Shopping Basket
Your Basket is Empty
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should receive an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Basket



view:  full / summary

Intro to Tempo Training

Posted on 15 October, 2016 at 16:40 Comments comments (3060)

Tempo training is the concept of determining the speed at which you do an exercise. Generally, when exercising, there are four stages that you can determine the speed at which you move a weight. These four stages are the eccentric portion of an exercise, the midpoint, the concentric portion, and the top point. For example, if you are bench pressing, the portion where the bar descends toward your chest is the eccentric portion of the bench press. The point at which the bar makes contact with your chest is the midpoint. The concentric portion is when you are pressing the weight up, and the top point is where the bar is locked out over your chest. So, if we are training with an eccentric focus of 5 seconds, that means that each rep should have the goal of lowering the weight in about 5 seconds. 

Why use tempo training? Good question. Basically, tempo training takes into concideration: time under tension. Decreasing the speed at which you lower weight, or pausing at the midpoint can increase the time under tension. If the time under tension increases, it allows for hypertrophy, as well as strenghtening of connective tissue.

Lets concider a real life application of controlling the eccentric (think lowering, or more importantly, lengthening of muscle with tension) and the isometric portion of the lift (isometric: think midpoint position, where the muscle is at its longest position with tension). Say you want to increase the total number of pushups that you can do. For the sake of arguement, lets say you can do 10 pushups before failure. Odds are, you are doing fast reps to get as many reps as you can do. Maybe you do 1 pushup per second. This means that it took 10 seconds to do 10 pushups. For the next few weeks, you focus on doing sets of 5 pushups, but you take 4 seconds to lower yourself during each repetition. Each of your 5 reps takes 4 seconds (plus a little bit for returning to the top) and your set takes a total of about 20 seconds, which means that your muscles have help tension in the muscles that are required to do pushups for twice the amount of time it takes you to do your max effort. If you did 3 sets that day, you have spent 60 total seconds under tension for the pushup. If you were to do that for a few weeks and maybe added a rep or a second to each rep every week, your body will accomodate for the tension. Now lets say you test your max pushups again. Your body will be able to hold tension for 20 seconds by this point. And if you perform 1 reps per second, your new pushup max will surely increase (perhaps even double in this example!).

As you can see, controlling the tempo of certain exercises has some major benefits. I concider tempo in all my training and for all my clients training as well. 

Hope this helps!



Exercise Selection Fundamentals

Posted on 4 October, 2016 at 18:45 Comments comments (1)

Exercise selection is one of the most important decisions one can make while creating an exercise routine. Often, people will throw together some plan based on exercises that they know and like. This can lead to muscle imbalances and will often cause injury or poor posture. If you were to walk into a gym and examine a random set of people everyday for a few months, you will notice a pattern. People do what they know. People will work out the exact same way for every workout, or for every week of training. This cycle prevents people from meeting their goals, and they end up getting less out of exercise than they could. 

Genererally, when deciding on which exercises you should be doing, you should concidered your goals. Your goals lay the foundation for the exercise choice, as well as the set and rep scheme, the intensity, and even the rest time. Intuition tells you that an elite powerlifter will not follow the same program as a marathon runner. With this in mind, every single person has slightly different goals, different backgrounds, and different skill levels. I may have two clients with the same goals, the same age, the same skill level, but completely different exercise choices. Maybe these people seem completely the same, but one of them has knee issues. One factor can change everything!

Generally, the framework of a workout includes a few key elements. They are: a warmup, aerobic training, resistance training, and a cooldown. Each of these elements are crucial to building a well rounded training program. A warmup is important to get the body into optimal performance condition. Common goals of a warmup are to get the heartrate up and loosen up tight muscles. Aerobic training exists to build up a clients cardiovascular condition. Resistance training is in place to build muscular strength and endurance. And a cooldown is in place to lower the heart rate and cool down and stretch out muscles. Each element has its place and should not be ignored regardless of exercise goals and habbits.

