Core Training For Beginners – Effective Ab Exercises and Routines

GUEST POST from Paul Vandyken

With the fitness culture becoming more popular and more people becoming aware of the benefits of working out, a large variety of people from different walks of life are now hitting the gym. Many of these people are looking for effective exercises and routines to train their abs in the hopes of developing a strong core or to get a six pack.

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Unfortunately, what many don’t realize is that you can potentially injure yourself by performing exercises incorrectly or by choosing the wrong exercises. However, if you know what you’re doing and you do it the right way, you can achieve the result you’re after. Continue reading

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Fat Burning Ladder SuperSet Workout

What the heck is a Fat Burning Ladder workout?

A Ladder Workout is a training technique that I often use, especially with bodyweight / calisthenics workouts. It’s also one of the training methods I will be introducing in my upcoming ebook/ video program, Bodyweight MASS Builder. It’s a high-intensity, high-volume super-set workout that will build muscle, increase muscular endurance, and burn fat. It’s a simple but challenging form of antagonist supersetting that you can apply to almost any exercises, but which I find particularly well suited to body weight exercises.

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Here’s how you perform this workout protocol: choose two exercises, typically one pushing movement and one pulling movement (antagonist muscle groups), OR a lower body exercise paired up with an upper body exercise, and you super-set these two exercises, moving back and forth between them with minimal rest. But here’s where the ‘ladder’ technique gets interesting: you begin with only ONE repetition on one exercise and gradually increase reps on every set, and you start with a high number of reps on the other exercise and gradually decrease reps on each set. One exercise moves up the ladder in reps and the other one moves down.

Here’s an example, starting with 1 to 10 repetitions, which should be suitable for most beginners: Continue reading

Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Your Body

Nutrition seems to be one of the most debated topics in the fitness industry. I’ve had numerous discussions or debates with other trainers about the value of tracking your food intake using some form of journal or nutrition diary. I argue in favor of using a journal or a free app like My Fitness Pal to track your calories and macronutrients (protein, fats, and carbs), or to at least have some awareness of portions and approximate macro intake. Those who oppose tracking often recommend just “listening to your body” to determine how much to eat.

Roast Chicken Dinner Continue reading

How to Keep the Fat Off after You Lose It

Why the Biggest Losers Regained The Weight

A few weeks ago there was a “Biggest Loser Study” that was getting a lot of media attention. It basically showed that 6 years later the majority of the contestants on the show had regained most of their weight. Even worse, it also revealed that their metabolism was slower than it was previously. For more details check out the Research Review of this study on the Precision Nutrition site at www.precisionnutrition.com/the-biggest-loser-study.

The unfortunate thing is that this study paints a dismal picture that it’s impossible to sustain fat loss over the long term. Of course, the mainstream media loves these types of stories and they jumped all over it. However, that conclusion is absolutely false. The Biggest Loser Study failed to fully explain why these individuals regained most of the weight. We need to ask the question: “What mistakes are they making on the Biggest Loser program that is contributing to this problem?” I’ll get to that later in this article.

Loser-study Continue reading

Slow the Hell Down! Fast vs Slow Velocity Training

We’ve all seen it … the gym rat swinging heavy dumbbells and calling it “bicep curls”; or rocking back and forth with the full stack on the lat pulldown; or bouncing a heavy bar off their chest on a bench press, pounding out some fast reps. There’s also those people who treat weight training like “cardio” – firing off dozens of reps at lightning speed with very light weight.

What do they all have in common? Besides the fact that most of them are probably injured in some way, they are are all performing their resistance training at a fast tempo.

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Now I admit that I’m generalizing when I describe everyone who performs fast reps as “ego-lifters” with crappy form… there are many experienced lifters who practice decent exercise technique but train with a faster tempo. However, the point of this article is to question whether that is the optimal way to train. Continue reading

How to Fix your Feet – The Benefits of Barefoot

What if I told you that there is one neglected body part that you could strengthen which would lead to an increase in full body strength and mobility? It might not be what you expect.

I’m talking about your FEET.

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If you suffer from foot, ankle, knee, low back pain, or related problems including shin splints, bunions, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, ‘fallen’ arches, or Achilles tendonitis, then this article should be of particular interest to you. Your feet may be holding you back from becoming stronger.

The feet are the body’s base of support. During exercise, sport, and most daily activities, force enters the body through your hands and feet, with the feet supporting the bulk of this workload. However, whereas most people understand the importance of grip training and how strong hands contribute to a strong upper body, our feet are often neglected. Most people just shove their feet into rigid dress shoes or ‘bouncy’ running shoes and forget about them.

To make matters worse, when our feet start to hurt we are typically advised to wear rigid orthotics or “ultra-supportive”, inflexible shoes to help support our feet. Unfortunately, binding up your feet like this interferes with or even eliminates their ability to move. Less movement (or poor movement) leads to more weakness.

Orthotics are like crutches… they may take the pressure off while you are using them, but they do not correct the underlying weakness. If you had weak hands or sore wrists would you start wearing wrist wraps and rigid hand splints every day? I hope not. You would perform mobility and strengthening exercises to restore proper function to your hands. Well, your feet typically weight bear all day long, which makes it even more crucial to focus on strengthening their weaknesses rather than “bracing” them externally!

In this article I’ll be introducing you to exercises and footwear that can help you “fix” your feet, heal old injuries, improve your posture, and start moving better in general. Also take a few minutes to watch my recent interview (below) with Steven Sashen, barefoot runner and the founder of Xero Shoes® (a modern spin on the traditional barefoot running sandal), where he explains the problem with most “athletic footwear”

We discuss several important topics related to foot health, including:

  • The three key moves that let you easily and comfortably run barefoot
  • Why “minimalist” shoes are not the same as barefoot (so if you tried minimal and it didn’t work, here’s why)
  • How being barefoot can help if you have ankle, knee, hip, back, or even neck pain… and plantar fasciitis
  • The “foam mattress” theory about why cushioning and orthotics may be harming you. Continue reading

Fat to Fit in 6 Hours? Physique Transformation “Tricks” Revealed

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Do you ever wonder if some of those “amazing physique transformation” pics are actually legit?

“Before and After” transformation pictures can be very motivational to those who are working on transforming their own physique, and an impressive progress photograph is one of the most powerful testimonials you can have for any given product, supplement, training program or nutrition plan.

However, in many cases there is more going on in these pictures than meets the eye.

While you can’t just assume that any unbelievable transformation pics are “fake”, IMO it’s also important to realize that most before/after or ‘progress’ photos involve a little tweaking… such as tanning, shaving, optimal lighting, posing, sticking your gut out vs flexing, pumping up, water and carb manipulation, etc.

Even just the camera angle or changing your body position can create an “illusion” for the camera. This isn’t even getting into the discussion of whether photoshop was used, or steroids for that matter.

While some of the strategies I mentioned above don’t necessarily qualify as “cheating”, but it helps to know this if you expect to achieve the results you see in those ‘testimonials’. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t aim high and set very challenging goals for yourself, however it can be very disappointing to work hard towards an unreachable goal you set based on unrealistic expectations as a result of the crazy transformation promises made by some products and programs. Continue reading