REST DAYS

PROGRESS


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Truth be told

If you do not workout more than 4 times per week this post probably isn’t for you.

The goal for most avid gym dwellers, gym rats, serious lifters, and amateur physique competitor’s, (at least the majority that I know) is muscle growth and development.

It’s called hypertrophy.

  • hypertrophy  the growth and increase in size of skeletal muscle through a growth in size of it’s components cells. 

Sound like a lot? Meh, itjust means your muscle are getting bigger through doing activities like weightlifting. Without getting too scientific, there is something called progressive overload. Increasing weight means increasing strength. Increasing strength in turn, increases muscle mass.

Intensity

Starting out, many of us ferociously hit the weights with a determination like few. We hit it hard and for many, results come quickly.

Quite often, especially in our youth, we take for granted our youth, and our bodies ability to adapt. We can go longer and harder and with more intensity. Our bodies respond and handle these self-induced beastmodes well. But youthfulness aside, everyone hits a plateau, slows their roll, or simply gets fatigued .

Enter the “rest day”.

Lot’s of Rest = Superior Workouts

Break it down

While we are curling, benching, shrugging, and squating we are make tiny tears in our muscle fibers. “Micro tears”. Shredding them really, utilizing Type I and Type II fibers. The workout or activity dictates which ones are being activated. If you’ve ever had a really good workout, (I mean truly beastmode) with your trainer, workout partner, or on your own, and your sore 2 days later this would be a prime example of that shredding.

The body then instinctively rushes in to repair those muscles, with the help of us replenishing needed protein, vitamins, and minerals, and the muscles grow. How does taking time off from working out play a part? Well, in layman’s terms, if you are constantly tearing down the muscles but not giving them time to repair and grow, at some point you’ll reach a plataeu and you’ll stop seeing dem gainz kid.


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Central Nervous System

Forget about all that pre-workout and caffeine, overtime the exertion required to “go big” takes its toll on the brain. Let’s say you’ve got one of those jobs that you absolutely dread showing up to, and when you do all you think about is “lifting”:

a. props for making the gym a part of your life.

b. think about finding another work place environment.

The human body doesn’t compartmentalize between physical and mental stress. It all builds up and manifests itself with the tell-tale signs:

  • Moodiness/irritability
  • Constant soreness
  • Lagging performance levels
  • Injuries
  • Headaches

Quick Takeaway

How much rest a person needs is absolutely dependent on how intense, frequent, and what volume a person’s training schedule has. In weightlifting for example, conventional wisdom has dictated allowing 24 – 48 hours rest in between working the same muscle group. (Scratching head) Then next month someone promotes 72 hours minimum. The fitness is an ever changing industry and there are “new discoveries” all the time. I am a strong proponent of the “Push/Pull” method. A typically schedule may look something like this:

  • Monday – Chest/Triceps
  • Tuesday – Back/Biceps
  • Wednesday – Legs/Abs
  • Thursday – OFF 
  • Friday – OFF

This is one of many splits, however I chose this one because the two (2) rest days in a row are after three (3) consecutive days of heavy lifting. High volume and heavy weight.

If exercise is a mainstay in your life, seriously, you get double props from me. ✊If you are experiencing any symptoms mentioned above though, or lagging in the gains department, think about your rest days. When you place them. How many you take.

 

THE CITY DWELLER WORKOUT

WORKOUT IDEAS


Do you feel wiped out when you get home and just collapse on the sofa? Urban living certainly has its challenges. Hiking around the cityscape day to day requires endurance and stamina. Wether it’s that mad dash for the bus or the hike up the stairs with groceries because the elevator is stuck again, urban life can seem pressured and non stop.


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But we love it, that’s why we live here.

Below is not so much a full workout, but ideas to incorporate into your existing routines. Ways to up the ante a little. ✔

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Plyometrics


Also known as “jump training”, incorporating plyometric exercises is almost garanteed to help build the strength and speed needed to navigate the urban jungle. (Or a weekend hike).

Get ready to jump


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First, start by warming up with a few sets of body squats. 2 sets of 10

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Keeping your core tight push off and land squarely on both feet. 3 sets of 10.

Explosive power is what your building.


