Keep Going: Endurance Training

Endurance is the body’s ability to perform a movement over time. There are two types of endurance. Cardiovascular and strength endurance. Cardiovascular endurance focuses on the body’s ability to move oxygen throughout your body to maintain performance while strength endurance focuses on the body’s ability to maintain resistance over a period of time.

So let’s talk cardiovascular endurance. Obviously, there is running (or other forms of continuous endurance training – can you say the elliptical). Go out on a 30 to 45 minute run and you are going to build your cardiovascular endurance. But are you maximizing your 30 minutes? Quite simply, no. Don’t get me wrong I love running. However, many people who are trying to lose weight choose running. However, studies show that running does not burn as much fat as high intensity interval training (HIIT) (Running depletes your carbohydrates rather than your fat while also depleting your muscles at the same time). HIIT is repeated bursts of high energy separated by a short period of rest. When you use HIIT, your body functions differently (can you say increased mitochondrial density and activation of the adenosine monophosphate kinase (AMPK) pathway), which leads to burning more fat, maintain more muscle, while also increasing the strength of your heart and its ability to pump oxygen throughout your body. So give it a try, add some HIIT to your routine.

Strength endurance focuses on your body’s ability to maintain resistance over a period of time. So where does this come in play? Pretty much just think about anything you do in life, this is what strength endurance helps in. It is the very rare instance that you need to be able to bench 300 lbs one time or squat 500 lbs one time. What is important is your ability to withstand resistance over time. Think hiking, golf, baseball, football, snowboarding, mowing your lawn, moving, or any other activity that requires you to move your body over time. So how do you train for strength endurance? That’s easy, do more reps (12 – 20 range) and use your body more. Examples: Push-ups, squats, lunges, dips, and high rep exercises using weights and bands.

Meal Planning: How do I get Started?

First things first, you need to determine your caloric and macronutrient needs before building your meal plan. I personally recommend using the My Fitness Pal Application to do this. When you use the My Fitness Pal App, you will be asked to enter in your goals. In order to do this you will need to know your current weight, your goal weight, and your activity level. If you are actively involved in a Beachbody program, I would recommend putting Active under the Activity level. The next thing that you need to determine is what your macronutrient balance should be. If you are looking to lose fat, I highly recommend that you start off with a balance of 40% carbohydrates, 40% proteins, and 20% fats. If you are looking to maintain your weight, I would recommend a balance of 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 20% fats. If you want to put on mass, if you are an endurance athlete, or if you are a vegetarian or vegan, I would recommend a balance of 50% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 25% fats.

After determining your caloric needs, the next step is to go through your kitchen cabinets and throw away the foods that are not helping you achieve your goals. In order to do this, you will have to know what types of foods you should be putting in your body. Visit http://www.pinterest.com/StunnerNGunner/nutrition/ and click on the Stunner N Gunner Fitness Food Lists to learn what foods you should be putting in your body. I know, you may not want to be wasteful and it may be hard to throw away the food.  You don’t have to throw it away, you can give it away, just don’t keep it in your cabinets. It will only tempt you and derail your results.

The next step is to plan out your meals for the week and to make a list of the ingredients that you will need.  My biggest piece of advice for you over your first couple weeks of meal planning is to keep it simple. Pick out 3 breakfast meals, 3 snacks that you can rotate, and 3 “staple dinners.”  My staple dinners include fajitas, spaghetti, grilled chicken with a baked potato and a side of vegetables, chili, chicken stir fry with brown rice and veggies, and a lean hamburger on a wheat bun with a side salad and baked beans.  These meals are easy to make and you can use the left-overs for lunch the next day. I would also challenge you to pick out 2 “new meals” that you can use for dinner each week. Check out the Stunner N Gunner Fitness on Pinterest and click on our recipe page to learn a bunch of new recipes that you can try in your meal plan.

Fill out the Take the Stunner N Gunner Fitness Challenge at http://www.stunnerngunnerfitness.com/take-the-stunner-gunner-challenge.html if you are interested in having a custom meal plan built for you!  Tune in the next meal planning blog to learn about meal timing, breaking down your caloric and macronutrient needs for each meal, and how you can learn to become an intuitive eater.

Scrawny to Brawny Challenge: Starts Oct 6th, 2014

The Stunner N Gunner Scrawny to Brawny Challenge starts Monday October 6th, 2014!

Who is the Scrawny to Brawny Challenge for?

It is for those of you who are looking to gain serious muscle mass.

How are we going to get from Scrawny to Brawny?

We will be using the Body Beast Program.

What is the Body Beast Program?

Body Beast is an innovative, comprehensive bodybuilding system proven to add up to 10 pounds of muscle in 90 days.  Created by Sagi Kalev, world-renowned trainer and former two-time Mr. Israel, Body Beast combines extreme workouts, ground breaking nutrition, and scientifically advanced supplementation. Whether you’re new to lifting weights or are a certified gym rat, Body Beast will deliver results beyond what you imagined possible.

