Why Carbohydrates are Important As an Athlete

Nutrition is one of the most important components of training for performance. The largely held belief that sugar and carbohydrates are bad for athletes has been debunked!

Many studies show that carbohydrates are one of the best ways for an athlete to replenish glycogen stores in the muscles.If an athlete doesn’t have enough glycogen stored in the muscle, power output is directly affected. Without enough glycogen, the muscle becomes fatigued.

So how do you ensure you’ve got enough glycogen stored up in your cells for optimal energy output? Eat carbohydrates and at the right times.

When carbohydrates are consumed in healthy individuals, insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels, is released in order to get glucose out of the blood and into the cells. Once this process takes place, glucose is stored as glycogen. That tired feeling after you workout is a signal to your body that blood sugar levels have dipped. This is a perfect time to utilize post workout fuel.

You can replenish your glycogen stores by consuming more carbohydrates after you workout, causing your body to release insulin and bring your blood sugar levels back down. This will simultaneously trigger glucose to be stored as glycogen in the cells. Since the cells that are fatigued and depleted are your muscle cells, storage will happen in your muscles instead of your liver. As an added bonus to hypertrophy, the next time you go to use your muscles they’ll be contracting at full energy capacity.

In certain circumstances, for example if an athlete has diabetes, consuming these types of carbohydrates won’t have the desired effect. If an athlete is not insulin sensitive or has diabetes, spikes in blood sugar levels will stay elevated after eating carbohydrates. This can result in elevated LDL or bad cholesterol and high blood pressure. A diabetic body simply can’t handle the sugars and isn’t releasing insulin in order to store it into the cells. There is a solution to the exception. As a diabetic, you would work directly with a medical professional and be prescribed insulin since the body is not producing it on its own.

You may be wondering how you can increase your insulin sensitivity to optimize your response to elevated blood sugar levels and maximize your muscle growth and global energy. There are a few key factors to consider around your workout that will help.

It’s important to tend to your overall health. The more stressed your body, the harder normal daily functions and internal reactions will be. We are aiming for optimal here. Make sure you’re doing the following to keep your blood sugar levels in check:

  1. Sleep
    We all know how important sleep is. It can impact every function in the body, especially the release of insulin. Aim for 8 hours a night of good quality sleep. Try sleeping with a sleep mask to eliminate any extra light in the room or a hot tea before bed to wind down.
  2. Exercise
    This is one of the most important components for staving off disease. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day. Studies have shown that this is an excellent way to decrease your risk of developing insulin resistance and diabetes along with a plethora of other diseases!
  3. Eat a Balanced and Healthy Diet
    Aim for a variety of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Eat healthy fats, like omega-3 found in fish and seeds, avocados, and nuts. Avoid saturated fats when possible and drink plenty of water.

The big takeaway here is that carbohydrates are friends and food! Get in touch with someone who can help you navigate the waters of carbohydrate timing around workouts if you’re looking to improve your power output and physique.

5 Bodyweight Exercises that will make you better at everything

No doubt that in the past few months your workout routine has changed. Depending on the space available in your home and what equipment you have access to that change may have been drastic. If you really enjoy lifting heavy and make that the focus of your training then you may be getting frustrated. 

“Do What You Can, With What You Have, Where You Are.”
-Teddy Roosevelt

Right now you have an awesome opportunity to deload your body, rehab nagging injuries, and bulletproof your body to come back to training ready to rock. There is a lot you can do at home right now that will strengthen your joints, build up core strength, and address imbalances and weaknesses that may have been holding you back.

So check out the top 5 Bodyweight Exercises that will make you better at everything and show up to the gym ready to crush it!

  • Candlestick
  • Hollow Body Wall Walk Ups
  • Pullups
  • Pistol Squats
  • Glute Bridges

1.Candlestick

Roll out the yoga mat or head out into the backyard. The candlestick is a fun exercise that has tremendous benefits. If you are about functional training this is perhaps the best demonstration of real world functional movement. In fact, the ability to move one’s own body from the ground to standing is a great indicator of fitness (burpees anyone?!). You will also learn coordination, balance, and build your core strength as you strive to maintain a hollow body position. Try filming yourself as you do these to refine your positions and maintain a global shape from head to toe.

