Archive for the ‘Fitness Tips’ Category

We Are What We Lift

Stiff Legged Dead Lifts

Stiff Legged Dead Lifts

There are certain leg exercises which will help you to build muscular thighs and lower body. Thighs are the most powerful muscles of the body, hence they are also capable of great endurance. Therefore, training your legs is also very demanding. It is often observed many people often skip training their legs or do not give sufficient time and attention to it. The leg workouts for mass are those which train both the thigh muscles as well as the hamstring muscles. At the same time, they should also include calf exercises. It is important to understand that leg training is way more demanding than training other parts of the body.

Leg Exercises for building Mass

Before we go to leg workouts for mass, let us see a few leg and thigh exercises, which will help you in your endeavor.

Squats

Basic barbell squats is one of the best leg exercises for mass. However, it is important to perform the exercise properly to get the right results from this exercise. When you do the exercise, your toes need to be duck-toeing out about 20 degrees and your knees should be above your ankles.

Hack Squats

This exercise works the quadriceps. You do not have to do many number of sets, but the ones you do should be done in full controlled repetitions. If you suffer from knee problems,  you should not do this exercise. You should try machine assisted squats instead. The position of your feet should be the same, as mentioned in the previous exercise.

Stiff Legged Dead Lifts

This exercise is very taxing on your hamstring muscles, hence you will have to make sure you do not use very heavy weights, you may injure yourself. The distance between your feet should be shoulder width distance. When you do the exercise, your back should be straight and legs strong. Keeping your legs strong will protect your lower back. While doing the exercise, if you feel uncomfortable in your knees or your lower back, then you can bend your knees a little. Be mindful of the weight being used.

Calf Raises

If you want to build the most difficult muscles of the body, then you will have to make either sitting calf raises or standing calf raises a part of your leg workouts. It will help you to add inches to your calves and tone them.

Lunges

This exercise is a must for any leg workout be it for weight loss or for mass. It works the front of the thighs and the gluteal muscles. While doing this exercise, you will have to ensure, that the position of the knee (of the leading leg) when bent, is exactly above the ankle. Both your legs should be strong, when you do this exercise.

Leg Workout for building Mass

It is important to note that this is just an example workout. You will have to modify the workout as per your needs. At the same time, do not forget to warm up and stretch before the workout.

Sample Exercise

Barbell Squats (Set/Repetitions)

1/25
2 /12
3 /10
Hack Squats
1 / 12
2/ 10
Leg Press
1/ 15
2/ 12
Stiff Legged Dead Lift
1/ 20
2/ 12
Calf Raises
1/25
2/15
When you start working your legs, you will have to ensure you keep changing your leg workouts every 6 to 7 weeks, as the body gets used to the workout and desired results become a distant dream. Along with these exercises, you can also include some cardiovascular exercises, running and jogging, step aerobic exercises, etc. into your workout. They will also help in strengthening your legs. See you at the gym!

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Fabulous and Fit

Felicity

Hello, my name is Felicity and I’m about to transition out of my “Dirty 30’s” into the big 31. I still feel as vibrant as I was at 21 though. One thing that will never change is my personality and love for life! I am currently working as a Patient Care Coordinator full time setting up fertility orders for women all over the country who are trying to get pregnant. In the past I have worked as a pharmacy tech and my dream job would be to pursue entrepreneurship and have my own business. Something where I can work when I want, where I want, yet fulfill my creative needs. I am married – we have been together 11 years but married 3. I am a doggy mom of two rascals and I have two stepchildren that we never see. I am a socialite. I feel like I am always on the go. My motto is “I’ll rest when I die”. I’m usually bouncing from work, to the gym, to home, to spontaneous fun with friends. I enjoy talking, listening and just being around other people. My current obligation is first to my health, second to my marriage and third to my friends, family and spending as much time with them as possible. You should never take anything or anyone for granted.

I was a very active child. I cannot remember a time that I was stuck indoors being lazy for a long period of time. I was always out roaming the neighborhood and riding my bike with friends. I grew up with a swimming pool too, so I spent a lot of time pretending I was a mermaid! My mother also put me in jazz and gymnastics early on and I did that for many years. I started with somersaults and hand-stands and ended up doing no-handed cartwheels and front hand springs! I was very good at what I did and very flexible. Although I stayed fairly active – I was always “the bigger girl” around friends or in gym class. I didn’t like sports, mainly because I had stage fright and did not like to be “watched” while performing. So I was more active at home than I was in school. I was just not confident enough, so I shied away from “fitness activities” there.  I grew up on family foods, fast foods and there was no real structure as to what we couldn’t eat. My weight was always brought up during doctor visits and they always tried to give me ideas on how to slim down but I just got bigger over the years. Three years ago I lost 18 lbs and ended up getting pregnant. Unfortunately I miscarried 16 weeks in and haven’t been able to get pregnant since.  I really think that the way I changed my eating habits at that time played a major role in my being able to conceive and so I started my journey to fitness. Initially I wanted to get healthy and become pregnant again. It was only 10 months ago that I finally committed 100% and I am determined to stick it out.

