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12

Does The Ab Wheel Work?

 

does the ab wheel work

So you were probably up late one night watching an infomercial on how to lose belly fat, and you saw this well sculpted man or woman on this little wheel with two handles and thought to yourself, YES, that’s what I need.  But of course you had to ask yourself the question first before you decided to buy, do ab rollers work?

It all depends on what your expectations are and what you are trying to accomplish.  If you are hoping it will make you look like the models in the infomercial, then you might be better off spending your money somewhere else.  

If you are hoping to make you core stronger, then the ab wheel just might be what you are looking for.  The first question you want ask yourself is, what are your goals? So….

What are your Goals?

As always, when it comes to finding exercises that work, you need to first figure out what your goals are. If you wanted to be a better swimmer, you wouldn’t go hiking right?  Well same thing applies when it comes to exercising with different fitness equipment.  Obviously with the ab wheel, you are probably looking to burn fat and get that six pack that would make a can of beer jealous.  So let’s just get into it.

Burn Fat

If you are looking to burn fat with the ab wheel, then you are pretty much wasting your money.  I know as you were watching that infomercial with the models, you were probably thinking to yourself, if they can do it, then so can I.  Sorry to break the news to ya, but they did not get their incredible bodies with just the ab wheel alone.

They are just there to put an image in your head to make you think they acquired that body with this one simple machine.  But all hope is not lost as the ab wheel does so many other things that can help you achieve your fitness goals.

It may not help you burn that stubborn belly fat, but it will help you develop a stronger core which is very important to building strength overall.

Stronger Core

Now if you are hoping to strengthen your core, then the ab wheel can do just that.  Most people tend to neglect the core as it is one of those areas of the body you really don’t see immediate results for, but can definitely feel the difference when the core is strong.  

Having a strong core helps better your balance which is important for anything you do especially when it comes to fitness. Here are some of the benefits to having a strong core:

  • Better Posture/Balance
  • Relieves Back Pain
  • Prevents Injuries

So if you are looking for the ab wheel to deliver on any of these benefits, then you should definitely look into getting one.

More than just a core workout

Another great thing the ab wheel has to offer is that it’s more than just a core workout.  The balance and strength it requires for you to roll yourself forward and back, takes a lot of strength.  Here are a few other body parts that are being worked on:

  • Shoulders
  • Latissimus Dorsi (Lats)
  • Back
  • Hip Flexors

So not only are you getting a killer ab workout, you are also working out your stabilizer muscles in the shoulders, while strengthening the back and hip muscles.

Comfort and Stability

When deciding if you should get an ab wheel.  Make sure you try to focus on how you are going to feel when using it. It is important to make sure the grip handles will fit comfortably in your hands as you roll back and forth and also making sure that it is stable.  

The last thing you want to do while exercising on the ab wheel is slip off the handles and do a face-plant on the floor because that would really suck.

Abs are made in the kitchen

Sometimes having killer abs has a lot to do with genetics, but always remember that abs are made in the kitchen and not the gym.  You could do a million crunches or ab rolls till your face turns purple, but if you are not taking care of your diet, the results will not show.  

Just keep in mind that your sexy abs are there, they are just waiting for you to uncover it.  So focus on burning the fat that is hiding those sexy abs, and you will be golden.

Final Thoughts

  • A flatter tummy is a product of your diet and not so much your exercise.
  • It is possible to get nice looking abs without doing any core work.
  • Weight resistant ab exercises can help enhance the definition of you abs.
  • In order to see those nice defined abs, you need to burn the fat above it.
  • The ab wheel may not burn fat, but it does help in building a stronger core.
  • There is no way to spot reduce fat. Fat loss is caused by creating a calorie deficit.

 

Please share below any of your experiences with the ab wheel and how it has worked out for you.

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10

Is Jumping Rope Good Exercise?

jumping-rope

If you’ve ever seen the movie Rocky, every time he trained for a big fight, you would see him exercise with a jump rope.  He went from being a soft nobody, to a rock solid champ.  There is nothing more motivating than watching hard work at its finest.

Now granted it was only a movie, but if you have ever been in a boxing gym, jumping rope tends to be a very important exercise that boxers use to get in shape. Not enough people make jumping rope a part of their fitness routine, even though the benefits are tremendous especially when it comes to getting in shape.

How to Jump In

Before getting started, you want to make sure you take note of a few things to make sure you are using proper technique as you begin to jump rope.

  1. Keep your elbows in and hands below your chest.is jumping rope good exercise
  2. Stand Upright.
  3. Maintain balance by looking straight ahead.
  4. Elbow joints should be at a 45 degree angle.
  5. Keep the weight on the balls of your feet as you begin to jump.
  6. Rotate at the wrists while turning the rope.
  7. Focus on form rather than speed.

