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Should I be Using Wrist Straps and Lifting Belts?

Should I be Using Wrist Straps and Lifting Belts_

Have you ever looked around the gym, and seen people with straps around their wrists and belts around their waist? These wrist straps and lifting belts are gym accessories that people use to enhance their performance. But what how exactly do they work and do you need them to? How do you even use them? This post will answer all your common questions.

Wrist Straps

What are wrist straps and their benefits?

Wrist straps go around your wrists. Essentially, they work to give your wrists extra support and make lifting heavy weights a little easier.

Another benefit of wrist straps is that they improve grip strength. Most people tend to have weak grip strength, which can affect their lifts, especially with the deadlift. Wearing these straps help improve your grip so that you can actually work out the target muscles of your exercises.

For example, if you are deadlifting and your grip gives out first, you lose training time. Using wrist straps is a solution to this problem, By helping your grip, you can focus on the actual target muscles of the deadlift, rather than struggling just to hold the barbell for longer.

Should I be using wrist straps?

Wrist straps are not necessary. While some people prefer to use wrist straps in their training, others can workout without ever using it once. It really depends on your preference and how you feel.

Should I be using wrist straps every time I train?

If you do want to use wrist straps, do not use it all the time. The reason is that you don’t want to rely on them every time you lift. Lifting with them on all the time can cause weakness in the muscle.

It is best to use them when you are lifting near or on your 1RM where the extra support is needed. 80%-90% of your 1RM is ideal. When your grip starts to fall, then incorporate this gym accessory. But if you can lift without the straps and prefer this, then don’t worry about them. 

 

Lifting Belts

What are lifting belts and their benefits?

Lifting belts function similarly to wrist straps; they help to enhance performance. Let’s talk about the squat for example. When you squat, you need to take in a deep belly breath full of air and brace, holding it until the end of the lift. This is called the Valsalva manoeuvre. It creates intra-abdominal pressure, allowing you to perform the lift. What the lifting belt does is it increases this force in the abdomen.

It helps to better stabilize the spine and core, helping you to lift heavier weights.

Should I be using lifting belts?

Just like the wrist straps, they are not necessary. It comes down to your personal preference. If you believe you train better with them, then go ahead. But don’t feel like it is critical to have this gym accessory.

Should I be using lifting belts every time I train?

No, you shouldn’t wear it every time you train because you probably won’t need it all the time. Likewise, with the wrist straps, they are great if you are lifting your max or close to it. However, anytime other than that, then you won’t need it. Again, 80-90% of your 1RM is when you can start incorporating lifting belts.

One important thing to note as well is that lifting belts do not just automatically correct bad technique. They are supposed to enhance your performance rather than compensate for incorrect form. So make sure that if your aim is to lift heavier, that you can first perform the moves properly.

Do I need wrist straps and lifting belts?

All in all, you don’t need wrist straps and lifting belts. They are not indicators of how strong you are or are fundamental to your training. However, when used correctly, they can be useful if you prefer to wear them. So it really comes down to you and your preference. Just be sure to only use wrist straps and lifting belts when necessary and not every time you train or do a set.

Workout with Jefit

Want more advice and training tips? Jefit is a workout log app that comes with a customizable workout planner, schedule, and a great community filled with like-minded people. We even offer 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!

Should I be Using Wrist Straps and Lifting Belts_

Can I Run and Strength Train at the Same Time?

Can I Run and Strength Train at the Same Time_

As a runner, you don’t just have to stick to running. And as someone who lifts weights, you don’t have to avoid any form of cardio like running like the plague. In fact, cross training is actually really beneficial to both sides of the spectrum. So if you are wondering whether you can run and strength train at the same time, here are the reasons why you definitely should.

Why runners should strength train

Strengthen your leg muscles

Runners can really benefit from weight training, especially with your legs. By including it in your workout, you can strengthen your leg muscles. Doing so will give you more endurance to last longer in your runs. It can also make your steps more powerful so you can propel yourself forward with more force, without having to exert more energy.

Prevent injury

Running can cause injuries. The most common injury is the Runner’s Knee. It can really be debilitating to your performance and cause you to have to stop training while you recover. If you run and strength train simultaneously though, you will be able to lessen the risk of injuries such as the Runner’s Knee.

Focus on building the hips and glutes so that your leg muscles are really developed and can help support and stabilize your lower body.

Build core strength

By building your core strength, you will be able to maintain a better posture even while running. Good posture is especially important for long-distance runners and really great for your body overall. This is also something that you should apply to your everyday life as well.

How to run and strength train for runners?

If you are a runner looking to strength train, make sure you start slowly to get used to it. Focus on compound exercises (multi-joint movements) such as the deadlift and squat. Bodyweight exercises also are very beneficial. Because they are not as taxing on the body as weights, they are a great way to build strength while you are recovering from running. Not to mention, they are convenient and can be done anywhere, anytime.

Why lifters should run

Don’t want to lose your gains? This is why most lifters tend to avoid cardio work, including running. For the fear of losing the muscle that they painstakingly built in the gym. However, while it is important to work on your strength, it is important to include aerobic exercise in your training. Weight training does not account for your cardiovascular health, which is where running comes in.

Improve your cardiovascular health

Running really works your cardiovascular health, which is great for a number of reasons. One, it will improve your heart health. This means that you will lower your risk of developing heart disease, cardiovascular disease. You’ll also lessen the risk of a stroke. By keeping your heart working and elevated, you keep it strong and healthy. And two, you will increase your oxygen capacity. By constantly working your heart through running, you will be able to take in my oxygen, so when you lift, more oxygen will be delivered to your muscles. This means you will be able to lift heavier and for longer.

