Desk Jockey Fitness

desk jockey fitness, how to gain weight

desk jockey fitness, how to gain weight

I should have probably named this blog “Desk Jockey Fitness“, as I’ve started writing not only about how to gain weight, but also common problems that people sitting behind a desk all day (aka desk jockeys 🙂 ) encounter.

If you are a person who spends most of the day hunched over a desk somewhere, or someone who spends most of the day sitting and playing computer games or watching tv, then you have probably developed some severe muscle imbalances and other types of problems that come with this type of lifestyle. Seriously think about it. Do you have bad posture? Does your back or neck feel tight? Do you sometimes feel pain in the lower back or some other parts of the body? Do you have knee problems? I would venture to bet that you probably have experienced at least some of these problems, if not all.

It is very likely that these problems are a result of sitting all day. When you adopt this type of lifestyle, then you stop using certain muscles as you usually should, these then become weak and atrophy. This then has a bad effect on other muscles in the body as well.

Your entire posterior chain becomes weak and prone to injury. When talking about the posterior chain, we refer to the different muscles in the back, the glutes, as well as your hamstrings. With less use, these muscles become weak. On the other hand, the opposing muscles become tight.

Your body has sets of opposing muscles. They have opposite functions in the body and thereby allow your body to move the way it does. For example biceps and triceps allow your arms to move in different directions. When you extend your arm, it is the triceps that allow you to do this. If you want to do the opposing movement to this, flexion, it is the biceps that are working. The same principle applies to the other sets of opposing muscles in the body.

So in order for your body to function properly, these muscles need to be in balance with each other. With a sitting lifestyle, the posterior muscles become weak, causing severe imbalances in your body and thereby many problems such as lessened mobility, pain, and injury.

If you are a desk jockey, therefore you need to take great care to lessen and eliminate these imbalances. For example one thing that you can do is to incorporate more pull exercises than push. Pull exercises work your posterior chain muscles and therefore help strengthen them and eliminate imbalances. For example for every push exercise, such as the bench press, that you have in your routine, you should have two types of pull exercises.

Here are some exercises that should be in the workout routine of every desk jockey:
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How To Relieve A Stiff Neck For Desk Jockeys

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A common problem (among other problems) for most office workers, aka desk jockeys, is a stiff neck and shoulders. We often spend most of the day sitting in unnatural positions and that has a negative effect on our body. This causes all kinds of different pains in different parts of the body. The neck often ends up hurting a lot, which can even cause mobility problems in people. A lot of people also end up with a forward head posture, which makes them look weird.

Unfortunately most of us are stuck in our office jobs, so we cannot spend most of the day running around and doing other healthy activities, but there are certain things that you can do in order to relieve the pain and also make your neck and shoulders be a bit stronger and more elastic.

In order to illustrate the different stretches you can do, I found some videos on Youtube. Below is a short routine that you can do at your desk several times during the day:
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You Are Imbalanced: Do Something About It

stretching to fix imbalances

stretching to fix imbalances
Think back on your day today. Did you have pain somewhere in your body? Now think about your day to day life. Are there some normal things that you have trouble doing? If you are like most people, then the answers to both questions are probably: “Yes”.

The reason is that you are imbalanced. 🙂 Now before you challenge me to a fight, I don’t mean mentally imbalanced, but instead physically imbalanced. This means some muscles are weaker and some parts of your body are out of whack. This then causes pain and gives people a lot of trouble in their day to day lives.

The reason you have these imbalances is because of things like leading a sedentary lifestyle, being hunched over the computer all the time, or playing sports that heavily recruit certain muscles over others, for example like baseball.

The good news is that you can fix most of these imbalances or at least improve them. When you spend your entire day sitting, your chest muscles become tight, your back muscles and your hamstrings become weak and the different stabilizer muscles that you have in your body don’t fire up properly. This often leads to a bad posture, things like kyphosis, lordosis and the forward head syndrome. Sometimes this is coupled with things like scoliosis and the problem becomes even worse when you are hypermobile and have loose joints. Some of these problems are due to genetics, but oftentimes they are due to a bad lifestyle.

Many of us have also played a lot of sports before and this also has had a negative effect. Sports is generally good for you, however without proper training, sports can lead to injuries and muscle imbalances. For example a pitcher in baseball heavily uses one of his arms, his pitching arm, which can cause long-term problems in his rotator cuffs and shoulders and also cause different types of muscle imbalances, for example with one arm becoming a lot stronger than the other. This then leads to a lot of pain later on and various other problems.

The good news is that most of these things can be fixed or at least improved. This can be done through various types of asymmetric training, stretching, but above all a change to your lifestyle.
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Keep It Simple 2

how to gain weight, keep it simple, bulk up, gain muscle, fast, bulk up, healthy

how to gain weight, keep it simple, bulk up, gain muscle, fast, bulk up, healthy
Here is the second installment of Keep It Simple. In this post, I will be giving short summaries of some of the articles I had posted previously, together with the key lessons from each article.

