5 Fitness Rules you Should Break

Did you ever start a new job? That’s probably an easy answer as everyone in the world has at one point or another. You likely go through an orientation where you have to learn a series of rules. Since it’s your job, it’s in your best interest to follow those rules or else you may not be working there for too long.

Now shift your focus to the gym floor. You see men and women scattered about, often doing things they shouldn’t be doing with things they shouldn’t be touching. Then, when asked in locker room conversation how they work out, they will give you some line of fluff that makes them look smart.

But in reality, you can’t build a solid foundation with a big pile of fluff. That house will collapse in seconds. The bottom line is, don’t believe everything you hear and dare to break certain fitness rules you were farmed to believe.

1. Don’t work out every day.

Whoever made this rule up must be a mummy. A mummy is wrapped up in cloth and just sits still for hundreds of years. That’s not how an average human being operates. They get up and move around, and walk to places and perform physical labor.

That’s one of the perks about being human. So if you already move every day to get from one location to another, you are sort of doing exercise. Why would you not want to schedule this into your day as official exercise then?

It doesn’t need to be a hardcore workout. All you need to do is a mere 30 minutes of walking or yoga or hiking or going for a bike ride.

The key is to not pulverize the same muscle groups on consecutive days. Otherwise, your body has an amazing ability to adapt to stimuli. Not to mention, by staying at least marginally active on your “off days.” you will keep nutrient-rich blood flow going through your body, which can expedite your recoveries.

2. Don’t do sit-ups.

What kind of miscreant would make a rule like this?! Why not do sit-ups? Oh, because people often interlace their fingers behind their heads and pull forward, torquing their necks into oblivion. And these are the same people who often lift their butt off the floor in between each rep to gain momentum.

OK… That’s called bad form! Don’t hate the exercise. Hate the performer of that exercise.

You should move your body through all the patterns it is designed to move through. Trunk flexion, which occurs when you do sit-ups, is one of them. This will strengthen your abs in this range of motion and improve your overall functional ability.

How you do sit-ups is what will make them a good or bad exercise. And that can be said with bench presses, kettlebell swings, hip thrusts, back rows and every other exercise you perform.

3. No pain, no gain.

This is just plain ridiculous. You don’t need to be so sore that you can’t sit down on the toilet for three days after a workout to make progress in the gym or get muscular. Yes, you need to tax your muscles so they grow, but the trick is to find the sweet spot.

You should always aim for a weight that you can lift somewhere in the 8 to 12 rep range. That’s where you will build the most muscle. And as far as sets go, somewhere around 5 or 6 is a good target.

That’s it really. The bottom line is, work your muscles to the point of discomfort, but don’t go overboard.

4. Skip cardio.

There are more and more halfwits out there that have websites, blog posts and videos that they shove down your throat on a daily basis. They always try to tell you “Don’t do cardio because it makes you fat!” What a bunch of nonsense.

Obviously they say this because they have a hidden agenda. They’re likely trying to sell some kind of pill, potion or workout that they devised to push their bottom line.

Cardio is important and it does not make you fat for the millionth time! It will burn calories, it will make you slimmer and it will also improve your cardiovascular health – thus reducing your risk for heart disease. Keep it in your program.

5. Eat before you work out.

This is another bold-faced lie. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with eating before you work out, but it is by no means mandatory! If you go into a workout fasted, your muscles won’t waste away and you won’t bonk either.

In fact, there are more benefits to working out fasted as there are to working out with food in your gut.

First of all, you will feel lighter and your breathing won’t be as labored. Secondly, you will never have to worry about vomiting or bloating. Lastly, you will actually get a high release of growth hormone and testosterone. Those two hormones are what causes muscle gain in the first place.

In the beginning, you might struggle to get used to this. But after a while, your body will adapt and all will be good.

Final Insight

You already know not to judge a book by its cover. So now you need to put that theory into practice with fitness. Loosely base your workouts around what you know and see as fact. But, do it with an open mind and never attach to one certain set of principles.

4 Things All Female Bodybuilders Should Do To Avoid Becoming Butch

Male bodybuilders have no choice but to be ripped, muscled-up and in most cases, bulky. When it comes to females, however, this is not always the most sought after look. But that’s ok. If you are female, you can avoid looking butch provided you approach the situation correctly. There is a little bit of leg work involved, but it’s nothing you shouldn’t be able to handle.

1 – Watch your weights.

True, you need to tax your muscles hard to get a response and make them grow. But you also don’t want to get too big or you will look butch.

Focus more on proper technique and using weights that are on the moderate side. If you go really heavy, you risk getting too bulky.

