An Amazing Body Transformation Journey Using the Jefit App

It is a special feeling when all your hard work in the gym finally pays off. The ultimate goal for most people is to hopefully experience a body transformation when it’s all said and done. This change, however, requires months or even years of hard work and dedication to occur. It usually includes hours upon hours of exercise, plenty of sleep and a strict nutrition plan. Proper nutrition is required to get the most out of each exercise session. Eating healthy also plays a big role in keeping muscle and body fat ratios at respectable levels.

One Jefit member, Steven Duckwiler, has experienced this type of body transformation success, losing almost hundred pounds. His journey over the past four years has been nothing short of sensational. You can follow his personal journey on his personal YouTube page, Duck Fitness.

What actually needs to happen in order for your body to dramatically transform over time?

The Right Mindset is Needed to Experience a Body Transformation

Something usually “clicks” with regard to the way you think about yourself, your body or your relationship with food. For Steven it was a few things. One hobby ended (football) and he then decided to get totally immersed in his passion, fitness. With a shift in mindset, he adjusted his eating style. What he did differently on the nutrition side was he started recording and tracking his calories. He began paying more attention to the types of food he was consuming at each meal. He also started tracking his strength workouts, using the Jefit app.

Nutrition & Exercise Play a Critical Role in Successful Body Transformation

The driving force for Steven was to lose weight when he finished up his final season of high school football. During his last year, he served as the varsity offensive line Captain. Following graduation, he started monitoring his diet and became cognizant of his daily macronutrient intake. What he did differently, as previously mentioned, was recording his calories and macronutrients each day. He also tracked his workouts with the Jefit app. As Steven got deeper into his journey, he started learning more about nutrition and exercise. This allowed him to make healthier and smarter food choices along the way.

A typical week for Steven includes weight training 6 times per week (focused around heavy compound movements). He also likes to keep active with cardio, typically light cycling and outdoor activities such as golfing and hiking. As a result of of his dedication and training over the past four years, he has competed in a USAPL Powerlifting meet. He plans on doing a mock meet in December and would like to return to competing in 2021 and eventually bodybuilding as well. His YouTube channel currently has a video of his weight loss journey. He will be posting more videos including his mock meet in December!

Turning Your Passion into a Coaching Career

Steven is studying Kinesiology and will have his degree in 2021. His next goal is to become a sports strength and conditioning coach. He would also like to continue to grow his personal training business working with athletes and individual clients. Steven has been working as an NFPT certified personal trainer since 2018. He has worked with both NFL and collegiate athletes in addition to a wide range of other clients. You can follow Steven on Instagram @steven.duckwiler and his Youtube channel, Duck Fitness.

Since Steven began his body transformation four years ago, he has lost close to hundred pounds. He continues to build metabolically active lean muscle mass with his consistent training. Steven mentioned that he likes using the Jefit app for motivation and to track his strength and cardio workouts. He also plans to use the award-winning app for his training business as a tool for coaching his clients. Congratulations Steven! You are setting a great example for many others who are looking to experience a similar body transformation.

Steven Duckwiler Transformation
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Image Credit: Steven Duckwiler

Use the Jefit App to Help With Your Own Personal Health Journey

Millions of members have had great success transforming their bodies using the Jefit app. The app is a customizable workout planner, training log, can 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. Stay strong with Jefit.




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Leading Cardiologist Discusses the Best Diet for Heart Health

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Since the mid-1900’s, cardiovascular disease has become the leading cause of death for Americans. This surge in poor heart health is associated with the popularity of cigarettes during this time and a change in the average American diet. During the 1950’s and 60’s, Americans started to consume more processed foods, added sugars, and saturated fats. During the 1960’s, several major sugar companies funded Harvard University research teams to connect heart disease to fat and suggested sugar was a helpful diet aid. While research has continued to shed light on this topic over the past sixty years, many American diets still contain high levels of sugar, fats, and carbohydrates.

One Doctors Fight for Heart Health

Dr. Satjit Bhusri, a triple board-certified cardiologist and Council Member of the American Heart Association, understands the importance of diet in relation to heart health. By advising patients in his own New York City practice, Dr. Bhusri strives to educate the public on the direct impact diet has on heart health. Many diets are put forward by nutritionists and health magazines that claim to be the best diet for those with cardiovascular disease. However, Dr. Bhusri explains to all his patients while there are many diets out there that help with heart health, you must find a reputable diet. Of the many reputable diets out there, many have the following characteristics; it must promote fruits, vegetables, and anti-inflammatory foods while limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, sodium, artificially sweetened foods and beverages, and full-fat dairy foods.

