Three Exercises to Make Your Biceps Bulge!
In a previous blog, I shared with you three exercises that I use to build my biceps. However, it doesn’t end with just those three exercises. Following the same conventional exercises forever doesn’t just get monotonous, it can also lead to stagnated growth of the muscles. To make the changes you’re looking for and improve your physique, some out-of-the-box thinking may be required. Like every muscle, the biceps need new stimuli to evolve, which means getting creative with your workouts. Being a competitive bodybuilder and personal trainer has forced me to incorporate many tricks to help my biceps grow and avoid plateaus. Here are three bicep exercises I like to incorporate into my routine that I also share with my personal training clients.
1. Drag Curl: is one of the best exercises to build the biceps. This exercise can be performed with either a barbell or dumbbells and either seated or standing. Start by angling your upper body slightly forward, keeping your back flat. With your arms extended downward you’ll bend your elbows a little so they are behind your body instead of keeping your elbows in line or slightly in front of your body like a traditional bicep curl. Then you “drag” the weight up your body allowing your elbows to travel behind your body until your biceps are fully contracted. Then lower and repeat. A good rep range for this exercise would be 6 – 12 reps. You’ll find the drag curl to be easier than standard bicep curls, allowing you to use more weight(thus increasing muscle fiber recruitment).
2. The Preacher Curl: is a great biceps exercise due to the fact it stabilizes your elbow against a preacher bench, isolating your biceps ensuring they are the muscles doing all of the work. Grab a dumbbell or barbell and place the upper arms on top of the preacher bench or the incline bench. Slowly lower the weight until your upper arm is extended and the biceps is fully stretched, then tense the biceps to curl the weight up until your biceps is fully contracted. Lower and repeat. A good rep range for this exercise would be 8 – 15 reps. I would recommend to perform this exercise toward the middle to the end of your workout to ensure the muscle is thoroughly warmed up, due to the intense stretch it places on the biceps
3. Standing Cable Curls: is a great movement t0 provide constant tension to the biceps. Standing up with your torso upright, grab the bar with a either a wide or narrow grip. Keeping your elbows close to your sides and either parallel with your body or slightly in front of your body, curl the weight up while contracting the biceps. Do not swing it up as you will be taking tension off of the bicep. Lower and repeat. A good rep range for this exercise would be 10 – 20 reps.
With all the hype on building bigger biceps, it’s easy to forget that they are a small muscle group. So if you try to use too much weight when training them, bigger muscles can easily take over. This is often the root cause of slow progress with biceps development. The other problem is having a poor mind-muscle connection with the biceps, and failing to immerse this specific area with enough blood and trauma to force growth. For more information on building bulging biceps, trimming the fat off your waistline, improving your physique, or if you’re frustrated with your current level of fitness and looking to hire a personal trainer, contact us.
Meal Prep Made Easy!
A healthy lifestyle does not happen overnight. Now I know what you’re thinking…..cardio, weight training, duration of the two, what to train when. Oh no then there’s nutrition!!!!! What do I eat, when do I eat it and how much do I eat?? Well I’m going to simplify things for you a bit. This simple rule I am going to share with you is as easy as 1-2-3. Now of course this rule is one that comes with modifications depending on your fitness goals. However, the concept remains the same. It is the thirds rule. The next time you sit down to have your meal, take your plate, and divide it into thirds. Fill 1/3 with protein, 1/3 vegetables, and 1/3 carbohydrates. Simple as that. As previously stated this rule is made to be modified depending on your fitness goals. The modifications will be in the types of protein, carbs, and veggies you consume. For a more detailed selection that is going to fit your individual needs and fitness goals, visit a certified specialist in fitness nutrition like myself. I will develop a plan that is specifically for you that will get you the results you want. We will take a closer look at what you need in your diet to live that healthy lifestyle and get you in your best shape ever. We will discuss what and how much you need of the following….
