Healthy Byte: Gaining Muscle Easier than Previously Thought

ORIGINALLY POSTED HERE

Women's Health

You Can Actually Put On Muscle Way Faster Than You Think

Julia Sullivan, CPTAugust 16, 2021·6 min read

If you’re looking to see how much muscle you can gain in a month, you’d be wise to focus on strength training first and foremost. When it comes to exercise modalities that produce quick results, it doesn’t get much more instantly gratifying than lifting heavy. On top of walking out of the gym with a major mood boost, there’s a fairly solid chance whatever muscle you just trained will look stronger and larger as you leave, too.

And no—that enlargement isn’t just a product of improved confidence; it’s a physiological phenomenon called transient hypertrophy. Of course, those aren’t actually gains per say. Rather, the “pump” you see is just a temporary flush of fluids to whatever muscle was being worked.

But how long does it really take to start building lasting muscle from a weight training program? And more importantly, how do you get there? All the info you need is ahead.

How Muscle Growth Works

First, it helps to know how muscles, and their growth process, work, according to Jacque Crockford, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “Muscle mass is increased through training and nutritional programming which, over a given period of time, can increase the size of the muscle fibers,” she explains.

Start a strength training routine with this dumbbell workout:

Quick science lesson: Myofibrils are bundles of proteins within muscle fibers that help your muscles to contract and relax. “[They] become thicker and stronger with increased strength training,” Crockford explains. Meanwhile, she notes, the sarcoplasm (which is the fluid around those muscle fibers) boosts the size of the muscle itself.

Basically, this means that when you do a single biceps curl, for example, the muscle sustains damage, or breaks down. The body then delegates microscopic repairmen (a.k.a. the myofibrils and sarcoplasm) to fill in those damages. When this process is repeated, the muscle grows bigger and stronger over time. (You also might have also heard this referred to as hypertrophy.)

Why Some People Build Muscle Faster Than Others

Despite the fact that our muscles break down, repair, and grow with the same biochemical reactions, according to Crockford, that process is streamlined for certain people. “Those exercisers who are genetically male may experience faster, seemingly easier increases in muscle growth when compared to females,” she says. “This is mainly due to [genetically male] people having more of the hormone testosterone, which is primarily responsible for assisting in muscle growth.”

There are a few caveats to the gender divide, though. Crockford says that all people, regardless of their gender, have varying levels of testosterone. (So it’s entirely possible for one woman to be carrying more testosterone than another, so she packs on muscle more quickly.)

Moreover, most studies analyzing testosterone levels in comparison to muscle growth and size pretty much only feature male participants, says Crockford. “More scientific research is needed to understand potential hormonal differences in women and men [as it relates to strength training].”

However, Crockford says that human growth hormone, as well as insulin, also play a role in a person’s ability to build muscle. Again, though, the extent to how much of each hormone a person has is largely genetic.

Another major factor in the muscle-building puzzle? Age. “Sarcopenia, or a loss of muscle mass, has been shown to increase with age,” Crockford says, noting that this phenomenon is two-fold: While muscle loss, like bone loss, is a natural part of aging, it’s often accelerated with an inactive lifestyle.

In other words, regular resistance training can help offset that muscle loss. Studies have shown that this deterioration can begin to occur in a person’s early forties, although it becomes more prevalent as the decades go on, with a 50 percent reduction in muscle mass common among folks in their eighties.

How Much Muscle You Can Gain In A Short Period

Back to the question at hand! If you’re brand-new to resistance training, expect to see tangible shifts in your muscle mass after three to six months of regular training (with proper nutrition!), says Crockford. “Although strength and body weight changes may be measurable within a few days or weeks after beginning a hypertrophy program, these changes are often due to neural adaptations and fluid fluctuations.”

That being said, Crockford says that seeing real, long-term muscle growth is possible after a month of training in some people (keyword: some). “With high genetic potential, it may be possible for someone to gain up to two pounds of muscle mass in a month,” she says. “But that rate is pretty unpredictable per person.”

