Healthy Lifestyle Makes a Positive Impact on Metabolic Health

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

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

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

Anthony Vennare – Co-Founder, Fitt Insider

Research on Metabolic Health

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

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

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

What Constitutes Metabolic Health?

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

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

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

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

Intermittent Fasting and Metabolic Health

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

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

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

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

Get Strong and Stay Strong with Jefit

Millions of members have had great success using the Jefit app, equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Stay strong with Jefit.

Five Helpful Features Found on the Apple Watch

Do you currently wear a smartwatch? I have worn multiple versions of Fitbit before switching over to an Apple Watch recently. Those different watches have covered a span of 12-years. Collecting and tracking data on my Fitbit was fun and motivational. Even more so after seeing my dashboard numbers surpass 20 million steps and 40,000 flights of stairs climbed during part of that time.

During the past month, however, I decided to switch over to an Apple Watch because of their platform and ecosystem. The design and innovation of Apple Watch 5 series compared to what I was wearing was comparable to getting called up to the big leagues from Triple A. Now you have Apple Watch 6 series with even more features like an altimeter, blood oxygen sensor, sleep tracking, HRV, and new workout feature.

Here is a quick look at just a few of the many cool features on the Apple Watch 5 Series (and HRV on Series 6).

Apple Watch Activity Tracker

One of the best features on the Apple Watch is the activity tracker feature. This, depending on your choice of watch faces, can be front and center on the watch. There are three activity rings that one tries to close each day: MOVE, EXERCISE & STAND.

Move is as you would expect, any movement is recorded such as daily steps and stairs. In Moves you have a daily calorie goal that you try to pass. Next, is Exercise where you set a daily exercise time like 30 or 60 minutes as examples. The third and final ring is Stand. There are message pop-ups to remind you to get up and stand more throughout your day. The idea is to stand for a portion of each hour during a 12-hour day. Throughout the day you see more of the ring fill with a specific color (red/green/blue) as you move, exercise and stand more throughout your day.

This can get potentially downloaded to Apple Health which if you’re a data geek like me – you enjoy recording, tracking and analyzing your exercise data. After 180 days of wearing the Apple Watch, a “Trends” feature goes live with additional insight in each of those three areas, move, exercise and stand.

The Apple Watch VO2 Max Feature

A second informative feature is the ability to obtain an estimated maximal oxygen uptake. Know in the science world as simply VO2 max. This is the maximal amount of oxygen a person can uptake and utilize per minute of intense exercise. It’s measured in ml/kg/min. and here are the average values for VO2 max. Keep in mind world class cross-country skiers have topped 95 ml/kg/min.


An average sedentary male about – 35 to 40 ml/kg/min
An average sedentary female about – 27 to 30 ml/kg/min


There is also a formula for you to calculate your VO2 max number manually using 15 x Max. HR / Resting HR = VO2 max. In my case, 15 x 165 / 52 = 47.5 ml/kg/min., and when my Apple Watch tested me the first time it came out to 47, so pretty close. It is well-known in the sports and fitness world that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) will elicit the best results when someone is trying to increase VO2 max levels.

Ability to Record & Track HRV: Heart Rate Variability

Heart rate variability (HRV) is basically the variation in the time interval between heartbeats. The greater the HRV, the more ready the body is to perform and the nervous system is considered “balanced.” The system responsible for this is the autonomic nervous system. HRV should not be confused with heart rate. They are different. Heart rate is measured in beats per minute while HRV is the number of milliseconds in between beats. It is a good overall indicator of health and well-being. Things like stress, lack of recovery between workouts and inadequate amount of sleep will affect HRV. HRV can also be used to predict if someone has a predisposition to a potential heart attack. According to the training and recovery product, Whoop, “the middle 50 percent of 20-25 year olds usually have an average HRV in the 55-105 range, while 60-65 year olds tend to be between 25-45.”

