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.

 

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER

RECIPES


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I eat a lot of chicken. No, I will probably never go vegan. I enjoy chicken too much.

easy peasy 

Whenever I need to pull out a never fail, works like a charm sumthin’, sumthins’ out of my culinary hat, this is one of them.

All you need are a few basic things.

Lemon Pepper Chicken

  • Olive Oil – good quality
  • Lemons – several large ones
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper – cracked
  • Garlic – you decide how much, peeled cloves
  • Chicken Breasts – bone in

Personally, I can’t go very long without this in my spice rack.


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As the world’s most traded spice, clearly I’m not the  only one. I use this in just about everything, but get what brand works for you boo.

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“Instead of going out to dinner, buy good food. Cooking at home shows such affection” – Ina Garten

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Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Wash each chicken breast well, dry them, and trim some of the skins.

Season well with salt & cracked black pepper.

In a glass baking dish drizzle olive oil in the bottom and arrange garlic cloves. Bake for 10 minutes. (After this, your neighbors from upstairs will start texting you wanting to know if they can come down for dinner.)

Take baking dish out, add the chicken, skin side down, squeeze the juice of two, (2) lemons over and return to oven for 10 minutes.

Turn chicken, arrange on top of the garlic cloves, and season with more lemon juice,  and pepper.

Grate lemon peel over top.

Bake for an additional 30- 35 minutes, or until the juices run clear. Baste from time to time. Show some affection.

Be sure to drizzle a little of the pan juices over top of each while they are resting as well.

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Clean, natural, and healthy. All the things you could ever want on a plate.

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email: jwilliamstrains@gmail.com 

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.

 

MORE GYM HISTORY

ORIGINS


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The ancient Greeks were a fascinating society. Among numerous reasons, their appreciation of the human form was, and to some, (myself included) still unparrelled.

Part I of my eBook series Inventing Fitness,  Amazon.com begins with the origins of physical fitness universally credited with the ancient Greeks.

“Within the ancient Greek society a fit body represented a fit mind. Exercise was no fad, but Civic duty and gymnasiums institutions of higher learning”


Gym life

No need to get your wallets out, these public buildings were funded by the state, and overseen by Gymnasiarchs. Today we call them General Managers, however, in antiquity they were much more and served in these positions with great honor. As a young boy progressed in age so did his level of training and education. Discipline was essential in the formauon of a future citizen, a soldier, a future leader.

Gym talk

In our 21st century clubs we tend to follow an unwritten rule of avoiding certain topics and conversations, and go about our routines keeping to ourselves. 2500 years ago after generations of legends, young men began to focus on logic, morals, and ethics. They came to discuss important matters and what was on their minds.

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Around the world

  • Basque – Gymnasion
  • Danish – Gym
  • Dutch – Sportschool
  • French – Gym
  • German – Fitnessstudio
  • Italian – Palestra
  • Lithuanian – Sports sale
  • Portugese – Academia
  • Turkish – Jimnastik
  • Swahili – Mazoezi

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WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS…

Make Spa Water

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One of natures bounty that just keeps on a givin’, the lemon is a hybrid of the Citron and the Mandarin, and although it can be traced back to before Ancient Rome, the lemon is believed to have first been cultivated in Genoa, Italy during the middle part of the 15th century. As well, some research suggests rather, that it was Central India.

Benefits


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Lemons have long been thought medicinal. The 1st Century Roman naturalist and philosopher, Pliny the Elder refers to them in his work, “Natural History” as malum medicum, or “medicinal fruit.” They are extremely high in vitamin C, important to the immune system, digestive system, and skin. The website OrganicFacts.net  lists 15 benefits ranging from helping treat kidney stones to respitory infections.

Flava Flav


Lemons contain flavonoids.

  • Flavonoid – a diverse group of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in almost all fruits and vegetables.

What does this mean for you? It means that these are good for you. Some fruits and vegetables have more than others, but adding more can only help.

Plus, on a sweltering summer day, a zesty finish to your meal  and some spa water tastes oh, so good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT pt I

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Exercise alone isn’t enough to shed fat and build muscle. There is an unofficial official rule (yes, another rule to follow in the world) throughout the fitness industry called, “the 80/20 rule.”

But more on that in a bit.

The foods we eat say a lot about who we are. Our cultures, lifestyles, tastes and habits. Food is a basic necessity of life. Here, in the United States we have influences from all around the world. We’re lucky like that.

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food” – George Bernard Shaw

COUNTING MACROS


What is a macronutrient?

mac • ro • nu • tri • ent

  • a substance required in relatively large amounts by living organisms, in particular.
  • a type of food (i.e. fat, protein, carbohydrates) required in large amounts in the human diet.

PROTEIN


Protein is considered the main building block for muscle, bones, skin, tissue and most everything in the body. After consuming it, the body breaks it down into amino acids which fuel all the aforementioned, as well the immune system. The more you put in the more the body has to work with.

HOW MUCH


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That depends on your size and your goals. In the definition above it states, “in large amounts.” However, to simply things, the general rule accepted is to aim for one (1) gram of protein per pound of body weight.

Sound like a lot? It is. Can it be done? You bet.

Highlighted below are bonafide protein sources garanteed to boost your efforts….twofold. Some are tried and true, some are on the “say what” side of the list. “Abs are made in the kitchen” they say, so get your whisks and your measuring spoons out. It’s time to protein up.

The Skinny

Eggs – Why? Eggs are considered the perfect protein source. One medium to large egg contains 4 – 6 high quality grams. Harb boiled, scrambled, or over easy, they are budget friendly and extremely versatile.

– The french eat have a penchant for eating omlettes at dinner with a little fines herbes. Tres chic! 

Turkey – Gobble Gobble. Lean, lean, and ever so lean, turkey continues to be near the top of the list.

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Fuggedabout the Thanksgiving trimmings you normally have with it, (like green bean casserole) turkey is lower in fat than the other meats and, as of this writing, remains relatively inexpensive.

Chicken – Boneless/skinless or a beautifully roasted breast, chicken can be prepared so many different ways how could anyone get bored with it. Like the jingle says, “We’re having chicken tonight, yes chicken tonight.” 

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One large chicken breast has close to 22 grams of protein.

Peanut Butter – Creamy or chunky, PB is an excellent source and couldn’t be easier to consume for those who don’t have the time to spend in the kitchen. You just stick the spoon in and voila!

– A St. Louis businessman named George Bayle first sold peanut butter as a snack in 1894. 

Chocolate Milk – Yup. But go for low-fat. Chocolate milk helps to replenish glycogen stores directly after a hard workout. It has been said it especially good for the ladies. There you go.

Cottage Cheese – A bodybuilders staple, cottage cheese is full of casein, a slow digesting protein, which makes it good to eat before a fasted period like sleeping. With high amounts in a typical serving, cottage cheese is affordable and goes well with a ton of stuff. (Like fruit)

The Takeaway

Slamming stacks and pumping iron is the first step. However, if you want to make all those sessions really pay off and pack on the muscles, pack the shopping cart with the fuel your body needs.

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Email: jwilliamstrains@gmail.com

 

 

 

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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