Are Protein Supplements Really Worth Your Money?

Are the protein supplements you take post workout even worth your money? More importantly, are they helping you build muscle? Let’s take a look.

For the human body to build muscle, the body must be in what is known as an anabolic state. If this is not the case, muscle growth will simply not occur. In very basic terms, anabolism requires energy to grow and build while catabolism uses energy to break down. Hormones also play a vital role in both processes. Specific hormones associated with the process of anabolism are growth hormone, insulin, and testosterone, to name a few. There are other hormones like cortisol (known as the stress hormone) and glucagon that are associated with the process of catabolism. When it comes to bodybuilding, think of anabolism as the building up of muscle tissue while catabolism is the breaking down of muscle tissue.

Right from that last sentence you can see if you are putting in all this energy and time to build muscle mass, you DON’T WANT TO BE IN A CATABOLIC STATE, yet many people are. Too much cardio, inadequate protein intake, lack of sleep or recovery, and elevated stress, keeps the body in a catabolic state. To give the body the best chance for muscle growth to occur, the body must be kept in an anabolic state. For this to happen, you need a sufficient training stimulus, surplus of calories (especially protein), less cardio and stress, and plenty of sleep.

Are You Getting All Your Amino Acids?

Amino acids are basically building blocks that help (synthesize) form protein. There are actually hundreds of amino acids but only 20 appear in the genetic code. Of these 20 amino acids, 12 are considered non-essential while 8 are designated as essential, meaning they need to be supplied in the diet. One essential amino acid to keep an eye on is leucine. Again, the body does not produce this so it must come from the diet. Another way to ensure you get adequate leucine is through daily nutrition and protein supplementation. A protein supplement, with 2-5 grams of leucine, taken post workout will help your muscle building cause. Leucine, is a branch chain amino acid, that is responsible for “triggering” protein synthesis.

Protein Needs in the Diet

An average adult may need only 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight but anyone involved in strength training needs more. But how much more? That honestly depends on a litany of things like, training, age, gender, body size etc. Research shows that protein intake to promote muscle growth needs to be more in the area of 1.2 to 1.9 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.

“Even the American Dietetic Association, Dietician’s of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine state that protein intake must be > 1.6 grams per kg/day for gains in muscle mass.”

Journal Strength & Conditioning (2007).

Importance of Nutrient Timing During Strength Training

There has always been what’s considered a “window” for protein intake post workout to optimize results. The optimal window was considered to be 45 minutes to 1 hour post workout. Research has since shown this is not necessarily true. Research reported taking a protein supplement 3 hours versus 1 hour post workout showed no difference. As long as you’re getting some of your daily protein in during pre and post workout you’ll be good. In addition, it would be beneficial to take it a minimum of 25-30 grams of protein with each meal. Some people may need to add in an additional small meal in order to meet their daily protein requirement.

This article, along with suggested research, is favorable towards protein supplementation in order to optimize protein synthesis and promote gains in muscle mass. With any increase of protein should come an intake of water to prevent any possible long-term issues associated with your kidneys. Adequate protein is important, yes, but other key components include adequate training stimulus, challenging enough for adaptation to take place, and of course plenty of healthy calories and ample recovery between bouts of exercise. Finally, muscle growth occurs away from the gym. Getting enough sleep is vital, so make sure you get plenty of it. Good luck. Stay Strong!

The Award-Winning Jefit App

Jefit app was 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 has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features 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 sustainable fitness lifestyle.

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Jefit Assessment Best Described as a Motivational Tool

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Jefit has developed a quick, easy to administer, fitness assessment that will help determine your current strength level. The test can also help to motivate and even hold you more accountable towards reaching a specific fitness goal.

Why Periodic Assessments are Important

Anytime you have an opportunity to take a baseline measurement on yourself, think of it as a snapshot of your current health and fitness level. The assessment can come in the form of percent body fat or girth measurements. When it comes to your workout, though, it’s about testing either muscular strength, endurance or work capacity. The new Jefit assessment pinpoints your current level of muscular strength. The test looks at three easy to administer tests:

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Jefit Assessment Points

You receive a set number of points for each test. The total number of those points correspond to an overall percentage. The reason for the percentage is so you can compare yourself to others in your age group. As mentioned, for each of the three tests you perform on the Jefit app, you will receive a specific number of points as a result of taking each test. Points are dependent upon either the number of repetition or duration for a given task.

The first test in the Jefit assessment is the push-up test. An individual will receive 6 points for each push-up they complete. For example, 27 push-ups completed would equate to 162 points. Following push-ups, plank and bodyweight wall squat follow. For each of these tests, you are awarded points for how long you hold (duration) the plank and wall squat positions.

The total points are calculated and the person is given an overall percentage to show how well they did. For example, if someone scores 70 percent – this means they performed better than 70 percent of the people, in their age group, who have taken the test. Over time you will have the option of taking multiple tests (every three months). Only the most recent test, however, is counted as your score, not any of your previous tests.

Testing is as follows. Following a baseline test, a second test a month later you’re tested once more. You then have the option to get tested every three months following that. Stay strong with the Jefit Assessment!

Finally, after completing your baseline Jefit assessment, you will earn 250 iron points. This will occur only the first time you’re tested.