Strengthen legs

Running is a great way to build leg muscles. Depending on the type of running program you do, you can train your slow-twitch muscle fibers as well as your fast-twitch muscle fibers. Combine running with your strength training, especially leg day, you’ll really develop those leg muscles, particularly your glutes, quads, calves, and hamstrings.

Burns more calories

Want to burn more calories? Running is a great way to do this. It is a great form of cardio that can really get your metabolism fired up so will keep burning fat long after you finished training.

How to run and strength train for lifters?

If you are a lifter looking to run, try incorporating a low to moderate running day two to three times a week for 20-30 minutes. This helps to give you the benefits of running but also won’t hinder your strength training performance.

There are multiple benefits of cross training. To run and strength train simultaneously means giving your body a well-rounded workout that hits both strength and cardio components. Plus, each of these exercises actually complements each other and can really enhance your performance as a runner or a lifter.

Workout with Jefit

Want to run and strength train at the same time? Use Jefit as your very own customizable workout planner and scheduler. With the ability to log your workouts and track your progress, you can make sure that you are headed towards your fitness goals. We even have our very own members-only Facebook page where you can talk and connect with your fellow Jefit members. Join now here!

Can I Run and Strength Train at the Same Time_

Bodyweight Exercises for When You Can’t Get to the Gym

bodyweight exercises

Sometimes you can’t get to the gym. It might be because of bad weather, bad traffic, or maybe you just aren’t feeling the travel there and back. Instead of skipping your workout for the day, here are some bodyweight exercises that you can easily do in the lounge or bedroom. This way, you can fit in the daily exercise you need—without the need for any extra gym equipment!

Before we lay out all the great ways to workout at home, we have put together a workout for those days where you can’t make it to the gym. It’ll load right into the app if you’ve signed up already!

20 Minute Bodyweight Home Workout

The Best Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do

Lunges

Lunges can easily be done using just your bodyweight. Stand with your knees slightly bent, legs hip-width apart. Then take one leg in front of you into a split position and squat down until the front leg is parallel to the floor. Bring your leg back to its original position and change sides.

The great thing about lunges is that you can really add variety and mix it up. Here are some changes you can make:

  • Step backwards with your leg instead of forwards
  • Instead of stepping back from your lunge back into your starting position, remain in the split position and lunge from there. Then after you have completed your set, revert back to the start and swap legs.
  • Walking lunges – Instead of staying in the one spot, move forward with each new lunge, alternating legs. This will really work on your balance as well.

Squat

Bodyweight squats are a great workout. To do the squat, stand shoulder-width apart and bend at the hips until your knees are parallel to your glutes. Make sure you keep your chest up, then stand up to the original position. Just like lunges, you can also change things up with the squat.

Here are some squat variations:

  • Pulse at the bottom instead of standing up with each rep.
  • Only stand up halfway before squatting down again (half squats)
  • Hold the squat at the bottom position to really feel the burn.

Tricep Dips

You don’t need a specific gym bench to work on your arm strength. You can use your bed, chair, or bench at home.

Sit on the bench with your legs bent in front of you. Push off the bench until you are supporting your weight with your arms. Lower your body to the ground, bending at the elbows. Push yourself back up to starting position.

This will give your triceps a good workout. If you want more of a challenge, instead of putting your feet on the floor, grab another bench or chair and place your feet on it so your legs are suspended between the two. Then repeat the same instructions to do the dip.

Make sure that whatever you use, such as a chair, that is is stable and can provide good support.

Plank

We can’t forget core work! The plank is one of the best bodyweight exercises. Get on the floor on all fours, using your forearms as support. Slowly extend your legs until they are straight. Squeeze your core, making sure your hips aren’t too high or low. If your hips are too high, your body will make an upside-V. If it is too low, your hips will be sinking to the floor in the middle. Your body should be in a straight line. Now, hold for 1 minute. If you can’t then go for as long as you can, trying to increase your time with each rep.

Try a side plank as well. This is when you turn your body to face one side, for example, leaning on only your left forearm. Lift your hips off the floor, making sure that you body is once again in a straight line. Extend the other arm into the air above you. Repeat on the other side.

Calf Raises

People tend to neglect their calves but it is good to get some calf exercises in. Stand on a step or block, something to make you elevated. You should be resting on the balls of your feet. If necessary, hold onto something for support such as a wall or chair.

Then lift off your heels as far away from the ground as possible. It should be like your standing on your tippy-toes. Bring them back down in your starting position, then repeat.

Want a challenge? Try doing single leg standing calf raises, which is balancing on one leg at a time only. Then repeat on the other side.

Make a Circuit

Now that you know some great bodyweight exercises, you don’t have to skip your gym time. Use these workouts and make a circuit depending.  You can also change it up depending on different variables.

For example, one circuit might be to do 1-minute of each exercise with 30 seconds rest in between. During that 1-minute, do as many reps as you can do, while performing the move with the correct form for 5 rounds.

In another circuit, you can also set yourself a goal, e.g. 20 air squats, 15 calf raises on each leg, that you have to meet before moving onto the next exercise. Superset it (no rest between each set) until you have finished one round of the circuit. Then repeat for as many rounds as you want.

Bodyweight exercises may use no or minimal gym equipment but they still can give you a killer workout. Try these bodyweight workouts for when you can’t get to the gym, so you can fit in your daily exercise.

