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

guide to supplements

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

Your Easy-to-Follow Guide to Supplements

Protein Powder

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

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

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

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

Creatine

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

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

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

BCAAs

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

L-Glutamine

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

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

Pre-Workout

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

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

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

Caffeine

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

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

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

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

Workout with Jefit

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

guide to supplements

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

get back to the gym

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Be patient

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

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

3. Don’t do too much

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

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

4. Remember you’ll probably be sore

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

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

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

5. Get a trainer/instructor

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

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

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

Workout with Jefit

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

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

get back to the gym

Download Progress Pictures

Download progress pictures instantly using the app. Using the download progress picture functionality within the application, you can now easily store your pictures in your profile.

Download Progress Pictures: 

Android app:

  • Opening the application you will click on the main slider navigation and select the “progress pictures” button on the list.

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  • Click the download button which is the arrow pointing down icon.
  • Then, find the 3 dotted button and select the download option.
  • You will have to use your menu button on your phone (for smaller screen phones).

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  • The app will connect to the server and generate a list of progress pictures currently stored within your online account. This allows you to decide which ones that you would like to download into your application.
  • Click on the checkboxes to select which pictures you would like to download. Afterward, you will click on the download button and your progress pictures will be sent from the server and stored in your app.

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IOS app:

  • Go to your “Profile” page and select “Progress Photos”

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  • You’ll notice three icons on this page.

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  • 1) Indicates that you can share your progress photos to Facebook.
  • 2) This is an “Edit” icon. Where it lets you edit the date of your photo.
  • 3) Gives you the ability to “select your photo from the gallery or take a picture.”
  • On this page, you will want to click on the “download button” which is the icon with the arrow pointing down.

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  • The app will connect to the server and generate a list of progress pictures currently stored within your online account. This allows you to decide which ones that you would like to download into your application.

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  • Click to select which pictures you would like to download. Make sure to click the download button and your progress pictures will be sent from the server and stored in your app.

Download Progress Pictures

Upload Progress Pictures

Uploading progress pictures in the app is not automatically synchronized to the cloud server in order to protect the privacy and confidentiality of our members.

Thus, we have a developed a feature that will allow our users to choose which progress pictures they want to share with the JEFIT community.

Here is how uploading progress pictures in the app can easily be done through the app successfully.

Uploading Progress Pictures:

IOS app:

You are able to upload progress pictures taken with your phone’s camera and upload them to your online profile for your account.

  • First of all, open the app then go to your “profile page” and access your progress pictures”. 
  • Then click on the button with an arrow pointing upwards or the “Upload” icon.

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  • JEFIT will take the list of progress pictures currently stored within your application. Then it will allow you to decide on which ones that you would like to upload into your online profile.
  • Make sure to click only the pictures you would like to upload to the web or as a backup.
  • Finally, click on the upload button.

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Android app:

  • Opening the application you will click on the main slider navigation and select the “Progress Pictures” tab.
  • Click on the button with an arrow pointing upwards above a rectangular line underneath it or the “Upload” icon.

progressphotoandroid.png Uploading Progress Pictures

 

  • Then, JEFIT will take the list of progress pictures currently stored within your application. It will allow you to decide on which ones that you would like to upload into your online profile.
  • Click on the checkboxes to select which checkboxes you would like to upload.
  • Finally, click on the upload button.

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Once the picture is synchronized, your pictures can be viewed online at www.jefit.com. Creating a backup copy online is not necessary but can be helpful especially when there is a need for you to uninstall the app.

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

popular diets to follow

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

The Best Popular Diets to Follow

1. Intermittent Fasting

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. IIFYM

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

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

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

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

3. Mediterranean Diet

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

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

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

Fad Diets

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

Meal Replacement Shakes

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

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

1,200 calorie diet

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

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

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

Get Healthy with Jefit

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

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

popular diets to follow

4 Key Recovery Tips for Different Workouts

recovery times

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

Recovery times and methods for different exercises

How to recover from cardio

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

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

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

How to recover from HIIT

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

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

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

How to recover from running

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

Have a well-balanced snack or meal as well.

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

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

How to recover from strength training

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

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

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

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

Just listen to your body

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

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

Workout with Jefit

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

recovery times

Should I Workout Before or After Work?

workout before or after work

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

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

How busy it is

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

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

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

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

Energy levels

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

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

Do you need to eat before a workout?

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

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

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

Psychological Effects

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

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

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

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

Workout before or after work with Jefit

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

workout before or after work

4 Reasons Why You Have Low Energy Levels at the Gym

4 Reasons Why You Have Low Energy Levels at the Gym

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

Why You Have Low Energy Levels at the Gym

1. You’re not getting enough sleep

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

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

2. You’re not eating enough

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

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

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

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

3. You’re overtraining

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

Some warning signs that you are overtraining include:

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

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

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

4. You’re dehydrated

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

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

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

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

Workout with Jefit

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

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

4 Reasons Why You Have Low Energy Levels at the Gym

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

5 Things to Eat Before and After a Workout and Why

What to Eat Before and After a Workout

Wondering what to eat before and after a workout? What you munch on can make a difference in your performance and how you feel. This is because there are certain foods that can help maximize your efforts to help make each training session a great training session. Here, we tell you what to eat before and after a workout, so you can reap the benefits every single time.

