What Time Of the Day Should I Train?

When Should I Train??

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Unless you’re in an organized sport where your training time is predicated upon the sports coach, you have to decide what time you are going to get yourself up to go to the gym. Should it be first thing in the morning or before I go to sleep? Should it be during my lunch break? These may be questions that you ask yourself. But after considering your job, your perceived free time, or your spouse’s schedule, your training goal can be the key that helps you make your final decision. How your body reacts to training times can greatly increase the training effect of your workout program. With this increased knowledge you’ll be equipped to get the most from your training program.

Gaining Muscle

In order for you to gain muscle, you will need compound exercises at a high volume. In order for you to perform this work, you will need to be in a slight calorie surplus to give the body the nutrients necessary to build new muscle tissue while keeping fat at bay.  The time you train can further enhance this effect by supporting your training with the fuel it needs to do more work in the weight room. By choosing to train mid-day or late afternoon, you can assure that you have eaten enough meals to properly fuel the body to train while blunting the spillover effect of training too early. If you train at a high level early in the day then begin to eat, the exercise post oxygen consumption (known as EPOC) will go into effect. This just means that you will have an elevated heart rate all day to the body’s response to repair itself. This could mean that with a higher metabolism you could be spinning your wheels by burning more calories than you are taking in, which would put you in a caloric deficit. Simply put you could be actually losing fat when your goal is to be in a muscle building phase.

Take heed that you want the body to use all of the calories for the surplus that it needs to build muscle. One may not see a problem from training in the morning but take remember that by just continuing to eat more can cause your body to start gaining fat at an accelerated rate, fat that you would then spend months to get off again which could also sacrifice the muscle that you worked so hard to get

Losing Fat

Contrary to gaining muscle, you want to preserve the muscle that you already have while trying to lose as much fat as possible. This is where early morning or even fasted training could be most useful. When you sleep your body is in a fasted state and this is where fat is most vulnerable. When the body senses hunger it releases enzymes that tell you to fuel yourself. If the neural response to eating is not met by actual food from the outside environment, then the body will use its own stores (fat) to keep the body from going into starvation.

When you awaken in the morning on an empty stomach your body is in full gear burning fat. So by training first thing in the morning you can aid in the reduction of fat by making sure the calories you burn from your training session are used to burn fat, not help in the digestion of food from all day. Since caloric intake is the main basis of fat loss, all calories burned should be dedicated to fat loss. Of course, you would use a leucine-rich supplement such as SciVation ‘Quake’ to protect your muscle while training fasted, The EPOC effect will also help by burning more calories, granted you take care of your end of the deal by eating to your specified caloric deficit.

As long as you’re in a surplus to gain muscle, a deficit to burn fat, and you train hard the time of the that you train is not the most important factor. But this advice could be the icing on your cake of achieving your specific training goal.

 

3 Reasons You Should Measure Your Food

So are we ready with a cliche right out the gate? No? Well here it comes anyway: Your eyes are truly bigger than your stomach. Gosh, I know its bad but there is much truth in this simple saying.

Let’s break this down

The craze of diets and macros, especially IIFYM, has hit the internet by storm with huge gusts of useless information that can put your mind in a complete whirlwind. This is used to prey on your ignorance to nutrition strategies to buy products that you don’t need or put you on competition diets that are completely devoid of some macronutrients, leaving you wrecked, tired, and begging to gain the dreaded “rebound weight”.  On the flip side, those bulking plans that you see on the internet will surely get you big, but I don’t think to become the Pillsbury Doughboy was the intent. How do we combat this unintended result, you ask?

  1. When Starting Out Measure Everything

Quickly let’s immediately address perceived notions regarding food portions. YOUR NATURAL INSTINCT TO CHOOSE FOOD PORTIONS IS INHERENTLY FLAWED.  Caps too much? Well, there is an emphasis on this statement because one really needs to understand. You will either grossly underestimate or overestimate any and all portions of food naturally. This is because your body instinctively looks at food based on need (this can be skewed based on upbringing and a heavy addiction to sugar) and not for you to look good or be “swole”. For example, how many of you pour 3/4 cup of cereal NATURALLY into a bowl? Yeah, I don’t either. This is why when you start on a nutrition protocol you must weigh and measure your food. Without this information, you are captain of a ship with no map, setting sail to the island of nowhere – or an unintended destination.

2.  Weighing and Measuring Your Food Keeps You On Track

Can you imagine where we would be if we did not have GPS on our phone? How many of you even know how to use an old-fashion map? This question may seem silly but this is how most of us are with our nutrition. Sure we hit the gym but there is no plan for the things that we put in our mouth. For this reason measuring your food is of great importance. When you do not weigh your food you play a dangerous guessing game that sends a signal to your body to just store everything as fat. Your body does not have time to play with you. It is built for survival and will fight to stay in homeostasis. Homeostasis is your body’s “normal”.  However by weighing your food when you are on a specific nutrition plan, you can measure and track over time how your body reacts to certain amounts of food. This tracking will help you to adjust your plan over time to make the necessary changes to reach your goal. Now you are the captain of your ship WITH a map to get to your destination.

