Back to the Gym: Two New Jefit Strength Programs

It has been over a year in the making, and all of a sudden there are many more happy people around. The reason is because gyms are open again! Now gym goers can get back to what they love doing, sweating in the gym. Jefit, an award winning strength training planning & tracking app, is trying to do their part. They have developed two new strength training programs to help everyone ease back into the swing of it at the gym, health club or home.

The two new programs the Jefit team recently created are the 3-Day Split Program and Dumbbell Full Body Workout. The first program is an off-shoot from a workout published by Jefit a few years back with a similar name. That particular program is the most viewed and downloaded strength training program in Jefit’s 11-year history.

Take a look at both of these free training programs and download one now. Give it a try to help get back in shape for your mid Summer push. Let us also know what you think of each program. For best results, stick to each strength program for 4-6 week following the prescribed number of training days.

Two of the Many New Jefit Strength Programs

blank
blank
blank

3-Day Split Program

This is a 3-day split routine. It is considered an intermediate level strength programs.

This program builds off the original 3-day Split Routine published by Jefit a few years ago. That routine, by the way, is the most viewed and downloaded program in Jefit’s 11-year history.

In this new, updated, 3-Day Split Program, you’ll work each major muscle group at least once throughout the week. The idea is to make sure your training volume is high to ensure you sufficiently overload each muscle group.

There is also an optional 4th workout session, in this program, that targets two body parts twice. Keep in mind it’s optional.

The routine is split by specific muscle groups on various days:

Chest & Triceps: Day 1

Back & Biceps: Day 2

Legs & Core: Day 3

Optional Workout: Day 4 (Repeat one from above each week)

You have the option of repeating one workout (listed above) twice during each week that you’re on the program. Jefit recommend following the strength programs for 4-6 weeks.

For example, in the first week, you can repeat chest and triceps again on day 4, in order to target these areas twice. The following week, add in back and biceps a second time. Finally in week 3: work legs and core twice.

Each week, you’ll complete a 10-minute bout of cardio post workout on day 3 (legs and core).

blank
blank
blank
blank

DB Full Body Workout

This 3-day dumbbell strength plan is for a beginner or intermediate level gym-goer. Each of the three weekly sessions include nine exercises. The average workout time is about 50-minutes. Each day also includes multiple supersets to help you get through each workout session a bit faster.

Use Jefit to Plan & Track All Your Workouts

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

blank

10 Tips to Create Your Best Fitness Routine

blank

Are you tired of always trying to stick to a new fitness routine only to later stop altogether? Perhaps this is because you feel other things get in the way, such as work, family obligations, or maybe you feel you always end up sabotaging yourself and you’re powerless to stop. Below, you’ll find 10 ways to finally stick to a fitness regime that will eventually make a huge difference in your life.

1. Make it Manageable to Start With

Make sure you make your fitness regime easy to begin with. The thing you should be focusing on to start with is not hour long workouts, but just building the habit by working out most days of the week. You can go to the gym, do it outside, or even in your living room – it doesn’t matter. If you just do 5 minutes, do 5 minutes. Do it and stop before it becomes a chore. It doesn’t matter how long it is or what you’re doing really, as long as you’re doing it every day to build that habit.

Building habits is something emphasized in the book ‘Automic Habits’ by James Clear. When you make it easy for yourself, without thinking ‘what’s the point?’, you’ll get used to going and be able to build up from there. 

2. Make Sure You Enjoy What You’re Doing 

Don’t do something just because you think you should be doing it – do it because you actually enjoy it. It doesn’t matter if it’s Zumba, strength training, or something different. Whatever you do, make sure you like it so much that you want to keep going. Your enjoyment is paramount and one of the only things that will ensure your adherence. If you’re the kind of person who says ‘I don’t like working out at all, no matter the kind of exercise’ then you probably haven’t tried enough. Try different classes and styles of workout to see what you like best. 

3. Track Your Progress 

Tracking your progress, with the Jefit app, is a really motivating way to see how far you’ve come. This doesn’t mean just looking at aesthetics to track progress. Looking good is just one benefit of a well-designed fitness routine and working out more. You have likely gotten stronger, faster, and healthier too. How can you measure this? Take pictures and measurements then download them into your profile on Jefit. Other motivating ways to keep you on track, test your 1-RM (one repetition maximum), see how fast you can run a mile, test how fast you can row 500 meters, see how heavy you can go on a squat. Pay attention to how you feel day by day. It certainly isn’t all about the way you look! 

4. Don’t Aim For Perfection

Aiming for perfection is futile. Perfection does not exist, and nobody can be expected to be perfect. You’re only human, so you will likely have a day off. You’ll likely eat a piece of cake. That’s fine, and even necessary. Balance is key when building a new regime. Being too strict is not healthy, and it’s the reason many people don’t stick to a routine in the long run.

5. Be Realistic About What You Can Do

Don’t tell yourself you must get six workouts in a week if you have kids and a full-time job. That probably won’t happen, at least initially. Some weeks you may be able to do it, and others you may only fit in three workouts. Being flexible and refusing to beat yourself up is key. 

