Tag Archives: how to

Performance Shoulders Workout

Whether our injuries are actually located somewhere inside our shoulder or hip girdles, many injuries are caused by a lack of stability and mobility in those two areas. They’re two extremely complex joints that are surrounded by many different muscles, as opposed to our biceps or triceps that are far less challenging to isolate and deal with as a regular person working out at the gym. Fortunately, we don’t have to change anything in terms of “how to train” other than be aware of the various muscles that should be targeted.

This workout combines basic movements that activate all the major muscles in the shoulder girdle and eventually leads up to some lifts that are closer to what you’d see in competition. It’s not necessarily a workout for a beginner and that’s why we aren’t offering full explanations and pictures of the exercises. If you’re unsure what these (basic) exercises and muscles are, you should probably take a step back and start with the machines in the gym, rather than free weights. 

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Exercise Spotlight: Standing Dumbbell Curl

So in addition to doing more videos and projects, we will also be bringing you new types of posts! Introducing Exercise Spotlight and Food Spotlight! These will be to-the-point posts where we focus on a certain exercise or certain food item to showcase its value. We believe a key to staying hungry and fit is constantly expanding your repertoire of knowledge and sharpening what you already know. We’re starting off with a fairly simple exercise: the dumbbell curl.

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How to Calm a Coughing Attack

The changing of the seasons is upon us and while that may not be very apparent to us Southern Californians, it’s definitely happening everywhere else! And what happens when seasons change beside the lovely new exciting things? SICKNESS. Yes, unfortunately, when the seasons change, the weather changes, and our bodies just get all darn confused! It could be the flu, a cold…whatever our lowered immune system decides to let in. With those nasty sicknesses, comes the dreaded, lingering cough. This cough is wet and deep at first, but then, as your sickness dries up or gets better, it turns into a dry cough. Then you’re that person coughing over and over in class or in the office and you have deep circles under your eyes because it wakes you up.

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My most recent hot toddy

  
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How to Be a Vegetarian

Often times, when people find out I’m a vegetarian, they look at me sadly like they just found out I have a terminal illness. Funny thing is that I choose to be a vegetarian. And many other people do too! Now, the transition into being a vegetarian isn’t always so heartfelt and easy. There are tons of books out there with the purpose of instructing one on how to be a vegetarian. This is going to be a much simpler guide. I’m not telling everyone to be a vegetarian, I’m just showing you how to in case you were ever curious–how to get enough nutrients in a plant-based diet. Sometimes people turn into starch-atarians when they go veggie, but fear not–there is plenty of protein when you come this way!
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How to Start Doing Pull-Ups

Pull-ups are tough. Really tough! Obviously men have it easier than women from the get-go, but it’s not easy for anyone to start with. Again, especially for females. This is a little guide on how to start doing pull-ups. There are various ways of easing into a full, regular pull-up. Before you even get to pull-ups, you should first start working out and strengthening your back. Look at this workout for a sample back workout. The two ways we focus on are negative pull-ups and assisted pull-ups. 

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1. Negative pull-ups. These are basically “jump” pull-ups. Grab a box, bench, or something you can stand on. Get right under your pull-up bar or handles. Grab the handles and take a big jump, getting high. You wanna be as far above the handles as you can and then slowly lower yourself down. It’s called a “negative” because instead of pulling yourself up, you are slowly lowering yourself in order to exercise and build those same muscles. These are tough. I would suggest attempting 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps. 

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2. Assisted pull-ups. These are generally easy to start with, but they require a certain machine. Assisted pull-up machines are usually one-and-the-same with assisted dip machines. Different functions on the same machine. This machine will take a certain part of your weight off your body so that you’re not pulling up your full body weight, making it easier. This machine gives itself away with a platform for your knees or feet to rest on. Once you place yourself on the platform (while holding onto the pull-up handles), you simply do a pull-up. You are being assisted by the weight it’s taking off of you. This is a superb way to slowly build up to a stand-alone pull-up. 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps. 

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So there you have it–two simple ways to start your pull-up game. It’s tough, don’t get me wrong, but it’s incredibly rewarding and worth every workout! Let us know if you have any questions in the comment area. Work on your pull-ups to stay hungry and fit!

BONUS PUPPY PIC

Noke finally using her bed

Noke finally using her bed

How to Battle Weight Room Intimidation

We’ve all been there. When you enter the weight room and feel like a puny little thing in the corner, scared to enter this different realm. But there is a way to get from point A to point B, I promise. I was once there, nervous to enter that scary place filled with a bunch of grunting males. But I got out of that phase (obviously) and now I feel completely natural in the weight room. I don’t even notice a difference between cardio and weight rooms for me because that “status” it once held is completely gone. I feel calm and comfortable in there. Follow these steps and you can too.

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1. Bring a weight room friend. If you really want to broach into this awesome place where epic gains can exist, then it’s good to start with someone who’s already been. Someone who has already been down this path you are now taking and has that comfort that you want when stepping into the weight room. A friend always helps. That way you guys can get into your routine together and talk to one another without noticing the other people who tend to stare.

2. Pump up your jams. Part of this is distracting you from your anxiety of where you are. Make yourself a playlist that you can rock out to, turn it up really loud, and get to your exercise. Make sure you’re really in the music and before you know it, you’ve already spent half an hour in a place you formerly feared.

