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Category: General Fitness

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_

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

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

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 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

Don’t Miss Out on These Great Benefits of Leg Day

benefits of leg day

If there is one day that most people dread at the gym, it is leg day. Often, people tend to skip training their legs in favor of other parts such as the arms or chest. However, there are many benefits of leg day which means that you should absolutely not skip your leg training. To get you motivated to train legs, here are the reasons why leg training day is so important.

What Are the Benefits of Leg Day?

Work Out Your Entire Body

While the arms, chest and shoulders seem to reign supreme in the gym in terms of aesthetics and perceived strength, skipping leg day means that you can create a muscle imbalance in your body. Your upper body will be more toned and stronger than your lower body, which is not what you want.

You want an overall, proportionate figure that is in symmetry. Not only is that better for your body on the inside, it also makes for better aesthetics.

So don’t skimp out on the legs and make sure you evenly workout your entire body.

Reduce Injury Risk

The benefits of leg day also extend beyond appearance. It assists in reducing injury risk. This is because you are training and strengthening your lower body, which can help you across all other sports and activities, even just walking and running.

By incorporating functional leg strengthening exercises, you will be able to work on your hamstrings, quadriceps, and even hip flexors. These are all muscles that you use in your everyday life, so by working on them, you increase stability and endurance.

Leg training is especially important if you play other sports in minimizing injury. Runners, for example, can prevent runner’s knee by incorporating lower body strength training into their routine. So ensuring that you remain in optimal health is always a good reason to do something, like training your legs.

Burn More Calories

Your lower body holds the largest muscle in the body, which is your gluteus maximus. By training this area more, your body will work harder, meaning that you will be burning more calories.

Your metabolism will also increase. This is because the body will require more calories to repair the muscles in this area than it would for the smaller muscle groups.

Improve Your Lifts

Legs are such an important part of your body, especially in terms of lifting and sports. The benefits of leg day mean that you will be able to actually improve other areas of your workout, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

For example, the bench press uses your legs as well. Your legs play a vital role in the bench in providing support and stability, so by working on your lower body, you will be improving your other important lifts.

Help with Other Sports

Not only is training your legs beneficial for gym movements but it is also advantageous for other sports. You get your source of power from your legs and training them means you can increase explosive leg power and balance.

Just think about how much work your legs do when it comes to running and cycling. If you think about it – you really do use your legs a lot and by working on this area, you can really improve your athleticism, speed and endurance.

Work Other Parts of the Body Simultaneously

When we talk about the benefits of leg day, one thing to remember is that it is not just your legs that are going to benefit. In fact, when you work out your legs, you also train other parts of your body as secondary focuses.

Take the squat for example. When you squat, you should also be engaging your core, giving you a good ab workout. When you deadlift properly, you should be working your chest as well.

So if you are thinking about skipping leg day, just remember you will be missing out on more than just leg training.

What Leg Exercises Should You Do?

So now that you know what the benefits of leg day are, what exercises work best? Compound movements are those that engage more than one muscle group. By using two or more different joints, you really get a good workout that forces muscles to work together.

For leg day, focus on compound movements like the squat, deadlift and leg press. Lunges are also a great move that works the hamstrings, glutes and quads.

It is also a good idea to go heavier (but remember to do fewer reps) to really encourage muscle growth throughout the body.

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. It comes free workout routines to help mix up your training, with many lower body exercises so you can reap the benefits of leg day.

Do you agree with these benefits of leg day? What are some of your favorite leg exercises? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!

benefits of leg day

Sleep Deprivation Causes and Effects in the Gym

sleep deprivation causes and effects

One factor that contributes to how well we perform at the gym is sleep. Sleep quality plays such a vital role in maintaining a healthy and active life. This is why when we lose sleep on a consistent basis, it can really impact on our gym performance and in our day-to-day lives in general. This post is going to cover sleep deprivation causes and effects in the gym so you can learn just how much sleep impacts on our performance and what we can do about it.

Sleep Deprivation Causes and Effects in the Gym

Lifestyle Sleep Deprivation Causes

While there may be many possible underlying causes of why people are sleep deprived, most of the time, it is our bad sleeping habits that are affecting our shut-eye.

In this on-the-go lifestyle that we lead, we tend to stay up later, finishing work, watching television or staying connected to others via our social media.

It may not seem like it but this can really affect our sleep quality, which may be one of the many reasons why you are unable to get a good night’s sleep.

