How to Speed Up the Muscle Recovery Process

muscle recovery process

Working out can leave you feeling a little sore the next day. While a little soreness is nothing to be concerned about, it can also prevent you from really putting in 100% in your next session. If you are wondering help speed up the muscle recovery process so that you can fit and ready for the gym the next day, here are some tools that you can use and their benefits.

Tips to Speed Up the Muscle Recovery Process

Cool Down & Stretching

You should never skip your cool down following a gym workout. There are many advantages to cooling down and stretching, and one of them is helping to reduce muscle fatigue.

During your workout, your heart rate would have increased, so your cool down gives it time for your heart to return to its normal state at a more regulated pace. This will reduce the release of lactic acid (which is released during exercise).

More oxygen is circulated around the body, relaxing the muscles. The time you take to cool down is hence so critical to helping speed up the muscle recovery process.

Foam Rolling

A common sight at the gym is people using foam rollers before and after a workout. A foam roller aids in myofascial release; it helps to loosen the muscles and joints while also increasing mobility.

With foam rolling, you release muscle tension, especially if this is done after a gym workout. This is an alternative to a massage, where you can do it yourself. One advantage of this is that you can really focus on areas that are sore for you and spend a bit more time foam rolling there.

If you feel a knot or sore area, try to hold the foam roller over it for a bit long, or even roll back and forth in that space.

Releasing this tension means that you are also promoting better blood and oxygen circulation around the body. This will ultimately help to speed up the muscle recovery process and decrease DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

Massages

Massages are a great muscle recovery tool. While once-off massages are useful, to really reap the benefits, it is best to receive regular massages. Long-term use helps to relieve muscle tension, preventing the risk of injuries.

Other advantages of massages include:
– Gets the blood flow moving around the body by dilating the blood vessels, bettering bloog circulation
– Loosens muscles, hence increasing range of motion

Dry Needling

Another option to speed up the muscle recovery process is through dry needling. If you are scared of needles, however, maybe it is best to avoid this one.

Dry needling consists of a very thin needle penetrating through the skin to hit a specific trigger point such as a muscle knot. You know when you have hit a trigger point when you feel resistance or a twitch. Once the unhealthy muscle tissue is pinpointed, you use the needle to gently manipulate the area before removing it. This process is repeated several times.

So what is the benefit of dry needling?

Dry needling helps to speed up muscle and tissue recovery. With that twitch or resistance you feel, it sends a signal to the brain to start repairing that damaged area. This will help to restore normal tissue function.

Not only that but dry needling decreases inflammation while also increasing circulation around the body.

Sauna

The sauna is passive heat therapy. If your gym has a sauna, definitely take advantage of it so that you can speed up the muscle recovery process.

The sauna is a room that is heated, which helps the body emulate the effects of moderate exercise. You may feel your heart rate slightly increase and you will most definitely sweat. Not only that, you will also feel your muscles relax.

What the heat does in the sauna, is encourage the waste buildup (from your exercise) in your muscles and joints to go to the surface of the skin. This then disapparated as sweat.

Not only that, a sauna increases the flow of blood around your body. This means that your muscles are provided with more oxygen, helping in muscle recovery.

By heading to the sauna after a good workout, you will loosen your muscles, which will help to alleviate some of the soreness you may potentially experience.

Cryotherapy

A fitness trend gaining more traction the past few years is cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is when you go into a chamber for approximately 3 minutes in sub-zero temperatures. The point of this is to provide a safer and healthier alternative to the typical ‘ice bath’ that athletes and gym goers use to speed up the muscle recovery process.

Compared to the ice bath that promotes muscle stiffness, cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to submit the body to cold temperatures without stiffening the muscles or damaging the skin.

The benefits of this post-workout recovery tool are to alleviate inflammation, pain and soreness. It aids in discharging toxins from the tissues and directs blood flow to your vital organs, improving circulation. There is a reason why many pro athletes, like Lebron James, now have cryotherapy tanks in their own homes.

While getting cryotherapy, you wear protective gloves, socks and slippers. My wife and I actually tried our first cryotherapy session recently at Restore Hyper Wellness in Delray Beach, FL. It was a great overall experience.

Eat, Sleep and Hydrate

Along with these tools, basic functions such as eating and sleeping well and making sure you stay hydrated can really aid in the muscle recovery process.

A post-workout meal that is protein-rich can promote faster muscle repair and growth. Sleeping well at night gives your body the proper time it needs to rest and recover while staying hydrated can ensure that your bodily functions and organs are all performing at its optimum level.

Hopefully, you would have found one or more ways to help speed up the muscle recovery process in this article. While some should be mandatory after a workout session, such as cooling down and stretching, others like cryotherapy may be new territory. Try out different options to see which ones give you the better muscle relief so that you can head back to the gym feeling 100%.

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has the largest exercise library complete with free workout routines to help mix up your training. It also gives you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community.

What other tools or therapy do you use to help speed up the muscle recovery process? Which ones on this list have you found to be the most effective for you? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!

Some Of The Best Home Exercises To Start Doing

Anyone who likes to workout is always on the lookout for a new exercise to try. The following list includes some of the best home exercises for you to try. There are literally hundreds of exercises you potentially could choose. The following six are just a few of what we consider to be the best home exercises. The only thing needed with this group is your bodyweight or one piece of equipment. In addition, these exercises won’t break the bank and all work as a (low cost) workout option. Use the Jefit app, recently names best fitness app by Men’s Health, PC Magazine and Healthline, when planning and tracking your strength workouts.

Three Great Bodyweight Exercises

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T Push-Up

The T Push-up is an excellent progression to move to when you’ve exhausted other push-up variations. It is basically, a traditional push-up that transitions to an extended arm side plank. This particular variation places more load on the wrist, shoulder and core (obliques) than a regular push-up. As a result, you get much more bang for your buck. The exercise is a perfect choice for any bodyweight workout or circuit where you’re trying to utilize as much muscle as possible. The Jefit app offers this exercise in its database under push-up to side plank.

