Squat Correctly (Part 1)

squat

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

I’m sure that in your gym, everyone says it’s good to do squat ? But who do your see really doing ? There’s not a lot of people, it’s weird, no ?

I do the squat on leg’s day but the truth is that it’s actually a « full body » exercice. « Full body » means that it’s an exercice that work several different muscle group at the the same time.

The squat mimics a lot of natural movement that you use everyday and if your goal is to gain muscle and lose weight, the squat is perfect.

What I see in my gym is that people who have never done squat are very intimidated and they use Smith machine to be reassured. But the Smith machine is very bad to do squat because it prevents you from making a natural move.

With this article, you’ll know everything about the squat and you’ll be able to do it without problem.

Why

how much why

The squat is one of the most fundamental functional movements of our lives.

Look at babies, they bodyweight squat quietly. it’s by growing that we stop doing squat and be on a chair for hours.

When you travel, you see in countries, people do full squat to sit and chat, it’s fun. There are even restroom where you have to do a squat.

It’s modern furniture and technology that make us want to do less squat but fortunately we can get back to basics and squat all life.

Squat is a movement that uses multiple joints, hip and knee joint. This is what we call a compound movement.

Squat is a movement that uses legs muscles, hips muscles, core muscles, back muscle, shoulder muscle and arms muscle. That’s why I told you it was a full body exercice.

What is cool with squat is that it increases your flexibility and it strengthens your bones, your muscles and your knees.

The fact that squat uses several muscle groups in your body, your body must increase your anabolic hormone production  to exercise the movement. This is cool because it helps to lose fat and gain muscle.

Strengthening strength in your knees and in your hips decreases your chances of having injuries in everyday life.

You saw, it’s really good for your body to do squat. Now, look at the different type of squat.

Bodyweight squat

bodyweight squat

It’s the simplest squat version, it’s the squat we used to do when we were babies.

Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Your toes should point lightly to the outside, about 5 to 20 degrees outside.

Look before you and fix a spot on the wall in front of you. You’re going to look at this point while you’re squatting. You don’t have to look at ceiling or look at the floor. For me, it also helps me to stay focused.

Put your arms straight forward so that they’re parallel to the ground. Keep your spine straight. Your spine shouldn’t be rounded or too arched.

Be concentrated to properly distribute the weight on your feet. The weight must be on your heels and the ball of your feet. You must feel like you glued to the floor. With this technique you’re able to move your toes throughout the squat.

During the squat keeps your whole body contracted. Here we go.

Inhale, swing your hips back and push your butt back. You swing your hips back to bend your knees. It’s important to swing your hips back to begin the movement. If you start by bending your knees to begins the movement, the day you’re going to lift a heavy weight, you’ll quickly feel the pain and difficulty.

Continue to look in front of you by fixing the spot on the wall in front of you. Keep your back straight to have your spine in a neutral position and your chest and your shoulder up.

Get down

As you go down, stay focused so that your knees are aligned with your feet. I remember that when I started squatting, I had to concentrate on not having my knees inside my toes. When this happened, I would push my knees out to be aligned with my feet. Of course, your knees must not exceed the width of your feet.

Imagine you have a Start Wars light saber on your knees. The light saber should be between your second and fourth toes, it’s a little trick to help you have your knees aligned with your feet.

Squat down until your hips joints are lower than your knees, this is the parallel position. It’s necessary to look at the hips position and not the thighs position because the thighs size can be different from one person to another. If your hips joint aren’t lower than your knees, you do a partial squat.

Once you’re down, it’s time to get back on your feet.

Get up

Continue to have your whole body contracted and push on your heels and keep your feet on the ground as well.

Stay focus so that your knees are aligned at your feet like when you get down and contract your butt up to be sure to use your glutes.

The most important thing is that you have to keep your body and your core contracted all along the squat. It’s important to learn to do this right away because the more you lift heavy, the more it will help you to have a good body’s position during the squat.

Note :Every human being has a unique body so none of our squats will look perfect. A person who has a short femur  will have a slightly different squat than a person who has a long femur. And it should be added that many people are working to improve their mobility problems. What I mean is that if your squat looks different from the person next to you, it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong.

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

-Steph

From Exercise Machines To Free Weights

machine free weights

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and there is good stuff.

Very often in gym’s advertisements, we watch a lot of high-tech machines to do exercises and the free weight zone is a small hidden room.

What I see in my gym, it’s people start their training with a little bit cardio and they use machines. They do this because it’s easier and this look more secure. Unfortunately, this is not the reality. The Matrix trap us with these machines.

Attention : If you have a medical prescription or you need to use machines for a special reason, continue to follow your training program prescribed by your doctor or physiotherapist.

Why

why

The truth is that machines force muscles and joints to make movements that aren’t natural.

