From Beginner To Become Your Own Personal Trainer (Part 1)

become your own pesonal trainer

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and I learned good stuff.

Before to read this article, I advise you to read Find The Gym For Your Goals Part 1 et Part 2; Back To The Source Of Equipment Part 1 et Part 2; Back To The Source Of Human Strength Part 1 et Part 2.If you already read it, continue and have fun.

A strong body is a healthy body, you have heard this many times but it’s not easy to do. Starting a new workout can be intimidating. It’s, for this reason, a lot of people fail.

How you will train

gym training

To start, you have to find out what kind of strength training you want to do. It depends on the equipment and your goals. Here are several types of training programs :

Bodyweight

With a bodyweight training, you need little equipment (or not at all) and you can train everywhere (home, hotel, playground, workplace). As long as you have room to move, you can train.

If you like bodyweight training, take a pull-up bar and a set of gymnastics rings. If you’re really a beginner, an exercise band  can assist you in the movement like pull ups and dips.

If is that you can do bodyweight training without equipment, the disadvantage is that you need to constantly change exercises difficult to be sure to progress.

Dumbbells

Dumbbells are excellent for starting a workout with weight for several reasons.

First, gyms always have a good set of dumbbells. If you want to train at home, you can buy a set of adjustable dumbbells (that’s how I started in my bedroom).

The second reason is that dumbbells allow you to add a small amount of weight to do an exercise and exercise with dumbells are less intimidating that exercise with a barbell. For example, if you’re a beginner, starting with a 20kg (45lbs) barbell is a bit too much.

Dumbbells also allow you to work your symmetry and allow you to balance the strength of your right side and left side of your body. It’s ridiculous to have an arm or a leg extremely bigger and stronger as the other.

If you can’t finish a repetition, it’s easy to throw dumbbells on the floor compared to a barbell. For a beginner, it’s excellent for learning movements.

The disadvantage is that to evolve, you need to buy new dumbbells and this can be expensive. A gym membership is handy to avoid this problem.

Barbells

If your goal is to gain only strength, this is the recommended option. Barbell allows you to progress cleanly and quickly by adding a small amount of weight each week.

A barbell is really stable because you use your 2 hands instead of 1 hand for dumbbells so it’s easy to lift heavy (especially for the lower body like squat of deadlift). For exercises like the squat or the press, you can use the rack to load and unload weights safety.

The disadvantage is that to do this at home, you need to have a squat rack, a barbell, a bench and enough weight plates in your house or in your garage. A gym membership is handy to avoid this problem.

What’s the best way to train?

The barbell is optimal for gaining strength. Bodyweight training is good but you have to seriously motivate you to train at home.

Sometimes you have to adapt to the situation to be able to do your training. When I travel a bodyweight training is perfect if I don’t have access to a gym.

But the best workout is when you lift heavy. Nothing can replace squat, deadlift and body weight pull up.

There are also other ways to have a strength training like rock climbing, yoga or parkour.

Choose the program to follow

gym training program

Never go to the gym without having a plan. To get results, it’s necessary to have a plan to track your progress.

For to make a lot of progress, a beginner can have a full body program of 3 times a week with a day off between training days. Be sure that the program you choose matches your goals, A powerlifters will have a different training from a bodybuilder or an endurance athlete.

In my article Back To The Source Of Human Strength Part 1 and Part 2, I talk about numbers of repetitions and their goals :

  • Reps in the 1-5 range build super dense muscle and strength

  • Reps in the 6-12 range build a somewhat equal amount of muscular strength and muscular endurance.

  • Reps in the 12+ range build muscular endurance and size

Many beginner strength training programs say to do 5 sets of 5 repetitions to optimize progress to gain strength.

With a circuit or superset, you do a set of each exercise in an order and you repeat the process.

For example :

  • 20 bodyweight squat

  • 10 push ups

  • 20 walking lunges

  • 10 dumbell rows

  • 15 second plank

  • 30 jumping jacks

  • Repeat all these 5 times to do 5 sets

In traditional strength program, you do a complete set of an exercise, you rest and you do another set of the same exercise and so on.

For example :

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Next exercise

If your goal is to be healthy and lose weight, you don’t need to focus on strength, a circuit (superset) is perfect.

This allows you to spend less time at the gym and to make up your high heart rate longer.