Box Jump

Any type of jumping is great to add to a workout. It can come in the form of single or double leg hops as part of a dynamic warm-up or more involved like split jumps or box jumps. In regard to box jumps, a 18-20″ plyo box or platform usually works best depending on of course on training experience. Box jumps work every muscle in the lower extremity allowing the hips and legs to train using triple extension. This is where the ankles, knees and hips are slightly flexed before jumping, followed immediately by an explosive extension using the same muscle groups.

Think about any explosive Olympic lift for a moment…that’s right, they all involve triple extension. One of the cool things is this can carry-over to basically every sport-specific movement.

Burpee

A burpee is a full body exercise that requires a great deal of flexibility, mobility and strength to perform. It is also one of the best home exercises to add to any workout. If technique is in question, try doing them initially in “slow motion.” Basically, break the exercise down into segments and see how you manage this before progressing to a faster pace. Keep the core engaged throughout the exercise.

The great thing is, you can eventually progress to adding in movements, like a push-up, as your technique improves. One area that many have trouble with is keeping the body rigid as they jump back into a plank or what some call a push-up position. You need to stick this part. Prevent your low back from “sagging” and your butt should not end up higher than the rest of your body. Keep a straight line through the knee, hip and shoulder. Think about staying as straight and solid as a board. If you need a regression, try a mountain climber first and see how you do with this exercise, which can also be found in the Jefit database. You can make a burpee a customized exercise in the Jefit app.

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Three Minimal Equipment Exercises to Try

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Band Exercise(s)

More specifically, we’re talking about small band work used for side stepping, monster walks, back-peddling, etc. You can choose. Everyday life and many of the movements performed in the gym are typically repeated in the same planes of motion. Life and movement, like walking, stair-climbing is done in a linear fashion. When is the last time you performed side stepping on your leg day? This type of movement falls under the often neglected frontal plane. A good weekly workout should incorporate movement targeting all planes of motion.

To begin, place a small rubber band (from either Amazon, Perform Better or Power Systems) around your ankles or above the knees. Maintain a slight bend in the knees, with core engaged and toes pointed straight ahead at all times. Next, perform a side stepping movement for 10-15 yards and return in the opposite direction. This movement is ideal for firing up your hip abductors like glute medius. This area is usually weak or dysfunctional when it comes to most adults. The best way to incorporate these types of movement is to make them part of your dynamic warm-up.

Jumping Rope

This is considered one of the best and most effective exercises you can do at home (or when traveling or at the gym for that matter). A few minutes of jumping rope elevates respiration and heart rate, and strengthens the lower leg while burning maximum calories in minimal time. One study, in The Research Quarterly, found that 10-minutes a day of jumping rope was as efficient as 30-minutes a day of jogging when looking to improve cardiovascular efficiency. Add it to your workout as either part of a warm-up or as a component in a HIIT or circuit program. Build up your duration or number of toe taps over time.

Goblet Squat

Another great, functional movement that requires minimal equipment is a Goblet Squat. Typically performed with a kettlebell, dumbbell or a weight plate. This a great exercise if you have been doing barbell squats for a while. A Goblet Squat requires you to go below parallel. Meaning, if the mobility is there, the knees will be higher than the hips at the end of the movement. You’ll end up looking like a catcher playing baseball. Keep the weight close to your body throughout and elbows pointed down.

The six exercises mentioned here would be a welcome addition to any home exercise routine. Even better, add all six of them when you build your next Jefit interval-based workout. Perform 30-seconds of each exercise to start and build up your duration over time.

Add These Exercises to a Jefit Workout

The award-winning Jefit app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

Do Benefits of Exercise Get Lost Sitting Too Much?

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Research has demonstrated often that sitting too much is bad for us. Individuals who sit ten or more hours a day are at greater risk of premature death. Too much sitting can cause a host of health problems especially if exercise is absent.

We have all heard that sitting for extended periods of time can take years away from our lives. New scientific research has backed this up and now sitting for long periods of time has been linked to various forms of cancer.

A large meta-analysis was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute looking at 43 observational studies with approximately 69,000 cancer cases. The study reported the lowest and highest “sedentary time” in subjects and concluded higher sedentary times were associated with an “increased risks of certain types of cancer.” The researchers found “sitting is associated with a 24 percent increased risk of colon cancer, a 32 percent increased risk of endometrial cancer, and a 21 percent increased risk of lung cancer.” The good new, however, is only 30 to 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day “substantially weakens this risk”. Time to start standing and moving more!

“Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”

Edward Stanley, 1873.

Four Tips if You are Sitting Too Much

Assuming the above statement is true, then how can we add more activity into our daily routine to help us add more years to our lives rather than the other way around? Here are four easy ways to get you started.

1. Use a Pedometer. Research has shown repeatedly that people who walk more during the day are thinner than those who don’t walk as much. Pedometer users take approximately 40 percent more steps throughout the day than non-pedometer wearers. Build up to a goal of 10,000 steps a day. Keep in mind there is no magic number here. The research shows anywhere between 8,000 to 12,000 steps a day is optimal for health and keeping your bodyweight in check.

2. Increase Office Activity. When you need to make or take a call, do it standing preferably while walking outside; make it a walking conference call. Always take the stairs rather than use an elevator. Hard to imagine but the worldwide average for using the stairs is only 5 percent. Get out for a 15-minute walk at lunch time. If possible, get a walking treadmill desk, standing desk etc. You get the idea.

3. Turn Sunday into a Funday. This of course could be any weekend day. Have a predetermined plan and schedule an activity that is done with family or friends. Get together for a hike, a long bike ride, walk/run, stadium stair climb, run a road race together, kayak/SUP trip, etc.