“There are red flags to watch out for with any internet diet, and so the most important thing I can tell my patients is to do your research. Any heart-conscious diet will encourage vegetables, healthy heart meats like salmon, and whole grains. Any diet that says it’s ok to drink soda probably wasn’t made by a cardiologist or nutritionist,”

Dr. Satjit Bhusri

Best Diet for Heart Health – DASH Diet is High on the List

One of the most popular, reputable diets for heart health is the DASH diet, which stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension. This diet promotes eating nutrients such as potassium, calcium, fiber, and protein to help reduce high blood pressure.

“A good example of a heart-healthy diet is the DASH diet. The DASH diet promotes eating healthy foods such as whole grains, lean protein, fruits, veggies, and low-fat dairy while reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened foods, whole dairy foods, and saturated fats,” explained Dr. Bhusri.

When looking for a heart-healthy diet, Dr. Bhusri recommends the following:

  • The diet has little to no fatty meats such as steak and pork.
  • Promotes lower caloric intake and eating large portions of vegetables.
  • Stays away from sugar sweetened foods and beverages such as ice-cream and sodas.
  • Encourages the consumption of anti-inflammatory foods such as salmon and avocados.

Stay Strong with the Jefit App

Millions of members have had great success using the Jefit app, 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. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Healthy Lifestyle Makes a Positive Impact on Metabolic Health

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The majority of Americans were classified as unhealthy prior to the pandemic hitting. With many of us self quarantining at home since then, that number, sadly, has probably only increased.

Many people actually think “healthy” refers to how much they weigh or what someones outward appearance looks like. Good overall health, however, starts internally. This is where the term metabolic health comes in. Some also refer to this as metabolic fitness. In any event, metabolic health is the absence of metabolic disease. The numbers in this country are not good. About 88 percent of Americans are considered to have metabolic disease. The good news, though, metabolic health can improve through healthy eating and regular exercise, especially a short walk after meals.

“Flying blind, 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. Using their best judgment, 59% of people say conflicting nutrition information makes them question their choices. Worse, only 12% of all Americans are actually metabolically healthy.”

Anthony Vennare – Co-Founder, Fitt Insider

Research on Metabolic Health

In a 2019 study published in the journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, a group of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reviewed data from 8,721 adults as reported in the 2009 to 2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). They found that just 1 in 8 adults living in United States had optimal metabolic health.

A second study published in 2016 in the journal Circulation, applied seven lifestyle and risk factors criteria from the American Heart Association to national data published between 2011 to 2012. The results found virtually 0% of U.S. adults met all the ideal levels. These levels included: not smoking, having a healthy diet, physical activity, normal weight and total cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose level.

Finally, it has been determined through research that 23 percent of adults have metabolic syndrome. This condition occurs when a person fails to meet at least three of the ideal measurements with things like blood pressure and glucose levels (seen below).

What Constitutes Metabolic Health?

Using most recent guidelines, metabolic health was defined as having optimal levels of the following six criteria.

  • Waist Circumference (WC <40/34 inches for men/women respectively).
  • Glucose (fasting glucose <100 mg/dl).
  • Hemoglobin (A1c <5.7%).
  • Blood Pressure (systolic <120 and diastolic <80 mmHg).
  • Triglycerides (<150 mg/dl).
  • High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (≥40/50 mg/dl for men/women), and not taking any related medication.

Likewise, the International Diabetes Federation, states metabolic unhealthy individuals were defined as those who presented at least one of the following criteria:

  • Systolic/Diastolic Blood Pressure ≥130/85 mm Hg or use of antihypertensive drug.
  • Triglycerides level ≥150 mg/dl.
  • HDL-Cholesterol Level < 40 mg/dl in men or < 50 mg/dl in women or use of lipid-lowering drugs.
  • Glucose level ≥100 mg/dl or use of antidiabetic drug.

Intermittent Fasting and Metabolic Health

A possible tool to help improve metabolic health is intermittent fasting (IF). There has been a great deal of research over the years on the effects of IF on the body, including metabolic health. A review published in the revered New Journal of Medicine by Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., and Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D., looked at the powerful effects of IF including glucose regulation that could help your metabolic health cause.

Intermittent fasting elicits evolutionarily conserved, adaptive cellular responses that are integrated between and within organs in a manner that improves glucose regulation, increases stress resistance, and suppresses inflammation. During fasting, cells activate pathways that enhance intrinsic defenses against oxidative and metabolic stress and those that remove or repair damaged molecules.”

Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., and Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D

Therefore, continue to focus on regular exercise each week. Specifically, strength training and various forms of high intensity interval exercise. Mix this into your cardio at least 1-2 times a week. In addition, have your blood profile checked yearly or better yet, every six months to keep a handle on your metabolic health.