Use Jefit App for All Your Workout Needs

Jefit app was 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 has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features 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 sustainable fitness lifestyle.

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Interesting Facts Regarding Added Sugar & Processed Food

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Scientific research continues to demonstrate the health benefits when added sugar and processed food are restricted in a typical diet. Many of us eat healthy during meal time. The issue seems to arise when it comes to snack time, grazing or late night eating. It is during these times that we jump ship eating more highly processed foods and added sugar.

The New York Times and Dr. Robert Lustig, MD teamed up recently offering an educational hour-long discussion on the “perils of sugar and processed foods” that can now be viewed on Youtube.

If you think snacking during the pandemic has taken its toll on your waistline, you’re probably right! Dr. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist and professor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco, has a long history of trying to help prove this.

Dr. Lustig is a best-selling author of “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease.” One of his lectures on the health risks of added sugar has more than 10 million views currently on YouTube. Earlier his month he joined Tara Parker-Pope, founding editor of the New York Times Well column. They looked to answer questions and share advice on how we can improve our overall health by simply cutting back on sugar and processed foods. You can listen to his latest lecture here.

Interesting Facts Regarding Sugar and Processed Food

One of the more interesting take aways from his talk was his definition of processed food from a nutrition standpoint. He stated that in order for something to be considered a processed food, it has too little of three and too much of eight of the following items.

Too little of

  1. fiber
  2. omega-3
  3. micronutrients

Too much of

  1. branch-chain amino acids
  2. salt
  3. nitrates
  4. omega-6 fatty acids
  5. food dyes
  6. food additives
  7. emulsifiers
  8. added sugar

It can be a daunting task to get this under control when someone is focusing on trying to eat better. The packaged foods in a typical grocery store contain 74 percent added sugar. This is one reason why a nutritionist always says to shop only the outside or periphery of the store, do not go down the middle isles.

Americans Eat Too Much Sugar and Processed Food

The average American consumes too much added sugar on a daily basis. Americans currently eat about 76 pounds of different forms of sugars every year. Even though we have seen a 15 percent decrease in added sugar consumption since 1999, according to government data, the typical person still eats about 94 grams (or 375 calories) on a daily basis (U.S. Department of Agriculture).

This is How Much Sugar You Should be Eating

Some publications have reported added sugar should make up less than 10 percent of our total daily caloric intake while other reports say that’s wrong and it should be more like 5 percent – which I tend to agree with. In that line of thinking, there may be value in putting ourselves on what I like to call an added sugar budget. An average meal can easily turn into dessert. A good, healthy goal for men is to consume no more than 150 calories a day (38 grams) of added sugar. Women should have a goal of 100 calories a day (25 grams). To clarify, you should limit your added sugars not natural sugars.

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What Types of Food Contain Added Sugar?

Added sugar is hidden in more than 60 different forms and it’s in just about everything we eat, from tomato paste, to fruit-based yogurt to (sadly) sports drinks like Gatorade (i.e. HFCS). According Dr. Lustig, “approximately 80 percent of the 6,000,000 consumer packaged foods in the United States have added caloric sweeteners.”Your best bet is to avoid it altogether if it comes in a bag, a box, out of a can, or from a carton.

The first step is start reading all food labels. Natural sugars, like those that come from fruit, contain fructose, but are packed with plenty of fiber, have an abundance of nutrients and contain lots of water and as a result gets released slowly into the bloodstream. In turn, blood sugar levels do not spike as they would with high sugar content foods. The net result, your body avoids a big release of insulin from the pancreas. When this happens multiple times throughout the day and over time, the body becomes more sensitive to storing body fat.

What the Research Shows

There is an abundance of scientific research published each year showing too much added sugar in our diet can be toxic to our health.

One study showed subjects who got 17-21 percent of their calories from added sugar had a 38 percent risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed 8 percent of their calories from added sugar. The risk was more than double for those who consumed 21 percent or more of their calories from added sugar.

(D’Adamo, 2015)

Two large European studies published by the British Medical Journal found positive associations between consumption of highly processed foods and risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Results showed that higher consumption of ultra-processed foods (more than 4 servings per day) was associated with a 62 percent increased risk of all cause mortality compared with lower consumption (less than 2 servings per day). For each additional daily serving of ultra-processed food, mortality risk relatively increased by 18 percent.

(BMJ, 2019)

Adopt a Healthy Eating Game Plan

To see big gains in the gym, it’s important that you train smart, eat healthy by decreasing sugar and processed food, and get plenty of sleep. Most people understand this intuitively but never develop a game plan to eat healthy. Try to follow these four easy steps to make the process easier and hopefully in turn build a healthy habit.

  1. Eat more fiber in your diet
  2. Decrease added sugar
  3. Eat fewer unhealthy fats
  4. Reduce salt intake

Use some of this information coupled with a regular strength training program if you want a recipe for success. Checkout the Jefit app to help plan & track your workouts.

Try the Award-Winning Jefit App

Jefit app was 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 has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features 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 sustainable fitness lifestyle.

Reference

Srour, B et al., Ultra-processed food intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: prospective cohort study. BMJ 2019; 365:1451. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1451

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Have You Tried Jefit’s Audio Cue Workouts Yet?

