1: Elite Expert Coach – $45 per hour

Tier 2: Quality Coach – $30 per hour

Tier 3: Newbie Trainer – $17.50 per hour

Tier 4: Fitness Hobbyist – $7.50 per hour

Tier 5 Fake Ass IG Influencer – $2.50 per hour

Those numbers should be SHOCKING to you. “But I thought you get rich online training?!” was the idea we’ve all been sold from online fitness business coaches and marketers.

But online training does not break principles of business and finance. You can only charge what you’re worth, and you only have so much time to delivery quality and consistent coaching and programming to your clientele.

Closing Thoughts

how much does personal training cost?

So what does this mean for you as a coach? Easy, charge what you’re worth, and find a clientele that values you. DO NOT DISCOUNT. Look above, you’ll be working for $10 per hour and hate life and probably end up not continuing on this path.

For clients, do NOT think you’re going to receive a world-class product for $10 per hour. You cannot buy a Ferrari for the price of a Prius. That’s not how the world works, and if you’re truly invested in your health, wellness and longevity, paying MORE is 100% worth it in the long run, any way you look at it.

It all comes back around to expertise, respect, and VALUE. Value yourselves as fitness professionals, continue to increase your VALUE over time, and charge what you are WORTH.

In a superficial world of sleazy sales, misinformation marketing and a major lacking of moral compass, be the change. Be the difference maker. And help lift yourself up above the shit storm.

dr john rusin

Dr. John Rusin is a sports performance specialist and injury prevention expert that has coached some of the world’s most elite athletes, barbell sport competitors, and over 10,000 clients from all walks of life with his innovative pain-free performance programs and systems, which has gained him the reputation as the go-to industry expert for rebuilding after pain, injuries or plateaus. Dr. Rusin is also the founder of the Pain-Free Performance Specialist Certification (PPSC) that has certified over 10,000 personal trainers, strength coaches and rehab pros from across the globe in the pain-free performance training system since 2019.

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- David Otey
Top 10 Unconventional Landmine Exercises

Let’s face it, most exercise programming has become an agonizing, drool inducing set up of routines anyone can write and no one wants to do. Somewhere along the lines, we forgot to make exercise FUN. We lost our ability to create more engaging workouts and routines at the fear of shattering our clients who we pre-conceived as Mr. Glass, because that’s what our textbook taught us.

Finding exercises that coincide with our clients lifestyles (and ours for that sake) are wildly important. Let’s step outside the boundaries of “traditional exercise” and take a walk through the world of unconventional.

**Flashback Alert**

When I started working out, there were only a handful of exercises that “worked”. Wait, let me widdle that down even further. There were only a few pieces of equipment that worked ON TOP OF the handful of exercises that work. This may seem okay – but in retrospect – this simple vision of what exercise SHOULD be really skewed my vision for a long time.

When I was a younger coach, I got tired of working during primetime training hours and ALL the equipment was taken (good luck programming anything with 45 pound dumbbells at 6:00pm). There was, however, the pile of equipment no one else was well-versed in.

MEET THE LAND OF MISFIT EQUIPMENT!

Here comes my introduction to the Landmine. While you might know about the landmine, our job is to create workouts that are engaging, challenging, and fun.

WHERE DID THE LANDMINE GET CREATED?

Talk about truly fabricating a piece of equipment for your own personal needs. The landmine was first created at the home facility of Sorinex. In 1999, Bert Sorin was practicing for the 2000 Olympic trials for the hammer throw. In true Sorinex fashion (known for their high quality gym outfitting), the family created a custom piece of strength equipment to help Bert for his training.

Hammer throwing is a track and field sport where athletes throw a ball attached at the end of a metal wire for distance. I know, I initially thought it was a Chris Hemsworth-esq act summoning back to Asgard. But hammer throwing is the pinnacle of rotational training. So, a pivoting base with loadable strength capacities was an ideal setup for someone looking to work on power through “unconventional” training. The Landmine is just one of the many pieces of revolutionary equipment that has come out of the Sorinex workshop.

Since that point in time, the piece has been adapted to attach to racks, pivot within loose plates, and live on a “home base” as it was originally constructed. Its adaptable feature makes it one of the truly minimalist pieces you can find in a gym. A lot of power confined within such a small footprint.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE LANDMINE?

Angled barbell training can bring together so many different aspects of training we tend to neglect. Exercises should be simple – principles should be complex. Creating this environment to construct a space for ease of learning while layering on top of the body’s highly complex system; that’s where the gold is.

SEMI-CIRCULAR PATTERN

Most movement patterns, whether you notice or not, are done through a semi-circular pattern. This is because of the major movement junctions in our body – the shoulder and hips – being ball and socket joints.

As the arm or leg moves its pattern along the fixed access of the joint, the end of the joint (distal) creates a semi-circle. This is the hallmark feature of the landmine. One fixed pivot point with the long lever pivoting around it – sort of like – your limbs on the ball and socket, no?

landmine

The semi-circle also amplifies our ability to make what would be normally difficult tasks through the vertical plane, more user-friendly through the angled plane. Take for instance overhead pressing. Many people run into difficulties with overhead pressing because of lack of strength, mobility, or skill acquisition. The angled nature of the landmine allows somebody to work through a more inclined bar path versus the vertical nature of a traditional overhead press.

When a weight gets too heavy, you lose your ability to focus on proper movement patterning. As we know, patterning matters (a lot). Drilling in this skill acquisition earlier in the process can allow you to challenge your movements freely without the constant concern of failure.

LATERAL STABILITY

We don’t focus as much on the side to side nature of stability as we should. When we use free weights, we have to balance some sort of weight in all different directions because of the balancing act called center of gravity.

The landmine, however, has the fixed portion at the long end of the barbell. From there, the bar has the ability to move side to side. This side to side stability is amplified as it’s the bars only ability to get back down to the ground.

EASE OF USE

At first, the landmine may look intimidating to clients. We can either blame that on the meathead doing heavy T-Bar rows in the gym as their only example, or we can teach them!

When it comes to setting up an exercise, the landmine is almost as easy as it gets: Insert barbell in landmine base. End directions.

Don’t forget the fact you only have to load one side of the bar. Less plates needed to load up the weight while still packing some serious punch. So while everyone is flooding the adjustable bench section at the gym you’ll be peacefully paying your dues in the corner.

*Check out our Video on Programming Vertical Pressing with the Landmine HERE

PIVOTING FROM CONVENTIONAL THOUGHT

It can become a slippery slope when we get stuck within the walls of what we “think” is appropriate movement. Because, what defines appropriate anyway? Always go back to these two basic questions:

Is this getting them better in line with their goal?Is this a safe activity for them to be doing?

Simple and to the point.

Those walls of that conventional room seem pretty thin when you stick to those two questions. The client matters, or if it’s your program, YOU matter. So let’s explore some moves to make you stronger, more athletic, and more resilient.

THE TOP 10 UNCONVENTIONAL LANDMINE EXERCISES

Okay, here comes the good stuff. The Landmine is more than just a barbell to front squat and shoulder press. So much of our routines are stuck in the sagittal plane (front and back) but so little of our lives actually exist in the sagittal plane. It’s time to break the mold and focus more on simply getting better.

#10 SINGLE ARM CLEAN TO PRESS

Power training is a necessary component of programming at any age. The single arm clean coaches you to transfer weight from the hip to shoulder in a clean motion, finishing with an overhead press. This is going to integrate every joint system in the body elevating weight from waist to overhead.

Coaching NotesBegin in an athletic stance with the end of the barbell in your hand by your pocket. Load the legs and explode upward (planting the balls of feet extending the feet, extend the knees and hips, shrug the shoulders) to propel the bar upwards. Punch the elbow underneath to catch the weight in front of the shoulder. From the loaded rack position, press the bar overhead allowing the scapula to move in conjunction with the arm. Slowly return the bar back to the starting position. That is one rep.

#9 LANDMINE ZERCHER SQUAT

Zercher squats have become much more popularized over the last few years, and for understandable reasoning. Front loading squats is a great feature of the landmine – and to upgrade that – front loading your squats from the low position will adjust the mechanics of the squat remaining much more upright. The downfall to why people don’t do Zercher’s? That is a pretty obvious answer, the barbell hurts like all hell. Try the Landmine Zercher with a monster band or straps to low load the weight and not tear up your arms!

Coaching Notes: Begin with the straps at the top of your forearm near the crease of your elbow. Elbows should be bent more than 90 degrees to hold the straps on your arms for the duration of the move. From the bottom position of the squat, stand upward while remaining in tall posture. Emphasis for the move should be through your midfoot to heels. From the standing position, descend down by pushing the hips back and allowing the knees to bend. Once you reach the bottom, that is one rep.

#8 SQUAT WITH SIDE STEP

Squatting is one of the most common moves for the Landmine. Locomotion, however, is rarely accessed. Considering its smooth nature in the lateral plane it’s a perfect match on strength and athleticism.

Coaching Notes: Begin in your normal squatting position with the end of the barbell in both hands at the top of your chest. Descend down into a squat position as low as you feel comfortable. From the bottom position, extend the left leg laterally and side step. Shifting back to the bottom squat position, return to the standing position. Repeat this process back to the right. Once you have completed it both ways, that is one rep.

#7 ROTARY SINGLE LEG DEADLIFT

When we think about hinging patterns the emphasis is always on posterior chain work. While its a great sentiment, we neglect one of the key movement aspects of the hip: Rotation. The glute muscles as a group both internally and externally rotate the femur. Slight movement from the medial to lateral portions of the leg make this move markedly more functional.

Coaching Notes: Begin in a single leg stance with the end of the barbell in hand, on the outside of your leg near your pocket. Slowly hinge back while maintaining proper pillar stability, moving the bar from the outside of the leg towards the centerline of your body. From the bottom, pull your hip forward moving the barbell back to its starting position on the outside of your hip. That is one rep.

#6 OVERHEAD CURTSY LUNGE

Curtsy lunging can be butchered so quickly because at first it just doesn’t feel smooth. Laterally loading the single leg can feel odd at first if you aren’t used to it. The landmine’s line of force can be used as an assistance to ease you into the end range of the move. Now progress that to overhead – elongating and loading the close side while loading the lateral line of the lower body on the opposite side.

Coaching Notes: Begin with the bar pressed overhead on one side. While maintaining pillar stability, descend laterally into a squat with the outside leg. The inside leg will hover above the ground and thread behind the working leg. Descend down as far as comfortable, ideally getting just below 90 degrees. From the bottom position, stand up through the outside leg to bring yourself back up to the standing position. That is one rep.

#5 ALTERNATING SOTTS PRESS

Pressing at veritcal-ish angles is something we already know can be a big help for long term shoulder health. We also know the importance of grooving a squat pattern for silky smooth hips. Try adding the tension of both of those exercises into one combination – otherwise known as the Sotts Press.

Coaching Notes: Begin in the standing position with feet in your squat stance and the bar loaded at one shoulder. Descend down into the squat while maintaining tall posture throughout. From the bottom of the squat, press the bar overhead transferring the weight to the other hand. Slowly control the bar down to the newly place shoulder. From this spot, drive your feet into the ground to stand back up to the starting position. Repeat the move to bring the bar back to the beginning shoulder. That is one rep.

#4 SQUAT TO TALL KNEEL

Tall kneeling is one of the key developmental patterns. Transferring between the tall kneeling pattern to movement, now that’s a party. Shifting from tall kneeling, to half kneeling, to squat. You can’t get more functional than that. Oh, and you are going to add weight to progressively get strong through this shifting pattern.

Coaching Notes: Begin in your normal squatting position with the end of the barbell in both hands at the top of your chest. Descend down into a squat position as low as you feel comfortable. From this bottom position, transition the right leg down into the kneeling position. Follow this by bringing the left leg down until you are standing with a tall posture on both knees. From this position, bring the right leg forward into a lunging position following that with the left leg until back in the bottom squat position. That is one rep. Complete equal reps in both directions.

#3 REVERSE 45 DEGREE ROW

Let’s cut to the chase – there are multiple ways to row. One of those directions we neglect to hit is the midpoint between supinated and neutral grip. Supinated grip utilizes more musculature (namely the biceps) to complete rowing patterns. This 45 degree angle uses some of that extra strength in complement to a more natural pulling motion. Really, a superior movement.

Coaching Notes: Begin in an athletic stance with the end of the barbell on a 45 degree angle from the knee opposite of the active side. Grip the bar with your hand midway between palm up and neutral. While maintaining a tall posture, pull the weight back initiating the move from the upper arm. Pull back ideally to an inch or two past your torso. Slowly return the weight back to starting position allowing the shoulder blade to move with the arm. That is one rep.

#2 REVERSE ROTATIONAL PULL

Most, but not all rotation occurs in front of us. So lets not neglect posterior chain dominant rotation. Think of the motion of starting a lawn mower. If you are anything like me, you aren’t just pulling with your arm but rotating the body to create the most power possible.

Coaching Notes: Begin in the half kneeling position with the leg away from the barbell forward. Grab the barbell with the near side hand. Explosively drive up in a split squat position pivoting on the feet. While maintaining pillar stability, pull the barbell high towards your nearside shoulder driving the elbow up and back. As you rotate 90 degrees towards the landmine, catch the weight in front of your active side shoulder in an athletic stance. In a controlled fashion, return the bar back to starting position. That is one rep.

#1 QUADRUPED WALK OUT/WALK BACK

We talked about how the landmine travels in semi circular patterns, right? Why not use that to your advantage when it comes to locomotive movements? Movement in a true four point stance allows you to focus on pillar stability in the presence of motion. Now, stop the patterns and walk yourself back to the starting position. This might be one of the most challenging new exercises you do!

Coaching Notes: Begin on your hands and knees with your hands gripping the barbell straddling the plate. While maintaining pillar stability, raise the knees off of the ground into a true four point stance. Slowly walk the feet forward while maintaining the bar underneath your shoulders. Walk out a 90 degree turn and pause. From this position, slowly walk yourself back to the starting position by planting the feet and pulling your knees up towards the body. Once you return to your starting position, that is one rep.

BONUS: REVERSE 45 POWER ROW

Take everything we discussed with the 45 degree row and now add in lower body integration. The strength pattern requires a static lower body to root stability for maximal muscular output. Power patterning varies as hip shift is an integral part of its overall function. Simultaneously, the hip rotation feeds into the torso where pillar stability is maintained. This energy transfers to the upper quadrant of the body where the pull finishes off the move.

Coaching Notes: Begin in an athletic stance with the end of the barbell on a 45 degree angle from the knee opposite of the active side. Grip the bar with your hand midway between palm up and neutral. While maintaining a tall posture, rotate the same side leg as the gripping hand in on a 45 degree angle. To begin, shift the near side hip forward while extending the back leg in a powerful manner. At the same time, punch the near side shoulder towards the ground

ANOTHER BONUS: LANDMINE Y PRESS

The pressing component of the Landmine is one of the most alluring features to the piece! The angle of pressing getting most overlooked is the Y Press. Pressing out and away from the body to extend the arm but not go truly vertical.

Coaching Notes: Begin with the bar in line with your body from the side you plan to work on, bar loaded at shoulder. From the position gripping the end of the barbell, press the bar vertically while maintaining a tall posture throughout the movement.  The end position will be the barbell extended out and up from the body. In a controlled motion, slowly allow the barbell to descend back to your shoulder. That is one rep.

About The Author

David Otey

David Otey is the Director of Training for the Pain-Free Performance Specialist Certification (PPSC) as well as a Master Instructor for the course. Otey is a member of the Men’s Health Advisory Board who has been featured for his expertise in the field of Personal Training. With 14 years of experience as a personal trainer, David has presented education internationally for organizations such as the NSCA, Universities, and private facilities. David has been a long time fitness writer featured on Men’s Health, Muscle and Fitness, Onnit, and Weight Watchers as well as featured in numerous worldwide publications.

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- Kevin Mullins
American Health X  The Failures of Big Food, Fitness & Pharma
The Preventable Downfall of American Health

It does not take much effort to see that the health of western culture, and specifically America, has problems. The fabric of the world’s leading power is potentially torn beyond repair. The shreds are deeper than the expanding political divide, a crippling global pandemic, and carefully crafted narratives that fuel civil unrest and a revolting distaste for humans lacking identical ideology. The damage is even more devastating than gross injustice, a widening socioeconomic gap, and the failures of a misguided educational system that cares more about test scores than knowledge retention.

Yes, the biggest problem facing America is bigger and more dangerous than the justifiable, albeit exhausting, talking points of the evening news and every election cycle. 

What has truly thrown a nation of some 382 million people into a state of chaos and emergency is our collective failure to acknowledge that our approach to health and wellness is nothing short of F.U.B.A.R.(1). 

From the misinformed mindset of the average citizen to the directive policy voted upon and encouraged by elected officials – every level of the American healthcare system is devastatingly inept; dangerous even. And this is before we factor in the $1.3 trillion worldwide pharmaceutical industry (2), a $42.6 billion (U.S. Only) food supplement industry (3), both of which posture themselves as necessary elements of your health, wellness, and fitness regiments. 

And each of those industries hire brilliant minds and pay them handsome salaries to market these products in a way that makes them necessities in our virtual and real-world shopping carts. As a country, we’ll say “yes” to a product even when we know we can do better.  

And we’ll say yes to HOPE.

But Who Do We Trust With Our Health?

Which leads us to sign up for gym memberships at the facility closest to our homes, often with the lowest price point per month, an absurdly low upfront commitment (initiation fee), and little interest in ensuring that we know what we are doing once we are within their four walls. Like our foods – we’ll trust the BIG BRANDS with commercials too. 

We’ll drive past the small gym or box in that industrial center and towards the strip mall with the brand that has the big colorful sign you can see from the highway. Clearly, they have the answers if their neon can paint the asphalt different colors when it rains…

We surrender control to the brands we trust… and we trust the brands we see, hear, and can’t ignore. Marketing has changed our decision making processes. 

And that lack of control leads to big profits for some and big problems for us, the consumer, especially as it pertains to our health. Keep eating the chemically-engineered and calorie-dense foods long enough, taking chances on random weight-loss pills found in the supplements section of your local grocery store, and ignoring your body’s basic needs for movement and whole foods and you’ll be right where they want you…

Sick, Broken, and In Need of Medical Intervention

The expected decline in your health has graduated you within the big-business model that governs far too many of our lives. Your consistent investment in the food and supplement industry has paid its dividends in the form of preventable diseases, obesity, and other health failures that require you to begin a new investment strategy. 

Now it’s time for you, or your health insurance carrier, to begin shuttling thousands of dollars into the pharmaceutical, medical technology, and facilities fees that run the healthcare system in America. For example, a single dose of insulin only costs (about) 32 cents per dose thanks to regulation and legislation after the debacle caused by Martin Shkreli (4). Meanwhile, a single ride in an ambulance cost $1,000 – $2,000; a heavy cost for someone in clear danger (5).

The system is double and triple dipping into your pockets by getting you to buy the foods that can make you sick, the supplements and gym memberships to appease your vanity, and the life-saving medications and services to keep you ticking.

And so, the wheel turns.

