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Author: Emily Trinh

Using Workout Logs are Essential to Fitness Success

workout log

Going to the gym is one thing. Completing a workout session that is actually effective and productive is another matter altogether.

A common scenario that athletes and gym goers face is that they head to the gym only to realize that they can’t remember what numbers they hit the previous session. It’s a small thing but it can actually make a big detrimental difference to your fitness success. Fortunately, this can easily be prevented easily through the use of a workout log.

How a Workout Log Can Make Each Workout Session an Effective One

A workout log is a journal, notebook, or an app that helps you keep track of your training so that each session is effective. Here is how:

Accuracy

A workout log means that you always know what you did the previous session, the session before that, and so on. It definitely serves better than your memory, where you can easily forget the smallest details. Recording your training means you can properly plan your next session in a way that further improves your progress on a consistent basis, as opposed to just throwing together a random workout.

It takes the guesswork out of your training regime to get you actual results.

Accountability

It can be easy to slack off when you are having a long day, or if you are feeling particularly tired. Dragging yourself to the gym is one thing but doing the level of exercise you want is another. We can admit it, sometimes we have those days where we cheat a little and use lighter weights or do fewer sets than we planned.

This is why using a workout log can help. By having to keep track of everything, it holds you accountable for all your sessions. Do you really want to look back and see that you put in half the effort last time?

Which leads us onto our next point…

Motivation

What a better way to keep yourself motivated than to look back over your workout log and see the progress that you have made?

Even if you can’t see the changes on the scales or if you are in need a pick-me-up, seeing how far you have come can really give you that much-needed boost of motivation. It will enhance your confidence and determination to keep going and maintain focus on your fitness goals.

Evaluation

What if you are not making the gains that you thought you would be? What if your bench progress has soared but your deadlift has stalled?

Unfortunately, when it comes to fitness success, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every exercise program consists of trial-and-error which is why it is important to be able to monitor how your body responds to your regime and make adjustments as needed.

A workout log can assist with this. It provides you with valuable insight into your past training sessions which is fundamental in evaluating your progress. By keeping track of your workouts, you will be able to see what has worked best for you and what needs improvement. It will also help segment each area for analysis. This way you can maintain consistent progress across your entire body and muscle groups.

By planning your future workouts this way, you enhance your productivity and reduce wasted time because then you are not stuck with a program that really isn’t working. It is all about making advancements and with that, comes monitoring your results and keeping them consistent across all muscle groups.

Consistency

Another important factor that a workout log can assist with is determining how your lifestyle and other external factors affect your sessions. This is something that is not typically given much thought but it can play a significant role in your progress. A key to fitness success is having consistently good workouts.

There may be some days where you do not get enough sleep the night before, or you may have longer work hours on specific days because it is the peak period. By recording this information, you can adjust your program to accommodate to this. It may mean doing a lighter session these days and then making up for it on other days where you have more energy.

Not only will this help you physically but it can also help you mentally.

Instead of taking twice as long to complete a session or “cheating” yourself by cutting your session short and feeling defeated, you will be able to do a workout that you know you can do.

It will also assist in helping you realistically space out and alternate your workouts, especially if are experiencing fatigue or DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

By being able to look back at your workout log and records, you can make a difference in your physical and mental results to make sure that every workout is as good as the last one.

Injury Prevention

Unfortunately, injuries do happen but there are ways to minimize this risk. If you experience nagging signs of an injury, you can identify what workout caused it by using your training records. You can check the exercise as well as the number of sets, reps and weight that you used.

Knowing this information can really help prevent future injuries so you know what not to do.

A workout log is a tool that tends to be undervalued. However, it is a powerful way to enhance accuracy, productivity and motivation for all athletes and gym-goers. It is an integral component in boosting motivation and success for any fitness program.

So are you looking for an easy, simple and efficient workout log tracker? Say goodbye to pen and paper and say hello to Jefit, a gym workout app that simplifies the process of recording workouts for athletes and gym-goers alike. It comes with the ability to record your metrics set by set until your workout is complete, so you can boost motivation and make every workout an efficient one.

