Why I love working out on machines

Free weights are important but aren’t the only equipment found in the gym. Now while most experts and trainers would suggest you to get off the machine I think not using them is just ridiculous.

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Yes free weights should form the core your daily routines but complementing them with regular machines workouts will help you grow better and if you are still not convinced here are 4 other reasons why I never leave machines off my workout chart.

They are safer

Beginners may not always be familiar with free weights thus the in-built safety feature of machines provides a better platform to get started. While they are also not 100% secure the chances of you choking under a heavy barbell are quite low when benching using a smith machine. I’d much rather workout on my Keiser M3 Plus Spin bike than go for a spin on the road, I love working out but hey, it’s dangerous out there!

Yes I agree machine movements are not always natural but there is less room for mistakes as compared to free weights.

I can lift heavier

When I workout with using dumbbells or a barbell a lot of my effort and concentration goes into making sure the movement is right thus limiting the amount of weight I lift whereas machines balance the weight itself. All I need to do is push or pull it and thus I can lift heavier.

I would suggest you use machines early into your workout since they are perfect for maximum overload and often don’t need to be pushed back.

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I can workout longer

Working out on machines helps me workout longer and at a higher intensity by using techniques such as dropsets where you increase your reps in a set by lowering weight.  Doing it with dumbbells and barbells is possible too but you will either need good help or will have to be close to the rack stand at all times.

That being said, when it comes to machines you can simply lower the weight by shifting the pin which takes mere seconds plus your form does not get effected. To increase intensity you can also try reverse motion, half reps etc.

Regular tension

For constant tension machines are the ideal choice. This ensures a more effective workout as the tension on the muscles remains constant throughout the workout whereas with free weights the tension reduces as your muscles tire.

Make sure you have the right blend of free weights and machine workouts for faster and better growth. I usually alternate both but you can opt for a routine that best suits your needs. Take expert help if needed.

Want a stronger back? Here’s what I would suggest

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If you are looking to build a stronger back you cannot concentrate on just the Latissimus dorsi which in case you are wondering is the biggest back muscle. You need to pay equal attention to neighboring muscles as well such as the rhomboids, middle and lower traps, teres major, rear delts, spinal erectors and so on. So how do you do that? Well here are my top 5 suggestions to you.

Opt for the best exercise

According to me there are none better than the one arm dumbbell row. I prefer a dumbbell over a barbell because it allows me to stretch my arm further and also pull it up more due to which more muscle fibers are engaged.

Here’s a small hack. Next time ditch the exact form and dip and pull a little more. It pushes your muscles to the limit and makes your workout more effective. For newbies, here is how you do a dumbbell row.

 

 

 

Improve your upper lats

For better upper lats you will need to extend your grip. So next time you are doing a pull up just widen the grip a little for a more effective upper lats workout.

By widening the grip your fascia is stretched and when you pull up it contracts. When you move back down you can switch between doing it with force and doing it slowly with a slight pause.  Both work in different ways so remember to switch.

 

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Improve your mid back

With your lats workout sorted out the next thing you need to focus on is your mid back which can be seen when you stand sideways. Here too wide grip exercises such as pull ups are helpful. Even seated cable rows and T-bar rows work well.

Switch between free weights and machines

Though I believe free weights are more effective as compared to machines I often find it tough to pause when working out my back with them as they are heavier and this where machines are helpful. Yes your movement becomes static but you will be able to concentrate on the pause better. So make sure you balance your workout between free weights and machines.

Mix it up

You have a bucket load of exercise for a stronger back but when you setup your routine make sure to add in exercises that affect your muscles from various angles and grips. Most of the row pull workouts are similar so remember to add in a few reverse grip and overhead grip workouts too. Here’s what I followed as a beginner.

 

 

Always end it

There are no magic ways or secrets to a stronger back but one must follow rule is that you should always end each workout tired and exhausted. We all know how it feels after tough workouts don’t we? So while you’re at it give it your best. The pain and soreness today will make you stronger tomorrow.

6 reasons why your workout sucked today

Developing muscles and growing big is not just about being at the gym every day while you are there you need to nail every rep and every set but this does not always happen. Sure one off day is normal but if that happens on a regular basis it is time for you to tighten the loose ends.  So without any further time wasting I give to you 6 reasons your day at the gym sucked and what you can do about it.

You lack concentration

Let’s be honest how many of you were busy replying to your what’s app messages or checking out your Facebook notifications or simply could not get your eyes off the hot girl next to you while working out?

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Well if you lack concentration you are bound to have a bad day. Get your mind-set right. Keep away the distractions such as your mobile and concentrate on each rep equally to keep the blood flowing and the heart pumping.

Your diet is poor

Are you concentrating too much on proteins and ignoring fats and carbs? Your diet needs a proper balance of all nutrients and vitamins. A shift in balance can leave you feeling tired and exhausted too early into your workout.