This article is going to explore, at the deepest level, how America got into this tragic, preventable, and completely irrational epidemic of obesity and other preventable lifestyle diseases. There will be history, statistics, conjecture, and projection.

obesity rates

This is your opportunity to truly understand the war you are fighting as a fitness professional.

The Western Viewpoint of Food

America is an interesting place to observe regarding its attitude and approach to food production and consumption. The practice of overconsumption has spread to other parts of the world, but the epicenter of the obesity epidemic is right here in America. 

The American mindset about food is fascinating when you consider that the typical family spends 25-35% of their income on foods (dependent upon socioeconomic stratification) (6). Yet, the average American only earns a medium income $34,250.00 per year (in 2019) (7). Thus, an individual earning 35 thousand dollars a year is likely to spend about $8,000 on food and beverage.

It’s even crazier when you realize collectively, Americans spend an average of $232.00 per month on eating out (8). That’s nearly three thousand dollars per year in restaurants, fast-food establishments and beyond. 

The problem with food consumption is not only fiscal. It’s physical. 

The typical meal at a restaurant is above one thousand calories, often loaded in fats, sugars, and salts, and served with beverages that also contain calories (sugar and alcohol). Meanwhile, the average home cooked meal is probably closer to 750 calories for families, and 500 calories for health-minded individuals.  

This is the exact recipe for unintended weight gain…

The funny thing is that it wasn’t always this way. It’s also not a conscious choice. History demonstrates exactly how the American diet (and the Western diet at large) got this way. 

Here we are in the year 2021. A time in which it has never been easier to survive disease, famine, and war (if you are born in a developed nation). We exist in a period of history where individuals don’t perish from a lack of calories and sustenance, but instead from a lack of nutrients and overconsumption. The obesity epidemic and all its related diseases are a product of America’s growth into a food producing powerhouse, and the inevitable devolution of the American diet from whole foods to processed junk.

Currently, 74% of Americans are considered overweight. Of that group, 43% are considered clinically obese (a BMI over 30) (10). Even once we factor out those who have high muscle mass (in kilograms) at shorter heights (in centimeters) – we will still be left with at least 30% of the population being dangerously overweight. 

obesity rate

To better understand our current plight, it is imperative that we peel back the curtain and look at the journey that has been food in America over the last century. 

The takeaway?

We didn’t get here overnight, and we didn’t get here on purpose…

The Evolution and Devolution of the American Diet

Prior to the economic, technological, and industrial boom that occurred after the cessation of World War 1 – most Americans had to legitimately work to find their next meal. Even then, acquiring a meal from a local market in town, or even from your own land, ran the risk of serious, and potentially fatal, disease. This was the early 1900’s and nearly all things could still kill you. 

America’s initial neutrality in a global conflict continued the norm for the nation and its people. Innovation of technology and food was steady, but slow. America’s entry into World War 1 initiated a chain of events that quite literally changed the way the Nation, and the world, consumed food. 

Companies in America were incentivized to find ways to get calories to the soldiers fighting in the trenches of Belgium, Germany, and France. Innovators and inventors discovered new ways of preparing old foods and methods of keeping them longer. As the war ended – America’s push into a new era of food creation and consumption was only beginning.

In fact, as most of Europe struggled to recover from the wreckage and loss caused by the war – most Americans experienced the greatest decade of their lives.

And this is how America began its ascent into a consumption culture…

Inventions such as the hot dog, hamburger, soft drinks, and candy bars were created by individuals with a passion and an idea. Soon enough American bellies were fed, tastebuds satisfied, and wallets mostly preserved. These pioneers launched brands we now know as Nathan’s, White Castle, Coca Cola, and Hershey’s.

Quickly competitors arose and Americans could choose between Hershey’s and Milky Way, Coca Cola and Pepsi, or Kellogg’s and Post. A sudden influx of abundance, early iterations of technology such as refrigeration and the automobile, and an economic boom now known as the “Roaring 20’s” put the American people in a position of power, bliss, and consumption. 

And thus began the American obsession with having more than enough, experiencing the most rich and vivid flavors, and the demand for more…

Yet quickly, America’s fortunes changed as the Great Depression brought loss of equal, or greater, magnitudes than the gains of the decade prior. The economy collapsed, jobs disappeared as companies closed their doors, and American stomachs were once again unfed. A large percentage of working-class families were suddenly unable to get themselves and their families the calories needed to thrive. 

Companies successful enough to survive the Great Depression were forced to react and adapt to survive. Quality ingredients were replaced with lower-grade nutrients, or chemical curiosities, to lower cost and improve margins. Americans paid no mind and asked no questions because food was suddenly affordable and 5 burgers for 10 cents was a steal.

And thus began the decline of food quality in favor affordability (for customers) and margins (for manufacturers) …

Companies such as Campbells, Heinz, Kraft cheese and Birdseye frozen foods rose to the forefront of American minds and wallets. As the economy returned to a safer place people began expanding the size of their purchases and building reserves. The explosion of non-perishables, refrigeration, and freezing of foods dramatically changed the way Americans, and soon enough the entire developed world, shopped and stored their foods. 

And this is how Americans began to buy more food than they needed…

Powered by post World War 2 inventions such as the microwave and television, companies such as Swanson and Stauffer’s captured a populations tastebuds and wallet with the idea that a perfectly delicious meal could be cooked in under 30 minutes (and eventually 10) without much hassle. With the exception of Stauffer’s (who was a renowned chef in Cleveland), most brands of heat-and-eat dinners were predominantly tasteless and made of low-quality ingredients. 

In fact, early advertisements for “TV-DINNERS” emphasized giving mothers and wives a “day off” and instead enjoying a meal and the evening programming as an entire family. An unrelated note, but incredibly fascinating nonetheless, many of the popular marketing strategies employed by businesses today arose from the efforts of food pioneers and their vision of getting an entire country to choose their calories. 

And thus began the era of valuing convenience over taking the time to prepare a thoughtful, tasty, and mostly nutritious meal…

One could even surmise that this time in American history saw men come home from the battlefields of World War 2 comfortable eating anything, regardless of taste or risk, so long as it had enough calories to keep them going. This sort of attitude quickly spread into the fabric of society itself.

Convenience only grew more popular as fast food chains like McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Burger King began popping up on nearly every corner of the major markets. Originally popularized by White Castle, but made “better” by these brands, take-out dining in America exploded in a way that few other calorie-giving efforts did. Now, people could get a hot and ready meal without even leaving their car. They could take it home for dinner for the family or eat as they navigate the highway – the choice was theirs. 

fast food industry

In a time where freedom was one of America’s biggest exports and automobiles were the norm – it was almost patriotic to eat a burger and fry from McDonalds in your car. 

Fast food originally began with average-quality ingredients. Chemical technology was not advanced enough to simulate flavors, artificially plump meat, or intensify sweetness with less syrup. One could say that these establishments still served “food”. 

As a result, Americans weren’t yet being poisoned by their meals and dramatically impacting their endocrine, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems. Now, McDonald’s French fries have 19 ingredients (11). (Shouldn’t it just be potatoes, oil, salt, and maybe some spices?).

But they were still gaining weight compared to previous generations. It was during this time where the beginning of the overweight and obesity curve takes its first notable vertical jump. 

And so begins the American decline in obesity, disease, and complete ineffectiveness as beings of survival…

Time continued to pass, and more innovation entered the food space. Snack foods, frozen foods, mass-farming, and manipulation of animal-sourced proteins, chemical pesticides on agriculture, and genetically modified seeds, oils and plants are just a few “advancements” in food technology within the last forty years. 

Bottling, canning, and packing materials keep calories fresher, longer. 

You can buy your food at restaurants, fast-food establishments, the grocery store, pharmacies, gas stations, foot trucks, food-carts, vending machines, and many other ways. For a developed nation in 2021, there are calories everywhere. 

And none of this story involves the growth of the liquor, wine, and beer industry…

America’s Not So Healthy Future

It’s easy for a fitness professional, or a health-minded individual, to point fingers and blame laziness, complacency and making “the easy choices” for why America, specifically, is so plagued with obesity and disease. In some sense, it’s not a wrong assertion.

Too many Americans prefer to watch reality TV or arguing on social media with other keyboard warriors while eating processed snacks, drinking bottled sugar, and refusing to go to bed at a reasonable adult hour. Others try to eat healthier, but are mislead with labels and sensationalized headlines, which leads to confusion and less than ideal results.

But that’s not the whole story. By in large, Americans (and western culture as a whole), are set up to fail, get sick, and require the medical industry to extend the length of our lives, quality of life be damned. Inch by inch the approach to food consumption has shifted from survival and necessity to overindulgence and boredom. In a place where at least one-third of American’s are obese, yet waste thirty to forty percent of total food supply (12) – our mindset and approach is absurd. 

American health obesity rates

There are entire generations of people living right this moment who have no idea of a world in which food wasn’t readily available. Whether its down the road, in the vending machine, or ordered through the phone – people have lost nearly all connections with the sources of their foods. 

And so, to some degree, the future relies on a simplification and slow re-education of the population. It began with the success of Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and the “organic” push. Various documentaries, tell-all books, and news reels have revealed the ugly side of industrialized food production. Research has revealed the dangers in certain dyes and additives and the government has had to respond and ban certain things (trans fats, carcinogens).

There is a growing awareness even if it isn’t measurable enough for satisfy the palate of the fitness and medical professional. The population is slowly waking up to the idea that their food, when produced in such bulk, isn’t good for them or the environment. 

As we go forward, and we look at how we coach food with our clients it is imperative the we cut them some slack. They were set up to fail. When coaching diet, fitness professionals must stop coaching clients towards perfection. Any progress towards more vegetables, more whole-foods, more humanely grown proteins, more water, and more connection to the source of the calories is a positive movement.

The coaching and evolution of the American diet must be done inch-by-inch, invention-by-invention, just as the devolution and ruining did. Otherwise, its futile, annoying, and falls upon deaf ears. If we want to see the prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and other preventable diseases decrease, and be more resilient for the next virus that shocks society, then we must change our approach and verbiage. 

The Ass Backwards Viewpoint on Exercise

Only in fitness will a complete amateur think that they can replicate the results of a professional. It’s not often you find someone trying to cook a dinner with the disillusion that they are Gordon Ramsey. Similarly, you won’t find many individuals attempting heart surgery on themselves. 

And yet, for some twisted reason, most people think that they can simply walk into their local fitness facility, sign up for a membership, and intuitively know how to get themselves in the shape that they’d like to be in. They think that the little membership card that hangs from their keychain next to the Bacardi bottle opener is their ticket to finally figuring “this fitness shit out”. 

With little knowledge of anatomy or physiology, pain-free programming, or proper exercise technique most people are left throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something, anything, sticks. There is a little bit of “this” and a whole lot of “that” as the hopeful fitness enthusiast embarks upon their journey. For most, this journey is frustrating and lacking in results. Far too many in this group see this frustration as proof that “exercise just isn’t for them”. 

Check-ins to their facility slow until they eventually come to a halt. Some will make the drive to formally quit and end their membership with the gym. A large population will keep it though, not because of a fear of the membership separation fee, but for the optimism that “next time” they try, it will work. As such, a standard gym anywhere in America could have as much as 30% of their membership lie dormant.   

By in large, the gym business thrives on this group. Membership sales are the backbone of a healthy fitness enterprise, often offsetting the cost of doing business. When ran optimally, membership at a fitness facility should cover most operating costs (power, water, cable and internet, and the salaries of non-fitness staff). Typically, any gap in revenue to spending is often covered with various fees and penalties as well as point-of-sale items such as pre-workout drinks and protein shakes that carry high margins. 

For the fitness consumer who isn’t “all-in” on the experience a gym membership is a stockpile of potential energy ready to go kinetic once they decide that it’s time to get right. But they never quite find that time. They aren’t motivated to go and do something that is harder than drinking margaritas and arguing with their friends about which Kardashian is the most normal. For the typical American, the gym is a place to go when they hate their body, when they feel guilty about their habits or when they decide its “revenge-body” season.

And since those moments are infrequent, their membership lies dormant and the brand profits while the individual worsens with time. They lose aerobic capacity, muscle and bone density, range of motion within their joints, their sleep cycle is out of whack, their sex drive is flatter than a field in Kansas, and their self-efficacy circles the toilet of anxiety and depression. 

And as such, the fitness industry profits from the broken attitude towards exercise and fitness because the membership base is trackable and easy to understand and predict.

When looking at a gym population, you can break it into 3 distinct groups:

The typical gym goer (2-3 days per week) – understands that exercise makes them feel better, look better, and perform better in a variety of avenues in their life. They need the facility to keep them motivated as they use different pieces of equipment for resistance and cardiovascular purposes. They aren’t one to go to the local facility down the road owned by the well-known coach unless someone they trust goes there.

This person might have hired a trainer to help them, they might take group fitness classes, or they might know just enough to avoid starting a nuclear apocalypse. They train because it’s a good habit, and that’s enough for them. They often snag a Bang or Muscle Milk from the fridge and absolutely love the massage chairs in the foyer. 

This is a break-even member in the eyes of most big box brands. They use enough of the facility frequently enough that their spending matches what they redeem. Some months they invest in more food and beverage, purchase a training package with the new trainer, or get the massage. Others they are in and out like customers of a Motel 6. 

At smaller facilities, these individuals tend to be no frills. They show up. Do the work. Go home. They’ll engage on their terms, but don’t want to be expected to do more than their membership pays for. Sometimes they convert into more hardcore trainees because of the environment, and other times their passion fizzles out as life changes. 

The hardcore gym goer (4-6 per week) – has a home for the obsession, their passion, and their avenue for develop their excellence. They show up with a gym bag packed with belts, wraps, and powders meant to get them from the starting line to the finish line of a challenging training session. Or they show up daily to take their favorite classes, drink the juices, and use the locker room amenities before/after work. 

The gym is a necessary part of their lives. It is a non-negotiable. They know that exercise, stretching, healthy eating, and social interaction is a necessary element to a fulfilled and successful life. 

They have high expectations of their facility, especially if it is a “big box” location. They want warm towels, clean facilities, and the operation to run smoothly. At these bigger brands, these members are break-even at best and “losses” most typically. Their usage of the facility exceeds the price point that they pay, especially if they don’t engage in services like personal training, spa services, or food and beverage. 

At smaller, privatized locations, this population tends to be more community-driven and engaged with the brand. They’ll buy a damn barbell for the owner if money is tight. They’ll donate to the food drives and become unhired coaches to new members during group training. In this setting, they are the backbone of a business and offer more than they’re membership dues could ever cost. 

The Infrequent to Non-Existent Member (0-1 Days per week) – This group of people sees the gym as place where they need to get something out of their system. They go when they “can fit it in” even though they never moved from the couch during their last Squid Game binge. They aren’t motivated to train because they haven’t been scared into action by a bad diagnosis, pushed by a recent experience, or simply don’t enjoy physical stress on the body. 

For everyone, it’s just a box full of weird looking shit that could have been used to torture people during Medieval times. They use it when they “need” it to fix their self esteem and that’s about it. They do things they are comfortable with and leave it at that. A little lifting, a little cardio, and maybe a hamstring stretch or two…

And since most individuals are drawn to the shiny lights, the recognizable brands, the treadmills facing big screen TVs, and the idea that results are instantaneous – the big brands profit off the insecurities and inabilities of the gross population.

It should be stated that most individuals who NEED to exercise, and go to do it, are doing it all wrong. In fact, when looking at the population who has goals of achieving weight loss – the industry is designed to burn them out and keep them coming back in a few months/years…

Ask any seasoned trainer and you’ll hear that the secret to weight loss with inactive (and overweight) individuals is consistency and not intensity. It’s not about how hard John Doe exercises on Monday when he has 55 pounds to lose and a resting heart rate of 79. 

It’s about John Doe getting some workouts in on Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and beyond. 

Factor the idea of starvation and “Cheat Meals” into the equation and you quickly see why most people are on a roller coaster of 5 pounds. They’ll lose 5 and gain some momentum only to gain it back after a bad week. 

The exercise culture that has been cultivated in America screams that individual should “go hard or go home” or that “sweat is just fat crying”. Gyms desperate for members and attention run weight loss challenges that last 30,60, or 90 days. There is no talk of sustainable lifestyle intervention or embodying the turtle instead of the hare. 

Everything is designed to create short-term motivation and buying windows. Brands care more about your investment dollars instead of your unrealized gains (if we are to relate to financial investments). They want you to commit, provide cash up front, and move on. 

Whereas the little guy, the small business in the industrial parkway that’s a little out of the way sees the client differently. They don’t make money if they don’t deliver results. Results deliver satisfaction, pride, and the “permission to sell”. That client who lost fifteen pounds and got out of shoulder pain with better training protocols would tell everyone they every meet about Doug’s dungeon in Detroit if it got them results. They’ll say things like, “don’t let the front door fool you – it’s the best in the region”. 

But right there is the paradox, the brands that commit to changing the client aren’t always the best marketers. They just show up with a farmer’s mentality and deliver hours of work and craftsmanship until the day is done. People get results. But do the people give referrals? 

The Future of Fitness

In a better world, the bigger box brands are forced to adapt their business models because more and more individuals are committed to going to these “out-of-the-way” locations that are home to dedicated fitness professionals.*

*This isn’t to say that trainers who work for big boxes are bad trainers. I myself have spent 3 years working for Sports Club/LA, 5 for EQUINOX, and currently am employed by Anatomy in Miami, Florida. I love the big box feel and the energy it brings, but by in large, the hiring practices at these places is blanket coverage. You hope to find a diamond knowing you’ll get some coal and something in between.

The business model of gyms entices check-ins – possibly seeing that membership rates GO DOWN with more check-ins per month. The business model adapts to promote results with “cash back” after certain milestones are hit just as a credit card provides cash back on gas pumps or grocery stores. Maybe the industry adapts and puts a higher standard of qualification upon trainers – demanding that they are in this for the client, and not to sell CBD supplements in their underwear. 

But America just needs more gyms to become healthier, right?

Or more people with gym memberships, right?

Or more options for fitness with a bigger, more diverse market space, right?

To reverse the real problem in America, the epidemic of unhealthy people, the fitness industry needs to stop watching top line and bottom-line revenue and instead do a mirror-check. A mirror check is what happens when a slightly intoxicated individual stares at themselves in the mirror and has a sort of “come-to-God” moment that changes their path going forward. The intoxication inhibits their prefrontal cortex from overriding their deeper thoughts, and in that rare moment, they are able to have a conversation with their “REAL SELF”.

Fitness brands must do the same. Trainers must do the same. There must be a commitment to seeing results occur, and trusting the process of referrals, word of mouth marketing, and proof-in-the-pudding campaigns. 

The day and age of selling people on the fitness dream must end if this change is to take place. It’s not about us and it never has been.

The Promise of Results Without Effort

America might be the only place in the world where you’ll find someone with a grocery cart full of Oreo cookies and fat burners. In fact, Americans spend $1.5 billion dollars per year on supplements (13).

Protein powders, muscle-building supplements, weight-loss supplements, vitamins, and so much else fills the shelves of various markets around the country and world. They promise everything in a capsule. 

“Gain 5 pounds of muscle and the resume of Chris Hemsworth in one bottle”

“Burn 20 pounds of fat and discover the paradox between black holes and light in one month”

And the general population eats it up. They love it. They believe it. Even when they know it’s bullshit. 

