Archive for Body Composition

Weightlifting is the Answer! Here is why…

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2013 by razorsedgeperformance
We have spoken a number of times on this page about why weightlifting exercises (SEE Snatch, Clean, and Jerks) are awesome for developing speed and power in athletes, and thus why they should be included in many training programs.
While that is still true, I am going to discuss why weightlifting is EVEN BETTER for recreational athletes, and for that matter strength and conditioning coaches!
Let me talk about the second group first, because that is my cohort. As strength and conditioning coaches we are usually a competitive bunch (most are former athletes) and so love to compete no matter how old or out of shape we get. Add to that thought the concept of the high power output that is present in these exercises and it makes for the perfect avenue to compete in that still stays true to what we preach all day in the weight room! Wait, there is a cherry on top…these lifts are highly technical, and require a lot of practice and some good coaching. So as strength coaches, we always want to be working on our craft to provide the best coaching to our athletes. The more you can practice the lifts on your own, the better you get at coaching them and picking them apart.
Now let’s get to the recreational lifter and with that the crossfit population. I will go on record and say there are some things I really enjoy about crossfit. People seem to love it and love getting to the gym. This is great for the health and fitness of overall communities and the individuals within them. It is a system that also works well to improve overall physical capacities and body composition. So why do people hate on it, especially in the health and fitness community? Probably because they break people…some of it is from the crazy amount of volume everyone is expected to do, and some of it is just from the fact few members get taught proper technique for the weightifting exercises (let alone basic barbell exercises!!)…
Here are a few reasons why they are actually amazing lifts for the recreational lifter, even though they seem too technical and only for the ‘elite’…
Mobility! Here is the world record holder in both lifts at 77kg class, Lu Xiaojun. I have a huge man-crush on him for his weightlifting abilities. Not only are we talking about crazy amounts of power to move the bar, but he is catching the weight in a full-depth overhead squat. Even go back and see his starting position; Weightlifting requires a high level of mobility in your hips and ankles, as well as shoulders and upper back. These are the kinds of things the office-warrior loses quickly as they age, so just working on getting to these positions is highly valuable. Posture is such a large emphasis for these lifts that these muscles will get a ton of attention, and have no choice but to get their act together!
Metabolic Demand! These lifts use the entire body. So when you do a set of 8 or 10 reps at a submaximal weight, you are burning a ton of fuel. No wonder all the elite lifters are shredded (save for superheavy’s)…
Even working with a dowel (wooden stick, step 1) to get the positions and transitions correct, will be a great workout for most people as the volume is typically high and the attention to detail as well.
Cool Factor! Because they are so technical, not a lot of people do them well…walking into a gym, taking over the platform, and rocking some double body weight clean and jerks will definitely get you some attention. You will make a lot of friends that day. A lot of people can squat, but throw the same weight overhead as fast as you can? My mind just got blown.
It is with all of these reasons that we have begun a weightlifting club out of FITS Toronto where we work with weekend warriors to master these lifts, and so far the response has been impressive. If you want to really kick your training into another gear, and find something that you can really pour your focus into…then start learning how to weightlift!! (Consult a professional!!)
BONUS: Here is me hitting some PR’s yesterday as I journey to a bodyweight snatch…join me!
DOUBLE BONUS: Here’s Kyle beating Cory‘s PRs
Advertisements

Supplements…What to Choose?

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , on October 18, 2012 by razorsedgeperformance

It’s a loaded question…I don’t know your goals. The supplements you take and the food you eat should obviously go hand-in-hand with the workouts you are doing to help fulfill your goals. Period.

With that being said, there is a good chance that these supplements will cover most people’s goals and should therefore be included your daily routine/regimen.

The biggest thing to understand about supplements is that a very large part of the industry is built on deception, not a good thing for the consumer who cares. There are so many companies offering a wide variety of products, that all claim to have made a BETTER VERSION. Why would any logically thinking human being think that this is reasonable?!?!?!

