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Why You Should be Including Resistance Training into Your Life

Resistance training is a very important factor when it comes to physical fitness. Since most people get into fitness because they wish to lose weight, they believe all they need to do is cardio. Whereas cardio is still important, neglecting resistance training all together could cause its own issues. First, let’s define what resistance training is. Resistance training is any exercise that makes muscles contract against a form of resistance. The resistance would normally be a form of weight.  This can be free weights, barbell, medicine ball, etc. Some exercise examples would be the following:

  • Barbell/Dumbell Squats
  • Deadlift
  • Bicep Curls
  • Tricep Extensions
  • Dumbbell Lunges
  • Leg Press
  • Kettlebell Swings

  Now that we have an idea of what resistance training is, let’s go over some of why you should be including more resistance training in your training and debunk some myths on the hesitancy of resistance training. 

You Won’t Be too Bulky

One of the main reasons I hear for not wanting to do resistance training is because it will make you ‘too bulky’. If that’s not your aesthetic goal, that’s fine. However, to think lifting weights will have you looking bulky is false. People you’ve seen that look bulky with plenty of muscle mass usually have gone through years of resistance training, with proper nutritional and resistance training programming with the purpose to continuously build muscle. You will also meet others who’ve done resistance training for years but still look rather lean and not bulky at all. That’s mainly due to the way they’re training. Their workout regimen isn’t programmed for that. 

As well, muscle is lean mass. Muscle takes up far less space in your body than fat does. Let’s take a look at this picture to see the difference:

As you can see, that’s a huge 5lb difference.  

 To put it simply, you’ll get bulky from resistance training if you want to get bulky. Resistance training by default won’t make you bulky as building muscle is already a difficult process that takes proper programming and nutritional requirements.  

More Muscle = More Calories Burned

Resistance training is meant to help build muscle overall. The more muscle you build, the more calories you burn. The more calories you burn, the more fat you’re bound to lose. 

It’s easy to think that to lose fat or burn calories you need to do cardio and only cardio. Cardio is great and can help expedite burning calories in a short period of time, it doesn’t truly persist in burning more calories throughout your day. Remember, you’re only probably exercising for about an hour. You still have 23 hours throughout the day. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll be burning within that 23 hours’ worth of time. 

Why is that?

Muscle mass is part of your basal metabolic rate and for your body to maintain muscle mass it needs more energy to do so and in return needs to burn more calories. 

If you’re looking to lose fat and sustain that fat loss, building muscle is an important factor. 

Muscle is GOOD for Your Joints

Contrary to popular belief,  having muscle mass is actually good for your joints. In fact, less muscle mass is actually bad for your joints. There is a notion especially with squats that doing these exercises are bad for your joints. This is only true if you’re doing the exercise in improper form. This is why I always advocate for learning proper form when before you do any exercise you’re unfamiliar with. 

One of the reasons why muscle mass is good for your joints is because muscle mass makes the surrounding ligaments around the joints strong. This allows your joints to not take up most of the workload. 

If you’re looking for other ways to improve your joints, I would recommend seeing if you should be including more fish in your diet

There is Confidence in Strength

Being stronger overall will most likely make you more confident overall. Anytime I’ve gotten people into training and after a prolonged period of time, they’re always surprised how certain day-to-day tasks overall have become easier for them to handle. It’s also nice to not have to rely on others to pick things up anymore. The only problem is, people may start coming to you now for lifting hefty objects!

In all seriousness, though a level of confidence and self-worth is grown when you realize you’ve become stronger than you were previously. It’s a form of accomplishment and makes you feel like you can take on more than you thought. This will carry into your day-to-day life as well and help with other goals and tasks you may have.

Final Thoughts

Resistance training and the process of building muscle has so much more benefits than I can even list here. The list can go on and on, but let’s look at the main takeaways from this piece.

Muscle mass will help you lose and keep fat off, it will help your joints and build confidence. This isn’t even going into all the other health benefits it has on your overall well-being, but please know they are there. 

If you’re wondering how you can start doing training, check out my workout generator that gives you difficulties to choose from and form videos with each exercise as well

Photos

  • Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/GetMotivated/comments/1zwf7t/this_is_what_really_got_to_me_5lbs_of_fat/

 

Should You Be Including More Fish in Your Diet?

The western diet specifically lacks fish. I’ve met so many people who don’t eat any fish by any means. If I ever travel to Europe or other places, fish is the main staple in their diet though. I personally grew to like fish more and more throughout my adulthood and now I try to have at least 1 meal that includes fish a day (usually a can of tuna, but it’s something!). 

