Anti Aging Exercise. What Is It? Does it Work?

Do you believe there are ways to slow aging?  What are they?  Exercise? Diet?  Yoga? Hormone therapy?

There are a lot of people out there promoting their system to stop and reverse aging.  It’s overwhelming sometimes because so many of them are passionate about their solution/technique/pill/drink/exercise and you have no idea if it’s legit or not.

I’m going to explore this topic with four videos with differing viewpoints and then sum it up with my own opinion.

Here are the four (4) videos with varying approaches and opinions on the anti-aging discussion.

VIDEO 1

This first video is a good follow-up to last week’s post on HIIT cardio training.  I don’t always agree with Dr. Dan but he is knowledgeable and talks about what he believes is the best cardio for staying young. He is a knowledgeable and credible source.

He is correct about how endurance training is touted as being so good for you, when in reality it may not be.  This is a myth that is ingrained in our workout/weight loss culture. He talks about the effects of endurance training and the science behind it.

He also talks about resistance training and how it fits into an anti-aging lifestyle.

VIDEO 2

This is a video of a lecture that Dr. James Bell gave on exercise as a prescription for anti-aging.

He is speaking to a convention of doctors ( a few years ago), most of whom don’t seem to understand how important it is for their patients to participate in an exercise program, and additionally eat healthily. I’ve always wondered why doctors prescribe medicine and surgery to fix symptoms when they could truly help people by addressing the root of the problem, which is often being overweight or out of shape.  (BTW.  I know the answer to that question.)

I’m so glad he talks about the myth of young people and weight training.  That is a myth that needs to be addressed. Young people should be encouraged to exercise, even if it’s organized as fun activities.

VIDEO 3

This doctor talks about aging and how we accept things as we get older that we shouldn’t necessarily accept as a reality of getting older. He proposes what every wise health expert knows  –  that exercise and taking care of yourself is the key to living a long and fruitful life.

I’m a little suspicious of his anti-aging hormone methods, but he does understand the aging process and what’s necessary to slow it down.

VIDEO 4

This is my favorite online trainer because he doesn’t pull any punches.  He is very knowledgeable and always has a thoughtful opinion.  He understands and proposes the use of exercise and physicality as the most important part of staying younger than your chronological age.

He understands and proposes the use of exercise and physicality as the most important part of staying younger than your chronological age.

He’s good at explaining how we put limits on ourselves and accept that this is normal.  It’s not.

He demonstrates the five (5) simple things you should be able to do.  Try them and see if you can do them.  They are simple but more difficult than you might think.   Your goal is to master these 5 simple tests.

SUMMARY

It’s clear from all the experts and all the research that staying active is one of the keys to staying young throughout your life.  There are many other factors, including your inherited DNA, your diet, your sleep, etc., but exercise is one of the keys to staying young.

Exercise and diet are the two most important things you can do to fight off disease and stay young throughout your life.

It is possible.  You don’t have to give in to age and use it as an excuse for the deterioration of your body and lifestyle.

Wanna stay young and vibrant?

Meet me at the gym.

Best Cardio for Weight Loss. What Is It?

Everyone wants to know what’s the best way to lose weight, and besides the obvious answer of adjusting your diet and working out, the next question is:  Which is the best cardio for weight loss?

For the answer, you’ve come to the right place.  It’s not an easy question to answer but there is one predominantly best way to lose weight with this cardio.

H I I T

High Intensity Interval Training

There’s lots of buzz around High Intensity Interval Training because it works faster to shed pounds than any other form of exercise.

There are still lots of folks who, either haven’t heard of HIIT, or are not on board because they haven’t done the research to see how it can make the job of weight loss faster than the traditional cardio methods.

There are other factors.  It’s not an easy workout, so it may scare some folks off.  It takes a lot more effort than a traditional cardio workout, but it takes much less time to perform.

Change comes hard in every arena, so the traditional slow, steady cardio will always be around. It works and suits many people, but it isn’t as efficient or effective in burning fat as HIIT is.

That guy who spends an hour on the treadmill at the gym is not getting nearly the fat loss he could get with a 15-20 minute intense HIIT workout.

Let’s look at how it all works.

WHAT IS HIIT?

High Intensity Interval Training is performing a particular exercise at close to 100 percent effort for short bursts of time (3 seconds to 30 seconds), usually with a 30-45 second rest period in between each exercise.

Generally, workouts range between 10-30 minutes.  That’s about all you can take if you do it right.

HIIT workouts, although short, are significantly more intense than regular exercise, and lead to dramatically increased fitness gains.

HIIT is not only great for getting you in shape but it is a highly effective form of exercise for fat loss.

Crossfit, a form of HIIT,  is very popular right now because people have seen dramatic results from doing Crossfit.  You don’t have to do Crossfit to benefit from HIIT training. You can practice at home.  It just depends on what you prefer.

Tabata is also a form of HIIT. What is it?

It consists of 4-8 rounds of high-intense exercises usually done in a  20-seconds-on, 10-seconds-off interval (or similar). If done correctly it will push your body to the limit. A Tabata routine can last anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes.

There will be an upcoming article specifically on Tabata training.  I did a Tabata boot camp for years and love the training.  It can be fun.

 

SLOWS AGING

In addition to achieving fat loss, recent research has shown that High-Intensity Interval Training may actually reduce and reverse the aging process.   This is due to reducing damage done to the mitochondria—the part of each muscle cell that takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy for the cell.

In their research, according to biopsied muscle cells, doing interval training three times a week actually activates and changes more genes than strength training or moderate cardio.  Thus the conclusion is that HIIT improves age-related decline in muscle mitochondria”.

It is not so much that HIIT will make you live forever, but that the exercise will likely correct accelerated aging. There are so many reasons our cellular aging could be accelerated: environmental toxins, poor diet, inactivity, stress, etc. HIIT may undo a lot of that damage and keep your muscle cells energized and working as they should.