What to Eat Before and After a Workout: The Best Foods

Before a workout

There are some people who train fasted. People who train fasted might be those doing intermittent fasting, who exercise early in the morning or simply prefer to workout on an empty stomach. Then there are those who need to eat something before a workout. Eating prior to a workout can give you the energy you need to make it all the way to the very end. Like we mentioned before, there are some foods that can give you better benefits than others.

Avoid Fat

While healthy fats are beneficial to your health, before a workout is not the best time to consume them. They are slow-digesting, meaning that instead of giving you the energy to pump you up before and during your session, it can instead make you feel sluggish (which is the last thing you want to feel while training).

So limit your fat intake, especially if you are doing high-intensity workouts. But if you do need to eat some healthy fats, then it is best to save it for low-moderate intensity exercises.

Focus on Protein

Because you want to focus on losing fat and not muscle, protein is really important. It will assist in preventing muscle catabolism, which is the break down of muscle tissue. In addition, it will also aid in recovery and growth. So make sure that protein is on your meal list.

Focus on Carbs

Carbs are also an important macronutrient to consume prior to a workout. However, the type of carbs you should eat depends on how soon after eating you plan to workout. If you are training 2-3 hours after your meal, then complex carbs are great. If it is anytime less, then simple carbs are the way to go.

What to eat 2-3 hours before a workout:

Consume a source of lean protein with vegetables and brown rice. It’s a classic dish for a reason—it has a great balance of vegetables, protein, and complex carbs. Complex carbs release energy slowly so by the time you train, your body will be ready. Another great meal idea is a veggie omelette with a side of protein on whole grain toast.

What to eat 1-2 hours before a workout?

Protein smoothie with fruit and veggies. Now is the great time to have that protein shake. To amp it up, add some fruit such as a banana or berries, as well as some greens. A handful of spinach, kale, or celery can help you fit in a serving of vegetables.

Oats. Get some carbs in with healthy oats, and add in some protein by mixing in protein powder. This is a versatile dish that you can mix up by changing the flavor of your protein powder. Also, you can include some honey to sweeten it up. This meal will give you slow-releasing energy that will keep you satiated throughout your workout.

What to eat 30 min-1 hour before a workout?

Now is the time for simple carbs. They are great for 30-minute windows because they break down fast, meaning you will feel energized faster.

Banana. This is a favorite pre-workout snack. It is easy and convenient. It is made up of simple carbs, natural sugars and potassium. However, this is only stored in the body for a limited amount of time so only eat it when you are about to workout soon. Add some peanut or almond butter for some added protein.

Rice cake with peanut/nut butter. A great balance of carbs and protein. Also, it is pretty delicious!

Water

Make sure you drink before you even start exercising. This will keep your body fluids up, which is important as you will lose water through sweating. If you are exercising in the afternoon or night, then make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day.

After a Workout

It is critical that you eat after a workout to replenish the depleted glycogen stores you used during exercise. This will also help speed up the muscle recovery process. For optimal results, try to eat within 30-minutes to 1 hour of exercising.

Again, focus on protein and complex carbs. The protein will help with your muscles in recovery while also assisting in rebuilding new muscles. Carbs will replenish glycogen stores.

Some meal ideas

Protein Shake. A protein shake isn’t required after a workout but the reason why you may see people filling up those shakes post-workout is that it is a convenient way to quickly get that protein in. Choose your favorite flavor and try to mix in some fruit for some carbs like a banana or some berries.

Protein, vegetables and rice. If you are still confused on what to eat before and after a workout, you can never go wrong with this dish. This meal works just as well post-workout as it does pre-workout. It has a great balance of the important things you need to refuel your body. For a veggie option, try black beans as it is a great mix of carbs and protein as well.

Greek yogurt, berries and granola. Choose Greek yogurt over regular yogurt as it has more protein. The berries are micronutrients which can aid in muscle recovery, with a side of carbs in the form of granola. Delicious!

Chicken sandwich on whole grain toast with a side of salad/vegetables. Don’t like chicken? Swap it for beef, turkey, or even tofu and beans. This is a great mix of carbs, protein, and your greens.

Pita Bread and Hummus. Dip some yummy pita bread into hummus for a great carb/protein balanced meal. It’s a great vegetarian option for those who follow a meat-free diet.

Other key points

Now you know what to eat before and after a workout, don’t forget to stay hydrated. Water plays a vital role in your body—whether it is before or after training. So drink up!

A simple way to remember what to eat before and after a workout, just remember your protein, carbs, and vegetables. That should give you a good balance of the important nutrients and minerals you need.

Track your progress with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that comes with a customizable workout planner, schedule, and exercise routines. It also comes with like-minded people who can help you decide what to eat before and after a workout, share training tips, advice, and wins. Use the Jefit app to get on track with your fitness goals, and join our members-only Facebook page here!

What to Eat Before and After a Workout

Your Go-To Guide on How to Do More Pull-Ups

how to do more pull-ups

Pull-ups are a great exercise to do and you only need a bar of some sort to do them and your body. 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 a guide on how to do more pull-ups that you can easily follow.

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 number 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, practise 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 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