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Choosing the Best Type of Training

Choosing the Best Type of Training

“This type of training will help you develop the physique of a Greek God!”

As soon as you go online or open a magazine, you’ll probably see an article titled, “6 Moves You MUST Do For Six Pack Abs!” You’ll see this for  training chest, arms, and your booty too. But if there really were 6 magical moves that will completely transform your body, it wouldn’t be news would it? Wouldn’t we all know about them already?

The truth is, a lot of different types of training can get different people the same results. Crossfitters and bodybuilders can both have phenomenal physiques.. However, the training couldn’t be any more different. How can that be?

Well, arguably the most important aspect of any training regimen is progression. For Crossfit, that might mean more reps, or a common workout completed in a shorter amount of time. Their bodies progress by being able to do more, more efficiently.

For a bodybuilder, that progression comes from an increase in volume, via added sets, reps, or weight. Adding an extra set, or increasing the weight, increases the volume. So does being able to do more reps with the same amount of sets and weight.

Choosing the Right Fit

So we’ve established that you don’t need to do one certain type of workout to achieve your goals. Moving forward, how do we choose what method will work best for us? That’s easy! The type of programming that will work best for you is the type of training that you will adhere to on a consistent basis. It’s the type of workout that fits into your schedule and the kind that you won’t skip on a regular basis. Therefore, it should be FUN and something you look forward to!

Popular Training Methods

Bodybuilding

ZEE PUMP! As made famous by the great Arnold Schwarzenegger, bodybuilding is the art of building your body. It’s less about performance and lifting the heaviest weights and more about focusing on growing each individual body part. These plans are developed to increase volume and maximize the pump to create an optimum level of hypertrophy (muscle growth). The workout is typically split into one or two body parts per day. You typically perform this type of training 5 days per week.

Powerlifting

Powerlifting is for those of us who enjoy lifting crazy amounts of weight. It is centered around the big three lifts: Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift. These movements are performed twice each per week in most programs. The rest of the programming is built around specific accessory movements that will directly help you with one of the lifts. You typically perform this type of training 4-5 days per week.

Crossfit

You may have seen the Crossfit Games on television. It’s like the gym version of an obstacle course. You race through a certain number of reps for certain movements. This is probably the most diverse form of training, with variations in exercises from olympic lifts all the way to body weight movements and running. These are shorter workouts performed at an extremely high intensity. You typically perform this type of training 6 days per week.

Making Your Decision

These are just a few of the many different types of programs you can choose from. The most important concept is to make sure you are active and healthy. You can do that in a variety of ways. So the next time you see an article that starts with “YOU MUST”, just laugh and keep scrolling by. Find something you love, break a sweat, and do it on a regular basis!

 

As always, if you need help, we provide online health coaching! This consists of custom training and personalized macronutrient programming! When you sign up for a membership, you aren’t just paying for coaches, you’re becoming a member of our team! Join the Evolution!

 

Josh Scutnik

SD Evolution

The Nation’s Elite Training Team

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Evolve.

The Top 5 Reasons You Aren’t Achieving Your Goals

The Top 5 Reasons You Aren’t Achieving Your Goals

How many goals have you accomplished this year? We are seven months into 2017.. Have you checked any boxes off  of your New Year’s Resolutions? Goals are easy to set, but very rarely do we see them all the way through. The problem is that we get excited and we set certain goals, but once that excitement wears off and we’re left with just the working stages to get to those goals, it doesn’t seem as fun as when we thought them up.

So what do we do? Stop setting goals? That’s kind of depressing. Here are the top 5 reasons that you aren’t achieving your goals, and what you can do to avoid these mistakes!

5. A Lack of Interest

It seemed like a great idea when you thought of it. It sounded fun and you were excited to take on the new challenge. But after the sparkle wears off that fun new thought, you don’t really feel like doing it anymore. When you set goals, it is crucial to make sure they are actually important to you. That’s why setting goals with friends can be dangerous. You all want to do something together, but it just doesn’t seem that special to one or more of you. People start bailing and the whole thing falls apart.

Certain goals can be set together as a team. But individual goals should really be decided on your own, with no outside influences. Only you know what you want. So decide what’s most important to you and start from there.

4. You’re Scared

You set a goal. It’s big.. Really BIG! You’re pumped, you’re motivated, and nothing is going to stop you! Then you wake up in the morning and it almost feels like a hangover. What the hell was I thinking? I can’t do that! It’s impossible!

That’s the though process when you set a goal and immediately become discouraged by it. You think it’s unrealistic and a waste of time even attempting it. The bottom line is that unrealistic goals are often much more achievable than you think. The safe plans are usually the ones that never happen because there is so much competition for those spots. The unrealistic goals are often the ones you chase on your own because no one else thinks they can do them!

Think of it in terms of a job interview. Entry-level positions are going to have 100 applicants for 5 spots. But the upper-level management only has 9 applicants for 3 positions. So the safe bet has you at 20-1 odds for entry-level, while the risky one has odds set at 3-1.

Nothing is impossible, and the only limiting factor is you!

3. It Isn’t a Priority

This tends to be a problem in many facets of life. We run through what can be compared to a juggling act of life, and certain things get put on the back-burner. And as we grow up and start families, we have other people to worry about too. But there comes a time when we need to spend a little worry on ourselves.

Prioritization is a majorly overlooked resource. In order to prioritize, we need to take a look at the bigger picture. You start with the necessities, the things critical to staying alive and well. Those get done first. From there we have to place a high standard on our goals. This is where we need to get just a little bit selfish. If something was important enough for us to set as a goal, we need to maintain that emphasis of importance until we complete it.

2. Lack of Support

This is a big one. We rely on support throughout our lives. With it, we often find success. Without it, we often don’t. Support doesn’t have to just be emotional. The best kind of support is where you have people battling in the trenches with you. In the gym, that can be a training partner, or a group of people in a boot camp class.

The key here is to surround yourself with others who share your passion. They say you are the average of the five people you hang out with the most. So surround yourself with people who have already been successful with what you’re trying to accomplish!

1. You Don’t Have a Plan

The number one reason you haven’t achieved your goals is that you don’t have a plan! You can’t say you want to do something and have no steps to follow to do it. If your goal is to make ten million dollars, you can’t sit around and wait for it. You have to go out and do things to make that money!

The goal is accomplished by setting smaller goals along the way. Each mini goal you accomplish gets you closer to that big goal.

Your list of goals also shouldn’t be five pages long. Stick to one goal until you accomplish it, then you can move on to the next one.

You also want to stay regimented. It’s easy to follow a regular routine. It’s much harder to fit something in once in a while. Manage your time. Plan ahead for when you’re going to do it. Then get it done!

 

As always, if you need help, we provide online health coaching! This consists of custom training and personalized macronutrient programming! When you sign up for a membership you aren’t just paying for coaches, you’re becoming a member of our team! Join the Evolution!

 

Josh Scutnik

SD Evolution

The Nation’s Elite Training Team

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Evolve.

The Reason Why You Aren’t Getting Stronger or Progressing Towards Your Goals

The Reason Why You Aren’t Getting Stronger or Progressing Towards Your Goals

We’ve all been there. There was a time in our training where the progress just seemed to stop. It became the un-bustable plateau. Maybe it’s getting stuck at a 225 pound bench press for 10 reps. Maybe it’s getting stuck at 150 pounds. Somewhere along the line that “beginner magic”, where the results came almost easy, just wore off. Now it’s been two years and you’ve gone to the gym consistently busting your ass but you haven’t made any noticeable progress from where you were. Why? How can all this work count for nothing? We’ll, I’m going to tell you.

 

Let’s keep it really simple.. I’ll start with a question. How do we progress? We make small progressions over time, right? We can’t expect to PR every workout over the lifetime of our fitness careers, but we can put a plan in place that lets us PR every time we plan to test our maxes. But what do we consider small progressions over time? If you’ve been stuck at 225 pounds for 10 reps on the bench press and you’re waiting to feel like you’ve progressed enough to add more weight, when is it time to do so? Well the problem that most of us have is that we spend more time waiting than necessary. Maybe it’s waiting for a day we have a workout partner who pumps us up and we add an extra 10 or 15 pounds. But how often does that happen?

 

The truth is that we all progress differently. But in order to adapt, we need to progress. So our plan of action needs to ensure that it does happen. Some people (especially if you’re new to working out) seem to progress every single week. They might add 5 pounds per week to their 8 rep max. Every single week they can do the same workouts and they just keep throwing weight on the bar. That’s progression.