 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I DO HIIT EXERCISES?

HIIT wasn’t meant to be done every day. And if you’re able to actually do almost 100%  level of intensity seven days per week, you’re probably not really giving it 100%.

The idea is to elevate your heart rate for a brief period, followed by resting for a given period.   If you choose sprinting and walking as your HIIT exercise, the key is to go at your maximum effort during the sprints. Because you should be giving almost 100%, you should not do this every day, but every other day is OK.

Most people aren’t used to pushing themselves as hard as necessary for HIIT, especially a HIIT workout that’s as short as 7 or 10 minutes because it’s extremely uncomfortable. So, this is not for everyone, but I can tell you it’s a rush when you do a HIIT routine.

 

SUGGESTED EXERCISES
To get you started, here are seven (7) exercises sets that you can use to develop a good HIIT routine.  I’d suggest doing 2 or 3 of these sets for a day’s exercise.  No more.  They’re pretty intense.
The most important things to remember:
  • Go ALL OUT for the exercise portion and
  • Make sure you keep strict form.
 EXERCISE SET 1
Let’s start with a hard one. Do the following 3 exercises in this order:
  • Pull-Ups – Do them with a full range of motion- from fully stretched out to all the way up, and keep strict form while you’re doing them.
    Reps: As many as possible in 30 seconds
  • Jumping Jacks
    Reps: 40-60
  • Burpees
    Reps: 10-20
……and if you can do that 4 times in a row. you’re tough and probably in great shape.
 So this exercise is tough.  Start with the lower reps and work up to the higher reps.
EXERCISE SET 2
OK here’s another tough one.  We’ll start with the hardest ones and work out way down to easier exercises.

Complete the following circuit 4 times, resting 1 minute after jumping rope in each round.

  • Mountain Climbers
    Reps: 20-45
  • Pushups
    Reps: 20.
  • Jump Rope:
    Duration: 1 min.
 To make it a little easier you could eliminate the Pushups and do the Mountain Climbers and Jump Rope.  That’s a good workout. You can start with fewer reps fo the Mountain Climbers.
Repeat this one 4 times.
EXERCISE SET 3
 Complete the following circuit 4 times, resting 1 minute after the High Knees
  • Jump Rope
    Duration: 1 min.
  • Dips – from a bar or a bench or chair
    Reps: 12-25
  • High Knees
    Reps: 20-30 each knee – fast as you can

 

 

 

EXERCISE SET 4

Complete the following 3 exercises 4 times, resting 1 minute after the lunges.

  • Sprint
    Duration: 30 sec.
  • Squat Jumps
    Duration: 25-45 sec.
  • Lunges
    Reps: 15-20 each leg

You can do the lunges either in place or walking.

 

EXERCISE SET 5

Here is a sprinting HIIT exercise done in 3 difficulty levels.  Start with the Starting Level and work your way up to the Tough Level.

  • TOUGH LE VEL
    Sprint 80 yards in 10 seconds
    Rest: 30-50 sec.
    Repeat 10-20 times
  • AVERAGE LEVEL
    Sprint 60 yards in 10 seconds
    Rest: 30-50 sec.
    Repeat 10-20 times
  • STARTING LEVEL
    Sprint 50 yards in 10 seconds
    Rest: 1 minute
    Repeat 5 – 10 times
 EXERCISE SET 6
 In this exercise set, you’re going to use a treadmill, This is an inside exercise set.
  • Jump Squat
    20-30 seconds
  • Run On Treadmill
    4-6 speed, 2% incline
    Rest: 1 minute to 1.5 minutes

Repeat 3-5 times and increase the incline for each set.  You could also increase the speed on each set and decrease the rest.

 

 

EXERCISE SET 7

This is the most basic HIIT exercise set.  It involves sprinting and walking.  To make it harder, add a walking lunge instead of walking.
  • Sprint
    For 20-30 seconds as fast as you can
  • Walk 0r Walking Lunge
    For 30 – 60 seconds

Repeat 5-8 times.

An alternative (on a court):

  • Sprint 
    The full distance of the court
  • Walk
    Back to the starting point.
  • Sprint
    To the half court line
  • Walk 
    Back to the starting point.

Repeat this 4-6 times.

 

SUMMARY

If you’re serious about losing that fat that you’ve been carrying around for years, stop wasting your time on the treadmill and go do a couple of these HIIT Exercise Sets  – 3 times a week.

If you stick to it and go full out for each set, I promise you that you’ll lose weight,…….as long as you watch your food intake and maintain a balanced diet.

I’ve incorporated Cross Fit, Tabata and other HIIT exercises into my routine for many years and won’t go back to traditional cardio.  HIIT can be fun and much more effective in losing fat.

See you at the gym or park.

 

Body Weight Training vs Weight Training – Which is Best?

There are differing opinions on the subject of body weight training vs. weight training.

Here are 4 videos with some differing viewpoints on this subject.  It’s a great topic to discuss because there are people on both sides of the aisle.  You might even want to try some of these body weight exercises yourself and see if you like them as well or better than your typical weight training exercises.  Everyone is different and so one or the other may suit you better.  I’m guessing that a mix might be the best.

(NOTE: When trainers talk about calisthenics, they mean body weight exercise.)

 

VIDEO 1

Here is a video that lays out the arguments from both sides and describes what the advantages and disadvantages are of each type of workout.

You need to watch this to understand the pros and cons of each and which might be better suited for you.  Then we’ll delve into the topic more in depth in the remaining videos.

 

VIDEO 2

This video compares calisthenics (body weight training) with free weight training and additionally with machine workouts.  It’s a little long (9 minutes) but if you want a full review of all three (3) this is the video to watch.

Note that both of these first videos talk about the progressions in training your body.  Take notice of this issue.  It is one of the differing factors that all these trainers mention.