Maybe you have a demanding job so you find yourself working quite late all the time, checking emails. Maybe you have lots of things to do around the house that keeps you up. Whatever there is, there are many sleep deprivation causes that are based on our lifestyle choices.

The Many Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Just as there are many possible causes, there are also many effects of lack of sleep.

You Feel Lazy

Hands up if you have ever had a bad sleep and felt like skipping your gym workout because of it?

I know I have.

Feeling lazy because you have missed out on hours of sleep can cause you to skip your workout, meaning you will fall behind in your training. This lack of motivation can cause you to be unwilling to move or be active all day, and we all know how important it is to move daily.

You’re Moodier

Not only will you be feeling lazier and less motivated but you will also moodier.

This is not a great situation for you or the people around you.

You may find that you will be moodier, more irritable and grumpier because you will have less serotonin in the body.

And if you skip your training session because you are feeling lazy (i.e. see point above), you will not be active which can actually help improve your mood by releasing endorphins.

You Can’t Concentrate

Just say that you do somehow manage to make it to the gym. Is your workout as efficient as it could be? Are you able to make it through your regime like you typically can or are you finding it harder to concentrate?

Another one of the sleep deprivation causes and effects in the gym include trouble focusing. You will find yourself becoming more easily distracted which means that while you managed to make it to the gym, the quality of your training will be compromised.

Your Energy Levels are Low

Not only will you have decreased concentration but you will also have less energy. This may make your usual workout seem a lot harder than it usually is.

You may find that you will be unable to hit the same weights, sets or reps as last time – all because you are feeling drained from lack of sleep.

Your Body Can’t Recover Properly

Sleep is such an important factor in your body’s rest and recovery. Without proper sleep, your muscles and bones cannot grow or repair themselves. This can perpetuate DOMS, make it harder for you to feel 100% again and back to normal. This is especially bad if you do weight training or strength training.

If you are deprived of sleep, you are depriving your body of the time that it needs to relieve muscle tension and soreness. And you will definitely feel it the next day.

Your Metabolism Slows Down

Lack of sleep slows down your metabolism and decreasing leptin – the hormone that helps keep you feeling full. In turn, this causes, your appetite to increase so you feel much hungrier than usual.

If you are trying to keep a healthy diet, then this can definitely derail your good intentions and you may find yourself reaching for an unhealthy snack.

While you should treat yourself every once in a while without feeling guilty, you may find that you feel the sleep deprivation causes and effects all day. This means that you may find that the unhealthy snack has turned into an unhealthy day.

Without consuming the adequate nutrition your body needs, especially to help your workouts, then you may see your gym performance fall.

5 Tips on How to Get Better Quality Sleep

Here are some easy steps that you can take to get longer and better sleep:

  1. Choose a time that will give you adequate hours of sleep for you to wake up feeling refreshed the next day. Make sure that you consistently go to bed at this hour. This may take some time getting used to but eventually, your body will learn your earlier bedtime. To help get you started, try going to bed half an hour/an hour earlier each night until you reach your desired time.
  2. Set an alarm an hour before that time to begin the winding down process for sleep. This includes turning off all electronics so that the blue light it emits doesn’t disrupt the body clock. This also means stop doing work and checking emails.
  3. Keep your bedroom quiet and dark.
  4. Try meditating for better sleep. Meditation can help you unclutter your mind and prepare your head and body for sleep.
  5. Exercising daily is also a great way to help get better sleep. Just make sure you don’t engage in vigorous exercise too close to your bedtime. Otherwise, you will be too worked up to sleep.

As you can see, the sleep deprivation causes and effects in the gym are plentiful. Sleep really does make such a big impact – good and bad – in your training and health in general. To get the best out of your workout each day, have better and longer sleep.

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has the largest exercise library complete with free workout routines to help mix up your training. It also gives you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community.

How have you found your sleep affects your training? What sleep deprivation causes and effects have you seen on your fitness journey? Let us know in the comments below!

sleep deprivation causes and effects

How to Speed Up the Muscle Recovery Process

muscle recovery process

Working out can leave you feeling a little sore the next day. While a little soreness is nothing to be concerned about, it can also prevent you from really putting in 100% in your next session. If you are wondering help speed up the muscle recovery process so that you can fit and ready for the gym the next day, here are some tools that you can use and their benefits.