I have never admitted that my weight has held me back in life – but now that I have lost some weight, I find that I have more energy and I’m feeling better about myself; I can finally admit to that. It did hold me back from doing things I have never done before; hiking, canoeing and other physical activities. I also find myself being even MORE social with friends/family when I go out. I don’t mind being in the spotlight as much, I get out on the dance floor and I have more confidence in front of strangers. This journey has also brought me and my husband closer together. I was eating better and exercising for about 5 months before he joined. Now that he’s joined (about 6 months ago) he has lost 40+ lbs! We spend more quality time together hitting the gym every day, taking the dogs for longer walks and cooking healthier meals. We share a new common interest which is rare for us because we are complete opposites.

My “before” pictures keep me motivated on a daily basis. I don’t like to say “after” yet because I am not at my goal. I see those pictures and think, “wow – was I really that big?” Cause at the time I still (for the most part) felt fabulous. But today I feel even MORE fabulous! I can pick clothes out from a regular store without having to go to plus size (went from buying a 3X shirt or pants to being able to squeeze on an XL) and when I look in the mirror I am not trying to hide away my muffin top or change my wardrobe three times in order to feel comfortable and confident. Also, I see other people’s transformations and I know that it’s not impossible. Anything I want, I can achieve with just dedication, hard work, and effort.

Just recently a friend told me, “Felicity you were never the FAT one, you were always the FUNNY one.” Which made me feel good cause I have beautiful friends. Talking drop dead gorgeous, nice bodies, high maintenance ladies and well groomed! And to be honest, I always felt like the “fatter” one among them. Having the same best friends for 15+ years now has helped to keep me going. Not only do I want to prove to myself that I can do this, I want to prove it to them. I wanna be able to walk into my best friend’s house and slip on a pair of her jeans. A few of them have joined along in effort to lose weight and tone up, some of them have been inspired by me to do it and everyone fully supports me! I joined Myfitnesspal.com and have currently logged over 300 days straight, counting calories and losing weight with online friends I’ve met. I also started a fan page on Facebook mostly to inspire others on their journey and to document mine as much as possible. In some ways I feel like a celebrity because I have so many people rooting for me, it’s lovely!

Eating out remains the hardest obstacle for me to overcome! I must say that making healthy choices during spontaneous moments can be hard. Especially after a long, busy day when we’re too tired to cook, so we decide to stop at a sub shop. Or if it’s during a party or cook out. I tend to tell myself “today I am going to make a better choice” then when that moment comes and I’m faced with either a salad or a sub – I choose the sub!! It’s almost like an addiction and making an irrational decision. After all is said and done and that moment passes… I regret it. But unlike before, I keep on moving forward now. I will not allow bad choices or small mistakes to deter me away from reaching my ultimate goal.

So far I have lost 43 lbs in less than a year. I’ve dropped over 20 inches through out my body. I have dropped 2 jeans sizes and 3 shirt sizes. My rings are now too big for my fingers and I have taken part in activities I never thought I would before, one which includes a 5k for Susan G Komen with co-workers! I can jog for at least 5 minutes straight without feeling like I might die and I built up endurance for all the cardio machines at the gym and I have earned a passion for weight training too! I normally hit the gym 3-5x per week. At first it was all cardio. I would do a mile on the treadmill, 3 miles on the bike, and a short time on the elliptical. Now I am in love with strength training. So I will spend 15-30 minutes doing free weights or machines. Then 30-60 minutes doing cardio. I have built up my endurance. So I am now able to not only walk on the treadmill but jog in intervals. I can last almost an hour on the elliptical and have recently built up 45 minutes on the Cybex (which is like the elliptical on the moon). I also try set goals and do one new “fitness” activity each month. Recently completing 8 weeks of an intense Bootcamp and this month doing a 5k. For supplements I just take a multi-vitamin and load up on whey protein.

