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Category: General Fitness

Dropping Knowledge: Exercise and Nutrition Book Review

More than a million books are published in a typical year, as a result, it can be difficult to know which ones are really worth your time to both buy and read. The Jefit team has put together a short list of some of the best health and fitness related content that we thought may peak your interest. This is part one of an upcoming series highlighting some of the best books available that you’ll hopefully get an opportunity to read soon. A goal of the initial list, and future posts on the topic, is to help save our readers time and money offering a cliff notes version of some of the best reading the fitness industry has to offer. Our recommendations will focus on topics like exercise, nutrition, recovery, supplements, HIT, and strength training.

Click on any of the 24 links below to read a quick preview or review. If you have any personal recommendations, please let us know.

Exercise Related

Movement & Mobility

Nutrition

Health & Fitness Related

The list above includes some of the biggest names in their respective fields via coaching, training, research, and writing (like Bill Bryson and Alex Hutchinson). Further, the books named to our initial list are more than just informational; we feel they can help improve the way you function and move beyond the gym. One that made the list, “Breath” by James Nestor, was recently published. During a recent workout, I heard the author being interviewed on a podcast I was listening to at the time and immediately downloaded it after my workout, which proved to be interesting reading.

Hopefully this is a helpful start for you in terms of finding, informative, science-based, topics written by respected industry leaders that you can hopefully read soon. Having read them all, I can highly recommend each one. Please do the same and share this post with any book lovers you know – thanks!

Stay strong with Jefit.

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Spice Up Your Exercise Routine With These Creative Home Workout Ideas

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After months of dealing with Covid-19, gyms are starting to open slowly around the country. More people then ever before started working out from home during this time period. Forbes reported two items purchased most often during the pandemic have been bread machines and gym equipment. From a consumer standpoint, it’s often difficult to know what exercise products are best options for a home gym. Hopefully, this article will shed some light on that question and more.

What Home Workout Equipment People are Buying Most Often

ResearchAndMarkets.com recently published an article on the state of the health and wellness industry. During the coronavirus lockdown, fitness equipment sales jumped by 170%. The equipment mentioned in their report were more big ticket items though like treadmills, rowing machines and bikes. To put this in better perspective, online sales of fitness equipment from last year rose 70% from February to March. As a year to year comparison, sales increased 535% during the same period this year, according to Adobe Analytics.

The numbers below represent how much of an increase home exercise equipment has risen from 2019 through 2020 according to ZDNet. This is a good starting point in terms of possible products to purchase depending on someones needs and space requirements.

Equipment                                                   Sales Increase 2019 vs. 2020
Dumbbells                                                                    1980%
Weight Plates                                                               1355%
Kettlebells                                                                     1000%
Pull Up Bar                                                                    640%
Benches                                                                        530%
Barbells & Attachments                                              355%
Power Racks & Smith Machines 315%
Equipment Mats & Flooring 300%
Weight Storage                                                              285%
Push Up Stands                                                             200%

Source: eBay 

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Digital Fitness

According to L.E.K Insights, “consumer investment in digital fitness has increased by 30%-35% relative to pre-COVID-19 levels, positioning the sector for faster growth in the future.” Options for home exercise include subscription-based online classes and exercise apps. The number of online classes have exploded with offerings for everything from yoga to boot camp.

Home Workout Program Options

The following series of programs are currently featured on the free version of the Jefit strength training app. All of these workouts can be done with minimal equipment right from home or eventually back at the gym. Jefit features thousands of workouts and exercises for its user base. Jefit is one of the best workout planner & tracker apps and that could be the added motivation that you’ve been looking for.

Home Exercise Program for Beginners with Minimal Equipment

1 – Body Transformation – (Week 1 & 2)

2 – Body Transformation – (Week 3 & 4)

3 – Body Transformation – (Week 5 & 6)

Bodyweight Home Exercise Routine for Beginner

The idea behind this bodyweight circuit workout that you can do at home is to pair each two exercises together. Exercise A1 & A2 are performed back-to-back before resting, then do cardio and repeat the exercise sequence for a second set. Then transition to the next series of exercise, B1 & B2, and so forth.

