Training

Workouts If You’re On The Go

Sometimes time just isn’t on your side, and that’s not your fault, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bother trying to get in a quick workout if you have a spare 30 minutes – you can always make time for that.

30 minutes may not sound like a lot, but it can really improve your health and fitness, and you can always work up to doing more, as time goes on.

Cycling

If you don’t have any time to spare, then cycling may be the answer for you. You can use it as a replacement instead of adding it to your other list of things to do. So if you have some errands to run, like going to the store to grab something, or even making your way to work, instead of driving there in your car, or hopping on a bus or train, get your bike out and ride there!

Running

Similar to cycling, you can use running as a replacement to driving around. But there are many other ways you can incorporate running into your life. If you have kids, then taking them to the park and having a good old run around with them is a great way to keep fit. Or if you have a dog, take them for longer walks to places you’ve never seen before. -If you’re visually interested, it’ll make the workout a whole lot better.

Cleaning

If anyone tells you that cleaning the house isn’t a workout – they’re lying. Vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and polishing are all types of aerobics that work different parts of your body. You will definitely feel the ache the next day. Even things like doing the washing, carrying it outside, and hanging it up, are working your muscles. Just visualize the calories you’re burning, and you may not mind cleaning as much as you once did!

Kettlebell

Kettlebell workouts are great; they’re quick, fun to do, and they work your whole entire body in one go. It may take a bit of time to get used to, but once you get it, you’ll be hooked. Using a kettlebell swing does not only reduce your overall body fat, but they also build up your strength, endurance, and power.

Dancing

Everyone should make time to dance! It feels amazing to do, and your body (and mind) will thank you for it.
Not only are you burning fat, but your body is also releasing all those happy endorphins, which will make you feel oh so good.

Stair-Climber

Stair-climbing doesn’t just have to be done at the gym on a machine – there are stairs everywhere! At work, at home and outside. So if you have an hours lunch break and aren’t sure what to do with it, pack a change of clothes in your bag, and go up and down them stairs. This isn’t just create cardio workout – it tones your body up too, leaving you looking and feeling great.
Don’t be put off if you get people watching you – own it.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Rehabilitating After An Injury

Fitness is and should be a major part of everyone’s life. After all, we only have one body, so we need to do our best to keep it healthy.

Sadly, bodies let us down even when we are trying to help. What does this mean? It means that the likelihood of an injury is higher when you exercise. In a cruel twist of fate, looking after your health can jeopardize it in the short and sometimes long-term. There is nothing much you can do to prevent an injury apart from accepting it as a fact.
However, there is a lot you can do during the recovery process to make sure it never happens again. If you want to learn more, just take a glance at the following tips. They could be the difference between a long stint on the sidelines and a swift return to form.

Rest

As soon as you suffer an injury, your brain jumps forward in time. For some reason, instead of concentrating on the present, you want to think about the future. ‘When will I be fit again?’ ‘How long before I can start training again?’ These are questions that everyone asks themselves, but they are more of a hindrance than a help. The reason is simple: they push you back into action before you’re ready. No one likes to hear it, but rest is the first step on the road back to recovery. Yes, sitting down doing nothing is boring, and it makes you stir crazy. Still, it also makes you healthier because it gives your body time to recuperate after such a massive shock. Your muscles might twitch, yet you should ignore it for your sake.

Start Slow

When you do start training again, it’s imperative that you take it one step at a time. Again, there is a rush to skip a couple of stages in your attempt to regain full fitness. However, the more you try, the higher the chances of another injury. Whatever your method of choice, it’s important, to begin with baby steps and work your way up to walking. If you have a muscle injury that stops you from lifting weights, don’t try and bench your maximum asap. The strain will put too much pressure on the muscle, and it will snap, either literally or metaphorically. The same goes for cardio or any exercise.