Get a Grip

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Often times getting creative with workouts simply involves changing the grip your using while performing an exercise. Some basic grips most oftenly used are:

  • Overhand
  • Underhand
  • Close grip
  • Wide grip

Baby got back

If you want an impressive set of “wings” switch your grips in the same workout to target the whole back.

Here are two (2) exercises to help strength the back and build the lean muscle needed to help propel you through this world.

  • The Lat Pull 
  • The V-Bar Pull

The Lat Pull is a standard, all-around, go-to exercise for building upper body strength. Above is the short grip. Position your arms shoulder width apart. 3 sets of 12 – 15

Muscle Group – Latissimus Dorsi

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A wide grip (above) works the inner lats, while a short grip helps to build the outer lats.

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⬆The V – Bar Pull is a mass building staple. Working the inner muscles of the back called the Rhomboids, as well as the lats, this move is also working your biceps.


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It isn’t a jungle in here. This is your sanctuary. This space is where you come to escape the grind.

Utilize it. Think outside the box.

While you have the V – Bar in hand, stand with feet shoulder width apart and switch to working your abdominals.


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The truth about abs is this: Everyone has them. It’s the layer of fat on top that keeps them hidden. Endlessly doing crunches is not the key. Watching what you eat and performing 3 sets of 15 repetitions 

slow and controlled is.

The science of grips applies to your #bicepblowout too. Using your Lat bar, alternate between a short grip and a wide grip:

Muscle Group – Biceps Inner/Outer

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Why? Stimulating the muscles from different angles helps promote hypertrophy, or muscle growth. 

Tip Using an overhand grip here (not shown) will target the forearms. Think Popeye the Sailor Man.

SUPER SET 


The concept of a superset is simple. Maximize your time and your efforts. Working opposing muscle groups,  (“push/pull”) is an effective method for building size as well. Utilizing a Machine Chest Press is a an excellent opportunity to build the back and the chest simultaneously. Rest periods should be little to none during a superset combo.

Muscle Groups – Pectorals/Rhomboids/Deltoids

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When using the Chest Press for the back adjusting it allows for either a full range of motion or partial. The debate about machines continues. Perhaps the critics haven’t learned to get creative. When it comes to sets and reps choose from any number:

  • 12, 10, 10, 8
  • 10, 10, 10
  • 10, 8, 8
  • 5 sets of 5
  • 10, 8, 8, 6

You get the picture? Switch things up. Muscle confusion, man!

Add 3 sets on the Chest Press next while your at it.

Variations on a theme

Dips are a mass building exercise that can be done just about anywhere. Home, gym, office.

Muscle Group – Triceps/Deltoids

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If you can’t fit on the railings, or don’t feel like moving the bench, or simple can’t get downstairs….

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…push two chairs together in the comfort of your home.

If you chose the railings, stay there and add stair step climbs to your routine. Start with 1 step intervals then graduate to two. Eventually, your quads and glutes will thank you for it.

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Muscle Group – Quadriceps/Gluteus Maximus ⬆

Time to stretch. Static stretches, or stretches held for an extended period of time are good at this point.

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Hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. Repeat 2 – 3 times while your iPod is stuck on replay-ay-ay.

Tip Focus on holding your core tight and on your breathing. Your stretching the Quads, Hamstrings, and Back here.


And of course don’t forget your core. But how do you take a basic plank and change it up?

 

Muscle Groups – Abdominals/Obliques

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Keep your core tight, twist each knee to the right and left, hold each pose for a 5 count. Perform as many as you can.

Again, these are variations to add into your existing routines. By simply changing the grip and the rep counts, you’ll continue to think outside the box and above all else…

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Email: jwilliamstrains@gmail.com 

MORE ON STATIC STRETCHING

Flexibility


If you’ve ever noticed the fitness world is an ever changing world, and seemingly monthly there is a new break through.

Some things though, remain as rock solid as the iron your pressing and curling.

Stretching


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First, think of your muscles like a rubber band. Now tie a knot in the middle of it. See what I mean?

Basics

There are two (2) basic types of stretching.

