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Category: General Fitness

Is it More Beneficial to Workout Before or After Work?

workout before or after work

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

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

How busy it is

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

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

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

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

Energy levels

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

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

Do you need to eat before a workout?

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

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

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

Psychological Effects

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

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

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

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

Workout before or after work with Jefit

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

workout before or after work

Inactivity Physiology: What is it and How to Avoid it

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We are all coming off a year where – most likely – our workouts and total energy expenditure dropped off dramatically during the course of a typical day. It is totally understandable.

A whole new field of study has developed recently called inactivity physiology.

Inactivity Physiology Defined

The inactivity physiology paradigm can be defined as:

“Inactivity physiology represents a paradigm shift for how we think about how lifestyle causes disease. Simply put, the inactivity physiology paradigm says that “too little exercise” is not the same as “too much sitting” (physical inactivity) and that too much sitting has very potent effects on the body contributing to the most common diseases.”

Think about this for a minute. You get up early to go for an hour run or head to the gym for a long workout. You then hop in the car and drive 30-45 minutes to work. Once you arrive at the office, what happens? That’s right, you sit in front of your computer to work and for meetings. You then typically sit more through lunch and throughout the rest of the day. After work you repeat the 30-45 minute drive home, which is now most likely longer due to rush hour traffic. After you get home you relax a bit, sit and catch the news, sit more during dinner and then watch more TV following dinner.

Well if that is the case, then (most) of the benefits derived from your workout earlier in the day may be erased. Now I know you stressed your body during that hour run or strength workout at the gym. You may think loading your bones and muscles and alleviating some stress is enough. This is all good. Sure, but the issue remains, you’re sitting for eight hours or more each day.

Let’s be honest, we can all increase our activity level a bit more …don’t you think? You need to increase the activity you do throughout the day – above and beyond your exercise session…it’s critical. There is abundance of research showing that additional energy expenditure during the day is vital for long-term health. According to Knudsen and colleagues, “aerobic capacity fell 7 percent in 14 days after reducing steps from 10,000 to 1,500 a day in active men not in exercise programs.  Here are some examples to help avoid this and help add more activity into your day.

10 Ways to Help Prevent Inactivity Physiology

To offset this try adding a few of the following throughout your day to increase daily activity especially while at work:

  • Build a standing work station at the office.
  • Kneel periodically at your desk (when checking emails) and stretch those tight hip flexors.
  • Get up every 20 minutes if you have a desk job and move and/or stretch.
  • If your errands are <1 mile from your house – choose walking/biking rather than driving.
  • Have “walking conference call” meetings at the office rather than sitting at a conference table.
  • Whenever you take calls on a cell phone make sure you get up and walk and talk.
  • Wear a pedometer and add 500 steps a day (goal: 10k/day) see Knudsen research paper below.
  • Turn your lunch into your workout time. Or take a long walk.
  • Limit your TV watching to <10 hours a week.
  • Your goal this week: try to stand one hour each day over the course of the week.

Suggested Reading:

Too Much Sitting is Hazardous to Your Health. Len Kravitz, PhD 

Are We Facing a New Paradigm of Inactivity Physiology? Br J Sports Medicine.

Is Sitting a Lethal Activity? NY Times article by James Vlahos

Genomic Aspects of Exercise, Inactivity, and Health, Frank Booth, PhD

Reference:

Knudsen, S. H., Hansen, L. S., Pedersen, M., Dejgaard, T. et al. (2012). Changes in insulin sensitivity precede changes in body composition during 14 days of step reduction combined with overfeeding in healthy young men. Journal of Applied Physiology.

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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. Find 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

7 Simple Healthy Habits to Kick-Start Your Health Journey

simple healthy habits

If becoming healthier is on your bucket list for 2021, 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, soon-to-be, post-pandemic 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

Fit for Life: 6 Habits for Healthy Aging

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Many men fool themselves into thinking they can wait to focus on their health until sometime in the future when they’re less busy; however, the habits we develop and maintain in our 20’s and 30’s end up shaping us and are important for healthy aging.
That’s according to Dr. Martin Miner, Regional Medical Director of Vault Health, who’s an expert authority on aging successfully and integrative men’s health. 
Dr. Miner spoke with Jefit and has revealed seven important habits that most men over 30 are NOT currently doing to improve their health and should be:

Realizing that your body is communicating with you

Becoming acutely aware of your own physical and emotional feelings is something many men neglect to do, and it has a negative impact on their health as they age. Dr. Miner says: “Take command of your feelings and life, and learn to take actions that steer the ship the way you want to go.”

