First Lie :Training after 10pm

training at night

Have physical activity is important for well-being. This world creates a lot of stress and it’s difficult to have a good night of sleep. There is a new type of gym open 24-hours. It sounds good because, after a long day, it’s always possible to have a training session anytime.

The body has a day-to-day rhythm and creates different types of hormones at different time. At night, when the sun sets, you are tired and you want to sleep. The body produces hormones to make us go to bed. Did you notice? It’s the same thing for every human in each continent. The problem is when you do your workout after the sun is down, your body makes daytime hormones. It means it’s more difficult to sleep and also lose fat. There is a crucial hormone for wake cycles and sleep, it’s cortisol. In the morning, your body creates a high rate to respond to the sunlight and make your body operational for the day.

During the day, this rate decreases. In the evening, you produce melatonin, a night hormone. Melatonin, at night, prepares you to sleep to be in rest mode. Train late disturbs your cortisol and your melatonin. It can take several hours to bring back theses hormones to a normal level. The result is that it’s difficult to sleep during your first hours of sleep, which is why you don’t have a good night. After a training session, you can go to sleep because you are tired, but your hormones will not let you have a deep sleep. A real deep sleep to recover and also burn fat. Sleep is essential to losing fat, this is why use the right hormone at the right time will give you nice results.

Is better in the morning or evening ?

Some people say is better to train in the morning and others say it’s better in the evening. There is an interesting study. This research shows that when you train in the morning, you active better your metabolism. On the other hand, when you have a session in the evening, you use more body energy. Click here to read the study.

Tell me what do you think about this extract. Thanks for reading.

-Steph

Break For Injuries

sport injury

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE and today I didn’t train. I will tell you why, because I feel pain to my left shoulder and my 2 knees. 6 day ago, it was my leg day and you know, I hurt my right knee during a martial art session. So I used lightweight to train my leg.

Since around 6 months, I felt pain to my shoulder (shoulder impingement) because of the dumbbell overhead shoulder press and dumbbell bench press. Since 1 months, I hurt my right knee in a martial art sparring, because I wanted to avoid a punch and my leg (my knee) was in a bad position. I had 2 injuries . I searched an alternative exercise for the dumbbell overhead shoulder press and dumbbell bench press to decrease the pain and I found out. I wrote 2 articles about it. Click here and there .

Too much injuries

sport injury

As it was a leg day, I decided to do front squat with lightweight to not hurt to much my right knee. After my front squat session, I did leg press with one leg. After my warm-up set, I felt a pain in my left knee, it was like if someone hit my left knee with a knife, I stopped my rep immediately. It was the first time I felt this pain and I didn’t like it. I tried to do an another rep to see the gravity of the pain and I stopped my leg day here.

I did the half of my leg day’s program and I thought it was a good idea to test the new way to do dumbbell bench press without pain. When I was walking with the dumbbell in my hands, I felt the pain in my left knee. I did this dumbbell bench press variant and I validate it.

Usually after my workout, I eat my meal (my post workout is solid food). While I was eating my meal, I thought it was the time to make a break. 3 injuries is too much for me and I decided quickly to make a break of 1 month to really recover, because since 2015 I train regularly 6-7 days per weeks and the longest break I make was 10 days. Yeah, 10 days. When I realized it, I thank God of Light for his gratitude. And you know what ? When I slept, I felt I a little pain in the middle of my back. It means to do my front squat, my body compensated the weakness of my right knee with others parts of my body to be able to execute the movement.

Special recovery

Now, it’s the 6th days and I continue to write article for my blog and I learned what kind of injuries I have and I want to learn deeper about sport injuries because I scare to become like Ronnie Coleman. Ronnie Coleman is the best bodybuilder for me, it’s because of him I started seriously to train like a bodybuilder when I was on the streets. And now, see this living legend who can’t walk without a crutch, it’s too sad.

I want to have the best athletic body I can until I die, I’m more focus about sport injuries. More I know about it and more I can avoid it. Every day I do my stretching session and I do 2 special movements to help my left shoulder to decrease the pain. I will see on 15th July, if my recovery session is effective.

