How to Calculate Your Fat & Muscle Mass

The amount of bodyweight someone carries does not distinguish between muscle and fat weight. Overall bodyweight does not paint a true picture of how well someone is doing regarding their diet and exercise. For example, when I step onto the scale, it tell me I weight 227 pounds, great. I’m more interested, though, in the ratio of that bodyweight number. Meaning, how muscle and fat do I currently have? What is the ratio of my lean muscle and body fat? This, in my opinion, is the more important question that we should ask ourselves every few months. As an example, my goal is 85 percent lean muscle and 15 percent body fat. If you are female gym-goer maybe that ratio looks like 75/25.

Muscle, water, connective tissue, organ weight and more are included as part of lean body mass.

Jefit Body Composition Metrics

The Jefit website offers the ability to record and track the five key health metrics seen below. There is also the ability to input and track bodyweight, girth measurements and percent body fat via Jefit iOS and Android platforms. What is great about the website, however, is the option to see your breakdown of lean muscle mass and fat mass. Check it out!

  • Current Weight
  • Percent Body Fat
  • Lean Body Mass
  • Body Fat Mass
  • BMI (Body Mass Index)

How to Calculate Fat & Muscle Mass

First, you need your bodyweight and percent body fat numbers. Once you have these, you can then figure out the ratio of muscle and fat mass that comprises bodyweight. A few items to keep in mind. Men have about 3 percent essential fat while women have about 13 percent essential fat. This is the minimal amount of body fat that someone needs to maintain for overall health.

The average college-age male, who is a non-athlete, has about 15 percent body fat, while a female of the same age will have about 23-25 percent. A college athlete will have considerably less body fat. Here are two examples that demonstrate how fat and muscle mass are calculated.

blank

Let’s look at the case study from above from a Jefit user. This is from a 227 pound male who is carrying about 17 percent body fat.

First, multiply bodyweight by percent body fat. The number you get is fat weight mass. In this case, it’s 227 x 16.8 percent = 38.13 pounds, which is the fat mass.

Next, subtract fat weight (38.13) from bodyweight (227), this equates to lean mass (not pure muscle mass) which in this case is about 189 pounds. About 44 percent of this number is pure muscle mass, which in this case, is about 83 pounds. The weight of your bones (skeletal system) comprises 15 percent of your bodyweight.

What the Math Looks Like

227 x 17 percent = 38 pounds of fat weight, therefore, 227 – 38 = 189 pounds of lean mass. It’s important to understand that this number, 189 is comprised of: muscle, bone, connective tissue, fluid, skin, organ weight, etc. Otherwise known as all the good stuff. The 38 pounds is fat or adipose tissue. The ratio for this male individual would be 83/17. Or, 83 percent lean mass and 17 percent fat mass.

Men carry more muscle than women. An average male (18-39 years old) has about 44 percent of their bodyweight made up of muscle mass. About 34 percent of a female’s bodyweight is made up of muscle mass.

Use Jefit to Record & Track your Body Composition Metrics

To ensure an exercise and nutrition program is truly working, record a few baseline numbers mentioned above. Over a period of time, you should experience a slight increase in lean mass, a decrease in fat mass and your ratio should also change. Recording and tracking body composition (and strength) metrics should help keep you motivated. An assessment can be beneficial because it keeps you consistent, with both training and your nutritional intake, because you know at a future date, your metrics will be looked at again for comparison.

blank

Common Mistakes When Trying to Build Muscle

blank

It can be frustrating when you put in hours each week at the gym or with your home workout, yet you see minimal or no gain. Here are some of the more common mistakes that could be preventing you from building muscle and what you can try instead.

Don’t Skip Leg Day

Let’s start with the most common mistake. Focusing wholly on your upper body may cause you to end up out of proportion, but more likely than not, this won’t be the case – you won’t be able to build the upper body muscle to begin with. Having strong legs allows you to support a bulkier upper body, making it easier to build muscle. Many compound leg exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, are also better at increasing testosterone, which helps when developing muscles elsewhere.

A study by the University of Texas found that “performing squats synthesizes more testosterone and growth hormone than a similar session on the leg press.” Although the test subjects lifted more weight on the leg press, their exhaustion was 42 percent higher after doing squats.

Avoid Sugar Spiking

Consuming too many sugary energy drinks, chocolate milkshakes or even some protein bars, could be taking away your ability to gain muscle. While they may give you the energy and protein necessary to build muscle mass, the excess sugar, in turn, could be inhibiting your ability to take in muscle-building amino acids. Look out for low-sugar drinks and snacks that will still give you the protein and energy. Keep in mind, men should consume no more than 38 grams a day and women 25 grams a day of added sugar.

Consuming the Wrong Kind of Calories

When trying to build muscle, you do need to consume additional calories. However, it’s important to eat the right kind of calories. Fast food, ice cream and pizza will more likely cause you to pile on fat. Increase your calories in more healthy ways by eating more fish, chicken, rice, potatoes and vegetables.

Mis-using Supplements

Some people can go overboard on supplements like creatine and fish oil, using these instead of taking up a healthy diet or taking too many causing nutritional problems. There are then those who take the wrong kind of supplements (i.e. performance enhancing drugs like steroids). Steroids are notoriously common amongst some gym-goers but as most know, they can run all kinds of other health risks. You’ll bulk up faster, sure, but you also damage your body in the process, causing severe long-term health problems.

