The Top Exercise For Each Fitness Goal

The main exercises I’d choose for specific fitness goals.

Throughout my fitness journey, my goals have shifted. As I focused on different goals, I was introduced to some amazing exercises. Each of these exercises were tailor made for the specific goals. I even learned the benefits of some exercises by accident. Below are the top exercises I’d choose for specific fitness goals.

Strength

If you want to maximize the strength you gain, then you need to deadlift. If you’re physically able and aren’t dealing with any health restrictions, I highly reccomend adding deadlifts to your program.The two reasons it’s so great for strength development are it engages so many muscles and it’s an exercise you can really load.

Hypertrophy

In my experience, the exercise that has helped me the most at gaining size or hypertrophy is the farmer walk. One of the biggest keys to gaining size is maximizing time under tension with maximal load. When you’re carrying a decent amount of weight for a certain distance, you’ll definitely put your body in a place to gain size. The great thing about the farmer walk is that your size gains will occur throughout your body. The Farmer walk engages so many muscles in your body like your traps, lats, obliques, and legs.

Fat Loss and Athleticism

Any exercise that can maximize fat loss and overall atleticism must be very valuable. If you’ve been following this page, you’d probably guess that the exercise I’m talking about is sprints. Sprints are great for athleticism because they help you develop speed through the activation on your fast-twitch muscles.

In terms of fat loss, I chose sprints over kettlebell swings because the amount of work you can output with the kettlebell swing can be limited by grip strength. There’s a higher injury risk with sprints but you can do different variations like sprinting up a hill.

Sprinting is tremendous for fat loss because it activates so many muscles while you’re moving at a high velocity. Your body will adapt in a way to make you more efficient at the movement you’re doing.. In regards to sprints, it’ll get rid of excess fat so you can move faster. The added benefit is that it’ll try to keep muscle because the muscle is what applies the necessary force to move fast. Another reason sprints are great for fat loss is due to the increase in heart rate that it causes. This heart rate increase leads to a higher metabolic rate during and after the workout. It’ll take your body a lot of energy/calories to get back to it’s resting heart rate.

Nervous system efficiency

This is an interesting one because when you ask most people about their fitness goals, strengthening their nervous system is rarely if ever the answer you’ll get back. It’s a shame because the nervous system is the key to every activity you do, whether it’s fitness related or not. One of the biggest parts of my current fitness routine is nervous system training. By doing this, I’ve noticed my workout performances keep improving despite the fact that I’m not focusing too hard on any particular exercise.

The exercise that I’ve felt has helped me the most with my nervous system efficiency is the Leopard Crawl. The leopard crawl is a simple looking move but it’s effects on the brain and body are phenomenal. The reason it’s so great for nervous system health is because of the contralateral nature of the movement. Any time you do a contralateral movement, you’re using both the left and right brain hemispheres simultaneously.

This category could get an asterisk because I’ve recently started doing more cross crawl supermans. I definitely feel mentally rejuvenated when I do them but it’s too soon to say if I’d put them ahead of leopard crawls.

These are the top exercises I’d choose for their respective goals. If you’d replace anyone of these with something else, please share in the comment section!

How To Keep Your Fitness Resolutions

The best ways to keep your fitness resolutions

It seems like every year people make a New Years Resolution to exercise more or to live a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, people often fail in keeping those resolutions. Personally, I’m not a big fan of New Years Resolution.

The way I see it is if you have a goal that’s important to you, why wait till January 1st. You can start working on that goal right away. If setting a goal for the New Years is what works for you, I’m here to support you. This post will be geared towards fitness but the principles can apply to any other area of your life.

Fitness Resolution Guide

Start Small: If you haven’t been active, don’t expect to be able to do 1 hour workouts 5 times a week. It’s not sustainable unless someone forces you to. Once you set a big goal for the year, focus on small things you can do to move towards that goal. Once you build the habit of supporting that goal, you can move on to bigger things.