It’s amazing how quickly a person’s trust is altered when their self-efficacy is on the line. If a person could lose 5 pounds in one month and look better half-naked, then why wouldn’t they at least try? 

It’s the same attitude that leads to gambling addictions if we are being honest…

Gamblers fall in love with the idea of taking their hard-earned money and multiplying in a moment. One hand at a blackjack table could 1.5x your money if you get an ace and a king on the draw. Rinse and repeat and suddenly you can become hooked on the idea that you can create immense wealth (winnings) in an instant. Lady luck is on your side.

For supplement sales, the marketing is meant to make you feel like “THIS” is the time you win. This is the pill or powder that’s been missing. If you would have found (insert supplement here) sooner, then you’d already be the fittest, sexiest model in the world who dominates the television and print ads. All you must do is pay 40, 50, 80, 150 dollars on this pill/powder/program. 

Thus, when looking at the western obsession for pills and powders we find that people are otherwise rational (don’t run the red-light during rush hour) will completely eschew logic in favor of emotional buying behaviors when the possibility of their dream body is at stake. The marketers of supplements deserve awards for their ability to hijack people’s brains and sell them castles in the sky. 

The industry is designed to make money and deliver JUST enough results to earn your purchases next month.

The Future of The Supplement Industry in America

Going forward there will be further regulation on supplements as the FDA cracks down on the ingredient profiles of brands. It’s easier than ever to get a hold of raw ingredients and create your own pre-workout powder. That sort of irregularity in product quality is a dangerous risk that will eventually lead to deaths and injuries. 

At some point, medical interventions such as peptides and even steroids will be legalized under certain constructs and individuals will use more proven, albeit risky, methods to achieve their physical goals. There will be blowback, but eventually, like any massive change in human consciousness, it will be accepted as a normality. Yet, like the next section will discuss – this will simply shift the profit from the supplement industry to the pharmaceutical one. 

supplement industry

Food products, such as protein powders, will remain on the market for many years without concern. The same goes for digestive enzymes, vitamins and minerals, and general health interventions. There are far too many individuals who take 5mg of melatonin and zinc at night to slow that train down. 

There will always be a market for powders that taste like lemonade and make you want to fight King Kong in a bathroom stall. There will always be a market for pills that promise non-so-realistic results. Yet, in time, this market will shrink as the population shifts their money to the more “trusted” pharmaceutical industry. 

In essence, pharmaceuticals are the final graduation step in this system.

The American Health (Sick) Care Model

When looking at the healthcare system specifically, we find an overdependency on “care-after-the-fact” practices that functions to serve you only once you’ve become sick and broken. This is especially true in the North American nations, which comprised 49% of the global pharmaceutical market in 2020; long before the launch of the global COVID-19 vaccines (2). 

In just the last century, the health, wellness and fitness of the average American citizen has declined significantly. Not to be confused with life expectancy, which had gone up roughly ten full years since 1960 prior to recent data emerging from the year 2020. (14). In fact, life expectancy dropped 1.5 years during 2020 (14). 

What is certain, however, is that life quality, has gone down as more and more individuals rely on pills prescribed by their various doctors to keep their conditions in check instead of health and lifestyle modifications meant to (potentially) cure their ailments. For this reason, life expectancy in the U.S. has grown more slowly for both men and women than other parts of the world (14). 

This isn’t a representation of poverty, a lack of healthcare options, or representative of the brainpower and genius that drives medical science. Instead, it represents a capitalistic model designed to keep individuals in a spending cycle until their body eventually gives out. A sad, painful, and nauseating truth. 

The American health care model is built on price markups. Pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies charge significant money for their products to healthcare providers and insurance companies. Those costs are then passed down to the customer in the form of premiums, especially for healthy individuals who wish to have lower deductibles in the event of tragic events. In 2020, the average individual paid $7,500 dollars per year for health insurance, whereas the typical family paid $21,500 (15). 

And this doesn’t even count the various charges and fees that are involved until one hits their deductible or goes out of network…

For example, a hospitals charges thousands for an emergency room visit when someone can’t breathe well while fighting off the COVID-19 virus. Those thousands are sent to the insurance company who covers what their algorithm approves. Typically, they cover the cost of radiology and toxicology-based exams and leave the consumer with a bill that has unpaid expenses for the visit itself, the cost of the bed, and other accoutrements. And this is before factoring in prescriptions and other elements of recovery. 

Therefore, an individual who has gotten sick unexpectedly could still be in debt for two or three thousand dollars after their insurance has paid a share. They were serviced, sent home, and told to rest and be smart until they feel better.

No mention of changing eating habits, increasing physical activity, improving sleep quality and quantity, or avoiding the toxicity of social media arguments.

American Healthcare: Just Pills and Bills

The medical device companies, the hospital, and the pharmaceutical companies will make their profits, upwards of $600 billion dollars in 2021. The insurance companies will have negotiated behind closed doors for better rates than an individual would ever pay, and so their losses are minimal in this scenario as well. Thus, the consumer is forced to foot a major chunk of their emergency bill while also funding their insurance companies Holiday parties. 

And yet, no where in this business model is the assurance that the customer, oops, the patient, is actually better. There is no incentive for the aforementioned business units to truly fix you. 

pharm market

The system is designed to catch you when you fall, which on hand is a Godsend and proof of modern evolution and the ability to defeat illness and disease. Many people, including this writer’s father, is kept alive and well by the miracles of modern medicine in the fight against cancer.

Yet, it’s also a profitable business model with little to no impetus to change as we go forward in time. Preventive care doesn’t print cash at the same rate. 

This model is not designed to help the consumer. It’s designed to protect the profiting interests of those in charge. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth. It’s a system designed to catch you once you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or can’t fall asleep…

And it’s a system designed to give you a pill, or six, to solve your problems instead of a health, wellness, nutrition, and training intervention. 

Why would I want you to go pay a gym membership and a trainer when I could just prescribe you a pill to keep your blood sugars down? 

Roughly 88% of diagnosed diabetics are on medication in America. (17)

Why would I entice a young girl to exercise and be physically active during her earliest onset of her menstrual cycle when I can just get on her birth control? 

Roughly 1 in 5 teenage girls (13-18) are on birth control in America (16).

Why would I encourage someone to eat healthier and exercise to improve their mood, anxiety, and potentially depression when there are plenty of drugs that do just that?

Roughly 1 in 6 Americans are on a psychotic drug (18).

This isn’t a complete bash of the healthcare system. In modernized countries around the world miracles take place. Babies are born premature, mother’s survive traumatic bleeding, and accidental deaths are prevented with life-saving treatments, modalities, and interventions. Cancer is caught faster, treated better, and years are added to people’s lives.

By in large, the healthcare industry means well.

But, like all things involving humans, greed and profit still reign. For every great doctor doing the right thing for their patients, there are two or three who are in the pockets of a drug representative. For every great medical device company looking to trim their own profits for the betterment of society, there is some douche bag gouging the market on insulin prices (Martin Shkreli). 

As we go forward, our healthcare industry and the insurance providers must begin rewarding preventative behaviors. They must invest in those who invest in themselves. The answers can not lie behind bad diagnoses. Instead, the answers and solutions must come before the prognosis. 

The Future for Preventative Health Care Modeling

The changes that would improve our healthcare system include:

Professional licensing of trainers and coaches to allow for insurance billing Comes with the downside of regulation and oversight Insurance companies building specialized premiums that incentivize healthy living practices Auto insurance has already done this with safe-driving devices Demanding updated kinesiology, exercise physiology, and dietetics be added to the curriculum and certification of practicing physicians. Too many doctors think lifting is bad with age Greater regulation of the supplement industry with the intent to bridge the gap between naturopathic and pharmaceutical interventions FDA approved drugs with minimal chemical alteration

Unfortunately, we can’t wave a magic wand and change the healthcare industry for the better. 

But we can change ourselves…

All of these things require the personal trainers and professional coaches to rally with one another. We can’t bicker on social media about squat stances or sell our bodies in exchange for free clothing anymore. We have to represent ourselves as medical professionals capable of making medical changes. 

Our curriculums need to be more challenging. Our work ethics must be scrutinized. Our licensing and certification must be kept up-to-date with proof of research, education, and a commitment to growth.

Then, and only then, can we make the case that we can be considered a medical expense. 

Our Mission Statement to End the Health Paradox

As fitness professionals we are limited. Our scope of practice keeps us in the gym, on the computer, and occasionally in the kitchen guiding our clients to better health. Medical professionals are limited to the care they can provide too.

However, our ability to generate progress and move the human species forward requires us to look honestly at the hand we’ve been dealt and adjust accordingly. We must see the playing field for what it is and draw up better protocols to take on the challenges that lie ahead.

We must acknowledge that the food industry is designed for taste, convenience, and indulgence. We must know that it was a step-by-step degradation of the American mindset and diet that led us here to this moment. If we are to reverse course, we must take the same brick-by-brick approach to our coaching and our recommendations. The ball can be pushed back in the opposite direction.

We must look at our fitness and supplement industries and realize that they prey on insecurities and hope. They profit on the belief that someone can, but the reality that they won’t. We must rise up and demand more of our fitness brands by routinely delivering results and rewarding our people for them. We must make it “cool” to achieve results. We must make it “normal” to do it without pills and powders. We must reject the hypothesis that people are self-sufficient and commit ourselves to a role of paid servitude. 

We must lastly look at our healthcare industry and realize that it is broken at a level that can’t be fixed by internet tirades or blog posts. There are billions, maybe trillions, of dollars made yearly on the industry that manufactures devices, pills, and treatment plans. Doctors aren’t necessarily in on it, but they aren’t necessarily ready to fight back against the hand that feeds them. The industry is rife and ready for disruption, but the disruptor must come prepared to fight legal and financial battles against juggernauts hell bent on not changing the status quo.

The average Westerner is in trouble. They are helpless in an uphill battle against the epidemic of obesity and inactivity. They need a hero. Is that you?

The odds have been set and the chips are on the table. 

I bet we emerge from this pandemic, and this generation, with a better mindset and approach to health, fitness, and wellness in Western culture. The roads to a better world are already built. But we need to stop bickering amongst ourselves, selling our bodies and souls, and reconnect with our real purpose.

We must teach people that light weight can feel heavy in training so that the heavy weight that is life feels lighter. We must educate, we must motivate, and we must dominate the forces that seek profit over all. 

It’s going to be hard, but it’s going to be legendary. 

About The Author

kevin mullins

Kevin Mullins is veteran personal trainer and fitness educator located just outside of Washington, DC. Kevin is the current the Director of Product Development for The St. James after spending nearly a decade as a trainer, group fitness instructor and educator at Equinox. Kevin is also a Lead Instructor for the Pain-Free Performance Certification (PPSC) and best selling author of the book “Day by Day: The Personal Trainer’s Blueprint” that you can learn more about on his website: KevinMullinsFitness.com

References:  https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/fubar https://www.statista.com/topics/1764/global-pharmaceutical-industry/ https://www.statista.com/statistics/235801/retail-sales-of-vitamins-and-nutritional-supplements-in-the-us/#:~:text=Revenue%20from%20vitamin%20and%20nutritional,more%20in%20revenue%20in%202019. https://www.goodrx.com/conditions/diabetes-type-2/how-much-does-insulin-cost-compare-brands#:~:text=From%202014%20to%202019%2C%20the,6%25%2C%20to%20about%20%240.32. https://healthcareinsider.com/why-ambulances-are-so-expensive-263386#:~:text=Ambulance%20bills%20can%20exceed%20%241%2C000,why%20ambulances%20are%20so%20expensive. https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/ag-and-food-statistics-charting-the-essentials/food-prices-and-spending/#:~:text=In%202019%2C%20households%20in%20the,representing%208.0%20percent%20of%20income). https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/central.html https://www.businessinsider.com/what-people-spend-on-dining-out-2019-8 America’s History of Food – HISTORY CHANNEL https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/most-american-adults-are-overweight/2020/12/18/faefa834-408d-11eb-9453-fc36ba051781_story.html https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/01/22/there-are-19-ingredients-in-mcdonalds-french-fries/ https://www.rubicon.com/blog/food-waste-facts/#:~:text=Each%20day%20in%20the%20United,Department%20of%20Agriculture%20(USDA). https://www.exercise.com/learn/how-much-does-the-average-american-spend-on-supplements/#:~:text=Each%20year%2C%20US%20citizens%20spend,likely%20spend%20a%20lot%20more. https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/u-s-life-expectancy-compare-countries/#item-life-expectancy-september-2021-update-chart-1 https://www.investopedia.com/how-much-does-health-insurance-cost-4774184 https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db366.htm https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/41/6/1299#:~:text=Background%3A%20Scope%20of%20the%20Problem,%2C%20racial%2C%20and%20ethnic%20backgrounds. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/1-in-6-americans-takes-a-psychiatric-drug/

The post American Health X <br> <span class='subheadline'>The Failures of Big Food, Fitness & Pharma</span> appeared first on Dr. John Rusin - Exercise Science & Injury Prevention.

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The Disordered Eating-Eating Disorder Continuum

TW: Detailed discussion about eating disorders and disordered eating behaviors

For some people, the meaning behind the term eating disorder feels distant and difficult to comprehend. For others, the term may bring up difficult feelings or feel deeply triggering. 

- Katie Dunlop
Top Tips for Everyday Mindfulness

mindfulness activities

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month and a great opportunity to practice being more mindful in our everyday lives!

It’s interesting to me that not long ago, no one was really talking about mindfulness. Now, I feel like it’s everywhere. And it’s so awesome! Being tuned into the moment, really enjoying what’s happening right now, is so, SO powerful. Like, life changing.  

But it’s hard, right? With life running a million miles a minute and a thousand things you want to do, it can be hard to slow down enough to do even a few minutes of mindfulness activities. But don’t you worry, girl! I’ve got you. I’ve put together some of my best tips to help you stay in the moment during your everyday routine.

Everyday mindfulness activities

Mindful eating

How often do you scarf down a meal before running to class or mindlessly eat while you’re in front of the TV? Change it up, girl!

Try being mindful when you’re eating. Slow down and really taste each bite. Have a moment of admiration for the beautiful meal in front of you. You’ll get so much more out of mealtime this way!

If mindful eating is hard for you, it can be helpful to take a few minutes after you eat to make notes on your meal. Don’t just write down the basics, like what you ate and the nutrient breakdown, but also note how it made you feel. You might learn more about healthy food options that make you super happy! 

Quality, nutritious food choices can go a long way in impacting both your physical and mental wellbeing. A better diet = a healthier lifestyle = better mental health!

Mindful listening

Okay, I know we all struggle with this. But of all the mindfulness activities, this is the one that will make the biggest difference for the people you care most about.

Here’s what I do: if I’m going to meet up with a friend but I know my brain is going a mile a minute, I carve out a few minutes to sit with my notebook or #GOALS Planner. I make notes about stuff I don’t want to forget and put stuff on my calendar to deal with later. That way, when I show up with my friend, I can be totally, 100% present with her. I can tune into everything she’s saying and really enjoy the time with her. And I think it makes the hangout sesh better for both of us! 

Mindful Meditation

Meditation is one of those ideas of mindfulness that can feel really intimidating if you’re not sure where to start. But meditating helps to slash stress and increase your self-awareness, plus it makes you feel better. And it can even make you more creative and patient! (You don’t have to take my word for it. Check out this research.)

My top tips to make meditation feel way easier are:

Start with ten minutes a day. Seriously, you can do anything for ten minutes! Roll out your LSF Yoga Mat and try carving out this little bit of time in your schedule for a week and see how you feel.Use guided meditations. Just sitting there can be tricky if you haven’t figured out how to quiet and calm your brain. I love using guided meditations to help me hold this space for myself. There are a bunch on YouTube and Spotify (you can even type in “10 minute guided meditation”) or you can try an app. Both Headspace and Calm have free trials so you can take them for a spin. I also have mindfulness and relaxing yoga classes on LSF the App. ideas for self care Mindful Reflection

I’ve found that one of the most helpful tools to improve mindfulness is just having a place to put stuff to get it out of my brain! Seriously, it’s so hard to be in the moment when the to-do list in your head is seven miles long. 

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I’ve been using my LSF planner to do this and just having a place to write everything down so you can get it off your mind is insanely helpful! Once I’ve done the brain dump, it frees up space for me to tackle my to-dos one by one and focus on the tasks individually.

To take it a step further, start a journal.

Journaling gives you a chance to check in with yourself. It’s a space where you can put words to things you’ve been feeling — maybe even things you didn’t know you were feeling! And because it’s a totally safe, private space, you can open up and let it all go.

Seriously, I think journaling is super cathartic. And, again, this is one of those ideas for mindfulness that can take you just 10 minutes! Make a little time when you first wake up or before you go to bed. You can journal while you’re all comfy under the covers and you might be surprised how good your brain feels afterward. 

Movement for Your Mind

Regular exercise has enormous impacts on nearly every aspect of your health—your mental health is no exception. It’s well studied that people who work out consistently are less likely to suffer from high levels of stress, anxiety, or depression. Not to mention the boost in confidence that comes from feeling good about your body and all the strength you’ll gain!

Make it a goal to carve out 30 minutes to move your body as many days as you can in a week. My proven 3:1 training method in my LSF the App workouts will give you everything you need to not only see results, but to reap the mental health benefits of working out without having to spend hours in a gym!

Start your 7-day free trial of LSF the App today!

daily workouts for women, lsf the app, move,

These are just a few mindfulness activities, but it’s really all about finding what works for you. I know mindfulness can be tricky, but keep trying because, seriously, it’s worth it — and so are you!

The post Top Tips for Everyday Mindfulness appeared first on Love Sweat Fitness.

- Team LSF
World Health Day 2022 Workout Challenge

free World Health Day workout challenge

World Health Day is April 7, 2022 and we are celebrating the LSF way with a free workout challenge! We’re giving you a free printable that has the workout challenge deets, plus a post to share on IG once you finish. Oh yes.

Here’s how it works: complete your daily workout in LSF the App, log it in your journal and complete your sweat sesh how you normally would. But for World Health Day, we’re taking it up a notch! As a finisher to your app workout, complete all of the exercises on the printable and your #LSFHealthDay challenge is complete! Don’t have the app? Try it for yourself and start your 7 day free trial of the premium app subscription!

And, of course, we couldn’t put together this free workout challenge for World Health Day without something to share on IG. Post your photo, use the hashtag #LSFHealthDay and hype up other women that complete this one day challenge with you!

We LOVE World Health Day because it’s a small way to celebrate all of the healthy steps we take in our crazy busy lives. Living a healthy lifestyle is work and a choice every single day! Sometimes, it’s not easy. We know that. Check out what we do every day to choose a healthy lifestyle and make every day feel like World Health Day.

Sweat it out with our LSF the App workouts

You know when you feel super blah, but you force yourself to get a sweat sesh in and afterwards, you feel SO much better?? Bring on those endorphins, baby! We commit to ourselves every day to do our workout in LSF the App. Of course, this is so good for our physical health, but also for our mental health! Setting aside time to get moving and work up a sweat is crucial to making us feel more energized and happy.

