Are you a runner? If not, you should be.

There are a host of benefits when it comes to running outside of getting a good cardio workout. Yes, you’re burning calories, but you also boost your immune system, increase lung strength, and a whole lot more.

Take a look at this list, and add running to your weekly workout regiment.

-1. Overall mental health.
Runners are happy people. We’ve got that runner high going for us

-2. Strengthens your lungs.
Runners have increased lung capacity from logging mile after mile

-3. Helps prevent high blood pressure.
Your arteries expand and contract while running, helping to keep your arteries fit which in turn keeps your blood pressure in a normal range.

-4. Strengthens immune system.
Regular running builds up your tolerance to germs which results in fewer minor illnesses

-5. Weight control.
Running burns mega-calories. However, it also makes you mega-hungry, especially if you are training for long distances. Unfortunately, running doesn’t give you a pass to eat all the food, all the time.

-6. Physically strong legs.
Runner’s legs are a powerhouse. They move you from point A to B. They carry you up and down hills. They know how to put it into high gear at the track

-7. Relieves stress.
Running boosts the brain’s serotonin levels which make you calmer and more relaxed

-8. Increased bone density.
Running stresses your bones. Essential minerals are sent to the bones when under stress, which makes them stronger

-9. Increased joint strength and stability.
Running increases the strength of your ligaments and tendons. You’ll find your joints will be able to withstand more mileage and more uneven terrain

-10. Increased confidence.
Once you start running, your confidence begins to grow. You’ll feel more in control of your life and your body

Once upon a time being skinny was seen as ideal, but things have changed.

Now, being FIT is far more desirable than having a teeny tiny body.

Rather than go on and on about why being fit is better, I figure I’ll just show you. So, here’s a gallery of women who are in ridiculous shape.

Get inspired, and don’t make excuses.

Keep it up ladies!

Much of the allure of bodybuilding is that it carries with it a mystique of “gym-lore” that began in the Steve Reeves era, blossomed in the golden era of Arnold and has now been cultivated by the industry into a veritable encyclopedia of tricks, secrets, methods and techniques for both eating and training.

This is exemplified in magazine articles that dramatically discuss chest routines that Arnold followed, dieting techniques that Rich Gaspari used, or the elegant and strategic posing of Ed Corney and Frank Zane that allowed them to stand next to giants on equal footing. The back-pages of popular muscle magazines are filled with bodybuilders and gurus discussing these methods with a secretive-fervor that reminds one of kung fu movies, in which the hero beats his opponents by using secret techniques that are named by combining a body part with an obscure animal or stony or rocky material like: “Iron Foot”, “Tiger Fist” or the “Stone Hand Technique”. I admit this melodramatic and mysterious aura to bodybuilding is what still gets me excited about it to this day. That feeling in my gut hasn’t changed since I first read Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding and picked up the weights years ago. I hope it never does, and my intention is not to create a paradigm shift in bodybuilding culture. My intention is however, to look at some of the underlying factors that determine whether an approach has merit scientifically as a way to progress, or whether an approach purely has merit for reader enjoyment and entertainment.

Often times both occur simultaneously, but far too often an article can lead excited readers down a path of stagnation or worse, moving backwards.

In the Beginning…
To understand how and why we grow muscle tissue, lose body fat and see physical changes in response to eating and training, we have to go back to the beginning. We have to forget all of the articles, conversations, anecdotes, studies, books and supplement advertisements we’ve read and look at the human body as what it truly is: an organic adaptation machine. The body is built for survival, every trait we have today came from natural selection; the folks who could survive the ice age, climb the tree before the saber tooth tiger caught them, and go the longest on the hunt without food, supplied us the genetics we have today. We must keep that in mind when evaluating information. Often I criticize bodybuilding-science for being stuck in the past, but considering the mainstream popularity (or lack thereof) of bodybuilding, it’s not surprising. Most exercise research (and the grant money that backs it) focuses on the obesity epidemic or performance in popular sports that bring money, interest and prestige to people, society, nations and businesses.

Let’s face it, writing a research proposal entitled “Best Ways to get 20 inch Guns” probably won’t make it past the first reviewer.