Workout with Jefit

Need more ideas for bodyweight exercises? Jefit has a ton of them in our exercise library! Combined with a workout log, customizable workout planner, you have everything you need to have a great workout session. We even offer a members-only Facebook group so you can chat with other Jefit members! Join here today!

bodyweight exercises

Easy Dieting Tips that Prioritize Your Health

easy dieting tips

It isn’t enough to just get the workouts in. In fact, what you eat makes a major difference in your fitness journey. In a perfect world, we would be able to eat whatever we wanted without having to worry about managing our weight or our health but unfortunately, it is not like that. Without the proper nutrition, you will be undermining your training efforts to get fit and healthy. So make sure that you pay extra attention to your diet. As you know how the saying goes—”you are what you eat.” In this post, we will cover easy dieting tips that will help cover the nutrition side of things.

How calories work

Before we get into our easy dieting tips, we have to focus on calories and how they work. People tend to overcomplicate their diet when it comes to weight management but it is actually very simple.

So how do we work out how many calories we need?

This comes down to your Total Daily Energy Expenditure or TDEE. This refers to the total number of calories your body burns to function and complete everyday activities. This includes sleeping, eating, moving around and any other exercise or activities you do. Everyone’s TDEE is different.

How does your TDEE differ from BMR?

People tend to mix TDEE and BMR up. BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories your body needs just to stay alive, such as breathing. It doesn’t include any other activities that TDEE accounts for. When counting your calories, you should focus on your TDEE.

There are many online calculators that you can use to help calculate your TDEE. While they may not be 100% accurate, it’ll give you a good starting point for these easy dieting tips.

Now I have my TDEE. What now?

The first thing you need to do is think back to your goals. When it comes to weight, you either want to:

  • Lose weight
  • Gain weight, or
  • Maintain your weight

Want to lose weight? Then you need to be in a calorie deficit, that is, eating fewer calories than your TDEE. If you want to gain weight, you need to be in a calorie surplus, that is, eating more calories than what your body needs. To maintain your current weight, you need to eat the same number of calories that your body uses to function on a day-to-day basis.

It is important to remain reasonable when determining your calories. For example, eating substantially fewer calories than your TDEE may allow you to lose weight faster. However, it may mean that you will be losing a lot of muscle as well, and not just fat. Likewise, if you dramatically increase your calories to be in a heavy surplus, you will be adding much more fat than muscle.

On average, people tend to be in a calorie deficit or surplus of around 500 calories. This way, they can try to maintain or gain as much muscle as possible, regardless of your goal.

Focus on being healthy

While losing, gaining, or maintaining weight is really that simple, your priority should still be on being healthy. So technically, yes, you can eat chips all day and as long as you are eating in a calories deficit, you will lose weight. However, that doesn’t mean that you are healthy.

Implement These Easy Dieting Tips

Here are some easy dieting tips to implement in your life.

1. Learn the macronutrients

There are three main macronutrients—protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Each plays a vital role in your diet.

Protein: When you train, your muscles break down and they use protein to rebuild themselves. This is why protein is so critical.

Carbohydrates: Your body runs on glucose (carbohydrates converted to sugar) in the body. It helps give your body enough energy to function normally. There are different type carbs: complex carbs and simple carbs. Complex carbs, such as beans, whole grain food, starchy vegetables, keep you fuller for longer. Compared to this, keep simple carbs at a minimum, including chocolate bars, candy, cereal, refined white bread, and pasta.

Fat: Fat helps to absorb nutrients from the food you eat, provides energy, and protects your organs. While fat is no longer vilified in the health industry as it once was, there are still good kinds of fat and bad fat. Healthy fats are avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Bad fats are saturated and trans fat. These include ready-made meals and chips.

When you eat your meals, try to eat a balanced meal with all three macronutrients. Focus on lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.

2. Focus on whole foods

It should come to no surprise that the majority of your foods should be whole foods. We’re talking fruit and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables come jam-packed with all the nutrients and minerals that you need. To make sure you’re getting all this nutrition, make your plate as colorful as possible.

3. Stay Hydrated

Don’t underestimate how much of a positive change water can bring to our health. Our body loses a lot of water every day, and so it is important that we are constantly replenishing our bodies.

While drinking 8 glasses of water is the common guideline that people stipulate, there are other ways to make sure that you are staying hydrated. Look at the color of your urine. If it is clear or near clear, then your hydration levels are great. If it is more on the yellow side, then drink up!

One way of drinking more water is to choose water instead of a soft drink or juice. If you want something a little different, then add some fruit to your water for a different taste. Common ones include lemon and mint, cucumber, orange, and even blueberries. Experiment and try out different flavors!

Treat yourself

Try to stay away from processed foods for the majority of your diet. However, this doesn’t mean you should completely shun things like simple carbs and bad fats. While it is best to keep them at a minimum, completely eliminating them from your diet can lead to intense cravings and binge eating. Keep to the 80/20 rule where 80% of your diet is healthier foods and the remaining 20% are little treats for yourself.

Change your Diet with Jefit

Jefit is a workout app that comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, scheduler, as well as a community filled with like-minded people. With a members-only Facebook page, you can be sure to find easy dieting tips, advice, motivational stories about changing your diet, training, and general health and fitness tips.

easy dieting tips

Training Tips for Beginners

training tips

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

Why you should exercise

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

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

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

The difference between body fat and muscle mass

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

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

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

So exercise is vital in working on that body composition.

Training Tips: Cardio vs. Weights

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

Cardio?

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

Some examples of cardio include:

  • Running
  • HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
  • LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State cardio)
  • Treadmill
  • Elliptical machine
  • Bike machine

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

Strength Training

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

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

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

Should I do cardio or strength train?

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

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

Can women lift weights?

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

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

Focus on compound movements

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

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

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

So how heavy should you lift?