A1. Exercise Band Squat, 10×2

A2. Exercise Band One-Arm Row, 12×2

Jump Rope 2:00

B1. Push-Ups, 12×2

B2. Prone Back Extension, 10×2

Jumping Jacks 1:00

C1. Forearm Plank, 30 sec. to 1:00 hold x2

C2. Glute Bridge, 12×2

Mountain Climbers, 30 sec.

D1. Bodyweight Dips, 15×2

D2. Arm Circles, 20 reps forward/20 reps backward

Perform one set of each exercise and then go back through the circuit and repeat for a second set (or round) following a 2:00 rest period. Good Luck and Stay Strong!

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Simple Body Hacks to Improve Performance

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The majority of people who exercise or engage in individual or team sports often looks for ways to improve performance. With that, brings us to how we can better “hack” our body to improve performance, some also call this DIY science….biohacking. Dave Asprey, a biohacker who created the company Bulletproof, defines biohacking as “the art and science of changing the environment around you and inside you so that you have full control over your own biology.” 

Why Try to Hack Your Body Anyway?

There are many people out there who try to hack their body to improve performance, on some level. They do this basically because they have a strong desire to feel better and to see just how far they can push the human body. A lot of people are hacking their body essentially to try and live as long as possible. Dave Asprey as an example, has been quoted as saying he wants to live to 180 years old.

Another well-known body or bio hacker is Tim Ferris, author of the best-selling book, The 4-Hour Body. Ferris has a well known reputation for trying to hack just about everything related to his body. Why does he do it? This Wired interview explains why.

Now that you have a better understanding of what trying to hack your body is all about, check this out.

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Mindful breath work effects everything from mediation to sports performance.

Breath Work: An Easy Way to Improve Performance

We all know how to breath intuitively and how importance breathing is since it gives us life. Go beyond this for a moment and listen to this great Wild Ideas podcast from REI. The podcast, comes out every other Monday, and just featured author, James Nestor, author a new book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. The book comes out in May. The podcast talked about his years of doing research and talking to medical experts on the science of breathing. He offers up some great easy-to-follow tips that you can use right now. I actually tried his 6-second breath technique on my morning walk today. You can try this when seated (or like me, walking). Take in a long, slow breath through your nose only, for 5-6 seconds. Then exhale slowly for the same amount of time and try this for about 6 repetitions. The goal of this type of breathing, is to help more nitric oxide enter your body and tissues. It’s been reported that when you breathe through your nose, nasal resistance increases by 200% and this helps the release of oxygen. If you were wondering, mouth breathing does not let your body take advantage of the sinuses production of nitric oxide.

Nasal Versus Mouth Breathing

Try closing your mouth and just breath slowly in/out through your nose for about minute. According to a lot of the science out there, “breathing through your nose is one of the most beneficial things you can do for the overall health of your body and for your longevity.” This is what Nestor talks about in his book and in the podcast. You may already know the value of breath work, if you practice yoga on a regular basis. Think about this for a minute. How great would it be if we could get a legitimate boost in performance by simply breathing slowly through our nose? Listen to the podcast and give it a shot. For additional reading, check this great article out on the science of breathing by Sarah Novotny and Len Kravitz, Ph.D. and this research paper on effects of nasal breathing in runners.

There are many experts and researchers who think breath work should become a component in health & fitness model. Meaning, you work on strength, flexibility, cardio, nutrition, etc. – why not also incorporate breath work as part of your daily routine?

Mobility: Unlock Tight Hips to Improve Performance

We typically spend a great deal of our time in the gym pushing weights or doing cardio. One key area that often gets overlooked is mobility. Mobility can be defined as freedom of movement without pain through a full range of motion. Mobility exercises can be done as a warm-up if you’re always rushed for time. They are great for reducing joint pain, improving a fuller range of motion and can even reduce the chance of injury. We all know tight muscles and connective tissue are an accident waiting to happen.

When you want to squat, lunge, or lift weights better, mobility work is key, especially when it comes to the hips. You may have limited hip mobility because of an old injury, you don’t work on mobility or you may sit or drive all day for work. In any event, tight hips can cause, over time, a chain reaction resulting in dysfunctional movement. Over time your hip joints will become tight if not addressed appropriately, you’ll begin to notice issues when performing exercises like Squats and Deadlifts.