Protein: Protein is going to help you burn fat, build lean muscle mass, and help with muscle recovery. Protein is an essential component of every cell in the body. Protein choices may consist of grass fed beef, chicken, turkey, salmon, tilapia, and bison just to name a few. Now some of these proteins are leaner than others and depending on your fitness goals, would be better paired with certain carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. When you take in carbs, your body breaks down the sugars and absorbs it into your bloodstream. At this point, it becomes glucose. Your body needs glucose to have the energy to do everything from breathing to weight training. I’m sure you have heard of simple carbs versus complex carbs, both have their benefits. Again, depending on your fitness goals, there is a place in your meal plan where they fit in perfectly. Brown rice, sweet potato, basmati rice, oatmeal, select cereals, and yes, even bread can be great sources of carbohydrates.
Vegetables: Vegetables keep the internal systems in perfect condition. The consumption of vegetables takes care of your digestive, excretory, and skeletal system, as well as blood pressure levels. With a diet rich in vegetables, you benefit from abundant amounts of antioxidants that prevent diseases like cancer, cardiovascular problems and strokes. Moreover, vegetables deliver ample amounts of vitamins, including folate, vitamin A, vitamin K. Fill 1/3 of your plate with collard greens, asparagus, spinach, kale, a salad that includes cucumbers, celery, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Just beware of the creamy fat filled dressings. Some vegetables contain a great deal of natural sugars which aren’t always the best to choose from. I usually don’t recommend, peas, carrots, corn and even certain types of squash could be considered starchy vegetables.
When you follow the Thirds Rule, you will have a balanced meal with all three macronutrients that are essential for a healthy lifestyle. There you have it my friends, the rule of three. For more information on nutrition, a meal plan that fits your individual needs, fitness goals, and body type, or if you’re looking to hire a personal trainer contact us.
Use Cardio Efficiently To Burn Body Fat!!
Korbie, I do 60 minutes of cardio a day and that’s just in the morning. How can my weight be staying the same? I like to mix my cardio up, so it’s never the same thing. I might do a spin class one day, then body pump the next, then maybe a hot yoga class… These are some of the things I’ve heard from my personal training clients regarding what they did with cardio before coming to see me. Are you too falling victim to the overly obsessed cardio craze? What many people fail to understand is that there needs to be some kind of structure to your cardio routine in order to maximize the fat burning results. Two common mistakes that I see people making frequently when it comes to cardio is starting off with too much and engaging in random cardio.
1. How Much Is Too Much? That’s right….You read it correctly. There is such a thing as starting off with too much. You see, we humans are the most adaptive creatures on this Earth. Our bodies get used to extended exercise, using oxygen and energy more efficiently, resulting in diminishing returns in fitness and fat loss. After this adaptation occurs, the only other option to continue to burn fat is to increase your expenditure. What does this mean? Chronic Cardio-can you picture yourself doing 2 hours of cardio a day to make that scale dip in the desired direction? Don’t make this mistake and start off with too much leaving little room for progression. Each person’s fitness goal is different, therefore, the cardio duration for one individual may not be the ideal prescription for you.
2. Random Cardio will Result in Random Fat Loss!! I go to a spin class on Monday, body pump on Tuesday, lunges, planks, and burpees at the park with my girlfriend on Wednesday……That is what I call random cardio because it’s impossible to track. Using cardio as a tool to burn calories requires a plan. Once that plan is developed you then proceed to execute the plan. I often compare cardio to finances. Input vs. In order to get control of your finances you must know your income vs. how much you’re spending. Well, the same concept applies with your cardio. To burn belly fat, you must know what your consumption is, calorie intake, and know what your expenditure is, calories being burned. With random cardio you have no idea how much you are actually expending, the intensity of the cardio and so on.
If you’re one of those people that has been doing loads of cardio and not getting the results you’re after or if you’re frustrated with your current level of fitness and looking to hire a personal trainer, contact us
Improve Your Physique By Improving Your “V-Taper”
Whether my personal training clients come to me because they want to compete in fitness competitions or simply improve their health and physique, they are looking to develop a smaller trimmer waistline. This requires, cardio, strength training, and a well balanced meal plan, in order to develop that “V-taper”!! What is the V-taper? It’s the broad shoulders and well developed lats, that make the waistline look narrow and slender. The lats are the broadest muscle group of the back and it’s responsible for the highly sought after V–taper. The following 4 exercises are imperative to building those lats and I often incorporate them in my own workouts.
