Skip to content

Author: Emily Trinh

3 Popular Diets to Follow—And the Ones to Stay Far Away From

It seems like every day there’s a new diet that emerges onto the scene. Sometimes, they are legitimate and can really help you achieve your health goals. Most are fad diets trying to take advantage of people who are just trying to be healthier. So, here we give you an overview of popular diets to follow and those you shouldn’t.

The Best Popular Diets to Follow

1. Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is less of a diet and more of a structured time approach as to when you should eat your meals. The idea behind intermittent fasting is that you have an eating window and a fasting window. This may differ depending on the type of intermittent fasting you want to do. Typically, the eating window lasts for 8-10 hours, and the fasting window is 14-16 hours.

Another type of intermittent fasting includes only eating once a day and ingesting all your calories in that one meal. It really depends on what your personal preference is.

For this post, let’s follow the 8-10 hour eating window and 14-16 fasting period. The popular times that most people go by consists of fasting from 8 pm to 12 pm the next day, and eating between noon and 8 pm. Once the clock strikes 8 pm, you fast again. This is popular because the majority of your fasting window is taken up by sleep. When you’re awake though, you can fill up on lots of water, tea and coffee (without milk or sugar).

However, change your eating/fasting windows to whenever suits you and your lifestyle.

It may take a couple of weeks for your body to adjust to fasting, but once it does, it’ll become easier.

Intermittent fasting helps people curb their appetite and control their hunger. The average person will typically eat fewer calories because they have less time to eat. However, some people may find that they use intermittent fasting as an excuse to binge and eat insanely larger meals during their eating times so be wary of this.

2. IIFYM

Macro counting is another one of those popular diets to follow. It refers to macronutrients which are your proteins, fats, and carbs. If It Fits Your Macros, or IIFYM for short, emphasises flexible dieting. It allows you to eat whatever you want, whenever you want, as long as it fits within your personal macro count.

Every person has a different macro count, (a certain number of grams of protein, fats, and carbs), that they can eat each day according to their activity level, exercise levels and intensity, and more. This is why it is important to find your own personal macros instead of copying someone else’s. There are too many variables that come into play here.

This means that if you feel like eating ice cream, as long as it fits your macros, you can eat it without feeling guilty! You can adjust the portion sizes of your other meals to accommodate your cravings.

Does this mean that you’ll be able to lose weight (or gain weight if that’s your goal) following IIFYM? The answer is yes. Does this mean that you’ll be healthy? Not necessarily. Even though foods like chocolate, ice cream, and other junk food are accessible on IIFYM, try to focus on unprocessed foods to still be healthy and provide your body with the proper nutrients and minerals.

3. Mediterranean Diet

There is a reason why the Mediterranean Diet has been listed as one of the best and healthiest diets. It focuses on all the good stuff such as vegetable and fruits, legumes, seafood, olive oil, and whole grains. It even allows the occasional glass of red wine as well.

Because the diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, you’ll be eating plenty of fiber. It’s also full of anti-inflammatory foods and stays away from processed ones.

The Mediterranean diet will reduce the risk of heart disease as well as obesity, type-2 diabetes, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. One of the best things about the Mediterranean diet is that it is sustainable long-term, which is crucial for any diet that you may follow.

Fad Diets

Unfortunately, there is a myriad of fad diets out there. Stay away from these diets as they are usually very, very restrictive and provide no long-term benefits. They will also be very difficult to maintain in the long run.

Meal Replacement Shakes

While it is popular to drink a protein shake as a snack when you’re hungry, it becomes a problem when you only drink meal replacement shakes instead of eating actual meals. This is based on the belief that these shakes have fewer calories in them than actual food, therefore you will be consuming fewer calories in a day, leading to weight loss!

Meal replacement shakes are not as satiating as proper meals. You’ll most likely feel a lot hungrier on this fad diet. Also, it won’t provide you with the proper nutrients and minerals that your body needs.

1,200 calorie diet

This fad diet is founded on the belief that you can only ingest 1,200 calories per day to lose weight. While it’s true you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, the actual number of calories greatly varies from person to person. Some people may eat up to 1,500, while others can eat well over 2,000 calories and still lose weight. It depends on your body type and size, the amount of activity you do, and other lifestyle factors.

Following the 1,200-calorie rule does not take these individual factors into account, and it is also an extremely low number. If you’re someone who needs to eat 2,000 calories to be in a deficit, eating significantly lower at 1,200 can cause problems such as moodiness, headaches, and nutrient deficiencies. It can also increase the risk of bingeing, which can be psychologically damaging as well.

Diets like meal replacement shakes are all fads because they are not sustainable long-term, and people tend to quickly put back on any weight that you may lose in the beginning. So be careful about staying away from quick fixes and too-good-to-be-true promises. Look at the other popular diets to follow instead, like macro counting. Remember that this is a slow and steady journey and that it will take time—but it will be worth it.

Get Healthy with Jefit

The best way to become healthy is to make sure that you eat a nutritious diet and workout regularly. If you’re looking for a way to connect with others to learn what other popular diets to follow there are, as well as food and workout tips, then join our Jefit community. We have a members-only Facebook page where you can talk to others and motivate each other to keep up the great work!

What other popular diets to follow do you suggest? What works for you? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!

4 Key Recovery Tips for Different Workouts

recovery times

Despite what sport or workout you do, recovery is crucial. Without taking the time to rest and recover, you risk overtraining and making yourself more prone to injury. You’ll also feel not as great as if you’ve had the proper rest that you need. So how do you recover and do recovery times and methods differ for each workout? Find out here.

Recovery times and methods for different exercises

How to recover from cardio

Hydration is key. You sweat a lot from moderate to intense cardio so make sure that you replace lost fluid. If you weren’t drinking water throughout your workout either, drink even more.

If you’ve only done moderate level cardio, then It’s best to stay away from sports drinks that are marketed towards athletes. These drinks contain high levels of sugar that aren’t needed for moderate workouts.

