Category: Strength Training

Reasons Why You Should Change Your Workout Routine

Workout Routine

There are certain reasons why you might want to change your workout routine. It is important to not change your routines too often—otherwise, you will never receive the benefits of making the change in the first place. Most routines will provide the desired benefits, and changes are not always necessary as long as you do not have outrageous goals. However, there are times when a change is needed, such as:

  1. You change your goals. For instance, initially your goal was to lose fat, and now you want to build muscle. Adding weight training and replacing some, but not all, of your aerobic exercise routines will help start building muscle.
  2. You are getting bored with your routines. If you are getting bored, and it is affecting your motivation to exercise and train, a change could help reinvigorate your motivation. You might want to work with a professional trainer to create new routines that still address your goals and objectives.
  3. You have reached a plateau, and your routines are no longer working. It is worth mentioning, if you are just starting out, that it takes longer for your body to adapt and adjust, so it is essential to wait for a longer period of time, of about two months, before making any changes. If you have been working out longer, and your body and muscles have adapted to your routine, it could be time to consider a change.
  4. Something has occurred requiring a change. You may have injured yourself, your schedule has changed, or the weather has changed, and so on, forcing you to make a change to your routines. For example, you were in an accident and broke your leg. As a result, you are not going to be able to do some of your routines until your leg heals, but you should find others to do until it does heal.

These are the four most common reasons why you should change your workout routine. For most people, there should be no need to make changes unless their reason falls within one of these parameters. Rather, you should be patient and stick with what you are doing, as long as it is working and helping you reach your goals.

Keep in mind, changes are often subtle, so it may not look like you are getting any benefits from your current routines, when you are. One useful tip is to use a cloth or paper tape measure and record different body measurements on a weekly basis, like your hips, waist, chest, and so on. You might be surprised by the changes you notice when taking measurements. In addition, never, ever, under any circumstances, base your progress solely upon your weight, because fat weighs less than muscle. As your body starts shedding fat and building muscle, your weight can increase.

Additionally, changes to your eating habits and diet are highly recommended to help supplement your exercise and weight training goals. Your body requires additional nutrients, energy, and other vitamins used during your routines. This is why many people use energy bars, protein bars, and other such products, and incorporate them into their daily routines. To learn more about the nutritional benefits of using protein bars and related products, please feel free to reach out to us through our website.

CrossFit Injury Prevention

Crossfit Injury Prevention

CrossFit offers a variety of ways to tone up just about every muscle group, yet people are getting injured in high numbers while doing it. Since these sessions have trainers, why is it that so many people are getting injured? Like anything else, the issue most likely isn’t with the trainer, but with a lack of preparation. Even the best protein bar combined with determination and proper adherence to the CrossFit guidelines isn’t going to be enough if you don’t take the proper steps to prepare for a session.

Keep Hydrated

One of the fastest ways to get injured when doing any kind of exercise program is to skip out on hydration. If you want to cut down calorie consumption, simply avoid drinks with refined sugar in them. Consider relying on natural juices and water, but avoid caffeine and refined sugar. You’re going to lose electrolytes and liquids when you start sweating during CrossFit training, and that can be dangerous. Keep something to drink on hand so that you can refuel as needed.

Use a Nutrition Plan

Skip the fad diets and use a nutrition plan that works for you. Maybe you’re trying to lose weight and want to reduce your calorie intake. That’s fine, as long as you are still getting your nutritional needs met. For example, instead of having a sandwich for a snack, enjoy one of our tasty low carb bars.

It’s a good idea to speak with a health professional who knows your unique circumstances so you can develop an appropriate diet plan. Otherwise, you could do more damage to yourself than good when you engage in CrossFit training. It’s even important to think about when you eat as much as you think about what you eat. For example, diabetics are encouraged to eat multiple small meals throughout the day in order to keep their blood sugar from spiking at any given time.

