How Exercise is My Own Fountain of Youth

I have to spill the beans on a secret, I’ve been using working out as my only form of anti-aging treatment and it works great. I’ve never dabbled with all of those creams and other products, just stuck to strictly weightlifting. I’ll admit that I’ve been blessed with an ability to age slowly, at least that’s I hear from others, but I’ve put in the work to get to that point. It is commonly known that regular exercise can help to keep you living longer, nice to know that it will keeping you looking younger, also! How this happens is due to the genetic makeup of how we were all formed.

When exercise is continually done, over long stretches over time, we get hormones released that support keeping skin nice and firm. Being able to keep skin in great shape will pay off tenfold as you continue to age. I’ve seen people damage their skin and watching them become wrinkled in their 30’s is never a good look. It gets way more technical, to fully understand the complex systems that come into play to help those good hormones up to par, it really is fascinating. Where this becomes even more interesting is when you take a look at those exercisers who had a late start in their lives. When older people start exercising regularly, they don’t just age slower, their skin can actually start to reverse the effects of aging. That’s right, all of those creams and lotions never had a shot against old fashioned work!

I am certainly not anywhere near old enough to get those senior citizen discount lunches but I haven’t had any wrinkles popping up lately. What is humorous is how, if my face is clean shaven, I’ll still have to show some identification, just to see the latest horror movie. Take it from personal experience, the older generation can have their reverse aging you can still get started stopped wrinkles right now. If you think about what can cause us all to start aging, there isn’t a stressor that exercise can’t take care of. Stressful situations are most well-known as triggers to cause early aging to set in, good thing that regular exercise has been shown to lower stress levels. There is still going to be environmental hazards that even the longest bout of exercise won’t completely cover up. Needless to say, if you find yourself out in the sun often, with little to no SPF protection, it’s going to take an indeterminate number of weeks to see smoother skin. Isn’t a little bit of sweat worth sacrificing to mean that you can see those cruel age marks disappear?

I always do what I can to keep myself at the tip top of my motivation game, hearing that I’m somewhat safe from normal aging will keep me that much more excited. I guess learning of this amazing new process that our bodies can undergo, when subjected to exercise helps to explain why older weightlifters are never wrinkled up. If you look back at what some previous Mr. Olympia winners look like and I’m talking going back to the pre-Arnold days, these men look great for being sixty-five and up. If you’ve ever thought you were a boring person, just think of how astounding it is that you are a part of a body that can reverse how it ages, it is sort of like having your own superpower or maybe I’ve just been watching too many superhero movies!

Weightlifting Maneuvers You’re Missing Out On

You’ve heard about the old-school techniques to becoming larger, we all have. Withstanding the test of time, the staples to any real weightlifters repertoire haven’t undergone a drastic change, in the past decades. As tidbits often will, we have concentrated on the legendary lifts of the past that we’ve left a few behind, where they should not be. Without further ado, I present these three lifts that aren’t in your weightlifting regimen, but should be.

Hack Squats
Take everything that you’ve learned about how to do low squats and toss it out the window. If you don’t like lifting that squat formmakes you feel slightly off-balance, you might need someone to stand behind you. Yes, if you just starting hack squats, you could feel a sensation that you are leaning back too far, albeit a false fear. With squats that are of the hack variety, you need to put a bar to the rear of you, picking it up in a similar motion to squatting. If you wear shorts to workout in, be advised a bar, being lifted close to the back of your legs could scrape them up. I find that an occasional scratch on my skin, while hack squatting, isn’t far off from scraping my shins during a deadlift. Please keep in the forefront of your brain to not even attempt to lift what you normally squat, you’ll still be making use of your calves but the weight won’t be resting on your shoulders.