What are Some of the Better Hip Exercises to do?

There are a lot of different directions you could go here. This is an opportunity to use the Jefit app and perform this series of exercises. Complete each exercise below slowly, working through a full range of motion. Perform each exercise as a hip and glute warm-up prior to working out and you’ll eventually see an improvement in hip mobility. Some may not be pure hip mobility drills but doing these will in turn improve glute/hip function. Perform each exercise for 30-seconds then move to the next and repeat the circuit twice.

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Moving Towards a More Healthy Lifestyle

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No one needs to tell us that we’re currently living in unprecedented times. The health of everyone in this country, and worldwide for that matter, is at the forefront of all our minds. It is more important than ever to attempt to follow a healthy lifestyle. How do you know if you’re living a healthy lifestyle in the first place? Harvard Health reports you’re considered healthy if you can answer “yes” to all the following criteria. (1) healthy diet, (2) healthy body weight, (3) never smoked, (4) consume moderate amounts of alcohol and (5) exercise regularly.

What’s Considered a Healthy Lifestyle?

According to Harvard Health, one important component to this type of lifestyle is a healthy diet. Meaning, an “intake of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids”. In addition, avoid unhealthy foods like “processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and sodium.” No smoking in a no-brainer. A healthy body weight according to the site, is a body mass index (BMI), between 18.5 and 24.9. But to be honest, this is not the best metric to monitor, instead focus on your percent body fat. On the alcohol side, no more than one drink/day/women and two drinks/day/men. A healthy physical activity level means roughly 30-minutes of moderate to vigorous activity most days of the week.

Does Living a Healthy Lifestyle Actually Add Years to Your Life?

The research does in fact demonstrate that living a healthy lifestyle can add years to your life. Individuals who met the criteria for all five habits (listed above) enjoyed living longer lives than those who had none: 14 years for women and 12 years for men to be exact. People who had none of these habits “were far more likely to die prematurely from cancer or cardiovascular disease.” There is also additional research that reports similar findings to this in the Journal of American Medical Association.

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Are you getting a minimum of 30-minutes of moderate or vigorous activity most days of the week?

You probably have the exercise piece down already, especially if you’re using the Jefit app to help record and track your workouts. Here are some additional ways to move towards a healthy lifestyle, in addition to the five criteria mentioned in the research studies above.

10 Ways to Help You Live Better and Longer

Exercise

  • Burn 1,100 Calories a Week. Duke University scientists discovered that this amount of calories expended from exercise prevents the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue (fat). This type of belly fat causes arterial inflammation and hypertension. Are you falling short of this number? Try joining a sports a league. One study reported that people who exercised in groups boosted their average weekly calorie burn by 500 a week.
  • Hit the Weights. University of Michigan scientists found that people who completed three strength workouts/week for two months lowered their diastolic blood pressure by an average of eight points. That’s enough to reduce the risk of stroke by 40% and heart attack by 15%.
  • Find the Time to Exercise. People who exercise for 2 hours/week are less likely to feel stressed than their sedentary counterparts, say researchers from Denmark.
  • Get on Those Daily Chores. Doing 150 calories’ worth of chores a day can lower blood pressure by 13 points, according to Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. The reduction lasts only 8 hours, but make it a daily habit and you can lower your blood pressure in the long term.

Diet & Nutrition

  • Drink Five 8-Ounce Glasses of Water a Day. Those drinking this amount of H2O were 54% less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack compared to people who drank two glasses a day.
  • Try a Natural Remedy. Israeli scientists found eating one grapefruit a day lowers cholesterol by 20% even in people who don’t respond to statins.
  • Cut Down on Sweets. Tufts University researchers found low-sugar diets had lower levels of depression and anxiety than those who consumed all types of carbohydrates. The happier people also limited their total carbohydrate intake to 40% of their daily total calories.
  • Enjoy Your Joe. Brooklyn College researchers discovered drinking 4 cups of coffee a day lowers your risk of dying of heart disease by 53%.
  • Indulge Your Chocolate Craving. A 15-year study by Dutch scientists found men who ate 4 grams of cocoa/day had half the risk of dying from heart disease than those who ate less. That’s the equivalent of two 25-calorie Hershey Kisses – an amount that can fit into any diet.