So, often what we are left with is second hand sensationalized accounts from champion bodybuilders. For the most part, the same accounts from muscle magazines forty to fifty years ago are now being repeated endlessly by their successors with only minor tweaks and changes to the original formula. This is not to say that there is no merit to any of these methods, just that there is no way to separate what works, what doesn’t work and what could work a hell of a lot better. Think about it, if you combine the obsessive work ethic common among bodybuilders, the genetics it takes to get attention at the highest level, and yes let’s face it, the drugs that are used by the most popular bodybuilding icons of old and new, you will see great success no matter what training and dieting techniques are being used. What we often forget is, that for every Pro who trains, diets, and approaches muscle growth in the way that got him or her such great success, there are a couple thousand gym-rats doing the exact same things day in and day out and not looking one tenth the part of bodybuilder they are idolizing.

So here is the question: If an approach works for one out of every couple thousand people who tries it, would you try it or call it a good or efficient approach?

I would hope not. So getting back to this “organic adaptation machine” mindset, we can now start to separate fact from fiction. Anytime an approach is trotted out as truth beyond question, ask yourself “Does this serve an adaptive purpose?” For example, “High rep sets get you cut bro!” Your first thought should be: How would my body adapt if I challenged it with many high rep sets? Well, as simplistic as it may sound, doing high reps makes you better at doing high reps! Why would it burn the local body fat off in that area? Even if it did, why wouldn’t the body just restore more body fat in that area since you are constantly utilizing it? Lastly, how could any statement about burning body fat be made if we don’t know the nutritional status of the person in question? In fact, if it was the case that high repetitions caused localized fat loss, every teenage male you encountered would have one normal forearm and one shredded forearm. I’ll let that sink in, and once you’re done shaking your head, I’ll continue.

Now the example I just used is a relatively easy one to myth-bust and figure out, but often you will come across other claims that are harder to evaluate and it’s important to discuss why this is.

Well, to really get to the heart of it, we have to realize that hypertrophy (muscle growth) in and of itself is not a “direct-adaptation”. In the context of muscle growth without pharmaceutical assistance, the body doesn’t just get big for big’s sake. When you really think about it, being big has no adaptive purpose. Looking jacked and shredded didn’t help us survive the ice age, however being stronger, having more muscle endurance, and better blood and oxygen supply to muscle tissue did. And it just so happens that these adaptations tend to occur alongside muscle growth. What we have to realize, is that muscle growth is more or less a secondary adaptation. The body will grow muscle, but always in order to achieve a different adaptation. If you train heavy, more muscle is grown to allow you to be stronger. If you train with higher volume, more sarcoplasm (all the stuff in the muscle cell that isn’t the contractile tissue itself) is needed to supply the energy demands of the sets and reps you are doing. The take home message here is the body doesn’t give a rat’s ass about getting bigger; in fact “training for size” is a misnomer because size is a secondary characteristic to other adaptations.

This is why so many different approaches to training work!

Mike Mentzer and Arnold trained on opposite ends of the spectrum, so did Dorian and Lee Haney, and you can find high volume and low volume proponents among successful natural bodybuilders as well. That being said, there are some things that must occur in order for muscle growth to happen.

1. Overload
First, your training must provide overload. This simply means that whatever training approach you are using, it has to be something that your body is not currently adapted to. The amount of volume needed is completely dependent on where you are currently at. For example, it is theoretically possible that sedentary populations (those who move much less than the average person) put on walking programs could gain muscle [1]. So you don’t need to go from being a couch potato to doing 4 hour long gut-busting workouts initially, and in fact you shouldn’t, because where do you go from there?

This comment leads right to the second principle, training must be progressive.

2. Progressive Overload
So often you hear about bodybuilders switching things up so that “the muscle won’t adapt”. This is the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard! You want the muscle to adapt! The muscle adaptation is growth! Once it adapts and you stall in your progress, it doesn’t mean you need to change your program, it means you need to ensure it is progressive!

Simply going into the gym, getting a nasty pump and feeling thrashed does not ensure continued growth, but doing more work, either by lifting heavier or doing more sets or reps will provide overload once again because it is progressing past the body’s current level of adaptation.

3. Nutrition
The third tenet, has to do with nutrition, yes there is no getting away from needing to pay attention to your diet. Muscle cannot be grown out of thin air even if your training is providing progressive overload, so you must be eating enough to provide the building blocks for muscle growth. Notice I did not say gain a lot of weight quickly, as faster weight gain will result in more fat gain without necessarily increasing the rate of muscle gain [2].