Do you use a workout log to track your training? Has it made any difference to your training sessions and results? Let us know in the comments below!

workout log

Easy Dieting Tips that Prioritize Your Health

easy dieting tips

It isn’t enough to just get the workouts in. In fact, what you eat makes a major difference in your fitness journey. In a perfect world, we would be able to eat whatever we wanted without having to worry about managing our weight or our health but unfortunately, it is not like that. Without the proper nutrition, you will be undermining your training efforts to get fit and healthy. So make sure that you pay extra attention to your diet. As you know how the saying goes—”you are what you eat.” In this post, we will cover easy dieting tips that will help cover the nutrition side of things.

How calories work

Before we get into our easy dieting tips, we have to focus on calories and how they work. People tend to overcomplicate their diet when it comes to weight management but it is actually very simple.

So how do we work out how many calories we need?

This comes down to your Total Daily Energy Expenditure or TDEE. This refers to the total number of calories your body burns to function and complete everyday activities. This includes sleeping, eating, moving around and any other exercise or activities you do. Everyone’s TDEE is different.

How does your TDEE differ from BMR?

People tend to mix TDEE and BMR up. BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories your body needs just to stay alive, such as breathing. It doesn’t include any other activities that TDEE accounts for. When counting your calories, you should focus on your TDEE.

There are many online calculators that you can use to help calculate your TDEE. While they may not be 100% accurate, it’ll give you a good starting point for these easy dieting tips.

Now I have my TDEE. What now?

The first thing you need to do is think back to your goals. When it comes to weight, you either want to:

  • Lose weight
  • Gain weight, or
  • Maintain your weight

Want to lose weight? Then you need to be in a calorie deficit, that is, eating fewer calories than your TDEE. If you want to gain weight, you need to be in a calorie surplus, that is, eating more calories than what your body needs. To maintain your current weight, you need to eat the same number of calories that your body uses to function on a day-to-day basis.

It is important to remain reasonable when determining your calories. For example, eating substantially fewer calories than your TDEE may allow you to lose weight faster. However, it may mean that you will be losing a lot of muscle as well, and not just fat. Likewise, if you dramatically increase your calories to be in a heavy surplus, you will be adding much more fat than muscle.

On average, people tend to be in a calorie deficit or surplus of around 500 calories. This way, they can try to maintain or gain as much muscle as possible, regardless of your goal.

Focus on being healthy

While losing, gaining, or maintaining weight is really that simple, your priority should still be on being healthy. So technically, yes, you can eat chips all day and as long as you are eating in a calories deficit, you will lose weight. However, that doesn’t mean that you are healthy.

Implement These Easy Dieting Tips

Here are some easy dieting tips to implement in your life.

1. Learn the macronutrients

There are three main macronutrients—protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Each plays a vital role in your diet.

Protein: When you train, your muscles break down and they use protein to rebuild themselves. This is why protein is so critical.

Carbohydrates: Your body runs on glucose (carbohydrates converted to sugar) in the body. It helps give your body enough energy to function normally. There are different type carbs: complex carbs and simple carbs. Complex carbs, such as beans, whole grain food, starchy vegetables, keep you fuller for longer. Compared to this, keep simple carbs at a minimum, including chocolate bars, candy, cereal, refined white bread, and pasta.

Fat: Fat helps to absorb nutrients from the food you eat, provides energy, and protects your organs. While fat is no longer vilified in the health industry as it once was, there are still good kinds of fat and bad fat. Healthy fats are avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Bad fats are saturated and trans fat. These include ready-made meals and chips.

When you eat your meals, try to eat a balanced meal with all three macronutrients. Focus on lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Work on eating foods high in fiber too.

2. Focus on whole foods

It should come to no surprise that the majority of your foods should be whole foods. We’re talking fruit and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables come jam-packed with all the nutrients and minerals that you need. To make sure you’re getting all this nutrition, make your plate as colorful as possible.

3. Stay hydrated

Don’t underestimate how much of a positive change water can bring to our health. Our body loses a lot of water every day, and so it is important that we are constantly replenishing our bodies.