Most mornings I have an iced coffee with a scoop of whey protein or just a whey protein shake made from almond milk. I’m trying to be better at eating every 2-3 hours to keep my metabolism up but because I work in a call center it can be hard. On the days I am home in the morning I try my best to eat breakfast which usually includes eggs and spinach! For snacks I eat fruit, cottage cheese, and nuts. I also love munching on apples & celery with peanut butter too! Lunch could be left overs from the night before or something small like fruit and yogurt or a garden salad. For dinner I eat a lot of raw veggies with chicken. Zone bars, pria bars, and luna bars are also a great meal replacement or post work out snack. I am very enthusiastic about meal planning for the week so I have a “Food Prep Sunday” where I cook and package my food for the next 4-5 days for easy access, it also helps me stay on track 100%.

Before I started this journey at 278 lbs I promised myself that I would lose 100 lbs and get down to 178 lbs. I started in May of 2012 and by December I had lost 33 lbs so at that time my New Year’s Resolution was to double that for 2013 and lose 66 lbs. Which would bring me down -99 lbs. total. I am currently down 43 lbs and look forward to what the rest of the year will bring me. Sometimes I feel like it’s a slow process, but its a work in progress and I am happy with that. Once I reach 178 I will then work on toning as much as possible and if I lose anymore I will stop when I am most comfortable and happy! It almost seems impossible to CHANGE; to make healthier choices and step outside of your comfort zone and exercise regularly. You just have to commit to and just do it! One of the biggest problems people face is screwing up. I want you to know that one bad choice or one bad day does NOT mean that you failed and you have to give up. Every meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner and EVERY day is a new chance to make a healthier choice and keep going! Put that bad choice in the past and move forward – if you give up then a year from now you will have to start over and you’ll wish you would of just kept going. Slow progress is better than no progress and eventually you WILL be where you want to be!

The numbers on the scale are not the most important. The non-scale victories (us in the weight loss world call them “NSV”) are what’s most important. When you reach a physical or mental goal; when you fit into an old pair of tight jeans;  you discover that it’s the little successes in life that make you most proud. When you compare your fat pics to your progress pics I promise you will see a difference and THAT will motivate you to continue. I just want every man or woman especially to know that it is NEVER too late to change.

Felicity

In the past year I have been lucky enough to network with people of all different ages and sizes that have been successful no matter what their circumstances, all it takes is just some effort, passion, and dedication!

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5 Common Reasons why you might not be Gaining at the Rate You Want To

struggling with fitness gain

1. What is Your Routine?

Although having a routine is an extremely important ingredient to achieving a goal, a routine can also be one of your biggest enemies. A general rule of thumb is to adjust your training every 4-6 weeks in order to avoid a plateau. This general rule of thumb is also one of the most misunderstood training principles. Try to keep the same routine (exercises, exercise order, sets, repetitions, rest periods) for approximately 4-6 weeks at a time. Adjusting your training following this phase could be as simple as adding in supersets or compound sets, changing the repetition ranges and/or the tempos of the working and relaxation phases of the lift. There are many variables that you can change to alter your workout enough to keep your body guessing and stimulate new adaptations. Here is the best example I can think of to help you understand how your body responds to exercise. Think about a child learning to walk. The child takes a step and falls to his knees, realizing that he fell forward, the child stands up, tries to take another step but falls on his bum. Now realizing he has fallen back, the child stands up, takes a step and stumbles to the left, only to fall on his bum again. The child then stands up, stumbles to the right, catches himself and then takes another step forward. What the child did through this process was learn from his mistakes! Your body does the same thing. As you exercise, your body is being broken down and forced to rebuild. If you continuously challenge the body with the same workouts, it will learn how to avoid breaking down and will not be forced to rebuild, hence why you hit a plateau. Changing your routine every 4-6 weeks can prevent this!

2. Are You Training for a Goal?

Probably one of the biggest mistakes that is made in training is that people do not train for a goal. Typically when we teach ourselves how to exercise we learn from those around us who “look” like they know what they are doing. What I encourage you to remember; what works for someone else will likely not work for you. You are very unique and different than almost every human being in this world. Do not fall into the trap of following a workout you see in a magazine or online. Yes, that workout might provide you what you need to make some gains, BUT you will be limited because a generic workout is not designed for your unique needs. In this case, you have two options, 1) seek the help of a professional or 2) educate yourself and learn about exercise prescription. Do not follow 90% of the gym population and let the weight determine how many repetitions and sets you do. Your training goal should determine the weight you lift. That is one piece of advice that is consistent for everyone!