Check out a great video on the candlestick here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXoNNx-uOtU

2. Hollow Body Wall Walk Ups

Walk walks for short. Think of these as planks taken to a whole new level. The key here is to maintain your position and not let your low back arch. If you are nervous to go all the way upside down or have trouble getting your nose all the way to the wall don’t worry. Just go as far as you safely and comfortably can – there are still so many benefits to doing this exercise!

Focus on moving slowly as you work on these and challenge yourself to spend more time under tension rather than completing the wall walk up as quickly as possible. Play around with different variations and mix in elements like shifting your weight from one hand to the other – this will have tremendous carryover to skills like handstand walking!

Pro Tip* Do not perform these on the bathroom door while someone else is in there! 😉

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmbZyKmJwbo

3. Pull Ups

Pull Ups can’t be beat when it comes to upper body strength training. Build up your lat’s, arms, and core strength by adding these in daily. Pull Ups respond well to training frequency so try to do more small sets throughout the day to build up your neuromuscular efficiency. Try doing sets that are 50% of your max number of pullups to ensure you are always able to rep them out (if 8 pullups is your max always do sets of 4 with plenty of rest in between). If doing your first pullup is the goal then focus on doing just the lowering phase of the movement. Step up so your chin starts over the bar and control your lowering at a steady rate of speed so that it takes at 4-5 seconds to get your arms fully extended at the bottom of the movement.

Most of us have picked up a basic pullup bar that can hang from a door frame but even if you missed the boat or don’t have the space we have you covered. Check out this video for pullup variations that don’t require a bar! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=299&v=vGAK2-_kn1U&feature=emb_logo

4. Pistol Squats

Pistol squats are a great way to maintain leg strength without any external load. They also improve your squat mechanics and mobility if you are disciplined with your form and really focus on movement quality. Make sure you are mobilizing your ankles and properly warming up before diving into pistol squats. 

Below is a great progression you can use to warm up and train this beneficial movement!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WFpjKRP_HI

5. Glute Bridge

The movement we all know and love and probably don’t do often enough. If you are working from home right now (or spending more time on the couch than usual) then set an alarm on your phone to drop and perform some glute bridges every hour. Your low back will thank you and so will your Levi’s!

There are a ton of variations of the glute bridge that you can train. Performing these as often as possible with your bodyweight will pay huge dividends. It can help alleviate back and sciatic pain and will also improve your squat and deadlift. Checking out this video is a great place to start.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl6xvm4-Qk0

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”
-Vince Lombardi

Fitness is a mindset. Not an activity that you go to the gym to perform for an hour 4-5 times a week. Our gym and community is here to facilitate your fitness journey. Let us know if you need guidance, motivation, or just someone to sweat with (virtually of course)!

Finding YOUR Workout of the Day

Most basketball players always end their practice by making a shot. Some great players will even commit to making 10 shots in a row before hitting the showers. This helps them develop a winning mindset and lets them leave on a good note.

Oftentimes when it comes to fitness however we take the opposite approach. We either grind ourselves into a fine powder. Doing more and more until we leave exhausted. Or on the other end of the spectrum…leave feeling like we didn’t accomplish that much and had more in the tank.

Finding the right balance of volume and intensity is an ongoing battle. Sleep, nutrition, and a whole host of other factors affecting recovery must be taken into consideration. A workout that crushes you on one day may feel like a walk in the park on another. Many folks are now utilizing devices like Whoop or an Oura Ring to track their “daily readiness” for training. Any information and tangible data is great feedback from your body but then you have to know how to use it. Your best option is always going to be working with a coach who has experience training athletes with a similar training age and goals as you have. They might even know better than you what your body is capable of. They will also know the right scales and adjustments to make on the fly to make sure you are getting the most out of your training.

