Tag Archives: smart

Setting Goals for the Month

Every month, we set five goals in five categories. We write them down on a sheet and it looks like a Bingo Board. We treat it that way too, setting ourselves up for next month’s goals and sometimes rewarding ourselves with a nice meal out if we hit BINGO! The five categories include Alana, Chris, Hungry & Fit, Home, and in 2017, we decided to add the fifth… Fun!

This month, for one of my personal goals, I set a goal that I know I most likely won’t be able to reach. It’s not a do this in one day sort of thing, so it’s more challenging. I wanted to, by the end of the month, run 4 miles in 32 minutes while still totaling 995 lbs in the big three lifts: deadlift, squat, and bench press. The lifts had to be competition grade, so basically… no cheating allowed. Unfortunately, a major bump came in the road when my ingrown toenails flared up and got really bad, to the point that they hurt just while laying in bed. Now, I know what you’re thinking… that’s a huge EXCUSE and it could be way worse. I’ve finished basketball games with fractured ankles, swam in collegiate meets with a leg immobilizer on, and much more. 

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Why You Should Switch Up Your Exercises

First of all, good for you for exercising. Good for you for putting in some work (I know it ain’t easy) into staying healthy and taking care of yourself. After that pat on the back, let’s talk about what you’re doing. It’s hard enough to get in the gym, do a home workout, or whatever you’re doing, let alone planning (and doing) different workouts. But it’s important! Doing the same old routine day after day can kill your mojo!

Why is it important to switch up your exercise? The body is always trying to get to homeostasis, meaning to a point where it has to do as little as possible to keep at a steady state. Humans are also great at adapting. Put those together and your body will try to get used to workouts as soon as it can. Once it “gets used to” a workout, it won’t have to work as hard. Which means YOU won’t burn as many calories, your heart rate won’t go as high, your muscles won’t get worked as intensely as they used to. Are you feeling what I’m saying now? You have to keep your body on its toes!

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Is It Worth Buying My Own TRX Trainer?

Do you think it’s worth buying my own TRX trainer for home? That was a question I recently received from a follower and friend. He has been constantly trying to change his workout regiment over the past 5 years to avoid plateaus. This had led to him working with different trainers and exposure to new equipment. With all those differing opinions, you start to develop questions. One of the big questions is, how much do I invest in my effort to get fit? For some, investing is an issue of different resources whether it is money, time, or space. 

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Read For an Hour Once a Week

AT LEAST. I feel like there’s a reading crisis out there, and I want to help it! People are choosing Facebook over a page of a nice book and it makes me sad. There’s nothing wrong with social media, we obviously use it all the time. However, we will never stop preaching moderation. Balance! Weigh one hand with a phone and another with a book! I’m not telling you what to read whether it be nonfiction, fantasy, romance, or another type of fiction! I’m just telling you to stop, drop, and read! 

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Education from Traveling as an American

In the Unites States, it feels like we are the center of the world. There is no second language and everyone knows or should know (in American opinion) English. We know we are a powerful country and certain unconscious thoughts feed into your mind because of that. And these thoughts will bleed out when traveling internationally, too, and sometimes it’s not pretty for either party. I’ve been traveling since I was a baby (a mother from New Zealand will do that), but I never started to realize my own American spoiled nature until recent travel experiences. Even though I consider myself an open-minded and culturally-sensitive person, some American travel habits can be just plain dumb. You can learn a lot from traveling as an American–about yourself, your habits, and other cultures. 

Chris'  favorite burger place in NZ

Chris’ favorite burger place in NZ

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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!