Compound Exercises vs Isolation: How to Make the Right Choice

Compound exercises vs isolation

Here is one of the biggest questions around physical activity that pops up every now and then: should you stick to compound exercises or isolation exercises as a part of your training schedule?  Is one better than the other?  If compound lifts are so good  – how come there are so many gyms that offer a huge variety of expensive machines targeting specific muscles?

The truth is – both methods can be used to improve strength.  Both methods can be used to build a better body.  But there are scenarios where one would work better than the other.

Instead of taking sides, in this article we will explore advantages and disadvantages of both compound and isolation exercise and then try to boil everything down to a simple routine that utilizes the best elements from both camps.

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What to bring to the gym: 10 gym bag essentials for better exercise

10 gym bag essentials

As a gym-goer, you may worry about many things – what to wear to the gym, whether it’s easier to exercise at home, how to stay motivated.  etc.  But if one of your dilemmas is what to bring to the gym – with our list of 10 gym bag essentials below you can now have one less thing to worry about.

With so many gyms offering so much equipment and additional services – why would you ever bring anything other than a change of clothes?  Well, the items listed below – despite their affordability and usefulness – are typically not offered widely at commercial gyms, although there may be some exceptions.  Some personal trainers may have and use a few of these with their clients, but if you do not have a personal trainer – you may be out of luck.  Most of the time any of these 10 gym bag essentials – because they are small, personal items – have to be purchased by you.  The good thing is that they are easy to get from your local sporting goods store or online – and relatively inexpensive.

These 10 gym bag essentials are not absolutely crucial for getting results.  You can go your entire life without them and still progress notably.  If you ask me, however, rather than worry about color-coordinated trendy clothes or some latest fitness shoes (most of the time these are useless for serious lifting anyway), or worse – what expensive wireless headphones you show off while you exercise – I would rather worry about these basics, as they can significantly improve your experience and give you that slight edge.

Keep these items in your gym bag all the time – and you will always be ready for the best workout.

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Skinny Fat: When Losing Weight is Not Good

skinny fat parade

The very first time you hear “skinny fat” – it almost sounds like an oxymoron.  Except – it isn’t.  It actually describes a condition that is quite common, especially among young individuals.  Sure, there is a medical term for it that you might prefer – MONW (Metabolically Obese Normal Weight), but “skinny fat” is a term that, like a harsh wake-up call, shakes you out of the blissful ignorance and actually highlights everything that is wrong with this condition, instead of hiding behind scientifically sounding terms.

So what is “skinny fat”?  Simply put, it describes a body type that is slim and “low-weight”, but with high proportion of body fat to lean muscle tissue.  On the outside, the problem is not very visible (unless you know what to look for) – skinny fat people can fit into normal-size clothes, eat small portions of what they consider “healthy food” and display no obvious signs of obesity you would typically expect – such as large flabs of body fat, big baggy clothes and heavy mass – so everything seems just fine.

But, generally speaking, “obesity” is a condition where a person has accumulated so much body fat that it might have a negative effect on health – and for the skinny fat, given the relative proportion of such body fat to bone and muscle mass – the definition still holds true.   And even if super skinny people may look healthy, atrophied muscles and low-density bones – coupled with other negative metabolic effects of their chosen lifestyle – significantly elevate the risk of chronic diseases.

Are you skinny fat?  Do you know how to spot the signs?  Let’s see why this is so bad and how to fix this.

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Yoga and the Magnificent Illusion of Fitness and Health

yoga

Remember when we first talked about how women who are trying to pursue better fitness and health goals should actually totally rethink their present routines?  Today’s article is going to be along the same lines.  We are going to talk about something that is near and dear to many females’ hearts – yoga.

Yoga is one of those concepts that have been totally hijacked (along with “cleansing” and “detox” – which yoga often appears coupled with, given that the quest for spiritual cleansing often inevitably leads people onto the path of experimentation related to physical cleansing) and overused to ultimately create a multi-billion dollar industry.  In the US alone, the self-reported amount spent each year on yoga equipment, clothing, yoga classes and accessories is close to a staggering $30 billion.

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Strength training for women: how to burn fat and look awesome

Today, once again, we are going to talk about strength training. For women the benefit of lifting weights for weight loss don’t seem to be apparent.  After all, many generations of females have been conditioned to resort to aerobic exercise any time they had a goal of trimming off body fat.  Strength training for women isn’t really a mainstream approach, because lifting weights has traditionally been perceived as a masculine activity and reserved for men.

But if you are a woman and consciously avoid free weights – you are missing out on a LOT of benefits.  Burning body fat is just one of them. This is the best kept secret of the fitness industry that we are going to explore.

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Where to Get Motivation to Exercise

No Motivation to Exercise

Looking for motivation to exercise?  Try this!

Finding enough motivation to exercise – especially after you’ve been following the same workout routines for a while – seems to be one of the most challenging tasks.  No matter how much enthusiasm you may have when you just start out, that enthusiasm can quickly disappear with time when you realize that you can’t get ripped in a month or lose 60 pounds in a few weeks – despite a few “shortcuts” and almost guaranteed results when you follow a few simple rules, it all requires dedication and – most often than not – hard work.

Lack of motivation to exercise is one of the key reasons behind not achieving results.  People who lose motivation abandon their goals and sheepishly accept the reality the way it is, going back to square one and quickly negating all the previous progress.

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Alpha women lift weights – here is why

At some point in time, several decades ago, it all went horribly wrong. Fueled by clever marketing to support a wide variety of fitness machines, accessories, clothing, books and gadgets, it was conventionally decided (or, rather, force-fed to consumers) that women should be limiting their physical activity to aerobics.  It was the “womanly” thing to do – this was apparent when you looked at crowds of bikini-clad, tanned girls on covers of magazines, TV personalities promising Buns of Steel from a few relatively simple movements and complete absence of any reference of realistic free weights in women’s fitness routines.

The idea of a woman touching a barbell, or even a dumbbell seemed outrageous.  Thanks, to a large degree, to horrid images of female bodybuilders from the 80s and early 90s that scarred the imagination of many feminine-shape-seeking ladies with overdeveloped deltoids and lats, huge pectorals instead of breasts, enormous quads and, pretty much everything Arnold Schwarzenegger was sporting around that same time, minus the accent .  “But I don’t want to look like a man!” rightfully objected the women – and flocked into countless gyms conveniently offering “lighter” exercises more suitable for women.

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