Tips to Speed Up the Muscle Recovery Process

Cool Down/Stretching

You should never skip your cool down following a gym workout. There are many advantages to cooling down and stretching, and one of them is helping to reduce muscle fatigue.

During your workout, your heart rate would have increased, so your cool down gives it time for your heart to return to its normal state at a more regulated pace. This will reduce the release of lactic acid (which is released during exercise).

More oxygen is circulated around the body, relaxing the muscles. The time you take to cool down is hence so critical to helping speed up the muscle recovery process.

Foam Rolling

A common sight at the gym is people using foam rollers before and after a workout. A foam roller aids in myofascial release; it helps to loosen the muscles and joints while also increasing mobility.

With foam rolling, you release muscle tension, especially if this is done after a gym workout. This is an alternative to a massage, where you can do it yourself. One advantage of this is that you can really focus on areas that are sore for you and spend a bit more time foam rolling there.

If you feel a knot or sore area, try to hold the foam roller over it for a bit long, or even roll back and forth in that space.

Releasing this tension means that you are also promoting better blood and oxygen circulation around the body. This will ultimately help to speed up the muscle recovery process and decrease DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

Massages

Massages are a great muscle recovery tool. While once-off massages are useful, to really reap the benefits, it is best to receive regular massages. Long-term use helps to relieve muscle tension, preventing the risk of injuries.

Other advantages of massages include:
– Gets the blood flow moving around the body by dilating the blood vessels, bettering bloog circulation
– Loosens muscles, hence increasing range of motion

Dry Needling

Another option to speed up the muscle recovery process is through dry needling. If you are scared of needles, however, maybe it is best to avoid this one.

Dry needling consists of a very thin needle penetrating through the skin to hit a specific trigger point such as a muscle knot. You know when you have hit a trigger point when you feel resistance or a twitch. Once the unhealthy muscle tissue is pinpointed, you use the needle to gently manipulate the area before removing it. This process is repeated several times.

So what is the benefit of dry needling?

Dry needling helps to speed up muscle and tissue recovery. With that twitch or resistance you feel, it sends a signal to the brain to start repairing that damaged area. This will help to restore normal tissue function.

Not only that but dry needling decreases inflammation while also increasing circulation around the body.

Sauna

The sauna is passive heat therapy. If your gym has a sauna, definitely take advantage of it so that you can speed up the muscle recovery process.

The sauna is a room that is heated, which helps the body emulate the effects of moderate exercise. You may feel your heart rate slightly increase and you will most definitely sweat. Not only that, you will also feel your muscles relax.

What the heat does in the sauna, is encourage the waste buildup (from your exercise) in your muscles and joints to go to the surface of the skin. This then disapparated as sweat.

Not only that, a sauna increases the flow of blood around your body. This means that your muscles are provided with more oxygen, helping in muscle recovery.

By heading to the sauna after a good workout, you will loosen your muscles, which will help to alleviate some of the soreness you may potentially experience.

Cryotherapy

A new fitness trend coming up in 2018 is cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is when you go into a chamber for approximately 3 minutes in sub-zero temperatures. The point of this is to provide a safer and healthier alternative to the typical ‘ice bath’ that athletes and gym goers use to speed up the muscle recovery process.

Compared to the ice bath that promotes muscle stiffness, cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to submit the body to cold temperatures without stiffening the muscles or damaging the skin.

The benefits of this post-workout recovery tool are to alleviate inflammation, pain and soreness. It aids in discharging toxins from the tissues and directs blood flow to your vital organs, improving circulation.

While getting cryotherapy, you wear protective gloves, socks and slippers.

Eat, Sleep and Hydrate

Along with these tools, basic functions such as eating and sleeping well and making sure you stay hydrated can really aid in the muscle recovery process.

A post-workout meal that is protein-rich can promote faster muscle repair and growth. Sleeping well at night gives your body the proper time it needs to rest and recover while staying hydrated can ensure that your bodily functions and organs are all performing at its optimum level.

Hopefully, you would have found one or more ways to help speed up the muscle recovery process in this article. While some should be mandatory after a workout session, such as cooling down and stretching, others like cryotherapy may be new territory. Try out different options to see which ones give you the better muscle relief so that you can head back to the gym feeling 100%.

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has the largest exercise library complete with free workout routines to help mix up your training. It also gives you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community.