Additionally, while the intentional intake of an appropriate energy level assists in lean body mass gains [3], a sufficient intake of protein to build that tissue helps as well [4].

Getting the Big Picture Right
Now, once the big picture is in order, and you’ve got a foundation of proper nutrition and training that provides an overload and is also progressive, there are other things to focus on to maximize your physique. Sadly, beginners often focus on these details before a foundation is even in place! Trust me when I say this, for a drug free trainee progressive overload and nutrition are truly 95% of the equation. Everything I mention after this paragraph is very low on the hierarchy of importance in comparison to the basics. If you find yourself stressing about these details, you are doing more harm than good as high stress levels are more counterproductive than getting this final 5% perfect. I have seen countless OCD bodybuilders stressing over supplementation, nutrient timing, and esoteric training approaches when they don’t even know how many calories a day they are eating or don’t have a plan to ensure progress in the weight room. So let me be very clear before I get into the minutiae: if you don’t know how many grams of protein, carbs, and fat you are eating daily, stop reading.

If you don’t have a training plan that has some sort of structure and a planned approach to progression, stop reading. No seriously, stop. Do not pass go, do not collect $200 (and as we commonly see, spend $200 on supplements).

Okay, if you are reading the words I’ve written right now, you are someone who not only takes care of business in the kitchen but also in the weight room, and for this I applaud you. This is something many don’t have the patience or mental focus to actually spend time learning to do and follow through with. I have spoken to countless bodybuilders who think they “work hard” because they make themselves puke on leg day and eat everything in sight when bulking and starve themselves only eating broccoli and chicken when dieting. While that is hard work, equal effort should be spent on learning the science of the sport. If you don’t have the patience and focus to educate yourself and develop a sensible plan, don’t fool yourself into thinking you are working as hard as you could be.

The most important body part in this sport is your brain, not your quads, pecs, or lats. Neglect and under use your brain at your own peril.

Beyond the Basics
So yes, the basics will get you far, so far in fact that with the right drive and genetics they can take you to the world championship level. However, not all of us are blessed with great genetics, and even those of us who are won’t be able to beat other genetic supermen without paying attention to the fine details. Beyond the basics, there are a few things you can do to maximize your physique; to include intelligent supplementation, intelligent nutrient timing, and intelligent application of specific training techniques. Many bodybuilders, supplement companies, magazines, coaches, researchers and others (myself included), will tell you there is much more beyond what I am going to lay out that should be discussed.

However, I am only going to focus on the tried and true, researched and validated “extras” that will make a difference (although in the end only comprise the last 5% of the equation in my opinion).

Supplements
When it comes to supplementation, it is easy to get overwhelmed by a sport propped up by an industry that endorses every Olympian with a different product, and that fills our magazines with ads and pseudo-science. But to this day, there are only a handful of supplements that seem to make a measurable difference with regards to bodybuilding (that aren’t hormonal). They are: creatine monohydrate [5] (the non-monohydrate derivatives aren’t better [6, 7]), a basic (not mega, sport or super) multi-vitamin/mineral supplement [8] (which may become more important when dieting [9]), supplemental dairy based (whey and/or casein) protein powder [10] (optional if you eat dairy and less important if you have no trouble achieving a high protein intake with your diet [11]), and an essential fatty acid supplement [12] (I’d suggest a low mercury source and targeting 2-3g of epa/dha per day from it, also optional if you regularly eat fish). Yes there are others that may benefit you, but they either don’t have the same level of benefit that the ones I listed do, or need to be researched further.

Again, I am not making a comprehensive list (in fact I take and recommend more than what is on this list for most people, this is a minimized list), but instead I’m giving an unbiased account of what is most likely to make a measurable difference for almost anybody.