 

 

VIDEO 3

Here’s my favorite YouTube trainer, Jeff.  He’s very experienced, knows a lot about the subject of working out and weight training.

In this video, he talks about the pros and cons of calisthenics (body weight training) and the complexities of body weight training. He outlines four (4) pros and four (4) cons.

NOTE: He talks about a big lie associated with body weight training.

Great video.  Follow Jeff if you want great advice on many training subjects.  He’s the best,… in my opinion.

 

 

VIDEO 4

This trainer provides a very solid description of the advantages of body weight training. He is a big proponent of body weight training, although he didn’t get that body by just body weight training.  He won’t tell you that when he’s extolling the virtues of body weight training.

He makes a great point about the meatheads you see in the gym who only care about lifting heavier and heavier weights, and don’t care what they look like. Body weight training will contribute more to having a lean body because extra weight will hamper your progress.

 

 

SYNOPSIS

These videos are great in explaining the differences and advantages of both body weight training and weight training.  All of these trainers use both and understand the limitations of each.

I’ve done both body weight training and weight training.  I like to mix them up.

From my experience, the body weight training will keep you lean, but it’s not as good at building muscle size as all these trainers will lead you to believe……at least not in my experience.

All these guys got big by hitting the gym and then have mixed the body weight training into their routines to add an element of balance and movement efficiency and athleticism.

I participated in CrossFit and many boot camps, and they all were great for me.  I enjoyed and got great benefit from them, but for pure adding muscle onto your frame, it’s hard to beat a good ole lifting session at the gym.

RECOMMENDATION

Do Both.  

They each will add an important element to your body and weight goals. Each will contribute in giving you a well-balanced body.  You can do them on alternating days or you can do only one or the other. When I was doing boot camps and Crossfit, I didn’t have time for the gym.

Even if you do one to the exclusion of the other, you can’t go wrong if you are careful about your diet.  Some guys will just prefer one over the other.

See you at the gym….and the park.

 

 

 

 

Chest Exercises for Men – Which are the Best?

Men love to have big chests.  It’s one of those things that can make you look good, help you achieve that big upper body look and make you feel like a stud.

If you’ve got a big chest and big arms, almost nothing else matters.

That is the thinking of a lot of guys and why they concentrate on the upper body and those two muscle groups to the exclusion of other body parts.  Legs sometimes get ignored.  How many big buff guys have you seen with skinny legs?

Nonetheless, having a big chest is a big plus and gives you confidence in yourself.

There really aren’t any tricks to getting a big chest, but we’re gonna show you some techniques and twists to the traditional exercises to give you a leg up on gaining the most you can in the least amount of time.

Pick 2 or 3 exercises from this list of 14 exercises, and rotate the ones you use every 4 weeks. You want to hit different muscles of the chest every time you work out. Muscles easily get accustomed to your routine and to the stress you put on them, and so, to make gains, you need to switch it up often…..not every workout, but at least every 4 weeks.

Here are the Fourteen (14)  best exercises for your chest:

 

EXERCISE 1 – Barbell Chest Press

Let’s start with the most basic and best-known chest exercise.  There’s a reason it’s well-known and used often.

It’s a great exercise and involves more than just your chest muscles.  It’s a compound exercise and will work many more muscles than just your chest muscles.  Include this often in your chest workouts.

HOW TO:
  • Lie on your back on a bench
  • Grab a barbell with an overhand grip about shoulder-width apart. (Often the smooth rings are the place to try first)
  • Hold it above your chest with your arms fully extended. This will be your starting position.
  • Lower the bar straight down.
  • Make sure you keep your elbows close to your body.
  • DO NOT let the bar go all the way down to your chest.  This common mistake will cause undue stress to your shoulder and elbow joints.
  • Pause, and then press the bar in a straight line up to the starting position.

 

EXERCISE 2 – Decline Chest Press

This is one of those exercises that a lot of guys ignore and should be using because it will add new size and strength to your upper torso.  This is one you should include often to help you add muscle growth that may have been eluding you.

HOW TO:

  • Put your legs under the pad at the end of the decline bench
  • Use a medium-width grip. (Again, you may start by using the smooth rings as a grip guide)
  • Lift the bar from the rack and hold it directly above you.
  • This will be your starting position.
  • Now, come down slowly until you feel the bar about 2-3″ from your chest.
  • After a pause, bring the bar back to the starting position
  • You should take at least twice as long to go down than to come up.  This is the eccentric part of the lift and will intensify your workout.  You can do this with all your chest exercises.

 

EXERCISE 3 – Incline Chest Press

With these first three exercises, we’ve covered the most basic of chest exercises.  If you did just these three exercises, you’d have a great looking chest.  All three of these are compound exercises and will help you develop a balanced upper body.

HOW TO:

  • Load the bar to an appropriate weight for you.
  • Lay on the bench with your feet flat on the ground.
  • Your back should be arched, and your shoulder blades retracted.
  • Take a medium grip.
  • Remove the bar from the rack, holding the weight above your chest with your arms extended.
  • Lower the bar to 2-3″ of your chest while you flex your elbows.
  • DO NOT bounce the bar off of your chest. This is another reason for not lowering the bar to your chest.  A lot of guys will bounce the bar off their chest.  This is not good form and is not contributing to your muscle gain.
  • Then extend your elbows to return the bar to the starting position.

 

 

EXERCISE 4 -Push Up – Feet Elevated

Pushups are great for your chest, arms and shoulders.  After a while, you’ll find that you have gotten stronger and the normal push up is no longer challenging, so take it to the next level by elevating your feet.

You can elevate your feet by using a bench, a ball or a chair or whatever is convenient.  The higher your feet are, the harder the pushups will be because more of your body weight will be shifted to your upper torso.

