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fitness facts

Toning doesn't exist

This is a post by Rachel Carpenter (@bothgirl). Check out her blog for her daily workouts!

So your fitness goal is to “tone up”.

I think what you meant to say is that you want to increase your muscle size and lower your body-fat percentage so that you appear to have more muscle definition. 

Cameron Diaz isn’t “toned”. She has developed her muscles and eats a clean diet for a low body-fat percentage so that those muscles can actually be seen.

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You see - there is no such thing as toning, and I’m going to explain to you why.

I hear from one girl after another, telling me that they “don’t want to get big”that they “just wants to tone”.

This has always frustrated me, because I know that a musclecan only get bigger or smaller. It’s not a shape shifter. Unfortunately, the media has marketed the toning myth to us for quite some time – but it’s not too late to get educated on the facts. 

Shall we have a short lesson in anatomy?

  • Our muscles are anatomically confined to the space between our joints and our bones.
  • They cannot get longer; they have a starting point and an ending point.
  • Between those two points the muscle can only grow bigger or smaller. It can’t change its shape.

The “toned” look that most people are hoping for is actually a result of an increase in muscle size paired with a lowering of body fat percentage so that you can more easily see the muscles. In order to get that look you need to:

  1. Build up muscle (through strength training)
  2. Lose the fat around the muscle (through a clean diet) 

The misconception surrounding toning beings with the myth that doing light weight and high reps will result in lower body fat and increased muscle. This is essentially cardio, and all this really means is that it’s going to take you a heck of a lot longer to grow that muscle that you want to see. This is also why so many people struggle to see progress. 

The biggest offenders of this “toning” fad are the barre or ballet type classes, as well as Pilates. Don’t get me wrong, there are benefits to both of these types of exercises, but they claim to give you “long, lean muscles”, which is anatomically impossible.

By participating in these types of exercises, with the hope of “toning”, you’re just building your muscles more slowly than you would if you were strength training with heavier weights. You might achieve other benefits, but this is the hard way to get a lower body fat percentage.

I’d love to stop hearing the word “toned” – and I’d love to see a lot more women in the weight room. Don’t take my word for it. Find someone, like Cameron Diaz, who you want to look like and find out what they are doing. Chances are, they aren’t “toning” or practicing magical spells to get those results.  Remember to avoid the fads and stick to the facts…and don’t be afraid of heavy weights.

PumpUp's best articles. Find everything you need to get healthy in this post.

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Whether you’re beginning your health and wellness journey, looking to spark your life with a bit more positivity and pep, discerning the truth about fitness myths, or scouring the internet for a new way to challenge yourself, PumpUp’s fantastic blog community has you covered. 

Check out these amazing tips and anecdotes of advice that PumpUp posted over the past year. 

Why a positive life leads to positive outcomes

If it makes you happy, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t. Our December was overflowing with an outpour of positivity from the entire PumpUp community! These articles touched on topics that grapple with the theme of internalizing and externalizing positive energy:

Beginning your fitness journey

The start of anything new is always the hardest. Remember this: There is no such thing as an ending. Just a new beginning.  These articles contain useful information that will help you to find your way, go the distance, and become the best version of you.

Addressing Fitness Myths

It’s easy to interpret misleading information as the truth. Ever been told that crunches are the key to flat abs? Not so much. Our bloggers have done a tremendous job at addressing health and fitness myths that tend to obscure what really matters.

Our best health & fitness tips

Check out these health and fitness tips if you’re ever struggling to piece together information for yourself. You just want answers, period. Here they are: 

Understanding the importance of a calorie

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This is a post by fashion and fitness blogger Jodi-Kay Edwards. Follow her on PumpUp @jodikayedwards and on her blog, lifestylefinesse.com.

Cal-o-ries {noun}: Tiny creatures that live in your closet and sew your clothes a little bit tighter every-night.

