Benefits of a body-weight workout

bodyweight-exercises

Bodyweight training is as simple as it gets and requires no equipment in order to perform it.

1. It’s a super-efficient workout.

Research suggests high-output, bodyweight-based exercises like plyometrics yield awesome fitness gains in short durations. Since there’s no equipment involved, bodyweight workouts make it easy to transition from one move to the next with little rest. And you’ve probably already heard that those short-but-intense HIIT workouts can yield major results.

2. It can combine cardio and strength training

Performing quick cardio sessions (such as 60 seconds of burpees or high-knees) between strength movements (such as a set of push-ups or lunges) will keep the heart pumping while still encouraging muscle and strength development.

3. You can burn fat—fast.

Just a few minutes of a bodyweight circuit training can have a major impact on the body’s metabolism. If you’ve ever heard of the afterburn effect, you know that even when your workout is over, your body can still be revved for hours to come.

4. At any fitness level, it’s challenging.

Bodyweight exercises are great because they’re easily modified to challenge anyone. Adding extra reps, performing the exercises faster or super slowly, taking shorter breaks, or adding a ballistic movement (like a clap at the top of each push-up) are just a few ways to make the simplest workout tougher. And with each added modification, your progress is obvious.

5. You’ll gain core strength.

Your core is more than just six-pack abs. In fact, at least twenty-nine muscles make up the trunk of the body, and many simple bodyweight movements can be used to engage all of them. Such exercises won’t just give you tighter abs, you’ll also gain better posture, relieve lower back stress, and improve overall performance.

6. It can increase your flexibility.

Not everyone who does regular resistance training has to end up with tight muscles and inflexible joints. Bodyweight training can go hand-in-hand with building strength and flexibility. Completing bodyweight exercises through a full range of motion ensures your joints are moving freely. Plus, it can lead to improved posture and might reduce the chance of exercise-related injury.  Yoga, the fave no-equipment workout for many, is another great way to to improve flexibility while also significantly improving strength.

7. There’s never an excuse to not workout.

Ask someone why they don’t exercise, and chances are they have “no time” or it’s “inconvenient.” Luckily bodyweight exercises eliminate those common obstacles. When you only need a little space, it’s easy to squeeze in workouts wherever you are. Exercising without equipment can also be used as a stress reliever whether you’re working at home or on the road.

8. You’ll achieve better balance.

When it comes to this type of training, sometimes increasing resistance means increasing balance, too. For example, a normal squat can be ramped up by swapping in a single-leg squat (a.k.a. a pistol squat). Functional movements like that one can improve balance through increased body awareness and control.

9. You’ll never get bored.

It can be easy to get stuck in a workout rut of treadmills, bicep curls, lat pull-downs, and bench presses. That’s why bodyweight training can be so refreshing: There are countless exercise variations that can spice up any workout routine. Working with a variety of exercises not only relieves boredom, it can also help break plateaus and spark further progress.

10. Mixing up your workout is easy.

11. It’s free.

Gym memberships and boutique classes can quickly add up—but bodyweight training is free. Experts cite the low cost of bodyweight training as key to its rise in popularity.

12. It can help with injury prevention.

Injury is one of the main reasons people stop working out, so preventing those aches and pains should be a big priority. Bodyweight exercises are generally safe for any exerciser regardless of experience, age, or fitness level. Many simple bodyweight movements can actually be an effective option for rehabilitation, even for those with significant impairments.

13. You’ll see results.

Bodyweight exercises get results partly because they involve compound movements—meaning numerous joints and muscles are engaged in each move. Compound exercises such as push-ups and lunges have been shown to be extremely effective for strength gains and performance improvements. And research shows improved core strength (see No. 5 above) translates to improved strength gains throughout the entire body.

My road to 26.2 Miles – Weeks 5 and 6

This is a string of posts that I have been doing over the last 6 weeks to document my way through training for a full marathon.

You can follow them here :

  1. My road to 26.2 miles – Week 1
  2. My Road to 26.2 Miles – Week 2
  3. My road to 26.2 Miles – Weeks 3 and 4

My goal through these 6 weeks has been to intensify my training regime and improve my diet, so as to get leaner and tighter while maintaining my muscle mass. So far, it hasn’t been the most successful road. Although I have managed to lose a few kilos, I’m still far away from my goal. In the meantime, I also planned to increase my weekly running mileage which hasn’t been going as well as planned either.

However, on the bright side, I have managed to improve my training regime to include almost 2 hours of workout or active time in a day, which includes a session of running and a session of weight training. Over the last 2 weeks, I have managed to clock about 35kms a week, which includes more inclines. And during my weight training sessions, I have started increasing my number of reps per set while maintaining the same level of weights.