Besides, your overall goal is to get incredible definition, which can definitely be achieved with lighter weights. Your muscles don’t know the difference anyway. All they know is if they are screaming for mercy or not. Make them scream for mercy with moderate resistance and they will still get defined without making you look butch.

2 – Don’t do steroids

When you take steroids, you might be able to pack on a heroic amount of muscle, but it’s not worth it in the end. You also develop manly characteristics like a square jaw, deep voice and hair growth in places you don’t want it. All of this combined together will certainly make you look butch.

Avoid the steroids, focus on working hard, and you’ll be fine. Plus, there are plenty of supplements available that can give you energy, speed your recoveries and boost your definition. Stick with those to maintain lean muscle mass, which is what your goal should be anyway.

3 – Eat appropriately

Male bodybuilders often consume up to 5,000 calories a day. They’re also the size of Mount St. Helen. The bottom line is, eat enough food to fuel your workouts, but don’t go beyond that. Stick with the basics too. There is never any need to go high on one macronutrient and low on another.

Balance is always the best approach. You need protein for muscle recovery, carbs for energy and fat for hormone production and joint function. Choose quality foods like lean meats, eggs, fish, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.

4 – Wear a hair tie when training

This may not be what you think it is. Instead of hacking your hair off to a short length, keep it long and either pull it back when training or wear a tie. One of the main reasons you can look butch with bodybuilding is if you have really short hair.

As long as you keep it out of your face, go with the long style. And when you go out at night or during the day, style it like a woman. No one will ever accuse you of being butch then.

Conclusion

With the right attention to detail and steps, you can be a successful bodybuilder and woman at the same time. Plus, you now know what to do and what to avoid to prevent yourself from looking butch. All that’s left to do is put your plan into motion.

These 5 dumbbell moves will tone your whole body

If you don’t have gym membership, it’s not the end of the world. Working out from home can be just as rewarding, and definitely more convenient than driving to the closest facility.

Using nothing but the weight of your body, you can actually build a very decent physique. But, if you also have dumbbells, the sky really is the limit. There’s no muscle that can’t be targeted. All that’s holding you back is knowing how to use them!

1 Chest presses

Sitting chest presses
Sit on the floor, holding the dumbbells by your sides. Keep your upper arms tight to your sides and carefully hoist the weights up by your chest.

Back chest presses
Slowly lower yourself down onto your back and extend your legs out straight.

Move your arms out to your sides with your elbows bent 90 degrees and palms facing your feet. Your upper arms should be pressed against the floor at this point.

Push the dumbbells straight up and toward each other in an arcing motion. Stop when your arms are fully extended and the bells are about an inch apart. Hold for a split second, slowly lower the weights back to the starting position and repeat.

2 Military press

Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and hoist the dumbbells up to the sides of your shoulders with your palms facing forward. Your elbows should be bent and your upper arms should be tucked in by your sides.

Push the weights straight upward and toward each other in an arcing motion. Stop when your arms are just about fully extended and the bells are about an inch apart. Slowly lower the weights back to the starting point and repeat.

3 Push-up renegade rows

Place two dumbbells on the floor about shoulder-width apart and with the handles parallel to each other. Grasp the handles and assume a plank position with a straight line from the back of your head to your heels.

Lower yourself down by bending your elbows and stop when your upper arms are about parallel to the floor. Push yourself all the way back up and then lift the dumbbell in your right hand up by your side. Make sure to keep your arm close to your body as you do this.

Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the floor, do a row with your left arm and repeat the entire drill.

Don’t let your hips sag or raise really high throughout the entire exercise. You can prevent this by keeping your abs really tight the entire time.

4. Sumo squat hammer curls

Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet in a wide stance with your toes facing out about 45 degrees. Let your arms hang straight down in front of your body with your palms facing in.

Keep your back straight and bend your knees to lower yourself down into a squat. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor, then stand back up.

As soon as your knees are fully extended, bend your elbows and lift the weights up toward your chest. Keep your palms facing each other when you do this.

Stop for a second and squeeze your biceps. Then slowly lower the weights back down and twist your wrists so they face in. Repeat the entire drill for a set of reps.

5 Triceps kickbacks

Hold two dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing in and stand with your feet together. Bend forward at the hips and bend your knees slightly. Raise your arms up backwards so your upper arms are about parallel to the floor and close to your sides.

Keep your upper arms still as you straighten your arms. Stop when your arms are fully extended and squeeze your triceps for a full second. Bend your elbows to lower the weights back down and repeat.

Ready to build some home-grown bulk?