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Jefit strives to continually improve upon their award-winning app. One of the more recent updates includes select workouts accompanied with trainer audio cues. There are dozens of new bodyweight and strength training workouts found on both Android and iOS platforms. The programs are featured on Jefit Elite or the free version of the app.

All audio-based workouts, can be found on either version of Jefit app located under the “Find” tab at the top of page (seen highlighted in yellow).

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Audio Cue: All About Hands-Free Experience 

The last thing you need while working out is to have to hold onto your phone. Jefit audio cues let you know how long the upcoming set will take and the amount of rest as well as what the upcoming exercise is. It also offers a 3-2-1 countdown to let you know you’re almost finished.

 Different Types of Audio Cues

There are three types of audio tips available: (1) reminder (time countdown and exercise names), (2) pro tips (on Elite only), and (3) personal tips (user can create an exercise tip and replace the pro tip, elite only). Only the pro tips and personal tips are Elite features.

How to Use Audio Cue with Injury Notes

Click “yellow” highlighted areas

  1. This audio cue will remind you about recent injury at the beginning of the workout 
  2. The audio cue can be enabled when you mark a body part as an injury note in History (on a day) or Insights tab under Progress tab. 
  3. The audio cue will be dismissed when you mark the body part as “recovered”. 
  4. Once a body part is marked as recovered, it will become a record in Notes. You can mark it as an injury note again if you hurt the same part.
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How to Use Audio Cue (general set up)

  1. Enable sound in your phone 
  2. Turn on the necessary audio cue toggle on your training page 
  3. The toggle will turn “blue” to let you know it’s on (see below).
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Trainer Audio Cue Programs

Here are just a few examples of Jefit audio workouts. The audio cues are included in beginner, intermediate and advanced workouts. All five of these exercise programs happen to be interval based. Please note that not all Jefit exercises provide exercise tips at this moment. Approximately 50 percent of the exercises feature trainer audio cues.

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!

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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The 3-Day Split Barbell Workout: A Great Full Body Routine

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One of the most often used strength training programs is the classic 3-day split barbell workout. This particular exercise program has long been considered a true classic among bodybuilder and novice a like. There are different split day options for 2-3-4-5 days routines. A split routine refers to a workout that is divided up by muscle groups. Specific exercises are used to train these major muscles groups on different days. The majority of movements come in the form of compound exercises. The workout is ideal if you have limited time to workout (an hour or less). Someone on this type of routine still has a strong desire, though, to gain lean muscle and strength. The length of time needed before noticing small gains is typically 6-12 weeks. This is dependent of course on age, training history, nutritional intake, recovery etc.

A Suggested Training Schedule

There are many layout options for a 3-day barbell workout in terms of how someone can “split” the routine up over the course of the week. A new Jefit training program features the following split routine, using a push day, a pull day and on day three, everything else. The push days includes exercises for chest/shoulder/tricep, while the pull day highlights the back and bicep. The third day focuses on legs and core. The weekly layout looks like this:

3-Day Split Barbell Workout

Monday: Chest Shoulders and Triceps
Tuesday: Rest day (mobility work)
Wednesday: Back and Biceps
Thursday: Rest day (mobility work)
Friday: Legs and Core
Saturday: Active rest day
Sunday: Rest day

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Barbell Workout: Exercise Program Design

Let’s discuss in a little more detail the make-up of each of these workouts. The Jefit program, Barbell Workout (3-day Split), is an intermediate level program. The program uses a (45-lbs.) barbell for all exercises except some of the core exercises found in day 3. The resistance used will depend on the training ability of the person. If you are new to strength training, you could still try this program. In this case, the person would start out using the weight of the bar only for all exercises. See how your body responds and progress from there.

The majority of the exercises in this barbell workout require 4 sets following a repetition sequence of 10,8,8,6. This type of repetition format takes advantage of using a lighter weight for the first set (warm-up set). The weight is then increased for each subsequent set. There are 5 exercises featured for each workout day and many of the movements used are compound exercises. The recovery time between sets is two-minutes, a novice though may need an extra minute or two. A set that involves 8-repetitions as an example, means it’s an 8-RM (repetition maximum). A person will need to lift the most weight they can handle, using good form. If you end up performing more than the suggested amount of repetitions, increase the load by 5 percent for upper and 10 percent for lower body exercises.

Day-1: Push Movements

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Day 2: Pull Movements

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Day 3: Legs & Core

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One of the great things about this 3-day split barbell workout is each workout is about an hour. Also, you need minimal equipment, only a bar and weight. In addition, since you work only a few muscle groups per workout, you can really target that area with a higher intensity that usual. Also, there is a recovery day following each workout, so the body gets plenty of recovery time to repair itself, adapt and get stronger. This is a good time – by the way – to work on improving your mobility. Putting this together with a solid nutrition plan coupled with plenty of recovery is a recipe for gains in both strength and mass. Stay Strong!

Use Jefit to Record and Track Your Strength Workouts & More

Jefit app was 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 has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features 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 sustainable fitness lifestyle.

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Are You on Board with the New Obesity Paradigm?

