Lift to fight another day

If you go to any gym, you’ll generally see two types of people. There are those who are simply going through the motions, and then there are those who are beating the crap out of themselves to make up for lost time. In the first group are those who are basically watching TV on the treadmill or standing around on their phone in between every set on the machines. These are the same people you usually see …

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Is casein worth the trouble?

Is casein worth the trouble?

If whey protein powder is so great, why do so many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts insist on having a casein protein shake before bed? I’ll admit that I am as guilty of this as anyone else because for years I choked down blenders full of crappy tasting casein protein powder before bed because that’s what I was told to do by all of the books, magazines, and online fitness gurus. So what is it about casein that …

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Do I really need to squat?

When you start lifting weights, you often hear a lot of the same advice over and over again… “If you want bigger arms, you have to squat.”“Squats build your entire body, not just your legs.”“If you don’t squat, you are just lazy, weak, not serious, etc…” Then they usually go on about some magical surge of hormones and muscle building chemicals that will somehow only be released if you back squat X amount of times a week. …

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Is stretching before a workout bad?

I think most of us can remember standing in our high school gym class, going through a series of obligatory stretches as we warmed up before class. Our athletic coaches told us that stretching before a game not only warmed up our muscles but helped to prevent injuries as well. So then what’s the problem? A little information can be a dangerous thing Over the last several years, however, a lot of coaches and parents have seen …

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Are fitness trackers worth the trouble?

Are fitness trackers worth the trouble?

In this age of fitness trackers and smartwatches, it has become fashionable and tempting to log every step we take and keep track of how many calories we burn, but is this really the best way to reach our goals, and how accurate are these high-tech gizmos anyway? Today it has become easier than ever to log, track, and calculate pretty much every aspect of our fitness life from the food that we eat, to the miles …

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Why is everyone talking about collagen?

Although the popularity of collagen has exploded over the last few years, most people I talk with are still not sure what it is and why we should (or should not) be taking it. What exactly is collagen? Collagen is a structural protein that is found in our skin, bones, cartilage, hair, tendons, and ligaments. It amounts to 25–35% of total protein in mammals, which makes it the most abundant protein in our bodies. In fact, 70% …

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Is ibuprofen bad for muscle growth?

Aches and pains  After a hard workout, many of us automatically reach for a bottle of ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or similar pain reliever to relieve the muscle soreness that we know that we’re going to be feeling the next day. In fact, it has been estimated that over 6 million people in the United States consume these types of pain-relieving drugs every day.   The dark side of Vitamin I So what’s the big deal? Why should we hesitate …

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Do shorter rest periods lead to bigger muscles?

Female athlete taking rest after exercising at gym

Bodybuilding tradition says that shorter rest periods elevate metabolic stress which leads to bigger muscles, but is this really true? Metabolic stress is when the metabolic waste products such as lactate and a lowered pH that accumulate faster in your muscles than your body can deal with them. This is what produces the familiar “burning” sensation in your muscles during the last few reps of your set when you are lifting weights. The theory is that the …

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Why Bodyweight Exercises Aren’t for Everyone

There seems to be this idea out there in the online fitness community that bodyweight exercises or calisthenics are a great way for beginners to get started in the wonderful world of fitness. The seduction of bodyweight exercises And when you think about it, it all makes sense. After all, bodyweight exercises are…. Cheap (no gym membership needed) Easy to get started (little or no equipment required) Involve functional movements (you are controlling and moving your own …

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Does ab training increase your waist size?

Does anyone else find it a little weird that we lift weights to make our muscles bigger and stronger, but we do ab exercises hoping to make our waist look smaller? How do ab workouts make your stomach smaller if exercising these muscles makes them bigger? It’s no wonder that so many of us are confused and not seeing the results we’re looking for in the gym. Push, pop, and pump When it comes to our muscles, …

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Is it good to take a break from working out?

Many of us freak out when it comes to the idea of taking a break from the gym.  I frequently see people on vacation busting their ass in some crappy hotel gym because they are terrified that if they take a break, they’re going to lose not only their motivation to workout, but also whatever gains they have made in the gym. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I still get a little anxious if …

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What are BCAAs good for?

What are BCAAs good for?

The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are composed of three amino acids that the body cannot make itself and needs to acquire from the food that we eat. These three essential amino acids are Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. These three branched-chain amino acids are particularly important to those of us who are interested in building bigger and stronger muscles in the gym. In order to understand why this is, we have to first understand that our bodies are …

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To Run or Not to Run

To Run or Not to Run

When we think of exercise, many of us think about running. Part of the reason for this is that it’s simple, doesn’t need any fancy equipment, we can do it almost anywhere, and we all know (or at least think we know) how to run.* *Unfortunately, most of us are doing it wrong. This may help to partially explain the unusually high injury rate. It turns out that proper running technique is not as intuitive as you …

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Does it matter what time of day you workout?

does it matter what time of day you workout?

When most of us go to the gym, we focus on what exercises we should do, how much weight we should be lifting, and maybe even how long we should be resting in between sets. What I doubt too many of us think much about is whether or not the time of day we go to the gym has any real effect on our results.  Work and life schedule Let’s face it. Most of us go to …

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Why you shouldn’t do cardio and weights in the same​ workout

Cardio or Strength Training

Cardio or strength training? Do we really have to choose between them? We have been told that cardiovascular exercise is good for us, and strength training is good for us. However, research has indicated that these two types of workouts may not be so good for us together. Let’s face it. We want to have it all. Most of us want to have a flat stomach and rippling muscles, but we also want a healthy heart as …

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Is exercise ball training worth it?

Is exercise ball training worth it?

I cringe a little every time I see people in the gym lifting weights while sitting on a Swiss ball or doing squats balancing on a wobble board. If you are not already familiar with them, exercise (or Swiss) balls, Dyna Discs, wobble boards, and BOSU balls are all types of instability devices that have been borrowed from physical therapists who use them to help their patients regain their strength and mobility as they recover from injuries.  …

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Is barefoot training right for you?

The tyranny of comfort These days there seems to be a arms race from athletic shoe companies as to who can pack the most cushioning into their shoes. While this type of artificial cushioning and comfort may be useful for runners, who log hundreds of miles on unforgiving pavement it is probably a little bit of overkill for the rest of us. Especially when it comes to working out at the gym. Part of the problem with …

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