 

But what if you can’t do that? We don’t want to go to failure every single set, and we certainly don’t want to sacrifice form to get more reps up because we had to add weight. So how do you progress from there? Maybe you couldn’t add 5 or 10 pounds this week, but could you do an extra set? Could you bump up your 3 sets of flat bench to 4 sets? Again, this depends. If you’ve been recovering well recently, you can probably add a set. That’s progression.

 

If you feel like you’ve been beaten to a pulp and there’s no way you can add a single set to your workout, you’ve got a couple things to consider. 1- When was the last time you de-loaded? Your cumulative fatigue may be at a point where you are best suited to take a de-load week to reduce it. And 2- Is your workout routine designed optimally?

 

There is a magical line that we should all recognize in the pursuit of our goals. It’s the line that tells us we’re working too hard or not hard enough. We want to work right up that that line to optimize our results as efficiently as possible. Going over that line is called overreaching, which is ok as long as it’s planned and usually followed up with a de-load. Staying well under that line means we are just spinning our tires and not doing enough work to progress and force adaptations within our body. Does this line have a name? Yep.. It’s your Maximum Recoverable Volume (MRV). And unfortunately, this line is not universal. It depends on a long list of factors (like training experience) and is different for everybody. But it’s name is pretty self-explanatory. It’s the most amount of work that we can do that allows us to recover and not interfere with our next workout.

 

It’s not that hard to figure out your own MRV. It just takes some time to test it. Let’s say you use 100 pound dumbbells for 3 sets of 10 on flat bench. Next week do 4 sets. Then try 5 the following week. If during that week, your reps looked like this: 10, 10, 10, 10, 7- your MRV for that exercise at that weight was the 4th set. You failed on the 5th, so that was a little bit past your MRV.

 

Do we want to train to our MRV every workout? We suggest working up to your MRV over the course of three weeks, then overreaching on your fourth week, and then you would follow that up with a de-load on your fifth week. (FYI: when I say de-load, that doesn’t mean a week off. It’s a week at a calculated lesser volume). Then you could start the cycle over.

 

So that should help us in deciding how to maximize the efficiency of our workouts, but how do we parlay that back into progressions? Well, that will help us calculate what the overview of our program should look like. But in the day to day of each of our individual workouts, ON AVERAGE, each workout should have increased volume from the last. That doesn’t mean every single workout, but on average that should be the rule… Increased volume=progression.

 

This part can get pretty technical when it comes to designing your program. But for those of you who aren’t sure exactly what volume is: weight x sets x reps = volume. If you bench 100 pounds for 4 sets of 10, your volume is 4000 lbs. So whether you add 5 pounds next week, or increase that same load for an additional set, your volume is increased. The extra set increases volume a lot more than the 5 pound increase at the same number of sets. So both should be incorporated at different times in the program to ensure you are progressing, but not overreaching too often.

 

Everyone has heard the phrase, “Train insane or remain the same,” right? There’s a little more to it than that, but it’s true. If you train the same, you remain the same. You need an overload to progress. You need to progress to force adaptations. We need adaptations to go to the beach every summer or to leave a competition with something shiny. You have to train harder AND smarter.. We can help with that! Join the Evolution and find the success that so many of our members have already!

 

http://www.sd-evolution.com/services.html

Why the Evolution?

Why the Evolution?

SDEVOLUTION

SD Evolution. It doesn’t say FITNESS. It doesn’t say PERSONAL TRAINING. Nothing about it screams HEALTH AND WELLNESS. So if it doesn’t directly tell the consumer who we are, isn’t it bad branding? I guess that’s up to the opinion of the person answering the question. But I can tell you why our name is what it is, and what it means to us.

I’ll start with the easy stuff.. “SD”. Most people thought it stood for San Diego, where we started the business. It’s really Scutnik Daniele (our last names), but it also seemed clever that it was the same initials as San Diego, so we ran with it. That part doesn’t go much deeper. That was just our personal touch to “The Evolution”.

The Evolution is where we derive our passion for what we do. By definition, Evolution is the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form. So by definition alone, the Evolution is what we do. We are taking something simple, something basic, and making it more complex. We are taking your present physical condition, and elevating it to the level you wish to achieve.

