Training to failure is exactly what you think it means. Training a muscle to failure. Training it untill it can no longer perform what you’re ‘telling’ it to do. There is nothing left in the tank. You can’t finish the last rep, no matter how hard you’re pushing or how much your brain is saying ”moooove”, it’s just not happening. It’s painful, it burns, but, it feels so good! However, just because it feels good doesn’t actually mean it is good. Especially if it isn’t used correctly. There’s a time and a place to train a muscle to failure and hopefully I am going to help you understand how and when to implement it into a routine.There are benefits of doing so if you do use it correctly, however, there are also negatives, like anything, if not used correctly. Training to failure is miss used, over used or simply not used correctly by so many people. Some people think they have reached failure when in fact they have not. They have not reached momentary muscular failure. Most will use it daily and in some cases, on almost every exercise they perform. This is not optimal at all and can be very detrimental to your goals and progression towards them. If you are performing a certain exercise to failure on your very first set how are you supposed to perform another set??
So why should you train a muscle to failure?
Lifting a heavy weight until you can no longer complete a full repetition for one, maybe two sets will generate a positive stimulus for gaining strength optimally and therefore producing the biggest muscle gain. Having a stronger muscle and lifting heavy weights will only lead to that muscle developing greater.
Performing 1-2 exercises for a muscle group to failure is adequate. Your muscles will only benefit from a certain amount of stimulation. Once they reach that point anything else is just wasted energy. There is no need to perform another 4-5 exercises (when training to failure). Some people will train a muscle to failure then proceed to train that same muscle with 3-4 other exercises, for the same muscle group. This is not optimal and will only result in you requiring longer to recover.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that performing a couple of exercises to failure will take less time than performing lots of exercises. This can be beneficial because of the extra time you have outside the gym. Muscles are not gained in the gym. The stimulus is placed upon them there, the time away from the gym spent eating and recovering is where muscles are made. More time recovering is a win in my book!
This may seem like an odd one. You’re forcing your body to lift heavy weights to absolute failure, how can it prevent injury? Well it may not prevent injury because performing any movement over and over will lead to the joints and tendons becoming worn but it certainly reduces the risk. Lets look at the two people. One who performs 1-2 exercises and that’s it, and then the other who performs an additional 4-5. The volume of the latter is obviously greater, meaning more repetitions, more wear and tear on the joints resulting in a higher risk of injury.
You need to be both focused and mentally tough when pushing yourself to muscular failure, it’s not pleasant nor is it easy. It brings discomfort and pain. However, when you expose your muscles to this kind of torture it can be beneficial. Working a certain muscle group to failure will stress that muscle group to its max. Therefore it will bring about optimal development and growth. All of this of course if used correctly!
Training a muscle to failure… The negatives!
For all the positives of using this method there are also negatives of doing so. It can lead to a negative impact on performance with later sets of an exercise and other exercises there after in a session. It can also limit the ability of you recovering between sessions, another direct opposite to using it correctly. This is because it can be extremely taxing on your body. Not just to the specific muscle or muscle group you are training, but the whole body. Your central nervous system takes a battering and can lead to all kinds of problems. The negative effects on the central nervous system are not due to training to failure, but rather, under recovering. The microtrauma caused by training leads to an inflammatory response. If the body is not given enough recovery time between workouts, chronic inflammation results, and cytokines involved in inflammation start to act on the central nervous system causing the various symptoms associated with overtraining (under recovering).
In addition, there’s also the issue of safety. Going to failure on an exercise like tricep pushdowns or leg extensions is fairly safe, but failing (especially without a spotter) during a set of squats, barbell bench presses, or something similar is not a fun place to be as I am sure you can imagine. This could result in some serious injuries.
When to optimise training to failure –
There are a number of ways to incorporate training a muscle or muscle group to failure into your workout.
