Tips For The Gym Newbie

Written By: Nadia Nguru

Getting into any new routine can be pretty hard, daunting and most times you’ll feel like quitting. Don’t. No really, I mean it. Sometimes all it takes is a little motivation coupled with some guideline to get you on the right track.

  1. DO NOT overwork your muscles

It can be really easy to get into the gym with a lot of psych and do multiple reps with weights, working out your forearms, triceps etc. if you are not yet used to how demanding the recovery process of your muscles can be..mostly because you’re a ‘newbie’ then overworking your muscles can lead to muscle spasms which are no fun at all.

  1. DO warm up before you start training

You have to treat gyming like a sport, especially when it comes to lifting or working with weights. If you don’t warm up prior to, you’re not going to have a very successful training session. Warming up ensures that your body is ready for the workout. It does so by gently increasing your heart rate and blood circulation as well as upping the blood flow to your muscles and relaxing your joints.

  1. Supplement your workouts with the right nutrition.

It’s one thing to hit the gym, but more often than not, you make a bigger impact on your body by changing your diet as well. Eating foods high in saturated fats and acid doesn’t help your body as it slows down the healing process of muscles that underwent ‘wear and tear’ at the gym.

  1. Pace yourself

This point cannot be stressed enough. You have to build up a pace and keep with it before you start skipping from lifting 15 to lifting 40 kgs. The same goes for squatting, ab-crunch machines…you get the point.

  1. Want to lose belly fat? Cardio.

To some this may sound a little unbelievable, but cardio aids the loss of belly fat to a great extent. Thus, you can try all the versions of situps and crunches known to mankind, but you must supplement them with cardio for you to start exhibiting proper fat loss. Cardio includes running, using the elliptical or a speed bike. Basically anything that gets your heart racing and makes you break a lil sweat.

  1. Know your body type.

It’s all well and good to get advice from peers who’ve been to the gym a little longer, but doing some research to know your body type goes a long way in making sure you’re getting the most out of your work out. There’s probably no other more sure-fire way of getting the gains you want, other than knowing what training regime works best for you. For Ectomorphs, a diet high in protein is necessary. Ironically enough, carbohydrates are also recommended for ectomorphs, but be careful as to which carbohydrates to consume;complex carbohydrates take long to breakdown and slow down the bulking process. For endomorphs, a diet low on carbohydrates and rich in protein and healthy fats will help with the fat-loss process.

 

 

 

7. Make it a lifestyle

A lot of experts recommend making going to the gym a habit in order to see positive improvements both mentally and physically. I argue that you should make it a lifestyle. This doesn’t mean littering your instagram feed with selfies every time you hit the gym, it just means that you should take it as seriously as you take going to work, school, eating, sleeping-as seriously as you take all parts of your lifestyle.  

 

Stay Young & Stress-Free With These 5 Tips

Written By: Nadia Nguru

Often times, one tends to forget to appreciate themselves and preserve their mental health and sanity, leading to mental and physical afflictions caused by stress where we find ourselves being sidetracked by our obligations, too busy to notice the beauty in the simple things in life. Sometimes, it’s imperative that we close off the world and release the negative energy

5 simple things that can be done to distress:

  1. Listen to some spoken word, watching artists express themselves with immense conviction to tell a story, is like chicken soup for the aching soul. The beauty of listening and/or watching anything to do with spoken word is that there are numerous varieties and genres that you can pick and choose from, whether it’s listening to the likes of amateurs such as Nadia Nguru express her feelings on her journey of self-love, or witnessing artists like Jaaziyah empower crowds through the power of the voice.
  2. This is one of my favourite things to do to distress as you can literally get up and stretch wherever you are. Albeit, you might acquire strange glances from fellow coworkers if you opted to suddenly pop a squat or bend over in the office. The best part about stretching is it allows you to stay young considering it forces you to maintain flexibility, giving you the upper hand as you’re less likely to start complaining of aching joints and body parts
  3. Try hot/cold showers. As frightening as this may sound for many, especially during this chilly Nairobi weather, showering with both hot and cold water can be extremely beneficial in eradicating stress. During a shower, it is best to first shower with hot water, then switch to cold water-continuing this cycle for 2-3 times during a shower. For those who are looking for a way to achieve the same effect but don’t have too much time to waste in the shower, you can alternatively enjoy your hot shower then during the last minute of your shower, switch off the hot water and let your muscles relax under the chilling embrace of the cold water.
  4. If you’re in the mood for a more cathartic form of releasing stress then writing down your thoughts and tearing them into small pieces would be the best option for you. Writing allows you to express yourself in silence and it provides you with the opportunity to share your inner most feelings on a person or object, without actually having to engage in office or classroom mushene. The most freeing part about this technique is that you get to tear up whatever you have written, freeing you from the burden of having to concentrate on one particular issue.
  5. Imagine the situation you are in happening in black and white. For instance, if you are talking to someone and they happen to be saying something particularly unpleasing, you can always try and imagine the situation you are in being in black and white, this can be particularly helpful when you are engaged in an altercation with someone of seniority, eg a supervisor.