Avoid Too Much Cardio

Cardiovascular exercise, is very beneficial, but, should be reserved to a minimum when trying to bulk up. This is because it steals the calories needed for repairing muscle tissue, converting the calories instead into fuel for aerobic exercise. Try limiting your cardio to twenty minutes, three times a week and see if this has any impact. A few short, HIIT sessions could also work well.

Ignore Weight Training Technique

There are specific techniques to follow for each strength training exercise. For example, proper deadlift form, requires keeping your legs about hip-width apart, not arching (flexing) your back, tucking your chin etc. These will all help build muscle more effectively in addition to protecting your spine and hips in the process. Make sure that you’re using the right technique with each exercise, otherwise you could be preventing yourself from building muscle.

Reference

Shaner, A.A., Vingren, J.L., Hatfield, D.L. et al. The acute hormonal response to free weight and machine weight resistance exercise. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 2014, 28, 4, 1032–1040.

blank

Jefit Workouts Now Include Trainer Audio Tips

blank

Jefit strives to continually improve upon their award-winning app. The latest upgrade, released this week, includes select workouts accompanied with trainer audio tips. There are six new bodyweight and strength training workouts found on either Android and iOS platforms. The programs are featured on Jefit Elite or the free version of the app.

These and future audio-based workouts, can be found on either version of the Jefit app located in “Find Workout” under the “Audio Cue” tab.

Trainer Audio Tips Programs

Here are the six new Jefit Audio workouts include: 4 Beginner, 1 Intermediate and 1 Advanced program. Five of the programs are featured as Elite, while the “audio-based workout” program, can be found on the free version of the app. All six exercise programs are interval based. Approximately 50 percent of the exercises feature trainer audio cues. Finally, switch ON the “Audio Cue” button before starting; it’s “Highlighted Blue”, when it’s ready to go (see lower right side).

  • Beginner Bodyweight Routine (Elite, beginner)
  • Audio-Based Workout (Free, beginner)
  • Beginner Full Body Challenge (Elite, beginner)
  • 3-Day Multi Equipment Challenge (Elite, beginner)
  • Audio Coaching Intermediate (Elite, intermediate)
  • 3-Day Advanced Workout (Elite, advanced)
blank
blank

Beginner Bodyweight Routine

This 1-day beginner, audio-based coaching routine offers exclusively bodyweight exercises. As a result, the program will challenge your entire body. About half of the exercises in this workout session offer audio coaching tips from a Jefit certified strength & conditioning specialist. The workout includes four supersets, where you will need to execute back-to-back sets with minimal rest.

Audio-Based Workout

This is a 3-day audio-based strength training workout. Approximately 50 percent of the exercises will have trainer audio tips attached to them, to help you execute the movement. The workout program consist of 3 strength training days – each of the workouts contain 1-2 supersets and work all major muscle groups. All three sessions include a combination of bodyweight, dumbbell and barbell.

Beginner Full Body Challenge

This 2-day audio-based coaching workout offers audio cues, the same that you would hear if working with a personal trainer or coach. Remember to turn “on” you Audio Cue button at the bottom of the page. The majority of the exercises use a dumbbell and some stretching and ab work is included. At the end of each session there is an “ab burner” series.

3-Day Multi Equipment Challenge

This program is a 3-day audio-based coaching strength workout. What you can expect on days 1 and 3 – are dumbbell only workouts. Both of these sessions are full body. As for the second workout, a combo session, exercises use dumbbells and a barbell. Again, this particular session is a full body workout. Have fun!

Audio Coaching Intermediate

This intermediate exercise program offers three strength training sessions, each of which is an audio-based workout. The program includes various dumbbell & barbell specific exercises that use audio trainer tips to assist gym-goers in using good form.

On day 1, the workout includes a bodyweight warm-up followed by a full body dumbbell workout. Similarly, the day 2 workout includes bodyweight & dumbbell exercises that target your entire body. Day 3: This particular strength session includes only barbell specific exercises following a dynamic warm-up.

3-Day Advanced Workout

This 3-day advanced strength program has the added feature and benefit of having audio coaching tips for about half of the exercises found in each exercise workout. On DAY 1: You can expect a dynamic warm-up to prepare your body for the upcoming leg strength training day. DAY 2: In this 2nd workout session you have exercises focused only on push and pull movements. Lastly, DAY 3: Includes pressing movements for the shoulders in addition to a few core exercises. Enjoy the audio coaching tips and stay strong!

Use Audio Cue Programs on Jefit App

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

blank

What Are the Best Options for Managing Chronic Pain?

blank

More than 20 percent of the U.S. adult population, or 50 million people, are trying to manage chronic pain. More than 20 million of them have what is known as “high-impact pain” where the pain is so severe, it can limit everything from activities of daily living to exercise to going to work. These estimates are from the Centers of Disease Control and the National Interview Survey that looked at the health of more than 30,000 adults.

Let’s begin by first taking a look at the differences between acute and chronic pain. According to Medicinenet.com

“Acute pain is of sudden onset and is usually the result of a clearly defined cause such as an injury. Acute pain resolves with the healing of its underlying cause. Chronic pain persists for weeks or months and is usually associated with an underlying condition, such as arthritis. The severity of chronic pain can be mild, moderate, or severe.”

Medicine.net

It seems that everyone you talk with these days is dealing with some form of chronic pain. From those that I’ve spoken to, three areas of the body seem to be most prominent: the low back, knees and shoulder area. It also seems that each individual has their own way of trying to manage their chronic pain.

