Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Benefits Of Sprinting

It's February and I for one am getting very excited for spring to hurry up and get here! Just like many of you out there, I can't wait to be able to get back outside and start working out in the fresh air and warm sun. I'm sure many of you can't wait to get back outdoors to your favourite parks, beaches, or outdoor jungle gyms for another season of new challenging workouts and play! I can tell you right now what I am very, very excited for this spring and summer ... sprinting!

I cant wait to get back out on the grass, sand, or track and run top speed feeling the wind whip past my face! Sprinting is one of the most natural forms of exercise you can do, and it has a host of amazing benefits to push your fitness and fat burning potential to new levels. We're designed to sprint, just take a look at our caveman ancestors for example. You never would have seen a caveman running his daily 5k. It would have been a waste of valuable energy and time that could have been better spent building shelter, hunting or gathering food. If he was to run it would more than likely be to save his own life from being eaten or running after an animal he intended on killing to provide food for his family. Both of those scenarios would involve running at top speed and not a casual jog.

Fortunately for us we no longer have to worry about getting eaten or hunting and chasing our food, but that doesn't mean we cant enjoy the health benefits of sprinting! Sprinting is a total body exercise blasting your legs, hips and abs. Have you ever seen an Olympic sprinter without a ripped, lean, and muscular torso? It's well known that high intensity exercise in short bursts is excellent for fat loss and boosting your growth hormone as well reving up your metabolism. I can tell you right now that it doesn't get much more intense than running all out as fast as you can for 100 meters!

As soon as the weather becomes a little more inviting I would suggest to all of you to get out and try some sprints. Start slow, warm up well, and pay attention to your body! Sprinting is a very intense form of exercise and when starting out it can be very easy to injure yourself, so take your time and stretch very well before and after your workouts. A great way to start is 6-10, 100 meter sprints , give yourself enough rest to feel fresh enough to run the next sprint at your max speed.

If you're interested in seeing a sample sprinting routine then take a look at this great little video clip by Mark Sisson!

Monday, February 22, 2010

What Gets You Motivated?

In this post we'll move away from the physical side of training and touch a little bit on the mental. Training, as physical as it is does have a mental component that tends to be over looked. In fact I would say that training is almost 50% mental. You need to plan your workout, know why your working out, what goals are you working towards, what style of training best suits your needs, and what gets you motivated to give everything you have during your workouts.

Now if you have a trainer, then most of the mental work will be done for you in terms of figuring out what type of training you need to do, what kind of workout will get you to your goals with the greatest ease, and they'll even help push you through your workouts. But as much help as your trainer can be to help get you motivated to train or push you through your workouts, you still need to find what motivates you or gets you excited to workout. You must find out what "pumps" you up to get ready to kick your own butt in a workout!

It could be anything, maybe you're a very visual person and seeing photos or videos of others training with intensity will get you in a zone to push yourself. In that case there are tons of videos on YouTube that can help you there, or do a quick google search and print off some photos that motivate you that you can put up in a visible area before training.

Maybe you're a very auditory person, if so then bring a cd that gives you a feeling of being driven or excited to your workout and have you trainer play it for you while you train. If that's not possible than put together a play list on your iPod that motivates you and bring that to your training! Most people are a combination of these and respond well to a mix of both, in that case watching music videos put to training or imagining yourself achieving a new PR (personal record) in your training while listening to music that puts you into a zone could work wonders!

I'm not saying you have to go to the gym and slap yourself on your own ass and shout at yourself in the mirror about how your going to kill your workout ... but hey if that's what moves you then go for it!

The point is that we all have things that "move us" or inspire us to push our own limits. We all have buttons that we can push to get us in a state that will allow us to do things that we never thought were possible or get through a workout that seems insurmountable. Find out what yours are and you'll be well on your way to making huge gains in your own fitness!

Remember that the mental aspect is half the battle, some times you don't want to workout. It's not always fun or on the top of your list. But if you can figure out how to motivate yourself to get to the gym, ready to conquer anything, and get through any workout no matter how tough, then just think about how that kind of mental power could carry over to every other aspect of your life!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Strength Without Weights?