It not being a staple in an ordinary western diet can cause issues, but also like anything too much of something good can be a bad thing as well. We’ll go into the benefits and dangers of fish and what might be the sweet spot for you.

Benefits of Fish in Your Diet

Great Source of Protein

It’s very easy to lack protein in an ordinary diet. Eating fish is a great source of protein and can also be a relatively cheap option for protein as well. 4oz of Salmon cooked has about 25g of protein. 1 can of Tuna Fish contains about 20g of protein. 

If you’re ever in need to get more protein in your diet, fish can be an easy option. 

Omega-3s 

Fish has many important factors too, this all comes from the macro and micronutrients the fish contains. Different fish will have different macro and micronutrients but one of the staples of fish is the fact that it has omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can help with many risk factors in your life. This can include, lowering blood pressure, raise your HDL cholesterol level (good) inflammation, and even blood clots. 

I’ve had many issues with joint pain in the past and any time I’ve either started consuming more fish or taking omega-3 or krill oil supplements, the issues seem to have subsides and any joint-related injuries tend to have dissipated. Now, that’s just my account. This doesn’t mean the same will apply to you. However, if you’re having joint issues and don’t have any issues with eating fish or taking supplements, it doesn’t hurt to try. 

Cons of Too Much Fish

As we know, too much of a good thing can always be a bad thing. Even though most of us probably don’t intake enough fish, let’s also go over the detrimental factors of eating too much fish can have on us.  

Too Much Fish Oil

Too much fish oil / omega-3s is can have negative effects on your health. It can cause many things like acid reflux, hypotension (low blood pressure), diarrhea, nose bleeds, and even high blood sugar. 

Ideally, you would want to consume a maximum of 5,000mg of omega-3s per day. Anything over that (unless prescribed by a doctor) won’t really benefit you in many ways. 

Mercury Poisoning 

Depending on the type of fish you’re eating, you would need to look out for mercury poisoning. Some fish sources are high in mercury and others, not so much. Here is a chart that describes fishes and their mercury level

Mercury Levels in Fish and Suggested Servings

As you can see, some of the common fish most eat is on the medium to the low side. However, it’s still something to keep a note of.

Personal Story:

I personally eat canned tuna fish about 4-5 days a week. I’ve gotten my mercury levels tested and they were in the normal range.  

Final Thoughts on Fish in Your Diet:

Fish is not the most common food source in most people’s diets, especially in a western diet. Fish can have many benefits it that can overall improve your quality of life. I would highly recommend if you’re not eating fish to start doing so (unless you’re not eating for medical reasons). If you’re someone who doesn’t eat fish due to the ‘fishy’ taste, you can always find recipes and ways to cook fish that will make it taste much better. 

As mentioned above, I love canned tuna fish. My favorite brand of tuna is the Rio Mare brand (affiliated link). It’s a bit on the expensive side, but it’s so good and probably the best-canned tuna I ever had. I’ve even had people try it who hate tuna fish and still love this brand. Sardines are another cheap and great fish option that you can incorporate into your diet.

Of course, eating too much fish can cause issues too. So be cautious of how much you’re actually intaking.

If you’re still not interested in eating fish, I would recommend getting an Omega-3 supplement.  Supplementing may be worth it if you’re not eating the actual food itself

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Jocko GO – Review

In this review, we’ll be going over the Jocko GO energy drink and if it can help benefit you!

Like Jocko MOLK, this product is created by Origin Maine and Jocko Willink.

If you read my other review about Jocko MOLK (protein supplement) then you may already know about Origin Maine and Jocko Willink. If you don’t, here is a quick overview to get you familiar with the company and its mission.

Origin Maine is a company that sells multiple different and innovative items. From GI’s to fitness equipment and now nutritional supplements. Origin Maine is famously known for is that all items are made in America. It’s rare to find a company that makes all of its products in America. So if you’re looking to support this company, check out their site for other items especially if you’re into martial arts. 

In this review of Jocko GO, we’ll be going over the Sour Apple flavor and breaking it down into the following: About the Product, Nutrition Facts / Ingredients, taste, effectiveness, and price. 

About the Product

Jocko GO is an energy drink that is meant to help keep you focused on your tasks and to provide a pick-me-up/boost of energy. Whether your focused task is work, a workout, an exam, etc. this is supposed to help get the job done. The product boasts itself as being a nootropic as well to help with focus. Let’s go over what’s actually inside the product. 