HOW TO:

  • Lie on the floor face down and place your hands about 36 inches apart
  • Place your toes on top of a bench or ball or chair or whatever. This will elevate your body.
  • The higher the elevation of your feet, the more resistance you will have when you do the exercise.
  • Lower yourself until your chest is about 2″ off the floor.  Anymore will unduly stress your elbows and shoulders.
  • Using your chest muscles, press your upper body back up to the starting position and squeeze your chest.

 

 

EXERCISE 5 – Push Up on Bosu Ball

The Bosu ball Pushup adds a calisthenic and fitness element to the normal pushup. It targets the chest, and to some degree your triceps, middle back, core and shoulders.

This is a stabilization exercise as well as a strength exercise.  It’s much tougher than a normal push up.

HOW TO:

  • Begin by turning over a BOSU ball so that the half-ball portion is on the ground. Next place your hand on the outside part of the ball’s ring.
  • Do a push-up with your hand on the Bosu ball flat portion.
  • Next place your hands on both sides of the flat platform of the ball.
  • Now do another push-up, as if you were doing it on the ground.
  • Repeat.

 

 

EXERCISE 6 – Chest Dips

Some trainers will claim that the chest dip is the best exercise you can do to define your chest, get rid of man boobs and generally widen your chest.  One of the great bodybuilders of all time believed that chest dips were so much more effective for chest development that he replaced most of his bench presses in his gym with dipping stations.

Chest dips work the entire upper body. They work your arms, your shoulders, your chest and your upper back.  It’s a great exercise

HOW TO:

  • Step up on the dip station and place your hands on both bars
  • Slowly lower your body until the forearms are almost parallel to the floor.
  • Control the descent to parallel and then push back to the starting position

The one thing I should mention is that you will work more of your chest and less of your triceps the more you lean forward.  If you do this exercise with your body straight up and down, you’ll be working more triceps and less chest.

 

EXERCISE 7 – Incline Chest Press Machine

This is an exercise you only do if you have not been working out a long time and you need the control that a machine will give you.

The more you develop a stable, stronger body, the less you will need to use machines.  The advantage of a machine is that it isolates the muscle group you’re working on.

HOW TO:

  • Load an appropriate weight onto the pins
  • Adjust the seat for your height. The handles should be near the top of your chest.
  • Press the handles forward by pushing through your elbows.
  • After a brief pause at the top, return the weight just above the start position, keeping tension on the muscles.

This is one of the benefits of a machine press.  It keeps continuous stress on your muscles, thus giving you a good workout.

 

 

 

EXERCISE 8 – Incline Dumbbell Chest Flyes with a Twist

This is a variation of the normal dumbbell fly.  In this variation, you’ll rotate the dumbbells as you lower them to the side.  It’s a good way to get more work out of a standard chest exercise.

HOW TO:

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie on an incline bench
  • Extend your arms above you with a slight bend at the elbows.
  • Now rotate the wrists so that the palms of your hands are facing you. This is your starting position.
  • Slowly lower your arms to the side while keeping the arms extended and while rotating the wrists until the palms of the hand are facing each other.
  • Now, bring the dumbbells back up to the starting position by reversing the motion and rotating your hands.

This is a good alternative that works different muscles than a normal chest fly.

 

EXERCISE 9 – Flat Bench Cable Fly

This exercise is a good variation on the regular fly because it puts continuous stress on your chest muscles during the entire exercise.

HOW TO:

  • Set both pulleys as low as possible
  • Put a flat bench in the middle of the cable station
  • Sit on the end of the flat bench and grasp one handle at a time.
  • Lay back and get into position while holding the handles at chest height.
  • Press the handles together while squeezing your chest and extending your elbows.
  • Keep a slight bend in the elbows and slowly allow the arms to open while your chest stretches
  • Return to the starting position by flexing your chest and bringing the handles together at chest height.

 

 

EXERCISE 10 – Front Raise Pullover

The barbell front raise and pullover exercise is a combination exercise that works the chest, shoulder and arm muscles.  It gives a good stretch to your upper body and thus creates a stress that you can’t achieve with any other chest exercise.

HOW TO:

  • Lie on a flat bench with a barbell with a shoulder width grip.
  • Hold the bar straight over your chest with a bend in your arms. This will be your starting position.
  • While keeping your arms in the bent arm position, lower the weight slowly in an arc behind your head until you feel a stretch in your chest.
  • Then bring the barbell back to the starting position using the same arc through which the weight was lowered.

 

 

EXERCISE 11 – Wide Grip Bench Press

This is a variation on the traditional bench press.

It will hit different muscles and help you to get a wider chest.  At first, you will not be able to do the same weight as your regular bench press, so don’t try.  Scale back your initial weight so you maintain good form and get the most benefit from it.

Varying your grip width heightens muscle growth and increases strength.

HOW TO:

  • Lie flat on your back and grab the barbell above you with a grip as wide as possible.
  • Lift the barbell off of the rack and slowly lower it to about 2 inches above your chest
  • Then press the bar back to the start position.
  • Do Not Touch the Bar to Your Chest.  Even though everyone thinks this is the way to do a chest press.  It’s not.  It will put undue stress on your shoulders and arm joints.
  • Be sure that when you are lowering the bar that you do so in a slow and controlled fashion.
  • When you press the bar up, you want to do it in an explosive fashion.

 

EXERCISE 12 – Smith Machine Press

This exercise is intended for guys first starting out.  The safety of a Smith Machine is good until you get a little confidence in your ability and after you’ve gained some strength.

Also having the safety of the machine will allow you to push harder than you might have without the safety of a spotter.  It kinda replaces having a spotter.  It also is more easily adjusted, so you spend less time in between lifts adding or adjusting weights.