Get Strong and Stay Strong with Jefit

Millions of members have had great success using the Jefit app, 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. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Learn the Nuances of High Intensity Interval Training

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Sometimes you may feel you need a PhD just to understand the differences between all the cardio terminology. For example, do you grapple with how to perform a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session or a Tabata protocol? Do you understand the subtle differences? Not to worry, most people from my experience don’t really know either. The following information includes insight on some of the more well-known cardio terms that are used.

Cardio Terminology: The Difference Between HIIT and Tabata

Two of the main differences in these protocols are time and intensity. Tabata is completed in just four-minutes using maximal intensity. In respect to rest periods, Tabata has shorter rest periods then HIIT, which are always 10-seconds. Other HIIT protocols have longer recovery periods, typically 30-seconds to one-minute but sometimes up to two-minutes. Finally, Tabata involves 8 rounds of intense exercise using a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio (20 seconds on and 10 seconds off). The total workout time equates to only 4-minutes, not including warm-up and cool-down. Keep in mind, your heart rate and breathing are really elevated and you shouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation during that time.

The one key word in all of these cardio definitions is INTENSITY. The workout time is less than steady state cardio, therefore, it has to be performed at a higher intensity level. As explained by leading HIIT expert, Martin Gibala, PhD, author of the One-Minute Workout. “The harder you go, the shorter the duration and the fewer intervals you need to achieve the same benefits of a much longer endurance-training workout.”

The Obsession with Intervals

Athletes have been using forms of interval training since 1902, a runner by the name of Joe Binks was one of the first athletes to understand the value of this type of training. By 1910-12, it started gaining more popularity after a few Finnish Olympic runners won Gold medals using intervals as part of their training. It wasn’t until 1930, though, when Franz Stampfl, who coached Roger Bannister (world’s first sib-4-minute miler), took interval training to new heights. He is considered the person who “was responsible for introducing the notion of interval training as we know it today (Noakes).”

The idea behind interval training is to push your body past anaerobic threshold (typically 85 percent of maximum heart rate) for a desired time. Following this, you return back to more of a comfortable aerobic threshold before repeating this sequence for “x” amount of intervals depending on your proposed training outcome. The final goal is to improve your overall performance level.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT has gained popularity because it brings an understandable “to do” message that gets across to the public. Meaning, health guidelines continue to push 150-minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. Another option for that is 75-minutes of vigorous exercise per week to accumulate health benefits. The issue however is most people don’t get close to reaching those numbers. HIIT is more manageable, more challenging yes, but doable. High intensity interval training is simply a method of training where the intensity of the workout is manipulated, in an undulating fashion, for a specific period of time.

I like to think of HIIT as the driver of the bus and all other cardio-type workouts (terminology) as unique features of the bus. Think of it like HIIT being the parent and their kids are Tabata, Fartlek and Intervals, all belonging to the same family but yet slightly different.

A big take away from HIIT is the following. The harder and faster you can work in a training session, the less time you need to exercise. Go as fast as you can using short bursts. As a results, you can get the same endurance benefits but with less than 5 percent of the time exercising hard. Not to mention you’re working out only a third of the time compared to someone doing traditional or steady state cardio (i.e. 150-minutes a week) for longer duration.

Who Created Tabata and What is it?

Why none other than Mr. Izumi Tabata, PhD, a Japanese research scientist. He actually had a little help from a Japanese Olympic speed skating coach but that’s a story for another day.

What is it? Tabata training is a method of endurance training. A 4-minute workout sounds way too simple I know but trust me, it’s not! The original study used a type of stationary bike and had test subjects perform seven to eight 20-second, all-out sprints, each separated by just 10 seconds of rest. Following 6-weeks of training college students, five days a week, participants increased their aerobic fitness by 14 percent.

By comparison, a second group – who performed more traditional steady state exercise on the same bike for 60 minutes – experienced an increase in aerobic fitness by only 10 percent. In other words, the 4-minute workout was found to be more effective than an hour of cycling at a moderate pace. Even more significant was the fact that the Tabata participants saw a 28 percent improvement in anaerobic capacity. This was the first study of its kind that showed both aerobic and anaerobic benefits received from biking.

What’s a Fartlek?

The word fartlek means “speed play” in Swedish. Think of it as continuous running with intervals mixed in. The intensity of the intervals used depends on how good the person feels that day. Back in the 1930’s coaches started using this type of training with their athletes. According to the Science of Running website, “fartlek training was a very informal type of training where you vary the speed based on the athletes feel. This means you vary the speed throughout the run often times alternating fast/slow, or fast/medium, or medium/slow.” 