To select a specific exercise, most importantly, you should know the form to successfully doing said exercise. If you cannot safely and efficiently complete consistant repetitions of any given exercise, you should find a variation of that exercise and "work your way up." The terminology I use for selecting a variation exercise is: select an exercise regression. Conversely, if you find that the exercises you choose are becoming too easy, then you may concider researching a more difficult exercise variation (an exercise progression). This ensures that the exercise choice matches the skill level and keeps you challenged regardless of your fitness level.

Example Exercise:

Barbell Bench Press

Example Regression:

Machine Chest Press

Example Progression:

Paused Barbell Incline Press

Hope this helps!



Key Components to Fat Loss

Posted on 26 September, 2016 at 13:20 Comments comments (6)

The single most common goal amongst people who are interested in exercising is to lose weight and to "tone up." When I hear someone mention these goals, it tells me that they want two things. First: they want to decrease the amount of body fat that they currently have. Second: they want to increase the amount of lean muscle tissue on their body. Today, I aim to discuss what I concider to be some of the most crucial aspects of training and nutrition to accomplish these goals. 

Calorie Defecit

Calories are the energy that our bodies need to survive. We burn calories to keep our bodies functioning and to help us exert effort. Simply put: to lose weight, one must burn more calores than they consume. For example, if I can burn 2000 calories by doing nothing except my day to day activites, and I consume 1500 calories per day, then I am 500 calories short of the amount required for my body to sustain its energy output. Where do I get these extra 500 calories? You guessed it. My body utilizes my fat stores and I burn off 500 calories worth of fat. 1 pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. So in my example, I would burn 3500 calories in 7 days which is equivalent to 1 lb of body fat (500 per day X 7 days = 3500 = 1 lb fat). Now lets say I decided to exercise on 5 of those 7 days. Each workout burned an additional  350 calories on average. This means that I burned an additonal 1750 calories, which is equivalent to another 0.5 lb of fat burned (5 days X 350 cal = 1750 cal = 0.5 lb of fat). So altogether, I burned off 1.5 pounds of fat that week through combined efforts of diet and exercise. Maybe I even gained a bit of muscle on top of that!

Metabolic cost

Lets look a bit further into the idea of exercising to increase the caloric defecit that we desire. Exercise choice can be a large impactor of how much time you need to spend to burn any given number of calories. In order to be efficient, it is crucial to comine aerobic exercise with resistance training to maximize the benefits of exercise. The idea is that, generally, aerobic based exercises will burn the highest number of immediate calories, while resistance training will increase your metabolism for the rest of the day! This means, that if you do some aerobic exercise, you may burn, say 200 calories now. If you add some resistance training, you may only burn an additional 100 calories now, but your body will also spend an extra 200 calories over the rest of the day in effort to repair the muscle tissue that has been broken down. Ultimately, it is important to utilize compound exercises (often in circuit training form as discussed in previous post) to maximize this post-workout metabolic increase.


The last component that I will discuss dives further into the aerobic portion of exercise choice. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be one of the most efficient exercise methods to increase immediate caloric consumption. The idea behind HIIT is to create intervals of high intensity, followed by intervals of lower intensity exercise in order to fluctuate the heart rate from high to moderate in order to effectively burn more calories in less time. An example workout would be switching between a fast run and a slow jog on the treadmill (or outside) in a tempo of 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. In other words, 30 seconds of vigorous intensity, followed by 30 seconds of moderate effort (think: recovery, catch your breath). Give 20 min of 30 sec on, 30 sec off a try. You will feel the effects.

With these ideas in mind, and proper motivation and social support, anybody can achieve fat loss and muscle gain. 

Hope this helps!



Breathing Technique: Importance of Breathing

Posted on 19 September, 2016 at 14:05 Comments comments (221)

One of the most common questions that I get from my clients is: "When should I breathe?" I have noticed that, very often, exercising takes so much focus on finding the correct form, that breathing becomes compromised. It’s an odd thing to remind someone that they have to keep breathing. But it happens, and it happens often.

I will start by addressing the possible breathing options and why they can be useful. First off, there is the action known as the inhale. This may seem intuitive, but the inhale is important to help get oxygen into the body. Furthermore, when inhaling, you are increasing the amount of potential pressure that your diaphragm can create. As the pressure builds, your diaphragm presses down into your abdominal wall. As you inhale, if you were to tense up your stomach muscles (as if you were about to take a punch), you would start to feel a pressure build up. This is called intra-abdominal pressure.