So here is the gameplan…find a company that is trustworthy and stick with them. You may pay a little bit more than your friends, but you know it works. There is a lot of value in that. Some companies with great products include Cytosport, Rivalus, MusclePharm (for the most part), AllMax, Dymatize. I’m sure many of you have a bigger list than that, but I like to make sure the products are clean and effective, so I don’t need more options than this…

Now onto the products that work. This is by no-means an exhaustive list, but will provide plenty of options for a well-rounded supplement protocol.

PROTEIN POWDER

This is a no-brainer for a few reasons. Firstly, protein ingested immediately post-workout is very important for increasing muscle-protein synthesis; that is the creation of new muscle mass. Secondly, anyone looking to improve their body composition must understand that they need a steady dose of protein throughout the day. This can come from a variety of sources, but a good protein powder is a great weapon to ensure that you can get your servings even when your outside of your routine. Whey Protein, Whey Protein Isolate, Casein Protein, and a vegetarion source like Brown Rice Protein are all good choices for purchase.

CREATINE MONOHYDRATE

If you have been trying to get huge, then you probably already get your fair share of creatine. If not, you probably think it is somehow illegal, or makes you bloated. The term ‘water weight’ gets thrown around quite a bit, without much evidence to support it. The truth is creatine is very beneficial for increasing high-intensity work capacity, for muscle hypertrophy, and lately has been shown to be extremely beneficial for your cognitive health (YOUR BRAIN!!). All the while, myths about cramping, bloating, or water retention have been refuted in the research. It is cheap and flavourless, so just drop 10g a day in one of your workout beverages and you are good to go!

BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids)

BCAAs might have to be the favourite supplement out there for most people who train regularly. It has a long list of benefits, including decreasing ratings of perceived exertion (difficulty/fatigue of the workout), increased muscle protein synthesis, decreased muscle breakdown, preservation of glutamine levels, and symptoms of DOMS. It has been shown effective before the workout, during the workout, and after the workout as well. While I don’t suggest replacing a protein shake after your workout, the consumption of BCAAs around your workout could make the post-workout shake redundant. If you aren’t looking to ADD a significant amount of lean mass, the BCAAs may be your top priority.

VITAMIN-MINERAL COMPLEX

This is the general blanket pick. There are so many factors that affect the level of your micronutrients, and the last thing you want is to have your progress stunted because of a deficiency. Take a vitamin-mineral complex that ensures you have a good variety of nutrients regardless of your diet, but don’t believe that you can eat garbage because of a convenient once-a-day.

BETA-ALANINE

A similar concept as creatine, beta-alanine just uses a slightly different mechanism to have its main effect. When ingested, beta-alanine is converted to carnosine, which is a compound that is used by your body to protect against a drop in pH. Specifically, carnosine buffers hydrogen ions, keeping the environment in your muscles from becoming acidic and function being impaired. This means when you are operating anaerobically (typically between 30 seconds and 3 minutes of strenuous exercise) taking beta-alanine will help delay fatigue and increase work capacity. Beta-alanine has also been shown to help increase lean muscle mass, so again provides the double whammy. Combining beta-alanine and creatine does not cause a conflict of any sorts so it should be encouraged! It’s a little bit harder to find beta-alanine alone but it is found in many pre-workout mixes.

CAFFEINE

Should you drink coffee? Should you avoid it? Here is the deal. Get some caffeine in you and reap the benefits. Tea, coffee, energy drinks, pre-workout cocktails, and anhydrous caffeine pills are all great ways to get some juice in your system. The truth is, it is one of the best supplements out there for improving performance. Increases in performance of endurance exercises, as well as strength-power work, repeat sprint performance, agility, reactive times, and game day performance are all found in the literature.  Don’t avoid caffeine because you think it’s wrong. It might be wrong if you need a constant supply to get through your day, but using it to enhance your workouts is just a great idea! Anywhere from 200mg to 400mg should provide a great jolt to your lifts, and allow you to complete a few extra sets or reps.