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Some scientists are starting to believe that obesity research has been coming from a failed paradigm. For close to a hundred years now it has been believed that the cause of obesity was a surplus of calories. When a person takes in more calories than they expend, overtime, that individual becomes overweight. Many think, however, that obesity research is based on a misbelief. According to the World Health Organization, though, it’s still about “an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended.” So who do we believe?

Many researchers and science reporters, like NYT best-selling author Gary Taubes, believe that it’s time for a new paradigm. A group of these researchers have actually published a lengthy review article on this obesity topic, that comes out today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This group believes we should move away from the current energy balance model (EBM) to a new carbohydrate-insulin model (CIM).

Moving Towards a Possible CIM: Carbohydrate-Insulin Model

According to this model, increasing fat deposits in the body, resulting from the hormonal responses to a high-glycemic-load diet, is what drives positive energy balance. Other words, it’s not about eating too many “good” calories, it’s more about “food quality.” We need to be aware of the quantity and quality of specific calories coming from carbohydrates.

A high percentage of carbohydrates in each meal, coming from processed foods, contain high amounts of added sugar. Each time we eat meals and snacks like this, our body has to deal with a sugar spike. When this occurs, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin, to bring down blood glucose. The by-product of this? the body stores more fat (triglycerides) in adipose tissue.

This new paradigm shift states that obesity is not an energy balance issue but rather a hormonal disorder or what the researchers call a “disorder of fuel partitioning.” The calories in versus calories out debate says nothing about why it happens.

Where Do You Lie on this Obesity Topic in Favor of the EBM or CIM?

We mentioned author Gary Taubes earlier. If this topic is of interest to you, he has some outstanding books that explore various obesity-related topics and does a deep dive into why too much added sugar is so unhealthy for us.

So what do you think? do we become obese by taking in more calories than we expend? Or is it more about the quality and quantity of carbohydrates and what those sugar calories do to our physiology over time?

Jules Hirsch of Rockefeller University, one of the most celebrated obesity researchers, told Gary Taubes in 2002 that after 40 years of research he still didn’t know why people got fat to begin with. Looks like this debate will rage on for a bit longer but let’s hope it’s not another hundred years!

References

Taubes, G. (2021). How a “fatally, tragically flawed” paradigm has derailed the science of obesity. STAT.

Ludwig, D., et al. (2021). The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab270

Try Jefit App Today

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. In addition, the app 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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Activities to Bring Your Exercise Routine to the Next Level

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There are many activities to choose from when trying to get in or stay in shape. Some activities are better than others and may be more beneficial when added as part of a weekly exercise routine.

The following three activities are some of the best based on their high energy expenditure. Each is ideal in their own right because they offer multiple options. The following activities also fit well as part of a warm-up or for circuit training.

Add Jumping Rope to Your Exercise Routine

There is a great deal of research on the benefits of jumping rope. One such study, was led by John Baker of Arizona State University. He divided 92 male students into two groups. One half of the group skipped rope for 10-minutes a day while the other half jogged for 30-minutes a day. After six-weeks, the men were administered the Harvard Step Test to measure changes in cardiovascular fitness. Each group showed an equal level of improvement.

Baker concluded that 10-minutes a day of jumping rope was as efficient as 30-minutes a day of jogging. He meant meant more specifically, when looking to improve cardiovascular efficiency. He recommends jumping rope, which is less time-consuming than jogging, as a valuable component for any physical education program; especially when the goal is to improve endurance. A 2013 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found 10-minute “bursts” of exercise, like rope jumping, added to your daily quota of exercise, improves fitness.  It concluded that ‘some exercise is better than nothing’ and that by adding small bouts of exercise you can lead to a big impact.

Jumping rope will expend about a 750 calories an hour depending on bodyweight (at 120-140 turns per minute). This is equivalent to running close to a six-minute mile pace. When the intensity is increased, the caloric expenditure can increase to 1000 calories or more per hour. A boxer can hit 300 RPM in a minute of jumping rope. You can also experiment with a weighted jump rope or wear a weight vest to challenge yourself more.

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Rowing is a Great Addition to any Exercise Routine

There is a reason why facilities like Crossfit, have ergs or Concept 2 rowing machines lined up. It is a complete, full body workout that uses about 85 percent of the muscles on the body. Rowing alone is a great exercise. It is ideal for a WOD or placed in a circuit. Finally, it can be a beneficial warm-up prior to hitting the weight. Try a 500 meter row prior to your next strength workout. If you want a great aerobic test, try to row 500 meters in about a minute thirty! For a great full body workout try the following routine:

30-20-10 Rowing Protocol – Start with an easy row for 3 to 5 minutes to warm-up. Then row 30-seconds at a low intensity, followed by 20-seconds using a moderate intensity and finally, row all out, high intensity, for 10-seconds. Repeat x 5 and cool-down. Progress to doing this x 10 rounds.

Try HIIT for Maximal Gains in Minimal Time

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is an exercise topic that arguably been studied more in the past decade than any other. It is highly likely, that every aspect of HIIT has been looked at. Research from Petrofsky and colleagues (2011) in the Journal of Applied Physiology is one such example. In that study, a 6-minute HIIT protocol elevated metabolism in test subjects for 36 hours. A second study, published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning, showed similar results. Subjects in this study performed just 27 minutes a week of interval-based exercise. The study showed VO2 max and work output increased 11 and 4.3 percent respectively in just 6 weeks.