1. Wide Grip Lat Pull Downs: The key is to pull the bar down to the top of your chest by recruiting your lats and not your biceps. Tensing the lats and activating those muscles, squeeze your back as if grabbing a pencil between your shoulder blades. Hold the contraction at the bottom of the movement. Shoot for 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps focusing on perfect form and making that muscle-mind connection.
2. Dumbbell Pullover: Lay on a flat bench with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Grab the dumbbell with both hands and hoist it over your head. With only a slight bend in your arm, lower the weight as far behind your head as possible until you feel that you’re getting a good stretch in your lats. Now, using the targeted muscles, pull the dumbbell back over to a point just over your head. Shoot for 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions. You should feel a good stretch in your entire back, especially in the lats.
3. One Armed Dumbbell Rows: Place one knee and the hand from the same side on a flat bench, using your other leg as a stabilizer flat on the floor. With your chest up, creating an arch in your lower back, and keeping your back from rounding, dumbbell in hand, pull your elbow up by contracting your back muscles. The key here is to maintain your elbow at a 45-degree angle and raise the dumbbell toward your hips, not your side. Hold the contraction then slowly lower the dumbbell and repeat. Aim for 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.
4. Pull Ups: Whether using a close grip or a wide grip, pull-ups are an absolute staple to building a solid back, especially when concentrating on the lat muscles. Grab the bar from a dead hanging position, tuck and cross your legs behind you keeping your chest up. Pull yourself up until your chin reaches the bar and slowly return back to the start position. Shoot for 3 sets of as many reps as possible.
The most critical concerns when developing a strong, powerful back and creating the appearance of a V-taper is the use of proper weight. Throughout my many years of experience in the fitness industry, I’ve seen too many trainees focus on lifting too heavy which shifts the form and focus to other muscles. For more information on sculpting a desirable physique, increasing muscle mass, or if you’re frustrated with your current level of fitness and looking to hire a personal trainer, contact us.
Three Exercises To Build Stronger Triceps!
When it comes to training triceps there are a number of exercises to choose from. However, here are three specific exercises that I like to take my personal training clients through that target all three heads of the tricep and produce the best results. After all, that is what we’re all about here at Training Innovations-Results!!!
1. Weighted Bench Dips-Weighted dips rely primarily on your own body weight, though additional weight can be added in your lap to increase the resistance on the muscles. Using two benches placed approximately 3-5 feet apart. Sit on one bench with your heels resting on the other; you may need to adjust the distance between the benches depending on your height. Place your palms on the bench you’re sitting on and slide forward, using your arms to support your weight. Now, slowly lower yourself until the bend of your elbows, reach a 90-degree angle. Maintain tension and push yourself back up until your arms are completely extended. This is one rep. Complete as many as you can with proper form until you reach fatigue.
2. Rope Extension-Attach a rope to a high pulley and select the appropriate weight. Leaning forward very slightly, grab the rope with a neutral grip (palms facing each other). Keep your elbows at 90 degrees and tucked in close to your body. Pull the rope downward moving only at your elbows. Continue pulling until your arms are fully extended and each side of the rope is down beside your thighs. Complete as many reps as possible until you reach fatigue.
3. Dumbbell Overhead Extension-For this exercise, it’s a good idea to use a seat or weight bench with some kind of back support. Choose an appropriate dumbbell weight and hold it with both hands, palms facing up under the plate of the dumbbell. Raise the weight up and behind the head, this is the starting position. Carefully lower the weight behind your head so that it is even with the lower part of the back of your head. Keep your elbows in tight close to your head. Raise the dumbbell back overhead so that arms are fully extended and repeat keeping proper form until muscles reach fatigue.
There you have it, three exercises that I’ve successfully incorporated into both my personal workouts and my clients’ workouts to build strength and muscle mass in those triceps! When working on increasing muscle mass in any muscle group, remember that it’s important to take in the proper nutrients from a well-balanced meal plan to assist in meeting your fitness goals. For more information on an individualized meal plan, increasing muscle mass, or losing weight or if you’re frustrated with your current level of fitness and looking to hire a personal trainer, contact us.