On the other hand a good balanced diet will help you perform better.  So get your daily ratios right and keep track of what you consume.

 

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You sleep less

Did you sleep a maximum of 6-8 hours before your gym session today? If not lack of sleep is your problem and a single sleepless night is enough to ruin your upcoming workouts.

If you haven’t slept well my suggestion would be you skip the gym for a day. A bad workout is worse than no workout.

 

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You change nothing

If you are too religiously following your workout routine i.e. doing the same reps, sets and lifting the same weight each day your simply boring your muscles. In other words you’ve entered a rut and that’s why your workouts suck.

To get out of it you need to once again start challenging yourself. So stop being a lazy bum, try new workouts, lift more weights and keep yourself both mentally and physically fit.

You are consuming the wrong supplements

There was a time when the term supplements meant snake oil but nowadays better supplements such as creatine, BCAA etc. can be bought from pretty much every health and food store and it is upto you to make the most of them.protein-shake-624x345

A blend of the right diet and supplements will give you a much needed boost and help you make the most of the time you spend at the gym. You can get in touch with me or your trainer to know what supplements best suit your routine.

 

The supplement guide for a stronger, fitter you

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Whether it is your first day at the gym or 100th supplements are either going to or or already are an integral part of your workout routine. Now I would not recommend you replace your healthy diet by supplements but the combo of the right supplements and diet can help you reach fitness goals faster and efficiently but it is important you know what supplements are right. So here are a few supplements I usually recommend all.

Protein

Studies and guides will tell you we need about 20-25% of protein each day. Now for that the best source is your food but that won’t always be enough. You cannot be eating every couple of hours and that’s where supplements are so helpful.

Whey protein is the most commonly used protein supplement. It’s easily available and is digested quickly. Other protein supplements include casein protein, soy protein and egg protein.

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Fish Oil

Why fish oil? Fish oil has omega 3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA which makes it so important whether your aim is to lose weight or gain muscles. Fish oil also supports better skin and immunity, a healthy heart and good vision.

Natural sources of omega 3 are eggs, fish, beef etc. Even omega 3 capsules are easily available in food and health stores.

 

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BCAA

BCAA or as it stands branched chain amino acids are ideal supplements if you want to enhance your training and recover faster and it boosts energy and strength. They are also responsible for better protein synthesis in the body, muscle building and maintaining body mass.

BCAA is available in most high protein foods and is more likely already part of your diet. This is one supplement I sip while working out since it helps me workout better and longer.

 

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Creatine

The most common supplement is creatine. Ideal for runners as it has proven to better running times and also for weightlifter as it improves overall strength and performance allowing you to lift heavier and workout longer.

Creatine is found in the human body in mostly the muscles and also other parts like the kidney, lover, brain and testes and thus is the ideal supplement for bodybuilding. You will come across many creatine forms but my recommendation would be only creatine monohydrate.glutamine-creatine-old-dogs-can-learn-new-tricks_b

 

Glutamine

Glutamine is the most common of amino acids found in the human body and is responsible for proper functioning of the immune system and overall fitness of the body. In its supplement state glutamine aids muscle growth, lowers muscle catabolism etc.

Take glutamine post workout as it produces muscle glycogen and glutamine. This in turn fastens recovery and is ideal for people on low carb diet.

 

 

My top 5 diet Mantras for all beginners

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An hour of good intense workout at the gym is only half the battle won the rest of it depends on your daily nutrition. Though healthy eating is easier said than done if you are serious about your training and fitness the right diet and supplements can give your routine a much needed boost. So if you’re a beginner looking for some help here is a must read nutrition guide for you guys.

Add a meal

Let’s say your training really hard at the gym now to add more muscle you will need to add more calories to your diet. My suggestion would be you add a small meal of about 200-300 calories between your lunch and dinner such as fruits, a smoothie etc. The caloric increase helps with muscle repair and enables better growth. Check out smoothie recipes at foodnetwork.

Keep a check

Has the scale not shifted an inch in 2-3 weeks? Do you feel you haven’t gained much with 1 additional meal?  Then it is time you add a second. Don’t simply rely on the scale as gaining muscles and losing fat can also be a reason for a static scale.

Adding calories slowly ensures the gains don’t go straight to your belly. This extra meal is especially helpful for people with a fast metabolism as it makes gaining muscles tough.

Eat regularly

Eating clean 3 times a day is not going to cover up the calories you lose after a workout and this is exactly why most bodybuilders eat 5-6 meals. Yes breakfast, lunch and dinner are still your primary meals but a couple of high protein snacks in between helps greatly.

I personally eat 7 meals in day so I am eating every 2-3 hours. If I skip a meal or I am still hungry I opt for supplements. It is the easiest way to add few calories and where clean foods fail the right supplements make up.