Lifestyle

  • Try to Laugh More. A 15-minute funny video improves blood flow to your heart by 50%, reported by the University of Maryland. “This may reduce blood-clot formation, cholesterol deposition, and inflammation,” says study author Michael Miller, MD.

Hopefully this article has offered you a little more insight on what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. If so, maybe you feel like you’re more equipped now to live a more healthy, sustainable lifestyle. Continue to focus on improving your mind body & spirit a bit more each day. Be Well and Stay Strong!

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What’s a Healthy Body Fat Range?

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It seems like every time we pick up a magazine or surf the web we’re overwhelmed with outlandish weight-loss claims. Let’s do a reset on this for 2020 and change the narrative. Rather than focus on weight loss like so many of us do, let’s start looking more at our percent body fat level. Do you know what your current body fat level is? You should know this number and monitor it over time.

The ideal body fat percentage for an adult varies depending on the age of the individual. Other variables that also come into play are gender, genetics, bone structure and their exercise level. College-age men typically carry 15% body fat while women have 23%, keep in mind that these numbers are for non-athletes.

Age-Related Body Fat Levels

Women:

  • 20-40 yrs old: Low fat: under 21 percent, Healthy: 21-33 percent, Overweight: 33-39 percent, Obese: Over 39 percent
  • 41-60 yrs old: Low fat: under 23 percent, Healthy: 23-35 percent, Overweight : 35-40 percent Obese: over 40 percent
  • 61-79 yrs old: Low fat: under 24 percent, Healthy: 24-36 percent, Overweight: 36-42 percent, Obese: over 42 percent

Men:

  • 20-40 yrs old: Low fat: under 8 percent, Healthy: 8-19 percent, Overweight: 19-25 percent, Obese: over 25 percent
  • 41-60 yrs old: Low fat: under 11 percent, Healthy: 11-22 percent, Overweight: 22-27 percent, Obese: over 27 percent
  • 61-79 yrs old: Low fat: under 13 percent, Healthy: 13-25 percent, Overweight: 25-30 percent, Obese: over 30 percent

Stepping onto a bathroom scale does not tell you the real story about your overall health. Your body weight is not as important as how much body fat you’re carrying. Once you can determine your body fat level, you then have a better understanding of the ratio of muscle to fat that you have.

For example, a women who weights 145 pounds and 33% body fat, can calculate that she has 48 pound of fat and 97 pounds of muscle, bone and fluid. A male, who is 205 pounds and has 25% body fat can determine he is carrying 51 pounds of fat weight and about 154 pounds of muscle, bone and fluid. Once this is known, you can start using the Jefit app to keep track of how this number changes over time. In both of these cases, the goal would be to lose fat weight while maintaining or gaining muscle, depending of course what the goals are.

Monitoring your body fat is important, and in turn, offers great insight into the status of your overall health & fitness. As you see, it’s a valuable metric to follow and offers insight into understanding if a particular strength training program is actually working.

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Designing Your At-Home Workout Program

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The at-home workout program has unexpectedly become the new norm due to area gyms closing as a result of COVID-19. A by-product of this is that we are spending more of our time inside. Many are now wondering how we can take our old workout plan we did at the gym and incorporate it into a new home routine?

Now that we are home-based, there seems to be additional questions we need to think about and work around. In addition to the question above, there are other matters to worry about too, like when you’re going to exercise, space availability, and equipment needs.

Approaching Your At-Home Workout Program Differently

A paradigm shift is a “a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.” This may be a perfect time to start thinking differently about how we exercise at home, meaning, how we structure and execute our training routine. Change can be a very good thing when it comes to an individuals body and how that body adapts and progresses during a training cycle.

5 Basic Human Movement Patterns

Whether your training plan is geared towards a full-body, split routine or circuit-training, should not be the focus. What really matters most is training movements not muscles. Do not rely on specific exercises, instead, make sure you add-in specific movement patterns during each training session. Movement patterns are exercise classifications and can be thought of as the movement direction of the exercise. There are different schools of thought on how these movement patterns are categorized and even talked about.

