Losing Body Fat Short Term Improves Life Long Term

Today, much of the population struggles with being overweight. The mortality rate of the population worldwide is higher for obesity-related conditions than for anorexia-related issues or starvation. Our obesity rates result from a variety of factors, such as excess consumption of fast food, food manufacturers bombarding their products with harmful ingredients, and our excessive sedentary lifestyles. The result is an eventual increase in body fat over time.

If you’re currently overweight or obese, losing body fat can reduce your risk of developing many health complications that could potentially be serious. Even a slight weight loss (and maintenance) of 5 percent of your current total body weight can offer health benefits. Shedding those extra pounds can be akin to pulling teeth, though! And as we get older, our metabolisms tend to slow down, compounding the problem even further. Therefore, we must make the distinction of approaching weight loss as a healthy, sustainable lifestyle involving balanced nutrition and exercise instead of a diet or, worse yet – a dreaded crash diet!

Let’s take a look at some reasons why staying lean and getting into shape will help you and your life in the long run.

Reduced Risk of Developing Diabetes

Being overweight increases your chances of developing type-2 diabetes. One’s BMI plays a strong relationship in diabetes and insulin resistance. The more excess weight your body carries, the more resistant your tissue and muscle cells become to the insulin hormone. People who have type 1 diabetes also need to keep their weight under control. An abundance of fatty tissue can make it difficult for insulin to work correctly, leading to raised insulin levels and trouble controlling blood sugar.

Lower Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure can pose chronic health problems—the risk of developing high blood pressure triples for adults with excess weight issues. On the positive side, each pound of weight loss can lead to a drop of one point in both the upper (systolic) and lower (diastolic) number readings in your blood pressure measurements.

Less Joint and Knee Pain

Did you know that around four pounds of extra stress get placed on the knee joints for each additional pound you carry? So, for example, A 150-pound person who is 10-pounds overweight will add 40 more pounds of pressure to every step. But that same person would experience a 30-pound pressure relief if they achieved a total body weight loss of 5 percent.

Reduced Heartburn

The bad news is extra body fat places excess pressure on your stomach, which can force a reflex action of stomach acid up into the esophagus, resulting in that fiery heartburn discomfort. The good news is dropping weight relieves some of this pressure and eases the effects of heartburn.

Extra Energy!

By losing some weight, you’ll feel more energized! The more body fat you accumulate, the harder your body has to work to carry out essential functions and movement, resulting in that sluggish and lethargic feeling. The body needs more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that powers every cell, which is why you feel tired. However, when you manage to shift the body fat, you use up less ATP resulting in higher energy levels for all the tasks you wish to carry out! Overall, you feel better and healthier.

Improved Sleep

Overweight individuals are more susceptible to having poor quality of sleep and possibly even experiencing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a troubling condition characterized by multiple pauses in breathing occurring throughout the night. Reducing weight can often minimize sleep apnea episodes, letting the person finally catch a good night’s sleep!

Increased Self-Esteem

In short, losing body fat and getting in shape makes you feel good about yourself on all levels – body, mind, and soul! You look better, which in turn boosts your self-esteem. You have more confidence to tackle daily interactions and feel more positive about life in general.

Following a healthy and balanced diet that includes all your macro and micronutrients is key to shedding body fat. Your daily meal plan should involve each of the major food groups, as well as vitamins and minerals. The primary food groups include proteins, complex carbs, healthy fats and oils, dairy or non-dairy alternatives, fruit and veg, and vitamins and minerals. Be sure to practice sensible portion control as well. A good rule of thumb for the portion size of protein and starches is the size of the palm of your hand. The rest of the meal should be constituted of plenty of fresh veggies, fruits, and salads. In addition, be sure to integrate exercise and movement into your life routine.

We can take some inspiration from the way the French maintain their diets. They tend to remain in shape naturally. But, how do they do it, you ask? In general, they don’t indulge in overeating, and avoid processed foods and instead opt for fresh, natural ingredients. They will typically enjoy a small healthy breakfast, including cereal, yogurt with fruit, or muesli or bread. Lunch and dinner will include conservative portions of meat, veggies, and carbs, and some cheese and coffee to round off the meal.

More Apt to Exercise

Ensure exercise, movement, and activity are a part of your daily routine and that you enjoy them. It could take many forms, such as the gym or home training and doing cardio, weight training, strength, or resistance training. Or you might be someone who likes sports or activities like tennis, swimming, yoga, and other outside or indoor activities. Focus on building your lean muscle up, as muscle cells require more energy to maintain than fat cells, thus speeding up your resting metabolic rate.

The ultimate goal of fat loss is to improve your overall health and well-being, so you can lead a long and prosperous life and experience a good quality of life right into your old age. If you feel stumped and overwhelmed about tackling weight loss on your own, you might find it helpful to consult the following wellness services.

Use Jefit App

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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Seven Surprising Causes of Back Pain

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Most of us know the usual culprits of back pain; stress, excess body weight, improper lifting technique, and poor posture. While these are the typical causes, unexpected issues can be causing all that agony. Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non organic – meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer (source).

Jefit spoke to Dr. Gbolahan Okubadejo, a NYC area Orthopedic and Spinal Surgeon to discuss the surprising factors that could be causing your back pain. 

