When starting a workout program, the best thing to do is to start! Get going on a plan that you will stick to and enjoy. But after a few weeks, if you aren’t changing your routine up and following the right steps for your own success, you will plateau and probably have no idea why, or be unsure what to do in order to keep seeing progress. We call it the Progressive Overload Principle, which basically shows how we need to change at least one of any FITT principle every so often to keep seeing progress and break through plateaus. A good program goes through well developed Macrocycles, Mesocycles, and Microcycles. Progress may slow down at times, but imagine how much more progress you will be making when you can catch it right away, and understand how to change your program to accommodate upcoming progression, and target more direct results, while wasting no days or weeks in the gym! Each workout should be done with a purpose, so doing what’s going to work best for your progress every time should be your number one goal!
The macrocycle consists of your entire workout program. It covers everything to the end goal, which can be achieving a specific weight, physique, consistent energy level, athletic performance level, etc. They usually last for months or even years. It’s not unusual for Olympic athletes to have a well-set macrocycle for a course of many years. But how do we set up these macrocycles to actually work and reach our goal in mind. Work your way back words, and set shorter-term goals, leading to reach the end goal. Think of your end goal, and work your way back to the point you’re at now. Set up smaller “Meso and Microcycles” to meet your goal on time!
It’s difficult to simply work for the same single goal for a long period of time. We need some sort of feeling of achievement to stay excited about our progress and keep going. This is where the mesocycles come in. A macrocycle consists of many mesocycles. They are shorter term goals, and ways of changing your workouts in a timely manner so you avoid plateaus as much as possible. They should last 4 – 6 weeks at a time before making adjustments to your plan. Keep in mind, these adjustments should be working towards your end goal, and always increasing the overall intensity or volume of your workout plan, in order to boost progress!
Lastly, we have microcycles, and as you guessed, these are the smallest portions of your program, but possible most important. The microcycles should last days, or just a few weeks, and should be programmed for small achievable goals such as losing 3 pounds of fat in a specific week, gaining a pound of muscle in 1 week, or increasing your bench press by 10 pounds in 2 weeks. These help you realize all the progress you are really making, which in turn, can be the biggest motivator to keep you excited and on track! So small adjustments to your microcycles can help keep you on track with daily progression, and more importantly, launch you to your full macrocycle goal!
Why We Do All This
We do all this for obviously many reasons, but the biggest one for me is breaking down your goals into smaller shorter term ones, so you are more likely to keep yourself accountable and stay on the right track to reach your biggest goal within the time you set out to! So by programming your workout plan with the right macro, meso, and microcycle, you can stay on a much more direct track, which you see working for yourself first hand every week, and finally reaching your end goal. After all, you spend a lot of time and work hard in the gym. Doesn’t it make sense to do just a little more in order to make all that time spend that much more worth it!
We Can Help
Now with all that said, I know for many people that one of the hardest parts can be setting up what is actually the best cycles for you to reach your goals in mind! You can try workout routines for years and feel like you’re taking forever to actually be honest with yourself, and get where you want! Or, simply send me an email at Train@dakotalifefitness.com, and I will be happy to help you out! Getting yourself on the right track can be the best step you’ve ever taken when it comes to your health and fitness goals! So don’t waist anymore time in the gym with the wrong routines! Take the right steps now, and you’ll be amazed how fast you can truly progress!
Getting lean, healthy, and in the best shape of your life has been made to seem very complicated when really there are simple steps to actually make it happen! Everyone wants to get in better shape, but only few actually know how to do it right. Most people will lose weight then put it right back on quicker than they lost it. Other’s will try but won’t lose any weight at all. But the ones who get in great shape, and stay that way, didn’t just get lucky! It’s not because they are genetically gifted, have more time to do it, or any other excuse that you may come up with. There are plenty of wrong ways to do it, and just a few right ways. They did it right, and it shows. So here I am going to go over the most important aspects to actually shedding body fat, and achieving a great physique for your next vacation, spring break, summer time season, competition, wedding, or simply because you want to live a happier, healthier, more energetic, and attractive life!