6. Set Effective Goals 

You won’t meet your goals if they aren’t set properly. For example, a goal to ‘lose 10 pounds’ is not exactly something you can control. You can’t control how fast your body loses weight. Plus, weight is not always an accurate measurement of health. Two people of the same weight may look entirely different. Somebody else may workout for a year and completely recomposition their body, looking a totally different shape, but staying the same weight. Focusing on weight isn’t a great idea. Similarly, a goal to ‘get fitter’ is vague and you can’t really measure it. Better goals in a fitness routine could be:

  • Consistently workout 3 times a week or more
  • Do 8 pull ups 
  • Deadlift your own bodyweight 

The above goals and similar goals are better because you can control and measure them. You can easily say whether you have completed them or not, and you have far more control over whether you achieve them. 

7. Don’t Deprive Yourself

If you want some cake, eat some cake. If your friends are going out for lunch and you really want to go, then go. As this article has mentioned numerous times, it’s all about balance. When you feel deprived, you’re going to crave the thing you’re depriving yourself of even more. This can easily create eating disorders, but at the very least it’ll create a yo-yo dieter who never quite gets to where they want to be. 

8. Make Sure You Take Breaks 

You can’t workout intensely every single day. It’s not good for your body. The body needs a break, and stress and sleep are two crucial factors in your journey. Make sure you take at least one full day off a week. On days you feel too tired, try a less intense workout, work on your mobility or go for a walk. Listening to your body is so important. Getting 8 hours a night consistently and minimizing stress factors will also help maximize your fitness routine.

9. Act and Think Like the Person You Want to Be

Acting and thinking like the person you want to be can help you to make changes more effortlessly. Visualize the best version of you. How do they walk and talk? Where do they hang out and who with? How do they think? Start mimicking this as often as you can. 

10. Find the Right Balance For You

Get rid of that all or nothing mindset – this is about finding a balance that’s right for you. If you eat a burger, you haven’t failed. Not going to the gym because you ate a burger, or eating a multi pack of chocolate bars because you had a few squares just doesn’t make sense. There’s no need to sabotage yourself just because you’re not a robot. 

Use the Jefit App to Track Exercise in Your Fitness Routine

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

blank

4 Reasons You Have Low Energy at the Gym

blank

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 low energy and injury. You’ll also feel not as great as if you’ve had the proper rest that you need. So how do recovery methods differ for each workout? Find out here.

Different Recovery Methods to Avoid Low Energy

How to Recover from Cardio

Hydration is key to help avoid low energy. 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 added 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 in order to avoid bouts of low energy from too much intense exercise.

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 building your muscles, you’ll need to make sure 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, help avoid low energy, as well as promote 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. You have probably heard the perfect recovery drink with this exact ratio is chocolate milk.

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. Use a foam roller post workout to help recover faster and help with DOMS.

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.

blank

5 Strength Training Disciplines That Will Build Muscle

strength training tracker

The words “strength training” have been thrown around the fitness industry for many decades now. It has been gaining a lot of traction, especially among females. There are different types of strength training disciplines that you can focus on and follow with your Jefit strength training tracker, depending on your fitness goals.

5 Strength Training Disciplines that Build Muscle

1. Bodyweight

Bodyweight refers to training that uses only your bodyweight exercises. There is no need for extra weights or machines. This is why bodyweight training is often overlooked by people when it comes to building strength and muscle. However, you only have to look at the world’s top gymnasts to know that this is a big mistake. Gymnasts, who are big on bodyweight exercises, are some of the strongest athletes in the world.

Pros

Workout anywhere: If you can’t make it to the gym, you can easily have an effective workout at home or when traveling. Just do bodyweight exercises!

Great for beginners: For those who want to ease into strength training, using your bodyweight is a great way to start. It can really make a difference in building your strength and confidence. After you get started with bodyweight exercises, you can move onto other strength disciplines such as gym weightlifting or powerlifting. Bodyweight exercises are also ideal for Tabata and circuit-type workouts because of the easy transition between exercises.

Cons

Hard to see your progress: With other training disciplines such as powerlifting, you can easily observe your improvements. This is when you are able to lift or squat a heavier load than your previous PR.

With bodyweight exercises, you don’t have the weights to tell you how far you have come. A great way to solve this is by using a strength training tracker to note and log your workouts so you can track your progress.

2. Gym Weightlifting

This is the most common type of strength training. It refers to the use of weight machines and free weights, such as dumbbells, as the primary method to build muscle.

Pros

Not as intimidating: This is great, especially for beginner gym goers, as dumbbells are easy and simple to use. Even machines have easy-to-follow instructions labelled on them. They’ll also have images that highlight the parts of the body in use so you know where you are supposed to be feeling the burn.

Versatile: You will have plenty of options with gym weightlifting. There are machines that have multiple uses in one so you can train more than one part of the body. Dumbbells can also be used in different ways. For example, you can use dumbbells for bicep curls and then an overhead press. You can mix and match exercises depending on what your fitness goals are, which means you will not be limited.

Good for beginners and seasoned gym goers:  Gym weightlifting is perfect for everyone. The equipment comes in a range of weights so whether you need 1kg or 40kg and more, you can find them. The same goes for the machines. You can adjust the load according to your personal preference.

Cons

Long wait: As gym weightlifting is so popular, during peak times, you may find that you have to wait to use the equipment. A way to get around this is by alternating turns with someone. For example, during your buddy’s rest time, you can complete your set and vice versa. Don’t forget to record your set with your strength training tracker so that you can keep a record of your progress.