Build Back Strength

There is one thing you need to know about an injury: it allows the muscles to atrophy. Simply put, atrophy is a fancy word for weaken, and the muscles do it because they are sitting idle. Of course, you have to give them enough rest time to let them recover, so atrophy is normal. But, you also need to build back your strength before you do any strenuous activity. Okay, there is no reason to train your body within an inch of where it was previously. Still, you need to be functioning at seventy to seventy-five percent of your maximum. Otherwise, you won’t have the strength of endurance to compete.

Change Your Diet

Your diet is what gives you the fuel to recover. Why? It’s because your body turns the food into energy, and circulates it to the muscles. As a result, you will struggle to regain your fitness if you don’t eat the right foods and take in the proper nutrients. For the most part, lots of people eat balanced diets with a range of nutrients. For example, white meat with potatoes and vegetables pretty much hits all the major food groups. But, consuming the same things often isn’t enough when you have an injury as the body needs more fuel. That’s why people turn to supplements to help hit their targets. A substance like creatine is a full of protein, a nutrient that aids muscle growth. However, other, less popular supplements also have a big role to play. Cod liver oil and vitamin tablets don’t sound as sexy, but they are just as important. Oh, and don’t forget about water. Without enough water, your body can’t function properly, so you need to drink a lot.

Consider Surgery

The about Dr. David Halpern page might not seem relevant, but it can be in certain situations. For obvious reason, you want your injury to recover naturally. And, you don’t want to have to recover from an injury and surgery at the same time. The problem is that the body is good, but it isn’t always infallible. Sometimes, it just won’t be what it needs to do for a variety of reasons. If you feel like your body is failing you, a surgeon like Mr. Halpern might be on the cards. Of course, it’s a big decision that needs a lot of consideration beforehand, but it should be a consideration.

Don’t Forget Mental Fitness

A physical injury will always make you think about your physical health. After all, if your body can recover, then you will be back in business. What most people don’t realize is that recovery is also about your mental health. Simply put, you will never fully recover until your mind catches up with your body. Sure, it’s possible to go to the gym or compete, but you will only go through the motions. To get back to your best, you need to get over the trauma of the injury. The shock might be small, but it’s enough to put you off for life in some circumstances. So, training your mind to get past the mental blocks is a huge part of your rehabilitation. Techniques like meditation and reflection are age old tricks which should help. Also, staying positive is another useful aid.

Try And Understand

All of the above is bound to be confusing, as it should if you’re a layman. However, you should try and follow it as best you can for the sake of your health. If you comprehend the steps, you are more likely to avoid the mistakes. After all, knowledge is power.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Embarrassing Issues You May Face as a Runner

No one could argue that running is a great exercise that benefits the majority of people who take it up, but if you’ve been running for a while, you’ll know that the activity isn’t without its embarrassing little problems, those things we’d rather not discuss. Well, I’m going to break with tradition and talk about them right now! I think it’s important that we get those embarrassing issues out there, not so more people are put off from running, but so they know what to expect and so us regular runners lose out embarrassment about them.
So, without further ado, here are some of the most embarrassing issues you may face as a runner:

A Leaky Bladder

Ladies who run can sometimes experience leaky bladder issues, particularly if they have given birth at any time in the past. They’ll be running along at a fine place when all of a sudden they notice that their shorts are wet!

The most common causes of a leaky bladder in runners are weakened pelvic muscles, which means that regular Kegel exercises are the best solution to this particular problem. However, if you happen to be overweight and you suffer from a leaky bladder when running, dropping a few pounds (running will help you with that) is also a good idea as it will take pressure off your bladder.

Diarrhea

A lot of runners also suffer from the very embarrassing problem of diarrhea when they’re out pounding the pavements, but it’s so common that you shouldn’t let it fluster you too much if it happens to you.

There are a number of causes of runner’s diarrhea including lactose intolerance and IBS, which can be worsened by exercise. Alternatively, it might be that you are dehydrated during your runs. Steering clear of high-fiber foods and drinking plenty of water before your workout could help you to prevent this particular issue.

