Tag Archives: Muscle

Exercise Spotlight: Standing Plate-Loaded Shrugs

We are continuing our series of exercise spotlights with today’s version of a shrug! A lot of people shy away from shrugs because they think that their traps will flame up Hulk-style. In reality, building your traps gives you a strong-looking frame to compliment the rest of your shoulders, arms, and back. Remember, it’s important to continue to add different exercises to your knowledge base so that your body doesn’t get used to anything. Let’s learn about the standing plate-loaded shrug. 

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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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Did I Hit My Summer Goals?!

As summer comes to a close, so do my summer fitness goals! It’s been an incredibly busy summer (including a move and other travel), but I’ve been working hard on my goals. Like the true procrastinator I am, I got 2 out of 5 done within two days of my deadline. But I’m super proud of what I’ve accomplished. I haven’t set real fitness goals for myself in a while and it was amazing to do again.

Why do goals matter? Whether you’re a newbie or fitness vet, goals are important! You need something to strive towards, something to keep you honest. It’ll stop you from getting bored or not knowing what to do: it gives you direction. I want to keep creating goals so hopefully you will see goals come up every season! They will probably all have different themes. Like summer’s goals, for example, were all body weight based.

Anyhow, enough talk, onto my results!

Summer Fitness Goals:

-Goal #1: 20 consecutive push-ups

-Result #1 >> SUCCESS

Still keeping up some workouts
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How to Get Better at Push-Ups

Just like pull-ups, push-ups can be a really tough point for most people (especially females who aren’t used to strength training). However, you can get there! As you may know, one of my summer goals is to be able to do 20 consecutive push-ups. And I am already at 14! I really hope to be able to finish my goal by the end of October, and I think I can do it! It’s all about practice. And what are you trying to practice exactly to reach multiple push-ups? Muscle endurance

Those major and minor pectorals need to build up their endurance if you want them to be able to carry you through twenty repetitions of full body-weight! I’ve built a few different workouts, but here are some exercises that will help you get there. Remember, to build muscle endurance, you want to do at least 12 reps for each set. 

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How to Increase Your Pull-Up Game

Pull-ups can be one of the most difficult exercises–especially for adult-aged women. It’s also funny and frustrating that they are also one of the most simple exercises out there. If you’ve been following us on our summer fitness journey, you know that one of my summer goals is to do four pull-ups in a row. Right now, I’m at two. However, I’m doing grueling workouts (still feeling it everywhere) in order to get to that goal. Do the exercises below to increase your pull-up game (if you’re brand new to pull-ups, we have something for you too!). Remember that we’re going for strength here so keep the number of reps low

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Limiting Factors: The Keys to Your Success

In this video, Hungry introduces a concept that has helped him reach high levels of competition and build stronger professional and collegiate athletes. If you ever train with him, you’ll surely hear “limiting factors” be thrown around often, instead of strengths and weaknesses. It’s the key to his strategy to help not only performance athletes, but also the average Jack and Jill. Find out what is preventing you from reaching your goals, target them, and improve drastically. 

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Super-Powered Protein Powder

How’s that for an internal slant rhyme! Alright, down to business. You’ve heard us talk about Sunwarrior protein powder and all its goodness before. Can things really get better for this one-protein-fits-all? Apparently, they can! Sunwarrior recently came out with the Classic Plus

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2015 Fitness Test with Gold’s Gym

We’re nearly two weeks into 2015 and you may or may not be on the right track. Your diet isn’t as clean as you wanted. You still haven’t signed up for that new gym membership. You’re so busy getting back to work from the holidays that you barely have time to sleep. No worries, take this fitness test as a wake up call.

Your health can’t wait because a healthy lifestyle is the key to success at home, with family, in school, at work, or wherever you go. Increased energy levels, decreased stress levels, a more functional immune system… don’t those all sound nice. Throw some well-built shoulders and a defined midsection and you’d be feeling pretty well.

As a member of Gold’s Venice, a staff member shot this my way and I must say, I think it’s great. We’ll see what you think about it after you put yourself through these ten grueling minutes of all out exercise targeting every muscle in your body. WAIT… remember, this isn’t made to be a workout, it’s made to see what kind of shape you’re in and what you need to start doing more (or less) of in your life!

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The test itself is simple and self-explanatory. It’s an awesome system but I can’t say the push ups, squats, bench step ups, pull ups, and crunches will be quite as much fun.

Click here to take the Gold’s Gym Fit Test

Post your thoughts, or results, in the comment section below. AND if you’re a real go-getter who wants to make the most of 2015, post a video of your test on YouTube and tag our YouTube channel, HungryandFit!