With working out, it’s easy to skip it when there’s no plan or you don’t really know what to do. LSF the App takes all of the guesswork out of working out and makes it FUN! You get a daily workout plan for losing weight and building lean muscle, plus tons of other incredible features you won’t find in other workout apps.

Try it for yourself and start your 7 day free trial of the premium app subscription!

Make healthy meals and nutrition choices

This seems so simple and yet, it’s something we have to make a conscious effort to do daily. Grabbing the nearest takeout real quick or opening up a bag of chips for a snack might be convenient. But let’s be honest, we feel like total sh*t after. Choosing to make healthy choices is something that takes effort and commitment, but it makes all of the difference. What we put into our body is important and affects our entire health journey.

A few simple ways we’re keeping healthy nutrition a top priority? We thought you’d never ask

Have a plan

We don’t go into the week with no meal ideas and no clue what we’re eating for dinner in 2 hours. Having a plan is CRUCIAL to staying committed and choosing healthy options. Write out your meals for the whole week (or at least, general ideas) so you know what you’re eating and can avoid that last minute take out.

Too much work?? We feel you. That’s why we’re making it super easy with our 4-week Hot Body Meal Plan. We wrote out your meals for you so you don’t have to, plus we’re giving you TONS of healthy recipes so you never run out of ideas. It couldn’t be easier to follow this plan, and the best part is the food tastes amazing and makes you FEEL amazing, too. It’s never been so easy to choose healthy nutrition. Grab your Hot Body Meal Plan here!

Meal prep

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you need to make every meal. Prep easy foods you can mix and match. Some of our faves to have on deck are grilled chicken, quinoa, roasted veggies and sauces or salad dressing!

Hype up ourselves and other women on the same journey

At the end of the day, who wants to do it alone?? Every day we cheer on ourselves and other women of Team LSF. Talk about MAJOR motivation and accountability!

Our women’s community, Team LSF, is made of thousands of strong, inspirational women who are on the exact same journey as us. Chat with any woman in Team LSF and she’ll tell you, the community is what keeps her going! If you’re worried about falling off or not staying motivated, we have the solution = join Team LSF.

Don’t know how? Here’s the deets. And don’t forget to make your LSF Instagram!

love sweat fitness, free fitness challenge for women, world health day World Health Day printable + IG Post

Let’s DO THIS girlfriend!!! We all need an extra little challenge sometimes, amiright?? Make sure to download your printable and complete the challenge tomorrow for #LSFHealthDay. When you finish, post this pic on your LSF IG! Happy World Health Day!!

Printable In-feed Post IG Story Post

The post World Health Day 2022 Workout Challenge appeared first on Love Sweat Fitness.

- Team LSF
Motivational Wallpapers 2022

motivational wallpapers

We’re halfway through the 2022 Spring Slim Down fitness challenge and right about now is when you’ve got to dig deep to push it to the end. Committing 8 weeks to daily workouts, healthy eating, and crushing your goals isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would do it. It takes dedication, drive, and a whole lot of support. Our #TeamLSF community is here to encourage you every step of the way, but these motivational wallpapers can help too!

SSD 2022 Motivational Wallpapers

Anytime you need a little extra little push, these will help get you through.All you have to do is download these wallpapers and save then to your camera roll. Then head to your settings to update your wallpaper and home screen to your favorite motivational wallpapers.

Motivation doesn’t just happen. You have to work for it. It comes in two very specific ways. First, setting small goals and accomplishing them is SUPER motivating. Second, surrounding yourself with people, pictures, words, or anything else that inspires you to work on your goals. Make sure you’re following Katie on instagram and our community page, @TeamLSF to get even more daily inspo.

The post Motivational Wallpapers 2022 appeared first on Love Sweat Fitness.

- Katie Dunlop
Mint Chip Protein Smoothie

Dairy-Free Mint Chip Vanilla Protein Smoothie

Move over “shamrock shake” — we’re mixing up a healthy version of a favorite St. Paddy’s day treat that’s gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and filled with tons of nutrients and antioxidants.

This recipe is also packed with 20 g of plant-protein to curb cravings, build lean muscle and burn fat and gets the beautiful green color from nutrient-dense spinach… not from artificial food coloring!

So whether you’re celebrating something special (it’s my birthday today!) or looking to feel extra festive on St. Patrick’s day, you can whip up this treat in less than 2 mins. In fact, you can even have it for breakfast with ZERO guilt!

Mint Chip Smoothie Ingredients 1/4 cup spinach1 small banana- frozen1 cup unsweetened oat milk or almond milk3 mint leaves or 1 drop mint extract1 tsp mini dark chocolate chips (no sugar added- I like Lily’s brand)1 scoop LSF Vanilla Plant ProteinCoconut or other non-dairy whip (for topping- optional) Smoothie Directions

Add all ingredients above to a blender. Blend on high until smooth, pour into a glass and garish with additional chocolate chips and coconut whip if desired!

Want more recipes?

Scan the QR code on the back of your LSF Plant Protein for your free recipe book or check out my Guiltless Nutrition Lifestyle & Recipe Book for over 130+!

The post Mint Chip Protein Smoothie appeared first on Love Sweat Fitness.

- Team LSF
Adjust Your Routine to “Spring Forward”

adjust your routine

I don’t know about you, but I really love my sleep and the whole “springing forward” thing just feels cruel. 

Well, no matter what we think, it’s coming for us on March 13th. Yep, the day before we start our Spring Slim Down Challenge

The transition can be tough, but I want to share my secrets to help you adjust your routine to “spring forward” so you can feel your best and crush Spring Slim Down!

Before You Spring Forward Create a Solid Night Routine:

I start my night routine 30 minutes before I want to fall asleep

It always starts with my Slumber Party Sleep Boost which supports a healthy sleep cycle.

Then I like to stretch, read and meditate to help calm my body and mind. 

The goal is to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day and get 7-8 hours. It’s one of the most underrated, but most important parts of seeing results!

When you get enough sleep you will: Reduce cravingsBurn more caloriesBuild more lean muscleImprove energy & performanceReduce cortisol (stress hormone that can lead to weight gain!) slumber party, sleep boost, how to sleep better, natural sleep aid, adjust your routine, day light saving time, spring forward Adjust Your Wake Up Time

I know I just said you want to wake up at the same time daily, but before we spring forward you’re gonna want to wake up a little earlier.

Adjust your alarm 15-20 minutes earlier a few days before. On Saturday, set it back an additional 15-20 minutes. This will help you ease into the time change and avoid feeling like a tired pigeon all day.

Have a Morning Routine

Schedule your workouts first thing in the morning & plan a way to celebrate yourself for doing it (ie coffee time!)

It might feel tough at first, but you’ll only be more tired later in the day this week! Your goals will thank you!

slumber party, sleep boost, how to sleep better, natural sleep aid, adjust your routine, day light saving time, spring forward Get Outside

Sunlight impacts our circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) and getting a little extra vitamin D will help you feel less tired.

Plus, your SSD Challenge App workouts can be done anywhere so take it outside gf!

slumber party, sleep boost, how to sleep better, natural sleep aid, adjust your routine, day light saving time, spring forward LSF Virtual Slumber Party

If you’re looking for some extra sleep tips and FUN I’m hosting a virtual Slumber Party in honor of Sleep Awareness Week this month! Grab those PJs and join me for an extra special guided meditation, Slumber Party recipe making, allll the girl talk, games and more! 

All you have to do to get access to this exclusive event is purchase Slumber Party any time before March 14th & your invite and registration link will be emailed directly to you! 

The post Adjust Your Routine to “Spring Forward” appeared first on Love Sweat Fitness.

- Team LSF
My 8 Week Spring Transformation Challenge

8 week transformation challenge

Did you know 80% of people give up on their New Year’s goals by March? 

I’ve been that girl.

But I’ve spent the last few years perfecting my routines to get results, live a life I love and never give up on myself – and you can too!

On March 14th my Spring Slim Down challenge is BACK!

This year I’m giving you 8 weeks weeks of free workouts, my Spring Detox Meal Plan, healthy routines, recipes, tips, insane prizes, and personal support from me and the Team LSF community! Join Here!

free fitness challenge, 8 week spring challenge, transformation challenge, workouts for women 8 Week Transformation Challenge

During this 2 month challenge I’ll be right by your side, sweatin’ it out in our LSF App!

I don’t want you to miss out on getting the full experience so I’m giving all new users 21 Days of FREE premium access to jumpstart your spring routine!

We’re also going to have LIVE workout classes every week & a TON of fun together on email and in my text club!  All of my best tips, major giveaways, and surprises to help you push yourself and crush your goals this spring!

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Are you ready?

Ready to nourish and move your body and feel re-energized? Ready to transform your life from the inside out?

Whether your goal is to shed pounds, tone your body, or get extra support to stay consistent with your 2022 routines, this 8 week transformation challenge is exactly what you need! 

 You don’t have to be ready to change it all today, you just need to be ready to start.

Join Spring Slim Down here.

And don’t forget to checkout the amazing prizes you could win & get more deets here!

The post My 8 Week Spring Transformation Challenge appeared first on Love Sweat Fitness.

- Team LSF
YOUR SPRING SLIM DOWN 2022 GRAND PRIZE

how to win!

What’s Included?

Uh, everything you could possibly need to celebrate your transformation and continue that momentum into Summer!

$500 gift card to Amazon Fresh… for making those delicious, nourishing recipes!

$300 Onzie Gift Card: hellloooo new wordrobe!!

1-year subscription in the LSF App: because you’re going to want to keep up on your workouts allll year long!

LSF Plant Protein FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR. YES, PLEASE!

Prize pack valued over $1, 250

How do I win? 

Take your “before” photos on day 1, so you’ll have some CRAZY transformation stories to share with us at the end! Find all the pro tips here.

 Follow @LoveSweatFitness + @TeamLSF on Instagram and make sure you’re tagging us in your daily #LSFRollCall! Pssst, don’t forget to use #LSFSpringSlimDown as well!

Our Grand Prize Winner will be the babe with the ultimate transformation who showed us how to slim down and be their best, most confident self.

Can’t wait to start with you on March 14th!

The post YOUR SPRING SLIM DOWN 2022 GRAND PRIZE appeared first on Love Sweat Fitness.

- Team LSF
LSF 30 2022 WINNERS!

LSF 30 winners

I legitimately get more proud of our LSF community all the time — and that’s especially true of this LSF 30 Challenge. What a way to start the year! You gals came out of the gate swinging and I’m floored by how much everyone changed not just their bodies, but their entire lives in just 30 days’ time! 

If you finished the challenge, you should feel SO proud of yourself. By the end of January, you created habits that will help you be, look, and feel your best all year long. And that’s what LSF is all about! Thank you for showing up for yourself and our community. It’s so inspiring to see how many of us stuck with it through the entire month. 

Speaking of inspo, we’ve got to talk about your challenge winners! These women are seriously incredible! Not only do their before and after pics speak for themselves, but they’re also the sweetest, coolest people. I’d like to introduce you:  

GRAND PRIZE WINNER – MELISSA: Melissa, @melissaa_lsf

Melissa joined Team LSF in the summer of 2019. She’s got two beautiful gifts and an amazing husband. She works in HR, loves coffee and football, and is always down to try new things. 

“After the LSF 30 Challenge, I finally felt happy, confident, and in control of my health habits again,” she says. Melissa also says she’s going to stick with her HMBP and working out 4-5 days each week. Not only is she dedicated to taking care of herself physically, but she says she’s also going to keep journaling and doing her daily affirmations. 

To keep herself on track, she’s got a plan: “Checking in with team LSF and keeping my goals in mind — knowing that when I take care of myself I feel good!”

Runner Ups Toni; @toneituptoni_lsf

Like Melissa, Toni keeps busy with her two kids — boys this time! — and husband. She loves going on adventures with her sons and walks on the beach with her husband. On top of that, she runs her own business. She started it in 2016 after getting let go of her job of a decade, and if that’s not a testament to resilience, I don’t know what is! 

The LSF 30 challenge was Toni’s intro to our LSF community — and what a way to start! She says, “I can’t believe how amazing I feel (and look!) after only 30 days of working out and eating clean! LSF has changed the way I think and feel about food, which has been the most freeing thing of all coming from a girl who has literally tried every diet under the sun since she was 14.” 

She plans to stick with everything she learned during the challenge. What I really love is that when Tori’s feeling down, she’ll put on one of my YouTube videos to get herself motivated again. She also says, “Engaging and interacting with fellow LSF girls is the best and keeps me going!”

April; @april_teamlsf

We really saw moms come through on this challenge, and April is no exception. Not only does she have an 8-month-old baby girl, but she’s also mom to a 3-year-old corgi. April’s a married pastor and you can usually find her walking her neighborhood or savoring a coffee at one of her local cafes. 

“I felt AMAZING after the challenge,” she says. “I’ve had so much inner confidence radiating within since the challenge and have really been going after the goals I set for myself in my career and in health and fitness. This challenge really motivated me to take time for me since almost every roll call was focused on self-care in some way — and to find ways to move again after a very long break due to pregnancy and postpartum recovery.”

April plans to stick with the 2-Day Detox for the first two days of each month to reset and keep herself on track. She’s also using her HBMP to meal plan for each week. 

April’s got a lot of support at home — her husband is super encouraging, which I love! But she’s also tapped into Team LSF. “Every time I pop on Instagram, I see major motivation with all the babes crushing their daily workouts and goals. That is just SO motivating and encouraging, and it makes me want to do the same. Any time I’m faced with a challenging workout, I always remember all the babes cheering me on and giving me major inspo, and that keeps me going!” 

Heidi; @heidi_lsf

Heidi hails from New Zealand and works with her local elderly community. She’s crafty and loves to diamond paint, cross-stitch, and more. She also enjoys reading and spending time in nature. 

A Team LSF member since January 2018, Heidi says one of her first workouts was one of our vids. 

“After the challenge, I felt strong, confident, and happy,” she says. “I felt healthy again.”

I absolutely love Heidi’s new year’s resolution, which was to choose herself this year. For her, that’s meant drinking plenty of water and staying on track with her workouts. She’s still sticking with her resolution and turns to the LSF community regularly. “My favorite part of LSF is the endless amount of support and love in the community — and making friends,” she says.

Our Pink Heart Award goes to our girl, Angel! AKA @lsf_angel

Our Pink Heart winner for this challenge is Angel, who’s also a mom! When she found LSF on YouTube in August last year, she says she had lost hope in finding a fitness program that works for her. We’re so glad we could be a part of turning things around!

Angel says she felt amazing after the challenge. “I felt like myself again,” she explains. “I was stronger, more motivated, proud, and consistently pushing myself daily!”

She said something else I really love, too: “I have completely changed my bad eating habits and now I eat to fuel my body and I never feel guilty about any meals or snacks that I have!” That’s music to my ears.

Angel is still sticking with her new routine of waking up early and getting in her workout before she starts the day. “It really helps me stay on track when I see women from all over the world encouraging others and being honest about their ups and downs throughout their fitness journey,” she says. 

She loves that no matter her mood, she can find an LSF workout that fits. She’s also using our daily inspirational quotes and journaling to stay on track. 

Angel has a ton of great things to say about the LSF community, but one of her favorite parts is the support. “It’s never a contest, it’s never about who can do more reps, or sweat more, or have the most progress.  It’s just genuine love and caring as we are all on the same path, and we are ALL getting stronger and building confidence together!”

Aren’t these women amazing? I am so proud to be a part of Team LSF with them!!

Our next 8-week challenge starts on March 14th!

The post LSF 30 2022 WINNERS! appeared first on Love Sweat Fitness.

- Team LSF

The post Workout + Recover Bundle appeared first on Love Sweat Fitness.

- Team LSF
Spicy Berry Pomegranate Margarita

spicy pomegranate margarita

This spicy pomegranate margarita is a new staple for me! I’m obsessed. I always love finding ways to indulge – totally guilt free – and get even more out of whatever I’m enjoying.

If you want an easy way to impress your friends (or yourself) on your next girls night, make this!

The secret ingredient is my Wing Woman immunity boost. She’s delicious and SUGAR FREE which makes it the best way to boost your bevi.

And if spice isn’t your thing, just ditch the jalapeño and you’ll still have a perfect drink!

spicy pomegranate margarita, sugar free margarita, healthy margarita, immunity boost, low calorie cocktails Spicy Berry Pomegranate Margarita Ingredients 1 lime wedge2 jalapeno slices2 ounces blanco tequila1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed1 scoop berry pomegranate Wing Woman Immunity Boost1 tbs pomegranate seeds2 ounces water Garnish: tajin rim and jalapeno  spicy pomegranate margarita, sugar free margarita, healthy margarita, immunity boost, low calorie cocktails Mix Her Up

Rub 1/2 the rim of a martini with a lime wedge, dip the rim in tajin to coat, and set aside.Fill a shaker with ice and the blanco tequila, water, lime juice, Wing Woman, jalapeno slices and pomegranate seeds  and shake until well-chilled.Strain into the prepared glass .Garnish with jalapeño and more pomegranate seeds 

SECRET INGREDIENT: WING WOMAN

TASTES GOOD: Throw her in some water for a quick, sweet berry pomegranate treat, or mix her in a cocktail for Friday night happy hour.

PROTECTING YOU ON DAILY WITH VITAMIN C & D: Wing Woman got your back because vitamin C & D are necessary for development and repair of all body tissues, proper functioning of the immune system and more!

IMPROVES IMMUNE FUNCTION: With echinacea, elderberry and vitamin C, you’ll feel defended from head to toe.

PACKED WITH ANTIOXIDANTS: Tons of adaptogen powders, like spinach leaf, ginseng and goldenseal that’s got all the health benefits you would possibly need.

ALL ABOUT CUTTING OUT THE BS: She’s gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, non GMO and vegan!

Shop Wing Woman

The post Spicy Berry Pomegranate Margarita appeared first on Love Sweat Fitness.

- Parul Dube

BMI: A Significant Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes HealthifyMe HealthifyMe - The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.

Diabetes is one of the most prevalent health issues in existence today. Experts believe that it is not too far when diabetes would overpower cardiovascular issues as one of the most highly spread health conditions. It is common to see many people avoiding sweets and sugary beverages when you look around. Some of them do it as they do not want to gain weight. At the same time, some are bound to do it as they have a medical condition like diabetes.

There are several factors can lead to diabetes. However, one of the most common factors is obesity. As per data, overweight and obesity (BMI over 25 kg/m2) have been estimated to account for about 65–80% of new cases of type 2 diabetes. The risk is a function of the age of onset and the duration of obesity and weight gain during adult life. It means that a higher BMI can pose a greater risk of diabetes.

The article focuses on various risk factors for diabetes and highlights the role of BMI as a significant risk factor.

BMI: An Overview

BMI stands for body mass index. It is one of the most significant ways to assess whether you are overweight. The BMI calculation involves taking into consideration your height and body weight. The mathematical calculation is dividing your body mass (weight) by your height to calculate a value that suggests whether you have healthy body weight. 

As per WHO, you can divide people into different categories as per their BMI values. The number obtained from calculating this formula categorises people into skinny, healthy, overweight, and obese. Let us understand the different stages of the BMI chart.

