stop doing partial reps

Fit Girl

I never heard of partials until recently, but I’ve seen it a lot at the gym. It is when someone does a partial rep, instead of using full range of motion. Some examples are a bench press, where the person only lets the bar go down halfway, or part of the way down; or a push-up where the person doesn’t go low to the floor; or a shoulder press, where the arms bend only part-way down.

People use this technique because it’s easier to do pulses, and they can lift more weight with partials instead of moving the weight all the way down, and all the way up. Some people just don’t realize they are doing this, and other people don’t know what correct form is. There are also experienced body builders that do partials, commonly performed on a bench press, to allow the central nervous system and connective tissue adapt to using heavier weights, and to go above and beyond their present lifting weight (1).

Since partials are very demanding, don’t do “…partials more than three weeks in a row without a…” break, or perform those exercises with less intensity. It’s okay to use partials, but don’t do them every workout (1).

If you are only using partial reps, you’ll only have limited range of motion, partial development, and have less flexibility (1).

photo: me

(1). Source: Hatfield PhD., Frederic. Fitness: the Complete Guide. Carpinteria: International Sports Sciences Association. 9th ed., 2018. Print. Pgs. 455-456.

3 popular stretches to stop doing

straight-leg toe touch with bad form

Stretching is supposed to be good for us, but if done before adequately warmed up, or done improperly, they can cause injury. Three popular stretches are the straight-leg toe touch, standing or seated on the floor, and the hurdler stretch, stretching one leg at a time. The problem with these stretches are that they “..can severely weaken the spine…” since they are pulling the “…spinal ligaments, not the hamstrings.”

seated straight-leg toe touch with rounded back

Every time I try either of those stretches, my lower back hurts. If you still want to do these stretches, use a straight back, not a rounded back, don’t bounce, and just go to the level where you feel the stretch; a stretch should never be painful. Pain is a signal from your brain that you shouldn’t do that.

 

(1). Source: Hatfield PhD., Frederic. Fitness: the Complete Guide. Carpinteria: International Sports Sciences Association. 9th ed., 2018. Print. Pg. 349.

body type fat loss guide

Macro guide based on body type

There really is a shortcut to losing weight! We know that just because a specific diet works for one person, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. There’s three different body types, I types, V types and O types, and each type does better in terms of strength, energy, and maintaining a healthy bodyfat ratio based on the percentage of fats, carbs and protein they eat.

Find your body type below to see the ideal percentages of carbs, protein and fat best suited for your build.

  •  Type 1 ectomorph: thin, small bone structure. 55% carbs, 25% protein, 20% fat
  •  Type V mesomorph: medium-sized bone structure, athletic build. 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat
  •  Type O endomorphs: large bone structure and gains fat easily. 25% carbs, 35% protein, 40% fat

So, if you’re Type 1 and thin, but maybe have some extra bodyfat, aka skinny fat, or maybe you want to gain some muscle, and you’ve looked up your suggested calorie intake from an app, or got this info from your diet coach, and have found that you should be eating 1500 calories a day, take 1500 x 55% = 825. The 825 represents the amount of calories from carbs recommended for your body type. For protein, take 1500 x 25% = 375 calories of protein daily. 1500 x 20% = 300 calories of fat each day. 825 + 375 + 300 = 1500 calories.

The easiest way to do this is to put in the amount of calories, the percentage of carbs, protein and fat into whatever on-line application you like, and then log all your meals. Check the percentage of the macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat) throughout the day to help you. For instance, if I eat five meals a day and notice that I’ve reached my limit for carbs already, I’ll just eat protein and a salad for dinner.

Keep in mind that these are just recommendations and don’t need to be exact. Try it out for a few weeks and tweak it to best suit you.

(1). Source: Hatfield PhD., Frederic. Fitness: the Complete Guide. Carpinteria: International Sports Sciences Association. 9th ed., 2018. Print. Pgs. 609-611.

 

Vegan Pumpkin Soup

Fit Girl Pumpkin Soup

This warming soup tastes like a healthy, creamy pumpkin pie, with a bonus of protein from garbanzo beans; the chopped cashews give it additional sweetness and a wonderful crunch.

 Pumpkin Soup

  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 2 T tahini
  • 15 oz can drained garbanzo beans
  • 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup chopped cashews (raw or toasted)

Pulse all ingredients except for cashews in a food processor or blender until smooth. You can eat it cold or heated. Top with chopped cashews.

Photo: I added chopped red bell pepper and pumpkin seeds; either way is good

Exercising once a week is a waste

pull ups

I don’t like to discourage people who exercise just once a week, but this small fraction of exercise is not going to give you the benefits you want, whether it be strength, more muscle, fat loss, or flexibility.

There are seven granddaddy laws of training, one being the General Adaptation Principle, which states that a once a week full body workout, and/or training a body part once is a week “is generally not advised as it is far too infrequent and too much rest has expired (1)”. If you are too exhausted from that one workout to exercise again 2-3 days later, maybe because you’re new to training, or you worked out really hard, that’s normal; it’s your body’s built-in mechanism protecting you against injury.

You don’t need to push through the pain, that’s never a good idea. What you want to do is switch up your workouts, so that some are high-intensity and others are low-intensity, and do different types of exercises. For instance, two days a week I lift heavy for an hour each; two days a week, I practice yoga or do cardio between 30-60 minutes depending on how I feel; and two days a week I do moderate-intensity bodyweight and/or band exercises. I take Sundays off to recover and rest.

