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Cardio Doesn’t Have To Suck—How Cannabis Can Make It Fun

make cardio fun

Long hours in the gym are most often times coupled with a few sessions of cardio. Your body and mind are all ready conditioned and strong. Workouts are fun and exciting. But every week you dread doing cardio. Sometimes you skip it all together.

Week after week the alarm rings. Getting up seems to be a chore. But why? Isn’t cardio supposed to be good for us? Then why neglect it? Quite frankly I can say that cardio is one of the most boring tasks I have ever encountered. Whether I’m running, swimming, walking, biking, using the elliptical, doing sprints, or even some H.I.I.T.. It’s just plain boring.

Knowing I have to do it. I grudgingly lace up my shoes and head to the gym or sometimes run outside. Not always consistent but occasionally I would go.

Until, one day my mind changed and I thought about looking at cardio from a different perspective.

How Biking Became My Number One Choice For Cardio

Out and about with my girlfriend, I decided to stop at a bicycle shop. She had a mountain bike at the time and I thought it would be cool to entertain the option of owning one. Stopping at a few stores allowed me to get an idea of what they cost. In speaking with the manager of one of the shops he told me about a style of bike called a hybrid or fitness bike. It has all the aspects of a road bike. Light, nimble, and fast. But has the rigidity and riding position of a mountain bike. They were affordable and a great starter bike.

Needless to say I didn’t go home that day with a one but the seed had been planted. Over the next few months I himmed and hawed about buying a bicycle.

Christmas time came about and present talk was in the air. After exhausting her brain countless numbers of time my girlfriend finally blurted out “I don’t know what to get you! I’m thinking about buying a bike.” Shocked and amazed I resisted at first. But after some speculation I caved in and we went shopping.

Quick bits of internet research lead me to believe I was going to be going home with the Trek 7.2 FX Disc, which is an awesome bike for the price point of $599 msrp.

trek 7.2 fx disc

However that was not the case. My gut told me to head out west to one of the biggest bike shops in town. I was sure to find a deal there.

Walking in to the store I stood there amazed at the amount of bikes available. But slightly sadden but the limited selection that was available for a rider like myself. Being 6’5″ I need a XL frame. Not finding anything I liked the clerk said he was going to check in the back if anything was there. It just so happened that when he returned, he returned with box in hand. Placing it down on the floor he began to open it up. Exclaiming “Check it out”. Inside the box was my new bike. A nice shiny black frame accented with my favorite color, green. Lime green at that. Putting it together and presenting it to me. I knew that right before my eyes was the bike I was taking home

giant escape 2

Behold the Giant Escape 2. Great adventures awaited!

Turning Cardio Into Adventures

The new year was around the corner and resolutions were to be had. I was determined to get consistent with cardio. New bike in hand I went strong for a few weeks. Trying to ride at least twenty minutes a day. But like most new years resolutions that began to fade.

Time went by and my bike sat there. Looking sad. I kept saying I was going to go for a ride and I didn’t. Until one morning I had decided to try something new. Sitting down for my morning coffee. Looking out over my veranda admiring nature I decided I was going to try medicating with cannabis before I went for a bike ride. I had heard stories from friends and other riders I met. They said they would smoke a little and go riding.

The following week with my coffee at bay, I grabbed the lighter took a puff, or two and set out on my way. “Let’s see what this cannabis is all about,” I thought. For the first time I had decided to really ride. The beginning of my trip started off with a fast paced push so I could warm up my legs and get ready for the long leg of the trip.

The cannabis began to take effect. Not too much. Not too little. Just right. Having smoked a sativa, Golden Goat to be exact, I felt a rush of uplifting energy. It was just me and the road. My ride that day lasted about an hour and a half. I spent most of it cruising through neighborhoods by the beach. Discovering new areas of my town. Really appreciating what the city had to offer.

Why I Feel Cannabis Improved My Cardio

My overall experience with marijuana and cardiovascular training was far greater than I ever could have imagined. Contrary to what most would think the cannabis actually enhanced the experience. The uplifting energy allowed me to push forward and want to ride. The child-like curiosity made me want to explore and learn about the area. I was focused and in tune with the moment, really enjoying what was happening. At that moment my mind wasn’t full of chatter. The relaxing effects marijuana has allowed my bronchial tubes to dilate and increase my breathing abilities.

At the end of the day I can say that cardio was fun. I don’t honestly feel that marijuana was the deciding factor as to whether or not I enjoyed the session. But I do feel smoking a little bit of cannabis had an effect. I and I alone are responsible for the mental shift to enjoy something that was once mundane and boring. Adding to the experience was well worth it. Cardio can become fun for anyone. First we have to learn to enjoy the experience. And if your someone that already does then it will be second nature. But cardio and cannabis are like no other.