The Jefit app offers many HIIT options for all training abilities, with equipment or just bodyweight. In addition, cardio intervals are great for burning some calories on the days you don’t do strength training. Add some of these activities into your weekly training routines to take your program to the next level.

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5 Great Exercises That Will Help Build Muscle

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A recent New York Times article looked at the importance of getting stronger and to build muscle. It report that, according to researchers, only 6 percent of adults performed at least two strength workouts each week. Everyone knows that regular strength training is one of the best time and energy investments for better health. Compared to other countries, however, our physical inactivity and obesity numbers are simply embarrassing.

Why Build Muscle?

Because muscle starts to deteriorate when we reach our 30’s. After age 40, we lose on average 8 percent of our muscle mass every decade, and this phenomenon, known as sarcopenia, continues to accelerate at an even faster rate after age 60.

The good news is exercise scientists from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging found that doing just two strength training sessions each week can reverse age-related cellular damage that causes muscle atrophy.

Muscle Index

In 2014, researchers at UCLA Medical school found something very interesting. They followed more than 3,600 healthy subjects for about a decade. In that study they noticed a subjects muscle mass was closely linked to their lifespan. They found this out by pinpointing their “muscle index” or someones muscle mass divided by your height squared. “Those who were in the group with the highest muscle index had the lowest mortality, while those who had the lowest muscle index had the highest mortality rates.” Their published research “showed that muscle index was an even better predictor of premature mortality than obesity.”

To build and maintain muscle mass you need to engage in regular strength training. Here are what many consider five of the “better” exercises to perform in order to build muscle and maintain it as you age. Each exercise also offers progressions to try before attempting each exercise, if needed.

Deadlift

The deadlift is easily one of the best exercise you can do to build muscle. It’s a valuable compound movement targeting the back, hips, legs and grip. It’s also ideal for developing posterior chain strength. The movement, however, can be challenging for some. If that is the case, there are some suggested progression options for you prior to the deadlift.

Progressions: Hex-bar deadlift and Romanian deadlift

Squat

Considered the king of the compound lower body movements for building muscle at any age. Best advice, especially if you’re young or a training novice, master the front squat prior to progressing to a barbell squat.

Progression: DB Wall Squat, Front Squat, Partial Squats

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Pull Ups

There is not a better compound back exercise you can do for the upper extremity. The movement recruits many muscle groups while offering multiple training variation like wide/close grip or assisted pull ups.

Progression: Inverted Row, Machine Assisted, Assisted (Band) Pull Ups, Chin-ups

Bench Press

Considered a favorite exercise for the majority of gym goers. It incorporates a large number of muscles to execute the movement. You can do it from an incline/decline position or use dumbbells, barbell, kettlebells or cables.

Progression: T-Push Ups, Incline/Decline Push Ups, Weighted Push Ups

Shoulder Press

A great compound exercise to build muscle for the deltoid group. It really works your entire body when performed from a standing position. Holding weight overhead also works the core.

Progression: Kettlebell Thrusters, Dumbbell/Barbell Push Press

One of the first things you might have noticed, all five of our suggested exercises are compound movements. Add some of these muscle building exercises into your next Jefit program. If they are not the answer to your current needs, try the suggested progressions to build up instead.

Use Jefit App to Record & Track Your Workouts

Jefit app was 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 has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features 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 sustainable fitness lifestyle.

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Health Benefits of Performing Strength and Cardio Exercise

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The health benefits associated with performing strength training on a regular basis, especially as one ages, are many. Cardiovascular exercise, from walking to running, is also key, especially when used as a “COVID-19 mood booster” or stress reliever. What are the benefits of combining strength and cardio in your workout?

Should we be doing both? Simply adding in short bouts of cardio (like jumping rope), with your weight training, can take a workout to the next level. It ends up challenging both your muscular and cardiovascular systems in one efficient workout. 

The Benefits of Combining Strength and Cardio Are Many

The goal of circuit weight training (CWT) is to move quickly from one exercise to the next with minimal rest. The design of a circuit can be as simple as performing an upper body, lower body and core exercise followed by a brief bout of cardio. The cardio could be jumping rope, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, basically anything that elevates heart rate. A 2013 study published in American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, reported jumping rope can be one of the most effective cardio exercises. We’re talking better than running, swimming or rowing. Following six-weeks of jumping rope exercises (for 10-minutes/day), subjects displayed the same levels of cardiovascular efficiency as those who did 30 minutes of jogging.

There is also a hidden bonus with circuit-training, an “additional” calorie-burning benefit post-workout. The term associated with this is excess-post oxygen consumption (EPOC). This has the potential to occur when doing challenging circuit weight training programs. The body continues to expend additional calories for hours after the workout has been completed. The routine needs to be challenging though which this type of workout can definitely be.