The moral of the story is that as long as you become educated, you can use nutritional supplements to your advantage to help your performance and reach your goals. There are many products designed to maximize your physiology or mentality, so don’t be afraid to try some out!

It’s About Getting Better!

Razor’s Edge Performance

Do You Know What You Are Training?

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2012 by razorsedgeperformance

Training can be a tricky thing. Most people will tell you it’s just about effort, and for the most part that is where it starts. If you put in lots of work, good things will happen. If you don’t, it becomes hard to make change. Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s talk specifics…

If you are looking to improve body composition, sometimes it doesn’t matter WHAT you do, as long as you are doing enough work in general. If you have plenty of room for improvement, then almost anything works, as long as you are doing SOMETHING. However, when your goals are more specific, you need more specific ways of structuring your training and I’ll outline some of these.

You can learn more about this from THIS ARTICLE.

In general, training needs to be focused on a specific characteristic. The one’s we’ll discuss here are Strength, Hypertrophy, Power/Speed, Body Composition, and Conditioning.

NOTE: These categories overlap, and improvements will generally be seen in multiple areas, but the biggest improvements should be seen in the area of FOCUS.

Strength

Typically this is where you will see a lot of the focus for athletes and powerlifters. The average gym goer will opt more for hypertrophy or fat loss due to the aesthetic effects rather than the performance gained from a strength-focused block of training.

When training for strength, a large portion of the adaptation comes from the nervous system and its ability to coordinate the use of your muscle tissue. Synchronization of motor units, inhibition of antagonist muscle groups, and increased recruitment of motor units all contribute to lifting heavy weight on top of some increases in muscle mass.

Here are a few examples of strength work. This is typically compound movements (lots of muscles used) for high load and low repetitions.

Hypertrophy

This is definitely the most popular category for young men, because your biceps can never get big enough. Truthfully, having a decent amount of muscle mass is important for self-confidence and filling out half your wardrobe, so I definitely don’t know it. I think almost every guy has thought about putting on 10lbs of muscle, and every woman has thought about seeing a nice flat stomach. There is nothing wrong with being sexy.

There are a lot of different programs and approaches that are used for hypertrophy but there is definitely a best-way and all the rest. The catch is whether you want muscle mass and strength and power to all improve together. This goes back to the concept of specificity. You can accomplish all 3, but much slower.

Ideal hypertrophy training involves a high amount of volume per body part along with reaching that dreaded fatigue mark (1). In strength and power training this is discouraged, but with hypertrophy training this is the way to go…

Here are a few examples of the kind of volume you want to get for hypertrophy gains!

Conditioning/Fat Loss

If you think about the Crossfit approach, that is definitely the path to go for the best in conditioning and fat loss training. You want to work in a high-intensity heart rate zone with low amounts of rest. The key here is to build circuits with a strong resistance training component so that you are either building muscle mass or maintaining what you have, while shedding body fat. That will ultimately make for the best body composition (Think Percent Body FAT!). If you could do a 30-40 minute mixed workout while avoiding going over the 40 second rest mark you will probably build quite a body composition workout. If you take this version of a Hypertrophy program, cut some of the volume down and make it full-body, you’d have a great workout.

Power/Speed

This is the bread and butter for athletes, but should not be the primary focus year round. The key to power/speed is that you need a sufficient base of strength in order to express high levels of power. Power involves moving high amounts of force quickly. Moving a tiny weight quickly is just annoying, not powerful. There are a few different approaches for working on speed and power. First, are the weightlifting exercises, clean and jerk, and snatch. These are difficult to master so if you want to do them well, find a coach who knows how to teach them. If you are weak, go figure out the strength part first! The second method is complexing a strength and speed movement to maximize power in the second movement. This is also an advanced technique that works best in experienced strong lifters, so feel free to try it out, but don’t make it a staple of your program if you aren’t strong (think 2x bodyweight squat for STRONG). Finally, strictly plyometric (jumping) or sprinting workouts are great ways to improve speed/power. These can be box jumps, bounding, broad jumps, sprints, hill sprints, etc.

