GymBug

I've caught it. Fortunately, it's not treatable.

Archive for the tag “weights”

The scales

Hi there!

This won’t be a long post but hopefully help some people who, like me, tie too much relevance to the a number on the scales!

I decided to weight myself everyday I worked out for a week to see the fluctuations. I weighed myself directly after my workout! Here are the results;

Tuesday 54.4kg
Wednesday 54.6kg
Thursday 54.2kg
Friday 54.5kg
Saturday 54.6kg
Sunday 54.5kg

As you can see my weight never stayed steady, nor did it continuously increase or decrease. I went up and down throughout the week. These numbers were from last week and today I weighed in at 54.7kg (I usually weigh myself every Friday whilst I’m putting on weight, to make sure I don’t lose anymore). The key thing to notice here is that the scales aren’t everything! If you are looking to lose weight, then use the scales occassionally to ensure you’re staying on track but don’t use only the scales.
Take measurements of your waist, thighs, chest etc. These will be a better indicator if whether you’re shifting any excess fat whilst maintaining muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat so the numbers on the scales won’t give you any form of decent indication as to your overall health when you get to a point were muscle mass becomes more important than your fat.

Also, don’t just rely on measurements and numbers. Set performance goals like running a 5k in 30 minutes, squatting x amount of kilos, completing a Tough Mudder. All of these little goals can not only help you see improvement but can help keep you motivated.

Scales are inherently unrealiable and can make us feel rubbish!

Have an absolute blast this weekend guys, hope the weather is as nice as it is here in Madrid!

Gym Bug

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I’m trying something new!

Hi there!

So I’ve decided to mix up my gym routine completely in an attempt to tone up more and put on more muscle mass. I’ve decided to now have “body part days” in the following format;

Day 1; leg and bum day
Day 2; arm, back and shoulder day
Day 3; cardio

I will then repeat this process again to maintain my usual 6 days a week at the gym!

I decided it was time to change up my routine and doing 3 days of cardio was seeing me not gain enough muscle mass (I was losing weight, didn’t want that). Mixing up also means more motivation as I’m not stuck doing the same again.

I shall keep any readers updated on how I think it’s going! First time I focus so much on my weight lifting!

Gym Bug

Heavy v Light; Which weight wins?

Hi there!

Today was weights day and it’s not been an excellent week in terms of recovery and my ability to push myself (I’m sure there may be others who experience this from time to time) and when I was doing my weights training I started thinking about the debate of what’s better; heavy weights, fewer repetitions or light weights, more repetitions?

The common thread for this debate really divides women and men in terms of how they lift. Men will pump iron using the heaviest (and sometimes more) weights they can lift, where as women will opt for the lower weight and more repetitions to avoid ‘getting bulky’. Firstly, this myth needs dispelled, lifting won’t make women super bulky on its own, we simply do not have enough testosterone to bulk like men.

In order to get long, lean muscles you need to reduce fat. Lifting heavier weights will increase muscle mass compared to fat in the body, which will boost your metabolism and lead to an even faster fat loss. So lifting heavy can help women because toned and lean because it helps burn fat.
However, some studies, as summarised in Huffington Post, states that you can do either type of weight training and essentially see the same results! Which means you can go for your heavy (85-90% of your max weight) for 8-10 reps or go light (40-50% of your max weight) for 10-15 reps and still see similar results by the end of a set period! Womenshealth Mag and Building Muscle 101 also discuss this and argue the same.

What they also say however is that you must lift heavy enough to cause muscle fatigue. If you do bicep curls for 30 reps and there’s no burn or exertion required you’re lifting too light and you won’t see a difference. There needs to be some form of muscle fatigue occuring. You also need to be improving week on week to see a difference. For example, when I started at this gym here in Madrid, I was using the bicep curl at 10 x 15kg, I’m now at 10 x 25kg. That has taken me roughly 9 weeks of 3 weights sessions a week, but I progressed. Sometimes, I would only be able to increase the weight by one set, then drop it for the final two, but I increased it when I could. This is key to see improvement and toning. Hoever, you can improve using other methods too;

  • Lift the same weight but with more repetitions within the same time frame and rest times
  • Go for the same amount of repetitions but a heavier weight using the same rest period (but you can extend the overall time taken)
  • Lift the same weight with the same repetitions but reduce the time frame and rest times

I would recommend mixing these up to prevent it getting boring. It’s a good way also to challenge yourself. You won’t see change if you don’t face challenge.

Something els you can do is mix up your workouts between heavy sessions and light sessions. For one week, do a heavy weight session, lifting between 70-90% of your max weight for 8-10 reps. Then the following week reduce it to a light week, lifting 50-70% of your max weight for 10-15 reps. Again, this may help prevent repetitive strain, plateuing and down right boring-ness from creeping in to the workout. Also, studies have found it won’t affect your long-term gains! Win-win.