When body weight training is talked about it's usually in the context of high rep HIIT training for body fat loss and conditioning or other basic exercises like sit ups etc. Body weight training as I have said before is unquestionably the most versatile training modality, and the building blocks of almost any Jungle Fit program and the Jungle Fit formula. Body weight training can be done anywhere, any time, and to achieve any desired fitness goal. That's right ... any goal ... including gains in strength for even the most seasoned athlete. Body weight strength training can be done to become stronger in the most basic plains of motion or it can be tailored to become stronger movements specific to a certain sport. Now some "hard core" strength enthusiasts may say that you can only build great strength from power lifting or basic body building isolation exercises. This however is not the case ... I'm sure very few would deny the strength and explosive power of an Olympic gymnast. Gymnasts train without the use of weights and only use their body weight yet they have phenomenal strength and muscle definition! I would love to see a power lifter pump out ring dips or L-sit chin ups, it just wont happen.

Why? Because it's all about strength to body weight ratio. That power lifter can't do ring dips to save his life ... but I'm willing to bet everything I have that the Olympic gymnast could bench press well over his own body weight ... maybe even close to double his own body weight. Now, that power lifter may bench more than the gymnast .... but I bet he weighs much more. Naturally, a larger person should be able to lift much more than a person of smaller stature.

Lets say that power lifter weighs 225 lbs, and the gymnast weighs 145 lbs. The power lifter can bench press 350 lbs , and the gymnast can bench 300lbs. In terms of numbers, yes the power lifter is stronger ... but pound for pound the gymnast is by far the much more powerful athlete! The size difference between the two of them is immense, but the weight they lift does not have a huge gap. It's like how ants are pound for pound much stronger than humans. If ants were the same size as people they would be much stronger than us ... and it would be scary as hell!

So how can you test how strong you are with your body weight training? Simple! Try out these exercises and see how many you can do and go according to the numbers below!

Pistol Squat (one leg) - 0-1 Needs a lot of work

2-4 Pretty good for a beginner

5-7 Nice range for an intermediate

8-10 Excellent

10+ Spider Man Strength!

L-Sit Pull Ups - 0-1 Needs lots of work

2-4 Nice show of beginning strength

5-7 Excellent

8+ You're doing great!

Hand Stand Push Ups- 0-3 Needs lots of work

3-5 Beginner strength

6-9 Doing well keep training

10-12 Excellent

13+ HSP champ!

Scorpion Push Ups - 0-4 Needs lots of work

5-7 Alright, but keep training

7-10 Pretty good

10-15 Looking good, nice strength

16+ Awesome!

... there are a lot more test of strength exercises to push your body weight training to the limit but these are just a few! So try them out and keep pushing! Remember that if you want to get to your goals you need to push hard, and get a great trainer to help you along the way if you need it!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pushing Your Limits!

Results! It's what we're all after, it's what most of you dream about. Heck, some of you want it so bad you can taste it! You show up to all your workouts and get them done, and you try to watch everything you eat ... so why are you having such trouble getting to your fitness goals? If this sounds a little like you, then it might be time to take a good look at what you're doing ... or rather what you're NOT doing!
It's great that you have made that commitment to workout, I don't care if it's in a group, with a trainer, or at home. Whatever it takes to get you moving ... but just doing something is not enough! You must pour every ounce you have into your workouts! I mean push your self to the limit each and every time that you workout ... it's not called a workout for nothing! If you're not at least a little nervous before you workout, then it might not be hard enough!

All I can tell you is push, push, and push some more! Challenge yourself and come out on top, it's always a great feeling to finish a workout with a faster time then before or to lift a heavier weight. Remember that this applies to your diet as well guys!

Training is only one half of the equation, actually even less than half! Diet is whats going to get you those results that you are really looking for. If you're putting crap into your body, then you're just going to get crap for results! Eat clean, eat paleo and workout REALLY HARD! The results will come in time and your body will work better than ever before. Cut the grains, cut the dairy, cut the junk food, and watch your body change!

So the next time you walk into your gym, training studio, outdoor park, basement gym, or where ever you choose to workout make sure you leave it all on the line! Push yourself until you feel like you have nothing left, and you know what you will find? You'll find that little bit more that you didn't know you had ... and that's where excellence lives. That's where results are found!

You have the power!

Contact me (Timothy Bell) now to book you or your small group for the most natural/organic training you will ever try! The new and improved Jungle Fit Studio is open for business so try it out. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!