Stretch in Advance

Before you engage in any kind of training program, make sure you take the time to stretch your muscles. This helps loosen them up and prevents a lot of the pain that you may experience if you don’t stretch. On top of that, stretching helps you develop smooth, toned muscles instead of random bulky areas.

Rely on Professionals

When it comes to specific programs like the CrossFit program, make sure the trainers are certified to teach you and aren’t just someone who happened to use the program once and then decided to start training others. Relying on someone who isn’t properly trained is an almost guaranteed direct route to a future injury. It’s also important that you speak with your trainer to discuss your current abilities and limitations. In some cases, you may need to start out with a less strenuous program in order to help your body get used to exercising on a regular basis before starting the CrossFit program.

CrossFit is an excellent way to get into shape fast, but you need to take the right steps to get there. Don’t assume you can safely go from the couch to hand-stand push-ups without expecting some kind of injury to follow. Be sure to check back here regularly for more tips on how to bring your A-Game in a way that’s both smart and safe.

The Importance of Proper Form and Posture

Proper Form

Nutrition, a proper sleep schedule, and keeping hydrated are all important elements of maintaining a healthy body. A good meal can go a long way, but sometimes you need to tweak it and add a protein bar or something similar to your day to boost energy. Just like you tweak your diet, you may need to tweak your form and posture while exercising, not just so you don’t hurt yourself, but also so that you get more out of your workout.

Importance of Posture

Poor posture is not only unattractive; it can also be bad for your health—and not just your back. The structure of your body was developed the way it was because it has a specific function. Yes, it allows you to do specific activities, but it also protects you at the same time.

Consider your rib cage. It is designed to protect your internal organs from injury. Since the human body is so amazing, it doesn’t just rely on the rib cage, but other elements as well. For instance, when you go into shock, your limbs get cold because your body senses an emergency and is diverting everything to your organs. Likewise, when you don’t use good posture, your organs may be facing unnecessary pressure. That means you aren’t going to get the right amount of oxygen, blood flow, and other things that your body is trying to do to keep you healthy.

When you exercise, bad posture leads to improper positioning of the organs, so it may not just be your back that you are straining. When it comes to exercise, proper posture helps your body evenly displace weights and pressure so that the areas you are trying to work on get the maximum benefit rather than causing injuries.

Importance of Form

Consider your posture to be the foundation of everything you do, and your form to be the management of all the details in between. When you work out and your trainer tells you to adjust your form, it isn’t just to be strict, but to make sure that you get the benefits you’re looking for. For instance, squats might seem easier when your knees turn inward, but, if anything, they need to be facing more outward. This allows the weight to fall where it needs to, rather than making your back and knees take all the pressure of the squat.

One common mistake that people make is locking their joints. This is dangerous for several reasons. For one thing, there are major arteries in those areas, so that if you lock your knees for too long, you may pass out or lose vision. At the very least, you’re putting an unnecessary strain on your heart. It also means that the weights or exercises you are doing are putting a strain on the joints rather than working the muscles.

Before your next workout, have a chat with your trainer. Ask for tips on improving your form and your posture in general. Every activity you do can benefit your body if your form and posture are correctly managed. And don’t forget to supplement your newly improved workout with a delicious Promax protein bar while you’re at it.

What Are the Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training?

High Intensity Interval Training

What would you say if we told you there’s an exercise routine that burns fat, strengthens your heart, and builds muscle all at the same time, and only takes fifteen minutes out of your day to perform? Before you start telling us to get out of town, let us tell you straight up that this kind of training already exists. It’s called high intensity interval training (HIIT), and it’s the kind of workout for which we designed our Promax Pro Series protein bars to be a perfect match.

If the thought of a short but super-effective workout routine piques your interest, read on to learn more about the many health benefits of high intensity interval training.

What Is High Intensity Interval Training?