You can drink these sports drinks and other liquids with electrolytes after longer cardio sessions.

How to recover from HIIT

HIIT, or High Intense Interval Training, consists of short bursts of extreme exercise followed by rest break. This definitely gets your heart ramping up a lot quicker than LISS or moderate exercise. You’ll also be burning calories after your workout thanks to a process called post-exercise oxygen consumption. EPOC refers to the amount of oxygen it takes to restore your body to its normal state. HIIT boosts this process.

As well as drinking fluids and making sure that you’re hydrated, make sure you eat a meal rich in carbs and protein (3:1 ratio is ideal). This way, you are feeding your body the fuel it needs by letting your muscles grow and restore glycogen stores.

HIIT is very taxing on the body so it is best to give yourself one full day in between to recover. Doing it every day or even multiple times a day can really increase your risk of overtraining. Do yourself a favor, and take a break.

How to recover from running

After a run, you would have sweat quite a bit. So, surprise, surprise, you will need to restore your fluids. Water and/or electrolytes is your number one priority. Believe it or not, chocolate milk is one of the best post-running drink/snack that you can have. It embodies the 3:1 carb to protein ratio that you need, and of course, it’s delicious.

Have a well-balanced snack or meal as well.

Just remember to incorporate rest days into your schedule. Running puts a lot of stress and pressure on your joints, so it’s crucial to give them a break. At least one rest day a week is ideal, and maybe even two.

If you find it difficult to take a break, it doesn’t mean that you have to be sedentary the entire day. Go for a walk, or do some low-impact activities. Swimming is a great one because it takes the stress off your joints, while still allowing you to get some exercise in.

How to recover from strength training

As strength training focuses primarily on the muscles, you’ll need to make sure that you consume protein and a good amount of carbs after a workout. You would have depleted your muscle stores so it’s important to refuel. This will aid in recovery as well as promoting muscle growth.

You’ll also need to ensure that you drink water and have a good, filling meal. Stick to the 3:1 carbohydrate/protein ratio to maximize recovery.

The recovery times and rest days in between strength training greatly depends on your workout schedule. If you split your days between muscle groups, such as back, shoulders, legs, etc, then you can get away with training 5-6 days with one rest day in the week.

If you train the same muscle group in a row, give yourself at least a days rest in between to recover.

Just listen to your body

While the general rule of thumb is to give the same muscle group a rest day, minimum, in between workouts. Otherwise, you risk overtraining. And at the end of the day, just listen to your body. If you’re feeling the effects of training that transcends beyond normal DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), then take a break. You won’t ruin your progress by taking a couple of days off, in fact, you’ll probably help it.

Make sure that you always warm up before your workout and stretch afterwards. It’ll facilitate the muscle recovery process and help to speed it up. It might be a good idea to foam roll as well. This will lessen the recovery times for each activtity.

Workout with Jefit

Track your training, record your progress, and customize your workout plan with Jefit. Jefit is a workout log app that provides you with all the tools you need to hit your fitness goals. We even have a members-only Facebook group where you can connect with like-minded people and share fitness and nutrition tips and advice.

recovery times

Should I Workout Before or After Work?

workout before or after work

One of the decisions you have to make when going to the gym is knowing when to actually go. You may be wondering, “should I workout before or after work?” While there is no right answer as it all comes down to your personal lifestyle and preference, in this post, we will help you make the decision. Here are all the things you need to take into account when it comes to deciding whether to work out before or after work.

Should I workout before or after work? Here are some points to consider.

How busy it is

One of the main concerns is how busy a gym is. It’s great to be with like-minded people. However, being in a too-crowded gym is not. However, this can make it too crowded. This may mean that you’ll have to wait to use popular equipment such as the treadmill, squat rack or leg press. Waiting time means that you will have to extend the time you spend at the gym.

Before work is typically quieter than after work. There are some early birds that want to get in a quick workout to wake up and be energised for the day. Then there are those who would prefer the extra sleeping time and head to the gym after work instead. Bear in mind though, this can also greatly depend on your local gym and how often you go. If you go two times a week, then you’ll need more equipment to cover a full body workout. If you go 4-5 times, then you will be needing fewer facilities. So take this into account as well.

There are certain peak times that the average gym has. In the morning, 6 am to 8 am tend to be busier. When it comes to after work times, anything from 5 pm to 8 pm can be busy. A great way to determine when your gym’s peak hours are is to Google it! On the right-hand side of the page, there should be a Google reviews section that contains a graph of “popular times”. You can use this to see whether working out before or after work is best for you.

So if you find that after work is too busy, then try coming in the morning so you don’t have to wait for equipment or rush to get to the elliptical first!

Energy levels

Like we mentioned before, there are early birds and night owls. If you find that you’re too sluggish in the morning, then after work may suit you better. However, if you find that a morning workout leaves you energised and ready to tackle the day, then stick to a before-work workout!

After all, there is no use going to a morning class if you’re going to spend half of it being tired and groggy. Likewise, why go to the gym in the afternoon if you’re too exhausted from work to properly train. Go when your energy level is at its highest so that you can make sure that you are getting an efficient workout that will actually help you progress.

Do you need to eat before a workout?

There is a lot of debate about whether or not you should eat before a workout. However, it’s really up to your personal preference. If you like to train fasted, then a morning workout may be a great option. That way, you can just roll out of bed, change into your training gear and head to the gym. On the other hand, if you need to eat, then bear in mind that this means you’ll have to work up earlier to have a small snack such as a banana with peanut butter. And yes, this will mean having to sacrifice a bit more sleep as well.

Alternatively, you can train after work so that you can make sure you are well fed beforehand. Just be sure that you don’t eat too much otherwise you’ll be too bloated and might get a stitch.

If you’re looking for tips on what to eat before and after a workout, check out this article!

