Fitness Myths: 6 Tips to Separate Fact from Fiction

fitness myths separating fact from fiction

There are many myths that float around the fitness industry. While some myths can be harmless, others can actually hinder your progress and prevent you from setting off in the right direction from the very start.

To help make sure that you have all the best knowledge and information to hit your goals, here are some of the most common fitness myths that you may have heard, and some facts to set the record straight.

Avoid Believing These Common Fitness Myths and Get the Facts

Myth 1: Sit Ups/Crunches = Abs

A common misconception is that to get ripped abs, you need to do hundreds of crunches and sit-ups every day. This exercise only targets your abdominal muscles, and to get abs, you need to target more than just that muscle group and watch your caloric intake.

While this doesn’t mean that you should banish crunches from your training regime, just bear in mind that there are other really great exercises that may be even more beneficial in helping you sculpt and tone your core.

Other exercises such as leg raises, hanging leg raises, and different type of crunches such as decline crunches, air bike and oblique crunches are great ways to get those abs. Try a variety of exercises to target muscles in your front, side and back. Take a look at an exercise library, such as with Jefit workout app, that will give you some better ideas on what you can do instead.

Myth 2: The More You Train, The Better

Another myth that athletes and gym goers believe is that you don’t need rest days; the more you train, the faster you will generate results.

However, this fitness myth can have the opposite effect. Not incorporating enough rest days into your routine can lead to your body’s inability to recover properly in time for your next session. In fact, you will be doing yourself more harm than good.

Make sure you use a workout log to schedule in rest days so you do not skip them. By putting them into your regime, you will be more inclined to follow it.

Myth 3: Gym is a Solitary Activity

Many people believe that working out at the gym is a mostly solitary activity. You head in, put on your headphones, and do your workout and leave.

While it may be difficult to find other gym goers that can go to the gym at the same time as you, an alternative is to take advantage of the digital era and find an online community. There are many supportive people online in which you can turn to for encouragement, advice and even just to chat too. 

Myth 4: If You’re Not Sore, You Didn’t Work Hard Enough

Some gym goers take the sign that if you are sore then you had a great workout, but if not, then you didn’t work hard enough. Some may think that it is an indication that your muscles are growing. However, this one of those fitness myths that is not necessarily true.

Seasoned gym goers may not have felt sore the next day but it doesn’t mean that they didn’t do enough to get results. Especially if you have been training 5-6 weeks a day, your body would have been conditioned to your training so you probably won’t feel as sore as someone who is new to it.

It doesn’t mean you are working any less harder.

However, if you do wake up sore, try to use a foam roller to massage and loosen your muscles. Also, remember to stretch before and after your workout to minimize the chance of soreness.

Myth 5: Your Gym Workout Need to Be Long

Another one of those misleading fitness myths is that in order for your gym session to be effective, it needs to be long. For those who hate long, laborious gym sessions, this is great news.

Shorter, intense workouts may be more effective than longer workouts with less exertion or LISS (Low Intensity Steady State cardio). This is particularly useful for the on-the-go, busy lifestyle that most of us lead now.

This is why HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is becoming more and more popular by the day. As workouts are shorter, people tend to work out harder as opposed to reserving energy because they know they have a long session ahead.

However, this doesn’t mean to say that long 45-minute to one hour sessions are useless. It depends on your personal preference and whatever you can stick to consistently.

Myth 6: The Scale is the Best Way to Track Your Progress

People mostly step on their scale to track their progress. However, this method may give you incorrect information.

While it will show you your weight mass, it doesn’t differentiate between fat and muscle mass. This means that even if you are losing fat and gaining muscle, the number on the scale may not change. In fact, it may even increase.

It can be really dangerous and disheartening only using the scale number to track your results. There are other, more accurate ways to do so such as with tape measurements and progress pictures.

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has the largest exercise library complete with free workout routines to help mix up your training. It also gives you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community. With Jefit on your phone, you will be hitting your fitness goals in no time at all.

fitness myths separating fact from fiction

Back to the Gym: 7 Important Factors to Reconsider

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Good health and longevity are possible through daily activity. With this in mind, working out is not only a necessity, it’s imperative for a healthy mind and body. With that said, it’s probably wise for most people to join a nearby gym to get the most out of their workouts. I addition, you’ll have access to professional guidance (staff & trainers) and equipment.

With the unending list of gyms near you, choosing the right facility that meets your needs may take some work. To ensure that you pick the best gym and get the most benefit, here are some factors to reconsider as gyms begin to open up once again around the country.

1. Location

Although you want to engage in an activity, going to the gym should not turn into an exercise by itself. As such, proximity to the gym ranks top of the factors to consider. Ensure that the gym you choose is close to your home or apartment thus making it easy for you to go to the gym in the evening and morning. Next, consider the safety of the location of your gym to avoid getting mugged. If your gym is armed with amenities; however, you can pick one that is a bit far as you can exercise and prepare for sessions. If possible, a gym within a 15-20 minute drive works best or something along the way home from work.

2. Purpose

Before choosing a gym, you should come up with a workout routine that addresses your needs. A coach or personal trainer typically calls this a needs assessment or analysis. After designing your workout routine, check to make sure the gym is equipped for your exercise needs.

3. Exercise Equipment

Ensure that your gym has all the equipment to meet your needs and goals so your results won’t be limited. Also, make sure your gym has a qualified group of trainers (degree & certification) who have experience working working with a possible client like yourself. Make sure when you get your tour the workout area is up to par, thus assuring your safety when performing any type of strength or cardio exercise. While at this, categorize your exercises into cardio workouts, mobility/flexibility work, bodybuilding workouts and strength training. Make sure each of these areas in the gym are well equipped to meet your need.

