How to Customize a Workout Program Based on Your Body Type

617cdbf429754b9120d16617eb4436bcBy understanding your body type, you can customize a workout program to be more effective than an “out of the box” workout program. Customizing a workout program based on your body type is surprisingly easy. Before you start developing a workout program you have to identify your body type (also called somatotype). There are three basics somatotypes; mesomorph, ectomorph, and endomorph. A mesomorphic body is ideal. They are the individuals who are athletic with a strong frame that can easily gain muscle while remaining quite lean. Ectomorphs are those with thin delicate frames that have a hard time gaining weight, have a fast metabolism and very lean muscle definition. Lastly, endomorphs are the heavier individuals that have a round shape who find it difficult to burn fat but can gain muscle mass easily.

Mesomorphs

If you are a mesomorph, lucky you! Since you can gain muscle mass fast your program has to include cardiovascular exercise to keep your body lean. Twenty five to thirty minutes of cardio 3 times a week is recommended. As for training, stay within 8-12 reps for each set with a 1 minute rest in between. Make sure to include a variety of exercises to continue to challenge your body, maintain muscle and improve strength as well as endurance.

Ectomorphs

Ectomorphs have to customize their fitness program to work against their natural thinness. To do so select short and intense exercises that target major muscle groups like the biceps, triceps, abdominals and hamstrings. This type of workout will help with muscle development. When doing any sort of weight or resistance training, train heavier and keep your repetitions within the 5-10 range. As for cardio, keep it to a minimum since burning fat is not needed. As for rest periods, 2 minute rests between sets are suggested. Since you will be doing more intense exercise you need additional time to recover.

Endomorphs

Endomorphs on the other hand have to embrace cardio in order to burn fat and maintain a good body fat percentage. Do cardio as much as you can and be sure to change it up. Try swimming, running, HIIT, cycling and any other form of cardiovascular exercise that interests you. Aside from that you do need weight and resistance training. It is highly recommended that you do compound lifts and stick with 8-15 repetitions per set with 30 second of rest. Challenging major muscle groups will speed up your metabolism to help keep the excess body fat off.

This article was authored by Michael Volkin, inventor of Strength Stack 52 bodyweight fitness cards and the all new HIIT the Game.

Surprise! These Once Thought of As “Unhealthy Foods” Are Now Actually Good for You

Scientific studies are being conducted on thousands of items of food that we consume every day. Some of these studies show how these once deemed unhealthy foods are not as detrimental to your health as initially thought. Below are just a few examples of what was once considered an unhealthy food item is now being hailed by science as healthy.

Eggs

Eggs were once considered a dietary taboo and thought to clog arteries, which could lead to heart attacks or strokes. However, new research give individuals the green light to consume eggs on a daily basis, some are even calling eggs a superfood. One

photo credit: http://eofdreams.com
photo credit: http://eofdreams.com

egg contains healthy amounts of unsaturated fats, high-quality protein and 13 essential minerals and vitamins for only 75 calories. Although the yolk contains 213 milligrams of dietary cholesterol, consuming one whole egg several times per week is acceptable as long as other foods high in cholesterol are limited.

Pork

Pork has long been demonized as a fatty, unhealthy, poor choice of food. However, if you are familiar with the right cuts such as boneless loin chops, tenderloin and center cut bacon, pork is superior to chicken as a source of complete protein. On lean, well trimmed cuts, a pork tenderloin is just as lean as a skinless chicken breast. Pork cuts taken from the loin such as pork roast or pork chops are lower in fat and calories than a skinless chicken thigh. Aside from its low fat and calorie content, pork is also a good source of thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and vitamin B6.

Coffee

You may have heard that drinking this caffeinated beverage is bad for your health, although new scientific research states differently. Of course, consuming too much caffeine can cause insomnia and jitteriness, but scientists have discovered that drinking coffee on a regular basis can help reduce your risk of developing diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, colon cancer and even headaches. One study in particular shows that individuals who drink 2 cups of coffee per day have a 20% fewer risk of developing colon cancer than individuals who drink none. Although more research is needed, many health experts believe that coffee’s health benefits outweigh its negatives.

Potatoes

When the low-carb diet craze hit the public, potatoes were cast to the wayside. However, when prepared properly, potatoes are a versatile, nutritious and inexpensive food that should have a place in your diet. One medium skin-on potato contains only 160 calories and is high in fiber and potassium. Potatoes should be enjoyed on a constant basis when they are roasted, baked or mashed. When enjoying potatoes, be aware of adding fatty toppings such as shredded cheese, butter and sour cream, which can add hundreds of calories and unnecessary fat.