3. How do you layout your week and your workout?

Most people (including me some weeks) take part in international chest day, which occurs on Monday of every week. Do not follow the same routine as everyone else. Design your weeks to train the largest muscle groups earlier in the week (Legs and Back) and then as the week goes on work towards the smaller muscle groups (Chest, Shoulders, Arms). Your workouts should be designed in the same fashion. Perform your most difficult lifts (Squats, Deadlifts, Lunges, Bent Over Rows, Pull-Ups, Overhead Presses, Bench Presses) earlier in your workouts and then the less complex movements (Leg Curls/Extensions, Chest Flys, Lateral and Front Shoulder Raises, Biceps Curls, Triceps Extensions) later in the workouts. This will allow you to focus on having more energy for your larger muscle groups and better technique while performing your more difficult movements at the start of the week and the beginning of the workout. You do not have to train one muscle group a day, be creative! You can group muscle areas together on one day or have full body days. In my experience I always like to start the week with Chest and Back, followed by Legs and Shoulders and then Core and Arms and then I cycle through this again in a 7-day period. Keep in mind that this is a very advanced week for an advanced lifter but it allows them to meet the guidelines for an advanced program. They are able to hit each muscle area 2-3 times in a 7-day cycle, it allows them 48-72 hours of rest before the same muscle group is exercised again and it allows for one rest day in the 7-day cycle. Again, I cannot stress enough that everyone is unique. Principles of training need to be adapted for every unique individual!

4. Are you performing the Exercises with Proper Technique?

One of my biggest pet peeves in any fitness facility is seeing people exercising just because they know it is the healthy thing to do. Not performing exercise with proper technique can be equally as dangerous in some cases as not exercising at all! You need to become a student of exercise, as there is a proper technique to all exercises. Some general reminders when performing all exercises are, 1) Keep the core tight. Pull your belly button in towards your spine. 2) Keep your chest up and make sure your shoulders are pulled down and back (emphasizing proper posture). 3) Work through a full range of motion and control the weight. You control the resistance; do not let the resistance control you. 4) Always try to avoid exercising with a flexed spine. Performing exercise with a flexed spine can be dangerous. 5) Breathe. Exhale on the working phase of the exercise and inhale on the relaxation phase. Lastly, ALWAYS remember that what you do to one side of your body, you must do to the other side of your body. Just because you cannot see your back, does not mean it should not be trained. Train all muscles of the body, not just the ones you see in the mirror. In fact, with the back muscles being some of the largest in the body, I recommend spending more time training your back muscles than most other muscles because they require a larger stimulus to grow and adapt.

5. Did you Consider All of The Dimensions of Fitness

Lastly, but not least, there are multiple dimensions of fitness. Resistance training is only one of them. The dimensions of fitness are strength, speed, agility, endurance and flexibility. Many people tend to ignore the heart and only spend time moving resistance however the heart is more important than the rest of the body because it is the main muscle that will feed the rest of your muscles. If your heart is not strong enough, the rest of your body will suffer. The other most underappreciated dimension of fitness is flexibility. Poor flexibility could be the reason you suffer from low back pain, headaches, sore neck and shoulders, sore knees or even sore feet. All of these things are directly related to your flexibility. Three days of your week should be spent working on your flexibility as it has a large impact on your quality of life. But remember; never stretch a cold muscle, as a cold muscle is susceptible to injury. Always warm-up and work through a comfortable range of motion. Yoga is an excellent method of improving your flexibility. If you are stretching on your own, to increase the length of a muscle, you generally need to hold a stretch for 30 seconds.

I know there is a lot to remember and a lot to learn. When I started out in health and fitness I felt the same way. Take things in stride. Do not look for overnight quick fixes. Make the commitment to a lifelong lifestyle change and you will not be disappointed. And lastly, never hesitate to ask questions. There are people like myself who have dedicated their life to helping others so please ask questions.

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I am here to help and I love meeting new people.

Remember – “If you do not make time for exercise now, be prepared to make time for illness later” ~ Jim Rohn

Fitness not only changed my life, it gave me direction and purpose.

Juan Carlos Flores – Fitness has not only changed my life, it gave me direction and purpose.

Who I am today

I have as of last week completed a two-year Health, Wellness and Fitness program at Mohawk College and I anticipate graduating in June with honors. My current interests consist of running and weightlifting, I have re-kindled my love for soccer and I continue to play regularly. My goals include taking up MMA as a hobby, and to eventually participate in a marathon.