What other tools or therapy do you use to help speed up the muscle recovery process? Which ones on this list have you found to be the most effective for you? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!

muscle recovery process

Winter Motivation Tips to Get You Out of Bed and into the Gym

winter motivation

Winter is a great season filled with Christmas, warm cups of coffee and staying in bed. However, if you are trying to maintain your healthy lifestyle, the cold weather can also be a hindrance to your progress. To help get you out of your cosy bed and into the gym, here are some winter motivation tips.

8 Winter Motivation Tips You Need to Hear

1. Get a Personal Trainer/Workout Buddy

It can be easy to skip your workout time and time again if you have no one there to let down but yourself.

To help counteract this, get a personal trainer or workout buddy.

By having someone there, you hold yourself accountable to not let them down. After all, if they can spend their time making it to the gym for you, then you can do the same for them.

You don’t have to have just one workout buddy either. You can form a group. The more people that you have expected you to turn up to a session, the more motivation you will have to always go. Plus, the cold will be much more bearable if you have your friends there with you.

2. Find a Supportive Community

If you can’t find a workout buddy or trainer, or just want extra support, then find a community of like-minded people. There are many ways you can do this, such as finding group training classes, clubs or even online ones such as with Jefit.

By having people available there at the tips of your fingertips, you can keep up your winter motivation by sending and receiving encouraging messages to keep going. By staying in touch with people who want to remain fit and healthy, even throughout the winter months, you will be more inclined to get out of bed and into the gym.

3. Set a Goal

Waking up to head to the gym in the cold weather can be difficult. It is even more difficult if you have no goal to work towards. This is why one of our winter motivation tips is to set yourself a goal.

It could be to lose x amount of weight by summer or to be able to lift double what you can do now.

By setting yourself a goal, you can a specific motivating factor in mind that will help get you out of bed as opposed to just going to the gym to do whatever.

Whatever goal you set, just make sure that it is realistic otherwise it could have the opposite effect and de-motivate you.

4. Get New Winter Workout Gear

When in winter, wear winter workout gear! This can help alleviate the cold weather and make it easier to go to the gym. Winter workout clothes may be longer skins, thermal tops, tights or windbreakers. The key to remember when it comes to winter clothes is layers, so layer it up!

Don’t underestimate the value of new winter workout clothes. There is nothing like a new gym outfit or accessories that can really pump up your motivation and help you get to the gym. After all, if you look good, you feel good.

5. Change Your Alarm

If you are a morning gym goer, then one way to get your winter motivation going in the am is to set yourself a song that excites you.

Change your generic alarm tone to an upbeat song that really inspires you and gets your blood pumping. Stronger by Kayne West is always a good one to choose.

6. Reward Yourself

To help get you through a workout in the cold, focus on a reward you can have afterwards. A simple reward can be a nice hot cup of coffee or tea afterwards.

A simple drink is one that can really help motivate people because it tastes delicious and warms you up. It will also taste that much nicer knowing that you worked hard for it.

If you heed our first couple of tips and find yourself a workout buddy or community, then you can turn your coffee run into a group reward and use it to socialise with your friends. This will definitely make going to the gym in the cold worth it.

7. Think About Summer

Summer bodies are made in winter. By the time summer rolls around, people start to panic and try to get the beach bodies that they want. Unfortunately, by this time, it is often too late.

By remembering that summer bodies are made in winter, this will give you the encouragement you need to go to the gym.

It will also help to prevent any weight gain from creeping up on you during the colder months. With layers of clothing on, it is all too easy to miss it. By remaining active though, you can prevent this and stay fit and healthy.

8. Look at Your Progress

Nothing can help you with winter motivation than seeing how far you have come. While it takes time to make progress and get results, unfortunately, it takes far less time to lose it all. So look back at your workout log and see how far you have come. 

You’re not really going to let a bit of cold weather undo all your hard work and effort, are you?

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has the largest exercise library complete with free workout routines to help mix up your training. It also gives you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community. With Jefit on your phone, you will be able to share your grip training progress with your fellow gym goers!

What winter motivation tips do you have? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!

winter motivation

Health and Fitness Industry Trends: Predictions for 2018

Health and Fitness Industry Trends

Trends often come and go with time, and now that we are nearing the end of 2017, it is time to take a look at the health and fitness industry trends for 2018. Some may have become big in 2017, predicted to still remain big in the new year while others are new.

