Fitness Tips for Surfers

You don’t get on a surfboard and head to meet the waves if this is your first time to do it, especially if you score low on the fitness test. Surfers need to have strong body, and a strong body is one with well-trained muscles, all muscles! Surfing requires a great deal of exertion of all your muscle groups. Hence, you have to stay out and perhaps spend significant time in the training room if you’re ill prepared for this sport. Even experienced surfers have to train to keep themselves fit.

Warm up

One of the things that people forgo is warming up. Warm-ups prepare our heart, lungs, and muscles for the physically demanding exertions. Warm-up exercises for surfers include squats, push-ups, lunges, single leg upper body rotation, and knee hugs (standing).

You have absolutely no excuse for not doing these exercises, as they don’t need any equipment. Squats train your quads, while lunges train the quads and hamstrings. Push-ups train your triceps and deltoids, while the upper body rotation exercise on one foot trains your core. But these are just warm-up exercises. They are also good when you are left away from the gym without equipment.

Do full body workouts

However, for greater muscular strength gains, you need to do more than these basic exercises. This takes us to the next level of strength training for surfing. Think of kettlebell swings, dead lifts, overhead presses, and pull-ups. There are so many muscle strengthening exercises for a stronger body. You want to be a good surfer? Get strong!

Make your upper body stronger

Upper body training is definitely important. Surfing involves paddling, which demands robust shoulder, arm, and back muscles. Strengthening these parts involve doing straight arm cable pull downs, dumbbell rows, pull-ups, bench presses, and cable face pulls.

Strengthen your core

Core also does a lot of work when you’re coursing through the waves and sliding down the troughs. It’s what keeps you in balance and helps you to not fall over. Different variation of planks make the core stronger. There are also swiss ball exercises that strengthen the core.

Build endurance

Surfing demands endurance and stamina. Surfers spend long hours off the shore paddling and then riding on the waves. The sport is basically a mixture of explosive exertion and low intensity activity. You have to train your body to varying intensities of activity. This is why interval circuit training is quite beneficial. There’s an infinite number of interval exercises. You can incorporate interval training to your regular cardio routine. For instance, incorporate jogging and sprinting into your running routine to build more endurance and fitness. Circuit workouts also train your endurance and stamina. An example of a circuit involves burpees, planks, push-ups, lunges, and squat jumps.

Benefits of Strength Training for Seniors

strength training senior citizensOld age is not an excuse for skipping fitness. Exercise is for all ages. This is why many experts think that people should train for strength regardless of their age. There’s an appropriate training routine for people of all ages. Some people above 40 or 50 think they are too old to gain muscle and strength, but that’s just not true. You can gain muscle and strength even if you are above 60, maybe a tad slower than young people, but you can go stronger, fitter, and healthier. Even the CDC advocates this workout for senior citizens.

Here are several reasons why you should consider strength training.

Regaining Balance

The older you get, the worse your balance gets, and it’s not just because you’re aging. It’s also because we tend to be less active as we get older. That causes us to lose muscle tone and bone density, two things that exercise, particularly strength training, can reverse. Restoring your muscle tone, or at least some of it, can improve your balance and reduce chances of falls and resulting injuries.

Increasing Bone Mass

Adult men and women lose bone mass as they age. This can be prevented, slowed down, or even reversed through proper nutrition and exercise. Strength training, coupled with proper diet, is the best way to avoid losing bone mass and even regain them. By slowing down or reversing bone density loss, you’re reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

Improving Muscle Strength

The average Joe who doesn’t train for strength loses at least 5 pounds of muscle by the time he’s 30. He would lose 5 pounds more by the time he’s 40. Ten more years, and he would lose another 5 pounds. You lose muscle mass, tone, and strength. You grow weaker and with muscle mass loss follows bone loss as well. You also tend to pack more fat as you lose muscle. Muscle burns calories. The bigger, more active your muscles are, the more calories you burn and the less fat you store. Strength training increases muscle tone and metabolism, and this is true even for seniors past 60.

Restoring Heart Health

Any form of exercise is good for your heart. Strength training when done at a proper pace trains your cardiopulmonary system and later on improves cardiac health. Because strength training tends to burn fat, your cardiovascular profile improves. It also trains your heart to handle greater physical demands.