While drinking 8 glasses of water is the common guideline that people stipulate, there are other ways to make sure that you are staying hydrated. Look at the color of your urine. If it is clear or near clear, then your hydration levels are great. If it is more on the yellow side, then drink up!

One way of drinking more water is to choose water instead of a soft drink or juice. If you want something a little different, then add some fruit to your water for a different taste. Common ones include lemon and mint, cucumber, orange, and even blueberries. Experiment and try out different flavors!

4. It’s ok to treat yourself

Try to stay away from processed foods for the majority of your diet. However, this doesn’t mean you should completely shun things like simple carbs and bad fats. While it is best to keep them at a minimum, completely eliminating them from your diet can lead to intense cravings and binge eating. Keep to the 80/20 rule where 80% of your diet is healthier foods and the remaining 20% are little treats for yourself.

Change your diet with Jefit

Jefit is a workout app that comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, scheduler, as well as a community filled with like-minded people. With a members-only Facebook page, you can be sure to find easy dieting tips, advice, motivational stories about changing your diet, training, and general health and fitness tips.

easy dieting tips

A Beginner’s Guide to Useful Supplements: From Protein to Creatine

Supplements. There’s so much confusion regarding supplements in the fitness industry. If you’re new to this, it can be very overwhelming trying to navigate your way through the amount of information out there. To help ease the confusion, here is a clear and straightforward beginners guide to supplements.

Your Easy-to-Follow Guide to Supplements

Protein Powder

The most popular supplement in the health and fitness industry. Protein is a macronutrient that is necessary for your body to build and repair muscles. With much emphasis on building strength nowadays, protein has become all the rage. While you’re able to get enough protein from your diet, sometimes, you need a little extra boost. This is where protein powder comes in.

Protein powder is a convenient way to fit in more protein without much hassle. All you have to do is add water or milk to the powder and make a shake. You can even add it to your other meals such as to your pancake mix.

There are different types of protein powder that you can take: whey isolate, whey concentrate, casein, soy, pea, brown rice, just to name a few. So whether you are lactose intolerant, vegetarian, vegan, there is an option for you. They’ll also come in various flavors so you can mix things up.

However, while protein powder supplement is a great way of reaching your daily protein requirements, you should get most of your protein from food.

Creatine

Another popular supplement is creatine. Creatine is found in muscle cells and it helps produce energy faster. So when you workout, you’ll have more energy to lift heavier and train harder.

Creatine is a powdery substance that is mixed with liquid. Like protein powder, it comes in many flavors.

It’s best taken before you hit the gym so that the energy you have can be used during training. It’s also important to note that you will gain water weight when you first take this supplement. However, don’t just rely on creatine to build muscle. You still have to follow a good diet and put in the work while training.  

BCAAs

BCAAs or Branched-Chain Amino Acids is a must-mention on our guide to supplements because they are becoming increasingly popular with athletes and gym goers. The amino acids in question are leucine, isoleucine and valine. You want to maintain and build muscle, not lose it, however, it can be hard to do especially if you are in a calorie deficit. Those who take BCCAs do so to prevent or minimize muscle catabolism, that is, the breaking down of muscle. This way, you can keep as much skeletal muscle as possible.

L-Glutamine

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that your body needs to preserve muscle tissue and boost your immune system. Unfortunately, most people don’t get the amount of L-Glutamine that they need from food alone, so supplementing it is a great way to reach your daily requirements.

It’s beneficial when you train, especially when you do endurance and strength training. When you do so, you place your body under demand, meaning that it needs more L-Glutamine than normal. It’ll also assist in muscle repair so you can recover faster.

Pre-Workout

If you ever need an extra boost of energy before your training session, pre-workout is an option. Pre-workout works to enhance performance through increased energy and focus. It can also delay fatigue so you can workout harder for longer.

Pre-workout can be made up of various ingredients such as caffeine, creatine, and electrolytes.

Don’t be tempted to take a higher dosage even if you are going to train longer. It’s best to follow the recommended instructions. Taking too much pre-workout can cause you to get the jitters or over-stimulation.