We have all heard the term counting calories right? While it is important to know the nutritional value of what you are eating, counting calories should not be your main concern when trying to get healthy or lose weight. My previous post on Metabolism, Anabolism and Catabolism explained that the body harbors many biochemical reactions. Today we are going to continue talking about what is happening on the inside so we can eventually get a better idea of how to make changes to the outside.

Previously on my blog I wrote about the set point for homeostasis, the point where you body tries to maintain a constant internal environment no matter the external environment. Another set point created by environmental factors is known as the metabolic set point. The body aims to maintain a set base rate of metabolism which becomes your basal metabolic rate. Research for weight loss shows that we can change our metabolic set point by how we vary our physical and dietary needs. This set point is controlled by not only our genetics, but environmental factors as well.

Metabolic set point: The average rate at which your metabolism runs

People with a slow metabolism tend to store fat more easily, while we all know at least one person who can eat pizza and ice-cream for days upon days and never gain an ounce of fat. I like to call those people the chosen one. No but really, take a moment to release your anger towards them. *Quiet moment*

Our metabolic set point is easily influenced by our external environment, nutrition, exercise climate etc. This is why it is better to eat several small meals a day instead of just our basic three. A good way to boost your metabolism is actually to eat more in smaller portions so our body does not go into starvation mode. Studies show that those who go on low calorie diets actually decrease their metabolic set point as the body is trying to conserve energy, in turn the body starts to reset itself to burn fewer calories. While the opposite is true exercise increases our metabolic rate.

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The type of food that we eat also influences our metabolism. We hear the term burning calories all the time, well what does that mean? It means that all foods release heat when they are burned, this heat is measured in a kilocalorie.

Calorie: A unit of heat (A verrrrrrry small unit)

Next time you reach for something think twice about what you will be getting back from it. Eat to live don’t live to eat. When we look at calories from protein we  know that those calories are being used for repairing and growth of new tissue and organs. Calories from carbs are used for energy, and calories from fat are generally stored as just that since they have the same molecular structure as body fat. Understanding calories will help you to understand how to set up your own meal plan, only counting calories will set you up for failure. Know how your body will consume calories and make good food choices!

Next time you lift your fork, think about what you are putting into your body, not all calories are bad, however the bad ones will be those little creatures that come in and sew your clothes a little bit tighter every-night.

Is cardio necessary for weight loss?

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This is a post by fashion and fitness blogger Jodi-Kay Edwards. Follow her on PumpUp @jodikayedwards and on her blog, lifestylefinesse.com.

Cardiovascular exercise is often overlooked when it comes to figuring out what is best for our exercise and fitness regime. Today I want to talk about a few beliefs related to aerobic fitness and take some time to give some thought as to why these may actually be myths.

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(Image c/o giphy)

Aerobic fitness is not important for everyone.

False: Aerobic fitness is not just about how fast and far you can run, or how easily you can make it through a kickboxing class without sucking out all of the air in the room. Everyone needs to have the ability to have an efficient oxygen intake so their lungs are accustomed to different levels of exercise. Blood also needs to flow to the working muscles so carbohydrates and fats can produce energy. Aerobic fitness actually plays a critical effect on the quality of your life.

Aerobic training only benefits the heart and lungs not muscles.

False: Your muscles are actually the primary target of aerobic training. As I mentioned above aerobic training increases the muscles ability to use fat as an energy source.

The best aerobic exercise is running.

False: The best exercise is always one that you enjoy. There are many alternatives when it comes to aerobic fitness. In fact running 1 mile and walking 1 mile burns about the same amount of calories, think about that the next time you get discouraged! Swimming, stair climbing, kickboxing and Zumba, wow there are many alternatives to running! One mans trash is another mans treasure, just because Betty Lou enjoys running 5 miles on the treadmill, doesn’t mean your 45 minutes of cardio kickboxing is doing nothing for your body and fitness goals.

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(Image c/o: giphy)

I don’t own a treadmill so I can’t, I just can’t even.