Protein
When discussing protein, time and time again the debate of how much to consume to maximize muscle gains comes up. Well let’s be honest, even bodybuilders who are on the low end of the of consumption spectrum in our community (you know, “only” eating 1g per pound of bodyweight) are getting plenty, especially if they are in a caloric surplus. However, what might also be important is the timing of protein intake relative to training. In fact, some researchers would go so far as to say that taking in slightly too little protein, but timing it properly would give you a better growth response than taking in enough protein without regard to when it is consumed [13]. While this might be an overstatement, there is a body of evidence that suggests that eating protein around training can confer a small benefit to muscle mass gains from resistance training [14]. In terms of other nutrients such as carbohydrate, likely if you are eating an appropriate caloric intake from a mixed diet, timing will not be important [14]. However, if you are in a calorically restricted, fasted or glycogen depleted state, it may be theoretically beneficial to consume carbohydrate at least a few hours prior to training.

If you are in a fed state (meaning you ate a meal at some point earlier that day that included protein and carbs) before training, what you consume afterwards and how quickly you consume it is less important.

Progressive Tension Overload
There has also been extensive research done on muscle growth and training, and it is has been long understood that progressive tension overload is the key to contractile tissue growth [15]. However, there is more to muscle than contractile tissue and other training styles can influence non-contractile growth. For this reason high rep, high volume, lactate-inducing training that produces the traditional pump may have its place [16]. Volume is the primary mediator of muscle growth given the load is heavy enough [17], and it is difficult to achieve high volumes of training with heavy weights that only allow a handful of repetitions and require long rest periods [18]. For this reason bodybuilders for ages have included varying degrees of “pump up” training into their programs. Low load training does not produce the same anabolic stimulus [19] or muscle activation[20] that heavier training provides, so the back-bone of a bodybuilding routine should be heavy compound lifting focused on gaining strength. However, to achieve adequate volume some attention should be given to accessory work of a more traditional “pump it up” style.

This can be done with isolation movements and high rep sets to accumulate volume on the muscle. Just to throw out a figure for application, I recommend a 80/20 ratio of heavy strength training to high rep, traditional, pump-up isolation training.

Summing it up
To conclude, if your training provides progressive overload, truly any approach will work. For continued muscle growth, the body must be forced to make new adaptations. Training with the same weights over time will leave you with the same physique over time. We have to continually challenge our bodies with higher levels of tension if we want to continually grow. So if the weights aren’t moving up, you can expect yourself to be looking the same. Secondly, your nutrition has to support your training; sufficient dietary protein and enough calories to gain muscle are absolutely required. If you’re focusing on other details before these basic requirements are met, you’re missing the forest for the trees. However, if the basics are in order, there are a few other things you can do to maximize your physique and progress. Although I have not laid out a comprehensive list of what “extras” should be focused on, I can say with confidence that what I’ve outlined is probably the most worthy of mention.

But again, one should not even spend time thinking about supplementation, nutrient timing, advanced training methods and other extras until they have their basic nutrition and training firmly in place.

Coffee is one of the most consumed drinks around the world, and for a pretty good reason. Coffee wakes you up, gives you energy, and gets your morning started on the right track, but coffee actually has quite a few benefits that are not normally talked about, including the benefits it has when mixed with exercise.

Without the sugar and cream, regular black coffee can vastly improve your workouts and gains. Along with waking you up, coffee has unique fat-burning properties when mixed with exercise that allows your fat cells to be used instead of glycogen for energy, resulting in higher and quicker fat burning results.

It is common knowledge that coffee has a ton of caffeine, which increases your metabolism and burns calories throughout the day, even when you are not exercising. When coffee is added to your pre-workout routine, that calorie burning effect is amplified. But the benefits don’t stop there. Coffee also suppresses your appetite, causing you to eat less without getting that starving feeling.

Science backs up the benefits of using coffee as a pre-workout. In fact, a study publish in Sports Medicine reported that there is an obvious correlation between caffeine and athletic performance. It allows athletes to “train at a greater power output and/or train longer,” which is what we are all looking for.

Lastly, and just as important, coffee has been proven to decrease muscle pain in workouts. A study done by researchers at the University of Illinois showed that the participants who had not consumed coffee before the same workouts had experienced significantly more muscle fatigue and pain, and if that doesn’t make you want to start your workout with a cup of joe then I don’t know what will.

28 year-old Hattie Boydle is the first ever Australian woman to win the World Beauty Fitness and Fashion (WBFF) World Championship back in 2016, but this is not anywhere close to where she started her fitness journey. As a matter of fact, Boydle actually started out with a very unhealthy lifestyle.

