Category Archives: do this and not that

Hidden Gems for Finding Gym Equipment

When it comes time to decide that you want to setup a workout room of your own, there will be some hurdles to face. I’ve had to build my own home setup and it definitely taken time and money. However, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to have a suitable setup for you to start using. As a matter of fact, if you know where to look, you can find some insanely good prices. If you aren’t familiar with them, apps like Craigslist and Letgo are great to make use of. The only slight drawback is that the equipment you will be purchasing and looking at will likely be used.

I don’t have a problem with used gym equipment, so long as it is functioning properly and is safe. Although it certainly isn’t the best method to use, I find that applying my body weight (do not use weights when doing this) to the machine for the first time will tell me all I need to know. Chances are, if the equipment can support whatever your body weight is, you likely have a sturdy machine. Variety is great to have, when it comes to finding what equipment you need to have, just be sure that the machines don’t all serve the same purpose. You don’t want to have a garage that is filled to the brim with gigantic pieces of equipment that only work one muscle group. If you can make your way to find a newspaper in your city, consider perusing the local classified ads, as there can be some great finds there. Usually, you will see more equipment being sold in the winter months, when people give up on staying trim. I recommend that you check around in both print and on the web year round, as there are always exceptions to colder months being the best for finding equipment. If you want new equipment, you do have more options, as far as purchasing is concerned.

finding new challenges

A good way to save a little extra to is get equipment that is multi purposed, or to put it more plainly, can work out different muscle groups from the same machine. Commonly, there are many machines available that can transform themselves into being able to carry out hundreds of exercises. I have an old Gold’s Gym bench that was not just a sturdy bench that has been put through its paces, I also got a weight rack and a place to be able to do some other lifts. You don’t have to start out with a room that is fully loaded with top end equipment. Starting out with just one or two pieces of equipment is more than enough to get started on your own home gym. Whenever I want to get another piece of gym equipment but my brain tells me that it isn’t feasible, this is where you can make things interesting. When I realize that I do need to wait before getting another machine, I set a goal for myself and once I reach it, I can get the new equipment. Don’t be afraid to take enough time to find the right deals, it will take patience but I can assure you that they are out there. As long as you don’t become addicted to getting new machines for your home gym, at least not mega addicted, you should experience nothing but joy in your new quest.

Should You Exercise While Feeling Under the Weather?

As much as we wish we all could, there is no stopping being ill. While a select few will only get sick once or twice through the year, others have more instances where illnesses find us. When the time arrives, it can keep you stuck in bed, away from your job, and being put in a situation where you can’t exercise, or can you? Unless you feel that you absolutely have to, I would suggest that you focus on getting the rest that your body needs. However, if you are determined to sweat out your illness, you shouldn’t treat it like you would a big lifting day. For safety sake and because you are more susceptible to becoming winded, it is best to keep your weight numbers and reps low. You have to realize that you won’t be in tip-top condition and trying to strive for that will have you feeling worse than you did before. As far as time is concerned, I would try to keep any workouts done while under the weather to no more than twenty minutes.

The purpose of working out when you’re sick is to either: cleanse your body of toxins, not fall back on your fitness routine, or both. Before you get ready to head out of the door, with your gym bag in hand, there is more that you need to know. First, we have to understand that being sick is a vague term for a lot of smaller symptoms that determine what illness you have. If you are experiencing any sort of vomiting, DO NOT go out into the gym. For one, you are likely having a very strong illness, where working out would do more harm than good. Secondly, the last place that you want projectile vomit in would be the gym. Just thinking about the horrified looks of others, if I were in that situation and had to puke would mean I would probably never set foot in that place again.

sickness symptomsAs far as being an overall caring human being goes, please don’t go and lift weights while you are still contagious. A big sign of determining being contagious is a quick fever check, if your temperature is too high, you are likely still capable of passing the illness. I know that I would hate it if there a sick person coughing and leaving snot all over the place, especially if he uses the machine before I do. Also, with having a fever, it’s not smart to play around with your body temperature during a time where you are so weakened.

