5 ways to take home workouts to the next level

5 ways to take home workouts to the next level

**How to avoid the biggest mistakes that most home exercisers make**

I've always been an advocate for having a home gym setup in case of emergencies.  But for some people, working out at home is the reason why they DON'T see the progress they want.

With more of us working out at home than ever before, there are even MORE options for the home exerciser than everrrrr before. Nearly every gym is offering “on-demand” options online, and every fit pro on IG is providing “quick and easy” moves you can do with little to no equipment from home.

IF you're working out at home for only a week or two, then feel free to take FULL advantage of testing any and every idea or option available right now.  Use this time for getting in YOUR movement any way that you can, and discovering styles of exercising that you didn't know even existed to see if you find something you like. Give yourself the gift of variety at some point of your journey, it can be just the thing you need during high stress periods, or for a quick break from your usual (more strategic, less variety) workout plans.

However, physique adaptations can happen in as little as 3 weeks, so plan accordingly.  Rest weeks and planned downtime can be an amazing gift if you've been running yourself into the ground – OR – it can be the nail in the coffin of your goals.

IF you will likely be working out from home for LONGER than 2-3 weeks, have a back up plan.    

To make the best of your at home workouts, and assure you get continual, compounding results even during the quarantine, avoid these 5 mistakes most home exercisers make: 

1) Not taking your workouts seriously. Just because you're home, doesn't mean you get to slack off/do laundry between sets (ok…so I'm talking to myself on that one! 🤣)

2) Being Random. Workout with a purpose. Once you're out of the newbie phase, random Pinterest/homemade, etc. workouts won't have the same effect that they used to.

3) Not progressing. When a workout gets easy, or you can lift heavier, etc…do it! Just because you sweat or can still “feel the burn” doesn't mean it's “working” in the way you think. The only way to keep seeing changes is to make an effort to progress in your workouts.

4) Not changing it up. Doing the same exercises/workouts/videos is not going to have the same results in Month 6 that it had in month 1. Don't be afraid to move on (even if it's just for a little while) when the workout is no longer serving you (or… if you can quote the video word for word.)

5) Not giving yourself room to grow. Make it a point to purchase heavier weights, incorporate new videos, or other equipment that allows you to make the exercise harder over time.  Don't stifle yourself by refusing to equip yourself for the next level.

Remember, if it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you! 

Working out for your goals

Working out for your goals

{Click to enlarge}

{Click to enlarge}

When it comes to working out, most of us have a reason for doing it. Usually what we choose to do is based on what our goals are, and where we are in our personal journey. There is a huge difference in workouts between someone who is just starting out and someone who is a competitive lifter. Let's take a walk through our phases of lifting, or what “grade” of school each belongs to, 'cause just like school, the higher the grade, the more challenging work needs to be done!

 

Newbie Gains (Grades 1-4)

When you first start working out, chances are you are coming from your couch and you just want to “move more.” You could literally do anything in terms of exercise and it will yield results. Much like elementary school. Your first few years of learning is where the basics come from. This is where you are learning to just move. Weights may or may not be on your radar yet, but walking more, running, exercise videos, gym classes, etc. Anything you decide to do, will give you results for your work. This is referred to as “newbie gains.” You are only ever a newbie once, so this is a time to take advantage of this first year or so just doing anything and everything. Eventually, all good things come to an end and after a year or so, these gains will be hard to come by.Working out for your goals SocialMediaGraph

Growth (Grades 5-9)

The results from your first year or so of lifting have stopped occurring. Now its time to apply the knowledge you have and start challenging the body. Your workouts should be strategic choices, based on your goals. In the newbie phase you could do anything and get results, but in a growth phase you have to start incorporating things you may not like in order to get results. What was once tough before, now becomes easy to do. Maybe you could only do 2 pushups and now you can do 15. You need to think of ways to add resistance to that move in order to get results. When you began, walking a mile might be enough of a challenge, but as we grow, that mile turns into five, then 10. This is where changing steady state activities to something like HIIT comes into play.

Challenge (Grades 10-12+)

Working out for your goals SocialMediaGraph (1)Lastly, challenging the body to do things it hasn't done will be the final phase, and the one where all seasoned vets end up living in. This is where we have to constantly challenge ourselves to move differently, lift heavier, build endurance, strength, flexibility, and evolve through each new workout. Even with an activity like lifting, the challenge will be to lift heavier, or increase time under tension. When a 200lb squat becomes too easy, the challenge will be to increase the weight. This is also where your goals come into play more. If your goal is fat loss, then your workouts will be tailored differently than if your goal was strength based. Over time, your resistance will change, so you need to adapt the numbers to constantly challenge your body.