4. Hours of Operation

With several things to compete with, trying to always squeeze a workout into your busy schedule is inadvisable. When choosing a gym, make sure that it ‘s open in your free time thus allowing you to workout at your convenience. Also, some gyms shut down seasonally. If these seasons are during your “free time”, it will prove a pain in changing to another gym. Ensure that your gym is open for the more significant part of the year to get the most benefits.

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5. Check Reviews Online

Nothing hurts as much as getting high expectations and services that don’t even meet the bare minimum standards. When choosing a facility, go through the reviews customers left online thus rating the quality of service you expect. Finally, see what customers say about the cleanliness of the facility especially with a pandemic still lingering.

6. Price

A significant factor to consider when choosing a gym is the price. Although you want to get strong, it does not necessarily mean you have to blow your savings. With the numerous options available, choose a gym that falls within your budget thus saving money for other purposes like maintaining a bodybuilding budget. While at this, keep it in mind that you get what you pay for. A cheap gym service usually means less equipment and trainers.

7. Services

In the case you want to exercise as a family, accessibility is a factor to consider. Choose a studio or facility with amenities that cover each member of your circle thus avoiding any struggle with regrouping. Also, inquire about personal training or coaching services in case you choose to hire a personal trainer at some point for yourself or a family member.

Use the Jefit App at the Gym

The Jefit app was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine, Men’s Health, The Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge 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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Six Unique Features Found on Jefit Elite App

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Jefit was founded in 2010 and the app is still used by many of the same people who originally tried the product back then. The Jefit Elite app is an upgrade of the free version of the award-winning app. The product is a strength training planning & tracking app with a faithful audience of millions of gym-goers over the years. During the past year, many others have also started using the app to plan and record their home workouts as well.

Jefit was named best app for 2021 by Men’s Health, PC Magazine, Healthline, The Manual, GREATIST, Parade Magazines and many others.

When a member chooses to upgrade to the Elite version of the Jefit app, the following six features go into effect including the removal of all previous ads.

6 Key Elite Features on Jefit App

1. Exclusive Programs

Any member with Jefit Elite will have access to additional exercise programs developed by Jefit’s certified strength & conditioning coaches. Below are a few examples. The Jefit app currently has more than 3,300 exercise programs.

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2. Ability to Swap Exercises

Another great feature for those who upgrade to Jefit Elite app is the ability to swap exercises. The easy to follow step-by-step sequence to do exactly that can be seen below. During a workout, first find the swap icon to replace the current exercise. Then use the following 3-steps to make it happen.

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3. Store Unlimited Workouts

With the Elite version of the app you receive additional space to download and store an unlimited amount of exercise programs. These can be strength programs you build yourself or other programs shared from friends and coaches.

4. Advanced Analysis on Jefit Elite App

You can do a much deeper dive into your workout and body measurement analytics. The Jefit Elite app has the ability to provide more comprehensive data insights. A few examples can be seen below.

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5. Tools for Improvement

With Jefit Elite app you can view community points, rankings and 1-Rep Max. You also have the ability to copy a routine, workout, day, or an exercise!

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6. Ads-Free

When an individual upgrades to the Jefit Elite app, one of the first things they notice is the app becomes free of all ads. This occurs when you upgrade to either a monthly or yearly payment option.

Try the Award-Winning Jefit App

The Jefit app was named best app for 2021 by more than two dozen publications and websites. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge 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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Exercise Training Tips for Beginners

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By now, you should already have a mindset for success and your fitness goals in mind—what you want to achieve and why. Now, it is time to implement a plan that will get you closer to these ambitions. This article will give you training tips, the different types of exercises you can do, and the benefits of each.

Why you should exercise

Alongside a nutritious diet, exercise is critical to being fit and healthy. Strictly speaking, if your goal is to lose weight, you can do this without spending hours in the gym. But not everyone’s goal is to lose weight, and it also means you will be missing out on multiple health benefits from exercising.

Most importantly, exercising contributes to your health. It can prevent a range of health problems, as well as help to manage some of them as well. This includes arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease, just to name a few.

And it isn’t only your physical health that will benefit but your mental health. Exercise assists in relieving stress and anxiety, improves your mood with the release of endorphins, and can help boost your confidence.

The difference between body fat and muscle mass

Most of the time, when people want to “lose weight”, they really mean that they want to lose fat but maintain muscle. Exercise can really assist with shaping your body composition so you have less fat and more muscle.

Does this really make a difference in how you look? The answer is yes.

A person who weighs 150 pounds with a high body fat percentage and lower muscle mass will look different to another person who also weighs 150 pounds but with a lower body fat percentage. The latter will look more toned and shapely.

So exercise is vital in working on that body composition.

Training Tips: Cardio vs. Weights

There are a plethora of workouts you can choose from, and the main two categories that are most talked about are cardio and weights.

Cardio?

Cardio refers to any exercise that elevates your heart rate for a period of time. It assists in improving your cardiovascular health and overall endurance.

Some examples of cardio include:

  • Running
  • HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
  • LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State cardio)
  • Treadmill
  • Elliptical machine
  • Spin (Peloton-type workouts)
  • Rowing (erg)

The American Heart Association recommends, for the average person, cardio training at least 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week. So make sure that you do some cardio to get that heart rate up.

Strength Training

To build muscle and become stronger, you need to strength train. Strength training comes with an array of benefits. It:

  • Builds overall muscle and strength
  • Boosts metabolism – Compared to cardio, strength training has a higher level of excess post-oxygen consumption. This means that your body needs to do more work to return itself to its normal, original state, aka the state prior to your workout. So you will be working more, even after your training! Not to mention, it takes more calories to maintain muscle than it does to maintain fat. So the more your strength train and the more muscle you build, the more calories you burn.
  • Increases bone density – This is especially great for older people and pregnant women, who may experience a decrease in bone density. Weight training will help counteract that.