An example is if you want to simply make exercising a habit. Try to set aside 10 minutes each day to do a workout. In your mind, 10 minutes won’t seem like too much of a commitment. You might finding yourself in the zone and decide to work out longer. After you do this everyday, exercising will become part of your identity. You won’t be overwhelmed by the idea of doing long workouts.

Write it Down: I’m a big believer in writing down goals. When you write a goal, you’re bringing it to life. Just keeping a goal in your head is less impactful. You have thousands of thoughts each day. By writing down your goal, you’re giving it precedence over the many thoughts that float around in your head.

Create Reminders: One thing that helps me build new habits is giving myself reminders. You can leave notes in places you’re likely to see them. The notes can be an instruction you give yourself to do something. The more you see that note, the more likely you’ll be to follow it. You’ll be brainwashing yourself in a good way.

Forgive Yourself: Creating new habits is hard. You might stumble at times when trying to create that habit. Maybe you’ll miss a workout or eat eat some junk food. The place where people go wrong is by giving up when they stumble. You should never give up.

When you stumble pick yourself back up. Forgive yourself for the mistake and start fresh with your habit. If you do this every time you stumble, you’ll eventually make the new habit part of who you are . It also helps to have positive reinforcements. Bet on yourself and keep moving forward!

 

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Squat or Deadlift Every Workout

As someone who emphasizes total body workouts, I believe in squatting or deadlifting every workout. You can even do both. In my current routine, I’m in the gym three times a week and I’m doing at least one of these two compound lifts. I’ve been following this approach the last two months and I’m pleased with the results.

Reasons To Squat or Deadlift every Workout

Total body benefits– If you want to follow a total body training split, doing squats or deadlifts each workout will make that goal easier. Squats and deadlifts work several muscles from head to toe. There’s a reason they’re both in the discussion for king of all lifts. I often feel satisfied with my workout, knowing that I’ve hit as much muscles as possible.

Increase Strength and Muscle: If you want to get stronger in a lift, then do the lift often. A big reason powerlifters and weightlifters are so strong in their specific lifts is because they do those lifts almost every day. Some of the top performers do them twice a day. I may not be doing as much training frequency as those strength athletes but I believe my routine will allow me to gain strength. I can speak from experience  when I say doing a lift more often will make you better at that lift. I’m currently doing 40 squat reps and 60 deadlift reps every two weeks. My confidence in performing these lifts and my technique have also improved as a result of doing these lifts frequently.

You’ll not only gain strength with this training approach but you’ll also build muscle. In order to maximize muscle growth, you need to hit as much muscle fibers as possible. This is only possible through compound movements like the squat and deadlift. Doing at least one of these lifts three times a week will make it easier for you to gain muscle.

How To Make This Work

The squat and deadlift have great muscle and strength gaining benefits but they have their drawbacks as well. They put a lot of stress on your body and nervous system. The way I handle this challenge is by varying the way I train these lifts each workout.

I don’t go heavy more than once a week. Heavy is 80 % or more of my one rep max. On the days that I’m not going heavy, I’m either doing speed work or just regular light reps. The light reps are usually 20 pounds greater than my body weight.

Another thing that helps is to be aggressive with your recovery. When you train hard, you need to recover hard as well. The obvious methods are diet and sleep. Doing low-intensity yoga workouts, deep tissue work, and deep breathing. You should also rest one or two days in between workouts. Did I mention that cardio helps with muscle recovery?!Once you find an efficient way to do squats or deadlifts each workout, you’ll be pleased with the results.

Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

This is Why I lift

( Short Read). This post is about my reasons for lifting weights and why it’s important for you to have a why when it comes to fitness.

As someone who’s very active, I do different types of activities. Weight lifting, yoga, and sprints are some of the forms of exercise I’m familiar with. Out of all of them I’d say weight lifting is my favorite. I enjoy the feeling of moving heavy weights and having my muscles work hard.