It always amazes me how quickly we tend to forget that there is prime real estate surrounding us at all times. If you don’t like others to see you while you are working out, find a DVD for indoors or tune into one of the many free workout programs on YouTube. If your neighborhood isn’t exactly your favorite place to run around find a trail or drive to a different location.

I don’t have time.

What suits your busy lifestyle better? 20-30 minutes a day or being dead 24/7? Not saying that if you don’t do aerobic activity you will die, but making excuses is silly. There is always time to invest in your health. You invested time for an education, for that job search, for that perfect guy or girl, hey you made time to binge watch Netflix for a few hours (guilty) make some time to say hey body, you’re amazing, let me take you for a walk.

Aerobic fitness is achieved by raising your heart rate.

False: Aerobic fitness is achieved when your metabolic rate is elevated and the rate in which your muscles start to consume oxygen are sustained. A faster beating heart rate is only the external effect of oxygen consumption. Sustaining your metabolism is the actual fitness goal, the heart rate is only a byproduct of this process.

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(Image c/o Tumblr)

I’m too old, too fat, too lazy.

You are never too old, you are never too overweight, out of shape, and never too lazy to start. It all starts with a positive mindset and a can do attitude. While the too lazy part gets a lot of us to throw in the towel early, the benefits of aerobic fitness doesn’t discriminate no matter how sedentary of a lifestyle you lead. An 80 year old can see a 10% increase in their aerobic fitness level from just a few weeks of regular exercise. Slow and steady wins the race. It is better to start out slow than to burn yourself out too quickly.

Health and fitness work together as a package. Cardio, a little bit of weights and of course a proper diet is key when trying to reach those fitness goals! If you worked out this weekend I’m proud of you, pat yourself on the back and keep up the good work! It doesn’t matter if your fitness journey is about shedding a few extra pounds, training for a sport, trying to fit into your favorite jeans or just wanting a healthier lifestyle, take some time to reflect on how far you have come and even if it was just grabbing a pen and paper and writing down a few goals. Don’t give up on yourself! xx

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To the window, to the wall-(sit)

Wall-sits work your quadriceps (colloquially known as quads). They are a group of four muscles at the front of your thighs that straighten your leg from your knee. It’s important to have strong quads to boost your speed and stamina for various sports like cycling and kickboxing. The wall-sit is a static exercise that will help you become the next Bruce Lee in no time.
According to the Guiness Book of World Records, the longest wall-sit ever held was achieved by Dr. Thienna Ho for an impressive time of 11 hr 51 min 14 sec.
Do a wall-sit at any point today and comment how long you held it below (have your back against the wall, feet shoulder-width apart, knees at roughly a 90-degree angle and hold)! How long can you hold it? Good luck! 

7 Problems That Active People Know To Be True—and How To Solve Them

We’ve got (less than) 99 problems and being active ain’t one.

Being healthy and active isn’t always easy, but it isn’t our fault.

Take food, for example. Humans have a survival mechanism that makes our taste buds genetically predisposed to crave foods that are higher in fat and calories.   This can make healthy habits hard to form, but it isn’t impossible.  Small and gradual changes can eventually become habits—whether it’s increasing our jogging distance by a little bit every week to slowly substituting fruits for sugary sweets. 

Maintaining a balanced and active lifestyle has rewards that extend beyond health and longevity. We become more confident, more energized, and more self-aware, in addition to many other things. We are all striving to maintain a healthy lifestyle for different reasons.  Remember those reasons, and push through these #healthypersonproblems!

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Getting a leg cramp during the last mile of your run

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To ease yourself through a cramp, stretch your muscles very gently. Hold the stretch and relax, building up the amount of time you remain in the stretch until your cramp passes. Remember to do active stretching before you run or do any vigorous form of exercise and cool down stretches after to help minimize cramping. Drink plenty of water and avoid salty food prior to a workout, as dehydration may lead to muscle spasms.

Being too sore to work out the next day

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Dial it down to prevent further injury. Muscle fibres tear during exercise and take up to four days to become stronger.  