Caffeine

Are you surprised that caffeine is on our beginners guide to supplements? Yes, coffee isn’t just good for waking you up for a day of work. It’s also been proven to be an effective workout supplement, taken pre-workout. It can come in various forms such as a pill or as a drink. Taking caffeine in pill form will take longer to kick in than if you drink it as a liquid beverage.

It is a stimulant, meaning that it can help you be alert and minimize tiredness. It’ll increase your performance in the gym, because of all the extra energy.

However, bear in mind that if you greatly rely on caffeine, you may suffer from withdrawals when you stop taking it such as headaches. Drinking too much can also disrupt your sleep. If you are consuming caffeine as a supplement, then make sure you don’t drink it 6-8 hours before your bedtime. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a vicious cycle.

It’s also a diuretic. So make sure that you stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that helps you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together. Stay Strong!

5 Tips on How to Get Back to the Gym After Taking a Long Break—And What to Expect

It’s easy to stop going to the gym, especially during a pandemic, and so much harder to get back into it if after a long break. Maybe you’re on your way to recovering from an injury, maybe you’ve just come back from a holiday (lucky you!), or maybe you lost your way for some time there. Whatever it is, here are some pointers on how to get back to the gym after taking a long break and what to expect.

Get Back to the Gym After Taking a Long Break with These Tips

1. Don’t expect to be at the same level you were before

Unfortunately, regardless of whether you are a runner, weightlifter, or Crossfit enthusiast, taking time off from exercise means that you will lose some of your conditioning. It doesn’t mean that you’ll never get back to the same level or surpass it. It just means that you may start at a lower weight or shorter running time than before your break. This is completely normal.

Let’s take someone who lifts weights as an example. After 1-2 weeks, you may not really see or feel much of a difference. But 3-4 weeks without going to the gym may result in some lean muscle mass loss. You might start losing actual muscle around the 4-week mark.

The good news is that you’ll also regain your strength quicker than it took for you to reach that level in the first place thanks to a little something called muscle memory. Which leads us to our next point.

2. Be patient

We understand that it can be difficult knowing that you’re not lifting as heavy, or running as fast or long as you could but you need to be patient. Work with the strength or energy you have now, and trust that as long as you are consistent and continue to workout, you will return to normal within a few weeks.

Don’t try to push yourself from the get-go as this will only increase your risk of injury. And if you get injured, then you’ll find yourself spending more time out of the gym.

3. Don’t do too much

Don’t try to do all the exercises at once. Stick to a few to ease yourself back into it and give your body time to adjust to the change.

Then you can gradually go back to your normal routine over time.

4. Remember you’ll probably be sore

Contrary to popular belief, feeling sore isn’t a good indicator of whether you’ve had a good workout or not. If you’re feeling sore, it’s probably because you’re doing a new exercise or you haven’t trained in a while. So if you’re getting back to the gym after a long break, you’ll most likely feel it the next day.

The good news? The soreness won’t last forever. Once you get back into a routine, you will find yourself being able to workout without feeling the soreness afterwards.

To help recover faster, make sure that you properly warm-up before exercising and cool-down afterwards. Stretch during every session and employ other tools to help such as foam rolling.

5. Get a trainer/instructor

If you want the extra help, then enlisting in a workout app or personal trainer can really do the trick. If you just need a little push to get back into training, then a workout app like Jefit is a cost-effective method. You can choose the body parts you want to train, as well as some great exercises to do so. You can even connect with other Jefit members so you can share tips on how to get back to the gym.

A personal trainer at your local gym is also really helpful. He or she can create a workout plan for you based on your goals, and show you how the machines work around the facility. Unfortunately, personal training can be on the pricey side at times, but sometimes there may be great offers like group fitness training. This is where you can share the cost and session with a couple of friends!

If you are recovering from an injury though, we recommend that you do enlist the help of a trainer or coach. This is so that modifications can be made for your rehab process. This is vital so that you don’t undo all the progress you’ve made in recovery and make it worse.