It’s important not to take lightly the pain of your body. I know a lot of people who had pains a few years ago and they had to do some surgery. Now, they can’t use their capacity at 100%.

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

-Steph

An Extraordinary Tool To Solve All Your Problems

tool box

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE ! I watched an Olivier Roland’s video  and I learned some good stuff.

Nature has given an extraordinary tool to every human being. This tool has different performance depending on the people but it’s the best for solving problems compared to the tools invented by humans.

This tool is our brain. This tool is better than a computer because a computer needs a human to work. For now, artificial intelligence has lower performance than the human brain.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t use our brains to find solutions and solve problems that are important to us. Many of us consume a lot of distractions. The question is : « Are we asking enough questions to our brain to find solution ? ». If you don’t give problems to your brain, your brain will be less and less efficient. It’s the same principle for your body.

If you give junk food to your body all day long, you will be fat, bitter, you will not have any more energy, you will not have any more libido. Everything that will comes out of you brain will be diminished in quality and quantity. If you will give healthy food to your body all day long, you will be slim, you will have more energy, you will have a better libido. Everything that comes out of your brain will be increased in quality and quantity.

Training your brain

training brain

To improve the brain to solve problems, it’s necessary to ask questions. A question is the interface between our brain and reality. This is what will put the brain in mode : « search for solutions ». By asking questions, you will look for different angles of approach to deal with the problem. The better the question and the better the solution to the reality of the world.

To have a good quality of question, it’s necessary to learn to educate oneself with books, trainings, meeting people who share their experiences, etc. Realize that you have to dedicate time to solve problems, allows you to organize your days. It’s like dedicating a few hours in your day to play sports. There is a method that I advise you to test, it’s to have a diary.

Attention, it’s a special diary because you’ll ask yourself questions. The first thing is that you’ll tell events of your life and this will allow you to better understand them and better understand yourself. And the second thing is that you’re going to ask yourself questions. There will be general questions like: «  How can I become happier ? ». And more specific questions like : « How can I become happier with the 80/20’s law (Pareto’s principle)  from today and see a measurable result next week ? ».

With questions, you put your brain in mode : « search for solutions » and you find several ideas to test to solve the problem. It’s the human process to find a solution since first hominids. Imagine, millions years ago, first hominids already found solutions because of a constraint. Imagine this scene, a hominid finds an animal with a carapace that is dead. The hominid is hungry and seeing the animal dead, he’s even more hungry. He asks himself this question : « How can I eat this animal that I can’t eat ? ». His brain goes into mode : « search for solutions ». After a few minutes, he remembers that by tapping a stone on something, the stone become sharper. After several tests, he manages to cut the animal with a carapace that dead to eat it.

Virtuous circle

virtuous circle

This human process is a virtuous circle. You ask yourself questions to find solutions to problems. These solutions create other constraints that lead to others problems. So you have to ask yourself other questions to find a solutions. To evolve, we need challenges and there are always challenges in the world. Do you realize that millions of years ago, first hominids created tools with stones and wood and today we have internet technology ? With internet, people from distant country can read my blog’s articles 24/24 7/7, it’s incredible.

Among these questions, there will always be questions that will have different answers depending on what the situation you’re in your life. For example the question : « How can I become happier ? ». When you’re single, you have a solution. When you’re in a relationship, you have another solution and when you have children, you have another different solution. Solutions are influenced by different variants in your life and it’s important to ask yourself this question throughout your life.

Reserve some time in you day to ask yourself questions to solve problems. It’s a kind of physical activity for your brain. It’s a good process to become a better version of yourself. But beware, there are solutions that you will find quickly and others, it will be necessary to work on for months or years to find the solution.

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-Steph

How To Reduce Stress (Part 2)

stress

I watched an Olivier Roland’s video  and I learned good stuff.

If you didn’t read Part 1, click here

3rd step – organize yourself and communicate

organize yourself

 

Organize

Managing your schedule helps limit stress and to do that, here’s what you can do :

  • Prevent an additional 10 to 20 minutes on your travel times.