I was a nerd growing up and loved watching Dragon Ball Z. For those not familiar, it was basically a show about jacked cartoons characters who trained all day to evolve into their next form, and become more powerful to fight their enemies. There was more of a story to it, but that about sums it up haha. But throughout my life, whether it was during sports, or later on more towards the present time now, I love the concept of working your ass off to evolve into a better form. Whether that’s your body, or your athletic abilities, hard work creates a better product.

This is what we are so passionate about! Not only with ourselves, but being able to build programs to take our client’s goals and make them a reality. Everybody needs a plan. Everyone needs a plan with science and experience behind it. And nothing makes us happier than creating a plan and seeing our clients dominate it, taking their progress as far as they can, EVOLVING. Taking something simple to a more complex form. It’s passion. It’s blood, sweat, and tears. It’s perseverance. It’s fighting to achieve your goals and overcoming whatever obstacles get in your way. We try, we fail, we continue, we grow and learn. EVOLVE.

When we came up with our concept, Alessandra and I knew the name would be crucial to our success. But we took a risk and we did something different. We chose to go with something that made a lot of sense to us, and decided to teach it to others. SD Evolution. Better Your Body. Better Your Mind. Evolve. Join the Evolution!

 

Until next time,

Josh

Do You Really Know Why You Workout? Probably Not…

Do You Really Know Why You Workout? Probably Not…

I workout because

I wanted to do a different type of blog today. I still wanted it to be fitness oriented but from a different perspective. I didn’t want to do this one on a new trend or on tips to grow your arms or shrink your waste. I wanted to go deep. So I started with myself. What would I want to know? What haven’t I really heard or learned about in a while? What topic would really benefit our clients the most? Then it hit me…

Why the hell are we doing what we’re doing?? This may seem like a pretty dumb question. But here are the top answers to the question, why do you workout?

  1. I want to be healthier.
  2. I want more energy throughout the day.
  3. I want to look good naked!

Do these sound familiar? Another common one would be, because my doctor said I should. But for the purpose of this article, I want to focus on personal reasons, not outside sources.

So let’s dive in… You want to be healthier- Ok, why? Are you sick? Overweight? Do you have a genetic predisposition to something happening down the road? You want more energy throughout the day- Go to bed earlier. I can probably guarantee you don’t get 8 hours of sleep every night. If you think I’m wrong, write everything down for 7 days in a row. What do you end up at? 42 hours maybe? You want to look good naked- Well I have no response to that one. Ask your mirror, or your significant other (go easy on them if you don’t like the answer).

Where did those answers get us? Not very far right… Those answers were all pretty shallow, as were the top three responses to the original question, why do you workout? To truly dedicate yourself to a program, you have to truly know what you are working out for. How do we do that? I’m going to show you! It’s called “Root-Cause Analysis”. This is actually one of the cooler things I learned about when I entered the fitness industry. Unless you’ve done this before, or are a fitness competitor of some sort, you honestly probably don’t know why you’re working out. You might think you do, but it’s much broader than the actual reason. It isn’t hard to get lost. I sometimes find myself spinning in circles trying to hit 15 different goals at the same time. So this was fun for me to go through and refocus! The concept of root-cause analysis is very simple: keep asking “why” until you get to the real reason (root cause). This isn’t even limited to fitness, you can apply it to anything you are struggling to understand about yourself in your life.. Your psychiatrist was on to something…

So here we go! It might sound a little weird having a conversation with myself, but bare with me. You’ll get the jist of it.

 

Josh: Why do you workout?

Josh: So I can get stronger.

Josh: Why?

Josh: So I can use that strength to add more size.

Why do you want more size?

So I can look more filled out on my large frame. I’m 6’2 so I need more mass to show muscularity.

Why do you want more muscularity?

Because I feel like I’m smaller than most fitness athletes my height.

Why do you care if you’re smaller than most fitness athletes your height?

