They say rules are meant to be broken. Case in point is this fitness rule people say you should never break: Don’t train to failure. Avoid it at all costs. It will wear out your muscles, exhaust your nervous system, make you sore and wreck your recovery for your next workout.
If you’re a novice or ignoring that rule and training to failure all the time, yes, this is true — you’ll slow your progress, create plateaus and ingrain bad technique. But if you’ve been training for awhile, you actually need even more stimulus than before to shock your body into muscle growth. That’s where strategically training to failure can give you awesome benefits. (The key word is “strategically.”)
With a method called AMAP — which stands for “as many as possible” — you have the invitation to push yourself to the max so you can shatter physical or mental barriers. Researchers even found training to failure boosts your HGH and testosterone (for more muscle growth) and activates motor units more than regular methods.
READ MORE > 10 ESSENTIAL BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES
By stressing your body with a ton of volume and intensity, it responds by shifting into “recovery mode” for repair and growth.
Here are six ways to use AMAP correctly:
1. FOCUS ON GREAT TECHNIQUE
When you aim to fatigue your body with a lot of reps, it’s critical you use excellent form at all times. That way, you train yourself to maintain great movement patterns that don’t break down under stress, which can help you on the field, ice, court, etc.
2. USE SIMPLE EXERCISES
Use AMAP on less complex moves like squats, pushups and rows — not on complicated and technical lifts like Olympic snatches.
3. USE AMAP FOR 3–4 WEEKS AT MOST
AMAP is a serious training method: It fatigues you physically and mentally. Overdo it, and you’ll push your body into overtraining — and risk injury. Use AMAP for a restricted, planned period of time (3–4 weeks, tops) followed by a “deload” week with less intensity and volume.
4. DO AMAP ON YOUR LAST SET, NOT EVERY SET
For example, if you have 3 sets of 10 reps of rows, then do 2 sets of 10 reps normally, and replace your final set with AMAP. If you use AMAP on every set, you’ll burn out too soon and do fewer total reps.
5. KEEP ADJUSTING
AMAP lets you know where you stand. Let’s say, for example, you squat 100 pounds for 8 reps. With AMAP, you’ll probably crank out 10–12, but if you manage to do 18 reps, your weight of 100 pounds was too low to begin with.
6. USE IT FOR “GAINS,” NOT “CUTS”
If you’re using AMAP for a month, you’ll need to eat more than usual. To maximize your results, give your muscles what they need for repair and growth: Drink a protein shake after your workout and eat plenty of whole foods with every meal.
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT WORKOUT
If You Want to Bust a Plateau, Embrace Failure was originally posted at <a href="https://blog.underarmour.com/want-bust-plateau-embrace-failure/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://blog.underarmour.com/want-bust-plateau-embrace-failure/</a> by Anthony J. Yueng
5 Eating Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Workout
As the saying goes: Abs are made in the kitchen. Of course, time in the gym helps, too. “I think nutrition for optimal performance and recovery has gained recent attention because some high-profile athletes have been public about their nutrition strategies. But the science behind this has been around for years,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, a board-certified sports dietitian who has been a consultant to five professional teams and counsels professional athletes in her private practice.
Chef Lindsey Becker founded Tone House FUEL, a clean-eating program designed to help maximize recovery and boost results for people who work out at Tone House, an athletic-based group fitness studio in New York City. “A balanced, healthy diet with the right key nutrients can help your body become more efficient and enhance your athletic performance [in and out of the gym],” she says. “Consuming the necessary nutrients before and after exerting your body can help replenish energy stores, build muscle, decrease soreness, burn fat and repair damage or inflammation.”
Below Becker shares her tips for eating to get the most out of your workouts, with additional expert insights from Sass. Use their advice to ensure what you’re eating is supporting your exercise.
We often focus on calories, but nutrients also matter, Sass says. “Certain nutrients help your brain and muscles perform more efficiently, and others are crucial for recovering from the wear and tear exercise puts on your body,” she explains. The best macronutrients pre- and post-workout depend on the type of workout you’re doing, as well as the length and intensity.
“Eating the right foods will prevent you from crashing, boost your performance and help your muscles recover and grow stronger,” Becker says. “On the other hand, choosing the wrong foods could cause cramping, nausea, lack of energy and improper muscle recovery.”
Becker recommends beets, sweet potatoes, oats, spinach and eggs for their varied benefits. “Beets increase blood flow to working muscles, which can improve your workout and boost stamina, and are rich in antioxidants, which help fight the oxidative stress that can come with intense workouts,” she says.
She likes sweet potatoes for carbs, antioxidants and potassium; oats for steady energy and B vitamins, which help convert carbohydrates into energy; and spinach because a study found that it may help muscles use less oxygen, which improves muscle performance. And of course the incredible edible egg is a source of easily digestible protein to help rebuild muscles.
