Top 10 Reasons Everyone Should Start Weightlifting

Whether you have been curling like crazy for years or, are just starting to think about if you want to dip your feet into the world of lifting, you might need a nudge in the right direction. Telling my wife, who thinks I am nuts about fitness, why I love it so much seems to go unheard. I knew all of you could understand some of those feelings that only we know about. I put together this nifty list with ten great reasons you should start lifting right away.

  1. Getting up and just moving is great for keeping your risk of getting certain diseases that we all are prone to. It is always smart to stack as many good things together as you can. When you combine being able to feel better about myself with lessening any sort of health issues that come up as we all age.
  2. Setting goals for yourself and watching you achieve them is quite the rush. The daily list of chores that you might be doing every week aren’t satisfying to do, once you approach the one hundredth time of completing them. That isn’t the case with knocking it out of the park on a good set, that pride that you feel doesn’t stop coming.
  3. If you are having trouble finding friends, this can easily change through joining a community. Those of us brothers (and sisters) of the barbell are always happy to welcome another to our group. Many times I have reached a point where I had no one else to talk to but my friends that I have made through our times pumping iron.
  4. Watching yourself progress through different stages in your overall fitness level is a great way to pass the time. Another boring year won’t seem to be as such while you are seeing and feeling yourself go from Mr. Banner to the Incredible Hulk!
  5. The confidence that comes with completing a grueling fitness challenge will always keep you coming for more. Going to the locker room all pumped up knowing that you defeated every trial and tribulation that was heading your way, you will feel like you are on top of the world.
  6. Downing your favorite ice cold and refreshing drink when you have ramped up your temperature. The refreshing moment when that beverage hits your mouth and cools you down, it is hard to find another moment in life where your thirst is more quenched. I have to admit that I made myself thirsty by thinking about that great drink after a lifting session
  7. Seeing other people that are lifting weights that are smaller than you. It is somewhat of a selfish victory, but let’s be honest, you know that you get a certain sense of pride when you know that you are not the biggest weakling in the weight room.
  8. Conquering an all you can eat buffet and watching the horror on the workers faces as you go for your fifth plate. Being able to put down food in a quicker manner, the way a weightlifter does, will have you being hungry more often. You could be forced to expand your eating horizons with this new found hunger that you will have as your body grows larger.
  9. Watching someone that might have given you a hard time in the past, quiver when they see you walk into the room. I don’t like any kind of violent actions but I also hate any kind of bullying. In my opinion, if lifting some weights and getting bulkier keeps the bullies away, that is never a mistake.
  10. The bittersweet feeling of having to retire your old gym attire to step up to a bigger sized type of shirt.

4 Proven Ways to Get Stronger

It’s time to make you strong again but how should you do it? With so many approaches to becoming one of the strongest, it gets difficult to find just one path. I have listed four personal techniques that have always led me out of where I was and into newfound strength, enjoy!

  1. Eat More – One of the most common ways I see beginning strength trainers fail is because they are not eating enough. I know it isn’t always easy to stuff your face. I was a devout breakfast skipper for years. While missing the important meal of the day made me happy, it definitely wasn’t helping me gain any weight. Also, if you were already sleeping and missed breakfast, you have burned off those calories from dinner for about twelve hours.
  1. Lift, Even If Not Feeling It – Look, unless you are sick or injured, you really shouldn’t be skipping your workouts. I know that life happens and things come up to prevent you from spending that precious time pumping weight but try to limit it. I, myself, have had all kinds of situations come up where I didn’t really feel like working out but sometimes you can surprise yourself. I have found that, even if I am having the worst day, something about finishing a workout just feels right to me.
  1. Pick Up Heavier Weights – Now, this could seem like a no brainer but not everyone knows about the different ways to transform your body through weights. There can be differing lifts that you can do but if you aren’t focusing on strength, you are going in the wrong direction. On the opposite side of this, I wanted to start lifting for size but just figured the size would come from lifting heavier weights than what I was used to. Big mistake because I wasted a couple of years getting strong when I was wanted to get bulkier, lesson learned!
  1. Take Something – If all else fails and the above three methods aren’t cutting it for you, you’ve got to have a bit of help. I won’t go into which supplement would be right for you, as there are tons of them out there but if you look below, you will find what has helped me get the most out of when I lift to gain strength, above everything else.