Reducing Arthritis Pain

Strength training has been shown to reduce joint pain in people with arthritis, which is quite a common ailment among the elderly. Unlike running and many cardio exercises, strength training is not a high-impact sport that soon becomes taxing for the joints. Lifting weights or training with resistance strengthens not only the muscles but also the bones, tendons, and joints. Calisthenics, for instance, is a type of strength training that benefits people with joint pains and injuries. The secret is to train according to your strength levels and follow a well-structured program designed for you.

Keeping You Healthy

The older we are, the more diseases we suffer from. Seniors are more likely to get cardiovascular disease, diabetes, colon problems, sleep disorders, and osteoporosis. Strength training helps you manage chronic disorders and allows you to live a better life. For instance, it allows your body to better control blood sugar and body fat, thus curbing or even reversing the progress of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Also, any form of exercise helps people sleep better and fight stress.

Strength Training Tips for Divers

diver strength trainingIt may seem as though that diving is its own training. Meaning, if you’re a diver, all you have to do is dive, and that alone is sufficient to your strength gains. But only untrained and uninformed people would make this assumption. The truth is you need to complement your underwater training with weight training in the gym. Both types of training work differently but complement each other.

How do you get stronger as a diver?

You have to get strong muscles. That’s all there is to it. If you want to be stronger, you have to train your muscles for strength and endurance.

Train all muscle groups.

You use all your muscles when you’re diving, so work out all your muscles in the gym. If you’re new to strength training, start with compound workouts three times a week. These exercises include barbell squat, leg press, lat pull down (or pull up), bench press, and shoulder press. Once you build decent strength, you can progress to muscle-specific isolation exercises, such as standard curl, cable extension, trap raise, leg curl, step up, and calf raise.

Have a solid workout plan.

You don’t go to a gym and just use machines randomly. If you have no idea what to do, ask the gym instructor. You don’t train like everyone else. Know your strength levels and strength training experience, and start from there. If you have been diving for a while and are considering upping your muscular strength and endurance, you probably have some decent strength level, which can be measured by how much weight you can lift properly for 8 repetitions.

A solid workout plan involves properly structured workout schedules and rest/recovery days. Beginners start from full body workout using compound exercises, build strength through progressive overloading, and then include isolation exercises.

Lift BEFORE you dive, not after.

Most divers who also lift weights go to the gym before their scheduled dives. When they are diving on multiple days in succession, they skip weight training altogether until their off days. If you have a diving schedule that conflicts with your strength training schedule, do the strength training first. After the dive, rest. Reduce your activity after a dive to avoid formation of micro-bubbles in the body, particularly in the joints.

Include cardio.

Cardio should be part of any fitness program. The main purpose of cardio is to train your cardiovascular stamina. You also burn calories in the process too. Your muscles are not the only ones working hard when you dive but also your heart and lungs. Do cardio 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes each session. Do cardio after weight training. You can hop on the treadmill or just jog.

Do warm ups and cool downs.

A proper warm up prepares your body for the workout. It raises up your heart rate and breathing rate and wakes up your muscles. The purpose is to improve circulation of blood and oxygen to your muscles. Working out your “cold” joints and muscles increases the risk of injury.

After your intense workout, you should also cool down to gradually bring your heart and breathing rate slowly and avoid pooling of blood in your extremities.

Warm ups and cool downs can be anything from dynamic stretching to jogging. Cardio for 5 minutes is excellent for warm up and cool down.

Tips for Building Muscle Safely

building muscle safelyBuilding muscle is about knowledge, discipline, patience, and perseverance. When you don’t have these things, you fail. We’ve seen many guys hit the gym, spend two hours doing exercises one after the other, and then disappear because of an injury (e.g. shoulder impingement, elbow tendonitis, and stress fractures). You don’t want to strain a muscle, a tendon, or a joint. You want to build muscle safely in the long run. What should you do?

Consider your current strength level.