Kneeling Tricep Extensions with Dumbbells
While I enjoy gaining tricep strength, over most other groups of muscle, this exercise is responsible for the back of your arms getting a nice burn. To effectively carry out a tricep extension where you’re kneeling, balance is super important. Even if you are only using five pound dumbbells, falling over on one side could leave you with a broken arm. Falls are painful enough, holding weights while nearing the ground only intensifies that pain.

Barbell Shrugs
I never see anyone doing heavy shrugging, which leads me to believe that those same folks are likely missing out on some easy added mass. The setup to this exercise couldn’t be much more simple. To effectively do this exercise, you’ll need to grab a barbell (DO NOT lift from the floor), preferably rack your weights on a stand, if one is nearby. After that, slowly take the weight down and shrug your shoulders, try to get five reps. What I like with doing shrugs is that you can go heavy with them, since you are recruiting more fibers, than you would be with other lifts. While not quite a compound lift, but certainly not one for isolation, the shrug is somewhere in the middle.

These lifts aren’t the easiest ones to do and they sure won’t seem familiar, however don’t let that stop you from attempting any of these listed exercises. As with any new lift that you implement into your already routine schedule, give yourself time to learn. The first time that you try any of these exercises, take the hack squat for example, you won’t feel like you are doing the motions correctly. Whenever I start changing up mundane workouts, the first time that I try out a new lift (no matter how many videos I’ve seen concerning form), I still feel like the new kid on the block who is messing it up. Get limber, take the word no out of your head, and get a little confidence as you step up to the plate to put these new lifts into your weekly plan!

How Exercising Can Save Your Wallet

If you were to stand outside of a fitness center and ask why they keep going, saving money wouldn’t be a likely response. That being mentioned, there are findings that show your muscles and wallet could be thanking you. When comparing those who workout regularly, with those who aren’t active, one group is more likely to be in the waiting room of a doctor! If you thought that hearing about exercising helping you live longer was a farce, the proof is in the (lack of) medical bills. Men and women who are taking their free time and putting it to good use, by exercising have got stronger immune systems, making them less susceptible to medical problems.

Many employers will offer incentives to employees that maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s a smart move that is made by large corporations, to encourage their workforce to take preventative measures through any of the following methods: walking, jogging, regularly weight lifting, etc. The rewards for employees that are tracking their efforts are usually rewarded with a cut out of their insurance deductible, time off, or a combination. While the ones who choose to be lazy could have more free time, they will likely be shelling it out at the doctor’s office. I used to constantly get allergies and would be seriously ill, once or twice every month, before I picked up taking better care of myself. Nowadays, I end up ill maybe once a year, thanks to a more fitness minded life. The results seem clear, it looks like those who are exercising are keeping the doctor away and doing a great job of it.

With the stacked advantages of saving up funds, this looks like another notch in win column for us! If it is being offered, take a look at what your company could offer, in the way of extra employee incentives to get moving! If not, you could be missing out on many great opportunities, especially if you already exercise, outside of work! I often dodge hearing about how exercising is too expensive for some, which has a grain of truth, there are memberships, supplements, clothes, that will be additional costs to you. Although, when compared to how much you could save in the workplace, those initial costs don’t seem to be too staggering, do they? If faced with a situation, where someone is giving you a bad word for being so obsessed with the way you live, remind them that you are getting healthy, all while saving money, are there any two feelings more awesome than those? Perhaps, now that you know another, adding to the list of many benefits that come with regular exercise, anyone wanting to stay lazy might change their tune. I know that I’ll be reminded, when facing a set that I don’t believe I can complete, that I will be having visions of lower insurance and a longer lifespan! I can’t speak of what certain incentives that I know about, from hearing of others employment but it only drives home the point that you need to find about if your own workplace offers fitness incentives, it is likely most large ones will.

Sometimes depending upon the season of the year, different workplace programs will be in place, largely appearing during the Summer season. When adding in the extra cash you have from not spending it at the doctor, plus the added discounts you will receive on those insurance payments, once again, regular exercise is starting to gain momentum once again!