The Four Driving Factors Behind Muscle Growth

1. Resistance Training Regularly

The most important action you can take in building muscle mass, according to Crockford, is regular resistance training (heavy resistance training, to be exact). “Exercise programming for hypertrophy requires heavy weights, or 65 to 85 percent of your one-rep-max (1RM),” she says.

Pro tip: If you’re not sure what your 1RM is for a particular exercise, Crockford says that choosing a weight that allows for six to 12 reps and roughly three to six sets is ideal (your final rep should feel pretty challenging).

And while sticking to the hypertrophy-focused regimen above for roughly three to six months (focusing on a twice- or three-times-per-week schedule) will contribute to muscle growth just about anywhere, focusing on large muscle groups, like your chest, back, and legs, to really build muscle, per Crockford. “And try to increase the time-under-tension for each exercise.” (Essentially, this just means slowing down each rep into stretched-out counts of two or three.)

2. Eating Enough Calories

While Crockford says that calorie abundance in general reigns supreme when it comes to muscle gain, studies have shown that ample protein specifically can contribute to muscle growth. In one study published in Nutrients, scientists noted the optimal amount for gains was 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass per day.

3. Prioritizing Sleep

“Rest, particularly sleep, is where muscle recovery takes place,” Crockford says, adding that those hormones responsible for muscle growth and recovery (namely, testosterone, human growth hormone, and insulin) are streamlined to repair microtears in muscle fibers during periods of rest. And if the muscles can’t repair quickly, they won’t grow as fast. “Everyone needs a different amount of sleep to function, however, try to aim for six to nine hours each night,” Crockford recommends.

4. Staying Hydrated

Here’s another reason to drink up: “A properly hydrated body functions better in all areas, and that includes facilitating the healing of muscle fibers after resistance training sessions,” Crockford explains. While she says that, again, your level of hydration is highly dependent on your activity level and body size, as long as your urine is a light yellow, that probably means you’re on track.

Healthy Byte: Weightlifting at Any Age

Originally Posted HERE

Men's Health

Arnold Shared Some Great Advice to Help Anyone Get Started Weightlifting

Jesse HicksSun, August 29, 2021, 9:44 AM

It goes without saying that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a pretty good source for weightlifting advice. The 73-year-old former Mr. universe and seven-time Mr. Olympia has always generously shared his workouts and fitness recommendations. So it’s no surprise that when a fan asked for some tips on getting into weightlifting, the Terminator was glad to help.

The question appeared in his newsletter: “Do you have any advice for a girl getting into weightlifting?” Schwarzenegger started his answer by declaring, “I would have the same advice for you as I do for any boy!” From there, he laid out some initial considerations. What kind of weightlifting are you interested in, and what are your goals? Someone who wants to tone up and feel better has a much different path from someone who wants to start Olympic or powerlifting.

Schwarzenegger encouraged his reader not to let anyone doubt her because of her gender. “If anyone gives you crap about it, let your lifting do the talking,” he writes. For anyone interested in Olympic lifting, he recommends reading about Kate Nye, who switched from gymnastics to weightlifting, and five years later delivered the US’ best result in two decades, winning silver in Tokyo. “She overcame some tremendous mental health struggles,” he wrote, “and I hope she inspires you, because she definitely inspires me.”

For people looking to feel and look better, Schwarzenegger’s advice is simple: Start with lower weights, focus on your technique, and master the basics—the squat, deadlift, and press. From a strong foundation, you can start to build. “Stay consistent and stay confident and no one can beat you!”

HEALTHY BYTE: Metabolism & Aging

ORIGINALLY POSTED HERE

New Study Says That Your Metabolism Doesn’t Really Slow Down until This Age

Stephanie Gravalese; Reviewed by Jessica Ball, M.S., RDAugust 17, 2021·2 min read

We’ve been told over the years that the body’s metabolism (or the rate at which we convert food and drink into energy) is at its peak during our adolescent years. After that, our metabolism reportedly experiences a steep decline through middle age and onward, which makes us process calories at a slower rate and causes that seemingly inevitable midlife weight gain. But a recent study has found that this might not be the case.