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

Training Tips: Stretching

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

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

Set a routine

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

Track your workouts

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

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

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

training tips

How to Get a Fitness Mindset for Success in 3 Easy Steps

fitness mindset

Getting in shape and becoming healthier is one of the most common resolutions that people make. While it is great that people want to make these changes, there are a few steps that you need to take to really put this resolution into action. Rather than tackle it as one large goal, it is best to break your plan into separate parts. The first thing you need to focus on is your fitness mindset for success.

Your mindset refers to your attitude. Your mental state plays such an important role in getting in shape. Without the proper mindset, you may find it a struggle to keep to your health and fitness journey. Cultivate your fitness mindset now so that when the initial motivation begins to slowly wane, you will be able to get through the tough times and stick to your guns.

Here Are 3 Ways on How to Make Sure That You Have the Right Fitness Mindset to Become the Healthier Version of You

1. Know your why

Don’t make this another year where you say you are going to do it but don’t. Make this year your year, and that means deciding to commit with the intention of remaining committed. It’s easy to become sidetracked when things become difficult or it takes longer than expected, but this is why you need to go into this with the attitude of sticking to it when the going gets tough.

So when you decide to get healthier, know your why. Your why determines why you want to make these changes and this is what you will have to remember every time you think of quitting and giving up. It is what sets you up for success. If you don’t know what your why is, then just ask yourself why are you doing it in the first place?!

You may want to become fitter, get more energy, lose weight, gain muscle, become stronger.

When you hit setbacks and obstacles, go back to your why. When you feel like quitting and giving up, think back to it. Doing so will give you a renewed sense of determination and motivation. Then, you can keep going with a fitness mindset set up for success.

2. Set your goals

Now that you know your why and have the right mindset, set your goals. Saying things like, “I want to lose weight,” is not good enough. It is too generic and broad and does not give you any direction. You need to set smart goals and be more specific when naming your goals. A trick is to follow the S.M.A.R.T principle which is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Once you have done that, write your goal down on a piece of paper or post-it note and stick it somewhere you can easily see it every day. For example, above your desk or door. Also, put it in places where you have the most trouble with. If nutrition is your downfall, then put it on your fridge where you can see it every time you feel temptation.

3. Get a support group

Just remember, you don’t have to do this alone. Get a support group that knows your mission and can help you get there. They will also hold you accountable.

Find a workout/gym buddy. This way, your workouts can be more fun and sociable. If you are a fan of group fitness, then your class can be workout friends. If you like running, it doesn’t need to be a solo venture. Try finding some local running groups in your area that you can join. You will also be less tempted to skip out on the Sunday morning run if you know you will be letting other people down.

But it doesn’t just stop there. Your support group can even extend to an online community. There are plenty of fitness apps, Facebook or Twitter groups as well as other social media pages. Take advantage of them.

For example, Jefit has a membership page on Facebook where Jefit members can post and share any tips and wins with each other. Even if you have hit an obstacle, it is great to turn to your support group so that you can get encouragement and advice. It can really make a difference in your health journey.

So the first step into getting in shape is to train your mind first. Get in the right fitness mindset from the start so that you can better your progress in achieving your goals. Without the proper mental state, then you are automatically diminishing your chances of success.

Join a Supportive Community

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has an extensive exercise library database, as well as the ability to update and share your workout log. One of the best parts of Jefit is that it comes with a community forum and member-only Facebook page. Here, you will be surrounded by like-minded people who can help you! Join now for a fun, motivating, and encouraging support system!

fitness mindset

5 Squat Variations to Add To Your Training (Beginner to Advanced)

squat variations

Squats should be a staple in every gym goer’s training plan. They are a great lower body exercise that can also work your core and other parts of your body if performed correctly. There are many squat variations that you can try, that each has their own benefits. Whether you are a beginner squatter or seasoned veteran, here are some of the squat variations to add to your routine.

5 Beginner to Advanced Squat Variations

1. Prisoner Squat

The prisoner squat is one of the simplest squat variations because it just uses your bodyweight. It is a great staple exercise for anyone to add to their regime, especially for beginners starting out. It is a lower body workout that not only strengthens your legs and glutes but can also work your core and shoulders.

Prisoner squats can also be done anywhere as you are only using your bodyweight! So you can fit them in during an ad break, or even at work.

To prisoner squat, make sure that your feet are planted firmly on the ground, hip-width apart. Your weight should be distributed evenly between them. Engage your core as you pull your shoulder blades slightly together.

Bend at the knees and lower yourself to the ground as if you are sitting on a chair. Remember to keep your torso upright. Keep lowering yourself until you are parallel to the ground, and if you can, go beyond that parallel line. Make sure that your knees do not drop inward as you do so; keep your knees rotated out.

Stand up again by straightening your legs. And repeat.

To make the standard prisoner squat more challenging, try holding the lower squat position and pulsing. Now you can really feel that burn!

2. Goblet Squat

Another great squat variation is the goblet squat. This is similar to the prisoner squat but with added weight. You can use a dumbbell or kettlebell.

Hold the dumbbell or kettlebell up close to your chest as you squat. If you are starting out, start with a lighter weight, just to get used to the movement. Then keep increasing your weight as you progress.

This squat will not only work that lower body but it can really work that core strength. It can also help prepare you for the front squat, which we will talk about soon!

3. High Bar Back Squat

This is the classic squat that people tend to gravitate towards. It is a comfortable place for people to hold the bar.This squat variation uses a barbell that is placed across your back on the trapezius muscles on top of the shoulders.