You’re probably a beginner, so you have to be realistic. Most beginners will have a hard time doing workouts for the first time properly. When we say properly, it means doing it with correct tempo and form. Beginners have yet to build decent muscle mass and are at base, average strength levels. Many of them would have difficulty squatting 45 pounds in perfect form. That’s because they have not yet built the neuromuscular coordination for weight training. During the first few months, you will have to train using lighter weights. The goal is to train your nervous system and your muscles.

Do the exercises with proper form and technique.

Strength training isn’t just about doing 8 reps of barbel rows or bench press. It’s about doing each rep properly. Gym instructors and fitness coaches insist on the proper form for two reasons–to hit the muscles properly and to avoid injury. You may think you can just squat 90 lbs however you want, but no. You could risk getting spine or knee injury when you do squats wrong. You’re not supposed to progress to the next weight or to harder versions of an exercise before you learn how to it correctly.

Warm up!

You need to prepare your joints, tendons, and muscles before weight or strength training. That’s why you need to do warm-ups, which can be anything like jogging or cardio for 10-15 minutes. A proper warm-up should raise your heart rate and increase blood flow to the muscles, prepping them up for the following intense activity.

Have enough rest and sleep.

You don’t build muscle in the gym or in the kitchen. You tear muscles in the gym. You nourish your body in the kitchen. But building and repair happen during sleep. You don’t get enough sleep? You don’t build muscle. It’s as simple as that.

Be patient and determined.

You don’t go from skinny to super ripped overnight, not even in three or six months. It takes at least a year to see significant changes. Don’t listen to “experts” online who are out to sell you their so-called muscle building products.

Do not overdo sets, reps, and weights!

More sets and reps don’t mean more muscle. Over-training yourself is a sure way to end up on painkillers and trips to doc. Progress safely. Gradually build the intensity and difficulty of your workouts. There are no safe shortcuts here. When you’re done with your program for the day, get out of the gym.

Kettlebells vs Dumbbells: Which is Better for You?

kettlebell vs dumbbell

Kettlebells and dumbbells are both popular workout tools. However, in discussing which between the two types of tools is better, it’s worth looking at your goals in working out. One is better than the other under certain circumstances. In a nutshell, dumbbells are more like your strength training companions, while kettlebells are your cardio and endurance training companions.

What’s the difference really?

Well, the first thing you would notice is their shape. Dumbbells are like little barbells. So they are basically bars with weight plates in both sides. You hold a dumbbell on the center and use it usually as a free weight tool.

Kettlebells, on the other hand, look like metal globes with handles. These are fixed weights, unlike dumbbells, whose plates can be replaced with heavier ones as you progress through your strength training. If you want heavier weights for your kettlebell workouts, you just have to grab a heavier kettlebell.

Different Centers of Gravity

With dumbbells, you’re holding the weight directly in your hands. The center of gravity of the weight is in your hands. This is good in training certain muscle groups for strength. Kettlebells, because of their shape, put their weight and the center of gravity away from you. Training with kettlebells requires you to use more muscles for stability than training with dumbbells. However, while kettlebell exercise do recruit more muscles, thereby burning more calories, they don’t necessarily add so much strength and mass to them.

Different Exercises

As mentioned, dumbbells are used as strength or weight training tools. Depending on your strength levels, you start with 5, 10, or 20-lb dumbbells and perform different exercises (e.g. dumbbell rows, bicep curls, and lunges). As free weights, they allow you to focus more on working out muscle groups.

Some strength training exercises that can be done with dumbbells can also be done with kettlebells, albeit with different effects on your body overall. As mentioned earlier, kettlebells recruit more muscles for stabilization. However, you can only progress so much with these tools until it becomes impossible to advance on the workouts with heavier kettlebells.

Most kettlebell workouts are done at cardio pace for endurance and fat loss. While dumbbells can are also great cardio tools, they are basically strength training tools.

So is one better than the other?

No, neither is better than the other. Dumbbells and kettlebells are just two different tools geared to people with different fitness goals. If you want to build muscle, stick to dumbbells. If you want to build endurance, stick to kettlebells. In other words, go with dumbbells if your goal is to have bigger, more muscular arms or chests. Go with kettlebells if you want to improve your cardiovascular endurance and fitness.