Because I want to be the best at what I do, and my body is my trademark. If other athletes have a better physique than I do, they will seem more credible than I am. A picture is worth a thousand words and, in the fitness industry especially, a lot of times a picture is your best marketing tool. I want people to see me as an inspiration. I want to be viewed as a goal for someone else to strive for. I don’t want to bust my ass day in and day out to be viewed as an average joe who goes to the gym after work just because it’s something to do before bed. I want to be the best and I want to look the best. I want the physique of a greek god. Large, lean, and proportionate. That’s what I want.

 

And that, my friends, is Root-Cause Analysis. We’re all going to come up with different answers, and that’s the point. Your answer might be, “I workout so I can keep up with my kids.” I’ll be honest, I didn’t know how this was going to turn out as I wrote it. I literally asked myself these questions as I typed this article. Notice how my answers get a little longer after each “why”. It forces you to think. More thinking creates more elaboration. More elaboration requires you to dig deeper and ultimately reveals WHAT YOU WANT. This shit is therapeutic. Excuse my language but that felt good. There’s nothing more frustrating that not knowing what you want. I’ve been in this rut for a little while. I couldn’t choose between training for strength or size or athleticism or a blend of everything-which would limit my growth in all of them as a compromise to get better at all of them at the same time. When we do this to ourselves, we ultimately find ourselves in a rut because we are spread too thin trying to do too much.

Throughout this little experiment I went a little bit deeper, off the record. It got me thinking about competing again. I’ve been competitive my whole life. I always had something to train for- basketball, baseball, football, track, even MMA for a little while. So I didn’t have to think about it. That’s why I trained. So because of my root-cause analysis, I discovered I might want to do a physique competition. How else am I supposed to judge if I have the best physique? So there we go. That’s why I train. That’s why I workout. Will I enter a competition? Maybe.. But I now have a focused view of what I want to train for, and when I’m ready, I’ll make that decision.

As we get older, most of us are no longer competing in any athletic leagues. Life takes over. We work. We get married. We have kids. But be a little selfish and do something for you.

Continuing on the therapeutic trend this has put me on, I went one more level and asked myself why this has become so important to me, a perfect physique. The answer to that one? I’m inspired each and every day by this amazing girl I get to call mine. My girlfriend, my best friend, my partner in crime. She inspires me because she inspires literally thousands of people every single day. The girl is 122 pounds and is breaking records for lifting more weight than the kids I used to play football with. Her physique is also phenomenal. And her heart is second to none. The passion she shows with our clients overshadows everything she has done on a personal level. She has changed so many lives (and bodies) and is a role model to an incredible female base. They look up to her as a role model and reach out to her on a daily basis for help and advice. She is my inspiration to get to an elite level. And I won’t stop grinding because she’ll be right there with me. I’m a lucky guy to be on this team.

So why do you train?

 

Until next time,

Josh

Fasted Cardio: Is it actually burning more fat?

Fasted Cardio: Is it actually burning more fat?

fasted cardioThere has been a debate in the fitness world about fasted cardio for quite some time now, and finally thanks to the  Strength and Conditioning Journal we can lay this debate  to rest.

Let me start off by saying that I was once a preacher of fasted cardio. I did it steadily for about 8 months, 2-3 days per week in hopes that it would help shed excess body fat. For those who are unaware, fasted cardio simply means to perform LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State) cardio without consuming any food, protein, or even BCAAs beforehand after an overnight fast. I can state from experience that I was not any leaner from performing this type of cardio, in fact I am leaner NOW that I perform only a few HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) sessions per week. Let’s get down to the science…

The theory behind fasted cardio is that you will burn more fat as a result of your glycogen levels being depleted after an overnight fast. It is important to realize that fat burning is not immediate. You don’t just burn fat after an hour sweating on the treadmill. In fact, fat burning takes place over a series of days and research from the S&C Journal shows that the more carbohydrates you burn during exercise, results in more fat burned after exercise has ended. Brad Schoenfeld is the author of the journal article and in summary, he states that fasting before exercise actually reduces the thermogenic response to exercise compared to not fasting. What does this mean exactly? If you eat before a workout, you will increase thermogenesis (increase in body temperature which burns calories).

Not only that, but the article also discusses another negative factor to fasted training which is the breakdown of proteins (AKA proteolysis). If you are trying to build muscle, fasted cardio is more than doubling the loss of nitrogen (compared to normal cardio) which is key when it comes to building and retaining muscle.