I am currently employed as a Conditioning Coach with Core Fusion Athlete Development and Conditioning. My job as a Conditioning Coach is to assess my clients on an individual basis and then create and implement a periodized program according to their unique needs. Baselines are established in order to systematically monitor progress. As I mentioned earlier my availability has recently opened up, I am currently accepting new clients, teams and groups to train.

My Childhood and Sport

I grew up in Hamilton Ontario; I was quite active as a child always running around participating in whatever sport or activity I could. I remember taking swimming and diving lessons as a young child and I was actually a pretty good swimmer until one day while vacationing in Mexico I got caught in an undertow. That was it, I was scared of the water for a time and to be quite honest with you, I still don’t enjoy swimming as much as I did back then.

My parents didn’t really have the money growing up to enroll me in other sports but I played just about every sport in which my elementary school had a team. In high school I tried out for Jr. football and made the team but never actually played. The following year I decided to stick to soccer as I enjoyed it much more than football. I was not great, but good enough that I got to play. That year a wrestling team was introduced and thought, why not? To my surprise, I was a pretty good wrestler and won gold in just about every tournament I participated in. I remember winning City Championships and then placing second in the Golden Horseshoe Area Conference (GHAC). That was the end of sport for a very long time in my life.

A New Beginning

I cannot truthfully say I have always been passionate about fitness or active living. There was a dark time in my life in my early twenty’s where all I did was work and come home. I was the epitome of a sedentary individual, I did nothing but relax and enjoy “Good” food. I knew I wasn’t in the best of shape and people that I hadn’t seen for sometime would say to me “you look healthy” but they would stutter in the process. That was their way of saying you got fat in a polite manner. I stand 5’5, and at my worst I was approximately 190 pounds, I was borderline obese. I knew I had to change and that was the point that made me reconsider what I was doing and slowly I managed to change my life around. I became more active, and at times I was hitting the gym twice a day. I was addicted to the new me!

Fitness not only changed my life, it gave me direction and purpose. I like to believe it starts with our desire to look better, but fitness has contributed to so much more for me. In July of 2011 I found myself unemployed with no job in sight. I had received a nice severance pay and was uncertain of what to do with my life. I flirted with the idea of returning to school and I researched various courses of which I was interested in. I was accepted to a few programs but something inside me pushed me toward health and wellness. I accepted and started in September of that year, the last two years of my life have been nothing shy of extraordinary.

No End in Sight

I am by no means a big guy but I know that I have made strides in my physique and I have never felt better. I am stronger today then I was in previous years. I can run faster and greater distances than I could ever imagine. There is, and always will be room for improvement but I am by no means in any rush to get to the finish line, I believe this to be a life long process. What I do know for sure is that as I age, I will continue to be the very best that I can be.

In terms of mental and spiritual awareness, I have grown exponentially. Now more than ever I understand and value the importance of mental and spiritual wellness and it’s effect on health and longevity. I have come to realize that your mental state makes up a great part of everything you do because there will always be struggles. I have seen my fair share of setbacks, but those that know me well will tell you that I always have a big smile on my face. I believe that if you maintain a positive attitude and carry a positive outlook, the world is a better place. I realize it is not a perfect world, but the truth is that the power to make it better starts with you, and that is exactly how you need to approach everyday.

I strongly believe that I do what I do because I am never truly satisfied with where I am. I am happy with what I have accomplished and where it has taken me, however I will always strive to be better. It is my opinion that if we become satisfied with where we are, something inside of us has already died. I want to live the rest of my life knowing I couldn’t have done any better, the only thing that drives me, is me.

My Strength

I have been blessed with a really amazing family and must admit that I would not be in the position that I am now without them. I grew up with my aunt, uncle, grandfather and sister. To me they are the fantastic four, they have never lost faith in my abilities, even when I was uncertain of myself. I am eternally grateful to them because they seen in me what I have become, long before I could even fathom it. I couldn’t have done it without them, and I love them to pieces.

My professors at Mohawk College have done a tremendous job of mentoring and molding me into the professional I aspire to be. As a Conditioning Coach with Core Fusion I have been very fortunate to work with some amazing people who have guided me throughout my tenure as a student and coach. Thank you Nick, Chantal, Mark, Kim, Chris, Danielle, Sarah and Bryan.

I have been privileged enough since the summer of 2012 to be writing for Lifestyle & Strength. Matt is the website administrator and has been very supportive of me since I met him last year. I believe he has definitely influenced my growth as person. Furthermore he has fortified my passion for fitness and helped me find a way to reach people through his website, thank you Matt.