Strength Training Tips for Cyclists

strength training for cyclists

Many cyclists do not know the benefits of strength training to their performance. But that’s not surprising because they are led to believe that they should be training for endurance and not strength. However, strength and endurance go hand in hand when it comes to overall cycling performance. Plus, it is a great way to train in the off season.

When you are a cyclist, you need to have strong upper body, core, and lower body. It seems you are only need your leg muscles, but the truth is you need a full body coordination and balance, which demand work from both your upper body and, especially, your core. Hence, it is vital that you get the right training to be an effective athlete.

The common mistake beginners do is to skip training for strength and head for the road. The thing is you do not develop muscle faster when you start training for endurance on the road. You build stronger muscle for cycling when you train both for endurance and strength. You need that extra muscle strength for demanding tournaments.

In fact, you train not only the lower extremities but your whole body. You are working not only your thigh and leg muscles during cycling but also recruiting your stabilizer muscles to keep you in balance throughout the ride.

Cyclists who include strength training to their overall training program tend to perform better than those who don’t. Contrary to what you might have been told, strength training does not impede or reduce your endurance. There’s a common misconception that athletes should not build muscle because doing so makes them slower in their sports. This is a myth that has no scientific basis.

Fact is you need both muscular strength and endurance to be more effective and more resistant to muscle fatigue. So how do you train for strength?

If you are new to strength training, it’s a bad idea to hit the weights right away. The first thing you have to do is condition your body by prepping up your joints and muscles. You start doing bodyweight exercises, such as air squats and lunges. Core exercises like planks and the different variation of planks are very important. As a cyclist, core strength is basic.

Lift weights!

Strength training requires muscle tension that is provided by lifting weights, not just any weight, but one that’s heavy enough for you to lift for no more than 8-10 reps in the right form. If you can go more than 10 reps, increase the weight. Basically, you would be doing certain weight training exercises for different muscle groups using free weights preferably.


The squat is like the king of all strength training exercise because it targets some of the biggest muscle groups in the body. We’re talking about the quads, which are basically doing much of the work when you are pedaling on the road. This exercise also targets the glutes. As mentioned, use weights heavy enough for you to do 8-10 reps. Do 3 sets.

You should also do lunges, dead lifts, calf raises, and leg presses. Again, watch your form! You can’t keep doing these exercises with the wrong form without the risk of sustaining an injury and not training your muscles optimally.

Strength training is better done during the off season, usually in winter, to prepare your body for the next cycling season. Come back to the tracks stronger and better. During cycling season, keep your muscle strength by including strength training once a week when you’re not pushing the pedals on your bike.

Should You Use a Sleep Tracking Gadget at Night?

sleep tracking gadgetsSufficient sleep is vital to good health. Medical researchers have warned us about the dangers of poor sleep. Poor sleep could mean lack of hours of sleep or poor quality sleep. Either could result in high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and dementia. The ideal number of hours of sleep is between 7 and 9.

Why Sleep is Necessary

Your body needs sleep because that’s when restoration happens. Healing is at its peak during sleep. This is why you need sufficient sleep when recovering from an illness. Your brain also processes memories during sleep, distinguishing between important and unimportant items there. Think about it as a maintenance procedure wherein the brain deletes unimportant files and stores the important ones in the long-term memory. The result of all physical and mental restoration is you waking up feeling energized and refreshed.

Where Sleep Tracking Gadgets Fit

However, it’s not just how long you sleep that’s important. How well you sleep is just as important. This is the goal of many sleep tracking devices or apps. They are made to monitor your sleep duration and quality. However, it’s good to note what type of device you’re using. A few devices measure key aspects of sleep cycle, such as brain wave activity and eye movements.

Motion Trackers?

One of the most popular devices out there is the motion tracker. A lot of people use it despite absence of scientific evidence for its effectiveness in tracking sleep. As its name implies, it only tracks motion, which is not indicative of the quality of sleep. It doesn’t measure your muscle tone, heart rate, breathing rate, or eye movement.

Smartphone Sleep Apps, Anyone?