Case Study: Managing Chronic Pain

Over the past few months I’ve known a few people who were diagnosed with various stress injuries. Each resulting from either exercise or a repetitive movement. No one in this group had ever broken a bone or experienced any type stress fracture in their life…until now. As a result, their gait was thrown off and their body became severely de-conditioned over time. The body is an amazing organism. When we have an injury, the body tries to compensate in order to function. Each individual tried to maintain some type of basic exercise routine as best they could. For example, one friend tried to maintain her fitness level by biking outdoors for about 30-75 minutes 3-4 times a week. They had a stress fracture in one of their toes that they were dealing with.

As a result of an injury, it’s easy to start popping medications in order to alleviate the pain. Chronic pain can take its toll not only physically but mentally as well. It’s also easy to try different alternative therapies because you’re trying to be proactive. Different therapies, like massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic and even regular exercise and yoga may help. The issue, however, is they don’t address the root cause of the pain. Why did the injury happen in the first place? What is the mechanism hiding behind the injury? Different specialist will give you varying reasons why this has happened to you. Some will not even offer you that much insight, just try to treat it. They treat the symptom(s), again, not the root cause.

Myofascial Therapy Can Help Manage Chronic Pain

A few friends found that myofascial therapy worked really well. This is typically performed by someone like a physical therapist who has had additional training working with fascia. They are trained to address the issues not with various modalities but manually (i.e. using their hands) helping to release tight fascia (connective tissue) around the injured area.

One person found that the Egoscue Method worked really well. This method was founded by anatomical physiologist, Pete Egoscue, decades ago. He built a great reputation helping famous golfers get out of pain. It involves a full digital assessment followed up with specific bodyweight only exercises to address the issue and realign the spine and body. He has a great book, which I’ve read and recommend often, called Pain Free on Amazon.

This was one of the first therapies that offered me, when I was previously injured, an idea of why my injury occurred in the first place. For me it was all about finding that mechanism that caused the injury in the first place. I was then able to address it, and begin to work on specific exercises to – in my case, realign the spine and hips – eventually getting me back to a healthy (posture) baseline. My job is to now work on those specific, daily, movements (i.e. prehab) in order to prevent this from happening again.

Additional Modalities for Managing Chronic Pain

Massage therapy, acupuncture, meditation, cryotherapy, flotation tank, chiropractic, yoga, foam rolling and even exercise can all help. Each modality is beneficial and has a place at the table in managing chronic pain. I have personally tried each of them and, to some extent, they all work albeit temporarily. When trying to relieve chronic pain, it’s best to have a trained therapist observe your standing posture, and how you move. Remember, if you have movement competency issues – and most of us do – you need to work on addressing those issues first. Otherwise, you may end up spending a great deal of money and investing a lot of your time without ever eliminating the pain and finding the answer to why it ever happened in the first place.

Hopefully the advice in this article is something you can use if or when needed. Don’t get comfortable taking medication or trying different therapies just because that’s what you’ve done in the past or someone recommended you give it a try. Question everything, think out of the box, be your own advocate and first and foremost, determine the root cause of the pain.

Jefit Elite Can Record & Track Your Injury History

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

blank

4 Things to Watch with Your Body Post Workout

blank

When you’re working out, you can push yourself, at times, well beyond your comfort zone. After all, who ever got fit by feeling a little bit of discomfort, and then throwing in the towel, right? There are a few things, however, your body may be trying to tell either during or after a work out. It is important to always pay attention to how you feel during and after a given workout. If you don’t, you may not catch the early warning signs of a potential injury. If you want to know what your body may be telling you post workout, read on!

Persistent Pain

A common misconception about working out is that pain is just a sign that you’re overloading your muscles. You may be thinking you’re pushing your body adequately in order to make it stronger. Most people don’t believe that there is anything wrong with this. Some think the “no pain, no gain” adage is the correct mentality. Meaning, an overwhelming sense of pain in your body, will ultimately produce gains in strength and size.

The issue, though, could be you’re doing harm to your body, and you should never ignore these signs. A bit of aching and muscle fatigue is pretty normal after exercise. A stabbing pain, however, is certainly not, so don’t underestimate how important this may be. Even if the pain passes after a while, it is a good idea to get it checked out by your physician before it becomes persistent.

This is also important if you have any underlying health issues, such as heart problems. If you start to experience pain in your chest, don’t just keep it to yourself, and know what the heart attack symptoms in men and women are. You’ll be glad that you educated yourself on what could go wrong, in case anything ever actually arise post workout.

You Feel Dizzy When Working Out

Another warning sign of a potential issue when you are working out is dizziness. If you’re feeling light-headed and dazed when you’re exercising, this may not a good sign. There are many things that could be causing your dizziness, such as hypoglycemia, but it’s also important to know when you actually need to take the plunge, and go and see a doctor.

Sometimes, you may be dizzy just because you’ve been moving around a lot, and it has thrown you off balance a bit. You’ll know if this is the case, because this will usually pass pretty quickly. It can also be caused by holding your breath for prolonged periods of time, as the lack of oxygen to your brain can also throw you off a little.

However, you can experience light-headedness and dizziness because you’re pushing yourself too hard in a workout, and your body just can’t cope with it. Your brain may not be able to get oxygen fast enough, and whilst this isn’t a health issue in small doses, it can present some risks. Know when to stop, and don’t ignore dizziness especially during or post workout.