Recent findings published in the journal Science show that the peak in our metabolism is actually much earlier, and that the sharp decline does not occur until your 60s.

While metabolism is discussed in reference to the consumption and processing of calories, it impacts much more than your ability to gain or lose weight. Every action in the body (even thinking) requires energy, aka calories, to keep us moving.

“There are lots of physiological changes that come with growing up and getting older,” study co-author Herman Pontzer, Ph.D., associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University, told Duke Today. “Think puberty, menopause, other phases of life. What’s weird is that the timing of our ‘metabolic life stages’ doesn’t seem to match those typical milestones.”

The research team evaluated calories burned by over 6,600 people in 29 countries, with participants ranging in age from 8 days old to 95 years of age, to determine how much energy was expended each day.

The study suggests that infants (not teenagers) have the highest metabolic rate in relation to their size. Granted, this is partially due to how small infants are and how quickly they grow compared to their body size. This period of increased metabolism is in line with a critical period in early development. At this peak, a 1-year-old child can burn through calories 50% faster than a middle-aged adult. After this peak in energy consumption, the study shows that between the ages of 5 and 20, our our metabolism slows down at a rate of about 3% each year. From our 20s, this metabolic rate remains steady (and does not decline) until our 60s. The study also found that factors like pregnancy and menopause did not contribute to decline in metabolism.

If you’re between the ages of 20 and 60 and feel like your metabolism has slowed down despite this compelling research, fear not. There are a few things you can do to perk up your metabolism at any age, such as eating a healthy diet full of protein and whole foods, incorporating regular strength training, drinking green tea, eating certain spicy foods and cutting off your technology use before bed.

Healthy Byte: Saying Goodbye

ORIGINAL CONTENT:

It has been almost six years since I have reached my weight loss goal and maintained it. Maintenance has been challenging and complicated with the burdens of getting older.

Along with the natural aging process of added wrinkles and sprouting of salt in our pepper the physical evolution is both noticeable and impactful. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information:

One of the most striking effects of age is the involuntary loss of muscle mass, strength, and function, termed sarcopenia [13]. Muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60 [4,5].

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804956/#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20most%20striking,60%20%5B4%2C5%5D.

Some basic knowledge about muscle verses fat: #1 Muscles burns more calories than fat #2 Muscles weigh more than fat #3 We naturally lose muscles as we age

Therefore the true fountain of youth is to at a minimum, do enough strength training to mitigate the rate of natural muscle loss. Sounds simple enough but for someone who has been overweight and have been groomed to attribute success to set numbers, numbers on the scale and number of the BMI calculation, purposely engaging in an activity which would result in weight gain was very difficult task to embark upon.

But embarked I did … repeatedly … and failed. My vicious cycle of starting regular strength training, gain weight, panic, and quit continued through the majority of my weight maintenance. Until one day, a Facebook ad for a free class at OrangeTheory Fitness changed everything. OrangeTheory is HIIT training classes where every class has a session on the treadmill, rower, and strength training. It is the first time that I’ve stuck with regularly strength training for more than a few months. I absolutely adore the muscle definition on my shoulders and arms & every time I glanced at myself in the studio mirrors, I internally giggle a little.

HOWEVER, along with the muscles, my weight crept up … uncomfortably so. My old struggles with weight resurfaced and I continued to battle with a higher BMI and how the number on the scale was defining my alleged failure. I weigh myself on a weekly bases and if I had lost weight I was emotionally elated, relieved, empowered. But when I gained weight, I was defeated, depressed, and felt incredibly fat. It was heartbreaking to watch the numbers on the scale continue to climb even though I religiously attended OrangeTheory classes a minimum of four times a week.

This passed spring I completed my first full DriTri at OrangeTheory. DriTri is intended to simulate a triathlon with 2000 meters on the rower, a total of 300 body weight exercises on the floor, topped of with a 5K on the treads. I was stunned that I was not the last to finish in my heat, but more importantly I noticed that my overall finish time was better than some members 10 -20 years my junior! It was a testament to all the sweat equity I had invested for the last 4 years but it was also a validation that despite what the scale stated, I had no reason to feel defeated or be depressed about and I certainly was not fat.