#1 The Right Diet For You
Nutrition is the most important part of seeing results from any health or fitness program! It accounts for at least 75% of our results. To lose weight, you need to eat slightly less calories than you burn each day. Unfortunately the majority of the people (usually ones who try to lose weight wrong) think they just need to keep eating less. That is not necessary how to do it! Maybe eat less of the foods they currently are eating, but replace it with healthy options. Some may even need to slightly increase their amounts eaten. If you eat too little, your body won’t give up the fat it has now. Don’t go less than 8 calories per pound of bodyweight each day. Taking out the foods that cause negative effects and replacing them with more nutrient dense options, will keep you feeling more full, and energized, while aiding in burning fat and aid in muscle repair, and tone. Another thing is portion sizes. Americans tend to get so many calories in a single meal from crappy foods, directly causing unwanted weight gain. This is very easy to do when drinking too many sugar filled containing drinks such as soda. All of this added up leads to where you are now. If you’re not happy with where you are now, here are some simple changes to make to actually reach your weight goals.
Make better choices! Everyone’s heard it, and it doesn’t have to be so difficult. Simply change some of the bad foods you’re eating now, and replace it with a healthier option (Click here for Top 10 Foods to Burn Fat and Build Muscle). Your body will thank you for it, and this could make a world of difference. Another change is drinking water. Seriously, if you can’t do this, you just don’t want to better your body. It’s is the simplest, cheapest, and possibly most effective change you can make. Stop drinking sugar filled, high calorie drinks, and drink water instead! About ½ oz per pound of bodyweight every day. For more on this spicific topic, visit Dieting To Look & Feel Your Best.
#2 Exercise You Enjoy
Keeping up with an exercise program will take your health, physique, energy levels, and more to a whole new level! But you need a plan that you will stick with. Don’t just go to some plan, made for experienced lifters, if you are new to it. No matter your experience or level, choose one that is made more specific to your needs and goals, because the best plan, is the one you actually do! Exercise should be done 3 – 5 times per week (6 days for more advanced lifters) with sessions lasting 45 – 60 minutes. Much longer, and you can start to produce higher cortisol levels, causing catabolic effects. When it comes to losing fat, lifting is so important. Performing exercises with resistance cause your muscles to work slightly tear, which in turn need to heal. This means you body will be working to repair and rebuild the muscle tissue for the following 24 – 48 hours, which increases calorie burn. If you are serious about losing weight, improving muscle tone, and body composition, lifting is a very important part of your program!
Many people try to lose weight, to get six pack abs, which is a great goal! But understand that you must also train abs to build them and get them to show. They are a muscle group like any other, but can be trained a little differently for optimal results. For more on Abs Training, visit 3 Important Tips For Abs or Abs Training For Beginners
#3 Cardio That You’ll Do
Cardio is obviously an important means to losing body fat. It is also the most well known one. Just get on the treadmill and go, right!? True, but that can sound awful for many people, and there are many other forms of cardio that can be even more beneficial! Some other forms of steady state cardio are jogging out site, bike ride, swimming, rowing machine, stair master, or even a hike or walk. You need to pick one or more that you will enjoy and stick with for 3 – 5 days per week for 30 minutes per day. Just because you don’t like the treadmill, doesn’t mean cardio isn’t for you! Another form of cardio is interval training. (H.I.I.T.) This has been proven to be the most beneficial and quickest form of cardio. It burns the most fat around the abdominal area, can improve muscle tone, increase heart health, and the list goes on. It is a form of training where you perform maximum effort for 30 – 120 seconds, followed by resting for 30 – 120 seconds. Exercises include sprints, battle ropes, punching bag, burpees, swim sprints, or anything else you can get your heart rate up close to your max. This can be done in 15 – 20 minutes about 2 times per week.