Not only that, but it also helps heart health, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and improves your mood!

Should I do cardio or strength train?

One of our training tips is to try your best to do a mixture of both to get a well-rounded workout regime. You’ll be surprised by how helpful cross training can be. For example, runners may focus a lot on cardio but weight training can actually help them with their sport. Working on their muscles, particularly leg day, can assist in improving their speed, power, and endurance!

It also does depend on your fitness goals, so work accordingly. For example, if you want to get really strong, then you may have more strength training days than cardio and vice versa.

Can women lift weights?

The question isn’t really whether women can lift weights, but more, should they lift weights? In which the answers to these questions is yes, yes yes.

Ladies, adding strength training to your exercise regime is a great way to lose weight, maintain and build muscle and become stronger. And if you are afraid of getting too bulky, this will not happen. You will not get bulky by lifting weights in the gym. You will get lean and stronger.

Focus on compound movements

Try to make compound movements your main exercises for your training—isolation exercises can be used as accessory work. Compound movements are exercises that use 2 or more joints as opposed to isolation which uses just the one.

Beginners will greatly benefit from compound movements as it stimulates overall muscle growth rather than focusing only on one group. You can also work out more muscles in less time.

Examples of compound movements include the squat, deadlift, bench press, pull-ups, Olympic lifting (clean & jerk, snatch).

So how heavy should you lift?

Here are some training tips for you. It is good to go heavy with fewer reps. However, this doesn’t mean you should shun high volume work. High volume training can also help condition your body to lift heavier without fatiguing as early, while also using the correct form (very important!).

Training Tips: Stretching

Warming up and cooling down is vital regardless of whether you are doing cardio and strength training. However, stick to dynamic stretching before your session and leave the static stretching to afterwards.

Foam rolling is also a great way to help with recovery and loosen any tight muscles.

Build a routine

Don’t overthink it—go with what is best for your lifestyle. Some people advocate for morning workouts, whereas others only have time at night. The best routine is the one that you can stick to. Consistency is key in making progress so be realistic at the start of your journey. If you can only go 3 times a week, then do that. As you become more confident, then try to make time for 4 days a week.

Track your workouts

The best way to make sure that you are on track to your fitness goals is to track your progress. Use a notebook or a workout log app like Jefit to record your training.

Tracking your workouts will make it easier for you to see what you did the week before and what you need to do to improve on it. It’s also a really great motivational tool. You look back on your training and see just how far you have come.

Hopefully, these training tips will help you get started on your health and fitness journey. If you need additional help, then why not join the Jefit community? Jefit offers a members-only Facebook page where you can learn from others as well as share your own wins, advice, and stories. Come and join the community now!

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Performing a Side Bridge Exercise Has its Advantages

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The side bridge exercise is a stellar movement targeting the oblique muscles, commonly referred to as the “outer abs”. The various layers of oblique muscles are just one of the 29 muscles that make up your “core”. The muscle group plays a vital role in posture, core stabilization, activities of daily living and athletic performance. The exercise reveals its true potential, though, by the many secondary muscles it activates while “holding” the position. In addition to the obliques, other muscles like the gluteus medius and gluteus maximus, are engaged to help stabilize the hips. Finally, your shoulder stabilizers work in concert to keep you aligned as well. 

What are the Benefits of the Side Bridge Exercise?

Aside from all the benefits it provides for your body, the side bridge also brings plenty of convenience to the table. It is a terrific bodyweight exercise, all you need to do a side bridge is a mat and a few minutes. The power of the side bridge extends well beyond just your obliques. The side bridge influences every muscle that the obliques touch or are related to. Here are just a few of the benefits of performing the exercise:

  • Side bridge activates as much as 40 percent of the upper and lower back muscles. This is more than many common back exercises.
  • Not only does it work your obliques exceptionally well (about 50 percent of their maximum), it recruits your rectus abdominals too (about 34 percent of its maximum). This amount of muscle activation is similar to performing a crunch or front bridge exercise (aka plank).
  • The side bridge is an ideal exercise to train the back muscles, especially the deep muscle, known as the quadratus lumborum. The QL is an important muscle for providing spine stability.
  • Performing the side bridge exercise is one of the best ways to work your hip abductor and glute muscles. The hip abductor muscles work at about 74 percent of their maximum capacity during the side bridge. That number, by the way, doubles the work of the muscle often prescribed for hip muscle weakness, the side-lying leg raise (aka hip abduction).

How to Modify a Side Bridge Exercise

You can do a traditional side bridge or change things up to make the movement easier or harder.

Lift Your Top Leg Up – This increases the stress on the side of the body closest to the ground.

Flex the Hip of the Bottom Leg – This puts all of the weight on your top leg and is the excellent way to train your inner thighs (e.g. your hip adductor muscles). This is a great exercise for any hockey players.

Change Your Point of Support – Rather than supporting yourself from your forearms or feet, you can support yourself from your knees (easier) or from your extended arm (easier on the muscles but harder to balance).

Why is This So Important?

Developing core strength is important for not only posture but every day activities as well. In addition, if you are a runner, triathlete, cyclist or swimmer, then the side bridge should be part of your conditioning program. The side bridge exercise is typically done three times per week, holding the position for 3-10 seconds. Hold the position for a desired time and then roll back. Keep repeating this until you can’t maintain your form. You can also try doing straight sets on one side before switching sides.