I use training to failure on my hypertrophy specific workouts. I try to go to failure on my last set of a given exercise. Here’s a quick example, if you have performed 3 sets of 10 squats, attempt as many repetitions as you can safely perform on your 4th set, I always do this with a spotter present, as I mentioned above, doing so without one could lead to some serious issues. It’s also worth pointing out that I would not train another exercise to failure thereafter in the same workout. I would carry on with the other moves as normal or as my program dictates. I also usually like to keep the weight the same through out all my sets, even with my last one if I am going to failure. However you could lower the weight slightly if needed. For example:
If you performed 2 sets of 8 on the barbell bench press at 80KG, decrease the weight by 10KGs and go to failure from there on your last set.
Choose only ONE exercise per workout to apply this method. It is not necessary to use training to failure on multiple exercises. It won’t do you any good. So for a leg workout you could use this method on Squats (if a spotter is present), if not, I would use it on the final set of leg press or even leg curls/extensions. It’s much safer. Remember, Squats, Bench Presses even Military Presses should only be performed to failure if a spotter is there. If not, chose a different exercise and use that.
I frequently get asked the same question over and over again. What’s your body fat? or How much body fat do you have? I always reply with the same answer. I don’t know and more importantly, I don’t actually care. The fact of the matter is, I judge myself on how I look and feel. Each of us are different, we all carry body fat differently, my 7% body fat will look completely different to your 7% body fat. It really is just a number, just like the scale. ITS JUST A NUMBER.
Having said that, I would strongly recommend keeping track of both body fat and weight amongst other measurements. To answer the question, measurements ARE IMPORTANT. One measurement alone is not.
The reason is, data! Having all the data we can measure is a huge advantage when it comes to hitting goals. It allows us to track the TREND, the trend in our body fat or weight, the trend in our leg or arm measurements for example. This trend, over time, will allow you to accurately track your progress or lack of and help you make a better placed judgement when it comes to changing things. It’s another fantastic tool you should be using to ensure you’re on the right track.
So, stop obsessing over one measurement or one number alone and start looking at the bigger picture. There’s nothing wrong with being committed and dedicated to your goals but do it in a smart way.
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1) Drink more water
Our bodies are made up of around 60% so simply put the more hydrated you are the better you work! In terms of fat burning it’s our liver which metabolises fats for energy and like other bodily functions, if it’s dehydrated it isn’t working as efficiently as it could be!
But take caution and don’t drown yourself to meet your quota! Sip continuously throughout the day stopping an hour or 2 before bed so as not to disturb your sleep. If you are very active also consider electrolytes as it takes more than water to replenish the lost electrolytes in your body following exercise.
2) Eat more vegetables
Very calorie sparse, very filling, very good for you.. Simple! If you struggle to count calories, increasing your vegetable intake can drastically reduce your calorie input and better yet it will still keep you satiated to help reduce bouts of hunger.
But take caution and be selective of which vegetables you eat, whilst for a healthy diet you may be recommended a rainbow of vegetables, certain root vegetables such as parsnips, potatoes and swedes rank very highly on the glycemic index READ HERE. Instead stick to dark leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, Kale, spinach etc.
3) Up your protein
Protein has the highest thermogenic effects of all the macro nutrients READ HERE. Simply put, the higher the proportion of protein in your diet, the higher your calorie output.
But take caution and don’t overdo it. Your protein intake should be relative to your activity level, muscle mass and type, if any, of exercise. The more active the individual, the more muscular the physique, the more damaging the exercise the higher the protein requirements. Aim for between 1-3 grams per KG of body weight. Also you will only burn more calories if the proportion of protein is higher rather than the total amount. Adding extra protein to your diet won’t change your calorie in- calorie out balance, but replacing other macro nutrients with protein will!
Fully qualified Manchester based Personal Trainer with CYQ Level 2 Gym instructor and CYQ Level 3 Personal trainer qualifications
Original Post HERE
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I’ve been helping people with their exercise and nutrition for over 20 years now and one thing I always set a precedent on is helping them find ways of keeping their diet varied and nutritious with a wide range of healthy foods. Sticking to the basics is always something I like to stress and one key principle to any good diet is to find ways to meet your protein needs.