  • Dynamic
  • Static

We know that a good warmup period pre-work out is important. Post workout is another story and often times we abruptly stop, shower, (hopefully) and go about our business. Static stretching involves holding specific stretches for a longer period of time, (Typically 30 – 40 seconds) for optimum benefits. Over the years studies show that static stretching tends to be best suited for the end of a workout. Why?

According to Acefitness.org

“No pain, no gain is simply not true. Stretching shouldn’t hurt. Stretch to the point of mild discomfort. Try to find a balance of ease and effort in every stretch.”

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Take Away

Often we sit at desks for long periods of time, or for some, stand for long periods of time. Flexibility is crucial to our success.

  • Reduced pain and stiffness
  • Improved Blood flow and circulation
  • Enhanced performance

So, the next time you knock that #beastmode workout out of the park, or come home for the day stiff as a tree, budget the time to streeeetch it out.

 

FADS’, TRENDS’, & BROSCIENCE

FITNESS & EXERCISE


“It is what it is”

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I’ll make this easy so you don’t have to scroll too much. Fads’, Trends’ and Broscience are exactly that…..Fads’, Trends’, and Broscience. I once read a comment from a bro that basically made fun of people who always use definition’s.

Whatever.

I was under the impression, (and have been for some time,) we all needed a little more textbook fact these days.

But I digress.

  • Broscience is the predominant brand of reasoning in bodybuilding circles where the anecdotal reports of jacked dudes are considered more credible than scientific research.
  • Fad an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something. Especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the objects qualities; a craze.
  • Trend a general direction in which something is developing or changing.

Oh snap. Yes I did go there. You see, there are two very important words in that first definition which are, “….scientific research”. 

The Takeway

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Every last one of our bodies and metabolisms are different. We are unique in that sense. Our genetics play a part. Our ages. Our lifestyles. All of it plays a part. What one person responds to is quite different than the other. But confusing tried-and-true methods and research, or avoiding them all together, with the latest fad’s, trends’, and broscience, only leads to unnecessary frustration, anxiety and confusion. Just because your workout partner responded to something doesn’t mean you will too. And vice versa. That’s not to say you shouldn’t stray outside of the proverbial box every now and then. You should. Throw in an extra set and some reps. Make a variation on something. Take it to the next level.

Achieving results takes due diligence, dedication, and sweat. Establishing long term goals, researching and then committing to them requires work.

Are you ready to put in the work?

jwilliamstrains@gmail.com

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MILITARY MONDAY

BOOT CAMP STYLE


YOU WANT MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY? How’s this?

You wanna get fit? You wanna get ripped? You wanna shed fat?

Get off your ass recruit!

DROP AND GIVE ME 20!


Okay, so you’ve​ had your morning mocha frappa whateverthehell. You get to work late, because you can. You spend 40 minutes scrolling through your Instafeed seeing what everyone did this weekend before you finally look at your work desktop to check what? WORK? Go figure.

(At around 4:30am they tossed the trash can down the barracks and that’s how we started the day, by the way.) 

You have a long day ahead of you. So what, join the ranks of everyone else in the world. Incidentally, no, everyone’s​ life isn’t la di da like on social media.) Are you hung over? Sucks to be you. Better grab some water.

 


LISTEN UP

You found the time to go to the game. You found the time to go to the wine tasting. You had to find the time to come to work. And YOUR GOING TO FIND THE TIME TO WORKOUT. Period. No excuses.

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Priorities, right? The take away here is the at you make time to do the things that matter. Yes, recruit, that’s right. You do. So instead of happy hour today your going to go for that turn on the elliptical. Your going to try to do those 20 pushups. Your not going to care what everyone else in the gym thinks because your all in the same boat…. right?

RIGHT!

Now, go…do it….

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“GO BIG……”

WORKOUT IDEAS

ROUTINES

Perhaps your apartment/condo fitness room has a little more than most to work with but still doesn’t give you the feeling of a huge box gym with a branded name full of copious amounts of equipment.

So what. You can still get your workout on.

This routine is designed on the “push/pull” theory, as well as to target as many muscle groups as possible. Push/Pull revolves around working with exercises involving one set of motions. For “Push” say, Chest & Triceps, and for “Pull” like those for Back & Biceps. Training can be divided throughout the week or incorporated into one workout to save on time.