3. Powerlifting

Powerlifting focuses on brute strength and consists of three primary movements:

  • Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift

The aim of powerlifting is to hit your maximum strength for one repetition for each of these exercises.

Pros

Builds strength: Powerlifting is one of the best ways to build up your strength as it is the main goal of powerlifters. Unlike other disciplines such as bodybuilding, powerlifting targets your strength ability as opposed to concentrating solely on aesthetics.

With powerlifting, you really will progress towards your strength and muscle goals, particularly in the legs, back and upper body. To help record your progress though, make sure you use a strength training tracker to log your workouts so you can see just how well powerlifting has improved your training.

Good technique: One of the most important aspects of fitness is making sure that you have the correct technique. If you don’t, you dramatically increase the risk of injury which is very dangerous.

Powerlifting has a big focus on technique. With only 3 primary movements, people can spend more time learning the right forms and techniques without rushing.

Cons

Narrow focus: Powerlifters can potentially disregarding other important exercises to only focus on the big 3, or only view them as “accessory” training.

Unless you are a competitive powerlifter, it is good to incorporate other movements into your training program as well so you can get a well-rounded workout.

No cardio: With an emphasis on absolute strength, powerlifters tend to neglect other aspects of fitness such as cardio. It is good to include some exercises that elevate your heart rate so that you can get in shape and stay in shape.

4. Olympic Lifting

In comparison, Olympic lifting, also known as weight lifting, has two main movements: the clean and jerk, and snatch. These moves are explosive, meaning that there isn’t just a focus on strength but also velocity. The aim is to move the bar as quickly as possible in these overhead vertical movements. To do so requires more than strength; flexibility, agility and mobility play a big part in weightlifting as well.

Pros

Uses all the muscles in the body: If you want to work out all your muscles at once, then Olympic weightlifting is the way to go. This is particularly helpful for those who want a more time-efficient way of training and have limited time at the gym. You’ll still get optimal results.

Works on speed: As I mentioned before, weightlifting is more than just a measurement of strength but speed as well. Weightlifters simultaneously perform high-velocity movements with heavy loads so you’re killing two birds with one stone.

Fun: Olympic lifting is also fun. Due to the movement’s dynamic and ballistic nature, it isn’t as easy or simple as bicep curls or other typical workouts.

Cons

High injury risk: While all workouts do have an injury risk, Olympic weightlifting has the worst reputation for being more prone to injury. To minimize these chances, it is important that you learn the correct form and technique to be able to properly and safely execute these moves. Bear in mind the slow and steady is the key in progressing your strength training. Do not rush and load up on heavy weights as this is actually detrimental to your performance and health.

Keep in mind, slow and steady is the key in progressing your strength training. Do not rush and load up on heavy weights as this is actually detrimental to your performance and health. A common progression in terms of load is a 5 percent increase in upper and 10 increase in lower body exercises.

Use a strength training tracker to follow your progress so you can steadily improve while still being safe and smart about it.

5. Strongman

Strongman focuses on strength endurance as opposed to just brute strength. It consists of functional strength movements such as moving heavy weights over long distances. It takes us back to our primal instincts and movements such as pushing, pulling, walking, lifting, carrying, and bending with heavy loads.

Pros

Functional strength: One of the biggest benefits of strongman training is that you can use the strength you have built in the real world. As it replicates primal, human movements, you are able to use the skills that you develop with strongman training in your everyday life.

Variety of exercises: It is easy to never get bored with Strongman as there is a wide range of movements to try.

Cons

Hard to find equipment: It can be difficult trying to find a gym that caters to this discipline. Strongman uses equipment such as large (really large) tires and yoke for motion-based exercises. You will have to find a specialized gym.

High risk of injury: Because you are not only lifting heavy loads but carrying and moving them around, there is a high risk of injury involved. You need to really be careful with these motion-based workouts. Make sure that while you push yourself, you are still smart about it.

As you can see, there are many types of strength training that you can try. While each has their own advantages and disadvantages, find the one (or even two) that you enjoy the most and is more suited for your fitness goals. And remember, to really know whether it is working for you, make sure you use a strength training tracker that will help to log your progress and results.

Jefit is a gym workout app that also functions as a strength training tracker. You can easily maximize your training by using the workout log to track your strength training, share your progress and results with others, and be part of a supportive community.

Which strength training discipline do you enjoy the most or want to try? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!

strength training tracker

Exercise Training Tips for Beginners

blank

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

Why you should exercise

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

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

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

The difference between body fat and muscle mass

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

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

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

So exercise is vital in working on that body composition.

Training Tips: Cardio vs. Weights

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

Cardio?

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

Some examples of cardio include:

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

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

Strength Training

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

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

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

Should I do cardio or strength train?

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

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

Can women lift weights?

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

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

Focus on compound movements

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

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

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

So how heavy should you lift?

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

Training Tips: Stretching

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

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

Build a routine

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

Track your workouts

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

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

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

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

Did You Know Exercise Offers These 12 Health Benefits?

blank

Some pass judgement on their diet and exercise plan by what the bathroom scale reads. But that should not be the case. With regular exercise, we improve many aspects of our health and fitness. Sometimes the benefits are not visible to the naked eye. Here are just a few of the many health benefits of exercise that you receive from lifelong exercise.