1. Smoking

Smoking increases brain activity which makes people less resilient when it comes to responding to back pain. In addition, smoking also causes premature aging of discs by decreasing blood supply to the discs, thus leading to pain in the lower back.

2. An Incorrect Mattress

Old mattresses start to form dips from years of use. The dips in the mattress cause the spine to curve, leading to constant stiffness or pain. A mattress that is too firm can cause strain on pressure points in the knees, hip, shoulders, and back, which can cause backaches. If the mattress is too soft, your spine is not supported well enough, and the spine can fall out of alignment.

3. Your Backpack, Purse or Wallet

Structural imbalances in the spinal column can occur when you sit on your wallet. This can happen because one side of your body is higher than the other, and an excess amount of physical stress is placed on the lower spine. This can lead to lower back pain and numbness. Carrying a heavy purse or bag on one shoulder can also cause a neck and spinal tilt that can lead to backaches. Remove your wallet from your back pocket when you are sitting down, and regularly switch your purse from one shoulder to another. 

4. Your Wardrobe

There are unexpected items in your wardrobe that could be causing your back pain. Skinny jeans, heavy bags, strapless bras, high heels, and backless shoes are all clothing items that may be influencing your pain. Try to limit the amount of time you spend in these clothes to promote optimal wellness.

5. Dehydration

When you are dehydrated, the spinal discs lose water, and your spine is in distress. When this happens, the spine takes on the full shock of your movements, which can lead to pain. Avoid drinks with caffeine and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. 

6. Your Cell Phone

Constantly hunching your neck over to look down at your phone compresses and tightens the muscles and tendons in the front structure of your neck. This creates imbalance and results in reduced mobility, shoulder and neck pain, a curvature formation at the upper back, and even headaches.

7. Incorrect Ergonomic Work Set Up

Many people have been working from home due to the pandemic. Working from home has led to slouching and hunching in front of our handheld laptops or work from home setups. Slouching can lead to neck and shoulder pain, back problems, and stiff hips. Make sure to sit all the way back in a computer chair and keep your thighs horizontal to your knees at hip level. 

Try the Award-Winning Jefit App

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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5 Benefits Your Body Gets from Boxing Workouts

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Boxing is a great sport that is not just meant for professional boxers. The benefits from boxing workouts offer numerous health and mental benefits that everyone can enjoy. After all, taking part in boxing training doesn’t mean that you have to step in the ring and participate in competitive boxing. But if you want to learn how to defend yourself and keep fit, boxing is one of the best options for you.

Boxing can help you exercise your entire body without even having to step in the ring. Remember, boxing training is more than just hitting the punching bags or sparring with your trainer. Boxing workouts include numerous routines that will give your heart a run for its money. So if you are still on the fence or a professional boxer and want to learn more about what boxing workout does to your body, please read on.

The Benefits from Boxing Workouts for Your Body

1.   Improve Your Cardiovascular Health

Boxing workout routines are great for your cardiovascular system. And that is because most of the training routines will have your muscles moving fast and heart and lungs working extra hard to keep up. The simple act of throwing some punches when sparring will force several muscles in your body to contract and relax at once, and the faster and harder your punches are, the faster your muscles contract and relax. And this will force your heart to pump more blood and oxygen to these muscles, thus giving it quite a workout.

Boxing is a fun activity that requires you to move very fast while staying light on your feet. Therefore, your lungs and heart will have to work extra hard to supply the needed oxygen to your body. Boxing workouts demand a lot of cardiovascular fitness, so professional boxers do numerous things like running on treadmills, cycling, jumping rope, and even circuit training. These workouts will improve your stamina while giving you fantastic cardiovascular exercise. 

Training your lungs and heart to work harder is perfect for your performance and fitness. After all, excellent cardiovascular health is crucial when it comes to controlling your blood pressure and preventing heart illnesses. Even though you won’t ever have to step in the ring and spar with anyone, wearing the wrong gloves when training can be pretty dangerous. And if you’re looking for the best boxing gloves, you should look for advice from the professional MMA fighters and trainers in MMA today. I am sure you can find it on MMA today, after all, your safety should come first when sparring or training.

2.   Strong Joints and Bones

Boxing is a great workout that can improve the strength of your bones and joints. After all, denser and stronger bones are great for your health, especially as you age. When hitting the punching bag, the forces that go through your hands stimulate your bones to strengthen and mineralize. And this can reduce the risk of getting osteoporosis or osteopenia, and in some cases, it can reverse these conditions. Resistance training can help mitigate the effects of skeletal mineral loss. The mechanical tension triggered by the external forces on the bones can be an excellent stimulus for encouraging bone-mineral density adaptation. Therefore, boxing can be a great workout for the elderly.

People are always bouncing while sparring or training in the gym, and this puts some extra weight on your knees and legs. Every time you punch, your shoulders, arms, and elbows act as an external weight on your bones, forcing your bones to strengthen. After all, our bones function the same way as our muscles. The more weight you apply to your bones, the more the osteoblasts produce bone mass. And this helps thicken and enlarge them, making them stronger.

3.   Bigger Muscles and Weight Loss

Another considerable advantage of boxing workouts is that they help your muscle grow bigger while burning some extra fat. Boxing is about being quick and strong enough to defeat your opponent. So the quick movements done by your hands when punching does more than strengthen your shoulders and arms. These quick movements also help your muscle expand.