During the high bar back squat, make sure that the bar remains aligned with your midfoot. Your torso needs to remain as upright as possible to keep the weight from shifting forward.

The high bar back squat is a squat variation that places emphasis on the quadriceps (front thigh muscles) and glutes. There is less reliance on the hamstrings. However, compared to other squat variations, such as the low bar squat, you won’t be able to squat as heavy.

If you want to make it harder, then try pausing for a couple of seconds at the bottom of the squat before coming up. The high bar squat is also great to help those who do weightlifting (the snatch and clean & jerk).

4. Low Bar Back Squat

Another squat variation is the low bar back squat. This squat places the barbell on lower on the upper back than the high bar back squat position—on the posterior deltoid. It is only a slight shift in position of the bar but it does result in different body parts being used in the movement.

In this position, your torso should lean forward even more. This offloads some of the weight on your back and to help keep you balanced. It also means that you will be able to squat heavier than the high bar squat. You have less range of motion because your torso will be more horizontal.

Your feet should be wider than that of a high bar squat, as well as your hands. To help lean your chest forward, your hips will also be pushed back.

This version of the squat works the hamstrings and glutes. It also places more emphasis on the posterior chain. If you have knee problems, then the low bar is a good option as there is less stress on the knees.

5. Front Squat

The front squat works the front of your body, emphasising the quads and core. It uses the barbell but instead of placing it on your back, it is placed in front of you, resting on your front deltoids and collarbone. Your arms can be in two different positions:

Classic Grip: Place your right-hand fingertips under the bar on your right side, and do the same for the left. The number of fingertips you use to hold the bar depends on your preference. Keep your elbows up so your upper arms are parallel to the ground. This position can be difficult for those with limited wrist mobility.
Cross Grip: Your right hand can hold the bar on your left shoulder and vice versa. Your arms will be in a cross position, touching opposite hands to shoulders. If you have limited wrist mobility, you may prefer this grip.

As you squat, try to keep your elbows in and up and your knees out.

The squat is a really great move to include in your training. With these squat variations ranging from beginner to advanced, you can pick and choose which ones suit your fitness goal and level so you are not missing out on these great benefits.

Track your squats with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that has an extensive library. With the ability to mix and match your training, including different kinds of squats, you can really maximize your gym workouts and make the most of them. These are just 5 of the many kinds of squats you can do—check out Jefit’s squat library here to find more!

Have you tried any of these different kinds of squats? Which ones do you like? Let us know in the comments, we would love to know!

squat variations

How Many Times a Week Should You Workout?

How Many Times a Week Should You Workout

There are a lot of questions in the fitness industry — one of them is “how many times a week should you workout?” While it is important to be active every day – even if it is just for a short walk – sometimes, it can be hard to make it to the gym all the time. So if you are wondering how many times a week should you workout, there is no right or wrong answer. It depends on the individual and his or her routine. However, your exercise program needs to be adjusted accordingly, while also taking into account your fitness goals.

Basic guidelines

You should always prioritize your rest and recovery days to give your body a break. It is important that you do not exercise or train every single day without rest. Contrary to belief, it does not help you reach your fitness goals faster. In fact, it could slow you down. You could overtrain and injure yourself.

However, you shouldn’t just workout once a week; you should be moving every day. Doing so will keep you fit and healthy. Also, if you want to make progress, then you cannot space your workouts too far apart. When you train, you make progress and in between your next session, you go back to the level you were before. This is why you need to continuously train. You need something to work and build from.

How many times a week should you workout if your focus is on fat loss?

If your fitness goal is to lose fat, then 3-4 times a week in the gym is ideal. You should do a mixture of strength and cardio training.

Cardio helps to keep your heart healthy and keep fat levels down. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is particularly great for fat loss though you can do what cardio you enjoy the most. You can do aerobics, use the elliptical machine, bike, try boxing, and even the jump rope.

It is also crucial that you also add strength training to your workout. People tend to neglect weight training when they are trying to cut fat but in fact, it can really make a difference in your progress.

Muscle actually increases your metabolic rate, meaning that you will burn more calories.

How many times a week should you workout if your focus is on gaining muscle?

If you focus on strength training and want to gain more muscle, then try hitting the gym 4-5 times a week. This will involve heavy lifting so it is important not to train the same muscle group more than two times in a row. Doing so will overload the muscle and you will risk injuring yourself, which can set you back even more. The usual regime that people follow is to isolate each muscle group per day. This way, you are not training the same muscles in a row, giving yourself time to recover.

Some group splits that you can follow include: legs, glutes, chest, back, shoulders, arms, and abs.

Can’t make it 4-5 times a week at the gym? Try combining some muscle groups in one day such as chest and shoulders.

What if you can only go to the gym 1-2 times a week?

If you can only go to the gym once or twice a week, you can still reduce the risk of heart and/or cardiovascular disease. But you will need to hit your total weekly recommended exercise time. This is about 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.

So make sure that you keep your heart rate up the entire time (HIIT can help). Don’t forget about strength training as well. Try to fit in a full-body workout to make up for the other days.

But it is also important to remember that you need to fit exercise in every day. So even if you can’t make it to the gym, make sure you are going for a walk and moving as much as possible in your everydayy life

Also note that if you want to really progress and reach fitness goals, it will be difficult to do with only 1-2 times of training. Consistency is key.

What to do on recovery days?

Recovery days doesn’t mean you should sit all day and not do anything. You can still do some light sessions to help with your recovery. This may include stretching, foam rolling, or even some light cardio.

Make sure that you move every day, even during recovery. Another point to remember is to sleep.

