Articles Tagged: cardio training

Putting on the Brakes: Why Your Prep Needs a Reverse Diet!

Competitors–have you ever felt like you’re on a permanent prep diet? Do you have trouble remembering the last time you consciously increased your calories for an extended period of time, outside of a post-show binge?

Do you also feel like your energy levels, strength and stamina have decreased while your stress levels have increased over time?

Is getting lean and staying there becoming more and more difficult, requiring you to drop calories further and further and/or increase cardio more and more each time you cut?

Bikini athletes in particular tend to suffer this scenario due to the fact that high levels of muscle are not as emphasized of a requirement as other divisions of fitness competition, and thus many women never go into a “bulking” stage that is foundational to programs for bodybuilding, physique and figure divisions. Continue Reading Putting on the Brakes: Why Your Prep Needs a Reverse Diet! »

3 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight With Your Training Program

Starting your own weight loss journey can be daunting–particularly when it’s not the first time you’ve (unsuccessfully) made the attempt.

Between signing up for that expensive gym membership, to getting yourself out of bed and to the gym each morning (or on the way home after a long day at work), to the boring, long sessions on the treadmill, it only adds insult to injury when all that effort is seemingly for nothing–when after days and days of hard work, you step on the scale and… nada.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. With a few smart tweaks to your training, you can go from disappointed to delighted as you see the weight melt off your body. Continue Reading 3 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight With Your Training Program »

Instagram Workouts from Bikini Competitors are a Waste of Your Time

How many times have you browsed Instagram, Facebook, Women’s Health Magazine, or another website and seen the latest “bikini competitor leg/arm/shoulder/butt workout?”

Images of hard, lean bodies jump out at you from the screen—seemingly-impossible levels of muscle definition on perfectly proportioned bodies with just the right amount of sweat and goosebumps… before you know it you have goosebumps of your own just thinking about what it would be like to have that body for yourself.

At the beach… all eyes on you, super confident in that bikini. Walking into the gym… girls whispering to each other about how you must be a competitor, and coming up to ask you for exercise advice. Fitting into all the tiny little dresses that you want to wear to the club and having them fit your body like a glove. Heck, having ANY outfit you wear fitting perfectly.

Even reading this right now, I am willing to bet the hair is standing up on the back of your neck slightly—and that’s exactly the response that fitness marketers use to lure you in, because if you think a product is going to provide you with that body (and the lifestyle that you imagine comes with it), you’re going to buy the product at whatever asking price, no questions asked! Continue Reading Instagram Workouts from Bikini Competitors are a Waste of Your Time »

How Do I Get Rid Of Cellulite?

Cellulite is every girl’s nightmare. It is mostly seen among women, although some men have it as well. You don’t have to be obese or overweight to have cellulite; even “skinny” people can have it. Because of the impact that cellulite has on us—mostly our appearance—countless companies have been coming up with solutions to get rid of it, from creams to skinny wraps… I’ve seen it all.

The truth is that all those creams and treatments don’t work. Cellulite cannot be erased; its appearance can only be minimized. But, before I get into the how and why, let’s figure out what the condition really IS and how it forms. Continue Reading How Do I Get Rid Of Cellulite? »

Will Lifting Weights Make Me Bulky?

This is one question that will always come up when the topic of lifting weights comes up in a discussion involving women. This is a hard concept for women to understand because there is such a misunderstanding on the effect weight training has on the female physique.

We have been fed images of the enormously-muscular, veiny male body-builders holding weights or being featured on articles about lifting weights for years, so it’s understandable that this connection would be made. It doesn’t help that some unscrupulous folks in the fitness industry promote the idea that traditional weight training leads to a “bulky” body in an effort to steer consumers to their fad programs.

The weight room is also traditionally seen as the “men’s room”, while the cardio area is where most women spend their time. To feed into this mindset, many gyms even have a “women’s area” that is filled with tiny little weights and even more cardio equipment to underline this concept that women should not lift heavy weights. Continue Reading Will Lifting Weights Make Me Bulky? »

Troubleshooting Weight Loss, Pt. 5

Welcome to the 5th installment of our 6 part series on troubleshooting stalling fat loss efforts. Just a warning, this one is pretty long… but hopefully it will educate you a lot about one of the most popular “diagnoses” in the fitness industry these days.