Exercise and Men’s Sexual Health

 The month of December is here and with it comes the festivities.Our focus this month moves to how fitness affects men’s sexual health.Which brings me to the question, How many people maintain their fitness regimens throughout this month of festivities. Without a doubt only a handful will follow the routines strictly.Fitness and all it takes kind a takes a back seats and binge drinking, unhealthy eating becomes the order of the day. Let’s kick start this month with men’s sexual health and fitness.To what extent should one go with regards to fitness and ensure their sexual health is on point?Over the years a lot has been said with regards to fitness and sexual health though the positives outweigh the negatives. The biggest boost exercise can give to your sex life is to lower your risk of erectile dysfunction, says Jorge Chavarro, MD, of the Harvard School of Public Health. “Exercise that helps open the arteries to benefit your heart will also increase blood flow to the penis,” he says. Physically active men may also have fewer symptoms of an enlarged prostate, a common condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Men with BPH often have to urinate frequently, or have a weak stream. Men with more severe BPH symptoms may also have a low libido, trouble keeping an erection, and enjoy sex less. Note that this exclusively represents those who exercise naturally by this I mean they’re not enhanced with steroids. Steroids are known to have negative side effects on men’s sexual health. When it comes to the strictly muscular aspect of sex, fit men have the advantage. Men in prime shape will find sex easier and less painful than men who don’t exercise much, says Neal Pire, a fitness consultant to pro athletes. “If you don’t exercise regularly, and especially if you never do crunches, you will feel soreness in your lower abdominals and your hip flexors after sex,” he says. If you are partial to the missionary position, you might feel soreness in your chest muscles. There you have just a few benefits to help you kick start the festive season.

Exploiting Different Exercises

Different types of exercise emphasize different elements of physical fitness. Well-balanced workout regimens include different types of exercise to help you avoid injury and develop or maintain overall physical fitness. You may perform different types of exercise in varying proportions, depending on your goals. For example, overweight individuals may burn more calories by increasing flexibility, and endurance athletes can avoid injuries by including strength exercises in their training.

Anaerobic

Anaerobic exercises increase the force your muscle contractions can generate, and may increase your strength, speed or power output. Weightlifting, sprinting and plyometrics are examples of anaerobic exercise. This type of exercise involves performing fewer, and more intense, muscle contractions than aerobic exercise. For example, heavy weightlifting exercises exhaust your muscles after fewer contractions, because each contraction is particularly intense. Anaerobic exercises, which exhaust your muscles in 15 or fewer repetitions, may provide optimal strength gains. Increasing the power of each contraction may require exercises that exhaust your muscles in under six repetitions.

Flexibility

Flexibility exercise enhances the range of motion of your muscle and joint movements. Stretching and many yoga poses, are forms of flexibility exercise. Flexibility exercises are particularly beneficial after anaerobic exercise, because more recovery nutrients reach your hungry muscles. Prolonged muscle tightness, poor recovery and bad posture can shorten your muscles over time. Flexibility exercises stretch out your muscles to help prevent shortening and subsequent injuries. You may hold post-workout stretches for 10 to 30 seconds, while you may hold individual yoga poses for up to five minutes.

Stability

Stability exercise improves your ability to maintain body alignment while resisting unwanted bone and joint movements. For example, balance, agility and core training include stability exercises. Stability exercise enhances your control of body movements by strengthening muscles, which support and coordinate your joint articulations. Greater stability helps you perform more powerful muscle contractions, because less energy is lost through inadvertent joint and muscle movements. The National Federation of Personal Trainers recommends including 10 minutes of stability exercise in your daily workout regimen.