Summary

WORKOUT: UPPER BODY

GOAL: BUILD MUSCLE

LEVEL: BEGINNER – INTERMEDIATE

DETAILS: 

  • 10 – 12 rep range
  • 3 working sets w/warmup sets
  • Allow at least 48 hours rest in between

ESSENTIALS:

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  • Commitment
  • Determination
  • Intensity

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STANDING DUMBBELL FRONT RAISES – ALTERNATING 

MUSCLE GROUP – DELTOIDS

1 – 2 Warmup Sets (lighter weight)

3 Sets of 10 – 12

Beginning with feet shoulder width apart, keep core tight and back straight. Dumbbells should be at sides and with controlled form raise them until parallel with floor. Option 2 Use the cable station. The debate rages on about cables. Why? Not sure. They provide constant tension, help with imbalances, and are great if your beginning.

1. a & b

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“You want me to do something….tell me I can’t do it” ~ Maya Angelou 

1. c

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Side Delt Raises 

MUSCLE GROUP – DELTOIDS 

1. d

OVERHEAD DUMBBELL PRESS 

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Here are two (2) starting positions. When you begin with dumbells in front and palms facing towards you rotate back then push up. This works the entire shoulder. (We’re aiming for Boulder Shoulders here)

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 PULL UPS – UNASSISTED

MUSCLE GROUP – BACK 

3 sets of as many as possible


Body weight exercises such as pull ups continue to be a never fail, go-to move for building pure strength and lean muscle. Incorporate them into any workout often and watch those lats pop.


DUMBBELL INCLINE PRESS

MUSCLE GROUP – CHEST

3 Sets of 10 – 12

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Tip:In the starting position rest the dumbbells on your quads. Push off with each knee. – And when finishing bring them to rest here again.  A. No one likes a weight dropper, so please do not toss them so you can hashtag beastmode. B. Proper form is right up there with nutrition.

It’s key.

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DUMBBELL BENT OVER ROWS 

MUSCLE GROUP – BACK

3 Sets of 10 – 12 


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INCLINE DUMBBELL BICEP CURLS 

MUSCLE GROUP – BICEP BRACHI

3 Sets of 10 – 12

Bi, meaning two (2), there are two heads to the biceps. The long and the short. Position the bench at a 45 to 60 degree angle. Adding an angle helps create more tension stimulating the long head of the bicep, as well as helps correct imbalances, such as hunching the shoulders forward common with barbell curls.

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HAMMER CURLS


ELEVATED DECLINE PUSHUPS

MUSCLE GROUP – CHEST

3 Sets of 10 – 12

A chiseled chest is always attainable with a “where there’s a will there’s a way” mind set.

Really.

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After a good #bicepblowout take the dumbbells and position them under you in the pushup position.


INCLINE CABLE FLIES

MUSCLE GROUP – PECTORALS

3 Sets of 10 – 12

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Muscles grow after we workout, tear them down, rest and allow them to repair. Here, towards the end of your workout on your third (3) set shoot for as many reps as you can. Some call it “until failire”. I do not. I call it “until exhaustion”. What ever you want to call it, push yourself.

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For questions, ideas, and more variations please feel free to contact me:  jwilliamstrains@gmail.com

SMALL SPACE, BIG RESULTS

WORKOUT IDEAS

Routines


Big things, small packages

Sometimes you don’t always have the benefit of a large facility with copious amounts of equipment. Thats when you get creative, take what you’ve got and make it work. You can still burn fat and build muscle. Really.

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Circuit Training

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While not as intense as H.I.I.T, this style of workout still aims at burning calories and inducing sweat. Studies continue to show that lean body mass increases with the use of circuit training. (less body fat.) With a set routine of moves done in the 12 – 15 rep range, and moderate rest in between, the body gets a good strength and aerobic workout in a shorter amount of time.

Levels – I /II

It depends on the individual and what their fitness level is. Not everyone will use the same amount of weight or go at the same speed.

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Sculpt

Exercises in this workout are chosen to target as many muscle groups as possible, both upper and lower body.

Warm up 5 – 7 minutes with cardio of choice. 

