Building Strength

mark-dziuban-buildingstrength

Before I do anything I usually always need to have a comprehensive understanding of whatever it is I am about to do. If you ever saw me on the golf course you would think there is no way I understand anything about the golf swing but, it can be said that I may have over analyzed the golf swing and have read too much or have watched far too many videos.

Now, when it comes to increasing strength I think we all need to have at least a basic understanding of how our bodies grow and adapt through strength workouts. One would think if one set out to do 100 push ups each day, every day, well that would be an admirable goal and one would increase strength and size rather quickly. Sorry folks…simply not true. Here’s why.

Our bodies build strength two ways. The first is through Neural Adaptation. Neural Adaptation is the body becoming more efficient with the movement and recruiting, or firing, of muscle fibers. Think if you were to consistently run down a mountain. On day one you would blaze a new path but over a period of time, you would eventually wear a path into the mountainside effectively making each trip down the mountain easier as time went on. Our neural pathways are no different. When our body sends a message to our brain telling it to use a muscle in a way, and under a load it hasn’t seen in years…well the message will be slow to be received. The good news is our brain is quick to adapt and will build neural pathways to accommodate the request. As we establish a new workout routine and see quick and remarkable results, it is a direct result of these neural pathways being developed and refined with continual usage.

The second way our bodies build strength is through resistance training. When we workout we place stress on our bodies and then our bodies heal and grow stronger. It is important to note when we strength train we are not creating more muscle fiber, we are increasing the size and number of contractile components, which are the actin and myosin within each muscle fiber. So we need to stress our muscle fibers, break them down so when they repair they grow in size to accommodate the new stresses we impose upon them.

So, going back to the 100 push-ups per day. If you are a beginner and do 100 push-ups on day one, great job! When day two and day three come along and you continue to do your 100 push ups, you have not allowed your muscle fibers to heal and rebuild, your effort will be wasted. In fact, you will be better suited to take three days off before performing your next work out of 100 push-ups. Over a short period of time you will notice the push-up workout routine get easier and easier.

Now, if you are an advanced athlete and do 100 push ups each day, they will be quite easy as you will not be stressing your muscle fibers at all, your effort will yield zero physical results. You need to impose additional resistance to show improvement in strength and increase in muscle size. In order to see an appreciable improvement, increase weight by wearing a body vest or have a workout partner place weight plates on your back. You want to be able to add weight so you can perform 5 to 12 reps max. It is within this rep range you will yield the best results. If you can do 20 push ups, you need to add weight as your body has adapted to the change you imposed upon it and you simply must add more weight to see continued improvement in size and strength. Studies prove that doing three to five sets at this rep range will show best results.

For both the beginner and advanced athlete, incorporate this workout method1-3 times per week for each muscle group you are working, no more. Use this method for all your weight training and watch how quickly you’ll see results!

How to Maintain Fitness during Travel

mark-dziuban-fitness

Going on vacation is supposed to be enjoyable. For some, the break in their routines is a bit jarring. Most importantly, they want to make sure that they can still stay fit during their trips. Following some tips can allow people to achieve their fitness goals while also having a great vacation.

Express Goals

People who are on vacation want to have a good time, and when travelers are trying to maintain fitness goals, they may not share that information with their relatives and friends. However, letting loved ones know what is going on isn’t a bad idea. Doing so can stop them from pressuring individuals into eating unhealthy foods or to staying inside all day. Even when people are traveling together, they do not necessarily need to do everything together.

Book the Right Hotel

Finding the right spot to workout can be tough, especially when traveling during inclement weather. Getting in a workout might not be as easy as going for a run around the block. Many hotels offer gyms and pools on the premises. Instead of taking the risk of having nowhere to workout, people interested in maintaining their fitness levels can book hotels that have these offerings.

Eat Right

Individuals do not have to give up sampling different foods, but they can still eat properly. Researching restaurants in the area before going on the trip can help people to make smart choices about what they eat. Also, they can seek out accommodations that have a kitchen. Cooking one’s own meals can help travelers to stay fit. They will know exactly what is going into their foods.