There it is, four easy ways that you can use to get stronger faster!

Workout Oddity: Anti-Gravity Journeys

If the initial though you had when looking at the above title is one of confusion, I know why! There is a new trend that is filling up classroom of only the trendiest workout locations across the world. This new workout, a term that I use loosely will have you hanging above the floor. Now, get rid of those images that you could have of pull ups or some intense new exercise method. Allow me to collectively burst all of those bubbles at once, because when you hear how they are changing workouts, as we know it, you will probably have to pick yourself back up off of the floor.

hanging outRecently, my local gym had some changing of their employees, bringing our gym crew with some different instructors. It was sort of a sudden change, something that left what new classes would be offered up to the public. I had never heard of a anti-gravity method of exercising before. After first walking everyone into their proper room, I couldn’t fully process what I was taking in. I wasn’t alone, as the other people around me were beginning to starting to complain, I held off my reservations.

Imagine a room that is filled with a horrifying image, straight out of a horror movie. Bodies all lined up in cocoons, doesn’t that sound scary or is that just me? Like something out of the movie Killer Klowns from Outer Space, this is just about what you will be seeing if you sign up to take one of these classes. This is seen as an innovation in the way that people are getting their fit time, I really don’t know what else you can call that.

The wild fact remains, however, that these classes truly are gaining buzz, whether it be positive or negative, it really has the people talking. I would love to sign up for one of these classes to keep the wife off of my back about me when I turn into a couch potato. Let me step it down a little bit on the negativity, I really want to give this exercise trend a fair shake that I feel that it deserves. The pictures that I have seen of people performing these classes does look fun and honestly very relaxing. At least, I would think that it would be relaxing just kind of hanging in the air.

Sure, it could look a bit silly to walk into the room and see these creepy cocoons there. However, I think that it would feel simply awesome to just float, it would possibly make me very sleepy. I also would imagine that I would feel more on board with this class, if they were a bit smaller. Something about sleeping (or at least trying to) around 30 other men and women would make me more than a bit uncomfortable. Perhaps having one of these machines in your room, or somewhere a bit more private, where I wasn’t surrounded by people.

If this kind of class does interest you, these classes are becoming increasingly popular, bring them to a wider audience around the clock. Also, I feel that I need to clarify what this kind of class is clarified as, which is more yoga than an actual exercise. I hear that the yoga routines that they will have you performing will vary in time and intensity. I, personally have never really taken a yoga class myself, so I can’t attest as to how easy or hard these stretches sound.

Solving the After Workout Flushed Face

Have you ever gotten done with a long workout, only to head to the gym bathroom and realize your face looks like a tomato? I know that I have experienced this, my face turning beet red after I exert myself. You’re definitely not the only one to of had the flushing of the face happen after a workout. I wanted to know a little bit more about this and find out why some people get very red and the cause behind it. Mainly, when your face does flush it is because you are heating up your body. Making perfect sense, you will turn red as you continue to apply effort.

The degree to which your face turns red, varies by person to person and as a product of genetics. What this redness is, primarily, is blood making its way to the surface of your skin. People often confuse the redness with some sort of medical issue, which it usually is not. When you are working out, just pay attention to the way you feel. Our bodies work in odd ways and a flushed face is merely one of them. Flushing is actually done by your body to help cool it down and prevent you from getting too hot. If you’re having other symptoms, along with the red face, this is a whole other story. If you feel like you are getting lightheaded and could pass out when you exercise, you probably need to see a doctor. I only mention the doctor because this could be a sign that there is something else wrong with you and I don’t want you to be misinformed. In my younger years, I had worked out mostly in warmer temperatures. I’m not saying that this is the smart thing to do, on the contrary, it was actually quite risky. One fateful afternoon, I was lifting some weights when a scary occurrence happened to me. I remember that it was sweltering and hot gym in the middle of a southern summer.