3.  The Discipline of Measuring Will Teach You How to Eyeball

Most people are not in a specific nutrition plan year long, but still want to keep the condition that they attained while on a diet. To do this there still must be discipline in your nutrition. This is the true secret as to how people stay lean year long. However you will not see more experienced people weigh all of their food. Why? Because consistent measuring over time has given them a better understanding of proportions. Over time the tedious task of measuring your food will allow you to truly see what 7 ounces of protein really looks like. By measuring time and time again you will now be able to finally “eyeball” food and make the right choices of food portion due to the habit of weighing and measuring. This skill only comes from the discipline you show in the beginning by weighing everything.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Weighing your food may seem tedious but I can assure you this habit is one of the quickest ways to ensure your nutrition plan gives you quality results to help you lose fat and build muscle. Don’t be the captain with no map!

 

 

Is Your Training Functional??

Is My Training Functional? 

What is functional training?

· Simple. Training that makes sense.
 

How to Make Your Training Functional (Applicable to Sport)

· The demands of sport require your athlete to move fast and make quick decisions.

o Your lifts/training should compliment those demands in their respective sport.

 

Example:

 

Soccer players are continuously accelerating/decelerating with quick bursts of speed in various planes of motion. Although, they may attain a total volume of 5-6 miles or running, it is broken down into a series of sprints.

 

When designing your training with an athlete that has these demands; make this a top priority in your programming. Create circuits that will train the athlete anaerobically with high intensities for short time durations and short rests that will in turn train them aerobically as well. In essence, you have specified the immediate demands of the sport (quick bursts and responding rapidly) and trained them to handle the aerobic demands (running for miles).

 

If you are new to fitness and sport performance, HIIT style training is a great place to start in learning ways to develop programs to fit the sport demands of your athlete. However, to my experienced sport performance professionals this is simply sprint/interval training, a long trusted art form that appears to be making a major comeback in the development of our athletes.

 

Remember this, if you train slow, you play slow. It is as simple as that.

 

Kyle Stevenson, USAW is a national championship high jump coach and  the head speed and movement specialist at SWXLLER. If you would like more detailed information on this topic, feel free to email  Koach Kyle at ksteve15@gmail.com.

Try This Hack to Improve Your Upper Body

When you focus on movements you will never miss this muscle. This statement is known by athletes but let’s share a small hack to really pack some muscle on your upper body. Resisted bodyweight exercises are a great way to build functional muscle and induce myofribular hypertrophy. This just simply means you are actually increasing the fiber size of the muscle cell rather than just filling up with water (the pump). 

Weighted (25lbs or more) do a superset of weighted dips followed by weighted chins with a pause. Your reps on the dip should be between 8-12 and you should look to complete as many reps as possible on the chin up. Superstting these two movements will rest your pulling muscles while engaging your push muscles and vice versa. These two exercises put together will also maximize your rest time. 

As a finisher on your upper body focused day, do 4 sets of this super set. Rest only 45-60 seconds between sets. Once you have tried this comment below!!

Stay Patient! What You Need to Know about Training

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The quick fix.

This phase has been the death of dreams for millions of people who seek out to live a healthier lifestyle. The Guru’s have their say, the local guy in the gym, and even your coaches have their philosophy if you ask them. However there is one word that is really one of the true secrets to overall health and fitness. That word is

PATIENCE!!!

Man! This is a concept that you have to understand. Whether you are looking to make the varsity team, competing for you first show, or getting ready to slay the beach, patience is a virtue that people of this generation have to take to heart. When it comes to nutrition, training, and the mindset behind it all, you have to let time do the work for you. There is a saying that time will pass, but what you DO WITH THAT TIME is what will ultimately make the difference.

Think about it like this: You know when you are passing a construction site? Ever notice that although you are not really paying attention a building is being built everyday? Eventually there will be a new apartment complex or school erected that will probably last for many years to come. The building took months, even years to build but overtime a beautiful structure was created. Alternatively, ever been too eager to build that desk from IKEA only for it fall apart because you missed a step? The same process happens for your body! Time will pass, but you have to be patient to do the things necessary within that time to achieve the results you want. This is the reason diets don’t work, running yourself into the ground doesn’t work, and going from extreme bootcamp to another doesn’t work. When you are patient however you have the confidence to know that you are building your own personal villa on prized beach front property. If you were an architect you would take your time to have your construction team build your vision to perfection right? Just something to think about.

Patience, yes it sucks I know. However when you are consistent and practice patience your results will come and they will LAST!!