As always, watch technique. Lifting weights can incur serious injuries if done incorrectly. If you’re lifting and something hurts beyond the usual muscle burn stop immediately and try figure out why. Technique is key to avoiding injury here, don’t push it and do not use something you don’t know the technique for. This is especially true for free-weights.

Overall, I’m pleased I discovered this researchbecause my main struggle in the gym is accepting lifting lighter than last session or not doing a HIIT cardio everytime. I will elaborate in another post about the benefits of not doing HIIT every session. However, now armed with knowledge that if I need to drop the weight (for whatever reason) then I can increase the repetitions and I won’t be compromising my overall long term goals of lean, toned muscle mass.

Also, you may experience ‘bad workouts’. Remember, any workout is better than no workout at all!

Gym Bug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bodyweight Workout

Hi there!

So, a few days ago I posted about my weights sessions in the gym, using controlled resistance training machines (find it here) and I mentioned I would do a bodyweight post for those who don’t have access to resistance training, or like to mix it up!

For exercises that don’t aren’t easy to explain, I’ve found some YouTube videos. Please note any of the YouTube content I put on here is not my own material and I have no desire to infringe on copyright. The videos are property of the uploaders, unless otherwise stated.

Okay, so here we go with a No Excuse Bodyweight Workout; The idea behind this one is that each set works each major muscle group (arms, shoulders,  back, legs, abs), you do a set, take a rest (aim for no more than 2 minutes) then move onto the next. You can then repeat as many times as you can (rest between complete circuits should be no more than 4 minutes, if possible)

Warm-Up
Whatever you prefer hear just to get your muscles awakened and blood flowing. Dynamic stretching or a quick 5-minute jog is great.

Set 1
10 x push ups
10 x mountain climbers
10 x tricep dips
15 x bodyweight squats
30-second Superman 

Set 2
10 x Pike push ups
1
0 x reverse crunches
10 x bench dips (like a tricep dip, but use a chair and drop below the seated part, and squeeze back up)
15 x lunges (each leg)
10 x chin raises (lay in Superman position, place chin on your hands and lift your chin off the ground)

Set 3
Choose an exercise for each body part from Set 1 or Set 2 and add 5 reps to it (or add 10 seconds)

Set 4 (Optional Abs extra, do this once at the end/beginning)
15-second side plank (each side)
30-second plank
10 x flutter kicks
10 x bicycle crunches
15 x leg raises (lie on your back, legs up, lower legs to the floor slowly, bring back up)

Cool-Down
Make sure you do a good stretch session. Target each muscle area that you targetted with the workout, or foam roll if you’ve got access to one!

Feel free to leave any comments (appropriate, please) and anything you would change/add to make your workout better!

Have a great weekend! Keep those goals in mind!

Gym Bug

 

 

Weights in a workout

Hi there!

So, about 1 year ago I went to the gym with my older sister (who will be doing a special post about Cross Fit soon). It was Christmas holidays at the time and I had returned a little bit on the lighter side. I had just started rowing and the competition was intense, and it saw many weekly weigh ins and “weight adjusted times”, essentially my worst nightmare. I watched my weight plummet from a healthy 64kg to 54kg in a shocking space of time. I was in trouble from my family. I wasn’t “underweight” but I wasn’t a healthy weight either. The speed of the weight loss was also a negative factor. I didn’t look good; I had no curves, was a bit drawn, pale, tired, boney, etc. It wasn’t good, I turned it around it though when my sister introduced to me to weight lifting.
Now, initially I thought “But I don’t want to get super muscly”, I can’t even believe I’d thought it, it was a silly thought. My sister promptly put me right as well.
The issue is that I will not be the only one who thought that and people will still think it today. Something everyone should understand is weight lifting will NOT make you look like a body builder unless you force it to. Body builders take things to induce that kind of muscle definition.

Studies have shown that by just introducing 2 weight lifting sessions into your workout can vastly improve metabolic rate. Why? Because muscle burns more calories than fat! You can get toned, lean muscles with burns more calories than fat, so you get increased metabolism and a healthier physique.

Now, when I say weight lifting, I don’t necessarily mean pumping iron with the big boys who are huffing and puffing with their giant olympic bars. You can use the controlled weights (which I do). You also don’t need to lift excessively heavy. Here’s one of my weight lifting sessions as an example;
Note; 3 sets 12 x 20kg = 3 sets of 12 repetitions at 20kg)

  • Seated Cable Row (Upper back); 3 sets of 12 x 20kg
  • Leg Press (Thighs, glutes, calves); 3 sets 10 x 100kg
  • Easy Delts Pull Ups (Centre back, biceps, shoulders); 3 sets 12 x 30kg
    (It’s an assisted pull ups machine, you select a ‘supporting’ weight, so I’m supported by 25kg, so I’m pulling 35kg of my own body weight)
  • Calf Rotations (Calves); 3 sets 15 x 40kg
  • Easy Delts Tricep Dips (Triceps, chest); 3 sets 12 x 35kg
    (Here I use the same machine as pull ups but I’m going down, in a tricep dip motion)
  • Lower back (Lower back); 3 sets 15 x 1kg
  • Shoulder press (Shoulders(; 3 sets 15 x 15kg
  • Plank (Core); 3 sets 15 seconds
  • Bicep curls; 3 sets 12 x 20kg
  • Oblique crunch with kettlebell (Obliques); 6 sets 15 x 16kg (3 sets each side)
  • Arm extension (Triceps); 3 sets 12 x 40kg
  • Reverse crunch (Lower abdominals); 3 sets 15 reps
  • Chest press (Chest, shoulders, triceps); 3 sets 12 x 20kg
  • Bicycle crunches (Abdominals); 3 sets 15 reps
  • Lat Machine (Lats, or the muscle around your ribs, back); 3 sets 10 x 35kg