Psychological Effects

Exercising makes people feel great. It releases endorphins that make you happy whether you workout before or after work.

Working out in the morning before work means that you’ll wake up feeling alive and refreshed. You’ll also feel really great knowing that you’ve already gotten your gym session over and done with. It’ll boost your mood, meaning you’re starting the day right (and your family and co-workers will be happy about that too!).

Working out after work has its place as well. Work can be pretty stressful, or you may have had some conflict with your family or friends. What a better way to get rid of that anger or stress out than by exercising it out? Go hard in that group fitness class, zen it out in yoga, walk it off on the treadmill, or lift those weights to lift the stress off of your shoulders.

You’ll also get a better sleep if you workout in the afternoon (but not too late at night!).

Workout before or after work with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that comes with a range of features. From the ability to schedule your workouts, track your record, connect with other members, and customize your workout plan, there is not much Jefit can’t do to help you get on track to hit your fitness goals. Download Jefit now!

workout before or after work

4 Reasons Why You Have Low Energy Levels at the Gym

4 Reasons Why You Have Low Energy Levels at the Gym

Sometimes we get to the gym and we’re tired or sleepy. It happens to everyone once in a while, which is completely normal. However, if you constantly have low energy levels at the gym and it’s starting to affect your training, then you may need to look deeper into the possible reasons why this may be the case. This way, you can fix it and get back to training hard.

Why You Have Low Energy Levels at the Gym

1. You’re not getting enough sleep

One of the most obvious culprits of your tiredness is not getting enough sleep. While we all may have bad nights, if you are consistently getting fewer hours of sleep than you should be, then this will start to greatly affect you in your day-to-day life, including the gym.

Not only will this mean that you will be too fatigued to lift as heavy as you should be, or be running as long or as fast as you could, but you won’t be recovering properly. Your muscles break down during training, and it is actually when you are resting that it begins to repair itself. Without adequate sleep, you are not giving your body the chance to heal. Not only will this stall your progress but you will also increase the risk of injury.

2. You’re not eating enough

You need food to fuel yourself for the gym. With the exception of those who train fasted*, most people need healthy food to help give them the energy for training. If you are too tired at the gym, then you may need to up your food intake, or adjust what you eat for better results.

For example, if you are training within a few hours, then a bigger meal with slow-releasing carbohydrates is best. If you are training within an hour or less, then go for a quick snack with fast-releasing carbs so that you can get energy faster.

Just think of your body like a car. Without fuel, the car won’t be able to drive for long. Once it runs out, it will splutter and eventually run out of steam. This is exactly the same with your body. Without the nutrients from food it needs, you will also eventually run out of energy. And when you’re in the gym, this will become painfully obvious.

*If you do train fasted as well, make sure that you eat a well-balanced dinner with plenty of protein that will sustain you until after your workout.

3. You’re overtraining

One common mistake that people make is overtraining. This is when you train too much at the gym, to the point that it begins to be detrimental to your physical progress as well as your mental state.

Some warning signs that you are overtraining include:

  • You can’t sleep at night
  • You’ve lost the motivation to go to the gym
  • Your performance dramatically drops
  • Your immunity levels decrease
  • You’re constantly sore and aching

If you find that you have experienced some of these signs, then give your body the rest that it desperately needs. Take a day or two off from the gym, and see how your energy levels fare when you come back. You should feel much more energized, motivated, and ready to tackle training.

Just be sure that you include rest/recovery days into your normal gym schedule. This can make sure that you are consistently working out hard, without risking your body to do so.

4. You’re dehydrated

We all know that water is so, so important. You need to be constantly replenishing your fluids so that you stay hydrated. Losing water means that you’ll also be losing electrolytes, which is essential to your muscles during a workout.

If you start to become dehydrated, this could be one of the reasons why you have such low energy levels at the gym. So make sure that you keep drinking water not only throughout your workout but also before and after it.

You know if you’re dehydrated if your urine is more yellow than clear. If that’s the case, then drink up!

Have you found that your energy levels are constantly low when you’re at the gym? Make sure that you look after yourself, and that you’re resting and sleeping enough. Also, focus on your diet and ensure you’re eating what you should be most of the time (but don’t forget to treat yourself in moderation!). Making these changes can really help amp up your energy levels at the gym and make sure that every training session is a great one.

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a fitness app that comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, as well as a members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, advice, and wins, to get you closer to your fitness goals today.

Have you ever had low energy levels at the gym? Why is that so? What helped you fix this? We would love to know! Let us know in the comments below!

4 Reasons Why You Have Low Energy Levels at the Gym

Should I be Using Wrist Straps and Lifting Belts?

Should I be Using Wrist Straps and Lifting Belts_

Have you ever looked around the gym, and seen people with straps around their wrists and belts around their waist? These wrist straps and lifting belts are gym accessories that people use to enhance their performance. But what how exactly do they work and do you need them to? How do you even use them? This post will answer all your common questions.

Wrist Straps

What are wrist straps and their benefits?

Wrist straps go around your wrists. Essentially, they work to give your wrists extra support and make lifting heavy weights a little easier.

Another benefit of wrist straps is that they improve grip strength. Most people tend to have weak grip strength, which can affect their lifts, especially with the deadlift. Wearing these straps help improve your grip so that you can actually work out the target muscles of your exercises.

For example, if you are deadlifting and your grip gives out first, you lose training time. Using wrist straps is a solution to this problem, By helping your grip, you can focus on the actual target muscles of the deadlift, rather than struggling just to hold the barbell for longer.

Should I be using wrist straps?

Wrist straps are not necessary. While some people prefer to use wrist straps in their training, others can workout without ever using it once. It really depends on your preference and how you feel.

Should I be using wrist straps every time I train?

If you do want to use wrist straps, do not use it all the time. The reason is that you don’t want to rely on them every time you lift. Lifting with them on all the time can cause weakness in the muscle.