The simplest rationale for the side bridge exercise is it builds your muscle capacity providing better hip and trunk stability. The muscles that get strengthened over time, help keep your pelvis level (neutral). This is not only important to prevent back and hip pain but is also very important in preventing knee injuries. One important aspect of knee pain is hip stability and hip abductor and glute medius weakness. The side bridge is ideal for improving stability about the hips and thus preventing or treating knee pain that has been known to cause hip dysfunction.

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Trunk Muscles

In addition to providing a great workout for the obliques, transversus abdominis, and rectus abdominis, side bridges work many muscles of the core or trunk. This exercise engages the glutes as synergists, or muscles that help other muscles complete a movement. Side bridges focus on the hips, engaging other synergists such as the quadratus lumborum, psoas major and hip adductors. In addition, additional back muscles such as the iliocostalis and the latissimus dorsi are also activated with side bridges.

Additional Muscles

Side bridges don’t stop at the abs and trunk. Upper-thigh muscles, including the tensor fasciae late, gracious and pectineus act as synergists, as do the deltoids, supraspinatus, and trapezius of the shoulders and upper back. Likewise, the pectoralis muscles of the chest and levator scapulae of the upper shoulders serve as stabilizers, or muscles that help other muscles maintain a certain position during exercise.

Muscle Activation

The side bridge not only excels in the quantity of muscles it engages, it also offers quality activation. Physiotherapist and chiropractor Greg Lehman notes that this exercise engages your upper and lower back muscles at 40 percent of their maximum, a figure far greater than typical back exercises. Lehman also says that the obliques and rectus abdominal experience engagement of 50 percent and 34 percent respectively, making for abdominal engagement roughly on par with crunches. The hips get the biggest benefit, however, at about 74 percent engagement. That’s twice the engagement of the common side-lying leg raise.

Low Back Pain

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research by the University of Virginia, reveals further benefits of the side bridge exercise for those who suffer from recurrent low-back pain (LBP). The study found that those with recurrent low-back pain experience the same level of muscle activation, or efficient muscle contraction, as those who did not suffer from LBP when performing side bridges. The news is doubly good, as the same study notes that a weak transverse abdominous may actually be part of the cause of LBP.

Use Jefit to Plan & Track Your Workouts

The Jefit app was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge 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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Try One of These 8 Exercise Programs on Jefit App

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The award-winning Jefit app currently offers more than three thousand different exercise programs. You name it, and Jefit offers it on their app. From basic strength programs, to muscle endurance, 5 x 5 training programs, bodyweight circuits and even Tabata and HIIT workouts. Individuals who use our app can try one of the exercise programs mentioned, or of course, design their own workout.

Below are eight exercise programs that we wanted to mention. Each one is currently featured on the Jefit app, if you want to check one of them out. Let us know if you end up downloading any of the programs. Also, we’re interested in hearing your thoughts on what you consider the best strength programs that you have tried on the Jefit app?

Jefit Exercise Programs to Try (“Click” a Workout Title to See the Actual Program)

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High-Intensity Interval v.1

As with any HIIT session, the idea is to train using a high intensity, which at times can be easier said than done! You should be breathing heavy (“winded”) by the end of each set. Perform as many repetitions as possible (“AMRAP”) based on the interval time that is prescribed. This is one way to make sure that you get the most out of each workout.

The program includes 3-days, intermediate-level, full body, HIIT sessions. Each session in the program starts off with a brief 3 bodyweight movement prep to get the body ready for a high-intensity session. Following this, you’ll dive into a full body, interval-based, circuit using supersets. The main portion of the workout consists of 5 pair of supersets. Each subsequent workout session is a little more challenging as a result of an increase in the volume of work (sets x repetitions).

Equipment needed: kettlebells and plyo box (or a small step or bench).

Six Week Six-Pack Abs

For those looking to build a defined their six pack the old fashioned way, use this routine, for six weeks, to get you the sculpted and defined abs that you have been looking for. Each exercise will help target a different area of the abdominal muscles from the obliques to the lower abs to the whole core.

Weeks 1 – 3

For the first three weeks when you do your workouts in this exercise program, you will do ab exercises with more repetitions and less sets. When working with more repetitions, you have the potential to burn more calories and fat surrounding the abdominal muscles that you are targeting and working hard to develop. A big component here is what you end up doing away from the gym. Such as, getting enough sleep, expending additional calories if needed, and focusing on a healthy diet.

You will perform this set of exercises three days each week as you focus on technique, intensity, and the amount of repetitions performed.

Exercises

  • Weighted Crunches
  • Ab Rollout on Knees
  • Hanging Leg Raise
  • Decline Crunch
  • Kneeling Cable Pulldown

*** (Notes : With the first 3 weeks of the routine, you will be performing the same exercises with the same movements, volume and resistance).

Weeks 4 – 6

For weeks four through six in this exercise program, you will be asked to increase the volume and the resistance of each exercise that you do in the routine. Increasing the resistance and volume will require your abdominal muscles to strengthen thus building more defined and fuller abs.

This set of exercises are also performed for three days each week, with the focus on the volume and resistance during the workout.

Exercises

  • Dumbbell Side Bend
  • Cable Side Bends
  • Weighted Hanging Knee Raise
  • Weighted Decline Crunch
  • Cable Crunch

*** (Notes : During the final 3 weeks of the routine, there is more focus on performing each repetition to its fullest with added weight to each exercise to build size and strength. You want to keep a controlled pace at all times and focus on the contraction on the muscles during each repetition).

FitBody Plan

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

Program Routine

Day 1 – Legs, Back, Core, Chest

Day 2 – Shoulder, Core, 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 if needed. Make sure it contains the amino acid leucine though. Use 25-35 grams/protein in any protein drink or meal. Drink plenty of H2O and get 7-8 hours of sleep. Eat well and stay strong!

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Bodyweight Forward Lunge
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Bodyweight Squat

Dumbbell Only

This workout routine is for anyone who can’t get to a gym or is looking for a full body routine using dumbbells only.