Here are a few variations of speed and power work..

Conclusion

The key to getting the most out of your training is knowing WHAT you want to accomplish, then executing properly on the HOW. Think about sticking in one category for 4-6 weeks in order to see some adaptations!!

It’s About Getting Better!

Razor’s Edge Performance

1.    Burd NA, West DW, Staples AW, Atherton PJ, Baker JM, Moore DR, Holwerda AM, Parise G, Rennie MJ, Baker SK, and Phillips SM. Low-load high volume resistance exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis more than high-load low volume resistance exercise in young men. PLoS One 5: e12033, 2010.

Get Help in the Kitchen!

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , , on January 4, 2012 by razorsedgeperformance

Everyone in the fitness industry laments the start of January due to the flood of people in all of the gyms and health clubs around North America. Is it because we think this is bad? Absolutely not! That’s amazing…for 2 weeks of the year, everyone is acting the way they should ALL YEAR ROUND. The reason us professionals get frustrated is that by the end of January, most people have fallen back into the old habits, and have lost site of whatever health and fitness related resolution they undertook on January 1st.
I think I can help everyone out a little bit by shedding light on the most important intervention for achieving your goals, whether they are related to hypertrophy, fat-loss, or performance enhancement. LEARNING HOW TO COOK. I’m not talking about becoming the next Jamie Oliver, just someone who can follow a damn good recipe.
I always chuckle when people ask me if i’m a good cook. I make almost all of my food, save for some supplements taken around workouts, so that should say something. Yet I have no imagination in the kitchen. I have made some great dishes, and some bad ones. The key to my success? Find a good recipe, and follow it!

Let’s go over a few resources that I like to use that can make a world of a difference between winning and losing in this game we play with our bodies and health.


Precision Nutrition

Do yourself a favour and go all-out with the whole system. You get a fantastic cookbook, a manual that describes a lot about WHY to eat certain foods and WHEN to eat them, as well as food preparation tips and other random nuggets of information. The cookbook, Gourmet Nutrition has recipes for shakes, snacks, side dishes, entrees, breakfasts, soups, salad dressings and sauces, and of course desserts. All of the nutritional facts about the meal are given, as well as designations of when the meal is best consumed. The added bonus is access to the online members content on the site, which has forums and articles that are at least 5 years old, so the amount of content archived on the precision nutrition site is massive.

Gourmet Nutrition 2.0

This is the 2nd cookbook in the gourmet nutrition series. It is along the same format as the first version that is in the Precision Nutrition system, but adds a whole bunch of new recipes. If you plan on doing the Precision Nutrition system, wait on this, until you’ve tried all of the recipes in the first book. If you just want a healthy cookbook, then this is one way to go. It really goes above and beyond the infamous ‘chicken breasts and broccoli’ that many get trapped in when trying to eat well.

Best of Clean Eating
http://rcm-ca.amazon.ca/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=razosedgepe02-20&o=15&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=1552100855

I haven’t tried many of these recipes yet, but I flipped through the whole book and it looks absolutely fantastic. Not only does everything look gourmet, but the entire cookbook has tips and facts about different foods and nutrtients, as well as recipes that will only make you healthier.

Best of Clean Eating 2
http://rcm-ca.amazon.ca/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=razosedgepe02-20&o=15&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=1552100979

Just go back and read what I just wrote above regarding the first version. This is just another resource with new recipes that follow the same ideals as the first.

That’s 4 resources for nutritional help with your resolutions (or constant struggle for improvement if you didn’t just start this week…). Do yourself a favour and get in the habit of cooking your own healthy meals, and realize healthy and gourmet can fit in the same sentence together. Most unwanted deviations from healthy eating occur because you are unprepared and didn’t pack a lunch, or don’t feel like cooking. So take some time to get your act together in the kitchen, so your body is appropriately fueld for your workouts!

It’s About Getting Better

Eating Well Is Easier Done Than Said?

