Your Dream of Finding Motivation Daily is a Lost Cause

Yesterday I thought I was going to have a crappy workout.

My schedule was off, my phone seemed to keep buzzing right when I was ready to start, and I hadn’t eaten in 7 hours (I get hangry easy).

But I still trained.

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Things That Make the Scale Go Bump In The Night

The scale. Friend of few, the enemy of many.

The scale tells us one thing. Our current pull on gravity at the present moment – aka our weight. It tells us nothing else about ourselves. Not how fit we are, how nice we are, how bad we are…it only tells our weight.

 

The debate rages on about how to use the scale, or if to use the scale at all.

Like anything else in the fitness and diet world, it depends on the individual and their mindset.

If someone has had issues with the scale in the past, first I will look at what they were, how they handled them, and if it was a serious enough problem to avoid the scale – or if we just need to shift their mindset.

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The 5 Exercise and Diet Myths That Can Go Away Now

Do you know what the WORST part about being a dietitian and trainer is? Telling complete strangers what you do at social events.

 

“So what do you do?” – “I’m a registered dietitian and trainer”

 

  • “Oh, so you are totally judging my plate right now…”
  • “What do you think about _____ diet?”
  • “I used to work out all the time.”
  • “So do you sell supplements and stuff?”
  • “I can’t believe you’re eating that”
  • “You drink alcohol?”

The list goes on and on.

I am only half kidding about that being the worst part because it usually gives me an opportunity to make a sale, and hopefully show someone that a better way is out there.

But what most people think exercise and diet have to be to see results is completely wrong.

1) Pain

Exercise and dieting do not have to involve pain. Unless making healthier choices for your future is physically painful to you. But really, physical pain with exercise is not a good thing. It is definitely NOT a sign of a good workout. Yes, you may be a little sore the day after or two, but in the muscles, and you feel like you worked out.

Sometimes it’s okay to never be sore! That sounds great, doesn’t it?

Soreness is most common when you push yourself too hard, your form gets crappy, or you add a new exercise to the mix.

All three of those things are not necessary or not recommended either! Training is a skill that must be honed in. You cannot improve a skill if you overdo it, do it sloppily, or try adding a new skill every week.

Stop going to workouts that leave you crippled, puking or passing out. And if you are a trainer who brags about these things – shame on you.

2) Suffering

“I ate a carrot and an egg for lunch today, and I am soooo hungry” 🙂

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Ladies, Do These 2 Things to Get Results…For Real

There are no magic foods that burn fat, and there are no must eat foods for optimal results. However, if there was a must-have food group or category of foods, it would be…

Protein – one of the three main macronutrients that I always seem to be talking about.

9/10 times when I first meet with a female client or go over the food journal of a client online, the first thing I notice is not enough protein.

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The 9 Essential Exercises for Serious Runners (with Videos)

Runners love to run. This is obvious. Running can also be a double-edged sword.

Some swear it is the best form of exercise, and others swear off it for life because of bad experiences.

Running can be one of the best forms of exercise and competition, and at the same time can be one of the most stressful and injurious forms of exercise.

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Starting Strength Training From Absolute ZERO (Video Guides)

Strength training is growing in popularity among average Joe’s and Jane’s, which is friggin awesome!

I write about it’s importance all the time, and how it is literally the fountain of youth (when done correctly).

But what if you have absolutely no experience, are afraid, or have zero clue where to start and what to do?

I will try and lay it out in the post, step by step, as clear as possible. If you have any questions feel free to post or email me – mike@mgfitlife.com.

1) Focus on all the fundamental movements – push, pull, squat and hip hinge.

What the heck are these?

PUSH – think push up, or pushing AWAY from your body, like a chest press. Can’t do a push up? Try hands elevated pushups. Any pressing machine, or dumbbells will work as well.

PULL – pulling weight towards you. Start with a form of horizontal pull like a dumbbell row, a body weight row, or cable row.

SQUAT – pretty much exactly how it sounds. The squat is more of a knee dominant exercise and it tends to work the quads, or front of the legs more than the hamstrings, or backs of the legs.

Start with just body weight, then add weight once you can sit down to the point where your thighs are parallel with the floor.

HINGE – this is also a lower body exercise, but focuses on hinging from the hips – and works more of the backs of the legs – hamstrings and glutes (butt).