Nutrition:

There is a lot of controversy in the field of nutrition on what type of a diet you should have and what you should eat. Recently there has been a rise in many types of fad diets promoted by different gurus. You do not need to follow any of these diets to be healthy, but should be mindful of what you eat. There are a few basic principles to keep in mind when choosing what to eat. The keyword behind all these principles is balance.

I did 3 articles on the three main macronutrient types that you need to eat and several other articles looking into related topics. These articles summarize all the basic things that you should know about your diet and can help you in forming your own eating strategy. This strategy will depend heavily on what your goals are.

What are carbohydrates?
For most people, carbohydrates form the largest part of their diet. Their primary role is to deliver energy to the body. This energy is delivered primarily in the form of glucose, which is the basic fuel for the human body. It can come in its simple form, delivered as a simple sugar and thereby getting released into the bloodstream really quickly, or it can come in its more complex form, for example as a starch (chains of glucose branched together). This glucose is either used up by the body to fuel its functioning or it is stored as glycogen. Glycogen storage is rather limited however, and so excess glucose often gets stored as fat. Carbohydrates have recently become a bogeyman, and have replaced fats as supposedly the main culprit behind the obesity epidemic in the Western world. This has given rise to a number of low-carb diets such as Paleo or Atkins. However, these types of diets have often been criticized by different people, stating that they are based on bad premises and carbohydrates are not the bogeyman that it is often portrayed as.

Key Lessons: Carbohydrates are an essential part of the diet and should be eaten. The amount of carbohydrates and when they should be eaten depends on what your goals are (lose weight, gain weight) and your activity levels (for example long exercise and long-distance running). So if you are trying to gain weight, having a large number of carbohydrates in your diet may help you. Good sources of carbohydrates for someone trying to gain weight are brown rice and sweet potatoes. On the other hand, for someone trying to lose weight, you might try to cut down on the amount of carbohydrates. The strategy once again is different for active people. Carbohydrates are basically the fuel for the body and so for active people who do long and demanding exercise or activities (such as long distance running), they might need to also take in more carbohydrates, before, during and after exercise.

What is protein?
Proteins serve as the building blocks for your body. The amino acids that they contain are recomposed and then incorporated in many bodily structures, for example muscles are made of protein. That’s why if you want to build muscle, you need to ingest protein. Some of the amino acids that make up different types of proteins are called essential amino acids. This means that your body can’t manufacture them and needs to ingest them from the outside through food.

Key Lessons: As proteins are the building blocks of muscles, your diet needs to have a significant amount of protein in it, in order to be able to make muscles grow. You especially need to make sure to provide your body with the essential amino acids, because it can’t manufacture them by itself.

The different types of protein supplements
While the majority of the proteins you ingest should come in the form of normal foods, there are some supplements that can be used to supplement your protein intake. This is to make sure that you have enough protein in order to build muscle, especially after a workout. There are different types of protein supplements, for example egg protein or soy protein, however the most important protein supplements come from cow’s milk. The two main types are whey protein and casein protein. These are sold in powder form and can be mixed with milk or water to create a liquid which you can drink. Whey protein is absorbed by the body fast, while casein protein is absorbed slowly.

Key Lessons: Since whey protein is a fast absorbing protein, you should take it straight after working out. That way you supply your body with building blocks needed to build muscles. Casein protein is a slow absorbing protein and the best time to take it is before going to bed. That way it can release those amino acids during the night and help you grow bigger.

What is fat?
Fats are the third major macronutrient needed by your body. It is a much maligned nutrient, however it plays very vital roles in many bodily functions. Fats are very important, especially because of the fact that they contain some essential fatty acids, which your body cannot produce and which need to be obtained from the outside. Some very well-known fatty acids are omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Fats can be divided into saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Traditionally saturated fat has been considered an unhealthy fat, while unsaturated fat is considered healthy, but recently more and more people are stating that saturated fat should be an important part of your diet. There are some fats that are considered very unhealthy and those are trans-fats.

Key Lessons: Fats are an important part of any diet. They are especially important if you want to gain weight. They should compose around 20-30% of your diet. However don’t gobble down any type of fat. Try to eat “healthy” fats from natural sources such as fish oil or avocados. These are sources of essential fats and have positive benefits for your body and health.

The omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids imbalance in our diets
Omega-6 and omega-3 are a types of fatty acids, the building blocks of fats. They are both very important for our bodies and are considered essential. However due to the rise of the modern diet, there is a huge imbalance between the amount of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. Sometimes the ratio is 10:1 or even 20:1 in favor of omega-6. This can have a lot of negative effects on our bodies. There is a bit of a controversy on how important this ratio is, with some arguing that it is very important and needs to be addressed, while others don’t give the ratio much importance. What everyone does agree on is the fact that omega-3 fatty acids are very important and need to be eaten. The main sources are seafood, fish and marine algae. You can also supplement it by taking fish oil supplements.

Key Lessons: You need to make sure to include a lot of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet in order to be more healthy. You should also cut down on eating too many processed foods.
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Less Pain, More Squat: Exercises To Help Improve Your Squat

Many people have problems doing the squat because of different types of pains, and also because of different mobility and flexibility issues. This is usually because of deep structural problems and imbalances in the body due to our sitting lifestyle. This often also causes us a lot of pain as well, for example back pain and can limit our mobility.

Two very common problems among people who sit on their ass all day are tight hip flexors and tight hamstrings. Here are some exercises to help you get rid of those:

Here are some good stretches to get rid of those tight hip flexors:

Foam rolling is also a great exercise to help stretch the different areas of the body that are tight, for example the hamstrings:

If you do these at least 3 times a week, then you should feel some relief very soon. This will also help you with your squat form and allow you to lift heavier weights.

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Keep It Simple 1

how to gain weight, keep it simple, bulk up, gain muscle, fast, bulk up, healthy

how to gain weight, keep it simple, bulk up, gain muscle, fast, bulk up, healthy
I like to write long articles on different subjects, trying to pack them with information and to go really deep into the issues. However I do realize that not everyone wants to read those long articles. Instead many people just want to get the key takeaways from each article and how they can apply them to their own lives. So that’s why I am introducing a new series: Keep It Simple. Here I will try to post short summaries of what I have written up to that point and what is important to get out of that.

Fitness:
The world of fitness is full of misconceptions and contradictions. It can get pretty confusing for a newbie, but even for more advanced lifters. There is so much contradicting information out there, that a person has a hard time making sense of it and applying it to their own routine.

One Size Does Not Fit All: What Fitness Advice To Follow
That’s why it is very important to look at all the advice that is given and try to determine how it applies to you. Each one of us is different and that’s why what works for one person might not always work for another person. However fitness advice is often given out as the “truth”. However if you look at some of the supposed truths more deeply, you can see that they are more akin to opinion than some scientific fact.

Key Lesson: Do not blindly follow any routine you find, but instead try to determine whether it will bring you closer to the goals you want to accomplish and fits your body and mindset.

Compound Exercises To Do If You Want To Gain Weight And Muscle
Compound exercises are a key to any bulking routine. If you want to gain weight and muscle, then your routine needs to be based around these types of exercises. Isolation exercises are not as efficient at recruiting all the different muscles that you have and stimulating your entire body to grow. Instead compound exercises recruit several muscles at once and are a more efficient way of growing your body. Some examples of compound exercises are squats and good mornings.

Key Lesson: In order to grow, you need to focus on exercises that recruit several muscles at once: compound exercises. However you need to pay a close attention to form, as improper form can lead to injuries.

Confused About Muscle Confusion?
The differences in viewpoints can be illustrated by looking at the concept of muscle confusion. This concept rubs a lot of fitness gurus the wrong way. They state that there is no such thing as muscle confusion and the only thing that matters is muscle overload, that is constantly lifting heavier weights. However on the other hand, there are some fitness gurus that have made muscle confusion the key part in their routines. There is nothing that proves or disproves this concept and so the discussions on whether it works are just shouting matches. Some people say that it works for them, while others state that they don’t want anything to do with the concept.

Key Lesson: Muscle confusion can work you, however it should be applied in the right context. A lot of people just go around the gym doing some random exercises without having any plan. So at the end they see very little progress. If you want to make progress with a routine based on muscle confusion, you need to be systematic about it. Muscle confusion also works better in certain contexts and goals. For example if you want to lose weight, then a routine based on muscle confusion is a good way to go. However for gaining weight, I would stick to a strict routine based around heavy compound exercises and progressive overload (lifting heavier and heavier weights).

Should You Lift Fast Or Slow?
Another controversial topic is the tempo or speed of a rep when lifting. Some people argue that you should lift slow, while others argue that you should do it fast. There are various arguments pro and con for each. However it seems that most people that argue for lifting fast have strength as their goal, while many of those arguing for lifting slow have size as their goal. However there is no consensus on what type of effects the speed of a rep has on your body.

Key Lesson: The speed of lifting is not a very important parameter. Try to experiment with different speeds and see what fits you best. For beginner lifters I would advise to start lifting slow, to learn proper form and keep the weights under control.

