Go to Gym Regularly

Go to Gym Regularly
28 Sep

If you’re anything like me working out makes you feel energized and clear-minded, but actually gathering enough motivation to go can be difficult. While it isn’t so bad in the summer months, I find it extremely difficult to make it to the gym on cold winter mornings when I know it’s well below zero outside.

When I manage to drag myself to the gym in the evenings I usually feel exhausted from work, and more often than not I’d rather just go home, watch some TV and go to bed.

When I don’t workout though, I always regret it. Here are some tips I’ve found that keep me motivated.

1. Remove invisible barriers

As I mentioned, it can be difficult to drag yourself out of bed and go to the gym on cold winter mornings. One reason for this is that cold weather makes getting out of bed unpleasant, creating an invisible barrier that prevents you from getting to the gym.

Identify the series of steps required to get you to the gym and systematically remove the barriers for accomplishing them one at a time. For instance, if getting out of bed is difficult because of the cold, lay out your gym clothes the night before so you can bundle up straight away and make getting out of the house less painful. Alternatively you can try a Teasmaid or coffee alarm clock.

If you also need to bring a lunch with you, make sure to pack it the night before as well so you don’t have to spend time thinking about what you’ll eat in the morning. Finding simple ways to remove invisible barriers can make it far easier to get to the gym on a regular basis.

2. Get a gym buddy

When I first joined the gym, I signed up at the same time as my brother. We both joined for a period of three months (the minimum membership length at our local gym) and would meet each other most days after work.

This worked out well. We rarely missed a day, largely because we enjoyed each other’s company and saw it as an opportunity to chat. But after the initial three months my brother didn’t renew his membership, which unfortunately left me without a gym buddy. That’s when I got lazy.

To regain my motivation I convinced a friend to sign up and (almost instantly) I couldn’t wait to get started again. A gym buddy not only makes the workouts more fun, but also keeps you accountable.

3. Join a gym you like

The gym I originally joined was fantastic. It had lots of equipment, a swimming pool, sauna and was generally a nice place to be. Not surprisingly, it was quite expensive.

To save money I decided to give another gym a shot. It was around half the price, but offered less equipment and didn’t have a swimming pool. I love to swim, but I thought the lack of a swimming pool was a small sacrifice considering the huge savings.

I hated not having access to a pool. I also hated the lack of air conditioning, the locker shortage and the broken showers. It was a place I didn’t want to be and thus, I stopped going.

Ironically, even the low cost of the gym decreased my motivation further. With the more expensive gym I felt I had to go, otherwise I’d be throwing money away every month. My new gym was so cheap I didn’t really care. Of course, this meant I was throwing money away too.

It’s worth it to join a gym you actually like and that offers the facilities you need if it keeps you motivated to go, even if it’s a little more costly than the alternatives.

4. Track your progress

Nothing kills motivation like going to the gym for months on end and feeling as though you’re getting nowhere. Chances are that you are making progress, but it can be difficult to notice if the process is gradual. This is why tracking is so important.

Keep track of your progress by weighing yourself at the end of each week and keeping a record. I use a free online tracking tool such as MyFitnessPal for this as it makes the process much easier. It also plots your weight on a graph which gives you a visual representation of your progress over time. You can also get a wifi Withings scale or Fitbit Aria.

It’s good to track and measure your body fat percentage too. This allows you to make sure that you’re losing fat rather than muscle.

5. Don’t set overly-ambitious goals

When I joined the gym, my goal was to get a six pack. I thought I could do this in 2-3 months, but soon found out this was an overly-ambitious goal. By the end of those three months I was nowhere near reaching my goal. This made me discouraged and I lost motivation to keep going to the gym.

It’s important to set goals, but you need to make sure that they’re achievable and not overly-ambitious. If you set an achievable goal you’ll feel a huge sense of achievement when you reach it, which will have a positive impact on your motivation.

