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Category Archives for "Bulking Up"
17

Push-Ups: Right & Wrong Way

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Push-Ups are a Great Exercise if you do them Properly

Push-Ups: Right and Wrong Way with Alexandra and KymberlyIf we were left alone on a deserted island (or gym), we’d still be able to get a great workout. Actually, if we had to pick just two exercises, push-ups would be one of them (we aren’t saying the other just yet; you’ll have to wait for that post) because they work so many muscles, don’t require equipment, and are fairly easy to do.

For those of you hate push-ups, why? Because someone said you had to do long lever (toe) or not at all? Because they’re hard? Because (for you women) you were told you’d look too “manly” in the chest?

If you do them correctly, they are fun, fun, fun! Believe it!

Correct form means:

  • Shoulder blades retracted
  • Long line from head to knees (or toes)
  • Hands wide so there’s a 90 degree angle at the elbows at the bottom of the move
  • Hands in a line with the chest (not the shoulders)

So, are you a push-up hater or lover? For more on short  vs long lever (knee vs toe)  push-ups, take a look at our post with a dedicated video, Push-Ups: Knees to Toes

Clickety click on these links. Lower yourself into a push-up, then use your nose to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Or our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. You can also find us via the icons to your right —–>

6

Get a Metabolic Boost from Stretching? Cardio? Strength Training?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: I’ve been told that stretching after a workout of strength training keeps your metabolism running longer. If that’s true, how long should I be stretching to get the good stuff going? In all the time I’ve been going to the gym, I’ve never seen anyone stretch after lifting…
Mary, Holland, MI

Can stretching make your metabolism zoom?

Stretch Your Muscles For the Good Stuff

Alexandra: Ah, Mary Mary Mary, you have inadvertently asked several questions! Stretching is excellent post-workout (not pre-workout) as it:

  • increases range of motion about a joint or group of joints
  • may elicit positive long-term performance outcomes
  • enhances flexibility (intrinsic property of muscles and joints to go through full or optimal range of motion
  • is an effective intervention for prevention of falls
  • assists in more effective performance of daily living activities

Sources: Thacker et al. 2004; Safran et al. 1988; Woods, Bishop & Jones 2007; Kerrigan et al. 2001; and Misner et al. 1992.

That is my diplomatic way of saying that stretching after your workout makes you healthy, wealthy and wise, but doesn’t have a link to an increased metabolic rate. And I am going to make a wild leap into the Abyss of Assumption here, and say you are looking to burn calories at a higher rate for a longer time? If so, read this post on Not Bulking Up and calorie burning. It will show how smart you are for doing strength training!

Leap for health

Leaping Across the Abyss of Assumptions

Kymberly: More good news about boosting your metabolic rate with exercise:  A recent article shared that women who did 40 minutes of cardio exercise at 80 percent of maximum heart rate (fairly intense but not exceedingly so) increased their caloric expenditure for the next 19 hours.  So both weight training AND cardio workouts metabolically zoom you up afterward. Sort of the caffeine of the workout world, eh? Whoa doggies, that’s pretty exciting stuff!

A: Is it possible you heard the water-cooler discussions about high-intensity interval training, increased metabolic rate and stretching? If so, that is referring to the recovery or “corrective” stretching that comes between short, intense bursts of cardio activity. But that’s not strength training, and the metabolic effect is from the cardio bursts.

K: As to why people do not stretch after weight training, we can only surmise that it’s lack of education sometimes disguised in their minds as lack of time. Saying they’re “flexibility losers” is just not in us. We can say we found nada, zip, bupkus about stretching helping metabolic rate. (Actually I can say Alexandra found nothing as she did all the research work this time around. Go twin sissie! I was busy watching MLS soccer on tv. And the players did stretch afterwards. Go soccer!) We do advocate relengthening muscles shortened in training. And we’ve covered how to increase metabolic rate post workout. That’s a wrap here at F and F!

A: I think I’ll just get bossy and tell you to keep stretching cuz it’s good for ya, and keep at the strength training for the same reason – full of fruit-flavored goodness.

Fruit Brute Goodness

Fruit Brute Flavored Goodness

K: Lastly, check out our post Stretch It or Be Wretched. Then when you do your stretches post-workout, stare at the others as if you are superior and know something they don’t …cuz’ it’s probably true.