Keep in mind, the different forms of interval training mentioned here are basically, high-intensity interval training. Each of which is very strenuous on the body and require only 1-2 sessions a week to obtain real benefits. More is not better when it comes to interval training. The focus should be about quality of training not quantity.

Workout and Stay Strong with Jefit

Millions of members are having great success using the Jefit app that comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s 1400 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. Stay strong with Jefit.

References

Noakes, Tim, Lore of Running (4th edition), Human Kinetics: IL, 2003.

Gibala, Martin, The One-Minute Workout, Avery: New York, 2017.

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Four Fruits that Have a Surprising Amount of Protein

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Hard to belief but there are actually a few fruits that have a surprising amount of protein. Anyone whose seriously into working understands how difficult it can be to reach their daily protein needs. If you strength train and your goal is to build muscle mass then you need more protein than you may realize. The current RDA suggestion for protein is 0.8 grams/kilogram/body weight/day. This amount is ideal if you’re looking to maintain current levels. Everybody is unique and has different needs when it comes to protein intake.

In any case, you can only eat so much meat, eggs, and tuna fish. A great way to bolster protein levels and aid muscle protein synthesis, is to supplement meals with other types of protein, like fruit and vegetables. Today, we’ll focus on how to best do that with fruit. You’re probably thinking right about now… fruit has protein? yes, it has protein, not to mention an abundance of fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Which Fruits Have the Highest Amount of Protein?

So let’s look at the question asked in the heading above and try to answer it. The first fruit that comes to mind is avocado. When I was younger I always thought it was a vegetable. In any case, they are loaded with nutrients and have protein. Another fruit that made our list is guava, which contains a good amount of protein and packed with vitamins. The typical fruit has about 1-2 grams of protein per cup. We are looking for fruits with slightly more protein. The third fruit is an apricot and rounding out our list are kiwis.

Fruits can be a pretty good source of protein, though they tend to have less protein than vegetablesbeansnuts, and other high protein foods. Again, we’re looking for ways to supplement the diet with protein for those who need more protein or want a change in what they’re currently eating. Some helpful tools to use are MyToolData and MyFitnesspal and Fooducate apps. Please note, there are other fruits that have more protein but they did not make the list because they are harder to find or are grown in only certain regions.

Fruits that Have a Surprising Amount of Protein

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CALIFORNIA AVOCADOS

  • Each cup of California avocado contains 4.5 grams of protein.
  • Choose California avocado over regular avocado (4 grams/cup).
  • One ounce has 50 calories.
  • Avocados are high in fat. But it’s monounsaturated fat, which is the “good” fat that helps lower bad cholesterol, as long as you eat them in moderation.
  • 1 cup contains 289 calories and 15.6 grams of fiber.
  • An average-sized avocado offers between 11-17 gram of fiber!
  • Packed with lots of vitamin C, phosphorus, vitamin K and potassium.
  • California avocados have 20% fewer calories and 13% less fat than Florida avocados.

GUAVAS

  • 1 cup of guava contains 4.2 grams of protein.
  • Comprised of 82% water, 15% carbohydrate, 3% protein and 1% fat.
  • This fruit contains an AMAZING AMOUNT of Vitamin C = 419% of RDA.
  • 1 cup has 15% of RDA for potassium.
  • 1 cup of guava has 17% more lycopene than tomatoes. Lycopene protect against free radicals more than any carotenoid.
  • 1 cup of guava cubes has 688 mg of potassium, 63% more than a medium banana.
  • Studies show people who eat more potassium rich food have lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

APRICOTS

  • 1 cup of apricots contain 2.2 grams of protein.
  • Loaded with vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin A and sugar (but they are natural not added sugars).
  • Two medium apricots have about 1.5 grams/fiber, 13 mg/phytosterols, a plant chemical that offers many health benefits.
  • Originally from China, where they have grown for more than 4,000 years.
  • The recommended portion is 30 grams (about 3 or 4 apricots).
  • They are rich in plant antioxidants.

KIWIS

  • 1 cup of kiwi has 2.1 grams of protein.
  • Considered a great healing food because they are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients.
  • A study at Rutgers University looked at the nutritional value of 75 fruits and found kiwis were the most nutrient dense of all fruits.
  • They have almost twice the vitamin C of oranges.
  • Two medium kiwis have about 5 grams/fiber.

Hopefully, you’re already eating most of these fruits and if not, maybe you should think about trying to? You can definitely increase your daily protein intake by adding more fruit to your diet. In addition, you will also take in additional vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and more!