After a childhood filled with competitive gymnastics and national competitions, starting at the age of 4, Boydle has always had the drive to compete. However, life changed when she went through high school. After a personal tragedy, Boydle began to struggle with depression which led to an unhealthy lifestyle and she eventually faced “a long and hard battle against anorexia that took its toll.”

It was after Boydle had been hospitalized and placed in in-patient care that she decided she needed to make a change, and that change is astounding!Boydle now advocates body positivity and hopes that her story can help women who may be going through some of the things she has overcome.

Here’s how she stays FIT:

Weekly Routine

Monday: Legs/Back

High Bar Squats 5 x 5 (Superset)
Lying Leg Curls 5 x 8
Good Mornings 8 x 8 (Superset)
Back Extensions 5 x 20
Lateral Raises 5 x 12 (Superset)
Single Arm Rows 5 x 12

“I love making improvements on my own physique and then sharing it with my girls from The Sports Model Project. I am a firm believer in ‘progress not perfection.”

Tuesday: Legs/Chest/Cardio

Front Squats 5 x 5 (Superset)
Lying Leg Curls 5 x 5
Flat Bench Press 5 x 8
Face Pulls 5 x 12
Incline Dumbbell Press 5 x 12 (Superset)
Pendlay Rows 5 x 12
P.M./HIIT

Wednesday: Legs/Back/Shoulders

Low Bar Squats 5 x 5 (Superset)
Lying Leg Curls 5 x 5
Good Mornings 8 x 8 (Superset)
Back Extensions 5 x 20
Lateral Raises 5 x 12
Single Arm Rows 5 x 12

Thursday: Legs/Chest/Cardio

Front Squat 5 x 5 (Superset)
Lying Leg Curls 5 x 5
Flat Bench Press 5 x 8 (Superset)
Face Pulls 5 x 12
Incline Dumbbell Press 5 x 12 (Superset)
Pendlay Rows 5x 12
P.M./HIIT

Friday: Legs/Back/Shoulders

High Bar Squats 5×5 (Superset)
Lying Hamstring Curls5 x 8
Good Mornings 8 x 8 (Superset)
Back Extensions 5 x 20
Lateral Raises 5 x 12 (Superset)
Single Arm Rows 5 x 12

Saturday: Legs/Chest/Cardio

Front Squats (Superset)
Lying Leg Curls 5 x 5
Flat Bench Press 5 x 8 (Superset)
Face Pulls 5 x 12
Incline Dumbbell Press 5 x 12 (Superset)
Pendlay Rows 5 x 12
Sled Sprints

Sunday: Rest

Recovery

Dieting is just as important as the workouts. Here’s how Boydle breaks it down:

“Off season, my macros are around 160 grams of protein, 280 grams of carbs and 70 grams of fat. During contest prep my macros are around 170 grams of protein, 140 grams of carbs and 55 grams of fat. I have no restriction on my food, but I must meet my target goals daily.”

Daily Diet

-Meal 1: 2 Poached Eggs, 2 Slices Soy and Linseed, 1 tablespoon Butter and 1 Skim Cappuccino
-Meal 2: 1 Scoop Whey, 1 tablespoon Almond Spread, 7 ounces Skim Milk, ½ Banana and Cinnamon
-Meal 3: 7 ounces Teriyaki Fish, 1 cup Rice, and 3 ½ ounces Mixed Greens
-Meal 4: 7 ounces Chicken Breast, 1 Apple, Piccolo Latte – Full Cream and Salad
-Meal 5: 1 Scoop Whey, 1 Apple and Water
-Meal 6: 6 ounces Rib Eye Steak, 5 ounces Sweet Potato Fries and Salad
-Meal 7: 1 ounce Chocolate

We all know this Hawaiian hulk as Khal Drogo and Aquaman. Here’s how Jason Momoa got jacked for some of his signature roles.

Momoa says that it really comes down to his lifestyle and diet. Momoa got in shape for Aquaman a little differently than just lifting and running. He attended a climbing gym to work out practically every muscle imaginable. He would climb with his trainer 2-3 times each week but he also managed to keep his social life too.

It’s well known that Momoa likes Guinness… like a lot. He says that it’s something that he couldn’t give up no matter what. Now if Conan the Barbarian (2011) can manage his social life and workout then so can you. The main tip here is pretty simple, know what, when, and how much you are eating. More importantly, know how it affects you. Cut out fatty foods and foods with high sodium as much as you can, but don’t be afraid to treat yourself.