It is best to use them when you are lifting near or on your 1RM where the extra support is needed. 80%-90% of your 1RM is ideal. When your grip starts to fall, then incorporate this gym accessory. But if you can lift without the straps and prefer this, then don’t worry about them. 

 

Lifting Belts

What are lifting belts and their benefits?

Lifting belts function similarly to wrist straps; they help to enhance performance. Let’s talk about the squat for example. When you squat, you need to take in a deep belly breath full of air and brace, holding it until the end of the lift. This is called the Valsalva manoeuvre. It creates intra-abdominal pressure, allowing you to perform the lift. What the lifting belt does is it increases this force in the abdomen.

It helps to better stabilize the spine and core, helping you to lift heavier weights.

Should I be using lifting belts?

Just like the wrist straps, they are not necessary. It comes down to your personal preference. If you believe you train better with them, then go ahead. But don’t feel like it is critical to have this gym accessory.

Should I be using lifting belts every time I train?

No, you shouldn’t wear it every time you train because you probably won’t need it all the time. Likewise, with the wrist straps, they are great if you are lifting your max or close to it. However, anytime other than that, then you won’t need it. Again, 80-90% of your 1RM is when you can start incorporating lifting belts.

One important thing to note as well is that lifting belts do not just automatically correct bad technique. They are supposed to enhance your performance rather than compensate for incorrect form. So make sure that if your aim is to lift heavier, that you can first perform the moves properly.

Do I need wrist straps and lifting belts?

All in all, you don’t need wrist straps and lifting belts. They are not indicators of how strong you are or are fundamental to your training. However, when used correctly, they can be useful if you prefer to wear them. So it really comes down to you and your preference. Just be sure to only use wrist straps and lifting belts when necessary and not every time you train or do a set.

Workout with Jefit

Want more advice and training tips? Jefit is a workout log app that comes with a customizable workout planner, schedule, and a great community filled with like-minded people. We even offer a members-only Facebook page where you can learn from others as well as share your own wins, advice, and stories. Come and join the community now!

Should I be Using Wrist Straps and Lifting Belts_

Can I Run and Strength Train at the Same Time?

Can I Run and Strength Train at the Same Time_

As a runner, you don’t just have to stick to running. And as someone who lifts weights, you don’t have to avoid any form of cardio like running like the plague. In fact, cross training is actually really beneficial to both sides of the spectrum. So if you are wondering whether you can run and strength train at the same time, here are the reasons why you definitely should.

Why runners should strength train

Strengthen your leg muscles

Runners can really benefit from weight training, especially with your legs. By including it in your workout, you can strengthen your leg muscles. Doing so will give you more endurance to last longer in your runs. It can also make your steps more powerful so you can propel yourself forward with more force, without having to exert more energy.

Prevent injury

Running can cause injuries. The most common injury is the Runner’s Knee. It can really be debilitating to your performance and cause you to have to stop training while you recover. If you run and strength train simultaneously though, you will be able to lessen the risk of injuries such as the Runner’s Knee.

Focus on building the hips and glutes so that your leg muscles are really developed and can help support and stabilize your lower body.

Build core strength

By building your core strength, you will be able to maintain a better posture even while running. Good posture is especially important for long-distance runners and really great for your body overall. This is also something that you should apply to your everyday life as well.

How to run and strength train for runners?

If you are a runner looking to strength train, make sure you start slowly to get used to it. Focus on compound exercises (multi-joint movements) such as the deadlift and squat. Bodyweight exercises also are very beneficial. Because they are not as taxing on the body as weights, they are a great way to build strength while you are recovering from running. Not to mention, they are convenient and can be done anywhere, anytime.

Why lifters should run

Don’t want to lose your gains? This is why most lifters tend to avoid cardio work, including running. For the fear of losing the muscle that they painstakingly built in the gym. However, while it is important to work on your strength, it is important to include aerobic exercise in your training. Weight training does not account for your cardiovascular health, which is where running comes in.

Improve your cardiovascular health

Running really works your cardiovascular health, which is great for a number of reasons. One, it will improve your heart health. This means that you will lower your risk of developing heart disease, cardiovascular disease. You’ll also lessen the risk of a stroke. By keeping your heart working and elevated, you keep it strong and healthy. And two, you will increase your oxygen capacity. By constantly working your heart through running, you will be able to take in my oxygen, so when you lift, more oxygen will be delivered to your muscles. This means you will be able to lift heavier and for longer.

Strengthen legs

Running is a great way to build leg muscles. Depending on the type of running program you do, you can train your slow-twitch muscle fibers as well as your fast-twitch muscle fibers. Combine running with your strength training, especially leg day, you’ll really develop those leg muscles, particularly your glutes, quads, calves, and hamstrings.

Burns more calories

Want to burn more calories? Running is a great way to do this. It is a great form of cardio that can really get your metabolism fired up so will keep burning fat long after you finished training.

How to run and strength train for lifters?

If you are a lifter looking to run, try incorporating a low to moderate running day two to three times a week for 20-30 minutes. This helps to give you the benefits of running but also won’t hinder your strength training performance.

There are multiple benefits of cross training. To run and strength train simultaneously means giving your body a well-rounded workout that hits both strength and cardio components. Plus, each of these exercises actually complements each other and can really enhance your performance as a runner or a lifter.

Workout with Jefit

Want to run and strength train at the same time? Use Jefit as your very own customizable workout planner and scheduler. With the ability to log your workouts and track your progress, you can make sure that you are headed towards your fitness goals. We even have our very own members-only Facebook page where you can talk and connect with your fellow Jefit members. Join now here!

Can I Run and Strength Train at the Same Time_

How to Get a Fitness Mindset for Success in 3 Easy Steps

fitness mindset

Getting in shape and becoming healthier is one of the most common resolutions that people make. While it is great that people want to make these changes, there are a few steps that you need to take to really put this resolution into action. Rather than tackle it as one large goal, it is best to break your plan into separate parts. The first thing you need to focus on is your fitness mindset for success.