Take a look at some of the 2018 health and fitness industry trends to see what is up and coming.

Health and Fitness Industry Trends: Training

Strength Training

There has been a movement towards strength training, especially targeted towards females. More women are including strength training into their gym routine now that the message that “weight doesn’t make you bulky”, is finally hitting home.

This is a great shift in mentality and one that hopefully continues to grow.

Health and Fitness Industry Trends: Technology

Wearable Technology

Wearable technology is nothing new and this is a trend that is not going away anytime soon. Thanks to devices such as the FitBit, Garmin and Apple Watch, people have been adopting these devices to help them with their health and fitness. Also onboard are heart rate monitors that help to measure your heart rate during a session. This way, you will know whether you are working hard enough or slacking off just a little bit.

Mobile Apps

As we always carry our smartphones with us everywhere, it is no surprise that one of the 2018 health and fitness industry trends have to do with mobile apps.

Mobile apps help to make logging your training easier, which is what makes them so popular. These apps, like Jefit, take the hard work out of tracking your session so you can spend all your time and energy actually working out.

While each app differs in what they offer, Jefit, for example, provides users with an extensive exercise library, ability to record sets and reps, and access to a supportive online community.

Health and Fitness Industry Trends: Recovery

Cryotherapy

More and more emphasis is being placed on recovery. This is really great because the harder you train, the more time you need to spend on rest and recovery.

Cryotherapy is becoming more popular as the benefits are being heard throughout the health and fitness industry.

This non-invasive treatment works by enveloping your entire body in fine nitrogen mist at low temperatures – sub-zero – in a chamber. It could be anywhere between -100°C or -200°C. You spend approximately 3 minutes in there.

This will increase the blood flow around your body to your internal organs, boost metabolism, aid in muscle repair, and relieve inflammation and joint pain.

The multiple benefits show why Cryotherapy is one of the up and coming health and fitness industry trends for 2018.

Infrared Sauna

If the thought of spending time in a freezing cold chamber isn’t for you, then another trend that you may consider is the infrared sauna. Compared to traditional saunas in which the air around you is heated up, which in turn, heats your body, the infrared sauna uses infrared to directly warm your body.

The appeal of the sauna, infrared and traditional, is that it gets your heart pumping, your body sweating and relieves muscle pain and soreness. It also stimulates blood flow around the body, and this increased circulation means that you will recover faster after an intense workout.

Health and Fitness Industry Trends: Diet

The other half of being healthy is what you eat. As the old saying goes, “you can’t out train a bad diet”, so more people are focusing on not only what they do but what they consume.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting was one of the biggest trends this year, and its popularity will still continue to rise in 2018. It refers to a cycle of fasting and non-fasting periods.

While there are different types of intermittent fasting, some more extreme than others, the advantages of this eating pattern is said to help with weight loss and gain muscle.

Here are two of the popular intermittent fasting methods:

Leangains

This is where people fast for 14-16 hours a day and have an eating window of 8-10 hours. It doesn’t matter when you eat, as long as you stick to the fasting and non-fasting rule.

The common non-fasting times are between noon and 8 pm. People tend to find it easier to fast throughout the night and morning. During the fasting times, you cannot consume any calories. Some exceptions include black coffee or tea and sugar free gum.

The Warrior Diet

A more extreme version involves a fasting window of 20 hours and an eating period of 4 hours. This eating pattern sees people usually only eating one huge meal a day.

While intermittent fasting may not work for everyone, the results so far have seen it become one of the health and industry trends for 2018.

IIFYM

Another way to help with the food part of being healthy is IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). While it is similar to calorie counting, it refers specifically to three main macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat.

Everyone has their own individual macro count, depending on factors such as how much they exercise, the intensity level of their exercise, and how sedentary or active they are throughout the day.

The popularity of this eating lifestyle is that it gives people flexibility. People are able to eat all the junk that they want, as long as it fits their macros. It is, of course, recommended that you still stick to mostly healthy, unprocessed food. What the flexibility does, is it takes away the guilt that some people may experience by having a sneaky chocolate bar here and there. If it fits your macros, then it is good to go.

These are the health and fitness industry trends that you may see growing in 2018. Some emerged onto the scene previously and are still rising in popularity. Others are just starting to gain momentum now. Do you think that we predicted right?

What predictions do you have for the health and fitness industry trends 2017? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!

Health and Fitness Industry Trends