You’re Not Sleeping Well

While this is not something that may not present itself as an issue when you’re actually working out, you may want to ask yourself whether your sleeping patterns have changed since you started hitting the gym. Insomnia is one of your body’s ways of telling you that something is up, so don’t ignore it if it’s happens.

Your insomnia could be caused by an increase in cortisol, which is a direct result of exercising. While the hormone cortisol can be a good thing, it’s also associated with other issues, too. When cortisol levels start to rise at night, they can increase the chances of you waking up more, or not sleeping at all.

One way to avoid these issues is to ensure that you don’t work out too late at night, but the main thing to avoid is workouts where you’re doing too much, for too long. If you’re exercising at a level that is simply too intense, your sleeping may be affected. Know when to stop, for the sake of catching those important zzz’s.

Nervous System on Overload

This is worth reading into if you’re a science lover, but basically, too much intense exercise, and/or stress, can negatively effect your sympathetic nervous system, which is the part of your body that controls the ‘fight or flight’ response. Keeping this in balance is key, so don’t push yourself harder than you need to, and always keep an eye on your mental and physical health.

If you’re unsure about anything that your body is telling you post workout, go and see a healthcare professional, sooner rather than later, and you’ll be glad you did this, if for nothing else, it will put your mind at rest!

Use Jefit to Monitor Your Body & Workouts

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

blank

Back to the Gym: 7 Important Factors to Reconsider

blank

Good health and longevity are possible through daily activity. With this in mind, working out is not only a necessity, it’s imperative for a healthy mind and body. With that said, it’s probably wise for most people to join a nearby gym to get the most out of their workouts. I addition, you’ll have access to professional guidance (staff & trainers) and equipment.

With the unending list of gyms near you, choosing the right facility that meets your needs may take some work. To ensure that you pick the best gym and get the most benefit, here are some factors to reconsider as gyms begin to open up once again around the country.

1. Location

Although you want to engage in an activity, going to the gym should not turn into an exercise by itself. As such, proximity to the gym ranks top of the factors to consider. Ensure that the gym you choose is close to your home or apartment thus making it easy for you to go to the gym in the evening and morning. Next, consider the safety of the location of your gym to avoid getting mugged. If your gym is armed with amenities; however, you can pick one that is a bit far as you can exercise and prepare for sessions. If possible, a gym within a 15-20 minute drive works best or something along the way home from work.

2. Purpose

Before choosing a gym, you should come up with a workout routine that addresses your needs. A coach or personal trainer typically calls this a needs assessment or analysis. After designing your workout routine, check to make sure the gym is equipped for your exercise needs.

3. Exercise Equipment

Ensure that your gym has all the equipment to meet your needs and goals so your results won’t be limited. Also, make sure your gym has a qualified group of trainers (degree & certification) who have experience working working with a possible client like yourself. Make sure when you get your tour the workout area is up to par, thus assuring your safety when performing any type of strength or cardio exercise. While at this, categorize your exercises into cardio workouts, mobility/flexibility work, bodybuilding workouts and strength training. Make sure each of these areas in the gym are well equipped to meet your need.

4. Hours of Operation

With several things to compete with, trying to always squeeze a workout into your busy schedule is inadvisable. When choosing a gym, make sure that it ‘s open in your free time thus allowing you to workout at your convenience. Also, some gyms shut down seasonally. If these seasons are during your “free time”, it will prove a pain in changing to another gym. Ensure that your gym is open for the more significant part of the year to get the most benefits.

blank
blank

5. Check Reviews Online

Nothing hurts as much as getting high expectations and services that don’t even meet the bare minimum standards. When choosing a facility, go through the reviews customers left online thus rating the quality of service you expect. Finally, see what customers say about the cleanliness of the facility especially with a pandemic still lingering.

6. Price

A significant factor to consider when choosing a gym is the price. Although you want to get strong, it does not necessarily mean you have to blow your savings. With the numerous options available, choose a gym that falls within your budget thus saving money for other purposes like maintaining a bodybuilding budget. While at this, keep it in mind that you get what you pay for. A cheap gym service usually means less equipment and trainers.

7. Services

In the case you want to exercise as a family, accessibility is a factor to consider. Choose a studio or facility with amenities that cover each member of your circle thus avoiding any struggle with regrouping. Also, inquire about personal training or coaching services in case you choose to hire a personal trainer at some point for yourself or a family member.

Use the Jefit App at the Gym

The Jefit app was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine, Men’s Health, The Manual and the Greatist. The app comes 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. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

blank

What Are The Differences Between Stiff-Leg & Romanian Deadlifts?

blank

There are various forms of the deadlift exercise that one can do to help build overall strength and power. The stiff leg deadlift (SLD) and Romanian deadlift (RDL), are two such examples. Both exercises can be done using either a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebells. This article will look at the barbell version of each. The two movements look pretty much similar if you were to see them performed side-by-side. Both exercises stress the hamstring group more than a traditional deadlift exercise. There are, however, key differences. 

Differences Between Deadlifts (RDL & SDL)

The SDL and RDL are often considered the same exercise, but you need to understand some of the nuances between them. The main difference between both exercises is the amount of flexion that occurs in the knees. For example, in the SDL, the knees start fully extended before unlocking slightly as part of the forward hinge. In the case of the RDL, the knees remain bent while executing the movement. When you perform an RDL, your hips are pushed back to the rear, providing greater hip joint rotation. When your hips flex more, the glutes end up working more.