If your goal is to have more strength and have more muscle, choose a traditional strength training.

One important thing, your diet corresponds to 80-90 % of your success or failure. The quality of your diet will help you gain strength and lose fat.

When you choose a workout to develop your strength, be sure to increase the difficulty over time. To become stronger, you need to write a plan. This can be to do one more squat, lift 2kg (5lbs) more or do your circuit (superset) 10 seconds faster.

The main goal is to always be better than the last time, this is what ensures the continuity of being stronger and faster.

You can write your own training program or fortunately, there is a lot of excellent beginner program.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

How To Do Chin-Ups

chin up anatomy back

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

In suspension at the fixed bar with your hands apart with a pronated grip:

  • Inhale and pulls to bring your chest almost to the level of the bar

  • Exhale at the end of the movement

  • Return to the starting position by controlling the movement

chin up anatomy back

This exercise works latissimus dorsi, teres major and when approaching the shoulder blades at the end of the movement, it’s the rhomboids and trapezius (middle and inferior part). This exercise works a little bit biceps brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis.

This exercise works the back in thickness.

Variants

By pulling out your chest, you can pull to the chin.

If lifting your bodyweight is too easy, you can attach weights to a belt.

From a biomechanical point of view, do this exercise with your elbows along your body work the outer fibers of the latissimus dorsi and develop your back in width.

By pulling out your chest with your elbows back to pull to your chin, work the upper and middle fibers of the latissimus dorsi and those of the teres major.

chin up anatomy back

chin up anatomy back

Note

Pectoralis major works a little bit to be in synergy with the latissimus dorsi and teres major to close the angle between your arm and your core.

Evolution

evolution human being nature tree

Latissimus dorsi and teres major have an important role in the four-legged movement of our distant ancestors. They have the function of pushing the front legs backward.

During arboreal life, these muscles were transformed into muscles specialized in vertical displacement.

During life on the ground, our ancestors bought the biped but retained the possibility of climbing.

That’s why we have powerful back’s muscles to tow our bodies and climb trees.

Note

The difference that human beings have with our close relatives, the monkeys, is the development of lower limbs specializing in bipedalism. Our torso and upper limbs have the same structure and proportions. The truth is that monkeys don’t have long arms, it’s us who have long legs.

Subscribe to my newsletter and share this article you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food. Click here.

Back To The Source Of Human Strength (Part 1)

source

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and I learned good stuff.

When I’m in gym, people tell me why they started to train. There are several reasons, lose weight, gain muscles or to be in shape for a special event. There is a golden rule to have result in strength training, it’s eat clean and lift heavy.

Everybody says it, eat clean and lift heavy but what does that means ? I think it’s time to go back to the source.

Why

why

The life is easier when we’re stronger, did you notice it ? By exemple, to carry bags from supermarket, to carry a piece of furniture, to run to be in time, etc. Everything is easier.

Strength training is extremely efficient to build muscle and burn fat. Whether to lose 6kg (15lbs) or 45kg (100lbs), it’s the same thing.

Strength training help to build muscle and lose fat but it also help to stop or even reverse sarcopenia (it’s skeletal muscle reduction with aging). Train our skeletal muscle allow us to be independant (therefore avoid nursing homes) and live longer.

The profits list isn’t finished yet.

A nice athletic body

Strength training help you keep your muscles while you’re in calories deficience and losing weight.

Strength training allows you to have a better oxygen consumption than aerobic exercices. After training your body needs to make a lot of efforts to recover and return to the normal state so the state you had before the training. Scientific studies have shown that your metabolism‘s level increase for 38 hours after your training.

Strength training increase your metabolism, increase your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) because your body needs more calories to keep your muscls than to keep your fat. It’s estimated that for each 4.45kg (1lbs) of muscle, your RMR increase of 30-35 calories.

Improve your health

Strength training help you to improve your balance and coordination, improve cholesterol’s rate, help to control blood sugar, stop muscle loss, improve blood flow, reduces your resting blood pressure, build a stronger heart and increase bone density.

Feel better

It’s clear with strength training you have more self-confidence, your have more energy, a better mood, less anxiety and less stress . It also improves the quality of your thoughts, a scientific study has shown that this increases the cognitive function .