Always Wrap Your Wrists Before Straining Them

I wanted to point one aspect of fitness accessories that I’m not seeing many make use of. Sure, we all have to get our awesome tank top, shorts, and whatever else we are going to wear to the gym. Being so obsessed with appearances, of which I am just as guilty as the next person, one important piece of safety equipment always goes missing. I used to think that wrapping up wrists was for those big fight scenes in movies, never something I would find that I needed to use. I started having some nagging wrist pain that was starting to honestly hinder my quality of life. There is nothing that comes close to making you feel like a weakling, than having a sharp pain shoot up your wrist, while trying to just push on a door. I had spoken to a co-worker of mine, an avid weightlifter. He had said that I could have either pulled a muscle or had come down with a case of tennis elbow.

I started seeing what others had to say on this matter and if they had experienced any similarities with the pain I had. It didn’t take long before I got responses suggesting that I could have weakened wrists. I had thought those folks were crazy, I had been lifting all of the time, how could I have a weakened anything? Checking the ego and starting to think a bit more clearly, I realized that some random guy on the internet could have just figured out this puzzle. I went to a sporting goods store and purchased some high quality wrist wraps. Not content to settle with the cheapest option, I plunked down about thirty bucks for a pair of these wrist wraps, money well spent. After about a week of using these wraps, almost all of the pain I had went away, that’s not a joke.

I went from barely being able to push myself up to going back to having wrists that had no pain in them at all. When I first noticed this pain start coming on was during only two lifts: the bench press and bicep curls, such an interesting and in no way related pairing! With two far apart exercises, for the muscles that are trained, as well as the pushing and pulling movement difference, this was why I was so mystified as to what could be the source of this horrible pain. I got some mild laughter when I would keep having to adjust my wrist straps but it didn’t matter to me, I would gladly have a workout go over ten minutes than to have to not be able to push anything for weeks. I have noticed that there are assortments of various straps that you can use.

I like the mobility that comes with simple straps but there are other options. If you can’t keep that strong grip when you are trying to move that bar, I would advise you use straps that are forced to tie onto the barbell itself, with this type of strap I prefer the ones that are cloth, than the cloth and metal hook contraption. Call me crazy but I don’t want any hook near me while I’m trying to lift weights, ouch! If you are less accident prone than I am and not a total clumsy guy, you could end up loving the strap with hooks, many do.

Get Your Legs Ready for Short Wearing Weather

Having a big upper half is highly sought after, so why are so many of you not concentrating on your legs? For one, they are the two body parts you have that are going to support the extra weight you pack on up top. I almost wanted to cry, this Summer, when I noticed that my calves and thighs were sorely lacking. I have been busy with trying to handle everything in my life but I knew that I had to give some special attention to my getting stronger legs. The first new lift that I had decided to implement into my routine was the hack squat. For those who haven’t tried them, get ready, the hack squat requires that you take the barbell BEHIND your legs.

I almost had to stop myself from tripping over my own feet the first time that I tried this exercise. I wasn’t sure what weight to use, since this was my original attempt at getting this routine over with. I must have started with too much weight because, upon my first upward movement, I nearly fell on my back. When you do most exercises, the weight is in front of you, making it easier for you to decide if you need to set it down, to avoid falling forward. With a hack squat, the weight is behind you, so if you fall, it’s going to be right on your back, ouch.

Am I the only one that gets that combination tingle of both fear and excitement, when trying a new exercise for the first time? I felt that my stomach was filled with butterflies as I approached my next lift, lying leg curls on a rickety bench, joy! My reward for trying to help my legs better support my frame was met with a t-bar smashing right into my Achilles’ tendon. After doing all I could to mask my pain-filled scream that sneaked out, the curls became much more simple. It’s hard to say if the soreness that I am currently feeling is from the weightlifting or the accidental scrapes I suffered from learning my form. I would go on to learn that, after smashing my leg into the t-bar, I had now put a bend in the bar, it must have been from my jumping reaction to the pain I felt in my heel.