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate lovers rejoice! Studies have shown that dark chocolate contains potent antioxidants known as flavonoids similar to those found in fruits, vegetables, red wine and tea. Consuming a small amount of pure dark chocolate on a daily basis can help improve the flow of blood through vessels and capillaries in older adults, and may help improve insulin sensitivity.

Remember that no matter how healthy a food, consuming everything in moderation is key to healthy results. All of the above foods provide you with important nutrients and vitamins, but you can have too much of a good thing. Following a sound nutrition plan that is well- balanced in proteins, carbohydrates and fats can help you achieve and maintain optimal health.

This article was written by Sergeant Michael Volkin, inventor of Strength Stack 52 exercise cards, a unique way to transform bodyweight exercises into a fun and competitive workout.

How to REALLY Build Muscle-Forget 3 Sets of 10 Reps

If you have ever stepped into a gym, most like you’ve used the old school method of 3 sets with 10 reps to try and build muscle. Then, 90% of you won’t return after a month because you don’t see any gains. Of course not! Think about what you’re doing. In order for a muscle to increase in size you have to first break it down. You’re not going to accomplish that will 3 measly sets of a weight you can lift 10 times.

If you really want to build muscle, try the method fitness coach Chad Waterbury advocates in his book Huge in a Hurry. At first I was skeptical to try this method I am about to describe, but now I am a true believer.

Natural-muscle-building3
photo credit: http://purelifts.com

If you want to accelerate your muscle growth, try this method. First pick an exercise you want to do, then find a weight that you can lift 6 times. This step is often the cause of mistakes. Most bodybuilders at this point will pick a weight they can lift 10 times and use this as the weight they can lift 6 times. I want you to truly pick a weight that you can lift only 6 times, and you should be struggling on that sixth rep. Once you have determined that weight, your first set is to lift it 6 times. Rest for 30 seconds and then repeat with that same weight for your second set. Don’t worry; you probably won’t lift that weight 6 times your second set, in fact, if you do, you didn’t choose a heavy enough weight. Continue to bang out sets with that same weight until you reach a total of 30 reps.

You should do only one exercise per muscle group and don’t overtrain. This doesn’t have to be your whole workout, but after you complete 30 reps, try not to do any more exercises with that muscle group for a few days.

This article was authored by Sergeant Michael Volkin, inventor of Strength Stack 52 fitness cards. Now available in Australia.

5 Little Known Ways to Get a Leg Workout at Home

We have all been there at some point: snow blocking the roads, sick child at home that needs pampering, car is in the shop, or probably the most common, I just don’t have the time today. But you need to get to a gym to get a leg workout, right? What to do?

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One Legged Squat Exercise

While less than ideal, I typically take these days as an opportunity to work not only major muscle groups, but also minor muscles that are often neglected during traditional exercises. As goes the old idiom, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” so goes a body is only as strong as its weakest muscle. So here are four at-home exercises that can work both your major and minor muscle groups which require little to no equipment.

  1. The Windmill Lunge

Typically, when we do lunges, we are doing front lunges, which give the quads a fantastic burn, but otherwise do not work other muscles. The windmill lunge will work all parts of your leg, including the inner thigh muscles and hip adductors. To do a windmill lunge, begin with a normal forward lunge, with your right foot forward. In your next lunge, step forward at a 45 degree angle. Continue to rotate 45 degrees each lunge, and after five lunges you will have just completed a reverse lunge. Repeat until fatigued and then switch legs.

  1. Jump Lunge

One of the worst aspect about at home workout is that without equipment, it is difficult to do explosive movements which activate those “Type 2” muscle fibers, which are the muscle fibers responsible for your heavy lifts. Doing a jump lunge will activate those type 2 muscle fibers. To do a jump lunge, it’s easy; do a lunge, then jump up in the air and switch your foot position for the next lunge, then land. The faster you move, the better the burn!

  1. One-Legged Squat

This exercise requires a lot of balance to execute correctly, so in case you fall over your first few times, make sure you have something to grab onto. Stand on a step with one foot and keep your other foot off the ground. Lower yourself with your planted leg until your butt and knee are parallel, then stand back up. If you can, try not to hold onto anything while doing these. Again, balancing engages minor muscles as well as your core.

  1. Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl

Likely the easiest exercise from this list, find an inflatable exercise ball and lie down on your back. Place both your heels on the ball and lift your body off the ground. Now bring the ball in closer to your body by curling your legs. Repeat until fatigued. For a more challenging exercise, use a smaller exercise ball, which will throw your body off balance and engage more and different muscle fibers.

Whether your home is your ideal workout spot or you’re crunched for time and can’t leave the house, these exercises can get you the workout your body needs.

This guest blog post was authored by Michael Volkin, inventor of Strength Stack 52 bodyweight exercise cards and the all new Weight Loss Stack 52, the most fun and unique way to lose weight.