I was able to get the weight up fine but after I set it back down, my knees buckled. Fearing the worst, I held on to the weight rack and started to feel my body pull itself backwards. Right then and there, I knew that I was about to pass out and I had to regain my composure, I quickly headed back in. Luckily for me, it was nothing sitting down and some ice cold water couldn’t fix but it was still a wake-up call. Even though mentally I could prepare myself for such conditions, physically, my body just couldn’t handle the heat. But that being said, as long as you’re not putting yourself out there in extreme conditions, whether that be hot or cold, you shouldn’t have much to worry about if your face flashes. Think of your face turning red as a way that your body is helping you to cool down.

If you have ever seen Brock Lesnar in an athletic event, you should know that a red face during strenuous bouts of activity is not a big deal. Although it can be mildly annoying, don’t fret if you flush. It doesn’t always seem like it but the warning signs our body gives us are there to protect us. If you are self-conscious about having a flushed face, think of it this way, you are exerting yourself enough to force your body to cool yourself down!

The Myths and Truths of the One Minute Workout

With so many people scraping together time to do just about anything, it’s no surprise that quicker exercise is becoming the norm. As tests have shown, people really do prefer the shorter workouts, as opposed to the normal half hour ones that we’ve been conditioned to be used to. I get why this can be such a big win for people, exercising is hard and spending less time doing it would seem like the wiser option. When you look at the benefits of a quicker workout, who could blame you? Experts are saying that the one minute type of work out can have some of the same health benefits as longer workouts. However, I do think that some of the information here is a little bit skewed towards certain workouts.

For example, someone who does 30 minutes of running could have the same health benefits by only running for a minute. Whether or not it seems too good to be true, the facts are there. These sort of smaller and quick exercise sessions are gaining a stronghold with the working world. If you simply have no time in your day to dedicate anything towards a strong set of rules for exercising, this is the work out for you. I do encourage you to stick with the 30 minute workouts, if you’re still doing those.

The reason for sticking to the exercises that you already can do is because taking a shorter time to exercise could derail all of your progress. As far as weightlifters go, hold on to your seats, the one minute principle of working out will not apply to you. Weightlifting is a way to exercise where you are building up on your latest progress. Even if you’re picking up weights and throwing them around like a mad man for a solid minute, you aren’t going to have enough time to build a strong base to improve upon. Lifting weights is something that takes time and is a style of exercise where results aren’t always instant. For the joggers and cardio freaks, I see a lot of pluses to a one minute workout.

Getting that heart rate up and lowering your blood pressure are always two things are great to do, if you can put the intensity needed for 60 seconds, more power to you. For functional strength, that’s just going to be not enough time for you to get everything that you need to get done finished. One big plus of this new style of exercising is that I can get people on board that would not have been on board to exercise, otherwise. The rush of endorphins that come with an intense workout can be had it and just about 60 seconds, which has more people on board with trying this and sticking to it, as well.

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Which exercise you choose to perform for 60 seconds, is up to you. The main opinion seems to be that as long as they get you moving and is intense, the skies the limit. First starting out, I would try some intense sprinting. For this exercise, sprint as fast as you can for one minute. There are warm-ups that should be performed just to make sure that you are ready to do this kind of exercise, so use those wisely and give the one minute workout a shot for yourself.

Taking Dips to Another Planet

Ah, yes, the dip, one of the most beneficial exercises that you are not doing. What’s that, you are doing your dips and you don’t know why I am picking on them? I’ll explain more about this: if they are not a part of your routine right now, you need to introduce yourself to this powerful exercise. Known as one of the best ways to build up your triceps and chest (yes, your chest, believe it or not) the dip is an old-school strength builder that has now taken on a new love by many weightlifters. I want to show you some advanced techniques when performing dips that can take your strength to a whole new world.

When most start out with doing a dip, they will put their arms up on a weight bench, with their feet on the ground, and start doing the exercise, wrong! Sure, this method of doing a dip can be great for those with no strength, yet, but I want to show you the way to really pack on some muscle. When doing an exercise that is focusing on your triceps, the main source of strength for your arms, you should be seeing some quick gains in functional strength. To start out with some really intense dipping, prop your feet up on something so that they are parallel and you are sitting at an L angle. Right away, you will notice that these kind of dips become much harder. You will notice an increased burning feeling in your arms. If you feel the burning in your shoulder, primarily, readjust how you are dipping to ensure that the work is put on the triceps.