Workout with Jefit

Millions of members are having great success using the Jefit app. One such individual is Don who, pound for pound, is one of the strongest individuals we’ve come across in our Jefit community. Check out some of his amazing instagram posts. Jefit is a fitness app that comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s 1400 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. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Taking Care Of Your Body Greatly Affects Your Mind

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What part of your body weighing about 3-pounds has more than 86 billion nerve cells? That’s right, the brain! One part of your brain, the cerebrum, makes up about 85 percent of those 3-pounds. We have a good idea why it’s so important to take care of the one body and mind that we are given. In respect to our mind, what are we doing to take care of that?

Let’s take a look at why taking care of your body and mind are so important especially in respect to the mind-body connection.

While there are so many amazing reasons to look after your body, the most prominent one is due to the effect it has on the mind. The human brain is an incredibly complicated tool, and looking after it is no easy task. Let’s look at a few fun, interesting facts about what we have upstairs.

Incredible Facts About the Body and Mind

The most advanced computer on earth is still nowhere near as remarkable as the human brain, here are a few fun facts that will help you see just how incredible it really is:

  • The human brain will triple its size in the first year of life.
  • Hard to believe but information in the brain travels at a speed of 268 mph (between neurons).
  • Your brain’s storage capacity is considered virtually unlimited
  • Research suggests the human brain consists of about 86 billion neurons. Each neuron forms connections to other neurons, which could add up to 1 quadrillion (1,000 trillion) connections. Over time, these neurons can combine, increasing storage capacity.
  • A small piece of brain tissue, the size of a grain of sand, contains 100,000 neurons and 1 billion synapses.
  • Research has shown the human brain can generate about 23 watts of power (enough to power a lightbulb).
  • Finally, it’s a myth that we only use 10 percent of our brain. You actually use all of it (source: Northwestern Medicine).

And that is only a few facts about the brain. From these seven facts, though you can probably see how important the body and mind connection really is.

How Exercise Helps the Brain

When we exercise, the benefits to the brain are incredible, and the long term effects are just as positive. The science behind your body and mind connection is quite fascinating. When we perform aerobic exercise or any exercise that has cardiovascular benefits, the brain will always benefit. Aerobic exercise increases your respiration and heart rate therefore the flow of blood to the brain increases. At the time your heart rate increases further, this is generally accompanied by heavy breathing. The increase in breathing will then lead to the pumping of more oxygen to the brain, and this will lead to something called neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is simply the production of neurons in certain cognitive regions of the brain. Neurogenesis has also been shown to increase brain volume, and it’s widely believed that this can be highly beneficial against early signs of Alzheimer’s.

What’s the Best Exercise to Improve Both Your Body and Mind?

Well, if you are trying to take care of your body and mind, you should be aiming for a well-rounded and complete exercise program. The routine should include more than just strength training; adding in aerobic exercise, mobility, flexibility and balance. Another huge factor when it comes to brain health is to be mindful of your diet. Eating processed food and junk food has been shown to have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health. By using a combination of both healthy food and a good, sustainable exercise program, you’ll be on your way to a healthier body and mind in no time at all.

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 the Jefit app 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. Stay strong for a health body and mind.

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Want a Powerful Bench Press? Try Adding Tricep Extension

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Who isn’t interested in improving their PR for bench press? I know we all are; a new 1-RM can make a day. But on that same note, we also hit plateaus with our beloved bench press. There are, however, certain exercise like dumbbell tricep extension and dips, for example, that have been proven to be beneficial. When you watch someone perform a bench press exercise they usually have no problem pushing the weight off the chest. Where they have more of an issue is performing “complete” arm extension required at the end of each repetition. This is a reminder that the chest may in fact have the necessary strength but the triceps need to be stronger. Enter dumbbell tricep extension.

Muscles Making Up the Tricep(s)

The tricep muscle is comprised of three unique heads that make up the tricep brachii muscle. Individually, we know that the medial head, which sits beneath both lateral and long heads, is made up of slow twitch muscle fibers. This is important because slow twitch fibers respond well to endurance training or a higher number of repetitions. The lateral head, though, is made up of fast twitch fibers and finally, the long head of the triceps is, you guessed it, comprised of both fast and slow twitch muscle fibers.

What EMG Research Can Tell Us

When in doubt about how well an exercise targets a muscle group, look at the research. In this case the research is based off electromyography (EMG) results. We can see what overall percentage of a muscle is activated for specific movement patterns or an exercise such as the dumbbell tricep extension. In the case of dumbbell tricep extension, one research study showed 76 percent peak muscle activation during the exercise. The long head showed more of an increase, 81 percent, while the lateral head decreased to 72 percent. Remember that the EMG device records the electrical activity of the muscle. Basically, the stronger the muscle activity, the higher the action potential, resulting in a stronger EMG signal.