When somebody at the gym takes the machine you want to use

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Finding it hard to cinch a machine at the gym? Try getting up early: there will likely be less people up and at it in the morning. If the cardio machines at your gym are always occupied, take your run outside, weather permitting! 

The SWEATING  

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The average person has 2 million sweat glands in their body—it’s normal! If sweat gets in your eyes, wear a headband to mop it up.  For those who sweat heavily, invest in active-dry exercise clothing and remember to change your footwear and socks often. Interesting fact: people have also been known to use baby powder to absorb workout sweat. 

Having to laundry ALL the clothes

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Having to laundry your exercise clothes is unavoidable, but if you can afford to invest in a few extra pairs of shorts, shirts, and underwear, do it! 

When your workout partner bails on you

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Our buddies can certainly keep us motivated to exercise, but it can be tough to coordinate different schedules. Stay one step ahead to keep yourself pumped up. Try signing yourself up for an actual class or scheduling a workout in your calendar (like your PumpUp calendar!). Setting aside time for physical activity this way provides focus and enforces a greater sense of responsibility.

When your phone or iPod battery dies in the middle of a workout

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Portable chargers are easy to come by. Keep one in your bag so that you’re never a moment without music if you need it to work out. 

Do you have any #workoutproblems? Share them below!

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Ready to win some PumpUp swag (tank + bracelet) ? Just answer this question: How Much Water Should You Drink DURING A Workout?

a) Around 15 oz. every 15-20 mins
b) Around 8 oz. every 15-20 mins
c) Depends on how much you sweat
d) Only when you feel thirsty!

Comment with the correct answer and if you have Tumblr, follow us at blog.pumpup.co for a chance to WIN! #PumpUpSwag #SaturdayChallenge #TeamPumpUp

Abs- Shortcuts to a six pack

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Many of us have the goal of achieving a tight, ripped midsection. Nice abs seems to signify that an individual is fit, healthy and sexy all at once.  So, how do we achieve this goal?

Many people think that the key to abs is, well, working the abs a lot. People endlessly work on their core, with the goal of achieving a six pack. The real secret is that no matter how developed your midsection is, your abs will not show unless you achieve a low enough body percentage.

A common misunderstanding is that people believe you can reduce fat in the abdominal area by doing a lot of crunches or ab workouts. This myth, commonly referred to as “spot reduction” is not possible. Fat is lost from the whole body, not just one area.

With all of this in mind, here are some of the top 5 ways to shed fat, and achieve that tight, flat midsection.

  1. Weight Training- Lifting weights requires a lot of energy, causing calories to be burned both during and after exercise. Also, muscle created from lifting weights also burns more calories!
  2. Lowering Calories- Simply put, eating less then your body requires. 500 calories less to be exact. This amount under maintenance calories (the amount of calories needed to maintain your weight) has been shown to be ideal for weight loss.
  3. Cardio- Whatever works for you! If you like the treadmill, run on the treadmill! If you enjoy walking, then go for a walk! Play sports if that’s your thing. The key here is to be active, which is always easier when you are having fun!
  4. Eat Clean- You might hear this expression a lot, but what does it mean? Eating natural whole foods, and eating less refined foods will allow your body to stay in a fat burning.
  5. Sleep- Sleeping for at least 8 hours a day is crucial to weight loss.

Follow these five steps, and you will be on your way to the flat and toned midsection you’ve always wanted!

Michael is a fitness enthusiast who works daily to achieve his fitness and athletic goals. He works as a personal trainer at Golden Glide Fitness, and has his honors bachelors degree in Medical Sciences. He works constantly to build his expertise in both nutrition and training. 

Photo Credit: PumpUp member @fitspirational

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One lucky Member is going win some awesome PumpUp Swag to rep at home & at the gym. It’s trivia question time folks! 
 
When is the best time to stretch? 
a) Never. Stretching is pointless. 
b) Before your workout so you can warm-up your muscles of course. 
c) After, to make sure that you give your muscles a break. 
d) 2 days later so you can stretch when you are getting sore. 
 