#4 Putting It All Together
Doing all of this makes for some simple steps towards becoming much healthier, happier, energetic, and achieving an even better body! Nutrition is the fuel you put into your body, and by eating the right foods, you can see more beneficial change than ever before. Exercise is a key point to fat loss and muscle tone as you can literally improve every aspect of your bodies physique, and greatly increase daily calories burned. Lastly the right cardio for you will aid in fat burn, heart health, and more. These all have to just be a way that is right for you, because if you enjoy it, you will stick with it to see the results, and lose the weight you are looking to lose. Always remember why you started, and don’t give up when it gets tough. Because once you’ve done it, you’ll realize how great it really is!
As I’ve stated, it can be hard to come up with the right program and routine for you. Most people end up taking years to realize what works for them, which is why I am here to help. If you are interested doing it the right way now simply check out my Meal Plans and/or Training Programs to see how you can get a plan made specifically for you and your goals!
Competing in a show is an amazing experience! It’s exciting to look forward to how far you will come in the short months! But there is a lot to consider in order to present your best. Such as how much and of what to eat, workout programs, posing, costs, tan, etc. So it does take some hard work, dedication, and numbers dialed in right, but having a great game plan will help you achieve so much more! Simple things like the slightest changes to a meal plan, and/or workout program can mean the difference between 1st place, or anything else! Because when it comes time to step on stage, and you know you gave it your all, your physique will show it! Here we will go over a few things you should know and expect.
# 1 Structure Your Workout Plan
There is no cookie cutter workout plan when it comes to detailed perfection! Structuring a workout plan that is going to provide the best results for you is necessary to deliver your best self on stage! So know what works well for you, and allow an adequate amount of time for your body to develop and transform into the best shape you can get into! People average about 12 weeks for a show prep. Workouts should start off at about 50 – 60% of your 1 rep max, performing around 12 reps. This puts you in the higher end of hypertrophy to benefit from the most muscular change. As the weeks go, and your progress continues, change up your workouts, weights, rep ranges, and decrease rest time. Also, don’t just implement cardio, but conditioning as well, to improve muscle tone, prolonged calorie burn, and improved body composition!
# 2 Dieting
Dieting is one of the most important parts of preparing to compete in any sporting event. Especially a bodybuilding or physique show as it is the quickest and most effective key to a transformation! Staying committed to a nutrition plan with all the numbers dialed in specificly for you and your needs will drastically improve your results! Remember, you need to eat an adequate amount to maintain muscle mass and strength. These things arn’t “skinny shows”! You need muscle size, and definition! A lot of people go with a 40/40/20 split for macros, while some simply go with a IIFYM diet, and others like to carb cycle. While some may be more beneficial than others, it’s important to know your body, and stay consistent when seeing results! I always recommend to get at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, around 60 – 75 grams of fat (depending on the person), and slowly decrease carbohydrates over the course of your prep. Then there is “Peak Week” which is a whole nother story, where diet and exercise change a bit.
# 3 Supplementation
Supplements can be very beneficial to your transformation if you are using the right quality products with the right quantities. The most popular ones, are protein powder, amino acids, BCAAs, and pre-workout. Protein powder should be taken right after your workouts for a fast acting source of protein for quick anabolic recovery. Amino acids and/or BCAAs can be taken during or before your workout, to help avoid muscle catabolism. They can also be used through out the day or between meals. Lastly, pre-workout is pretty self explanatory, but when you are depleting carbohydrates and overall calories, you’ll be happy to have the boost of caffeine for added energy during your workouts!
# 4 Tanning and Show Day
So the day finally comes. The few moments you have been training for months for! The last thing you want to do is throw it all away by messing something up on the last day! So make sure everything is packed (food, cloths, suit, pillow, cards, etc.) Make sure you are on time for your tan which is usually the day before. If everyone in the show is getting their tan from a specific tanning company, it’s usually a good idea to get yours from them to! That way you don’t run a higher risk of having a bad tan that stands out in a bad way. Lastly, back to enjoying the journey, enjoy the last few moments of this one! Your time on stage is where you can really show off what you have accomplished, and own the stage! It’s what the audience and judges want to see! And don’t get too nervous! Just go up, have fun, and deliver your best self! You worked hard for it!