Momoa actually says this was an important part of his diet, letting himself be natural within the terms of his diet… mostly drinking Guinness (isn’t that awesome though?).

He also balanced his lifting workouts with his climbing workouts. He made sure to not overdue his weightlifting and balanced his climbing to not fatigue himself. It’s important to notice that climbing works the back, shoulders, biceps, forearms, and legs. As a matter of fact, he would climb and then train back and biceps after climbing to overload them. This freed up other days to focus on chest and legs. Here’s the chest workout he did to get superhero pecks to play Aquaman:

Bench Press Triset (5 rounds)

Incline bench press: Lie on an incline bench, with a barbell overhead, your arms about shoulder-width apart. The bar should be about 70% of your one-rep max. Lower the bar to your chest, then lift it back up. That’s 1 rep; do 6.

Standing dumbbell press: Stand holding two dumbbells at your shoulders. Tighten your core and press the dumbbells overhead, then lower them back to shoulder height. That’s 1 rep; do 12. Use a weight heavy enough to challenge you by the 8th rep.

Pushup: You know this one: Start in a high plank position, then keep your core tight as you bend your arms to lower your chest nearly to the ground. Return to high plank position. Do 24 reps. Too easy? Do the pushups with your arms on rings instead.

If you ever get discouraged during your workout, maybe Momoa’s motto can help you get through it: “It doesn’t have to be fun to be fun.” The best advice is to try and make it fun, and you’ll be shredded and happy in no time.

Workout Routine

Brief Introduction:

 

  • Training Days: 6 days
  • Duration: 4 to 6 months
  • Training level: Intermediate
  • Rest: 90 sec between sets
  • Protein Intake: 1g of protein per pound of body weight
  • Calorie Intake: 20 or 30% more
  • Fat Intake: 0.5 gram per pound of body weight
  • Sleep: 8 hrs

In this Jason Momoa’s Aquaman Workout routine we are following

In this Jason Momoa’s Aquaman Workout routine we are following pyramid training in ascending triangle mode. So on successive sets you should load more weight while decreasing reps.

That is, throughout this workout plan do 3 sets with 12-10-8 reps.

Daily Workout Schedule

 

  • Day 1 ( Monday): Chest
  • Day 2 (Tuesday): Biceps and Abs
  • Day 3 (Wednesday): Cardio and Back
  • Day 4 (Thursday): Shoulder
  • Day 5 (Friday): Triceps and Abs
  • Day 6(Saturday): Cardio and Legs
  • Day 7(Sunday): Rest Day

Monday – Chest

 

  • Warm up – 5 minutes
  • Flat Bench Press
  • Incline Bench Press
  • Decline Bench Press
  • Flat dumbbell bench press
  • Incline dumbbell bench press
  • Dumbbell flys
  • Plate press

Tuesday – Biceps and Abs

 

  • Warm up – 5 minutes
  • Barbell Curls
  • Hammer Curls
  • Alternate arm dumbbell curls
  • Preacher Curls
  • Close grip cable curls
  • One arm Cable curls/ Cable concentration curls (anyone among these two)
  • Over head cable curls
  • Hanging leg raise 15-15-10-10
  • Decline crunch 20-20-20
  • Standing cable wood chop 20-20-20

Wednesday – Cardio and Back

 

  • Cardio 20 min (walking, elliptical)
  • Pullups
  • Wide grip lat pull down
  • Cable row
  • Barbell row
  • Dumbbell row
  • Deadlift

Thursday- Shoulder

Warm up – 5 minutes

  • Barbell military press
  • Arnold press
  • Lateral raise
  • Front Raise
  • Bent Over Dumbbell Rear Delt Raise
  • Barbell Shrug
  • Dumbbell shrug
  • Cable upright row

Friday – Triceps and Abs

 

  • Warm up – 5 minutes
  • Close grip barbell bench press
  • Skull Crusher
  • Over head cable triceps extension
  • Cable triceps push down
  • One arm dumbbell extension
  • Reverse arm cable triceps push down, One arm tricep Dumbbell Kickback (anyone among these two)
  • Barbell roll out on knees 20-20-20
  • Kneeling cable pull down 20-20-20
  • Bicycle crunch 20-20-20
  • Side Plank – 60 seconds each.