Like this pic and comment for a chance to win #PumpUpSwag. Pic Credit: @noel_corrin.

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It’s Friday (YAY!) and we have some #FridayFitnessFunFacts for you! 
 
1. You burn more calories sleeping than you so watching TV. 
2. You have 640 muscles in your body. 
3. 1 can of pop contains 10 Tsp. of sugar, say no to soda people! 
4. Men who workout with a female partner are shown to lift heavier weights and get better results. 
5. Olive oil can help in lowering cholesterol levels and decreasing the risk of heart complications! 
 
Hope you enjoyed our 5 #FridayFitnessFunFacts today!

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Good ol’ #SharkWeek is coming to an end… sad face right! Out-swimming those scary, crazy, petrifying creatures that we’ve been watching all week long is what’s inspiring this post. Swimming can actually improve your cardio-respiratory fitness. Not only can a good swim burn 500-650 calories per hour, but it is a good break from the summer sun, a low-impact exercise, and we can continue doing it until we’re 90! Once you become a pro at swimming, no shark on shark week, will be able to touch you.

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It’s #PumpDay everyone! Do you do a crazy amount of pushups in hopes of getting rid of arm fab or toning up your muscles? We hate to tell you, but push-ups don’t actually help you lose arm flab. Push-ups do play a role in fat loss, but they won’t specifically burn the fat around your arms. To burn more fat from the upper-body area, incorporate bicep curls, tricep lifts and shoulder presses as exercises to tone your arms!

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We all know how easy it can be to get distracted while working out. And sometimes that’s a good thing! Getting caught up in the TV show that is on, or our killer playlist may help us run faster and longer than we could have otherwise. But sometimes this distracted exercise isn’t always a good thing. Mindless exercise could make your results non-existent because you are just going through the motions of your workout rather than really embracing and feeling the movements of your muscles. So next workout make sure you are aware and conscious of your muscles contracting and you’ll get a better workout!

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Have you ever gave up on a workout or health routine and lapsed into your old ways? Well it may be because you were lacking one of the top 3 factors to keep you on track. Want to know the 3 factors that you should have in order to succeed on your journey?

1. Having support to keep you motivated.

2. Engaging in workouts you actually like.

3. Knowing what you are doing! 

Skipping Legs Day? Think Again!

Friends don't let friends skip leg day!When you ask the average person what they do when they work out, you’ll hear things like bicep curls or exercise ball crunches, but what about your legs? Remember, those beautiful tree trunks that get you from A to B? Working your lower half doesn’t just avoid getting ‘chicken legs’, but also has multiple benefits that can improve your workouts and your life!

First off, leg exercises like squats increase your body’s metabolism for up to 48 hours post-workout. This means you’ll be burning more calories than usual for a full two days after your workout! Want to gain muscle mass while leaning out your body? Just throw some squats into your workout.

Working your lower body also enhances your overall power. Anything from sprinting to jumping will see drastic increases from just a few hours a week of dedicated lifting. This is huge for all you athletes trying to get to the next level. PumpUp’s leg workouts give you the opportunity to gain that explosive athletic power needed to dominate your opponents.

As we age, our balance takes a hit. Want a way to delay those aging effects? Easy: don’t skip out on legs day. Leg exercises contribute to improved balance and coordination that will help you in your daily life.

Need another reason to work your legs? Multiple studies have shown that women and men find the opposite sex more appealing when they have a developed, athletic-looking lower body. So, don’t forget to work your legs because you will regret it!

For more crucial tips like this, follow us on twitter!

Running through the Cold!

Runner in SnowDuring the winter, many people find themselves skipping out on the regular runs they do when they’re graced with the warm months. Unfortunately that warmth is a long way away, but going for a run during the winter really isn’t that difficult — all you need is the right equipment to prepare yourself. By following these simple guidelines, you’ll find that running in the winter isn’t as hard as it seems!