Your mindset refers to your attitude. Your mental state plays such an important role in getting in shape. Without the proper mindset, you may find it a struggle to keep to your health and fitness journey. Cultivate your fitness mindset now so that when the initial motivation begins to slowly wane, you will be able to get through the tough times and stick to your guns.

Here Are 3 Ways on How to Make Sure That You Have the Right Fitness Mindset to Become the Healthier Version of You

1. Know your why

Don’t make this another year where you say you are going to do it but don’t. Make this year your year, and that means deciding to commit with the intention of remaining committed. It’s easy to become sidetracked when things become difficult or it takes longer than expected, but this is why you need to go into this with the attitude of sticking to it when the going gets tough.

So when you decide to get healthier, know your why. Your why determines why you want to make these changes and this is what you will have to remember every time you think of quitting and giving up. It is what sets you up for success. If you don’t know what your why is, then just ask yourself why are you doing it in the first place?!

You may want to become fitter, get more energy, lose weight, gain muscle, become stronger.

When you hit setbacks and obstacles, go back to your why. When you feel like quitting and giving up, think back to it. Doing so will give you a renewed sense of determination and motivation. Then, you can keep going with a fitness mindset set up for success.

2. Set your goals

Now that you know your why and have the right mindset, set your goals. Saying things like, “I want to lose weight,” is not good enough. It is too generic and broad and does not give you any direction. You need to set smart goals and be more specific when naming your goals. A trick is to follow the S.M.A.R.T principle which is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Once you have done that, write your goal down on a piece of paper or post-it note and stick it somewhere you can easily see it every day. For example, above your desk or door. Also, put it in places where you have the most trouble with. If nutrition is your downfall, then put it on your fridge where you can see it every time you feel temptation.

3. Get a support group

Just remember, you don’t have to do this alone. Get a support group that knows your mission and can help you get there. They will also hold you accountable.

Find a workout/gym buddy. This way, your workouts can be more fun and sociable. If you are a fan of group fitness, then your class can be workout friends. If you like running, it doesn’t need to be a solo venture. Try finding some local running groups in your area that you can join. You will also be less tempted to skip out on the Sunday morning run if you know you will be letting other people down.

But it doesn’t just stop there. Your support group can even extend to an online community. There are plenty of fitness apps, Facebook or Twitter groups as well as other social media pages. Take advantage of them.

For example, Jefit has a membership page on Facebook where Jefit members can post and share any tips and wins with each other. Even if you have hit an obstacle, it is great to turn to your support group so that you can get encouragement and advice. It can really make a difference in your health journey.

So the first step into getting in shape is to train your mind first. Get in the right fitness mindset from the start so that you can better your progress in achieving your goals. Without the proper mental state, then you are automatically diminishing your chances of success.

Join a Supportive Community

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has an extensive exercise library database, as well as the ability to update and share your workout log. One of the best parts of Jefit is that it comes with a community forum and member-only Facebook page. Here, you will be surrounded by like-minded people who can help you! Join now for a fun, motivating, and encouraging support system!

fitness mindset

5 Squat Variations to Add To Your Training (Beginner to Advanced)

squat variations

Squats should be a staple in every gym goer’s training plan. They are a great lower body exercise that can also work your core and other parts of your body if performed correctly. There are many squat variations that you can try, that each has their own benefits. Whether you are a beginner squatter or seasoned veteran, here are some of the squat variations to add to your routine.

5 Beginner to Advanced Squat Variations

1. Prisoner Squat

The prisoner squat is one of the simplest squat variations because it just uses your bodyweight. It is a great staple exercise for anyone to add to their regime, especially for beginners starting out. It is a lower body workout that not only strengthens your legs and glutes but can also work your core and shoulders.

Prisoner squats can also be done anywhere as you are only using your bodyweight! So you can fit them in during an ad break, or even at work.

To prisoner squat, make sure that your feet are planted firmly on the ground, hip-width apart. Your weight should be distributed evenly between them. Engage your core as you pull your shoulder blades slightly together.

Bend at the knees and lower yourself to the ground as if you are sitting on a chair. Remember to keep your torso upright. Keep lowering yourself until you are parallel to the ground, and if you can, go beyond that parallel line. Make sure that your knees do not drop inward as you do so; keep your knees rotated out.

Stand up again by straightening your legs. And repeat.

To make the standard prisoner squat more challenging, try holding the lower squat position and pulsing. Now you can really feel that burn!

2. Goblet Squat

Another great squat variation is the goblet squat. This is similar to the prisoner squat but with added weight. You can use a dumbbell or kettlebell.

Hold the dumbbell or kettlebell up close to your chest as you squat. If you are starting out, start with a lighter weight, just to get used to the movement. Then keep increasing your weight as you progress.

This squat will not only work that lower body but it can really work that core strength. It can also help prepare you for the front squat, which we will talk about soon!

3. High Bar Back Squat

This is the classic squat that people tend to gravitate towards. It is a comfortable place for people to hold the bar.This squat variation uses a barbell that is placed across your back on the trapezius muscles on top of the shoulders.

During the high bar back squat, make sure that the bar remains aligned with your midfoot. Your torso needs to remain as upright as possible to keep the weight from shifting forward.

The high bar back squat is a squat variation that places emphasis on the quadriceps (front thigh muscles) and glutes. There is less reliance on the hamstrings. However, compared to other squat variations, such as the low bar squat, you won’t be able to squat as heavy.

If you want to make it harder, then try pausing for a couple of seconds at the bottom of the squat before coming up. The high bar squat is also great to help those who do weightlifting (the snatch and clean & jerk).

4. Low Bar Back Squat

Another squat variation is the low bar back squat. This squat places the barbell on lower on the upper back than the high bar back squat position—on the posterior deltoid. It is only a slight shift in position of the bar but it does result in different body parts being used in the movement.