Saturday – Cardio and Legs

 

  • Cardio – 20 min (walking, elliptical)
  • Leg Extension
  • Lying Leg Curls
  • Squat
  • Leg Press
  • Hack squat
  • Dumbbell Lunge
  • Seated Calf Raise
  • Standing Calf Raise

Sunday – Rest Day

 

 

A common misconception is that stretching is only for runners, swimmers, or gymnasts. Actually, though, stretching is beneficial, if not necessary, for everyone, whether you consider yourself an athlete or not. Not only does it help with flexibility (duh) but it keeps your muscles stronger and healthier while maintaining a full range of motion.

“A lot of people don’t understand that stretching has to happen on a regular basis. It should be daily,”
-David Nolan, physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital

Those people who don’t stretch tend to have tighter, shortened muscles which leads to easy injuries when going from rest to activity. Instead, regular stretching and keeping your muscles loose helps the muscles stay lean and flexible and, according to Nolan, when performing an activity it allows you to not “put too much force on the muscle itself.”

Flexibility takes time and effort. You can’t stretch today and expect to be a different person tomorrow. It will take weeks, even months, of regular stretching to reach where you should be, especially if you haven’t stretched in a good amount of time.

“It may have taken you many months to get tight muscles, so you’re not going to be perfectly flexible after one or two sessions. It takes weeks to months to get flexible, and you’ll have to continue working on it to maintain it.”
-physical therapist David Nolan of Massachusetts General Hospital

Luckily though, it is not necessary to stretch every muscle in your body every day. While you should hit each muscle group a few times a week, it’s the lower body that is most important.

“The areas critical for mobility are in your lower extremities: your calves, your hamstrings, your hip flexors in the pelvis and quadriceps in the front of the thigh.”
-David Nolan

When to stretch is just as important as doing it at all. It used to be common knowledge that you NEED to stretch before exercise. It has since been learned that you really need to get a solid warm up on your muscles before stretching. A 5-10 minute light jog is all it takes to warm your legs up. Stretch for 30 seconds without bouncing. You shouldn’t feel any pain but you should feel a pull on the muscle.

End your workouts with a good stretching routine to cool down and keep your muscles lean and loose.

Every day is a challenge of it’s own, but Monday’s always seem to be a different animal. Getting out of bed early on Monday morning after your relaxing weekend can be a workout by itself, but today is not the day to skip the gym!

Don’t fear the momentary discomfort that you feel during your workouts, but look forward to the relief, the growth, and the progress that comes with that workout. Nothing great was ever accomplished inside of a comfort zone. Watch this video explaining why you should get excited about being uncomfortable.

Now get in the gym and get to work!

27-year-old Lauren Findley began her life living, as she puts it, a ‘typical’ life. While Findley admits she has always been athletic and active, she reflects back on where she began saying:

“I pretty much just went through the motions and I had no real sense of direction or a routine to follow.”

This Pennsylvania native began her fitness training as a track athlete. She ran track from middle school all the way through college, but when it came to actual weight training, Findley felt lost. She had to learn about routines, diets, and even lifts. The learning curve did not deter her ambitions though, and she has made a huge transformation since.

“It was a learning experience that opened up a whole new world of possibilities to me.”

When asked about her workout routines and what keeps her motivated to get better, Findley shared one of her favorite quotes from Connor McGregor:

“There’s no talent here, this is hard work. This is an obsession. Talent does not exist; we are all equals as human beings. You could be anyone if you put in the time. You will reach the top and that’s that. I am not talented, I am obsessed.”

Weekly Routine

Monday: Chest/Triceps

Flat Bench Press 4 x 8-12
Incline Dumbbell Press 4 x 15/12/10/8
Cable Crossovers 4 x 15 (high/middle/low)
Pec Dec Fly’s 4 x 10-15
Rope Cable Pushdowns 4 x 15/12/10/8
Rope Overhead Extensions 7 x 10-15 (FST7 workout)
Dips 3 x Failure
Single Arm Pulldowns 3 x 10-15
Dumbbell Kickbacks 4 x 12-15

