Balanced training has become a foreign concept. Muscle building has turned into a quest for bigger biceps and chest, at the expense of physique balance and aesthetics. While there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting a big chest and biceps, overworking one upper body muscle group while ignoring the others is a good way to bring about an injury.
Training imbalances increase incidences of elbow tendonitis and shoulder strains, pains and injuries. To reduce the likelihood of these types of upper body injuries, use the following rules:
- Balance – Seek to perform about the same number of sets for chest, back and shoulders.
- Bench and Rows – Seek to perform about the same number or bench press and row sets. This includes variations like dumbbell bench press and dumbbell rows.
- Overhead Press and Pull Ups – Seek to perform about the same number of overhead press and pull down/pull ups sets. This includes variations such as dumbbell overhead presses and lat pull downs.
Arms – Balance your bicep and tricep training. Avoid overworking the biceps.
Some of the best ways to prevent weight gain are the most obvious. Here are 3 common (and obvious) factors that might be hindering your ability to lose weight.
- Liquid Calories – According to a study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the average American drinks 37% of their daily calories. Imagine if you reduced this number by 70%; that would cut your daily calorie intake down by 400-700. Start by reducing the number of flavored coffees, fruit drinks, and sodas you drink each day.
- Calorie Density – Think about this…800 calories of gummy worms would take you a half hour to eat. You would have to eat 6 to 7 potatoes to consume that many calories. The same goes for fruit juice: it’s easy to drink 500 calories worth of orange juice, but much harder to eat 8-9 oranges. Calorie density matters!
- Underestimating Intake – The average individual thinks they are consuming 50% fewer calories than they actually are. This means if you think you are only eating 2000 calories per day, there is a good chance you are eating 3000 per day. Take a week and count the calories for everything you eat. You might be surprised!
Trans fats are man-made food ingredients that do not exist in nature. It is created by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils so that they become more solid. Trans fats have been shown to increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of good cholesterol (HDL). This combination raises your risk of heart disease.
Trans fats are generally listed on food labels as a partially hydrogenated oil. They are commonly found in the following foods, or types of foods, so make sure to do your research and check food labels:
- Fried foods such as donuts and French fries.
- Baked goods such as cookies, pizza dough, crackers and chips.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of foods that contain trans fats. Make sure to check all food labels before making purchases, especially labels of highly processed foods.
To maximize the muscle building process you want to make sure you order your exercises properly. Here is a suggested order for you to follow:
- Technical Lifts – Begin each workout with highly technical movements such as Olympic lifts – overhead squats, snatch, clean and jerk, etc. You want to perform the most technical of movements when fresh, reducing risk of injury.
- Taxing Compound Lifts – Squats, deadlifts, bench press. These types of taxing exercises should come next. Again, the point is to be as fresh as possible so you can utilize the best form and greatest amount of weight.
- Compound or Machine Movements – Now that the hardest and most technical work has been done, you want to next work any remaining compound or taxing machine movements such as rows, dips, or machine presses, etc.
- Isolation Exercises – These are the lightest exercises in your training day, and can include dumbbell isolation lifts, cable movements and machine exercises such as a pec deck.
Here is an example that utilizes the above protocol for a back training day:
- Power Cleans
- Dumbbell Rows
- Pull Ups
- Straight Arm Lat Pull Down
We have all been told that to lose weight we must practice proper portion control, but how many of us know what a proper portion size actually looks like? The following visual cues are easy to remember and can help you practice proper portion control.
- 3 ounces of meat is about the size of your palm or a deck of cards.
- 1 cup is about the size of a baseball.
- 1 tablespoon or ounce is about the size of your thumb.
- 1 teaspoon is about the size of your thumb tip.
- 1 tennis ball is about the size of 3/4 cup of veggies or fruit.
- 1 handful of snacks is equivalent to 1-2 ounces.
- 1/4 cup is about the size of one egg.
- 2 teaspoons are about the size of a ping pong ball.
- 1/2 cup is about the size of a computer mouse.
Want to improve your health while eating something sweet? Who doesn’t. The following 5 fruit choices are not only great tasting, but are also considered “super foods.” They are packed with good nutrition, and provide numerous health benefits.
- Apples – Rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Linked to improvement in heart health, prevention of lung cancer and type II diabetes.
- Apricots – Apricots are sweet tasting fruits that are rich in beta-carotene and lycopene. Both of these work to combat atherosclerosis and various other cardiovascular diseases.
- Blueberries – Often ignored because they are not rich in vitamin C, blueberries are packed with antioxidant phytonutrients. These phytonutrients have been shown to improve intra-cellular “communication”, helping to reduce cellular mutations and the spread of cancer cells.
- Kiwi – Research on kiwi consumption reveals that it may be beneficial in reducing asthma related symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath.
- Oranges – Known for being rich in vitamin C, oranges can work to prevent cancer, improve heart health, prevent strokes, cancer, diabetes and more.
On Saturday, May 31, over 200 martial arts competitors were going for the gold at the Worldgate Martial Arts Tournament. The athletes from nZone’s Neil Ehrlich’s American Karatedid an outstanding job exhibiting their skills and sportsmanship.
Front: Isaac King-3rd Fighting; Joella Cabrera-2nd Fighting & Form
Back: Claire Spina-1st Fighting, 2nd Form, 3rd Weapon; Dan Richardson-1st Fighting, 3rd Weapon; Coach Neil Ehrlich; Brian To-1st Fighting; John Hulett-3rd Fighting, 4th Weapon
*Not in photo: Katie Hulett-2nd Fighting, 3rd Form, 4th Weapon; Krissa Rehberg-2nd Weapon, 3rd Form
Muscle soreness can be debilitating. We’ve experienced workouts that have left us feeling completely immobile due to muscle soreness, or DOMS. (Delayed onset muscle soreness)
Here are some tips to relieve muscle soreness, so you can get back into the gym and building muscle or burning calories again.
- Hot Baths – A long, hot bath will not only help loosen stiff muscles, but is also extremely relaxing.
- Active Recovery – Get out and move. Perform some very light forms of exercise that drive blood to the muscles.
- Massage – Who doesn’t like a nice deep tissue massage?
- RICE – No, not the food. RICE stands for: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
- Stretching – Perform a few 10-15 minute stretching sessions each day.
How many times have you thought to yourself: “I am too tired to workout, what’s the point?”
It is often assumed that because of fatigue, you will experience sub-par performance at the gym and that there’s no point in workout out. This is far from true. How you “feel” rarely impacts how your workouts will turn out.
The hardest part on days like this is just getting to the gym. Do your best, and don’t let fatigue win. Once you are there and start warming up, you will likely find that you are soon feeling better than expected, and might even start hitting personal bests.
By the end of your workout there is a great chance that you will be refreshed, invigorated and glad you made the effort.
Are you eating enough protein per day? We have all heard that protein is required for muscle recovery and repair. It is also an essential part of the muscle building process. Despite these benefits, most of us are underestimating our daily protein intake.
To help you reach your daily protein goals, here are some common foods and their protein content:
- Large Egg – 6 grams
- 4 oz Skinless Chicken Breast– 26 grams
- Chobani No-Fat Greek Yogurt, 6 oz container – 16 grams
- 1 cup 2% Milk – 8 grams
- 1 piece of String Cheese – 7 grams
- Tuna, 6 oz – 40 grams
- Bacon, 1 slice – 3 grams
- 1/2 cup of Cottage Cheese – 15 grams
- Beans, 1/2 cup cooked – 7-10 grams
- Peanut Butter, 2 Tablespoons – 8 grams protein