Going to the doctor when you’re not sick

Seeing a doctor regularly can help the doctor find problems early or even before they start.

Rethinking your typical daily diet

The days of gorging without gaining weight are over. And as your metabolism slows, eating fewer calories can boost health. But Dr. Miner says you should also make sure to get adequate nutrients, vitamins, and fluids to ensure healthy aging.

Exercising consistently (instead of intermittently)

Regular exercise significantly lowers your risk of diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, and helps you retain your mobility longer. Exercise also lowers stress and improves sleep, skin and bone health, and mood.

Taking stress reduction seriously

The effects of stress on your body are vast, ranging from premature aging and wrinkles to a higher risk of heart disease. Being happy and keeping your stress down goes a long way in helping you live and age well. In addition, testosterone levels are reduced in response to stress according to studies. stress, testosterone,

Investing in your relationships

This is more crucial than ever coming off the heels of this pandemic when many people have slipped into isolation. Studies show that meaningful relationships and a strong social network improve mental and physical well-being and longevity. If you don’t currently have an active social life, look for opportunities to reconnect with old friends or make new ones. Seek out like-minded others at work, church groups, volunteer activities, gyms, alumni groups, or any other group that corresponds to an interest of yours.

Healthy aging isn’t about trying to look like a 20-something — it’s about living your best life and having the physical and mental health to enjoy it. Like a bottle of wine, you can get better with age with the right care, says Dr. Miner. Ideally, you’ll have already been practicing healthy habits throughout your life. But even if you haven’t, it’s never too late to start taking proactive steps to maintain and even improve your health. 
The good news is, it’s never too late to adopt new habits and improve your lifestyle.

Use Jefit app for your workouts

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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Losing Body Fat Short Term Improves Life Long Term

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Today, much of the population struggles with being overweight. The mortality rate of the population worldwide is higher for obesity-related conditions than for anorexia-related issues or starvation. Our obesity rates result from a variety of factors, such as excess consumption of fast food, food manufacturers bombarding their products with harmful ingredients, and our excessive sedentary lifestyles. The result is an eventual increase in body fat over time.

If you’re currently overweight or obese, losing body fat can reduce your risk of developing many health complications that could potentially be serious. Even a slight weight loss (and maintenance) of 5 percent of your current total body weight can offer health benefits. Shedding those extra pounds can be akin to pulling teeth, though! And as we get older, our metabolisms tend to slow down, compounding the problem even further. Therefore, we must make the distinction of approaching weight loss as a healthy, sustainable lifestyle involving balanced nutrition and exercise instead of a diet or, worse yet – a dreaded crash diet!

Let’s take a look at some reasons why staying lean and getting into shape will help you and your life in the long run.

Reduced Risk of Developing Diabetes

Being overweight increases your chances of developing type-2 diabetes. One’s BMI plays a strong relationship in diabetes and insulin resistance. The more excess weight your body carries, the more resistant your tissue and muscle cells become to the insulin hormone. People who have type 1 diabetes also need to keep their weight under control. An abundance of fatty tissue can make it difficult for insulin to work correctly, leading to raised insulin levels and trouble controlling blood sugar.

Lower Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure can pose chronic health problems—the risk of developing high blood pressure triples for adults with excess weight issues. On the positive side, each pound of weight loss can lead to a drop of one point in both the upper (systolic) and lower (diastolic) number readings in your blood pressure measurements.

Less Joint and Knee Pain

Did you know that around four pounds of extra stress get placed on the knee joints for each additional pound you carry? So, for example, A 150-pound person who is 10-pounds overweight will add 40 more pounds of pressure to every step. But that same person would experience a 30-pound pressure relief if they achieved a total body weight loss of 5 percent.

Reduced Heartburn

The bad news is extra body fat places excess pressure on your stomach, which can force a reflex action of stomach acid up into the esophagus, resulting in that fiery heartburn discomfort. The good news is dropping weight relieves some of this pressure and eases the effects of heartburn.