Great for Cardio

You are guaranteed to get an amazing cardio workout when it comes to jumping rope.  This full body workout will make sure you are putting to work every muscle in your body.  You can burn up to 1200 calories per hour of vigorous activity compared to 30 minutes of jogging.  Just imagine adding jump rope to all your other exercise routines. All you need is about 10 minutes of it.

Easy on the Knees

You would think that jumping rope would put a lot of pressure on the knees, but since it is low-impact, it is one exercise that is actually good for the knees.  By staying on the balls of your feet, the continuous jumping will help develop stronger calves helping give better support for your knees.

Improves Coordination

Jumping rope helps improve coordination by forcing to focus on your feet.  Whether you are aware of it or not, your brain takes notice what you are doing with your feet, therefore increasing the coordination you have with your body.

This helps improve coordination due to the fact you are working on multiple parts of the body.  Many people who struggle with coordination, work on jumping rope to help improve in it.  Which can also improve brain function by how much concentration it takes to jump rope.

Doesn’t require a gym

Maybe the best thing about jumping rope as exercise is the fact you can take it with you anywhere.  Whether you are at work or at school you, you can have it with you especially because it doesn’t take up too much space.

Maybe you decided to stay at home because it’s raining outside and you don’t feel like stepping out.  You can get a full workout right in the comfort of your own home.  The fact that it is so portable, is reason enough to make this a part of your fitness arsenal.

Easy on the Wallet

Depending on where you shop, finding a good jump rope that doesn’t hurt the pockets shouldn’t be too hard to find.  What makes jump ropes such a good choice among fitness experts is the fact that you can get a good workout and not worry about spending too much.

So please make sure to share below how you use jump ropes as a part of your fitness routine

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10

Should You Exercise Sore Muscles?

 

should you exercise sore muscles

If you are someone who exercises regularly, you know that feeling the day after an intense workout where your muscles ache so bad you can barely get out of bed.  So it is easy to ask the question, should you exercise when you are sore?

Well if you are new to working out, that feeling of being sore is known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), and it is basically your muscles repairing itself after being torn down from a workout.  Making your body even stronger for the next workout.

As easy as it may be to let soreness stop you from making it to your workout the following day, rarely is it ever a good excuse to skip the gym.  Understanding how to get through your workouts despite the soreness you feel is something I will try to help guide you through.

Assess Pain

Going through the normal soreness after a workout is one thing, but if you are suffering from a pain that doesn’t seem to get any better, then you might want to pay attention to what you body is telling you.

Especially if you are person who is just started working out, it can be difficult to recognize what is soreness and what is actual pain that can lead to injury.  

So make sure to listen to your body and be aware of any long lasting pain.

Body In Repair Mode

It is important to understand that soreness is caused by muscles microtearing which helps rebuild your muscle fibers to make them stronger.  

This is the natural process of the body reforming itself to help make a stronger YOU.  So don’t be afraid to embrace the pain of soreness and take it as a sign of you getting better and stronger for your next workout.

Take It Easy

If you feel your body is really sore, then don’t be afraid to take it easy on your next workout. Bring down the intensity and lower the amount of reps you do whether it is body weight or free weights.  

Also, If it is your upper body that is sore, then do a workout that involves the lower body. Sometimes working out can help speed up the time of your muscle recovery.

Have Some Protein

protein shake

Make sure to have 10-20 grams of protein before and after an intense workout as it helps lessen the time it takes for your muscles to heal.  Amino Acids are the building blocks when it comes to gaining muscle and they are found it protein.  

So if you want to build muscle, then making sure you are fueling your body with protein is a great way to do it. You would be amazed at how protein can aid in decreasing muscle soreness.

Make Sure To Stretch

Try stretching as much as you can after a workout.  Muscles can sometimes get tight after a strenuous workout so making sure they are nice and loose after a workout can help speed up recovery time.  Also be careful when it comes to stretching out cold muscles as you can risk injuring it further.

Try using some active stretching techniques as opposed to static stretching when the body is cold.  Making sure to stretch before going to bed and right after waking up can help with blood circulation which can speed up recovery time.

Cool Down

If you are really sore, and are a daring person, try an ice bath.  There’s a reason why you see athletes jumping into a tub full of ice after a game.  

As we know, ice is applied when there is inflammation in the body.  By applying ice to your body after a workout, your blood vessels will contract helping restrict inflammation.

As the body warms back up, circulation of the blood helps repair the muscles faster.  So if you think you can handle hopping in a tube full of ice, then go for it. I’m sure you body will thank you later.