Do I Take The Red or Blue Pill?

I think when I first started on my journey the lack of knowledge and overwhelming misinformation was confusing and frustrating. I have to say this was the hardest thing for me to overcome. Everyone is an expert but no one has a solution. My solution – you have to find what works for you and become your own expert. It is trial and error and you must fall flat on your face before you find it.

Past Accomplishments

When it comes to fitness I know that losing an excess of 30 pounds was a feeling of great relief and satisfaction. I can now run 10k in under 45 minutes, to me that was a tremendous accomplishment. In January I enrolled a few of my friends as well as myself in “My Hamilton Amazing Race”. We ended up placing first; it was an awesome experience I will not soon forget. My current workouts range from week to week. I write my own programs and I enjoy mixing things up, I have recently completed a power phase. The next phase I complete will be more of an endurance phase with high repetitions and low rest periods.

My Philosophies of Training

I am not a big believer in supplementation and therefore I do not consume them regularly. I have supplemented in the past but I don’t anymore, I am a believer in eating wholesome foods. My meal plan is currently under reconstruction as my routine has changed, and I am no longer in school. My philosophy however is still the same; eat when you’re hungry, just make sure it’s wholesome. What we eat directly affects how we function, so I eat as healthy as possible to ensure I am fueling effectively. That’s not to say I don’t have vices, but I know the difference between a lapse and a relapse and as such I enjoy those meals where I can let loose.

My current fitness goal is to increase my flexibility to improve my range of motion. I have incorporated some corrective exercises into my routines in an effort to improve posture and functionality. Stretching is another component that was non-existent for a time but now I practice with regularity. I have in the past few months started to do some power lifting and I am in the process of improving upon that as well.

Parting Words

There was a time when I lacked the motivation or desire to do anything for my health. I know that many people feel exactly how I did back then, some of which may be reading this right now. To them I say; we are all scared in the beginning, the unknown quickly becomes familiar and that which you thought you knew becomes a distant memory. So fight to become the person that you want to be, it will be a struggle but it may very well be the greatest investment of your life, live with no regrets.

You must learn to be resilient and thick skinned because you will experience the doubters and negativity that comes with progress and success. Focus your efforts solely on what you can control, and even then do not dwell on your tribulations. May your memory be short term but that you can remember how you started your journey. Everyday is a new day, a blank sheet for you to write your story; we all have 24 hours in a day, sleep when absolutely necessary but not on your dreams.

Every means of communication with regards to social media is a tool; use it to find like-minded people. Surround yourself with people that are better than you, be a sponge and show humility. I have devoted all my social media outlets as a means to network myself. I am always happy to help wherever possible, please feel free to follow, or add me; I will never shut you out.

I want to leave you with a quote which I believe absolutely defines me. At times I feel like I have lived two lives with everything that I’ve been through. Without further adieu … “A man who is a master of patience is a master of everything else”

I want to leave you with a quote which I believe absolutely defines me. At times I feel like I have lived two lives with everything that I’ve been through. Without further adieu …
“A man who is a master of patience is a master of everything else”
 
Contact Info:
Juan-Carlos-Flores@mohawkcollege.ca
Twitter @_flofitness or Carlos Flores Facebook Carlos Flores or floresc4@yahoo.ca
Body Mechanics writer at Lifestyle&Strength.com

Give change a chance, you might just like it.

Rhonda and William 11

Thanks to the release of endorphins, exercise is a feel-good way to spend time together. Endorphins produce an opiate-like feeling of well-being, and there’s no one better to experience that high with than your significant other. Studies have shown that exercising with any partner is beneficial, and the friendly competition that comes from exercising with your loved one can breathe fresh life into a relationship, rekindling any flames that may have dimmed. Try racing each other on trail runs or up and down sets of stairs for a little good-natured competition.

Even better, experts say one of the main benefits of tandem workouts is not having to choose between logging hours at the gym and spending quality time with the person you love. Capping a long day off with a run alongside your partner is a great way to beat stress and unwind, and meeting fitness goals together is a perfect way to build unity and closeness. Plus, having a partner who you can exercise with will also hold you accountable.

Rhonda and William at transformationpics.com

Our friends Rhonda and William at transformationpics.com

And did we mention that all this exercising together will improve your sex life  and have you both looking your best? If that’s not a great reason to start , we don’t know what is. Check out what our friends Rhonda and William are doing over at transformationpics.com

Your friends at Socially Fit

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Matthew Serd - At the beginning of hismy bodybuilding phase 10/2011.