My prime focus still has been on getting an adequate amount of sleep and focusing on recovery, while making sure I consume foods with ample vitamins, nutrients and most importantly protein.

My goal over week 7 is to clock atleast 45-50 kms which includes a long run of atleast 2 hours or 20kms. Over the next few weeks until the marathon, I have also decided to reduce my weight training to give my body more time for recovery. All in all, Core-Training is an area that I am going to emphasize a lot more on.

Do feel free to add tips or share your expertise in the comments below, especially if you feel I am not on the right path.

Until next time,

The Travellothoner.

From 300lbs to 30 Muscle-Ups for time

As you guys are aware, writing on a topic involves having great knowledge on the subject which comes from regular reading and updation on the topics; and one of my favourite and regular pages to do this is The Crossfit Journal and their instagram page. And today I came across their ig post on Jared Enderton, A Crossfit Games Rookie, who basically was like any of us, and now competes for the title of “Fittest On Earth”.

I shall post the article below, and attach a link too. I own no rights to the article, and have no contributions in its construction. I am merely sharing it here for everyone to read.

Link : https://games.crossfit.com/article/300-pounds-30-muscle-ups-time

The night before the 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games began, Jared Enderton posted to Instagram.

“If I can do it, so can you.”

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Above were side-by-side photos of the 29-year-old Games rookie. One featured a grinning, flexing Games athlete in uniform; the other, an impassive young man with a belly.

“Ten years ago I weighed 300 lb., and tomorrow I’ll be one of 40 men competing for the title of Fittest on Earth at the CrossFit Games,” he wrote.

Football, baseball, golf, track—Enderton had always been an athlete. In high school, he was an All-American wrestler and Iowa’s 2007 undefeated state wrestling champion at a body weight of 189 lb. Then he took up strongman.

“The more weight you gain, the stronger you’re gonna get,” he thought.

So he ate.

At first, it was all in the name of sport—a lot of protein, a lot of carbs, a lot of gains.

“And then at a certain point, it really wasn’t even about that,” he said. “It was just like, I’m just eating everything I can to eat everything I can.”

Cake, pasta, cookies—nothing was off-limits. It wasn’t unusual for Enderton to devour a half a gallon of ice cream—cookies and cream was his favorite—in one sitting. By the start of his freshman year of college in 2010, he’d gained more than 100 lb. and lost his sense of self.

“I’ve always viewed myself as being a little bit athletic, but once you’re that heavy, you lose some of your identity, too; you kind of lose that belief in yourself,” he said. “I didn’t feel like the same athlete, and I wasn’t happy.”

Though he could certainly lift heavy shit—he was a nationally ranked strongman competitor—he could do little else. No more track, no more pick-up football games.

“Even thinking about those things I’m out of breath,” he said of his 300-lb. self.

He had trouble finding clothes that fit and lacked confidence speaking to women. Every glance at the mirror poked holes in his self-esteem, and the anxiety was a wake-up call.

“I’m like, ‘Whoa. … You need to do something to feel better about yourself.”

So, he cut the ice cream and ditched strongman for weightlifting. By 2014, he was a nationally ranked weightlifter competing at a body weight of around 185 lb.

In 2015, Enderton started CrossFit and further cleaned up his diet, adding more vegetables and tracking volume and macronutrients. He went on to take 22nd and 12th at the 2016 and 2017 South Regionals before qualifying for the Games this year with a fifth-place Regional finish.

The rewards of a healthy lifestyle aren’t limited to the leaderboard.

Enderton

“When I eat a healthy meal and it’s got protein and some carbs and a little bit of fat, I feel good, and a lot of times, after I’d eat all those binge meals I would feel horrible; I’d feel bad about myself.”

On Wednesday, Enderton—who currently weighs 195 lb. at 5 foot 6—made his CrossFit Games debut with an 22nd-place finish in Crit, 10 laps of a 1,200-m cycling course. Not long after, he opened 30 Muscle-ups with an unbroken set of 13 reps before racking up 1,230 lb. in CrossFit Total for a tie for fifth in that event.

That doesn’t mean the struggle is over.

“I still have some body-image issues,” he said. “It’s not like I made the Games and everything’s gone. … And I’m OK with that. It’s never a finished journey.”

Still, it’s a hell of a lot easier to pick out clothes now, he said.

“They mixed up my shorts with somebody else’s at the check-in,” Enderton said, noting that instead of the medium and large shorts he requested, he was given smalls.