Why do you lift? Some people lift for health purposes. Some people lift because they think it’ll help them get girls. I lift for several reasons that go beyond getting stronger. Some of those reasons include:

  • I lift because it gives me a way to channel my aggression
  • I lift because it gives me more confidence in my physical abilities
  • I lift because it brings me peace even when life is chaotic
  • I lift because I enjoy feeling healthy and full of energy
  • I lift because it keeps me young
  • I lift because I like being happy with what I see in the mirror
  • I lift because it makes my joints feel stronger
  • I lift because it makes me better in other physical activities

The main reason I lift is because I love lifting. It’s that simple. When you love doing something, you always find a way to do it. I’ve lifted when I’ve been under the weather. I’ve lifted after hectic days. I’ve lifted after getting little sleep. I obviously modified my workouts based on conditions so I can keep my body healthy.

The idea of this post is the importance of having a why. Having a why adds passion to what you’re doing. If you can’t think of a reason to work out, do it simply because you love your body . As you continue making exercise a habit, you’ll find additional whys. You’ll find the exercises that ignite your passion. Passion is so important. The people who achieve the best results are the ones who not only have talent and knowledge but also have passion for what they’re doing. Having passion for something you’re doing is like pouring gasoline on a lit match. Amazing things happen when you put passion into what you’re doing.

Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

Strength is The Solution

This post is about the importance of strength training in any fitness program

If you have a fitness problem, strength is the solution.  Throughout my fitness journey, I realized that for every challenge I’ve faced, getting stronger has helped me get through it . If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll see that I’m a big supporter of  strength training. Why wouldn’t I be? Strength is one of the key foundations of fitness.

Build Muscle

The stronger you are, the easier it is to build muscle. I agree that high volume work is great for building muscle mass but you shouldn’t forget about strength building. Someone who can bench press 255 pounds for seven reps will have a greater capacity to build muscle than someone who can only bench press 180 pounds for seven reps.

The more weight you use, the more muscle fibers are being activated. Greater muscle fiber activation means a greater potential of building muscle. It’s that simple. Diet and recovery are the other factors that will play into muscle growth.

Burn Fat

Getting stronger also helps with fat-loss. Strength training activates more muscle fibers than any other type of training. Speed work is also in that discussion. Even though strength is a function of the nervous system, you will build muscle as a result of strength training.

You won’t look as large as someone who trains with greater volume but you will notice a difference. This muscle gained will raise your resting metabolism, causing you to burn more calories in every activity you do. A side effect of this is you’ll be hungry all the time!

Another reason strength training is great for fat-loss is it causes a lot of metabolic stress. Any type of training that involves using a lot of muscle fibers will have this effect on your body. The stress caused by strength training takes a lot to recover from. Your body will be burning a ton of calories as it’s trying to recover from training. Strength training should be included in any fat-loss program .

Improve Athleticism

Strength is critical for any athlete. I speak from experience when I say strength training will make you better at any athletic activity and sport. Strength training has helped me improve my vertical jump and sprint speed dramatically. If you look at any high level athlete, they have some strength training in their routine.

Even someone on the opposite end of the spectrum like a marathon runner needs some type of strength training. Their strength training won’t be as intense as a power athlete’s program. Their training volume will also be significantly lower.

Yogis can benefit from strength training as well. I’ve talked about how yoga helps strength strength athletes but the reverse can be true. Having a good strength base will make it easier for you to handle yoga poses like the high lunge and chaturanga.

Feel Better

Strength training will make you feel better overall. You’ll have a natural sense of confidence knowing that you’re capable of doing things physically. You’ll also be happy in your body. When you’re strong, you feel powerful. You naturally feel like you can do great things.

Strength training will also help you with your health. When I’ve had some aching joints in the past, strengthening the muscles around that joint helped me find instant relief. That’s why I’m so adamant about building armor.

Strength training has also made me more resilient to stress. When you’re putting yourself self in a high stress situation like being under a heavy barbell, a lot of challenges you face in life seem less significant.

If you want to increase your chances of achieving any health or fitness goal, strength training will help. You don’t have to be a powerlifter or an olympic athlete to benefit from strength training.

Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

Do A Random Workout

Breaking out of your routine and doing a random workout can provide immense benefit to your training program.