The following is a modified version of some of the basic human movement patterns that should be included in the design of any training program. This list could also include other categories like hip dominant, knee dominant, rotational and anti-rotational categories. For the purposes of this article though, we will refer to the following five basic categories.

Squat

Any variation of a Squat is considered one of the best compound movements you can do. Exercises listed in this category are considered hip or knee-dominant by some. You can think of this category as exercises that utilize muscles around the hip and knee, like a Barbell Squat, Dumbbell Squat, or a Goblet Squat, as examples.

Hip Hinge

This particular category of exercises consists of movements that involve a “hinging” motion at the hip joint, and have little to no movement at the knee. Classic examples of exercises that incorporate a hip hinge are a Kettlebell Swing and a Romanian Deadlift.

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Hip Hinge Category: Kettlebell Swing exercise

Pull: Vertical & Horizontal

The vertical pull includes moving a weight or body weight vertically, relative to the position that your body is in. Examples of these types exercises would include Pull-ups and Lat Pull-down.

The horizontal pull include any exercise that moves the weight toward your body horizontally. A few examples include: Bent-over Rows, Inverted Row or a Seated Row.

Push: Vertical & Horizontal

This category combines both vertical and horizontal in order to make life easier for you. The vertical push, includes exercises that move a load or weight vertically in relation to the torso, like a Military Press or Push Press.

Horizontal push is a category of exercises that involves moving a weight straight out in front of you, away from the body, like a Bench Press.

Weighted Carry

Many strength and conditioning experts agree that a Weighted Carry is the best, all-in-one exercise a person can do. The Carry is ideal for increasing overall strength, especially back, core and grip strength. The exercise benefits don’t stop there though; it’s also ideal for improving stamina and functionality. A simple definition of a Weighted Carry is picking up a weight or a load and carrying it for distance or time. The best exercise example is a Farmer’s Carry.

The importance of adding these five movement patterns into your at-home workout program is invaluable. It offers someone a better way to design and customize their training program to meet all their needs. It also assures that an individual will work through the various planes of motion more often during training compared to a traditional training plan. The benefits of focusing on movement patterns instead of working specific muscles ensures a well-balanced, strong, functional body.

Exercise Program Design

Now that you have a better understanding of movement patterns, it’s important to use them in your next at-home workout. To experience measurable gains with your at-home training program, it’s important that you understand the basic concept of periodization.

  • “Periodization is an organized approach to training that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period of time.” Len Kravitz, PhD

To get the most benefit out of any at-home workout program, a periodized training plan should be followed. This is where adjusting the various training variables over time (i.e. sets/reps/rest/load/time under tension) comes into play. The idea is to control these variables during each training day and over the course of a full training year. By following such a training format over time, you’ll ensure maximal gains long-term, safely and effectively. Think about that for a moment. If you have not had strength gains in a while, maybe a lack of periodization is the culprit?

Use the Jefit App for Additional Workout Guidance

The JeFit app makes thousands of strength training routines accessible. It comes with a customizable workout planner, an extensive exercise library, and a members-only Facebook group page. Check it out!

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6 Ways to Get Your Gym Motivation Back

get your gym motivation back

Ever get to the gym, but find that you’re just too tired or not bothered to actually work out? It’s a completely normal feeling and there could be several reasons behind it. Here, we list why you may be feeling this way and recommend some solution to try and get your gym motivation back.

How to Get Your Gym Motivation Back

1. Get some sleep

Sleep deprivation can actually affect us much more than people think. If you’ve had a bad night or nights, then it can really impact your performance, as well as your mindset. Feeling tired and suffering from lack of sleep will really demotivate you.

Try to set a bedtime routine that you stick to. Go to sleep 7-9 hours before you have to wake up so that you can ensure you get enough sleep. Even if you may struggle at first, eventually, your body clock will remember and you’ll be able to follow your sleep schedule.