Aerobic

Aerobic exercise involves performing continuous movements with large muscle groups, such as your legs, for 20 minutes or more. Cycling, swimming, rowing, walking or jogging are forms of aerobic exercise. You may perform aerobic exercise to increase your cardiorespiratory endurance or lose weight. Low-intensity aerobic exercise sessions that last at least 45 minutes are ideal for weight loss, according to the National Federation of Personal Trainers. Enhancing your cardiorespiratory endurance requires higher intensity aerobic exercise, which may last between 20 and 30 minutes.

Most Fundamental Exercises: The Big Three

November is finally here and the journey continues.Our main focus shifts from health to different types of exercises you can incorporate in your daily workout routines.

A good number of people would wonder what exactly is the big three? Well, your answer is right in your gym.Squats,Bench press and dead-lifts and you have it all figured out.Why do I say this?All these exercises are compound movements which basically means they involve almost the whole body.In essence that’s all you need to ensure your fitness needs are taken care of.

 

Squats.

By far one of the best exercises for athletes and the general population.Everyone interested in fitness should be doing squats in one way or another. This is owed to the simple fact that squats work the whole body and has the following benefits:

  • Better functional mobility
  • Greater bone mineral density and lesser chance of breaking a bone.
  • Strong core development and overall body functionality.

These are just some of the many benefits, the list is endless. Always make sure you include squats in your workouts you won’t regret.

 

Bench Press

Without a doubt one of my favorite exercises because of the vanity that comes with it.Just kidding,bench press primarily works the chest area,front deltoids and triceps.That’s basically your upper body.If you keep dreaming of that herculean upper body strength this should be one of your go to exercises.

 

Dead-lifts

The culmination of it all the dead-lift.It’s the icing on the cake simply because it involves the whole body more than any of the other exercises.

Legs,back,core,shoulders name them the dead-lift works all of them at a go.One of the most taxing exercises for that matter.You shouldn’t leave this exercise out of your workouts you’ll definitely reap the results.

In a nut-shell this three exercises fit the bill when it comes fulfilling your fitness goals.Never leave them out of your programs.

 

 

Easy Ways To Push Yourself Harder During Workouts

If exercising was easy, then we’d never really need to work hard to get the results we desire.  Exercise is intended to push your body hard, get you breathing hard and sweating, and force your cardiovascular system and muscles to work at full capacity. That’s the only way you get results.

We all have those moments where we feel like we can’t do it anymore and quitting seems like the best option. Tempting right? Well, the bad news is that you have to keep pushing to get the results you need.

So what do you do to keep going hard when your energy and motivation are slipping away? Here 8 tips to help you push through:

Pump up your playlist

Use music to zone out when it gets tough.  Fast, heart-pumping tunes will help you focus more. Try this: Play one of your favorite songs and promise yourself you’ll keep exercising until the end and keep repeating until you are done with your workout.

Visualize the end

Know that feeling you get when your workout is over? That good feeling when you know you have burnt those calories and now you can enjoy your favorite protein shake while feeling like you’ve kicked ass? Visualize that and keep pushing.

Find a mantra

Telling yourself “I can do it” over and over again until you are done with the workout can get you a long way. Plus it will get your mind off the pain and fatigue. Namaste.

Love the burn

You’ve got to love the burn to make it to the end. Remember this, Pain is weakness leaving your body. When you feel that fire in your muscles, THAT is when you actually start getting results. Love it. Embrace it.

Find a workout buddy

Sometimes all you need is a bit of motivation. Having a workout buddy can keep you accountable and motivated to complete the sets. You don’t want to seem like a loser, do you?

Keep your eyes off the clock

Have you ever noticed how much time flies when you are not concentrating on the clock? Staying fixated on how much further you have to go will only make the time pass more slowly. Focus. Keep your mind on your workout and just let time pass by.

Change it up

Doing the same thing for hours every day will just make you redundant and you’ll eventually get bored. Find different ways of doing the same workout while at the same time changing the pace. This will keep you motivated and more focused.

Set a realistic goal

Set a goal before you begin your workout and fix your mind into achieving that goal. Giving yourself an actual number to hit – whether it’s miles, or reps on a machine – pushes you past that moment when you would have otherwise stopped.