Leave a comment

If It Was Easy Everyone One Would Do It

This post is not specifically related to fitness, but it is meant to be Monday motivation for every aspect of life, including fitness.

The road to where you truly want to go is going to be hard, and at times seem like the wrong road. But if you know in your heart you are doing the right thing, working hard, and keeping faith, it is the right road. Most of us have things that we would do for free, and would really enjoy getting paid for. Chances are they are things others would also do for money. Who would not like to be in a movie, tour as a musician, or catch a pass in the NFL? Even people with no talent would like to make big money for ‘playing’.

If you are one who finds mollecular biology, brain surgery, or chemistry a fun hobby you would and could do for free; you probably do not have trouble getting paid to do those jobs as they are in high demand with not a whole lot of people to fill them. For those of us who wish to do something like writing, or radio, or other such things the news is not quite as good. Again even talentless people would love to do those things. And because there are so many bums out there using the excuse that they are ‘trying to be a writer’, it is no wonder the genuine among us have such a tough time getting into it. But there is hope.

Before someone will pay you to do something, they want to know if you can do it well enough to benefit them. Since you enjoy whatever it is you do, it should not be too hard to do it for little credit or pay. Eventually someone may notice you and ask you to do it for pay. Do not expect to approach someone and ask them to pay you for your work; do the work until someone notices how well you do it for free. Then they will be approaching you, offering to pay you for what you do.

Leave a comment

How to Have a Splurge Meal and Not Turn it Into a Splurge Week

We have all been there: eating junk food either by choice or circumstance. Sometimes eating clean gets boring and monotonous. Or maybe you are somewhere that has only junk food to offer. It’s ok. As long as you do not make the mistake of changing a splurge meal into a splurge day, which can turn to a splurge weekend, and so on. It is very easy to reconcile having a few more treats once you have “broken” your diet. But any excuse is just an excuse, nothing more.

The good news is that the day may not even be a total loss. Depending on how much you had to eat in that meal, you may even be able to stick to your daily caloric allowance. It probably will not be easy: think replacing a meal with whole vegetables or in the form of juice. And though that may be a sacrifice, continuing with the splurge can have serious negative effects on your healthy lifestyle.

It should not be a surprise that junk food does not do a whole lot of good for the body. Your body needs energy to move and to perform other functions. The food you consume even plays a big part in your mood because without proper nutrients your mind and body will not function properly. When you are not feeling well, the last thing you will want to do is exercise, and if you do not exercise you have just hit your healthy lifestyle with two negative actions: eating bad and choosing not to exercise. The longer you eat junk and refrain from physical activity, the harder it is to eat right and go back to exercising.  That is why, even if you mess up, you need to have a strategy to go right back to your healthy lifestyle.

That can be something as little as going for a walk right after you eat the junk food. It is also important to remember that you can practice moderation even with junk food. Do not have the attitude that ‘if I eat a little, I might as well eat a lot’. It is easy to have the mentality that you want to eat as much as you can in one day so you will not eat it the next day. I have found that all that does is get you craving the junk more, and may even make you feel so defeated that you continue for days or weeks eating the junk food.

Remember that no matter why you ate the junk food, as long as you practice moderation, and do your best to get back on track as soon as possible you should be fine. Also important to note is that some people schedule their splurge days so that they can enjoy their favorite foods in moderation. And when it is planned it is less likely to cause you to neglect your healthy eating habits for longer than planned.

Leave a comment

The 3 Basic Supplements You May Not Be Taking

If you do any kind of resistance training, it is likely you are looking to build strength or power, or perhaps both. Even if your goal is strictly for aesthetic reasons, one thing remains: supplements are essential to meet those goals. Understandably many are confused about, and sometimes afraid of taking supplements. This is mainly due to the misinformation people get from media, and even friends who do not know what they are talking about. And the most important thing to do before taking supplements is to know what you need.

Taking supplements without some knowledge is not only a waste of money, but could even hurt your progress if the supplements are not meant for your specific goals. However there are a few supplements that anyone engaging in resistance training can take to aid them on their journey.

Protein:

Although it is possible to get enough protein through foods such as fish, chicken, and other sources, the calories in a protein drink can be less than 100 calories, and they are convenient. The shakes can also make good between-meal snacks. The benefits of protein range from providing amino acids which help keep the body from breaking down your lean muscle, especially after a workout, to aiding in the release of Human Growth Hormone which helps with building muscle.