2. Take a few days off

Yes, spending too much time at the gym can be a potential reason why you’ve lost motivation. When you train, you’re constantly putting your body under stress. This is why rest days are important—this is when your body recovers. If you don’t give yourself rest days, then your body doesn’t have the time to recover properly. Sooner or later, you’ll start to feel it.

So if you get to the gym and don’t feel like working out, then take some time off. A day or two, or even more will help you take the time you need to recuperate. See how you feel after taking some gym time off.

3. Change your routine

Most of us tend to keep to the same workouts that we know. We stick to what is familiar and what we know works. Eventually, we become bored. If you’re feeling unmotivated to go the gym, it could be because your fitness routine has become stale and stagnant. Doing the same workout over and over again will no longer challenge you. Without stimulation, we lose our motivation.

Try mixing up your training. Jefit has plenty of exercises that you can choose from to make a new workout plan and keep things exciting. Putting together something new and renew your motivation and get your gym mojo back.

If you want a change from the gym, then you can even try heading outside for a run or do some bodyweight exercises in the park. Join a new fitness class that you haven’t tried before like boxing or cycling. A change of scenery might do you some good as well.

4. Define your goal

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is not having a fitness goal. Whether it’s about losing weight, gaining muscle, hitting a new squat PR, or being able to run a half marathon in a certain time, having something to work towards makes the biggest difference in the gym.

Set an S.M.A.R.T goal that gives you this motivation.

5. Track your progress

Another reason why you may be feeling burnt out for the gym is that you don’t see the progress you’re making. If you’re not tracking your progress, recording your workouts, taking progress pictures, then you won’t be able to see how far you’ve come. It can be easy to fall into the rut of thinking that you haven’t made a difference or that things have changed. This is why it’s important to keep track.

Nothing can renew your motivation to get back into the gym than seeing where you were before and where you are now. It can help you picture where you will be in the future. Use a journal or a workout app (like Jefit!) that makes it easy for you to log everything and help get your gym motivation back.

6. Make it a habit

This may sound counterintuitive but you need more than motivation. Motivation is temporary and as you probably know, it comes and goes. To make sure that you keep going to the gym, even when you have no motivation, you need to make it a habit.

Set a fitness routine that you stick to, whether it’s going to the gym before work or after work, or even during your lunch breaks. It can be difficult to start but if you keep it up, over time, it will become an integral part of your routine. Then you’ll find yourself going to the gym even if you don’t want to—because it’s a habit. It’s a great way to get your gym motivation back.

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a workout app that comes with a customizable workout planner, an extensive exercise library, and a members-only Facebook group. You can choose new workouts and track your progress with our app so that you can see how close you are to your fitness goals.

Join our Jefit community so that you can be a part of it too!

get your gym motivation back

3 Common Gym Injuries and How to Fix Them

common gym injuries

While you can try your best to avoid injuries, unfortunately, most people will experience them once in a while. If you are injured, then it’s best to see a physical therapist or professional that can properly treat it. However, there are some common gym injuries, and here are some solutions to treat them.

How to Treat These Common Gym Injuries

1. Muscle Pulls and Strains

Other common gym injuries include pulling or straining your muscle. This is when a muscle is torn or overstretched. While this can occur anywhere on your body, the most common places are straining your hamstring, or neck and back.

It can occur due to overexertion, being overstretched, and not warming up properly.

Pulling or straining your muscle will limit your mobility and can cause pain once you hit a certain threshold. You may also experience stiffness, swelling or weakness. It can also range from mild to severe.

How to treat it

Depending on how severe it is, there are different ways to treat it. Resting the affected muscle is paramount. It can be tempting to “work through the pain”, however, this can make it worse. So take a couple of days off before slowly starting to incorporate movement with the muscle. Bear in mind though, too much rest can also cause stiffness so you don’t want to keep it immobile for long. Try to find a good balance.

When you do start using it again, don’t push it too much. Overdoing it can exacerbate it.

How to prevent it

Warming up is crucial in preventing these common gym injuries. You need to properly prepare your body for your training session instead of jumping straight in. If your muscles aren’t warm, then you risk tearing it.