They have mixed reviews. They are nothing more than alarms on your phone with a few tricks. According to descriptions, they track your sleep cycles and wake you up when you’re in the light phase of your sleep. Obviously, that’s when you’re about to wake up in the morning. So the app rings the alarm, prompting you to wake up. You could wake up on a vibrating pillow. It’s not so nice. Sleep tracking on your phone apps is not a good way to get a diagnosis of the quality of your sleep.

So What Should You Use Instead?

Aside from the fact, that you don’t need to track your sleep, unless your doctor advises you to go through a sleep analysis. Most of the sleep gadgets out there provide insufficient data regarding the quality of sleep. They don’t measure biometric indicators of sleep. You’re better off not using anything at all and just concentrate on getting 7-9 hours of sleep and making sure you sleep without distractions.

Maybe you can wait for the more accurate sleep gadgets, those that measure brain wave activity, heart rate, breathing rate, eye movement, and muscle tone.

If you can find sleep trackers that measure brain wave activity and biometrics, then get any of those.

Tips to Help You Conquer Insomnia

insomnia tips

Insomnia can wreck your life. Being unable to sleep at night or having difficulty sleeping may be due to several bad habits you can kick off for better quality sleep. There are many ways to beat insomnia and reclaim your glorious respite at night.

Follow a uniform sleep pattern.

Irregular sleep patterns can wreak havoc on your body clock. It is important to keep uniform sleep habits because your brain and body adapts to a specific sleep habit. The best way to do this is to wake up at the same hour every day. This will force your body to stick to its natural rhythm even if you stay late one night.

Make your bedroom comfortable.

You can trick your brain into putting you to sleep by making your surrounding ideal for sleep. It should be dark, so turn off the lights, or at least dim them. Make the temperature comfortable, not too cold and not too warm.

Do nothing else during sleep time.

Put away your books. Turn off your laptop and phone. Don’t listen to music. All these things will only stimulate your brain, thus keeping you awake.

Stop taking long naps during the day.

People who take long naps during the day tend to sleep late at night. Napping affects your body clock. Just take short naps. A 10-minute nap is all you need to recharge your brain. Long naps adjust your sleep rhythm and may keep you awake and alert longer at night.

Ditch the midnight snack.

It sounds cool, but it’s not at all. Your digestive system is supposed to rest at night. When you eat right before turning in, you’re activating your digestive system. In so doing, you keep your body awake when it’s supposed to be resting.

Reduce caffeine intake.

Caffeine is a stimulant you find in coffee, tea, and chocolate. It stays in the body for up to 24 hours. Drinking coffee in the late afternoon or evening is a bad idea if you want to sleep at 10 p.m. and you want to sleep well throughout the night.

Stop drinking.

Alcohol affects many things in the body, including sleep. Do not mistake alcohol’s intoxicating properties for sleep inducing properties. It may appear to make you less alert, but it actually messes up with your brain and disrupts your sleep.

Keep unwanted thoughts out.

Brooding on earlier fiasco at work can keep you awake until 2 a.m. That’s bad if you want to perform better the next day, because cognitive and physical performance are affected by sleep. Worrying and thinking too much keeps your brain active even if your body is already tired. If you have a hard time shaking off negative thoughts, and they are affecting your health, you may consider seeing a therapist or a counselor.

Engage in regular exercise.

Exercise improves your cardiovascular health, immune system, and brain function. It releases endorphins, the good hormones. People who exercise regularly tend to have better quality of sleep. You don’t need to go to the gym. Just walk for at least 30 minutes a day. Jogging, running, and swimming are great options too.


How to Stay Fit While Traveling

stay healthy when traveling

Traveling can destroy your diet and add pounds to your body. It seems impossible to do away with these things. After all, you experience different cuisine and forget about your regular everyday life, which sadly means setting fitness aside for a while. You can turn this around and maintain your fitness whilst traveling.

Pack healthy snacks.

Traveling could mean a lot of things, including long waiting hours at the airport and canceled flights, which prolong the wait. The longer you stay at the airport, the more you’re compelled to eat at fast food and make unhealthy food choices, usually high in sugar and fat. Grab that blueberry cake or cinnamon and expect additional 700 calories. When you’re hungry, you eat just anything. The solution is to pack whole grain crackers, tuna salad, fruit smoothies, or low-calorie snack bars. If possible, pack enough food that can last throughout the travel. If it’s an 8-hour plane ride, pack enough food that you generally eat within this time period.