There are different types of protein powders: Whey and casein being two well-known types. Whey is what most people who use protein powders take and it is a fast absorbing protein. Casein is used by many who wish to have sustained energy, as casein takes longer to be absorbed, giving your body a steady supply of nutrients.

Multi-vitamin:

A multi-vitamin is an important supplement for everyone, even if they do not workout. It is more convenient to take a multivitamin than to take an individual pill for each vitamin the body needs daily. It is more cost-effective as well. Providing your body with the right vitamins aids in functions from immunity and weight loss with Vitamin C, to healthy skin and hair with Vitamin B.

CLA:

Conjugated Linoleic Acid can help you maintain lean weight, while getting rid of fat. Studies have shown that this is more likely due to CLA keeping fat cells from growing. CLA is a natural supplement and does not contain caffeine, nor is it a fat burner, rather it will help with body composition. This also means that you should not have to use it in cycles as you would with a thermogenic due to tolerance levels. However it is important to note that diet is very important when using CLA because it is not a fat burner.

Supplements are not just for bodybuilders, and while there are many on the market that may not be suitable for everyone; protein, multi-vitamins, and CLA are not only safe, but they are necessary. And because they are natural, there is no reason to cycle any of them.

1 Comment

Juice Fasting: for a Healthier and Slimmer You

Hopefully everyone had a safe and healthy July 4. Remember that even if you did go overboard with the food that it does not mean you have to give up on your diet or start from scratch. In fact it may be a good excuse to try something new.

You have probably heard a lot about liquid diets and juice fasting. There are so many programs out there sending you prepackaged juices promising to have you drop a lot of weight. Those packaged juices also have drawbacks like being full of carbs and sugar, and chances are the most significant weight you drop will be from your wallet thinning. If you want to try a juice fast, fresh fruits and vegetables are the way to go.

With fresh fruits and vegetables you decided what goes into your drink, and how much of it. You are in charge of the flavors, and more importantly, the amounts of carbs, sugars, and calories you consume with each drink. For me that was the most important aspect.

I began my juice diet on February 6th of this year. I had recently seen the documentary “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”, where a man drinks only juice for 60 days. His results were remarkable, not only for fat loss, but for his health too. I recommend watching this documentary to not only get inspired, but to get the particulars on the man’s story.

As for me, I started at over 280 pounds, and as of writing this I am at 222 pounds, and I have changed my diet completely. Over the course of 120 days, I ended my fast around June 6th; I would have a cheat day periodically. Those days not only helped me stay with the diet, but helped with metabolism issues. I believe it also helped me with sticking to a clean diet once I began eating full-time again.

Online you will read negative things regarding juice diets not working because once you eat again you will gain the weight back. That would be true only if you went back to eating the same junk you ate before the diet. I can assure you that after the sacrifice I made to drink the juice for so long, there is no way I will go back to eating the way I used to.  I had no issues with metabolism either, which I partially attribute to the few cheat days I took.

Aside from losing weight my skin has become clearer, my relationship with food has changed, and my self-esteem is so much better. And again, after doing the juice diet, I do not intend to ever eat the way I did before. Everything in moderation.

As with any diet and exercise program you should consult with your physician. And remember that you do not have to juice fast as long as I did: You can do it for as little as 10 days and get good results. It is also important to remember that the more fat one starts with, the more and faster he will lose it.

*If you have any questions or comments regarding this topic, please leave a message and I will be sure to get back to you.

Leave a comment

5 Benefits of Resistance Training For All Ages

Many people think that resistance training is something that is mainly for young men who play sports or who want to have big muscles. More and more people are starting to recognize that it is also for women who play sports or who may want to get bigger and fit. Yet many still do not realize that everyone can benefit from resistance training.

Resistance training can be done with dumbbells and barbells, weight machines, bodyweight, and other weighted items. Those thinking that anyone who touches a weight will instantly bulk up and look like a bodybuilder need not worry, because gaining that kind of size involves incredible dedication to training and dieting. But there are still many benefits that everyone can gain by even a small amount of resistance training. Studies have shown that even sessions as short as 15 minutes at a time, three times a week are beneficial. And while there are a multitude of benefits I have presented five key benefits of resistance training.

1. Self Esteem

When we look better, we tend to feel better. That feeling is usually not just noticeable in the gym, but in every aspect of life. Other things may not bother you as much because it takes more to bring you down. Clothes fit better, and so you have more confidence when you are out in public. The effects of resistance training coupled with a healthy diet can also enhance your mood in general.