Consistency and discipline are important in any training program but sometimes you can benefit from doing a random workout. It doesn’t have to be something scary. You’ll find great benefit in just going to the gym on a random day and doing something simple.

Last Thursday , I felt the itch to go to the gym even though I had an intense workout the day before. I felt good and just wanted to get something done. I felt great at the end of the workout and it made me think about the benefits of doing random workouts.

Benefits of Random Workouts

Greater Appreciation: You develop a greater appreciation for your workout routine. Sometimes I take my workouts for granted since I’m so used to the same routine. It becomes automatic. By doing a random workout, you actually have time to think about your workout routine.

Recovery: Doing a random workout will help you with muscle recovery. The fact that you’re moving your body means you’ll be promoting blood flow throughout your body.

Learning New Things: Random workouts can teach you a lot about your body and what it needs to progress. By doing a random workout, you’re getting out of your comfort zone and that’s when you’ll learn a lot about yourself. You can take what you learn use it to help you achieve your goals faster.

Happiness: If you’re someone who loves fitness, getting in any workout will bring you joy. Personally, I feel like a kid in a candy shop when I step in the gym. The endorphin boost you’ll get from the workout also helps with the happiness.

How To Select a Random Workout

When doing a random workout, I recommend choosing something that will contribute to your fitness goal. Even if the impact of the random workout isn’t as large as your normal workouts, at least you’ll move a step closer to your goals.

You can do an intense workout or a workout with moderate intensity. The best way to decide workout intensity depends on what day you’re doing the workout. If the random workout is at the start of your training week, go for higher intensity. If it’s in the middle or end of your training week, it’s best to go for moderate intensity workouts.

This goes hand in hand with my personal training philosophy. I always like doing my hardest workouts at the start of the week. This gives me momentum that I can carry into my following workouts. I’m also fresher at the start of my training weeks.

My Workout

The random workout I did followed the moderate intensity approach since it was near the end of my training week . During my random workout, I did a lot of movements I was familiar with but the format was completely different.

Deadlifts: I did  five sets of three at 225 pounds. These were regular deadlifts at a steady speed.  My rest periods were four minutes, which is pretty long for this level of training intensity. The purpose of this was to get in some extra reps. I learned from Strength Coach Pavel Tsatsouline that you can get stronger by increasing the amount of times you do an exercise. By getting in more quality reps of a movement, I’m making my nervous system more efficient at that movement that movement. A more efficient nervous system means greater strength potential.

Weighted Dead-Bugs: I did dead-bugs while holding two 12 pound dumbbells. The added weight forced my core muscles to work harder. I want my core to be as strong as possible so I can generate more power and be safe during my heavy lifts. I did 10 reps of these in between my deadlift sets.

Iso-Lunge: I did one minute isometric lunges on each leg. The purpose of this was to improve muscle endurance, strengthen my joints, and to work my glutes.

Bag Work: I finished the workout with bag work. I did three rounds of hitting the bag. Each round was two minutes long. It was a good way to get in some cardio.

Photo by <a href=”https://burst.shopify.com/@thenomadbrodie?utm_campaign=photo_credit&amp;utm_content=Free+Stock+Photo+of+Chin+Ups+%E2%80%94+HD+Images&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=credit”>Brodie Vissers</a> from <a href=”https://burst.shopify.com/fitness?utm_campaign=photo_credit&amp;utm_content=Free+Stock+Photo+of+Chin+Ups+%E2%80%94+HD+Images&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=credit”>Burst</a&gt;

Build Your Armor

This article is about the movements that get your stronger and help fight off injuries.

Like many lifters, I’m a big fan of the Big 3 lifts; Squats, Deadlifts, and Bench Press. These lifts will help your performance in other physical activities. I paused to be strong but we often forget about building our base.

I’ve had injuries in the past that really limited what I could do. Those injuries helped me grow a lot as a lifter and I learned lessons from them. One of the most important ones was the importance of building your armor.

What Is Your Armor?

Your Armor is your body. One of the biggest keys to performing your best and staying healthy is to have your body as solid and fluid as possible. Solid as in your body is strong and can take on external forces. Fluid as in your body can move effortlessly.