“At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.”
― Lao Tzu

So how do you leave the gym with confidence in your performance? Make sure that every action you take aligns with your goals. If you know you’ll feel better by cranking up the intensity then end your session with a quick sprint on the air bike or rower. Choose modalities that won’t beat up your body or take away from the next day’s training session. If the workout is kicking your butt and you will feel guilty if you don’t finish it then see what scales or adjustments you can make that will make you better without crushing you. Back off the weight to focus on a slow controlled tempo with perfect form.

If you need help getting the most out of your training try connecting with one of our coaches to see what recommendations they have!

Why now is the best time to start a new fitness routine

Not long ago the thought of a worldwide quarantine would have seemed laughable.

No travel, dining out, or social interaction…it’s an interesting thought, but that will NEVER happen. There’s just no way.

And then it did.

And maybe you responded well. You took advantage of the free time. You took on home projects you’ve been talking about doing forever. Maybe you actually started to read more books, learned to cook, or actually called your relatives.

Or maybe you struggled. Isolation got the best of you. You fell off the wagon. Working from home became the bulk of your day. Maybe your health and fitness took a hit.

The question is…what are you going to do about it?

You have a tremendous opportunity in front of you. The world is opening back up and you have a chance to become the person you want to be. You know, the cool stylish YOU that always knows what to say, has it all together, and looks dayyumn good naked.

“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” -Seth Godin

This is an opportunity, because the world is different than the one that was locked up months ago. Whether you were successful or struggling before COVID hit the globe doesn’t really matter. A lot of successful people fell off their high horse. A lot of new companies have grown and thrived. There are new opportunities emerging everyday. They might not look like the plans you had before this began. Your New Year’s resolutions or goals from January may have to be tossed out the window.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” -Lao Tzu

This may be the single best chance to reinvent yourself that shows up in your lifetime. It’s time to start doing all the things you have been dreaming about doing.

Now you have the chance to step into the life you’ve always wanted. If any part of you values your health and wants to feel energy and confidence then a weekly training regimen and successful strategy for eating, sleeping, and managing stress are essential.

You might have some ideas of what to do. Maybe you have tried diets in the past or dropped into exercise classes that you enjoyed or had a routine that you stuck with for a few months. The point is if you are not doing it right now then it’s time to look in the mirror.

Address what you see and decide if you’re happy with what you see?

Compassion and self-love is important. So is self-care and wanting better for yourself. It’s okay to not be happy where you are at. You have an opportunity in front of you to change. To grow. To become a version of yourself that you love and is the best person to provide for your family, help your friends, and be a leader in your career.

You know what you should do. Now put the building blocks of success in place. Commit to the outcomes you want. Create an environment that facilitates you achieving your goals.

“On one level, wisdom is nothing more profound than an ability to follow one’s own advice.” – Sam Harris

Will it be easy? Nope. The struggle is guaranteed, but the success is not. But if you are willing to keep showing up. To put in the work. To go through the motions even when you don’t want to. Then you might not even recognize the person you become by the end of this extraordinary year.

“Success isn’t owned. It’s leased, and rent is due every day.” – J. J. Watt

If you have questions about how to begin a life changing routine then we want to know. Our team is here to help and answer the questions you have about fitness, nutrition, and what steps to take to become strong and healthy.

Trust the Prescription

You know that little 5 minute speech that the coach gives at the beginning of class? When they talk about the workout and how it should feel. That’s a pretty important part of planning out your workout for the day and will help you select the weights you use, reps you shoot for, and how to pace yourself in conditioning pieces. If you’ve ever felt a bit lost during this portion of class then this article is for you!

Let’s dive into how to approach some different types of workouts to better understand how the stimulus of each workout should feel so you scale appropriately for you. Of course, our coaches are always available to answer your questions!

One of the simplest ways to look at each workout is based on the energy system involved.

The 3 main energy systems in our body are:

  • Phosphocreatine System
  • Glycolytic System
  • Aerobic System

The differences between these systems are based on the source of energy or “fuel” for the activity. These systems are always functioning in our bodies at all times, but depending on the type of activity we’re doing one energy system may be the predominant fuel source.