It doesn’t matter how many times you workout in a week if you do not get your beauty sleep. Getting good quality sleep means that you are giving your body that time to rest. Without adequate sleep, you don’t have the chance to repair damaged muscle fibers. Also, without it, your next training session will feel a lot harder than if you’re well-rested.

Exercise with Jefit

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has an extensive exercise library database, as well as the ability to update and share your workout log. Use Jefit to find new exercises to change up your workout routine, whether you are looking to gain muscle, cut fat, get fitter or build strength.

How Many Times a Week Should You Workout

7 Simple Healthy Habits to Kick-Start Your Health Journey

simple healthy habits

If becoming healthier is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, it can be quite daunting to think about the task ahead of you. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it may seem. In fact, there are easy and simple healthy habits that you can start implementing into your everyday life to help get you in the right direction. Want to know what they are? Keep reading!

Ease into your health journey with these 7 simple healthy habits

1. Include incidental exercise

If you are looking to work out more in your daily life, then including incidental exercise is a great way to amp up your efforts. It refers to the exercise we get from our day-to-day activities such as walking. We often get it in small doses throughout the day but after a while, this can all accumulate and actually help us become healthier.

One of the best ways to include more incidental exercise is to start taking the stairs instead of the elevator or lift, especially if you are only going a couple of floors down/up. By taking the stairs, you can get your body moving a lot more and your heart rate up. If you climb two flights of stairs to get to work, that’s four flights of stairs a day, and twenty altogether by the end of the work week!

If the station or your workplace is near you, then you can also try cycling or walking to work instead of driving. This can easily add an extra 20 minutes of exercise to your day. And the best thing is, incidental exercise means that you are not going out of your way to get moving. It is just choosing healthier and better options.

As you can see, by including incidental exercise and making it one of your simple healthy habits, you can really amp up your health and workout efforts.

2. Stretch/exercise while watching TV

A 2016 study revealed that “On average, American adults are watching five hours and four minutes of television per day.” That’s a lot of time spent sitting in front of the TV doing nothing but watching. So, why not use this time efficiently?

By stretching and exercising while watching TV, you can essentially kill two birds with one stone.
You don’t even need any equipment, just use your bodyweight and what you have. For example, air squats are great moves to do using just your bodyweight. If you have a couch or bed near the TV, then why not do some tricep dips? You can even do modified push-ups against the furniture during ad breaks.

If you do have dumbbells or resistance bands, then take advantage of them as well. Try doing some bicep curls or tricep extensions.

Not only can you get in some exercise, the TV can keep you distracted from any exhaustion or tiredness you may feel.

During the ad breaks, you can intensify the workout where you don’t have to look at the screen. After a one-hour show, that’s basically an extra hour of exercise you snuck into your day. By doing this when you are watching TV, you can start to build some simple healthy habits.

3. Track your workouts

Another great simple healthy habit you should implement in your daily life is tracking your workouts. There are many great apps out there, like Jefit, that makes this step so easy and simple.

Tracking your workouts can really help you in making progress in your health and fitness journey. By actually recording everything that you did, you can see how you have improved, what has helped improve it and what hasn’t. Then, you can make adjustments as needed.

It can also show you how far you’ve come when you are in need of some motivation.

4. Plan your exercise times

Despite the best intentions, people tend to skip over the gym sessions and say, “I’ll go tomorrow”. A way to get out of this habit is to plan your gym times and schedule it in your calendar like it is an important meeting. You wouldn’t just dismiss your meeting with a client because you were tired, or didn’t have time—you would stick it out and see it through.

That is exactly how you should see your workout times.

Start making a habit of scheduling in your gym sessions in your calendar and change your approach to it as though it is a meeting you cannot miss. This will help you maintain your gym schedule and get that exercise in. Eventually, going to the gym will become a natural habit.

5. Choose water over other drinks

When you go out, do you opt for a soft drink or maybe a juice? These can dramatically increase your sugar intake. Another one of our great simple healthy habits you can implement now is by always choosing water (besides the occasional treat).

We all know how important and how great water is. So imagine how much healthier you will be if you increase your water intake? It may be hard at first but it will be well worth it in the end.

6. Fill half your plate with vegetables

We tend to neglect our veggies and struggle to meet our minimum daily servings. To rectify this, start by filling half your plate with vegetables first. This way, you can make sure that you are eating whole foods that are not only delicious but great for you.

7. Find a support group

So while this isn’t exactly a healthy habit, finding a support group can really help you stick to your simple healthy habits. By interacting with like-minded individuals, you can really have a great supportive and encouraging network to turn to during times when you are struggling, when you want to share a win and when you want to train in a group!

Jefit can help you stick to your simple healthy habits

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training, cardio and stretching. Start keeping your simple healthy habits with the help of Jefit!

simple healthy habits

How to Get Back on Track After Overeating: 9 Tips for Recovering from Binge Eating

how to get back on track after overeating

So, you’ve overeaten. That’s okay, most of us do it once in a while. With our favorite foods in front of us, it can be hard to stop sometimes. However, the aftermath often has us feeling bloated, full, and sometimes a bit upset with ourselves. It can be hard recovering from binge eating but to help you out, here are some tips on how to get back on track after overeating—both physically and mentally.

9 Strategies on how to get back on track after overeating

1. Get Moving

One of the best ways on how to get back on track after overeating is to get moving. By that, we don’t mean punishing yourself by spending extra hours slogging away in the gym. Punishing yourself is not the goal and you shouldn’t either. But it is a good idea to move.

After your meal, get up and go for a walk around the block or park. Just by doing this, you will help your body metabolize your food. It will also assist in alleviating the fullness or bloated feeling that you may be experiencing.