It’s not advisable to do a strength training 1 hour before sleeping. On the other hand to train early in the day helps to prevent sleep apnea  and insomnia.

Prevents diseases and degenerative diseases

You notices that many men and women die because of cardiac disease. Stength training helps to solve problems that are factors of heart disease such as inactivity, diabets, obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Cardiologists begin to advise strength training to people who have heart attack.

Strength training helps to manage and improve the lifestyle of people with clinical depression , cancer survivors , have had a spinal cord injury ,who have recently had a stroke , fibromyalgia , Lymphedema , Down Syndrome , Parkinson’s Disease , Osteoporosis  and Arthritis.

It’s fun

Strenght training helps to reach your goals whether an effective training of 20 minutes to have a good naked body or to do a sports competition. It’s fun to see our progress because it’s like increase level in a video game. If you want to be better in a sport like badminton or rock climbing, strength training is a good choice.

People who shouldn’t train

The only people I’ve found who shouldn’t train are people who have an injury and it’s a break that doesn’t last long. We’re human being and it’s natural to carry things and move. Strength training is recommended for pregnant women , children and teenagers  and even paraplegics .

Obviously, it recommanded to see his/her doctor before beginning a strength training program to adjust the training program.

Basic objections

objection

But I’m too old, it’s not reasonable

When people between 30 and 60 years old tell me that they’re too old, I laugh because it’s a lie. It’s like say : « I don’t have time » and later I see a messsage on Facebook like : « Yestersay, Game of the thrones was epic ! ». Scientific studies have shown that people between 70 and 90 years old had impressive results in 10 weeks .

Other scientific studies have shown that this helps to avoid dementia  and to delay Alzheimer’s .

People who think they’re too old to train are exactly people who should train.

But I just want to be better for a sport and I want to stay fit

Strength training improve your muscle’s endurance, scientific studies have shown it. Resistance exercices help to increases overall muscles endurance , fix nervous system problems and increase activation of motor units within your muscles.

I don’t want to bulk too much

It’s a great strength training’s myth, it’s not in 1 year than you’ll have the bodybuilder’s body no matter wheteher you’re a man or a woman.

For women, here 2 exemples of moms who have become strong and fit without having a bodybuilder body. This is the story of Veronica  and Bronwyn .

Have a the body of a famous bodybuilder doesn’t happen in one night. Naturally we don’t have the amount of homones to have the body of a famous bodybuilder. We need to eat a huge amount of food (8 000 – 10 000 calories per day) and a huge amont of drugs (no, no, it’s another type of pharmacy, it’s true).

I’m fat, I want only lose weight

I’m fat, I want only lose weight

It’s a good reason to start strenght training. By losing weight, you surely want to keep your muscles. I mean, yout want to keep your muscles while you lose fat. With strength training you lose quickly centimeters (inches) in different body’s parts. It’s true that the overall weight loss may seem slow, that’s why is important to track your measurements. With strenght training when you eat with a caloric deficit, it’s increase your metabolism so you lose fat.

It’s boring

What I like with strength training, it’s we can see our progress quickly. It’s like increase level in a video game. I think people get bored when they expect nothing to do between 2 sets. This is why I advise people to have headphones to listen to their own music selection or an audio book to increase motivation.

Muscles and strength training

muscle fiber

Don’t be fancy, it’s interesting to understand how our muscles work to avoid failling into the Matrix’s trap. What I mean is that the only person you gave to impress is yourself and not the others.

It’s our muscle fibers that are small muscle cells that build up our muscles. Our muscle fibers are long, cylindrical and have the size of a strand of hair. Our muscle fibers are composed of myofibrils surrounded by sarcoplasm. I really summarized that but if you want to see it in detail, click here .

We have around 642 skeletal muscles that work together to make move our body. Imagine, when you bend your arm, your biceps contracts and your triceps does the opposite (elongates) to let the elbow bend. Every muscle of your body work as a team to make you move.

We have different type of muscle fibers :

Slow twitch (Type 1 fibers)

Slow twitch fibers are used to convert oxygen into energy for a long period of time. They don’t move quickly to be resistant to fatigue. These are the fibers we use most for marathons.