In this position, your torso should lean forward even more. This offloads some of the weight on your back and to help keep you balanced. It also means that you will be able to squat heavier than the high bar squat. You have less range of motion because your torso will be more horizontal.

Your feet should be wider than that of a high bar squat, as well as your hands. To help lean your chest forward, your hips will also be pushed back.

This version of the squat works the hamstrings and glutes. It also places more emphasis on the posterior chain. If you have knee problems, then the low bar is a good option as there is less stress on the knees.

5. Front Squat

The front squat works the front of your body, emphasising the quads and core. It uses the barbell but instead of placing it on your back, it is placed in front of you, resting on your front deltoids and collarbone. Your arms can be in two different positions:

Classic Grip: Place your right-hand fingertips under the bar on your right side, and do the same for the left. The number of fingertips you use to hold the bar depends on your preference. Keep your elbows up so your upper arms are parallel to the ground. This position can be difficult for those with limited wrist mobility.
Cross Grip: Your right hand can hold the bar on your left shoulder and vice versa. Your arms will be in a cross position, touching opposite hands to shoulders. If you have limited wrist mobility, you may prefer this grip.

As you squat, try to keep your elbows in and up and your knees out.

The squat is a really great move to include in your training. With these squat variations ranging from beginner to advanced, you can pick and choose which ones suit your fitness goal and level so you are not missing out on these great benefits.

Track your squats with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that has an extensive library. With the ability to mix and match your training, including different kinds of squats, you can really maximize your gym workouts and make the most of them. These are just 5 of the many kinds of squats you can do—check out Jefit’s squat library here to find more!

Have you tried any of these different kinds of squats? Which ones do you like? Let us know in the comments, we would love to know!

squat variations

How Many Times a Week Should You Workout?

How Many Times a Week Should You Workout

There are a lot of questions in the fitness industry — one of them is “how many times a week should you workout?” While it is important to be active every day – even if it is just for a short walk – sometimes, it can be hard to make it to the gym all the time. So if you are wondering how many times a week should you workout, there is no right or wrong answer. It depends on the individual and his or her routine. However, your exercise program needs to be adjusted accordingly, while also taking into account your fitness goals.

Basic guidelines

You should always prioritize your rest and recovery days to give your body a break. It is important that you do not exercise or train every single day without rest. Contrary to belief, it does not help you reach your fitness goals faster. In fact, it could slow you down. You could overtrain and injure yourself.

However, you shouldn’t just workout once a week; you should be moving every day. Doing so will keep you fit and healthy. Also, if you want to make progress, then you cannot space your workouts too far apart. When you train, you make progress and in between your next session, you go back to the level you were before. This is why you need to continuously train. You need something to work and build from.

How many times a week should you workout if your focus is on fat loss?

If your fitness goal is to lose fat, then 3-4 times a week in the gym is ideal. You should do a mixture of strength and cardio training.

Cardio helps to keep your heart healthy and keep fat levels down. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is particularly great for fat loss though you can do what cardio you enjoy the most. You can do aerobics, use the elliptical machine, bike, try boxing, and even the jump rope.

It is also crucial that you also add strength training to your workout. People tend to neglect weight training when they are trying to cut fat but in fact, it can really make a difference in your progress.

Muscle actually increases your metabolic rate, meaning that you will burn more calories.

How many times a week should you workout if your focus is on gaining muscle?

If you focus on strength training and want to gain more muscle, then try hitting the gym 4-5 times a week. This will involve heavy lifting so it is important not to train the same muscle group more than two times in a row. Doing so will overload the muscle and you will risk injuring yourself, which can set you back even more. The usual regime that people follow is to isolate each muscle group per day. This way, you are not training the same muscles in a row, giving yourself time to recover.

Some group splits that you can follow include: legs, glutes, chest, back, shoulders, arms, and abs.

Can’t make it 4-5 times a week at the gym? Try combining some muscle groups in one day such as chest and shoulders.

What if you can only go to the gym 1-2 times a week?

If you can only go to the gym once or twice a week, you can still reduce the risk of heart and/or cardiovascular disease. But you will need to hit your total weekly recommended exercise time. This is about 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.

So make sure that you keep your heart rate up the entire time (HIIT can help). Don’t forget about strength training as well. Try to fit in a full-body workout to make up for the other days.

But it is also important to remember that you need to fit exercise in every day. So even if you can’t make it to the gym, make sure you are going for a walk and moving as much as possible in your everydayy life

Also note that if you want to really progress and reach fitness goals, it will be difficult to do with only 1-2 times of training. Consistency is key.

What to do on recovery days?

Recovery days doesn’t mean you should sit all day and not do anything. You can still do some light sessions to help with your recovery. This may include stretching, foam rolling, or even some light cardio.

Make sure that you move every day, even during recovery. Another point to remember is to sleep.

It doesn’t matter how many times you workout in a week if you do not get your beauty sleep. Getting good quality sleep means that you are giving your body that time to rest. Without adequate sleep, you don’t have the chance to repair damaged muscle fibers. Also, without it, your next training session will feel a lot harder than if you’re well-rested.

Exercise with Jefit

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has an extensive exercise library database, as well as the ability to update and share your workout log. Use Jefit to find new exercises to change up your workout routine, whether you are looking to gain muscle, cut fat, get fitter or build strength.

How Many Times a Week Should You Workout

7 Simple Healthy Habits to Kick-Start Your Health Journey

simple healthy habits

If becoming healthier is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, it can be quite daunting to think about the task ahead of you. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it may seem. In fact, there are easy and simple healthy habits that you can start implementing into your everyday life to help get you in the right direction. Want to know what they are? Keep reading!