WTF Is Hypertrophy And Should You Care?
There are different types of hypertrophy and the one you are going for will determine the type of a routine and how many reps per set you should do. The two main types of hypertrophy are: sarcoplasmic and myofibrilar. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is more about the increase in size of the muscles, while myofibrilar hypertrophy is more about the increase in strength.

Key Lesson: If you want to go for strength you should do sets with reps in the 1-5 range, while if you want to go for size, you should do reps in the 6-12 range.
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Should You Lift Fast Or Slow?

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You are lifting and one bro comes in and states: “Yo bro, you lifting too fast. You gotta go slower to increase time under tension!” The next day another bro comes in: ” Yo bro, you doing it all wrong. You gotta explode up fast in order increase explosive power!” This leaves you confused and you just go home shaking your head: “WTF?”

One of the basic questions that people lifting weights ask themselves is: How fast should I lift? In order to be able to answer that question, we have to look at some basic terminology and analyze the different stages of a repetition (rep) first. Then we will go into the different arguments whether rep speed matters and if so, how fast should you perform a lift.

There are two words that are important for this discussion:

  •  Rep tempo: how fast you lift
  •  Time under tension: how long each set of reps lasts.

The individual rep can be broken down into four parts:

  1. The starting position: this is the position where you have the weights when you are starting the rep. For example in a dumbbell bench press, this would be when you have the upper part of your arms parallel to the floor, the elbows are bent at 90 degrees and pointing up.
  2. The ending position: this is the position where you finish the rep. For example in a dumbbell bench press, this would be when your arms are extended straight up in the air and you have finished the movement.
  3. The concentric (positive) portion of the rep: this is the lifting part of the rep and you are moving the weights from the starting position to the ending position and experiencing resistance. In a dumbbell bench press, this is when you are moving the weights up.
  4. The eccentric (negative) portion of the rep: this is the lowering part of the rep and you are moving the weights from the ending position back to the starting position. In a dumbbell bench press, this is when you are lowering the weights.

The speed of reps is often measured by giving 3 numbers, for example 2-1-2, meaning speed on the concentric phase, time of pause up top, speed of eccentric phase.

There are some people who argue that you should lift slow, while others argue that you should lift fast. Even scientific studies are divided on this issue, with some showing results that support the slow camp, while other results support the fast camp. Some studies even came up with mixed results. For example a study on the velocity of weight training for kayak spring performance, had one group perform lifts at a slow speed, while another group was performing lifts at a fast speed.

The conclusions were: “Slow weight training is likely to be more effective than explosive training for improving the acceleration phase of sprinting, when force is high throughout the length of the stroke. Explosive weight training may be more effective in speed maintenance, when forces are developed rapidly over a short period at the start of the stroke.” So basically, both methods were good, they just differed on which portion of the race they were more beneficial for.
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One Size Does Not Fit All: What Fitness Advice To Follow

workout routine advice

A lot of people who are new to the gym and haven’t lifted before, often follow routines which are not right for them. Many of them end up seeing very little progress and then quit. What they often do is flip through a glossy bodybuilding magazine and find a routine that is being followed by some buff bodybuilder. This routine is usually made up of a hundred different exercises for each muscle and the different muscles are trained in isolation. Yes, the routine works for that particular bodybuilder, but that doesn’t mean that it will work for you.

Each person is different and what works for one person might not work for another one. Before starting any type of routine, think hard about where you are now and where you want to be. If you are a skinny beginner and your goal is to gain weight and bulk up, then you should not be doing the routine of some huge bulky bodybuilder who has been working out for the past 15 years (and might or might not be on steroids). Instead you have to start slow and build up progressively.

Another mistake that some beginners make is that they try to start off lifting too heavy. What ends up happening is that they use poor form, the weight might fall off and they might even injure themselves. Good form is everything! There is no shame in starting off with a low weight, learning good form and then progressively increasing the weight as you get bigger and stronger.

Split routines where each muscle is trained separately are also not the right type of routines for the skinny beginners. Instead, a skinny beginner who wants to bulk up and gain weight should follow a full body (or at least a lower body, upper body split) routine which is composed of heavy compound exercises. The key is to periodically increase the weight you are lifting. That makes you bigger and stronger. You should also use free weights. All this is of course not saying that split routines and machines are bad. They all have their place. As you get more advanced you can change up your routine and maybe do split routines and incorporate machines. See what works for you.
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Confused About Muscle Confusion?

how to gain weight, confused
There are a lot of terms being thrown around in the world of fitness and weightlifting. One of the buzzwords you might have heard being discussed lately is “muscle confusion“. Some people swear by it and others make fun of the term, saying that muscles don’t have a brain, so how can they be confused? With all these different opposing viewpoints being thrown around, no wonder that novice (and even many more advanced) lifters get confused about what advice to actually follow. You are probably going “WTF?” right now. 🙂
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