Best Time Of Day To Exercise To Burn Fat!!
While we know that exercise is essential to weight loss and burning fat, many of my personal training clients have asked me when is the best time of the day to exercise to burn fat. My answer to their question, ”If your goal is to lose the maximum amount of bodyfat in a minimum amount of time, then first thing in the morning is definitely the best time. Working out on an empty stomach, also known as the fasted state, prompts the body to burn fat at a faster rate then working out later in the day.
Research shows that exercising in a fasted state increases both lipolysis and fat oxidation. Lipolysis is the breaking down of fat cells for energy. Exercising while your insulin levels are low, allows your body to mobilize and burn a significant amount of fat during your workouts rather than when insulin levels are elevated. Glycogen levels decrease overnight to fuel basic metabolic processes. Because your glycogen levels are low in the morning, exercising at that time burns fat instead of carbohydrates or glycogen. Glycogen levels are higher at other times of the day due to nutrients that are consumed through your meals, meaning that your body will preferentially burn through blood glucose before utilizing fat. In addition, blood flow in the abdominal region is increased when you’re in a fasted state. This is important because one of the problems with “stubborn fat” in this region is reduced blood flow. Less blood flow means less fat-burning chemicals and thus less fat loss.
Exercising in the morning maximizes metabolic change by making your body burn calories at a higher rate post-workout. Therefore, your metabolism increases for several hours following intense exercise. Because your metabolism drops rapidly in the evening, working out at night lessens the fat-burning benefit you receive from exercise. However, I personally prefer to exercise in the evening when my glycogen levels are higher in order to allow for maximum performance. I find I am much stronger in the evening when my glycogen levels are high than first thing in the morning. So in closing, the best time of the day to exercise really depends on what your fitness goals are. If maximum performance and strength is your goal, then you probably want to exercise in the evening when your glycogen levels are elevated; But if your goal is to maximize bodyfat burning, then exercising first thing in the morning is your best bet.
For more information on weight loss, burning fat, strength training, and eating healthy, or if you’re just frustrated with your current level of fitness, contact us.
Can Fiber Help You Lose Weight?
What is Fiber? Fiber is the element in plants (like fruits, vegetables and whole grains) that our bodies do not digest. Fiber is different from most foods that we eat in that, unlike most foods, which are absorbed and digested, fiber is not absorbed or digested. It actually passes quickly through your digestive tract, mostly intact, and it is not broken down like other foods. The fact that fiber is mostly left intact is a good thing as it creates bulk, which aids in moving harmful carcinogens through the digestive tract. Without enough fiber in your diet, you will have irregularity and sluggishness. Insufficient fiber can also increase your risk of colon cancer, as well as other serious health issues.
Two Types Of Fiber: There are two kinds of fiber: Soluble fiber dissolves with water and creates a gel-like substance that helps to lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Insoluble fiber absorbs water, which adds bulk to your digestive tract and helps to move things through quickly. Examples of soluble fiber include oats, oat bran, peas, rice bran, legumes/beans, apples, and citrus fruits. Examples of insoluble fiber include whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, rye, cabbage, carrots, brussel sprouts and nuts.
Health Benefits Of Fiber: Besides keeping our digestive track working smoothly, other health benefits of fiber include reducing the incidence of heart disease, lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose levels and inflammation, and even weight loss. Fiber can help with weight loss because it creates a fullness within your intestines that helps you to eat less.
How much Fiber Should You Consume In A Day? If you are like most Americans, then you probably consume about 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day. Unfortunately, this is just not enough. We should actually be consuming anywhere from 25 to 38 grams of fiber a day. The national fiber recommendations are 30 to 38 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women.
Best Way To Consume Fiber: Now as previously mentioned, brown rice, apples, whole grain cereal, and foods made with whole-wheat flour contain a good amount of fiber. However, be cautious. Some fiber rich foods may also be high in carbohydrates, which turn in to sugar! For those limiting carbs, look at the ratio of usable carb or net carbs compared to fiber. Some high fiber-low carb foods are as follows: Mustard Greens, Chicory, Endive, and Flax Seeds. Foods with more fiber than usable carbohydrate are collard greens, avocado, spinach, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, blackberries, and raspberries.