For individuals who put their gym membership on “hold” or aren’t able to get to a gym; this routine will provide a sufficient full-body, 3-day split routine. An individual can target all their main body parts and either gain/maintain muscle mass until life gets back to normal.

The plan focuses on heavy lifts using 3 to 4 sets with 10 repetitions per set to increase muscle mass and overall size over the course of the program.

Notes

If you would like to perform more cardio, you can substitute rest days for cardio days.

Warm Up

Especially for compound lifts we recommend warming up with lighter weights before your working sets. A common warmup scheme is 10-15 sets with a very light weight, followed by intermediate sets until you do 1 repetition of your working weight

Reps, Sets and Rest

There are many different rep schemes that’ll help you reach your goals. We’ve set 3 sets of 8 repetitions by default, but feel free to change it to your own liking.

Bigger, Leaner, Stronger – Barbell & Dumbbell

This is a 5-day full body, strength training program. Check out this full body exercise program that will leave you pumped after each strength training workout.

20-Minute HIIT Circuit

In this program you’ll be doing 4 rounds of twenty exercises in quick succession.

The key to any circuit training routine is to make sure that you do not rest in between sets or in between exercises until you complete all of the exercises in the circuit. This will keep your metabolic rate up ensuring that you burn as many calories as possible without sacrificing strength.

Take full use of your rests after each round! It will prepare you for the later rounds.

Warming Up

Make sure you have a light sweat before you start your workout. Especially for compound lifts we recommend warming up with lighter weights before your working sets. A typical warm-up might include a few sets with a very light weight, followed by intermediate sets until you do 1 repetition of your working weight.

Reps, Sets and Rest

There are many different rep schemes that’ll help you reach your goals. We’ve set 3 sets of 8 reps by default, but feel free to change it to your own liking.

3-Day Split

This 3-day routine is a favorite in the Jefit community due to the fact that it has been downloaded almost 1800 times.

A split workout is designed to train different muscle groups on different days before giving them time to recover before they’re trained again.

The 3-day split is a great balance for those that want results, but don’t have the time to spend more sessions in the gym. This plan focuses on the exercises that maximize work on the targeted muscles.

Warming Up

Especially for compound lifts we recommend warming up with lighter weights before your working sets. A common warmup scheme is a few sets with a very light weight, followed by a few intermediate sets, until you do 1 repetition of your working weight.

Reps, Sets and Rest

There are many different repetition schemes that’ll help you reach your goals. We’ve set 3 sets of 8 repetitions by default, but feel free to change it to your own liking.

Power and Strength Routine

This is another very popular strength training program on Jefit with about 2200 downloads to date. This is a power and strength routine that is focused on gaining strength within the muscles.

You will be performing major muscle and power building multi-joint exercises. These exercise focus at time, on the use of all the little muscles to do each exercise, thus creating optimal growth and strength gaining.

Since you are performing major muscle building exercises, there is no need to perform sets to failure, drop sets or decreasing the amount of repetitions. To build the power and strength in your muscles you want to perform the amount of sets and repetitions to the number that is being presented. This prevents from bulking up in muscle mass without gaining any strength and power or cutting and losing strength.

In this routine you will be alternating the different weeks performed for up to 6 – 8 weeks; this is for optimal muscle growth and strength.

Use Jefit App to Plan & Track Workouts

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge 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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Your Go-To Guide on How to Do More Pull-Ups

how to do more pull-ups

Pull-ups have always been a great exercise to do and you only need your bodyweight and a bar to do them. For those who can’t do a pull up yet, you may be looking to get your first one. For those who can, you’re probably looking to increase the number that you can do. So whether you can do one or 100, this is an easy to follow guide on how to do more pull-ups.

For this article we’ve made a workout to help you in your training. Check it out here.

Want to know how to do more pull-ups? Here are 5 tips

1. Dead Hang

Most people tend to skip this bit and go straight to the pull-ups, but being able to hang from the bar is an important step in increasing the number of pull-ups you can do. It is also fundamental to improving your grip strength. Without great grip strength, you can lose your grip fast, which will mean that you will do fewer pull-ups than intended.

Try to work on your dead hang by hanging from the bar with an overhand grip.

Hang for as long as you can. Then increase the time gradually. It’ll help you be able to hang from the bar for as long as you need to do crank out those pull-ups.

If you want to mix up the dead hang a bit, then add weights. You can wear a weighted vest or even just hold a dumbbell between your feet as you hang. There is also the option of one-armed hangs or even hang by your fingers. Yes, there are some people who can even do two-fingered hangs!

This will condition your grip strength and really get you used to hanging from a bar, so you can learn how to do more pull-ups.

2. Scapular Pull-Ups

Before you even try to do a full pull up, practice your scapular pull-ups first. This helps to activates the lats, which is what you need for this movement.

To do this from the bar. Depress your shoulder (sort of like a reverse shrug—your shoulders move downwards instead of upwards), without moving your arms. This will slightly raise your body. Return to your original position and repeat.

Doing scapular pull-ups will make your back stronger, while also increasing your awareness of the body movements needed for the pull-up.

3. Negative Pull-Ups

Negative pull-ups are a great way of increasing your pull up capacity. This exercise focuses on the part of the pull up where you lower yourself back down.

To do negative pull-ups, jump up from the ground, with your hands holding the bar above you, until you reach the top position of a pull-up. Then slowly lower yourself back down as slowly as possible. Try to do it for a count of 3 or 4 seconds, making sure this movement is controlled. Then repeat.

4. Assisted Pull-Ups

There is nothing wrong with using some gym accessories for help. Use resistance bands to help you get more pull-ups with some assisted pull-ups.