Professional boxers go through a great deal of training, including resistant training, weight lifting, and bodyweight exercise like pushups, among others. These workouts strengthen your muscles and make them more powerful, thus giving you taut and toned muscles.

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4.   Better Endurance and Stamina

Other than giving you huge muscles and improving your cardiovascular health, boxing can also improve your stamina. Better cardiovascular health means that your heart and lungs can supply the needed blood and oxygen to the muscles as you work out. And this will leave you working harder and spending more time in the gym without getting tired.

Remember, the fast movements while sparring can take a toll on you if you don’t have stamina. Some of the workouts that can improve your stamina and endurance include hitting the punching bags, running, punching a speed bag, and jumping ropes. With improved stamina, you can throw some punches and duck even when you’re tired.

5.   Improve Your Hand-Eye Coordination

When throwing punches in the ring, you need to understand that your eyes and fists are working together. And one wrong move can result in you getting knocked out. Therefore, boxing training can help improve your coordination, and this will help you hit the bag at a right angle.

Hand-eye coordination can be quite helpful in a lot of things. It can improve your motor skills that are valuable when doing numerous day-to-day activities like holding your pen and buttoning your clothes. Improved motor skills can come in handy as you grow older; therefore, boxing workouts are ideal for people as they age. 

Final Thoughts on the Benefits from Boxing Workouts

If you have never tried boxing or the workouts that come with it, then you might want to try it. Sparring, punching heavy bags, and all the other routines that come with this sport can have your body feeling great in no time. Plus, it’s a great way to relieve some stress. In fact, the benefits of boxing workouts outweigh the negative parts of this sport. And if you won’t be entering the ring to fight or spar with an opponent, then you will be safe. Just make sure you’re working with an experienced trainer who will teach you how to hit the punching bags correctly.

Use Jefit App to Record All Activities Like Boxing

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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6 Powerful Anti-Aging Benefits of Walking

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Robert Sallis, M.D., a sports medicine doctor with Kaiser Permanente, states, walking is the most studied form of exercise. Multiple studies have proven that the benefits of walking improve our overall health, and increase our longevity and functional years.

We do it just about everyday of our lives, walking that is. The average moderately active person “takes around 7,500 step a day” or about 2.6 million steps a year. If you maintain that daily average and live until 80 years of age, you’ll have walked about 216,262,500 steps in your lifetime. I know personally, when I previously tracked my steps using a Fitbit watch (now an Apple watch), I passed the 20 million step mark after 7 years. Anyway, that is a great deal of walking. But have you ever wondered about the potential benefits from all of the walking that you’re doing?

For those that really love the activity, increasing your step count offers additional health benefits when it comes to walking. People that consistently walk at least 12,500 steps (6.5 miles) each day have better cardiometabolic profiles. A cardiometabolic profile or marker describes a person’s chances of having a cardiovascular event such as heart attack or stroke when one or more risk factors are present.

Here are just a few of the many benefits you receive from walking.

You Get a Boost of Energy

Walking is no exception, and the great news is you don’t have to walk for hours to experience all the benefits. Going for just a 20-minute walk for three days every week for six weeks can result in 20 percent more energy levels and less feelings of fatigue, according to research by the University of Georgia that was published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

You’ll Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels

This particular walking benefit is a personal favorite of mine. It especially holds true if you head out for a walk right after eating a big meal (especially a high carb meal). According to a 2016 study of people who suffer from Type-2 diabetes, which was published in the journal Diabetologia, heading out for a 10-minute walk after eating a meal helped test subjects lower their blood sugar levels.

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You’ll Deal Less with Anxiety & Depression

Health experts at The Mayo Clinic, report performing exercise like walking can potentially ease symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. The body releases endorphins during exercise which “enhance your sense of wellbeing.” Endorphins can also distract your mind “so you can get away from the cycle of negative thoughts.” Finally, they help you gain confidence “meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence.”

You’ll Burn More Calories and May Even Lose Weight

If you take a brisk 20-minute walk you’ll burn somewhere in the realm of 90 to 110 calories for your effort. For the record, a “brisk” walk is one that is fast enough that you can talk but you cannot sing. Studies also show that walking can be a terrific way to lose weight. The Journal of Exercise Nutrition & Biochemistry, found women who walked over the course of a 12-week study lost belly fat. Build up to walking 30-45 minutes a day is a great first step. There are many studies showing this is the sweet spot in terms of benefits. It can broken up, into two or three mini walks, throughout the day as well.

You’ll be Heart Healthy & Live Longer

The British Journal of Sports Medicine reported in a 2018, that brisk walking was directly linked with a lower risk of heart disease and death. Also, older people (above 60 years in age) who increased their walking pace, experienced a 53 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease. A second study published in 2015, this time in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a brisk 20-minute walk every day reduces your risk of death by upwards of 30 percent.

Another Benefit of Walking is Your Bones Will Get Stronger

According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are about 28 million people in the United States who suffer from osteoarthritis, and it’s a condition that women are more prone to than men.

According to the health experts at the UK’s Ashtead Hospital, taking daily walks is crucial for healthy and strong bones. “Bone is living tissue and becomes stronger with exercise,” they write. “Walking involves your feet and legs supporting your weight so that your bones have to work harder and this makes them stronger.”