4. Take a Short Walk After Dinner. This can be a big one for paying back strong health dividends. Research shows, a short 15-20 minute walk following dinner can improve digestion, decrease stress level, regulate blood sugar (great after a high carb meal), and improve sleep.

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Additional Research on Sitting Too Much

A great reference for me lately has been the new book, “Exercised” by Harvard University researcher, Dr. Daniel Lieberman. He has a ton of health and fitness information in the book that is heavily referenced with some great longitudinal studies. According to Lieberman there is a lot of hyperbole out there with respect to research on sitting. He goes on to say, however, that there also well-publicized studies that have determined “sitting more than three hours a day is responsible for nearly 4 percent of death worldwide.” In addition, “replacing an hour or two of daily sitting with light activities like walking can lower death rates by 20 to 40 percent”.

Dr. Lieberman looks at three main concerns with too much sitting. First, when we spend 9-12 hours a day sitting, we could be using more of that time standing and adding more physical activity into our day. Second, long periods of “uninterrupted inactivity elevate levels of sugar and fat in the bloodstream”. Finally, his third concern is the most alarming, hours of too much sitting could “trigger our immune systems to attack our bodies through a process known as inflammation”. Keep in mind this is one of the more important reasons for strength training beyond building and maintaining muscle mass as we age. Muscle makes up about a third of of the body and lean muscle mass “has potent anti-inflammatory effects”. Just one more reason why EVERYONE should be committed to regular strength training.

Hopefully, reading a few of these statistics will help to change your mindset and get you moving a little bit more. I’m going to stand up now, how about you? Stay active and be safe.

Try the Jefit App to Increase Your Activity

The award-winning Jefit app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

Don’t Miss Out on the Great Benefits of Leg Day

benefits of leg day

If there is one day that most people dread at the gym, it is leg day. Often, people tend to skip training their legs in favor of other parts such as the arms or chest. However, there are many benefits of leg day which means that you should absolutely not skip your leg training. To get you motivated to train legs, here are the reasons why leg training day is so important.

What Are the Benefits of Leg Day?

Work Out Your Entire Body

While the arms, chest and shoulders seem to reign supreme in the gym in terms of aesthetics and perceived strength, skipping leg day means that you can create a muscle imbalance in your body. Your upper body will be more toned and stronger than your lower body, which is not what you want.

You want an overall, proportionate figure that is in symmetry. Not only is that better for your body on the inside, it also makes for better aesthetics.

So don’t skimp out on the legs and make sure you evenly workout your entire body.

Reduce Injury Risk

The benefits of leg day also extend beyond appearance. It assists in reducing injury risk. This is because you are training and strengthening your lower body, which can help you across all other sports and activities, even just walking and running.

By incorporating functional leg strengthening exercises, you will be able to work on your hamstrings, quadriceps, and even hip flexors. These are all muscles that you use in your everyday life, so by working on them, you increase stability and endurance.

Leg training is especially important if you play other sports in minimizing injury. Runners, for example, can prevent runner’s knee by incorporating lower body strength training into their routine. So ensuring that you remain in optimal health is always a good reason to do something, like training your legs.

Burn More Calories

Your lower body holds the largest muscle in the body, which is your gluteus maximus. By training this area more, your body will work harder, meaning that you will be burning more calories.

Your metabolism will also increase. This is because the body will require more calories to repair the muscles in this area than it would for the smaller muscle groups.

Improve Your Lifts

Legs are such an important part of your body, especially in terms of lifting and sports. The benefits of leg day mean that you will be able to actually improve other areas of your workout, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

For example, the bench press uses your legs as well. Your legs play a vital role in the bench in providing support and stability, so by working on your lower body, you will be improving your other important lifts.

Help with Other Sports

Not only is training your legs beneficial for gym movements but it is also advantageous for other sports. You get your source of power from your legs and training them means you can increase explosive leg power and balance.

Just think about how much work your legs do when it comes to running and cycling. If you think about it – you really do use your legs a lot and by working on this area, you can really improve your athleticism, speed and endurance.

Work Other Parts of the Body Simultaneously

When we talk about the benefits of leg day, one thing to remember is that it is not just your legs that are going to benefit. In fact, when you work out your legs, you also train other parts of your body as secondary focuses.

Take the squat for example. When you squat, you should also be engaging your core, giving you a good ab workout. When you deadlift properly, you should be working your chest as well.

So if you are thinking about skipping leg day, just remember you will be missing out on more than just leg training.

What Leg Exercises Should You Do?

So now that you know what the benefits of leg day are, what exercises work best? Compound movements are those that engage more than one muscle group. By using two or more different joints, you really get a good workout that forces muscles to work together.

For leg day, focus on compound movements like the squat, deadlift and leg press. Lunges are also a great move that works the hamstrings, glutes and quads.

It is also a good idea to go heavier (but remember to do fewer reps) to really encourage muscle growth throughout the body.

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library. It comes free workout routines to help mix up your training, with many lower body exercises so you can reap the benefits of leg day.

Do you agree with these benefits of leg day? What are some of your favorite leg exercises? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!

Strong, Functional Hips: A Must for an Active Lifestyle

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Strong, functional hips are beneficial both in and out of the gym. Powerful hips are the driving force that connects a strong upper and lower body. The hip is considered the most powerful joint in the body because of all the musculature needed to function properly. If the hips are not functional they will hinder the body and end up producing less force in compound movements. Think about how less efficient you will be if your hips are weak or dysfunctional. Everything from performing squats and deadlifts to holding a yoga pose will be negatively affected. According to Michael Reiman, PT and his colleagues, as stated in the International Journal Sports Physical Therapy, “Restricted (hip) mobility can consequently have deleterious effects not only at the involved joint but throughout the entire kinetic chain”.

What Movements do the Hips Perform?