Additional Research Backs Up the Benefits

According to a 2019 study published in the journal Obesity, those who combined strength training with cardio were less likely to become obese. A classic review study by Gettman and Pollock (1981) showed the average aerobic capacity increased by 5 percent while strength improved 7-32 percent. The good news with all the studies reviewed showed a 2-6 pound increase in muscle mass. The average length of the workouts reviewed was only 25-30 minutes. A second study by Wilmore and colleagues determined energy expenditure was 9 calories/minute for men and 6 calories/minute for women who performed circuit weight training programs. Finally, a 10-week study compared CWT to biking showing favorable results in multiple areas for CWT. This type of training was shown to  “lead to mild to moderate increases in aerobic capacity” and “muscle mass.”

Jefit Home Exercise Programs: 5 Circuit-Based Routines

Strength & Cardio Circuit. This is a 1-day routine that incorporates exercise and bouts of cardio. The only piece of cardio equipment needed, however, is a jump rope.

Home Circuit (30-minutes). This is a two-day program you can do that is a circuit using exercises only, no cardio. You move quickly from one exercise to the next with minimal rest between sets.

Home Bodyweight Circuit (Level 1). This program has only two circuits or rounds – compared to three – found in Level 2 and 3 of this program. When this routine becomes less challenging for you – progress to Level 2.

Home Bodyweight Circuit (Level 2). The design of these workout sessions consist of 5 body weight exercises that are repeated for 3 circuits or rounds. The session starts off with core work.

Home Bodyweight Circuit (Level 3). This program is designed as a circuit where you complete one round of 10 different exercises with minimal or no rest. Once completed, you return to the first exercise and move through another round of the circuit, until 3 rounds are completed.

This information presented hopefully offers additional insight into the value of performing circuit weight training more often. Continue to work hard and stay strong while using Jefit circuit-based workouts at home.

Use Jefit to Record and Track Your Strength and Cardio Workouts

Jefit is a strength training app used for planning & tracking workouts. It also helps gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it offer you the ability to update and share your workout log with a supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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Important Facts About Lean Muscle and Body Fat

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The body is an amazing organism made up of different elements, including various types of tissue, bone, organ and fluid. Two of which, lean muscle and body fat, are discussed most often when it comes to exercise and living a sustainable lifestyle. We exercise and monitor our nutritional intake in order to build one, lean muscle, while trying to lose the other, body fat (also known as adipose tissue).

How Much Lean Muscle Does the Average Adult Carry?

Skeletal muscle is the most abundant tissue in our body, accounting for approximately 42 and 35 percent of body weight in men and women respectively. In other words, an average male weighing 185 pounds has about 78 pounds of lean muscle tissue while a female weighing 140 pounds has approximately 49 pounds of lean muscle tissue (note: this is not an “exact” number). Take muscle and fat out of the equation, and bodyweight still has other constituents like, water, mineral, bone, connective tissue, and organ weight. Speaking of organ weight, did you know the average human heart weighs about 10 ounces while the brain weighs about 3 pounds? That same average male may have, on average, about 25 percent body fat (or “about” 46 pounds of fat) while that average female may have 30 percent body fat (or “about” 42 pounds of fat).

Did You Know This About Lean Muscle

One of the amazing things about muscle tissue is it has the ability through progressive overload, to increase in size (known as muscle hypertrophy). Donnelly and colleagues have reported that strength training studies (lasting from 8 to 52 weeks) have shown increases of 2 to 5 pounds of muscle mass. In addition to increasing in size, muscle tissue also gets stronger with prolonged training. A periodized strength training program can elicit changes in endurance capacity, power output and force production while keeping sarcopenia at bay.

Protein stores found in muscle can account for about 30,000 calories of energy. Muscle tissue can contribute approximately 20 percent of the body’s total daily energy expenditure compared to 5 percent for fat tissue (it would be great if we could tap into those fat stores more often).

Lean muscle tissue requires 3-4 times more calories to maintain compared to fat and is important in the process of energy metabolism. A pound of metabolically active muscle tissue requires 5-7 calories per pound to maintain while less active fat tissue, requires only 2 calories per pound.

Finally, lean muscle plays an important role in the aging process. With advancing age we experience a loss of exercise capacity. This is due to first, to a decline in skeletal muscle mass and strength during aging and then a decrease in maximal oxygen uptake mainly due to a drop in maximal heart rate, according to Henning Wackerhage, PhD, a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Exercise Physiology at the University of Aberdeen.

Did You Know This About Fat

Fat is found in the body in the form of triglycerides and stored in fat cells which are called adipocytes. According to Coyle, about 50,000 to 60,000 calories of energy are stored in fat cells throughout the body. Fat can also be stored within skeletal muscle cells.

Fat accumulated in the lower body is subcutaneous. While fat in the abdominal area is largely visceral. Where fat ends up on your body is influenced by several factors, including hormones and heredity.

The photo below shows equivalent amounts of fat and muscle. Lean muscle, however, is more dense and takes up one-third less space compared to fat. Five pounds of muscle and fat may in fact weigh the same but that is where the similarities end.

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Source: Reddit

One thing is for certain, everyone wants more lean muscle and less body fat. Regular strength training is a much needed critical component for everything from health to activities of daily living. Check out some of the many great strength training routines found on Jefit, like the FitBody Plan. Stay strong with Jefit.

References

Marieb, EN and Hoehn, K. (2010). Human Anatomy and Physiology (8th ed.). San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings.