Hopefully these tips were insightful and they will keep you motivated to continue with your daily walks. Remember, “physical inactivity is as harmful to your health as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.” This according to Steven Blair, PhD, University of South Carolina, a leading exercise researcher.

Use Jefit to Record & Track Your Cardio & Strength Workouts

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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5 Tips to Be More Consistent with Exercise

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When it comes to exercise, it’s safe to say that it’s not always easy to stay consistent with your exercise routine. Sometimes, when you first get started, you can be incredibly passionate about your journey. You’ll enjoy the process and be really keen to keep things up. But before long, you’ll find that work, life, or relationships tend to throw you off track. Some days, you just won’t feel up to it and so you slack off. And you know that when you fall down once, it’s always a slippery slope from there. But when it comes to working out, if you want to see results, you have to be consistent with what you’re doing. Yet it’s not always that easy to do. So let’s take a look at five things that can help you to stay consistent.

GOALS

First up, you’re going to want to think about setting a few goals for yourself. Because when you’re just working out with no real intentions or plan, it can be so much harder to stay motivated and consistent. But when you know that you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or feel in shape for your vacation, you’ll find that your mind stays motivated and you can keep up with your schedule. So think about what your fitness goals are, set yourself a deadline, and stay on track. Write them down and post it so you see it…remember, you don’t own it until you write it down.

GET A WORKOUT PARTNER

Maybe you’re the kind of person that just can’t stay motivated on their own? When that’s the case, you might like to think about getting yourself a workout partner. Lots of people work better in a pair or a team. So if you know a friend, family member, or even your other half, wants to workout, why not do it together? You can be each other’s support systems and keep each other on track. You will probably become more consistent with your exercise routine at the gym or home too.

HIRE A TRAINER TO GET MORE CONSISTENT WITH EXERCISE

If you think that you need some direction, then a trainer or coach might be just what the doctor ordered. Whether it’s a full-service personal trainer and nutritionist from your gym, or a coach or trainer that you use virtually, this can often be the trick to keeping you consistent. Because when you have structure and someone there guiding you, you have no choice but to stay consistent. There is something known as the Hawthorne Effect that can also help you. It basically states that people will do better with an activity when they know they are being observed rather than trying it on their own.

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FIND THE PASSION

From here, you’re also going to want to check in with yourself and be real. Because if you’re trying to force yourself to workout when you really don’t want to, it’s always going to be hard for you to stay consistent. You need to be passionate about your goals, the results that you’re looking to achieve, and the kind of workout that you’re doing. When you can truly fall in love with the process, consistency will come easily to you.

PROGRESS PHOTOS

Finally, you’ll want to think about documenting your progress. The Jefit app allows you to upload before and after photos of yourself. Doing this can often be the motivation needed to stay consistent with what you’re doing in the gym or at home.

USE JEFIT APP TO BECOME MORE CONSISTENT WITH EXERCISE

Download the Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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Research Shows Physical Activity Benefits Are Worth Your Time

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We continually hear about the multitude of health benefits of various forms of physical activity. Do you ever ask yourself, what exactly are some of those benefits? Look know further. The following research studies demonstrates the benefits acquired from regular physical activity. The following research studies offers a brief synopsis regarding the benefits from these different segments.

Physical Activity and COVID Protection

A 2021 study published by Kaiser Permanente Southern California of 50,000 people who developed COVID had striking findings. People who exercised for 10 minutes or less a week ended up hospitalized because of COVID. This happened at twice the rate of people who exercised 150 minutes a week. And most importantly, they were 2.5 times more likely to die. The researchers noted that being sedentary was the greatest risk factor for severe COVID. This was even beyond being elderly or an organ recipient.

A Reduction in Anxiety & Stress with Exercise

Exercise is just as effective as mindfulness at reducing people’s anxiety, a 2021 Cambridge University study found. The scientists reviewed 136 randomized control trials with 11,000 adult participants from 29 countries. In most cases mindfulness positively impacted anxiety, stress and depression, but there was no evidence it works 0better than exercise.

A 2020 study from the University of Limerick found strength training only twice a week has its benefits. The subjects performing lunges, squats and crunches led to 20 percent better scores on tests for anxiety. The researchers noted that the effect was larger than expected.

Physical Activity Offsets the Impact of Sitting Too Much

An 2020 study from global researchers, looked at movement tracking data from tens of thousands of people worldwide. They determined that people who were the most sedentary were significantly more likely to die young. The good news: It doesn’t take a whole lot of movement to counteract that threat. Just 11 minutes of brisk walking or other mild exercise each day led to significant reductions in early death. The sweet spot: 35 minutes of moderate activity led to the most longevity gains – no matter how long people sat.

A study in JAMA Oncology (2020) suggests that very sedentary people are roughly 80 percent more likely to die of cancer than those who sit less. The study used epidemiological data and activity trackers on 7,000 middle-aged men and women. They found people who sat the most, were 82 percent more likely to die from cancer. There was a bright spot in all of this. For every 30-minutes of daily movement, the risk of dying from cancer fell by 31 percent. 

Physical Activity Impacts the Aging Process

A 2018 study from Ball State University, tested the cardiovascular health and muscles of people in their seventies. This group exercised steadily for decades. They found that the muscles of the men and women were indistinguishable in many ways from those of healthy 25-year-olds. And these active septuagenarians essentially had the cardiovascular health of people 30-years younger. 