Set yourself another achievable goal when you reach your initial target, so you’re always working toward something.

6. Reward yourself

For those that like to exercise, this enjoyment offers enough motivation in itself to actually go to the gym. For those that don’t like to exercise it can feel as though you’re putting in a lot of effort without a clear reward, and it can be hard to stay motivated.

One way to combat this is by giving yourself a reward for regularly visiting the gym. It could be as simple as some relaxation time to yourself after each workout or a small indulgence at the end of the week if you reach your goal. Rewards reinforce habits, and once your gym routine is habitual it won’t require willpower.

Exercise is an essential part of your healthstyle, so understanding what motivates you to hit the gym is your key to success.

How do you stay motivated to keep working out?

Muscle Development Essentials

Muscle Development Essentials
28 Sep

When it comes to building muscle, there are numerous theories, methods, and preferences. Whether the goal is improved health, aesthetics, performance, or a combination of all three, there is no shortage of advice to help you get there. So much so that it can sometimes become overly complicated and you forget about the basic facts. But, it’s simpler than it seems.

Getting stronger isn’t just about what takes place in the gym, though that’s a key component. How you tackle the rest of your day and night, including sleep, goes a long way to determining how or if you build muscle. Read on for the 15 most facts about muscle building from how to eat, train, live, and more.

It Takes Protein

Protein is vital to have with every meal because it builds and maintains muscles. Aim for one gram of protein per pound of body weight a day — less active people need less — and that should be spread out over five or six small meals.

Don’t go overboard, though. Excess protein, especially from animal sources, has been linked to kidney stones.

It Also Takes Carbs

Protein will only be used to build muscle if you consume enough carbohydrate calories to provide your body with energy. Otherwise, your body will tap into the protein for that fuel. Carbs provide energy for muscle function and act as the fuel for the brain. Go with minimally processed carbs such as veggies, steel-cut oats, and quinoa.

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Looking for inspiration to transform your body? Look no further.
It Requires Frequent Eating

Eating five or six small meals a day keeps your body’s metabolism firing. If you don’t eat often, the most readily available substance for the body to consume is muscle—not fat. The body is resistant to fat loss and will turn to attacking lean muscle first. Keep plenty of fuel in the tank so muscle is not consumed.

Sleep Is Key

It’s difficult to build muscle without adequate sleep — seven hours a night, preferably eight. Sleep is when most of your hormones, such as growth hormone and testosterone, are released, allowing your body to recover and grow. Without adequate sleep, you’re sabotaging your efforts to build muscle.

The Foundation Is Important

Beach muscles and Olympic lifts draw more attention. But the many little stabilizer muscles around your shoulders, hips, and midsection — collectively the core — provide a strong foundation. Challenging the stability and mobility of these key muscles with medicine balls, physioballs, mini-bands, and rotational movements (lifting, chopping) pays huge dividends.

Routine Is The Enemy

Training at a consistent time of day is a great thing. But having a routine workout is not since the body quickly adapts. Constantly challenge yourself by adding different movements. When you do turn to a familiar exercise, aim for a personal best.

Our sedentary, technology-based culture has produced a population of hunched over people with tight hips and bad backs from too much sitting. Building muscle effectively is difficult without a properly functioning set of glutes. By learning to move through the hips and activate and fire your glutes, you’ll be well on your way to moving properly and building muscle efficiently and with less risk of injury.

Women Won’t Get ‘Too Bulky’

Contrary to popular belief, women won’t get overly muscular unless they take steroids or other harmful supplements. Women lack the testosterone needed to put on that type of muscle.

Timing Is Important

At the end of your workout, your body is screaming for nutrients. The sooner you refuel the tank, the quicker your body will recover and your muscles will grow. One simple strategy is to place in your gym bag a post-workout recovery mix and a shaker bottle that you can mix immediately following the workout.