Nutrition Facts / Ingredients

Calories 5
Carbs  <1 gram
Vitamin B6 0.5mg
Vitamin B12 100mcg
Choline 100mg
Magnesium 50mg
Sodium 20mg
Potassium 50mg
Acetyl L-Carnitine 500mg
Caffeine 95mg
Alpha-GPC 100mg
Theobromine 100mg
L-Thenanine 95mg
Bacopa Monnieri 50mg

 

Let’s start with the calories and macronutrients on this first. Very low calories and less than 1 gram of carbs. So if you’re on a keto diet, this is a perfect drink for you as it lacks a crazy amount of sugar like other energy drinks like a standard RedBull or Monster. 

Micronutrients

Moving on to the micronutrients, the first thing is that this drink is packed with vitamins B6 and B12. The b6 ranges at about  30% daily value and the B12 is at a 4100%+ daily value. You’ll notice plenty of energy drinks have a mixture of the vitamin B complex. This is no different as vitamin B complex has been shown to help aid with promoting energy. 

Choline you’ll notice is usually paired with other vitamin B complex as they may serve similar functions.

Magnesium deficiency can lead to feeling fatigued overall, and to be honest, plenty of us don’t get enough of it in our diet. Even though it’s not much, a little something is better than nothing. 

There is a bit of sodium and potassium, both essential electrolytes that help your body and can promote energy in general. 

Acetyl L-Carnitine can help with improving your memory and other mental skills overall. 

The good ol caffeine is sure to give you a boost of energy overall as well. If you’re sensitive to caffeine though, you may want to stay away from this product. 

Alpha-GPC is also good for memory and other mental functions

Theobromine is also shown to help promote energy as well

L-Thenanine has been shown to help with increased focus and immunity. 

Bacopa Monnieri can help with staying focused and help with brain function overall

Overall, the nutrients in these products are great. There isn’t anything unnecessary in here or anything considered ‘unsafe’ that you would need to be worried about. This drink in terms of nutrients probably comes closer to Monster than it would to Redbull. However, Jocko GO packs more into it with overall fewer calories and other ingredients. 

jocko go ingredients 

Nutrition Facts / Ingredients: 5/5

Taste

The taste of Jocko GO’s Sour Apple flavor is nothing short of great! For a drink that doesn’t have any carbs and few calories, you think it would taste pretty bland. Most likely due to its Monk Fruit extract, it actually tastes pretty good. 

In comparison to other energy drinks like Redbull or Monster, they do taste better, but in comparison, those drinks do have more sugar and other ingredients in there to make them taste so good. 

I’ve personally tried almost all of the flavors, and I would have to say my favorite is probably the Dak Savage one. I haven’t had an experience with any flavor though where I felt I couldn’t drink it because it tasted bad. 

Overall, the product has a great taste, especially considering its low calories and sugar. 

Taste: 4.5/5

Effectiveness

So Jocko GO is advertised to help increase energy and focus. Does it actually deliver on that though?  

After about 10 – 15 minutes of consuming Jocko GO, I definitely start to notice a bit of a mood uptick. As someone who actually has trouble concentrating and staying focused, this product helps a lot with staying focused on the task at hand. Granted, some it could be a placebo effect, but considering the ingredients in the drink itself, it doesn’t surprise me the drink at hand is helping with my focus.

I’ve also used Jocko GO as a pre-workout too, and it’s great! If you’re looking for something a bit milder but still packs a good punch, this is a great product to use before a workout. 

If you’re looking for another pre-workout, I highly recommend checking out my review on Outwork Nutrition’s pre-workout. 

Effectiveness: 4.5/5

Price

Jocko GO goes for 35.00 for a 12 pack of cans. This is close to about $3 for a 12oz can.   Compared to other products of similar stature, Jocko GO is definitely on the higher side of pricing. Whereas other products are around $20 for a 12 pack of cans (~$1.70 per can of 10oz).

This is probably the biggest downside to the product overall, but is it worth the price?  For what you’re getting out of it and considering its low calories and its effectiveness, I think it’s worth it but I would hope they still lower the price a bit in the future.