These exercises will do a top job of targeting all your major muscle groups. If you literally just did these 5 moves two or three times a week, you’d get all the stimulation you need for toning up your body all over.

Just be sure the load you use for each drill varies. You can get away with using heavier weights for exercises like chest presses and renegade rows. But you’ll have to use a lighter resistance for exercises like hammer curls and triceps kickbacks.

Bodybuilding Injury? Why Rest Is Not The Answer

Let’s face facts: injuries suck. There’s really no good to come of an injury if you’re a fitness enthusiast. It means forced time off, depression cause you can’t train, and as most athletes fear, potential weight gain while you barely get off your ass.

But should you even really be resting? While the common notion is that when you’re injured, rest is the best medicine, it turns out, this may not be exactly what the doctor ordered. In many cases, activity is an important part of optimal recovery.

Let’s delve further into this topic and show you why you may not want to call it quits on the gym so quickly after that blow to the knee, crushing pain in your back, or incidence of shoulder pain that won’t let up.

A body in motion stays in motion

The first thing to realize is that a body in motion stays in motion. Your enemy right now is going to be tensing up, experiencing tight muscles, tendons, and ligaments that will restrict movement even further and may just accelerate the severity of the injury.

When injured, you want to keep things loose and mobile in most cases – and light activity can help do that. This doesn’t mean hit the gym and do all the same exercises you used to, but it does mean you should try to get the blood flowing to the muscles, delivering important nutrients that will be key for optimal recovery.

Just make sure that you always do a thorough warm-up for the injured muscle group, as exercising cold can worsen your injury.

Strengthening muscle imbalances are key

Another reason to keep active? It’ll help prevent unwanted muscle imbalances. Not only could these imbalances be what caused the injury in the first place, they could also be vital for recovery.

If the muscle imbalance is pulling on tendons and ligaments in a certain manner, causing joints to track improperly, until this is fixed, you’re going to keep experiencing pain.

If you’re not sure whether you have a muscle imbalance or not, this is where an appointment with a physiotherapist can help. They will assess your biomechanics and establish what needs to be worked on. From there, you can put the appropriate exercises in place and continue to do these either in therapy or in a gym setting.

One injury is not full body encompassing

Finally, it’s important to note that one injury isn’t going to render your entire body out of order. Unless it’s something very severe like back pain that’s made it almost impossible to move, you can usually train your other muscle groups just fine.

For example, if a bum knee is crushing your squat gains, just go harder when you do chest, back, or shoulders. You may not be able to hit your legs how you’d want to, but this doesn’t mean you have to de-train your entire upper body as well.

In fact, now is the perfect time to put more attention on the upper body and turn it up a notch. You won’t have to devote recovery reserves to lower body training in this example (which can be very draining as I’m sure you’ve experienced before), this leaves you with so much you can do when it comes to your upper body.

Training through injury the smart way

While the tough guys may simply take a ‘grin and bear it’ approach, this is not what you want to be doing with your training. The fact is, you want to ensure that you’re listening to your body when you’re in pain. Pain is your body’s way of letting you know you’re going too far, too fast and need to stop right away.

If you don’t listen to pain, you’ll just dig yourself deeper into the injury hole, possibly never to fully climb back out.

The trick is to drop the painkillers, tune in to your body and work around the pain. Let pain guide your path. When you do this, you get onto the road to recovery faster without losing gains.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Go slow. Post-injury is not the time to strive for PB’s. Use this as an opportunity to perfect your form and focus on simply getting movement into your day.
  • Check your form. Speaking of form, make sure yours is 100% spot on with every exercise you do. Poor form could be what led to the injury in the first place.
  • Allow for adequate rest between sets. Ditch supersets, drop sets, and any other high-intensity technique for the time being when working the affected area.
  • Consider a break for that muscle group. In some cases, you really do just need time to rest and recover. If it’s tendonitis for instance, if you keep working that muscle, you’re going to keep getting inflamed and completely scupper the recovery process. In this scenario, give yourself a few weeks of pure rest for that muscle group.
  • This doesn’t mean you can’t work unaffected areas with great intensity. Smart bodybuilders know that when one area of the body gets hurt, the other areas are in for a serious beating, so to speak. Bring up those lagging areas that you never have time for normally. After a few weeks once all pain and inflammation has subsided, then consider getting back into it with that injured muscle group once again.

So there you have it. You really can train through injury. It’ll always be a massive pain in the ass that’s part of any hard-working gym-nuts life. It’s almost impossible to side-step injury completely if you’re constantly pushing your body to its limits, but if you employ the methods above, at least it doesn’t have to stop progress in all areas of your body.