A lot of people confuse getting allergies with being sick, I’ve suffered with allergies for about fifteen years so I could say that I’ve had those same thoughts. If you aren’t having a fever, show no signs of vomiting, you will do much better with working out, even if you don’t feel one hundred percent. Once you get your shoes on and get moving, you could notice that, by the end of your workout, you started to forget that you were even sick. To sum it all up, remember that workouts (while sick) are hobbies that you can still skip a day or two on, with sickness being a great reason. If you feel that you must exercise and provided your symptoms are contagious, keep it simple and take it slow.

Three Foods That Are Killing Your Diet

Not being one that likes raining on others parades, I feel that I do want to list three foods that, when not used in moderation, can be devastating to a diet. I don’t want to leave you with only negative advice about these foods, so each pick will have a healthier substitute that you can implement into your diet for each food choice.

Pizza – I love this food as much as the next person. Being that you get options to load it with toppings, cheese, and just about anything else you can think of, Pizza is an amazing food. However, if you were on a diet, a couple of slices of this snack could easily ruin your determination in a heartbeat. While containing tomatoes, cheese, and meat, it can be used to gain weight but most of the gains will come from fat. As you see, even though pizza does have good base ingredients, there is a lot of extra additives placed onto a pizza. You can use many of the commonly associated pizza toppings on a salad, you may just want to go a little bit lighter on the ranch dressing.

cheesy pizza

Ice Cream – This pick is known as most people’s choice as a favorite comfort food, this one can really add on extra calories that will translate into additional fat accumulation. Although, there are healthier alternatives available, it’s going to be pretty frustrating to try and track down an actual healthy ice cream, as fat as I Know, there isn’t one that exists. However, if any readers know of some good choices to replace ice cream in someone’s diet, please let me know Being that it is so difficult to try and find something that is remotely close to ice cream, while still being healthy, your best pick will be a sorbet dish.

Bread – It’s hard to say too many bad things about bread, as it is used in so many different foods! What I wanted to make more clear was the kind of bread you’re using, it has everything to do with it being a good choice of bread for a diet. I try and use wheat bread, whenever possible, as it is a better choice than white bread. You will be eating a lot of hidden sugar and extra carbohydrates with bread but the numbers are much lower when looking at wheat bread versus white bread.
The three foods that we’ve covered are not bad foods, by any means. I think that what makes a few truly good or bad is the attitude of the person eating the food.

For everyone, a bite of pizza would not put their diet into jeopardy. When speaking with someone who may be of a weaker mindset, these three foods can end their diet altogether and I would never want that to happen. It certainly isn’t wrong to want to have the three foods that comprise this list. Also, you can have cheat days setup to where you can consume these goods, as long as you know when to set limits. I have picked foods for this list that were also very easy to keep eating, you have to exercise caution to ensure that you aren’t doing too much damaging to your personal goals. Whenever you feel those hunger pains that are getting you down throughout the day, it could also be a sign that you need to drink more water. I would recommend that you try and indulge in water should you feel that afternoon snack urge begin to rise.

Methods to Correct Strength Imbalances

One of the most frustrating things that I have ever had to go through, as a weightlifter, were those dark times where I wasn’t getting any stronger. One of the first things that you want to check for, if this happens to you, is a strength imbalance. For a quicker method of taking care of this, there are ways to gain more mass that you take which are perfect for getting your weaker side to an optimum level of strength. This imbalance can occur when one side of your body is getting stronger than the other one. There are many reasons why this can happen. It will usually come back to an issue of not having the right form or simply being forgetful when you go to pick the right dumbbell. Let’s say instead of curling 30s for eight reps, you mistakenly curl 8 reps with 35 pounds. This mistake that you just made was so small that you don’t notice it, but your muscles do.