So… just to recap, fiber is an essential aspect to a healthy diet. It slows the rate that sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. When you eat foods high in fiber, your blood glucose levels are kept from rising too fast. It keeps us feeling full, keeps the digestive system working properly and may even aid in dropping those unwanted pounds and shedding belly fat. For more information on a well balanced meal plan that will fuel your body with the nutrients that are imperative to a healthy lifestyle, and assist in reaching your fitness goals, getting in shape, working out, or if you’re frustrated with your current level of fitness and looking to hire a personal trainer, contact us.
Eat More Of This Super Food To Lose Weight!
I am consistently preaching to my personal training clients about the importance of incorporating an abundant amount of green leafy vegetables into their meals. Salads are known to be rich in vitamins A, D, E and K. Consuming more salads aids in lowering cholesterol and also is known to keep your digestive system working properly. Here are three reasons you should be eating more salad!!
1. Salad Cleans the Digestive Tract: Green veggies like salad provide digestive enzymes that help cleanse the digestive tract of insufficiently digested foods and toxicities. Why is that important? The liver’s main job is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. So wouldn’t it make sense to pre-clean the digestive tract before the blood running through it gets to the liver? This makes the liver’s job much easier. Running your body on little to no salad is like running your car without an oil filter. With all that grime sitting in the engine, things just won’t run properly, same concept applies with the body!!
2. Get Your RDA of Vitamins and Minerals With a Salad: If you want to know what your daily intake of vitamins and minerals should be to stay healthy, turn to the RDA, or recommended dietary allowance. Even salads composed from a few simple ingredients make a nutrient-rich meal. Many salad ingredients contain vitamin C and vitamin A in the form of antioxidant carotenoids. In addition to 7 milligrams of vitamin C, 1 cup of spinach has 93 percent and green leaf lettuce has 88 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. Vegetables that have a better mix of both antioxidants include red peppers, tomatoes and broccoli so don’t forget to add these healthy vegetables to your salad!
3. Salad and Leafy Greens are Negative Calorie Foods!! Yes, you read that right. A negative calorie food is a food that requires more energy from the body digest than the food itself provides. Its thermic effect or specific dynamic action, the caloric “cost” of digesting the food, is greater than its food energy content. Therefore, you can eat an overabundance of salad and never gain weight. However, that doesn’t mean you can consume an unlimited amount of salad dressing. Be cautious with what you put on top of your salad. Creamy, high fat, and dressings loaded with sugar will definitely destroy that healthy negative calorie food making a double bacon cheeseburger the healthier choice!
There you have it, consuming more salad can significantly increase your intake of vitamins and minerals, providing more of the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and live a healthier lifestyle. Adding more salad to your diet can help you lose weight, maintain a healthy weight and assist in developing a better physique. For more information on negative calorie foods, looking for a meal plan that is specifically designed for your personal needs or if you’re frustrated with your current level of fitness and looking to hire a personal trainer, contact us.
Looking To Build A Bigger, Stronger Chest?
Throughout my many years in the fitness industry, I have taken numerous personal training clients through chest workouts that have resulted in a stronger, more muscular chest. Working the chest muscles with a variety of exercises and angles is the best approach. Your chest is composed of two muscle groups: the large pectoralis major, and the smaller pectoralis minor underneath. The pec major is responsible for two major functions, bringing the humerus to the center line of the body(adduction), and turning the humerus in an arm-wrestling motion (internal rotation). The pec minor has one major function, which is to stabilize the scapula. There are four exercises that I often use strategically to add resistance to the pecs: the bench press, dumbbell press, dumbbell fly and cable crossover.
Bench Press: Remove the bar from the racks and tighten up the muscles of your abdominals. Begin lowering the bar under complete control to a point at the bottom of your sternum. Inhale as you lower the bar while it descends to your chest. Keep your feet firmly planted on the floor and exhale and contract your chest in order to push the weight up back to the starting position. This is one rep.