It is important to continue do things you like doing. Those type of activities help aid in stress relief and relaxation more than getting results. But if you aren't willing to challenge yourself, then you will constantly spin your wheels over and over again.

 

Opt In Image
Get in-depth info on Strength Training
Exclusive vids, tips, and free workouts

Should you just do cardio to lose weight? How heavy is heavy lifting? Do "strength" DVDs count? What if you don't want to lift? Sign up now for in-depth info on strength training and fat loss.  You'll also receive special vids and free workout plans to help you get the most from your time in the gym.

No worries, we hate spam too!

Guest Post – Leigh Anne’s Strongman Competition

Guest Post – Leigh Anne’s Strongman Competition

Leigh Anne is a long time EM2WL vet who decided to push her limits by entering Strongman competitions. This is a recap of her last event.

Leigh1I am still reeling from an incredible Strongman competition weekend and I need to share! I competed in the first Strongman at a gym in Charlottesville, VA. There were over 90 competitors, it was over 90 degrees and all but one of the five events were outside.

It was a long day.

I weighed in at 242. My previously steady weight of 237 was definitely boosted by eating super well a couple days prior. I ate well that night and ended up getting some delish local grub at a farmer's market the next morning, along with the most amazing iced coffee I've ever had.

I wore a tank top. I never wear tank tops, but it was HOT! I got two compliments about how “bad ass” I looked in my tank!

I did not have my best showing, but I can identify where I need to improve and where I messed up. I was not confident in my squat and I bottomed out – but I expected to. I was not confident. I skipped a 340-lb. deadlift to try for the 360, when I shouldn't have … but I tried and it moved! The truck pull was deceptively easy from the start and I did not brace myself nor get enough momentum to pull the full 50 feet when I hit the up-hill grind. BUT … I cleaned a 100 lb. axle and never did that before! I loaded a 135 lb. stone to a 54-inch platform when my previous max was 125 to a 48-inch platform. The roar from the gym when I finally got it loaded (it was a struggle, ya'll!) and my coach's wife yelling in my ear to NOT STOP was life. That was amazing.

Leigh2I cried several times that day. Not because I was upset with how I did, but because I was so proud of those around me. My amazing friend, Autumn, pulled the Mission BBQ truck the entire 50 feet and did not give up. She has been training for less than a year and I am so incredibly proud of her.

Then I met Mary Jacobson. Mary is 62 years young. Mary had gotten dehydrated a couple days prior, blacked out in her apartment, woke up in the hospital, pulled the IV out of her arm and told the staff that she had somewhere to be! (Please, I am not advocating doing this, but the independence, the drive and the determination of this lady was demonstrated here). Mary deadlifted 340 pounds. Mary pulled a 2.5 ton truck. Mary put on an amazing show, shared her knowledge. She was amazing. This lady is a cancer survivor. She was in a coma for two years. She won't let anything stop her.

And I am honored to have met her.

Two days after this competition, I have signed up for my next one. It will be 10 weeks away – the first weekend in October. I plan to cut between now and then … and I have planned my meals to equate a 15% cut for now. A couple of the events at my competition in October are moving events, so I need to incorporate cardio into my training, but I hate the treadmill, elliptical and bike. My plan is to do light farmers, tire flips and truck pulls when possible. I am anxious to see what this cut does … and hoping for the best!!

 

Share your success, no matter how large or small.  You never know who you may inspire to hang on just a bit longer.  We love featuring results and journey stories in REAL time, not just before/afters.  If you have a victory (scale or not) let us know and allow us to share with the fam, by submitting to success@EM2WL.com

“It’s like I’m looking at someone else’s body” – Journey Update

“It’s like I’m looking at someone else’s body” – Journey Update

An update to My Journey (so far)

I ended last with finishing up the EM2WL Beginner Strength Training Manual for 12 weeks and prior to that, I did Cathe’s Muscle Max for 6 weeks.  I started (seriously) on 1/1/15.  At the end of both programs, I had lost 10 lbs and 10.5 inches total.