A good warmup should be specific. For example, if you’re planning on squatting, then do some air squats to mimic the same movement that you’ll be doing, just without the weight. It may seem tedious but taking the time to warm up can really improve your athletic performance, while also prevent muscle strains and pulls.

Listening to your body and knowing the difference between pain and good pain is important. Good pain is when you’re challenging yourself but not going over your threshold. The bad pain that you don’t want is when you’re hurting yourself to the point where you can potentially pull or strain a muscle.

2. Runner’s Knee

A common gym injury is Runner’s Knee or patellofemoral pain syndrome. This is when you feel pain or soreness around the kneecaps or have trouble sitting, standing, walking. The pain may be exacerbated when you try to walk downwards as well.

It occurs when the kneecap (patella) is misaligned. Weak or tight thigh muscles and overuse of the knee can also cause it.

Despite the name, runner’s are not the only people who can experience this, although it is prevalent among them because running places much demand on the knees. Any other exercise that requires a lot of use of the knee can cause it.

How to treat it

If you feel pain in and around the knee then the first thing that you can do is rest it. Take 3-4 days of training off. If you do exercise, then try to avoid training that involves the knee such as lunging and squatting.

Another good idea is to ice it. Icing it will assist in reducing any swelling.

How to prevent it

Find a good pair of shoes that can offer really great support. This will help reduce the demand on your knee so that you can decrease the risk of getting runner’s knee again. Arch supports will also help with this as well.

Incorporate strengthening exercises into your fitness routine for your knee. Work on your lower body such as your quads, lower back, hips, and abs. This can strengthen the areas around the knee and reduce the stress placed on them. Try the plank and glute bridges.

3. Sprained Wrist

The wrist is an easy area to overload and put too much pressure on. Because it is used in a variety of exercises and takes a lot of weight, wrist strain is a common gym injury.

There may be swelling and tenderness. It’ll also hurt to put pressure on your wrists.

You can get a sprained wrist through repetitive movements that can cause chronic wrist strain. On the other hand, acute wrist strain is when it occurs suddenly such as bending the wrist past the normal threshold.

How to treat it

Ice your wrist to reduce swelling. Also, make sure you rest it. Adding more pressure to it will only make it worse. This means that you should avoid any exercises that involve putting stress on or bending the wrist.

How to prevent it

If you’re prone to wrist strains, then try modified versions of your favorite exercises. Front squat by crossing your arms across your chest instead of using your wrists. Push-ups can also be done by folding your hands into fists so that your wrists remain straight instead of bent.

Wearing a wrist strap can also really assists in taking the pressure off the wrist.

See a professional

If you are experiencing one of these common gym injuries do not improve, then see a professional physiotherapist or doctor. Your physio can properly examine you and provide specific solutions to your needs.

Workout with Jefit

Want a workout app that can recommend some great exercises, help you schedule your workouts, and offers a supportive online community? Jefit is an app that can do all those things and more. It comes with an extensive exercise library, customizable workout planner, as well as a members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members.

Click here to become part of the community now!

common gym injuries

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

guide to supplements

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

Your Easy-to-Follow Guide to Supplements

Protein Powder

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

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

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

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

Creatine

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

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

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

BCAAs

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

L-Glutamine

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

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

Pre-Workout

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

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

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

Caffeine

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

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

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

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

Workout with Jefit

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

guide to supplements

4 Key Recovery Tips for Different Workouts

recovery times

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

Recovery times and methods for different exercises

How to recover from cardio

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

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

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

How to recover from HIIT

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

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

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

How to recover from running

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

Have a well-balanced snack or meal as well.

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

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

How to recover from strength training

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

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

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

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

Just listen to your body

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

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

Workout with Jefit

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

recovery times

4 Reasons Why You Have Low Energy Levels at the Gym

4 Reasons Why You Have Low Energy Levels at the Gym

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

Why You Have Low Energy Levels at the Gym

1. You’re not getting enough sleep

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

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

2. You’re not eating enough

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

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

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

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

3. You’re overtraining

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

Some warning signs that you are overtraining include:

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

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

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

4. You’re dehydrated

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

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

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

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

Workout with Jefit

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

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

4 Reasons Why You Have Low Energy Levels at the Gym

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