Training these energy systems improve our ability to use fuel more efficiently, recover more quickly, and improve our overall health as a side effect. It’s important to know what the result you are trying to achieve is for each workout. This makes sure that you get the most out of your efforts without burning yourself out!

The Phosphocreatine system is associated with short intense efforts, usually lasting 10-12 seconds or less. Most dedicated power and strength pieces fall into this category.

An example of a workout item that targets this energy system could look like:
Build to a 3 Rep Max Back Squat with 2:00-3:00 rest between.

Another example could be:
Every 2:00 for 5 sets perform :10 second max effort assault bike sprint.

Notice how in the second prescription we chose a time domain rather a set number of calories on the bike. If the assignment was 10 calories every 2:00 you might see very different time domains based on the athlete. It might take one person :08 seconds to complete 10 calories and another person :30 seconds. This would change the energy system being trained, the rest interval, and totally change the dose response of the workout.

The glycolytic system is associated with medium to high intensity efforts that can last from :30 – :180 seconds and will taper off drastically based on how well trained an individual is. These usually show up as higher rep weightlifting sets or interval style workouts. Efforts in this energy system rely on glucose (blood sugar) to fuel the effort. They also generate lactate that the body works to clear in order to continue the effort. Adjusting the amount of time you rest.

One example of an interval workout would be:
4 sets of 10-12 reps of Bench Press with a 40X0 tempo followed by :90 seconds of rest.

Another example would be
Every Minute On The Minute for 8 rounds perform :40 seconds of Russian Kettlebell Swings.

Aerobic workouts cover the broad spectrum of workouts remaining. Most efforts lasting longer than 3 minutes will put you in an aerobic state. If you’ve ever “come out too hot” in a workout you have probably approached the workout as a glycolytic piece and when your body could no longer sustain the effort you switched to an aerobic approach.

A classic benchmark workout that require an aerobic effort would be:
Cindy, Complete as many rounds as possible in 20:00 minutes of
-5 Pullup
-10 Pushup
-15 Air Squat

If you are not able to sustain that number of reps or continue completing the movement safely for 20 minutes at a steady pace then you can explore scaling the movements, repetition numbers, or shortening the time domain.

Each day’s class might contain one or more elements of these types of training. There may also be a skill component to a workout that may not be targeting a response from any of these energy systems and is instead geared towards improving movement patterns and transferability of key skills.

Questions about scaling? You know where to find us!

The Top 3 Hacks For Healthy Eating

Not every “fit” person follows a diet.

Not every person who struggles with their body composition lacks self control.

Finding the right foods, ratios, and quantities to optimize the way you look and feel is an ever evolving process. Your body is in a constant state of change. Cells are dying and regenerating. The body we live in today is a result of many past choices. How we look and feel will be influenced by our food choices, age, gender, hormones, activities, sleep, and stress. There’s no one right answer.

There are however some areas we can focus on in our journey to looking and feeling great. Here are the top 3 hacks for healthy eating!

  1. Pick your fats
  2. Eat more vegetables
  3. Protein is the foundation of every meal

1. Pick your fats
Fats stick with you. Not just figuratively, they actually make up the cell wall in every cell in your body. This affects the way cells communicate with one another as well as your body’s inflammatory response. That’s why the types and the quality of fats you choose to eat is such an important factor.

Fat Types
Polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats can help provide your body with a sustainable energy source, decrease inflammation, and improve mental performance. These types of fats are found in foods such as salmon, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.

Saturated fats should be consumed sparingly. They are not all bad but high consumption of saturated fat may be linked to increased risk of heart disease.

Fat Quality
Each meal should include a healthy fat option that supports your goals. Fat quality in animal products can vary greatly depending on the conditions the animal was raised in and what they were. You are eating what the animal ate! Focus on humanely raised animal products, grass finished, and wild fish versus farm raised.

Fat amounts
Working with an experienced nutritionist is a great way to calculate your fat needs for the day. This can vary based on your body type, genetics, and goals. Try to avoid high fat meals before or after exercise to avoid any digestive issues around training.

2. Eat more vegetables
Seems like a no-brainer but when you think about your meals over the past few days how many of those contained a full serving of veggies?