Matthew Serd (Left) At the beginning of his bodybuilding phase October 2011 (Right) from his show this past weekend 4/13/13

I am the father of a wonderful 17 year old daughter, National Council of Strength & Fitness Certified Personal Trainer, NGA Men’s Masters Pro Bodybuilder, NPC Amateur Bodybuilder, Fitness Club & Personal Trainer Studio owner, and Nutrition Coach. I reside in Brownsburg, Indiana and my educational background includes a BS degree in Finance & Business Administration from Illinois State University. I am an Independent Distributor of Advocare and I love their products. My main areas of interest include bodybuilding, sprint triathlons and witnessing the transformation of the many clients I train.

As a child I was always very active in sports and my two favorite were football and baseball. As I grew older I was not able to keep up with the other kids with regards to size and strength. This led me to the sport of running and as I welcomed high school I became a top runner on our cross country team. Running became an obsession of mine and as high school ended found myself at a scrawny weight of 110 pounds. As I entered college my fitness goals changed and I started strength training which is where my desire for physical fitness started to change my life. I began to get stronger and stronger and my body composition changed drastically. At the end of my college career I had increased my weight to 190 pounds. The majority of this gain was muscle, but of course the fun time of college added some additional fat.

I have continued my love and passion for fitness since my college years and most recently have been a gym owner and personal trainer for over 12 years. My goals of increasing my level of fitness are what continue to drive me from a physical and mental stand point each day. My dedication to fitness has also carried over into my faith and spiritual life. It has brought me closer to God and has renewed my religious beliefs which lead me to becoming newly baptized at a community church in Brownsburg.

My recent birthday put me at the age of 48 and I consider myself to be in the best physical shape of my life. Getting to the point today has been a very exciting journey, but it has not come without setbacks. Injuries to my L5 & L4 disks, and shoulder surgery in 2009 were major setbacks that I had to cope with. These obstacles were very trying, but they have made me a more determined and goal oriented individual.

Of course the support system of my family and friends were a critical part of keeping focused and on task towards my goals when the healing process was completed. Their support has also been very important for the accomplishments that I have blessed with over the past 12 years of my life, one of which includes me becoming a successful fitness club and personal training business owner.

My experience and dedication to personal training has led me to becoming one of the top personal trainers in the Brownsburg and surrounding areas. My most recent accomplishment of stepping on stage as a bodybuilder (NGA Men’s Masters Pro and NPC Amateur) has been the most difficult but one of the most rewarding accomplishments in my life.

For the past two years I have been training on a 4 or 5 day split (prepping for bodybuilding shows) which consists of the incorporation of undulating periodization training (with extended set and mechanical drop sets) as well as high frequency training (HFT). Along with my strength training I am following a carb cycle nutrition program that incorporates high, moderate and low carb days based on my strength and cardio training program. I drink 1-2 gallons of water each day, take vitamins, minerals, pre, during and post workout carb-protein-bcaa supplements. (My supplements of choice are Biotest, ON & Advocare products.) My supplement ingestion is based on a very carb focused peri-nutrition workout program for optimal results.

As I mentioned earlier I am currently training for four bodybuilding shows that will take me through the first week of July. My current goals include winning my weight class and master’s class in one of the upcoming shows and to place in the top 10 in the Team Universe show July 5th and 6th in New Jersey. Growing our current bodybuilding, physique and figure team (Team TRAINBots) will be a goal that I will work on in my off season.

Matthew Serd - At his first show 3/2012 in Cincinnati Ohio

Matthew Serd – At his first show 3/2012 in Cincinnati Ohio

A final note:

For all of you individuals who are struggling to start your fitness journey the advice that I would leave with you is to take one step at a time and focus on making little changes as you move forward. “Little changes lead to big changes.” Trying to correct or change all of your bad habits at once will lead to a lot of frustration which may lead to a short lived fitness journey. Remember your journey will be a life changing experience, so treat it as a marathon race not sprint! Good luck!!!!

Thank you for this opportunity to share my story with you.

I can be reached at: Twitter: @progressfitms, Facebook: Matthew Serd, Email: progressivefit.ms@gmail.com

Then 6 pack abs can’t be far behind!