Apps Now Accessible Right From Your Wrist

Personally, to have access to a particular workout app, such as the Jefit app, now available on my wrist, lets me put down the phone for workouts. Not worrying about keeping track of where my phone is during workouts is great. The Apple Watch 5 Series model features 32GB of internal storage for music, apps, and other content. The different features mentioned in this article are just a small sample size found on the Apple Watch. There are also items like a just breath pop-up that has you relax and focus on your breath for a short period to check your heart rate. Having this type innovative technology on your wrist will only increase the chances of building healthy habits. In addition, it should also help people increase their activity level as they work towards achieving their exercise goals. Stay Strong!

7 Health & Fitness Podcasts for Mind, Body and Spirit

Ditch the music and try listening to a podcast the next time you exercise. In fact, combining exercise with a good, educational health & fitness podcast has been a savor for many people, myself included. To nourish the mind, body and spirit with a little “food for thought” is a good thing.  A Runner’s World survey found that nearly 20 percent of runners listen to podcasts while jogging. Maybe it’s time to change things up for the next workout by replacing music with an informative podcast, what do you think?

The Explosive Growth of Podcasts

It feels as though we’re getting new health & fitness podcast recommendations seemingly on a daily basis. More than one-third of Americans (104 million) now listen to one or more podcasts each month. In 2017, 40 percent of Americans 12 or older had listened to a podcast, compared to 55 percent in 2020. That is a significant jump according to The Infinite Dial 2020® research group. A 2018 article featured in Fast Company reported 525,000 active podcast shows with 18.5 million total episodes consumed. That number now, only a few years later, is at 29 million episodes. In 2020, more than 155 million people listen to a weekly podcast.

With so many podcast out there, where do you even begin to look to find the best rated shows? There are always recommendations from family and friends that you can check out. If you’re looking for other suggestions though, take a look at our list that includes some of the better health & fitness podcast. If time is an issue, try to listen to one on your next walk, run or at the gym. You can click any of the show icons below to visit and download the podcast if you desire.

Best Health & Fitness Podcast

An informative podcast from former ABC News Anchor Dan Harris. After leaving his news job he started the company 10% Happier. I read his meditation book (that was great) and you’ll love his podcast – to help set your mind right. Podcast #286 in particular, with Dr. Mark Hyman titled “Feeding the Mind” was a great episode that I really enjoyed and you will too.
Katy Bowman, MS, has a great book out as well with the same title that I highly recommend. She has a great YouTube video out on The Difference Between Movement vs. Exercise. Katy is one of those movement experts who really gets it and “walks the walk.” This is a must-listen to podcast to find out new ways to add more movement into your day. Love her “movement as nutrition” philosophy. This is one health & fitness podcast you should like.
Robb Wolff, PhD, has a very informative podcast – not to mention a few best-selling books. The show can get deep into the weeds sometimes. His knowledge base, though is off the charts and you’ll learn a ton. I know he owned a well-known Crossfit on the West Coast at one time (and may still do). If you’re looking for more knowledge on eating clean, Paleo diet and nutrition – this would be a great start.
Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, is among other things a registered dietitian. Her weekly show will offer great insight into the current diet culture in this country.

TED Talks have always been informative and now you can listen to health-related shows daily. To make life easy, here is a link of the 10 best health & fitness TED Talks.
Dr. Mark Hyman has long been a favorite doc and author of mine. Now you can listen to him to “fuel” your mind and body. After reading one of his earlier books, UltraMetabolism, I knew I liked his way of thinking. Since then he has 13 books on the NYT best seller list. You can get a taste of his knowledge by listening to an interview by Dan Harris in the 10% Happier podcast.
Pete McCall is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), international presenter, host of the All About Fitness podcast, fitness blogger and an author of several articles, textbook chapters and the book Smarter Workouts: the Science of Exercise Made Simple. This is a great, educational podcast to pick up more than a few exercise tips.

Our list includes just a few of the many great health & fitness podcast currently available. Lastly, we could all use a fresh perspective during these uneasy times and listening to an insightful podcast while exercising can help in that area and now you have a new show for each day of the week. Stay strong!