Moving on to sitting leg curls, I did have to bend at a slightly awkward movement to complete the entire set, not causingstronger legs me too much additional pain. I might have to wear shin guards, as I continue to build up my legs in preparation for that wonderful summer vacation. What makes working out your legs different from most other parts of the body is that you only walk on your legs. Try not to think about how many steps you take, in an average day, after strengthening your legs, it will only make you queasy because you will feel that workout in the upcoming days. When it comes time to pick out the new attire, which you should do, in order to reward yourself for building massive legs, always try them on first. Us weightlifters are always growing, don’t be afraid to buy a larger size of attire, in order to grow into it. I rarely buy anything that is tight-fitting off of the rack because I know I will grow out of it, in a matter of weeks!

The Extreme Stakes of Becoming an Olympian

As we are all glued to our televisions to find out which country will reign supreme, there isn’t much known about the high costs just to compete in this amazing event. Many will go for years to try and get onto their countries team but it isn’t poor effort that can keep them out of the running. What most don’t realize is the sheer expense to becoming an Olympic athlete is a costly one that leaves even the most optimistic hopeful, crawling away.

If it takes a big budget to become an athlete, how do the lucky ones become rich and famous, with enough assets to keep them set for a lifetime? Endorsements, which means that another company sponsors you, is a deal that every hopeful hopes they get signed to. If you have found that you start chewing your fingernails when you think about a job interview, you have no idea what the applicants in the Olympics have to face. In most instances, the funding to get an Olympic level athlete trained and prepared will come from the pocketbook of the parents, adding extra strain on the family.

It can take up to, and this isn’t even the highest number, one-hundred thousand dollars, just to get a shot at competing. If you were to lose this competition, you have just blown the money needed to tryout at the Olympics, better luck in the next four years, right? If you are one that competes in sports, during only one season, it takes four years to try over and you thought getting a letter that you didn’t get that job was bad! Imagine putting your entire life savings into taking on the entire world, so to speak.

At this moment, there is no real avenue for Olympic hopefuls to get funded, meaning that we could be missing out on the best athletes in the universe, because they don’t have their own private source of funding. It can take an entire decade, made entirely of training and being determined, before anyone can obtain that dream success that changes lives. While all stand on the starting line, in amazing condition, waiting for the sound of the starting siren, only one or two could be fortunate enough to get that coveted spot on a Wheaties box. There have been voices raised about the unfair practices that one must go through, just to be looked at seriously by a sporting committee. I know that I couldn’t have raised what it took to go to the Olympics once, can you imagine the poor families who try, more than once, to get their family member closer to Olympic stardom?

I’ve read about athletes, who are already spending most of their free time practicing, having to get a full-time job, just to help cover the fees associated with becoming an Olympian. I wish there was some scholarship program that could provide the raw talent of these young athletes, with a less financially troubling path to take. In alleys behind buildings, old outdoor parks, and garages all across the country, there are those who want to compete for their country and win. Why are we letting the money that it costs to enter hold back talent that wasn’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth? If we had a system to track applicants, solely on talent, perhaps USA would run off with even more medals than we already have, at this point.

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!

Achieving More from the Military Press

Known as one of the more rapid methods to attaining stronger shoulders, the military press has been around for ages. Although it is very beneficial, this lift is not that beginners have the easiest time grasping. I remember when I first started performing the military press, I would get these weird pains, in the middle of my stomach. Along with presenting the reason why this pain kept happening and what I did to stop it, I also have some techniques to try that will get you a set of wide shoulders that will have them all checking you out. When taking on implementing a military press into your workout routine, you have to figure out which type of bar you are going to use.