Clothing

Proper clothing is essential when you’re trying to brace the cold. Always remember that most of your body heat tends to escape from your hands, feet, and head, so wearing a warm pair of socks, gloves, and a touque (or winter hat for our American friends) will help you stay warm. Thermal underwear is also great to keep your body warm without having to sacrifice comfort and mobility during your runs.

That being said, remember that when you exercise your body heats up, so test out how much clothing you need because you may find yourself a lot warmer than you imagined. Always dress in layers so you can take off clothes as you get warmer (maybe a good hiding spot will help you from losing it).

Shoes

Generally, your regular all-season running shoes are perfectly fine for the snow, but there are special running shoes for the winter if you really want to gear up. Check your local shoe store for more information regarding winter running shoes. Regardless, you should avoid ice patches at all cost, and try to activate your core during your run to avoid potential slips (and intensify your workout).

Trial and Error

There’s no harm in going outside and giving it a shot! You may feel a “burning” sensation in your lungs because of the cold air, but that goes away with time. If you feel too warm or too cold, add or remove a layer of clothing and try again. Don’t give up — people who do it, love it.

I hope this motivates you to try running outside. For more fitness tips, make sure you follow us on twitter!

The Most Important 5 Minutes of Your Workout

warmupWhen you show up to the gym, what’s the first thing you do? Do you start with a few crunches? Pick up some dumbbells? Quickly scan for your crush and do what they’re doing? It’s really easy to forget the most important area of your workout - the warm-up!

Every good workout starts with a solid warm up. Why is warming up before you work out so important? Here are a few key reasons:

  1. Protects you against injury. Your warm-up loosens up your muscles and makes them ready for more strenuous work so they don’t snap under pressure.
  2. Improves your flexibility. It’s not hard to believe that moving your muscles makes them more flexible.
  3. Increases your heart rate. Remember, your heart is your most important muscle. It’s important to get it pumping before it needs to do hard work.
  4. Prepares your muscles for power. You got it - warming up your muscles gets them closer to the optimal temperature for performance.
  5. Decreases post-workout muscle pain. Warming up your body gives your muscles the extra room they need to rebuild after a workout and improves your blood flow to transfer the necessary nutrients to them.

There are two different kinds of warmups that are important to know.

General Warm-Up

Do 5 to 10 minutes of cardio of your choice (treadmill, bike, etc.). A very basic approach, but also very effective! End with a good stretch and make sure to keep your heart rate up.

Sport-Specific Warm-Up

Do 5 to 10 mintes of a warm-up that resembles the sport you’re playing. For example, if you’re a volleyball player, low intensity jumps and overhead shoulder stretches would be a great warm-up for the perfect spike.

Let’s be honest - all of this can be hard to remember… but don’t worry! When you use PumpUp to build a workout, you get an effective warm-up automatically targeted at the muscle groups you’ll be working. So remember, stay warm and pump up!

Top 5 Workout Mistakes

When it comes to fitness, there’s a lot to know. While we can’t possibly teach you all there is to know in a single blog post, we can teach you how to avoid the biggest mistakes you can make. Here’s a list of the top 5 mistakes that you’ve likely seen in action before, but may not have noticed!

  1. Not Eating: Half the battle in the gym is what you bring with you (or in you, rather). Whether your goal is to be healthy, lose weight, or put on muscle, without proper nutrition you’re not going to see results . Try eating 30-60 minutes before going to the gym - ideally foods with B vitamins (eg. yogurt, a banana, peanut butter) to help you release your energy and some carbs (eg. whole wheat toast) to supply you with energy.
  2. Lack of Sleep: Without a good night’s sleep your body doesn’t have enough time to sufficiently recover from workouts. Try to get 6-8 hours of sleep, especially after a workout.
  3. Swinging Weights: We’ve all seen this one before, but did you know it’s actually dangerous? Along with not receiving the muscle gains you want, you can get seriously injured. Lower the amount of weight you’re lifting if you swing your weights.
  4. Avoiding Cardio or Weights: A lot of people tend to avoid cardio if trying to put on muscle or avoid weights if trying to improve their cardio. Fact is: weight training and cardio go hand-in-hand. To stay healthy, it’s important to balance working your heart (via cardio) and your other muscles (via weight training).
  5. Not Having a Routine: How are you supposed to know what to do and how to do it if you don’t plan out your exercise program. This is the most confusing part of working out. If you don’t feel like researching endlessly, let PumpUp take out the confusion by building the workout perfect for you and adjusting it to you as you go! 