Readers: Psssssst, do you like research statistics? If so, in 6 months of continuous participation in resistance exercise, you can convince your resting metabolic rate (RMR) to increase and burn about 100 calories extra per day. Pump me up!

2

Gender Bias at the Core with Abs and Weight Loss

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Why do some strength training exercises with equipment (i.e., core board, tubes, large balls) appear to be easier for females than males?

Brad, UC Santa Barbara

Buff, hot guy

Alexandra: Oh, Brad, there is a part of me that just wants to say, “because women are so totally

  • a. awesome
  • b. super awesome
  • c. totally awesome
  • d. all of the above

but that’s more of a Twitter word than a fitness word so I’ll just have to exhale and move along….

Kymberly: And a part of me wants to agree with Alexandra, but just a rare part, mind you. Some of the seeming ease women have with the equipment you list has to do with coordination. Coordination is learned and adaptable. By college age (which I assume you are or your signature needs parental permission), women have more experience, on average, than men with these specific types of balance and exercises. I am referring not only to specific equipment, but also to general activities like dance and gymnastics that require good balance, and torso and hip coordination.

The good news about coordination is that with practice, you and other men about town can achieve similar comfort and neuromuscular adaptation (a fancy way to say “coordination”).

A. I’ll speak from my experience working with thousands and thousands of exercisers over the years, many of them university students. Lots of men, especially the more broad-shouldered ones, tend to work the areas of their body they care most about, which is chest, arms and shoulders. These “mirror muscles” can look “hot” and “buff” fairly quickly, which is exactly why men care so much about them! Take a brief moment to yourself and see if you can figure out which area of the body women most care about. Well? I hope you didn’t come up with “booty” because that’s only in the top 5. Number 1 is abs.

So…..while women are getting strong in their core, men can bench-press their best friend (even the burly ones), yet have the strength of 37 butterflies in the mid-section. Stability balls (see the word “stability” there? It is just another way to say “ab strength”) and core boards (“core” is another way to say, “dang, it’s ab strength again, isn’t it?) are all about the mid-section (anywhere the belt touches, unless your belly hangs out and causes your belt to be lower in front than in back, but that’s a story for another day).

K: One more technical point about men and crunch-type exercises in the supine position (lying down on your back): On average, men have more mass distributed waist-up than women. Given men’s heavier and larger heads, wider shoulders and relatively heavier upper body mass, they are lifting slightly more weight than women. Add a destabilizing force, such as balls or boards and men simply have to work harder and get used to it. As for a bias with elastic resistance/ tubing, I have not seen a big gender difference. If there is one, I am tempted to say that women tend to follow directions better than men and tubing use is usually taught by a fitness teacher or trainer giving instruction. Let the wild rumpus controversy begin!

A: I’ll leave you with some heartening information – men tend to lose weight faster than women. Does that cheer you up at all? And Brad!? I suggest you do less of this:

big biceps, big shoulders, muscle beach, bodybuilding

Touch, Don’t Look

and more of this:

planks, exercise ball, core training

Not as Easy as It Looks (unless you’re a woman)

Dear men and women readers: Why do YOU think core training is easier for women? Or do you…..?

Photo credits: Photobucket

4

Muscles, Myths and Miss Informed

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: K and A

Will weight training make me huge? I don’t want to lift weights if it makes me have huge muscles. I just want to look better.

Miss Informed, Anywhere, USA

Dear Miss Informed:

A: Aaaaarggggh, excuse me while I beat my head against a wall (which burns 150 kcals per hour, by the way). This is what we in the industry call a Big Fat Myth (myth: an unfounded or false notion. Thank you Merriam-Webster.com).

For some reason, many women still believe that lifting weights will somehow make them “hyage.” You can only get hyage if you participate in bodybuilding, which is a competitive event. For that you’d need a specific training regimen and a very small bikini. I don’t think this is your intent so let’s talk about what some weight training can do for you.

Although this may sound like you’ve just moved to Opposite-Land, you can actually lose weight by lifting weight. How? You burn 8-10 kcals a minute lifting weights. That’s kind of cool by itself, but there’s more. (trumpets here please) After you are done weight training, you get a present delivered by DHL (Definite Hot Looker). That gift is called a metabolic spike. It lasts for about an hour and means that you’ll zap an additional 25% (approx.) of the kcals you just burned during the workout.