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Extra Energy!

By losing some weight, you’ll feel more energized! The more body fat you accumulate, the harder your body has to work to carry out essential functions and movement, resulting in that sluggish and lethargic feeling. The body needs more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that powers every cell, which is why you feel tired. However, when you manage to shift the body fat, you use up less ATP resulting in higher energy levels for all the tasks you wish to carry out! Overall, you feel better and healthier.

Improved Sleep

Overweight individuals are more susceptible to having poor quality of sleep and possibly even experiencing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a troubling condition characterized by multiple pauses in breathing occurring throughout the night. Reducing weight can often minimize sleep apnea episodes, letting the person finally catch a good night’s sleep!

Increased Self-Esteem

In short, losing body fat and getting in shape makes you feel good about yourself on all levels – body, mind, and soul! You look better, which in turn boosts your self-esteem. You have more confidence to tackle daily interactions and feel more positive about life in general.

Following a healthy and balanced diet that includes all your macro and micronutrients is key to shedding body fat. Your daily meal plan should involve each of the major food groups, as well as vitamins and minerals. The primary food groups include proteins, complex carbs, healthy fats and oils, dairy or non-dairy alternatives, fruit and veg, and vitamins and minerals. Be sure to practice sensible portion control as well. A good rule of thumb for the portion size of protein and starches is the size of the palm of your hand. The rest of the meal should be constituted of plenty of fresh veggies, fruits, and salads. In addition, be sure to integrate exercise and movement into your life routine.

We can take some inspiration from the way the French maintain their diets. They tend to remain in shape naturally. But, how do they do it, you ask? In general, they don’t indulge in overeating, and avoid processed foods and instead opt for fresh, natural ingredients. They will typically enjoy a small healthy breakfast, including cereal, yogurt with fruit, or muesli or bread. Lunch and dinner will include conservative portions of meat, veggies, and carbs, and some cheese and coffee to round off the meal.

More Apt to Exercise

Ensure exercise, movement, and activity are a part of your daily routine and that you enjoy them. It could take many forms, such as the gym or home training and doing cardio, weight training, strength, or resistance training. Or you might be someone who likes sports or activities like tennis, swimming, yoga, and other outside or indoor activities. Focus on building your lean muscle up, as muscle cells require more energy to maintain than fat cells, thus speeding up your resting metabolic rate.

The ultimate goal of fat loss is to improve your overall health and well-being, so you can lead a long and prosperous life and experience a good quality of life right into your old age. If you feel stumped and overwhelmed about tackling weight loss on your own, you might find it helpful to consult the following wellness services.

Use Jefit App

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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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 those specific the muscles.

It is best to use them when you are lifting near or on your 1RM where the extra support is needed. Usually 80-90 percent of your 1RM is ideal. When your grip starts to fail, 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 maneuver. 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 percent 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!

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Seven Surprising Causes of Back Pain

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Most of us know the usual culprits of back pain; stress, excess body weight, improper lifting technique, and poor posture. While these are the typical causes, unexpected issues can be causing all that agony. Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non organic – meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer (source).

Jefit spoke to Dr. Gbolahan Okubadejo, a NYC area Orthopedic and Spinal Surgeon to discuss the surprising factors that could be causing your back pain. 

1. Smoking

Smoking increases brain activity which makes people less resilient when it comes to responding to back pain. In addition, smoking also causes premature aging of discs by decreasing blood supply to the discs, thus leading to pain in the lower back.

2. An Incorrect Mattress

Old mattresses start to form dips from years of use. The dips in the mattress cause the spine to curve, leading to constant stiffness or pain. A mattress that is too firm can cause strain on pressure points in the knees, hip, shoulders, and back, which can cause backaches. If the mattress is too soft, your spine is not supported well enough, and the spine can fall out of alignment.

3. Your Backpack, Purse or Wallet

Structural imbalances in the spinal column can occur when you sit on your wallet. This can happen because one side of your body is higher than the other, and an excess amount of physical stress is placed on the lower spine. This can lead to lower back pain and numbness. Carrying a heavy purse or bag on one shoulder can also cause a neck and spinal tilt that can lead to backaches. Remove your wallet from your back pocket when you are sitting down, and regularly switch your purse from one shoulder to another. 