Intra-abdominal pressure increases directly proportionate to the amount of air in your lungs. This is important because creating this pressure establishes a very strong and sturdy core, which can be used to safely and effectively produce force to move near maximal loads. In other words, intra-abdominal pressure allows you to push your strength limits effectively. For example, if you were going to squat a very heavy repetition, then you will benefit from inhaling a huge breathe, brace your core and hold that pressure in during the eccentric portion of the squat, and only releasing that pressure with an exhale during the final half of the concentric portion of the movement.

To recap, we inhale for air and to build pressure, we hold our breath to keep pressure, and we exhale to release pressure. This is a very high level look at how breathing effects resistance training. Intra-abdominal pressure is useful for compound lifts (multi-joint activity, such as the squat or bench press), but maybe not what we want to using for high repetition sets and for isolation movements (single-joint activity, such as a bicep curl).

During low intensity, high repetition, isolation lifts, it is much more efficient to focus on breathing in a steady rhythm. In other words, think about inhaling during the eccentric portion of a lift (eccentric: lengthening of muscle) and exhaling during the concentric portion of a lift (concentric: contraction of muscle). Certainly, you should be bracing your core for all exercises, whether inhaling or exhaling. This will be the way that I have my clients breath for most exercises, most of the time. Holding intra-abdominal pressure has its uses, but it will cause an increase in blood pressure and should be used only in trained, supervised individuals with strength based goals and no signs of hypertension.

Proper breathing technique is one of the most crucial aspects of exercising safely. Focusing on your breathing habbits can allow for effectively building muscle, increasing cardiovascular output and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Hope this helps!



Benefits of Circuit Training

Posted on 12 September, 2016 at 10:25 Comments comments (1965)

One of the big fitness hypes of the recent years has been Crossfit. Crossfit training appeals to a large group of people because it points to the idea that you can accomplish many goals by exercising using the Crossfit scheme. Whether you are aiming to lose weight, increase strength, build endurance, or just get in better overall shape, Crossfit has been the path people take to achieve these goals. The idea behind crossfit is (generally) that you do a series of exercises in a row (either as fast as you can, as many reps in a time frame, or as heavy as possible) in order to efficiently deplete your body of its energy stores, and efficiently build muscle.

I am not here to promote crossfit. I think there are many ways to achieve goals and crossfit is a good tool to keep in my toolbox of exercise plans, but it does not need to be the end all scheme to success. I look at Crossfit as an idea of exercising many different ways in an efficient manner, and can expand this method into a class known as circuit training. Circuit training is a method of exercising that is defined by using a series of different exercises without resting. For example, one person may decide to do a 5 exercise circuit, with one exercise from each of 5 different muscle groups. By the time he/she has completed the circuit, their heart rate will be increased, their muscles may be tired, but the first muscle that was exercised may be nearly ready to go again.



One major benefit to circuit training is that it allows you to do a lot of work in a small ammount of time. Efficiency something that many people strive for. Often, setting aside an hour or two per day to exercise is not reasonable. Circuit training allows one to get many reps in in a very small amount of time (think volume). Circuit training allows the heart rate to elevated which results in an increase in cardiovascular endurance. The elevated heart rate also results in a higher caloric expenditure both during the exercise, and for the proceeding hours while the body works hard to repair the broken down muscle tissue.

If you are pressed for time, and need something quick to do to maximize your exercise goals, circuit training is the perfect option. The best part is, you can use any exercises that you have available. You can use any equipment that you have or you can use your bodyweight alone. Circuit training is a great way to increase strength and muscle mass, decrease risk for cardiovasular disease, and to lose bodyfat. Not to mention, it can be a lot of fun.

Example Bodyweight Circuit:

1 Squat Jumps x12

2 Pushups x12

3 Jumping Jacksx12

4 Pullupsx12

5 Mt climbersx12

Do each exercise right adfter the other without rest. Rest for 60-90 Sec between rounds and repeat as desired. Have fun!

Hope this helps!