  • Make a list of priority tasks to do and not to do.

  • Identify bad habits, tasks to eliminate and tasks to delegate.

  • Automatize a maximum of tasks.

  • Focus on taks that immediately bring visible results

  • Avoid to scatter you.

  • Stop these time consuming habits like reading your emails as soon as they arrive of watching your smartphone as soon as there is a notification. Tamagochi  is a toy, not a lifestyle.

  • Do things in their time. Each task, even minimum, must be completed before moving on the next one. This method allows you to improve your concentration and the satisfaction of having completed a task is very motivating.

  • Pause during the day and cultivate your patience. In a situation where you have to wait, take the time to relax instead of sighing and complaining. For example in a queue for a counter, use that : Wait = relax and breathe deeply. Concentrate on yourself in a positive way and on the present moment.

Communicate

  • Stress is often born from the fact that we don’t know what our interlocutors expect from us. We can’t read people’s minds, so don’t hesitate to ask clearly what people expect of you. Dare to ask questions and create a direct communication. Banish your ego and think that you aren’t absolutely right. You can also avoid sensitive topics.

  • Say « no ». If you can’t render a service someone asks you because you have no time or no resources or you don’t want to take additional responsibilities, then explain that to your interlocutor. Your interlocutors will understand the situation and you will find an arrangement. It’s better to say « no » from the start than to force yourself to keep your commitments. With this attitude, you will avoid being overwhelmed.

4th step – turn away or adapt and accept

 

turn away

 

accept

 

  • Avoid the trigger elements of stress. Limit your contact with people who stress you. Be aware of your environment and control that. For example, use an alternative road to avoid traffic jams. Turn off TV to avoid listening to information that makes you anxious. If you did the analysis of 20% of sources that bring you 80% your stress, you know the people that you must see the minimum or eliminate them from your contacts.

  • Adjust yourself by being willing to compromise. Be assertive by adapting your requirements and avoiding perfectionism.

  • Reframe conflicts by analyzing the problem in a positive way. Look at good things and find benefits of the situation. Focus on positive elements.

  • Accept the trigger of stress and admit that you can’t control everything.

  • Looking for opportunities to improve yourself. Concentrate on what this stressful situation can teach you. Follow the principle of this quote : « What doesn’t kill you , make you stronger » and ask yourself these questions : « How can I get better with this experience ? What did I learn ? ».

  • Forgive. Accept that others make mistakes (because you also make mistakes) and try to evacuate any feeling of anger. When you free yourself from all this negative energy, it’s easy to resume your projects.

In summary « The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another » as William James said.

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

-Steph

The Importance Of Counting Calories

count calories

I watched a Jamcore DZ’s video and I learned good stuff.

As you already know, food is our energy. The energy from food, we call it calorie. Calories composed of macronutriments : carbohydrates, proteins and lipids.

Count the number of calories

count calories

With carbohydrates, proteins and lipids, we can know the minimum number of calories we need to consume, it’s the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body needs to function without doing any physical activity. That’s the number of calories you burn while you stay in bed all day.

With your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), you can find your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) . Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is the number of calories your body needs in a day when you train.

Total Daily Energy Expediture (TDEE) varies according to your level of activity during the day (the intensity of the tasks you have to do during the day and the intensity of your training).

Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is always dynamic because it’s influenced by the Not Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). Not Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the number of calories you burn in a day when you have no workout. But attention, it doesn’t count the calories you burn when you sleep and eat. It only counts the calories you burn when you walk, read, write, work, study, etc.

As the intensity’s level of your tasks that aren’t a sport activity changes all the time, it changes your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) all the time. Here are 2 scientific studies to better understand the Not Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), here and there .

Now that you’ve seen your Total Daily Energy Expenditure changes all the time, you need to know that it changes your caloric deficit when you want to lose weight (be shredded) and your caloric surplus when you want to gain muscle.

Lose weight or gain muscle

weight lose muscle gain

The phase for losing weight (be shredded) and gaining muscle influenced by 2 things : morphology (endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph) and genetics.