Bleeding Nipples

You’re running along when all of a sudden your nipples start to hurt and your shirt turns an unsettling shade of crimson it’s happened to many a runner, usually male and it’s cause is a simple one; the friction between nipples and clothing when running chafes the nipples causing them to become raw. This can be prevented by applying Vaseline to the nipples, wearing a well-fitting sports bra and even using band-aids or nipple guards to protect the area and prevent significant pain.

Hemorrhoids

There are few conditions that have the ability to embarrass people more than hemorrhoids, and unfortunately, runners who have recently given birth or experienced diarrhea are at greater risk of the condition than average. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prevent hemorrhoids from occurring, but treating them with an effective medication like Venapro and seeing your doctor if symptoms persist is vital when you notice the condition and if it continues to cause you problems.

Excess Sweating

Running and sweating go together like peanut butter and jelly, but some people seem to sweat much more than others, particularly in the armpits, feet and hand areas. Sweating helps the body to cool down, which is why you tend to sweat a lot when you’re running, but you can minimize the amount you sweat by wearing a string antiperspirant and moisture wicking clothes.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

How Do Fit People Stay Fit?

If you admire the gym enthusiasts from afar and wish that you could be like that – you can! It’s a lot more simple than you would probably imagine! So here’s how fit people stay fit…

They Stay Active Outside of the Gym

You don’t just have to limit yourself to seeing them same four walls every day. You should be using every opportunity to go out and explore a new way of getting fit, and also keeping your mind stimulated.

They Don’t Take on New Diets

Fit people don’t go on liquid diets or no-carb diets – it would end up killing them! They just make healthy eating part of their lifestyle.

The most important thing to remember when staying fit and healthy is to listen to your body and give it what it needs. There is no way you would be able to work out every day if you weren’t eating any carbs or protein. You’d just faint from exhaustion, and that’s not living a healthy lifestyle.

They Don’t Always Eat Perfectly

It’s so important to give yourself a cheat meal every now and then. This is so you don’t go crazy and end up binge eating all the things you’ve been craving for the last three months. But not only that, our bodies need to eat bad things once in awhile, so it has to work harder to get rid of the fat.

If you just eat the same healthy food every day, your body will get comfortable in the routine and not work as hard. So treat yourself to that cookie you’ve been eyeing up. But don’t go overboard otherwise you’ll lose all that hard work you’ve been putting in.

They Enjoy the Workout

If you wake up dreading the day ahead of you because you know you have to work your legs today – you’re never going to want to keep up with it, and it’ll get you feeling low too, and we don’t want that.

It’s about finding what you like and what makes you happy. Not everyone likes the same things, so just because your friend says how brilliant her Zumba class was, doesn’t mean you’ll agree. Maybe you would prefer a good session on the cardio machines in the gym. So try a whole bunch of things until you find what works for you.

They Get a Lot of Sleep

One of the most important things to incorporate into your healthy lifestyle is sleep, and at least 7 hours of it! Sleep doesn’t just restore your energy after a hard day’s work; it helps to prepare your muscles and even regulates your metabolism meaning you can burn more and more fat.

They Put Their Health First

While many people allow things like social engagements and work to take over their life, fit people put exercise at the top of their priority list, which is why they look as good as they do.

It may be hard at first, and you will most likely be exhausted, but once you build up the habit, you’ll find it harder to do nothing, than to wake up early to fit your session in!

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

What is Clean Bulking?

Getting in shape doesn’t always means slimming. For those that are already slim, it can often mean bulking up. Clean bulking is a way of combining diet and exercise to build muscles mass. It’s most popular amongst men wanting to tone up, but recently many women wanting to develop a fuller figure have developed an interest in it too.

Much like slimming, clean bulking require discipline and a lot of motivation. If you’re eager to start here are some of the steps you’ll need to take.

Fixing up Your Diet

You can’t bulk up unless you’re upping your calorie intake. This can scare many people off that fear they’ll get fat as a result. However, if you’re complimenting extra eating with lots of exercises, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Like any slimming diet, the key is still to eat healthily, so that all energy is converted into muscle. Instead of processed carbs like sugary snacks and fried foods, consider eating lots of potatoes, rice, and pasta. Protein is also essential to muscle growth and many people will take supplements such as protein shakes. Organic meats, eggs, nuts and milk can be another great unprocessed source of this protein.