And with that, I made the decision to forego the scale going forward. I have stopped my weekly weigh ins and as a matter of fact, I haven’t weigh myself for a little over a month now its quite liberating. I figured if I continue to eat responsibly and continue being physically active, the scale is a tool I no longer needed with my weight loss maintenance journey.

HEALTHY BYTE: Day 3020

That number signifies the number of consecutive days I have logged into MyFitnessPal. I have not missed logging my meals for a little over 8 years. MyFitnessPal was the game-changer which forever impacted the way I eat, what I eat, and how much I eat. To physically see the number of calories I consumed in ratio to my physical activities (or lack there of), it educated me and held me accountable for my choices.

It’s like balancing a check book but instead of money, the currency is calories. So for example, if I had 340 calories to spend, do I want to drink it away via a Starbucks Tall (12 fl oz) White Chocolate Mocha at 340 calories or would I rather eat a 4oz turkey sandwich on Brioche bread for about 270 calories? When put into those terms, I would always opt to eat my calories over drinking my calories. And its small incremental lifestyle changes like this which allowed me to lose close to 62 lbs and keep it off for almost 8 years – refusing to be a participant to the weight loss statistic of weight regain.

I often still struggle will the little things because the inner fat girl is never far behind. I distinctively remember being particularly excited in purchasing a brilliant orange red sweater from the Loft after stalking it to go on sale for months. When it finally arrived, I pulled it out of the packaging and instantly a wave of cold sweat poured over me, a knot developed in my stomach, and I felt fat. I held up the XS sweater and it looked so ridiculously small that I was convinced that I was too fat to fit in it – not that the sweater was too small but that I was too fat. I tossed it down on the bed and was disgusted with myself for having that extra slice pizza a week ago. It took a few days before I would gather enough nerve to try it on and it did fit me perfectly but instead of taking pride that fitting into an XS was the result of my hard work, I discounted it and chalked it up to luck. And to some, this all may sound utterly ridiculous because I didn’t have 100+ or 200+ lbs to lose, but losing almost 40% of my original body weight and keeping it off should be a celebration in it of itself.

Being in weight loss maintenance, I have had to continuously make slight adjustments to my nutrition with little effort. However, finding a regular physical activity to keep me active & motivated has been challenging because I am naturally lazy and a homebody. From hours of research, I know that losing muscle is a natural part of aging and since muscle burns more fat it means that it makes no difference what nutrition choices I make, unless I consciously counter the muscle loss, as I get older, I will continue to put on weight even if my food choices doesn’t change at all. Strength training has been an Achilles heel, my personal kryptonite. Intellectually, I understand the importance of strength training, that muscle weighs more than fat, and that non-scale victories should be my weight loss maintenance goal. But emotionally, its really difficult to let that number on the scale go – to let that number on the scale not trigger fear of getting fat. Every time I regularly strength trained (3 times a week) I gained weight. I would see a number on the scale that frightened me and I would quit. This vicious cycle continued until I found OrangeTheory Fitness . It is HIIT training which incorporates two forms of cardio and regular strength training. It is highly effective. It provides a wide range of goals for me to work towards. It has helped me develop nice muscle definition on my shoulders and my arms. But it is at the expense of my weight – or at least the weight I would prefer to be rather than what I currently am. I have to learn to redefine what thin should look like for me and it is an ongoing struggle but I see role models like Ernestine Shepherd that keeps me pushing forward through the fear.

Healthy Byte: The Importance of Rests in Strength Training

Image result for rests between sets

Originally Posted HERE

What’s the most important question you ask your fellow gym rats when you show up at the gym? How much do you bench? What muscles should I focus on today?

While these topics are definitely popular, there is one question that often gets overlooked: How long should I rest?

That’s right. What if I told you that you may be missing out on strength gains because you’re working too hard in the gym? Yes, you heard me correctly. The amount of time you rest between sets has a major impact on the type of exercise you can undertake, and it should not be taken lightly.