HOW TO:

  • Lie down on a flat bench that is positioned in the Smith Machine so when the bar comes down and touches the chest it rests across the middle of the chest, about where your nipples are.
  • Plant feet flat on the floor.
  • Grab the bar with an overhand grip, about shoulder width.
  • Raise the bar to unlock the bar from the hooks
  • Hold in place and then push towards the ceiling.
  • Lower the bar to the middle of the chest. Do not touch the chest.  (see the reason in the previous exercises)
  • Puch the weight straight up over your chest until elbows are almost locked.
  • Squeeze the chest.
  • Slowly lower weight back down to the middle of your chest.

 

 

EXERCISE 13 – One Arm Floor Barbell Press

This one is a little out of the ordinary, but a very effective exercise for your chest.

The one-arm barbell floor press is an alternative exercise that primarily targets the chest and to a lesser degree the lats, middle back, shoulders and triceps.

There are however many different one-arm barbell floor press variations that you can try out. You could try this exercise with dumbbells or kettle bells.

HOW TO:

  • Grab a barbell (unloaded) and lie flat on your back.
  • Bend knees with feet planted on the floor.
  • Fully extended your free arm, holding the barbell outward, bringing elbow to a 90-degree position, triceps resting on the floor,
  • Hold the barbell above your chest.
  • Pause, retract back to starting position and switch arms.

 

EXERCISE 14 – Cable Crossover

This is similar to a dumbbell fly and will hit some of the same muscles.  These two exercises are stretching your chest muscles so that they will grow more than if you didn’t stretch them.

The cable crossover is a great chest exercise because it stretches the pec muscles from the starting position, hitting the outer pec muscle fibers. Your pulley position is determined by the area of the chest you want to target.

HOW TO:

  • Place the pulleys in a high position.
  • Pick a weight and hold the pulleys in each hand.
  • Step forward in between both pulleys while pulling your arms together in front of you.
  • With a slight bend in your elbows in order to prevent stress, extend your arms to the side (straight out at both sides) in a wide arc until you feel a stretch on your chest.
  • Return your arms back to the starting position.
  • Make sure to use the same arc of motion throughout the exercise.

You can vary the exercise by lowering and raising the height of the pulleys.  It’s recommended.

 

DRAWINGS courtesy of:
Everkinetic (http://db.everkinetic.com/) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)],

 

SUMMARY

These are the fourteen (14) best chest exercises that you should know and use.

Obviously, don’t do all 14 in one exercise routine.  Choose three (3) of them and incorporate them into your weekly routine.

Four (4) weeks later, choose another 3 and do those for a month.  Try mixing them up so that you hit different parts of your chest.  For example, one month do a wide grip bench press, a decline press and cable crossovers.   That’s a good balanced workout.

If you’ve got any comments, please leave them below.  We welcome your feedback for what works and doesn’t work for you.

See you at the gym.

Best Warm Up Exercises – Are they Important? Why?

It’s so easy to skip a warm up before your workout.  I used to actively ignore warming up because I thought it was a complete waste of time.  I was the guy at boot camp who refused to warm up. I thought it was a complete waste of time.

So is it a waste of time?  Taking the time to warm up?

Let’s explore the issue with some of the best trainers in the business. I’m going to present a couple of their view points on the subject and let you decide what is best for you.

 

VIDEO 1

Here’s an introduction to the subject and some great science presented in an easy-to-understand manner.  We’ll start with this one so you get the gist of what the issues are with warming up before you do you exercise.

 

 

 VIDEO 2

This is one of the best trainers online and he has a distinct view of warmups.  He has a very particular approach that he’s proved works for him and the folks who train with him.  Consider this as a valid way to look at how to warm up before you perform your workout.

Try this and see if it works for you.

 

 

VIDEO 3

This is a strength coach for a high school sports team that describes his views on warm-ups, cool-downs and other related issues.  His opinion has developed from a very particular segment of the workout arena.

This is a good summary of what’s involved in preparing his teams for getting the proper preparation before their games or before a team workout.

 

 

VIDEO 4

A very well-presented video by a great trainer on the subject of what’s important with warm-ups and some details about the difference between general and specific warm-ups.

I like that he talks about the “outcome” not the exercise as the desired result. He has a specific way he talks about what he uses to warm up for each exercise.  Try his technique.  He has proved this over time.

 

 

VIDEO 5

Here is an example of an actual under-4 minute warm-up that you can use before your next workout.  Like any good warm-up, it engages all the major muscles of your body.  It also gets your heart rate up so blood is flowing freely to all your muscles.

 

 

 

SUMMARY

You may be like I was years ago and didn’t think that warming up was important, necessary or simply a waste of time.   It’s not.

Warming up contributes more than you can imagine to the overall success you’ll have at the gym.  It can increase your workout effectiveness by 20%.  It can also keep you from getting injured by getting your muscles ready for more stress – your workout.

Try some of these warm-up suggestions, from the above videos, and see if you don’t start seeing some increased benefits from your workouts.

See you at the gym.

 

Weight Lifting Training – 9 Myths Debunked

The myths that surround weight lifting are numerous.  These myths have developed over the years, and are hard to dispel.

I’m going to explore some of them here.  There are many more than the ones listed here, but these are the most common and misunderstood ones.

 

I’ll Get Too Big If I Lift Weights

Really??!!   I wish it were that easy.

Usually, this is believed by the person with the least amount of inclination, capability and determination to work hard and get big. It’s just a lame excuse.  Often women fall into this category, thinking somehow that they’re going to get big muscles from lifting weights. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Do you really think those guys that are professional body builders got those muscles by going to the gym only for an hour 3 days a week??! NOPE!!  The guy on the left spends his entire life at the gym.

Gaining lots of muscle is a task that requires dedication, commitment and lots and lots of healthy eating.  It doesn’t come easily and it doesn’t come quickly.

 

I’m Too Old To Lift Weights 

This is a myth that burns me more than some of the others. I’m not a young guy and I’m proof that you can build muscle as long as you’re alive.