If you have a EZ bar laying around, the one in which the bar itself is curved, this is a great way to see where your strength lies for this lift. You don’t have to load up the weight until there is no more room, start with ten pounds. You have to remember that, if using an EZ bar from the floor, that you are going to be picking this weight up over your head. Many back injuries are caused from lifting weight that is too heavy, over the top of your head. The movement of weight being behind your back carries a high risk of pulling a muscle in your back. Until you are equipped with enough strength to get used to the overhead motion, you don’t want to overburden yourself.

shoulders frowingOnce the weight is up, slightly bend your back backwards and push the weight in an upward motion, never bringing the weight behind your head. You will want to have the barbell lightly come back down in the center of your chest. When doing a military press, you don’t need to be speedy but will want to take things slowly. Jerking motions while doing an exercise that requires balance could have youT ending up laying on the floor!

Getting back to the issue of abdominal pain, when this started, I had no clue why it was during the military press lift. As I began to record how I was standing, I learned why I was suffering from such sharp pain. What was happening was, as I started bringing the bar up, my body would subconsciously bend backwards slightly. After I figured out my movements were causing abdominal pain, it took time to swing things back in my favor. It took many months before I was able to progress to using military presses with an actual full-size barbell. If you attempt to work on your shoulders with a big barbell, you have got to be fairly strong.

What you have to look at is the specific groups that you are trying to pack on size to. An empty barbell doesn’t seem so weighted down, when pushing it with your arms. However, once all of the weight is on such a small sized muscle group, like your shoulders, you have to go lighter with this exercise. If standing up and doing a set of military presses can not be done, there are machines that let you sit down. I find the movements needed to effectively perform this shoulder lift were far too awkward to accomplish on a machine but you could have better luck than I did.

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!

Follow This Strategy to Improve Your Core

The core is one the most heard of, yet least understood groups of muscle around. Surprisingly, I have heard of folks lifting with their arms, claiming that they are really hitting their core. Not only is the core not taken care of, the way that it should be, some don’t even know what it is. I think why people put up such a wall when it comes to focusing on these muscles is that there is way too much confusion out there, concerning this group. Combining the muscles in the lower back and abdominal areas, mastering how to get these two groups working hard has enormous benefits. Maybe after reading about them, you will give your core the thirty minutes that it deserves. A quadruped arm and leg raise is a great relief to those who are suffering from excruciating back pain.

My father has always had back issues and I think that I must have inherited them from him. No matter what the cause is, practicing a stretch like the one in the last sentence can bring your core to life and could potentially alleviate an aching back. Planks are a whole entire change up to any tired sets of stretching, if you utilize a twisting motion with your exercising, you can reap even more work to your core. Why planks are great to rush into your training is because they work the abs using different motions. By adding a twist (done slowly) to the end of a plank, you are working as many of the muscles in your abdominals, including your sides.

If you are wondering what in the world core strength has to do with your entire body, I will explain that for you. Think about your sets of muscles as an important item that you need to ship. If you were truly worried about how safely this item would stay after being jostled around, would you choose to pack it with the right material that is strong and will protect it? Of course you would and if you are core training you are giving that same protection to your surrounding muscles. Having a core of steel will help to keep important organs protected, like your spinal discs. Do you find that you are having bad posture and don’t really stand up straight?

core strengthI used to believe that I was standing up perfectly straight until I had to see how tall I was, straightening my back to the wall made me feel like a giant. I had swore that it felt as if I had gotten about four inches taller, just from standing up straight and maintain a better stance. When you activate the muscles in your core, they will support you in a better way. The increased support that comes with stronger abdominals will cause you to stop feeling hunched over. The gift of great posture is one that you won’t notice you have received but it will be there. I wouldn’t consider myself to be tall but if I look a bit taller, that is not an opportunity that I am going to pass up. There have been endless findings that state taller people get ahead in life, whether it be through home or at the workplace, I am in! Not just for looking good at the beach, a strong core will make you limber and free from pain. After being known as one of, if not the most common pain, getting rid of an aching lower back is highly sought after.