It Will Get Better With Time

Know that the reason your body is sore is because you are putting it through something it is not yet used to. As you continue on with you exercise on a week to week basis, you will find that you do not get as sore as you used to.  

Some people like to measure their workouts by how sore they are.  Being sore after every workout is not something you want as it can inhibit your workout.  Measure your fitness goals by how many miles you are able to run or by the amount of weight you are now able to lift.  

If your endurance is increasing or you notice you are getting stronger, these are signs that you are making strides to better health.  So stay consistent and keep finding motivation with every goal that you set for yourself and the results will follow.

So please share below how you prepare for a workout when you are feeling sore.

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8

How Often Should You Exercise To Lose Weight?

We all know that in order to be healthy, you need to eat right and exercise.  Once you get the eating part down, exercise is the next step.  So one must ask the question, how often should you exercise to lose weight?

The problem with finding the answer to this question is, exercising does not always equal losing weight.  Or what works for one person, does not always work for another person.

Learning and understanding your body and how it responds to different foods or workouts helps in the achieving your fitness goals.

Also, Losing weight is about putting the pieces of a puzzle together to make sure everything fits so you can see the final picture.

So making sure you are eating the right foods and exercising on a regular basis are pieces of the puzzle you are trying to make fit together.  But when you really break it down, losing weight really comes down to CALORIES!

It’s All About The Calories

What is a calorie

Calories are the energy found in food.  Your body needs this energy and uses the calories found in food to keep you functioning.  So when you are feeling weak due to hunger, this is a big reason why.  There are three types of nutrients where your calories are found and they are, Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats.

Regardless of how you consume these calories, they are either converted to physical energy or stored as fat. They will remain as stored fat unless they are used up, either through physical activity or by reducing calorie intake in which your body will look to reserves to find energy.

Managing calories

So when it comes to losing weight, the equation is simple.  If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.  If you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight.  Without getting too complicated in the numbers, 1 pound is equal to 3500 calories. So in order to lose weight, you will need to burn 3500 more calories than you consume.

A good way to understand this is since there are 7 days in a week, you will need to make sure you are at a calorie deficit of 500 (3500 ÷ 7) daily to lose 1 pound per week.  Basically if you are burning 2000 calories a day, you will need to make sure to consume no more than 1500 calories during that day.

Use a Calorie Counter

A good way to track your calorie intake during the day is by using reputable resources that offer tools to count your calories. You can look up Websites and smartphone apps to help find tools to count your calories.

Set A Schedule

schedule

When setting up a schedule for exercising during the week, a recommended amount you should shoot for is 3 times a week for about an hour each workout.  That is 3 hours you need to find during the week to make time to work out.  

I know how busy life can be with kids and work which makes finding 3 hours very difficult, but if you are serious about losing weight and getting healthy, then you need to put aside time to work on you.  

Once a week just won’t get it done.  It may make you feel good about yourself briefly, but when results are not showing, you will wonder why.

Mix In Some Cardio And Resistance Training

Burning calories is all about being physically active. The more active you are, the more calories you will burn. Thus the more weight you will lose each passing week. When deciding on ways to increase your physical activity, make sure you workouts include a mix of cardio and resistance training.

I would recommend doing some sort of circuit style training to help get your heart rate at an up and down pace. Circuit training is also a great way to get in shape quickly especially if you are a beginner when it comes to working out.

Resistance Training which includes lifting weights is a great way to build muscles and burn calories not only during the workout, but after. Remember, calories are energy the body uses to fuel itself.  So building muscles is going to require a lot of energy to maintain, thus causing more calories to be burned.

Using both cardio and resistance training will help boost your metabolism giving you the most efficient way to burn those calories and lose weight both during the workout and especially after.

This being called the EPOC effect, where due to an intense workout, calories are burned hours after your workout. So doing this at least 3 times a week will assure you are getting enough physical activity done throughout the week.

Get Some Rest

Making sure you are getting the right amount of sleep each night we all know is key to losing weight. Imagine burning calories while the body is at rest. Well this is possible as the body is always at work regardless if the body is active or not. Which is a great reason to make sure you are getting enough rest every night.

The body needs to repair itself from the intense workout you put your body through, thus requiring more energy. More energy used + more calories burned = more weight loss. So it is important to rest the body and let it heal so it may prepare itself for more energy to be used the next day.

Remember, It All Comes Down To…

How you feel. We all get caught up in the number on the scale, but fail to realize that no matter what the number shows on the scale, if you are not happy with what you see in the mirror, then it really doesn’t matter.

Just continue to take care of your body and never be afraid to push your body to limits unseen, because with hard work, results are sure to follow.

So what does you workout schedule look like for the week and what are the steps you will take to make sure you are exercising at least 3 times a week. Please share below.