I’m not saying you’ll never get injured because life can be unpredictable. When you build your armor the odds are in your favor of staying healthy. Things will hurt less. I still have some tweaks from time to time since I’m constantly pushing myself but I’ve been able to bounce back easily due to building my armor.

How Do You Build Your Armor?

You build your armor by strengthening your stabilizers. You build your armor by making your mobility is on point. You build your armor by fixing muscular imbalances and making your core powerful In order to accomplish this is by choosing the right exercises.

I first heard the concept of building your armor from Strength Coach Dan John. He listed some exercises that he believed would best build your armor. Below is a list of armor building exercises that I use to stay strong and healthy. These are the exercises that have worked for me.

Farmers Walk

The farmer walk is one of the best armor building exercises. It works every muscle on your body and builds overall strength. For armor building purposes, the farmer walk strengthens your core muscles. It teaches you to brace when dealing with external resistance. A stronger core and the ability to brace is necessary when doing heavy compound lifts. Your back will have a lower risk of injury as a result.

Bulgarian Split-Squat: Another great armor building exercise is the Bulgarian split squat. This move will help fix muscular imbalances in your lower body because it targets one leg at a time. One side of your body will always be stronger but the closer they are in strength, the better your movement will be when performing bilateral movements like squats and deadlifts. Better movement and better strength means a lower chance of getting hurt. You can’t go wrong with this move.

Contra lateral Movements: Contralateral movements like the deadbug and bird-dog are great ways to solidify your armor. These movements teach your core muscles how to work together at the same time. When performing an intense movements, you’ll want your core as solid as possible. Contralateral movements will help you do that. I do the bird-dog before every workout I do. It sends a message to my brain that I need my core to be as strong as possible.

Yoga: Yoga will build your armor two different ways. The isometric poses will strengthen your body’s stabilizers. You’ll also improve your flexibility so your movements will feel natural rather than forced. I honestly think yoga is a big reason I’ve been able to bounce back quickly from injuries.

Closing Thoughts: This isn’t your typical rehab article. I’m a big supporter of doing prehab and rehab exercises. Why not do movements that provide the same benefits and provide a good workout? These armor building exercises have been a major part of my training throughout the years. I’ve even had training weeks dedicated only to these movements. The results were normally better physical performance and appearance. Don’t be surprised if your posture improves by doing these exercises. What exercises do you do to build your armor ? !

 

Photo on <a href=”https://bestrunningshoes.com/”>Best Running</a>

Strong People Should Do Yoga

This post is about how yoga will help you in the weight room and in other areas of fitness

When it comes to building strength, yoga doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Yoga might not have the same effect that weightlifting has for strength building but it’ll indirectly make you stronger.Personally, I wouldn’t have made as much progress with my training if it wasn’t for yoga. From the outside yoga may look like glorified stretching but once you try it, you’ll experience a challenging workout.

Yoga Benefits

Flexibility: Yoga will help boost your overall flexibility. This is useful when trying to lift a weight with a full range of motion. As someone that does yoga, I never have an issue squatting to depth.

Stability: Yoga builds muscle and joint stability. In order to do those standing lunges and single leg poses, your stabilizer muscles will need to be used. The stronger your stabilizers are, the more power you get generate in your movements. Why don’t those people who squat on bosu balls lifting heavy weights? It’s because you can’t generate as much power on an unstable surface.

Core Strength: Several yoga poses will force you to engage your core muscles. A strong core will help you generate more power in any movement you perform. A strong core will also reduce your risk of injuries. Core strength is very important

Muscle recovery: Yoga helps with muscle recovery because it promotes blood flow. It’s probably because of those long poses and the deep breathing done in yoga workouts. I know my sore muscles always feel better after a yoga session.

Balance: Yoga provides the perfect balance to weight lifting. Some lifts like the squat compress your spine while yoga decompresses it. Proper weight lifting requires varying levels of intensity. Yoga can be challenging but it relaxes you. Yoga will also increase your energy so you have more in the tank when you hit the gym.

