3 Reason to Ditch the Scale

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Have you ever found yourself weighing in every day and getting frustrated at not seeing the changes you want? When you are on a fitness journey and are trying to gain muscle mass, it can be extremely frustrating to not see the numbers you want to on scale and correlating it with failure at not gaining muscle mass. It can almost become an addiction.

First let me say that I am a big proponent in weighing in from time to time when you are starting out. You don’t want to workout for six months and never step on a scale and realize you have not been on track for that length of time.

So I do recommend a once a month scale check-in just to see where you are at. But with that being said, it should not dictate your fitness journey. Here are 3 reasons to ditch the all controlling scale.

  1. It can dictate your actions too much. If you are weighing in once a week or more, you may change up your routine too soon. It takes time, Rome and your muscular body were not built in a day, so don’t fall into the trap of weighing in all the time.
  2. Is that ideal weight really ideal? Often we get stuck in our heads a certain number that we want to be and we are not happy until we do. But the goal is to be happy with our bodies and how we feel. One time I was convinced I should be a certain weight, and I made it to that weight and felt sick and bloated all the time. I realized it wasn’t my ideal weight and adjusted accordingly.
  3. Losing sight of the goal. I always talk about finding your why when it comes to your fitness goals. By focusing solely on the number on the scale we can lose sight of why we started and where we want to be.

So while yes you should weigh in once a month just to get an idea of if you are on the right path, the scale should be simply an aid in your journey not a dictator.

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Do You Really Need Protein?

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Protein. We hear all about it. We consume it on a daily basis from one source or another. But what does it do, and do we really need it? If you follow my podcast you know how much I talk about nutrition being everything when it comes to hitting your fitness goals. But protein is often misunderstood.

I’ve known some people who wanted to gain muscle and so just started taking whey protein throughout the day. Whey is important, but that act alone is not going to just start making you jacked.

When you workout and exert a lot of muscle energy your muscles are literally starving and, because they’ve expended all their energy. They need amino acids (the building blocks of protein) in order to repair themselves. You see when muscles are worked out they literally tear. Then new muscle fibers come and grow over those tears like a scab on our skin. After these new muscle fibers patch up the tears that results in our muscle being stronger and denser.

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Protein comes into play in patching up those tears, because our muscles need them to heal, otherwise if you are depleted of amino acids, the body will actually pull them from other muscles if it can (which is counter-productive to growing muscle).

So the cure? Try to down a scoop of protein within 30 minutes after working out, this gives your muscles their much needed boost of healing. My video talked about the importance of that this week.

In addition whey protein when mixed in low-fat milk can aid in pushing you up to your calorie range for the day. It’s a quick way to get some extra calories. But as with anything, you need a well balanced nutrition plan and don’t think that the whey protein will be enough to get you jacked. But it’s a very useful tool.

When Is Fat Good?

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When it comes to fats, you want to steer clear of most of them as they provide little value and assist in clogging up your arteries. But there are some great fats your body can put to good use. Fat while usually looked at as a negative thing, actually does provide some benefits.

After all we need a healthy layer of fat around our organs to protect them, and it plays an important role in our bodies. In addition to protecting our organs, it helps the body absorb vitamins. It also helps us to regulate our body temperature. I talk all the time about the importance of nutrition on my website and even have courses dealing specifically with that.

Now before you reach for that bag of potato chips, there are healthy fats you should be incorporating but they are not what we typically think of.

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While you still want to moderate how much of even healthy fats you eat, some that you want to add to your list include eggs, which also give us a great boost of protein. Avocado (sorry store bought guacamole is out), but you can make some very healthy guacamole yourself.

Almond, cashews, and most other tree nuts are a great source of healthy fat that also pack a punch of protein. Olive oil and fish also give us a dosage of healthy fats that our body puts to good use.

So don’t fear healthy fat, still keep it in moderation, but your body needs those healthy sources.

Increasing Your Personal Bests

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Maybe you’ve been there, standing at the weight rack, trying to decide how much weight to add to the bar, you want to be able to say you hit a certain number, but you are worried you won’t be able to get it up. So you settle with putting on the same amount of weight you did last week, and the week before. How do you start breaking records, and increasing your lifts?

The first thing to get on your way to hitting new personal bests is changing up your routine. If you are lifting the same amount of weight and performing the same amount of reps every day week after week, how are your muscles going to grow? Eventually they are going to stifle. At Bones to Bulk, I talk so much about changing up your gym routine week to week.