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How To Get Rock Hard Abs
You’re not alone if you believe that getting chiseled abs isn’t simple. You’ll have to pursue a strength program that incorporates hitting the weights a few times a week, regular cardio workouts, and a focused ab routine to make this happen. The market has been swamped with gimmick after gimmick, and selecting the right product can be tough when it comes to fat-loss supplements. Before you dump on your workout and supplements for not furnishing you with killer abs, you should know that the real problem may be your diet – or even your high-stress routine.

There are few things in the weight loss business that are more infuriating than the infomercials selling machines to give you a flat stomach or six-pack. All those ab machines will not do it – save your money. To look like those infomercial models takes a lot more than using the latest ab machine. That’s because it’s not possible to get localized fat loss.

Be A Meal Freak
Meal freaks are quite aware of how frequently they consume nutrients to build muscle and burn fat, and they get leanness and tone from muscle. Meal freaks know that it is important to consume a small balanced meal every two to three hours. Eating too much creates elevated insulin levels, which causes low blood sugar, which in turn causes the body to store fat.

Your goal should be to build lean tissue on days when you have weight-training sessions. The ratio for those days would be: 50% carbohydrates, 35% protein, and 15% fat. On the other days, aim to burn fat with this ratio: 30% carbohydrates, 50% protein, and 20% fat. For days with weight training,
• Consume the majority of your carbohydrates around your workout and in the morning.
• You can have starchy carbohydrates like oats, yams, brown rice, etc. before 5 p.m.
• Stick to fibrous carbohydrates like vegetables after 5 p.m.
• Eat enough healthy fats, like nuts, flax oil, etc., but eat them with protein and not carbohydrates.
For days without weight training,
• Eat most of your carbohydrates early.
• Try to stick to fibrous carbohydrates as much as possible.

Easy Approaches To Healthy Eating
The key to a better physique is an understanding of the distinction between healthy and unhealthy nutrients. For instance:
• Healthy proteins supply the amino acids our bodies need to develop and mend lean body mass (like muscles, skin, hair and nails), and are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and chemicals. Good sources include wild salmon, beans, legumes, soy products, seeds, nuts and peanut butter.
• Unhealthy proteins are loaded with saturated fat, cholesterol, hormones or antibiotics (like beef, lamb, bacon and sausage).
• Healthy fats are unsaturated fats. Good sources include extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, ground flax seeds and walnuts.
• Unhealthy fats are saturated fats and trans fatty acids like butter and margarine.
• Healthy carbohydrates are high in fiber and are considered complex carbohydrates. Good sources include rolled oats, brown rice, whole wheat, broccoli, squash, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, beans, and whole fruit.
• Unhealthy carbohydrates are high in sugar and are called simple carbohydrates (like candy, white bread, sodas, ice cream, cake, and cookies).

It goes without saying that even if you had the best abs in the world, they will still look pretty average with a layer of body fat covering them. Diet plays a significant part in defining your abs, so a few adjustments will be required in order for your body to look its best. Get into the habit of keeping a diet log to track your meals. Next, begin creating a small caloric deficit every day to help burn away fat.

What you eat is the most important factor when it comes to seeing the muscle definition on your abs. Here are some nutritional keys necessary to help you achieve your goal of a well-defined six-pack:
1. Count calories but don’t starve yourself.
2. Eat 5-6 small meals a day.
3. Drink water.

Dieting For Breathtaking Abs
What’s the best way to diet for awesome abs? Cutting calories works. If you’re questioning how you’re supposed to consume six meals with a demanding job schedule, a method that works for many is the use of meal replacement powders or homemade nutritious shakes. An additional helpful abdominal dieting method is to decrease the amount of sodium added to food.

New studies show that what you eat is just as significant as how – or even how much – you exercise if you want to go from fat to fab abs. Following are six tactics from the country’s foremost weight-loss, nutrition and stress authorities, all intended to get you flat abs in just four weeks:
1. Consume extra fiber.
2. Opt for a reasonable quantity of high-quality carbs.
3. Mind the sodium.
4. Eat light at night.
5. Reduce stress.

Exercise Battles Hidden Body Fat
Exercise is still a good way to go if you want to fight fat, judging by a new study, which shows:
• Inactivity leads to increase of fat deep inside the belly.
• A moderate amount of exercise holds the line on deep belly fat.
• Higher amounts of exercise cut deep belly fat and fat around the waist.

Let’s face it, great physiques will always have appeal and abs are the first thing that admirers take in. While the necessary combination of a healthy, lean diet, steady cardio work, and a detailed abdominal plan may sound hard; it is positively within your capacity to get the six-pack abs that others will surely stare at.

Your friends at Socially Fit

http://www.illpumpyouup.com