A study from the Cooper Institute and University of Texas, looked at roughly 18,000 people. They found that men and women who are more physically fit at midlife have a much lower risk of depression and death from cardiovascular disease later in life. Compared with those in the lowest fitness category, people in the highest were 16 percent less likely to have depression. More than 60 percent were less likely to have cardiovascular illness without depression. Finally, 56 percent were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

Continue to stay strong and active as you age. If you’re not currently active, remember, it’s never too late to start! Regular physical activity may be just what the doctor ordered.

Use Jefit App to Track Your Exercise Progress

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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3 Exercises that Will Increase Your Bench Press

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Improving overall body strength can be beneficial when trying to increase your bench press. Developing upper body strength will always play a huge role but other areas like strong legs and core are just as critical. There are many exercises that you can try that will help your cause. The following three exercises will enable you to lift more weight when it comes to bench press.

Military Press

Strong, powerful shoulders, with out a doubt, have much value when it comes to executing proper bench press technique. This is because having strong shoulder stabilizers can help at various points during the tracking pattern required during bench press. This is especially so when maintaining a load overhead while in a supine position. Another important area regarding the shoulder is the anterior deltoid, which comes into play when you press the bar off your chest. Adding both barbell and dumbbell military press variations into your workouts will help increase your bench press.

Medicine Ball Ab Exercises

Another area that is important to develop and maintain strength is your core. There are 29 different muscles that make up the core. A strong core is helpful when it comes to maintaining good posture. A strong core is vital for any sport-specific movement and it’s also important when executing a chest press exercise. A great way to get strong, ripped abs is to incorporate the use of a medicine ball. Like with anything else, begin with a light medicine ball before progressing to a heavier ball once you master the technique. A medicine ball generates speed through various ranges of motion like spinal rotation and flexion. During exercises like medicine ball Russian twists or overhead slams.

A strong, functional core can help generate more power through the upper and lower body. When you perform a bench press exercise, it’s prudent to brace your body as you remove the weight off the rack and during the movement. A strong core, via medicine ball training, will improve the bracing posture needed to increase your bench press.

Barbell Squat to Increase Your Bench Press

When you perform a bench press, remember to maintain four points of contact at all time. This includes head, shoulder and back in contact with the bench and feet flat on the floor. Building strength in your legs and hips will help you to “push” your feet and legs into the floor, and as a result, you end up pressing more weight. One of the best ways to develop leg strength is with a great compound movement, the barbell squat.

Try Combination Movements

If you lack time to add these exercises into your training routine, you can combine some of the movements into one to get similar effects. An example of a combination movement would be a squat to overhead throw, performed with a heavy medicine ball. This will target your legs, core and shoulders all in one efficient, compound movement. You can try throwing the medicine ball overhead against a wall or just into the air and repeat.

Use Jefit to Record & Track These Exercises and More

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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Three Myths About a Healthy Fitness Lifestyle

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If you’re going to achieve anything in life, you first have to be informed on the topic. This means learning everything you can about your craft, your hobbies, your passions. Fitness can fall into all three of these categories. To begin with, it usually develops out of a hobby. You might start out via an obligation to reduce your waistline, to improve your health, or for a more direct medical reason. Perhaps you just want to get stronger or live a healthy, fitness lifestyle. Sounds as good as any. When you start becoming familiar with the routine and feel as though you could do more, it can then develop into a passion.

This means you do it for the sake of doing it, as a regular fixture; becoming part of your lifestyle. Then, over time, it will become a craft. Not in the kind of profitable manner or artistic manner in which we think of it, but rather something we wish to improve, a basic lifestyle habit that we wish to continue and enjoy.

But to move from hobby to passion, from passion to craft, you have to give yourself the best opportunity to succeed. This includes dispelling myths. For that reason, let us help you get started with three such myths.

Rest is Not an Option

When we think of an active, healthy fit lifestyle, it’s easy to conceptualize someone walking around a city all day, like New York. Perhaps we imagine them working as a courier, or in a job that requires the person to be outdoors. But often, that’s not the case. While jobs like these can be beneficial to a healthy lifestyle, they aren’t the only way you can live one.

In fact, the assumption that you need to be continually active is a false one. A healthy fitness lifestyle is nothing if you cannot rest on certain days during the week. What matters is how you use your available time in the day to improve your overall conditioning. For example, many have experienced the benefits of HIIT, which is high Intensity Interval training. This might include sprinting for one minute on a treadmill, followed by walking for two minutes to recover and then repeat. Because of the intensity of exercise, you needn’t commit to low-impact activity.

On top of that, it’s not the case that going to the gym means you will need to go each week for the rest of your life or lose all of your gains. Active recovery periods, drop-off weeks for weightlifting, and the ability to rest and get more high-quality sleep, is essential if you hope to improve the current version of yourself.

Of course, you shouldn’t pursue a fitness lifestyle motivated only by how and when you might justify your rest. Thinking that this is an impossible task that could never be achieved should you choose to get healthy is not the case. In fact, when you’re in shape, rest becomes much more satisfying, and much more restorative. So the art of getting fit is also the art of feeling your best self. Proper recovery is a key component in the mix. That sounds like a win-win.

Do You Really Need Specific Equipment to Help Your Journey?