Plan Healthy Activities

While going to see a play and visiting museums are certainly items that travelers can put on their agendas, they should also look into healthy activities. For example, the area may have hikes that they can go on or walking tours so that they can stretch their legs. Finding a balance between sedentary activities and ones that involve movement is important, especially for people who want to maintain fitness on their vacations.

Staying fit on a trip might seem as though it is impossible, particularly when travelers also want to have fun. Fortunately, establishing a healthy routine while on an enjoyable trip is certainly more than just a possibility.

Strength Training Tips for Beginners

mark-dziuban-tips

There are many benefits to incorporating strength training into your regular workout routine. Such benefits include an increase in strength, muscle tone, and confidence! When you are physically strong and feel good in your body, your mentality will follow suit. If you’re just beginning your journey into strength training we’ve got you covered with plenty of tips on how to do it most effectively. If strength training is already a part of your schedule stick around and learn a few more things you can do to take your training up a notch!

 

Start training with your body weight

Strength training doesn’t have to mean that you lift weights. Strength training means using resistance in order to make your muscles work harder and bodyweight exercises are perfect for getting the job done. This comes in handy if you don’t have the means for a gym membership!

2 days a week is more than enough when beginning

If you aren’t already strength training, take it easy on yourself for the first few weeks. Your body has to adapt to a new workload and recovery time is essential.

Warm-up properly

If you don’t warm-up, you are increasing your risk of injury. Foam rolling and then a dynamic warm-up of the muscle groups being worked will suffice. It increases blood flow and range of motion giving you an extra edge during your workout.

Full body workouts

If you’re following the 2 days a week routine, working your entire body and firing up all muscle groups will give you the best results. Following an upper body exercise with a lower body exercise allows the upper body to recover and vice versa. For example, after completing a set of pushups, complete a set of squats.

Take a post-workout stretch

This will drastically reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) over the next couple of days and something you will absolutely thank us for later. It’ll also improve your flexibility and calm your nervous system, giving you similar effects of yoga and meditation.

Strength training is fun, challenging, and obviously great for your mind and body. Keep these tips in mind when beginning and be gentle with yourself as it can get tough when getting into the swing of things. But you can handle it- good luck!

Training Tips for your First Ironman Competition

mark-dziuban-training

 

Completing an Ironman is no minor feat. Neither is training for one. Training for Ironman is a journey that lasts several months, if not all year long. These four tips will help you make the most of your first Ironman experience.

 

Find a partner or group to keep you accountable

If you can, train with a partner or a group. Training will be a lot less monotonous with other athletes around you. You may even train more effectively and focus harder if you’re surrounded by people who are visibly pushing their limits. At the very least, communicate regularly with someone else who is training for the Ironman. You’ll stay more focused and accountable if you have someone to report your progress to. If you’re new to triathlons and don’t have any triathlete buddies, look into your local tri group or find a virtual partner on social media.

 

Make sure you’re getting enough to eat

During training, you’re burning off many more calories than you normally would be. You need to replenish your body’s fuel supply – never train on an empty stomach and always eat when you’re hungry. Try to create an Ironman nutrition plan if you can. Be sure to read up on calorie replacement for endurance athletes if this is your first long-distance event. Liquid nutrition sources, like gels, can be your best friend during extensive training sessions.

 

Be patient and consistent with your training

As you build your endurance and speed, try not to overdo it. Build up the time you spend training incrementally – don’t try to add an hour at a time. If you overextend yourself, you risk injuring yourself. Injuries can render you unable to take part in the Ironman or set you back in your training progress. Understand that you won’t see overnight results. Especially if you are a newer athlete, set realistic expectations for yourself. You will improve with consistent training.

 

Keep a record of your training

The Ironman is unlike most races because you have three different types of training to endure. Even if you think you can keep track of your progress in your head, use some kind of record-keeping system to log your training sessions. You can find several apps that might work for you, or you can use good old pen and paper to the same effect. Log your mileage, hours, and how you feel each day. Having a record of this data will likely improve your confidence and motivation because you’ll be able to look back on your progress when you feel discouraged.