K: Here’s the low-down with higher math. Let’s say you are lifting enough weight to burn 10 kcals per minute (okay, it’s really just an easier number to use than 8), and you train for 30 minutes, hard. That works out to….(need to get out toes as I ran out of fingers)…300 kcals. By this calculation, you will then wave your magic metabolic spike in a non-threatening manner after you leave the gym and sit at the red light texting (illegally, you bad girl), and gain an additional burn rate of 75 kcals. So, you little worker-outer-weight-lifter-bee, you just tossed 375 kcals out the window (along with that cell phone…oops).

A: Then there is the fact that it takes more energy to sustain muscle than it does fat, you little metabolic heater, you! So if you are a super-snacker, with no plans to change those bad-girl eating habits, at least you’ll veg easier, knowing that your increased muscle mass is burning extra kcals at a higher rate than before you touched the weights (by “touched” I don’t mean the way Gene Wilder touched his food in “Young Frankenstein.” Also notice how I snuck in the word “veg” so you’ll suddenly have a desire to eat veggies? But that bit of nagging is for another day.

So, dear Miss, get up, grab some weights, and get going with the pumpity-pump.

Dear Lady Readers: Are you afraid of weight training? Dear Men Readers: What myths have you fallen for?

Photo credit: Creative Commons

7

No Hulk! No Bulk!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: K and A:

I’ve recently joined a gym and started doing 40 minutes on the elliptical and walking five miles on the treadmill each day. I want to lose weight, not bulk up and build muscle. Should I still do this daily elliptical routine to lose weight or just stick with the walking so I don’t bulk up and build muscle? Thanks so much!

Chelsey, Effingham, Illinois

K: Good news walking wonder woman. Not only can you tread the light fantastic, but also you can work the elliptical until you shrink so much you have to run around in the shower to get wet. Unless you are actually lifting the elliptical machine above your head until muscular fatigue sets in (probably around one repetition), you are in cardio land, not weight or strength training land.  An “aerobic” or “cardio” activity is one defined as systemic (using many muscles in the body, mostly the major ones in the lower body), with elevated heart rate at a pace you can sustain 20 minutes (even if you go longer or shorter, you COULD sustain it at least 20 minutes), always able to breathe comfortably at a rate of 60-85% of your heart rate maximum, and with little resistance and many many many repetitions. While aerobic exercise will strengthen your heart, it will not really affect muscle mass.  In short, work out with both the treadmill and elliptical as neither will build much more than the heart muscle.

A:There is a myth, young miss, that’s a mystery to me and misses the point about weight loss. That myth is that weight training will make you all bulked up like the Hulk. That is called bodybuilding. If you want to lose weight, you will have to add weight training to your regimen (see how it’s called “weight training?” That is because you are training your weight to bend to your will). With cardio, if you hustle your bustle (19th-century version of Spanx®), you can burn 10-12 kcals a minute; with weight training it’s only 8-10 kcals per minute. But, da da da da (those are trumpets), due to a magical thing called the metabolic spike (not a volleyball term), you will continue to burn kcals for about an hour after you finish working out and are sitting on your Chelsey Tushy. So in the end, due to the wonders of higher math, you will actually have burned more kcals with the weight training added in.

K: If it reassures you even more, unless “Chelsey” is a fake name for “Carl” or “Charles” or “Manly Man,” as a female you do not have enough testosterone to accidentally bulk up. No sireee, I mean no misseee, you will not wake up one morning suddenly sproing boing, pop pop muscle-bound beyond belief and desire. Creating muscle definition is a process that takes time and deliberate weight training effort, so if you see yourself getting more muscular than you want, I’m pretty sure you’d notice and make changes to your program.

A: Because we like you so much, you get the bonus info that we haven’t told anyone (see almost all previous blogs): By adding weight training, you will change your metabolism and be burning kcals at a higher rate all day and night. Even on vacation and during high fatty-intake sports matches and dates where you eat a lot because someone else is paying (oops, gave away my college financial solvency plan), you will be a little kcal-burning heater. So stop picking up strangers with cute dogs on those five-mile walks and pick up some weights instead!

Dear hulkers and bulkers: What kind of weight training have you added to your exercise regimen? Did you even know there was a She-Hulk?