BMI Values 18.5 or below: A person is considered underweight

18.5-24.9: A person is in the healthy and normal weight category25-29.9: It is the Pre-obese category30-34.9: Obesity class 135-39.9: Obesity class 240 and above: Obesity class 3

Although the formula to calculate BMI is simple, you can also check your BMI at home using various online BMI calculators. If you fall into the Pre-obese or Obese categories, you should take immediate steps to bring it down to the healthy and normal weight category.

Diabetes: Mechanism and its Types

Diabetes is a chronic medical condition that results from high sugar levels in your body.  It is a result of affected glucose conversion to energy. According to studies, most of our food is broken down into sugar to fuel the body. The broken-down glucose goes into the bloodstream to help provide energy. The hormone responsible for it is insulin, as it regulates blood sugar levels in your body. However, if you have diabetes, the body reduces insulin production or inhibits insulin functioning. If not controlled, it can lead to chronic diseases like cardiovascular issues, vision loss or kidney diseases.

There are two significant types of diabetes- type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 Diabetes

It is an autoimmune condition where your body mistakenly attacks itself. In this condition, your immune system inhibits or stops the body from insulin production. Approximately 5-10% of total diabetic patients have type 1 diabetes. It is more common in children, adolescents and teenagers. As per the CDC research, currently, there is no cure for type-1 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

It is a medical condition where your body cannot regulate insulin levels and fails to keep your blood sugar levels under control. According to CDC reports, about 90-95% of diabetic patients have type-2 diabetes. It develops over the years and is most common in adults. However, unlike type-2 diabetes, various measures can help prevent the condition or regulate its symptoms from further causing damage. Some of the most common ways to do this are weight management, healthy eating habits and exercise.

Risk Factors of Diabetes

Several factors, including obesity, genetics, and medical conditions, can increase the risk of diabetes. However, the two most significant causes of diabetes are genetics and obesity.

Factors that may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes include:

Being overweight or obese is the leading risk of diabetes.An unequal fat distribution in your body is one of the significant causes of type-2 diabetes. In addition, fat storage, mainly in your abdomen rather than your hips and thighs, indicates a greater risk.The less active you are, the greater your risk. Physical activity helps manage weight and keeps you active. In addition, it uses glucose as energy and makes your cells more insulin sensitive to insulin.Family history can also be a cause of diabetes. So, your risk of type 2 diabetes increases if your parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.Although it’s unclear why, people of certain races and ethnicities, including Black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian, and Pacific Islanders, are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than white people.Increased risk of type-2 diabetes can result from low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is good cholesterol. In addition, high levels of triglycerides also pose a significant risk.Age is also a significant risk of type 2 diabetes. As per experts, the risk of type 2 diabetes increases as you age, especially after age 45.Prediabetes is another risk factor. It is a condition where your blood sugar level is higher than average. However, it is not high enough to be called diabetes. If left untreated, it often progresses to type 2 diabetes.Type 2 diabetes can also occur due to Pregnancy-related risks. It is especially true if you develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Genetics

A study by the National Library of Medicine says that type 2 diabetes does not have such a clear image of inheritance. However, there are good chances of developing type 2 diabetes among parents to siblings. It is due to gene transfer from parent to child. The study also says that other than genetics, the person’s lifestyle, body and eating habits pose a more significant threat to diabetes.

BMI: A Significant Risk Factor for Type-2 Diabetes

The most significant cause of type-2 diabetes is an unhealthy body weight. Experts often use BMI calculation to assess whether you are overweight. Hence, harmful BMI levels are a significant risk factor for diabetes.

As per research findings published by the European Society of Cardiology, a study on 445,765 participants of the UK Biobank gave conclusive evidence of BMI’s role in diabetes. The research found that people in the highest BMI group (average 34.5 kg/m2) had an 11-fold increased risk of diabetes than participants in the lowest BMI group (average 21.7 kg/m2). Furthermore, the highest BMI group had a greater likelihood of developing diabetes than all other BMI groups, regardless of genetic risk. These findings indicate that BMI is a much more potent risk factor for diabetes than genetic predisposition.

Researchers believe obesity is the leading risk factor for several non-communicable diseases, particularly type 2 diabetes. Research provides enough data on type 2 diabetes and its association with unhealthy BMI. 

So, it is clear from the above research that BMI has more indulgence in diabetes than genetic factors.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Generally, a person who has type 2 diabetes shows the following symptoms:

Increased HungerIncreased ThirstUnhealthy Weight GainFrequent UrinationBlurry VisionExtreme FatigueSores that Heal Slowly

Other than these common symptoms, men and women experience some different symptoms. For example, men with type 2 diabetes have reduced sexual drive and suffer erectile dysfunction. At the same time, women can have urinary tract infections and dry and itchy skin.

Type 2 Diabetes: Prevention Tips

Various factors can help you manage your diabetes and prevent it. First, working on the risk factors mentioned above can help reduce the risk. Furthermore, here are some prevention tips that will help you reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Dietary Modifications

The foods you eat and your eating habits play a crucial role in diabetes management. Hence, making some dietary modifications can help regulate diabetes symptoms and manage diabetes better.  Although you should make any dietary modification under the guidance of an expert dietitian or nutritionist, some of the common tips are:

Reduce Carbohydrate Intake

Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy. It is the fastest digesting macronutrient. However, reducing carb intake can benefit because carbs are a source of sugar and glucose. In addition, cutting down on carbohydrate intake can help manage diabetes symptoms. However, you should not do it mindlessly because your body requires carbohydrates to function normally.

Drink Enough Water

Water does not contain any macros. Drinking a good amount of water helps get toxins out of your body. It also aids in lowering type 2 diabetes risk.

Portion Size Control

Overeating in a single meal or having two to three meals a day is not a healthy practice for people with diabetes. Instead, you should focus on eating five to six small meals. Doing that will improve your metabolism and enhance immunity to fight against various diseases.

Eat More Fibre-Rich Foods

Consuming a fibre-rich diet not only helps you to have a healthy gut but also helps to prevent diabetes. In addition, prediabetic people who follow a high fibre diet have fewer insulin fluctuations.

Lifestyle Changes

Besides making dietary modifications, you should pay special attention to lifestyle habits. Some of the everyday lifestyle habits that you should follow to prevent and manage diabetes are:

Exercise Regularly

Exercise and physical activity are essential whether you have diabetes or not. However, when you have diabetes, you should ensure that you focus on regular exercise. It keeps you active, helps manage weight and thus, helps regulate diabetes symptoms.

Proper rest time is mandatory, but being physically active keeps you healthy. Do not sit for long hours on the same chair. Instead, try to indulge in simple activities like walking and jogging. Studying or working in a single sit of five or six hours puts stress on your spine. Prolonged sitting makes you unhealthy and fat, which may lead to the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Maintain Healthy Body Weight

Being overweight is considered the primary factor for getting type 2 diabetes. So, if you lose weight, you are improving your lifestyle and reducing the risk of diabetes.

Quit Smoking and Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol, Smoking and tobacco consumption are significant causes of cancer. In addition, it also worsens your diabetes symptoms. Hence, it is best to avoid them. Especially men who are addicted to smoking should stop it immediately. Quitting this habit will reduce the risk of these two chronic diseases.

The Bottom Line

Be it diabetes or any other discomfort or disease; we do not want unwanted restrictions in our life. However, in most cases,  we can avoid getting into such situations by maintaining our overall health. The same is with type-2 diabetes. Ensure that you maintain healthy body weight to reduce the risk of diabetes. BMI is an early indicator of your body weight going above normal. So, try to keep your BMI levels in check.

Try to maintain a healthy BMI and follow a proper diet full of vitamins and fibres. It helps your body to gain immunity against such chronic diseases. In addition, eating enough proteins and other minerals and nutrients will help you stay healthy and reduce the risk of any chronic condition like diabetes. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Q. What BMI is at risk of type 2 diabetes?

A. Yes, unhealthy and high BMI levels are a significant risk of type 2 diabetes. One of the common causes of type 2 diabetes is excess body weight. BMI is one of the most commonly used tools to assess whether you are overweight. So, if your BMI is at 30 or more, you are at risk of getting type 2 diabetes. The higher your BMI goes from this value, the greater the chances of getting type 2 diabetes.

Q. How is type 2 diabetes correlated with body mass?

A. Increase in body fat is directly related to your body’s metabolism. Overweight people have poor metabolism and live unhealthy lifestyles. As a result, they are more prone to diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

Q. Is BMI a good indicator for diabetes?

A. BMI is not an indicator of diabetes. It is an indicator that assesses your body’s mass. It is an indicator of whether you are obese or not. Since obesity is one of the primary causes of type 2 diabetes, BMI indirectly helps you assess the risk of diabetes.

Q. What are the chances of getting type 2 diabetes?

A. If you assess the global volume of diabetes cases, the number is constantly rising. However, no indicator can help to project the chances conclusively. However, we are aware of certain factors that can lead to diabetes. For example, factors like age, gender, weight, genes etc., are factors that can lead to diabetes.

Q. Who is susceptible to diabetes?

A. As per experts, people above 45 have a higher risk of developing diabetes. In addition, people with a family history of diabetes, overweight people, people from specific origins etc., are at a greater risk. 

Q. What is a diabetic belly?

A. When you eat food, it moves through the digestive tract. If these tracts get damaged, and food does not get digested properly. It is a condition called Gastroparesis. The primary cause of gastroparesis is diabetes. The belly of a gastroparesis person seems bloated, and hence, it is called a diabetic belly.

Q. Can you be skinny and have type 2 diabetes?

A. Yes, even skinny people can develop diabetes. Around 10% to 15% of the total diabetic patients are skinny. It is a condition called lean diabetes.

Q. What percentage of type 2 diabetes are overweight?

A. Research and surveys claim that 85% to 90% of diabetes patients are obese. On the other hand, the rest falls under the healthy or underweight category. Hence, it is essential to maintain healthy body weight to reduce the risk of diseases like diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Q, What are the limitations of using BMI to assess health?

A. Although BMI is an excellent way to determine the health of an average person, it has some limitations. It works on the principle of calculating weight and height ratio. Since the human body weight also depends on the muscle weight, bone weight etc., it can sometimes be challenging to rely on BMI results for healthy body weight. However, BMI is an early indicator, and it can help you work towards preventing various obesity-related diseases.

Q. Is type 2 diabetes preventable?

A. Yes, it is preventable if you follow a healthy diet and workout plan. However, the prevention of diabetes is not limited to these factors only. You have to understand the risk factors of type 2 diabetes and avoid falling under any of those categories to prevent or reduce the chances of type 2 diabetes. But, the key to preventing diabetes or any chronic disease is eating healthy, exercising and leading a healthy lifestyle.

The post BMI: A Significant Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes appeared first on HealthifyMe.

- Parul Dube

Hypercholesterolaemia: 5 Tips to Manage High Cholesterol HealthifyMe HealthifyMe - The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.

Cholesterol can seem to be a confusing issue. Nutrition experts have long speculated that cholesterol can be good for you, and it is not always bad. Cholesterol serves critical functions and is essential for your body. However, the classification of cholesterol is what makes the difference. There is the good cholesterol (HDL) that your body needs to function, and there is bad cholesterol (LDL) that can lead to several health issues if in excess. Too much of anything becomes problematic; similarly, too much bad cholesterol (LDL) is a concern. Most people having cholesterol issues have a high amount of bad cholesterol (LDL). Similarly, the total cholesterol (HDL + LDL) levels should also remain under control because an excess can lead to health issues.

As per the government reports, nearly 94 million U.S. adults aged 20 or older have total cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL. At the same time, recent studies have reported that 25–30% of urban and 15–20% of rural Indians have high cholesterol. Global data suggests that high cholesterol levels are becoming major health with these growing numbers. However, it is not difficult to manage high cholesterol if you are conscious and consistent in eating healthy. 

This article will help you understand the basics of this condition and provide you with simple tips on checking your cholesterol levels for a healthy heart and body. 

What is Hypercholesterolaemia? 

The biggest myth or confusion among people is that cholesterol is present in our foods. However, the truth is that the liver makes the most cholesterol in our bodies. In addition, we get it from animal products like milk, eggs, meat etc. Cholesterol is a fatty, wax-like substance that circulates in the bloodstream. It is responsible for the secretion of hormones, maintenance of nerve cells, and digestion processes. Hypercholesterolaemia, a word that may feel like a mouthful, is a condition of the human body wherein the cholesterol levels in the blood are higher than usual. 

There are two forms of cholesterol. The first one is the High- Density Lipoprotein (HDL), which is called the ‘good’ cholesterol. The second type, the Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), is most commonly known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol. 

The lifestyle choices like an unbalanced, fatty diet, lack of exercise, alcohol consumption, habits such as smoking and certain health conditions can alter the levels of both these types of cholesterol, leading to Hypercholesterolaemia.

Cholesterol is produced in the liver and has several essential functions. Unlike fat, it does not dissolve in water, but it relies on molecules called lipoproteins. These lipoproteins are responsible for the movement of fat, fat-soluble vitamins and cholesterol within the body. Good cholesterol or HDL carries cholesterol away from the walls of the blood vessels. In contrast, bad cholesterol or LDL causes cholesterol deposits in the walls of blood vessels and eventually leads to severe health conditions.

Hypercholesterolaemia Range

According to a study and laboratory analysis, cholesterol is measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). As per medical science, normal cholesterol levels are less than 200mg of cholesterol per deciliter of blood. The raised levels are 240 mg of cholesterol per deciliter of blood and above. This constant rise in cholesterol levels is what leads to the condition of Hypercholesterolaemia. 

A fact that is equally surprising and scary about the condition is that it does not have prominent symptoms. Still, it can lead to severe consequences like heart attack, strokes and other cardiovascular conditions in due course. This condition is prevalent and often requires lab testing by a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment. Although it is more common in men, the number of women going through it is also increasing. 

Like several other diseases, hypercholesterolaemia does have a strong link to your family history and genetics. It may last from a few months to several years, depending on the response one gives to its onset. However, at this stage, tips and tentative solutions to treat the condition come in at this stage.

Tips to Manage High Cholesterol

There are three necessary components to treatment

Self-care Nutrition Medication

Selfcare involves looking after your eating habits, physical activities etc. Whereas nutrition focuses on foods that you should eat and avoid. Medication is the last resort. However, even when on medication, the first two are equally important. 

So, here are some of the essential tips to manage high cholesterol without medications.

1. Follow a Heart-Friendly Diet

High cholesterol management requires one to look after heart health. The cholesterol content in the bloodstream directly affects the heart and its blood-pumping ability. Diet plays an integral role in heart health. Ideally, a heart-friendly diet would be low in fat, sugar, sodium, and carbohydrates and have a low consumption rate of packaged foods and red meat portions. 

Reduce the Consumption of Saturated Fats

Saturated fat consumption can raise blood LDL cholesterol levels. A high blood level of LDL cholesterol increases your heart disease and stroke risk. Saturated fats can be found in animal-based meals, including beef, pork, chicken, full-fat dairy products, eggs, and tropical oils like coconut and palm.

They solidify at room temperature; they are usually referred to as “solid fats.” Saturated fats raise your risk of heart disease by interfering with your cholesterol levels. High-saturated-fat diets can be replaced with healthier alternatives to minimise the risk of heart disease.

To reduce consumption of saturated fats, you might need to avoid or intake certain foods in lesser quantities:

Pork belly Beef, beef fat Poultry along with skinLard and butterPalm oilIce creamSome baked and fried stuff, mainly processed ones  Reduce Your Salt Intake

Our bodies require a certain amount of salt to keep healthy, yet nearly everyone consumes significantly more than they need. Salt boosts blood pressure, which, like excessive cholesterol, leads to heart attacks and strokes, and reducing salt intake can help lower it.

High blood pressure strains the heart and can result in heart and blood vessel illnesses, such as heart attacks and strokes. These issues are more prevalent if you have high cholesterol and high blood pressure at the same time. The walls of the arteries are damaged by high blood pressure. Cholesterol gathers in these damaged areas, blocking the arteries and narrowing them.

Adults should consume no more than 6 grams of salt each day, while children should consume much less. Most people consume far more than 6g of sugar. It’s difficult to tell how much you’re eating because it’s buried in the items we buy, such as bread, breakfast cereals, pasta sauces, cheese, and processed meat. In fact, three-quarters of the salt we consume comes from meals we buy rather than meals made at home.

Use the below-mentioned tips to help you consume less than 6g of salt/day:

Check the labels of foods while shopping.Reduce the use of salty flavourings like processed flavouring agents, pre-mixed herbs, salad dressings, ketchup, soya sauce, peri-peri flavouring, etc. Compare products and choose options with limited to no added salt.Avoid foods high in salt like packed soup powders, salted nuts, snacks, meats preserved in brine, etc.Cook your meals and reduce the frequency of takeaways Avoid keeping table salt while diningCut down on all processed foods Give some time for your taste buds to adjust  Eat Fibre-Rich Foods

Study says we should all consume at least 25 grammes of dietary fibre every day, according to the American Heart Association and the Food and Drug Administration. But what exactly is it, how do we know how much we’re consuming, and where did that number come from in the first place? Dietary fibre, commonly known as roughage, is a healthy carbohydrate found in plant diets (not supplements). 

There are two types: soluble and insoluble, and both are highly beneficial to our health. Soluble fibre forms a thick gel in our intestines, which slows digestion (preventing blood sugar spikes) and traps lipids, preventing them from being absorbed entirely (which lowers cholesterol levels). 

Soluble fibre is present in:

Oats, bran and barleyBeans like kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils A variety of fruits like apples, tomato, lichee, plums, grapes, etc.Vegetables like turnips, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, etc.Flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds

Insoluble fibre aids in the softening and regularising of our stools, which is always a good thing! 

Whole grains, Berries, unsweetened coconut, avocados, Most vegetables are good sources of insoluble fibre, including celery, asparagus, mushrooms, cabbage, eggplant and kale 

Fibre, both soluble and insoluble, makes us feel full, allowing us to eat less. Let us now see what from each of the five food categories would be healthy to consume: 

1. Fruits and vegetables 

A wide variety of options are available in this category. Vegetables (including green leafy vegetables) and fruits can be fresh from the market, canned or frozen as far as they have not been preserved with excessive salt, sugar or oil. 

Onion Pepper Lettuce Okra Mushroom Spinach Peas Potato Pumpkin Carrot Tomato Brussel Sprouts GarlicBroccoli  Pear Peach Papaya Kiwi Melon OrangePineapple Banana Plum Strawberry Grapefruit  2. Milk and Dairy

Low fat or fat-free options are more apt for people with high cholesterol than regular dairy options to help maintain normal levels

Mozzarella cheeseLow-fat yoghurt Skim milk Paneer Tofu Cottage cheese  3. Grains and Cereals

They are essential carbohydrates in our meals. However, we must be equally careful with their intake. Whole grains and cereals are the best for consumption.

Oats Rye Whole wheat Cornmeal Bulgur Buckwheat BarleyBrown rice  4. Proteins

Meat options, preferably fish and white meat, should have had fat portions removed. Small amounts of red meat are acceptable. 

Egg Salmon Finfish Sardine Chicken Turkey Duck Lamb Veal  5. Oils and Fats

Fats are not all bad, instead are a crucial element of food. The only thing to remember is to eat more unsaturated fats like nuts and seeds than saturated ones. 