If you didn’t know already, protein is a crucial part of a number of key processes in the body. For example, it helps synthesize important hormones, including ones that make us happy and relaxed, it supports our immune system and boosts our metabolism which helps us lose fat and stay lean for life. And perhaps most importantly it helps to build and repair almost every tissue in our body.
Depending on your goals, the amount of protein a person needs to consume can vary from anything upward of 60 grams per day with some athletes needing well over 100 grams. For the everyday person this equates to roughly 15-20grams of protein per meal (based on 3-4 meals a day) which in food terms amounts to one average sized chicken breast.
The way our body works means its best to try and eat a portion of protein with every meal and sometimes as snacks throughout the day rather than in one big portion. There are plenty of good whole food options available to us in order to meet our daily needs (think lean meats, fish and eggs). However, for my clients that follow a plant based diet it can sometimes be a struggle to meet their daily requirements as their food options will have significantly less protein than that provided by lean meats and fish. This is where I like to suggest the use of a vegetable based protein powder like Naturya’s Hemp protein. This is a great product that can deliver as much as 20% of a person’s daily protein requirements per serving. In addition to this it’s also a great source of magnesium and iron which can help my clients feel more energized and mentally alert.
As I mentioned before, ideally I want all my clients to be eating protein with every meal but even for the meat eaters this can initially be a struggle and no meal time stands out more in this regard than breakfast. Helping my clients find ways to address this is often a focus for me as this is one of the most beneficial times of the day to have a solid serving of protein (protein consumption at breakfast will help to regulate appetite for the rest of the day).
In theory there’s no reason why a healthy breakfast should look any different from a healthy lunch or dinner where we build a meal around a protein source. In reality, however, many people struggle with this, both from a mindset viewpoint (eating certain foods in the morning can feel too alien) and from a time perspective (most people need something quick and easy). This often means they turn to breakfast choices which end up having very little protein content i.e. toast, cereal and porridge.
This is where a product like Naturya’s Hemp protein fits in perfectly (both for meat eaters and non-meat eaters) as it can be easily added to other ingredients to create a healthy, nutritious and protein providing breakfast smoothie or shake. Naturya’s Hemp is cold pressed and gently milled to provide a fine, protein dense powder with a natural earthy flavor and mixes really well when creating smoothies like the recipe I’ve provided below.
I also like to encourage my clients to experiment with recipes like this and inspire them to use other great products from Naturya’s range that will help to provide even more key nutrients to their diet. For example, by adding Naturya Organic Chia Seeds they can boost their intake of calcium and fibre or they might use Naturya’s Fairtrade and organic Cacao powder for a more indulgent flavor that is full of zinc, magnesium and copper.
Starting with, and building upon the basics will mean you have a great foundation to healthy way of life. Having a good source of protein with every meal is an essential part of this foundation so why not start today and make a nutritious protein providing shake for your breakfast.
Naturya Breakfast Protein Shake
1 x serving (15g) Naturya Hemp Protein Powder
1 x half of an avocado
2 x tablespoons of yogurt (Greek, Coconut or Plant)
1 x banana
1 x cup almond milk
2 x Medjool dates
1 x heaped teaspoon of almond butter
Sprinkle Natuyra Chia Seeds & Goji Berries on top & enjoy!
Original Article HERE
Yes, We are still one-month-or-so away from Christmas, but if you want to get yourself organised, read on!
Here are a few gift ideas for those who love keeping fit, staying healthy, or always looking for a new challenge!
- A new set of Dumbbells. Something they can use at home!
- A Personalised Training Program from Bodireel (Click Here)
- A stopwatch or tabata timer
- Gym gear (if you know their size!)
- Bluetooth Earphones for those who like running
Just a few ideas; Happy shopping!