Weight lifting is beneficial for men and women from puberty to 99.  I do mean that. It’s good for everyone.

There have been numerous studies that show strength training can slow the aging process, help stability as people age, stop the loss of bone mass, increase cardiovascular health and generally contribute to a greater quality of life.

Everyone over the age of 50 should be lifting weights or doing some sort of strength training to improve the quality of their life by keeping their bodies healthy and fit.

Here is a workout routine designed for men over 60.

 

My Muscles Will Turn to Fat If I Stop Lifting

Listen to that. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous when you read it??!

Here’s what happens.

If you stop working out, your muscles will atrophy (reduce in size and strength) over time, and because you stop working out, you will most probably gain fat, unless you dramatically change your diet to adjust to not working out.

 

You Have To Lift Heavy To See Results 

This is a persistent myth that is believed even by people who workout and should know better.  Some trainers still believe this.

This debate goes on and on.

The sweet spot is somewhere in the 6 to 15 rep range.  Lifting a moderate weight in that rep range creates an optimal balance of muscular tension and metabolic stress.

Lifting a moderate weight in that rep range creates an optimal balance of muscular tension and metabolic stress. That amount of work will maximize your protein synthesis when you consume some protein after your workout. The result will be serious gains in size, strength, and power.

The key is lifting to the point of fatigue or even failure.

A technique that I use and teach is called the Power Triangle method and uses different weights and different rep ranges to maximize the stress on the muscle.  The result is better gains in muscle size and strength.

Weight Lifting Will Make You Less Flexible

I even believed this one for years. I thought that gaining muscle would increase the size of the muscle which would then constrict the movement of the joint around this big muscle.  How deluded was I?

If done correctly, weight lifting can actually have the opposite effect. Studies show that resistance training improves flexibility.

The key is to work through a full range of motion while lifting. For example, lifting a barbell all the way up and all the way back down during a chest press will help you use the full potential of your chest and shoulders.

 

Machines are Safer & More Effective Than Free Weights

With the advent of machines, people developed all kinds of theories about them being safer and more effective than free weights.

NOT TRUE.

Weight machines isolate muscles and force your body to move in a single plane of motion, which can limit your range of motion and reduce the amount of good you get from your workout.

Lifting free weights, on the other hand, has been shown to recruit more muscles and can result in greater strength gains.  Making the body engage more fully, when you’re lifting weights, also has the added benefit of increasing your balance, your core and the muscles that help with stability.

 

Women Are Afraid They’ll Look Like Men If They Lift Weights.

I’ve heard this from more women who are avid exercisers.  It’s one that is probably the silliest of all these myths.

A woman would have to inject herself with male testosterone and male hormones to even have a chance of gaining big muscles and looking like this woman!!   Women are just not designed to gain muscle.   With lots and lots of weight training, they can get toned, but never muscular.

When you see those extremely muscular women bodybuilders, they have taken massive doses of male hormones to look like that.  It is NOT NATURAL.   No woman could look like that naturally.

 

Weight Lifting Is Bad For Your Joints

It’s a common misconception that weight lifting is harmful to your joints.

Published studies have found that people who were suffering from knee pain experienced a major reduction in pain when they performed weight bearing exercises.  They were also better at performing daily tasks and reported a higher quality of life than those who didn’t strength train.

This is because strength training can help grow strength in the structures around your joints, causing them to be better supported.

More studies have shown that weight training strengthens joints and improves their health. Joints that are mild/moderately stressed will secrete more natural joint fluid that lubricates the joint. Even arthritic joints can benefit from mild/moderate weight training.

 

Cardio Is The Best Way To Burn Fat

This is a myth that is still believed by many, many people.  I just recently wrote about this and you can read my article on this subject here.

There are tons of people who hit the treadmill for hours and believe they’re going to lose fat with this cardio exercise.

Experts used to think that aerobic exercise burned more calories than pumping iron. It seems like it would make sense because cardio workouts can make you sweat and feel tired, so you feel like you’ve burned a lot of calories.

But it turns out that strength training has more calorie burning potential than it’s been given credit for. Research has found that completing a circuit of eight exercises can burn more calories than a half hour of strenuous cardio exercise.

In fact, the term “cardio” shouldn’t be limited to just aerobic exercise. Circuit training with weights raises your heart rate 15 beats per minute higher than if you ran at 60 to 70 percent of your max heart rate.

Circuit training provides cardiovascular benefits similar to those of cardio exercise, while strengthening your muscles at the same time.  This way you get both  – muscles and an aerobic exercise.

 

Here’s a video talking about some other myths.  It confirms some we’ve already talked about.

 

 

SUMMARY

So now you know some of the most prevalent myths about weight lifting.  You probably have some beliefs yourself that you don’t realize are myths.

If you just use common sense, take heed of the myths we’ve presented here, you’ll have awesome workouts and get healthy and fit.

See you at the gym.

 

 

How to Gain Muscle and Lose Fat – Here are Tips To Achieve That!

Typically a guy will eat a lot, work out hard at the gym and gain muscle.  This is called BULKING.

Then, he’ll go on a caloric deficit diet and lose fat to reveal his muscles.  This is CUTTING. 

Is it possible to do both at the same time? Let’s explore this topic by engaging some expert trainers who have experience with this and will detail how this is possible…..or not possible?

 

VIDEO 1

This video outlines the differences and describes how it’s not an easy chore.  It’s easier for beginners because they have more fat to lose and less muscle to start off with……so any gains and losses are easier because there’s lots of improvement to be had.

This video describes many of the variations that are suggested to achieve more muscle and less fat.  There are lots of ways to achieve the end result of more muscle and less fat.  See if any speak to you.

 

 

 

VIDEO 2

Here is one of my favorites trainers, again, on the subject of whether it’s possible to bulk and cut at the same time…….gaining muscle and losing fat (fat not weight). Jeff completely believes this is possible and will show you how.  Now he doesn’t believe it’s easy, and he warns it may take longer than you’d like.