In parts 1 through 4, we took a look at some of the most common reasons that a fat-loss program would not be providing you the results you were expecting—namely, that either:

  1. You’re not really in a deficit (for a variety of possible reasons)
  2. You’re unintentionally sneaking in calories (thus, causing point 1)
  3. You’re “gettin’ DEM GAINZ” (in non-idiot speak, gaining some muscle mass and/or water retention which is masking your simultaneous fat loss)
  4. Your workout and/or nutrition program is an embarrassment to mankind and is worthy of a slow, painful death for whoever came up with it

All joking aside, sometimes we find ourselves doing everything correctly for a long enough time that lean mass/water weight gains continuing to mask fat loss is unlikely—particularly when the stall in weight loss is combined with a lack of change in inches or what we look like in the mirror.

The final two parts of this series will delve into these potential snagging points and how to address them. Continue Reading Troubleshooting Weight Loss, Pt. 5 »

Troubleshooting Weight Loss, Pt. 4

In part 1 we talked about how it’s crucial to actually be in a calorie deficit in order to see weight loss of any sort, and why many people are unknowingly not eating fewer calories than they burn each day.

In part 2, we talked about the concept of “sneaking calories”, which really is just an adjunct to part 1 because it allows people to inadvertently overeat calories, erasing any deficit they had planned for.

Part 3 was all about learning the difference between muscle/water gain and fat loss, as the former can often mask the latter.

If you haven’t noticed by now, I have been going through these concepts in order of likelihood. The vast majority of you will solve your issues by focusing on one of the first three issues I already went over.

With that being said, there are still a small portion of you who might have all their ducks in a row, yet are still not seeing the results they want. Which brings us to the fourth potential reason behind your lack of results… Continue Reading Troubleshooting Weight Loss, Pt. 4 »

An Argument Against Running For Physique Goals

I want to ask you guys a question. If you currently run for fitness, may I ask why?  This might seem like a strange question if your answer is, “Well, because I want to lose weight and stay healthy, obviously!”

This is the same view held by many new athletes that come to me here at TGOC. When we begin discussing their current exercise habits, I very often hear that long distance running is a major component of their program. Likewise, there is usually some event, such as a half or full marathon in the distant future that is being trained for.

And so, my question to them, is why are you running? Are you running because you enjoy running and are a runner? Or are you running because you want to obtain a better, leaner physique and/or stay healthy? Continue Reading An Argument Against Running For Physique Goals »

South Side Chicago Indoor Fitness Activities Perfect for Winter

Chicago is one of those cities known for its rough winters. During the winter’s most snowy/rainy days, I tend to gravitate towards more indoor activities (although there’s something to be said for the experience of running through a super-hard outdoor workout in the pissing rain) and luckily, Chicago has a huge variety of options to choose from.

One thing we’re aiming to do a lot more of this year is to get the TGTN community together for activity outings more frequently—things like hikes, beach runs, etc. I figured I would share some of my most favorite indoor activities in South-Side Chicago besides personal training that the whole TransformationNATION family will more than likely be visiting this winter and in the future. Continue Reading South Side Chicago Indoor Fitness Activities Perfect for Winter »

The Proper Form for Distance Running

Anyone who has read the book Born to Run understands the importance of proper form when running, which can make enormous differences not only in running performance, but in endurance, comfort and injury prevention as well. Although humans are designed to travel by foot long distances on a regular basis, our modern, sedentary lifestyle has caused us to forget proper running technique as we age. The addition of over-compensating footwear has exacerbated the issue and consequently, a large majority of people do not run in a safe, sustainable fashion. Shin splints, knee issues and hip bursitis are just a few of the common side effects of improper running that plague those who do so on a regular basis.

Running long distances, frequently, doesn’t HAVE to mean inevitable injury however. By fixing your running form you will be able to greatly increase the distance of your runs while simultaneously reducing the impact on your joints and soft tissues and thus, the risk of injury. Continue Reading The Proper Form for Distance Running »