Health Benefits of Exercise (Strength & Cardio)

******************************************************

Health Benefits of Strength Training

  • Building muscle mass can increase metabolism by 15 percent. This in turn can rev up a sluggish metabolism and improve functional ability. All by performing strength training at least two to three times a week for the rest of your life.
  • Strength training slows or prevents sarcopenia – which literally means the “loss of flesh.” We all lose muscle mass as we age – and you can begin to lose muscle around 30 years old. You can also expect to lose muscle at a rate of 10 percent each decade starting at age 50.
  • It plays a role in disease prevention – like preventing or managing type 2 diabetes, as an example.
  • Helps improve the way you move your body resulting in better balance and less falls as you age (you can reduce your risk for falling by 40 percent).
  • An additional health benefit of exercise is – it spares the loss of muscle mass during weight loss (Donnelly et al., 2003).
  • Will offset bone loss as you age – women can expect to lose 1 percent of their bone mass after age 35 and this can increase following menopause.
  • According to research, individuals who did not strength train lost about 5 to 8 pounds of muscle every ten years, with a by-product being a reduction in metabolism of about 50 calories a day.

Cardiovascular Exercise

  • Regular aerobic exercise improves your mood by decreasing stress and anxiety levels – read Exercise for Mood and Anxiety by Michael Otto, Phd and Jasper Smits, PhD.
  • Cardio exercise like jogging, hiking, jump roping, etc. will “load” your bones and in turn make them stronger.
  • Regular aerobic-type exercise improves heart function, lowers your resting heart rate, and enables your body to deliver oxygen more efficiently to your working muscles.
  • Speaking of a lower heart rate, here is a health benefit of exercise many people don’t realize. Decreasing your resting heart rate a small amount can he beneficial. Lowering heart rate from 70 to 60 beats per minute, the heart beats 14,400 less times over the course of a day. by the end of a year, that equates to more than five million less beats!
  • The American College of Sports Medicine reports that higher levels of cardiovascular fitness is associated with approximately a 50 percent reduction in disease risk.

Build Strength with 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.

Reference

Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., Pronk, N., Smith, B.K., Kirk, E.P., Jacobsen, D.J., Washburn, R. (2003). Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management? Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 1(1): 21-29.

blank

Do This Quick Warm-up Before Strength Training

blank

There is not a person on this planet who does not want to improve their training output in the gym. Many people typically do just a few quick stretches or repetitions of the upcoming exercise and that’s it. A specific warm-up preceding strength training – geared towards individual needs – improves how your body feels and moves in a workout. Period. This so-called warm-up box should always be checked prior to any strength training session. If you want to get more out of the workout that is.

The key is to first find what works for your body. Some gym-goers require an easy dynamic warm-up to break a sweat, while another responds to targeted mobility work. This in turn, opens up tight, restricted muscle and connective tissue. Sometimes a few warm-up sets prior to lifting just doesn’t do the trick. The following sequence is great to do before any strength or cardio workout. It is specifically targeted to prepare the thoracic spine, commonly referred to as the T-spine, for the upcoming workout.

The majority of Americans, both young and old, spend hours each day sitting. As a result, muscles shorten and connective tissue (fascia) becomes restrictive. A quick mobility series like this one will increase blood flow to these areas and as a result you’ll feel, move and lift better in the workout.

Try This Warm-up Before Strength Training

Take a pair of tennis balls and either tape them together with electrical tape or place them in a sock and tie off the end. There is also a product you can purchase called a peanut that will also work nicely. The idea is to place the tennis balls in contact with your back. Each of the tennis balls end up on the left and right sides of your erector spinae muscles away from your spine. Then lie down on it. Begin at the first thoracic vertebrae below the seventh cervical, where when you flex your neck you can feel the “bump” and slowly move (“roll”) down towards your lumbar spine. Spend about 30-45 seconds manipulating the tennis balls into the muscle before moving down 1-2 inches. There are twelve thoracic vertebrae so you will need to reposition your body that many times. View the the following Instagram clip to see how to correctly position your body and perform the exercise.

Easy 3-Step Thoracic Mobility Series

After you spend a few minutes having fun with your tennis balls, try these three mobility movements. The idea is to “insert here” the specific mobility drill your body may need. I’m showing you just one area (thoracic spine), it may be a different area altogether, like the hips, shoulder – whatever. Check out the following Instagram clip on how to perform each movement in this 3-step mobility series. Below are pictures (start/finish) of each of the three movements that make up this mobility series.

Kneeling Thoracic Rotation (start/finish)

blank

Start

blank

Finish (end point)

Side-Lying Thoracic Rotation

blank
blank

Supine Thoracic Rotation (Windmill)

Note: The finish (end point) should be (eventually) with the lower leg making contact with the foam roller (looks like somebody is tight in that photo). You can also use a yoga block, small medicine ball or whatever else is of similar height to support the leg. Finally, you can also perform this particular movement on your side with the hips and knees kept at right angles without the aid of any props. The arms are positioned the same way and the movement occurs in the same manner as pictured.

blank
blank

Mobility Warm-up Before Strength Training (Prescription)

Week 1-2: Perform 4-6 repetitions x 1 (3x/week)

Week 3-4: Perform 8-15 repetitions x 2 (4x/week)

Just a week of incorporating these movements into your warm-up or post workout will lead to a big pay off. You will notice your body feels and moves much better, even after the first session. Enjoy the additional freedom of movement you’re going to get if you make this a regular occurrence.