Posted in Health with tags , , , on November 11, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

Hey Everyone,

Happy Friday!

I know we always talk about the importance of eating well for improvements in body composition, plus an overall health profile boost, the problem though, is that most clients will say it’s too hard to handle, or just not do it because of convenience. We know who you are. We can tell when you’ve reached the training threshold of ‘big results’, so if nothing is happening, it’s probably because you are putting poison in your body.

I just wanted to send out a quick reminder that eating well doesn’t have to be hard or tedious. The other night I was cooking for my fiancee and I, preparing food for the next day’s feedings. Here is what I put together in 15 minutes or less.

500g of Ground Chicken – $3.53

500g of Frozen “Summer Blend” vegetables – $2.50

500g (a can) of Red Kidney Beans – $0.99

Variety of spices ….negligible

I browned the chicken in a pot, while steaming the entire bag of vetetables at the same time (Fresh vegetables are probably better, but frozen vegetables are still a decent substitute!)…Then I poured the beans in with the chicken and began seasoning it and let it simmer together for 5 minutes. Then I added all of the vegetables and mixed it all together. Voila!

This meal fed 2 people for lunch and a bit of snack the next day on $7.00 and 15 minutes of preparation.

It was all chicken, vegetables, and kidney beans…cheap carbs or dressings.

If I had to add one more thing to it, it would be avocado or nuts for some added healthy fats.

Unfortunately we ate it all before I thought to take a picture. I thought it would be a good reminder though that eating healthy doesn’t always have to be expensive, or time consuming. I find these mixes or stirfrys are the best way to say ‘Let’s just put all these healthy things into a pot or pan and see what happens!’…

NOW GO MAKE A GOOD MEAL!

It’s About Getting Better!

Carb Timing for a Leaner Body!

Posted in Health with tags , , , , , on September 28, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

This article is going to have relevance for every reader, be it athlete or not. We all want a leaner body because it makes us move more efficiently and look the way we want. The thing is, there are so many different tips out there for decreasing body fat that it’s hard to tell which ones are actually worthwhile and which ones aren’t. This one will touch on something I’m sure everyone struggles with: carbohydrates. Carbs are not the devil, in fact they’re extremely important. After reading a great article recently I decided I would help our readers understand how to utilize carbohydrates in their diet to help achieve their ideal physique. Now bear with me for a paragraph or two because I want to set up a theoretical background so you understand the recommendations at the end.

Tyler Durden has great carb timing

John Kiefer does a great job in that article describing the way your workout affects carb usage by your body, but I’m going to delve into the science  a little bit here. When discussing carbohydrates and their effects on the body, the important terms to know are insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is a physiological condition whereby insulin becomes less effective at reducing blood sugars. Basically, for our intents and purposes, you need to know that insulin is a hormone which facilitates glucose uptake by fat cells and muscle cells. If you become insulin resistant, this means that your fat cells and muscle cells aren’t utilizing insulin as well and your blood sugar levels will stay high which could eventually turn into type 2 diabetes.  That’s bad. Insulin resistance is common with those suffering from obesity but it’s difficult to point to a specific dietary cause. However, it is known that a sedentary (inactive) lifestyle does contribute to insulin resistance. For this article, we’re not really touching on the diabetes portion, but it’s very important to keep in mind nonetheless. So insulin resistance is your body becoming less effective at using carbohydrates for muscle and fat; insulin sensitivity is just a reference to how your body is using insulin (insulin resistance = low insulin sensitivity). So we’re still on the same page right??