4. Your Wardrobe

There are unexpected items in your wardrobe that could be causing your back pain. Skinny jeans, heavy bags, strapless bras, high heels, and backless shoes are all clothing items that may be influencing your pain. Try to limit the amount of time you spend in these clothes to promote optimal wellness.

5. Dehydration

When you are dehydrated, the spinal discs lose water, and your spine is in distress. When this happens, the spine takes on the full shock of your movements, which can lead to pain. Avoid drinks with caffeine and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. 

6. Your Cell Phone

Constantly hunching your neck over to look down at your phone compresses and tightens the muscles and tendons in the front structure of your neck. This creates imbalance and results in reduced mobility, shoulder and neck pain, a curvature formation at the upper back, and even headaches.

7. Incorrect Ergonomic Work Set Up

Many people have been working from home due to the pandemic. Working from home has led to slouching and hunching in front of our handheld laptops or work from home setups. Slouching can lead to neck and shoulder pain, back problems, and stiff hips. Make sure to sit all the way back in a computer chair and keep your thighs horizontal to your knees at hip level. 

Try the Award-Winning Jefit App

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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Research Shows Physical Activity Benefits Are Worth Your Time

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We continually hear about the multitude of health benefits of various forms of physical activity. Do you ever ask yourself, what exactly are some of those benefits? Look know further. The following research studies demonstrates the benefits acquired from regular physical activity. The following research studies offers a brief synopsis regarding the benefits from these different segments.

Physical Activity and COVID Protection

A 2021 study published by Kaiser Permanente Southern California of 50,000 people who developed COVID had striking findings. People who exercised for 10 minutes or less a week ended up hospitalized because of COVID. This happened at twice the rate of people who exercised 150 minutes a week. And most importantly, they were 2.5 times more likely to die. The researchers noted that being sedentary was the greatest risk factor for severe COVID. This was even beyond being elderly or an organ recipient.

A Reduction in Anxiety & Stress with Exercise

Exercise is just as effective as mindfulness at reducing people’s anxiety, a 2021 Cambridge University study found. The scientists reviewed 136 randomized control trials with 11,000 adult participants from 29 countries. In most cases mindfulness positively impacted anxiety, stress and depression, but there was no evidence it works 0better than exercise.

A 2020 study from the University of Limerick found strength training only twice a week has its benefits. The subjects performing lunges, squats and crunches led to 20 percent better scores on tests for anxiety. The researchers noted that the effect was larger than expected.

Physical Activity Offsets the Impact of Sitting Too Much

An 2020 study from global researchers, looked at movement tracking data from tens of thousands of people worldwide. They determined that people who were the most sedentary were significantly more likely to die young. The good news: It doesn’t take a whole lot of movement to counteract that threat. Just 11 minutes of brisk walking or other mild exercise each day led to significant reductions in early death. The sweet spot: 35 minutes of moderate activity led to the most longevity gains – no matter how long people sat.

A study in JAMA Oncology (2020) suggests that very sedentary people are roughly 80 percent more likely to die of cancer than those who sit less. The study used epidemiological data and activity trackers on 7,000 middle-aged men and women. They found people who sat the most, were 82 percent more likely to die from cancer. There was a bright spot in all of this. For every 30-minutes of daily movement, the risk of dying from cancer fell by 31 percent. 

Physical Activity Impacts the Aging Process

A 2018 study from Ball State University, tested the cardiovascular health and muscles of people in their seventies. This group exercised steadily for decades. They found that the muscles of the men and women were indistinguishable in many ways from those of healthy 25-year-olds. And these active septuagenarians essentially had the cardiovascular health of people 30-years younger. 

A study from the Cooper Institute and University of Texas, looked at roughly 18,000 people. They found that men and women who are more physically fit at midlife have a much lower risk of depression and death from cardiovascular disease later in life. Compared with those in the lowest fitness category, people in the highest were 16 percent less likely to have depression. More than 60 percent were less likely to have cardiovascular illness without depression. Finally, 56 percent were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

Continue to stay strong and active as you age. If you’re not currently active, remember, it’s never too late to start! Regular physical activity may be just what the doctor ordered.