First of all, why do we need to rest between sets? Why can’t we just train non-stop? The answer often has to do with chemical processes inside the body that cause fatigue and act as a safety measure to prevent muscles from being overworked. One general rule of thumb is that the heavier the weight you’re using, the longer your rest should generally be. For example, the recommended rest breaks when trying to improve your one-rep max Deadlift are quite a bit different than when you’re attempting to pump up your biceps.

Your rest breaks need to reflect your training goals, whether they involve endurance, strength, power or hypertrophy.

Endurance Rest Intervals

When thinking about resistance training for endurance performance, we commonly think “low weight, high reps.” Scientifically, this equates to loads of less than ~67% of your one rep max, and banging out more than 12 reps per set.

How much should you be resting when muscular endurance is your primary focus? Typical rest breaks are short, lasting between 30-60 seconds. The biggest guide is that the break is long enough for you to hit your repetition goal, but ideally no longer. Modify or adjust the training load to maintain the appropriate number of repetitions.

Why such a short rest period? This type of training relies heavily on oxidative metabolism and increases your body’s mitochondrial density (remember back to your 8th grade Biology days, the mitochondria is the “powerhouse” of the cell). More mitochondria, more aerobic metabolism, greater endurance. Boom. Science.

Hypertrophy Rest Intervals

Well, what if you want to get bigger? Not only must you make sure you are lifting heavier weights (~67-85% of your one rep max) than you would when the focus is endurance, but the volume has to be correct (between 6-12 repetitions) and the rest break also needs to be slightly altered.

Lots of research has compared human growth hormone levels accumulated with short rest intervals (60 seconds) vs. long rest intervals (180 seconds). What have they found?

Higher levels of growth hormone were found in the one-minute rest groups than the three-minute groups, leading to a higher hypertrophic effect.

So what does this mean? Instead of spending five minutes swiping through your social media, get back underneath the bar no more than a minute after your last set to maximize your body’s internal pharmaceutical cabinet.

Strength/Power Rest Intervals

Now if your goals are focused on improving strength or power output (loads typically >80% of one rep max with less than 6 repetitions), you have to make sure your mid-workout siestas are adequate.

What’s enough? Most studies indicate greater than two minutes, with some breaks lasting upwards of five minutes.

Why so long? Not only do you have to allow for the recovery of high energy substrates used in anaerobic metabolism, but the technical nature of these lifts requires adequate central nervous system recovery.

If you’re training for strength and power, 2-5 minutes between sets is usually ideal.

When it comes to resistance training, many people rarely utilize the right rest interval for their goal. They say they want to build muscle, but they’re scrolling through Instagram for six minutes between sets instead of getting back to action 30-60 seconds later. Or they say they want to get stronger, but they’re utilizing such short rest periods that they become incapable of lifting the heavy loads needed to make significant strength gains.

Of course, different guidelines apply to certain modes of exercise, such as circuit or complex training.

Additionally, the technical nature of the lift, your training status, variability of performance, fatigue levels, etc., can play a role in how much rest you may need to take during any given workout.

However, rest intervals should not be overlooked. It’s best to program them ahead of time so you stay on track during your workout, and then adjust on the fly if needed.

Healthy Byte: Sexy Back

Image result for developed back

ORIGINALLY POSTED HERE

When you’re planning a back workout, you’re probably envisioning the various weights and machines you’ll need to get the job done. From lat pulldowns to dumbbell rows, many back staples will require you to move around some serious poundage—so it’s not a surprise if you’re thinking you have to hit a fully-stocked gym to get that elusive rear pump.

That doesn’t always have to be the case. You can also put your back to work without touching a single dumbbell, barbell, or kettlebell—all you need is your bodyweight. Some equipment like suspension training straps and pullup bars are technically necessary for some of the moves, but the only resistance you’ll work against comes only from you.

Try these 10 bodyweight exercises to put your back to work, sans equipment.

Superman

Superman
  • Lie with your chest down on the floor, reaching your arms straight out in front of you (as if you were Superman mid-flight).
  • Squeeze your glutes and lower back to raise your arms, legs, and the top of your chest off the floor.
  • Hold for a count, then slowly return to the starting position. Don’t drop your arms or legs.