On top of eating the right amount of food, you’ll need to consume a healthy amount of water. Other minerals can also help with a progress. You can find many dietary tips and meal plans for clean bulking online.

It’s all Connected to the Core

A healthy core will affect every other part of your body. It’s what helps you to balance and keep you upright. Most people assume that the core simply means the abs, but it actually incorporates all your torso muscles.

Individual exercises can help with many core muscles. Dips can help build your pecs – you’ll find help online on how to do dips at home for the chest. Sit ups, crunches, Russian twists, and leg raises meanwhile can be great for the abs. Endurance exercises such as the plank meanwhile are great for strengthening your whole core and good additions to add at the end of a workout.

Working Your Arms

There are many ways to bulk up the arms. Push ups and pull ups are great for testing most of your arm muscles. Specific exercises meanwhile can be catered to more specific arm muscles groups such as bicep curls and tricep dips. Gyms will often have all the specialist equipment, but you can often achieve the same result simply by buying a pair of dumbbells and working out from home, as well as getting imaginative with furniture (a couch is brilliant for tricep dips and elevated push ups).

Leg Day

Many people, specifically men, will pay little attention to their legs when bulking up. Forgetting leg day however will make you look disproportioned and have a knock on effect later as your legs aren’t able to support the rest of your body.

Many activities are great for building leg muscle. Cycling works out all your muscles groups from your quads to your calves to your glutes. Other exercises are more focused such as deadlifts and squats that specifically target your quads. If you have a gym membership, you’ll find many machines that can further build up your legs.

Creating a Routine

Bulking up requires a good routine. If you’re working out every day, a sensible option is to cycle between core, legs and arms. This will allow you to focus on each group whilst also allowing enough recovery time. Another approach is to exercise your whole body in one session but to give yourself a day’s break between each session.

A personal trainer may be able to help you create a routine that fits around your weekly schedule. As soon as your routine becomes comfortable, you can then start to up the stakes by increasing the number of reps, the time or the weight.

Whilst most of your exercise regime will be strength-based, it’s good to also include some endurance in there. Cardio exercises strengthen the heart and a healthy heart is much needed when bulking up to provide the extra muscle mass gained with the blood and oxygen it needs.

Staying motivated

Keeping motivated is the biggest challenge. Often the best way to stay motivated is to have a tangible target. This could be a target body shape, a target strength that you wish to be able to reach or a clothing size. From week to week, you should also be setting yourself micro-goals. These could be anything from beating your time at the plank to managing an extra weight.

Tracking your progress is important. Some gyms will have machines that do this for you so that you can keep on target with each week. If you’re training at home, you may be able to use apps to measure your progress. Having body stats available can greatly help to spur you on.

You can also take photographs in the mirror. These will show you how far you’ve come and may provide you the motivation to keep going.

Blogging and social media reporting also helps for some people. From week to week you can report your progress so that others can read and get inspired or simply spur you on.

Some people also find that training with someone else helps. This could involve training with a friend or could involve hiring a personal trainer to help put you through your paces. Make sure that if you are training with a friend or family member that you’re still sticking to your routine. Exercise classes may work for some, but probably not for the majority – whilst the likes of CrossFit incorporate many weight exercises, they do not stick to a routine from week to week and focus more on general fitness. Bulking requires specific training catered to the individual in most cases and you’re unlikely to be able to follow this working with a group of people with different goals and needs. That said, such as exercise groups can be still good to do on the side and have been known to introduce many people to weightlifting and new exercise ideas.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Guest Post – Sprint Workout: How to Maintain Muscle and Still Lose Fat

When you are sprinting, you always feel accomplished even if the sprint lasts for a split-second. Sprinting is one of the most intense workouts known by man. Olympic sprinters are capable of covering a distance of 100 meters in less than 10 seconds meaning that they output a lot of energy, concentration, and power.