Use Jefit App to Track Your Exercise Progress

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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

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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

Some of 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!

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More Push-Ups Means Less Likely to Get Heart Disease

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Did you know there is a direct relationship between push-ups and heart disease? As it turns out, the maximum number of push-ups you can do, in one attempt, can predict illness in men.

Many athletes and gym-goers alike are interested in how much weight they can lift. Especially, when it comes to exercises like deadlifts, bench press, squat and various Olympic lifts. You hear numbers like “1-RM” often used. This refers to one-repetition maximum or the most weight an individual can lift for one repetition.

There is a research study re-circulating on the Internet regarding the number of push-ups men can do and the impact it has on their health. The study reports that if someone can pump out 40 push-ups, in one attempt, they are less likely to develop heart disease. WOW!

A study was conducted by a group of researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and published in the journal JAMA Network Open. The study tested and followed over 1,100 active male firefighters for a 10-year period. The average age of the men was 40 years old. The results found that men who could perform 40 push-ups were 96 percent less likely to develop heart disease a decade later compared to men who could do only 10 push-ups

JAMA Network Open, 2019

The Benefits of Push-Ups

Building up your capacity to perform more push-ups is beneficial to both a novice or an experienced gym-goer. The push-up exercise is a great compound movement that targets the chest, shoulders and arms. It can be used as part of a dynamic warm-up, used in a circuit, placed in a Tabata workout or added while traveling to maintain strength. Push-ups are also great for building strength or endurance depending on the experience of the person; this will depend on the speed or volume (sets x repetitions) of work performed.

Now that you know there are associated health benefits with doing more push-ups, you’re hopefully motivated to do more or get back into doing them. The number of push-ups is also an excellent indicator of your upper body fitness level.

Push-Up Test

First, test yourself to see how many push-ups you can perform in one-minute. You have basically two options, perform as many as you can and record the number. Option two, do a specific number of repetitions, recover, and continue until your minute is up. Note how well you did using the following guidelines. The key is to perform each repetition in a controlled manner, lowering your body until your chest is a few inches from the floor or the arms are bent at 90-degrees. Here are a few guidelines to see how you initially rate. Don’t worry if you do not score high first time out of the gates. Be more focused on your score following four-weeks when you’ll test yourself again using the scoring format below.

Below Average: less than 15 push-ups

Average: 20 push-ups

Good: 30 to 35 push-ups

Excellent: 40 to 50+ push-ups

4-Week Push-Up Plan

If you are looking to improve upon the number of push-ups you can do, try this 4-week plan.

Week 1: Perform 8 sets of 8 repetitions of pushups. Use strict form. Rest two to three minutes between sets. Perform 2-3 workouts during the week.

Week 2: Complete 6 sets of 10 repetitions with 1-2 minute of rest between sets. Perform 2 workouts.

Week 3: Do 4 sets of 15 repetitions with 1 minute of rest between sets. Focus on performing slow eccentric contractions (lowering phase) with each repetition. Think about lowering your body using a 3 count and “explode” up on a 1 count. Perform 2-3 workouts.

Week 4: Complete 4 sets of 20 repetitions using two minutes of rest between sets.

Week 5: Test Yourself Again

New 4-Week Push-Up Challenge on the Jefit App

Check out this new program on the Jefit app that will help you increase the number of push-ups you can do in 4-week. Jefit is very interested in finding out who can improve the most in this area. We are not interested in the number you can do initially. We are, however, very interested in your improvement after trying our 4-week plan. Let us know how many more push-ups you can do four weeks from now! Try our Jefit 4-Week Push-Up Challenge program – it’s for all fitness levels.

Record and Track Your Push-Ups Using Jefit

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

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Exercise Training Tips for Beginners

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

Why you should exercise

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

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

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

The difference between body fat and muscle mass

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

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

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

So exercise is vital in working on that body composition.

Training Tips: Cardio vs. Weights

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

Cardio?

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

Some examples of cardio include:

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

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

Strength Training

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

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

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

Should I do cardio or strength train?

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

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

Can women lift weights?

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

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

Focus on compound movements

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

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

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

So how heavy should you lift?

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

Training Tips: Stretching

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

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

Build a routine

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

Track your workouts

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

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

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

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