Wrap the band around the bar so it falls down in a loop. Place one foot in the loop while holding the bar above you. The resistance band should give you a springy floor to stand on. Then pull yourself up and lower yourself back down as if you were doing a pull-up.

The great thing about resistance bands is that they are versatile and come in different sizes. This means you can easily adjust the difficulty of assisted pull-ups by the size of the band you use. The thicker the band, the more supported you will be. You can also use two bands at the same time for extra guidance.

This is a great way to increase your muscular endurance. And if you are unable to do unassisted pull ups for more reps, just add a band to keep going.

If you have a pull-up machine at the gym, then you can use this too. While some machines differ, it will most likely give you a platform that you can stand/kneel on and adjust the weight depending on your preference.

5. Change Your Grip

There is the standard pull-up position that people use, but you can always change where and how your grip is. For example, you can make your hands narrower, wider, or even at an angle to help build up different muscles in your back and arms. This will assist in increasing your strength.

Some pull-ups machines will also have different grip handles so you can use them too.

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that can help track your progress. Whether it is to do more pull ups, or lift heavier weights, Jefit can record it all. If you need additional help, then why not join the Jefit community? Jefit offers a members-only Facebook page where you can learn from others as well as share your own wins, advice, and stories. Come and join the community now!

Did this article help you learn how to do more pull-ups? How many pull-ups can you do, and what’s your goal? Let us know!

how to do more pull-ups

What Are The Differences Between Stiff-Leg & Romanian Deadlifts?

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There are various forms of the deadlift exercise that one can do to help build overall strength and power. The stiff leg deadlift (SLD) and Romanian deadlift (RDL), are two such examples. Both exercises can be done using either a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebells. This article will look at the barbell version of each. The two movements look pretty much similar if you were to see them performed side-by-side. Both exercises stress the hamstring group more than a traditional deadlift exercise. There are, however, key differences. 

Differences Between Deadlifts (RDL & SDL)

The SDL and RDL are often considered the same exercise, but you need to understand some of the nuances between them. The main difference between both exercises is the amount of flexion that occurs in the knees. For example, in the SDL, the knees start fully extended before unlocking slightly as part of the forward hinge. In the case of the RDL, the knees remain bent while executing the movement. When you perform an RDL, your hips are pushed back to the rear, providing greater hip joint rotation. When your hips flex more, the glutes end up working more.

Both exercises work basically the same muscles (glutes, hamstrings and back). However, the SLD, using a more neutral spine ends up getting more lower back activation. A few areas where some people may run into trouble are with exericise technique and if they lack strength and mobility. Let’s take a look at each type of deadlift and discuss each of them.

Romanian Deadlift

With the RDL, the knees are bent more, as mentioned above, compared to a SLD. This in turn, provides greater hip activation and flexion. Keep in mind, many experts believe that locking the knees out completely can increase the chance of injury when performing any type of deadlift.

In terms of technique, position the feet shoulder-width apart while holding the bar with an overhand grip (aka a clean grip). Next, set your back tightly in a complete arch. We’re talking about lumbar extension here. This is real important. I would first suggest to practice the movement near a wall. Stand about a foot away from the wall as a starting position using only bodyweight. Perform a (partial) RDL movement until the glutes come in contact with the wall. Work on maintaining that slight lumbar extension I mentioned above. Then move a few more inches away from the wall and repeat. Continue to move forward, going deeper into the exercise, each time, until you find your end limit. When you feel comfortable with the technique, try the same thing with a broom stick or dowel. Eventually progress to an Olympic bar with no weight, followed by a loaded bar.

To perform an RDL properly means lowering the weight to a comfortable position just below the knee, that ends up fully engaging the hamstring. Keep the knees “relaxed” and slightly bent (about 20-30 degrees). Move the hips back to execute the movement before driving the hips forward and standing back up with the weight. 

The goal is to hinge at the hips as far as you can without losing the arch in your back. Strength and mobility dictates the range of motion someone ends up typically using. Unlock the knees as you hinge, allowing the knees to remain slightly bent until you return to standing vertically, straightening them as you straighten the hips. Keep the bar as close to the legs as possible throughout the motion. The RDL is a great exercise for developing strength through the posterior chain.

Stiff Leg Deadlift

The SLD is similar to a regular deadlift but differs because you keep your legs “almost” straight throughout the workout. The SLD is considered more of a low back exercise and is typically done last in most leg routines.

In terms of SLD technique, start by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Take hold of the bar with an overhand grip, positioning the hands about shoulder width apart. As you stand up, retract your shoulder blades, pulling the bar back into an upright posture. Next, lower the bar until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings and glutes, and then slowly straighten back up. Remember, though, as you feel this in your hamstrings, drive your heels into the ground engaging your hamstrings and glutes as you pull the bar back to the starting position. Keep the bar close to your body. Remain tight in the core with a neutral spine during each repetition.

Keep the initial weight light in both exercises until you feel the targeted muscles really starting to work. It may take some time to get it all in sync because your mind is trying to focus on others things like form and technique.

Try the Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge 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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5 Most Often Selected Leg Exercises on the Jefit App

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Following a review of the Jefit app exercise database, the most often selected leg exercises, have been determined. With more than 1350 different exercises at their disposal, Jefit members picked the following leg exercises most often. The number at the end of each each exercise name is where each of the exercises ranked on our top 25 list, which can be seen below.

Most Often Selected Leg Exercises

  1. Barbell Deadlift (5)
  2. Barbell Squat (6)
  3. Lying Leg Curl (11)
  4. Barbell Lunge (20)
  5. Leg Extensions (25)

Let’s take a look at each of these five exercises. Three of the five are compound exercises, the deadlift, squat, and lunge. When you are short on time, compound exercises are ideal. This type of movement is obviously great under any training circumstance. Compound exercises incorporate a great deal of muscle mass while performing movement utilizing multiple joints. The other two, leg extension and leg curl, are not the most functional as we all know, but will always have a place in certain strength programs.