I started back doing Muscle Max, Slow & Heavy and walking our garden track.  I started STS on 1/24/16.  I’m not sure if y’all have ever done STS before but in Meso 1 that woman LOVES pushups!!!  Like, seriously…I can’t do pushups on my toes and I have to do them on my knees.  Well, I got “creative” and decided to put extra towels under my knees to have even more cushion.  BAD IDEA!!! I totally messed up my knee!  I haven’t been able to do lower body exercises AT ALL since!  I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Patellafemoral Pain Syndrome as well as mild/moderate arthritis.  Thank goodness the week I injured my knee was the last week of Meso 1.  So I had an active rest week (which I couldn’t be active at all) then I started Meso 2.

The whole knee thing put me into a tailspin with regards to my diet/calories.  I was eating at 15% cut during Meso 1 which was 1890.  So during my rest week and when I started Meso 2, I checked my TDEE on Fitbit because I was just maintaining.  To my shock (which, in hindsight is shouldn’t have been a shock) my TDEE had dropped quite a bit because I wasn’t getting my steps in…DUH!!!  So, grudgingly I lowered my calories to 1676 (yes I’m totally spoiled with eating all the food on this diet).  But you know what, it wasn’t hard at all!!!

I have to admit, I was so down because the doctor restricted me to no lower body for 2 weeks (which was at the beginning of Meso 2) the “old me” tried to make a come-back and I was ready to just stop doing anything.  But Anitra suggested/told me to just do the upper body workouts, there was no reason to stop doing everything!!!  Thanks so much Anitra!!!  I just started walking again but I’m still restricted to just walking for the next 4 weeks…then I can slowly add lower body exercises using just my body weight…so I’m still in the healing process, but I’m getting there!

I lost 6 pounds and 7.5 inches just in my first month of STS!  There’s one thing that I’ve learned through all of this…the scale isn’t nearly as important as it used to be.  I’m more concerned with inches lost than pounds lost.

Since starting this new lifestyle a little over a year ago, I’ve lost 19.5 lbs and 25.5 inches!!!  I’ve gone down two sizes in jeans (16 to 12).  I’m so excited!! This journey so far is beyond rewarding.  It’s a slow and steady pace, but I’m eating food and I’m not starving!!!  More importantly, I’m starting to see the changes in my body/taking shape.  It’s almost like I’m looking at someone else’s body at times.  If that makes any sense… Like I look in the mirror at my side view and my butt is perking up and getting a nice roundness to it!  I can see it, not so much anyone else yet, but it’s there and it’s gonna “bust out” someday soon!!! LOL  My confidence is coming back…slowly, but it is.

IMG_1243

The top row was taken in April 2015 when I finished Beginning Strength (my last update), and the bottom was taken June 2016 one and a half months after finishing STS.

I just can’t express how much this lifestyle has changed my life and my outlook on food and fitness.  My only regret is that I waited so long to realize the smart way to do it!!!! But I don’t dwell/beat myself up to much about it… won’t do me any good.  I’m just spreading the word to anyone who asks and will listen.  As a result, I have introduced a dear friend to EM2WL who was on WW for years and totally frustrated and after a reset and now at cut, she’s lost 12 lbs in 9 weeks! And she has her boyfriend on it too and he’s knocking it out of the park too!!!

Currently, I have finished STS and have started Jillian Michaels Body Revolution.  I will not be taking measurements or weighing myself any time soon.  You see, down here in the South, the humidity is nasty and I have edema in my hands and legs/feet.  I’m finding that it could be hormonal/aging.  I’ve had to put the scales away because I’m weighing between 3-7 lbs heavier.  That is very difficult for me as I’m a scale addict.  But the reality is, I have to put it away in order to maintain my sanity.

The message I’m trying to get across to everyone is just hang in there, it will happen.  You may have setbacks that throw you off track, but do what you can and stay the course. That’s the beauty of this – if I can do it, you can too!!!

 

Opt In Image
Get in-depth info on Strength Training
Exclusive vids, tips, and free workouts

Should you just do cardio to lose weight? How heavy is heavy lifting? Do "strength" DVDs count? What if you don't want to lift? Sign up now for in-depth info on strength training and fat loss.  You'll also receive special vids and free workout plans to help you get the most from your time in the gym.

No worries, we hate spam too!