Are There Better Exercises for Tricep Development?

Yes, of course. We are highlighting in this article just one of let’s say the top five exercise. Some of the other great exercises that build tricep strength are: diamond push-ups, kickback exercises and dips (bodyweight and weighted). The dumbbell tricep extension is just another good tool that should be in your tool box.

Tricep Extension Training Options

  • Dumbbell Overhead Tricep Extension
  • Dumbbell Standing One-Arm Extension
  • Pulley Extension
  • Standing Rope Extension
  • Supine Rope or Dumbbell Extension
  • Tricep Kickback
  • Barbell Skull Crusher
  • One Arm Tricep Kickback (one knee on bench)

Jefit Member Performing Classic DB Tricep Extension

Long-time Jefit Elite member Don Goldstein demonstrates how he performs his DB extension exercise – see here. Don actually goes on to say that, “by doing triceps overhead extensions and weighted bench dips it helps develop the tricep heads from different angles; in addition it helps prepare the triceps for increases in load when going heavy on bench. Basically if you don’t train your triceps, your bench won’t increase as they go hand in hand.”

Get Strong 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 and hear from you too!

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Five Components for a Lifetime of Healthy Eating Patterns

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The USDA releases an updated nutrition and healthy eating guide every five years. At the core of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is eating patterns and the relationship with food and nutrients. The individual goal for this work is to adhere to eating patterns that promote health and prevent chronic disease across a lifespan.

The healthy eating patterns recommended in this 8th edition were developed by integrating findings from systematic reviews of scientific research. In addition, food pattern modeling, and analyses of current intake of the U.S. population were also looked at. The evidence shows that “healthy eating
patterns are associated with positive health outcomes.”

Healthy Eating Pattern Defined

According to the authors of this DGA report, “healthy eating patterns support a healthy body weight. It can also help prevent and reduce the risk of chronic disease throughout periods of growth and development.” An eating pattern represents all the foods and beverages you consume. All foods consumed as part of a healthy eating pattern fit together like a puzzle to meet nutritional needs without exceeding limits. This is especially true in regard to saturated fats, added sugars, sodium, and total calories.

The Five Components Needed

  • Follow a Healthy Eating Pattern Across the Lifespan. A healthy eating pattern includes plenty of protein, grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and oils. It limits saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium.
  • Focus on Variety, Nutrient Density, and Amount. Meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.
  • Limit Calories from Added Sugars and Saturated Fats and Reduce Sodium Intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.
  • Shift to Healthier Food and Beverage Choices. Replace typical food and beverage choices with more nutrient-dense options. Be sure to consider personal preferences to maintain shifts over time.
  • Support Healthy Eating Patterns for All. Each one of us can play a major role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings around us. This includes from home to school to work to our communities.

Final Notes on Eating Healthy

A healthy eating pattern, or style, includes the following:

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups (dark green, red and orange, legumes, and starches).
  • Fruits, especially whole fruit.
  • Grains, half of which are whole grains.
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages.
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds, and soy products.
  • Oils

A healthy eating pattern limits the following:

  • Limit saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium. A number of studies have shown an association between increased intake of trans fats and an increase risk of CVD.
  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars.
  • Eat less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats.
  • Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium.
  • Limit consumption of dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day.
  • If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation (up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men).
  • Moderate coffee consumption (three to five 8-oz cups/day or providing up to 400 mg/day of caffeine) can be part of healthy eating patterns.

Avoid the Halo Effect

This refers to someone who eats healthy foods but goes overboard on portion sizes. As a result, they end up consuming too many calories for the day. Try the following: protein should be the size of your smartphone, all carbs should be the size of your fist, and fruits and veggies should cover the rest of your plate. This is an easy way to visualize what a healthy meal looks like. Also, you’ve heard, the the more colorful your plate, the more nutrients you’ll be eating.

Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Go Hand-in-Hand.

In addition to having a healthy eating style or pattern, we all need to also meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Regular physical activity is one of the most important things we can do to improve our overall health. Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) and should perform strength training on 2 or more days each week, using the Jefit app to plan, log, track and share your workouts. Stay strong!

Reference

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020, 8th Edition. USDA: DietaryGuidelines.gov

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See How to Get More Protein on Plant-based Diet, Watch The Game Changers

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Sometimes you read or watch something that changes how you think about a topic. The topic is this case is nutrition and more specifically, a plant-based diet. It’s always important to understand both sides of a story though. Many bodybuilders and recreational lifters alike think they can’t get enough protein from a plant-based diet. So, they tend to avoid it, even if they intuitively know it’s a healthy option. Most stay away because they can’t grasp how eating a plant-based diet would allow enough daily protein to build lean muscle.