Machines force your body to move weights in a single pattern (up – down or left – right). Our bodies naturally don’t move like it, this is the problem. Movements or our bodies aren’t straight lines, it’s rather « S ». The result is that machines develop our muscles in a way that isn’t balanced and they endanger our joints and spine.

Like you can see, machines don’t put your body in safety and in addition, they don’t work your stabilizing muscles. Don’t work stabilizing muscles is very bad for everyday activities.

When you bent forward to take something on the floor, you body use a dozen and a dozen muscles at the same time. But since you no longer work your stabilizing muscles because of machines, your muscles don’t know how to work together so your body uses a muscle.

Study case

« Smith Machine » is famous to do squat in safety so it protects your back. Lie ! This machine is perfect to destroy your back and compressed your spine because this machine force your body to move only up and down. The real squat allow to do the fundamental movement and when you do it, you notice that your body doesn’t do a straight line from up to down. With the real squat you do a natural movement.

Do exercise with weight or with bodyweight is more efficient to burn calories than machines.

Full body

full body

All exercises classified in 2 categories : pull and push

I remember, I did a full body training program for 1 year before lift weight. This is what my Taekwondo’s teacher advised me and he was right (wow, Korean wisdom). A full body training program, 3 times per week is more efficient than a machines training program, 5-6 times per week for beginners. If you want to train more, you can do Tai-Chi or walking during rest days.

Full body is important

With full body, you learn to each body’s muscle to work together, you synchronize you body. This is allow you to be healthy, avoid using too much a muscle and avoid injury due to a weak stabilizing muscle. To maximize your body, eat healthy and you’ll burn more fat, build muscle and build a body of which you’re proud.

What is great with a full body training program, it’s when you skip a training day, it doesn’t matter. You’ll not have certain muscle more developed than any others because each training session work all body’s muscles

Bodyweight (full body)

bodyweight training

Mastering basics movements with bodyweight is perfect to prepare you for a training with weights.

It’s primitive movements therefore natural that allow you to become stronger without material.

The best example are gymnasts. Look gymnasts body, it’s amazing, impressive and the majority of their training are with bodyweight exercises.

Basic exercises

  • Push = push up, dips, handstands

  • Pull = pull up, body rows

  • Legs = bodyweight squat, pistols squats, lunges, box jumps

For each exercise, you do 2-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions.

No it’s too simple  ! => Do this training program and if it’s too easy, increase the difficulty. You can do push up with one hand or pull up with one hand (like my friend Inti). You can also add more set ou repetition.

No it’s too difficult => Do this training program and if it’s too difficult, decrease the difficulty. You can do sets of 3 repetitions. The principle is you progress to do 4 sets of 10 repetitions. Take your time but be regular.

No I want abs => When you do squat, push up and pull up, you keep your core tight and by this way you work your abs. But if you want to do an exercise specially for abs, you can to plank and side plank.

Strength training (full body)

strength training

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman, dumbbells and barbells are your friends.

Basic exercise

  • Push = Bench press, Overhead Press

  • Pull = Deadlift, Bent Over Row

  • Legs = Squat, Deadlift

For each exercise, you do 2-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions.

No I don’t like squat => Do you think squat is an useless exercise ? I advise you to read the book of Mark Rippetoe. If you seriously want to train, this book is for you !

No I afraid of weights => Don’t panic. Most people in free weights section are too busy to look at themselves in the mirror, they will not look at you. You can use a barbell or dumbbells for each exercise to improve your pure strength. I advise you dumbbells.

No I’m afraid of being ridiculous => Everybody don’t care if you life a dumbbell of 4kg (8.8lbs) or you squat 181kg (400lbs) because everybody struggle to do their training program. Forget people, stay focus and do you training program until the end.

But if I do bad => At the beginning use light weight to do movements with the good form, the good technique. When you’ll stronger, you’ll can add weight slowly each week to reach your limit. You can hire a personal trainer for 1-2 sessions to learn and improve basic exercises techniques or form.

No I want only lose weight => It’s simple, you do basic exercises and you eat less. The training is the same for lose weight or gain muscle. It’s diet that make the difference ! It’s a science :

  • Eat more calories than you burn = gain weight

  • Eat less calories than you burn = lose weight

Your physical condition, it’s 80 % diet and 20 % training. If you want bulk, you need to have a specific diet to do this.

Track and adjust slowly your training program and your diet to see your progress.

No matter what you do, don’t be afraid of the free weight zone. Remember than 90 % of people inside are focus to do their exercises by looking in the mirror therefore don’t worry. Do your exercices, become better and become stronger.

What do you feel when you train with free weights ?

-Steph

Tips For Eating At Restaurants And Staying Healthy

restaurant

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and there is good stuff.