The positive effects the cannabis had on my experience with cardiovascular training lead me to believe that marijuana can be a great addition to other physical activities like weightlifting or even sports. In the past there has been much controversy over the subject. With new and exciting laws being passed we can now really see the benefits of this plant and what it can have for society outside of recreation. For those of you that live in an area where medical or recreational marijuana is accepted, then smoking cannabis and doing cardio may be an awesome way for you to really make something that can be boring and repetitive. Fun and exciting. Please remember that marijuana is still illegal or not tolerated in some areas of the world. Be responsible and make smart decisions.

If you have or are thinking of trying cannabis before you partake in your cardio training I would love the hear about your own experiences in the comment box below. By sharing our knowledge we can all benefit and grow together.

 

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Nutrition Made Easy For Beginners

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Nutrition cannot be overlooked. It is a deciding factor in what your body will look like. Without the proper nutrition you cannot build muscle, gain any strength, nor burn fat. Your body needs the fuel for the fire. In order to have energy you have to feed the furnace with good sound nutrition. Building and repairing the muscle requires proper protein and carb intake.

Without sufficient nutrition your body will not burn fat. You will go into starvation mode and you will retain more fat in your cells. Definitely not what we are intending. So what the heck do you do? Well its actually rather simple. Let me explain.

Getting the proper nutrition takes work just like your training and cardio. However this is the path you have chosen and these are your dreams you’re making a reality. Therefore you have to do what it takes to be a champion in any regard.

Making nutrition fun is the key

First things first, you want to always make sure you have a very healthy diet that consists of whole foods. Not Whole Foods the grocery store. Which I do like by the way, if you have one near you and budget allows, by all means shop away. But what I mean by whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and in their most natural state.

If you’re still unclear your best bet is to always avoid any type of a processed food. Instead of frozen chicken strips buy a package of whole chicken breasts, cut them and cook them yourself. Keep it natural. Keep it lean. Keep it healthy. Other examples of whole foods are fresh meat, fish, poultry, eggs, veggies, legumes, fruits, rice, oats, and quinoa.

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Healthy nutrition starts with natural whole foods like delicious fruits and vegetables.

Meal frequency is king. Eating 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day actually revs up your metabolism. This is good, you want to get the nutrients into your body so they can feed the muscles and allow for the naturals functions to exist without any interruptions.

Along with food staying hydrated is critical. Get down some water and plenty of it. Drinking water throughout the day is a sure fire way to make sure you get enough. For myself on training days I usually consume about 1.5 to 2 gallons depending on my intensity and how much water I loose working out. I am a big guy weighing in at 255 lbs so that has to be considered.

By eating whole food based diets and getting enough water you prime the engine for hefty horsepower (shameless car analogy). One thing, to consider is you can overfeed yourself and any excess will turn to fat. Keep an eye on your macronutrients and get the right amount of food.

Nutrition is a game of numbers

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Good nutrition helps fuel your workouts!

Basically what you need to do is determine what your daily caloric intake is in order to maintain your weight. What? By figuring out how much fuel your body needs to maintain its current weight will tell you how to gauge how many calories you need to either loose or build.

Building muscle and losing fat are quite simple. Once you know how much energy or your body needs you can then judge how much you either need to cut by creating a deficit or how much you need to add by creating a surplus.

How exactly do you calculate your caloric intake. By using math, our least favorite subject in school. All that stuff we never thought was practical comes in handy now. But incase your not a math wizard thats totally cool. Using a simple formula called the Harris-Benedict principle you can can assess your basal metabolic rate aka BMR.

BMR is the amount of energy your body needs to function. We use about 60% of the calories we consume each day for basic bodily functions such as breathing. Other factors that influence your BMR are height, weight, age and sex.

Step 1: Calculate your BMR with the following formula:

Women:

65 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

Men:

66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

Please note that this formula applies only to adults.

Step 2: Incorporate activity into your daily caloric needs, with the following calculation:

  • Sedentary : BMR x 20 percent
  • Lightly active: BMR x 30 percent
  • Moderately active (You exercise most days a week.): BMR x 40 percent
  • Very active (exercise intensely on a daily basis or for prolonged periods.): BMR x 50 percent
  • Extra active (You do hard labor or are in athletic training.): BMR x 60 percent

Add this number to your BMR.

The result of this formula will be the number of calories you can eat every day and maintain your current weight.

Protein and carb intake are important also. They will make up a good portion of your daily calories. A rule of thumb for calculating your protein intake is to take your bodyweight and divide it by 2.2 to get weight in kilograms.