# 5 Enjoy The Journey
You should be competing because you love to live the fitness lifestyle. You like to exercise, be healthy, and maybe inspire or show others how far you can go with it! Remember that for when the workouts and diet get hard. As you diet down, your energy levels will drop, and workouts will be more difficult. But that’s all part of becoming the best you can be! Dedicate yourself to your goals, and don’t allow anything to veer away from them. Because when you get up on stage, and you know you gave it everything you had, it is all worth it, and it can be some of the greatest moments of your life!
Having a helping hand can guide you through body transforming workout routines, amazing meal plans with a variety of options to effectively burn fat and build muscle, and the motivation to never give up when it gets tough!
You’ve put yourself to the test! Now make sure you bring your best self to the stage, and take home the gold with the best program made just for you! From diet, to cardio, exercises, abs training, and staying motivated to actually follow through, you’ll be proud of what you have created, and step up on stage with 100 percent confidence!
So to get started on the right program catered for your most optimal results, click here
When it comes to losing weight or building muscle, your diet comes into play quite a bit! About 75% of your physique changes, wether good or bad, come from how you are eating! So what should you do to get the most out of each meal for positive health changes, and to produce maximum results in the gym or on the field? Through this post you will learn what type of diet will best accommodate a healthy individual to reach his or her health and fitness goals!
It all starts with the goal you have in mind! Without that, it is very hard to decide what rout to take and focus on. So first decide what you want to get out of your exercise and nutrition! Do you want to lose weight, build muscle, or simply maintain a slim healthy athletic body? When you know which of these appeal to you most, you can focus on what is needed to accomplish it.
Like most people who go to the gym and eat healthy, your main focus is to lose weight by burning more fat! Thats great! Congratulations on making the right choice by learning how to do it correctly! When it comes to achieving that goal, the diet is huge! Which is soon how you will no longer feel! This is where a lower carbohydrate diet works well. I am not saying to cut out carbs completely, but limit the amount you eat, and stick to healthier, complex carbohydrate choices. These include sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain pasta, vegetables, and more. Fruits are also a good part of a meal, but should be limited as well as they are a more simple carb containing mostly sugars. What people tend to over look is this. Decreasing carbohydrates takes away from your bodies most immediate source of energy. So you should be replacing some of those carbs with healthy fats. This will increase your energy levels, along with boosting your beta oxidation (metabolizing fats). These healthy fats consist of avocado, nuts, coconut oil, and more. So decrease, not eliminate, your carbohydrate intake (no to less than 100 grams per day though) and slightly increase your healthy fats intake. Just keep an eye on your portion control when it comes to using fats as part of your meal. I like using slightly less than 1 – 2 tbsp at a time.
Gain Weight (Build Muscle)
So, you’re already feeling pretty lean, and want to build up some more muscle mass and overall strength! Awesome! It will take some work and time, but by learning hear how to do it the proper way, it’s almost like taking a short cut, and making all this progress much quicker! For this plan, you will want to consume more carbohydrates as they will aid in a calorie surplus, energy for the gym or practice, and muscle recovery! It is still beneficial to consume mostly complex carbohydrates as listed in the section above. However, as you are building more muscle, it is okay, and actually really good sometimes to throw in some simple carbohydrates such as sugars or white grains before and after a training session! Since you are getting the majority of your calories from carbohydrates with this diet, you will not necessary need to consume a large amount of fats. Save your appetite for more carbs and protein, while keeping fats to only 20% of your total daily calories.
Maintaining What You’ve Got
You’ve put in the hard work, and are proud or content with what you have done for yourself. At least for the time being. That’s really good! Be proud of yourself, and don’t let is slip away! This diet is a little easier to maintain, as you do not need to drastically cut anything out, nor do you need to force yourself to eat more in order to make changes. If you are simply trying to maintain the body you already have, you should keep your total daily calories at a comfortable level. This means, eat until you are satisfied, but not overly full! You really don’t need to watch every calorie you consume unless you see a quick fluctuation in your weight, or lifts. Carbohydrates should still include mostly complex carbohydrates, and the majority of fats should come from healthy, unsaturated sources. Maintain a consistent nutrient split of 45% carbs, 30% protein, and 25% fats.