The hip joint is your basic ball-in-socket joint that allows movement in three degrees of freedom. Strong, functional hips, are developed over time using these seven movements:

  • Flexion
  • Extension
  • Abduction
  • Adduction
  • Circumduction (Rotation)
  • Internal Rotation
  • External Rotation

A Hip Dynamic Warm-up is Extremely Beneficial

One of the big injury culprits in todays society is inactivity, which includes the big one, sitting too much. Daniel Lieberman, PhD, a Harvard University evolutionary biologist, reports in his new book, Exercised, that the average American adult is inactive 55-75 percent of the day. One way to offset this inactivity is with regular, focused movement, that incorporates the seven areas of movement mentioned above. Therefore, adding 15-minutes of dynamic warm-up prior to exercise is a great start. This will help develop strong, functional hips. Here is a quick dynamic warm-up you can try before your next Jefit strength workout.

  1. High Knee Marching or Running (to target hip flexion).
  2. Standing Hip Extension (hip extension).
  3. Standing Side Leg Swings (hip abduction/adduction). Runners love this one.
  4. Supine or Standing Knee Circles (rotation).
  5. Moving Side Step-Over (internal/external rotation).

Perform (#1 & 5 above) for 10-15 yards each. The remaining ones can be done for repetition or time. Change up the direction as you progress, meaning perform forward/backward etc. As with the first one, High Knee Marching, one day move forward and the next, try to perform it as you walk backward.

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Major Muscle Groups Used to Move the Hip

  • Flexion: Iliopsoas group (iliacus and psoas major).
  • Extension: Gluteus maximus.
  • Abduction: Gluteus medius and minimus.
  • Adduction: Adductor brevis, longus, and magnus along with pectineus and gracilis.
  • Rotation: Lateral rotator group of muscles including the biceps femoris, sartorius, and gluteus medius and minimus.
  • External Rotation: Gemellus superior and inferior, obturator internus and externus, quadratus femoris and finally, the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus.
  • Internal Rotation: Tensor fasciae latae (outer hip) parts of the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus (upper buttocks) the adductor longus, brevis, and magnus (inner thigh) and finally, the pectineus (upper frontal thigh).

Effective Hip Exercises

This list of hip exercises are in no specific order. The first ten are performed as bodyweight exercises. You can progress to carrying a load. The second ten are some of the better strength training exercises. What are your favorite exercises on this list? What exercises do you see great results with that did not make our list? Again, these are not the BEST, just a few that came to mind first.

  1. Multi-directional Lunges (forward, reverse, side)
  2. Step-ups
  3. SLRD (single-leg Romanian Deadlift)
  4. Plyo Box Jumps (single & double le)
  5. Explosive jumps (broad jump, star jumps etc.)
  6. Child Pose (yoga)
  7. Pidgeon Pose (yoga)
  8. Bodyweight Squat (regular & deep)
  9. Medicine Ball Squat to Explosive Push
  10. Side-Lying Hip Abduction
  11. Traditional Squat – Front/Back – (barbell/dumbbell/kettlebell)
  12. Kettlebell Hip Thrust
  13. Wide-Stance Squat (progress to below parallel)
  14. Sumo Squat
  15. Goblet Squat
  16. Barbell Hip Thrust
  17. Bulgarian Split Squat
  18. Deadlift
  19. Kettlebell Swing
  20. Walking Lunges (barbell/dumbbell/kettlebell)

*Bonus: Monster Walks (using a band) and Band Side Step

Get Strong with Jefit

The award-winning Jefit app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Stay strong with Jefit.

Do This Quick Warm-up Before Strength Training

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There is not a person on this planet who does not want to improve their training output in the gym. Many people typically do just a few quick stretches or repetitions of the upcoming exercise and that’s it. A specific warm-up preceding strength training – geared towards individual needs – improves how your body feels and moves in a workout. Period. This so-called warm-up box should always be checked prior to any strength training session. If you want to get more out of the workout that is.

The key is to first find what works for your body. Some gym-goers require an easy dynamic warm-up to break a sweat, while another responds to targeted mobility work. This in turn, opens up tight, restricted muscle and connective tissue. Sometimes a few warm-up sets prior to lifting just doesn’t do the trick. The following sequence is great to do before any strength or cardio workout. It is specifically targeted to prepare the thoracic spine, commonly referred to as the T-spine, for the upcoming workout.

The majority of Americans, both young and old, spend hours each day sitting. As a result, muscles shorten and connective tissue (fascia) becomes restrictive. A quick mobility series like this one will increase blood flow to these areas and as a result you’ll feel, move and lift better in the workout.

Try This Warm-up Before Strength Training

Take a pair of tennis balls and either tape them together with electrical tape or place them in a sock and tie off the end. There is also a product you can purchase called a peanut that will also work nicely. The idea is to place the tennis balls in contact with your back. Each of the tennis balls end up on the left and right sides of your erector spinae muscles away from your spine. Then lie down on it. Begin at the first thoracic vertebrae below the seventh cervical, where when you flex your neck you can feel the “bump” and slowly move (“roll”) down towards your lumbar spine. Spend about 30-45 seconds manipulating the tennis balls into the muscle before moving down 1-2 inches. There are twelve thoracic vertebrae so you will need to reposition your body that many times. View the the following Instagram clip to see how to correctly position your body and perform the exercise.

Easy 3-Step Thoracic Mobility Series

After you spend a few minutes having fun with your tennis balls, try these three mobility movements. The idea is to “insert here” the specific mobility drill your body may need. I’m showing you just one area (thoracic spine), it may be a different area altogether, like the hips, shoulder – whatever. Check out the following Instagram clip on how to perform each movement in this 3-step mobility series. Below are pictures (start/finish) of each of the three movements that make up this mobility series.