2. Stay Active

With this being said, make sure you stay active and keep your exercise regime. Don’t compensate food for exercise but just maintain your usual training to get back on track.

3. Hydrate

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Another great tip on how to get back on track after overeating is to make sure you drink plenty of water to keep your fluids up. Drinking water can get your digestive system moving and speed up your metabolism. This, in turn, makes your body digest your meal faster.

In addition, drinking extra fluids means that you can reduce dehydration. In fact, it also helps to get rid of extra water that you are retaining so that you feel less bloated.

4. Get enough sleep

Make sure that you have an adequate number of hours of sleep. Depriving yourself of sleep will set you up the next day, filled with sugar cravings and hunger pangs. Do yourself a favor and make sure that you rest properly and get quality sleep. This way, you will wake up feeling refreshed.

5. Control your portion sizes

The next day, don’t skip meals. Skipping meals to compensate for overeating is not a good idea. In fact, it can have the opposite effect and lead to increased hunger or intense cravings. This can potentially lead you to binge eating even more.

Instead, get back on track with your diet and pay attention to your portion sizes. Make sure that you eat balanced meals that have vegetables, protein complex carbs and healthy fats. A more manageable and healthy option is to cut back a little on your carbs and fats for the next day or two. Keep it to a reasonable amount but don’t skip them entirely.

6. Focus on whole foods

Increase your vegetable and fruit intake and load up on plant-based foods. The extra fiber will help increase your satiety levels and leave you feeling fuller for longer. Focusing on whole foods as well, help diminish any sugar cravings that you have and feed your body the nutrients it needs.

It will give your mind a break and leave you feeling better and more refreshed. It will also help you get back on track with your goals.

7. Avoid the scale

It can be tempting to step on the scale and see how it has affected your weight. While the scale is not the most accurate way to measure your progress, it is often what people turn to, to track their weight.

Most people will weigh more after overeating. This may not be because you’ve put on weight but because of increased water retention from the extra sodium that was in your meals.

So if you are recovering from binge eating, step away from the scale. It won’t help you if you do; it can make you feel defeated or feeling worse.

Instead, follow these tips on how to get back on track after overeating before stepping on the scale, if you must.

8. Remember it’s about a healthy lifestyle

Putting things in perspective is a great way on how to get back on track after overeating. By reminding yourself, it’s about an overall healthy lifestyle, you can gain a new perspective. One day of bingeing is not going to completely derail your process or make all your previous efforts useless.

Remember that.

9. Forgive yourself

The most important tip you can learn on how to get back on track after overeating? Forgive yourself.

It is all too easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you’ve let yourself down or like you have just undone all your progress. But the truth is, this happens to everyone. We are human so sometimes we indulge a little too much in our favorite foods.

Focus on the next day and get back on track without punishing yourself or putting yourself down. This can do more damage in the long run that goes beyond just overeating. Forgive yourself and let it go. Tomorrow is a new day.

Become part of a supportive community with Jefit

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has an extensive exercise library database, as well as the ability to update and share your workout log. With your fellow Jefit members as part of your supportive community, you can share and help each other on a range of topics, including eating and nutrition, keeping each other motivated.

how to get back on track after overeating

How to Set Smart Fitness Goals for the New Year You Can Actually Stick To

how to set smart fitness goals for the new year

It’s that time of the year again – New Year’s is coming up which means New Year’s resolutions. However, according to U.S. news, 80% of people give up on their resolutions by the second week of February. So to help you avoid being one of them, here are some tips on how to set smart fitness goals for the New Year.

4 Tips on How to Set Smart Fitness Goals for the New Year

1. Don’t focus on too many goals

Many people choose to use the New Year as a way to completely overhaul their lifestyle. They want to lose weight, bulk up, cut out sugar, workout 5 times a week and the list goes on. And this is just fitness goals! This is why it is so easy for people to fall off the wagon; there are just too many goals to keep track of with so many changes to make. By scattering your focus among many, you can’t channel your full effort into them.

So one of the tips on how to set smart fitness goals for the New Year is to focus only on a couple of fitness goals. This way, you can really put 100% into them and be able to maintain them for longer.

It is better to make progress with fewer goals than none at all with many.

2. Focus on the S.M.A.R.T principle

Another way on how to set smart fitness goals for the New Year is to follow the S.M.A.R.T guidelines. Your goal should be:

S for Specific – Make sure that you clearly define your fitness goal. Vague goals do not give you enough direction; you need to know exactly what you want in the end and make it clear on when you can say, you did it.

For example, don’t say I want to lose weight or I want to gain muscle but I will lose 5lbs or I will gain 2 kgs of muscle mass by doing x, y, and z.

M for Measurable – Your fitness goal needs to be something that you can actively track. Break down your big goal into smaller, measurable goals.

E.g. I will lose 1lb by week 4. I will lose another 2 lbs by week 8.

A for Attainable – Do you have the time, money, resources to achieve this goal? If you set a goal that is not attainable, you risk demoralizing yourself.

E.g. Do you have the time to work out? Can you afford a gym membership or personal training? Do you have the time to set up a home gym? Adjust your goals accordingly so that you will be able to attain it in the end.

R for Realistic and Relevant – Don’t set yourself up for failure. While your goal should challenge you, it should also be realistic and achievable. It should also be relevant to you. Is your goal aligned with your life and direction you want it to take? If you are not interested in weight loss but would rather build muscle, then set that as your goal. Otherwise, you won’t have the motivation or discipline to see it through.

T for Time – When do you want to achieve it by? Give yourself enough time to realistically achieve it but not too much time because then there won’t be a sense of urgency.