So Is Getting Wet

Water sports such as swimming, surfing, and stand-up paddleboarding are great ways to build muscle. But however you train, drinking sufficient water is essential to building muscle. Drinking enough water before, during, and after exercise can increase performance up to 25 percent. Drink ½ to one ounce of water per pound of body weight per day to maintain hydration.

It’s Not Just About Lifting

You can build muscle from carrying logs, flipping tires, hauling jugs of water, paddling, navigating monkey bars and countless other ways. The best muscle-building exercises are those that mimic everyday movements. They’re also more fun and prepare you for obstacle races, if you’re so inclined.

Why spend your time on an isolated exercise like a bicep curl or leg extension when you can get much more benefit from movements that pull in more of the body? Think in terms of rotational, chopping, and swinging movements that provide much more range of motion.

It Takes Intensity

Smart phones produce dumb workouts. Don’t be the person in the gym playing with the phone for two minutes between sets. You’ll lose the focus and intensity required to build muscle. Better yet, don’t rest between sets. Superset with a pushing exercise, like a set of pushups followed immediately with a pulling exercise like a dumbbell row. You’ll produce better performance since the non-working muscles recover faster while their opposing muscles work.

It Takes (Active) Rest

The body recovers and muscles grow on off days. Rest is a good strategy but active rest promotes recovery. Rolling on a foam roller provides deep compression to roll out muscle spasms that develop over time. This allows the muscles to relax and loosen, gets the blood flowing, and helps the body recover more quickly.

It’s Never Too Late

We tend to lose muscle mass as we age, starting in our thirties and especially as we hit our fifties. That doesn’t mean we can’t slow down the process and retain what we have. Strength training is an effective way to retain mobility and independence into the latter years.

Tips to make Six Pack

Tips to make Six Pack
28 Sep

Sculpting a decent four-pack requires tenacity, but it’s carving out your lower abs to get a real six-pack that really takes some dedication. And not just in the gym.
“You can’t out-train a bad diet,” says Phil Learney, personal trainer at The Third Space gym in London.

Forget what you think you need to do to pack muscle on your midriff and combine Learney’s simple nutritional rules alongside his precisely calibrated workout routine to get great six-pack-figure definition in just four weeks.


Use Learney’s 10 simple nutritional tenets to supercharge your core musculature. “Employ these dietary changes and you’ll spark up your metabolic rate and get your mid-section functioning correctly,” he says. How to get a six-pack? It’s easier than you think.

1. Avoid refined and processed foods wherever possible.

2. Try to eat six times a day – around every three hours.

3. With every meal, use a portion of protein as your base. Think eggs, fish, chicken, and other lean meats.

4. Between meals snack on nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, or small bags of snap peas.

5. For breakfast and your second meal, make sure you get some starchy carbs – oatmeal, rye, or sprouted bread – and a piece of fruit.

6. For lunch, sweet or regular potato, brown rice and quinoa are all excellent options.

7. For your evening meal, try to get some veg – but avoid root veg and any starchy carbs.

8. Drink lots of water.

9. Every 10 days give yourself one cheat meal. It can be anything you want. This might seem strict, but if you’re trying to reveal your abs in just four weeks such gastronomic sacrifices are necessary.

10. Consume one of these post-workout shakes as soon as possible after your workout. Aim for around 40-50g carbs and 20-30g protein. “This stabilises your hormonal system to enable tissue regeneration and keeps blood sugar stable,” explains Learney.

The workout

Complete three circuits of the six exercises below four times a week (Learney suggests Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday or Saturday) for four weeks. On two of your non-workout days, complete 45 minutes of uphill treadmill walking (not running). Rest on Sunday.

Your total workout each day should last 45 minutes. Fill in any spare time you may have after completing the circuits with some uphill treadmill walking to complete a 45-minute slot. Keep your rest periods tight and focus on technique rather than speed.

1. Overhead bench squats
Why? “This exercise has a high metabolic output as multiple joints are used. It fires the midsection through stabilising the weight above the head while simultaneously lengthening the midsection.” How to get six pack abs? Compound movements are key.