Almond Hazelnut Walnut AvocadoSunflowerPumpkin Chestnut  2. Move More. Sit Less.

Exercise and movement can significantly reduce high cholesterol. An active lifestyle that includes at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity helps regulate cholesterol levels. These 30 minutes of movement should preferably be continuous; however, can also be divided into mini active segments throughout the day too.. One can engage in any sport of choice, an activity like dancing, a brisk walk, a light jog, yoga, swimming, cycling, or any physical activity that suits one. This way, you will be enjoying yourself unawares that you are exercising, in turn relieving your stress and anxiety.

As per a study, at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity on most days of the week helps reduce the chances of having a chronic illness like heart issues in adulthood. Around 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise helps in body weight regulation. The time, frequency, and intensity of movement ensure calorie burn with practice. Yet another essential factor that most people ignore is the requirement of taking breaks and rest days during the week. 

“Exercise is an excellent place to start if you want to lower bad cholesterol,” says cardiologist Leslie Cho, MD. “However, it doesn’t end there. Combining exercise with a healthier diet and lifestyle has the most impact.”

Learn about the best workouts for lowering cholesterol and how to get started.

Jogging or taking brisk walks

There’s no need to go all out on the treadmill. If you’re not used to running, are overweight, or have joint problems, it may cause more harm than benefits your health.

Begin with a short stroll around the block, then progress to a longer walk, and finally a slow jog. You’ll lower your cholesterol, and you’ll also drop your blood pressure.

Physical Activity (1 hour each) Calories burned acc. to 130lbs (weight)Calories burned acc. to 155lbs (weight)Calories burned acc. to 190lbs(weight) Walk, slow pace148176216Walk, moderate pace207246302Walk, brisk pace 236281345  Cycling

As a kid, you probably didn’t have to worry about your cholesterol levels because you were being active by riding your bike around town with your friends and family. Reconnect with your inner child and get back on a bike to decrease cholesterol.

Cycling/biking burns the same calories as running but is gentler on the knees. All you have to do now is pick a bike that is the right size and comfortable for you and ride off into the sunset with a healthier than before cholesterol level.

Physical Activity (1 hour each) Calories burned acc. to 130lbs (weight)Calories burned acc. to 155lbs (weight)Calories burned acc. to 190lbs(weight) Bicycling, light325387474Bicycling, moderate413493604Bicycling, vigorous620739906 Swimming

If walking, jogging, or biking are too taxing on your body, swimming can help you lower your cholesterol just as well.

When you swim a few laps in the pool, you’re exercising your complete body in a way that can feel therapeutic. Swimming is good for your overall heart health, including cholesterol reduction.

Physical Activity (1 hour each) Calories burned acc. to 130lbs (weight)Calories burned acc. to 155lbs (weight)Calories burned acc. to 190lbs(weight) Swimming, general, leisurely 354422518Swiming, freestyle, moderate 472563690Swiming, vigorous laps590704863 Yoga

The best news for those who aren’t fans of cardio is that yoga is also beneficial. To achieve cardiovascular advantages, however, you must raise your heart rate. Yoga is also helpful for the following:

Improved flexibility.Working your physical and mental muscles and getting better sleep can lead to better lifestyle patterns.Yoga’s slowness can be less intimidating than other activities, primarily if you haven’t worked out regularly before. 3. Avoid Smoking 

The deadly consequences of smoking are no secret. Dysfunction of the respiratory tract, lung infection, tuberculosis, cancer, erectile dysfunction and osteoporosis are just some of the many health issues smoking causes. Smoking can be dangerous for people with hypercholesterolemia because it can cause further health complications, making the already suffering body prone to other problems and reducing the quality of overall health.  

Research regarding the dose-response correlation between the frequency of smoking and its effect on cholesterol levels proved that in adults aged 16-60 years of age, 0.33 mg/dl of cholesterol increased with each cigarette they smoked. If you smoke three cigarettes every day for a month, your cholesterol levels might increase by 10.23 mg/dl. It might not seem like much right now, but it can be fatal with your diet and movement. 

3. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

Being overweight is yet another risk factor, symptom and complication of high cholesterol levels. Reducing or controlling body weight according to one’s Body Mass Index (BMI) would greatly benefit the prevention and treatment of this condition. Diet, exercise and lifestyle choices are contributing factors in maintaining body weight.  

4. Consult with Your Doctor

Since each of our bodies is unique, how they would deal with a particular condition may also differ. It is always wise to consult your family doctor and dietician for problems like Hypercholesterolaemia. Usually, family doctors have a clear picture of health issues that run in genetics and have your family’s health records. They might better be able to prescribe medications, diet plans, optimal activity range, and dietary instructions specific to you and your body’s needs. 

The Bottom Line

Hypercholesterolaemia, or the condition of high levels of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream, is a widespread yet complex issue at hand. Most people above the age of 65 have concerns of high cholesterol and high blood pressure and are at risk of strokes. Taking steps to improve and manage all of these would help reduce overall casualties due to heart attacks and other cardiovascular ailments. There exist approaches to treatment that include prescribed medications to deduct cholesterol levels from the bloodstream like the very common Ecosprin. Drugs do not necessarily suit everyone and may have side effects on continuous usage. Another approach could include reducing cholesterol naturally, as mentioned previously, with little to no side effects. 

In conclusion, the prevention and reversal of this condition asks the patient to be resilient in efforts and advice from an expert in the field. It can be overwhelming to keep track of all the diet changes, regular movement and making decisions for your body that may seem difficult initially, but that does not change the fact that making the right choices will take you a long way. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Q. What reduces cholesterol quickly naturally?

A. Dietary changes like ample intake of fibre-rich diets with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and reduction in fatty foods would immediately make one feel good. You can also notice results of frequent movement pretty quickly. Although these are as fast as they can get, consistency is the key.  

Q. How can I lower my cholesterol fast?

A. Cut down on trans and saturated fats that add to the water weight, making it difficult to lose weight.

Q. Which foods reduce cholesterol?

A. Reduce intake of fried and greasy foods, prepackaged foods, ultra-sweet foods, foods preserved in salt, sugar or oil like candy, pickles, jams and syrups. Limited consumption of fatty meat and red meat is also beneficial to lower cholesterol levels. 

Q. Does consumption of a lot of water lower cholesterol?

A. Yes, drinking water improves your metabolism, keeps a check on unnecessary snacking, helps in digestion, and helps manage weight contributing to lower cholesterol levels. 

Q. Are bananas good for cholesterol?

A. Yes, bananas are rich in potassium, and Vitamin B6, improve digestion and have lower blood sugar levels that reduce appetite without the need to count your calories. They also contain antioxidants that help with high cholesterol. 

Q. What are the indicators of a high cholesterol level?

A. Yellow patches on skin near the eyelids, discolouration of cornea, indigestion, bloating, numbness of limbs and unpleasant breath are some warning signs to look on to. 

Q. Are eggs good for cholesterol?

A.Eggs are high in good cholesterol and do not contain trans or saturated fats. They are a good source of protein and better than red meat. The preparation method of eggs also matters. Boiled, steamed, and poached eggs are better than fried eggs.  

Q. Does rice increase cholesterol?

A. Yes, white rice, a staple grain for many, is a refined grain that increases LDL or bad cholesterol levels. It is best to consume it in controlled quantities and choose alternatives like parboiled or brown rice with husk. 

Q. How does apple cider vinegar reduce cholesterol?

A. Yes, apple cider vinegar features nutrients like malic acid, acetic acid, Vitamin C and E and pectin that reduce bad cholesterol levels by secreting digestive juices that absorb cholesterol stored in the body. 

Q. Can you reverse high cholesterol?

A. Yes, it is possible to reverse Hypercholesterolaemia through diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication if and when required.

The post Hypercholesterolaemia: 5 Tips to Manage High Cholesterol appeared first on HealthifyMe.

- Parul Dube

An Analysis: CBD Oils Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis HealthifyMe HealthifyMe - The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in various parts of your body. It usually attacks the joints of the hands, wrists, and knees. As a result, it causes inflammation in affected joint linings and damages the joint tissue. Tissue damage can lead to lung, eye, heart problems, and chronic pain. 

Modern science has been studying the part of CBD oils on multiple ailments, including weight loss. In addition, several studies have proven the role of CBD oils in reducing stress and improving sleep quality.

This article briefly describes how CBD Oil treats Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

What is CBD Oil? 

CBD oil originates from the cannabis plant. However, unlike other cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it does not generate a euphoric “high” that people constantly associate with cannabis. That is because CBD does not influence the same receptors in the body as THC.

There are numerous CBD oil products available, and the quantity of CBD in them may differ. As many people apply cannabis as an active drug, some distinct evidence proves the remedial use of commodities containing cannabis plant components. Many CBD products also withstand stringent legal inspection.

According to research, hemp is a commodity that also arrives from the cannabis plant. Lawmakers legalised the material under the Farm Bill as long as things contain less than 0.3% THC. Some people apply CBD oil to reduce pain and reduce inflammation. Some research indicates that CBD oil may be helpful for pain relief and other situations.

CBD Oils for Rheumatoid Arthritis: How Does it Work?

CBD oil influences brain activity, but not in the similar way that THC, the central psychoactive component in marijuana, does. Instead, CBD oil interacts with two receptors, called CB1 and CB2, to decrease pain and the consequences of inflammation.

CB2 also plays a crucial role in your immune system. For example, RA affects your immune system by damaging the tissue in your joints. So this connection to the immune system could clarify why CBD oil works adequately for RA symptoms.

In addition, CBD’s anti-inflammatory impacts could also benefit from slowing down or stopping RA’s growth, which results in permanent harm to your joints over time. These consequences could also decrease several other inflammation-related RA symptoms, such as fever and fatigue.

CBD Oil and Arthritis Pain Relief

 Study indicates that arthritis is the leading factor of disability in the United States, affecting around fifty-eight and half million people. Two of the most widespread types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative situation that influences bones and joint cartilage, resulting in stiffness and pain. It always affects the knee, hip, and thumb joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune situation where a person’s immune system strikes their joints, resulting in inflammation. It generally affects the feet and hands and leads to swollen, painful, and stiff joints.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, there is an anecdotal indication to indicate that some people with arthritis who use CBD report improved sleep, pain relief, or reduced anxiety. However, it also asserts that there have been no severe clinical studies in humans with arthritis to verify this. Therefore, the institution has compelled the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate and study CBD products.

What Does the Research Say?

The first controlled examination to assess the use of cannabis-based drugs to treat RA happened in 2006. After five weeks of usage, researchers inferred that a cannabis-based treatment called Sativex decreased inflammation and considerably improved pain. Participants also reported better sleep, and most side effects were few.

A 2008 survey of the use of CBD to treat chronic pain likewise concluded that CBD decreased pain and enhanced sleep without any adverse side effects.

In 2016, another study using CBD gel on rats showed that the CBD gel decreased joint pain and inflammation without any adverse side effects.

While these studies are favourable, the current studies have been moderately small. Many more studies, particularly on large numbers of human participants, are still required to fully comprehend the consequences of CBD oil and other cannabis-based medications on RA symptoms.

Some studies indicate that cannabidiol (CBD) oil could play a part in alleviating arthritis. What are the advantages of CBD oil, and are there any adverse side effects that people should be conscious of before using it? CBD oil includes extracts from cannabis plants. Some people apply it to alleviate pain related to chronic conditions, such as arthritis.

CBD Oils and Inflammatory Pain

Some animal researchers indicate that CBD could help deal with arthritis and reduce associated inflammatory pain. For example:

A 2017 study established that CBD might be a valuable and safe treatment choice for joint pain related to osteoarthritis. A 2016 study established that the topical application of CBD had the potential to reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritis.A 2014 review searching into animal research inferred that CBD might be a beneficial treatment for osteoarthritis.A 2011 study established that CBD helped decrease inflammatory pain in rats by influencing how pain receptors respond to stimuli.

However, there is insufficient definitive scientific evidence to verify that CBD is a beneficial arthritis treatment for humans. Fact notes that a cannabis-based mouth spray known as Sativex may help reduce arthritis pain. However, the cannabis plant extracts that the firm uses to make the rush include both CBD and THC.

Although outcomes have been motivating, more research is essential to confirm that CBD oil is a beneficial treatment for arthritis pain.

CBD Oil and Chronic Pain

Cannabinoids, such as CBD, influence receptors that impact inflammation and pain in the body. Scientists speculate that CBD entails how these receptors react to the signals they obtain, possibly helping decrease inflammation and pain.

The National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health says that cannabis or CBD could have practical benefits for chronic pain. However, much of the study into CBD for chronic pain has started with nerve-related or neuropathic pain. For example, a 2017 study found that CBD assisted with chronic neuropathic pain in humans.

A 2020 study reported that CBD could have advantages for relieving improving sleep, chronic pain, and reducing inflammation. However, the study states that these consequences are limited to specific conditions. The investigators also say that CBD may have hazards, such as drug interactions and harmful elements in unregulated commodities.

Is CBD oil safe?

More research is still essential to analyse the safety and probable effects. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) documents that people generally tolerate CBD well. Therefore, CBD is not accountable for the high that many people may correlate with cannabis. Additionally, this cannabinoid does not have the similar potential for misuse as cannabis.

Additionally, a 2020 systematic study indicates that people generally have adequate tolerance for CBD, and taking it does not arise in any adverse events. However, the survey also reveals that the dosage and administration technique may affect safety.

Currently, CBD commodities do not have FDA approval. That may imply that it is hard to know if a CBD product is effective and safe for everyone to use. If a person is using CBD oil, they should take advice from their doctor.

Using CBD Oil 

CBD commodities are accessible in many different formulations. People can follow the instructions on the packaging and label to help them infer how frequently to use the product, how much quantity to use, and how to apply it. Doses will differ depending on factors such as potency and body weight. Health experts instruct individuals new to CBD to begin with the lowest apparent dosage and slowly increase it if needed.

People can consume CBD oil orally. For example, they can use a dropper or pipette to drop CBD oil under their tongue or into food and drink. In addition, factories add CBD oil to topical products such as gels, creams, and lotions.

As the FDA does not legislate CBD products, finding and using quality products is significant. When selecting a CBD oil, make sure it is from a trusted company and comprises a complete list of ingredients. Then, talk with your doctor to conclude the best dose for you. It is best to start with a minimal amount to see how your body responds. Then, if you do not notice any side effects, you can slowly increase your dose.

Possible Side Effects of CBD Oils

CBD oil does not come with any significant potential side effects. If you have been using RA drugs for some time, these side effects may increase. Small-scale researchers have found that people commonly tolerate CBD well. Some people may encounter mild side effects.

These include:

FatigueDiarrhoeaChanges in appetiteChanges in weight

Clinical examinations of Epidiolex, a CBD treatment that the FDA has ratified to treat rare forms of epilepsy, did not discover any evidence of physical dependency. However, there are concerns that CBD may impede an enzyme known as the cytochrome P450 complex. This enzyme benefits the liver’s capacity to break down toxins. CBD may therefore boost the risk of an increase in liver toxicity.

Additionally, people should consult with their doctor before consuming CBD. It may interact with specific over-the-counter dietary additions, aids, and specified medications. Taking CBD and treatments that warn about apparent interactions with grapefruit also compels particular consideration.

In a study performed on mice, obtaining CBD-rich cannabis extract was related to a heightened risk of liver toxicity. However, some research mice were given enormous extract amounts through force-feeding.

CBD Oil: Is it Legal? 

Cannabis and commodities originating from cannabis, such as CBD oil, are legal for recreational or medicinal use in specific parts of the United States.

If cannabis is only legal for remedial use in your state, you will require a recommendation from your doctor before you can buy CBD oil. However, if authorities in your region permit cannabis for recreational usage, you should be able to buy CBD oil in dispensaries or even online.

Risks and Considerations

The FDA has authorised one form of CBD, Epidiolex, to deal with two rare forms of epilepsy and attacks due to a rare situation called tuberous sclerosis complex. However, the Arthritis Foundation advises CBD could interact with particular arthritis drugs. Therefore, the organisation proposes consulting a doctor before using CBD when taking any of the given drugs:

Corticosteroids, such as prednisoneNaproxen (Aleve)Tofacitinib (Xeljanz)Celecoxib (Celebrex)Tramadol (Ultram)Some antidepressants, including amitriptyline (Elavil), fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), and sertraline (Zoloft)Some treatments for fibromyalgia, such as pregabalin (Lyrica) and gabapentin (Neurontin)

People should practice caution when consuming oral CBD products alongside high-fat feasts. High-fat meals can dramatically improve the blood concentrations of CBD, which can heighten the danger of side effects.

CBD is legal in a few states in the U.S., but not all of them. Therefore, people should review the laws in their region before buying or taking CBD oil. Some people may also have an allergic effect to CBD oil, so it is adequate to try applying it to a tiny skin area first. Experts suggest speaking with a doctor before using CBD oil like any alternative medication.

CBD oil indicates promise as a medication for arthritis-related pain. If it influences receptors in the immune system or brain in the means that researchers speculate, it may reduce pain and inflammation. However, there is limited information from human surveys to support the benefits of CBD oil, as there are constraints around the use and research of cannabis. Nevertheless, as the material becomes legalised in several regions, researchers are studying it further, and the studies are generating promising results.

So far, researchers looking at the advantages of CBD oil for people with RA are assuring. However, there is a necessity for substantial human studies to comprehend its effects fully. Remember that the FDA does not permit CBD oil, and it stays illegal in many states. Therefore, more research is essential before studies can say with certainty that CBD oil is a beneficial treatment for arthritis pain.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)  Q.1. Is rheumatoid arthritis worse at night?

A. Several research papers suggest that the body’s circadian rhythm may play a role. For example, in people with RA (rheumatoid arthritis), the body discharges less of the anti-inflammatory chemical cortisol at night, boosting inflammation-related pain. 

Q.2. How much is CBD needed for rheumatoid arthritis?

A. Usually, people take twenty to thirty-five milligrams of CBD regularly to relieve pain. You can take the total dosage at once or break it up throughout the day. However, it is best to consult a healthcare professional before deciding on the dose. 

Q.3. Does rheumatoid arthritis cause early death?

A. Patients with RA (rheumatoid arthritis) can face an increased risk of premature death and severe difficulties. However, it happens when the inflammation arising from RA isn’t well-controlled. In expansion to increased mortality rates, RA can result in poorer heart health if not managed well. 

Q.4. Is CBD oil addictive?

A. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not generate psychoactive effects. And while marijuana use can lead to addiction, current research indicates that CBD is not addictive. 

Q.5. Is there a difference in CBD oil quality?

A. Adequate CBD oil made by a respected company will tell you how much CBD you’re getting on the label. You should either look for the concentration or the total number of mg in the bottle. CBD oils should include 250–1000mg per 10ml bottle. 

Q.6. Can CBD oil help autoimmune diseases?

A. Cannabis therapies help people with autoimmune ailments by preventing inflammation with little to no adverse reactions. According to preclinical studies, CBD can increase autoimmune response on top of reducing the gene transcription that stimulates inflammation. 

Q.7. Which is better, hemp oil or CBD oil?