Tuesday: Shoulders/Abs/Cardio

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4 x 15/12/10/8
Single Arm Lateral Raises 4 x 12-15
Plated Front Raises 3 x Failure
Rear Delt Pec Dec Fly’s 4 x 15/12/10/8
Dumbbell Lateral Raises 4 x 10-15 (Superset)
Dumbbell Front Raises
Hanging Leg Raises 4 x Failure
Cable Rope Crunches 4 x 15-20
Ab Wheel 4 x 15-20
30 minutes Stepmill (30 seconds work/30 seconds rest)

Wednesday: Glute/Hamstrings

Bridges 4 x 15
Cable Kickbacks 4 x 12-15
Seated Leg Curl 4 x 12-15 (Drop Set)
Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squats 4 x 12-15 (per leg)
Machine Kickbacks 3 sets 12-15 (per leg)
Stiff Legged Deadlifts 4 x 8-12
Lying Leg Curls 4 x 12-15

Thursday: Back/Biceps/Cardio

Wide Grip Pulldowns 4 x 15/12/10/8 (Drop Set)
Bent- Over Barbell Rows 4 x 8-12
Pull Ups 4 x Failure
V- Bar Pulldowns 4 x 12-15
Seated Rows 4 x 12-15
Rack Pulls 4 x 8-12
One Arm Dumbbell Rows 3 x 8-12
30 minutes Sprint Intervals Treadmill (1 minute on/30 seconds off)

Friday: Shoulders/Abs

Seated Barbell Overhead Press 4 x 8-12
Cable Lateral Raises 4 x 12-15 (per arm)
High Cable Rope Pulls 4 x 12-15
Dumbbell Front Raises 4 x 10-15
Dumbbell Rear Delt Rows 4 x 12-15
Hanging Leg Raises 4 x Failure
Cable Rope Crunches 4 x 15-20
Ab Rollouts 4 x 15-20 reps

Saturday: Active Rest

30-35 minutes Light Cardio/Abs

Sunday: Legs (Quad Focused)

Narrow Stance Squats 4 x 8-12
Leg Extensions 4 x 15 (Superset)
Dumbbell Goblet Squats 4 x 15
Barbell Walking Lunges 4 x each leg
Front Squats 4 x 8-12
Narrow Stance Leg Press 4 x 8-12

Daily Diet

“I feel it’s crucial for me to consume high quality proteins, complex carbohydrates and a variety of healthy fats into my daily diet. I also like to be really creative and try new things.”

Meal 1: 1 Egg Yolk, 4 Egg Whites , 1 cup Oats, 2 Slices Ezekiel Bread or 1 Multi-Grain English Muffin
Meal 2: 4-6 ounces Chicken and 5 ounces Mixed Green Vegetables
Meal 3: 1 ½ scoops Protein and 1 tablespoon Natural Peanut Butter mixed in Water
Meal 4: 5 ounces White Fish and 5 ounces Mixed Green Vegetables
Meal 5: (Pre Workout) 4-6 ounces Chicken, 1 cup Brown Rice or 1 Sweet Potato
Meal 6: (Post Workout) 4-6 ounces Red Meat and 5 ounces Mixed Green Vegetables

First of all… c’mon, when you look great you feel great, am I right? But it’s more than just that. I don’t know about you but I always like to keep a 6-pack with me wherever I go, and there’s nothing wrong with keeping it under your shirt.

Seriously though, your physical appearance can also play a factor when it comes to your mental health. If you are unhappy with your body then it’s more than likely that you’re going to be unhappy with yourself in other aspects of life too. I mean, take a look at some celebrities, you don’t see Ryan Reynolds or Margot Robbie too depressed do you? And, when was the last time you saw Chris Hemsworth or Scarlett Johansson actually sad in public? I’m not saying that being super hot automatically makes you happy but it definitely helps.

Another connection between being physically fit and mentally stable is your confidence. When you look good you feel good, and that feeling can carry you to branch out and try new things you wouldn’t have tried if you weren’t feeling so attractive. Now this new feeling of self confidence can also transcend into your professional life as well. Think about it, when you’re more self-confident, other people can pick up on that and it will reflect in your career to your coworkers.

So to tie it all together here, and stay with me on this, the healthier you are the better you look, the better you look the better you feel, the better you feel the more confident you are, the more confident you are the more you are willing to accomplish. Plus, on top of all of that, everybody likes you a little more when you’re the best looking person in the room.