The Importance of Nutrition & Supplementation

One of the most important aspects of Body Beast is fueling your body with proper nutrition. In order to go from scrawny to brawny, you will need to take in a lot of calories using the right types of foods. The Body Beast program will walk you through how to calculate your caloric needs and will break down what types of foods you should be eating and how much of those types of foods you should be eating each day.

If you purchase a challenge pack from Stunner N Gunner Fitness, we will throw in a free nutritional log so that you can track the food you eat. We will also throw in a free meal plan so that you can get started right!

Supplementation is also extremely important with Body Beast. It is important that you hit your nutritional requirements and supplementation will make it that much easier, especially if you have a busy schedule with work and/or kids. The Body Beast challenge pack comes with a top of the line whey protein powder that contains no artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, or untested ingredients. It also comes with a fuel shot supplement that gives you the perfect balance of carbohydrates to push you through your workouts. The Challenge pack also includes a top notch creatine supplement that will help you recover from your workouts and get you maximum results! Lastly, the challenge pack contains Super Suma, an amazing supplement that will boost your testosterone naturally. To put it simply, if you want to get huge, these supplements are a must!

The Body Beast Challenge pack is on sale right now for $170. This includes the workouts, the nutrition guide, and a one month supply of supplements. 

What are the advantages of doing Body Beast with a Challenge Group?

When you join the Stunner N Gunner Scrawny to Brawny Challenge, you will be coached by the Stunner, aka Josh. Josh is currently one week into the Body Beast Program and is loving it already. He will motivate you, answer any questions you have, provide you with insights on the recipes, give you meal plans and help you push farther than you could ever imagine. We will also set up a forum on Facebook where we can all keep each other accountable for completing the program and where we can all stay in contact.

So take the Stunner N Gunner Fitness Scrawny to Brawny Challenge today!

To learn more about the body beast program go to:

http://www.stunnerngunnerfitness.com/body-beast.html

To contact Stunner N Gunner Fitness go to:

http://www.stunnerngunnerfitness.com/contact.html

Building Your Workout Program: Part II

Part 1 of this article discussed the various areas that comprise human performance.  This part of the article will discuss how to build a workout routine that encompasses each of these areas so that we can get maximum performance out of our bodies.

The first area of human performance is power. Power is a combination of strength of speed. Power is about making yourself stronger. So how do you make yourself stronger? Well, there are a ton of ways. Which brings me to my first point. It is easy to go to a gym and do your stock workout right? I mean Monday is Chest day so I am going to do flat barbell bench, incline dumbbell bench, decline peck fly’s, and end it off with push-ups. Hey, this isn’t to say that this is a bad workout, but doing this type of workout over and over again every Monday is going to severely limit your results. You see, your body adapts to exercises that it routinely does, and after a while your gains will be limited, this is known as the plateau effect. So the first lesson is to mix up your workouts. Mixing up your workouts keeps your body guessing, it keeps you mentally engaged, it works the same muscles in different manners and promotes maximum growth. P90X terms this concept as muscle confusion.  A good rule of thumb to keep your muscles guessing is to change up your workout every 3 to 6 weeks.

Let’s go back to our Monday chest day example and pull out a few more lessons. So what sounds like a better exercise to you? Barbell flat bench or doing one arm bench presses with dumbbells while lying on a stability ball. I would pose to you that they both are good exercises, but that I would lean towards doing the one arm bench presses while lying on a stability ball. And here is why. The one arm dumbbell presses on a stability ball engages more of those areas of human performance that we discussed in the last article. Doing a press on a stability ball builds the same muscles that you would develop in doing a flat barbell bench press while also engaging your core muscles and developing your coordination, balance, and stability. To put it simply, you get more bang for your buck out of exercises that engage more of those areas of human performance.  These types of exercises are known as compound or complex exercises. Alright, so I am going to play the devil’s advocate on myself here. Well Josh, I think that I can do more weight while doing a flat barbell bench press and therefore I will be gaining more chest strength from that movement. Got it, I agree with this statement. When you isolate a muscle, you can develop more strength within that muscle. This is why I believe that you should include isolation movements in your workouts as well (See Lesson 1 above). It is okay to throw in those BB benches. However, I would pose that the second lesson you should get from this example is that as a general philosophy you should be looking to add complex exercises over isometric exercises.  This goes back to my overarching thought that working out should be about maximizing all areas of human performance as opposed to just the strength area.

The next tidbit that we can pull out from our Monday chest workout is bodyweight exercises vs. weight training. Which is better? To be honest and to get to the point, they are both great, but as I learn more and more about fitness I would lean more towards doing bodyweight exercises. The reason for this is two-fold. First, since our ultimate goal is to maximize the performance of our body, I believe that we should seek to incorporate our body into our exercises. Body weight squats, pull-ups, push-ups, and dips are all great examples of body weight exercises. The second reason that I lean towards body weight exercises is because they tend to work more of those areas of human performance. After all, push-ups work your core, shoulders, chest, quads, and triceps.  Additionally, they are easy to modify. You can do a push-up on a stability ball, medicine ball, push-up stands, with one leg up in the air, with one arm up in the air, etc. It is very easy to pack variety onto body weight exercises, which goes to the two lessons above. It makes it easier to build muscle confusion and create complex exercises. Another nice thing with body weight exercises is that you can do them anywhere. You don’t necessarily need that gym, you can workout at home or while on vacation. With that said, weight training is a very important tool that should be incorporated into your workout routine.

