Five Fitness Pitfalls to Avoid

When you’re not seeing the results you want, take a hard look at your fitness habits.

Amanda_RichardsIt’s easy to fall into bad habits and everybody has their own way of doing things, but sometimes we need to take a step back and reassess. Here are five pitfalls to avoid and help you stay on track:

Not setting goals

If you start working out with no goal in mind, then there’s no way of measuring your progress and success. Without goals, it’s hard to stay motivated and it’s even harder to know when to switch things up and change your routine. There’s a simple formula called the SMART principle that will help you set goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.

  • Specific – keep your goals specific. For example, you want a bigger chest.
  • Measurable – you want to add two inches to your chest.
  • Attainable – plan out what you need to do in order to achieve that goal. What kinds of exercises do you need to do, how often and how will diet and nutrition help you reach this goal?
  • Realistic – be realistic in setting your goals. What can you commit to with regards to time and ability.
  • Timely – set a deadline to work towards to achieve your goal. For example, I want to add two inches to my chest in three months.

Skipping meals

One of the biggest mistakes people make, whether they’re bodybuilding or dieting, is skipping meals. Two things you need to know is that starving your body will slow down your metabolism, so you will actually start to store fat and lose muscle. The other important thing to know is that you can consume more to burn more by using your body’s own metabolism.

By eating five to six smaller meals a day that include proteins and other foods with a high thermic effect like ginger or black pepper, you can increase the fat-burning effect in your body and stimulate your metabolism to burn more calories. This is where protein supplementing comes into play. One protein shake before and after your workout can count as one of those five or six meals and give you the energy and recovery your body and muscles need to build and repair.

Now, we all experience those days when we are just too busy to stop and eat. If this is the case, then take some quick-and-easy, high energy snacks with you, so you’re never without nourishment. Protein bars are ideal for this, as they are an easy way to get essential protein, energy and vitamins and minerals in one convenient bar.

Sticking to a program that’s not working

Finding the right kind of exercise is a matter of trial and error and means experimenting with different kinds of programs. If it doesn’t feel right, then stop and try something new. Every body is different. What worked for your best friend may not be right for you.

Sticking to the same routine

The dreaded plateau can easily be avoided by keeping things fresh. Depending on your goals, changing you program every six to eight weeks is not unheard of and will help keep your muscles guessing so they perform better. Another trick is to push yourself. If your workout is too easy and you don’t even break out in a sweat, then it’s time to change things up. Interval training is a great way to keep those muscles thinking and responding the way they should.

Adopting bad habits

It’s important to know the proper technique of doing any exercise to get the maximum benefit. Adopting poor habits and bad techniques can lead to injury and will not help you reach your goals, no matter how high the weight. Get your gym supervisor or personal trainer to show you how.

 

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Pyramid Training for Strength and Stamina

Whether you’re looking for a way to bust through training plateaus or you’re trying to build up strength to master heavier lifts, pyramid training is an excellent strength and stamina builder.

Pyramid Training for Strength and StaminaAs hard as it may be to abandon your regular training program, the benefits you’ll gain from pyramid training over a period of 14 days will propel you to the next level and you’ll come back stronger than ever before.

This particular pyramid training program will help you build strength to master heavier lifts. This strength-building routine uses only body weight, so there’s no fussing with weight plate changes or equipment. With a bodybuilding pyramid, you will increase your weight and drop your reps with each step up the pyramid. In this stamina-building pyramid, you will increase the number of sets while maintaining the amount of weight. This program also helps you perfect your technique.

Perform this pyramid for 10 days and rest for 3 or 4 full days, then return to your regular routine. You will find that your lifting power increases immensely and that plateau you were worried about is now history.

There are two things you need to consider with pyramid training – nutrition and overtraining. This workout requires a lot of energy and with the added cardio component will burn fat at an accelerated rate. So, make sure to prep your workout with a protein shake beforehand and a workout primer for energy and focus. Add in some arginine to combat muscular fatigue and to help with recovery. Supplementing with BCAAs is also a good idea to elevate your recovery time and avoid overuse injuries. If you’re already trying to lose weight, add a fat burner to your supplement regimen and watch the fat melt away over the next two ten days. Don’t forget to replenish your body with much-needed protein within 45 minutes of your training. A good protein shake ought to do it.

The other thing to watch is overtraining. Do not be tempted to sneak in a few bench presses or leg exercises along the way or think that the 3-4 days of recovery are just a waste of your time. You’ve already acknowledged that you’re plateau-ing, so now’s the time to step back and let your muscles recoup. Listen to your body and if you feel that the repetitive motion is too much, then you should switch the training. Create another pyramid for days 2, 4 and 6, using different compound exercises and muscle groups and save this workout for days 1, 3, 5, and 7.

This pyramid is made up of four exercises – pull-ups, push-ups, dips and sit-ups. We’re working with a six-step ascending and descending pyramid. Each step of the pyramid acts as a set and you can take as much as 30 seconds in between each step/set to recover before advancing.

Once you’ve completed one whole pyramid, you will perform 3 X 30-second sprints before catching your breath and starting the pyramid over again. One complete pyramid is considered a circuit and your goal is to perform 3 circuits, ending with 30-second sprints. Make sure you spend at the very least 10 minutes cooling down and stretching. In fact, on your 3-4 days off, it would be advisable to engage in some deep stretching, massage or foam roller therapy to really pamper those muscles and set yourself up for the next round of your training.

Upper Body Strength-Building Pyramid Workout

Ascending

  • Step 1 = 1 pull-up, 2 push-ups, 2 dips, 3 sit-ups
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Step 2 = 2 pull-ups, 4 push-ups, 4 dips, 6 sit-ups
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Step 3 = 3 pull-ups, 6 push-ups, 6 dips, 9 sit-ups
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Step 4 = 4 pull-ups, 8 push-ups, 8 dips, 12 sit-ups
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Step 5 = 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 10 dips, 15 sit-ups
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Step 6 = 6 pull-ups, 12 push-ups, 12 dips, 18 sit-ups
  • Rest 30 seconds

Descending

  • Step 5 = 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 10 dips, 15 sit-ups
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Step 4 = 4 pull-ups, 8 push-ups, 8 dips, 12 sit-ups
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Step 3 = 3 pull-ups, 6 push-ups, 6 dips, 9 sit-ups
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Step 2 = 2 pull-ups, 4 push-ups, 4 dips, 6 sit-ups
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Step 1 = 1 pull-up, 2 push-ups, 2 dips, 3 sit-ups
  • Rest 30 seconds

Active Recovery

  • Sprints – 3 X 30-seconds
  • Rest 1 – 3 minutes

Repeat 2 more times from the beginning.

If you’re worried that your legs are missing out, add Smith Machine squats to the mix. It’s a good idea to use the machine here instead of going with barbell or dumbbell squats, as you’ll be a bit wobbly and need the extra support. Make sure you keep well-hydrated throughout this program.

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM