Category Archives: in the gym

Having to Deal with Bullies at the Health Club

This is not my proudest moment but I have to speak out about what happened to me over the weekend. Let me preface this by saying that I am not a violent person by nature. To be truthful, my early years were spent dodging fights, now you know my inspiration to start lifting. Over the previous days, I had been overhearing a, quite frankly, obnoxious man with a booming voice that resonated throughout the building. I have loud family and friends, I wasn’t going to hold the volume of his voice against him. Letting his lack of volume control go, I just cranked the headphones up and went about my business. As fate would have it, I can sometimes get in the zone and lose track of my surroundings. I went walking over to the water fountain and mistakenly made slight contact with Mr. Loud’s shoulders, maybe his arm, I’m not positive. He didn’t mouth off but gave me a stare, I thought he might approach me directly. I walked back to knock out some flyes, at this point there were about ten more patrons in the health club. While I had been sweating up a storm, our old friend the loudmouth was confronting a smaller dude, not cool and I blew a fuse. If two muscled up guys wanted to fight, I believe there is a sport for that called professional wrestling!

Walking over to him, I calmly tried to assess the argument. Thanks to my genes, I can maintain my composure for a short time before I fly off the handle. After hearing both parties try to talk over each other, I paused and released a deep voice that was hiding somewhere within me my entire life. Like a scene out of a WWE show, my deafening order for quiet was met with wide-eyed shock. When my plans get changed, leaving me with less catch up time, it makes me mad. I had not signed up to watch over two grown men that day, especially when one of them already had it out for me. Cooler heads did prevail and the two men that were about to start shoving each other had backed off into separate areas. I am not someone who would be thought of as intimidating, a fact I have come to know.

Attribute it to a bad morning but the yell that I roared out to get some peace and quiet had it’s desired effect. Half of me wanted to walk out of the health center, never to return out of feeling like a jerk. The other half, the one I chose to follow, stayed and finished the tasks that I came there to complete. Bullies of gyms across the world, just remember, the smaller guy you pick on could be within earshot of a bigger guy that doesn’t like jerks! If you are in a similar situation, having to put up with a jerk, the Today show has a great piece here that can offer more assistance.

I almost neglected to talk about a phone call that I received, shortly after the bad day I was having. A manager at that health place needed to tell me that the obnoxious man had not been showing back up to workout anymore. Far form being upset at the potential loss of a customer, the manager actually thanked me. After we hung up, I chuckled that I would ever get appreciated by the owner of a company for having less customers. If you had been able to see this mysterious man, full of nothing but hot air, I could have gotten a standing ovation!

Adapting to Get Rid of Stagnant Progress

I don’t know about you but I am getting sick of my workout routine. It feels like my muscles are too used to the strain that I put them under and, as their way of responding, aren’t growing in a manner that I enjoy. Putting my failures behind me, I am now opting to try a new training program and I wanted to give you the inside scoop about it. A newer method of training, this one mixes power and hypertrophy. Having tried out both methods of lifting weights, I wanted a program that would give me the best of both worlds. After taking five minutes to prepare myself for the dedication that will be needed for such a huge program, I made the decision to start this weightlifting program that has gotten such rave reviews. Looking at a typical week, you will be training for four of those days with this method of training. Only having three rest days is not what I was used to encountering, this is why this program is aimed for non-beginners. Combining hypertrophy and power lifts is a surefire way to activate every fiber available to you.

Reps vs Sets: Which Buffs You Up the Fastest?

Power days are going to be the first ones on your schedule, for good reason. Starting off the week with a powerlifter’s approach is going to increase strength and not actual size of muscles. Taking the third day to rest, you are preparing yourself for the upcoming hypertrophy methods, which places an emphasis on higher repetitions. When it comes time to kick off the two-day block of hypertrophy workouts, get ready to feel the burn. As your power is able to get stronger, you will be able to have sustained energy needed for the higher rep ranges that will be required of you. What has been done with this newfound training is to give you a range to shoot for, not a set amount of reps. I used to turn my head at any plan that used ranges, thinking that it was an easy option to do as little work as possible. Growing up a bit, I enjoy working with programs that call for a range instead of set numbers because it leaves the decision for me to make. If I know that I can’t do fifteen curls one day, I am able to cut some slack for myself and can meet those standards on another day.

Overall, the get buff quicker style of training is not going to be a walk in the park but for those who are devoted enough to doing whatever it takes, the rewards come fast. If you find stale gains are the only ones you are receiving, don’t be afraid to change it up. The inventor of this system has basically pointed out that you should adjust this program to be suitable for your needs. There isn’t always a cookie cutter solution that will mesh well with everyone’s agenda. If you do need to be able to tackle any tough to do lists, I would knock it out in the earlier portion of the week. If you start your day one of this program on a typical calendar day, like Monday, the power days are slightly less strenuous. If you were to commit to helping someone move in the middle of your hypertrophy days, your muscles are going to be like spaghetti noodles. If you think you have what it takes, the get buff quicker method of training is the jump from an amateur weekend lifter to a full-fledged strongman!

