Should You Workout While Sick?

After feeling like shit the past few days I knew it was about time to take off from the gym. Today I woke up feeling alright, but was it a good idea to start working out again (I did)? If I don’t feel too terrible I usually end up feeling significantly better after getting a workout/sweat in. Is this the same for everyone though?

Q: When you feel a cold or flu coming on, should you change your workout routine?

A: If you feel like you’re coming down with a common cold, you can still exercise without noticeable limitations. If you begin to feel worse after your workout, though, you should cut it back. Take a few days off or reduce your effort. Keep in mind the above-the-neck rule: If your symptoms include a runny nose, cough, or sneezing, you should be fine to exercise. If your symptoms are below the neck, such as chest congestion, muscle aches, upset stomach, etc., be sure to rest up.

Q: What should you do when you’re in the midst of a cold or flu?

A: Please stay home if you have a fever, stomach symptoms or the flu. If you’re wiped out with fatigue there’s no point to work out. Plus, you’re contagious the first 5-7 days. Be respectful to other gym-goers. Rest allows your immune system to fully recover. Get to bed early to get extra sleep, drink plenty of fluids (alcohol doesn’t count lol), take over-the-counter medicines or ibuprofen as you recover.

Q: When should you resume your regular exercise routine after you’ve recovered?

A: Listen to your body (this can solve a lot of your fitness questions). Colds typically last for a week, but you may need as many as 2-3 weeks to recover from the flu. Start at 75% of your normal workout and increase gradually for the first week or so. If you attempt to get back too soon, you may just end up prolonging your recovery. Please note you may also experience shortness of breath if you’re recovering from an upper respiratory infection.

PS: After working out yesterday I woke up feeling a bit better than yesterday, so I’m going to workout again today! Like I said previously as long as you listen to your body you should be alright. Don’t try to overcomplicate things and make it harder than it needs to be. Your body knows just as much, if not more than your mind 🙂

What is Overtraining Syndrome?

If you’re in the fitness realm I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘overtraining’ many times before, but what is it exactly?

Overtraining syndrome is a condition that occurs when the body is pushed beyond it’s natural ability to recover. It shouldn’t be confused with tiredness though, which is to be expected when you are engaged in a comprehensive workout routine.

Mild overtraining syndrome is basically the same thing as having the flu. You feel rundown, and getting out of bed in the morning can be a struggle. In some cases, when the body’s requests for recovery continues to be ignored, long term neurological, hormonal and muscular symptoms could occur.

The balance between training hard and resting is going to be a constant juggling act for you. It takes some time to get to know your body and what it’s capable of. Plus everyone’s body is different. So a workout program that works well for you won’t necessarily work for somebody else.

Once you learn to identify the signs of overtraining you’ll be able to methodically cut back your training volume/weight in order to recover and come back better than ever!

Here are the top five signs (in no particular order) to look out for:
1. Elevated Resting Heart Rate
2. Insomnia
3. Emotional Changes
4. Extreme Muscular Soreness
5. Poor Performance

The BEST Workout Split for Building Muscle?

Is there such a thing as the BEST workout split?

For a while I thought the answer was push/pull/legs, then I started doing upper/lower splits and thought that was the best. Just recently I started doing a full-body split and have fell in love with that! In my opinion those are the three best splits you can do, but one isn’t necessarily better than the other.

The main thing is what split you adhere to best. Or in other words what better fits your lifestyle. If you’re busy and don’t have much time for the gym, full-body or upper/lower would probably be your best bet. No matter what split you select you should be performing the same core exercises, and your frequency should be at least 2-3 times a week for each muscle.

With a bro-split (one muscle group each day) that frequency is pretty much impossible, unless of course you’re doing two-a-days.

With my current program I’m doing four full-body workouts a week. This is by far the most frequency I’ve done and also the best results I’ve gotten in both muscle and strength gains. So take that for what it is.

I hope this was helpful for some of you and if you need help designing a program just let me know 🙂

Trying Something New

I’m trying something a little different with this post! Ironically enough it’s about trying something new.

In the past I was always scared to try something new because of the fear of failure. It wasn’t until fitness became a huge part of my life where I started stepping out of my comfort zone more and more.

It began with reading books a few years ago which was something I’ve never been fond of. I actually used to hate it. Now reading has become one of my favorite pastimes.

A few months ago I picked up skateboarding for the first time which is another thing I’ve always wanted to do. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve been having more fun with it than I thought.

And just recently I picked up photography which I believe will be similar to my experience with reading. I’m still not into it too much, but when you try something new you may end up liking it more than you’d imagine.

The point of this post is to encourage you guys to try something new, whatever that may be. We all have something in the back of our mind’s that we want to try but haven’t yet. Go for it! What do you have to lose by giving it a shot?! You never know where it could lead you or who you could become in the process!