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14

What Men Should Wear At The Gym

When it comes to learning what to wear at the gym, being comfortable should be your main goal and being able to move around freely as you attempt to burn those calories during your workout should be your focus.

But of course we live in the world where style is important and let’s be honest, clothes are a way of expressing who we are and there is no better way to do that then with your gym clothes.

So if you are going to workout, you might as well workout in style. Some people also use the gym as a place to hook up and meet people.

As someone who goes to the gym frequent, I observe daily the types of outfits people wear at the gym. Some are all about style and some couldn’t care less if they just got out of bed.

Regardless if you are either of these types, making sure you are comfortable in your own skin is what is most important when it comes to your fitness goals.

Make Comfort A Priority

There is no worse feeling than trying to workout at the gym and feeling uncomfortable. Whether there are too many people on machines or just having no idea where to start.

Your mood becomes altered and the focus you need to get through a workout stops you from achieving your goals. So here are a few things you will need to make sure you get through your workout as smoothly as possible.

Shoes

 

Through my many years of experience with going to the gym, this is one item you want to make sure you get right.

It is also an item where you can get a little creative and show your personality a bit. So don’t be afraid of a little color when trying to decide what to wear at the gym.

Making sure they are supportive, well cushioned and breathable are things to look for when looking for gym shoes.

Athletic shoes should be your only option so when I say make sure you are comfortable, I don’t mean wearing Sandals, boots, or dress shoes.

You may feel comfortable wearing these type of shoes during the day, but when it comes to the gym, these are a big no no. You are sure to stand out, but certainly not in a good way.

Bottoms

If you are going to go with shorts, make sure they are no longer than a few inches below the knees and no more than about an inch above the knees. You don’t want to be looking like you belong in a throwback nba game and not the gym.

If you are going to go the long pants, then make sure they are long enough to get to the ankles but not too baggy where you might trip over yourself on a treadmill. Make sure to leave the jeans at home also since you are working out at a gym and not a construction site. No disrespect to construction workers out there.

Tops

Your first thought may be to wear as few clothes as possible to stay cool, but there are benefits to covering up to stay warm. Wearing a long sleeve top helps improves circulation and also keeps your muscles, joints and ligaments loose making for a more effective workout and preventing tears, strain or any other injuries.

Just make sure to get something that is dry-fit to help absorb all the sweat you are sure to have drip from your body. If you think long-sleeves will be too much for your body to bear, then either go with a t-shirt or cut-off tee.

I would also advise against those shoe-string shirts that you tend to see bodybuilders wear, because unless you are a bodybuilder, those tops are never a good look.

Head

When it comes to headgear, either a skull cap or beanie should do. Brimmed hats are pretty popular these days as well, but can be hard to clean so you should keep that in mind when deciding how to dress for the gym. 

Gym wear can get pretty funky real quick during the week so wearing something you could just throw in the washer would make cleaning much easier. Also one last thing, NO HEADBANDS please, don’t be that guy.

Gloves

Now some guys may question your toughness when they see you with a pair of gloves while weight lifting, but as any guy who has a girlfriend knows, no girl wants a guy who’s hands feel like the grand canyon. I’m sure your girlfriend would appreciate your callous-free hands.

Also don’t worry about going too expensive on your first pair of gloves. Making sure the gloves are comfortable and have good grip during workouts is what is most important. As you gain more experience and have more of a feel with the weights, then you can decide to upgrade your gloves if necessary.

Get Your Playlist Ready

 

Getting ready for the gym would not be complete without good tunes to go with it. Making sure you have the right set of music equipment to go along with your workout is key to making sure you block all the distractions of the gym and focus on the task at hand.

Depending on if your workouts consist of just weight lifting or some type of circuit style training, having proper music equipment is important.

If you are a person who is into circuit style training, then I would recommend you get a pair of wireless headphone that curl around your ear making it hard to fall off while you are jumping around.

There is nothing more annoying than having your workout interrupted because you have to pick up your headphones every other minute.

If you are a person that just lifts weight, then regular headphones with the wire should do just fine. Also getting an armband that you can put your phone into while you workout is also helpful. Lastly, making sure your playlist is up to par to have you power through that workout is essential.

Making It Work

When it comes to deciding what to wear at the gym, safety comes first, but there is nothing wrong with wanting to look good while working out. Sometimes having new athletic gear to workout with puts you in that mindset of an athlete ready to compete.

Making sure you have proper attire so you can get through your workouts as safely as possible is what is most important. So don’t be afraid to get a little creative when it comes to your gym gear and make sure to always have that focus when working on your fitness goals.

So as always, please don’t be afraid to share below what are your favorite things to wear at the gym and describe how it makes you feel while working out.