So a good general rule for losing weight is to cut down on carbohydrates, make good choices on the carbs you do eat, slightly increase your healthy fats intake, and drink plenty of water. For gaining weight or building muscle, increase your carb intake, and keep most of them complex carbs from natural food sources, but allow for some simple carbs before and after a training session. Protein intake should remain the same wether you are trying to build muscle, or burn fat. 1 gram per pound of lean bodyweight. This is to aid in protein synthesis, increase muscle recovery, and keep you feeling full and energized! So in the end, they’re not drastic changes! Just adjustments to the choices of foods you eat, which all together can make a big difference in you health, energy levels, physique, and/or performance on the field!
Thank you for reading, and I hope this article helped you understand how to go about your diet to achieve your fitness goals, and the body you really want! For more information or training, please visit my Online Training, Programs, Custom Meal Plans, and other Blog Posts!
Below is a quick look at a basic day of nutrition for a healthy individual looking to lose weight or gaining mass
Weight Loss Diet – Low carb
Breakfast: (Eggs & Oatmeal) – 2 Whole Eggs, 2 Egg Whites, 1/2 Cup Oatmeal (measured dry), Cinnamon and a tsp Stevia in the oats for flavor.
Post Workout: Protein Shake (1 scoop protein isolate mixed in water), and 1 apple, hand full of Almonds.
Lunch: (Grilled chicken salad) – 5oz grilled chicken, Hand full of Spinach, 1 cup of any vegetables, 2 tbsp of any nuts or seeds, 1 tbsp Olive Oil, Optional – Balsamic Vinegar for flavor.
Dinner: 6 oz Fish or Red Meat, 1 Medium (150 grams) Sweet Potato,
Night Snack: 1 Rice Cake, 2 tbsp Peanut or Almond Butter, 1 Scoop Casein Protein Powder mixed in Water.
Mass Gaining Diet – High Carb
Breakfast: (Eggs & Oatmeal) – 2 Whole Eggs, 2 Egg Whites, 1 cup Oatmeal (measured dry), 1 Banana sliced, Cinnamon and a tsp Stevia in the oats for flavor.
Post Workout: Protein Shake (1 scoop protein isolate mixed in water or milk), 2 cups of Cereal.
Lunch: (Grilled chicken and Rice) – 5oz Grilled Chicken, 1.5 cups Rice (measured dry), 1/4 cup of any Vegetables, Optional – Lemon Juice, tsp of your favorite Seasoning.
Snack: (Wrap or Sandwich) – 2 oz Grilled Turkey or Chicken, small hand full Spinach, Tomato slice, 1 Whole Wheat Tortilla or 2 slices of Whole Grain Bread.
Dinner: 6 oz Fish or Red Meat, 1 Large (300 grams) Sweet Potato. 1/2 Cup Black Beans, 1 glass of Milk, Optional – favorite seasoning for flavor.
Night Snack: 1 Rice Cake, 2 tbsp Peanut or Almond Butter, 1/4 Banana sliced, 1 Scoop Casein Protein Powder (mixed in water or milk)
If you love health, fitness, personal interaction, or simply helping others achieve their goals and strive to be more, then becoming a certified personal trainer is definitely something for you to consider. You can take it to so many levels and let it take you anywhere you want to go! The reason I am writing this post is because I get a lot of people asking about personal training, and how to get into it. There are quite a few ways to do this, and many different paths you can take once certified!
First, you must become a certified personal trainer. There are a few different certifying organizations, but just a few that are considered exceptional at almost every gym! These top certifications are ACSM, NASM, NCCPT, NSCA, ACE. Each of which have their own websites to easily view the protocols for becoming a successful personal trainer, and even books and videos to help prepare. Most consist of taking a test at a designated testing center, which are located all over! They do require some studying and preparing for, but as long as you have a good base knowledge in the field, you should pick up on everything fairly quickly! A few levels do require outside sources such as a health related degree, but this will only help you become an even more successful trainer once you do get started!