Ease into your health journey with these 7 simple healthy habits

1. Include incidental exercise

If you are looking to work out more in your daily life, then including incidental exercise is a great way to amp up your efforts. It refers to the exercise we get from our day-to-day activities such as walking. We often get it in small doses throughout the day but after a while, this can all accumulate and actually help us become healthier.

One of the best ways to include more incidental exercise is to start taking the stairs instead of the elevator or lift, especially if you are only going a couple of floors down/up. By taking the stairs, you can get your body moving a lot more and your heart rate up. If you climb two flights of stairs to get to work, that’s four flights of stairs a day, and twenty altogether by the end of the work week!

If the station or your workplace is near you, then you can also try cycling or walking to work instead of driving. This can easily add an extra 20 minutes of exercise to your day. And the best thing is, incidental exercise means that you are not going out of your way to get moving. It is just choosing healthier and better options.

As you can see, by including incidental exercise and making it one of your simple healthy habits, you can really amp up your health and workout efforts.

2. Stretch/exercise while watching TV

A 2016 study revealed that “On average, American adults are watching five hours and four minutes of television per day.” That’s a lot of time spent sitting in front of the TV doing nothing but watching. So, why not use this time efficiently?

By stretching and exercising while watching TV, you can essentially kill two birds with one stone.
You don’t even need any equipment, just use your bodyweight and what you have. For example, air squats are great moves to do using just your bodyweight. If you have a couch or bed near the TV, then why not do some tricep dips? You can even do modified push-ups against the furniture during ad breaks.

If you do have dumbbells or resistance bands, then take advantage of them as well. Try doing some bicep curls or tricep extensions.

Not only can you get in some exercise, the TV can keep you distracted from any exhaustion or tiredness you may feel.

During the ad breaks, you can intensify the workout where you don’t have to look at the screen. After a one-hour show, that’s basically an extra hour of exercise you snuck into your day. By doing this when you are watching TV, you can start to build some simple healthy habits.

3. Track your workouts

Another great simple healthy habit you should implement in your daily life is tracking your workouts. There are many great apps out there, like Jefit, that makes this step so easy and simple.

Tracking your workouts can really help you in making progress in your health and fitness journey. By actually recording everything that you did, you can see how you have improved, what has helped improve it and what hasn’t. Then, you can make adjustments as needed.

It can also show you how far you’ve come when you are in need of some motivation.

4. Plan your exercise times

Despite the best intentions, people tend to skip over the gym sessions and say, “I’ll go tomorrow”. A way to get out of this habit is to plan your gym times and schedule it in your calendar like it is an important meeting. You wouldn’t just dismiss your meeting with a client because you were tired, or didn’t have time—you would stick it out and see it through.

That is exactly how you should see your workout times.

Start making a habit of scheduling in your gym sessions in your calendar and change your approach to it as though it is a meeting you cannot miss. This will help you maintain your gym schedule and get that exercise in. Eventually, going to the gym will become a natural habit.

5. Choose water over other drinks

When you go out, do you opt for a soft drink or maybe a juice? These can dramatically increase your sugar intake. Another one of our great simple healthy habits you can implement now is by always choosing water (besides the occasional treat).

We all know how important and how great water is. So imagine how much healthier you will be if you increase your water intake? It may be hard at first but it will be well worth it in the end.

6. Fill half your plate with vegetables

We tend to neglect our veggies and struggle to meet our minimum daily servings. To rectify this, start by filling half your plate with vegetables first. This way, you can make sure that you are eating whole foods that are not only delicious but great for you.

7. Find a support group

So while this isn’t exactly a healthy habit, finding a support group can really help you stick to your simple healthy habits. By interacting with like-minded individuals, you can really have a great supportive and encouraging network to turn to during times when you are struggling, when you want to share a win and when you want to train in a group!

Jefit can help you stick to your simple healthy habits

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training, cardio and stretching. Start keeping your simple healthy habits with the help of Jefit!

simple healthy habits

How to Set Smart Fitness Goals for the New Year You Can Actually Stick To

how to set smart fitness goals for the new year

It’s that time of the year again – New Year’s is coming up which means New Year’s resolutions. However, according to U.S. news, 80% of people give up on their resolutions by the second week of February. So to help you avoid being one of them, here are some tips on how to set smart fitness goals for the New Year.

4 Tips on How to Set Smart Fitness Goals for the New Year

1. Don’t focus on too many goals

Many people choose to use the New Year as a way to completely overhaul their lifestyle. They want to lose weight, bulk up, cut out sugar, workout 5 times a week and the list goes on. And this is just fitness goals! This is why it is so easy for people to fall off the wagon; there are just too many goals to keep track of with so many changes to make. By scattering your focus among many, you can’t channel your full effort into them.

So one of the tips on how to set smart fitness goals for the New Year is to focus only on a couple of fitness goals. This way, you can really put 100% into them and be able to maintain them for longer.

It is better to make progress with fewer goals than none at all with many.

2. Focus on the S.M.A.R.T principle

Another way on how to set smart fitness goals for the New Year is to follow the S.M.A.R.T guidelines. Your goal should be:

S for Specific – Make sure that you clearly define your fitness goal. Vague goals do not give you enough direction; you need to know exactly what you want in the end and make it clear on when you can say, you did it.

For example, don’t say I want to lose weight or I want to gain muscle but I will lose 5lbs or I will gain 2 kgs of muscle mass by doing x, y, and z.

M for Measurable – Your fitness goal needs to be something that you can actively track. Break down your big goal into smaller, measurable goals.

E.g. I will lose 1lb by week 4. I will lose another 2 lbs by week 8.

A for Attainable – Do you have the time, money, resources to achieve this goal? If you set a goal that is not attainable, you risk demoralizing yourself.

E.g. Do you have the time to work out? Can you afford a gym membership or personal training? Do you have the time to set up a home gym? Adjust your goals accordingly so that you will be able to attain it in the end.