For some reason, the primal nature of exercise or weightlifting convinces some people that the most raw means of getting in shape are always the best. Never mind that ergonomically designed piece of exercise equipment, lifting heavy things outside all day is the real way to build muscle! Never mind the treadmill’s convenience and ease of use, running outside will always be superior in the minds of some runners.

This somewhat-sprinkling of truth and myth can lead some people to think they need to go without the bare essentials should they actually be completing the work well. To some extent, this can be healthy. For example, wearing a “squat suit” to perform a power lift is not for everyone. It is needed by some, but might be overkill for a novice trying to learn correct squatting technique. For the exercise newbie, sweat pants, sturdy shoes and a t-shirt will suffice. Keep it simple. Consider your needs. When you do this, you might find a simple workout was all that you needed to keep yourself in check.

Women & Weight Training

One of the more tragic things about the fitness community is how easily incorrect information can be pushed and accepted. One of the largest myths routinely asked about is how women can fair if deciding to embark on a weight training program. There is only one answer – well. While there are bodybuilders who happen to be women, many just starting out might not have the desire to get to that level. In fact, even if you had a masculine body, lifting weights as a novice will never accidentally grant you a hugely muscular frame such as that. Your testosterone levels are much less than that of a man, and even if they were the same, accidentally becoming that muscular does not happen. It takes years and years of effort and clean eating.

If you are a woman and would like to get involved in weight lifting, be sure to check out a strength program with dedicated compound lifts and proportional work, such as the Jefit app. The benefits you stand to gain are a slender, stronger, leaner body type. To that extent, weightlifting can be a tremendous gift.

With this advice, we hope to have dispelled three common myths regarding a healthy fitness lifestyle.

Try the Jefit App

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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6 Reasons Your Hip Flexors Get Tight

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Your primary hip flexors – the iliopsoas muscles – are each composed of two muscles that together connect your upper half to your lower half, provide stability for your entire lower body, and are chronically under appreciated.

You may not have spent much time thinking about your deeper core muscles: you can’t see or easily touch them, so they stay out of sight and out of mind.

If these deeper hip flexor muscles are tight or imbalanced, it affects your entire body. Just because you can’t see them in the mirror doesn’t mean they aren’t playing a major role in your mobility, your strength, and your aches and pains.

To keep your body strong and healthy, so you can stay on track with achieving your fitness goals, you’ll need healthy hip flexors.

Why Do I Have Tight Hip Flexors?

1. Inactivity

Your workout makes up a small fraction of your day. Many of us probably still spend close to 50 percent of the day in a seated position (i.e. working, commuting, eating, relaxing). If you sleep an average of 8 hours each night, then that equates to about 20 hours of being inactive.

Sitting puts the hip flexors into a shortened position relative to their natural length. When stuck in this flexed position for extended periods of time, the likelihood of developing tight hip flexors increases, especially as you repeat this pattern day after day. Sleeping in the fetal position can have a similar, compounding effect.

2. Stress

Stressful situations activate the body’s sympathetic nervous system response where the body enters a “fight or flight” mode, causing you to tense up and clench your hip flexor muscles (as well as others). Coupled with more shallow breathing, the body doesn’t get enough oxygen to truly relax and the muscles continue to hold tension.

3. Overuse & Lack of Recovery

The hip flexors can become overused by performing repetitive actions that require hip flexion, like running, cycling, kicking, or squatting. As these motions are performed day after day and used for extended periods of time, it can fatigue the muscles. Without giving the hip flexors a chance to adequately recover, the body may respond by holding tension in this area.

4. Muscle Weakness

Just like any other muscle in your body, your hip flexors need to have enough strength to perform the tasks you ask of them each day. They support your body in a good upright posture, provide stability for your lumbo-pelvic hip complex as you attempt a new 1RM on your squat or deadlift, and help you move one leg in front of the other as you run your next race.

Weak muscles can soon become tight muscles, as the brain senses weakness in the body and sends signals to a particular area to tighten up in order to create stability around a joint and provide protection.

5. Injury & Imbalance Can Result in Tight Hip Flexors

An injury, whether past or present, can play a role in developing tight hip flexors because of the way the body compensates around that injury. Let’s take an ankle injury, for example. At first, moving around is difficult and you rely more on the non-injured side of the body. This may occur for days, weeks, or even months depending on the severity of the ankle injury, where muscle imbalances begin to develop around your hips as a result of these compensations.

After the injury has “healed,” it is important to restore the full range of motion in the ankle joint and address any muscle imbalances that developed during that recovery process. If left unaddressed, the body remains unbalanced and will continue to compensate for the effects of the past injury. The hip flexors will tighten up and try to create stability, with one side potentially becoming tighter than the other.

6. Having Too Much Range of Motion

Working into too much range of motion goes beyond what your muscles and joints were designed to do, creating instability. This is commonly seen in people who are hypermobile and also in those who force themselves too deep in their yoga poses or other stretches.

Because the brain feels unsafe in these over-extended positions, it sends signals to the muscles to tighten up and create stability, acting as a protection mechanism. With the hips being involved in many of these movements, the hip flexors are among the muscles that will hold tension in an effort to keep the body safe.

How to Release Tight Hip Flexors

Chances are that you’re reading this article because you have tight hip flexors and they are limiting you, or causing pain in your low back, groin, hips, knees, or feet (yes, they even directly affect your feet!). Maybe you’ve tried stretching your hip flexors, but aren’t getting results and are wondering what to do next.