Kneeling Thoracic Rotation (start/finish)

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Start

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Finish (end point)

Side-Lying Thoracic Rotation

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Supine Thoracic Rotation (Windmill)

Note: The finish (end point) should be (eventually) with the lower leg making contact with the foam roller (looks like somebody is tight in that photo). You can also use a yoga block, small medicine ball or whatever else is of similar height to support the leg. Finally, you can also perform this particular movement on your side with the hips and knees kept at right angles without the aid of any props. The arms are positioned the same way and the movement occurs in the same manner as pictured.

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Mobility Warm-up Before Strength Training (Prescription)

Week 1-2: Perform 4-6 repetitions x 1 (3x/week)

Week 3-4: Perform 8-15 repetitions x 2 (4x/week)

Just a week of incorporating these movements into your warm-up or post workout will lead to a big pay off. You will notice your body feels and moves much better, even after the first session. Enjoy the additional freedom of movement you’re going to get if you make this a regular occurrence.

Jefit was recently named one of the best fitness apps by eftm.com and PC Magazine for 2021. Jefit is a workout app for gym and home. It helps you plan and stick to your workouts on a regular basis. While there are already over 3800 complete training routines available, it also comes with a customizable gym workout planner. This way you can personalize your own regime that works with your specific fitness goals. Stay strong!

Gym Workout App: 6 Ways to Measure Your Progress

Drop the Scale: 6 Ways to Measure Your Progress Without the Scale gym workout app

When it comes to measuring your progress, what tools do you usually turn to? For most of us, we usually step onto the scale and focus on the number that flashes back at us. However, stepping onto the scale is not the most accurate way to track your progress. So, here are better ways to do so, such as using a gym workout app to log your data.

6 Alternative Ways to Measure Your Progress Using a Workout App

1. Track Your Body Fat Percentage

Measuring your body fat percentage is a much more accurate and telling way to track your progress compared to the scale.

This is because the scale does not differentiate between fat and muscle in your body. It can be a problem because even if you are losing fat, you may also be gaining muscle. However, you wouldn’t know it just by judging the scale number.

A way to get around this is to measure your body fat percentage. There are multiple ways to do this such as by getting a body scanner or using a body fat caliper.

This way, you can track your body fat percentage specifically which is a better way to measuring progress. Also, remember to note down these measurements by using a gym workout app or a journal. All your data will be in the one place, making it easy to follow.

2. Track Your Body Stats Using a Gym Workout App

Not only is recording body fat percentage a great way to track your progress but so is body size. You can use an advanced tool such as a body scanner to measure specific body part sizes or a simple one like a tape measure.

You can measure any part of your body including your chest, biceps, waist, and so forth. Knowing these measurements can show you how your body parts have grown or shrunk, individually as well as in correlation to each other, e.g. chest/waist ratio.

A good gym workout app will give you the ability to input this data so you can easily keep all your records in one place.

3. Take Progress Pictures

One of the best and inspiring ways people measure their progress is through progress pictures. You may have seen them all over Instagram, and there is a reason why they have taken over the online fitness world.

By putting together pictures side by side, you can really gain a visual insight into how much your body has changed over time.

Taking progress pictures is a really great method because when you look in the mirror every day, you don’t see the small and subtle changes in your body. It is when you look back, you can see any differences in your “before” and “after” pictures.

You can keep your pictures to yourself or use a photo sharing app such as Instagram or a gym workout app to share with others in a supportive community. You never know, your progress pictures may inspire others on their own fitness journey.

4. Hearing Other People’s Comments

Apart from progress pictures, another way to tell how your body has changed is based on other people’s (supportive) comments.

Your family and friends, especially those you haven’t seen in awhile, will be able to notice any differences that you may have missed.

Not only will this be able to confirm that you are making progress but it is a big confidence booster when people tell you that you have lost weight, or you’ve gotten bigger, depending on your goals.

5. Feel How Your Clothes Fit

Another way to measure your progress without stepping on the scale is going by how your clothes fit. This is particularly useful if your aim is to lose weight.

By trying on clothes that you wore at the start of your fitness journey, you will be able to see determine if you are on track by how it fits.

It is a really motivationally boosting method in doing so as well. This is the idea of shopping for new clothes with your newfound body and body confidence is exciting.

6. Judge How You Feel

One of the biggest indicators that you are advancing towards your fitness goals is based on how you feel.

Can you lift heavier than you could 3 months ago? Does that 1-hour group fitness training class not feel as long or laborious as it did when you first started? Can you run up those flights of stairs that you struggled to walk up before?

You know yourself better than anybody, so based on how you feel, you should be able to tell whether you are progressing and getting fitter.

The scale can be an inaccurate and also demotivating way to measure performance. The numbers simply just don’t tell the entire story and can undermine your hard work and effort. By using these methods instead, you will be able to have a much more accurate and clearer indication of your hard work and efforts.

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps you measure your progress. With the ability to track body measurements, body fat percentages and progress pictures, you can save all your data and records in one place. Not only that, with a supportive community, you will be surrounded by like-minded people to share progress and motivation.

The Positive Impact of Group Exercise Training

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I am sure that you’ve heard that one of the best ways to keep to your fitness goals is to get a workout buddy. The impact of having someone is there to progress with you and keep you accountable cannot be underestimated. In fact, social influence in the form of group exercise training has been proven to be an effective way to keep people engaged with their exercise activity.

How Group Exercise Training and Social Influence Can Help You Hit Your Fitness Goals

There are several reasons why social influence is a great way to keep to your training regimen:

Holds You Accountable

Having a workout buddy or group can really motivate you to get to the gym even when you don’t want to. Often, we tell ourselves it is okay if we skip just one session this time, or that it won’t matter if we stay in instead of working out. However, with social influence, such as group exercise training, it because less about you and more about your buddies.

You won’t just be letting yourself down but others too, holding you accountable to your exercise sessions.

Gives You Encouragement

Hearing encouragement from your workout buddies and group is also really helpful. Having others telling you to ignore the doubt in your head and the second-guesses you have about yourself, can make a big difference.

Encouragement is invaluable, and having this social influence on your fitness journey can really get you to the gym. In fact, being part of such a community can have such a great and positive impact on your fitness journey. It may even fuel your exercise addiction where you are able to head to the gym without needing constant pushes from your friends.

Makes Exercise Fun

Some people like working out by themselves while others need a group or people around them. Being part of a group fitness training can really make exercising fun. It will be much more enjoyable.

The high that you get during and after your workout is what makes working out addictive, and when you constantly have fun sessions, this is something that you may also open yourself to.

Pushes You to Work Out Harder

By having people doing the same workouts as you, you will find that you automatically will start to work out harder.

You don’t want to be the person in your group exercise training that falls behind, and this way, you will be able to encourage each other.

By having someone that pushes you to do that last set, it can really give you that boost of motivation you need, especially when you are struggling.

Creates Friendly Competition

Rather than just doing being able to work out together, why not get a little bit of friendly competition going?

Competing with friends helps keep you on the edge, influencing you to step up your game even more. In these circumstances, this pressure from within your group can be made into something positive.

You’ll find that you will work out harder, get your heart racing faster and have so much more fun.

There doesn’t need to be a reward at the end. The incentive could be just the invigorating workout itself. However, a free and healthy post-workout lunch for the winning party won’t go astray!

Creates a Sense of Belonging

As always when you have a group setting, it can really help with your sense of community.

You will feel part of something by being surrounded by like-minded people with similar ambitions to your own.

This social setting makes going to the gym less of a chore and something that you naturally look forward to. It will also help you stick with your fitness goals when you have people beside you the entire way.

Don’t underestimate the value of a strong bond, especially with group exercise training.

Social influence really does play an important role in your participation and involvement in exercise. It can help enhance your workouts and turn it into something fun, yet still challenging and rewarding. Forming strong bonds within a fitness environment can do wonders for your progress.

Jefit is a workout app that focuses on community. Alongside their extensive exercise library and workout log tracker, they also have an online community where you can communicate and connect with other users. You can share your training plans, journey and results through the form of photos or stats and view others as well. Engage with a supportive fitness community to reap the benefits of social influence with your own training regimen!

Are you a determine gym goer? Do you want to hit your fitness goals surrounded by like-minded people?

To help with this, Jefit is offering our Quarterly Workout Contest for all our amazing community members! With cash awards and free elite accounts up for grabs, all participants will also be able to gain encouragement and valuable feedback from the million other members who share similar goals and interests as you. Get started now. Simply head to the Jefit app now!

Do you find that there is a positive impact of social influence on your training? Leave us a comment below, we would love to hear it!

Exercise Guidelines to Keep You Strong as You Age

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We all have different needs when it comes to exercise and those needs continue to change as we age. When was the last time you really thought seriously about your exercise routine? More importantly, are you experiencing gains with the current program you’re on? Maybe gains came easy when you were younger. What worked once, however, for whatever reasons does not seem to work as good now.

First, celebrate your success. You have continued to exercise all these years and that’s a good thing even if – at times – it may not be as evident when you step onto your bathroom scale. Keep in mind, more than 30 percent of Americans do not exercise at all and only about 5 percent of the population exercise at what is considered a vigorous level. Approximately 69 percent of Americans are currently overweight or obese.

All the work you’ve put in has done wonders for your body, mind, and spirit. More specifically, it has helped maintain your strength and lean muscle levels. A loss of muscle tissue occurs, for those who do not exercise, at a rate of about half a pound a year or roughly 5 pounds per decade. As this happens, a few of the many by-products are loss of strength, power and balance.

Use It Or Lose It

The average person who does not exercise regularly, experiences an 8 percent drop in their strength level per decade. By the time someone reaches age 65 they have about 25 percent less strength compared to when they were 30 years old. On the aerobic side of things you lose about 10 percent of your aerobic capacity each decade after age 40. There is potential to lose as much as 25 percent of bone in both sexes, as a result of inactivity, sitting too much and menopausal changes in women. With all this decline comes balance issues and additional problems with functionality, that could ultimately lead to a loss of independence.

Write down what you and your body really need as you get ready to enter 2021. What are you truly looking to accomplish with all the time you invest in yourself doing exercise and trying to eat healthier? You don’t own it until you write it down.

Needs Assessment

Prior to beginning any type of exercise program, it is essential that you undergo a needs assessment. The goal of this analysis is to create clearly defined goals that will help you make the most progress from your training. Ask yourself, what does your body really need at this point in time? Maybe you need more mobility work and less pounding (running) or loading (lifting weights). You may have been doing a lot of strength or cardio work but how is your balance? When was the last time you treated yourself to a good massage or took a yoga class? Find out what you need (by testing yourself) and set a few short and long-term goals.

Test Yourself Periodically

Work with a coach and complete an assessment to determine where you currently stand in the following areas below. Ask yourself: How do you judge improvement if you don’t measure it? Visit our Jefit Coach to help.

  • Body Composition
  • Strength
  • Power
  • Aerobic/Anaerobic ability
  • Mobility
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
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Exercise Program

This is where most of us get lost and end up wasting a lot of time. The first goal is to find out what’s tight and lengthen it and then what’s weak and strengthen it. This will ultimately help you move and lift better in the gym. The second goal is to move better, also known as movement competency. Once an individual can execute a movement efficiently with a full range of motion (that is unrestricted), like a Squat or Deadlift, then and only then should the volume (sets x reps x load) be increased. When someone cannot execute a particular movement pattern correctly, do not increase repetitions, the number of sets or especially the load. Anyone who is loading tight, stiff muscles is basically an accident waiting to happen, it’s only a matter of time until you’ll need to take time off!

Focus on the primary movement patterns below using the “Big 6” as part of your primary strength routine and don’t sweat the small stuff.

  • Squat
  • Hip Hinge
  • Carry
  • Lunge
  • Push
  • Pull

A well-designed exercise program should improve mobility, increase strength, power, improve cardiovascular fitness and more. A strength and conditioning program should change body composition by way of adding lean muscle tissue and decreasing body fat. Balance should also improve in addition to flexibility and mobility. You must add time to your workout though to address it. But you won’t know if you’re improving if you don’t periodically measure it. Has this been an issue for you?

Focus on adding in a bout of sprint work to your weekly cardio routine. This should come in the form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). A few examples would be sprinting, cycling or rowing. Place more emphasis on quality rather than quantity when doing HIIT and remember, the key is manipulating the intensity as you get better at it.

Finally, focus on doing more mobility work each time you exercise and make it part of your recovery process on off days. These guidelines will help keep you strong and functional through the aging process.

Potential Prescription Ideas

  • Strength training (Big 6) 2-3x/week.
  • Fitness: Elevate your heart rate 2-3x/week for 15-30:00 (wear a heart rate monitor). Add HIIT at least once a week.
  • Power: work on vertical or horizontal jumping 1x/week (jump rope, box jumps, DOT drills, etc.)
  • Add more mobility work (via movements and foam roller etc.).
  • Baseline/Follow-up Assessment
  • Try Yoga

Use Jefit to Help Track Progress and More

Jefit is a workout log app that helps you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together. Stay Strong!

Is Strength Training and HIIT an Ideal Combo?

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It’s a constant exploration, trying to find the ideal combination of weekly workouts to help you lose weight, get stronger, feel better, and so on! So, regardless of what your stance is on strength training, or the use of slow reps to make you stronger, or just cardio, cardio, cardio, here is the case for high-intensity interval training or HIIT and strength training as the ideal training combo.

The HIIT Revolution

High-intensity interval training has made a lot of headlines in recent years, and there have been countless fitness routines and regimes designed to take advantage of this high-intensity aspect. But why does high-intensity training work so well? It all goes back to that age-old approach to building muscle by putting your body under a lot of duress. In doing such an intense amount of exercise, you aren’t just going for a basic run; you are pushing your body to the limit. Many say that cardio is only effective if you do it for a long period of time. With respect to HIIT, it’s all about utilizing the right intensity. Similarly to what felt at the end of a road race, but in the space of 10-20 minutes. One of the great things about HIIT is the more intense the effort the shorter the workout needs to be.

“HIIT is the closest thing we have to an exercise pill.”

Martin Gibala, PhD, Researcher and Author, The One-Minute Workout

The HIIT Basics

For those that are unaware of HIIT, the basic premise is that you mix short bouts of intense exercise with longer periods of recovery. This is repeated for a specific duration. An example would be a period of time where you are working at 60 to 70 percent intensity, for a few minutes. And then, the next 30-60 seconds you would go “all-out,” at 100%! After that intense interval, your’e back at a moderate intensity, and continue using this undulating format for a specific duration. A few examples of this type of training include Insanity (bodyweight) workouts and P90X (using dumbbells) to offer a better picture.

There are many benefits to this type of training. One such benefit is that it’s a perfect choice for those who don’t have a lot of time to exercise. This is why it is such a useful component in modern exercise because many people can’t dedicate 5 or 6 sessions a week to commit to workout. But as an entryway into intense exercise, it is a perfect method for you to build up your resilience to strenuous exercise. Keep your HIIT to initially to 1-2 sessions a week. This leads us nicely to adding-in the next component, making this an ideal combination each week.

Strength Training

Strength training has become the most vital component of a workout routine. Now, as people are more obsessed with the aesthetics of exercise, flat abs, toned arms, etc., strength training is a fundamental component of getting this right. There are lots of workouts that focus heavily on strength training where are you perform compound exercises like, squat, bench press, barbell row, overhead press and deadlift. This type of protocol with these specific strength training exercises are usually done three times a week, meaning you’ve got time to live your life! But, it also gives you the opportunity to recover.

The main idea with this particular strength training format is that you start off light, but every time you complete the amount of repetitions required, you add 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) to the weight. So, there’s going to be a point where you will definitely plateau. As a result, this is one of the best ways to improve strength and other facets of your workout. And everybody can benefit from strength training. Many people, however, skip compound movements and focus on various isolation exercises instead.

The benefit of this type of strength training is that it forces the body to adapt and as a result, muscle and connective tissue become stronger. And because you are lifting so heavy, it places your body under the required amount of stress you need to build more muscle. And this is why it’s such a beneficial workout. Those who have been exercising for years may not feel the benefits as much, but for those who are looking for a perfect starting point to build muscle and strength, this is it. And when this gets combined with HIIT, you’ve got the perfect training package.

Combining HIIT and Strength

Going back to Insanity and P90X, these are good examples of strength training and HIIT working in tandem. Although Insanity is all about using your bodyweight, if you were to swap in free weights, as with P90X, and do HIIT in between those workout days, you’ll end up with a fat torching combo! The intensity of lifting heavy forces your body to recruit more muscle fiber, and it also helps with weight loss, because you increase your overall caloric expenditure. When you add high-intensity interval training, as in the form of Tabata sprints, it becomes a powerful combination. But be warned. Trying to implement both is a fantastic way for you to lose weight if you need it. Doing both together, though, is a very difficult thing indeed, and if you are trying something new like Insanity, it can be really challenging on your body.

The results will speak for themselves, although you should try it out, and build up a resilience to it, before implementing the other workout. The thing about both of these is that once your endurance improves, you will be able to push yourself even further in a workout. Naturally, there will be points when you plateau, but as a way to build strength and work capacity, you are going to be unstoppable if you do it right!

Use Jefit App to Plan & Track Workouts

Jefit is a workout log app that helps you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together. Stay Strong!

All You Need To Know For Effective Fat Loss

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If you want to lose body fat, you’re not alone. However, effective fat loss can seem impossible at times, especially if you try to overcomplicate things. Many magazines, articles, Instagram “experts” and YouTubers like to share their opinions on the matter, and this can make it seem even more complicated. Below, you’ll find four simple things that you need to remember for effective fat loss. Stick to them, and it’ll work for you too.

Find a Type Of Exercise You Enjoy

Exercise is important but not the most important aspect of fat loss, believe it or not. However, it can help, and a ton of additional benefits come with it, too. Finding a type of exercise you enjoy will make it so much easier. Switch it up and just have fun. 

Get Your NEAT Up 

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT, is the energy your body uses for movement other than exercise. Len Kravitz, PhD, defines NEAT as “the energy expenditure of daily activities such as sitting, standing, walking, and talking – all activities that are not considered planned physical activity of a person’s daily life.” It is basically the “micro” exercise you do each day while going about your daily activities. By walking more and aiming to be more active day to day, it will, collectively, make a big difference.

In one research study it was determined that lean subjects (higher NEAT level) expend approximately 350 more calories a day (i.e. walking and standing) when compared to obese subjects (lower NEAT level). That amount of calories over the course of one year (with all other factors being equal) would equate to a weight-loss of 36.5 pounds!

Control Sleep and Stress 

Sleep and stress play a huge role in fat loss. Make sure you’re getting a minimum of 8 hours a night, and keep your stress levels under control. Look after yourself and get into a routine with it. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that individuals who got less than 5.5 hours of sleep each night lost 60 percent more lean muscle that those who got adequate sleep.

Eat a Balanced Diet 

The most important aspect of fat loss is how you eat. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be consistent. Fad diets should be avoided, and instead, a balanced, healthy eating approach should be taken.

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that helps you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together. Stay Strong!

Seven Benefits of Waking Up Early Based on Science

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You often hear that athletes are made in the weight room. You could take that a step further saying they’re made in the kitchen. The first two items though work better when you add sleep to the equation. There are also many health benefits to waking up early to start your day.

Some of us are early birds, and some of us are night owls. We should just live and let live, right? While that is true there are so many proven benefits of waking up early. We should all take them into account if we want to stay healthy and full of energy. This particularly goes for fitness buffs who need to maintain a certain tempo and strength level to finish their routine. Getting up early correlates with many other health benefits, including dietary choices, mental health, sleep quality, and more.

If you are still not feeling convinced, let’s take a look at what science has to say about the issue, and who knows maybe you’ll transform into an early bird by choice by the end of this article.

Benefits of Waking Up Early: You Make Healthier Food Choices

I completely understand the appeal of pressing the snooze button dozens of times to squeeze in some extra sleep, but before you know it, that can take away hours from your morning. This means you will probably skip breakfast and have brunch or lunch instead. However, your body needs to be given a chance to absorb as many healthy nutrients as it can first thing in the morning. In fact, several studies have proven that breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories throughout the day.

You Improve Your Mental Health

Talking about health only in terms of physical shape is a huge misconception that needs to change. Being mentally and emotionally stable is the prerequisite for having good overall health. Well, waking up early can help you with that. A study conducted in a London found that morning people are healthier and happier.

Another study suggested that getting up early improves your problem-solving skills and helps you deal with negative thoughts better. All of this leads to less stress, and therefore, minimizes the chances of developing some of the stress-related health problems.

Mornings Are Perfect Time To Exercise

All of us have our own preferred time to get our daily dose of workout, but what if I told you that you will get the most perks out of morning training session? For a start, exercising in the morning lowers the risk of low blood sugar, when compared to afternoon workout.

It also boosts your strength and performance for the rest of your day. Other things that might attract you to break some sweat early one are enhancing your metabolism, helping the cultivating consistency of your workout, improving your physical and mental strength, and provides you with better sleep quality.

Health Benefits Of Waking Up Early: People Who Rise Early Sleep Better

Night owls usually finish their day by binge-watching Netflix, worrying or doing some activity that makes their falling asleep more difficult and their sleep patterns interrupted. Unlike them, most early risers stick to a consistent sleep schedule.

The good news is that you can train your brain to become an early bird. First, you can try to establish a consistent sleeping routine, which will include relaxing pre-bed activities, like taking a warm bath or reading a book. Another useful thing to have is a sleep mask. The evidence we have so far supports the thesis that wearing sleep mask increases the length of the REM cycle and prevents disruption in sleep patterns.

You’ll Be More Likely To Develop Good Habits

A team of researchers observed the link between the time of waking up and substance use. It turned out that early risers are less prone to use drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol. While the research was done on adolescent girls, it is relevant for everyone, because one good habit encourages another one – think of it as a line of dominos where one is leaning onto another. The absence of substance abuse will naturally affect your health in a good way.

You’re More Motivated

Motivation is vital for everything you do, ranging from exercising to your career. An experiment conducted at Harvard University showed that early risers are more proactive than late risers. This affects your success at everything you do, creates positive thinking patterns, and helps you be more confident. Consequently, getting up at the similar time early every morning minimizes stress and negative thoughts which can be harmful to your health.

It Gives You Time To Actually Wake Up

Do you ever get the feeling that you are still sleeping when you arrive at your office? You need hours to be really prepared to do the work you are paid to do and to even talk with your coworkers. This is sleep inertia – a period between sleep and full wakefulness. According to research, it can last up to four hours. During this time many cognitive tasks, such as memory, reaction speed, attention, and alertness, are impaired. So, when you get up earlier, you have enough time to overcome the sleep inertia, and to be at your best when it is needed. Personally, I think this is one of the best health benefits of waking up early.

These are just a few of the health benefits of being an early bird, and I have not even scratched the surface of the other perks which impact your overall life quality, such as having more time, enjoying the first sip of coffee, avoiding heavy commuting on your way to work, and much more. Now you see that it’s worth it to at least try to change your sleeping habits, and enjoy a healthy and happy life to the fullest.

Workout With Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that helps you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together. Stay Strong!