“And the pair of shorts that are smalls actually fit great,” he said, grinning. “Who would’ve thought? From triple X to small—it’s kind of crazy.”

I hope you find the article as motivating as I do, for I was this guy, and aim at having a journey similar to him. Do tell me how you feel about the article in the comments below.

Regards,

The Travellothoner.

How to Keep Nutrition Top of Mind

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I came across this article on The Crossfit Journal, and it is definitely worth a read!The original link for the article is here : https://journal.crossfit.com/article/nutrition-culture-achauer-2

Disclaimer : I do not own this article, nor do I have any contribution in this writing, or have anything to do with the writers or publishers of this post. I simply think everyone should read it. So here goes :

Courtney Shepherd noticed that the same thing happened every January.

After eating and drinking to excess over the holidays, members of CrossFit Verve in Denver, Colorado, would approach Shepherd, the owner, and say, “Hey, I really need to lose some weight. When are we going to do the next challenge?”

“It got disheartening in the sense that we (were) not making a long-term impact,” Shepherd said.

A coach since 2011 and an owner since 2014, Shepherd knew the cycle would repeat itself after the challenge: binge, nutrition challenge, repeat.

Most CrossFit athletes understand they can’t get in shape by working out for six weeks and then staying home for the rest of the year, but many take this approach to nutrition. It’s often difficult to get members to develop lifelong habits instead of looking for quick fixes.

Some CrossFit affiliate owners have discovered the best way to improve the nutrition habits of their members is to develop a culture in which nutrition education is part of each class—coaches teach the importance of eating vegetables along with the clean and jerk.

ALT TEXTA diet challenge can be a start, but sustainable lifestyle changes will bring long-term health. (Dave Re/CrossFit Journal)

Build Good Habits

Shepherd started CrossFit in 2007 while training to be a firefighter at the South Metro Fire Academy. She became a member of CrossFit Verve in 2009, a part-time coach in 2011 and a full-time trainer in 2013. She bought the affiliate from Matt Chan in 2014 and works for CrossFit as a Level 1 and Level 2 Seminar Staff member.

Shepherd said CrossFit Verve used to program nutrition education as part of its on-ramp program but stopped because it made the foundations program too long, which was frustrating to new members who wanted to start attending regular classes.

Since then, the affiliate has run countless nutrition challenges, focusing on everything from the Paleo Diet to the Zone Diet to eliminating grains, dairy and legumes for 30 days. Shepherd participated in many of those challenges herself as a member, and she said she continues to implement many of the things she learned. She also observed people miserably following the diet to the letter for six weeks only to finish and say, “Thank God I can eat normally again.”

Last year, Shepherd made a change to Verve’s approach to nutrition. Instead of a six- or eight-week nutrition challenge, CrossFit Verve now hosts eight-week habit-based challenges.

“(In) the very first (habit-based challenge) that we did, we said you need to have three habits you want to change—and it can be anything, it doesn’t have to be nutrition,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd chose to remove her phone from her bed after 8 p.m. every night. Some participants committed to working out four days a week, and others decided to avoid snacking at night.

Participants were also placed on teams so they’d have an accountability buddy.

“If you accomplished that habit for the day, then you got a point. And if you didn’t, you didn’t get a point. It’s a great way to stay accountable for things like stretching or going to the gym four times a week,” Shepherd said.

After observing that people continued these habits after the challenge was over, Shepherd applied the concept of a habit-focused challenge to nutrition.

“It didn’t matter if you wanted Zone or flexible dieting. You just need to state what you wanted to change,” she said.

Leading up to the challenge, Verve hosted talks that detailed different approaches to nutrition.

ALT TEXTAt CrossFit Verve, Courtney Shepherd focuses on helping members change habits. (Gaby Gallou)

Shepherd scheduled the talks for the evenings. The sessions were free to members and their guests, and they covered basic nutrition, including food quality and quantity. She also hosted more in-depth nutrition classes that covered eating for competitions, the Zone Diet and flexible dieting.

Shepherd said this approach was helpful even for people who were already following the Zone Diet or who knew a lot about nutrition but had a few things they needed to tweak.

“For the people who’ve been following Zone for a long time but still have a post-workout shake, what if we say the entire challenge is based on real, whole food now?” she said. “Now you don’t get to supplement with your Belgian chocolate (protein shake). Or what if you are weighing and measuring doughnuts as part of your diet? What if we took those out?”

Shepherd said she doesn’t like telling people they should completely change what they’re doing for six weeks. She said it causes stress, people are often miserable, and when the challenge is over the good habits they developed go out the window completely.

It’s more realistic and sustainable, she said, to change just one habit at a time.