Sprinting is a great workout strategy for persons looking to burn fat but maintain their muscle mass. Although it does not burn a lot of calories within the short period of the actual work, it is an effective fat-burning exercise after the workout.

Sprinting stimulates your metabolism level on a great scale and therefore after the sprint, your body burns a lot of calories and fat for close to some hours after the intense sprinting workout is over. Here we look at the basics of sprint workout and its effectiveness in helping you lose fat but maintain muscle.

Why is Sprinting Considered an Effective Workout?

Sprinting is effective in maintaining the muscle mass in your body and losing fat due to its nature of being a power-based workout. When sprinting, you make use of all your three energy systems i.e. aerobic, glycolytic and anaerobic.

Sprinting is considered as an effective workout as it not only burns fat in your body effectively but also pushes you to your absolute mental and physical limits. It requires you to fully focus on the workout at hand and push through the oxygen deprivation and muscular fatigue thereby making you become a powerful athlete in the end.

Important Instructions for Your Sprint Workout Sessions

Before starting on your sprint workout, it is essential to take part in a thorough warm up. This is very important as it prepares you both physically and mentally for the training session ahead while decreasing the chances of suffering from injuries. Here is an important guide to follow when warming up:

  • Low-intensity Cardio: You should have a CrossFit jump rope that you should use for jumping for about 4-5 minutes in order to break a sweat. Jogging could be another great alternative for a great warm up session.
  • Precise Sprint Drills — you should perform a series of skips (power skip, side skip, and front skip), lunges (stationary or walking) as well as leg swings (side-to-side and front/back). You can do these sprint-specific drills for about 4 — 5 minutes.
  • Accelerations and Plyometrics — you can do some light plyometrics like squat jacks, high knees, and skater hops as well as 10, 20 or 30-meter accelerations again for about 4 — 5 minutes.

Your warm up sessions are geared towards activating your body muscles and sharpening the reaction time in order to generate speed in a quick and safe manner. After warming up for 15 minutes, you will be ready for the sprints.
Sprint Workout

It’s possible to choose your preferred number of sets to take part in for an effective sprint workout. Here are some sets that can be used in a sprint workout:

– Four sets where you cover a distance of 40 meters at 95%, walk back to where you started and do another sprint. The sets should be done after every two minutes before taking a five-minute rest after doing all the four sets.

– A single set of 400 meters, where you should sprint as fast as you possibly can before taking a two-minute rest.

– Four sets of 100-meter strides where you take easy strides and cool down before walking back to the starting point for another set.

You can jog for half a mile and stretch a bit as a form of cooling down. Beginners should sprint once a week but athletes can do it twice in a week.

Other Ways of Burning More Fat and Maintaining Muscle

Apart from sprinting, you should also incorporate weight lifting in your workout program. Investing in a good Olympic weight bench will be important in ensuring you lift weights safely. Lifting heavy weights and sprinting very fast increases your body’s fat mobilization as well as muscle maintenance.

It is important to chart your progress in the weight room to note any reduction in strength as it could point towards a probable muscle loss. You can also invest in the best treadmill to build up your sprinting power and speeds for an effective sprint workout.

Tips to Becoming a Sprint Workout Pro

In order to become a pro in sprint workout, you ought to start slowly with shorter distances and work your way up. At the beginning, you should take adequate time to rest but as you get better the rest period should be decreased slowly. Sprint for the shortest period of time at your best speeds since it will be more effective than sprinting for long but at a less velocity.

References

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-maintain-muscle-while-losing-weight/

http://www.builtlean.com/2016/05/09/sprint-workout-burn-fat/

http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/how-to-lose-fat-without-losing-muscle/

Guest Post: Running Tips For Beginners

The beginning is always the hardest. But once you start you’ll forget how hard it was. Almost all runners have similar stories from their beginnings: they almost died in the first two hundred meters, and then it happened by chance that (considering that they are still feeling alright) they become long-distance runners, and today those moments remember with a smile on their faces. Whether you start in order to lose weight, be active, you want to do something about physical activity, or because of something else, running is the simplest, most natural and least expensive way to secure yourself a permanent good feeling. Here are some tips for this.

