Health & Fitness

Is Cramping Holding You Back?

More and more, it seems that the conventional wisdom on cramping is changing.  No longer is considered just an electrolyte or dehydration issue, its a combination of factors that include extreme muscle fatigue and an overloading the nervous system.  I’m seeing more and more evidence that its not the introduction of strong electrolyte sources (like pickle juice and mustard) that help reverse it quicker but its the strong flavor shocking the nervous system into resetting.

Thanks to decades of marketing, most athletes believe that cramping is due to dehydration or lack of electrolytes. However, dehydration is very rarely the cause. Research shows that cramping can and does happen in hot and cold temperatures, with no changes in hydration status or body water loss, and no changes in blood electrolyte levels. So then what is the cause?

Source: Trail And Ultra Running

Your perfect body game plan 2017


Some pretty good advice for trying to attain the perfect physique.  One of the exercises they suggest that I recently incorporated into my chest routine are Suspension Trainer Flyes.  They look easy, but they are brutal.


Dumbell Bench Press for Better Chest Activation

Jeff Cavalier with Athlean-X goes over the various hand positions when pressing dumbbells and how they can change which muscles are activated.

Leading with your thumbs from a standard press position will put more on your chest while leading with your pinkies will put more on your triceps.  Holding the dumbbells in a prone position will result in more on your shoulders.  Watch the video for details.

Tip: How to Cure Big Arms/Small Back Syndrome

When doing an exercise aimed at building the back, the activation of the biceps should be minimized. But this isn’t easy to do when you have overpowering arms that “take over” during back work.

I have an old lower back injury that I never treated and is now coming back to haunt me.  I hardly have ‘overpowering arms’ but basically, rather than using my back to stabilize when lifting things I over-use my arms which has resulted in a couple of painful and limiting bicep tears.  I’m in physical therapy now and the the focus has been to do exactly what these exercises aim to accomplish – strengthening my back so that I’m not over taxing my arms.

Source: T Nation

Four Mental Strategies for Fitness Success

Investing in a new program or online training subscription? Before you spend all your hard-earned cash, make sure you have the right mental approach to ensure that you will follow through with it. There is nothing more cliché than buying a home treadmill to collect dust or a gym membership that never gets used.

…Money will only buy you methods, not the motivation to train.

While I agree that you should be in the right frame of mind before you start a fitness program I totally disagree with the writer’s premise that money is not a great motivator.  On the contrary, I think for many people, myself included, money spent on a fitness program, personal trainer, or gym membership is a tremendous motivator.  Sometimes, it’s that desire to get your money’s worth that puts you over the edge about committing to a fitness strategy.

That being said, the four strategies outlines in this article are all sound:

  • Finding clarity in your goals
  • Get accurate (positive or negative feedback) on your results
  • Find your purpose and establishing clear goals
  • Do something you love and find a program that you enjoy doing

One thing that’s missing however….  Do your research before settling on a program.

Source: Breaking Muscle


Chest Workout (SORE IN 6 MINUTES!)

The sore in 6 minutes series continues with the chest workout edition. With just a few chest exercises and a single set of dumbbells, I’m going to show you how to train your chest hard enough to elicit post workout muscle soreness regardless of how difficult it is for you to do right now.

This is a brutal workout.  If you have to skip a full day in the gym and need to get a workout in at home give these “Sore in 6 Minutes” workouts a try.

The Ultimate Guide to Quitting Smoking, Permanently.


It’s not a secret that smoking is bad for you. The box is littered with warnings and it’s not a disputed fact that smoking causes a magnitude of health problems, including 90% of all lung cancer. It’s also not a disputed fact that it’s expensive and that it makes everything around you reek.

If you’re a smoker, one of the best things you can do for your overall health is quit.  It is better to be  a little overweight for a little while than it is to be a longterm smoker.  That’s a fact.  I know it can be incredibly hard to quit and it’s easy to relapse.  As a former smoker, I also know that this is true:

The majority of smokers don’t actually WANT to be smokers, have tried to quit, and have failed multiple times. It’s not easy, and what a lot of people don’t realize is that being a smoker isn’t as much of a choice as we think.

Source: Nerd Fitness

Quality Sleep is Like Winning the Lottery


Researchers analyzed the sleep patterns of more than 30,500 Britons over a four-year period and found that improved sleep quality leads to levels of mental and physical health comparable to those of a person who has won a lottery jackpot of nearly $250,000.

Sleep is so important for overall health and recovery but it’s something that many of us ignore or take for granted.

I’m a terrible sleeper and I used to wear it like a badge of honor.  If I get more than 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep in a night I consider it a success.

That being said, I know how important it is and I’ve focused on trying to get my sleep habits nailed down over the last few years. I can say with certainty that on weeks where my sleep has been consistent I perform better in the gym and generally feel better all around.  Just wish I had more weeks like that than I do.