The concept of high intensity interval training is a simple one – alternating between short bursts of high intensity exertion and periods of rest or less strenuous exercise. The most basic version of high intensity interval training looks like this:

  • Run as fast as you can for one minute
  • Walk for two minutes afterward
  • Repeat for 15 minutes

For anyone who has trouble fitting a good workout into their daily schedule, HIIT is an efficient and quick way to get some exercise. That said, high intensity interval training isn’t just for people with busy lives who need to take workout shortcuts. In fact, doing high intensity interval training has proven to come with great perks.

The Benefits of HIIT

When studying the results of high intensity interval training, researchers discovered the following health benefits:

  • Improves cardio health
  • Burns fat and calories
  • Builds muscle
  • Increases metabolism

 In other words, short HIIT workouts can achieve more results than an hour on the treadmill or lifting weights. Because high intensity interval training is about pushing the heart and body as far as they can go, high intensity interval training kicks the body’s repair cycle into high gear, meaning that for the twenty four hours after HIIT, it is burning fat and calories while also building new muscle and promoting the creation of natural growth hormones. Add that to the cardio strengthening that comes with the bursts of extreme activity, and it’s easy to see why high intensity interval training has become a popular workout choice for many.

How to Get Started with HIIT

Creating your own HIIT routine is easy: simply find some simple exercises that you can perform intensely for one to two minutes at a time, followed by mild activity or rest before starting again. High intensity interval training can include:

  • Running
  • Stair climbing
  • Jump roping
  • Swimming
  • Skiing
  • Rowing
  • And more

One thing to keep in mind with HIIT is that the less equipment you use, the better. Interval training is all about getting the heart going as fast as possible. Equipment like weights and exercise machinery can get in the way of getting the most exercise in the shortest amount of time.

Another thing to keep in mind with high intensity interval training: it’s hard work. Even though most routines only last for ten to fifteen minutes, the point is to push your body into the anaerobic respiration, where your body needs more oxygen than breathing is providing, so it starts relying on energy sources stored in the body to keep going. Don’t let the short timeframe fool you: This is real exercise and it will feel like it.

Promax Pro Series Helps Power High Intensity Interval Training

If you’re using high intensity interval training to get in shape, then you need to start paying extra attention to the amount of nutrients you’re putting into your body. Promax Pro Series energy bars have been precisely designed to provide the exact blend of macronutrients needed to power high intensity workouts, while leaving out all the preservatives, trans fats, and other fillers. When you need to know you’re getting just the right servings of carbs and proteins to fuel your training, you can trust Promax Pro Series to provide you with just that.

For more information about Promax or the Promax Pro Series, check out our product page or our blog.

How to Train Like an MMA Fighter

MMA Training

When it’s time to think of examples of impressive physicality, it’s hard to come up with a better example than an MMA fighter. They have strength, endurance, flexibility, and everything else one could hope to achieve with their body. So how do they do it? In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the ways MMA fighters train, and how you can use them to take your workout routine to the next level.

Start Training in Martial Arts

Unfortunately, punching a bag in your local gym alone isn’t going to make you an MMA-worthy fighter, nor will it give you the same level of workout and discipline training that the best fitness buffs want to achieve. On the plus side, however, it’s not hard to find a gym or dojo that offers classes in Brazilian jujitsu, taekwondo, judo, or one of the other popular martial arts. Taking martial arts lessons will give you practice at punching, kicking, and blocking with a partner, not to mention get you in touch with an instructor who can teach you proper technique and exercise discipline.

Increase Your Endurance Training

MMA fighters don’t just train to grow big showy muscles – they train to use those muscles for extended periods of intense physical activity. A good MMA fighter can punch and kick at near-maximum exertion for up to five minutes at a time. That takes both training for power endurance and aerobic endurance. To build up muscle power, adopt a routine of doing explosive exercises in intervals of 15-20 reps (or 30-45 seconds) for five rounds, with only 30 second rest times in between. Building aerobic endurance, on the other hand, means increasing the length of time you spend on cardio and/or integrating long runs into your exercise regimen.