Start with walking and short running

Do not go fast because you will burn more quickly. Here’s a rule – slowly but surely. In this way, you prepare your body in a collision and at a certain point, you will feel when it is time to run. This will also keep you from injuries. Start with a slow addition of running to your walk. Walk four or five minutes, then add running to walking, but so that every time you refresh while you walk. Even those experienced runners are recommended to introduce parts with walking.

Listen to your body – what does it say?

Once you learn to listen to your body, you become a coach to yourself. It’s completely normal to feel pain or fatigue in the muscles, but take care when or if during or after running experience mild dizziness, pain in the chest, legs or back happen. In this case, continue to walk or stop training and rest until the pain stops. Over time you will learn to listen to the signals your body sends, when it’s time to stop, and when you can continue. You will have to pay more attention to what you eat. Some habits might have to change. Make sure you are eating light and healthy meals which are in accordance with your new physical activity.

Slower at the start – faster at the end

It is important to slowly build the base, your pace, and you will quickly get to full enjoyment in running that will later be easy. To ensure yourself a constant progress, it is better to run three to four times a week for 30 minutes rather than two hours twice a week. And that is why it is important to have a proper plan that will gradually lead you to larger distances and build your tempo. When you finish training, and you say to yourself “maybe I could have a little more” – it’s a sign that you’re running the right pace.

Heating and cooling

Heating is important because with that you are sending a clear message to your body that it is preparing for physical activity. The heart and legs are getting ready to move. Ideal heating is when you run a little bit, and then walk, and so on for a few minutes. When you are finished with your workout, do not stop suddenly, but slow down completely, and end up by walking. Be sure to stretch. Heating and cooling are important because those reduce muscle pain and possible infection, and in that way, the whole body constantly works to prevent injuries.

Set a goal and watch your real success each day

Having a goal in most cases is a safe way to persevere. If you specify the goals and timeframes, you have a clear time vision, a clear motivation, and responsibility towards yourself and your given word. You open a circle which, when you close it, brings you an amazing feeling of your own achievements. With that, you will find yourself in one of the best and most important project which aims to: health, good feeling, self-confidence, self-management, sometimes a team work, some weight loss, a change, new experiences and new people.

Change the surface where you run

Runners usually have a strictly defined path where they run. The best solution for a beginner is to simply change the running tracks. Soft surfaces are not always the best. Treadmills seem softer and therefore safer, but they also have disadvantages. Earth tracks for running are generally uneven, may have holes and other obstacles, which can be dangerous. Feel free to change: sidewalk one day, the next day a paved road, a dirt road on weekends etc.

The rule of 10%

Add as much time or distance as you need to improve your form and save yourself from injuries. But be careful, do not increase the time or the running speed for more than 10% per week. If you run 90 minutes this week, next week run 99 minutes.

We hope the tips above are helpful, but you have to bear in mind that all you really need is the will which serves as an incentive for every action of yours. Where there is a will, there is a way for everything and you will be ready for every challenge that may come across.

Want To Stay Fit But Can’t Stay Motivated?

We all know that regular exercise is good for us. The only thing holding most of us back is motivation. Wanting to lose weight or bulk up isn’t enough. For many of us, extra motivation is needed. Here are just a few ways that you can keep to an exercise regime.

Take out a gym membership

For some people, the gym offers the perfect environment to stay motivated. You can get in the zone for exercise and the added monetary cost can further spur you to keep going to make sure you getting your money’s worth. Shop around various gym sites such as www.ClubFitness.us to get an idea of what they offer. You can also make use of free gym trials. Gyms don’t motivate everyone – some people can find them intimidating. That said, don’t dismiss gyms entirely until you’ve given them a go.

Exercise with other people

Having other people exercise with you can sometimes be a motivation. This could be an exercise class or simply going for a run with a friend. Those with strict personal goals may find exercising with other people distracting. However, if you’re just getting into exercise, having people around could be a bonus.