Your mind could change a bit after watching an interesting documentary on Neflix called The Game Changers, produced by James Cameron. The show first dropped back in 2018 and is currently trending once again. I would highly recommend that you at least watch it. The show is 85-minutes long and interviews many great athletes who talk about how and why they transitioned to a plant-based diet.

Definition of a Plant-based Diet

One of the better definitions of a plant-based diet was found in this article published by Harvard Medical School and author Katherine McManus, MS, RD. She goes on to say that “plant-based or plant-forward eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It doesn’t mean that you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources.”

There are several pro/con reviews of the documentary, however, saying they get a lot right but also some things wrong. One review mentioned the show vilified red and processed meats while claiming animal proteins like chicken, fish, and eggs were as equally bad for your health. We know that certain ways of eating like a vegetarian or Mediterranean diet, have been shown to be healthy, and they includes such foods.

There may be an argument that healthy eating is not an “all or nothing” diet or philosophy and more about finding the best option to eat healthy. To be able to eat healthy the majority of time would be a good thing; incorporating a manageable diet that enhances a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.

Check out the show and see what you think for yourself, who knows, maybe it’s something you’ve thought about trying in the past. In any event, this or something similar could be a reset for eating better during (1) this stressful, pandemic time and (2) for a fast approaching Holiday season.

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Stay Strong with a Plant-based Diet and Jefit

Take advantage of Jefit’s 1400 exercise database in your workouts. Jefit is a fitness app that comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, and ability to track data. There is also a members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice in order to get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Stay strong!

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Want Strong, Shapely Glutes? Try Doing Barbell Hip Thrust

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The barbell hip thrust exercise is a great option for increasing size and strength in the hip musculature, specifically the glutes. Like a squat or a deadlift, the hip thrust is a compound movement that targets a large number of muscles in the lower body. This particular exercise is ideal for building both strength and size due to the heavy loads typically used. As an example, see the video below.

Take a break from those other more popular leg exercises for a while. Add barbell hip thrust to change things up a bit. This exercise is great for breaking through plateaus for other leg exercises like a squat. Give those other compound leg exercises a break for a few weeks. Transition to a barbell hip thrust along with single-leg exercises for a period before coming back to the squat and deadlift.

Major Muscle Groups Targeted

Exercise Execution

Position the body on the bench so the back touches the bench just below the shoulder blades. Keep the feet flat on the floor with knees bent.

Olympic bar rests across the hip crease with both hands holding onto the bar.

Keep chin tucked and the ribs down.

Lift the hips off the ground performing hip extension. The key is to raise the hips high enough to get maximal hip extension.

The knees are at 90-degree angles and both body and thighs are parallel with the floor at the end (top) of the movement. Keep chin tucked.

Do not over-arch the back during the movement.

The Barbell Hip Thrust Exercise Performed by Jefit Elite Member

Image Credit: @don_fit on Instagram

Does Barbell Hip Thrust Offer More Muscle Activation than a Squat?

Some would say the barbell hip thrust offers a higher glute activation than a squat when looking solely at the involvement of the gluteus maximus. The best way to get more of an understanding is through EMG analysis. Let’s compare the two exercises through research. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine concluded “the mechanics of the BHT favors the greater activation of the extensor muscles of the hip compared to more conventional exercises.” A second study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning, in 2018, also suggested that the hip thrust movement may be optimal for training the gluteus maximus muscle group in comparison to the back squat and split squat. Finally, some additional information from Bret Contreras, PhD, a leading expert on the hip thrust movement, presented here.

Workout with Jefit

Millions of members are having great success using the Jefit app. One such individual is Don who, pound for pound, is one of the strongest individuals we’ve come across in our Jefit community. Check out some of his amazing instagram posts. Jefit is a fitness app that comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s 1400 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. Stay strong with Jefit.

References

Neto, W.K., et al., Barbell Hip Thrust, Muscular Activation and Performance: A Systematic Review. J Sports Sci Med. 2019 Jun; 18(2): 198–206.
Published online 2019 Jun 1.

Williams, M., et al., Activation of the Gluteus Maximus During Performance of the Back Squat, Split Squat, and Barbell Hip Thrust and the Relationship With Maximal Sprinting. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2018. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002651

Top photo – Image credit: Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

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What’s More Important for Weight Loss: Exercise or Diet?