Build Your Core

Having the strength to deliver a good, hard kick or punch comes from your core. If you want to get MMA fit, you’re going to have to go beyond just sit ups. Fit as many core-strengthening exercises as you can into your routine, with a focus on doing fewer reps with more weight. The more weight you lift, the stronger your muscles will get, even if you’re doing fewer reps than you were before.

Go for Strength over Bulk

If you put a bodybuilder next to an MMA fighter, chances are the MMA guy is going to look less bulky. Don’t let that fool you, though – MMA fighters may not always have the physique of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, but that’s because they know that muscle size and muscle strength do not always have a 1:1 correlation. Your muscles will grow bigger as you exercise them, but following an MMA regimen focuses on strength, endurance, and overall muscle development, rather than just achieving maximum muscle tone. Stick to exercises that are about building strength, not the ones that just puff you up.

If you’re going to train like an MMA fighter, then you need a healthy source of protein to power your workouts. Promax energy bars are the perfect source of protein and nutrients for building strength. For more information, feel free to visit our product page.

How To Use Your Body Mass Index To Improve Your Health

What Is Body Mass Index, or BMI?

Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a formula that looks at your weight in comparison with your height, in order to help determine how healthy you are. It can be a useful tool among a variety of factors that should be examined together when assessing your health. Athletes and serious fitness fanatics make use of BMI in building fitness, along with intense physical activity and diet adjustments, like snacking on energy bars.

You can calculate your own BMI score, using either metric measures, or pounds and inches, to see where you fall on the Adult BMI Chart. The result is your BMI. It places you in a category that gives an indication of your “degree of fatness.” The BMI formula takes your weight in kilograms (kg), and divides it by your height in meters, squared (m2).1 The result is a number that will fall within a range on the BMI charts, indicating that you are either:

  • Underweight – with BMI less than 18.5
  • Normal weight – with BMI between 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight – with BMI at 25 to 29.9, or
  • Obese – with BMI at 30 or more.1

If you prefer using height in inches and weight in pounds, just follow this formula: calculate weight x 703, divided by height squared.1

How Is BMI Used?

Health professionals may use BMI as a screening tool to get an estimate of your total body fat. High body fat and obesity are potential risk factors for illness later in life. If your reading indicates a high BMI, you should undergo additional diagnostic tests to get the full picture and to sort out causes for the reading, apart from body fat.2

Some groups of individuals will obtain different readings than others, apart from their level of body fatness. For example, women generally have more body fat than men, and older adults will usually have more body fat than younger adults. Nevertheless, as a measuring tool, the BMI is used for men and women in the same way, and the adult weight distribution charts are also identical for men and women.

Using Body Mass Index

The difference comes in how the readings are interpreted. Children and teens are calculated the same way, but the outcome is judged differently because of the greater differences in body fat between boys and girls.2 When a high BMI is obtained, indicating overweight or obesity, the health care provider should perform additional assessments, such as examining diet, level of physical activity, skinfold thickness measurements, and other options, to obtain a fuller picture of an individual’s health.

Using Body Mass Index

If you are a highly developed athlete with greater muscle mass, chances are you follow a regimen of intense workouts, which demand high nutrition levels, as well as often being supplemented by nutrition bars. You may get a BMI reading that suggests you have more body fat than you do, when, in fact, you are not overweight. Your greater weight is possibly the result of high lean body mass, or bone and muscle, rather than high body fat.2

Why Is Obesity Such a Big Deal?

The health care and medical communities are very focused on health consequences of obesity because they are so significant. Obesity puts people at risk for a greater incidence of diseases including: high LDL cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and stroke, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, some cancers, and many other factors.

What Is a Healthy BMI?

In general, BMI status from 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while 30 or more is considered obese. Athletes are generally assumed to have a higher BMI due to increased muscle mass, but they should be evaluated by a professional who will take into account all related health factors to get an accurate assessment of body fat. By contrast, aging adults who have lost muscle mass may get a low body fat reading that is inaccurate.