The example Jeff uses is pretty amazing. This guy achieved those results in 90 days.  With this client as an example, I’d say Jeff can support his contention that you can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.

What is great about Jeff is he pulls no punches and speaks the truth, even if it’s not exactly what you want to hear.

 

 

VIDEO 3

Max talks about gaining muscle and losing fat and mostly agrees with Jeff (Video 2) about the difficulty in achieving this.  The concept that it’s easier for beginners is again presented. (Video 1)

Max does present a real workout plan that is a good basis for achieving muscle gain and fat loss at the same time.  He outlines two different routinestwo (2) levels – beginner and advanced.  Watch and take notes.  His routines will help you achieve more muscle and less fat……all in one circuit routine.

 

 

SUMMARY

These three (3) videos will give you some clues and even some sample workouts as to how you can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.  It ain’t easy, but it is possible.

If you watch all three videos, you’ll be able to design a routine for yourself that will help you achieve more muscle and less fat.

If you have any comments, please leave them below.

See you at the gym.

 

Weight Lifting vs. Cardio – Which is Best For Fat Loss? Find Out Here.

This is a debate that’s been going on for a few decades. For many years, everyone assumed that you had to do massive cardio to lose weight.

Then there were some trainers that experienced something different and started to speak out about their experiences, ……which at the time went counter to the prevailing thought.  These trainers contradicted the only-cardio-will-work-for-weight-loss school of thought.  Additionally, research emerged that debunked this same belief.

In this post, we’re going to provide some videos with somewhat differing points of view on this subject, although there is one strong point of view of each of these trainers.

 

 VIDEO 1

Let’s start with this video which is an overview of what the issues are.  This video comes down heavily on the side of strength training.   It proposes that strength training can beat the fat-burning effects of pure cardio.

The additional effect of pure cardio is that you will slowly lose Type II muscle fiber because you’re not stimulating it.  I don’t agree with everything they say in this video, especially the number of reps you should do when weight training, but they present a strong point of view.

If you’ve got comments, we welcome them below.

 

 

VIDEO 2

Gregory does a good job of explaining the different body types and why they look the way they do.

He describes how someone who only does cardio will not get “toned” like they think they will and in fact, will lose muscle definition if cardio is all they do.

He’s a proponent of strength training and you can look at him and see he knows how to gain muscle and stay lean.

 

VIDEO 3

In this video, Marc answers the question from a viewer and he details some concepts and ideas that others miss.  He’s a little rough around the edges, but he definitely knows what he’s talking about and has lots of experience in the field.  He does have an opinion!

He’s a little rough around the edges, but he definitely knows what he’s talking about and has lots of experience in the field.  He does have an opinion!

Watch and make comments below about his video.

 

VIDEO 4

Here is a guy who started his journey at 312 lbs. and he describes the different aspects of weight training and cardio that he employed to lose the massive amount of weight he lost.   He’s a down-to-earth guy and many of us can relate to his journey and challenges.

He has a little higher opinion of cardio than some of the other trainer’s videos that I’ve included in this article.

If you’ve got comments, make them below.

 

 

SUMMARY 

As you can tell, I’ve included videos that propose that weight training is a better way to lose weight and fat than cardio.

I’m biased because that has been my experience and many of my clients experience.  I once was an avid runner and I was a skinny-fat person.  I had no muscle definition.  I was just skinny.  Not a great look, and not that healthy, to boot.

Weight training wins the argument, but cardio is not to be eliminated from your overall journey to be healthy. Each person must find the right balance that works for them.

We welcome your comments below.

See you at the gym.

 

 

 

 

Circuit Training for Weight Loss – What You Need to Know

Circuit training is a very beneficial type of training that combines cardio and strength training to help you burn calories while you pack on the muscles.  Kind of amazing…..right?

Sound too good to be true?  Well, it is not the easiest of exercise programs, but it definitely will give you a great workout and you’ll get the best of both worlds.

So what is it?

Circuit training is strength and cardio training wrapped up into one set of exercises that you do in a set time.

You will use high-intensity cardio exercises combined with strength/weight exercises.  Circuit training targets strength building and muscular endurance.

A “circuit” is one completion of all your chosen exercises in the program within a specific time period. When one circuit is complete, you go back to the first exercise and start another circuit.

 

KEEP IT INTERESTING

To keep things interesting, you can switch up the sequence, swap out different stations, do it at the gym with equipment, do it at home with dumbbells and resistance bands, or do it on a fitness trail by alternating push-ups and squats with brisk walking or biking.  There is a multitude of options for you to use.

 

Let’s start with a few tips about how to organize your circuit and things to consider in designing your circuit program.

 

TIPS  FOR  SUCCESSFUL  CIRCUIT  TRAINING

Choose a Time and stick to it.  Don’t get too ambitious in the beginning.  Don’t say you’re going to do a 45-minute circuit workout doing 7 circuits comprised of 6 exercises in each circuit.  You’re probably not ready for that kind of intensity….not yet.

Mix it Up –  Circuit training can be fun. The goal is a great workout so do one circuit of all upper body exercises.  The next day, do a circuit with all lower body workouts.  Take a day of rest and then do a circuit with 3 upper body exercises and 2 lower body workouts.

 

Don’t Overdo It In The Beginning – Circuit training tends to be intense, but it’s completely adaptable to the individual. Beginners should use less weight and perform simpler moves than more-experienced exercisers.  No matter, everyone will get a good workout.

Infinite Choices –  You can design a circuit program to address a lot of different fitness goals and different capabilities.

Let’s describe a couple of different programs that you can use to base your routine on:

 

WEIGHT LOSS – this is the primary focus of most cardio exercise programs.  Circuit training provides the added benefit of gaining some muscle at the same time…..as long as you mix up the exercises.

