Four workout principles

Mike Furci has a new column up today on Bullz-Eye with workouts to help you build your back. Check it out the full article for some great back exercises.

I want to highlight one section of the article that focuses on four workout principles. These can apply to all your workouts, and developing habits around these principles will make your workouts more effective and help you avoid injury.

- Do not cheat while performing an exercise. Performing movements without strict form places excessive stress on the connective tissue. When a rep cannot be completed in a smooth fashion, end it. Using other muscle groups, like leaning back to finish a barbell curl, is not stimulating the biceps more. There is absolutely no place for this technique in any program no matter what the level or age of the lifter.

- Avoid using negative-only training. The theory behind using negatives is based on the fact that you can use a great deal more weight during the eccentric (negative) portion of a lift as opposed to the concentric (raising) portion. The theory states that by performing negatives with heavier weight than you can lift with traditional reps, it will elicit a greater adaptive response and further hasten your progress. As anyone who’s performed negative-only training will tell you, it’s extremely demanding and wearing on the body. The inroads to your recovery ability, and the wear and tear made by performing negatives, is very difficult to regulate. The ends do not justify the means.

- No forced reps. A forced rep is performed at the end of a set. As the lifter fails in an attempt to perform the concentric portion of the rep, a spotter helps move it to completion. The lifter then lowers the weight and attempts another rep; when the rep starts to fail, the spotter again helps complete the rep. Forcing a fatigued muscle to do extremely hard work is playing with fire. As with negatives, forced reps — because of the level of wear and tear — is a technique that should be avoided.

- Form over all. I cannot stress this enough. The form you use when performing an exercise is of the utmost importance especially for advanced lifters. This principle coincides with the above, “Do not cheat while performing an exercise.” Once you can no longer move the weight in a smooth controlled manner, end the set.

The first three principles are major don’ts, the last is a major do. All four of the above principles are imperative in keeping from walking that tight rope between training with intensity and injury.

Check out Mike’s columns on Bullz-Eye for great fitness and nutrition tips.

  

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Foods you should be eating

Last week we revisited Mike Furci’s list of foods you should avoid and asked you to compare it to what you actually eat. This week we’re emphasizing the positive with Mike’s list of authorized foods.

You’ll see that he breaks it down by proteins, carbohydrates and vegetables. You’ll also notice that there’s plenty of delicious food for you to eat. You don’t have to sacrifice taste or enjoying food in order to eat healthy.

Now that you have both lists, the basic idea is to reduce and replace. Reduce your consumption of the banned foods, and then replace it with something you like on the approved foods list. For example, if you’re eating sugary cereal each morning, replace it with oatmeal or fruit. If you like pasta, trying replacing some of it with whole grain pastas. The key is taking an honest look at your diet and then replacing bad foods with better options.

  

The dangers of sugar consumption

If you’ve been a regular reader of Mike Furci, Bullz-Eye.com’s Fitness Editor, you’ve known for a long time that you should be limiting the amount of sugar and simple carbohydrates in your diet. The dangers of sugar consumption are now getting much more attention, and a recent “60 Minutes” story is getting a lot of attention.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta discusses the dangers of sugar with Dr. Robert H. Lustig, who explains how many of our health problems like obesity and Type 2 diabetes. His YouTube video, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth,” has over 2.5 million views.

This isn’t just about the table sugar you put in your coffee. Most processed foods you buy at the store are loaded with sugars or high fructose corn syrup (which is basically the same thing as sugar). The biggest offender has to be soft drinks, which are probably the worst thing you can have in your regular diet.

As Mike has said for years, it’s not just about calories. You have to pay attention to what types of calories you are consuming.

Watch both of these videos and you’ll gain some perspective on your own diet and health. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a cola or a pastry from time to time, but if these are regular parts of your diet, then you need to start making changes. You’ll love how you feel and look with some of these simple changes, and in the long run you’ll be much healthier as well.

  

Get your body fit for Fall

With ESPN’s Body Issue getting a lot of publicity, now is a great time to think about your own fitness as we head into fall. Many of us fall into the same patterns. With summer on the horizon, men and women start working out in May with the hope we will look good on the beach or by the pool. Late in the year, the holidays come around, and everyone eats too much at all the parties, and then you wake up on January 2nd looking and feeling bad again.

It’s time to break that cycle. This year, try to be proactive by committing to working out and eating right during the fall and into the holidays. It’s a great time to develop good habits that will stay with you through the year.

Think about starting some new exercises. If you haven’t been doing weight training, then maybe this is a good time to start.

Also, if you’re going to try something like more weight training, then take a look things like protein powder. Protein is important if you’re serious about building muscle, but keep in mind that overall nutrition and eating habits are equally important. Protein powder should supplement your diet. Do your research, read Mike Furci in our Fitness Channel and consult your doctor or a nutritionist, but things like whey protein and fat burners are very popular with people looking to get in shape and look fit.

It’s also a great time to focus on cardio. Many people lose sight of this as the weather gets bad. They stay inside and get less exercise. Now is the time to be consistent and get your cardio in the gym. Find out what works best for you. Some guys like the treadmill, while others like the stationary bike.

The key is whether you want to commit yourself to looking good year-round. It’s all about your mindset. Let things like the body issue and the photo above be motivation. Then, think about your own goals and put together something that works for you.

  

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