Why Heart Rate Monitors Are Not Accurate For Lifting

Why Heart Rate Monitors Are Not Accurate For Lifting

When it comes to fitness gadgets, one of the most popular items is the heart rate monitor. Heart rate monitors can be a great way to track calorie burn, and measure recovery levels during overly-stressed periods — but they are not always the best in every workout situation. In fact, when it comes to lifting, Heart Rate Monitors are not accurate for lifting.

 

Heart Rate Monitors are not accurate for lifting

If you jump on a cardio machine for a half hour workout, you'll notice a spike in calorie burn. If you spend the same amount of time doing a lifting routine, you'll notice you don't burn as many calories as you did in your cardio session. So cardio is the obvious winner, right?

Not quite. Heart rate monitors not are accurate for lifting

When it comes to lifting weights, the bulk of the calorie burn comes in the EPOC (afterburn).  Afterburn, as the name suggests, is the period of time after your workout concludes in which your body's metabolic rate is much higher than normal. So while you may burn fewer calories during the initial lift, you burn more overall in the hours/days following due to boosted metabolism. On the flip side, when it comes to cardio, what you see is what you get. This means is that when your cardio workout ceases, so does your calorie burn.

This can put heart rate monitors at a disadvantage when it comes to lifting, because they can dissuade “burn addicts” from strength training. Being addicted to the burn often causes people to place more focus on cardio than necessary, because they love to see that number spike during workouts. And I get it. We all want more bang for our buck – but when we let an initially low number on our heart rate monitor dissuade us from lifting, we're heading down the wrong road.  Because muscle is the key to a healthy metabolism and high quality of life, we can't count on the number of calories burned during the workout to tell us how well we're doing.

The type of workout, doesn't immediately correlate to the burn that your HRM will show. This is true not only of weight lifting, but also with different types of cardio, as with HIIT/interval type workouts. Longer cardio sessions may show a higher burn than short, quick, HIIT style workouts. Circuits may show a higher calorie burn that lift/rest/lift style training.  The key is to understand that both weight lifting and interval type workouts (anaerobic) lead to building (and keeping) more muscle than their alternatives.  As you continue to build more muscle, your resting metabolic rate continues to increase (think more calories burned simply by sitting on the couch! Yeaaaahhhhh!).

Heart rate monitors are not accurate for lifting. Why is that?If you're attached to your heart rate monitor, have no fear. The key is to make your heart rate monitor work for you – use it during cardio to gauge effectiveness and adaptability and keep in mind that wearing it during lifting isn't going to give you an accurate result.  If you're bent on trying to get a more accurate number, you can look into adding something like a Fitbit to your arsenal, which will do a slightly better job of helping you understand how to properly fuel your body.  Just be sure to note that when it's all said and done, even these “more accurate” devices typically underestimate the amount of cals burned. So don't use either as an excuse to undereat. ;)

Keeping the limitations of your HRM in mind will help you to continue including the workouts that are giving you the most return on your investment, while sprinkling in moderate doses of activities that you love.  Seek true balance, rather than constantly fighting the uphill battle of too much cardio, and zero weights, to the detriment of your fat loss goals.

Remember: “cardio for fun, weights to transform!”

 

~Kiki

Opt In Image
Get in-depth info on Strength Training
Exclusive vids, tips, and free workouts

Should you just do cardio to lose weight? How heavy is heavy lifting? Do "strength" DVDs count? What if you don't want to lift? Sign up now for in-depth info on strength training and fat loss.  You'll also receive special vids and free workout plans to help you get the most from your time in the gym.

No worries, we hate spam too!

Losing Weight, Looking Fatter: Why each diet makes it worse

Losing Weight, Looking Fatter: Why each diet makes it worse

Between your skin and bones, there’s muscle and fat. If you’re over the age of 20 (yes…20!), and have been consistently inactive, your body will naturally gain fat and lose muscle when not on a lifting and/or healthy (higher protein) eating regimen. This happens as a result of being sedentary, and not engaging muscles. Many of us set the same goal year after year to lose weight.  But as the years go by, we're noticing that every time weight loss occurs, the end result is a physique that looks different attempt to attempt. You may even think “I'm looking fatter than I did last time I was this weight.” But why?