Once you are able to perform over twenty repetitions with your body weight, we can ramp it up again. I want to mention that these kind of step ups, concerning the dip, should not all be done in one exercise session. To progress to the final section of doing this exercise correctly took me about a month to get to. The cool thing is that once I got my triceps a nice base of strength, I was noticing some of the fastest muscle that I have ever packed onto my arms. My method might be a little more crazy than what you are used to do but, I promise, it works. As a matter of fact, I would attribute the dip exercise to having good sized arms that I do today.

If you have a backpack laying around, put a couple of small dumbbell plates into (think 5-10 lbs to start out). After that, perform your dips like you normally would. By consistently being able to dip down and back up, with more weight on your back, you are putting increased pressure on your triceps. Provided that you only increase the weight in small increments, over a specified length of time, you will continually break down and rebuild those triceps and your chest, as well. Again, if, at any time, you feel pain in your shoulders, this is a sign that you are putting strain on the wrong part of your body. Dipping is not easy and it is a way to test yourself to see what you are really made of. However, if you want triceps that hug your shirt every so tightly, you have got to be doing some weighted dips!

Forming Habits that Lead to Sticking to A Plan

If you are feeling a bit unmotivated or just flat-out bored with exercising, this is normal. I wanted to talk about the power of habit and how it can help to stick with your desire to keep exercising. I remember learning from a teacher, many years ago about the power of habit. I have applied a way of thinking, when it comes to finishing any task in front of me that has worked well over the years. Before I get to that, I wanted to speak a bit more on the how powerful habits can be. When I first learned about this amazing power, I was sitting in a classroom, fighting falling asleep at my desk! The class that I learned this in was a notoriously boring one, where I never thought I would take anything with me from. One fateful and otherwise boring morning, I was fighting heavy eyes when I heard something that changed the way my life would be forever. The teacher was in front of the class and talking to another student about her dieting. The student had asked a question to the teacher, she was not picking on the student, just wanted to clarify that.

Anyways, I was hearing them talk about something that had to do with twenty-eight days. My ears had perked up by now and I wanted to know more about this power of habit thing. What I learned was, performing a task, no matter how big or small, was much easier if it ended up being a habit that was repeatedly done. The hardest part to following this plan is getting to the 28-day point. I have never found that this method of doing things to fail me over my life. As we continually repeat something, it feels easier because our mind is so used to doing it. When you start a new job, you are probably going to feel terrified driving to your first day at work. As you near the first week being over, you could still be nervous but you are most likely feeling more at ease with showing up to work. You don’t have to deal with anymore of those awkward first meetings and you start to feel like part of a team. On a side note, isn’t it awesome when someone starts their job after you? You are no longer the newbie at work!

Getting back on track, after you have been going to whatever your new job is for twenty-eight days, you have now formed a habit. The habit of your new job, that used to be so new and scary, is now something you feel comfortable with. You don’t have those butterflies in your stomach because you have created a habit that your mind recognizes as such and sees as normal. This way of thinking is great for anyone just starting to exercise. For those new to the gym, apply this style of thinking and it will greatly reduce the chance that you end up being one of the unlucky few that give up on their goals. Get a calendar and start your own twenty-eight day plan, you can do this. Every single time that you end up completing some exercise, put an X on that calendar. Keep the chain going about a month and you will find yourself so committed to staying fit, you won’t ever want to stop. Just make sure that you toss a thank you up to your mind, for the extra help!

Is PHAT Training As Good as They Say?

Does anybody want to try a new training program? Ok, so it might not be the newest program around but it could very well be new to you. This P.H.A.T (we will get into the name in a second) training program, created by a bodybuilding great has done well for most who have braved it. Far from being a nice and breezy routine that will barely have you breaking a sweat, this isn’t for beginners. I have heard it classified as an intermediate to advanced lifting program. However, the diversity that this routine has with what parts to train, leaves customization room for those that would want it. I couldn’t imagine needing to tweak the lifts here, except out of absolute necessity. Everything presented in the base weekly plan of this program hits about every major and minor muscle group that you want to see growth on. It won’t take too long being around any group of weightlifters before the rep question comes up.

