Eugenia Reverse Sled Drag

 

1. Cardio Is Still Important

 

I’ve said many times in the past it’s possible to reduce your body fat and improve your body composition with¬†little cardio. I’m not anti-cardio, so don’t take things out of context. There is a caveat.

If you’re a part of population that works the typical 9-5 shift sitting at a desk, your energy expenditure is going to be relatively low compared to the person who works in…let’s say, construction or delivery. Guess who needs cardio? In order to facilitate lipolysis (breakdown of fat) you have to increase your energy expenditure. So yes, that means you’re going to need to add in some form of cardiovascular/aerobic work in conjunction with strength training. Whether it’s high-intensity interval training or steady-state cardio, that’s¬†entirely up to you. There’s no right or wrong. They both work.

2. Your Diet Is Whack

 

It’s no question folks looking to lose weight are more prone to fads and gimmicks ‚ÄĒ and because of that they engage in many dietary practices. Just because something makes you lose weight doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy for you (i.e. juice cleanses, detox). What you ideally want in a diet is sustainability, nourishment, enjoyment, and… does it actually promote a healthy lifestyle? Put another way, if your diet sucks no amount of exercise is going to overcome that.

Don’t mistake simple for ineffective. Rather than resort to extreme methods, you’ll find that all the magic can be found in getting quality sleep, adequate hydration, eating your fruits and vegetables, and minimizing junk food.

3. Fat Loss Is Not Linear

 

My primary goal has never been fat loss. It’s always been about getting strong and building lean muscle. That having been said, ¬†what we need to¬†appreciate more is that¬†progress is never linear. ¬†From a coaching standpoint, it’s really hard to pick¬†the best course of action for individuals who keep second guessing if what they’re doing is right. If you expect to see results after having only done two weeks worth of training, you’re delusional.

It’s not a sexy answer, but you have to be patient. Just because the scale didn’t drop in one week doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not heading in a positive direction.

Take home message: the body transforms in a wave-like approach.

4. You Go “Screw It Mode”

 

I applaud discipline and consistency, but to deprive yourself of a certain food group¬†results in unwarranted mood swings and self-sabotage.¬†If you continuously tell yourself you can’t have something, all you’re going to do is fixate on that. On some level avoiding it entirely does help, but believe me when I say: the longer you restrict yourself, the bigger the binge.¬†¬†One bite or serving of indulgence then all hell breaks loose and you have now entered,¬†“screw it mode.”¬†This phenomenon repeatedly happens¬†‚ÄĒ and unfortunately, it makes it more and more difficult for you to lose fat.

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More¬†pressingly, food avoidance¬†in an effort to lose fat¬†only works in the short-term. In fact, I’ve found that not everyone can adhere to a protocol like that. True, it will create a calorie deficit which is essential for fat loss, but you’re missing the big picture. Rather than avoiding completely, practice portion control and mindful eating. You can still eat the foods you want and still make reasonable progress, but you can’t eat¬†as much of it as you want. We want to develop good habits, and a rigid diet¬†tends to lead us in the opposite direction.

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Become An Insider

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If you’re someone who regularly¬†lifts weights and/or participates in any sport or discipline, then your knees have barked at you on more than a few occasions.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

Setbacks¬†are a part of the game ‚ÄĒ no doubt about it. The pertinent issue is working around them to ensure you’re still getting a good training effect while providing yourself enough time to recover.

And let’s be real, with any type of commitment whatsoever or discipline that requires you to gradually push the envelope, there will be setbacks. If you think otherwise, then you’re not training very hard. But like I said, it’s how you work around them that’s going to determine the outcome.

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Photo Credit: T-Nation.com

Reverse Sled Drags

 

Backwards or Reverse Sled Drags have been such a great exercise not only for myself, but also for a few of my clients that occasionally experience achy knees. Interestingly, I’ve also found them to be highly effective for folks with arthritic knees¬†‚ÄĒ which lends itself to the fact that they not only serve as a tool to build muscle, but it’s also useful for rehabilitative purposes.