“The goal of the six weeks is to recognize that whatever you are doing, it’s not that hard or that big of a change,” Shepherd said. After, people can build on this new habit and make more small changes.

The challenge of this approach for affiliate owners and coaches is that it yields results more gradually, which could cause some people to lose interest and motivation.

Shepherd said she deals with this problem in two ways.

First, she makes an effort to remind clients that anything worth having takes time.

“We can give you what you want in six weeks, but at what cost?” she asks her members.

She also scheduled a BodPod—a mobile device that measures body composition—to visit CrossFit Verve every quarter. Taking regular measurements helps members see their progress and keeps them on track.

“The entire point of (the BodPod) is, (wherever) you start now, I want you to see that you are making continual progress over the years,” Shepherd said. The members pay for the scans but pay less for each retest, and the company doing the testing keeps the information on file for easy comparison over time.

Shepherd knows challenges help motivate people but don’t always lead to lifelong good habits. Her goal is to find a balance. Familiar with the bingeing that typically happens before and after challenges, she tries to set a different mindset from the beginning.

“I bring it up before the challenge starts, on the whiteboard, reminding them the purpose is to create lifelong habits,” Shepherd said.

ALT TEXTBy keeping nutrition top of mind, members learn that a good diet is the foundation of CrossFit, and they’ll regularly make better decisions. (Milisa Smith/CrossFit Journal)

Flip the Script

Sam Karoll has owned Shadow CrossFit in Quincy, Illinois, for five years. Working with a few other affiliate owners and coaches, he recently launched an online nutrition coaching program, Xplore Nutrition, which offers a free affiliate service for gym owners who want to outsource nutrition education and coaching.

“If (affiliate owners) don’t know how to manage nutrition and they don’t want to deal with it, we (can be) an extension of their gym and create that culture for them, so a CrossFit coach can focus on CrossFit while we focus on a different side,” Karoll said.

Karoll has advice for affiliate owners who want to create a stronger nutrition culture on their own: He recommends flipping the script and turning the challenge around to the owner.

Instead of—or in addition to—instituting a six-week nutrition challenge, Karoll recommends affiliate owners challenge themselves to discuss nutrition every day for six weeks. This discussion could take the form of an article on the affiliate’s website, a post on social media or a comment at the beginning or end of class.

Karoll said this would get people thinking, “‘Hey, why is my affiliate starting to talk all the time about nutrition? Maybe I should ask my coach about this.’ And then hopefully that turns into something a little more organic, and you can actually start growing that as another service and another addition to your clientele,” he said.

ALT TEXTSam Karoll works to help his clients understand how they can enjoy food and accomplish their goals. (Courtesy of Sam Karoll)

Karoll’s goal as an owner of a CrossFit gym and a nutrition coaching program is to teach people how to eat the foods they love—within reason—to accomplish their goals.

“If we restrict everything that people are able to eat and we make it difficult for them to go out and go to social events, … they start feeling nervous and uncomfortable, or they feel like they have to give up what they love. We see people start to fall off quicker because they are not able to maintain their lifestyle,” Karoll said.

Encouraging members to eat well benefits more than the health of your athletes, Karoll said. It also helps with retention.

An athlete who works hard in the gym but whose nutrition is trash won’t see desirable results. This could result in thoughts of “‘hey, I don’t think your programming is that great’ or ‘I’m not doing well,'” Karoll said.

Once nutrition enters the conversation, that’s when real change happens, with both performance and aesthetics.

“Then people really start to talk about (the change),” Karoll said, “and they can actually show those results, and they start sharing on social media before and after pictures, so it’s absolutely a retention booster.”

Coaches only see their athletes for an hour each day, Karoll pointed out, while the decisions that have the most significant effect on health are made during the other 23 hours.

“So getting that nutrition component (fixed) is what can help them wake up and have more energy or sleep better or play with their kids in the backyard, and it adds up and continues to stack on top of what CrossFit already is,” Karoll said.

ALT TEXTOwners can use simple things like blogs and social-media posts to help members start thinking about food. (Dave Re/CrossFit Journal)

Customized Approach

Rachel Carr owns CrossFit Laramie in Laramie, Wyoming. She’s been doing CrossFit since 2006 and has owned the affiliate for five years.

With new members, Carr starts with movement, leaving nutrition aside until they have a well-established fitness routine. Still, CrossFit Laramie has a website page devoted to nutrition, and Carr provides nutrition coaching for members and nonmembers for an additional fee.

Her approach is habit based—she tells people not what to eat but how to eat.