Workout with Jefit

Looking to get back to the gym after taking a long break? Want to connect with like-minded people to keep you motivated? Download Jefit to track your workouts and join our members-only Facebook group. You can record your training, set a schedule, and talk to fellow Jefit members. Basically, everything you need to get back into the swing of things!

What do you do to get back to the gym after taking a long break? What tips work best for you? Let us know in the comments, we would love to know!

6 Ways to Get Your Gym Motivation Back

get your gym motivation back

Ever get to the gym, but find that you’re just too tired or not bothered to actually work out? It’s a completely normal feeling and there could be several reasons behind it. Here, we list why you may be feeling this way and recommend some solution to try and get your gym motivation back.

How to Get Your Gym Motivation Back

1. Get some sleep

Sleep deprivation can actually affect us much more than people think. If you’ve had a bad night or nights, then it can really impact your performance, as well as your mindset. Feeling tired and suffering from lack of sleep will really demotivate you.

Try to set a bedtime routine that you stick to. Go to sleep 7-9 hours before you have to wake up so that you can ensure you get enough sleep. Even if you may struggle at first, eventually, your body clock will remember and you’ll be able to follow your sleep schedule.

2. Take a few days off

Yes, spending too much time at the gym can be a potential reason why you’ve lost motivation. When you train, you’re constantly putting your body under stress. This is why rest days are important—this is when your body recovers. If you don’t give yourself rest days, then your body doesn’t have the time to recover properly. Sooner or later, you’ll start to feel it.

So if you get to the gym and don’t feel like working out, then take some time off. A day or two, or even more will help you take the time you need to recuperate. See how you feel after taking some gym time off.

3. Change your routine

Most of us tend to keep to the same workouts that we know. We stick to what is familiar and what we know works. Eventually, we become bored. If you’re feeling unmotivated to go the gym, it could be because your fitness routine has become stale and stagnant. Doing the same workout over and over again will no longer challenge you. Without stimulation, we lose our motivation.

Try mixing up your training. Jefit has plenty of exercises that you can choose from to make a new workout plan and keep things exciting. Putting together something new and renew your motivation and get your gym mojo back.

If you want a change from the gym, then you can even try heading outside for a run or do some bodyweight exercises in the park. Join a new fitness class that you haven’t tried before like boxing or cycling. A change of scenery might do you some good as well.

4. Define your goal

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is not having a fitness goal. Whether it’s about losing weight, gaining muscle, hitting a new squat PR, or being able to run a half marathon in a certain time, having something to work towards makes the biggest difference in the gym.

Set an S.M.A.R.T goal that gives you this motivation.

5. Track your progress

Another reason why you may be feeling burnt out for the gym is that you don’t see the progress you’re making. If you’re not tracking your progress, recording your workouts, taking progress pictures, then you won’t be able to see how far you’ve come. It can be easy to fall into the rut of thinking that you haven’t made a difference or that things have changed. This is why it’s important to keep track.

Nothing can renew your motivation to get back into the gym than seeing where you were before and where you are now. It can help you picture where you will be in the future. Use a journal or a workout app (like Jefit!) that makes it easy for you to log everything and help get your gym motivation back.

6. Make it a habit

This may sound counterintuitive but you need more than motivation. Motivation is temporary and as you probably know, it comes and goes. To make sure that you keep going to the gym, even when you have no motivation, you need to make it a habit.

Set a fitness routine that you stick to, whether it’s going to the gym before work or after work, or even during your lunch breaks. It can be difficult to start but if you keep it up, over time, it will become an integral part of your routine. Then you’ll find yourself going to the gym even if you don’t want to—because it’s a habit. It’s a great way to get your gym motivation back.

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a workout app that comes with a customizable workout planner, an extensive exercise library, and a members-only Facebook group. You can choose new workouts and track your progress with our app so that you can see how close you are to your fitness goals.

Join our Jefit community so that you can be a part of it too!

get your gym motivation back

3 Common Gym Injuries and How to Fix Them

common gym injuries

While you can try your best to avoid injuries, unfortunately, most people will experience them once in a while. If you are injured, then it’s best to see a physical therapist or professional that can properly treat it. However, there are some common gym injuries, and here are some solutions to treat them.