In conclusion, exercise all muscles twice a week with varying intensity for maximum results. With consistency and variety, those workouts will get easier, you’ll get stronger, and you’ll have to make it more difficult to progress to the next level.

(1). Source: Hatfield PhD., Frederic. Fitness: the Complete Guide. Carpinteria: International Sports Sciences Association. 9th ed., 2018. Print. Pgs. 417-419.

Overcoming an exercise weight-loss plateau

kicking waves

A lot of people exercise for the sole reason of losing weight. When a person starts exercising, it’s easy to shed bodyfat and gain lean muscle, but over time, weight loss and muscle gains typically plateau. When you lose bodyfat, you’re smaller everywhere, even your organs are smaller, which means you are burning fewer calories because a bigger, inactive person always burns more calories than a smaller fit person when doing a similar activity, like walking.

To see more muscle gains, you can’t do the same activities, or lift the same amount of weight. Switch up the exercises, make them more difficult so you’re burning more calories, and lift heavier weight. If you’re exercising twice a week, double it, but don’t do intense exercise more than five days a week; your central nervous system needs a stress break!

Hours of exercise won’t show on your physique if you’re eating more calories than you’re burning. If you really want to lose that excess bodyfat, accept the realization that you’ll have to consume fewer calories. Little changes here and there can make a big difference, like using a teaspoon of almond butter in your smoothie instead of a tablespoon, using zucchini noodles instead of wheat pasta, having a ½ cup of rice instead of 1 cup, and drinking diet soda instead of regular soda (although, I’d prefer everyone drink water).

Believe it or not, the biggest hurdle to weight loss is being stubborn, and not accepting the truth that to lose extra weight and change our body shape, we all need to work harder, and eat less.

 

how to determine if a diet is any good

food

There’s some good diets out there and some really bad ones too. Any diet that doesn’t recommend exercising, requires supplementation, or causes dehydration is not a good diet. If you have to buy the plan’s packaged foods, that’s not a good diet either because you’re not learning anything about nutrition, and will gain the weight back once you stop buying their products.

A good diet is one that allows you to lose body fat while retaining muscle, isn’t too hard to follow, explains what’s nutritious and what’s not, provides you with sufficient calories and nutrients, is flexible, and you can use for the rest of your life.

 

P.S. If you’re searching for a good diet like the one mentioned above, you can order my complete program from www.thehighfivediet.com for a one-time fee of only $14.95

 

why you lose muscle with cardio

cycling

The reason why some people lose muscle when they add in cardiovascular exercises, is because they aren’t eating enough calories.

 

Source: Hatfield PhD., Frederic. Fitness: the Complete Guide. Carpinteria: International Sports Sciences Association. 9th ed., 2018. Print.

eliminate heartburn without meds

burger and friesGreasy food makes my heart hurt, so I stopped eating fried and greasy foods years ago. Food and acid seeping upwards from the stomach into the esophagus causes the pain we feel in our chest, which is why it’s called heartburn. Instead of treating the issue, you can prevent heartburn by adhering to the simple steps below:

 

Eat smaller meals – large meals can cause heartburn by putting pressure on the esophageal sphincter

Sit up while eating – don’t eat lying down or leaning backwards

Eat slowly – I use smaller utensils and watch TV or read while eating, which naturally causes me to eat slowly

Be mellow – stress negatively affects digestion

Eat low fat – fatty, greasy foods cause indigestion

Skip the hot spices – hot peppers only cause a slight increase in caloric expenditure, so if spices cause you stomach pains, skip them

 

Source: Hatfield PhD., Frederic. Fitness: the Complete Guide. Carpinteria: International Sports Sciences Association. 9th ed., 2018. Print. Pp. 55, 58.

how to gain muscle without getting fat

Bananas Foster

Every once in a while that lucky individual who eats whatever he wants (yeah, it’s usually a male), asks me how to gain size. What these men typically do is eat too many carbs, are doing too much cardio, aren’t eating enough protein, and are eating junk food for the purpose of putting on extra pounds. Doing just that, will typically give you that skinny-fat look; thin all over with a soft belly that sticks out. Over time, by eating this way, you’ll end up with a Pillsbury doughboy look.

To gain lean muscle, while keeping a flat stomach, cut back on the cardio, lift heaver weights, and eat at least 1 gram of protein for each pound you weigh; so if you weigh 150 pounds, eat 150 grams of protein, spread throughout the day. Swap out the junk carbs, like chips, donuts, cookies…for complex carbs like red potatoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa, corn, oats, carrots, and squash.

And don’t go crazy about consuming a bunch of calories to speed up the process; that will only make you fat. Increase calories slowly, by adding 250 nutrient-dense calories a day. It’s about eating nutritious foods, not just consuming calories, that will help you increase mass, while keeping bodyfat at a percentage that’s healthy.

 

P.S. For more information on nutrition, what exercises to do based on your goals, and healthy, whole-food entrees that contain all three essential macronutrients to build muscle and maintain satiety, check out my book http://www.thehighfivediet.com

Photo: French toast with butter, maple syrup and bananas…a high carb, high-calorie, low-protein breakfast…not ideal for maintaining muscle, or a lean physique.

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