Carr accomplishes this by addressing manageable habits, such as telling a member to try eating until 80 percent full instead of eating until he is completely stuffed. Once that habit is established for two weeks, she’ll add in another habit, like eating more fruits and vegetables.

ALT TEXTRachel Carr using a bit of humor to get people thinking about the best fuel for exercise. (Courtesy of Rachel Carr)

“I don’t really operate on a fast-fix type thing,” Carr said. “With the 30-day challenges you get a great kick-start, but it’s not a lifestyle and wellness change.”

Carr has posters around the gym and hands out flyers about her nutrition services to encourage conversations and give a little extra push for that person who is ready to make a change. She also posts articles and tips on social media to address problems that could be solved by a change in nutrition.

When people approach her with a problem, Carr tells them to keep a food log for three days, “and (then we) look at what they are doing and make little tweaks. Most people who want to venture into that nutrition world are somewhat motivated, but they are scared,” she said.

Carr likes to focus on habits and a foundation of good nutrition, no matter what style of eating the client ends up following.

“We’ve had one person who’s lost, I think, 120 pounds. We’ve had other people who have eliminated most of the soda in their diets and lost a fair amount of weight,” Carr said.

She lets the conversation about nutrition develop with a lot of dialogue about what is and isn’t working for the client.

If something’s working, she motivates the client to keep doing it. If things aren’t working, she’ll suggest another approach.

“It’s not a planned conversation, but it’s something that you kind of end up talking about just as part of your overall lifestyle,” Carr said.

Right now the gym is doing the Whole Life Challenge, which she says has gotten people looking at recipes and sharing tips, successes and failures with each other.

When it’s done, Carr plans to have a party and a conversation, asking members what they can take beyond the challenge and maintain for the long term.

Year-round Conversation

Six-week challenges get people excited about big changes and quick results, but real change happens in the other 46 weeks of the year. Once the challenge is over, does nutrition discussion end, or do your coaches talk about meal preparation along with strength and mobility?

“As an affiliate owner, I think it’s really important to start thinking on the end date (of the challenge). How do we get people to keep these habits past six weeks? What service can we offer, what information we can offer?” Karoll said.

As Karoll pointed out, nutrition is not like an AMRAP: work for 20 minutes and it’s over, back to normal life.

Nutrition is an every-day, every-month, every-year challenge.

“We want them to keep going,” he said. 

I hope you find this article as informative as I did.

Regards,

The Travellothoner.

 

 

How To Reboot Your New Year Resolutions!

We’ve all been there. Made resolutions that were unrealistic or just not motivating enough; and we’ve learnt from these mistakes and refined our resolutions BUT not mid-year, we just procrastinate it to the next year. Most resolutions are either aimed towards self-improvement and self-development or aimed at just making certain changes.

I bet many of you either wanted to lose weight, be fit, or have some element of fitness goals on your annual resolutions. Therefore, if you fell off the wagon, and want to get back on it… it isn’t too late. It’s never too late. Here is how you can start over:

  1. Pull out your resolutions – whether they were scribbled on a piece of paper, a note on your phone or a word document on your cloud… pull it out, and read it. See if it still aligns with your life. And if they were a mental note, pen it down and stick the paper somewhere, so that it can remind you of your goals everyday!
  2. Assess the status of your resolutions. That fitness goal … yes you know you have it listed and have certainly not forgotten about it. Assess how far you have come, did you lose a pound or 2, or are you behind? That’s OK, there is still time to get back in the game! 9 full months and change. Don’t lose motivation – starting over is better than giving up permanently.
  3. List out smaller goals to get to the big goal – I suggest, to break that resolution in parts and make that resolution more defined, so that you can measure your success in small bits. Each week, aim towards maybe 3 – 4, 30 minute workout sessions. As the week begins (my running week starts on a Monday) start checking off your completed workouts for the week on a calendar. You will feel more accomplished, instead of counting pounds.
  4. Don’t be afraid to realign your goals – changing or modifying your resolutions doesn’t mean failure. Maybe you wanted to start dance classes, and now you have realised, that meh, it’s not that important to your life goals as you thought. Maybe you are now more interested in taking a kick-boxing or sharpening up your technical or interpersonal skills, do that instead
  5. Read your resolutions on a daily or weekly basis – keep those resolutions close by. Read them to remind yourself of your goals. If you have a private place to stick it up, do that… if you don’t care about other people reading them, stick them up in your office, on the fridge and in your bedroom! Reading them will help you become them!

So take time today in this lovely life, and start over! I have a few things to start over myself. And I am proud to admit it. Better start over, than give up or let go!

Until Next Time,

The Travellothoner.