Elia, M. (1999). Organ and Tissue Contribution to Metabolic Weight. Energy Metabolism: Tissue Determinants and Cellular Corollaries. Kinney, J.M., Tucker, H.N., eds. Raven Press. New York.

Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., et. al. (2003). Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 1(1): 21-29.

Wackerhage, H. (2014). Molecules, Aging and Exercise in Molecular Exercise Physiology. Routledge.

Wood, M. (2018). TBC30: 6 Steps to a Stronger and Healthier You. Wicked Whale Publishing.

Coyle, EF. (1995). Fat metabolism during exercise. Sports Science Exchange, 8(6):59.

Try The Award-Winning Jefit App Today!

Jefit app was 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 has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features 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 sustainable fitness lifestyle.

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Want a Healthier Diet? Have a Feel for Macronutrients

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In life everyone hopes to achieve their ideal body type and look and feel as confident as can be. Confidence can play a role in the way we look. This is because we have an image of ourselves which cannot be shaken. If you want to be more confident and happy in life, choosing a healthier lifestyle will only help your cause. Healthy nutrition, and understanding macronutrients in particular, is a major component in living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.

You probably know someone who uses some form of macronutrient counting. Like the macrobiotic school states, “it is about a way of life, making sure everything is balanced in your body each day.” Macronutrient might not be a word you have heard of before. You will likely be familiar, though, with the three types of macronutrients we eat each day: carbohydrates, protein and fat. This article looks at each macro, what it does for the body, and how we can balance them to improve our diet.

Carbohydrate

If you ask anyone what their favorite food or meal is, it is pretty much guaranteed that carbs are involved. Most meals revolve around the comfort of carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and wheat. Carbohydrates are a type of substance which are found in many different foods. Once broken down, they are converted into energy for the body. Sugar is a type of simple carbohydrate. It metabolizes to form energy and gives us the ability to run around and stay awake through the day.

The macronutrient, carbohydrate in particular, has gotten a bad wrap over the years. As a result, many people won’t even eat carbs now. They fear what they will do to their body. So, let us just stop right there… carbs are good for you. Your brain utilizes carbs on a daily basis for fuel (about 120 grams a day). Without carbohydrates you wouldn’t have the energy to get out of bed, solve math problems or workout. We need carbs to live, so make sure you let yourself eat them! It basically comes down to eating more healthy, complex carbs and less highly processed carbs.

Protein

Protein has become less of a macro in recent years as a buzzword for health enthusiasts the world over. Let’s just make things clear here: protein won’t solve all of your problems. In fact, too much protein isn’t a good thing. We all need a healthy dose of protein in our diet each day. Each meal should contain some form of protein. Typically, 25-35 grams of protein in each meal is a good goal. The role of protein in the body is to create and maintain muscle cells and to keep us strong.

There are many reason why many people who train have protein powder. Usually it’s because protein heals injured muscles and keeps them strong enough to train more often each week. Another job which protein handles, that you may not have realized, is to transport hemoglobin around your body. Hemoglobin picks up oxygen atoms from the air we breathe and transports them to our cells. So basically, a low protein intake can have a huge effect on your oxygen intake. In the gym world, this is probably the most important macronutrient in many eyes.

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Tasty and healthy oatmeal with berry, flax seeds and nuts. Healthy breakfast. Proper nutrition.

Fat

Fat is a part of the body which most of us spend our time trying to lose, so the idea of putting more of it into our bodies each day might just seem like a crazy idea. However, fat is just as important as any other substance in the body and as long as we reach for healthy fats we can still keep a slim and toned figure.

Fat makes up our cell membranes, it’s improves our brain function and nerve system and it can also help us to absorb certain vitamins which are fat soluble. Healthy hat has a lot more to offer for the body than you may think and it is because of this that we should eat a small amount of fat each day. By adding foods such as nuts, oily fish and avocado to your meals you will be providing the body with the fat it needs to function happily.

How to Count Macronutrients

Counting your macros involves thinking about everything you are going to eat during the day and splitting this into your carbs, protein and fat. Think of it like a pie chart and make sure, as an example, that approximately 50 percent of what you eat comes from healthy carbs, 30 percent from protein and 20 percent is fat. You can adjust these amounts slightly to gain more protein and less fat, but as a rule this is a helpful guide to follow.

For example, if you are a female using a calorie count of approximately 1,600 in order to lose some weight, your calories per macronutrient should be similar to these values:

Carbohydrates – 800 calories (divide by 4 to determine the number of gram to eat for the day = 200)

Protein- 480 calories (120 grams)

Fat- 320 calories (divide by 9 to determine the number of grams = 36)

A quick example for a male, looking to drop weight, a calorie count for say 2,700 calories would look like:

Carbohydrate – 1,350 calories (338 grams/day)

Protein – 810 calories (202 grams)

Fat – 540 calories (60 grams)

Keep in mind, these are just rough examples. You are not always going to count your calories each day but having a better understanding where the calories are coming from and how much of each macronutrient you’re consuming can only help on the nutrition side.

A helpful way to keep on track of the macros which you eat is to use an app such as MyFitnessPal which counts your calories for your meals by ingredient. You can see much more clearly where you need to make changes in terms of your ratios. Counting macros this way will allow you to stay healthy and it will also ensure that you maintain your ideal bodyweight too.