Both exercises work basically the same muscles (glutes, hamstrings and back). However, the SLD, using a more neutral spine ends up getting more lower back activation. A few areas where some people may run into trouble are with exericise technique and if they lack strength and mobility. Let’s take a look at each type of deadlift and discuss each of them.

Romanian Deadlift

With the RDL, the knees are bent more, as mentioned above, compared to a SLD. This in turn, provides greater hip activation and flexion. Keep in mind, many experts believe that locking the knees out completely can increase the chance of injury when performing any type of deadlift.

In terms of technique, position the feet shoulder-width apart while holding the bar with an overhand grip (aka a clean grip). Next, set your back tightly in a complete arch. We’re talking about lumbar extension here. This is real important. I would first suggest to practice the movement near a wall. Stand about a foot away from the wall as a starting position using only bodyweight. Perform a (partial) RDL movement until the glutes come in contact with the wall. Work on maintaining that slight lumbar extension I mentioned above. Then move a few more inches away from the wall and repeat. Continue to move forward, going deeper into the exercise, each time, until you find your end limit. When you feel comfortable with the technique, try the same thing with a broom stick or dowel. Eventually progress to an Olympic bar with no weight, followed by a loaded bar.

To perform an RDL properly means lowering the weight to a comfortable position just below the knee, that ends up fully engaging the hamstring. Keep the knees “relaxed” and slightly bent (about 20-30 degrees). Move the hips back to execute the movement before driving the hips forward and standing back up with the weight. 

The goal is to hinge at the hips as far as you can without losing the arch in your back. Strength and mobility dictates the range of motion someone ends up typically using. Unlock the knees as you hinge, allowing the knees to remain slightly bent until you return to standing vertically, straightening them as you straighten the hips. Keep the bar as close to the legs as possible throughout the motion. The RDL is a great exercise for developing strength through the posterior chain.

Stiff Leg Deadlift

The SLD is similar to a regular deadlift but differs because you keep your legs “almost” straight throughout the workout. The SLD is considered more of a low back exercise and is typically done last in most leg routines.

In terms of SLD technique, start by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Take hold of the bar with an overhand grip, positioning the hands about shoulder width apart. As you stand up, retract your shoulder blades, pulling the bar back into an upright posture. Next, lower the bar until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings and glutes, and then slowly straighten back up. Remember, though, as you feel this in your hamstrings, drive your heels into the ground engaging your hamstrings and glutes as you pull the bar back to the starting position. Keep the bar close to your body. Remain tight in the core with a neutral spine during each repetition.

Keep the initial weight light in both exercises until you feel the targeted muscles really starting to work. It may take some time to get it all in sync because your mind is trying to focus on others things like form and technique.

Try the Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It comes 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. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

blank

5 Most Often Selected Leg Exercises on the Jefit App

blank

Following a review of the Jefit app exercise database, the most often selected leg exercises, have been determined. With more than 1350 different exercises at their disposal, Jefit members picked the following leg exercises most often. The number at the end of each each exercise name is where each of the exercises ranked on our top 25 list, which can be seen below.

Most Often Selected Leg Exercises

  1. Barbell Deadlift (5)
  2. Barbell Squat (6)
  3. Lying Leg Curl (11)
  4. Barbell Lunge (20)
  5. Leg Extensions (25)

Let’s take a look at each of these five exercises. Three of the five are compound exercises, the deadlift, squat, and lunge. When you are short on time, compound exercises are ideal. This type of movement is obviously great under any training circumstance. Compound exercises incorporate a great deal of muscle mass while performing movement utilizing multiple joints. The other two, leg extension and leg curl, are not the most functional as we all know, but will always have a place in certain strength programs.

Top 5 Leg Exercises According to Jefit App Users

*****

Most Often Selected of All Leg Exercises is Barbell Deadlift

The deadlift is a great exercise for strengthening not only the legs but the hips and back muscles as well. A classic compound exercise, this multi-joint exercise made the top 5 most often selected exercises determined by users of the Jefit app. It also takes top honors for the most often selected leg exercise.

Barbell Squat

The barbell squat is another great, classic, compound movement that seems to always find its way into most strength training programs. Considered a truly functional strength exercise that will pack on muscle size in the lower body. Also ideal for developing overall strength and power. Anytime you can hold or carry a load on the back and shoulders, a by-product will be an improvement in core strength.

Lying Leg Curl

A single-joint exercise that will help develop posterior chain strength, specifically in the hamstring group. Not a very functional exercise. Most likely better off performing single-leg Romanian deadlifts instead, still, came in just outside of our top 10.

Barbell Lunge

Another great multi-joint exercise that many gym goers love. It is a perfect compliment exercise to any leg routine because of the demand the movement places on the hips and legs. The exercise is the twentieth most selected exercise in the entire Jefit exercise database and fourth best rated leg exercise.

Leg Extension

This is the final leg exercise and second single-joint exercise, with the leg curl, to make the Jefit list. Not one of the most functional exercises but a great exercise to superset legs with or to place in a machine circuit. Ideal for the bodybuilding community to utilize for their training programs. Also, like leg curl, it’s a safe exercise to perform for many people such as older gym goers or someone coming back from an injury.

Let us know if your favorite exercise made or didn’t make our top most often selected leg exercise list. Below is the complete list of top 25 exercises that are most often selected by Jefit members.