Dumbbell Press: Lie down on an incline or flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand resting on top of your thighs. The palms of your hands will be facing each other. Using your thighs to help raise the dumbbells up, lift the dumbbells one at a time and bring them each down to rest on your chest. As you breathe out, contract your pecs and internally rotate your hands to push the dumbbells up. At the top of the movement contract your chest and hold for a second, then begin coming down slowly. Continue you with the desired number of reps.
Dumbbell Fly: Hold the dumbbells over your chest turning your palms to face each other. Using a wide arc from the shoulders, lower your arms with elbows slightly bent until you feel a good stretch across the chest. Pause and contract the pecs against the extra resistance that the dumbbbells provide at the bottom range. Tense your pecs as you bring your arms back up in a wide hugging motion. Continue in this manner for the desired number of reps.
Cable Crossover: grab the cable handles and move into a staggered stance with one foot forward and one foot back. With slightly bent arms, contract the pecs in order to bring the handles down in an arching motion to the front centerline of your body while rotating your palms inward; hold the contraction in the center. Open your arms back and up until you feel a good stretch across the pecs. This is one rep.
There is more to working out than just lifting the weight. To get maximum results from your workouts, you must make the muscles work and engage the muscles you’re working. For more information on building a chest and increasing muscle mass, improving your physique, or if you’re frustrated with your current level of fitness and looking to hire a personal trainer, contact us.
#1 Best Food to Burn Belly Fat!!!
How do I burn the fat from around my waist? What foods should I eat? Sound familiar? Well today, I’m gonna answer that million dollar question of what food you need to be eating in order to burn that stubborn fat off your belly! I preach to my personal training clients all the time that it’s not the foods you eat that make you fat, but the hormones that are released from the foods that make you fat. Let’s look at some foods and see if you can guess which one is the best for fat burning.
Let’s look at apples. Could apples be the best food to burn fat?? Apples are good sources of quick energy. They would be considered simple carbohydrates. Your body needs carbohydrates, both simple and complex, even if some of the fad diets tell you otherwise. Carb consumption becomes even more important if you’re performing intense exercise. Without carbohydrates, your body will begin to break down your muscle tissue to fuel your body, which will sabotage your efforts. However, carbohydrates are not the #1 food to banish belly fat!
Eat More Veggies To Make Belly Fat Vanish?? All to often the assumption is made that higher-fiber foods like vegetables will displace the less healthy foods, and that’s a mechanism to lose weight. Such effects will not be evident by simply adding more vegetables to your diet. Yes, vegetables are full of fiber, which is a necessity to keep our digestive system working smoothly, but they are not the #1 food to banish belly fat!
Eat More Fat To Lose Belly Fat?? Many people avoid nuts like almonds when they want to lose weight, thinking they are too high in calories or fat. However, nuts are little powerhouses of nutrition and getting a good variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients into your diet is precisely what is needed to help diminish those cravings! Almonds are a great source of heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids that provide high levels of satiety. They contain good levels of minerals such as manganese, copper and magnesium as well as B vitamins like riboflavin, niacin and biotin. Even though almonds provide many health benefits, those little powerhouses are not the #1 food to banish belly fat!
Eat More Protein to Lose Belly Fat?? Yes Protein!! Protein rich foods are the #1 foods to burn belly fat. The consumption of protein rich foods triggers the release of two fat burning hormones, growth hormone and glucagon. I’m sure many of you have heard of growth hormone because of all of its rejuvenating and fat burning qualities, but glucagon is not often talked about. Glucagon is the sister hormone to insulin. They work synergistically, and since insulin is released by the pancreas when blood sugar is high, glucagon is released by the pancreas when blood sugars are low.
Bottom Line: Protein is definitely the key nutrient to help banish that belly fat and improve your physique! There are many high-protein foods you can incorporate in to your diet to boost your protein intake. For a meal plan that is designed specifically for you and your fitness goals, or if you’re looking to improve your physique and thinking about hiring a personal trainer, contact us.
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