How? With a suitably weighted bar held above your head, position yourself in front of a bench. Keeping the bar in line with the midline of the body sit back onto the bench, keeping your chest high and head up. The bar will want to move forward – as you sit back onto the bench try to move it further back. Stand and repeat.

Sets 3-4

Reps 20-30

Rest 30 seconds

Crank it up for weeks three and four Increase sets to 5-6, decrease rest to 0-15 seconds and make the bench an inch lower.

2. Prone knee to opposite elbow
Why? “This statically stabilises the midsection much like the plank but adds the element of internal hip rotation to work your obliques and mobilise your hip flexors.”

How? In a push-up position, rotate your right knee underneath your body to try and touch the opposite elbow. Keep your hips down and foot off the floor throughout. Repeat with your other leg. That’s one rep

Sets 3-4

Reps 10-15

Rest 30 seconds

Crank it up for weeks three and four Increase sets to 5-6, decrease rest to 0-15 seconds and perform an additional push-up every fifth rep.

3. Prone knee to outside same elbow
Why? See above.

How? In a push-up position, lift your right knee up towards your right elbow – trying to land it on the top of the elbow. Keep your hips down and foot off the floor throughout. Repeat with your other leg. That’s one rep.

Sets 3-4

Reps 10-15

Rest 30 seconds

Crank it up for weeks three and four Increase sets to 5-6, decrease rest to 0-15 seconds and perform an additional push-up every fifth rep.

4. Push-ups
Why? “These continue the static work on your midsection while working the pecs, deltoids and triceps, too.

How? Do as many standard push-ups as you can. If you’re seriously flagging, drop your knees to squeeze out some box push-ups for a set of 15.

Sets 3-4

Reps 15

Rest 30 seconds

Crank it up for weeks three and four More full push-ups. Less box push-ups.

5. Swiss ball hamstring curls
Why? “These fire the posterior chain and make the hamstrings and glutes work hard.”

How? Lie on your back with a Swiss ball positioned underneath the heels of your straight legs. Keep your hips up off the floor, stabilise with your glutes and curl your heels to your bum. Return and repeat.

Sets 3-4

Reps 10-15

Rest 30 seconds

Crank it up for weeks three and four Increase sets to 5-6, decrease rest to 0-15 seconds and return the ball to its starting position using only one leg.

6. Split lunge/Overhead press
Why? “Again, your midsection is fired through stabilising the weight above your head and the use of multiple joints means a high metabolic output.

How? Hold a dumbbell on each shoulder and set up a lunge position. Move your back knee to the floor in a forward lunge and as you reach the end of the movement press both dumbbells above your head.

Sets 3-4

Reps 10-15 seconds

Rest 30 seconds

Crank it up for weeks three and four Press the dumb-bells above your head before you begin the exercise. Then perform the lunge, keeping the weights above your head for the whole movement.

Uphill treadmill walking
Once you’ve completed three circuits of the previous six exercises, get on the treadmill until your total session time hits 45 minutes.

Why? “To burn additional fuel once your glycogen levels are depleted. Stopping at the 45-minute mark ensures you preserve the use of muscle tissue as fuel.

How? Set an incline for as hard a setting as you can manage and start walking. Do not run. “This workout has a lot of muscular stress around the lower limbs and the impact of running when these are fatigued is not good.”

Crank it up for weeks three and four Walk faster on an even steeper incline. Do it even if you only have a few minutes left in your designated 45.

Want more?
Finished your three circuits with more treadmill time than you’d like? Learney recommends throwing in some concertina crunches. Lying down with your arms behind your head, pull your elbows up to touch both knees. Then push your feet out and lengthen your torso until your legs are at full extension and elbows touching the floor above your head. Return and repeat. Aim for 5-6 sets of 15 reps with 0-15 seconds rest between sets.