EXERCISE

So where does exercise come in?? One of the effects of exercise is  GLUT4 stimulation and increased insulin sensitivity. GLUT4 is a glucose transporter which binds with the muscle membrane to bring glucose into the muscle cell. So if GLUT4 is stimulated, it means more glucose is going into your muscles instead of your fat stores. Recent studies have shown that improving insulin sensitivity has positive effects for both obesity and Type 2 diabetes.  “Exercise can restore mitochondrial function and insulin sensitivity, which may be crucial for a better prognosis in treating or preventing obesity” [Coelho, Pereira-Lancha. Effect of high-fat diets on body composition, lipid metabolism and insulin sensitivity, and the role of exercise on these parameters.Metabolism. August 2011.]. Furthermore, “After a single bout of exercise, the ability of insulin to stimulate glucose uptake is markedly improved locally in the previously active muscles. This makes exercise a potent stimulus counteracting insulin resistance characterizing type 2 diabetes (T2D)” [Frosig, Richter. Improved insulin sensitivity after exercise: focus on insulin signaling. Obesity(silver Spring). Decmber 2009.].

How does this translate??

So now you’re wondering what all this means for your diet. Anywhere in the article that you read glucose, it’s referring to carbohydrates. One of the biggest things that you should note from this article is that your carbohydrate intake should be directly related to your exercise levels and times. For your diet, it’s not about going high carb or low carb overall but WHEN to do so. You should be breaking your day up in to pre workout and post workout time periods as Kiefer suggests, since your body will respond to foods differently at each time period. Before exercise, without GLUT4 stimulation, the glucose in your blood is not being shuttled predominantly to your muscles. So if your muscles are already full of glycogen, the glucose has nowhere to go but fat stores or to stay in the blood and raise blood sugar levels – both BAD. After exercise, your body and more specifically your muscles are extremely insulin sensitive and glucose is being shuttled directly to your muscles by GLUT4 to refill glycogen stores. This is important because you will not be able to build more muscle until glycogen is refilled (this is why your post workout shake MUST contain carbs).

DIET

So Pre Workout meals should consist primarily of protein and fats and very little or no carbohydrates. If you’re eating vegetables, this shouldn’t be a problem. Then Post Workout you should be having any meals with a higher carbohydrate content, whether it be sugars or complex carbohydrates. The closer you are to your workout, the more carbohydrates you should be consuming.  So if you’re really looking at improving your body composition, you need to start focusing on a dynamic diet rather than a static diet. What I mean is, if you are working out today, that will change what you eat based on when you workout. If you’re not working out, you should probably focus more on fats and protein throughout the entire day. It doesn’t mean that small amounts of carbohydrates will hurt, it just means that carb rich meals (breads, rice, potatoes, PASTA) should be saved for Post Workout time periods.

POST workout, not pre workout!

If your workout schedule changes, your diet should change. Think about it this way, is your body doing the same thing on days you train on and days you don’t? If not, then why should you give it the same food/fuel?? It just doesn’t make sense.

FINAL CHALLENGE

So here’s the final take home challenge, and this is especially important for those with primarily fat loss goals: make a schedule for your day of your eating times and add in your exercise blocks. Plan the meals you plan to eat for the day, if your meals are high in carbohydrates, move them into the post exercise time slots with the highest carb meals directly after the exercise. For the meals pre exercise, cut down on the amount of carbohydrates in the meals if they seem very high (try 50g or less).

This information is a game changer, so go out there and change the game!

Remember,

It’s About Getting Better!

Miracles are meant for the movies…

Posted in Health with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

I can never truly decide what people believe. I always assume that they don’t believe the commercials, the tabloids, and some of the daytime talk shows. Unfortunately, I think many still do. There is no acai berry secret weight loss diet. There is no grapefruit makes-my-belly-go-away diet. Body transformation is about making the difficult decisions on a daily basis, not miracles. Here are the major keys to changing the way you look, feel, and perform. You can’t follow one and not the others, they all interact together.