Y Superman

  • Lie with your chest down on the floor, reaching your arms out in front of you to form a ‘Y’ shape.
  • Squeeze your glutes and lower back to raise your arms and the top of your chest off the floor.
  • Hold for a count, then slowly return to the starting position. Don’t drop your arms or legs.

W Superman

  • Lie with your chest down on the floor. Put your palms on the ground on either side of your chest in line with your head.
  • Squeeze your glutes and lower back to raise your arms and the top of your chest off the floor. Be sure to squeeze your upper back so that your arms form what looks like a ‘W’ shape when you lift them.
  • Hold for a count, then slowly return to the starting position. Don’t drop your arms or legs.

T Superman

  • Lie with your chest down on the floor. Extend your arms out on the ground on either side of your chest to form a ‘T’ shape.
  • Squeeze your glutes and lower back to raise your arms and the top of your chest off the floor. Be sure to squeeze your upper back to lift your arms as well.
  • Hold for a count, then slowly return to the starting position. Don’t drop your arms or legs.

Pullup Superman

  • Put your palms on the ground on either side of your chest in line with your head.
  • Squeeze your glutes and lower back to raise your arms and the top of your chest off the floor. Your arms should form a ‘W’ shape.
  • Mimic a pullup motion by extending your arms straight out, then squeezing your back to pull them back to your chest. Extend your arms out again to count 1 rep.
  • After you perform the allotted reps, slowly return to the starting position. Don’t drop your arms or legs.

Dead Stop to Superman

  • Start in a pushup/plank position. Squeeze your glutes and core to keep your spine straight.
  • Bend your elbows to lower your chest down to the ground. This is the stop part of the exercise.
  • Lift your hands off the ground, then extend your arms straight out in front of you, squeezing your back at the top of the movement.
  • Retract your arms back to the starting position, then push yourself back up.

TRX Row

  • Hold both TRX handles in an overhand grip at chest height with your elbows bent.
  • Plant your feet and lean back, extending your arms straight out to hang by the handles.
  • Squeeze your upper back and biceps to pull yourself up to the straps. Pause for a beat at the top.
  • Straighten out your arms to return to the starting position.

Wide Grip Pushup

  • Start in a pushup/plank position, with your hands placed a few extra inches outside of your chest. Squeeze your glutes and core to keep your spine straight.
  • Bend your elbows to drop your chest down to the ground, squeezing your back at the bottom of the movement.
  • Squeeze your chest to push back up to the starting position.

T Pushup

  • Start in a pushup/plank position, with your hands placed a few extra inches outside of your chest. Squeeze your glutes and core to keep your spine straight.
  • Bend your elbows to drop your chest down to the ground, squeezing your back at the bottom of the movement.
  • Squeeze your chest to push yourself back up, and rotate one side of your body up, raising your arm straight up along with it.
  • Pause at the top of the movement, then return to the starting position. Repeat the move on the other side of the body.

Pullup

  • Grab the pullup bar with an overhand (pronated) grip. Make sure your arms are straight.
  • Squeeze your lats and arms to pull yourself straight up, until your chest is at the bar.
  • Straighten your arms to lower yourself down in a controlled motion. Don’t perform another rep until your elbows are straight.

Inverted Row

  • Place a barbell at about hip height on a power rack or Smith machine.
  • Lower yourself under the bar, then grab the bar with an overhand (pronated) grip with your hands at about shoulder width apart.
  • Straighten your arms to hang from the bar. Straighten out your legs for more of a challenge.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades and upper back together to pull your chest up to the bar.
  • Pause at the top position, squeezing your core and glutes to keep your body straight if your legs are fully extended, then straighten your arms to return to the starting position.

Healthy Byte: If You Have to Own One Piece of Workout Tool …

TOTALLY check out the video demonstration via link!

Originally Posted HERE

Image result for kettlebell flow
Kettlebell flows, the continuously moving, strung-together routines used to burn fat and build muscle with a single implement, aren’t just useful because they allow you to get a ton of work done quickly and effectively. Flows also make it much easier to target different muscle groups in your body in one go.