Aim to eat something that’s high in carbs, moderate in protein and low in fat, sugar and fiber 2–4 hours before a workout. Some macros aren’t ideal before the gym. “Eating too much protein or fat close to the start of a workout can lead to cramps or a brick sitting in your stomach because protein and fat take longer to digest,” Sass says. “Also, the goal of a pre-workout snack is to fuel the workout. If the food is trapped in the digestive system, it’s not available to working muscles when they need it.”
That’s why carbs are great — they’re generally easy to digest and provide readily available, easily burned fuel. Becker recommends oatmeal with a sprinkling of hemp seeds (for protein) and sliced banana or a smoothie.
Sass recommends eating 30–60 minutes after a particularly tough workout. However, although improper recovery can make you go into your next workout weaker and increase the risk of injury, you only need to refuel within an hour after hard-core workouts. This isn’t so crucial after a walk or moderate-intensity group fitness class, particularly if you’ll be eating a meal soon after, Sass says.
“Consuming the necessary nutrients after exerting your body can help replenish energy stores, build muscle, decrease soreness, burn fat and repair any damage or inflammation,” Becker says.
Good advice for anyone, this is even more important for active people because “nutrients are key to performance and recovery, and unprocessed foods are naturally nutrient-rich,” Sass says.
Becker and Sass agree that refined sugars have zero nutritional benefit and fried and greasy foods can be difficult to digest and cause cramping during a workout. So skip that leftover pizza before your morning indoor cycling class.
Great as they are, you shouldn’t only consume these five foods. “Eat them strategically,” Sass recommends. For example, fuel up with oatmeal, sweet potato, beets or green juices pre-workout, and enjoy eggs with veggies and avocado after a morning workout.
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT WORKOUT
5 Eating Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Workout was originally posted at <a href="https://blog.underarmour.com/5-eating-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-workout/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://blog.underarmour.com/5-eating-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-workout/</a> by Brittany Risher
What Your Workout Playlist Says About You
Your workout playlist is so much more than a collection of high-BPM songs. It’s a much-needed source of focus. It’s extra motivation when you need it. And, of course, it’s a window into your soul.
OK, maybe not your soul. But if you gave us a look at it, we could tell you a few things about yourself. Specifically, these things:
Your playlist: Demi Lovato’s “Confident.” Katy Perry’s “Roar.”
What it says about you: You are a) A strong-as-hell female; b) A man who is extremely comfortable with his masculinity; c) Somewhere in-between. Whatever the case, you have our fullest support.
Your playlist: Enough EDM to power several Electric Daisy Carnivals.
What it says about you: You’re getting in shape for an important networking event, by which we mean Burning Man.
Your playlist: Jay-Z. Eminem. Biggie.
What it says about you: You are a hip-hop aficionado of a certain age, and you are more than capable of outworking hip-hop aficionados of a younger age.
Your playlist: “Thunderstruck.” “Start Me Up.” “Immigrant Song.”
What it says about you: Your fitness icon is Mick Jagger. Dude’s 74 years old. How the hell does he still look like that — and still move like that?
Your playlist: James Brown. Curtis Mayfield. Earth, Wind & Fire.
What it says about you: You like your workouts a little funky. A little soulful. And you’re getting fit because it helps you have the energy to do great things. (Including dominating a wedding-night dance floor.)
Your playlist: Shakira. Pitbull. J-Lo.
What it says about you: Your moves in the gym are only bested by your moves in the club.
Your playlist: The Clash. The Ramones. Blondie.
What it says about you: You’re working hard to make sure you can still fit into your vintage band T-shirts. Also, you want to stay strong for the #resistance.
Your playlist: The “Rocky” soundtrack.
What it says about you: You are unafraid of cliches, which is why you’re throwing punches in a meat locker.
Your playlist: Brooks & Dunn. Brad Paisley. Sara Evans.
What it says about you: You were born country, so while you might enjoy spending your evenings on a front porch with good bourbon and a sleeping dog, you also enjoy feeling like you’ve earned said pleasures.
Your playlist: Classical music. Or jazz. Or showtunes.
What it says about you: … We honestly don’t know. But we’re curious to learn more.
Your playlist: “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Family Trip.”
What it says about you: You have kids and you accidentally put on one of their playlists instead of yours. Because you have kids, and this is the kind of thing hurried parents do. Hey, at least it’s uplifting! If you need to go potty, stop! And go right away…
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT WORKOUT
What Your Workout Playlist Says About You was originally posted at <a href="https://blog.underarmour.com/workout-playlist-says/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://blog.underarmour.com/workout-playlist-says/</a> by Paul L. Underwood