Take the example of an endomorph person. An endomorph person is a person who can easily store fat because, it’s a person who has greater resistance to leptin. Leptin is a hormone that manages your metabolism and your appetitie (leptin controls your feeling of satiety). An endomorph person who has this type of information has good tools to know how to manage his/her Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).

For my case, I’m a mesomorph person. Which means that I’m a person who is losing weight fast and gaining muscle fast. At first, I didn’t count my calories because it easy for me to maintain a good physique. But since I’ve been studying my body to find out how it works, my results are really better for the long term.

That’s why no matter what your body type, I advise you to take the time to count your calories to have the best body possible in the long term.

I use an app on my smartphone to count my calories (you can scan barcodes). It’s My Fitness Pal. Try it, it’s really helpful.

If you intentionally don’t take care of your health, accidentally, you will have an illness.

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

-Steph

Back To The Source Of Equipment (Part 2)

source water river

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

If you didn’t read the part 1, click here

Racks Et Machines

To do squat, there are differents equipements, we name it « racks ». Let’s go.

Squat stands

squat stands

It’s 2 pieces standing, next to each other to hold the Olympic bar. It’s handy because it’s portable and you can do squat outside. But in a gym, it’s not great because you can’t put heavy weights, it’s too fragile.

Squat rack

squat rack

It’s 2 bars that are standing tied with horizontal bars. With the Squat racks, you can put heavy weights.

Power rack

power rack

It’s my favorite. It looks like a large rectangle with poles in vertical and horizontal. The Power racks have holes for placing J-hooks to adjust the height of Olympic bar. What is cool is that you can do several exercices with like pull-up, bench press, overhead press and dips.

Smith machine

smith machine

Smith machine looks like Squat racks except that the bar is guided.

Gym staff will tell you that it’s a machine to do squat safe. I don’t advise to use this machine because it forces your body to make unnatural movements. This scientific study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19855308 ) shows that you have better results with a squat with free weights.

The difference between Squat racks and Smith machine is that the bar where you put weights is fixed on Smith machine.

Weight machine

plate loaded machine weight pin loaded stack machine weight

Weight machines are in 2 categories : Pin loaded (stack machine) and Plate loaded. Pin machines have a rectangular weight stack with a hole to put the pin. More the pin is low, more the weight is heavy to lift. What is cool with this machines is that you don’t need to look for weights anywhere in the gym.

With Plate loaded, there is no weights attached to the machine. You put weights on the machine yourself. Plate loaded machines have a wider range of motion than Pin loaded.

Cable machine

cable machine

No matter the size or design of the cable machie, it will always be a pin loaded (stack machine). A handle is at the end of the cable and you can pull or push in different directions. Cable machine can be an alternative for some exercices you do with dumbbells or barbells. Cable machine has a wider range of motion.

Pull-up Bar

pull up bar

You know in most gyms, there is no real pullup bar (like in my gym). If you don’t find a freestanding bar, there are several alternatives like power rack, smith machine or the top of the cable machine.

Dips station

dips station

Usually dips station is integrated into the power rack or the cable machine. You can find some that are freestanding.

Assisted Pullup /Dip station

assisted pull up

It’s a Pin loaded (stack machine). You choose a weight and you put yourself on the platform. The weight you choose will help you to do pullups or dips. For pullups, I advise you to do Lat pulldown and the day where you can lift your bodyweight, you do freestanding pullup.

Bench

adjustable bench

Ajustables benches and standard flat benches are types of benches you will see in a gym. To do incline and decline exercices, ajustable bench is perfect. Benches are the equipement the most use in a gym, especially on Monday. I don’t know why but Monday is the international chest’s day and it’s hard to find a bench that day.

Bench press

bench press

Squat stand and Squat rack are use to do bench press in small gyms and Crossfit. In big gyms, there are special bench press with a stand attached.

Equipement items

Now you know the main gym’s equipment, I will show you small equipement items.

Collars/Clips

collar clip

There are several collars/clips designs but they have the same purpose that is to keep weights safe on the bar.