Flows encourage full-body work by their very nature. You’ll often have need to move the kettlebell up, down, and around yourself in order to get to the next step in the series, which winds up involving a number of muscle groups.

When Eric Leija (a.k.a. Primal Swoledier) designs a flow, you can expect that there will likely be some lower and upper body combinations at play, like this routine he ran through for the Men’s Health Kettlehell program with fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

The Power Lunge Flow uses unilateral movements, lunges, to work the lower body, then transitions to an upper body exercise, kettlebell halos. Grab your kettlebell and a partner and get ready to get moving.

Lunge Clean to Double-Halo

  • Start in an athletic stance with your kettlebell on the floor in front of you between your legs. Drop your butt and bend your knees (like a deadlift) to reach down and grab the implement with both hands.
  • Raise the kettlebell up into the goblet position, holding the weight in front of your chest. As you do this, lunge backward with one leg. Drive off the ground with your rear foot to step forward into the starting position with the weight on the ground before immediately lunging with the other leg. Return to the starting position with the kettlebell on the ground, keeping your hands on the handles and holding a squat.
  • Move your grip from the top of the kettlebell handle to grasp the sides. While maintaining the squat position, squeeze your biceps to curl the weight up to your chest. Stand straight up. Squeeze your abs and rotate the weight around your head to perform a halo, keeping it close to your body. Once you complete one orbit, change directions to go the other way.

Use the Power Lunge Flow as a finisher on a lower body or shoulder day, or schedule it as a standalone routine on a day you need to bang out a quick workout. Perform reps for 30 seconds and then rest 30 seconds. Repeat for 6 to 8 rounds.

Healthy Byte: The Big Four to Getting Stronger

Originally Posted HERE

Bodybuilding is great. Weight training is great. Crossfit, Pilates, plyometrics–they’re all great.

But some people just want to get stronger and fitter in a useful, “everyday life” kind of way. They don’t want to spend hours at the gym learning new exercisesand new routines.

If that’s you, here’s a foolproof workout plan that is guaranteed to work — as long as you stick with it.

The key is to focus on four basic exercises, and follow one simple principle.

First the exercises:

  • squats;
  • push-ups;
  • dead lifts;
  • pull-ups.
Yep: The big four.

Squats increase leg and core strength. Push-ups increase chest, shoulder, and triceps strength. Dead lifts increase lower back, glute, and core strength (not to mention seemingly every other muscle in your body). And pull-ups increase back, shoulder, and arm strength (or you can reverse your grip and do chin-ups to engage your biceps more than your shoulders).

Do these four functional exercises and you’ll target the major muscle groups and build the kind of strength that makes everyday life easier. And, oh, yeah: Over time, you’ll not only be fitter, you’ll look fitter.

Now the guiding principle: Stick to just these exercises, and always do a little bit more each time you work out.

Why? Your body is superb at adapting. Do 100 push-ups a day for three weeks straight, and at first you will definitely get stronger, but eventually your body will decide that 100 push-ups a day is the new normal–and you’ll stop getting stronger. Do the same thing long enough and your body adapts. That’s why following the same routine, no matter what the routine, eventually results in a plateau.

To avoid a plateau, instead of changing exercises, the key is to change the loadyou put on your muscles.

Of course, you might be thinking that the cure to plateaus is to constantly vary your workouts. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with mixing up exercises on a regular basis, if you’re just trying to improve your functional strength, that’s the wrong way to go. Constantly changing your workout may seem less boring, but constantly doing new exercises doesn’t force your body to adapt–and get stronger–nearly as quickly.

Again: The best way to avoid a plateau is to follow a system that forces your body to adapt.

Let’s use push-ups as an example. Say you’ve been doing 10 sets of 10 push-ups, with a 45-second rest between each set. Next workout, increase one aspect: Do one more push-up per set, or rest for only 40 seconds between sets, or place a 10- or 25-pound plate across your back to add weight to the movement. Then, the next time you work out, do more push-ups per set, or maybe do one additional set of 10, or maybe rest even less. You get the point.

