Thursday, November 25, 2010

How to Keep the Calories Down For Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving only comes around once a year and for the most part, I give myself a little slack when it comes to my eating habits. This being said, there are still a few things you can do to avoid over indulging:

  • Go for seconds! Take a little bit of each dish keeping in mind there's lots to go around and you can always go for seconds if your still hungry. 
  • Avoid putting unnecessary amounts of gravy on your plate. Gravy accounts for more calories than most people think. 
  • Drink water or juice as opposed to Egg Nog. Egg Nog has a ridiculous amount of calories (Around 200 per cup) and is best to be avoided or replaced.
  • Portion Control: Take a little of each food dish avoiding too much dressing, gravy and pie. 
  • Don't starve yourself before dinner, instead eat what you would in a normal day and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner slowly.
  • If your having turkey/chicken avoid the skin if you can to lower the fat and cholesterol intake.
  • When eating desert take a small piece and consciously slow down when eating it and enjoy it as much as possible. Avoid adding ice cream to your pie as well.
Don't be too hard on yourself, Thanksgiving only comes once a year!

Thanks for reading, Joe

Monday, November 22, 2010

Workout Smarter, Not Longer

Too often I see people inefficiently using their time in the gym, whether it's waiting too long between sets, watching the football game, texting or changing the song on their iPod. Focus is a major factor in seeing results in your workout routine. Wasting time in the gym not only hinders your results but also ads a negative aspect to exercising (the fact it takes so long). When you go to the gym have a plan, set a goal and work to achieve it in as little time as possible. Take 15-30 seconds between sets to stretch the muscle your working and that's it, go right back at it. Leave your phone in your locker! Stay focused on the task at hand and get it done. Music is a great motivator but don't let it impede your workout, make a playlist with your favorite songs and just let it play.

Thanks for reading, Joe

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Leg Workout

Basic Info: This workout is really great all-around workout for the entire area of your legs and glutes. For quads and calves, the target rep area is 20-25. I find doing higher reps in these areas promotes greater muscle growth and gives a better pump. The exercises are simple but effective if done correctly.

1.Squats-3 Sets of 20: Keep your legs a bit wider than shoulder width with your feet pointed a bit outward. Make sure to keep you back as straight as possible throughout the entire exercise avoiding the danger of arching your back. Push through your heels and try to go down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Keep your knees above your toes.

2.Calf Raises-3 Sets of 20: With this exercise I like to change the direction my feet are pointing for each set, starting first with them facing perfectly straight then turned outward as far as I can and then inward for the last set. Take a 30-60 second break between each set. There are usually several calf raise machines in a gym, any of these can be used for this.

3.Hack Squat-3 Sets of 8-10: There are many ways to do this exercise such as certain machines and equipment specifically designed for the Hack Squat but I will show how to do it simply with a barbell just in case your gym doesn't have the right equipment or your working out at home. Lay the barbell on the ground and step in front of it so that the bar is at your heels. Bending your knees, descend until your thighs are parallel with the ground and bar. Grab the bar behind you with an overhand grip and while keeping your arms and back straight, shoulders high, hips low ascend until your legs are straight. Do not let your knees lock as this will cause damage over time.

4.Leg Curls-3 Sets of 8-10: This exercise is extremely basic, just make sure you keep your feet pointed up and curl your heels into your butt.

5.Single Leg Curls-3 Sets of 8-10: There are several machines that can be used to do this exercise so just find the one you prefer. You can use the same machine as the regular leg curl but it's a bit awkward as the picture shows.

6.Leg Extensions-3 Sets of 8-10: Another basic exercise, make sure your knees are in the same line with the pivot point of the machine.

7.Single Leg Extensions-3 Sets of 8-10: I use the same basic leg extension machine to do these with one foot on the seat to keep it out of the way.

Thanks for reading, Joe.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Muscle Soreness

When I was first starting to lift weights, I would gage how effective my workout was by how sore my muscles were the next day. After a while, no matter how hard I worked my muscles were not getting very sore at all and this is when I realized that muscle soreness has nothing to do with how hard you work or the effectiveness of your workout. This is a common misconception with people beginning to workout. Muscle soreness occurs when the body is forced to do something that it is not used to. A good example of this is when, a couple weeks ago, I was going through a cutting phase where I was mostly doing cardio and I hadn't worked out my legs for a month or so. When I finally did do a leg workout, I went as hard as I could and had an extremely good workout. The next day I could hardly walk and was extremely sore for the next 4 or 5 days. If you workout each major muscle group once a week, you may find that the muscles your working are not sore the following day. Don't be discouraged, it simply means that your body is growing accustomed to the movements as well as the repairs to the muscle fiber. When the muscles grow TOO accustomed to a certain set of movements or exercises the Plateau Effect comes into play, which is where your muscle growth is stunted because the muscles are too used to the exercise and the fibers are not being ripped at the most effective rate. Change up your workout every 3-4 weeks to avoid the Plateau Effect, muscle soreness can tell you if the change was effective in working your muscles a different way. I will be posting my Leg Workout in the next few days.

Thanks for reading, Joe