So to sum up Part 2 of this article. When you building the power portion of your workout routine, you need to make sure that you are mixing up your workouts, incorporating complex exercises, and adding bodyweight exercises along with your weight training. (The next part of this article will discuss endurance)

Building Your Workout Program: Part I

In my opinion, the purpose of working out is to maximize the human body’s performance.  It’s about training the body to be able to most efficiently move and operate in its intended manner.  So how do you do this?

In order to answer this question, we first have to look at the areas that make up human performance.  Please note that I am not an exercise physiologist, nutritionist or psychologist, so that I am not an expert in this field.  This is based on my personal life experiences and research.

Power: the ability to exert maximum muscular contraction instantly in an explosive burst of movements. The two components of power are strength and speed.

  • Strength – the ability of a muscle or muscle group to overcome a resistance.
  • Speed – the amount of time it takes the body to perform a movement.

Endurance: The body’s ability to perform a movement over a period of time.

  • Cardio-vascular endurance – the body’s ability to move oxygen and other nutrients throughout the cells of the body and the body’s ability to use these nutrients to maintain performance.
  • Strength endurance – A muscle or muscle groups ability to overcome a resistance over a period of time.

Agility – the ability to change the body’s position efficiently.

  • Balance – the ability to maintain equilibrium (i.e., – not fall over) through the coordinated actions of our sensory functions (eyes, ears and the proprioceptive organs in our joints)
    • Stationary balance – maintaining equilibrium while standing still
    • Dynamic balance – maintaining equilibrium while moving
  • Coordination – the ability to control the movement of the body in co-operation with the body’s sensory functions (e.g., in catching a ball [ball, hand and eye co-ordination]).  *Coordination is required in every body movement.
  • Stability – The body’s ability to maintain or control a movement or position through the coordinated use of tissues and the body’s sensory functions.
  • Mobility/Flexibility – The degree to which the body is able to move before being restricted by surrounding tissues (ligaments, tendons, muscles, etc.).

Recovery – The body’s ability to overcome and adapt to physical or mental fatigue.

  • Returning the body’s physiological functions, homeostasis, energy stores and energy enzymes.

Nutrition – Selecting and preparing the right types of foods so that your body can absorb the proper nutrients to function at full capacity. **Note that this article will not dive into proper nutrition, but expect an article to come as this is an essential aspect to maximizing human performance.

Mental makeup – Developing the right mindset so that your body and mind can operate at its full potential.  ***Check out my article Get Your Mind Right to learn more about this.

Developing a workout routine is about combining all of the above areas into a comprehensive plan so that you can achieve maximum performance.  So let’s build a program. (Coming in Part 2 of this Article)

Get Your Mind Right! Your Second Step Towards Getting Fit!

Alright, so your goals are set.  What’s next? Before we get into different fitness programs, I want to talk briefly about changing your mindset? I love a quote by the former strength & conditioning coach for the AZ Cardinals, “Get your mind right.”  Success in a fitness program and living a healthy lifestyle require the correct mindset.

So I am going to get a little philosophical on you.  Why do people fail in living a healthy lifestyle?  In my humble opinion, it is because we all have perceptions or views of ourselves that make up our so-called identity.  It’s these views or perceptions that limit us.  Instead of living everyday deeply within the moment, we wade through the day confirming our perceptions and views which are mostly based on ignorance (Fox News anybody).  The next time you catch yourself thinking that you are too busy to workout, that you don’t have time to eat healthy, that healthy food doesn’t taste good, or that you could never do X or Y, simply ask yourself, “Am I sure?”  Am I sure that I can’t do these things, or are my perceptions limiting me.  Throw away your perceptions, live within the moment.  The other road block that we face is our habits!  Many of us are on autopilot and we don’t even know it.  We worry too much (Yep, I admit it that is most definitely me), we become workaholics, and we get stuck in cycles of stress and unhealthiness.  Be aware of your unhealthy habits.  When they arise, simply acknowledge them, move on, and they will transform over time.

So here is where I think a mission statement fits in.  A mission statement is different from goals because it acts as a framework for you to live your life by.  A mission statement puts down on paper the values that you want to live your life by.  It’s a path.  I highly recommend reading Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as you will get a much deeper explanation of mission statements and also be provided with many other useful tools.  When you sit down to write your mission statement, think of different areas of your life: Family; Work; Spiritual; Friends; Health/Fitness; Community; Etc. and jot down characteristics that you would like to exude.  Then discuss it with your family and friends and formulate a writing that serves as a path for how you will live your life.  You can then constantly add to it, refine it, and adapt it based on your insights from everyday experiences.  I would pose to you that living a healthy lifestyle should be included within your mission statement.  Living healthy should be a priority in your life.  I challenge you to get your mind right.  Live your life in a way that cultivates kindness, love, health, peace, and knowledge and get rid of those views, perceptions, and habits that will only limit your journey in life.