inventor of phat trainingI used to find myself very confused on just what exactly I was to be lifting and for how long. Everyone has different answers to this age old question, the best solution may be combing both lifting techniques. Using the Reese’s peanut butter cup strategy, Layne’s PHAT (Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training) system combines elements of both power and definition lifting to perfection. This type of training that would be done, if one were to start this up would be a full-body split. This type of split means that every major group will be worked, on alternating days. One thing to be weary of is that you will be putting mega stress on your entire body, the rest days are there for a reason so use them! If I had to summarize what makes this program different from any other one is that it creates more opportunities for muscular growth. By raising the amount of weight that you can lift, you will get stronger. Using this newfound strength increases for your definition days will create better muscle growth. After understating the basis behind why this routine, the science is really sound on this program. Here is what an example of this program would be, starting the week with Sunday in this example:

Sunday: Upper Power
Monday: Lower Power
Tuesday: Break
Wednesday: Hypertrophy Day for Shoulders and Back
Thursday: Definition Day for Legs
Friday: Definition Day for Arms and Chest
Saturday: Break

You still have two rest days but beware, you will be tested on those last two workout days of the week. The good news is that you are going to be growing in two different ways, taking techniques from each camp of how to really get big. When you borrow a little from one thought group and another, you see the best of both worlds. It is also advised that after a couple of months, you take a week or two off from lifting altogether. To continue a program that is this intense, without a break, will not be good if you are trying to avoid injuries. Also, with such a brief break, you won’t have to make yourself sick at the thought of losing that hard-earned muscle, either! This routine has brought countless others some far superior looking bodies, it could end up doing the same for you. If you are needing to spice up that old and boring gym routine, give the P.H.A.T style of training a try!

Two Men Break Into Gym and Begin Lifting

Have you ever had the urge to sneak in a workout whenever your gym is not that busy? This seems like a common feeling we could all say that we have had, at one time or another. Two young men had the same idea but they actually followed through with it. These men waited until their gym was actually closed and broke into it. This, alone is a really dumb thing to do but it got worse. After the two men were able to sneak into the gym to, presumably steal from it, they stopped and decided to lift weights. Yes, this was something that really happened to a gym in Kentucky.

All of this was caught on a surveillance camera, which had to be one of the funniest things that the staff had seen. Of course, these guys were caught and are now facing charges. I don’t understand what would compel someone to end up doing something so dumb. I mean, they probably had to have some idea that they were going to be filmed the entire time. Since they decided to go ahead and lift while they were in there, they didn’t even end up stealing anything. Let’s be honest, they could have just gone to the gym while they were open, if all that they wanted to do was lift weights. I don’t know how the twenty-four hour gym hasn’t caught on everywhere but those two guys would have benefited from using one of those instead. These guys didn’t come into their gym with working out being their first intention, after they could not get into where the money was, they just worked out.

But, Wait It Gets Worse!

The details of this incident make it even more embarrassing to be in the shoes of the gentlemen that we have mentioned. Their attempt to mess up the security cameras that were at the location had only backfired. When one of the men went to adjust the camera, he only ended up pointing it directly at him. I would love to read some official reports on what all the police saw, upon arriving to this scene. The one big thing that confuses me about this story is the decision to stay somewhere you just tried to break into! What told these guys that it was a smart idea to try and break into anywhere? Beyond that, why in the world would they just hang out for a couple of hours, at that very same place? I can’t even fathom doing something like this, that would put my future in such jeopardy.

I am sure that there were some jokes, made among friends of the working out robbers, when they heard the news of the break in. I hope that some of you have learned an important lesson today: don’t stay and work out at a place that you are trying to break into. Also, don’t break into any places, either! Believe me, I have experienced this happening at a place that I worked and it really does more damage than you think. The owner is left feeling very scared and hurt when a break in occurs. It troubles the employees as well, so don’t think about doing something so stupid. Instead, learn from these two guys and know that karma always has a funny way of setting things straight.

Studies Show Weight Training Can Lengthen Lives

rusted barbellThere has been some statistics that point to a big reason for weight lifting, your life! It has been shown that strength training is a big factor to living a longer life. Granted, those who were tested were already of old age but the results showed those who spent their spare time lifting were much less likely to pass away. Something to remember is that habits are best when they are started early. What better reason do you have to start changing your life now, than being able to live for a longer time? This should be something that puts every single excuse you have for being lazy to rest. I can attest to just how true these findings are due to how well my grandfather has aged. He took to fitness, at a later stage in his life, and now loves going to his local recreational center. My grandfather had to deal with a big tragedy in his life, I honestly think that his commitment to staying active has helped him immensely.