Jefit was recently named one of the best fitness apps by eftm.com and PC Magazine for 2021. Jefit is a workout app for gym and home. It helps you plan and stick to your workouts on a regular basis. While there are already over 3800 complete training routines available, it also comes with a customizable gym workout planner. This way you can personalize your own regime that works with your specific fitness goals. Stay strong!

blank

Exercise Guidelines to Keep You Strong as You Age

blank

We all have different needs when it comes to exercise and those needs continue to change as we age. When was the last time you really thought seriously about your exercise routine? More importantly, are you experiencing gains with the current program you’re on? Maybe gains came easy when you were younger. What worked once, however, for whatever reasons does not seem to work as good now.

First, celebrate your success. You have continued to exercise all these years and that’s a good thing even if – at times – it may not be as evident when you step onto your bathroom scale. Keep in mind, more than 30 percent of Americans do not exercise at all and only about 5 percent of the population exercise at what is considered a vigorous level. Approximately 69 percent of Americans are currently overweight or obese.

All the work you’ve put in has done wonders for your body, mind, and spirit. More specifically, it has helped maintain your strength and lean muscle levels. A loss of muscle tissue occurs, for those who do not exercise, at a rate of about half a pound a year or roughly 5 pounds per decade. As this happens, a few of the many by-products are loss of strength, power and balance.

Use It Or Lose It

The average person who does not exercise regularly, experiences an 8 percent drop in their strength level per decade. By the time someone reaches age 65 they have about 25 percent less strength compared to when they were 30 years old. On the aerobic side of things you lose about 10 percent of your aerobic capacity each decade after age 40. There is potential to lose as much as 25 percent of bone in both sexes, as a result of inactivity, sitting too much and menopausal changes in women. With all this decline comes balance issues and additional problems with functionality, that could ultimately lead to a loss of independence.

Write down what you and your body really need as you get ready to enter 2021. What are you truly looking to accomplish with all the time you invest in yourself doing exercise and trying to eat healthier? You don’t own it until you write it down.

Needs Assessment

Prior to beginning any type of exercise program, it is essential that you undergo a needs assessment. The goal of this analysis is to create clearly defined goals that will help you make the most progress from your training. Ask yourself, what does your body really need at this point in time? Maybe you need more mobility work and less pounding (running) or loading (lifting weights). You may have been doing a lot of strength or cardio work but how is your balance? When was the last time you treated yourself to a good massage or took a yoga class? Find out what you need (by testing yourself) and set a few short and long-term goals.

Test Yourself Periodically

Work with a coach and complete an assessment to determine where you currently stand in the following areas below. Ask yourself: How do you judge improvement if you don’t measure it? Visit our Jefit Coach to help.

  • Body Composition
  • Strength
  • Power
  • Aerobic/Anaerobic ability
  • Mobility
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
blank

Exercise Program

This is where most of us get lost and end up wasting a lot of time. The first goal is to find out what’s tight and lengthen it and then what’s weak and strengthen it. This will ultimately help you move and lift better in the gym. The second goal is to move better, also known as movement competency. Once an individual can execute a movement efficiently with a full range of motion (that is unrestricted), like a Squat or Deadlift, then and only then should the volume (sets x reps x load) be increased. When someone cannot execute a particular movement pattern correctly, do not increase repetitions, the number of sets or especially the load. Anyone who is loading tight, stiff muscles is basically an accident waiting to happen, it’s only a matter of time until you’ll need to take time off!

Focus on the primary movement patterns below using the “Big 6” as part of your primary strength routine and don’t sweat the small stuff.

  • Squat
  • Hip Hinge
  • Carry
  • Lunge
  • Push
  • Pull

A well-designed exercise program should improve mobility, increase strength, power, improve cardiovascular fitness and more. A strength and conditioning program should change body composition by way of adding lean muscle tissue and decreasing body fat. Balance should also improve in addition to flexibility and mobility. You must add time to your workout though to address it. But you won’t know if you’re improving if you don’t periodically measure it. Has this been an issue for you?

Focus on adding in a bout of sprint work to your weekly cardio routine. This should come in the form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). A few examples would be sprinting, cycling or rowing. Place more emphasis on quality rather than quantity when doing HIIT and remember, the key is manipulating the intensity as you get better at it.

Finally, focus on doing more mobility work each time you exercise and make it part of your recovery process on off days. These guidelines will help keep you strong and functional through the aging process.

Potential Prescription Ideas

  • Strength training (Big 6) 2-3x/week.
  • Fitness: Elevate your heart rate 2-3x/week for 15-30:00 (wear a heart rate monitor). Add HIIT at least once a week.
  • Power: work on vertical or horizontal jumping 1x/week (jump rope, box jumps, DOT drills, etc.)
  • Add more mobility work (via movements and foam roller etc.).
  • Baseline/Follow-up Assessment
  • Try Yoga

Use Jefit to Help Track Progress and More

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. Stay Strong!

blank

Is Strength Training and HIIT an Ideal Combo?

blank

It’s a constant exploration, trying to find the ideal combination of weekly workouts to help you lose weight, get stronger, feel better, and so on! So, regardless of what your stance is on strength training, or the use of slow reps to make you stronger, or just cardio, cardio, cardio, here is the case for high-intensity interval training or HIIT and strength training as the ideal training combo.