Jefit App Top 25 Most Often Selected Exercises

blank

Try The Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It comes 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. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong and recover well using Jefit.

blank

Here Are The Most Often Selected Exercises For Jefit

blank

The award-winning Jefit app, was recently named best app for 2021 by Men’s Health, PC Magazine and others. The workout planning & tracking app includes a database of more than 1350 exercises. Of all the exercises featured on the app, Jefit members (more than 9 million), continue to choose three exercises more often than any others.

The most often selected Jefit exercises are:

1. Barbell Bench Press

2. Barbell Bicep Curl

3. Wide Grip Lat Pull-Down

Let’s take a look at each one of these. Two of the three are multi-joint exercises (bench press and lat pull-down) and none surprisingly work the lower body. Only two leg exercises actually made our top ten list. The most often used exercises, if you were interested, are barbell deadlift followed by barbell squat.

Most Often Used Jefit Exercise – Barbell Bench Press

No surprise here that bench press is the most often used Jefit exercise. It has always been a long time staple in bodybuilding, traditional and sport-specific workout programs. Considered an ideal exercise because it develops upper body strength and power. It also helps pack on upper body muscle mass while targeting multiple muscle groups. As a result, it’s probably one of the best multi-joint exercises you can do. Not to mention, it’s a fun exercise to perform and you can easily track your progress in the Jefit app via 1-RM. Finally, don’t you always feels like you get an efficient upper body workout after completing a handful of sets of bench press?

Muscle Groups Worked: Chest, Shoulders, Back & Arms

EMG Activity: See the following study published in the Journal Human Kinetics (2017).

Barbell Bicep Curl

A fan favorite of just about everyone. Dumbbell curls have there place but a barbell bicep curl is terrific for adding size to the biceps. An old favorite of mine is barbell bicep curl 21’s. Even though barbell biceps curl is a favorite of gym-goers who use Jefit, check out the research paper (below. The study looked at the differences in EMG activity when using a barbell and an EZ curl bar.

Muscle Group Worked: Arms

EMG Activity: Read this study on differences between tradition barbel curl and EZ bar

Wide Grip Lat Pull-Down

This wide grip lat pull-down is a great exercise to add to any program for overall back development. This is one of those exercises that can stress different aspects of the back and arms depending on hand placement. A wide grip recruits more of your back muscles and a close grip pulldown emphasizes the forearm muscles. Considered a great compound or multi-joint, upper-body strength movement, because it targets the back, chest, shoulders, and arms.

Depending on who you read, an over hand grip with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width works best. Lean back slightly, pulling the bar down towards the chest, does a good job activating the biggest back muscle, the latissimus dorsi.

Muscle Groups Worked: Back & Arms

EMG Activity: See this paper that looked at muscle activity of three variations of lat pull-down. Here is a second paper published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2014) on various hand positions during lat pull-down.

Try adding one or all three of these exercises into your next strength training program that you build using the Jefit app and let us know how it goes.

Try Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It comes 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. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong and recover well using Jefit.

blank

How to Use a Pool to Recover Faster From Workouts

blank

There is a reason why you hear about athletes hitting the pool after a workout. Using a pool post workout can be a crucial component of training, in turn, helping the body recover faster. There are many known benefits associated with active recovery sessions in the pool. This can come following a hard workout in the gym or after an athletic event. I remember back as an assistant strength & conditioning coach at the University of Connecticut (Go Huskies!), we typically put the football team in the pool as an active recovery following a weekend game. A recovery workout in the pool will help reduce muscle soreness, flush out lactic acid, and prevent a drop-off in athletic performance.

Research from a 2010 study in the International Journal of Sports Medicine concluded “swimming-based recovery sessions enhanced following day exercise performance.” A second study, in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, demonstrated an active pool recovery was the most efficient method at clearing blood lactate in the body, followed by massage, and finally passive recovery.

Swim to Recover Faster

Here is an easy to follow active recovery routine to try. Perform each movement for a lap or two depending on the length of the pool you’re in. Focus on working your muscles through their full range of motion with each movement. The water is great to do this in because there is almost no gravity placed on the body and only about 10 percent of your bodyweight is used in the pool due to the buoyancy.

  • Forward walking lunge with arm movement.
  • Swim underwater.
  • Backward walking lunge with arm movement.
  • Swim underwater.
  • Walk forwards.
  • Jump and dive repeats.
  • Walk backwards.
  • Carioca.
  • Squat and jump repeats.

One final note on swimming in general. Researchers at University of South Carolina followed 40,547 adults ages 20 to 90 for more than three decades. They discovered that swimmers, regardless of their age, were about 50 percent less likely to die during the study than were couch potato’s, walkers, or runners.

blank

Water Therapy Post Injury

Another great reason to get in the pool, in addition to helping the body recover faster from a workout, relates to injury recovery. The properties of water – buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, density – are highly effective for rehabilitation. These properties make water therapy an ideal modality to regain function, muscle strength, balance, and range of motion.

The simple act of deep water running can help reduce your recovery time drastically. Position a “noodle” around your back or chest and under both arms to help you float. Begin, going side-to-side in the pool for laps or designated time. As your endurance improves, start using the full length of the pool. Always use a full range of motion, maintain a tall posture, keep core engaged, and use proper arm action during each lap. Progress to wearing a floating vest or waist unit in order to execute better arms action. It can be a great workout especially after a few weeks of inactivity, it feels great to move pain-free in the water.