I find that the elderly can also form special bonds with those of the same age, who are also doing what they can to prolong their own life. Finding friendships as people age, can become harder to do. I sometimes go to that same rec center in the mornings, it is amazing to see so many of the elderly still finding that will to go out and exercise. It really speaks volumes to my own motivation when I am walking a track, alongside someone well into their sixties. I have bad days, just like everyone else, where I don’t feel like getting out of bed, let alone start up an intense workout. Try this, the next time that you aren’t feeling like doing anything, visit a gym and see men and women who are decades older than you putting in the work.

The first time that I saw this, it was a real eye-opener. As you create muscle tissue, this helps you to maintain a better BMI. Unknown to many, as muscles develop, it takes more calories to keep those muscles sticking around. One of the biggest causes for health issues is always an excess of fat. This fat slows you down, leads to depression, and is just not good for you. If you are one of the older people who are hitting the gym, you probably have less fat which drastically lowers a bunch of potential health problems down the line. If you reading this and picturing old men trying to lift like a bodybuilder, this isn’t quite what they mean by strength training. Of course, muscle mass and the potential to build it decreases with age. Seniors who are starting any kind of exercise program should get a qualified opinion, to find out what works best for them. Regardless of what methods are chosen for the senior citizens to utilize, they will have to start small and make gradual improvements from there. What is crucial to remember is that there are actually patterns being formed that almost ensure that the elderly are able to live longer and happier lives. Since the older generations could have developed any number of specific bone issues, most will need a program that is customized to them. This is one drawback of starting training later on in life, having a weaker body leads to a life of previous nagging injuries. These injuries go from being light but can really be maximized under a heavy set of weights.

Rory Mcllroy Shows Golfing and Lifting Can Mix

When we think of some of our sports stars now, you can already see a towering figure. I mean, someone that is lifting weights has to be a football player, right? No, this man doesn’t toss a pigskin, although he does play his sport of choice outside. The man’s name is Rory Mcllory and he is a professional golfer. I have to say that not since Tiger Woods has a golfer put so much work into his physique. Drawing a bit of jabbing, some have jokingly stated that all of those muscles were causing some holes in his game. Far be it from me to criticize anyone at golf, I am terrible at the sport, but these ribs were all in a good nature.

mcllroy on fairwaySo, why does Mcllroy break the mold by lifting like he does, in a sport that doesn’t really require it? Some have speculated the most obvious reasons: he wanted to look better, he did it to hit the ball harder, etc but none of them match the reason why. Since Rory was a young boy, he had always had some nagging back issues. As he grew older and found his calling playing golf, something had to fix his back. The back issues that he was having would surely hold him back from being great, let alone one of the best players in the world. To help control how his back would behave on him, he began weightlifting. This just goes to show that not every person who lifts weights regularly is a dumb jock. Many people do lift strictly for their own vanity and that is fine.

However, there will be people, perhaps someone lifting right by you, that does it for other reasons. For a better quality of life, some must train regularly which helps their muscles stay strong enough to support them. The support that he has had is causing heads to turn at tournaments across the nation. Mcllroy is well on his way to becoming a future legend and it is hard to argue that his discipline that comes with lifting weights hasn’t had something to do with it. When I was younger, I struggled with a hernia, something that I had ended up inheriting from my father. As I would go my yearly checkups, I was warned that this condition could get worse over time.

Even though it was said to be a small operation, I was still worried about this news. In what I thought would be a completely unrelated incident, I began doing sit-ups every night. It wasn’t anything obsessive, so I thought, I would try to get in twenty a night, no exceptions. A few trips later and the doctor was no longer making any kind of plans for any major operations. I’ll never know if the decision to do some core work made a difference but I like to think that it did. My family was amazed that I had been able to skip something that had happened to every past generation member on my father’s side. I wouldn’t make any claims that this was the perfect remedy to a hernia, by any means. Most likely a byproduct of luck, over anything else, I was still relieved to know that I wouldn’t have to worry about having a little pooch sticking out of my belly.