Don't even think about it

Nutrition – You can’t get lean without it, but you can stay lean with low levels of exercise if nutrition is spot on. Ask a professional for some input about the ways that you can manipulate your diet to enhance fat-burning, muscle building, and recovery. Once you get the ‘rules’, it’s about keeping disciplined. There will be at least one tough decision per day about a snack, or meal that you want to buy instead of eating at home, or eating something you packed. Those tough decisions are the ones that lead to great results. If you are willing to invest in your health and body, go here and buy their system. It is probably the best combination of educational materials about nutrition, rules to follow, cooking instructions, and of course delicious recipes. Don’t worry about calories, worry about eating quality foods with as few ingredients as possible! The portions will take care of themselves. One thing you want to avoid, is cutting out all fats. I know a lot of people do fat free in everything and get blinded by calories and grams of fat. There are essential fatty acids that your body needs on a regular basis. Also, making sure you have plenty of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids can actually promote fat loss, so keep them in your plan! [If you don’t ingest healthy fats in your diet, your body will assume you’re not getting any and hold on to the fat you have!]

Exercise – Everyone always wants that perfect fat-burning workout. There are many ways to skin a cat. I’m not saying that you can’t program for fat loss, but for most people, they don’t need to get too specific. It’s always about moving more and sitting less. Also, you could probably use a boost in intensity. Intervals over steady-state cardio might give you a big performance boost if you aren’t used to that type intensity from your conditioning work. Adding in a brisk walk every other day, especially in a fasted state (like before breakfast!) can do wonders for increasing fat loss during a transformation. For your weight training, there are a few different strategies that work. You can do circuits and complexes that essentially combine intervals with resistance training, or you can focus on hypertrophy and strength and just make sure you are doing some conditioning work later. Sometimes it takes introducing loads your body has never felt before to see change, whether its getting big or leaning out.

Recovery  – The biggest key to making exercise and physical activity a regular part of your life, is being able to recover optimally from each training session. Being sore and tired just discourages you from being active again. Invest in the little things like foam rollers, massage sticks, lacrosse balls, and stretching bands. Do this work regularly. It helps keep you injury free and reduces stress on the body’s tissues. You want to feel as good after you train as you did before, so that tomorrow you are excited and motivated to be active again. Contrast baths/showers are also effective, as are saunas and focused work from a soft-tissue specialist/manual therapist. Since most people should have a good list of dynamic warmup exercises to get them ready to train each day and maximize range of motion in their joints, having a workout where you cycle through all of these a couple times for 30 minutes is a great way to enhance recovery, practice certain athletic positions and improve blood flow throughout your body. If you want a good self-help guide to soft-tissue work, check out this amazing project.

Supplements – This is the one we’ve been waiting for. What is Kim Kardashian taking these days? Brad Pitt? Chaz Bono? Well, I’m not entirely sure, and at least one of them probably requires a prescription. This section is the most optional of them all. You can use certain supplements to help boost progress, but its the first category you can do without if you are on a budget or merely simplifying your approach. As always multivitamins should be a staple for anyone active. Cover your bases. Next is a decent protein powder. You should carry around 3-4 scoops in a ziploc bag or a piece of tupperware, so that you are ready in case you get hungry at a time when a snack isn’t packed. It’s also good when you are travelling, as you really only need water and a bottle to make it work. Fish oil pills or liquids provide those essential fatty acids I talked about earlier, which are very important for staying healthy and burning body fat. I highly recommend these ones. Green tea and green tea extract are helpful supplements, just remember the active ingredient, ECGC works synergistically with caffeine, so a good cup of brewed green tea is the best choice. Other than that, go check out this article to find out more about peri-workout nutrition.

The Good Stuff

Stress/Sleep – Finally, the more stress you carry, the harder it is to transform your body, therefore, meditate, drink tea, read, get a massage, and most importantly sleep. Sleep is where most of the body’s adaptation to exercise occurs, so it’s imperative that you get plenty of it. Don’t forget to smile. You get to choose whether a particular event will bum you out or if you’ll shrug it off and get back to work. Don’t take everything too seriously, it may be wearing your body down!

I know this one was a little long, i just wanted to remind all of you that when you are looking to accomplish something with your health and performance, it is important to remember that it is a JOURNEY, not a quick program or supplement. Live hypertrophy, live fat-loss, live high performance. You can’t have it both ways. Plan for it all!

It’s About Getting Better!

%d bloggers like this: