Nov 29

Increasing the Workout Intensity for Your Muscle Building

One of the biggest difficulties facing bodybuilders is how can they be sure that all muscle fibers have been recruited and exhausted during a given exercise and it is only by achieving this that muscle gains can be maximized.

The simple answer is, you have work beyond failure and experience a higher level of training intensity than before. This also ensures that workouts remain challenging and continue to engender progress over time thus reducing the likelihood of regression.

But how do you go about intensifying your training? Fortunately there is a tried and tested path to follow as outlined below:

Increase resistance – increasing the weight lifted in meaningful increments ensures the muscle is pushed beyond its previous point of failure thus maintaining the muscle building process. Aim to increase the weight when you reach six to eight reps and failure does not occur.

Change the exercise – to achieve maximal gains all muscle fibers in a body part must be trained. Changing the angle (e.g to incline bench press) or introducing a new exercise will stimulate growth.

Reduce rest intervals – giving the muscles less time to recover before exposing them to further work has the effect of increasing intensity.

Pre-exhaustion – when an exercise involves two or more muscles the weakest will prevent you from working the primary muscle to failure. The answer is to first isolate and tire the primary muscle before immediately moving to another exercise that works the set of muscles to failure.

Introduce supersets – this involves performing two exercises for the same muscle group without a rest interval. This means you have to utilize different muscle fibers which stimulate greater growth.

Use partial reps – at the point of failure you will not be able to complete the full range of movement for a given exercise. Completing a partial rep that uses only a segment of the lift will still work your muscles beyond the point of failure. This technique is especially useful to advanced bodybuilders as it allows them to increase intensity without adding extra routines that could cause overtraining.

Use isometric contractions – this involves holding the weight still at the point of failure to stimulate a static contraction in the muscle.

Employ forced reps – this involves completing one or more final reps after the point of failure has been reached. You will need the assistance of an experienced helper to attempt this.

Once you have added these techniques to your training regimen you’ll know you’ve done your best to maximize muscle growth.

Nov 20

Choosing the Best Hiking Trail

Choosing the Best Hiking TrailThe type and location of the trail you select can play a significant role in determining the enjoyment you get from a hiking experience. Before heading out on your next hike, evaluate the trail based on the following criteria.

Define your objectives: Select a trail according to your planned activities. Hikers hoping to photograph wildlife are going to want a quiet, secluded trail that sees little foot-traffic. Short trails over easy terrain are better suited to hiking with children. A trail with miles of ups and downs will be great for physical conditioning.

Consider your level of experience: If you’re going to hike alone, take an honest assessment of your experience and physical abilities. Are you in good shape or has your physical activity been limited? Can you navigate with a compass and map? If you have a cell phone, take it along. Realize though, that it may not work on the trail and if something goes wrong, you need to know what to do. Unless you have a lot of experience, don’t hike alone.

If you’re hiking with a group, the group should select the trails based on those with the least amount of ability and experience. If you want to reach the summit of mount Buena Vista, make sure you hike with companions that can reach the top. Novices should start on shorter trails over easy terrain until they are comfortable with navigation and carrying a backpack.

Account for distance & time: It’s easy to underestimate the time you need to complete a hike. This can turn a planned 3-hour hike into a 6-hour ordeal. A good rule of thumb is to plan on 5-10 miles per day over moderate terrain if carrying a full load. On flat terrain, you’ll probably cover a mile in about 30 minutes. For every 1,000 feet you gain in elevation add another hour. For every 1,000 feet you lose in elevation add 30 minutes. Factor in 5 minutes of rest for every hour hiked and remember that multi-day trips should include a full rest day for every 4-6 days on the trail.

Location matters: The trail you select should have ample links to other trails or alternative routes should you find a section closed or in case of a medical emergency. If you’re going on a multi-day trip, make sure the trail comes within close proximity to water, campsites and places to re-provision if necessary. Don’t hike trails (however well-marked) that don’t have a map.

Factor in weather: Seasons affect the hours of available daylight and use patterns on a trail. Check local weather forecasts. Certain patterns (sudden storms, for example) are more typical of certain seasons. Don’t forget to take into account variables that might affect the weather like changes in altitude along the trail.

Rules & regulations: Regulations or restrictions on group size limits, campfires, hunting or breeding seasons may be in effect in areas around certain trails. Check with park or trail officials regarding any restrictions or necessary permits that may apply to the trail you’re considering.

Nov 11

Choosing the Exercise Program Based On Your Fitness Goals

The exercise program you choose depends entirely on your fitness goals. The exercises you will be doing and the approach you take in performing these exercises will depend on whether you wish to gain muscle and strength, tone and lose weight or just stay in shape and be healthy. This article will briefly describe a sample exercise program that can be adapted for all people regardless of their age or fitness objectives.

If you are looking to build muscle or strength via a bodybuilding routine, stick to 4-5 sets of 10-12 repetitions. Focus on the positive and negative of each movement of each repetition. Gradually increase the weight as you work out to force your muscles to work.

Otherwise your muscles will become programmed, accustomed to the same weight and you will no longer experience any gains. There are many approaches and techniques that can be used in bodybuilding. Experiment and use the best one that fits you.

If you are looking to tone or just stay in shape and be healthy, an exercise program combining weight training and a cardiovascular workout is appropriate for you. When you are exercising with weights, 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions at a reasonable weight would be appropriate.

Combine this with cardio exercise 1-2 times a week such as riding an exercise bike or elliptical machine or by joining classes at your gym. It is difficult to discuss in great detail in this article exactly what you should be doing.

Here is a sample exercise program that can be modified to fit any person’s fitness goals. Remember that you can change the order and incorporate different exercises for each body part on weekly basis. I encourage this to prevent boredom and your body getting used to the same routine.

Before beginning your workout, you should warm up for 5 – 10 minutes on an exercise bike or treadmill. This will prevent you from pulling muscles or injuring yourself. For a cool-down, you can perform stretching exercises.

Nov 02

Car Camping

Car CampingCamping is one of most favorite outdoor activities and one of the camping type is car camping. However, there are many other types of camping such as base camping, canoe camping, RV camping, tent trailer camping and back yard camping.

Regardless of how you spend your time out of doors or how much time you spend out of doors, there is always more to learn. I have compiled an extensive list of camping tips and this installment is for car campers. Here are my favorite tips for getting the most out of your car camping experience.

Organize your gear before you go. The basic principle is to organize or categorize your gear by “when” and “how quickly” you will need it. When I get to the campsite, the first thing I do is prepare shelter. So my tent and shade awning are the easiest pieces of gear to get to.

Plan your campsite. Understand how vehicles, wind, sun and rain will enter the campsite. For example, if the wind is coming out of the west, you’ll probably want your tent and kitchen west of any campfire to reduce smoke nuisance.

Always have a first aid kit in camp. Everyone in camp should know where it is, have access to it and know how to use it. I keep mine in plain sight in my kitchen. If it’s locked in my truck, no one can get to it except me.

Every camp needs a shovel. I believe a shovel is the most important tool in camp. You’ll use it to manage your campfire, leveling sleeping spots and countless other uses. Don’t leave home without it.

What tent should you use? I recommend a tent that is bigger than you think you’ll need. If inclement weather sets in, you’ll have a spot out of the elements for reading and playing games. My tent is big enough for two people, two cots, two chairs and two dogs.

There is nothing wrong with having a checklist. Things frequently forgotten are: extra batteries, trash bags, kitchen towels, hats, reading material, sleeping pillows, hiking boots and pet food.

Your most important camping gear should always be on your body. Not in your pack, not in your tent or in your vehicle. Whenever you leave camp always have a watch, a whistle, a cell phone, a flashlight and a knife on your person.

Car camping allows you to take virtually anything with you when you camp. But the most important of all is good company. Take along good friends and family. When you do, it doesn’t really matter if you have the best gear or the best techniques, the one thing you will have is the best of times. Use this information and you’ll Get It Right The First Time. Get Outdoors!