Protein is king

When it comes to bodybuilding protein is king. Wondering why? Proteins contain amino acids which are responsible for the repair work of the muscles but the question is how much protein does one need?

I would suggest you eat as per your weight so if you weigh around 250 pounds and eat 5 times a day you need about 50g of protein in each of your meals.

Replace your pre-workout with a quick espresso shot.

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Know your intake

Now that you know how much protein you need in every meal do you know exactly what constitutes 50g of protein? So before you gobble down an entire chicken learn about the nutritional value of each food.

Just to help you get started. 7 big eggs or 6 cups of milk or if your into supplements 3 scoops of protein powder make up 50g of protein.

5 abs day crimes beginners make but shouldn’t

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When it comes to abs the worst mistake anyone can make is missing your workout and cheating on your diet but there is a lot that can also go wrong between those sets of crunches and leg raises. Of course if getting a six pack was so simple we’d all be flaunting it. So today I am going to talk about the 5 mistakes you shouldn’t make on abs day irrespective of whether you train it daily or once a week.

You consider abs as one muscle

Your abs is not a single muscle. The rectus abdominis, both of the obliques, the transverse abdominis are few of your abs muscles you should know about. This will help you setup a better workout routine that hits all the muscles from different angles.

For the upper and lower abs crunches is the best exercise and for your obliques I would suggest you add in some twisting, rotating and side bend exercises.

You’re scared of adding resistance

There are plenty of abs exercise to choose from and most of them can be done from home itself but there is a downside to that. As you grow and develop your body gets accustomed to the routine and this is why adding resistance is important and its easy.

A weight plate on the back is enough to continue your gains. You can also switch to cable and machine crunches for a more effective high resistance workout.

 

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You get too comfortable

If you are too comfortable at the gym irrespective of whether you are training your legs or abs you are definitely doing it wrong. It is time for you to up the ante. For that you can add weights as I mentioned above.

You can also add more reps and sets to your routine or reduce the rest between each set. Those rock hard 8 packs you dream off are not easy to get and is possible only if you continue to improve. Remember No Pain No Gain.

You keep your back flat

The most common mistake beginners make is keeping a flat back when doing exercises such as cable crunches etc. This good when you’re doing squats, bent rows etc. but a straight back prevents proper contraction of the abs muscles while crunching.

With a flat back you will end up curling at your hips rather than your waist. Only by bending correctly you engage your rectus abdominis. So on your abs days forget what otherwise is a good habit.

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You do it too quickly

Pretty much every beginner starts their exercise with the aim of completing it quickly by doing as many reps as possible but keep in mind exercise is not about the quantity but more about the quality.

When working out momentum is your worst enemy. Each rep should apply the same amount of tension on your muscles for an effective workout.

 

5 things I did to make my workouts effective and tough

If you aren’t seeing your body grow and develop it is mainly because you are not pushing yourself enough.  Following the same workout routine each week can at times turn into a rut but the good news is that the solutions in simple.

All you need to do is take things up a notch and today I am going to share with you the changes I made to my workout routine to end the rut and make it more effective and tough.

I used bands when training with a barbell

Though an unusual way of making your workouts tough bands and chains are as effective as any weight if not better and by ignoring them you let a really good equipment pass you by.

These bands and chains are effective because these are lighter at the start and only add more resistance as you lift higher due to which more muscle fibers are incorporated into each lift while in a regular barbell or dumbbell exercise the weight remains constant throughout. See video for more help

 

 

I used the extended set technique

In simple words the extended set technique means doing 2-3 versions of the same workout in the same set. For example if I were doing let’s say 10 reps of seated front raise after 10 reps rather than putting my dumbbells down I got up and did 10 more by standing.

This is easier than the seated version since you can engage your knees and hips while lifting and though this technique is tough it works and is exactly what you need to grow faster.

 

I switched to the dropset technique

The dropset technique means reducing the weight and doing a few extra reps rather than stopping at 10. Just make sure you do not rest too much and to save time have a friend or your trainer change weight plates with you.

This technique is not restricted to barbell movements you can also do it with dumbbells but remember to keep the dumbbells close to you beforehand. Still confused? Here is some help

 

 

I improved the density of my workout

I often workout my abs at the end of the session but as my workout got more intense I found myself too tired and willing to skip it and this is where density training is so useful.  Density training is working out the other muscle groups such as your abs in between sets of other muscles such as legs, chest etc.

This is ideal since you would be working out different muscles groups in the same amount of time. Just make sure both muscles groups are not dependent on each other.

 

I switched from machines to free weights

Free weight training as compared to working out on machines is more effective and harder. This is because when you lift free weights your body needs to stabilize and balance the weight and thus it engages more muscle groups and also burns more fat.

It also improves testosterone rotation in muscles. So the next time you have the choice opt for free weights for better growth.

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