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Why aren't my muscles growing?

This week, I want to talk about overtraining, undertraining, and how you can have both simultaneously. All three of these cases will frustrate you and can be a big reason you’re training consistently but you’re not seeing muscle growth.

We tend to believe that if some is good, more is better. And that’s just not true when it comes to most things, including exercise. 

I know I’m a broken record with this, but I think it sometimes needs to be said in many different ways for you to understand and let it sink in fully. 

There is a dose-response relationship with exercise. A certain dose will yield positive results, but too little or too much will either do nothing or yield negative results. 

Exercise is medicine, yes. And any medicine can be overdosed and see adverse side effects, or underdosed and see no changes. Exercise is no exception. 

Let’s talk about the signs and symptoms of overtraining, undertraining, and undertraining...

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The Hormone that is holding you back at the Gym

Hormones are incredibly complex, and it's difficult to talk about one hormone without talking about other cascading hormones. Today, I want to break down what cortisol is, what can happen if you have too much of it and how to tell, and my recommendations on how to keep it in check. 

Before we begin, remember that this is not medical advice, and to seek advice from your doctor or functional medicine practitioner if you are having severe issues. This post is for informational purposes only. 

If you feel like you're doing everything right - putting in work at the gym, you're trying to eat less, and still not seeing results - it could be because of cortisol imbalance. Often, too much exercise and too little eating can have the reverse effects that you're hoping for because they can mess with your cortisol and hormonal balance. 

One of my goals, which I hope is evident by my content, is to encourage people to get away from the damaging "grind yourself into the ground if...

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Steady state cardio vs. HIIT: how much of it do you do?

Now that we've covered both HIIT and steady-state cardio, let's go over the main differences between the two.

The difference between steady-state and HIIT is that a HIIT workout is where the individual exerts their max effort , which can't be sustained for a long time. Whereas steady-state cardio is a low-to-moderate effort that can be maintained for a longer period of time.

During HIIT, your heart rate is close to its max, maybe around 160 bpm, depending on who you are, and sustained for a brief amount of time, maybe 15-30 seconds. 

After that brief, intense bout, you recover for a short period of time and repeat. HIIT is pretty brutal, but the good part is, it's brief and time-effective. It has benefits, as I talked about in the last podcast. But it's not for everyone. If you are new to exercise, have cranky joints, hormone imbalances, etc., HIIT might not be your exercise of choice until you get those things under control. 

Additionally, if you HATE that type of...

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How too much HIIT can kill your progress

Many medical and sports groups suggest intense interval training shouldn’t be completed more than three times/week to avoid these negative metabolic side effects. And from a joint health perspective, I agree that HIIT should not be used more than a few times/week, if at all. 

So if we can only gain the benefits of HIIT 2 to 3 days a week, are we just sedentary on the other days? Should we train in different ways on the days where we aren’t working out intensely? 

Another study that looked at the benefits of short, intense exercise vs. longer, more gentle workouts provides us with another interesting finding. 

The study took overweight men, divided them into groups, and had them exercise on a bike for a different amount of time and intensity. 

Group 1 performed short, all-out workouts on the bike such as 30-second sprints with minimal rest in between. This group only exercised 3 days/week. 

Group 2 exercised more moderately: 30-40 min on the bike...

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How to exercise to improve insulin sensitivity

HIITing the Books

Over the next two weeks, I want to talk about cardio: what it is, how much you need, and, most importantly, how much is overkill and could be setting you back. 

Most people agree that cardio is anything where you elevate your heart rate. When I was looking at the formal definitions, most will say that this requires rhythmic, repetitive movement of your limbs. 

Because most people consider cardio as repetitive/rhythmic moments, when most people think of cardio, they think of activities such as running, cycling, and swimming. This is also why most people don’t include weight lifting when they think of cardio. 

Therefore, it’s commonly thought that you need to do both: lift the weights and add on the running or biking. 

But do you really? And if so, exactly how much should you do? 

These are the questions I want to address over the next couple of weeks. We’re going to talk about the benefits and risks of different dosages of...

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