Hire a trainer

Personal trainers can not only help you to do the right exercises and set you the right itinerary, they can also be a huge motivation, helping you to push yourself that extra mile. You can hire a trainer to work with you at the gym or take your training elsewhere if you don’t like the gym setting. Sites such as https://fitnesstrainer.com/ can help you to find a trainer local to you. Note that some trainer will specialize in certain areas such as bodybuilding, marathon training, slimming or working with injuries. Find one specialized to your needs in order to get the best training.

Set yourself goals

Goals are essential for staying motivated and need to be more tangible than simply losing weight or bulking up. Try to stay realistic – aiming for a body like Beyonce or muscles like Mr. Universe aren’t realistic expectations for everyone. Good goals to have could be finishing a local 5k run, getting into certain size jeans, losing a certain amount of pounds or being able to lift a certain weight. Make sure that you also have micro-goals from week to week.

Record your progress

Recording your progress is vital – by seeing how far you’ve come, you may be more spurred on to go further. This could be anything from a fitness tracking app to a personal diary that you update from week to week. Some people find it beneficial to publicly record their progress. This could involve a fitness blog, photographs on Facebook of how much weight you’ve lost or alternatively videos of you lifting weights or doing challenges. People will then ask about your progress, which may spur you to keep improving. Recording progress and combining this with goals can often provide the perfect motivation, allowing you constantly compete against yourself.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Guest Post: How to Maximize Muscle Mass Before, During and After a Workout

This article provides a summary of how to build muscle mass and the type of workout required, the best type of exercises to get the quickest results and the importance of diet.

Strength, Size and Endurance Training

There are three main types of workouts. Workouts designed to produce muscle strength, workouts designed to produce muscle size or mass and endurance training workouts.

If you’re training for strength it’s advised to do fewer reps per set (about 1-5), whereas for muscle endurance doing more reps per set is preferable (13-20). Focusing on building muscle mass, involves a type of muscle growth called Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy and is somewhere between this range.

It is muscle size and mass that I will concern myself with in this article and it’s the most common type of workout, designed to create a lean and bulky muscular look.

Workouts Designed to Produce Muscle Mass

To maximize muscle mass, you have to do more than just push your body to the limit through resistance training. You have to choose the right exercises, the right number of reps and the right amount of rest after each workout. All this done correctly maximizes muscle fibre engagement.

I recommend targeting different muscle groups at different times of the week giving yourself one or two days rest in between exercising that muscle group.

One effective technique is the 3 day split and involves exercising three different muscle groups on three different days of the week. This could involve exercising the legs and Abs on a Monday, taking one day rest and exercising the Chest, Shoulders & Triceps on a Wednesday, taking another days rest and exercising the Back and Biceps on a Friday. Then taking two days rest and repeating the next week.

So for example:

Monday – Work on your Legs and Abs with 3 different exercises. 4 sets for each and 12-15 reps per set

Wednesday – Work on your Chest, Shoulders & Triceps with 3 different exercises. 4 sets for each and 12-15 reps per set

Friday – Work on your Back & Biceps with 3 different exercises. 4 sets for each and 12-15 reps per set

You should pick two or three exercises for each muscle group and then perform 4 sets of between 12-15 reps for each exercise. This would work out at around 8-12 sets per day with 12-15 reps per set.

If three different exercises for each muscle group is too much you should stick to two while starting out, or you could try 2 sets instead of 4 sets for the last exercise.

Working out more than 3 days a week can mean your muscles don’t have time to recover, resulting in wasted effort.

Isolated versus Compound Exercises

You need to choose the correct exercises to maximize muscle growth. This means targeting as many muscles as possible. Compound exercises target more muscle fibres with each lift and therefore provide the most results in the shortest period of time and with the least exercises.

For example a tricep kickback will target just one group of arm muscles — the triceps on the back of the upper arm. However the bench press will target your triceps, pec muscles, and your deltoids, with your biceps acting as a dynamic stabilizer. If you’re targeting two or more muscles than it’s a compound exercise and not an isolated exercise.

