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Heat VS Ice

When you’re faced with a sports related injury, half of your friends will be adamant that ice is the only way to treat it. The other half will tell you that heat is the way to go.  So, which of them are you supposed to listen to?

While every injury and body is different, there are some general guidelines that should help you make the right call.  Generally, for acute injuries within the first 48-72 hours, ice is recommended.  Ice can help with swelling in these situations.  It’s important to limit swelling when possible, because in addition to limiting mobility it can cause a lot of pain and general discomfort. Ice also tends to constrict blood vessels thus decreasing swelling.  Ice can serve a secondary but also important function: It soothes acute pain. Cold temperatures cause numbness in living tissue. Strategic application of ice can ease your pain when it’s at its worst.  General recommendations would be not to apply ice directly to the skin for no more than ten minutes at a time without taking a break.

Heat is typically more helpful for issues that have occurred over time.  In other words, it’s more likely to be helpful for chronic, reoccurring injuries, and tightness if it is not related to swelling. Heat tends to dilate the muscles, increasing blood flow. This is why you generally don’t want to use heat if there’s swelling. Common sense says not to increase blood flow to an area that’s already overloaded with blood.
Heat is more useful in instances of stiffness (again, when not related to swelling) when mobility and/or range of motion is somewhat limited.  Naturally, too much heat is another good way to damage your skin (ever heard of something called burning?), so similar to ice, it’s best to cycle the application of heat on and off, though you can generally go for periods up to 20 minutes up to half an hour (think jacuzzi). If your skin becomes red, inflamed, or painful, stop and use a lower temperature for a shorter amount of time.

Know how and when to treat your “injury” with Ice and Heat

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Have the desire to Lose Fat? SLEEP LIKE A BABY!

Who doesn’t feel amazing and energized after a complete uninterrupted night of sound sleep?  Sleep and rest have its obvious extrinsic benefits, but it’s a lack of result oriented awareness to hormonal and chemical messages that sleep provides.

Sleep like a babyIf anyone were to ask me what is the single most important thing they should right now to lose fat immediately, short of changing what’s on the end of their fork, I would emphatically respond with focus on your SLEEP!  This will literally get them in the direction of change overnight.  Even one poor night of sleep you will wake up insulin resistant, which means you’re better at storing fat- You’re more leptin resistant, making you hungrier- your cortisol goes up, making you store belly fat- your serotonin level go down- urging you to crave sugar.  Bottom line is when you don’t get a good night sleep you don’t feel energized, you don’t want to workout, your immune system is lowered, and you’re craving the need for sugar and caffeine.

There have been several studies shown that with the appropriate amount of 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, it has proven to reduce fat loss.  Not to mention the powerful and now popular benefits seekers out there in anti-aging and slowing down the aging process, sleep ranks right up there with the top contributors. So it’s no wonder why I’m an advocate of rest, recovery, and sleep as a catalyst being implemented to all fat loss strategies.

It’s not the knowing… it’s the DOING that counts!

Coach Steve @ Fitastic

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SO YOU WANT TO COMPETE?!

Competition season is here and in full force.  This spring, thousands of bikini, figure, physique, and bodybuilding competitors will have completed their, what seems like forever, prep.  Their moment in the stage lights will have arrived, and they’ll be ready to showcase months of hard work, planning, and sacrifice.

What about you?  Have you ever considered showing YOUR best on stage?  Maybe you’ve been hitting the gym every day and surfing the web for fitness inspiration and news, and maybe that information has piqued your curiosity.  Maybe you’re even thinking about signing up for a competition- Congratulations on taking the Mental step!  Now my advise is don’t dive in too quickly, and consider a few important aspects first.

I’ve been in the competition business for over a decade.  Before you make the decision to compete, I want to share six steps that you absolutely must follow to maximize your potential to succeed.

CompetitionAttend a Show as a Spectator First

Sit in the seats, view the stage from a worms eye perspective, smell the funk of Pro Tan in the auditorium, and watch the competitors hit their poses as they battle out for top placements.  Until you see it, you can’t fully understand it and put yourself in their “trunks” or “suits” …  The appreciation of what it takes, comes down the road.