A. Hemp oil generally has more nourishing benefits, while CBD oil is reasonable for treating the ailments like anxiety and depression. And when it comes to CBD oil and hemp oil for pain relief, CBD oil is the best (although hemp oil can benefit too). 

Q.8. Can CBD replace prednisone?

A. The introductory study showed CBD administration either improved the therapeutic impact of steroids or decreased steroid dosage while retaining or enhancing the steroid’s therapeutic effect. In addition, in all patients treated, the steroid dose conducted with CBD slowly reduced over time. 

Q.9. How fast does CBD work for inflammation?

A. That relies on how you use your CBD oil. The most reliable consumption procedure is sublingual, using a tincture or sprays under the tongue. According to the American Arthritis Foundation, you can usually feel the consequences within fifteen to forty-five minutes.

Q.10. Does CBD help with inflammation and joint pain?

A. A study indicates that CBD has anti-arthritic action and may support symptoms by targeting the cells that result in inflammation. In addition, research from 2017 implies that CBD helped enhance markers of pain, inflammation, and nerve injury in an animal criterion of osteoarthritis.

The post An Analysis: CBD Oils Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis appeared first on HealthifyMe.

- Parul Dube

Turmeric for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Benefits and Uses HealthifyMe HealthifyMe - The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.

The prevalence rate of rheumatoid arthritis is 1%, i.e., around 14 million people. It is a worldwide chronic inflammatory disease with progressive joint damage, leading to permanent disability in many instances. Rheumatoid arthritis is incurable, but people suffering from this disease can undoubtedly take preventive measures to reduce the cases of flare-ups and prevent the further complications associated with it. In addition, the prescribed medications and healthful dietary changes and lifestyle modifications help people lead a happy life by keeping the flare-ups at bay. Furthermore, various spices and foods help reduce the inflammatory response of rheumatoid arthritis. One of them is turmeric. 

Turmeric is a popular spice in recipes and an alternative treatment for several conditions. For example, for 5,000 years in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, turmeric helps to treat arthritis. Curcumin is the part of turmeric that shows positive effects while treating rheumatoid arthritis. It can treat the symptoms of RA but not the cause. It can be exciting to hear of a natural remedy for rheumatoid arthritis, but it’s essential to know more about it. 

Turmeric: Queen of Spices

Turmeric is a golden coloured and intensely flavoured spice extracted from the root of the plant Curcuma longa, which grows in India and Indonesia. People use its rhizome for culinary and traditional medicinal purposes. Traditionally in India, it has been used for treating skin disorders, upper respiratory tract, joints, and digestive systems. Turmeric contains an active compound named curcumin, responsible for imparting yellow to orangish hue. You might be curious why turmeric is named ‘Queen of Species’ and how it even helps manage rheumatoid arthritis.

Scientific studies have shown that curcumin in turmeric exhibits antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. These properties can reduce the risk of malignant diseases and other chronic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis. 

Nutritional Values of Turmeric

Turmeric is a vibrant yellow-coloured spice rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, iron, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, and dietary fibre. In addition, it possesses excellent antioxidant properties that reduce the risk of severe health complications like heart diseases or diabetes. 

The nutritional content of ground turmeric per 100g:

Macronutrients Water: 12.8 gEnergy: 312 kcalProtein: 9.68 gTotal Lipid: 3.25 gDietary fibre: 22.7 gCarbohydrates: 67.1 gSugars: 3.21 g Micronutrients Calcium: 168 gIron: 55 mgMagnesium: 208 mgPhosphorus: 299 mgPotassium: 2080 mgSodium: 27 mgZinc: 4.5 mgCopper: 1.3 mgManganese: 19.8 mg Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Treatment Overview

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its healthy cells instead of protecting it from foreign invaders, which bring various diseases and infections. It initially affects smaller joints, progresses towards larger joints, and ultimately affects internal body organs such as the heart, kidney, lungs, eyes, and skin. Without proper treatment, bones and cartilage of joints are usually damaged and destroyed, resulting in weakened tendons and ligaments. A weakened state of joints leads to deformities and bone erosion. As a result, the patients would feel stiffness, constant fatigue, fever, weight loss, swollen and tender joints, and rheumatoid nodules under the skin.

The current pharmaceutical treatment medications include steroids, analgesics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which help reduce the symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis, such as severe joint pain and inflammation. However, long-term use of these medications results in inadequate pain relief, immune disturbances, and gastrointestinal and cardiovascular disease complications. Therefore, people started using herbal therapies with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to prevent further complications. In addition, studies show that turmeric extract and herbal turmeric dietary supplements profoundly inhibited joint inflammation. As a result, it resulted in excellent rheumatoid arthritis treatments with minimal side effects. 

Turmeric for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Curcumin in turmeric provides healing qualities. In addition, clinical trial studies show that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties were well-tolerated, had no adverse effects, and exerted an anti-rheumatic activity. Another study focused on the effectiveness of curcumin alone and in combination with diclofenac sodium in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. According to the results, curcumin treatment was safe and did not cause adverse reactions. Furthermore, curcumin administration suppressed the disease activity of rheumatoid arthritis. And patients receiving curcumin (500 mg) had the highest percentage of improvement than people treated with diclofenac sodium (50 mg) alone or their combination.

It is essential to note the effects of turmeric are similar to Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (usually abbreviated as NSAIDs). As a result, it can treat rheumatoid arthritis inflammation and pain. That is, turmeric can treat the symptoms of RA but not the cause. Treating arthritis with corticosteroids and anti-inflammatories inhibits Nuclear factor kappa B, a factor signalling inflammation. And turmeric can have the same effect. So inhibiting it is similar to turning off many inflammatory molecules. 

Curcumin works to combat rheumatoid arthritis by blocking inflammatory enzymes and cytokines. Therefore, it targets specific inflammatory cells and blocks certain enzymes that lead to rheumatoid arthritis inflammation. Before you consider adding turmeric (or any supplement) to your regimen, check if it’s a safe option for you.

Other Health Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric possesses many benefits because it possesses potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents. Here are some evidence-based benefits of turmeric and its active compound, curcumin.

Turmeric Has Medicinal Properties

Turmeric contains a bioactive compound named curcuminoids. Curcumin is one of the curcuminoids which possess medicinal properties. It is yellow-coloured and extracted from turmeric. This compound has excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. While there are issues regarding its bioavailability as curcumin is poorly absorbed in the bloodstream. In Ayurvedic practices, the medicinal properties of turmeric help strengthen the overall energy and immunity of the body. 

Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation is generally related to the risk of developing metabolic health conditions or progressing toward severe complications. Curcumin present in turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It fights against free radicals and prevents oxidative stress and cellular damage, reducing inflammation. Curcumin blocks the molecules associated with inflammation. Curcumin prevents the risk of complications and eases inflammation in various health conditions such as cancer, metabolic syndrome, degenerative conditions, and cardiovascular disease.

Prevents Development of Degenerative Diseases

A protein named brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is responsible for enhancing neurons’ life in the brain. It plays an essential role in improving memory and learning. But brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and depression indicate decreased levels of BDNF protein. Some studies show that curcumin increases the levels of BDNF protein which results in delayed progression of degenerative processes and even reversing of brain disorders. It may also help in delaying age-related decrease in brain function.

Improves Skin Health

Turmeric is a potent source of anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties, which helps treat various skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, and psoriasis. In addition, some reviews suggest that oral curcumin is an effective and safe method to treat chronic inflammatory skin disorders. However, the research is still lacking.

The Best Ways of Eating Turmeric Turmeric Tea Preparation time: 5 minutesCooking time: 15 minutesServings: 2

Ingredients

Turmeric (grounded): ½ tspBlack pepper powder: ¼ tspLemon Juice: 2 tbspWater: 2 cupsRaw Honey: 1 tsp

Method of Preparation

Add water, turmeric, lemon juice, and black pepper to a small pot. Whisk together and boil it over high heat. When the tea starts to boil, turn the heat on low and simmer it for 10 minutes.Turn off the heat, add honey, and let the tea cool down for a minute.Pour the tea into a mug through a strainer.Enjoy the drink. Turmeric Smoothie Preparation time: 5 minutesServings: 2

Ingredients

Dairy-free Milk: 1 cupPineapple chunks, frozen: 2 CupsBanana: 1Turmeric, grated: 1 tbspGinger, grated: 1 tsp

Method of Preparation

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend it for 30 seconds at high speed.Blend it until it’s creamy.Serve it cold. Turmeric Milk Preparation time: 10 minutesCooking time: 5 minutesServings: 1

Ingredients

Turmeric grounded: ¼ tspCardamom grounded: ¼ tspBlack pepper grounded: ⅛ tspGinger, grounded: 1 pinchCloves grounded: 1 pinchAllspice grounded: 1 pinchMilk: 1 cupHoney: ¾ tspVanilla extract: ⅛ teaspoon

Method of Preparation

Whisk turmeric, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, cloves, and allspice together in a small bowl.Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.Stir honey and vanilla extract into the milk mixture until dissolved.Whisk one teaspoon of turmeric mixture into the milk mixture.Cook the milk for 2-3 minutes until the flavours blend.Pour the mixture into the mug through a strainer and serve. Turmeric Ginger Drink Preparation time: 5 minutesCooking time: 20 minutesServing: 8

Ingredients

Turmeric, grated: 125 gGinger, grated: 20 gBlack pepper: 1-2 pinchLemon juice: 2 tbspHoney: 1 tspCoconut water: 4 cups

Method of Preparation

Rinse and clean the turmeric and ginger with hot water.Slice the turmeric and ginger into thin disks.Add turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and coconut water into the blender. Blend it on high speed for a minute until it’s smooth.Pour the mixture into the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes.Add lemon juice and honey and give a good stir.Strain the mixture through the sieve. Pour it into a jar and refrigerator.Serve it chilled or warm, and enjoy. Potential Adverse Effects

Turmeric usually doesn’t cause serious side effects. However, side effects are more common at higher doses. For example, it might cause stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhoea. Although consuming turmeric in its natural form promotes health, anything in excess triggers unwanted reactions. 

Curcumin, the active compound found in turmeric, tends to cause gastric troubles. It causes diarrhoea and nausea with excess consumption. In addition, some people experience allergic reactions from eating turmeric and or having skin contact. 

Experts recommend 500–2,000 mg of turmeric per day. While there are no standard turmeric or curcumin doses, the following seem safe:

For osteoarthritis: 500 mg of turmeric extract twice daily for 2–3 months.For high cholesterol: 700 mg of turmeric extract twice daily for three months.500 mg of turmeric three times daily for itchy skin for two months. Conclusion

Rheumatoid arthritis is incurable, which is a significant reason it becomes essential for individuals suffering from this disease to make the right choices to prevent the progression and complications. Lifestyle modifications and adapting to dietary interventions and herbal therapies effectively prevent rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups and associated complications.

In conclusion, curcumin seems to help reduce and prevent rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups and complications. In addition, it can be effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis inflammation and pain. Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory that blocks cytokines and enzymes involved in the inflammation process. Although turmeric is safe for most individuals, certain people may have to avoid it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Q. Is apple cider vinegar good for arthritis?

A. Yes, it is suitable for arthritis. The pectin, acetic acid, and malic acid in apple cider vinegar reduce the pain and stiffness. However, despite claims that ACV can help with RA, there’s no proof it does.

Q. Are apples good for arthritis?

A. Apples are packed with vitamin C, fibre, polyphenols, and phytonutrients. These compounds reduce the risk of developing and help treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Simply meaning, apples are good for arthritis.

Q. How do you stop rheumatoid arthritis inflammation?

A. There are various treatments used to reduce the inflammatory responses of arthritis, for example, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid medications, healthy dietary choices, and other therapies. They help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and prevent the progression of joint damage.

Q. What triggers rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups?

A. Consuming foods such as processed foods, meat products, alcohol, sugary products and beverages, refined grains, and dairy products can trigger the flare-ups in rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, overexertion, stress, poor sleep quality, and infection can set the symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. These symptoms lead to swollen and stiff joints with persistent pain.

Q. What foods reverse rheumatoid arthritis?

A. Rheumatoid arthritis is an irreversible condition. There are no such foods that can reverse rheumatoid arthritis, but there are foods that do ease up the inflammation and manage arthritis. Foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, green tea, fruits, vegetables, berries, garlic, onion, and fatty fish help relieve inflammation and joint pain in this autoimmune disorder. In addition, eating foods with a high concentration of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties with proper medications can manage rheumatoid arthritis.

Q. What time of day should you take turmeric?

A. Most people prefer taking turmeric in the morning with an empty stomach, but taking it in the morning and night before bed seems to be the trick to preventing and controlling inflammatory responses that lead to joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. In addition, taking turmeric at night soothes and relaxes the body, resulting in sound sleep.

Q. Can you take turmeric long-term?

A. Taking turmeric for a long term can cause acid reflux, diarrhoea, dizziness, headache, and upset stomach. In addition, increased intake of turmeric over a long time increases the risk of kidney stone formation due to increased oxalate levels. Long-term and high doses of turmeric can also pose the risk of ulcers. 

Q. What is the best way to take turmeric for inflammation?

A. Turmeric is the best spice to relieve inflammation. There are many ways to consume turmeric: turmeric water, turmeric milk, adding turmeric in a smoothie or juice, eating turmeric in veggies, turmeric tea with a pinch of black pepper, and various other cooking methods. But the best way to take turmeric to reduce inflammation is by drinking turmeric water in the morning with a meal or on an empty stomach.

Q. How much turmeric should you take a day for arthritis?

A. There is a recommended amount of turmeric to relieve the pain associated with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. It should be no more than 500 mg twice a day. However, please consult a physician before taking turmeric as it can interact with medications and interferes with their mechanism. Turmeric is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, but excess consumption of any food is toxic to the body. Therefore, the recommended amount is essential to prevent the high consumption of foods. 

The post Turmeric for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Benefits and Uses appeared first on HealthifyMe.

- Parul Dube

Consequences of Anxiety Disorder on the Body HealthifyMe HealthifyMe - The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.

Mental health disorders are a widespread problem in today’s world and have affected millions of people through anxiety in the body.. According to the WHO, anxiety disorders led to a global total of 24.6 million in 2015. In addition, there was a massive 25% increase in mental health disorders after the pandemic. These mental health disorders have affected people from every walk of life. However, discussing your mental health is frowned upon. As a result, many individuals avoid discussing it in public.

Mental diseases not only impair a person’s mental health, but they also cause tremendous levels of stress on the body, resulting in a variety of physical side effects.. They cause various problems ranging from simple dermatitis to life-threatening conditions like cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it becomes significant to understand and address these problems.

Anxiety Disorder: An Introduction

Anxiety in the body is an unpleasant state that one experiences in response to anticipated events. Unlike fear, there is no immediate danger in case of anxiety. However, our mind creates false circumstances and perceives them as threats. For example, we might feel anxious before an examination. Our minds make us believe that we are not ready for the exam or that it might have all the questions we are not confident in answering.

It’s natural to feel anxious occasionally, but persistent and incapacitating anxiety could suggest that you have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are common and disabling conditions that mostly begin during childhood or adolescence. They impair the individual’s daily functioning and, if not treated, become chronic. Chronic anxiety disorders cause various physical and personality disorders. In other words, anxiety becomes a condition the instant it begins to interfere with your daily tasks.

Neurohormonal Cause

According to research, stress is the primary cause of anxiety on the body. Furthermore, continuous and chronic stress leads to a few severe mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. Before we understand anxiety, we need to know about the neurohormonal basis of stress. 

Fight or Flight

Based on a study, certain hormones help in the fight or flight response, which is a fundamental mechanism behind stress reactions. When any animal faces a threat in the form of a predator, there are two ways to tackle it, either run away or fight. Thus, both of these options require our body to function at its maximum. Physical stress stimulates the HPA axis and sympathetic nervous system, linking your brain and pituitary gland. The pituitary gland stimulates certain hormones like adrenaline, epinephrine and cortisol, which signal your body to increase the heart rate. Increased heart rate sends more blood to the muscles, allowing them to work more efficiently. At this point, your body is in full-on offensive gear, which makes you experience a kind of adrenaline during particularly stressful situations, called an adrenaline rush. 

There are certain downsides associated with an adrenaline rush. All the mechanisms that help fight or flight response do not calculate the amount of stress put on the body. Hence, when you are in this stage the body does not feel the pain or tiredness. Once this mode wears off, all the exhaustion starts coming in together. 

If our bodies are constantly under stress, the HPA axis, which is the main regulatory centre, becomes suppressed. The suppression causes the hormones to go haywire, and when excitation hormones dominate, humans suffer from anxiety disorders. Conversely, if the excitation hormones get suppressed, we suffer from depression.

Diagnosis

In most circumstances, you can self-diagnose the problem. However, it is preferable to seek professional assistance. Also, one can use DASS-21 which is the most used self-assessment questionnaire for anxiety disorders. The Anxiety disorder scale measures physical and situational anxieties, when therapists use a combination of questionnaires and interviews to diagnose you. In addition, you can opt for biomedical tests. However, because they are expensive and infrequently reliable, they are not routinely utilised for diagnosis.

Anxiety Disorder Related Conditions

Anxiety disorders occur concurrently with substance abuse disorders, major depressive disorders and personality disorders. They are associated with the withdrawal of certain medications like benzodiazepines(sleeping medicine)and alcohol. It is also present in the cases of chronic pain and irritable bowel syndrome. As per studies, anxiety has been linked to hyperthyroidism and pheochromocytoma

Classification of Anxiety Disorders 

Anxiety manifests itself in many forms. However, phobic disorder and panic disorder are the two most important classifiers.

Phobias

Phobia is an anxiety disorder where the individual has an intense, irrational fear of something that poses little to no danger. You can further divide it into Agoraphobia, Social phobias and specific phobias.

Agoraphobia

It is the fear of places or situations where getting away would be difficult. This fear can involve confined spaces, crowded areas, and aeroplanes, and it is linked to panic disorder, although it can also arise independently of generalised anxiety disorder. This Phobia comes under a different diagnosis under DSM-5.

Social Phobia

The condition where the person constantly thinks he will make a fool out of himself in social settings is social phobia. The person with this phobia suffers immensely and has constant doubt and suspicion. Their condition prevents them from taking compliments from others seriously and from having a social life. The individuals who suffer from this condition constantly think that others are scrutinising them and It affects their ability to get a job or to make friends. They might as well sweat excessively, stammer  and tremble. Resulting in low self-esteem.

Specific Phobias

Fear of specific objects and situations. Some widespread phobias include.

Arachnophobia: Arachnophobia is possibly the most well-known of all phobias. It is the fear of spiders or arachnids.Ophidiophobia: Ophidiophobia is the fear of snakes. Acrophobia: Acrophobia, or fear of heights. This phobia is associated with frequent panic attacks. Aerophobia: Aerophobia is the fear of flying. Other Anxiety Disorders

Panic Disorder and Generalised Anxiety Disorder are two other anxiety disorders.

Panic Disorders

This occurs when you have multiple panic attacks in a short period of time. It is an acute form of anxiety in the body that includes physical effects such as increased heart rate, palpitations, chills, trembling, pins, and needle sensation. It is a life-threatening condition if not managed immediately. 