Here is a good starter circuit program.  Pick five (5) from the following exercises.  Do each for 45 seconds.  This is one circuit.  Do each circuit six (6) times.  That will mean your workout will last about 30 or so minutes.  This is a good workout.  You’ll be sweating at the end.

 

 

SUGGESTED CIRCUIT CARDIO EXERCISES

  • Jogging in Place
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Burpees
  • Skipping rope
  • Sprints
  • Stair Climbing
  • Stationary Rowing
  • Stationary Cycling
  • Jumping Squat Thrusts

There are a lot more, so just start with a few of those and we’ll expand the list in a subsequent article.

 

MUSCLE  BUILDING – this is the additional benefit of circuit training. You can get a good muscle workout while you get a good cardio workout, all at the same time.  You’ll lose weight while you’re adding muscle.

Pick from the following strength training exercises to use in your circuit program:

UPPER BODY

  • Shoulder press
  • Shoulder press machine
  • Standing dumbbell curls
  • Tricep bench dips
  • Triceps dip machine
  • Bentover rows – dumbbells or barbell
  • Row machine
  • Pushups
  • Chest machine
  • Pullups or pull-down machine

LOWER BODY

  • Leg Press machine
  • Dumbbell Squats
  • Squat machine
  • Sumo Squat
  • Leg Curl Machine
  • Leg Extension Machine
  • Lunges with or without dumbbells or kettlebells
  • Calf Raises on a step or the calf raise machine

COMBINATION

  • Moutain Climbers – if you don’t know what they are, you’re in luck, same goes for
  • Burpees
  • Bench hop-overs
  • Squat Thrusts
  • Jumping Squat Thrusts
  • Skipping
  • Hopping shuttles

 

MACHINES vs WEIGHTS

You can do a circuit program any way you like.  You can use machines at the gym and designate each weight machine as a station.  With this program, you’ll move from one machine to the next.  It’s an efficient way to do a circuit program.

In composing a good circuit training routine, it seems that weight machines work better for a circuit routine. You can move more easily and quickly from one machine to another.  With free weights, getting into position and getting the weights into position at every station may delay some of the benefits that we’re looking for in a circuit program.  It can work, you just have to move quickly from station to station for the cardio aspect of a circuit program to be effective.

 

You can use free weights exclusively or mix in some body weight exercises……or mix in some aerobic exercises like jump-rope.  This will help you create a smoother transition in the routine than if you had to go from one free weight exercise to another. That could slow you down.

 

SUMMARY

By engaging in a circuit training, you can lose weight in a most effective way. The added benefit is that you’ll gain muscle too.

The exercises options are endless. Switch up the exercises frequently to avoid the exercise doldrums and keep improving your body.

Work at your own pace. Start with a trainer one-on-one or in a small group setting to make sure you’re doing the exercises correctly and working within your limits.

A circuit training routine is the answer if you want a quick intensive workout that will help you lose weight while packing on some muscle.

Leave comments below if you have experience with circuit training or you’re inspired to try it.

See you at the gym.

 

 

 

Muscle Building Workout – Which is the Best? (Secrets from 4 Trainers)

It’s a question everyone asks and so I’m using some trainer guests to show you four (4) muscle building workouts that you can use to design your own workout to gain muscle.

Some of these exercises will be great for you. Some may not work as well.

Try the ones that look interesting and build a routine from those. If you don’t like the routine you build, try another.  There are lots of options

You’ll never find the perfect workout, but you can find one that will suit your needs.  Don’t be afraid to use trial and error in your quest for a great routine.

 

VIDEO 1

Mike shows you a great muscle building workout.  He labels it for beginners because these eight (8) basic exercises should be considered to be included in all workouts.   All you need for these 8 exercises is a pair of medium weight dumbbells.

The best thing that Mike does is emphasize form and shows you exactly how to do an exercise and what NOT to do when you perform each exercise.

 

 

VIDEO 2

In this video, Jeff talks about all the reasons you’re NOT gaining muscle.  He has some great tips and points out the mistakes he made and thus, probably relate to what’s keeping you from gaining muscle.  I was inspired by this one to up my intensity in my workouts.

 

 

 

VIDEO 3

Here is a very smart guy who has done the research on how to gain muscle.  He outlines one of his “laws” of muscle building and does it so it’s very understandable and scientific, all at the same time. You may want to watch all 10 of his laws on YouTube.  He knows what he’s talking about.

One of the things I found very interesting was his suggestion of a way to work out that achieves more than just one goal:

  • Do 5 sets of each exercise.
  • Three (3) of those 5 will be in the hypertrophic range (increasing muscle size) of 6 to 12 reps,
  • one (1) will be in the strength gaining range of 5 or fewer reps and finally,
  • one (1) will be in the stamina building range of over 15 reps.

Watch and use this information in your muscle building routines.

 

 

VIDEO 4

Here is Vinnies’ Whole Body Workout for Beginners, which we all are at one time or another.

He was one of my first coaches so I am indebted to him for getting me started.  Nowadays, I don’t always agree with everything he promotes, but he definitely knows what to do for you to gain muscle.

This video will educate you about how to start if you’re trying to gain muscle, and it will show you seven (7) good exercises to start with.  He doesn’t believe in compound exercises for the beginner, so I’ll give him that, but compound exercises are very good to incorporate as you get a little experience.

He explains a lot about how to use the full range of motion (ROM) in an exercise so that you get the maximum benefit from that exercise.  Many guys at the gym do less than the full range of motion and are losing out on the amount of gain from doing the exercise.

 

 

SUMMARY

If you watch all 4 videos and take a few notes when something looks good to you, you’ll be able to design a killer exercise routine that will help you gain muscle.

Please leave any comments below…….successes, failures, advice from your experience, whatever.   Thanks for reading and watching.

See you at the gym.