Now that you have the scientific evidence supporting normal cardio over fasted cardio, I’m sure there will be people who are thinking, “What if I don’t LIKE to eat before a workout?”. Do you find that eating a full meal before working out makes you feel sick or too full? My solution for you would be to consume a liquid meal as opposed to a full on breakfast or dinner- depending on the time of day you exercise. About an hour before you are ready to hit the gym, I would suggest to consume a shake that is full of protein as well as those beloved carbs to ensure you are fueled properly. This is especially important if you are trying to maintain or build muscle. An example liquid meal for me would be 1 scoop of Whey Protein blended with ice, water and a banana. The banana is a simple carb which will be digested and ready to fuel your body within the hour.

There truly is no reason to suffer as a fasted cardio-goer every morning. I am a firm believer that you should not only be backing your theories with scientific evidence, but you should also be doing activities that you love and that will benefit your body to it’s maximum potential.

-Alessandra

 

REFERENCE: 

Schoenfeld B. Does cardio after an overnight fast maximize fat loss? Strength and Conditioning Journal, 2011(33): 23-25.

Do you eat enough protein?

Do you eat enough protein?

protein

 

Protein, protein, protein! This macronutrient is essential for not only living but also muscle growth and maintenance. We have noticed lately that many of our new clients struggle with meeting their protein goals in their Macro-Based Nutrition Plans  that we offer on our website. It is important to eat enough protein if you are an avid exerciser and especially if you lift weights. To put it simply, the more muscle mass you have on your body, the more energy you are going to expend to keep that muscle. Why does this matter? Well for those of you who are interested in fat loss, this is necessary!

When you think of protein, you may immediately just think of a boring old Whey Protein shake. Luckily for you, this is not the only or “best” source of protein! While we do recommend Whey before and after a workout (as it is digested fast and can go straight to the muscle site), you don’t need to drink shakes all day long to hit your goal. Here are some of our favorite protein sources:

  • Eggs/Egg Whites
  • Lean Ground Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Tuna
  • Cod
  • Low-fat Cottage Cheese
  • Low-fat Greek Yogurt

And as far as Whey Protein goes here’s a few good options:

  • Quest Nutrition Whey Protein
  • Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Natural Whey
  • True Athlete Natural Whey Protein

While these are not the ONLY sources of protein, they are our favorites and go-to’s. You can get so creative with these few items including hard-boiled eggs as a snack, turkey/hummus wraps or even Greek Yogurt parfaits. So now that you have the tools to create some healthy high-protein dishes, how much protein should you be eating each day?

Everyone requires a different amount of protein. You may have heard the old 1g of protein per pound of body weight rule, however that much is not even necessary for the average person. We suggest 1g of protein per KILOGRAM of body weight which equates to less than that of a pound.

To convert your bodyweight from pounds to kilos, simply divide by 2.2. Whatever that number may be is the amount of protein you should be consuming daily.

We have our clients using the app “My Macros+” to track their daily intake however MyFitnessPal works just fine as well, or if you are old-school: jot it down in a notebook! While you don’t need to hit this number perfectly every single day, coming close (within 5-10g) may just push you a little further towards your goals of fat-loss or muscle maintenance or gain.

For further questions or information about our Macro-Based Nutrition plans, shoot us an email at FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com. We would love to help you reach your goals!

 

What you need to know about rest day

What you need to know about rest day

rest day

We’ve all seen the funny pictures on Instagram. Rest day… Who needs it? This is becoming a more widely asked, and speculated, question around the fitness community. Routines are being taken to new extremes each day. And this is good, because it means we are pushing our limits to new heights. You can’t discover how far your body can actually go until you push past every threshold. And here comes the but… BUT there are limitations on how long you can push your body that hard.

People have started questioning whether there was any truth to the concept of “overtraining”. That is where these pictures, articles, and discussions gained momentum. A main argument was that if you feel good and you aren’t sore, your recovery time has reduced and you can now workout more frequently on less rest (if any). But there are some other factors being overlooked that don’t have to do with how your muscles are feeling today. Your body is a very, very complicated thing. So I’ll get into what those other factors are in a second but first I want to ask you if you’ve felt any of these lately, or if you remember having any of these after a week where you tried pushing yourself to a new extreme..