And there you have it - 5 mistakes that you’ll never do again! Let me know if you have any questions or can think of any other big mistakes you see.

Get Set for the New Year

Crazy to think that it’s already December and 2013 is just a few weeks away! Whether you’re finishing up exams or working the 9-5, we all know that New Years is coming up. And sure, maybe it’s not time to jump into a New Years resolution just yet, but think to yourself… why not? Yes, its called a “New Years Resolution,” but why do you have to wait for the melody of “Auld Lang Syne” to start making changes in your life. Let’s start with something small now to give you a kick start.

A very simple way of getting into a routine is stretching. Not only are there significant physical benefits to stretching and staying flexible, but it also keeps you focused and just might get you moving before New Years!

As you may not know, stretching is a bit more then just touching your toes. To implement stretching into a daily routine, find a time that works best for you - whether its in the morning or at night doesn’t really matter.  Here are a couple different types of stretching that you can do.

Here are a few stretches you can try right now! Hold each for 15 seconds:

  1. Hamstring Stretch - Try touching your toes while keeping your legs straight.
  2. Hip Flexor Stretch - Lunge forward with your back knee on the floor and push your hips forward until you feel a stretch.
  3. Shoulder Stretch - Bring one arm across your body and pull it towards your body with the other arm.

Happy December to all and good luck with everything!

How Many Reps Should I Do?

You pack your gym bag, head over to the gym, get changed, and you’re all set to start your workout. You grab some dumbbells, get into your starting position, and then you realize you’re missing something… HOW MANY REPS SHOULD I DO???

If you don’t know what a ‘rep’ is, it’s just a single completion, or repetition, of an exercise movement. This week we’re going to dive into understanding what rep range (or number of reps) is best suited for you.

For Getting Toned → 12-15 reps: This kind of rep range is normally used to tonemuscles. With a higher rep range and lower weight, you develop muscle endurance. Your rest between sets should be 30 to 60 seconds.

For Building Muscle → 8-10 reps: This range is ideal for muscle hypertrophy (building muscle size). If you’re trying to bulk up and add muscle mass - this rep range is for you.  Your rest between sets should be 60 to 90 seconds.

For Gaining Strength  4-6 reps: With a low rep range you’re able to lift more weight. Because of this, you’ll be yielding your best strength gains. This rep range is generally used by serious weightlifters and athletes who need to be extremely strong but not necessarily big in size – as this rep range is not optimal for hypertrophy (as discussed above). If your main training goal is muscle growth - low reps won’t do it for you. However,adding low reps into your workout program will help you build some extra strength which can only help you improve in other areas of your workouts. Your rest between sets should be  2-3 minutes, because you need a fuller recovery in order to repeat such strenuous lifting.

Warning: Although a lower rep range enables you to lift more than you normally would, it is not recommended unless you are extremely confident in your ability and form. If you are just starting out or have only been working out for a couple of years, you should stick to higher rep ranges (and lower weight) until you can perform exercises perfectly. If you use poor form with higher weights, you are at a very high risk of injury.

Ultimately, the rep range you will be using during your workouts is going to largely depend on your training goal. The above information is to help you understand why there are different rep ranges and what they’re generally used for. Never be afraid to incorporate different strategies into your workouts - as long as you do so in a safe and controlled manner. As you become more experienced with working out and weightlifting, you’ll find what works best for you!