 

~Swxller

3 Reasons Your Diet Isn’t Working

If you are thinking of beginning a new diet, or you are doing everything right but you are feeling terrible, learn the top three reasons that your diet may not be working.

“Gosh my head is hurting!” This is what my mom called and told me a few days ago. Using a new diet from a well-known company, my mother is hell-bent on being lean and trim for the summer time. The diet she is using has helped her to drop a few pounds, but what she did not know were the health implications that would  come if she did not adjust her approach to nutrition. So what is the problem? Most “diets” that become popular today rely on fads and skimp nutritional information in order to sell a hot new product. What these diets are not intended to do however is make you healthy. If you are thinking of beginning a new diet, or you are doing everything right but you are feeling terrible, learn the top three reasons that your diet may not be working.

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  1. Your Diet is Missing a Macronutrient

Macronutrients are composed of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. In the 1980’s Charles Atkins, the creator of the Atkins diet, made the claim that carbohydrates are the cause of severe weight gain in this country. The ripple effect of that action can be seen today with a milieu of famous diets. Each diet claims that one key macronutrient is the cause of weight gain. If that were the case then you could just drop one macronutrient and be truly healthy right? The truth of the matter is that macros are not the problem. When you severely restrict one type of macronutrient, you lose the benefits of that particular macronutrient. Carbohydrates are your body’s main energy source. So if you are starting to workout to lose weight, why would you stop the body’s main source of energy? A diet with very low carbs can be extremely detrimental and can even lead to death, which was the fate of Charles Atkins himself.

What you should have  is a healthy balance of each macronutrient. Below is a breakdown of each macronutrient and what they are used to do.

  • Fats- promote healthy hormone function and serve as energy
  • Proteins- converted into amino acids when in the body and aid in recovery
  • Carbohydrates- primarily used as energy for the body

When there is a healthy balance between each nutrient, you can ensure that your body is adequately supplied with the nutrients it needs to function properly. Once your body is properly fueled, you will actually be able to recover from the work that you put in when you are in the gym. A simple guide for people who want to lose fat is that

  • Protein should consist of 40-50% of your calories
  • Fats should consist of no more than 25% of your diet
  • Carbohydrates should make up the rest

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2. Your Diet is Extremely Low Calorie

How many times have you heard “I’m on the new 2 peas and a slice of air diet and I have lost 20 pounds in 20 minutes!” I know this is an exaggeration, but is it really? From average joe diets to the diet practices of physique competitors, extreme low-calorie diets are counterproductive and even dangerous. Let’s explain the diet cycle for a second:

  • You are excited to diet
  • You get some crazy low-calorie diet claiming to help you lose a ton of weight
  • You begin the low-calorie diet
  • You feel that you are going to die
  • You binge…. HARD

Does this sound familiar? What is actually happening is your body’s response to stay alive. Your body has what is called a resting metabolic rate. This is simply the amount of calories that you burn at rest. When you consume calories well BELOW this number, your body goes straight into survival mode. Thinking that you are dying, your body sends signals that are recognized as cramping, headache, lethargy, and hunger. These impulses are one of the main factors as to why people binge so hard after an extreme diet. The aftermath is not great either with people gaining upwards of 30 pounds in some cases due to the “rebound effect” (Thats another blog entirely lol)

Do yourself a favor and follow these rules for calories. If you are looking to lose weight, take your current body weight and multiply that number x10. So if you are a 200 pound male then your base set of calories will be 2000kcal (calories). Next you will need to multiply your base calories by your activity level (shown below). THIS number, regardless of what the GURU’s say, should be where you start your diet.

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3. Your Diet is Really a DETOX

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The south beach, lemonade, FIT TEA, etc… all of these “diets” are really detoxes and should be used with extreme caution. These products are extremely profitable and people are sucked in because people do lose weight quickly. I said weight, however I did not say the TYPE of weight. What detoxes are designed to do is expel your body of water and waste that carry toxins. Since most people carry 15-20 pounds of waste in their body at any given time, then it can be proposed that these products do work-but as a detox. If you are using this as a diet then you are on a road to disaster. Prolonged detoxing strips your gut of heathy bacteria needed for digestion. Coupled with the fact that you most likely will return to bad eating habits once those “20 pounds” are off, you will replace your gut with bad bacteria which comes from processed foods. These bad bacteria actually make it HARDER for you to lose weight! Do not be fooled by paid social media models promoting some of these products. Proper nutrition practiced consistently over time is the only proven way to truly see results.

Question: Have you ever been tripped up by these diet blunders? Comment below and let us know!

Nutrient Timing: Part 1

Most people know that what you eat is critical to fat loss or muscle gain, but do you know that the timing of when you intake some nutrients can make all the difference in your training goals? The few who have been introduced to this information have seen drastic changes in their physique as well as their performance in the gym. In part one of this 3 part series we will discuss ways in which how you time your food can give you drastic training benefits.