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3. Have a plan. Have your ideal workout already written down and take it with you (either in a workout journal or your phone) into the weight room. This way there are no awkward pauses in your workout and you can stay steadily focused on what you want to accomplish. Then you won’t even notice everyone around you.

4. Let it all out. A big part of why people are uncomfortable to enter weight rooms is the noise. There’s a lot of plate clanging, grunts, and shouts. Put your all into your workout and you may find a grunt or two escaping your mouth too! Don’t be shy, if you need to grunt to get that weight up, do it! And you will fit in even more so, too. Act like a natural 😉

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5. Ignore them. People are going to stare at you. That’s what happens in weight rooms when people rest between sets. That doesn’t mean they’re judging you, people just like to see what others are doing. Some even look at others to learn from them. Don’t let this add to your anxiety. People staring is normal. 

6. Put on your serious face. This is a big one for me since I’m a trainer at a gym. If I don’t go into serious mode, I will be stopped left and right. However, for you, it’s important to do this so everyone stays out of your way. They can tell that you’re here to do business, not fool around. A big plus in the weight room.

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7. Just do it. Decide one day that you are going to try it. Even if it’s just for a set of curls. Go in there with the heavy-weights (or not so much as it later turns out) and lift! Put in perspective: if you start going now, those nerves will wear down within weeks at the most!

There are some tips from us to you so that you can enter that weight room and get strong. So you don’t have to have any anxiety or nerves about stepping into that zone and beginning another fitness journey. That’s what it’s all about. Battle weight room intimidation to stay hungry and fit! 

BONUS KITTY PIC

Sajah and Nymeria scoping out our snake, Dovah

Sajah and Nymeria scoping out our snake, Dovah

Back to the Basics: How to Cook an Artichoke

Ridiculously simple post? Yes, but I find it necessary. The first time I approached an artichoke, I had no idea how to do it! It’s an intimidating vegetable with thorns to boot! So if you know how to cook an artichoke, pass this one over. You can go read about how to cook kale instead. Artichokes bring back good memories for me: sitting with my before-birth friend and her family eating a cooked artichoke with garlic butter. Memories like that always make the food taste better.

My cooking method for artichokes is to boil them. It’s actually easy peasy, so let’s start. I’m not going to even put an ingredients list because all you need is…ARTICHOKE. 

Directions

1. Wash the artichoke by pouring water over it

2. Cut the stem off, leaving 1 inch there.

3. Cut off an inch of the tip of the artichoke

Isn't it purdy?

Isn’t it purdy?

4. Pull off the leaves at the bottom, the very rough ones that you wouldn’t want to eat.

5. Take some scissors (or if you want to make your life awful, you can use a knife, yikes) and cut off the little thorns on the tips of the artichoke “leaves”

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6. Bring a pot of water to a boil and dunk that bad boy in there. Leave it in there for 25-30 minutes. You could always put salt on it here or even drop a clove of garlic in the water while it boils

7. Carefully take out the artichoke and let it cool so you can eat it!

8. While it’s cooling, why not make some melted garlic butter to dip it in? Just put a bit of butter in a bowl with some garlic and heat over stove or microwave. Or you could use hummus, salsa, any kind of dip you enjoy.

So I have this steaming vegetable, how do I eat it? Great question, imaginary friend. Once it’s cool enough to handle, simply pull the leaves off the body and drag your bottom teeth down it to get the “meat” off it. But don’t forget to dip it in your dip first! It can also be enjoyed just by itself. Once you get the meat off the leaf, put the discard (the hard part of the leaf) into another bowl (for garbage). Feel free to eat the artichoke heart at the end in the middle! Sounds like a sacrifice ritual–and those always turn out well! Eating artichokes is a great way to stay hungry and fit! Cheers! 

The remnants of my artichoke feast

The remnants of my artichoke feast

Imitating a Table: How to do the Perfect Plank

I hate nothing more than bad form when people plank. Okay, that previous sentence is ridiculous, I hate many things more, for example, olives (maybe). People do this in all sorts of exercises, rush to try to get the “best pump” or the “longest duration” and completely compromise their form. I don’t know how many times I will tell you this, but this will not be the last.

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Form is more important than any other part of the exercise or workout. 

You screw up form, you screw up your body. It’s very simple. Yet big meatheads or beginners too will push past that to either try to get heavier weight or have no clue what they’re doing. So this will not be a long post. I just want you to perform a plank (one of the best core exercises, reaching the entire core from the upper thighs to the upper abs and everywhere in between.

1. Don’t wear socks. Just don’t do it, there’s no reason, even if your feet are smelly. Take them off or plunk on some shoes.

2. Put your forearms down flat on the floor, in a comfortable position, lining up with your shoulders

3. Ease your legs back, ‘standing’ on your toes

4. Lower your torso and upper legs, so you’re not making a ‘bridge’ with your body, but a nice flat terrain, hmm, somewhat like a plank a pirate would force you off.

5. Hold for as long as possible. Beginners, 30 seconds. Then move to 1 minute, then 2 minutes, then 3, etc. etc. You get the point.

Other tips:

  • Don’t stick your butt up
  • Don’t lower your hips
  • Don’t lower or raise your head
  • Keep tight

There are variations, too, like side-plank, watch-dogs, and twists. But remember GOOD FORM IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING ELSE!