Your outsides:

Persistent muscle soreness (not your regular “that was one hell of a workout” soreness but the kind that lasts longer than it was supposed to), elevated resting heart rate, past injuries begin hurting again or you are recognizing new pain, not getting as good of a pump or not feeling as refreshed after a workout (you don’t get that “ahh” moment when you’re done), weight loss, stuck in a plateau (working hard but haven’t made any progress)

Your insides:

Irritability, depression, loss of appetite, loss of motivation, fatigue throughout the day, not mentally sharp- can’t focus and can’t concentrate well, insomnia (this is a big one.. trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.. very restless), lack of interest, getting sick (cold/flu)

These are all signs that you aren’t getting enough rest AKA overtraining! But your body was feeling so good and you thought that removing that rest day was the only way to capitalize on it. Well your body was feeling good because you had a great balance of exercise and rest. Now it’s all exercise and there is no balance.  Your body is constantly being broken down when you workout, but without rest, it doesn’t get to rebuild itself. So let’s breakdown this process. Here is the point of working out in a nutshell. Workout- breakdown body. Rest- recovery and growth. Workout- breakdown body. Rest- recovery and growth. RESULT- a stronger, healthier body. Now here is overtraining in a nutshell. Workout- breakdown body. Workout- breakdown body. Workout- breakdown body. Do you get the picture? There is no rebuild. You are breaking down what is still broken down and actually making yourself WEAKER! Now if that counter-productivity isn’t frustrating, I don’t know what is.

Earlier I mentioned that there was more to this concept that your muscles and your body feeling good. Working out places a HUGE stress on your central nervous system, or CNS. The CNS is responsible for controlling muscular contractions. When this becomes fatigued, it creates a reduction in the output of the motor control regions in the brain. This, in essence, causes a decrease in performance. Every time you move, your brain has nerve impulses generated by chemical activity. After intense training, that neural drive is reduced. So even if your muscles feel great, that workout also took a toll on your CNS.

So all of those “outside” effects may have made sense to you as general side effects of working out, but those “inside” effects may have seemed a little outside the box. Well that’s all tied into everything else that overtraining affects that often gets overlooked. Even something like getting sick seems silly, but when you place that added stress on your body with no recovery, everything starts to breakdown and your immune system gets much weaker, because yet again, YOUR BODY CANT RECOVER WHEN YOU ARE CONSTANTLY BREAKING IT DOWN.

I won’t pretend I’ve never pushed my boundaries and tried to go without rest days. I did. I love pushing my body to new levels. It’s an addiction. I want to see how far I can go in everything I do. And in our minds, taking a day off seems like a wasted day. But we have to remind ourselves, rest is just as important as the workout because the workout is where we break ourselves down, and the rest day is where our bodies recover and get STRONGER. Yep, that lazy day you take every week… That’s the day you are getting better at everything you worked so hard at. That doesn’t mean lay in bed 6 days a week… Balance…

Push your body to it’s limit and find YOUR perfect balance. For myself, and many others, a 3 days on 1 day off schedule is extremely effective. You are still working out 6 days a week, but never more than 3 days in a row. For others, a 2 on 1 off 2 on 2 off schedule works better. As with everything else, we are all created differently with different needs. Play around with it. If you feel great, it’s working.

Until next time,

~Josh

The Most Overlooked Tool for Success.. You Probably Aren’t Using It!

The Most Overlooked Tool for Success.. You Probably Aren’t Using It!

Visualizations

We often overlook the power of our minds, especially in its simplest form. A little bit of imagination goes a long way. I’m talking about visualization. You don’t need to be an artist to be able to use this tool. You know what you want right? Ok so imagine it. Imagine fitting into those old clothes, that special dress, imagine packing on those pounds of muscle! I’m not talking about taping that picture of the model you idolize to your steering wheel.. You need to use your mind to create the image of what you’re looking to achieve. If it’s weight loss or muscle gain, you need to see yourself already at that form. Guys, that might be a chiseled 225 with abs carved like a washboard. Girls that might be the slimmed down, toned up look in your new bathing suit. PICTURE IT. This is actually an incredibly powerful tool.