Price: 3/5

Jocko GO Review and Final Thoughts

Jocko GO is a great energy drink and has can be used in any scenario where you need a pick me up. You can easily buy it off Amazon (affiliated link) or on Origin Maine. You can’t really go wrong with any of the flavors as they’re all fairly good and low in calories which is perfect for anyone wanting to get a boost of energy without the cost of having extra calories. The main downside to this drink is mainly the price of it. Even though I think it’s justified due to its nutrition facts and ingredients, it’s still fairly pricey compared to its competition though. My final review score for Jocko GO is 4.25/5. 

 jocko go review score

 

How To Return to the Gym in a COVID World

Disclaimer:

For any information regarding going back to the gym during COVID or information about COVID in general, please go to the cdc.gov site so you can make a decision safely. I’m not a doctor or medical expert and this is not medical advice. All of this information is my opinion. If you have any medical concerns, please contact your doctor. 

We’re almost one full year into COVID at this point and slowly we’re coming back to a more ‘normal’ state. Vaccines are here and in the states, most gyms are currently open to some capacity. I’ve just recently started going to the gym myself and I must say it’s great to be back. However, living in the NYC area gyms are always packed even with any restrictions in place. Meaning, catching COVID at the gym is highly possible. Some don’t care, others may be on the more cautious side and don’t know what precautions to take. If you’re reading this, you probably fall into the latter category.  In this article, we’re going over how you can go back to the gym in a ‘safe’ manner. 

Follow the Guidelines

Most gyms now, especially in the metropolitan areas require you wear masks at the gym. Whether you agree or disagree with the notion of masks is a different story, but nonetheless, it’s part of most gym and state guidelines at this point for the time being. Not wearing one can get you kicked out of the gym or make others around you very uncomfortable. If you feel like wearing a mask is too uncomfortable for you, I highly suggest checking out this Adidas mask (Affiliated Link). It’s very comfortable and has a filter pocket in it. I’ll be honest, I never had an issue breathing in a mask nor do I find doing the nose poke out or chin strap really necessary. I will say, the only thing for me that’s a bother with the mask can be vision sometimes especially when I’m squatting. That’s the only time I’ve personally had an issue with it. 

If you are planning on joining the gym, read the gym guidelines prior to joining and see if you’re comfortable adhering to those requirements. Check out reviews as well for those gyms and see if other people talk about others complying with those guidelines too. 

Social Distancing

It’s very hard to get any space at the gym especially in the metropolitan area. With fewer people overall due to the gym it should be a little less packed, however, that doesn’t mean people won’t pack into specific areas of the gym. If you can, try keeping yourself away from the crowds overall. This probably sounds like common sense at this point, but it amazes me how many people will still either go into your personal space or cluster together (even in a non-covid era, this is always annoying).

Personally, what I try doing is timing my areas depending on where others are. If I see the squats racks are packed, I’ll go to any section that’s not busy where I still need to exercise anyway and just do those exercises. If the weight section is too packed, i’ll take the weights I need and move to a less crowded area. (The more I type this portion out, the more this sounds like my normal times at the gym, to be honest). 

Find a Less Busy Time

Working around schedules maybe your best option to avoid a crowded gym. If you ever scope out a gym’s Google page, you can usually see its busy times. Even though this isn’t always accurate, it’s still a good indicator of when you can avoid a crowded gym.

Usually, though, it will probably require some trial and error. For instance, I started getting to my gym at 6 am. It’s actually crowded at this time but starts to clear out about 6:45 am so I adjusted my schedule to come in around that time and it works out perfectly. 

Wear Long Sleeves and Long Pants

Okay, this one doesn’t have any merit to it except that it may give you some peace of mind. From my knowledge, there isn’t any evidence you can get COVID-19 from just touching a service that someone else touched. You would need to be touching your face afterward to potentially get it. (Nonetheless, you should look at CDC Guidelines for more information about this) Anyways, wearing long sleeves and long pants limits the amount of surface area your actual skin is touching the objects.

So if you usually wear just a tank top or short sleeves and you’re laying on a mat to warm up, you may not want your arms exposed touching that surface. Instead, just wear long sleeves and long pants to avoid this.

Again, this is only for peace of mind. There isn’t evidence (to my knowledge) that you can get COVID-19 from just touching an object or touching someone else’s sweat. 

Bring Hand Sanitizer

The secret COVID weapon any gym-goer needs, hand sanitizer! Obviously, hand sanitizer can only get you so far, but it’s pretty handy for when you’re at the gym. Anytime you’re done or about to start using equipment, you can easily just throw some hand sanitizer and wipe your hands down. Now you don’t have to worry about potentially touching your face after touching the equipment. This is something that will probably last in the Post COVID world too. 