Research has shown that swimming laps for an hour burns 690 calories. Treading water – vigorously – expends about 11 calories a minute (same as running a 6-minute mile pace), to give you some context of energy expenditure via the pool.

Stay Active with Jefit

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It comes 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. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong and recover well using Jefit.

blank

Some of the Best Kneeling Exercises to Try

blank

We know that upright or standing exercises are usually some of the best movements you can perform. The majority of the exercises in a workout are typically done while standing or lying down on a bench. A standing exercise can mimic everyday activity and many sport-specific movements. Incorporating exercises that put the body in non-traditional positions, such as kneeling, can be extremely beneficial as well.

Many of the exercises you perform standing or seated can also be executed from either a kneeling (sitting on your shins), tall kneeling or a half kneeling position. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the last two, tall kneeling and half kneeling positions.

Kneeling exercises can be added to an exercise routine because you’re working around an issue, like a foot injury. In addition, positioning the body in a kneeling or half-kneeling position can be beneficial from a flexibility or mobility stand point as well. Finally, working the body while maintaining these positions, comes with an added bonus, they stress the muscles making up the core.

Kneeling Exercises Offer a Great Core Workout

A kettlebell overhead press, curling dumbbells or executing a landmine press (see this recent Jefit Instagram post on how to do it), when performed from a kneeling position, offers an added bonus. The by-product is a great core workout. Keep in mind, when your lower legs are taken out of the equation, your abs, glutes, and lower back muscles have to really engage or “fire” or you’ll lose your balance.

Maintain Proper Body Position

Let’s start with a tall kneeling position. Begin in a kneeling position with your bodyweight evenly distributed on that’s right, both knees. Keep an 8-12 inch gap between the knees. The key with this, and the half kneeling exercise, is core engagement. Work on maintaining a tall posture throughout. There is no forward/backward or side-to-side bending with any exercise performed from this base position. Stay “locked and loaded” during any kneeling exercise.

The half kneeling position requires the same tall posture and core focus. In this position, though, one leg is bent at a right angle out in front of the body. The other leg also maintains a right angle at the knee but that knee is directly below your hip. A half kneeling position, in and of itself, is a great position to maintain when trying to stretch the quadriceps and hip flexors. In order to maintain a strong base of support, make sure there is adequate space between the legs. The closer you bring your inner thighs (like trying to balancing on a 2×4) the more difficult the exercise becomes. Exercises performed from this position are also great for improving thoracic spine mobility.

blank

Three Tall Kneeling Exercises to Try

  • Tall Kneeling Bicep Curl – This is pretty much as it sounds. Start in a kneeling position. While on your knees, perform either a bicep curl, alternating bicep or hammer curl, using dumbbells or even a kettlebell.
  • Tall Kneeling Overhead Press – Again, pretty much as it sounds. You can go with a one-arm or bilateral movement here. Make sure when you press any weight overhead, you’re “locked-in” and the extended arm is back near your ear.
  • Tall Kneeling Trunk Flexion – This is basically a tall kneeling partial sit-up. Position yourself in front of a cable machine (the machine is behind you). Reach overhead and take hold of the handles or rope. Pull the cables up over the shoulders. Position the handles at upper chest height. From there, flex the trunk performing basically a tall kneeling “partial” sit-up. Perform no more than 30-45 degrees of trunk flexion. Keep in mind, there are other exercises that involve more trunk flexion where you basically touch the elbows to the thighs. This, however, is a different exercise.

Three Half Kneeling Exercises to Try

  • Half Kneeling Pull or Press – This could include a single or double arm pull or press exercise. For example, a pull exercise would be something like a one or two arm lat pull exercise. This could include a vertical or horizontal pull. The press movement is also a unilateral or bilateral pressing movement using a kettlebell or dumbbell.
  • Half Kneeling Pallof Press – This is a great “anti-rotational” core exercise. Get in position with the cable machine or exercise band to the side of you and drop to one knee. Your position should resemble a finished lunge, but with the back knee grounded. Press the cable or band handle out in front of you and hold for five to ten seconds, resisting the rotation, then return the handle back to your lower chest and repeat for desired repetitions.
  • Half Kneeling Rotational Exercises – This can be done with a medicine ball, off a cable machine or using a GIANT band or exercise band. Perform your rotational movement in towards the knee that is bent in front of the body.

Transitional Kneeling Movements

Transitional refers to any type of movement performed from a tall kneeling position. Meaning, you would start in a kneeling position but move away or jump out of that base position.

  • Ab Roller (see photo above) – you can use a traditional ab roller for this one. There is also an option for using an Olympic bar or EZ-curl bar instead. Finally, you can try sliders or a towel placed under the hands if non of the above are available.
  • Tall Kneeling to Squat – This is a great explosive, bodyweight exercise to add to your training program ever so often. Begin in Tall kneeling position, where your positioned on your knees or even your shins. From there, explode into a deep squat position and repeat for desired repetitions. This can also be perform in “slow motion”, one leg at a time, therefore becoming more of a hip mobility exercise.
  • Kneeling Leg Curl – You can use a partner for this one or secure the legs under a heavy piece of equipment that won’t move. Let the body slowly fall towards the ground, as the hamstrings lengthen. Then you “pull” the body back to the starting position using the hamstrings. You can also push of the ground if needed.