Bring at least one liter of water.

If it’s a long ride, you’re going to feel thirsty if you don’t rehydrate. Dehydration is common among travelers. Even if you spend several hours just sitting down, you’re body is losing water by the hour. You should replace lost fluids. The easiest way to do it is to bring enough water that can last throughout the duration of your flight or train ride. Remember you should drink 8 glasses of water a day. That’s roughly one liter.

Ask for vegetables, fruits, and protein dishes.

They usually serve pastries, junk food, and other unhealthy stuff on the plane. However, if they serve chicken or fish, make it your main dish. If they serve nuts, go for nuts and stay away from chips. Switch junk food for salad or fruits.

Stand and stretch every hour.

Sitting down for several hours makes your muscles stiff and impedes proper blood circulation in the legs. Your legs can go numb and stiff after long hours of sitting. Take a break from prolonged sitting and do some stretches.

Continue your fitness routine.

Once you arrive at your travel destination, it may seem as though your daily routine is about to change. There are many ways to deal with this if you want to remain fit throughout your vacation. You can find a gym near the hotel you’re staying at. See if it’s possible to have access to their facilities for the entire time of your stay. Also, check out if your hotel has a fitness facility.

You don’t need to be in the gym for fitness though. Cardio lovers can still do exercises without equipment. Jogging and brisk walking are some of the easiest cardio exercises everyone can do without equipment. Those who abandoned their free weights and machines at home can avoid loss of muscle by doing calisthenics (bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, and planks).

Limit the partying.

Parties mean booze and staying late at night, both of which cause you to pack belly fat. You want to avoid these two. You can enjoy festivities but not at the expense of your health.

Reasons You Should Listen To Music When You Work Out

listen to music when exercising

Many athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts include music in their workouts. From an observer’s point of view, it may seem as though music just adds a pleasant stimulus to strenuous activities and increases motivation. Indeed, gym buffs and athletes have different reasons for playing their favorite songs while working out. And experts agree that you should crank up the tunes when exercising.

Music serves as a good distraction.

Not that all types of distraction are good when you’re working out, but music is one type that allows you to perform more. It’s a good distraction, one that keeps your thoughts away from the difficulty or monotony of the exercise itself. This is good, especially for beginners, who can enjoy their routines with music. Exercise alone can be hard, irksome, and boring.

Uptempo songs are good for your performance.

People who are doing cardio workouts should listen to uptempo songs. The fast beats do not only distract your brain but also prompts your body to move faster in response to the beat. Faster movements burn more fat and tax the muscles more for that post-workout burn.

Music gets you in the mood.

Most people have certain types of music that perk or lift them up or just make them alive and awake. This is preference-based. Meaning, you go play your favorite songs for your warm-ups. This sets you in the mood for an otherwise dreary workout.

You can time your workouts.

Whether you’re doing strength training or classic fat-burning circuits, you need to time your workouts properly for optimum results. When you listen to songs, you can time your sets in such a way that you start at the beginning of the song, for instance, and then rest at chorus, and continue at the next verse.

Music beats excite your brain.

Music stimulates your brain. It wakes it up! Basically, you need that “waking up” when you’re about to do warm-ups before hitting the weights or doing HIIT. This is great on days when you just don’t feel like you’re up to it. Unless you’re sick, there’s no excuse for skipping workout on your workout days. Play your music and get in the mood.

You don’t get tired easily.

Sometimes exhaustion is a state of mind, not a neuromuscular condition. Music can help you beat the premature exhaustion during workouts that cause people to under-perform and not see results. Maybe you don’t like working out really. Maybe you don’t like the exercises you’re performing. Playing good music can help you deal with the negative attitude you have towards getting fit.

Music may distract some people in a bad way. Perhaps they hate the music you’re playing or they don’t like working out to music generally. Consider listening to music on some good exercise ear buds if you’re working out in a public gym so that you won’t bother other people.

Music may have different effects on fitness buffs. If it works for you, if it motivates you and enhances your performance, continue listening to your favorite songs. If not, then continue doing what you’re doing.