Follow the principle of progression — by always adding a little more — and you can avoid plateaus and slowly but surely get stronger and fitter.

Just make sure you strategically change up the more. For example, you may start out doing seven pull-ups per set, then eight, then nine, then 10, but then, no matter how hard you try, you can’t do 11 pull-ups in a row.

No problem. Increase the load by doing fewer pull-ups per set while wearing a weight belt with a 10- or 20-pound plate attached to add resistance. Work on pulling up more weight for a week or two — and doing more reps each workout — and then go back to doing bodyweight-only pull-ups. I promise you’ll be able to do more than 10 reps per set because you will have forced your muscles to adapt and get stronger.

Just like life finds a way, your body will also find a way. As long as you force your body to find a way.

And while you may someday run into a wall that you just can’t overcome, that’s actually a good thing, because it means you’ve pushed your body close to its potential.

And then you can try doing some different exercises, and start the process all over again.

Try it: Do squats, push-ups, pull-ups, and dead lifts at least twice a week, preferably three times a week (until you’re doing so much that you need more time to recover). Stick to that schedule; if you don’t, your body won’t be forced to adapt.

In terms of reps, sets, and weight, begin however you want. If you start out too light or too easy, don’t worry–as time goes by and you add weight, reps, etc., your workouts will soon get hard.

Log each workout you complete, but more important, plan each workout ahead of time. Decide what you will do, and then do it. If you fail, fine. Try again next time. But don’t let “I’ll just do as much as I can today” be your plan. Decide exactly what you plan to do each workout. Then do it.

Think of it this way: Your long-term goal is to get stronger, but your immediate goal — your real commitment — is to complete every workout as planned, on schedule.

Healthy Byte: 15-Minute Strength Training

Originally Posted HERE

Image result for women strength training

Consistently hit up the gym: Check! Crank out multiple strength training workouts weekly: Check! See results over time and feel like a total badass: Check and check! If you’re checking all these boxes, it’s time to officially take your fitness regiment to the next level, and get the most bang for your workout buck. How exactly? With a technique that works your muscles as they lengthen in addition to when they contract, called “eccentric training.”

What it is: Emphasizing the lowering portion of a rep. Also known as “negative training,” the technique increases the time your muscles are under tension, which helps boost muscle fiber activation.

The benefits: Higher calorie burn both during and after exercise; fewer injuries, as it strengthens tendons and helps muscles absorb high-impact stress (like running); and a new study says it can help you break through strength plateaus in five weeks.

When to do it: Once a week, swap out one of your three strength-training workoutswith this routine. Complete the circuit in order, moving from the first exercise to the next and resting as needed in between. Repeat once for two total sets. After three weeks, take one week off, then continue with heavier weights. (Kick-start your new, healthy routine with Women’s Health’s 12-Week Total-Body Transformation!)

Your trainer: Exercise physiologist Joel Seedman Ph.D., owner of Advanced Human Performance in Atlanta

Deadlift to Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Deadlift to Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

BETH BISCHOFF

Squat to grab a barbell with an overhand grip (a). Thrust your hips forward as you rise to stand (b). With your right knee slightly bent, lift your left leg behind you, hinging at your hips and lowering your torso until it’s parallel to the floor (c). Reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep; do three or four, then switch sides and repeat.

Negative Pullup

Negative Pullup

BETH BISCHOFF

Bulgarian Split Squat

Bulgarian Split Squat

BETH BISCHOFF

Stand with the top of your right foot on a bench behind you and hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides (a). Keeping a tall chest, take three to five seconds to bend both knees to lower your body as far as you can (b). Pause for three to five seconds; return to start quickly. That’s one rep; do six to eight, then switch sides and repeat.

Negative Skull Crusher

Negative Skull Crusher

BETH BISCHOFF

Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and lie on a bench with your arms reaching toward the ceiling (a). Slowly bend your elbows to bring the weights to the sides of your forehead (b); pause, then, with elbows bent, lower arms to bring the weights above your chest (c). Press weights up to return to start. That’s one rep; do six to eight.