Change can be good for the body. With that said, change body positions periodically, incorporate various planes of movement, change ground surfaces, or transition from bi-lateral to uni-lateral exercises in your training program. Of course, try adding in a few kneeling exercises while you’re at it. How often? It really depends on your training goals. A good start may be to change things up every eight weeks or so and monitor how your body responds to any such changes.

Stay Strong with Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app comes 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. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

blank

8 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Fitness Progress

Fitness Progress

There are many common mistakes that both gym goers, and at home exercisers, make that ultimately could hinder their fitness progress. It can occur while in the gym or involve external factors such as eating and sleeping.

If you are not seeing the results that you want, then take heed of these common mistakes that prevent your fitness progress from really taking off, and make the necessary changes to solve them.

Are You Making One of These 8 Mistakes That Are Hindering Your Fitness Progress?

1. You’re Not Eating Properly

This is probably the biggest mistake oversight that gym goers make.

You may be not eating the correct foods, eating too much or in some cases, not enough.

  • Not eating the correct foods

Do you workout hard at every gym session and then go home to reward yourself with junk food? What you eat makes a significant difference to your fitness progress.

Most people make the mistake that because they are training that it means they can consume lots of junk and sugary foods as a reward.

In fact, it can be so detrimental to your progress and can be one of the main reasons why you are not hitting your fitness goals.

While you shouldn’t become too overly obsessed with what you eat, try to eat healthily most of the time, and don’t forget to give yourself the occasional treat as well.

  • Eating too much

On the other hand, you may be eating healthy foods most of the time but be overdoing it. Even though the foods that you are consuming are considered healthy, it can still hinder your progress if you eat too much. This is especially important to keep in mind if you are trying to lose weight.

Try to cut down on portion sizes and see the difference that it makes. Just be careful of the next point, which is:

  • Not eating enough

Not eating enough isn’t just about what you consume but the quantity. Some people tend to overeat while others may not be eating enough.

If you are starving your body of the essential nutrients that it needs, it may cause it to hold onto that stubborn fat you are trying to lose, or minimize your ability to build size.

You need food to fuel your body.

Depending on your fitness goal – whether it is to lose fat, maintain your weight or build muscle and size – your dietary needs will differ. Make sure you are eating accordingly and you will be able to see what a difference it will make to your fitness progress.

2. You’re Overtraining

Training consistently is important but so are rest days. If you are constantly training and not giving your body sufficient time to rest, you can be potentially minimizing your performance.

Your body needs to have time out so that it can recover properly and be ready for the next workout. Make sure you incorporate rest days into your workout routine so that you are not overtraining.

3. You’re Not Sleeping at Night

One important aspect of overtraining and resting properly is not having enough sleep at night. If you are finding it difficult to get enough hours of shut-eye at night, you will find that this can affect your performance, hence slowing down your progress.

It can be difficult to get enough sleep, especially in this on-the-go lifestyle. Try to set a sleeping schedule where you go to sleep and wake up at the same time.

Doing this consistently will help it become a habit and your natural body clock will become accustomed to it.

4. Your Workouts Aren’t Consistent

On the other hand, some people may not be working out enough to see the results they expect. Skipping the gym for a couple of weeks before smashing out an intense two-hour gym session one day will not compensate for the missed time.

You need to make sure that you are heading to the gym on a regular basis. And what “regular basis” means does depend on your routine and preferences.

You may prefer one-hour sessions five times a week focusing on specific body parts. Alternatively, you may choose to only do 2-3 full body workouts a week.

As long as you are going consistently, you will see results.

5. You’re Not Doing the Right Exercises

There are so many exercises that you use in your workout but depending on your fitness goals, you have to find the best workouts for you.

It can be daunting knowing which ones are best, so investing in a fitness trainer or app that helps to simplify this process is a great way to help you in this area.

6. You Train Without a Plan

One way to help make sure that you are doing the right exercises is by using a training plan. Heading into the gym with no plan except to use whatever machines happen to take your fancy will not get you results and your sessions will not be effective.

Taking the time to plan means you can maximize not only each individual session but all your sessions as a whole.

A way to assist with this is to keep track of training logs using a gym workout tracker. This will help you determine what workouts are getting you the results and which ones are not. Then you can really curate a training plan that gets you to your fitness goals faster.

7. You’re Not Using the Right Technique

Not only will this mean that you are not getting the most out of your exercises but it can also be very dangerous.

Before even picking up any equipment, make sure that you know how to use it with the correct technique.

This will help to minimize time wasted on inefficient exercises so that you can get the results you want. More importantly as well, it will decrease the risk of injury.

8. You’re Not Giving It Enough Time

Sorry for the bad news but results take time. You need to regularly work out efficiently to see progress and unfortunately, this will not happen overnight.

Putting in the effort to go to the gym for one week straight and expecting to see drastic changes will only set you up to be disappointed and lose motivation.

Remain consistent, be patient and trust that what you are doing will get you the results that you want.

How to Speed Up Your Fitness Progress

There can be many potential ways that you are sabotaging your progress, hindering your ability to hit your fitness goals and this post covers the most common ones. If any of them resonated with you, try to incorporate some solutions accordingly into your workout and see if it helps your fitness progress.

To help keep you from self-sabotaging your own fitness progress, invest in a gym workout tracker like Jefit. This way, you can keep track of training logs and make every workout an efficient one. It also comes with an extensive exercise library so you can choose the best workouts for you.

Have you made any of these fitness mistakes and if so, how did you solve them? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to know! Stay strong with Jefit.

Fitness Progress