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Have you ever wondered about the value of exercise and diet as it relates to weight loss? Which do you think is more important, exercise or diet? If you’re looking to losing weight, both diet and exercise are critical pieces of the puzzle. Many people, though, place more focus on the diet aspect. If you’re looking to maintain a healthy, sustainable lifestyle then you need to consistently monitor both. Remember, you can’t manage something if you don’t measure it. Finally, if the goal is simply to build lean muscle mass, then strength training and diet are paramount. The goal in this scenario is to create a surplus of calories each day. Weight gain and ultimately adding more muscle mass can not occur if this does not happen.

National Weight Control Registry (NWCR)

One of the best research-based organizations that looks at the weight loss question is the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR). The NWCR is the brain-child of Rena Wing, PhD, from Brown University Medical School. The NWCR “provides information about the strategies used by successful weight loss maintainers to achieve and maintain long-term weight loss.” The NWCR is currently tracking over 10,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and, more importantly, have kept it off for long periods of time.

Main Outcome from NWCR

NWCR members have lost an average of 73 pounds and maintained the loss for more than 5 years. “To maintain their weight loss, members report high levels of physical activity (≈1 h/day/walking), eating a low-calorie, low-fat diet, eating breakfast regularly, self-monitoring weight, and maintaining a consistent eating pattern across weekdays and weekends.”

What should help clear up this debate is the fact that only 1 percent of the NWCR database (>10,000 subjects) have been successful at keeping their weight off with exercise alone. About 10 percent of the subjects have been successful with weight loss maintenance by focusing on diet alone. More than 89 percent of the subjects have been successful because of BOTH diet and exercise modifications.

NWCR

Finally, maintaining an active lifestyle throughout the week and especially on the weekend is important no matter what the goal. Focus on eating clean, healthy foods, avoid highly processed foods and finally, watch the added sugar in everything you eat. Lastly, sticking to a healthy diet and getting regular exercise will always be good choices when it comes to weight-loss.

Workout with Jefit

Take advantage of Jefit’s 1400 exercise database for your strength workouts. Jefit is a fitness app that comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, and ability to track data. There is also a members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Quality Sleep is Important But Never More Than Now

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“Sleep is the best meditation.” 

~ Dalai Lama

When you end up not getting quality sleep during the night, you typically feel “off” throughout the next day. Not only can your mood and energy level be low, your workout usually suffers too. This seems to happen when you’re clocking less than 6 hours of sleep a night on a consistent basis. In addition to that, you may also notice, you crave unhealthy foods following a sub-optimal amount of sleep the previous night.

Quality of Sleep

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What’s the Definition of Good, Quality Sleep

Sleep quality, as opposed to sleep quantity, refers to how well you sleep. It also includes falling asleep within 30-minutes or less, and sleeping through the night without having the need to get up. The one final piece you could add to the mix is when you’re awaken, for whatever reason, you’re able to fall back to sleep within 20-minutes.

The most valuable assets you have are your mind and body and they require a certain amount of sleep each night to function optimally. With that said, more than 60 percent of the population does not sleep well throughout the night. Research shows people getting less than six hours of sleep have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who sleep more than six hours. This is important because inflammation is linked to diabetes, stroke, heart disease, arthritis, and premature aging. This data was published in the Centers for Disease and Control and Morbidity and Mortality Report.

The Association Between Quality Sleep and Exercise

You work hard in the gym and try to eat healthy to give yourself the best chance for success. The last thing you want to do is ruin those odds by getting minimal sleep. Research from University of Chicago and University of Wisconsin show people who slept more carried less body fat. Subjects who monitored caloric intake and averaged 5.5 hours of sleep, had more body fat compared to subjects consistently getting 8.5 hours of sleep.

Finally, the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study looked at more than 1,000 subjects regarding their sleep patterns. They found those who slept less than 8 hours a night had an increase in BMI proportional to decreased sleep.

National Sleep Foundation’s recommends 7-9 hours of uninterrupted, quality sleep for adults (ages 18-64). For older adults (age 65+), they suggest 7-8 hours of sleep a night. These recommendations were updated in 2015 and published in Sleep Health: The Official Journal of the National Sleep Foundation.

Final Thought on Sleep

One final comment on the importance of sleep that’s explained nicely in the book, Biological Rhythms and Exercise. “Weight-training exercises may be unaffected by partial sleep loss early on in a training session, but the performance suffers due to lack of drive and concentration as the (exercise) session continues.”

We are currently living in unprecedented times during this past year, and stress has affected us in some way or another. Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to how we’re living our life. Use both regular exercise and aim for quality sleep each night to help reduce the amount of stress in your life. Stay strong with Jefit app.

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