I actually had this very same problem happen to me when I started weightlifting. I had never noticed, but it took someone else to point out something shocking, my right forearm was bigger than my left one. At first, I couldn’t believe how I had never noticed this, but I hadn’t. After finding this out, I went right to looking at some older workout numbers to find out the root of this problem. As fate would have it, I began doing a certain kind of curls and this was where it all started. One reason why I always encourage people to log their workouts every time, with no exceptions is because of how easy this can happen. Why this was happening with me, was because I had one workout where I mistakenly lifted more with one arm. Not thinking things through, I kept the workout going and didn’t think anything of it. Mistakenly, I was only making matters worse by continuing to lift more with one arm. It was so stupid that I was doing this but I was such a newbie to the weight room, that I didn’t know I was doing anything that bad.

Once you have a strength imbalance happening, that goes unnoticed, it can get progressively worse. I started noticing something was mega wrong whenever I could barely move the weight that I was deadlifting about a week before. I knew that I hadn’t skipped any meals or anything like that. Plus, I had actually been getting some great sleep prior to going and lifting, so I knew that wasn’t the cause for concern either. Needless to say, it all started from performing one exercising in an incorrect way, to have everything spiral out of control. The nagging wrist pains that I was receiving was bad enough to where I could barely push a door in to enter a building, how sad is that?

Use my cautionary tale, to make sure that you don’t make the same big mistake that I did. I am sure that some of you are thinking that this is not really helpful to you, but you would be surprised at how many new lifters don’t know these kinds of things. If you should ever come across a strength imbalance issue in your life, take the steps to correct it as soon as possible. I know that there are so many small distractions that will take place while you are working out. Do your best to stay focused and write down the amount of weight that you used for every rep/set. Sure, it sounds like another headache right now, but it might be something that you will wish you did whenever an issue occurs.

Advice on Lifting Weights After Being Injured

Although this is not something that will happen to everyone, we all must be prepared if an injury should occur. Again, I hope that this is something that you never have to go through, but if you do, you need to know the best methods to take when you want to go back to lifting. What needs to make up your recovery process will all depend on what kind of injury you are suffering from. Since any number of injuries could occur, I want to present some information that can be used as a guideline, no matter what type of ailment you might end up having.

The first thing that you have to remember is to take baby steps to your new goals. Your body could have been injured, as a result of a work rate that is too high. When you are able to have physical activity happen in your life again, be sure that you don’t fall back into the old trap of exhausting your muscles as much. It is perfectly fine to want to have a good workout but don’t push your luck. As always, if you feel any kind of lingering soreness, stop working out. It is ironic that someone who tries, against better judgement, to get stronger when they end up being sidelined because they accidentally hurt themselves! You will always need to start with lower weight than you were using when you got injured in the first place. You will have lost some muscle during the recovery time, how much determines the severity of the injury.

Secondly, if you know during what exercise that caused the injury, you should serious give thought to avoiding that exercise for a while. If it is something that you can not substitute with another exercise, really work on proper form. That might not be what injured you the first time around, but it could get you when you start back up. It isn’t unheard of for someone to bring someone with them, when they first start back up with exercising.

Getting injured and having to rehabilitate yourself is never a fun process. During this time, try not to get down on yourself over it. It is human nature that people are going to dwell on what turned out bad for them, don’t let this be you. You will have enough work coming up when you get back to the spot you were in before you had an injury, why work extra on feelings that will only make you sad? Maintain a positive attitude, I am a big believer that more stress will always slow down your recovery time.

Another realization that you have come to, is you will be forced to take some time off from exercise altogether. Don’t let this freak you out, there is nothing wrong with having to be on the sidelines for a set amount of time. Instead, use this time to take up a hobby, complete something you have been putting off, you have so many options here. One time when I was injured, I took that time spent laying down and started reading some books that I had, but never actually took the time to read. I was really wanting to be sweating in the gym, but things happen and I enjoyed that time. This might be a weird opinion, but everything happens for a reason.

Are Supersets How You Should Be Lifting?