E.g. I will lose 5lbs in 6 months.

3. Write down your goals

Another tip on how to set smart fitness goals for the New Year is to write it down. Something about having your goal written down on paper in tangible form makes it more permanent and real. Place these papers somewhere you will see every day such as above your desk at work or home, or on your bedroom door so you can be reminded every day and use each day as an opportunity to make progress.

Also, pay attention to the words you use. Use words like “will” to create a sense of determination and positivity.

E.g. I will lose 5lbs in 6 months instead of “I want to”.

4. Write an action plan

If you want to know how to set smart fitness goals for the New Year, then also write down an action plan, including your S.M.A.R.T guidelines, a timeline and the smaller measurable goals. This will not only give you a direction but a plan to follow. It will also be really motivating being able to track your progress and tick things off as you go.

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio. If you have a smart fitness goal for the New Year, why not get Jefit to help you keep on track?

What are your fitness goals for 2018? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to know!

how to set smart fitness goals for the new year

HIIT or LISS: Which One Will Get Me Better Results?

HIIT or LISS

While we all know that getting in daily exercise is important to everyone, there is much debate about what kind of exercise is best for us, especially with cardio training. There are two popular forms of cardio HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and LISS (Low Intensity Steady State Cardio). Each has their own pros and cons, so if you are wondering whether to do HIIT or LISS, here is what you should know.

Is HIIT or LISS Better For Me?

LISS – Low Intensity Steady State Cardio

LISS or Low Intensity Steady State Cardio, is a form of aerobic (“with oxygen”) exercise. This means that improves your oxygen intake. LISS is typically performed for 30-60 minutes at a steady pace with limited changes in speed or intensity. It is referred to as low intensity as you usually only hit 45-65% of your estimated maximum heart rate.

Advantages

If you are comparing HIIT or LISS, LISS is advantageous in a number of areas.

Less demanding on the body

Because it is low intensity, it is less demanding on the body. It is also easier on the joints, tendons and ligaments.

Less injury risk

It also means that the risk of injury is also much lower than other alternative forms. You are moving at a steadier pace so you are not pushing yourself too hard, with can be hard on the body.

Better at initial fat burn

One of the best benefits of LISS is that it is better at fat burning than HIIT, initially. You use the fat stored in your body as the primary source of energy as opposed to glycogen. This is why when people start doing LISS, they see great results.

Disadvantages

However, there are some downfalls that might mean turning to other forms of cardio for the results that you want.

Longer sessions

While the sessions themselves are not as taxing as HIIT, this means that your workouts will be much longer; you are not using as much energy as fast. If you are busy or don’t have much time, LISS may not be the best option for you.

Less motivated to workout

Following on from that, because the sessions are longer, you may be less motivated to actually get started in the first place.

Only burns calories during the workout

Another downfall of LISS is that you only burn calories while you are doing the workout. Unfortunately, once your session is done, you will not continue to burn calories afterwards.

The body adapts quickly to LISS

While I mentioned that LISS is great for fat burning initially, the keyword here was initially. This is because your body will quickly adapt to your LISS workouts, meaning that the once-great results you may have seen at the start will not last long.

HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

On the other hand of the spectrum is HIIT aka High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT has become a buzzword in the fitness industry, gaining momentum in popularity.

HIIT consists of shorter more intense sessions of 10-60 seconds of work. This is alternated with rest or light activity time (this is where the interval part of the name comes in). HIIT brings your heart rate up to 70-90% of your maximum heart rate.

Unlike LISS, HIIT is anaerobic (“without oxygen”) exercise because your body uses more oxygen than it can be supplied. This why with HIIT, you will run out of breath more quickly and your muscles will burn (caused by the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles). The rest periods in HIIT are important because it allows your body to clear the lactic acid and rebuild oxygen levels.

Advantages

Here are some advantages of high intensity interval training that may help you decide between HIIT or LISS.

Shorter sessions

If you are deciding between HIIT or LISS, the time factor may be a big key to consider. HIIT sessions are much shorter and more time efficient than LISS sessions. This is because the intensity levels are higher so you will become fatigued quite quickly.

Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)

Unlike with LISS, HIIT workouts help keep your body burning calories long after your session is done because of EPOC. EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, refers to the amount of oxygen required to return the body to its normal metabolic level (called homeostasis).

The body has to work hard to rebuild the oxygen levels up that it lost during the session, which is why you continue to burn calories and fat post-workout, even for up to 24 hours.

Better for long-term fat loss

While people see great results with LISS at the start, HIIT is better for long-term fat loss results.

Helps with muscle retention

One reason why people tend to avoid cardio is that they do not want to lose muscle. HIIT helps with retaining muscle because it includes weight training and movements that activate the muscles the same way that strength training does.

Disadvantages

More demanding on the body

Due to the high intensity nature of HIIT, you do place a lot more stress on the body. This also means that there is an increased risk of injury.

Longer recovery time

It does take longer to recover from a HIIT workout so due to the physical demands, it can be challenging to complete HIIT workout every single day so you will have to find alternate workouts in between to give your body a break.

Can be intimidating for beginners

It can be intimidating for new people to give it a go at first. It does look intense because it is intense but also very rewarding!

So Should I Choose HIIT or LISS?

The final answer does depend on your preference and lifestyle. If you find yourself skipping workouts because you’re dreading the hour-long jog, then try giving HIIT a go. If you hate the intensity of HIIT, then turn to LISS. A good idea, however, would be to do both on alternate days and rotate between the two so that you can reap the benefits of each.

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

HIIT or LISS
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