You’re likely familiar with many kinds of muscle release tools, such as lacrosse balls, foam rollers, and massage guns. But to release your hip flexor muscles (like your psoas and iliacus) that lay deeper within your core, you need to apply direct, prolonged (30-90 second) pressure.

A great tool that I recently tried is called the Hip Hook. It was designed by Christine Koth, MPT, a physical therapist, and it’s the only tool designed to release both the psoas and iliacus muscles by applying precise angled pressure, using a pivot to access these hard-to-reach muscles from the right angle. In addition, I read Ms. Koth’s book recently that you may also find interesting, Tight Hip, Twisted Core – The Key to Unresolved Pain.

Try the Jefit App

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data, audio cue tips, and a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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How to Calculate Your Fat & Muscle Mass

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The amount of bodyweight someone carries does not distinguish between muscle and fat weight. Overall bodyweight does not paint a true picture of how well someone is doing regarding their diet and exercise. For example, when I step onto the scale, it tell me I weight 227 pounds, great. I’m more interested, though, in the ratio of that bodyweight number. Meaning, how muscle and fat do I currently have? What is the ratio of my lean muscle and body fat? This, in my opinion, is the more important question that we should ask ourselves every few months. As an example, my goal is 85 percent lean muscle and 15 percent body fat. If you are female gym-goer maybe that ratio looks like 75/25.

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Muscle, water, connective tissue, organ weight and more are included as part of lean body mass.

Jefit Body Composition Metrics

The Jefit website offers the ability to record and track the five key health metrics seen below. There is also the ability to input and track bodyweight, girth measurements and percent body fat via Jefit iOS and Android platforms. What is great about the website, however, is the option to see your breakdown of lean muscle mass and fat mass. Check it out!

  • Current Weight
  • Percent Body Fat
  • Lean Body Mass
  • Body Fat Mass
  • BMI (Body Mass Index)

How to Calculate Fat & Muscle Mass

First, you need your bodyweight and percent body fat numbers. Once you have these, you can then figure out the ratio of muscle and fat mass that comprises bodyweight. A few items to keep in mind. Men have about 3 percent essential fat while women have about 13 percent essential fat. This is the minimal amount of body fat that someone needs to maintain for overall health.

The average college-age male, who is a non-athlete, has about 15 percent body fat, while a female of the same age will have about 23-25 percent. A college athlete will have considerably less body fat. Here are two examples that demonstrate how fat and muscle mass are calculated.

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Let’s look at the case study from above from a Jefit user. This is from a 227 pound male who is carrying about 17 percent body fat.

First, multiply bodyweight by percent body fat. The number you get is fat weight mass. In this case, it’s 227 x 16.8 percent = 38.13 pounds, which is the fat mass.

Next, subtract fat weight (38.13) from bodyweight (227), this equates to lean mass (not pure muscle mass) which in this case is about 189 pounds. About 44 percent of this number is pure muscle mass, which in this case, is about 83 pounds. The weight of your bones (skeletal system) comprises 15 percent of your bodyweight.

What the Math Looks Like

227 x 17 percent = 38 pounds of fat weight, therefore, 227 – 38 = 189 pounds of lean mass. It’s important to understand that this number, 189 is comprised of: muscle, bone, connective tissue, fluid, skin, organ weight, etc. Otherwise known as all the good stuff. The 38 pounds is fat or adipose tissue. The ratio for this male individual would be 83/17. Or, 83 percent lean mass and 17 percent fat mass.

Men carry more muscle than women. An average male (18-39 years old) has about 44 percent of their bodyweight made up of muscle mass. About 34 percent of a female’s bodyweight is made up of muscle mass.

Use Jefit to Record & Track your Body Composition Metrics

To ensure an exercise and nutrition program is truly working, record a few baseline numbers mentioned above. Over a period of time, you should experience a slight increase in lean mass, a decrease in fat mass and your ratio should also change. Recording and tracking body composition (and strength) metrics should help keep you motivated. An assessment can be beneficial because it keeps you consistent, with both training and your nutritional intake, because you know at a future date, your metrics will be looked at again for comparison.

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Common Mistakes When Trying to Build Muscle

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It can be frustrating when you put in hours each week at the gym or with your home workout, yet you see minimal or no gain. Here are some of the more common mistakes that could be preventing you from building muscle and what you can try instead.

Don’t Skip Leg Day

Let’s start with the most common mistake. Focusing wholly on your upper body may cause you to end up out of proportion, but more likely than not, this won’t be the case – you won’t be able to build the upper body muscle to begin with. Having strong legs allows you to support a bulkier upper body, making it easier to build muscle. Many compound leg exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, are also better at increasing testosterone, which helps when developing muscles elsewhere.

A study by the University of Texas found that “performing squats synthesizes more testosterone and growth hormone than a similar session on the leg press.” Although the test subjects lifted more weight on the leg press, their exhaustion was 42 percent higher after doing squats.

Avoid Sugar Spiking

Consuming too many sugary energy drinks, chocolate milkshakes or even some protein bars, could be taking away your ability to gain muscle. While they may give you the energy and protein necessary to build muscle mass, the excess sugar, in turn, could be inhibiting your ability to take in muscle-building amino acids. Look out for low-sugar drinks and snacks that will still give you the protein and energy. Keep in mind, men should consume no more than 38 grams a day and women 25 grams a day of added sugar.