Wipe Down the Items

In general, it’s always good to wipe down equipment after you use it. This includes items that you usually lay or sit on. It’s considerate to anyone who is going to use the equipment after you. Incase whoever used the equipment prior to you didn’t wipe down the equipment, now it’s a bit cleaner too. I’ve noticed a lot of gyms give you sanitizer spray to spray items down, so you can utilize that too. I would highly suggest not use this on barbells though as it can destroy the quality of it over time and may rust it up. 

Final Thoughts

The more I wrote this guide, the more it seemed like normal things you would do at a gym anyway. (Except the whole wearing masks thing). I do think if you follow the ideas mentioned above, you can return to the gym and feel relatively safe. Obviously, if you see someone sick, stay away from them. If you’re sick with COVID and you’ve been to the gym recently, notify your gym in case they have some type of procedure to follow. 

Unfortunately, I don’t have any studies to say ‘Hey, look it’s safe to return!’. There was one study that indicated that the gym was a super spreader event. That was in February of 2020 if I’m not mistaking when no one really knew how much it was spreading. We didn’t even have tests from back then.

If you still don’t feel comfortable going to the gym during COVID, check out this article I wrote on how to keep fit during the pandemic

Stay safe and get them gains in!

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When is the Best Time to Bulk and Cut?

During the year, it’s very easy to jump between both cycles of cutting (losing fat) and bulking(gaining weight with the goal of gaining muscle). If you ever went on a bulk or cut before, you most likely have run into an issue of when is the correct time to bulk and/or cut. You don’t want to bulk with already too much body fat. You would also want to cut weight most likely at a high enough body fat percentage that is just bordering becoming too much. 

When Should I Bulk?

The main issue when it comes to bulking is that you don’t want to gain too much fat. If you do have too much fat, that just means you’ll probably have to spend a longer cycle trying to cut the fat and can leave you in a calorie deficit for some time. 

So when is the best time? Usually, I prefer to bulk at anything less than 12% body fat. This ensures that I’m in a good range to start bulking and even with the added body fat that in ensured to come with bulking, you’ll still be at a decent range. 

For women, this would be equivalent to 20% body fat and then going up from there.

When Should I Cut?

Cutting is all about losing body fat. Personally, I like to cut around 16% body fat. I do think that’s a bit conservative in general and others may still be able to bulk for a longer period of time. 

For you, you may be able to go up to 20% body fat before you feel like you need to cut. However, I like to keep in mind that at some point, having too much body fat in general is not the best thing. So I usually have a cut-off of 16% but essentially I think 20% would be a maximum. So if you’re above 20% body fat, it may be a good idea to cut instead of bulk. 

For women, this would be equivalent to starting to cut at anything higher than 28% body fat.

When Should I Maintain?

So we can bulk and cut, but when do we just maintain the weight? Well this mainly depends on when you’re happy where you’re at. I also think it’s good to do maintenance after any bulking or cutting cycle. 

For instance, after a bulk and continuously gaining weight for a long time, I like to pause and just maintain that weight for about a month. From there, I’ll start to slowly cut the weight there. Same goes after a cut.

Besides that, if you’re happy where you’re at and with your body composition, you should maintain your weight then

Note on Cutting and Cutting for Women

If you’re cutting, I do warn on being too low of body fat in general. If you ever see bodybuilders, it’s easy to think because they’re so ripped they’re healthy. This isn’t the case though. Being at a low body fat in general isn’t good for your health and can cause issues down the line. Too low for men can be anything less than 6%.  For women, anything less than 12% can start causing issues. 

Cutting for women is different from men. First, men and womens body fat percentage differ to our bodies and how we hold and store fat. It’s important to note though, that when a woman drops too much body fat it can also cause Amenorrhea. This can occur once you’re below 12% body fat. Men also go through changes, but the changes women go through are a bit more severe. 

Final Thoughts

Cutting and bulking is the main cycles of life for us. I love to time my bulks around the Fall/Winter and cuts towards Spring/Summer. As you can imagine, I stay within the body fat ranges I mentioned above during those times. 

Most of this information is subjective as it depends on how you feel and what you want to do. However, I feel that when your body fat is greater then 20% or higher (for men) or 28% or higher (for women), it might be best to start cutting body fat. You can always cut weight, but sometimes too low can also be a dangerous thing. Be wary of the hazards it can bring upon to you if you cut too low.

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