Measuring Body Fat – A More Complete Picture

There are limitations to the BMI method of assessing body composition, due to the factors described above, like differences in muscle mass. Obtaining a more accurate reading may require adding other methods that are considered acceptable by the medical and health communities.

  • Skinfold Caliper Testing – Often used in combination with the BMI measurement, this test is widely and easily available. It can be performed by someone with the experience and training needed to get accurate assessments. As the name implies, it uses a set of calipers to pinch and measure areas of skin and fat underneath, in several specific locations around the body. The results are converted to a body fat percentage estimate. Experts suggest this method should be combined with a measurement of deep belly fat (not measureable with the skinfold calipers).
  • Bioelectrical Impedance – This method sends a very slight electrical current (don’t worry—you won’t feel a thing) through the body, to measure the degree of resistance. Fatty tissue returns the electrical impulse more slowly than lean tissue, so a faster response rate indicates that you have a leaner body. You can keep a scale at home that measures body fat percentage in this way, and some personal trainers and gyms make them available. Experts note that the results can be affected by factors like your level of hydration and how recently you’ve had a meal, so it is best to use this method always at the same time of day, and to combine it with one or more other approaches, in order to obtain a fair comparison of results over time.3
  • DEXA or Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry – A more scientifically accurate test, DEXA scans are x-rays that measure density of bone minerals, along with lean body and fat mass. The test is fast and painless, but the price is higher than other methods, and availability is limited to certain medical professonals.3
  • Hydrostatic Weighing – Depending on your spirit of adventure and fondness for water, this may or may not be your method of choice. It measures body fat by submerging you completely under water and measuring your weight. This number is compared to your weight on dry land, and, together with the density of the water, gives a measure of body composition. Access and cost make it less appealing for the average person, or even the average health enthusiast.3

Use any of these methods as a comparison device to track progress toward your overall life and health goals, including a lower body fat content. It is recommended that repeat measurements are not taken any more often than six to eight weeks apart, to give the body time to adapt to any changes you make in exercise or nutrition.3 As part of a healthy, balanced diet, many highly active health enthusiasts and athletes supplement with healthy snacks like Promax Nutrition protein bars. For more information about their bars and other protein products, contact them at 888-728-8962.

1.http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/dietandphysicalactivity/bodyweightandcancerrisk/body-weight-and-cancer-risk-adult-bmi
2. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/#trends
3. http://dailyburn.com/life/health/how-to-measure-body-fat-percentage/

Muscle Building: How Much Weight Should You Be Lifting?

Muscle Building

It’s one of the first questions that people ask once they start going to the gym or seriously considering buffing up their physique: “How much weight should I be lifting?” It’s an important question, and getting the wrong answer could lead to doing a lot of work only to fail getting the results you’re looking for. That said, it is a question with more than one right answer, with the one that’s right for you depending on the fitness goals you’re trying to achieve.

How Much Weight to Lift?

“Building muscle” seems like a simple goal, but there are different ways to go about it. If you’re looking to gain strength, you’re going to want to do different exercises than if you’re just looking to add bulk.

If your main weightlifting goal is to build as much muscle strength as possible, then the answer to the “how much weight question” is going to be “a lot.” The target range includes weights that you can rep only 1-6 times. Specifically, you’re going to want to do lots of multi-joint movements like dead-squats, bench presses, and squats that exercise groups of muscles and joints like the elbows and shoulders. These exercises strengthen and grow fast-twitch muscle groups, which are the muscles that also get worked out during resistance training.

Keep in mind that fast-twitch muscles tend to tire out quickly, which means that strength building will entail long rest periods of up to five minutes between sets. You’ll also want to do a lot of warmups, and will have to be disciplined enough to stop yourself from doing more than your body can handle.