R for Realistic and Relevant – Don’t set yourself up for failure. While your goal should challenge you, it should also be realistic and achievable. It should also be relevant to you. Is your goal aligned with your life and direction you want it to take? If you are not interested in weight loss but would rather build muscle, then set that as your goal. Otherwise, you won’t have the motivation or discipline to see it through.

T for Time – When do you want to achieve it by? Give yourself enough time to realistically achieve it but not too much time because then there won’t be a sense of urgency.

E.g. I will lose 5lbs in 6 months.

3. Write down your goals

Another tip on how to set smart fitness goals for the New Year is to write it down. Something about having your goal written down on paper in tangible form makes it more permanent and real. Place these papers somewhere you will see every day such as above your desk at work or home, or on your bedroom door so you can be reminded every day and use each day as an opportunity to make progress.

Also, pay attention to the words you use. Use words like “will” to create a sense of determination and positivity.

E.g. I will lose 5lbs in 6 months instead of “I want to”.

4. Write an action plan

If you want to know how to set smart fitness goals for the New Year, then also write down an action plan, including your S.M.A.R.T guidelines, a timeline and the smaller measurable goals. This will not only give you a direction but a plan to follow. It will also be really motivating being able to track your progress and tick things off as you go.

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio. If you have a smart fitness goal for the New Year, why not get Jefit to help you keep on track?

What are your fitness goals for 2018? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to know!

how to set smart fitness goals for the new year

HIIT or LISS: Which One Will Get Me Better Results?

HIIT or LISS

While we all know that getting in daily exercise is important to everyone, there is much debate about what kind of exercise is best for us, especially with cardio training. There are two popular forms of cardio HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and LISS (Low Intensity Steady State Cardio). Each has their own pros and cons, so if you are wondering whether to do HIIT or LISS, here is what you should know.

Is HIIT or LISS Better For Me?

LISS – Low Intensity Steady State Cardio

LISS or Low Intensity Steady State Cardio, is a form of aerobic (“with oxygen”) exercise. This means that improves your oxygen intake. LISS is typically performed for 30-60 minutes at a steady pace with limited changes in speed or intensity. It is referred to as low intensity as you usually only hit 45-65% of your estimated maximum heart rate.

Advantages

If you are comparing HIIT or LISS, LISS is advantageous in a number of areas.

Less demanding on the body

Because it is low intensity, it is less demanding on the body. It is also easier on the joints, tendons and ligaments.

Less injury risk

It also means that the risk of injury is also much lower than other alternative forms. You are moving at a steadier pace so you are not pushing yourself too hard, with can be hard on the body.

Better at initial fat burn

One of the best benefits of LISS is that it is better at fat burning than HIIT, initially. You use the fat stored in your body as the primary source of energy as opposed to glycogen. This is why when people start doing LISS, they see great results.

Disadvantages

However, there are some downfalls that might mean turning to other forms of cardio for the results that you want.

Longer sessions

While the sessions themselves are not as taxing as HIIT, this means that your workouts will be much longer; you are not using as much energy as fast. If you are busy or don’t have much time, LISS may not be the best option for you.

Less motivated to workout

Following on from that, because the sessions are longer, you may be less motivated to actually get started in the first place.

Only burns calories during the workout

Another downfall of LISS is that you only burn calories while you are doing the workout. Unfortunately, once your session is done, you will not continue to burn calories afterwards.

The body adapts quickly to LISS

While I mentioned that LISS is great for fat burning initially, the keyword here was initially. This is because your body will quickly adapt to your LISS workouts, meaning that the once-great results you may have seen at the start will not last long.

HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

On the other hand of the spectrum is HIIT aka High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT has become a buzzword in the fitness industry, gaining momentum in popularity.

HIIT consists of shorter more intense sessions of 10-60 seconds of work. This is alternated with rest or light activity time (this is where the interval part of the name comes in). HIIT brings your heart rate up to 70-90% of your maximum heart rate.

Unlike LISS, HIIT is anaerobic (“without oxygen”) exercise because your body uses more oxygen than it can be supplied. This why with HIIT, you will run out of breath more quickly and your muscles will burn (caused by the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles). The rest periods in HIIT are important because it allows your body to clear the lactic acid and rebuild oxygen levels.

Advantages

Here are some advantages of high intensity interval training that may help you decide between HIIT or LISS.

Shorter sessions

If you are deciding between HIIT or LISS, the time factor may be a big key to consider. HIIT sessions are much shorter and more time efficient than LISS sessions. This is because the intensity levels are higher so you will become fatigued quite quickly.

Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)

Unlike with LISS, HIIT workouts help keep your body burning calories long after your session is done because of EPOC. EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, refers to the amount of oxygen required to return the body to its normal metabolic level (called homeostasis).

The body has to work hard to rebuild the oxygen levels up that it lost during the session, which is why you continue to burn calories and fat post-workout, even for up to 24 hours.

Better for long-term fat loss

While people see great results with LISS at the start, HIIT is better for long-term fat loss results.

Helps with muscle retention

One reason why people tend to avoid cardio is that they do not want to lose muscle. HIIT helps with retaining muscle because it includes weight training and movements that activate the muscles the same way that strength training does.

Disadvantages

More demanding on the body

Due to the high intensity nature of HIIT, you do place a lot more stress on the body. This also means that there is an increased risk of injury.

Longer recovery time

It does take longer to recover from a HIIT workout so due to the physical demands, it can be challenging to complete HIIT workout every single day so you will have to find alternate workouts in between to give your body a break.

Can be intimidating for beginners

It can be intimidating for new people to give it a go at first. It does look intense because it is intense but also very rewarding!

So Should I Choose HIIT or LISS?

The final answer does depend on your preference and lifestyle. If you find yourself skipping workouts because you’re dreading the hour-long jog, then try giving HIIT a go. If you hate the intensity of HIIT, then turn to LISS. A good idea, however, would be to do both on alternate days and rotate between the two so that you can reap the benefits of each.

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

HIIT or LISS