Hungry Meets TRX

It might seem weird that after all these years in competitive sports and then the fitness industry, I haven’t really come across TRX before. None of my coaches, trainers, or sports medicine staff ever had me use it for my sports performance and I never felt the need to take a class or take a course to be an instructor. Well, that changed when we moved to LA and I found myself working at a new fitness facility where all three of the personal training staff were also TRX instructors. After some pressure was applied by my boss, I said… what the heck, why not?

In TRX, you don’t get certified; instead, you obtain qualifications for every course you take. With one TRX qualification, you are considered an Equipped TRX Instructor. (That’s me.) With three or more, you are Advanced and so forth. The system is based on the number of qualifications you have and the points that each is worth (Level 1s are worth 8000, Level 2s are worth 16000). The tiers also are color coded, like belts in Martial Arts.

All of this information is on the TRX database on their website, www.trxtraining.com. It’s a great system and free as a resource. If you want to pay a little bit every month, you can be a member of TRX Core, which gives you access to every TRX resource online, including a library of workouts, live chats with Master level trainers and Gurus, etc. 

Fitness training courses

Fitness training courses

As for the qualifications, I took the Group Suspension Training Course, an introductory course to teach group exercise classes. Now, I’m signed up for their RIP trainer course and their level 2 TRX TEAM. It’s something different and it’s effective. It’s more challenging than elite athletes think and less challenging than health-seekers feel it might be. They find the straps intimidating but it can be scaled to hit any fitness level.

I would recommend beginners and people recovering from injuries do a few TRX personal training sessions before jumping into a group class, but since you’re on your own straps, you can go on your own pace. If your instructor is pushy and tries to make you go at the class pace when you shouldn’t, get a new instructor. Once you grasp the fundamentals and trust the straps, it’s fun. And while you should still be doing strength training to get stronger or practicing your sport to increase your skill, this is a great addition to any exercise regiment. It keeps you humble, builds balance, increases stability, and eventually mobility.

It has a lot of benefits, just be mindful of your knees and shoulders. Make sure you warm up properly, even before your instructor starts class. And make sure you change your grips so that you aren’t constantly squeezing the handles like you’re going to fall off a cliff. You don’t want to stress those forearm muscles.

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Stay in touch, I’ll keep you updated as I teach more classes and get a few more qualifications under my belt. Still, feel free to ask any questions about TRX and I’ll let you know if you should give it a shot! And as always, stay hungry and fit!

 BONUS PUPPY PIC

Little wet face

Little wet face

Don’t Lift Those Heavy Weights!

Last night while getting back into squatting regularly, someone else was making some serious mistakes in their form and training program. I was concerned for their health and said something to their friend, hoping he could convince him to clean up his act for his own good. Then, the friend asked me about his own issue relating to some pain in his shoulders when he is doing what his demonstration seemed like dual bent over posterior deltoid flyes with 35 lb dumbbells.

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 This all leads to my point, to stop lifting heavy weights… if you’re not ready for it. I know you want to get big and strong fast, but this process is a progression that needs to be taken slowly. The muscles in your chest are large and can handle a significant amount of weight, but with poor form (or even with proper form) your shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints might not be conditioned to do the same. It will take correct technique and a significant amount of training to make sure your stabilizing muscles that protect your joints are prepared for a larger load.

 Here are five tips to protect yourself and maximize your effort!

 1. Warmup! It’s important to perform warm up exercises to loosen muscles fibers that are shorter, tighter, and colder from inactivity. Some internal and externals rotations can really help maximize your bench results without fatiguing your shoulders for the lift.

2. Set a rep range and stick to it. If you’re going for five reps of 135 lbs on the bench press, you’re doing that for a reason. Make sure you can perform all of those repetitions almost perfectly before considering doing five reps of any more weight in the same exercise.

3. Use assistance when necessary. I’m not telling you to let your spotter row the weight from your chest, but protect your joints when performing heavier weights or higher repetition ranges. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of using belts, straps, and wraps often (because I want to strengthen my core and stabilizer muscles), but it’s important to protect your body!

4. Rest! Someone at my facility benches and curls weights every single day of the week. When you isolate a body part and damage muscle fibers to the point that they need to be repaired, you actually have to let them repair before you hit that muscle group hard again! Don’t waste your progress by being reckless.

5. Do it properly! When you walk in the gym, leave your ego at the door. No one is going to be impressed by your 1/3 squats with two plates on each side. Well, no one who knows what they’re talking about. Ask for advice, learn proper form, use a coach, and make sure you are getting the most out of the exercises without risking getting injured.

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 So there you have it. Be smart. Condition your joints and strengthen your stabilizer muscles. Everyone complains about elbow pain after doing chest and triceps with flared elbows and heavy skull crushers. Everyone complains about their lower back hurting when they deadlift and squat. Avoid being sidelined and train smarter! And as always, stay hungry and fit!