1. Unassisted Dips

Reps: 12 – 15

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Dips are a powerhouse, compound upper body exercise that targets the chest, shoulders and triceps. After warming up sufficiently, position yourself between two treadmills.

2. Weighted Body Squats 

Reps: 12 – 15

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Elevating helps to acheive a deeper squat, really targeting the quads and the glutes. Staying with the treadmills, reverse your stance holding a dumbbell. Keep the core tight and shoulders back. Tip: At the top of the exercise focus on squeezing the glutes.

3. One-arm Machine Back Rows

Reps: 12 – 15

Think outside the proverbial box. Utilize the Chest Press of the workout station to work the back and rear delts. Bend at the knee to adjust for your height while focusing on keeping the back upright.

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Reps: 12 – 15

Move to the

4. Standing Bicep Cable Curl

Reps: 12 – 15

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Everyone wants an impressive set of pythons. Utilizing the Straight Bar Cable Attachment, keep elblows tucked in and shoulders back, and focus on slow, steady repetitions.

5. Rope Extensions/Triceps

Reps: 12 -15 

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● Alternate – Reverse Grip Tricep Extension

If you do not have a rope extension use a Wide Lat-Pull Bar with either a regular or a reverse grip.

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6. Standing Weighted (w/dumbbells) Lunges – Focus on keeping the core tight.

Reps: 12 – 15


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7. Dumbbell Bench Press

Reps: 12 – 15 

8. Ab I/Crunches w/bench +  Ab II/Toe Raises Reps: 12 -15 

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A common misconception is that abs should be blasted with excessive reps. Not so. Perform 2 – 3 sets in excellent form and their good.

 

Chest Press Reps: 12 – 15

Cable Shrugs

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Reps: 12 -15 

Using the same bar as with the gun show, stand with feet shoulder width apart, and keep shoulders back.


Keep rest periods between exercises 30 seconds for advanced, 45 seconds to 1 minute for beginniners. Repeat entire circuit x 2.

Even better, do it a third time!

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10 ESSENTIAL DO’S AND DON’TS FOR YOUR FITNESS JOURNEY

STAYING FOCUSED


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Most of us were taught basic, fundemental rules as kids to help us in life. Hopefully. No elbows on the table while eating, and don’t interupt someone while they are speaking, are a few that come to mind.


Here are 10 do’s and dont’s to help keep you on point in (and out) of the gym

1.  DOimg_20161230_111531


Community. No man (or woman) is an island. Find people who have common goals. Accountibilty, motivation, who knows, they could end up being your next BFF. (Or more.) Hashtag fitfam.

2. DON’T 

Don’t compare yourself with others. It’s one thing to see someone and think, “I’ll get defined abs like that.” However, we all have different genetic makeup. You may not have a perfect 8 pack exactly l like that one genetically gifted individual. Take what you’ve got and build on it. They, your abs, can still become extremely well defined.

3. DO

Have a definete plan of action. Set specific goals. “In six weeks will have lost…..” “Increase deadlift by…”Avoid aimlessly walking through your time in the gym without a purpose.

4. DON’T

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Please don’t scroll through your news feed the whole time. It can all wait, really. In fact, put the phone away. Wait until your done with your workout to post that ironic selfie pic. 


“Exercise is king, nutrition is queen. Together you have a kingdom” 

Jack Lalanne the “Godfather of Fitness”


5. DO

Have some patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know. Results do not happen over night, but with dedication, over time, they will.

6. DON’T 

Do NOT be a weight dropper and stack slammer. Don’t think for a New York minute your a beast because you dropped a heavy dumbbell after 3 reps. This is probably the most annoying habit in the history of gyms. People will look at you and think…pure amateur. (They will) 

7. DO 

Be sure to focus on proper form. Results will come faster. Target each muscle group the correct way. Slow and steady, with good form. Feel the burn.

8. DON’T 

Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water. One symptom of dehydration? Fatigue. Sleepiness.

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9. DO 

Have a good time. Exercise should not be a “task”. What is a task? Getting up at 5:45am to go sit in a meeting all morning with a boss you can’t even stand to look at, let alone speak too. Like anything in life, fitness is what you make it. 👍

10. DON’T

Whatever you do, don’t give up. You’ll thank yourself later. Really.

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