We Are Fitness Blog

Training to Failure: How much and How Often?

Feeling the burn and pushing reps to the max have always been part of effective training for bodybuilding. Failure training involves doing an exercise until the muscles no longer respond.

A recent study from Eastern Illinois University discussed the pluses and minuses of failure training methods. Many studies have examined the optimal number of sets in a program, but few have looked at the effects of failure training on muscle size and strength.

Failure training allows advanced bodybuilders and lifters to break training plateaus and move to the next level. These highly intense workouts must be incorporated into short term cycles to avoid overtraining. Failure training is effective because it recruits more motor units  (Muscle fibres and their nerve supply) and stimulates the secretion of anabolic hormones such as growth hormone, insulin like growth factor and testosterone, and increases insulin sensitivity (Insulin is a powerful and anabolic hormone).

Increases in strength require high intensity overload, so bodybuilders should not rely on high rep burn programs for making progress. Bodybuilders and power athletes must push the big iron if they want to get stronger and bigger.

Excessive failure training leads to injury, overtraining and loss of motivation. Failure training can move you to the next level, but don’t overdo it.

Good luck with your intensive workout.

Bench Press Secrets

 

Most guys measure their strength by their bench press. Why is it that some men bench houses, while others have trouble benching much more than 225 pounds or less?

A recent study looked at tried and true methods for boosting your bench. Just as in golf, tennis and discuss throwing, the setup is critical for maximum performance. Minimize the range of motion by arching your back and pushing the bar straight up from your chest. The arch is continuous from your lower to upper back and does not involve lifting your butt off the bench.

The arch reduces the range of motion and provides significant spinal support for the motion. Set your feet firmly underneath your body as far back on the bench as possible, so you can get a powerful leg drive during the lift. When performing the exercise, push your upper back toward your butt by retracting and depressing the scapula (large wing bone in your back). This will keep you tight and add stability during the lift.

Get a hand off from an experienced lifter or trainer not from someone inexperienced or a kid from high school.

Use a belt when going for a maximum lift. Wear shoes with a bit of a lift to increase stability. Set up the same way every time you do the exercise and you will soon be benching with the big boys.

Until the next time, keep lifting and make 2019 the year that you increase your bench press.

Are Smart Scales Just A Gimmick, Or Are They Really Worth The Extra Cash?

This month dear valued members and non-members (in case you’re just browsing our wearefitness website) I’d like to explore a subject that, quite frankly is not top most in our minds.

While it’s true that a lot of fitness tech on the market is a success of digitised style over substance, looking beyond your standard scales could be a wise move. They just tell one story – your weight – and using this sole metric to assess your condition is to miss the full picture. After all, the dial between your toes can shift for any number of reasons. Weight loss might simply be water loss. While weight gain may be the desired result of building muscle.

Smart scales measure factors such as your body fat, muscle mass and bone density, and many even allow you to sync this information with your phone.

A recent study found the people who used smart scales were more likely to weigh in weekly than those who relied on regular scales.

Still, smart scales don’t (yet) operate with pin point accuracy, and variables such as your hydration levels can affect results. The data should be seen more as a guide than fact.

At the end of the day, how your body feels is still the best measure of progress.

Not all that counts can be counted.

And on that note I’d like to wish you all a very Happy Merry Christmas and a successful, healthy New Year.

What is The Ketogenic Diet?

This popular diet is popping up everywhere lately, but what exactly is it? And how does it work? Well I will endeavour to explain as simply and concise as possible so that it is easily grasped.

The Ketogenic diet is nothing new. In fact it was developed in the 1920s to help seizure victims. However, its modern popularity is due to its benefits for weight loss.

The high-fat, moderate-protein and low-carb diet forces your body to transition from using carbohydrates (glucose) as energy, to burning fat.

As your body switches from using carbohydrates for fuel to burning fat, your body enters a state known as ketosis. Once there, your body starts to produce ketones (fat bodies) within the liver that are used as your body’s primary energy source. Ketones help lower insulin levels, which helps prevent fat storage.

Although the exact macronutrient breakdown varies by person, the general rule of thumb when following a ketogenic diet is to intake 75% of your daily calories from fats, 20% from proteins and 5% from carbohydrates. This precise balance is what helps transition your body into burning fat for fuel, but it is a departure from most people’s everyday diet.

I hope the above helps in better understanding the Ketogenic diet. And if any of you are thinking of doing it, I wish you the best and remember no diet plan or exercise works unless you do.

Until the next time, happy training and healthy living.

PALEO DIET: Gift From Our Ancestors, or Bunk?

The paleolithic or caveman diet is based on consuming berries, nuts, lean grass fed meats and fish – according to a literature review by Katherine Beals from the University of Utah in the USA.

The rules of the Paleo diet are simple: If you can pick it, grow it or kill it, then you can eat it. Proponents of the diet claim the human genes evolved over thousands of tears to optimize metabolism from eating these natural foods. Industrialization changed the human diet suddenly to include the consumption of grains and calorie dense, high fat, processed foods. Food choices also increased dramatically, which prompted over eating and over consumption of unhealthy foods.

Several studies found that the diet reduces abdominal fat, abdominal blood fats, blood pressure, insulin resistance and type two diabetes. Critics of the diet point out that the diets of ancient humans varied greatly from one place to another, so that it is unlikely that metabolically linked genes adapted uniformly. Also, Paleo diet studies are plagued by poor research designs, inadequate dietary controls and poor compliance by the test subjects.

We need more research that is extensive and comprehensive before we go around recommending this to serious athletes or people looking to being active and healthy.

Caffeine Increases Power and Reduces Soreness

Caffeine is an excellent training aid for reducing pain during exercise and recovering from intense training sessions – according to a study at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I personally am a great advocate of having coffee as my pre workout.

I found that it aids me in feeling less fatigued in the set and I recover quicker within my rest coffeeperiods which obviously helps in going longer and harder.

Researchers measured the effects of caffeine ingestion (three milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight) after four morning and three afternoon cycling sessions. In general, caffeine reduces the feelings of soreness and restores the perception of leg fitness after the workouts.

Caffeine is an important supplement for training. It increases power output, particularly during repeated interval like exercises. It also increases energy levels, which increase training motivation.

Ninety five percent of success in life is showing up. Caffeine helps when you do show up for a workout with an enthusiastic mindset.

So the next time you decide to hit the gym, treat yourself to an inexpensive and effective pre workout to take your training to the next level.

Until the next time, drink your coffee.