The sets mentioned in this video, are ones that oppose muscle groups. This might seem counterproductive, but it is actually one of the best ways to lift, if you don’t mind putting in the extra work. I think that this routine is such a great one, which is why I wanted to tell you all about it. To start this workout we have some dumbbell lat raises that go right into barbell shrugs. One of the important things to remember with supersets is that your rest time is going to be dramatically reduced. This is not a type of training that is for everybody, especially those who can not physically handle that much exercise with no break in between. However, for those of you who can, supersets should really become a part of your weekly workout plan. For the next superset in this video, the man starts on some leg lifts. As he switches from hamstring curls to leg extensions, this man is showing how you can do opposing muscle movements in this superset, to always keep the muscles guessing.

It is important to note that these supersets are better left for those who are wanting more muscle size versus strength. For the pure strength lifter, you will want to stick to something not involving supersets. Since the aim of these exercises are all about higher reps and no rest, a strength trainer would be better off with a workout plan that is almost the opposite of this one. I love the way that these exercises are used to maximize the muscle groups that are targeted. What I will do, when using supersets, is to shorten the overall time of how long I am going to be lifting. A non-superset workout might take me between 45 minutes to one hour. On superset days, I will only spend about 20 minutes, due to the intensity of the workout. I also want to mention that supersets are not something that you want to do all of the time. Yes, the results that you get with this type of workout is great but it would put far too much stress on your body and mind, if done constantly.

A good option here would be to use a program that combines the two sets into something that is manageable throughout the week. On days where you have more to do, use a superset to knock out that workout in record time. When you go to the gym and know you have some time to spend there, lose the supersets and try a workout that is longer but provides you with rest periods throughout.

Don’t Be This Person When You Go Workout

As I was recently working out this past weekend, I had an idea and something that I wanted to mention to all of the readers out there. I was watching someone who was a talker. Now with this, I mean that he was constantly pestering everyone in the gym, luckily I was able to avoid him. Perhaps for the better future etiquette for everyone I wanted to talk about a few of the things that no one should be doing in the gym, like ever. The first one is to be sure to please have some hygiene.

If you have ever been in a gym next to someone who is maybe not wearing enough deodorant or maybe hadn’t showered that day, you know what I’m talking about. The smell of body odor lingers throughout the gym and all it takes is one person to completely fill an entire weight room with that smell. Even thinking about it grosses me out and it should gross you out too. Guys and girls, be sure to make sure that you’re wearing fresh and clean clothes and are not emiting any kind of bad smells. I am not saying for anyone to load up on any kind of cologne or perfume but just maybe go for a neutral smell. No one else in the gym wants to bring that in and it is really nasty to think about. Another thing I hate is cell phones in the gym.


Now, I do bring mine with me and I’m sure most of you do. Bringing them into the gym is not the concern, it is actually only an issue that depends upon how much you use it while you are working out.  I have seen too many cases where I’m waiting to get on the machine and someone sending out a text or taking a call right there. Get out of my way, I want to lift, I pay for a monthly membership and I should not have to deal with someone who is simply hogging up the machine that they are not using. I am not normally an impatient man and if someone is lifting up the machine I need, I have no problem waiting for them to finish. It only becomes a major concern when that person is doing something that they could do literally anywhere else. I don’t know about you all, but when I go to a gym I go there to work out not to socialize on my phone, something that could be done anywhere. No, I am not just talking about the cell phone users out there but also people who maybe do too much human interaction at the gym. Just like at a grocery store, when I am waiting in a line or waiting to do something please don’t take up the entire space talking to someone. You could talk to someone anywhere in the gym and I don’t understand why it has to be at a station I need to use. One thing I wanted to know being that it is almost that time of the year, get ready for this to happen a lot more as more New Year’s resolution people come into the gym. I don’t mean for this to come off as overly cranky, just wanted to kind of speak my peace with an issue or issues that I feel a lot of you probably agree with.