Witnessing a competition first hand from the outside-in will also allow you to set specific goals for yourself in beginning your journey- if so you choose the challenge.  Becoming a visionary of YOUR future dialed-in physique in comparison to those in front of you onstage is what ultimately creates the proverbial “itch” and motivation to get your drive in gear.

Seek For Help

Don’t just sign up for a show, train by yourself, and hope for the best.  Whether you hire a coach, join a team, or ask an experienced friend, get feedback from someone who has been in the trenches.

When I personally competed for the first time, yep back in 2002, there was no surfing the Internet and pulling up pictures for motivation or reading federation articles that would prepare me.  Heck, even if I had access, it wouldn’t have helped me much anyhow.  Yet, that’s what most everyone seems to trend to these days and they still don’t have a clear picture of what the judges are looking for. (more…)


GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY! (Part 2)

Again, the entire point of exercising is to make progress toward YOUR goal.  But most all goals require building some additional lean muscle tissue, whether you realize it or not- the benefits are endless…  Staying on track and picking yourself back up if you fall off is the consistent focus one needs to obtain manageable and sustainable results.  DON’T GET IN YOUR OWN WAY of the results you deserve!

If you missed #1, #2, and #3 of PART ONE, no worries you can catch the goodness here: GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY- Part 1

sleep deprived4. YOU’RE NOT SLEEPING ENOUGH

Sleep is the time when muscle building growth hormone surges in the body.  If you have trouble catching enough Zzzz consider avoiding caffeine and alcohol for as long as 6 hours prior to sleep to improve rest quality.  Shoot for at least 8 hours of sleep each night.  If you’re still tired despite sleeping well, you may have allergies or sleep apnea; consult your physician.

5. YOU WRITE YOUR OWN WORKOUTS

Exercise and working out isn’t rocket science, however it is based on science.  Thinking you know more about training than you do is a conceit that will doom you to years of stagnation, not to mention sure injuries.  Personal Trainers (credible and experienced ones that is) are an amazing resource to assuring proper program structure and exercise technique if the timing is right and you can find the right trainer for you.  But the reality is you don’t need a Personal Trainer to gain serious results- feelfitastic.com is stacked with a 1,000+ exercises and several successfully proven fitness programs from top (more…)


GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY!

The entire point of exercising is to make progress toward YOUR goal.  So if you’re not getting a bigger, stronger, or leaner physique (or the phone number from the girl on the treadmill), chances are you’re just spinning your wheels- or worse regressing.  Fortunately getting back on the track to results is simple.  However, as they say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.  It’s likely one or more of these classic mistakes, that with coarse correction TODAY will have you progressing back toward the healthy body you’ve been training for.

Get out of your own wayWITHOUT A PLAN YOU’RE JUST GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS.

Here are the top 3 of 10 (Part 1 of 3 in the series):

1. YOU HAVE NO GOAL

It’s not a real goal unless you have a deadline.  Too many people end up on a Stair Master of frustration because their program and “diet” don’t align with what they want to achieve.  Saying you want to “get in shape” is fine for getting you in the gym your first week, but you need to refine your plan.  Set a target to aim for, like losing 10 lbs or adding an inch to your arms.  Then give yourself a reasonable time frame in which to achieve it.  To be more specific position yourself for S.M.A.R.T. goal success- these details are found at feelfitastic.com or in my Fitastic lifestyle journal.

2. YOU’RE NOT TRAINING HARD ENOUGH

A muscle that’s stressed in small doses adapts by growing bigger, stronger, and faster.  Unless you follow a systematic training plan that includes progression and overload, you’re just going through the range of motions.  Progression and advancement is a critical component to putting intensity into your workout.  For example, it you curled 40 lb. dumbbells for 10 repetitions last week, take on (more…)


The Secret Behind Fat Loss

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Most people only associate weight training with building muscle and increasing strength. Few people realize the impact weight training has on fat loss. Here’s why: Weight training increases your lean body mass. Increasing your lean body mass speeds up your metabolic rate so you burn more calories at rest – and the number of calories you burn at rest (your basal metabolic rate) is directly proportional to the amount of muscle you carry.

(more…)


BEHIND THE TIP: Monday? International Chest Day!