How Often I Train Legs

Back when I started lifting (again) over three years ago I thought training legs twice a week was optimal. Most of the people I knew were training legs once a week and I thought I was a badass for training them twice a week lol.

Now I hit legs four days a week. The difference is I only do 1-2 leg exercises each workout, whereas before I would do 5-6 leg exercises each workout. The overall volume is about the same as before but the frequency has basically doubled. Essentially more opportunity for muscle growth and recovery time because I’m only training four days a week now.

The other thing that has changed has been focusing less on isolation exercises. This goes for my upper-body as well. Most of my leg exercises (aside from a few accessories and hip thrusts) involve a variation of the squat.

Hip thrusts are an amazing exercise I’ve recently added into my programming and are something I wish I started doing a while ago. They aren’t a common exercise amongst men and I think they should be. They will aid in bringing up your deadlift and squat, and tell me what serious lifter wouldn’t want that?!

Another thing that has helped my measly calves grow has ironically been training them less often. My calves have always been lagging so I used to train them nearly every workout to compensate, but they barely ever budged. So I switched up my approach to only hit calf raises once a week for heavy sets of 5-8 reps. Please remember, it’s crucial on calf raises to control the weight throughout. If you’re bouncing around you’re probably not accomplishing much.

Well that’s pretty much it, comment below if you have any questions 🙂

Top 5 Fitness Supplements

Below are the top five best supplements in my opinion. Supplements aren’t needed by any means but they can be useful in certain situations. If you were to spend money on a single supplement I would recommend creatine. It’s the cheapest supplement out there and also very effective. I would recommend protein but you should be getting sufficient protein in your diet, and protein is also overpriced.

  1. Whey Protein
  2. Creatine
  3. Multivitamin
  4. Omega-3
  5. Caffeine

Benefits of Outdoor Activities

Think a personal trainer will only have you doing cardio on a treadmill? Not so much anymore.

As a personal trainer in California I recommended outdoor activities to all my clients as a way to enhance their overall fitness level and clear their minds.

The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) considers anything from kayaking to pick-up basketball to high-adventure excursions like camping and rock climbing as outdoor activity. Some experts say you can burn up to 500+ calories an hour while hiking!

Outdoor excursions have mental benefits as well. Greenery evokes a mood-boosting response after only five minutes! Not to mention, doesn’t a breathtaking view sound much more invigorating than your gym’s television screen?!

My Thoughts on Bodyweight Exercises

It’s not hard to see why no-equipment workouts are so popular at the moment.

They’re relatively easy to learn, they can be modified to suit any skill level, and they can be done almost anywhere. Body weight exercises are an efficient way to get fit for free. Pushups and pull-ups are classic bodyweight moves, but there are plenty more to choose from, like squats, lunges, planks, etc.

With that being said, I believe you should only do workouts consisting of all bodyweight movements if you’re either a beginner, can’t afford a gym membership, or don’t have the time (which is a lame excuse).

Don’t get me wrong, bodyweight exercises are better than doing nothing at all, but they still can’t compare to resistance training at a gym! You’ll see much better results in a shorter period of time if you invest in a gym membership. And this is why I say not having enough time is a lame excuse.

You’ll be spending a lot more time working out with bodyweight exercises, especially when you get into the intermediate level. Eventually you’ll have to do so many sets and reps to progress that it’ll no longer be practical to workout like that.

This is why I suggest starting out with a gym membership from the beginning, unless of course you’re still intimidated by the gym, in which case bodyweight exercises can be a great way to start off!

Which is Better: Static Stretching or Dynamic Stretching?

Static Stretching

Static stretching is the more well-known type of stretching where there is no movement involved and often held for 20-30 seconds to promote muscle relaxation. Old-school of thought recommended a static stretching routine for 15ish minutes prior to physical activity in order to reduce the risk of injury. This pre-training ritual has lost popularity as of late because it opposes physiological responses of muscle. An elongated (relaxed) muscle is not prepared for the demands of vigorous activity, which potentially increases the risk for injury and hurts performance. For that reason, the benefits of static stretching before exercise is a myth and should be avoided at all costs!

Dynamic Stretching

In light of recent research studies, a paradigm shift from static stretching to dynamic stretching began. A number of studies discovered an increase in performance with dynamic warm ups. Dynamic stretching is now the preferred method for warming up because it increases heart rate, facilitates movement, activates the nervous system, stimulates blood flow, etc. These responses are more appropriate pre-exercise because it mimics sport-specific movements. This does not mean that static stretching has been phased out completely. Static stretching has been shown to be very effective to maintain functional muscle length post-exercise!