Maintaining an Active Lifestyle Now Impacts How You Age

When we’re young we can feel invincible, but as we age, that invincibility can slowly deteriorate. The short-term goal for many is to maintain an active lifestyle throughout their twenties and thirties. The thinking behind this is that if you start young, the habit will carryover into the golden years. One of the key ingredients in this scenario is sustainability. The long-term goal should be to maintain a healthy lifestyle no matter what decade of life someone is in.

An Active Lifestyle is a Mindset

In its simplest form an active lifestyle incorporates physical activity into every day life. The time invested in activities like walking, biking, running and strength training are well worth it. Maintaining a consistent routine with such activities will keep chronic disease at bay. A physically active lifestyle is beneficial for the body and the mind. The by-product of an active lifestyle improves everything from quality of sleep to

Three Types of Physical Activity

Physical activity consists of three components, muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility. It’s important to focus on these individual components and add each one into your weekly training program.

  • MUSCULAR STRENGTH

Muscular strength is defined as the maximum amount of force a muscle or group of muscles can produce during a single bout of exercise. There are many reasons why this is so important to maintain throughout ones life. One of those big reasons is lean muscle mass. If you don’t engage in regular strength training you lose muscle mass. Period. If you do not strength train regularly, as you age, you become part of a statistical group that loses approximately 5-8 pounds of lean muscle mass with each passing decade starting at about age thirty-five. Let’s just end by saying those numbers get much worse after fifty.

  • CARDIOVASCULAR ENDURANCE

Is the ability to move the body over a sustained period of time. It’s critical to improve and maintain cardiovascular fitness throughout your lifetime. By doing so, you’ll reduce your risk of developing heart disease by increasing the efficiency of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels.

  • FLEXIBILITY

This is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to move through a range of motion. Flexibility is a component of mobility.

“Given what we know about the health benefits of physical activity, it should be mandatory to get a doctor’s permission not to exercise.”

~ PER-OLOF ASTRAND, MD, PHD, KAROLINSKA INSTITUTE, STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

Benefits of Maintaining a Lifelong Active Lifestyle

Here are a few examples of the benefits associated with enjoying an active lifestyle.

  • Research published in 2013, in the journal Lancet, reported among people with early signs of pre-diabetes, taking an extra 2,000 steps each day, or the equivalent of a 20-minute moderate-paced walk, helped lower their chances of heart problems.
  • Over the course of a yearlong study, an additional 8 percent lower risk of heart disease was observed for every 2,000 steps walked a day.
  • Scientists from University College London performed a meta-analysis of peer-reviewed journals between 1970 and 2007. The studies evaluated 459,833 test-subjects who were absent of cardiovascular disease at the start of the investigation. The subjects were followed for an average of 11.3 years with all cardiovascular events recorded. Their analysis makes a strong case for the benefits of good old walking. The study showed walking reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 31 percent and decreased the risk of dying by 32 percent.
  • The Harvard Alumni study found men who average at least eight flights of stairs a day enjoy a 33 percent lower mortality rate compared to men who are sedentary.
  • Research shows that people who sit the most have a 112 percent increase in the Relative Risk (RR) of diabetes and a 147 percent increase in the RR of cardiovascular events compared to people who sit the least.

Review of Physical Activity on Awareness & Mood Levels

A research paper published by Berger titled Psychological Benefits of an Active Lifestyle looked at the key benefits derived from an active lifestyle. According to Berger, “exercise has many benefits…, it is important to explore ways in which exercise might become something one “wants” to do several days a week. Possible sources of enjoyment and motivation for physical activity may include “feeling better” or mood alteration; stress reduction; and enhancement of self-concept, self-awareness, and even self-knowledge.”

Adding the components of physical activity (strength, endurance, flexibility) into your workouts will allow you to make the most of each day. Finally, turning this into a habit now when your young will pay back stronger dividends when you’re older. Stay Strong!

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.

Designing Your At-Home Workout Program

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.

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!

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!

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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