(Watch the full replay for answers to this and other questions. Broadcast recap below video…) 

 

WEIGHT Loss Doesn't Equal FAT Loss

It's often assumed (*cough* ladies) that there’s no reason to have muscle — if we don’t want to be ripped, or look “manly.” (Really, ladies?…1990 called and wants it theories back).  We think that as long as we’re getting smaller, there's no point in lifting (read: gaining or preserving muscle mass).  While we may have been able to fool ourselves into believing this at 22, eventually we're faced with reality: muscle equals metabolism.  Having less of one, means lowering the other.  The more times we diet, the more muscle is lost, and fat is gained.  If the weight loss stints are really quick, we've just increased our odds.

The faster weight comes off, the more likely it is that we’re experiencing muscle loss and not just fat loss. The more yo-yoing our body does, the more weight we gain each time. This means we need to lose more weight each time, with more of the loss likely being from muscle mass. We start to notice that we look softer, and all that cardio we used to do, doesn’t “work” anymore.

Time to face the facts: Quick-fix diets will never “work.” The *temporary* WEIGHT LOSS primes you for FAT GAIN

Time to face the facts: Quick-fix diets will never “work.” The *temporary* WEIGHT LOSS primes you for FAT GAIN

Gaining fat isn’t a difficult job.  Our bodies are good at doing so without us even trying. (I doubt I just blew your mind, there, LOL.)  To gain muscle, however, we must put forth a conscious effort. While we may tend to think we have too much fat on our frames, the problem instead may be we just don’t have enough muscle.  Having too little muscle is like drilling for water in the desert, it's gonna take a heck of a lot more effort – which much less rewarding payoff.  Without a sufficient amount of muscle, our “weight loss” goals will never be sustainable for long.  This means that many of us ladies have to get over the fear of weightlifting, and thoughts about how gaining muscle will make us look like a bodybuilder (myth).

Do It Right, or Do It Over

When it comes to fat loss, programs and approaches that may have worked for you in the beginning aren’t necessarily going to work for you in the long run. This is why it's so important to remember to start small if you’re just getting into the swing of fat loss, healthy eating and resistance training.  There are many levels involved to getting to that peak level.  Trying to go straight to the highest level leaves you with little room for plateau adjustments (no trump card to pull!), and typically doesn't provide enough time to develop habits that stick.  So take the time to do it right, instead of constantly doing it over.  Always have another trick up your sleeve.  Pick one thing and nail it before you move onto something else. For example: incorporate more protein (from 90 grams to 120 grams, then 120 grams to 150 grams, etc) in your diet until you master it.

*Side note: Metabolism resets are key if you’re a yo-yo dieter or have been on a low-calorie diet for an extended period of time. It’s easy to get caught up in the scale weight, but the key is to think about the long term. Too much cardio and too little food will absolutely lead to muscle loss. Real progress takes time and requires a realistic perspective. If you/your clients want to get results, they’ve got to start weight lifting. Being skinny doesn’t equal results. Being strong and healthy does.

Cross section of thigh muscle, notice what happens to muscle/fat ratio over the years? Plan of attack must change with age. Preserving/building muscle is essential.

Cross section of thigh muscle, notice what happens to muscle/fat ratio over the years? Plan of attack must change with age. Preserving/building muscle is essential.

Arm Yourself for Sustainable Success

Ask somebody what their ideal end goal physique is and you’ll often hear “I just want to be skinny and not look like a bodybuilder.” By arming yourself with the proper information and knowledge, you can create a program that combines strength training and a proper diet (i.e. adequate protein intake).  Constantly working on those areas (knowledge, lifting, diet) will change your entire perspective on the body transformation process. Gathering information, like taking your own diet history into consideration, can be a very helpful in discovering if you are actually dealing with a muscle deficit. Using this information, you can learn how to train and eat for muscle. Eating around a maintenance level of calories (also known as TDEE) can often prove to be the best approach.

If weight loss were easy, everybody would be running around looking like fitness models. The reality of it is that there’s a science and method behind the madness. In order to create healthy, sustainable weight loss, you’ve got to target the fat mass and preserve/add to the muscle mass.

 

~Kiki

STOP Spinning your wheels and Get OFF the Rollercoaster!

 

 

Download the FREE EM2WL Quick Start Guide and get...



> An overview of the Eat More 2 Weigh Less basics

 

> Access to our Crushing the Diet Mentality Facebook Community

 

> BONUS!! FREE fat loss/muscle gain workout plan.

 

You have Successfully Subscribed!