Signs You Need to Upgrade Your Weightlifting Equipment

We have all been there, hitting up that home gym, multiple times a week. Eventually, you will notice that your setup is lacking a little something. I’ve always been the person who doesn’t get different shoes until they are literally falling apart at the seams. Even I know that there are some signs to look out for, here are a few of them. If it makes you feel better, I have had each and every single one of these incidents happen in my life. Making the change to suck it up and get better equipment knocked out all of these worries, in just an afternoon.

Rusted Weights – Though more of a visual detail, no one wants their weights plagued with rust. This will only be a problem if you have metal weights but the appearance of rust just doesn’t look great. If you are lifting in any kind of condition where wetness can form on the weights, it is highly suggested that you move them to a drier spot in your home.

weightlifting glovesGloves that are Falling Apart – I go through weightlifting gloves like most people go through groceries. It is so tough to find a pair of gloves that will actually hold up to the wear and tear that I put on them. Having gloves with holes in them is not just a cosmetic issue, it could lead to more serious issues. Let’s just say that you don’t want to be lifting weights with gloves that have holes, it could lead to a bunch of gripping issues. Your hands are very important to you and you don’t want to have faulty gloves that could get tangled up, mangling your fingers!

A Bent Barbell – Look, I get it, that barbell is bent and you are thinking of it as a sort of badge of honor. How about we keep that barbell somewhere else and get you a new one! Even though it looks cool and you can brag about it to your buddies, a bent barbell means that it getting closer to breaking, depending upon how strong your barbell is. I have heard of most men keeping the bent barbell in rotation, not wanting to get another one. You could assume that the bar will never break because it is made of metal. However, do you want to take the risk that the bar is strong enough to not break, while your entire body is under it?

Extremely Worn Down Bench – Again, being a money saver, I put off getting my bench replaced for a long time. I wish that I could go back in time and kick myself for waiting so long. The bench would wobble a bit when I got onto it, to begin my bench pressing. I would also use the bench itself, to assist me with my lat raises, never thinking about how much continued stress was being put on the bench. I really could have harmed myself by not focusing on the bigger picture, my life over my lifting.

Not all of these signs that you need to invest in upgrading your equipment are vital to get fixed right away but you can easily fix all four of these problems at once. Head over to your local sporting goods store and get the items that need to be replaced, especially if you do have a bent barbell because that one is essential to take care of.

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.

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!

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.

Take the Time to Learn Your Rep Percentages

Have you ever been reading all about a new set of exercises that you want to try out? I mean, everything is going well until you start seeing more percentages than in an algebra textbook. This will be the point where I will click over to somewhere else, that can explain their plan in an easier way. I have only just started to take the time (not much, by the way) to figure out what my lifting percentages are. By doing this, not only am I being able to more closely customize my what I lift but I also get to know my limits a bit better. In a sport, or hobby, in which you are constantly pushing yourself to new limits, wouldn’t it be nice to know what the ones that you have already are? As time moves forward and you are looking into moving into an intermediate or advanced level, knowing specific numbers over guesswork will be important.

You don’t need some long and drawn out guide, or a twenty minute video to really find out your rep numbers, just start by grabbing a dumbbell. To get started, pick a specific exercise, like a curl, and get a weight to see how many reps you can do with it. This is not the safest way and I don’t recommend starting off with this but I will find out what my max is, before anything else. To do this, I grab a dumbbell and use some good old fashioned trial and error, until I find a weight that I can only bring up one time. After writing down the number of weights on the dumbbell, I now know my max. As we move into the bigger weights and a bar is required, make sure you have someone spot you. It is an incredibly dangerous idea to find your maxes on heavier lifts by yourself.

You can also do the opposite, which would be to start with what you can do more reps of and work your way up from there. When it comes to specifics, you can get as technical and detailed as you would like, although, it will save you some time if you find two to three percentages. There is a wide difference, depending upon who you ask, about what percentages are the most important. When I need to know, I will figure out my 25%, 50%, and 100% rep range, the last one being what I max out at. By having these three base percentages, guesstimating becomes a lot easier as I progress. The beauty of this method is that you can be as detailed, or not, as you want to be. As long as finding out where your strength levels lie does not change the time that you are actually lifting, you have full freedom to learn whichever rep percentages that you want.

Even though it is often ignored, you have nothing to lose by scheduling some time to find out more about how you lift. Although it might seem like a time drain, learning, literally, what your strengths are will make you a smarter lifter. So, the next time that you go and grab some weights, take a pencil and paper with you and learn how to scientifically get bigger. This will require a small level of time and actual work, you owe it to yourself to do this because the end result will be a much smarter lifter when it is all done.

use this for percentages