2. Bones and connective tissues:

Resistance training strengthens bones, tendons, and ligaments. When your bones and connective tissues are stronger, you reduce your chances of injury. This is true even among those that are older. Seniors who engage in some form of resistance training have been known to improve balance and bone strength, giving them more independence than their sedentary counterparts. It is also a good way for younger people to fighting the effects of osteoporosis.

3. Blood Pressure

Resistance training can help lower blood pressure for those with high blood pressure, and help to maintain a healthy blood pressure for others. Circuit training, which generally involves higher reps and lower weight, is considered beneficial for this.

4. Body Composition

The body as a whole, like anything else, when all of its parts are added up equal 100% of your weight. When you build your muscles you leave less room for fat. Conversely, when there is more fat, there is usually less muscle. It is also important to remember that muscle weighs more than fat, and so two people weighing the same can have different body compositions. A body containing more muscle than fat is going to have a trimmer appearance than someone of the same weight that is mostly fat.

5. Strength

This one was saved for last because it is the most obvious benefit of resistance training. When you do resistance training your muscles will be overloaded. When they heal, they will be stronger as they adapt to the load of regular resistance training. As you adapt, increase the load and you will continue to build strength. Strengthened muscles can also help you avoid injuries, and decrease recovery time.

The benefits of resistance training are not only for the young who wish to look good or compete in a sport. All people, of all ages, and of all body types can benefit from resistance training at any stage of life, whether they are looking to get stronger, prevent injury, or recover from injury.

1 Comment

Cardio Training: Get in The Zone

So often I see people working away on cardio machines. They spin those bikes, move those elliptical machines, and dash on those treadmills, and no doubt something is happening. But is it what they are expecting? Not all cardio workouts are created equally. And this is not by accident.

When talking about cardio we are referring to what people generally relate to toning and losing weight. However, the zone you are training in is very important. Simply chugging as fast as you can does not guarantee you will lose the most fat. In fact that can be even farther from that goal.

Zone refers to what percentage of your maximum heart rate you are working in. The higher the percentage, the more you are in the zone where you are working endurance. In those high zones you may notice your muscles burning more, tiring quicker, and you are out of breath much faster. To burn fat, you actually want to work at a lower percentage of your max heart rate.

Fat takes longer to break down than do carbs, and that is why fat burning depends more on the length of your workout, rather than maximum intensity. When lifting weights or sprinting you are generally burning carbs for energy, as they are readily available to be transferred into energy. Fat, however, must go through more stages than carbs in order to be converted to energy. That is why different zones generally produce different results.

The easiest way to find your max heart rate is as follows: 220 – age = max heart rate. So, if you were 20 years old, your max heart rate would be approximately 200. With this information you can find a chart, usually located on cardio machines in gyms, to figure where your heart rate should be to reach your personal goals.

If your goal is to burn fat, you will want to move slower, and work longer than the person who is training for endurance. Keeping with the age of 20, to burn fat you want to stay between 60-69% of your maximum heart rate, meaning your heart rate would be between 120-138. If you were going for endurance you could go between 70-79%. Between 80-89% could be considered almost a strength workout as you will be close to working anaerobically. Also, keep in mind that it is generally accepted that getting in the fat burning zone takes at least 20 minutes, though there have been those who have suggested the length to be 15 minutes.

It has been proven that cardio training has many benefits for anyone seeking a fit body and healthy lifestyle. But what many people do not understand is that there are different benefits associated with each heart rate zone during training. Remember that endurance is best advanced at a higher heart rate, while fat burning begins after the 20 minute mark of a work out at a lower heart rate. Each zone is characterized by a percentage of one’s max heart rate, and that max heart rate is based on an equation which takes in to account the person’s age. To get fit, get informed and strive for a healthier you.

Leave a comment

Cardio Training: Get in The Zone

So often I see people working away on cardio machines. They spin those bikes, move those elliptical machines, and dash on those treadmills, and no doubt something is happening. But is it what they are expecting? Not all cardio workouts are created equally. And this is not by accident.

When talking about cardio we are referring to what people generally relate to toning and losing weight. However, the zone you are training in is very important. Simply chugging as fast as you can does not guarantee you will lose the most fat. In fact that can be even farther from that goal.