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Supplements are second to good nutrition.

Take your weight and multiply it by anywhere between 1.8 to 2.3 grams of protein per kilogram. The same will apply for carbohydrates except multiply anywhere from 3 to 5 grams per body weight which will be determined by your activity level as well as fitness goals.

Supplementation is secondary to sound nutrition

I’m not going to cover a lot about supplements in this section. Just a basic rundown and a few things I suggest looking into for yourself.

Supplementation is just that, an addition to your diet. Not always necessary but a good way to get a little extra pep in your step. Supplementing with sports supplements or vitamins can also fill in some holes that you have in your diet.

If you’re not getting enough fish in your weekly meals you may be short on necessary omega 3’s which is essential to torching fat. The idea is to get the most you can from foods and then add on any extras.

One of the most common supplements is protein. Protein powders are a great way to make sure you hit your mark each day. They come in a variety of types and flavors. Try some out for yourself and see what you like. Protein powders are best for a quick meal replacement shake a couple times a day. Don’t get crazy and think you can just drink your meals.

Creatine is by far one of the most researched sports supplements. And with good reason. Studies have found that creatine does work and helps build muscle and increase strength. Creatine allows you to push your intensity a little bit further and get the most out of your workout. There are a ton of creatine supplements and one better than the other (so the labels claim). I have found that any brand of creatine made with Creapure creatine is great.

Pre-workout supplements are great if you’re not a morning person and you have to get up and workout in the morning. They give you a little extra drive and motivation to get out of the sheets and onto the streets heading towards the gym. I find that a lot of pre-workout drinks get me jittery and shaky, usually due to cheap manufacturing products. Best bet is to go to your supplement store and see what kind of samples they have and find one that works for you.

Many bodybuilders and fitness experts recommend getting in your BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids) as well as glutamine. They both are excellent in helping with recovery. Most BCAA powders have glutamine in it but you can get it separately.

Like I stated before food is your best source of energy and supplements are not always necessary. You can get everything you need and more by keeping a close eye on what your eating and how your eating. A natural boost in the morning before the gym could be a cup of coffee or an apple. Both excellent sources of caffeine.

Analyze your diet and focus on that first. Then look into further supplement research.

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A Series on Beginners Bodybuilding Nutrition

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bodybuilding_nutrition

Let’s face it nutrition plays a big role in our daily lives. And if it doesn’t it should. Nutrition cannot be overlooked. It is a deciding factor in what your body will look like. Without the proper nutrition you cannot build muscle, gain strength, or burn fat. Your body needs the fuel for the fire. Feed the furnace with good sound nutrition, build and repair the muscle with the proper protein, carb, and fat intake ratios.

beginners_bodybuilding_nutrition_carbohydrate
Carbohydrates give us the energy we need to crush a workout and help with repairing our torn muscle cells.

Learning the Ropes to Beginners Bodybuilding Nutrition Should Be Fun and Enjoyable!

Understanding the basic fundamentals of nutrition does not have to be challenging. Albeit there is an immense amount of confusing and contradicting information simple principles can be applied and modified to create the appropriate personal formula.

Beginners Bodybuilding Nutrition Starts With a Plan.

beginners_bodybuilding_nutrition
Getting sound nutrition will propel your bodybuilding goals.

In order to prepare ourselves for the gym or any physical activity we must first start in the kitchen. Your food intake is the major deciding factor on whether or not you will achieve your results. The main things you will be concerned with are:

  • Calories and Caloric Intake
    • Macros
    • Protein
    • Carbs
    • Fats
    • Fiber
  • Healthy Foods
  • Setting Up a Meal Plan

Bodybuilding is a Lifestyle, Beginners Can Take Their Nutrition To The Next Level.

Getting the proper nutrition takes work. Just like your training or cardiovascular exercise fitness is a lifestyle and you have to be committed. Grasping these concepts early on will not only help to pave the way towards making your dreams a reality. But also help to instill the knowledge it takes to make a physical difference in you!

beginners_bodybuilding_nutrition_protein
Protein is a building block of muscle. Get a variety of protein from various sources.

Follow along as we dive deeper into understanding the concepts behind bodybuilding nutrition. Share your experiences, tips, and tricks in the comment box below.

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An Apple A Day Keeps The Fat Away

red applesApples have always been touted as a great pre workout snack. Consuming an apple within 30 minutes prior to working out is a great way to get some low-glycemic or slow-digesting carbs in. Due to the fact that apples are high in fructose the liver must convert the apple to glucose aiding in the slowing of digestion. Another key factor in apples digestibility is the high fiber content.