Monday Chest DayHere it is, a fresh new start to the week.  Another opportunity to dominate a Monday workout at the gym.  But wait, not so fast.  As innovative as you can be in your program, ALL THE BENCHES ARE TAKEN by the chest maniacs!   Come on people, IT’S MONDAY- Why the sensational need to monopolize all the chest equipment on Monday’s?  Now coined as the phrase “International Chest Day”.

Well, here’s how I see it…  All the broski’s indulge in their long crazy weekends filled with high flying actions of “non-fitness” and what better way to get their mojo back on track than to do the most favorable muscle group to man (statistically speaking)- CHEST!  And as the calendar would have it, Monday falls on the first gym day of the week for most gym-goers (the hardcore’s know better).

Here’s the reality: The chest is the main focal point of any male when trying to build muscle, you either have it or you want it.  If you want it you better be ready to lift big on ANY DAY of the week, no gains come from lifting the same weight every week ON THE SAME DAY-  you have to change the days and push yourself.  Stick to a schedule that allows any combination of consecutive days (3 Days, 4 Days, 5 Days, etc.) targeting all the muscle groups within that time frame.  Take a day of rest from exercise and start the combination of days again to assuring you’re not training the same muscle groups on the same days of the week.

Do your part to avoid and minimize the Monday Madness of International Chest Day once and for all.

Have a PECtacular day,

#ProCoachSteve- Team Fitastic


Behind the Tip: Do you like it on top or the bottom… of intensity?

When does going through the “motion” ever work or is even slightly effective?  Will a relationship work just going through the range of motion?  Nope!  Will your career go anywhere just going through the range of motion? Nope!  Close your eyes and think of anyone you know that has been successful in any facet of life just “going through the   motions”.  Why is working out any different?  Its not, and not to sound cliche but the only person that this will impact is YOU.   Bring the intensity to your workout!   Bring out the energy and bring out the results!  Squeeze out another rep; slow down the range of motion on the negative, voluntarily contract the muscle but most important force yourself to make it happen.
#justinsane


Behind the Tip: WEIGHT!!! Heavier isn’t better?

Well it’s official, the eager resolution seekers are out in full force and they’re taking the gyms by storm!  Kudos to them for making a charge at it, now let’s school them on  how to achieve real sustainable results with any exercise at the gym.  More often than not we see the group of fitness goers hording around their favorite piece of equipment as they take their time (that’s entirely other topic) showcasing their “strength” in lifting as much as they can AND then some recruiting every strained muscle in their body.  You’ve seen it… The plates are loaded 4 deep on each side to the Bench Press bar, sitting on the end of the bench with what seems like an eternity as they gaze around to see who’s going witness this great feat, and they take 10 deeeeep breathes with before even laying down to get in position for execution.  Yep, then comes the lift…. Boom, the back comes arched off the bench as to allow the largest of cargo ships to pass under the bridge.  Then comes the descent of the bar with the anticipation to one of two things happening, A. Gravity takes a hold of the bad benchridiculous weight bearing load and takes a heavy trampoline bounce off the sternum OR B. The bar doesn’t doesn’t like long trips and takes a pit stop half way down only to be jerked up to the top.  Most impressive is that the entire set regardless of how many poor reps are completed are done in ONE breath typically.  Either way, we watch it happen around us in puzzled amazement and we don’t say anything as we carry on with our workout- or perhaps you’re guilty of it in your own style of training.  Unless your fitness goal is to tear a muscle or blow out a joint, it’s not the preferred method of any training principle (other than some Powerlifting strategy arguably).

Incline Heavy liftSo what to do:  The obvious is lift the appropriate weight that allows you to complete each repetition within your ” rep range” at FULL range of motion.  Allow full contraction from the insertion to the origin of the muscle targeted in a controlled tempo or cadence.  The object is to engage as much (more…)


1 Tool You Must Have

Featured Journal 1

A daily examination of a training diary can be on of the most motivational tools. If you aren’t already recording your workouts, begin doing so now. Of particular importance is writing down all the sets, reps, exercises and poundage’s your perform.

Training logs are crucial for giving you a frame of reference and allowing you to look back to see the progress you’ve made.  Such reviews help you understand that. Improvement doesn’t take the form of one consistent upward dramatic curve but rather is a series of peaks and plateaus. If you find yourself at a sticking point, reviewing your workouts can motivate you by the simple fact that right there in black and white, you can see the former impasses were eventually conquered. (more…)


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