Weight plates

weight plate

There are several type of plates :

  • Standard metal plates/ rubber encased weight plates

    They’re made of metal and they shouldn’t be thrown to the ground. There are circle with the denomination of weight on. Depending on the weight, they have different diameters.

  • Bumper plates

    They’re made of rubber and can be thrown to the ground for above your head (clean and jerk).

Plates can have a denomination in kilograms or pounds :

Kilogramme : 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 5, 10, 15, 20 et 25kg

Pound : 2.5, 5, 10, 25 ou 45lbs.

You can also find plates with a combination of metal and rubber that can be thrown to the ground but not from aboe you head.

Kettelbells

kettelbell

This is looks like a cannon balls with handles. Most gym don’t have the same weight repertoire than dumbells but it’s possible to find kettelbells of 24kg (53lbs) and 31.75 (70lbs) and more.

GHR/GHD Machine

ghr ghd machine glute ham raise developer

The translation is « Glute Ham Raise » or « Glute Ham Developer ». With this you can do glute ham raise, back extension or sit ups.

Prowler/Dragging sled

prowler dragging sled

Put weights on a prowler and push or pull while you run.

Strongman equipment

strongman kegs yokes hammers tires atlas stone

If you don’t intend to make a strongman competition, kegs, yokes, hammers, tires and atlas stones are good to do from time to time.

Plyo Boxes

plyo Boxe

These boxes have several size. You jump on and off of.

Bands

band

Those are big rubber bans to work mobility and speed lifts.

Gear

It’s funny because people ask me often : « What do I wear ? ». I noticed in gyms, it’s often a fashion show. It’s for this reason beginners are impressed. Unless you have an injury, clothes don’t matter. When I started, I took some clothes that I rarely used and I always do that. Sometimes I see people with cool clothes and I say to myself : « Wow, I have to buy it » and when I see theirs performances I say to myself : « Pffff, show-off ! ».

Clothing

Gym isn’t a fashion show. You’re not going to win a prize because you’re well dressed. We’re here to sweat so wearing comfortable clothes. You know, my clothes and shoes are torn and the funny thing is that people ask me, if they can train with me because they see my body evolve.

Shoes

squat deadlift shoes classic converse chuck taylor all star

It’s important to have a good pair of shoes to do deadlift and squat. A good pair of shoes allows you to put your weight on your heels to be as stable as possible. Running shoes don’t allow you to do this because their soft soles. If you don’t have the budget for this type of shoes, the classic Converse Chuck Taylor All Star works well and is what many top powerlifters still wear.

Personally I use my Converse Chuck Taylor All Star for my strenght training and my Puma to run.

Gloves

Gloves are used to protect hands from callouses. At the beginning, I wore gloves and I still had callouses and sometimes my hands slipped inside gloves because of the sweat. I notices that gloves could also mess up your grip and technique. I don’t use gloves and I don’t recommand to have gloves.

Knee/Wrist wraps

knee wrist wraps

Wraps allow you to have support and stability when you lift heavy weights (squat/deadlift).

Straps

straps

Straps allow you to hold the bar longer in your hands. Straps are wrapped around the bar which relives your grip. It’s excellent for intermediate and advanced lifters. Beginners don’t need to use it.

Weightlifting Belt

weightlifting belt leather weightlifting belt velcro

There are 2 type of weightlifting belt : leather or velcro. It’s very usefull for intermediate and advanced lifters. I use my weightlifting belt only for deadlift and squat.

Stop, stop, stop, I see you start to worry about buyiing all this. Don’t panic, the most important thing to have is a good pair of shoes to get started. It’s simple, let’s go my friend.

Whats’s the biggest mistake you made when you started lifting ?

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

-Steph

Back To The Source Of Human Strength (Part 2)

source river

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

If you didn’t read part 1, click here 

Hypertrophy

When I started to train, I thought I can increase the amount of muscle fibers with strength training program. The truth is we have a specific number of muscle fibers. We can only increase the size of our muscles fibers, this is hypertrophy.

I discovered that there were several hypertrophies. Usually when people talk about hypertrophy, it’s sarcoplasmic hypertophy.

  • Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy

    This hypertrophy allows you to increase the amount of sarcoplasmic fluid in your muscles. This can increase the size of one of your muscles by 30 %.

  • Myofibril hypertrophy

    This hypertrophy allows you to strengthen your myofibril, the part of the muscle that contracts. This increase the strength of your muscle fibers, build strong muscles and super dense.

  • Transient hypertrophy

    This hypertrophy allows you to increase temporary the size of one of your muscles during and immediately after an exercice due to an accumulation of fluid (I still don’t know if it’s the sarcoplasmic fluid or glycogen) in the intercellular space. This is what gives the effect « the pump ».

To summarize to buid a muscle super dense and strong, it’s myofibril hypertrophy. To have bigger muscle, it’s sarcoplasimic hypertrophy. Transient hypertrophy is temporary and appears in the other 2 hypertrophies during the training.

During a strength training, here is what happens :

  • During an exercice you’ll break muscle tissue. Your body will repair this muscle and it will become stronger. Whenever you break muscle tissue, your body will do this process.
  • When you increase the number of repetitions, you increase the storage of glycogen in your muscle. This is where you muscle gets bigger.

For the training program

Strength training isn’t just lift weights. It’s more interesting and more complex than that.

Here are details :

chart hypertophy starting strength rep 1rm

A little help for this Excel’s table

  • Repetition (Rep) => An exercice is composed of a starting position and an arrival position. A repetition is when you make the movement from the starting position to the arrival position and you return to the starting position. All that make a repetition. For exemple when you squat, the starting position is standing. The arrival position is when your thighs are parallel to the floor and you return to the starting position, standing.

  • X Rep Max => This is the number of repetitions with the heaviest weight you are able to control. By exemple, 1 Rep Max (1RM), is that the weight is so heavy that you can do only one repetition. 10RM, is that you can control the weight successfully to do 10 repetitions. In the 11st, it’s the failure.

With this Excel table, you can have an idea to how you can do to gain stength (myofribril hypertophy) : A low number of repetition and heavy weight. To increase the size of your muscles (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy) : A high number of repetition and light weight.

ATTENTION : This Excel table give us an idea of how to do to reach our goal. It’s not something specific. When you do a high number of repetition to increase the size of your muscle, you gain also a little strength. Our body is smarter than us.

It’s for this reason I never understand girls or women who don’t want to « get bulk », so they do 3 sets of 16 repetitions or 5 sets of 1000 repetitions with a dumbbell of 2kg (4.4lbs).

It’s hard for a girl to bulk, no matter the weight or the number of repetitions, if they want to increase the size of muscles, that’s exactly what they have to do because it would make sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

Recovery

recovery sleep

I’m sure you’ve already heard that muscles are built in the kitchen, not in the gym.

It’s because when you’re in the gym, you break your muscle fibers. When you’re outside of the gym, your body heals and your muscles become bigger and stronger. So it’s important to take a recovery’s day in your strength training program.

The general rule is to wait 40 hours before to work the same muscle group again.

Remember that your muscles works in team, which means that when you work your chest, you also work shoulders muscles and arms muscles.

Everyone at his own pace to recover, it depends on diet, sleep’s quality, age workout and other items like stretching or massage.

The basis of strength training is 4 days of training per week and one recovery’s day.

Sore muscles or DOMS

DOMS is the acronym for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Sore means that your muscles haven’t recovered to 100 % (hence the « delayed onset »). This can last 1-2 days after your workout and this is normal. The process for your body to rebuild your muscles takes several days after a workout.

It’s normal that you have sore muscle for several days after your first training or after a long break. With each exercice, your muscle gets used to a movement and adapts to the stress caused by this movement so that you have less sore muscles. Stretching helps you to decrease sore muscles.

I think you motivated now, to start a strength training. Don’t worry, there is a lot of stength training program great for beginners on internet. The book « Starting Strength » is excellent for beginners, the Excel’s table of this article comes from this book.

 

 

I also put free strength training program at your disposal. Click on the links below.

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

-Steph