Top 5 Leg Exercises According to Jefit App Users

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Most Often Selected of All Leg Exercises is Barbell Deadlift

The deadlift is a great exercise for strengthening not only the legs but the hips and back muscles as well. A classic compound exercise, this multi-joint exercise made the top 5 most often selected exercises determined by users of the Jefit app. It also takes top honors for the most often selected leg exercise.

Barbell Squat

The barbell squat is another great, classic, compound movement that seems to always find its way into most strength training programs. Considered a truly functional strength exercise that will pack on muscle size in the lower body. Also ideal for developing overall strength and power. Anytime you can hold or carry a load on the back and shoulders, a by-product will be an improvement in core strength.

Lying Leg Curl

A single-joint exercise that will help develop posterior chain strength, specifically in the hamstring group. Not a very functional exercise. Most likely better off performing single-leg Romanian deadlifts instead, still, came in just outside of our top 10.

Barbell Lunge

Another great multi-joint exercise that many gym goers love. It is a perfect compliment exercise to any leg routine because of the demand the movement places on the hips and legs. The exercise is the twentieth most selected exercise in the entire Jefit exercise database and fourth best rated leg exercise.

Leg Extension

This is the final leg exercise and second single-joint exercise, with the leg curl, to make the Jefit list. Not one of the most functional exercises but a great exercise to superset legs with or to place in a machine circuit. Ideal for the bodybuilding community to utilize for their training programs. Also, like leg curl, it’s a safe exercise to perform for many people such as older gym goers or someone coming back from an injury.

Let us know if your favorite exercise made or didn’t make our top most often selected leg exercise list. Below is the complete list of top 25 exercises that are most often selected by Jefit members.

Jefit App Top 25 Most Often Selected Exercises

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Try The Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge 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 and recover well using Jefit.

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7 Best Stress-Relieving Exercises to Calm Your Mind

best stress-relieving exercises

One of the best benefits of exercise is that it reduces stress. Whether you are smashing out a boxing class or going for a run, your body releases endorphins that can take away stress and anxiety, leaving you feeling calmer and happier. Especially in this busy, on-the-go lifestyle that so many of us lead, it is so important to give yourself that mental break and get active. So, here are the best stress-relieving exercises to leave you stress-free.

The 7 Best Stress-Relieving Exercises

1. Yoga

When you think about reducing stress through exercise, most people tend to steer towards the intense, fast-paced activities. While there is definitely room for that (and we will get to them later), there is also a place for yoga. Yoga is the opposite, and it is this reason why it is a great stress-reliever. It calms your mind by helping you focus on your breathing and helps you find your serenity.

It is a mind-body practice that can really help your sense of wellbeing, along with all the other physical benefits as well such as improved flexibility, posture, and strength.

2. Boxing

If you’re stressed, why not box it away? Often, we can hold in our anger and anxieties, which is very unhealthy to do. Boxing gives us a safe place to reduce our stress while letting us get in our exercise. Plus, it teaches us new skills as well.

Punching that punching bag as hard as you can stimulate the production of endorphins, helping you feel better instantly. Many people like to picture the source of their stress as the punching bag, which amps up the intensity, making it one of the best stress-relieving exercises!

3. HIIT

HIIT has so many great mental health benefits, as well as physical ones. It consists of alternating between vigorous exercises with rest periods in between. Because it is shorter than the average workout class, it is very high in intensity. And once you get into your HIIT class, you’ll be too busy focusing on your exercises to even worry about whatever is stressing you out. And once the class is over, your endorphins will be running high and you will feel much better than when you started.

4. Group Training

Whatever group training exercise you enjoy, whether it is HIIT, aerobics, Zumba, it is one of the best stress-relieving exercises. This is because you will be surrounded by your friends who are also looking to get fit and healthy too. Being in a social environment and with people, you enjoy being with can really lift your mood and make you feel much better.

5. Desk Stretches

Sometimes, you’ll be really stressed out at work and you can’t leave. When this happens, try some of the best stress-relieving exercises at your desk:

Seated twist – You don’t even have to get up from your chair to do this one. Remain seated with your feet planted on the ground. Then twist the top half of your body to the left. Hold for 5 seconds, breathing in and out deeply before switching to the other side. This helps to relax the back muscles and elongates your spine, really helpful to clear your stress and reset your body after being seated all day.

Touch your toes – Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Stretch both hands all the way up to the ceiling, really feeling the stretch in your back. Then fall forward to touch your toes (or however far you can reach) in a forward fold. Then inhale and stand back up, swinging your arms above you again and repeat. This will help to calm your mind and relieve your stress.

Pec stretch – You can remain seated or standing for this one. Bring your hands behind your head and clasp your fingers. Bring your elbows back as far as you can and squeeze. Hold it for a few breaths before releasing the tension and repeat. This is an easy one to do throughout the day, that loosens your pectoral muscles.

6. Tai Chi

Tai Chi is very gentle and meditative in practice, making it one of the best stress-relieving exercises you can do. It is based on the concept of qi (your energy flow) and works to balance both your physical and mental forces. Not only can it help tone your body and promote better balance but it reduces your stress and anxiety so you will be left with a calm and peaceful mind.

7. Running

There is a reason why people tend to put on their running shoes and go for a run when they are feeling restless or anxious. There is something therapeutic about running, getting into the rhythm with your steps and breathing. Whether you do it outdoors or on the treadmill, running is one of the best stress-relieving exercises you can do.