Use Jefit to Record and Track All Your Exercise Needs

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

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5 Popular Exercise Programs Featured on the Jefit App

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There are currently more than two thousand exercise programs featured on the award-winning Jefit app. Rather than cycle through each page on the app or website to find “some” of the more popular program in “General Fitness”, we’ve done the leg work for you. The website breaks down the total number of programs into beginner, intermediate and advanced level. Programs are placed in one of four categories (see below). In this blog post, though, we’ll focus on the first category only. After the title of each programs, you’ll find the total number of downloads and views for that particular program as well as a brief synopsis.

Jefit Exercise Sub-Group Listings

FitBody Plan (Downloads / Views: 139 / 16,123) Intermediate Level
Description

This intermediate exercise program offers two training sessions that can be done 1-2x/week. Meaning, two session or repeat for 4 sessions/week taking a rest day between each workout. The goal of this plan is to build a general base-level of strength across all major muscle groups.

The program routine includes two training sessions that look like this. On Day 1, you’ll focus on the legs, back, core, and chest. While Day 2 targets the shoulders, core, and arms.

Nutrition Tips

Really pay attention to your diet while following this exercise program. Eat whole foods while consuming plenty of healthy carbs, fat, fiber and at least 1 gram of protein/kilogram of body weight. Supplement meals and all workouts with a whey protein drink. Make sure it contains the amino acid – Leucine in it. Use 30-40 grams/protein in any protein drink. Drink plenty of H2O and get 7-8 hours of sleep.

Bodyweight Home Circuit – Level 1 (Downloads / Views: 88 / 15,887) Beginner Level
Program Description

This is a good first step to take if you’re looking to start an exercise program. All exercises featured in this two day a week routine utilize only bodyweight.

As with any new exercise program or when you’re coming to the game with minimal experience- “always err on the side of caution.” Meaning move slowly through the routine and make sure you’re warmed up before starting.

This program has only two circuits or rounds – compared to three – found in Level 2 and 3 of this program. When this routine becomes less challenging for you – progress to Level 2. Good luck – be well and stay strong!

Dumbbell-Only Full Body Home Workout (Downloads / Views: 9,165 / 600,809) Beginner Level
Description

For many individuals they aren’t able to afford a gym membership or aren’t able to get to a gym; thus this routine provides a full-body, 3 day split where an individual can target all of their body parts and either gain/maintain muscle mass. It focuses upon heavy lifts and around 3 to 4 sets with 10 reps per set to increase muscle mass and gaining during exercise performance.

Machine Only Beginner Workout (Downloads / Views: 7,343 / 445,391) Beginner Level
Description

This is a machine-only beginner workout for those who are just starting to get into the gym, only have machine equipment or possibly for those who feel intimidated going into a gym. Exercise machines are great for isolating the muscles and allowing the individual to use a weight that they feel comfortable with to achieve the results that they desire.

This routine is to be performed 3 days a week, as it is a beginner routine, and there are 3 separate whole body workouts that an individual can use on the days that they workout. Each exercise chosen targets and isolates the muscle that is being performed to help build strength and achieve muscle growth or toning (depending on what the individual is trying to attain with their workout).

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Getting Ripped (Downloads / Views6,576 / 160,196) Advanced Level
Description

This is a 5-day exercise program will help build muscle while also shedding off unwanted poundage to get ripped.

On Mondays/Wednesday and Fridays you will be targeting your chest and arms. The only change in the routine that you will see is that for each day, the chest exercise changes from flat bench to incline bench to decline bench. This is done so thatyou hit all of the individual parts of the chest muscle throughout your workout routine. For Tuesdays and Thursdays, the main focus will be targeting the back and leg muscles through the use of major muscle building exercises. Saturdays and Sundays are used as rest days to provide proper rest time for the following weeks worth of exercises.

Program

As this is a muscle building and strength gaining routine, the main focus is to perform around 10 to 12 reps per set and doing about 3 to 4 sets per exercise. This will ensure optimal muscle growth as well as calorie burn for fat loss.

You aren’t performing each exercise individually but you are performing every exercise in a super-set. So the first two exercise in the workout day are in a super-set, followed by a 3 + 4, 5 + 6, 7 + 8, 9 + 10, 11 + 12 and then finished by cardio. Performing super-sets throughout the entire routine will keep your heart rate and intensity up throughout your entire workout, thus triggering muscle growth and fat loss.

Additional Information

Cardio is performed at the end of each routine to increase the amount of calories burned for the overall workout. This will help you attain that ripped look that you desire. Intensity is key throughout this entire workout, this is why we keep the rest time to around 15 to 30 seconds so that you are always keeping your heart rate up and consistently lifting weights.

As to any cutting routine, diet is KEY. You need to eat a healthy, clean and strict diet to maintain proper calorie intake to stimulate the fat loss you are looking for. Heavy carbs and processed foods should be stayed away from at all costs while trying to lose weight. You can have a carb heavy meal once a week to help spark an increase in metabolic rate.

Use Jefit App for All Your Exercise Needs

Jefit is a strength training app used for planning & tracking workouts. It also helps gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it offer you the ability to update and share your workout log with a supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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