Bulking Up

If you’re more interested in muscle size, you’re going to want to choose less heavy weights than are used for strength training. To achieve maximum muscle size, you should be able to comfortably perform 8-12 reps per set with the weights you are using. Keep in mind that this is the weight range that lets you perform “true” reps with perfect form – no bouncing the bar off your chest to give yourself a lifting boost or only bringing your arms down halfway.

Where strength training focuses on working out multiple muscles at once, bodybuilding is about exercising one muscle at a time in order to tone it as much as possible. Maintaining proper form is essential to bodybuilding – if you’re activating joints other than the one that the exercise you’re working on is meant to tone, you should revisit your technique to ensure that you get the results you’re looking for.

Bodybuilding also requires activating fast-twitch muscle fibers (i.e., the muscles that give you the strength to lift heavier weights the more you train). Like with strength training, that means doing multi-joint exercises. Whereas strength trainers focus on doing just a few of these exercises at their maximum lifting threshold, bodybuilders will want to use smaller weights so that they can perform more of these exercises with shorter weight periods. You should be able to perform 3-4 sets of each multi-joint exercises, with rest periods lasting only 60-90 seconds.

Whether you’re looking to bulk up, or lift more than anyone else, you’ll need a healthy source of protein to fuel your exercise. Promax bars are loaded with the protein that fitness buffs need, and they come in a variety of flavors. For more information, feel free to visit our .

Sources:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/28-laws-of-lifting-for-muscle.html

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/how-much-weight-should-you-lift.html

http://www.beachbody.com/beachbodyblog/fitness/how-much-weight-should-you-lift

http://www.boxingscene.com/build-muscle/10077.php

 

6 Reasons You Are Not Exercising Effectively

Jogger

It’s almost summer time, so you’ve had months now to work on those New Year’s fitness resolutions. How are you doing? Have you seen the progress you anticipated? Are your goals in sight?

If not, it may be time to re-evaluate your fitness routine. How effectively are you using your energy? If you feel like you’re working yourself to death and not getting any results, check for these eight symptoms you aren’t really giving it your all. There is still plenty of time to make adjustments and reach the goals you desire.

Reasons you are Not Getting Results from Your Workout

1. You focus on problems rather than progress.

Stop and consider if this is a true plateau. Look back over the last few weeks – are you getting stronger? Making slightly better time? Going further? Have you gained strength? Lost a couple pounds or inches? It’s possible you have been making progress but just didn’t realize it.

If that is the case, start celebrating! Watch for these milestones, small as they may be, and reward yourself for the effort by acknowledging your gains or losses.

2. You are too competitive.

Are you judging your progress based on your own growth, or are you constantly comparing yourself to others? Unless you are training for the Olympics, you should not expect yourself to be the fastest or strongest in town. Instead, set personal goals and celebrate progress based on your own achievement, regardless of that of others.

3. You are not setting long-term goals.

Why are you in this to begin with? Are you training for a marathon, slimming down to a healthy BMI, or getting in shape for a sports team? Give yourself a measurable goal with an achievable deadline. This helps you work forward toward it and see progress over time.

4. You make inconsistent effort.

Are you really as faithful to that diet and exercise program as you think? Most diet failures are due to inaccurate food diaries – not truly accounting for the hidden calories or measuring portions carefully. Exercise progress is seen only with regular practice; don’t skip days and then wonder why you aren’t getting stronger. Before you give up, renew your commitment to staying consistent with your exercise and careful with your diet choices.

5. You are neglecting strength training.

Aerobic exercise isn’t enough; you need to build strong muscles, as well. Be sure that strength training is a part of your workout routine. Those muscles will help you burn more calories even when you are at rest, and a stronger physique will help your endurance and stamina, as well.

6. You consume insufficient protein.

Your body uses protein to recover from workouts as well as to build strong, healthy muscle tissue. The more you workout, the more healthy protein you need to meet your needs. Be sure to eat a protein bar after workout and to include healthy protein choices in every meal and snack.

For more information about how to make the most of your workouts, check back each week for tips from Promax Nutrition.