The HIIT Revolution

High-intensity interval training has made a lot of headlines in recent years, and there have been countless fitness routines and regimes designed to take advantage of this high-intensity aspect. But why does high-intensity training work so well? It all goes back to that age-old approach to building muscle by putting your body under a lot of duress. In doing such an intense amount of exercise, you aren’t just going for a basic run; you are pushing your body to the limit. Many say that cardio is only effective if you do it for a long period of time. With respect to HIIT, it’s all about utilizing the right intensity. Similarly to what felt at the end of a road race, but in the space of 10-20 minutes. One of the great things about HIIT is the more intense the effort the shorter the workout needs to be.

“HIIT is the closest thing we have to an exercise pill.”

Martin Gibala, PhD, Researcher and Author, The One-Minute Workout

The HIIT Basics

For those that are unaware of HIIT, the basic premise is that you mix short bouts of intense exercise with longer periods of recovery. This is repeated for a specific duration. An example would be a period of time where you are working at 60 to 70 percent intensity, for a few minutes. And then, the next 30-60 seconds you would go “all-out,” at 100%! After that intense interval, your’e back at a moderate intensity, and continue using this undulating format for a specific duration. A few examples of this type of training include Insanity (bodyweight) workouts and P90X (using dumbbells) to offer a better picture.

There are many benefits to this type of training. One such benefit is that it’s a perfect choice for those who don’t have a lot of time to exercise. This is why it is such a useful component in modern exercise because many people can’t dedicate 5 or 6 sessions a week to commit to workout. But as an entryway into intense exercise, it is a perfect method for you to build up your resilience to strenuous exercise. Keep your HIIT to initially to 1-2 sessions a week. This leads us nicely to adding-in the next component, making this an ideal combination each week.

Strength Training

Strength training has become the most vital component of a workout routine. Now, as people are more obsessed with the aesthetics of exercise, flat abs, toned arms, etc., strength training is a fundamental component of getting this right. There are lots of workouts that focus heavily on strength training where are you perform compound exercises like, squat, bench press, barbell row, overhead press and deadlift. This type of protocol with these specific strength training exercises are usually done three times a week, meaning you’ve got time to live your life! But, it also gives you the opportunity to recover.

The main idea with this particular strength training format is that you start off light, but every time you complete the amount of repetitions required, you add 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) to the weight. So, there’s going to be a point where you will definitely plateau. As a result, this is one of the best ways to improve strength and other facets of your workout. And everybody can benefit from strength training. Many people, however, skip compound movements and focus on various isolation exercises instead.

The benefit of this type of strength training is that it forces the body to adapt and as a result, muscle and connective tissue become stronger. And because you are lifting so heavy, it places your body under the required amount of stress you need to build more muscle. And this is why it’s such a beneficial workout. Those who have been exercising for years may not feel the benefits as much, but for those who are looking for a perfect starting point to build muscle and strength, this is it. And when this gets combined with HIIT, you’ve got the perfect training package.

Combining HIIT and Strength

Going back to Insanity and P90X, these are good examples of strength training and HIIT working in tandem. Although Insanity is all about using your bodyweight, if you were to swap in free weights, as with P90X, and do HIIT in between those workout days, you’ll end up with a fat torching combo! The intensity of lifting heavy forces your body to recruit more muscle fiber, and it also helps with weight loss, because you increase your overall caloric expenditure. When you add high-intensity interval training, as in the form of Tabata sprints, it becomes a powerful combination. But be warned. Trying to implement both is a fantastic way for you to lose weight if you need it. Doing both together, though, is a very difficult thing indeed, and if you are trying something new like Insanity, it can be really challenging on your body.

The results will speak for themselves, although you should try it out, and build up a resilience to it, before implementing the other workout. The thing about both of these is that once your endurance improves, you will be able to push yourself even further in a workout. Naturally, there will be points when you plateau, but as a way to build strength and work capacity, you are going to be unstoppable if you do it right!

Use Jefit App to Plan & Track Workouts

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. Stay Strong!

blank

Here Are The Highest Calorie Burning Exercises to Choose

blank

The following article takes a look at the best movements to choose when you want to use the highest calorie burning exercises. There are many exercises that are available to you when working out from home or the gym. But what are the best options from a high caloric expenditure stand point? We have looked through the research and various articles to bring you that list.

These types of exercises are great individually or when mixed into a circuit or high-intensity training session. Obviously, the heavier the person, the higher the caloric expenditure per minute of exercise. Just a reminder when you look over this and other types of data like this.

Various Factors Affecting Calorie Burn

There are many factors that go into determining how many calories someone expends during exercise. Here is a great article on that topic by Robert Robergs, PhD and Len Kravitz, PhD. Here are eight factors, many of which you can manipulate, that will influence your calorie burn.

*Bodyweight

Basically, the more you weigh, the greater amount of calories you expend during exercise. Pretty simple.

*Type of Exercise

Cardio-based workouts typically involve higher calorie burning exercises. They usually burn more calories than other types of workouts like strength training or doing yoga. The key word here is intensity. Finally, there can be a different outcome with a well-designed exercise program. See the study, found below, by Falcone and colleagues reporting a HIIT session out performing a cardio workout involving men as test subjects.