Start with a slight bend in the knees, but then push your hips back keeping your spine straight. Go to the point of feeling a stretch in the backs of your thighs then return to the top.

If using weights, keep them close to your legs, and shoulders back and tight.

So these are the 4 basic movement patterns that will cover most muscles of the body, now what do we do with them?

Start with ONE workout, because one is infinitely more than zero.

First – warm up. This can be as simple as a 5-10 minute brisk walk followed by 20 forward and 20 backward arm circles to warm up your shoulders.

Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions (reps) of the first exercise before moving to the next. Give yourself about 1 minute rest in between sets.

What weight should I use??? Use a weight that allows you to get all 10 reps, but it somewhat challenging by the final rep. If you are unsure, do one warm-up or “ramp up” set first with light weights to gauge the difficultly.

You shouldn’t go to failure on your working sets, and you shouldn’t force sloppy reps.

I often use the cue – leave a few reps in the tank. Meaning, if you absolutely HAD to do 12 or 13 reps you could.

How does this look?

Example:

  • 10 push ups or dumbbell presses – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 push ups or dumbbell presses – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 push ups or dumbbell presses – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 rows – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 rows – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 rows – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 squats – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 squats – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 squats – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 hinges – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 hinges – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 hinges – rest for 1 minute

That’s it!

See how you feel 2 days later, and if you feel up to it, repeat the same exact workout once or twice in the week,

Then what?

The most simple way to progress is to add reps until you get to about 20. Then go back to 10 reps and add weight. This will cover you for a decent amount of weeks and if you are truly new to lifting weights you will be good to go.

Example:

  • Week 1 – 10 chest presses with 10 pounds
  • Week 2 – 12 chest presses with 10 pounds
  • Week 3 – 15 chest presses with 10 pounds
  • Week 4 – 18 chest presses with 10 pounds
  • Week 5 – 20 chest presses with 10 pounds
  • Week 6 – 10 chest presses with 12 pounds
  • Week 7 – 12 chest presses with 12 pounds
  • And so on and so on…

That is literally the most basic form of weight training you can do, and if you are totally new to it this will be a great place to start!

Don’t try to get ahead of yourself and add weight every workout. It takes time for muscles to grow, and slow and steady is always the way to go!

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Stay healthy my friends,

The Power of Grip: Not Just For Popeye

Grip strength is one of the most overlooked elements of strength training and fitness. It is not just for strong men who are trying to bend nails in half or crush hand grippers rated at over 300 lbs. of force. Think about how important your grip really is.

It doesn’t even have to involve a Michael Bay inspired care chase scene ending with your car flying over the edge of a cliff and you jumping out at the last moment and pulling your self up the ledge while your car explodes into a fire-ball of pure awesomeness…(grip strength is pretty important there)…

 

What about opening jars (see Skinny Arm Rob Lowe), carrying bags, holding onto objects, turning doorknobs, or working with your hands all day, etc. What about playing sports like tennis, golf, baseball, wrestling or even badminton? While your grip strength may not be the biggest cofactor in the success of your sport, it may play a big role as a limiting factor.  Having a weaker grip can even lead to debilitating chronic issues such as tennis or golfers elbow.

Tennis and golfers elbow can be caused by skewed strength ratios between the muscles involved in movement at the elbow vs. the forearm. Example: if the biceps (elbow flexors) are disproportionately stronger than the muscle involved in wrist flexion, extension and gripping.

Some common ways that can be used to improve your grip include:

  • Tighten you grip on the bar. Squeeze the bar as hard as you can on any given exercise. Chances are, you may find the lift easier when using a stronger grip as well.
  • Farmers carries. Farmers carries can be a great way to train not only your grip, but your core and other stabilizers as well.
  •  Plate pinches. Turn two weight plates “grooved side” in, and pinch for as long as possible. Start simple with two, 5 lb. plates. Bump up to 2, 10# plates, then 3, 10# plates, 2, 25# plates – or go pure beast mode and do 2, 45# plates!

If grip strength is something you are looking to improve for any reason, make sure to prioritize it in your workouts. If it’s something you are interested in working on, try adding the following to the end of your routine:

3 sets of plate pinches : as long as possible. If you find one side is significantly weaker, add another set on that side.

3 x 100 ft. heavy farmers carries (try holding at least 1/4 your body weight in each hand)

3 x 20 dumbbell wrist curl w/ white knuckle grip

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