How to Treat These Common Gym Injuries

1. Muscle Pulls and Strains

Other common gym injuries include pulling or straining your muscle. This is when a muscle is torn or overstretched. While this can occur anywhere on your body, the most common places are straining your hamstring, or neck and back.

It can occur due to overexertion, being overstretched, and not warming up properly.

Pulling or straining your muscle will limit your mobility and can cause pain once you hit a certain threshold. You may also experience stiffness, swelling or weakness. It can also range from mild to severe.

How to treat it

Depending on how severe it is, there are different ways to treat it. Resting the affected muscle is paramount. It can be tempting to “work through the pain”, however, this can make it worse. So take a couple of days off before slowly starting to incorporate movement with the muscle. Bear in mind though, too much rest can also cause stiffness so you don’t want to keep it immobile for long. Try to find a good balance.

When you do start using it again, don’t push it too much. Overdoing it can exacerbate it.

How to prevent it

Warming up is crucial in preventing these common gym injuries. You need to properly prepare your body for your training session instead of jumping straight in. If your muscles aren’t warm, then you risk tearing it.

A good warmup should be specific. For example, if you’re planning on squatting, then do some air squats to mimic the same movement that you’ll be doing, just without the weight. It may seem tedious but taking the time to warm up can really improve your athletic performance, while also prevent muscle strains and pulls.

Listening to your body and knowing the difference between pain and good pain is important. Good pain is when you’re challenging yourself but not going over your threshold. The bad pain that you don’t want is when you’re hurting yourself to the point where you can potentially pull or strain a muscle.

2. Runner’s Knee

A common gym injury is Runner’s Knee or patellofemoral pain syndrome. This is when you feel pain or soreness around the kneecaps or have trouble sitting, standing, walking. The pain may be exacerbated when you try to walk downwards as well.

It occurs when the kneecap (patella) is misaligned. Weak or tight thigh muscles and overuse of the knee can also cause it.

Despite the name, runner’s are not the only people who can experience this, although it is prevalent among them because running places much demand on the knees. Any other exercise that requires a lot of use of the knee can cause it.

How to treat it

If you feel pain in and around the knee then the first thing that you can do is rest it. Take 3-4 days of training off. If you do exercise, then try to avoid training that involves the knee such as lunging and squatting.

Another good idea is to ice it. Icing it will assist in reducing any swelling.

How to prevent it

Find a good pair of shoes that can offer really great support. This will help reduce the demand on your knee so that you can decrease the risk of getting runner’s knee again. Arch supports will also help with this as well.

Incorporate strengthening exercises into your fitness routine for your knee. Work on your lower body such as your quads, lower back, hips, and abs. This can strengthen the areas around the knee and reduce the stress placed on them. Try the plank and glute bridges.

3. Sprained Wrist

The wrist is an easy area to overload and put too much pressure on. Because it is used in a variety of exercises and takes a lot of weight, wrist strain is a common gym injury.

There may be swelling and tenderness. It’ll also hurt to put pressure on your wrists.

You can get a sprained wrist through repetitive movements that can cause chronic wrist strain. On the other hand, acute wrist strain is when it occurs suddenly such as bending the wrist past the normal threshold.

How to treat it

Ice your wrist to reduce swelling. Also, make sure you rest it. Adding more pressure to it will only make it worse. This means that you should avoid any exercises that involve putting stress on or bending the wrist.

How to prevent it

If you’re prone to wrist strains, then try modified versions of your favorite exercises. Front squat by crossing your arms across your chest instead of using your wrists. Push-ups can also be done by folding your hands into fists so that your wrists remain straight instead of bent.

Wearing a wrist strap can also really assists in taking the pressure off the wrist.

See a professional

If you are experiencing one of these common gym injuries do not improve, then see a professional physiotherapist or doctor. Your physio can properly examine you and provide specific solutions to your needs.