The cool thing about this, too, is that you can do them every workout or training session. It’s a concentric-based movement. Meaning,¬†it’s less induced muscle damage ‚ÄĒ¬†which makes¬†this particular exercise a viable option to do at a high frequency.

Incorporating these in conjunction with a boatload of hip-dominant work (RDL, Hip Thrusts, Pull-Throughs, Band Sumo Walks) will get your knees feeling good again.

 

If you want to get stronger, build lean muscle, and decrease body fat, learn more about my coaching here. 

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At some point in time you’re going to experience back pain. It’s quite common, and at times can be tricky to work around because it’s so complex. For reference, I’ve injured my lower back twice and it’s no joke. Quite discouraging actually. And unfortunately, I had to take a few steps back on my training. So, I can relate if you’ve had back problems.
In this post, I want to address some of the issues revolving around back pain and offer general guidelines that will ultimately get you feeling good and back in the iron game.
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What NOT To Do

1. Stretching Will Actually Do More Harm Than Good

 

Whenever people experience pain they have this¬†behavioral habit of¬†stretching the painful area. ¬†Let me tell you: the site of the pain, is almost never the source of the pain. Stretching is not inherently bad. You just have to be more selective of your approach when trying to ease the pain ‚ÄĒ and I’ve found that painful areas rarely like being stretched. It just causes more instability.

You might provide yourself with some pain relief, but the problem is that it’s only temporary. More often than not, the pain comes back worse than before.¬†Thus begins the vicious¬†cycle of repeating the process over and over again.¬†I understand the rationale behind it, but to give some context ‚ÄĒ¬†it’s the equivalent of repeatedly banging your head against the wall.

To drive the point home, the last thing you should be doing is stretching your lower back. You’re actually doing more harm than good.

2. Do Not Stop Training

 

While continuing to train at a high-intensity is unwarranted, pressing the pause button and remaining sedentary is not exactly the best route either. Even worse if all you do sit all day long.

Suffice it to say, it’s still¬†possible to strength train. ¬†It all boils down on focusing what you can do and¬†listening to your body.¬†The key is doing the right workouts. Placing an emphasis on spine sparing exercises will pay dividends in your longevity. ¬†Have some common sense. If the movement hurts, then don’t do it.

You’re not doing yourself any favors by running 3-5 miles¬†on hard pavement, doing a set of box jumps, or attempting to set a PR in your squat.

What You Should Be Doing

1. Strengthen Core Stability

 

If your lower back keeps acting up, it’s most likely a lack of stability rather than mobility. As such, strengthening your core is priority numero uno¬†when it comes to keeping your lower back healthy. The inability to properly brace or stiffen your spine results in your passive restraints taking up most of the stress.

2. Single-leg Training and Glute Work

 

As I mentioned earlier, placing an emphasis on spine sparing exercises is of primary importance. Prioritizing single-leg training and glute work have tremendous value, specifically for folks suffering from acute or chronic back pain. Performing any single-leg work (Assisted 1-leg RDL, Bulgarian Split Squats, Lunges, Step-ups) reduces the shear and compressive forces on the spine that you would otherwise experience in traditional bilateral lower body movements.

Yes. The hip thrust¬†mimics an “inappropriate” motion, but make no mistake¬†‚ÄĒ if you want to transform your backside and keep your lower back healthy, these are¬†money.

3. Make Simple Modifications

 

Once your symptoms have begun to wind down and you start to feel good,¬†it’s easy to dive back into your normal training regimen with gusto.

Not so fast.

Tinkering with different variations or altering your set up with an exercise can make a world of difference.  For instance, setting up for a conventional deadlift might not bode well for the vast majority. But with a trap bar, kettlebell, or a landmine, you can shift your weight more posteriorly further reducing the likelihood of aggravating your lower back. Similarly, lying flat on your back for a bench press can be a hassle. Opting for an incline press is more user-friendly because it eliminates the need to excessively arch through the lower back. Remember, keeping your spine neutral under load is the way to go. Compromising that can potentiate another injury causing your lower back to flip you the finger.

I’m happy to announce that I’m taking clients for my online fitness coaching. If you want to get stronger, build lean muscle, and decrease body fat, learn more about my coaching here. 

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