Generalised Anxiety Disorders

It is a condition characterised by excessive worries and feelings of fear, dread, and uneasiness that last six months or longer. Other symptoms of GAD include being restless, tired or irritable, tensed muscles, inability to concentrate, insomnia, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, sweating, and dizziness.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

We often use OCD to describe a  need to keep things orderly or neat. However, the “real” OCD is not that simple. People suffering from these disorders are plagued by repetitive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.They have ritualistic behaviour and may perform simple tasks such as hand-washing, checking and cleaning multiple times. OCD also causes horrifying disorders like Trichotillomania, an obsessive need to pull the hair from its roots which leads them in balding of scalp 

Reaction to Severe Stress and Adjustment Disorders

These disorders are a reaction to acute stress and separation issues. Therefore, you can further classify them as Acute Stress Reactions, PTSD and Adjustment Disorders.

Acute Stress Reactions and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Axtell Stress Reactions is a stress disorder that is characterised by trance-like states and lasts for more than a month after experiencing overwhelming trauma. Furthermore, If it persists for more than a month, it is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This disorder is characterised by dissociative symptoms, vivid recollections of the traumatic event, hyperarousal and dreams related to the traumatic events. It is primarily common among Sexual abuse victims and army soldiers.

Adjustment Disorders

A condition in which a person reacts to a stressful event such as illness, job loss, or divorce with extreme emotions and behaviours that cause problems at work and at home.The symptoms for Adjustment disorder will generally last for less than six months. Resulting the person to suffer from significant anxiety and may have panic attacks.

Anxiety: Short Term Effects on Your Health Heart Palpitations

Palpitations is a condition where we can hear our heartbeat.  The heart beats quickly by increasing blood flow to the muscle.s. However, as the muscles are not in the usage stage, there is a pooling of blood to the legs. Due to this pooling, the blood does not reach the brain leading to syncope or fainting.If you find yourself in a situation where your heartbeat is racing, try taking deep breaths. If the person has already fainted, place them on their back and raise their legs to restore blood flow to the brain.

Hyperventilation

According to a study, the individual takes many short gasps like breaths during an anxiety attack. It increases the oxygen supply to the lungs and decreases the carbon-di-oxide level significantly, which is a problem  because the balance must be maintained. That leads to narrowing  blood vessels that supply blood to the brain, leading to lightheadedness and dizziness.

Decreased Appetite

We lose appetite when anxiety in the body suppresses the body’s natural parasympathetic processes, which are digestion, excretion and secretion of bodily fluids,. As a result, it gives  an unhealthy weight loss. In addition, when the body’s secretions suppress, it results in dry eyes and dry mouth.

Other common short term effects on the body during anxiety are tremors, excessive sweating, loss of concentration and fatigue. 

Anxiety: Long Term Effects on the Body Cardiovascular Diseases

According to WHO, depression and anxiety are leading causes of disability and diseases. As per meta-analytic study, individuals with anxiety disorder tend to be at a higher risk for cardiovascular mortality, coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure. Meanwhile, Phobic anxiety is more significantly associated with coronary heart disease (heart attack), and post-traumatic Stress Disorder is associated with stroke. Also, in a yet another meta-analytic study says individuals with anxiety disorders had a 52% increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Substance Abuse

A study shows that anxiety on the body is associated with substance abuse. Individuals generally use alcohol to appease their anxiety, leading to hard drugs like cocaine, LSD, and morphine. It is a complex cycle to get rid of. Furthermore, it affects a person’s social, personal and professional life. In addition, substance abuse deteriorates the body along with anxiety.

Disorders of Head and Neck

Temporomandibular disorders are problems associated with jaws. Research indicates that they are also related to stress and anxiety. For example, myofascial dysfunction syndrome can lead to severe and constant pain in the facial area. According to another study, anxiety is the primary reason for this condition. In addition, oral ulcers called aphthous ulcers are also seen mainly due to anxiety.

Self Harm

Data indicates that Anxiety generally leads to self-harm. This behaviour can be present in Trichotillomania which involves pulling out your hair. They also tend to cut and burn themselves. 

Eating Disorders

According to a study, eating disorders are also prevalent in these individuals which leads them to certain conditions.Bulimia nervosa is a condition in which individuals consume food and intentionally throw up to maintain their weight. Anorexia is a condition where the individual is highly concerned with weight and has body image issues leading to non-consumption of food and wasting muscles.

Natural Ways to Manage Anxiety Mindful Meditation

Mindful meditation entails concentrating on your feelings in the present moment and paying close attention to your senses without judgement. It can be done by the methods of breathing and visualisation. It allows the body  to get out of your auto-pilot mode and concentrate on the feelings which helps the body to  manage stress. According to a study, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction or Mindful Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and showed a significant effect on managing anxiety disorders.

Yoga

Yoga has become a popular method of managing anxiety. A study has also proven that yoga is an excellent way to manage stress and anxiety on the body. It improves the mood significantly and helps to be mindful of the feelings. Therefore, you can use it as a complementary management method. In addition, it also helps in reducing treatment costs and usage of drugs.

Stop Smoking

According to research, smoking significantly increases anxiety symptoms. Although it is not yet confirmed, considering the underlying mechanisms, it is very plausible. Hence, smoking might be the first step toward improving the quality of your life.

The Bottom Line

Anxiety is a condition that has a negative impact on our bodies and is extremely disabling. It can be maintained by making a few  changes in lifestyle and diet. According to studies, yoga and meditation are highly effective. However, it is advised to take professional help from a therapist. As per last reports, Pharmacotherapy is a essential method used to treat anxiety and prioritise your Mental health. Thus, Seek a professional help, and do not ignore the warning signs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Q. What are the physical symptoms of anxiety?

A. Physical symptoms of anxiety include increased heart rate, palpitations; shortness of breath, rapid breathing; chest pain or pressure; choking sensation; dizzy, light-headed; sweaty, hot flashes, chills; nausea, upset stomach, diarrhoea; trembling, shaking; tingling or numbness in arms and legs; weakness, unsteadiness, faintness; tense muscles, rigidity; and dry mouth.

Q. Can anxiety cause weird sensations?

A. Yes, anxiety can cause weird sensations, making the body feel tingly or numb. These are called phantom sensations, which occur due to the fight or flight response. It might also lead the body to feel dizzy and light-headed as enough oxygen is not reaching the brain.

Q. How do I get rid of anxiety in my body?

A. You can make a few lifestyle changes like physical activity, yoga, meditation, and picking up therapeutic hobbies. You can also take professional help from psychologists.

Q. What happens in the body during anxiety?

A. During anxiety, your body switches off all the normal mechanisms and focuses on increasing the blood flow to muscles. As a result, your heart starts beating rapidly while your digestive processes stop.

Q. How do you tell if it’s anxiety or something else?

A. If you have feelings of unrest and uneasiness constantly without any upcoming event, you probably have anxiety. You can differentiate it from fear or worry as they have a reason not made up by your mind. Anxiety has fixed symptoms like palpitations, dry mouth, hyperventilation, sweaty palms etc. However, it is normal to feel anxious sometimes. You should visit a doctor only if you are constantly feeling anxious to the point where it is affecting your daily life activities. 

Q. Why is my anxiety suddenly worse?

A. Your anxiety might sometimes get worse due to certain triggers. For example, they might be stressful situations at home, office/school or due to medications. In addition, if you are taking caffeine or alcohol, it might worsen your anxiety. 

Q. What happens if anxiety is left untreated?

A. There are many adverse long-term and short-term effects of anxiety on the body. The anxiety in the body will take over your life and will not allow you to function properly. Generally, you will be more susceptible to cardiovascular and immunological disorders. In addition, you will have difficulty eating and sleeping, significantly affecting your work or study life. Hence, it would help if you got treated for anxiety.

Q. How do I get tested for anxiety?

A. You can take a self-assessment test or go to a professional psychologist. The most common self-assessment questionnaire is DASS-21. It is a form that contains 21 questions. Seven questions help measure your anxiety, and the other seven measure your stress and the remaining seven measure your depression scale. Psychologists also use questionnaires and interviews to determine if you have anxiety.

Q. Can anxiety go away without medication?

A. There is a possibility of anxiety going away without medication. However, it depends from person to person. Many people can be cured through therapy and lifestyle changes.. However, it is not a simple task and might take years for effects to show up. In some individuals, medications become a compulsion.

Q. Can anxiety be cured naturally?

A.Yes, anxiety can be treated naturally through lifestyle changes such as yoga and exercise. You can also include meditation and limit your caffeine and alcohol consumption to cure your anxiety.

The post Consequences of Anxiety Disorder on the Body appeared first on HealthifyMe.

- Parul Dube

Discover What Your Body Shape Says About Your Heart HealthifyMe HealthifyMe - The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.

Are you a pear? An apple? Or maybe an inverted triangle? One way to figure this out is by taking four body measurements: hips, waist, bust, and shoulders. Understanding your body shape can help improve your lifestyle and stay healthy. The body shape tells the overall fat distribution in your body. As a result, it could help you find the most effective workouts.

Multiple factors can determine your body shape. For example, genetics, lifestyle, gender, bone structure, muscle mass, and age are common factors that affect your body shape. Each body shape is beautiful in its way. However, there are different health risks associated with somebody’s figure. For example, a body type with extra fat in the abdomen indicates cardiac risk factors. But not all body shapes show excess fat accumulation in the abdominal region. Keep reading to discover the body shape you have to find what it reveals about your heart health.

Apple-Shaped Body

Apple shape, also known as a circle or round body type, refers to curvy people with a less defined waist. The bust is larger compared to the hip section. People with apple-shaped figures tend to put weight first in the upper body section. The apple body shape shows the highest risk for abdominal obesity, leading to a higher probability of heart disease. High risk is because the fatty cells around your waist trigger an inflammatory response. It releases cytokines, a substance responsible for heart ailments.

A study suggests that an apple-shaped woman shows the most significant risk of heart disease despite having an average weight. The highest fat percentage was around their middle section and the lowest in their legs. Among postmenopausal women with an average body mass index, those with more fat on their trunks (apple shape) were 40% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

Here is why belly fat in apple body type causes so many problems, including heart complications.

The belly fat spreads deep within your abdominal cavity and fills the space between organs. It influences metabolism and releases fatty acids into the bloodstream, increasing cholesterol and triglycerides and exerting heart damage. Belly fat can cause metabolic syndrome that can disrupt pancreatic functions. As a result, the blood sugar stays high, and you’re at risk for diabetes. If you have diabetes, it increases your chances of developing heart disease or having a stroke. Apple-shaped people are genetically predisposed to store more belly fat. As a result, it leads to higher blood pressure, blood glucose, and LDL cholesterol, which also increases other cardiovascular risks. What to Do

Reduce your apple-shaped waistline by following a high-intensity exercise and calorie deficit diet. Avoid eating corn, white potatoes, refined grains, bagels, white bread, pizza, and added sugars since they cause more fat accumulation and spike your blood sugar level.

Pear-Shaped Body

A pear shape, also known as a triangle body type, is a figure with broader hips than the shoulder. Multiple surveys show that women shaped like pears are at lower risk for stroke and heart attack than their apple-shaped counterparts. Women with pear body types show more fat in the hip and leg region. A journal published study shows that higher per cent leg fat was associated with decreased risk of heart disease. But higher per cent trunk fat combined with lower per cent leg fat (Apple shape) is the high-risk group.

What to Do

Diet and exercise form the general formula for a healthy weight and efficient heart. It’s the same for a pear-shaped body. Since pear women are prone to metabolic disorders, it is best to take precautions. It starts with eating smaller portions and avoiding processed foods.

Hourglass Body Shape

An hourglass figure shows fairly balanced hips and shoulders with a defined waist. The legs are in proportion with your upper body. Unlike apple and pear types, the concentration of fat accumulation is not in one area for the hourglass shape. As a result, weight gain can be hard to spot. If you become overweight, you are at higher risk for heart disease. When an hourglass person carries extra weight around the waist, it accumulates visceral fat. Visceral fat is a dangerous type of fat that is present in and around the organs.. It damages them over time. As a result, overweight people with hourglass body types become prone to heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.

What to Do

Full-body workout routines are perfect for hourglass-shaped people. It helps to target the fat in both the upper and lower body. Hourglass people can also eat more high-fibre and low-fat foods to reduce weight and maintain heart health.

Inverted Triangle Body Shape

You’re likely an inverted triangle if your shoulders are broader than your hips. Though you do not have a well-defined waist, you have slender legs, small hips and broad shoulders. The risk of heart disease is not significant among inverted triangle people, unlike pear and apple types. But due to the larger bust, they can have more breast density. Higher breast density indicates the presence of more connective tissue than fatty tissue. Therefore, it increases the risk of breast cancer. 

Inverted triangle-shaped people should keep their BMI in check. Being overweight or obese with an inverted triangle body shape can increase your risk of heart ailments. 

What to Do

It’s no surprise that you should be physically active while eating a low fat, balanced diet.

The Best Heart Healthy Exercise for an Apple Shaped Body

For a healthy heart, people with apple-shaped bodies must exercise at least 30 minutes per day to lose weight. It is also beneficial to combine abdominal strengthening exercises to tighten the muscle and reduce belly fat.

Some excellent exercise tips for apple-shaped body styles are:

If you are an apple, running can help you burn more calories and lose body fat. It is the best exercise for those looking to achieve described results in a short time. However, running requires a higher amount of energy. As a result, more calories and fat burn. Apple-shaped women can perform core strengthening exercises and aerobic training to slim down the waist portion. In addition, a cardiovascular training session of at least forty minutes, four times per week, is ideal. A strength training program with resistance exercise helps build muscle strength, which is crucial in minimising fat accumulation. Including strength-training activities for at least two sessions per week enables you to burn fat. Yoga and Pilates are excellent choices for apple women since they have disproportionate lower bodies than the upper body. In addition, it tones the midriff and pulls in your stomach muscles. The Best Heart Healthy Exercise for a Pear Shaped Body

A pear-shaped body is typically not in danger of heart disease. However, pear-shaped people have a more challenging time losing weight. As a result, they store excess fat in their lower half. This unwanted fat is called passive fat, which is a stubborn kind but not as dangerous as visceral fat. This fat in pears places extra stress on the legs, leading to knee and leg joint diseases. The condition worsens over time and might impact heart functions.

To manage stubborn fat accumulation, following a disciplined exercise routine is necessary. Some of the best exercises for a pear-shaped body are:

Knee lift and bicep curlSquatsDonkey kickPush up with a leg lift on a stability ballLungesJumping jacksPush-ups and leg raise Conclusion

Discovering your body type is more than finding an outfit that flatters your figure. Most women align with one of the five body shapes: apple, pear, hourglass, inverted triangle, or ruler. Knowing this will help you learn how to improve your overall health. For example, multiple analyses show that apple shape is associated with heart risks. People who carry weight around their abdomen, rather than their thighs and hips, are at increased risk of heart disease. Hourglass people tend to have extra weight all over the body, including visceral fat around the midsection. So, they’re also at risk of heart disease. No matter what body type you are in, the goal is to stay active, eat a balanced diet, and maintain a healthy weight.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Q. What does your body shape say about you?

A. Bigger midsections can mean a higher risk of coronary illness. It can likewise mean a more increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. On the off chance that you are apple-moulded yet not overweight – meaning your weight list (BMI) is under 25 – you are currently at a higher risk for cardiovascular illness, malignant growth, and diabetes.

Q. What is a healthy body shape?

A. What makes the most significant difference isn’t your body shape but your lifestyle choices. However, how that shape affects your wellbeing and how you can more readily deal with your way of life to remain sound. Experts consider the hourglass shape the healthiest than the apple and pear shape. Remember, body shape alone is not enough to know how fit you are.

Q. What causes pear-shaped?

A. The fat aggregated around the chest and tummy makes our body form like an apple, while fat collected around the stomach and beneath, for example, on the thighs and rump, will make your body have a pear shape. The primary contrast between apple and pear body shapes is where the most circulated fat lies and how much fat is put away there. 

Q. How do you understand what body shape you have?

A. Your body shape depends on the connection between three focuses on your body: your shoulders/bust, midsection, and hips. Define a nonexistent boundary from your shoulders to your hips and consider where the line hits. It tends to be helpful to imagine the shape. For example, you are likely pear-shaped if your midsection and bust are smaller and your hips are wide. If you have slimmer legs and hips, you have an apple shape.

Q. Which body shape is best for females?

A. The ideal male shape is an altered pyramid with broad shoulders and little midriff, while the female model is an hourglass with perfect midsection-to-hip proportion. It is not our bodies that are wrong; it is the lifestyle choices that are wrong. Thus, all body types are best in their way. 

Q. What is the difference between an apple and a pear-shaped body?

A. Apple-shaped individuals show more than adequate midriffs and an inclination to weight in their mid-regions. Conversely, pear-formed people have more modest midsections and convey their additional pounds in the hips, thighs, and butt. The main difference between apple and pear body shapes is where the most distributed fat lies and how much fat is stored there.

Q. Is your body shape genetic?

A. Doctors propose that while your genetic qualities might decide up to 80 percent of your weight and body shape, lifestyle decisions assume a considerable part. So regardless of whether you’re a carbon copy of your mom in old family photographs, it doesn’t mean you’ll enter middle age with a similar body.

Q. Can a pear shape be skinny?

A. Pear-shaped people might have thin arms and legs, yet some additional cushioning at the waistline. Pear-moulded bodies will clutch fat in the hips, thighs, and butt more often than not. Your chest area might be thin, yet your lower body is heavier and thicker than you want. But with suitable calorie restriction diets and exercises, you might slim down a bit. 

Q. Which body shape is more attractive?

A. Nationwide surveys show that people view the hourglass body shape as the most attractive. Or a low waist-to-hip ratio is desirable. But all body types are perfect with their specific features.

Q. Do squats make your thighs bigger or smaller?

A. Squats will, in all likelihood, make your legs more defined and toned – particularly if you’re an endomorph or mesomorph (and assuming you’re doing significant squats). However, squats increment the size of your leg muscles (particularly quads, hamstrings, and glutes) and don’t do a lot to diminish the fat, so generally, your legs will look more muscular. Assuming that you’re attempting to reduce the muscles in your legs, you want to quit hunching down. Rushes and squats offer various advantages, yet they won’t assist you with focusing on specific regions of your body to get thinner.

The post Discover What Your Body Shape Says About Your Heart appeared first on HealthifyMe.

- Alpa Momaya
Recipe: Baked fish with veggies

Recipe: Baked fish with veggies HealthifyMe HealthifyMe - The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.

Baked fish with veggies Print Baked fish with veggies Fish is the best form of lean meat that proves to be an excellent source of protein. Do you remember when was the last time you had a lipsmacking fillet of fish that is homemade? If you think that it can't be achieved at home, here is a recipe that will blow you mind. But, we will do it the Indian style. The juiciest, most tender baked white fish with vegetables, using just about any firm white fish that you’d like – cod, tilapia, haddock, bass, catfish, grouper, etc. For a delightful lunch, the fish is baked and served with the most delectable vegetables of your choice. Course AppetizerKeyword Baked fish with veggies, fish Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes Servings 1 plate Calories 440kcal Ingredients1&#