Workout with Jefit

Want a workout app that can recommend some great exercises, help you schedule your workouts, and offers a supportive online community? Jefit is an app that can do all those things and more. It comes with an extensive exercise library, customizable workout planner, as well as a members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members.

Click here to become part of the community now!

common gym injuries

A Beginner’s Guide to Supplements – From Protein to Creatine

guide to supplements

Supplements. There’s much confusion about supplements in the fitness industry. If you’re new to this, it can be very overwhelming trying to navigate your way through the amount of information out there. To help ease the confusion, here is a clear and straightforward beginners guide to supplements.

Your Easy-to-Follow Guide to Supplements

Protein Powder

The most popular supplement in the health and fitness industry. Protein is a macronutrient that is necessary for your body to build and repair muscles. With much emphasis on building strength nowadays, protein has become all the rage. While you’re able to get enough protein from your diet, sometimes, you need a little extra boost. This is where protein powder comes in.

Protein powder is a convenient way to fit in more protein without much hassle. All you have to do is add water or milk to the powder and make a shake. You can even add it to your other meals such as to your pancake mix.

There are different types of protein powder that you can take: whey isolate, whey concentrate, casein, soy, pea, brown rice, just to name a few. So whether you are lactose intolerant, vegetarian, vegan, there is an option for you. They’ll also come in various flavors so you can mix things up.

However, while protein powder supplement is a great way of reaching your daily protein requirements, you should get most of your protein from food.

Creatine

Another popular supplement is creatine. Creatine is found in muscle cells and it helps produce energy faster. So when you workout, you’ll have more energy to lift heavier and train harder.

Creatine is a powdery substance that is mixed with liquid. Like protein powder, it comes in many flavors.

It’s best taken before you hit the gym so that the energy you have can be used during training. It’s also important to note that you will gain water weight when you first take this supplement. However, don’t just rely on creatine to build muscle. You still have to follow a good diet and put in the work while training.  

BCAAs

BCAAs or Branched-Chain Amino Acids is a must-mention on our guide to supplements because they are becoming increasingly popular with athletes and gym goers. The amino acids in question are leucine, isoleucine and valine. You want to maintain and build muscle, not lose it, however, it can be hard to do especially if you are in a calorie deficit. Those who take BCCAs do so to prevent or minimize muscle catabolism, that is, the breaking down of muscle. This way, you can keep as much skeletal muscle as possible.

L-Glutamine

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that your body needs to preserve muscle tissue and boost your immune system. Unfortunately, most people don’t get the amount of L-Glutamine that they need from food alone, so supplementing it is a great way to reach your daily requirements.

It’s beneficial when you train, especially when you do endurance and strength training. When you do so, you place your body under demand, meaning that it needs more L-Glutamine than normal. It’ll also assist in muscle repair so you can recover faster.

Pre-Workout

If you ever need an extra boost of energy before your training session, pre-workout is an option. Pre-workout works to enhance performance through increased energy and focus. It can also delay fatigue so you can workout harder for longer.

Pre-workout can be made up of various ingredients such as caffeine, creatine, and electrolytes.

Don’t be tempted to take a higher dosage even if you are going to train longer. It’s best to follow the recommended instructions. Taking too much pre-workout can cause you to get the jitters or over-stimulation.

Caffeine

Are you surprised that caffeine is on our beginners guide to supplements? Yes, coffee isn’t just good for waking you up for a day of work. It’s also been proven to be an effective workout supplement, taken pre-workout. It can come in various forms such as a pill or as a drink. Taking caffeine in pill form will take longer to kick in than if you drink it as a liquid beverage.

It is a stimulant, meaning that it can help you be alert and minimize tiredness. It’ll increase your performance in the gym, because of all the extra energy.

However, bear in mind that if you greatly rely on caffeine, you may suffer from withdrawals when you stop taking it such as headaches. Drinking too much can also disrupt your sleep. If you are consuming caffeine as a supplement, then make sure you don’t drink it 6-8 hours before your bedtime. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a vicious cycle.

It’s also a diuretic. So make sure that you stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that helps you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together.

guide to supplements

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

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

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 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