This kind of workout takes me roughly 45 minutes to 1 hour. Make sure to stretch after!

Now, I used lift free weights; squatting, deadlifting, bent over rows, cable flys etc but I stopped once I got injured and have found that I save time by using the controlled weights. Time I need to save to fit in studying and things, but body weight or free weights are great ways of developing strong, lean muscles too. A key thing to be aware of with controlled weights however is that you don’t plateau. You’ve got to move out your comfort zone and increase the weights to see a difference and improve toning!

As always though, if you’re unsure about anything ask instructors and trainers. It can be very dangerous if you start lifting without proper technique, even using the controlled weights. If it’s your first time, don’t go for what you think you can lift, go a couple of kilos below that, make sure you’ve nailed the technique, then focus on lifting more. Practice makes perfect.

If you become super serious about weight training and do it often, also make sure you’re packing the protein to maintain muscles and aid recovery. I currently use My Protein Chocolate Smooth Impact Whey. It comes in a fantastic range of flavours and students get 10% if they go through My Student Beans and have an active University account.

So that’s it! Weights are a great way to mix up a workout as well. I alternate between a cardio day and a weights day to keeps things interesting. Tomorrow will be a weights day for example. It breaks up the monotony of cardio, and since doing solid cardio got me in trouble last year it has helped me put on weight. However, I’ll admit I’ve lost too much again, but I’m working on sorting that. Packing my protein and healthy fats!

I’ll make sure to do a post about body weight exercises soo for those who don’t use a gym.

Have a great week everyone!

Gym Bug

P.S Any machines names you didn’t know, check out Technogyms list of products to see photos, my gym (and many, many others) stock their products, so it’s likely you’ll have access to similar machines at your gym.

Monday Mayhem-Don’t Miss Out

Hi there!

So it’s Monday (boooooo), which means you’re returning to work, school, some form of unenjoyable activity perhaps? Maybe you’ve had an exciting weekend involving booze, too much food? Maybe it was super boring and you’re excited to have something to do? Either way, it’s the beginning of a new week and the one thing you shouldn’t do? Miss a Monday workout!

Why? Personally, I feel it sets me up for the week. Gets me on the right path for the rest of week workout and eating wise. My Monday’s consist of an early morning cardio workout (I shall explain in a minute) followed by Uni work and class. It helps me establish my weekly routine again after the weekend and gets me motivated!

So, I thought I’d share my workout, in terms of my experience with it, it’s relatively new. I started doing it a few weeks ago because I found the monotonous 45-minute bike or treadmill session unbearable, plus its get in super-fit-heartpumping HIIT in there too!

So here it is;

ABS for around 10 minutes

Set 1; 5 minute warm up on the elliptical maintaining 140-150 rpm

Set 2; 15-minute treadmil session (HIIT)
1 minute recovery speed (10.5km per hour)
1 minute incline (6%) at hard pace (13.5km per hour)
Repeat
1 minute recovery speed (10.5km)
1 minute uphill climb (incline 11.5%)
Repeat
1 minute recovery speed (10.5km)
1 minute sprint (16.5km)
Repeat
1 minute recovery speed (10.5km)
1 minute of any of the three options above
1 minute recovery speed (10.5km)

Set 3; 10 minute HIIT bike
1 minute off
2 minutes on
*Use any technique in here to get your heartrate up. Mix it up with sprints and hill climbs.

Set 4; 5 minute elliptical session (140-150 rpm)

Set 5; 10 minute HIIT bike

RECOVER AND STRETCH

Make sure you cool down correctly and do some stretching. Flexibility is really important and can help prevent injuries!

I will do a post later on about different ways of getting your heart rate up whilst using the bike. It looks like a lot but this whole workout takes me an hour (45 minute cardio, plus 15 minutes (+/-) abs and stretching).
Typically, I grab a banana before I hit the gym then refuel with porridge when I get back! My days are varied but I always eat something before and after hitting the gym.

Tomorrow it’s weights day! For me, an exercise week consists of 3 cardio sessions and 3 weights sessions, with Sunday off. A rest day is important, don’t forget that!

I can’t promise I’ll post everyday but I have ideas for posts that I want to do so watch this space!

And remember, “perfect” is subjective, get happy, get healthy, don’t let others opinions get in your way.

Gym Bug

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