Thursday, November 26, 2020

The 3 Key Factors for Optimal Muscle Growth


When it comes to building muscle, people try to overcomplicate things. Yes, there's a science behind gaining muscle mass, but it isn't as difficult as you think. The more advanced you get, the more you need to do to see progress.

For beginners and relatively new lifters, you only need to worry about three crucial factors:

Progressive overload
Here's a very brief and simple description of muscle building:

  • Your muscles are worked
  • Muscle fibers break down
  • The muscle repairs itself and becomes stronger

That's basically what happens whenever you lift weights. So where does progressive overload fit in? Well, it refers to the way you challenge your muscles. A muscle will only get bigger and stronger when it is constantly put under strong demands. Simply put, you need to challenge your muscles to get them to grow back bigger and stronger.

The easiest example is increasing the weights you lift. If you're squatting 10kg for 12 reps - and you find it a breeze, you have to up the weight. Increase it until the 11th and 12th reps are a massive struggle. Then, when that weight becomes easy, you increase it again. This is the best starting point for progressive overload and it's fundamental for muscle growth. The best summary for it is this: push yourself harder in every workout!

A good diet
Your diet & nutrition needs to complement the workouts you perform. A poor diet won't help you build muscle at all. Firstly, you need to consume enough protein to ensure your muscles build and recover. If you find that you are not getting enough protein from your diet, check out a place like steelsupplements.com, for a variety of protein shakes. This can be a great way to refuel your body and help your muscles recover and grow.

Similarly, you need to eat enough calories to build muscle. If you're eating far fewer than you burn, you're going to burn too many calories and lose too much weight - some of which will come from muscle mass. There's a great article on this over at trifectanutrition.com that's worth reading. It goes into more detail than you get over here, and it's written by nutrition experts.

Ample recovery time
The final factor is your recovery time. If you go back to the first point on how muscle grows, you'll need to pay attention to the regrowth phase. The cells in your muscles work hard to repair themselves and come back stronger. If you don't have a good recovery routine, this won't happen very quickly. You'll know if this is the case as you'll be sore for days!

As a result, you can't work out as frequently because your muscles are still sore. Again, this links into the first point as it means you're not getting enough progressive overload. Thankfully, a good diet does a great job of speeding up the recovery time. Still, you should stretch and follow a good recovery routine to optimize muscle growth.

These three factors are all you need to worry about if you're just getting into lifting. It's not rocket science: challenge your muscles, eat well, and recover properly!

Cheers Eights & Weights!

Friday, August 7, 2020

The Most Effective Way to Burn Fat

 

Are you one of the millions of people trying to lose weight? If you are looking for a quick fix, this is definitely not the right place. Before I go into the details, it is important to note that to sustainably lose and keep weight off, you should make fitness a lifestyle. So if you are looking for a starvation or waist trainer solution, I will not be the right person to help.

That said, how can you make fitness a lifestyle but make your workouts as effective as possible? Here are a few tips to help:

  • You need both strength training and cardio. Many women seem to be scared to lift weights and many men seem to only want to lift weights. Guess what? Cardio (e.g. running, swimming, cycling, etc.) is effective to burn excess energy, but strength training (e.g. lifting, crunches, etc.) allows the body to continue to burn that energy while in a state of rest. Also, strength training gives you the definition that you don't get from doing just cardio.
  • High intensity interval training (HIIT) is more effective to lose weight than moderate intensity. First off, what is HIIT? HIIT is a form of exercise where you continuously spike up your heart rate by going very intense for a few seconds and then bringing your heart rate down. This back and forth actually gets you to burn more than when you don't go very hard. So if you are looking to lose weight, I recommend incorporating about 2 HIIT days into your routine each week.
  • Get some rest. It may sound counter-intuitive, but you do not burn fat effectively by going super duper hard every single day. You have to mix your workout intensity, and you have to sleep. The muscle fibers you tear during your workouts are actually built up during your rest time.
Now that you have these tips, what are you going to do differently?

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Born Tough Gym Bag Review



I spend a lot of time exercising and traveling - this is no secret. And so on a daily basis, I am typically packing and unpacking something. You'd find that I just keep my gym bags and small travel suitcase open and close to me so I can throw stuff in them and be on the go as needed. But to be honest, it would be nice to have something that can play multiple roles - something I can do a quick weekend trip with, pack up for the gym, or take to the office for the day with the plan to go to the gym at the end of the day.

Someone had asked me for recommendations for gym bags recently and it actually did get me thinking about what I would like in a gym bag. So when this one from Born Tough came through, it was perfect timing! What are my thoughts on this bag? Please take this with the caveat that we are currently on lock down for COVID-19 so I haven't had the chance to take it to an actual gym yet.

First off, this bag is a duffel bag and you can buy it on the site here.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Important Features of Fitness Apparel


 

With the increase in awareness of maintaining a healthy body and the benefits associated with it, many individuals are more inclined to visit the gym on a daily basis. At first, it is challenging, but once you get used to it, you will start seeing positive results. It will boost your mental health, and make you look great and feel motivated. The adage “A healthy body is a healthy mind” is true because exercise not only keeps your body fit but also promotes the development of a healthy mind. 

We all know however that one of the key aspects to staying motivated to work out is getting the right fitness gear. Comfortable but stylish clothes will increase your confidence and motivation. 

I do not know many people that exercise in regular outfits, but if you do, you could be limiting not only your motivation but your output as well. If you are new to the world of exercise, invest in some good workout gear to be able to give your best.

What are some of the key features you should look for in good workout gear? Here are some below. Remember to do your research and adjust to the type of exercise:

Friday, April 10, 2020

Surviving in these COVID-19 times


It is 2020 and this year has been brutal so far for so many. As I sit here writing, we are going through a pandemic that has people dying and people holding on to their lives. I won't try to explain COVID-19 because I assume we have all heard enough and understand the risks and the current impact of the virus. It has kept most of us in our homes with little or no social interaction, and has yielded the term "social distancing". I will however share the tips below on social distancing from the CDC.


Thursday, August 29, 2019

Sooo... I climbed Kilimanjaro and I'm still here...



There is this misconception that we - Africans - are not adventurous people. I am a pretty adventurous person who enjoys seeing the world, and enjoys doing things that build discipline and growth. But when you put both things together, I'm all in. Well, unless it means dying to prove a point. 

Last year, a group of 12 people came together to climb the greatest mountain in Africa. We called ourselves the Rooftop Gang. The whole idea was started by Funmi Oyatogun of TVP Adventures. For someone like me, a trip with other adventurous Africans who would push each other to achieve one of the greatest feats of our lives sounded like a wonderful idea. But really, truly, did we know what we were in for?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

King Athletic Jump Rope and Other Exercise Tools



If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I received some fitness tools from King Athletic a few weeks ago to try out: a jump rope, some massage balls, and a resistance band loop. This was super exciting as I love little fitness knick-knacks that I can use while I travel. And since I just finished the Brooklyn Half Marathon, I desperately needed some other cross training workouts outside of running to recover.
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