Fast twitch (Type 2 fibers)

Fast twitch move quickly so they’re not resistant to fatigue. Our body has 2 categories of fast fibers. The type 2A fiber has an endurence characterisitc used for long sprints. The type 2X fiber has « super fast » characterisitc used to short sprints or lift weights. I really summarized that but if you want to see it in detail, click here .

Each individual has a different percentage of slow and fast fibers. It’s for this reason that people are naturally better to run long distances or sprints. It’s funny because we can see it in strength training with people who are better to do sets with high or low repetitions.

It’s the end of the first part and the second part is event more interessting.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

P.S. To read Part 2, click here.

Rest Day

rest day

I read a Nerd Fitness article  about rest day and I want to share this with you.

Training program

In each training program, there is at least one rest day. During your training, you make micro breaks in your muscles and it takes around 24-48 hours to repair. There are no mental or physical benefits of training non-stop. We don’t want to destroy our muscles without giving them a chance to become stronger.

What we’re supposed to do during the rest days ?

It’s coming, it’s coming.

Plan your rest days

The problem with most people is that they use rest day as a « cheat day ». Because it’s a day without training, they don’t think to stay physically fit and do anything.

THIS IS NOT GOOD !

Remember that training only corresponds to 20% and food 80% of the equation to have a good physical condition.

Program your rest days as your program your training days. This isn’t a day off like at school or at work, it’s a rest day.

Program activities in your rest day like stretching or prepare all the meals for the week.

My rest day is cardio and stretching.

Stretching

stretching

After a training day, our muscles have micro breaks and are very tight during weight lifting. For this reason stretching is great to do during rest day to work on your flexibility and your mobility. It’s a good idea to have a strong body but if you can’t move your body correctly to use it well, all this is useless.

A fun activity

Genetically we’re designed to move, we aren’t designed to sit more than 60 hours per week. This means that during our rest days, we have to work on our happiness and stay active simultaneously.

A fun activity can be different for each person :

  • Ride a bike

  • Jogging

  • Play football / basketball

  • Swim

  • Go hiking

  • Rock climbing

  • Learn a martial art like Taekwondo, Kung fu or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

  • Take a dance class

  • Try Live Action Role-Playing

No matter what it is, do an activity you like to do, an activity that makes you smile. The only important thing is to do an activity that moves your body and it doesn’t need to be an exhausting activity.

Yoga or Tai Chi

yoga

tai chi

These two activities are a perfect complement to your training. Training makes you stronger but it makes stiff our muscles too.

Yoga or Tai Chi lengthens our muscle and our tendons, aids in their recovery and helps our body to develop a better mobility and flexibility.

Now with YouTube, you can find videos about stretching and Yoga or Tai Chi but maybe you prefer to subscribe to a class, it’s up to you.

Stay focus on your goal even a day without training.

What is your rest day program ?

-Steph

PS: Do you want a free training program? Click 

Fitness History – National Period in Europe (1700 – 1850) Part 6

europe fashion 1700

Germany

german soldier 1700

The growth of gymnastics in Germany can be mainly attributed to the work of two physical educators : Johann Guts Muths and Friedrich Jahn. Johann Guts Muths is generally referred to as the « Grandfather of German gymnastics ». He invented several exercise programs and equipment on which they were performed. All his works and achievements are in 2 books – Gymnastics for youth and games.

Friedrich Jahn earned the title of « Father of German gymnastics » for its long-term work. It was early in the Jahn’s life that Napoleon had conquered much of Europe including Germany. With the fall of France (Napoleon), Germany was divided into two separate states. Jahn’s passion for German nationalism and independence had become the driving force behind his creations of gymnastics programs. He believed that the invasion of Germany by a foreign country could be prevented by the physical development of the German people. Soon, exercise facilities that contained devices designed for running, jumping, balancing, climbing and vaulting called Turnvereins were spread throughout Germany.

Sweden

sweden 1700

Pehr Henrik Ling has developed and introduced its own gymnastics program in Sweden that was composed of 3 different areas: 1) educational gymnastics 2) military gymnastics 3) Medical gymnastics. Ling who had a strong medical background had recognized that exercises were necessary for all people. He maintained that exercise programs should be designed to individual differences. Ling also believed that physical educators must possess knowledge of the effects of exercise on the human body. Ling was using science and physiology for a better understanding of the importance of fitness.

That’s all for today. Soon the rest of the fitness history

-Steph