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So for starters shake it up each week. More reps, less weight, more weight less reps. The first step is to keep your muscles guessing.

Second, make sure your form is on point. The more on point your form is the more you are going to work out that particular muscle, and the stronger it’s going to get.

Third, slow down your reps. The slower you perform the reps, the more strain being placed on your muscle, and so the more muscle you build.

The as thing is go for it. Now don’t do something dump and try to push way more weight than you know you can do, but while maintaining the proper form and having a spotter, push yourself past your normal limits. You have to push past that comfort level in order to hit new heights. So go for it! You’ve got this.

Are You Working Out Hard Enough?

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In Monday’s blog we talked about how it’s important to not get complacent in the gym and push ourselves harder, but how exactly do we do that? I mean it sounds good in theory but in reality how do we push harder? What does that really look like?

The first step is getting outside of your comfort zone. We live for getting into routines and being comfortable, or at least as comfortable as we can get. But comfort is not only the enemy of progress. In this week’s episode of the podcast I talk more about this.

If you look back at some of your best memories they probably are times when you were outside your comfort zone, when you did things that were scary but worthwhile and you look back glad that you went through the difficult for the good.

 

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It’s the same way with your workouts. So for starters pick something that scares you in the gym. Maybe it’s moving from machines to free weights, maybe it’s implementing cardio into your workouts, maybe it’s going for a new personal record on a lift. Regardless, pick something hard that is going to stretch you.

If it’s not hard pick something else. Second go hard. You should be sweating when you leave the gym. Your workout should have you out of breath on multiple occasions while you are in the middle of it. If not do more reps, lift more weights, increase the speed on the treadmill, or the difficulty on whatever cardio machine you are on. That’s how you hit your fitness goals and gain lean muscle like we talk about at Bones to Bulk.

Is Your Workout Wearing You Out?

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Has it ever happened to you? I know it has for me. I walk in the gym just “not feeling” it. I go through my routine, slowly moving from one workout to another. Getting in some good reps, and lifting heavy but just not pushing myself. Some days are like this, we just want to get in and get out of the gym but we don’t want to go an extra mile, or push ourselves beyond our limits.

If you’ve seen any of my videos or read past blogs, you know I talk a lot about routine and how it is the backbone of fitness because routine keeps you going when motivation fails, but routine too has its dangers, like when you function on autopilot in the gym.

When this happens it’s very important to not stay stuck here. I’m not saying you can’t have an off day because that’s just going to happen, but if you find it’s becoming the norm, something has to give.

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I’ve been here like I said, and normally when I find myself plodding along at the gym I know I need to change so I’ll go and find some new exercises to do, or I’ll set a new goal for how much weight I want to lift on certain exercises by the end of the month. I’ll listen to podcasts, or videos from people far ahead of me to push myself, and lastly I’ll do things that I hate in the gym.

For instance I’ve taken up running. Now anyone who knows me knows I hate running. I wish I had my wife’s genes for running, that woman can take off and run for hours like it’s nothing. Me I’m dying 30 minutes in, but I’ve been making myself do it, and I feel better. I feel the challenge of it. Now granted after I’ve just lifted heavy and then have to get in the treadmill I hate it. But I love the feeling when I am done, drenched in sweat and done with the run.

So regardless of how far along you are whether you’ve been doing this for years or days, find new ways to stretch and push yourself, and remember. You’ve got this. You can find more and get my free starters guide to fitness at my website.

Targeting Muscles

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So there’s that one muscle group you want to be larger but you are just not seeing the result that you are looking for. I’ve been there. Before I dive into what you can do to solve this dilemma, let me briefly describe what the compound effect is. It’s when you spend a small amount of time on something every day and over the course of months or years, drastic results happen. It’s the fact that you are doing something however small over a long period of time.

So what does this have to do with targeting muscles? Everything! If you are working out regularly and you can’t get that one muscle group to grow more it’s time to take it one step further.

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Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

The first step is pick two intense workouts that target the muscle you want to focus on. It could be an exercise you know, or even better find a new one online. Don’t pick your favorite ones or the ones that are easy, instead pick the ones that you hate because they hurt.

Then at the end of every workout perform three sets with each of the two exercise you picked. Regardless of what muscle group you are working out. Do these every single day at the end of your workout.

Over time, just these two extra exercises that you are pushing yourself to do when you are already tired will have amazing results. Don’t expect to have results over night or even in a month. Remember this is the compound effect. Little changes with huge impact over the long haul. You can learn more about it in this week’s podcast.