Apples provide additional benefits along side carbs and fiber. Studies done by the Nippon Sport Science University and the University of Arts and Sciences discovered that ables provide benefits similar to green tea by increasing strength and endurance, and decreasing body fat.

The teams gave make rats apples or placebos for three weeks. During that time frame the researchers studied body fat, strength, and muscle fatigue. Reported earlier in 2007 in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the rats given apples had 30% less body fat as opposed to the placebo group. The genes that spur fat-burning within the rats activity was increased due to the consumption of apples.

More than 70 obese male and female subjects were given an ample percentage of apples or a placebo as well for a 12 week period. LDL, total cholesterol, bodyweight, and abdominal fat were measurements taken to provide the data for the study. By the end of the study the subjects who consumed the apples had a significant loss on abdominal fat and bodyweight, as well as lower cholesterol and LDL levels.

Try supplementing your diet with apple polyphenols which come in capsule or pill form. Best taken with breakfast and dinner, as well as a large apple pre workout with your pre workout shake.

An apple a day keeps the fat away!

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Learn To Calculate Your BMR And Asses Your Daily Caloric Intake

What’s All This About BMR and Calories

calculate your daily caloriesBy figuring out how much fuel your body needs to maintain its current weight will tell you how to gauge how many calories you need to either loose or build. Building muscle and losing fat are quite simple. Once you know how much energy your body needs you can then judge how much you either need to cut by creating a deficit or how much you need to add by creating a surplus.

Calculating Your Basal Metabolic Rate

How exactly do you calculate your caloric intake? With a simple formula called the Harris-Benedict principle you can can assess your basal metabolic rate aka BMR.

BMR is the amount of energy your body needs to function. We use about 60% of the calories we consume each day for basic bodily functions such as breathing. Other factors that influence your BMR are height, weight, age and sex.

Step 1: Calculate your BMR with the following formula:

Women:
65 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

Men:
66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
Please note that this formula applies only to adults.

Step 2: Incorporate activity into your daily caloric needs, with the following calculation:

Sedentary : BMR x 20 percent
Lightly active: BMR x 30 percent
Moderately active (You exercise most days a week.): BMR x 40 percent
Very active (exercise intensely on a daily basis or for prolonged periods.): BMR x 50 percent
Extra active (You do hard labor or are in athletic training.): BMR x 60 percent

Add this number to your BMR.

The result of this formula will be the number of calories you can eat every day and maintain your current weight.

Tailor Your Diet For Your Goals

calculate daily caloric intakeBy knowing how much fuel you need helps in a major way. Training at the gym with intensity and pushing yourself to the max requires a good bit of nutrition. Make sure you feed the furnace and stoke that fire! Keep a log of what your eating. If you haven’t read Setting The Building Blocks: An Overview Of Nutrition swing on by and take a look.

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Why You Should Be Doing Cardio

people on treadmill running

“Stay away from cardio, its gonna eat away at your muscles!” I think we have all heard that before.”

people on treadmill runningIs it really as scary as they say. Can it eat away at your hard earned muscle. Or can it benefit you in your training as well as other areas of your life.

Lets take a closer look at cardio.

Cardio Training and Fat Loss

There is as much confusion about cardio as there is about whether or not aliens really exist. Some say don’t some say do! Oy vey I say. Cardio training for fat loss is something I include in my arsenal of awesomeness.

What really makes cardio super beneficial is its effects on fat loss combined with a solid training regimen and a sound nutrition plan. Combining all these lovely little diddys together is what’s going to zap the fat and zip you down the road to building a super duper rocking hot body!

What just a second, there is a slight problem. With the frequency of cardio the body will eventually hit a brick wall and your fat burning progress may just stall. Totally not cool. Keep it interesting, jazz things up a bit.

Super Powered Cardio, High Interval Intensity Training aka HIIT

A great way to shake things up a bit is to partake in a little fun we here at Barbell Academy call High Intensity Interval Training or commonly known around fitness addicts and gym rats alike HIIT.

HIIT is a great way to put a little pep in your step when it comes to the fat burning process. Some benefits to HIIT training are a higher VO2 max which is good because with a higher VO2 max you can burn more fat. Your endurance will increase greatly which will enable you to train harder and longer. Also means you can make love to your lady like you did when you were in high school. Know what I mean cuz.

A combination of steady state cardio training and some high intensity training will help to increase the usage of fat fatty cells for energy thus nearly doubling your efforts. Sweet right.

Along with the immediate benefits of fat loss and increased cardiovascular capacity, implementing cardiovascular training into your life is a great way to increase its overall quality. Playing with the dog or outdoor activities with loved ones all becomes a lot easier.

Don’t be a sissy. Do your cardio and eat your fruits and veggies.