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that comes with a customizable workout planner and scheduler. It helps you keep track of your progress so that you know you are heading in the right direction towards your fitness goals. It also comes with an extensive exercise library so you can choose what exercises suit you. Join our members-only Facebook page as well, so you can stay connected to your fellow Jefit members!

best stress-relieving exercises

Here Are The Most Often Selected Exercises For Jefit

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The award-winning Jefit app, was recently named best app for 2021 by Men’s Health, PC Magazine and others. The workout planning & tracking app includes a database of more than 1350 exercises. Of all the exercises featured on the app, Jefit members (more than 9 million), continue to choose three exercises more often than any others.

The most often selected Jefit exercises are:

1. Barbell Bench Press

2. Barbell Bicep Curl

3. Wide Grip Lat Pull-Down

Let’s take a look at each one of these. Two of the three are multi-joint exercises (bench press and lat pull-down) and none surprisingly work the lower body. Only two leg exercises actually made our top ten list. The most often used exercises, if you were interested, are barbell deadlift followed by barbell squat.

Most Often Used Jefit Exercise – Barbell Bench Press

No surprise here that bench press is the most often used Jefit exercise. It has always been a long time staple in bodybuilding, traditional and sport-specific workout programs. Considered an ideal exercise because it develops upper body strength and power. It also helps pack on upper body muscle mass while targeting multiple muscle groups. As a result, it’s probably one of the best multi-joint exercises you can do. Not to mention, it’s a fun exercise to perform and you can easily track your progress in the Jefit app via 1-RM. Finally, don’t you always feels like you get an efficient upper body workout after completing a handful of sets of bench press?

Muscle Groups Worked: Chest, Shoulders, Back & Arms

EMG Activity: See the following study published in the Journal Human Kinetics (2017).

Barbell Bicep Curl

A fan favorite of just about everyone. Dumbbell curls have there place but a barbell bicep curl is terrific for adding size to the biceps. An old favorite of mine is barbell bicep curl 21’s. Even though barbell biceps curl is a favorite of gym-goers who use Jefit, check out the research paper (below. The study looked at the differences in EMG activity when using a barbell and an EZ curl bar.

Muscle Group Worked: Arms

EMG Activity: Read this study on differences between tradition barbel curl and EZ bar

Wide Grip Lat Pull-Down

This wide grip lat pull-down is a great exercise to add to any program for overall back development. This is one of those exercises that can stress different aspects of the back and arms depending on hand placement. A wide grip recruits more of your back muscles and a close grip pulldown emphasizes the forearm muscles. Considered a great compound or multi-joint, upper-body strength movement, because it targets the back, chest, shoulders, and arms.

Depending on who you read, an over hand grip with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width works best. Lean back slightly, pulling the bar down towards the chest, does a good job activating the biggest back muscle, the latissimus dorsi.

Muscle Groups Worked: Back & Arms

EMG Activity: See this paper that looked at muscle activity of three variations of lat pull-down. Here is a second paper published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2014) on various hand positions during lat pull-down.

Try adding one or all three of these exercises into your next strength training program that you build using the Jefit app and let us know how it goes.

Try Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge 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 and recover well using Jefit.

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Did You Know Exercise Offers These 12 Health Benefits?

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Some pass judgement on their diet and exercise plan by what the bathroom scale reads. But that should not be the case. With regular exercise, we improve many aspects of our health and fitness. Sometimes the benefits are not visible to the naked eye. Here are just a few of the many health benefits of exercise that you receive from lifelong exercise.

Health Benefits of Exercise (Strength & Cardio)

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Health Benefits of Strength Training

  • Building muscle mass can increase metabolism by 15 percent. This in turn can rev up a sluggish metabolism and improve functional ability. All by performing strength training at least two to three times a week for the rest of your life.
  • Strength training slows or prevents sarcopenia – which literally means the “loss of flesh.” We all lose muscle mass as we age – and you can begin to lose muscle around 30 years old. You can also expect to lose muscle at a rate of 10 percent each decade starting at age 50.
  • It plays a role in disease prevention – like preventing or managing type 2 diabetes, as an example.
  • Helps improve the way you move your body resulting in better balance and less falls as you age (you can reduce your risk for falling by 40 percent).
  • An additional health benefit of exercise is – it spares the loss of muscle mass during weight loss (Donnelly et al., 2003).
  • Will offset bone loss as you age – women can expect to lose 1 percent of their bone mass after age 35 and this can increase following menopause.
  • According to research, individuals who did not strength train lost about 5 to 8 pounds of muscle every ten years, with a by-product being a reduction in metabolism of about 50 calories a day.

Cardiovascular Exercise

  • Regular aerobic exercise improves your mood by decreasing stress and anxiety levels – read Exercise for Mood and Anxiety by Michael Otto, Phd and Jasper Smits, PhD.
  • Cardio exercise like jogging, hiking, jump roping, etc. will “load” your bones and in turn make them stronger.
  • Regular aerobic-type exercise improves heart function, lowers your resting heart rate, and enables your body to deliver oxygen more efficiently to your working muscles.
  • Speaking of a lower heart rate, here is a health benefit of exercise many people don’t realize. Decreasing your resting heart rate a small amount can he beneficial. Lowering heart rate from 70 to 60 beats per minute, the heart beats 14,400 less times over the course of a day. by the end of a year, that equates to more than five million less beats!
  • The American College of Sports Medicine reports that higher levels of cardiovascular fitness is associated with approximately a 50 percent reduction in disease risk.

Build Strength with the Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge 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 and recover well using Jefit.

Reference

Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., Pronk, N., Smith, B.K., Kirk, E.P., Jacobsen, D.J., Washburn, R. (2003). Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management? Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 1(1): 21-29.

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