Consuming the Wrong Kind of Calories

When trying to build muscle, you do need to consume additional calories. However, it’s important to eat the right kind of calories. Fast food, ice cream and pizza will more likely cause you to pile on fat. Increase your calories in more healthy ways by eating more fish, chicken, rice, potatoes and vegetables.

Mis-using Supplements

Some people can go overboard on supplements like creatine and fish oil, using these instead of taking up a healthy diet or taking too many causing nutritional problems. There are then those who take the wrong kind of supplements (i.e. performance enhancing drugs like steroids). Steroids are notoriously common amongst some gym-goers but as most know, they can run all kinds of other health risks. You’ll bulk up faster, sure, but you also damage your body in the process, causing severe long-term health problems.

Avoid Too Much Cardio

Cardiovascular exercise, is very beneficial, but, should be reserved to a minimum when trying to bulk up. This is because it steals the calories needed for repairing muscle tissue, converting the calories instead into fuel for aerobic exercise. Try limiting your cardio to twenty minutes, three times a week and see if this has any impact. A few short, HIIT sessions could also work well.

Ignore Weight Training Technique

There are specific techniques to follow for each strength training exercise. For example, proper deadlift form, requires keeping your legs about hip-width apart, not arching (flexing) your back, tucking your chin etc. These will all help build muscle more effectively in addition to protecting your spine and hips in the process. Make sure that you’re using the right technique with each exercise, otherwise you could be preventing yourself from building muscle.

Reference

Shaner, A.A., Vingren, J.L., Hatfield, D.L. et al. The acute hormonal response to free weight and machine weight resistance exercise. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 2014, 28, 4, 1032–1040.

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Jefit Workouts Now Include Trainer Audio Tips

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Jefit strives to continually improve upon their award-winning app. The latest upgrade, released this week, includes select workouts accompanied with trainer audio tips. There are six new bodyweight and strength training workouts found on either Android and iOS platforms. The programs are featured on Jefit Elite or the free version of the app.

These and future audio-based workouts, can be found on either version of the Jefit app located in “Find Workout” under the “Audio Cue” tab.

Trainer Audio Tips Programs

Here are the six new Jefit Audio workouts include: 4 Beginner, 1 Intermediate and 1 Advanced program. Five of the programs are featured as Elite, while the “audio-based workout” program, can be found on the free version of the app. All six exercise programs are interval based. Approximately 50 percent of the exercises feature trainer audio cues. Finally, switch ON the “Audio Cue” button before starting; it’s “Highlighted Blue”, when it’s ready to go (see lower right side).

  • Beginner Bodyweight Routine (Elite, beginner)
  • Audio-Based Workout (Free, beginner)
  • Beginner Full Body Challenge (Elite, beginner)
  • 3-Day Multi Equipment Challenge (Elite, beginner)
  • Audio Coaching Intermediate (Elite, intermediate)
  • 3-Day Advanced Workout (Elite, advanced)
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Beginner Bodyweight Routine

This 1-day beginner, audio-based coaching routine offers exclusively bodyweight exercises. As a result, the program will challenge your entire body. About half of the exercises in this workout session offer audio coaching tips from a Jefit certified strength & conditioning specialist. The workout includes four supersets, where you will need to execute back-to-back sets with minimal rest.

Audio-Based Workout

This is a 3-day audio-based strength training workout. Approximately 50 percent of the exercises will have trainer audio tips attached to them, to help you execute the movement. The workout program consist of 3 strength training days – each of the workouts contain 1-2 supersets and work all major muscle groups. All three sessions include a combination of bodyweight, dumbbell and barbell.

Beginner Full Body Challenge

This 2-day audio-based coaching workout offers audio cues, the same that you would hear if working with a personal trainer or coach. Remember to turn “on” you Audio Cue button at the bottom of the page. The majority of the exercises use a dumbbell and some stretching and ab work is included. At the end of each session there is an “ab burner” series.

3-Day Multi Equipment Challenge

This program is a 3-day audio-based coaching strength workout. What you can expect on days 1 and 3 – are dumbbell only workouts. Both of these sessions are full body. As for the second workout, a combo session, exercises use dumbbells and a barbell. Again, this particular session is a full body workout. Have fun!

Audio Coaching Intermediate

This intermediate exercise program offers three strength training sessions, each of which is an audio-based workout. The program includes various dumbbell & barbell specific exercises that use audio trainer tips to assist gym-goers in using good form.

On day 1, the workout includes a bodyweight warm-up followed by a full body dumbbell workout. Similarly, the day 2 workout includes bodyweight & dumbbell exercises that target your entire body. Day 3: This particular strength session includes only barbell specific exercises following a dynamic warm-up.

3-Day Advanced Workout

This 3-day advanced strength program has the added feature and benefit of having audio coaching tips for about half of the exercises found in each exercise workout. On DAY 1: You can expect a dynamic warm-up to prepare your body for the upcoming leg strength training day. DAY 2: In this 2nd workout session you have exercises focused only on push and pull movements. Lastly, DAY 3: Includes pressing movements for the shoulders in addition to a few core exercises. Enjoy the audio coaching tips and stay strong!

Use Audio Cue Programs on Jefit App

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data, audio cue tips, and a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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