By targeting a larger portion of muscle fibres, this will be more taxing on your system and result in a greater release of anabolic hormones resulting in greater muscle growth.

With compound exercises, you don’t need as many exercises per workout and you can spend less time in the gym.

Typical compound exercises include:

• Squats

• Split Squats

• Lunges

• Reverse Lunges

• Pullups

• Deadlifts

• Barbell rows

• Incline bench press

• Decline bench press

• Flat bench press

• Standing Military Press

The Role of Protein, Creatine and Glutamine

Of course nutrition and supplements play a huge role in building muscle with protein being at the top of the list for supplements needed for gaining lean muscles. Creatine and Glutamine are also very important.

Protein should be taken half an hour before a workout to provide your muscles with adequate nutrition thereby reducing the breakdown of muscle or catabolism during workouts. Also, right after a workout, when your muscles are depleted of nutrition. This will aid in muscle recovery and growth. Another important time to take protein is right before bed and upon waking when the body again is again depleted of nutrition.

Glutamine on the other hand should be taken right before bed as this boosts growth hormone levels significantly. Another good time to take glutamine is first thing after waking as this helps in the recovery process from difficult workouts.

You should take creatine about half an hour before a workout and again right after a workout as this creates an anabolic state for your muscles and helps prevent muscle breakdown.

Don’t Over-train

Don’t’ get into the bad habit of working out too long, or train too many days. When it comes to body building, often less is more. Overtraining comes with little to no gains in size or strength. You need to give your muscles time to recover, which means plenty of rest between workouts.

So combining a good workout with the right exercises and reps and the right nutrition, sufficient rest, and a solid supplementation program, you will build a great physique with the least amount of work.

Why You Should Take Up Golf

Despite what you might think, golf is not just a workout for retired men, and it is by no means a gentle exercise. In reality, golf incorporates cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and even balance and coordination. It’s also a low-risk injury sport, which is probably why it’s safer for older players to take it up. Read on to find out why you should take up golf and why it should be your next fitness craze.

Long Walks

There is a lot of evidence that walking is good exercise, and golf involves a lot of walking. Most golf courses span across multiple acres of hilly terrain. With 18 holes, the average golf course is between 5 and 8 miles, so you are guaranteed a good workout if you keep a brisk pace between holes. Not to mention how many calories you’ll burn. With all the walking, carrying and swinging involved, golfers can burn up to 1000 calories in a single game.
Once you take up golfing, some side effects from the regular movement include an improved mood, a reduced risk of chronic disease, your legs will look fantastic, and your jeans might feel a little more loose. Remember, this only applies if you don’t take the cart.

Swings Build Strength

Even without weighted clubs, repeated swinging can build up arm strength. Your lower body gets strength training in the form of the aforementioned walking; trekking up those hills is sure to work the quadriceps and hamstrings. Additionally, carrying your own clubs counts as a weight bearing exercise and when used in conjunction with walking you will cause your heart to beat faster and increase calorie burn. If this sounds like to much strength training to take on at once, then just focus on the walking and your golf swing. However, you should also learn more about push carts before you buy one in the hopes of easing your strength training.

Balance

It may not be as obvious as a yoga workout, but golf does involve a great deal of balance. When you first learn how to play golf, your instructor will go over your stance so that you don’t fall over while you swing a club high above your head. Training to achieve the proper balance engages your core abdominal muscles, as well as the muscles of the lower back and even the buttocks. These muscles work together to help prevent back pain, falls and a number of other dangerous occurrences.

Improved Mental Health

Studies show that social interaction with others increases our self-esteem and happiness, and golf is one of the most social sports activities you can do. It can widen your social circle, lift depression, and improve your overall mental health.

Sleep

The more physical activity you do, the easier you find it to sleep at night. Golf incorporates a lot of muscles, takes a lot of concentration, and the players absorb a lot of Vitamin D when they spend time outside. As a result, golfers are more able to sleep soundly without being interrupted by insomnia.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

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