My Favorite Yoga Poses

Downward Facing Dog: The Downward Facing Dog is good for us lifters that really hit squats and deadlifts. This pose will give you a stretch throughout your backside from your lower back all the way to your calves. Runners and sprinters would benefit from this pose as well. The image on the thumbnail is a good demonstration of the Downward Facing Dog.

High Lunge: The high lunge is one of my favorite poses. The name says it all. In this pose your front leg will be in a lunge position and your back leg will be straight. You’ll also raise your arms to the sky. This pose gives you a groin and hip stretch but my favorite thing about is the increase in single leg stability. This pose will also build muscle endurance so you can perform any physical activity longer. Increased muscle endurance helps with injury prevention.

yoga-crescent-lunge_925x

 

Upward Facing Dog: This move is great for stretching your hip flexors. Tight hip flexors limit glute activation which will hold back your ability to perform big lifts and athletic movements.

upward-facing-dog-yoga_925x

Pigeon Pose: This is a great pose to loosen tight hips. I especially love doing this the day after a hard squat or deadlift workout. I don’t want to butcher the explanation for this pose so I’m putting a link below to help you get a good idea of how the pose is done.

https://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/how-to-do-one-legged-king-pigeon-pose-in-yoga

My Yoga Reccomendations:

As someone who likes to do high intensity training like lifting heavy weights and sprinting, I like to do Vinyasa Yoga. I like this type of yoga because it’s not as intense as other forms of yoga. I mainly use yoga as a recovery method on my non-lifting days. I also recommend easing into poses in order to avoid injuries. Yoga should help you feel better, not worse. I’m currently using an app called Down Dog that provides a wide variety of yoga workouts.

Closing Thoughts: I’m so grateful for what yoga has done for me in my fitness journey. It’s helped my body recover from the impacts of intense workouts as well as battle life’s stresses. AS you add yoga to your fitness routine, don’t be surprised if other areas of your life improve as well.

 

The images on this post were taken by the same photographer. I put a link of his instagram below.

https://www.instagram.com/matt_henry_photo/

 

For better yoga tutorials :  https://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/

The # 1 Reason To Exercise

I’m sharing the top reason to exercise. This might change how you view fitness.

I think exercise gets a bad rap sometimes. People often associate exercise with pain and misery. They think they need to exercise because they hate their bodies. Instead of looking at it that way, why don’t you exercise because you love your body? Exercise because you love yourself.

When you love your body, you want it to be healthy and full of vitality. You’ll want the best for your body. I know there’s a body positivity movement that encourages you to love your body no matter how it looks. I understand that idea but you can love your body and still want to make the most of it. You don’t have to be a ripped supermodel but you can aim to be the fittest and healthiest version of yourself.

Even if you’re training for looks. Who doesn’t want to look good? The problem is when you start comparing yourself to others. Someone will always be leaner, more muscular, or in better shape than you. When you exercise because you love your body, you’re only focused on your self-improvement. You’re only competing with yourself.

By changing how you view exercise, your entire approach changes. Instead of seeing every workout as a grueling experience, you’ll see them as a step closer to being a stronger version of yourself . When you exercise because you love your body, you’ll learn to love your body in other ways like getting more sleep and eating healthier foods. When you exercise because you love your body, you’ll see dumbbells and barbells as a chance to show how strong you are. When you exercise because you love your body, you’ll want to develop the strength to defend yourself or run away if you run into trouble.Exercising because you love your body will help you achieve your fitness goals a lot faster.

Who doesn’t want to be stronger and healthier? Who doesn’t want to look in the mirror and be happy with what they see? Exercise has been associated with lower stress levels and lower risk of diseases. It’s also been associated with better mood and higher energy levels. I support loving yourself but you can always strive for better. Lifting weights and doing athletic movements are my personal preferences but you choose any form of exercise that works for you. Something as simple as changing your why will make a huge difference. This applies to fitness and other areas of your life. Instead of exercising because you hate your body, exercise because you love your body and want the best for it.

 

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