Zone refers to what percentage of your maximum heart rate you are working in. The higher the percentage, the more you are in the zone where you are working endurance. In those high zones you may notice your muscles burning more, tiring quicker, and you are out of breath much faster. To burn fat, you actually want to work at a lower percentage of your max heart rate.

Fat takes longer to break down than do carbs, and that is why fat burning depends more on the length of your workout, rather than maximum intensity. When lifting weights or sprinting you are generally burning carbs for energy, as they are readily available to be transferred into energy. Fat, however, must go through more stages than carbs in order to be converted to energy. That is why different zones generally produce different results.

The easiest way to find your max heart rate is as follows: 220 – age = max heart rate. So, if you were 20 years old, your max heart rate would be approximately 200. With this information you can find a chart, usually located on cardio machines in gyms, to figure where your heart rate should be to reach your personal goals.

If your goal is to burn fat, you will want to move slower, and work longer than the person who is training for endurance. Keeping with the age of 20, to burn fat you want to stay between 60-69% of your maximum heart rate, meaning your heart rate would be between 120-138. If you were going for endurance you could go between 70-79%. Between 80-89% could be considered almost a strength workout as you will be close to working anaerobically. Also, keep in mind that it is generally accepted that getting in the fat burning zone takes at least 20 minutes, though there have been those who have suggested the length to be 15 minutes.

It has been proven that cardio training has many benefits for anyone seeking a fit body and healthy lifestyle. But what many people do not understand is that there are different benefits associated with each heart rate zone during training. Remember that endurance is best advanced at a higher heart rate, while fat burning begins after the 20 minute mark of a work out at a lower heart rate. Each zone is characterized by a percentage of one’s max heart rate, and that max heart rate is based on an equation which takes in to account the person’s age. To get fit, get informed and strive for a healthier you.

Leave a comment

Make Your Arms Stronger and Look Better

When people think of muscles they generally think of arms. And when thinking of arms, many go straight to the biceps. When someone is asked to flex his muscles, he or she generally goes to the biceps, and is generally expected to do so.

Generally people do not understand that a substantial amount of arm size is made up by the triceps, which as the name implies, is made up of three parts. Yet, many people who lift weights give reasonable time to triceps workouts. However, many people do not realize that forearms not only add a lot to the aesthetics of the arms, but to strength as well.

The forearms are made up of many muscles, and their names can be researched, but are not immediately necessary in order to learn how to develop them. What is important to understand is that because there is more than one muscle, there is more than one exercise to properly develop the forearms.

To work the inside of the forearm, or the muscles you see when your forearm is supine, curls work well.

  1. Pick a dumbbell of proper weight.
  2. Sit on a bench or a chair.
  3. While holding the weight in your hand, lay your forearm on your leg so that your wrist is just past your knee.
  4. Stretch your hand back as far as it will go, and then curl the dumbbell as far forward as you can. Repeat for reps, before switching hands.

To work the top of the forearm, or the muscles you see when your forearm is prone, a reserve curl works well.

  1. Pick a dumbbell of proper weight. (In the beginning this weight may be lighter than the one used for the normal curl.
  2. Sit on a bench or a chair.
  3. While holding the weight in your hand, lay your forearm on your leg so that your wrist is just past the knee.
  4. Curl the weight back towards you, and then slowly lower it towards your knee. This motion is a reverse curl because the main movement has the weight moving towards the top of the forearm, rather than the inner forearm.

One can also do a standing reverse curl to work the brachioradyalis, which is located closer to the elbow. Developing this muscle will not only add strength, but size to the overall look of the arm.

  1. It is preferable to use a barbell for this lift, although dumbbells are fine if preferred.
  2. Stand in the same position as you would doing a normal barbell curl, taking a comfortable grip as close to shoulder wide as possible. Remember that to do a reverse curl, your hand must be over the bar, rather than under.
  3. While keeping your elbows close to your sides and immobile, curl the weight until it is parallel to the ground before lowering it smoothly, careful to keep from swinging the weight.

To make both gains in strength and aesthetics for the arms, you must develop the whole arm. It is not enough to develop the biceps and triceps, though those are the most obvious muscles in the arms. For truly impressive arms, develop your forearms and you will notice not only how much stronger you will be, but how much better your arms will look.

Leave a comment

Welcome to Centurion Fit

This is a personal blog I will use to share my personal goals and fitness, as well as to share information with those who are interested in living fit and/or lifting weights. Please contact me with specific questions and suggestions.