There are a few key aspects every personal training test focuses on, which tend to be pretty consistent since they are actually much needed in every trainer! Obviously, anatomy and physiology are important aspects to have a very good understanding of, history of exercise, health and nutrition formulas, personal such as personality types, and some psychology, and a good business understanding. These will all greatly benefit you in both the test itself, and being an effective, successful personal trainer who can work great with a large variety of clients, prove results, and maintain an outstanding retention rate!
What can you do with it and its benefits
There are many paths you can take when it comes to being a personal trainer! Some pick it up as a job to do on the side to help a few people out here and there, and add a little extra income doing something they love, and others make it their full time job either with an already established club or as their own personal business. If you do it with a gym, they already have all the equipment, members, and a more steady income when you start out. However, if you make your own personal business out of it, you can take it anywhere you want to go! Great vacation resorts, cruise ships, islands, or even continuously traveling all over while creating your business online as an online training coach! One isn’t necessarily better than the other. I’m just showing there are plenty of routes to take in this field, and whatever it is that you are looking to do, you can really make a difference in a lot of people’s lives for the better, and help them strive to become their best!
So if becoming is a personal trainer is something you are interested in, I highly recommend getting started by looking into your first certification or health related education path, and start helping yourself and others achieve greater things both in and out of the gym, while looking and feeling even better every day!
Looking to change up your chest workout, or just add some new challenging exercises? Here are 3 dumbbell movements beyond the regular press to increase the intensity of your workout, build more strength, and isolate specific muscles even better! Just about any dumbbell exercise, when done correctly, is very effective, but can get old after a while.By throwing these into the mix, you’ll be sure to keep the workout exciting, and well worth your time!
1) Single Arm Press
The single arm press is done while holding two dumbbells. With one arm, perform the regular press, while the other arm holds the other weight in place just over your chest. Complete 8 reps with the first side, then immediately switch. Now your arm that was stationary is performing the press, while your other arm remains in an isomeric state (stationary) holding the weight just above your chest. This helps isolate each specific side as you press with one arm, while always keeping your stationary side engaged in an isomeric state. This is meant to increase both your muscular strength, along with muscular endurance! Give it a try and I guarantee you will feel the difference!
2) Incline Dumbbell Fly
This particular exercise, like other incline chest movements, focuses mainly on the clavicular head, or top portion of the chest. The wide stretch you get and isolated contraction in the chest as you come up, will force the muscle fibers along the upper portion of your pecs to adapt, and grow! The reason flys are beneficial rather than solely sticking with pressing movements, is that it takes our triceps out of the movement. When you press, you ignite your triceps to take some of the load off your chest. It’s what your body does, and you can’t really change that. Unless, however, you change what you are doing. The fly, rather than a press, isolates your chest much more, and by performing it at an incline, will pinpoint your upper chest fibers even better!
3) Dumbbell Drop Set
This consists of starting with a weight which is your 8 – 10 rep max, and performing 8 reps. Then drop the amount of weight by 20% and immediately complete 10 – 12 reps to finish the full round! If you would like, drop the weight one more time, and finish the set with 10 – 12 reps again. You really shouldn’t need to/be able to go past 3 sets in each full round however. This is a great way to finish and completely burn out at the end of your workout. I recommend performing this drop set 3 – 4 rounds, and if your chest isn’t completely exhausted by the end of it, you simply need to increase your starting weight. And remember, during a drop set, don’t take more than 10 seconds between each drop, and 2 minutes recovery between each full round!
Thank you for reading, and I hope this helps introduce some new and exciting exercises to your next workout so you can continue to annihilate your lifts, and keep improving to reach past your goals! If you are interested in Personal Training, Online Training, Workout Programs, Custom Meal Plans, or other Blog Posts please check them out here!