*Exercise Intensity

The higher the intensity, the more calories you end up burning per minute. If I can get all exercise physiology on you for a moment…for every liter of oxygen you consume during exercise you expend about 5 calories. Keep in mind, the harder you breathe during activity, the greater the oxygen intake resulting in a higher caloric expenditure. Not to mention an elevated EPOC hours after your exercise is done.

*EPOC

Stands for excess post oxygen consumption. The higher the exercise intensity, the higher the “after burn.” Meaning, your body continues to expend calories long after the workout is finished. For this to happen, though, it has to be a very heavy lifting day or a HIT type workout. The intensity needs to be very high during the workout. As in, you couldn’t carry on a conversation because you’re breathing so hard.

*Compound Movements

When you perform a total body movement like a deadlift or push press exercise, you’ll burn more calories than say a concentrated biceps curl.

*Men Typically Burn More Calories than Women

This is simply a result of most men having a higher percentage of muscle mass than most women. This is not always the case however. Over the years I have run stadium stairs with female Olympic and college athletes. I can attest, some female athletes can out do any guy… it can be a truly humbling experience!

*Current Fitness Level

There are many benefits to living a healthy lifestyle. Staying in great shape allows an individual to work harder in their workouts and in turn, elicit a greater calorie burn during exercise.

*Your Age

The older the person, the less calories they burn in a given period of time. This is due to muscle mass. As we age we lose muscle and this affects metabolic rate and calorie burn.

Highest Calorie Burning Exercises for Short Duration

A Men’s Journal article compared four different activities, using a 5-minute testing period, to rank the highest caloric expenditure.  The four different exercises included: body-weight exercises, jogging, swinging a kettlebell, and jumping rope.  All are great forms of exercises and you need minimal equipment to perform each exercise. They determined jumping rope was number one, when it came to a 5-minute workout, burning 79 calories while the body weight exercises, consisting of push-ups and pull-ups, came in fifth using 51 total calories.

Jumping rope is a great training tool and should be used more prior to a workout. To continue on the topic of jumping rope, it has been reported that 10-minutes of jumping rope is equivalent to jogging for 30-minutes. Interesting numbers, though, especially the kettlebell swings being higher than pushing and pulling your body weight for 5-minutes. This was probably due to the subject getting more total swings with a kettlebell during the 5-minute period.

1st – Jumping Rope (79 calories/5-minutes)

2nd – Swinging a Kettlebell (63 calories/5-minutes)

3rd – Jogging (53 calories/5-minutes)

4th – Push-Up & Pull-Up combo (51 calories/5-minutes)

Men’s Journal

Here are a few great activities that the next study can hopefully look at. Compare the effects of 5-minutes of cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing, jogging up hill, HIIT using a bike or rower, an Assault bike (Schwinn Air-Dyne), Concept 2 Cross-Country Ski, CLMBR, and stadium stair running.

Some of the Highest Calorie Burning Exercises for Longer Duration

There was another report that I came across, with somewhat different results, that looked at calories burn for 10 to 30-minutes of activity. The group used an energy calculator from the American Council on Exercise (ACE). The study did acknowledge that every body is different and while one routine may work well for one person it might not be as efficient for another. Here are the results from that particular study. Keep in mind these numbers were based individuals who weighed only 130-pounds.

1st – Running/Jogging – 206 calories per 30-minutes

2nd – Hiking – 176 calories per 30-minutes.

3rd – Biking/Cycling – 5.5 mph – 117 calories per 30-minutes

4th – Jumping Rope – (fast pace) – 115 calories per 10-minutes*

5th – Walking (moderate pace) – 97 calories per 30-minutes

6th – Weightlifting – 88 calories per 30-minutes

CNET

Obviously, if you are are 200-pound male, these numbers would be significantly higher. Again, the different calorie outputs for jumping rope (for 5 and 10 minutes) most likely, had do to bodyweight and speed of jumping (i.e., pace or rpm or # of toe taps).

In one last article, Harvard Medical School reported calorie burn for over 100 different activities. The group looked at the difference in calorie burn for 30-minutes of activity for 125, 155 and 185-pound individuals. They also did not report if they were men or women, or how much lean muscle they had, so keep that in mind. They just looked at overall bodyweight.

What The Exercise Research Says

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research by Falcone and colleagues, compared the energy expenditure of single exercise sessions using resistance, aerobic, and combined exercise involving the same duration. The test subjects were young, active men. All sessions were 30-minutes. The resistance training session used 75 percent of their 1-RM, the aerobic session, on a treadmill, used 70 percent maximum heart rate. The high-intensity interval session (HIIT) session was done on a hydraulic resistance system (HRS). The HRS workout used intervals of 20-seconds of maximum effort followed by 40-seconds of rest. The HIIT session using the HRS had the highest caloric expenditure of the three workouts. The data suggest that individuals can burn more calories performing HIIT with HRS than spending the same amount of time performing steady-state exercise.

A 2012 study at Colorado State University found that test subjects who worked out on a stationary bike for less than 25 minutes, with just a few sprints mixed in, expended an additional 200 calories a day, due to excess-post oxygen consumption (EPOC) or commonly known as the after-burn effect.

The Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise reviewed interval training. Subjects exercised using high-intensity intervals. The total amount of calories expended one-hour post workout was 107 percent more than low-intensity, short duration exercise. And 143 percent more than with low intensity, long duration exercise! That’s because interval exercise peaking at levels above a 70 percent maximum-intensity effort, speeds up metabolism for up to three hours after exercise – a benefit not found with low-intensity exercise.

Hopefully this article sheds more light on this topic regarding the best exercises to choose when the main interest is high calorie burn.

Stay Strong With Jefit

Join the millions of members who have had great success using the Jefit app. The award-winning 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. Stay strong with Jefit.

blank

Five Proven Exercise Strategies to Improve Mood and Anxiety

blank

Packaging the health benefits of exercise into a bottle or pill would be comparable to finding the Holy Grail. Though that won’t happen any time soon, you can still take advantage of what exercise has to offer. According to a study published in the Lancet Psychiatry, people report an average of 3.5 days of poor mental health in a given month. The amazing thing is we already know that there are exercise strategies for improving mood and anxiety. More of us just need to take advantage of doing these types of exercise on a regular basis.

The good news regarding this topic is any form exercise – from walking to housework – will reduce that number by an average of 1.5 days a month. Playing any type of team sport, in addition to aerobic exercise, and strength training seem to have the biggest affect on mood; with reports of these activities reducing the number of mental health days by 20 percent.

Amount of Exercise Needed

Individuals who exercise for 20 to 60 minutes a day, three to five days a week, receive the most benefit, compared with those who exercise either less or more. In fact, people who exercised 23 times a month and for longer than 90 minutes per workout, actually had worse mental health compared to those who exercised less often or for shorter periods of time, as noted in the study.

The following list includes five different activities that are proven exercise strategies that will improve mood and decrease anxiety. The goal is to get more of people doing some type of daily activity. Only 23 percent of Americans, over 18 years old, exercise on a regular basis. Meaning, they perform both cardio and strength training during the week, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Walking is a man’s best medicine.”

Hippocrates

Manageable Exercise Strategies to Improve Mood: Walking & Hiking

These are grouped together for no particular reason other than hiking is a more challenging progression of walking. Both are great for reducing stress and improving mood. This is especially true if you happen to be walking or hiking in the forest. The Japanese actually have a name for their strolls in the forest, they call it “Shinrinyoku.” They regard their walks or hikes in the forest as being similar to natural aromatherapy.

Newer research seems to reinforce the idea that spending time out in nature can be good for your mental health. A 2015 study published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning, as an example, discovered that when young adults went on a 50-minute walk out in nature, they felt less anxious and had improved memory function.

In a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, research scientists found a single bout of exercise – walking for 30-minutes – could instantly improve the mood of someone suffering from a major depressive order. Some scientists believe the reason for this is more neurobiological than anything.

“Walking and hiking works on stress by increasing arousal and energy levels and secondarily by reducing tension. The energy boost is immediate, while the tension reduction reveals itself later and over time. The enhanced energy enables you to better cope with stress, so that you are less likely to become tense in the first place.”

Running is a Big Stress Buster

Aerobic exercise, such as running, can produce positive changes in mood at least on a short-term basis across both young and older adults. Running 30-minutes during a week for three weeks has been shown to boost sleep quality, mood and concentration during the day according to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Additional research showed a positive affect on trained runners who ran on a treadmill compared to untrained subjects; moderate-intensity running versus high-intensity running was shown to be have the best impact on “mood states.”

The mental benefits of running can be especially powerful for people who suffer from high anxiety and even depression. In a 2006 review published in the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, researchers found evidence that exercise, like running, can work in a way that is similar to how antidepressants work.

Yoga Benefits

You have probably heard before how important your breath is, especially nasal breathing. No other activity focuses more on breath than meditation and yoga. The simple act of sitting or lying supine for even a few minutes, focusing on your breath, can make an impact on both mood and stress levels. Asanas work on stretching, lengthening, balancing and releasing stress in the muscles. These various postures can help release built-up muscle tension and stiffness in the body.

According Harvard Medical School, “by reducing perceived stress and anxiety, yoga appears to modulate stress response systems. This, in turn, decreases physiological arousal — for example, reducing heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and easing respiration. There is evidence that yoga also increases heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s ability to respond to stress.

Strength Training Goes a Long Way

We know regular bouts of strength training can benefit our muscles, connective tissue and bones. The affects of regular training can go well beyond that. For instance, JAMA Psychiatry, reported “people with mild to moderate depression who performed resistance training two or more days a week saw “significant” reductions in their symptoms, compared with people who did not.” The research looked at 33 randomized clinical trials involving more than 1,800 subjects, and the findings “suggested that resistance exercises may be even more beneficial for those with more severe depressive symptoms.”

Research published in American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (2010) reviewed seven resistance training studies to determine if training could be used as an intervention for people with anxiety. Their review on this topic demonstrated that resistance training is in fact a meaningful intervention for people suffering from anxiety. Two of the seven studies compared the effects of high-intensity resistance training (80% of 1-RM) to moderate-intensity (50%-60% of 1-RM). The results indicated that anxiety was reduced more with moderate-intensity resistance training. Stay Strong with Jefit.

References

Yanker, G., Burton, K., Walking Medicine. McGraw-Hill Publishing, 1990.

O’Connor, P.J., Herring, M.P. and Carvalho, A. Mental health benefits of strength training in adults. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 4(5), 377-396., 2010.

blank