It’s easy to prepare our meal when we’re in our headquarter because we have all ingredients but when we go eat at restaurant, it’s not the same thing and we enjoy to eat anything.

Eat at restaurant = unhealthy meal ? No, not cecessarily

If we have go to the resaurant, whatever reason, we can make change when we order a menu that help us to eat healthy.

Teddy Roosevelt (the 26th president of USA) said  :« Do what you can, with what you have, where you are »

Restaurants

restaurant

Here are techniques to help to eat healthy when you’re outside.

Explores the menu before

Explores menus on the restaurant’s website and pre-selected your options before to go to the restaurant. This avoid you to struggle to have the willpower to eat healthy when you’re going to place the order.

If possible ask to place your order first. Whenever the server asks who wants to order first, speaks ! If you’re the only person of your group of friends who eat healthy, this will help you to not be influenced by the Matrix (pizza, french fries, etc). This avoid too to heard this sentence : « live a little ! ».

if you order first, the opposite can happen. You can influence your friends to eat healty and it’s cool.

Ask for help from your server

If you see a menu that who like at 80 %, don’t be afraid to modify the menu. This happens all the time and the server really doesn’t care. A chicken sandwich can become a plate of meat and vegetables.

99 % of the restaurants where I go give me a plate of chicken and vegetable, if I ask for it, even if it’s not on the menu. The goal of restaurants is to make clients happy.

Order water

Order always water rather than soda or other sugary drink ! Processed sugar is bad. You want someting with taste ? Sugar-free Ice tea.

Avoid fast-foods

Go to a grocery or a supermarket to find hot good food.

Avoid french fries

Order potatoes baked, grilled or steamed.

Not chips, bread or popcorn

Ask your waitress to not bring them.

Big entree

If the entree is huge, ask to decrease protions. This avoids eating a meal at more than 3000 calories.

Eat slowly

It take 1 minute to your brain to realize your stomac is already full. Slow motion, enjoys the conversation of people with who you eat.

manges.

Joker

If you friends harass you with « live a little », explain them you have an allergy or a weird reaction with some kind of food (you can lie, it’s for the good case). You will see, they will help you to eat healthy.

Not force to eat all the plate

According to the culture from where you come, not eating the whole plate can be rude. Put a napkin on the plate and ask to take the rest for home.

Stay cool

so serious

Remember that you’re human. If you decide to eat an unhealthy meal and it not a cheat meal, you don’t do anything bad. Your human, your scheldule can be crazy, and somethimes you just want to eat a pizza. It’s OK. Remember that there is nothing wrong, if it’s a conscious decision and you have chosen to do it. But the next meal must be healthy to back to good habits.

A unhealthy meal will not destroy your day but if you thind « I ate unhealthy at the lunch, my day destroyed. I will eat unhealthy tonight and I will eat heathy tomorrow ». This type of thinking destroy your lifestyle, this is really bad.

What is your best tips to eat healthy at the restaurant ?

-Steph

P.S. Do you want a free training program ? Click here 

Gym And Video Games

night video game player

Today was shoulders and calves day. It’s always hard but I feel that I’m progressing with this number of reps. At the end of my training, I see a friend I haven’t seen for several months because I changed my training hours. He say he will perhaps go to another gym. From 17h (5 pm), the gym is full and it takes time and there are almost fights because it’s long.

The gym is cheap, equipments are good, and soon it’s summer. There are 2 time in the year when the gym is full: after new year and around 4 months before summer so it’s normal. Everyone complains about the gym’s hygiene but the price is so low that to me it doesn’t bother me. What interests me is equipments. He tells me about the other gym and it’s true that the franchise’s name has a good reputation.

Then he tell me it’s a pity to change because he lives just in the next block. I do him repeat repeated that he lives in the next block to understand his problem. I tell him he can come later because the gym close at 23h (11pm). He say that it’s too late for him. I know him, he is young like me, he has no wife, no kids !!! He plays video games until 1h in the morning (1am).

neiberhood

I ride with my bike 30 minutes to come to the gym from home. My friend, I started to get pissed. I tell him: « Play less to video games ! », He replies that it isn’t possible. He does what he wants but people must not come whining to me with this kind of argument. You think I don’t play video games ? I went to Shinjuku, Tokyo and I brought a video game console in my suitcase ! Games are written in Japanese, I dont care, I still play (plus they are cool).

WOW, Final Fantasy XV

final fantasy 15 final fantasy 15 final fantasy 15 final fantasy 15

Small crybabies like that, I see a lot and the problem is there are more and more. Uses sport to have a stronger mindset because if you cry for it, life will traumatize you, you’re warned. Boost your stlye of life!

You want to train yourself to boost your lifestyle? Free fitness program (Select a program and click on “Log in as Guest”) or my eBook.

-Steph