Part 1: The Role of Carbohydrates in Training 

Contrary to popular culture, carbs are not the enemy when you are trying to lose fat. If you are trying to gain muscle, you know that carbs are your best bud. However when you intake your carbs can make all the difference in your training. Whether your goal is to drop fat or gain muscle, the objective of carbs when it comes to training is to

  • provide you with energy

and

  • replenish glycogen stores in your muscles.

You want to use carbs as a barrier to fuel you through your workout. By ingesting the majority of your carbs around your training (pre and post workout) you can ensure that you do not use lean body mass as an energy source while you are training hard. Even if your goal is to lose fat, the reduction in calories throughout the day will be the number one factor of that fat loss. Carbohydrates on the other hand will give you the energy that you need to push through your training and burn those calories you need to aid in your fat loss efforts.

For those looking to build muscle, the practice of eating your carbs around your training is paramount. Most likely you will be lifting heavier with more taxing lifts around this time. Those carbs are going to surely help you accomplish your training goals. However, you should have a huge uptake (35-50%) of your carbs directly after training. This timing of carbs will help to replenish glycogen in your muscles.  By timing your intake of carbs in this way you will ensure that the majority of your carb allotment for that day is used effectively and not stored as fat.

Let those carbs work for you!

Consistency

The world of fitness is booming right now and the supplement industry is taking in billions of dollars each year. Using our “get results fast” mentality, many companies can lay claims to products that will “shrink your waist in a week” or have you “jacked with tons of muscle” in no time. Well those claims are most likely false and very damaging to the human psyche. However I like to say to hate the game and not the player. In a capatalistic society people are out to make money. Period. It is your repaonisbility to sift through the nonsense to learn the true secret to getting the body that you desire.

That secret my friends is CONSISTENCY. No pill, program, or new exercise technique stands a chance of you are not consistent with your approach to training. How you eat, train, sleep, and supplement (there’s a reason why supplementation is last) will always reveal itself with your health an appearance. Just as swiping your hand over a flame won’t burn you, one intense workout every blue moon won’t make a dent into your fitness goals. Consistent effort over time will produce the biggest results. So before you blow your money on the lasted “miracle product” or spend all of your time reading blogs to make the perfect program, ask yourself: how consistent have I been in the basics??
Just a thought 

Timelines

We have to keep it 100 with you at all times about this thing called fitness. Regardless of your fitness and/or training goal, you have to be realistic about what you want to accomplish. Although it may sound like a broken record, one cannot be sucked into the hype of fitness teas, 30 day challenges, and promises of quick results. Let’s use cutting as an example. You should ONLY be looking to lose 1.5 to 2 lbs MAX per week. Anything more is lean body mass and water, which will contain vital nutrients to help you perform at your best. So if you have 30 lbs of fat on you, you have to set a REALISTIC date for when you want to be “shredded”.

Obtaining your ideal body composition is a lifestyle change. Its time to have a paradigm shift: rather than always trying to get ready for an event or season, why not create lifestyle change in which you stay in shape all year??? This doesn’t meant that you can’t have your cheat meals here and there, but those meals should be a rare treat and not an everyday occurrence.

Give yourself at minimum 16 weeks to get yourself into great shape. Once you hit that ideal body, keep the same techniques that helped you attain that body and keep going! That way if you need to get back into shape you can give yourself a shorted time to get lean. Remember, small changes over time produce massive results!!!

3 Reasons You Should Squat to Depth

“Im not an olympic lifter…. I’m only concerned about getting gains”

Ever heard this in the gym before? When it comes to the squat there is one topic of extreme importance: Depth

Too many times do we see people short changing squats. From going to high, to ego lifting, gym goers across the nation are complicating this simple  movement which should be the cornerstone of their training. Listen, when you squat you must work to get slightly below parallel. Using this point as a measure, you will increase your mobility TREMENDOUSLY for starters.

Mobility should be one of the founding pillars of your training philosophy. No matter if your goal is athletic or aesthetic, you body was built to move, and move well. Increasing your mobility will also help your joints and tendons, allow your muscles to grow to its full capacity, and produce crazy strength gains (look at your olympic lifters…and yes bro they squat WAY more than you CORRECTLY).

The second area of importance with squatting to depth is the elimination of ego lifting. A good coach once said “nobody cares how much weight you do wrong”. This train of thought should stay with you when you are tempted to add another plate. Trust me, you should push yourself and work to get as strong as possible, if thats your thing. But you must consider you health. No reason to force yourself to the hospital on your own. Also as an added bonus, the better your squat, the stronger you will become in the rest of your lifts!

Lastly full squatting helps the release of testosterone. Testosterone helps with the process of gaining muscle, and the more muscle that you gain the more fat you will burn automatically. Regardless of the bro tales, give full depth squatting a try- the benefits are tremendous!