Some of you may or may not have heard of the mind-muscle connection, but it is a much talked about topic in the fitness industry. It’s about focusing on the feeling of every single rep. The lift, the contraction, the stretch, the burn. You feel the growth as it’s happening. It may sound silly, but if you try it, it’ll take your workouts to another level. Anyway, visualization is the same concept in a bigger picture, longer-term aspect. You create the image of yourself in your perfect form. By doing this, your mind’s next step will be to create the path to get there. You will do whatever it takes to get there.

This may sound silly until it is put to practice. I can’t speak for the rest of you, but as far as I go, I was always very down on myself. The progress was never enough. Even though the results were there, I never saw them. I put on 20 pounds of muscle over about 4 months, but I still saw myself from where I started. I literally thought I looked EXACTLY the same. This is actually extremely common and is joked about in fitness magazines and social media posts as “Big-orexia”. This may seem a little insensitive, but it really isn’t a joke. It’s like a disease. “The day you started lifting is the day you are forever small.” That’s another joking “meme” you see on Instagram, but again, many of us have this mindset.

I recently read an article by Arnold Schwarzenegger detailing his use of visualization to build his legendary body. That got me thinking about my mindset, and lead to the writing of this blog so that I could share it with you all. The power of our minds is undeniable. Our outlooks on everything in our lives stem from our minds, they are 100% in our control. One of my all-time favorite quotes is this- “You can’t have a bad day with a good attitude and you can’t have a good day with a bad attitude.” I’ve done my best to incorporate that into my life, and it does make a HUGE difference. But I never thought about using that to my advantage in the gym. That has been my goal this week, and I challenge you all to do the same. Every time you look in the mirror, every time you get out of the shower, look at yourself and SEE YOURSELF where you want to be. The purpose of this blog was to use that in transforming your body, but it doesn’t have to stop there. See yourself in that new car, see yourself getting that big raise, see yourself buying your dream home! I will leave you with this: if you can’t even imagine it, how the hell are you supposed to accomplish it? The challenge has been extended. It’s up to you to put it to the test.

 

Until next time,

Josh

Why I ditched my Heart Rate Monitor

Why I ditched my Heart Rate Monitor

HRM

In college when I became serious about my fitness journey for the first time, I invested in a cute, bright pink Polar Heart Rate Monitor to help keep track not only of my heart rate but of how many calories I was burning during my workouts. It soon became my best friend, if not part of my body- I rarely took off my new accessory. It was a great feeling to be working hard in the gym and SEEING how hard I was working on my watch. I remember feeling so proud of myself the first time I saw the numbers reach over 1,000. That feeling of accomplishment was what I proceeded to strive for every time I stepped foot in the gym. In fact, my workouts started to revolve around my watch. If I wasn’t burning enough calories, I would work out until I reached the goal I had set for myself in my head. I was constantly looking down at my watch during the two hours I would spend training.

Years went by and I started to lift heavy (watch stayed on), I started to train for half-marathons (watch stayed on), and trained for a bikini competition (watch definitely stayed on). This past summer when I moved to San Diego, I bought a bike and having that as my main form of transportation, I realized how obsessed I had become with tracking my calories. I couldn’t swing one foot over my bike without starting that watch up. One day while getting ready for a long internship day, I decided to leave my watch home. I biked to work freely, jumped in a class at Fitness Quest 10, and even did my own training later on that day- all free of the watch. So what happened?? Did I die without it? Did my workout suck? Actually….it was the opposite. I had one of the best workouts I have had in a very long time, I was happier, and most importantly, I felt free. I was no longer depending on technology. I was focused on my workout instead of a silly number and honestly, I think I was able to get a better workout without it.

Since that very day, my watch has been sitting in my drawer of my nightstand. I am in the best shape of my life, the strongest I have ever been, and most importantly the happiest. Why should we depend on caloric burn to make us feel better about ourselves? If you’re smart about your training, your workouts will be beneficial to your goals. Technology is an amazing thing especially for the fitness industry as it continues to grow, however too much of a good thing can certainly turn into a bad thing. If you find yourself frequently depending on your heart rate monitor and can’t remember a workout without it- I challenge you to a “naked” workout. Ditch the watch on your next run, lift or whatever your choice of exercise may be. Just allow your body to move, embrace your strength & who knows, you may not ever turn back!

 “Be stubborn about your goals, yet flexible about your methods.”

 

~Alessandra