Vegetables are a great source of fiber, essential nutrients, and prebiotics to support gut health. They are also always going to be your best alternative when it comes to snacking. Most of us are not going to do any sort of damage by stuffing our face with broccoli and carrots!

3. Protein is the foundation of every meal

Humans need protein. There’s no way around it. The amino acids that make up proteins (plant or animal) are the building blocks for our muscles. Without sufficient protein in the diet our bodies will start breaking down muscle, diverting amino acids to perform other critical functions in the body.

So how much do you need? This again will vary a ton based on your goals, body composition, and genetics. Once you have your protein goal determined for the day. Set a protein goal for each meal by dividing that total daily amount by the number of meals you generally eat. Don’t forget to factor in your post workout shake!

For example, if you are shooting to consume 150 grams of protein per day and typically eat 5 times a day you would aim for about 30 grams of protein at each meal. Once you figure out your numbers it becomes easy to know what foods support that quantity of protein.

There you have it, the top 3 hacks for healthy eating! If you’re trying to clean up your nutrition and fitness regiment let us know how we can best help!

Functional Fitness Explained

Functional fitness has become a popular way to get in shape and stay healthy. But what is functional fitness, and why is it so popular? Functional fitness focuses on training the body to function as a unit, rather than isolating individual muscles. This type of training can improve balance, coordination, strength, and flexibility. And because functional fitness targets multiple muscle groups at once, it can be a more efficient and time effective way to work out. If you’re looking for an effective and efficient way to get in shape, functional fitness may be the answer for you.

Sometimes referred to as Bootcamp, High Intensity Training, or CrossFit. Functional Fitness combines multiple elements of exercise to create a complete fitness experience. Our custom training program utilizes over 30 pieces of equipment. We construct our programming with a purpose, so you know what and why we are doing certain lifts or exercises and how to measure them for your personal goals. Further, we provide our members with access to a workout app for tracking their work and connecting with others.

Working out and staying healthy are important. So is having a proper plan designed to maximize your output while keeping you safe. Check with your current gym or instructor to find out what specific details are used when designing their programming, and hot it is being used to best serve you. Additionally, see if they offer any apps to help you easily log and track your work. Knowing your past results is instrumental for your future fitness growth.

Fitness Recovery – Part of Total Health | Leander FIT

A well-rounded fitness program includes recovery time. Learn about the importance of fitness recovery, what it entails, and how you can make the most of it.

Did you knowhow you recover from your workouts matter just as much as the time you spend at the gym? Proper recovery is just as important as your workouts. Here are some tips to help ensure that you make the most of your fitness routine.

First, it’s important to eat a healthy diet full of nut, fruits, and vegetables. This includes fats and carbohydrates in addition to protein. Try to consume foods such as a banana with some all natural peanut butter, or sliced apples with a glass or pea-protein milk. As a result, this will help refuel your body and promote muscle growth. Finally, make sure to get plenty fluids, preferably water or sugar-free and electrolyte replacement drinks.

Don’t overload your system. Eating replenishes what you expend at the gym, but over-eating can cause trouble and force your body into prioritizing processing over recovery. Therefore, be intentional with your portions. Commit to eating an initial amount. After, take a few minutes to properly gauge how you feel. Are you really hungry, or would you only eat more because it’s on your plate?

Fitness Made Fun and Exciting

We all know how important it is to stay in shape, but sometimes it feels like a drag to go to the gym. Wouldn’t it be great if there were some fun way to get our community and fitness? Luckily, there is! Check out these awesome ideas for getting fit without feeling like you’re working out. Who knows, you may even end up having so much fun you’ll forget you’re exercising!

  1. Partner up! Community interaction is standard with group fitness, but brining a friend or meeting and creating one at Leander FIT will make it more pleasurable and motivating. So grab your besty or make a new one while you are here.
  2. Challenge yourself. Pushing ourselves physically provides great rewards both physically and mentally. You don’t have to go overboard at first. Start slow and build incrementally challenging yourself, daily. Maybe your goal is to attend the gym 2x a week the first week and then 3x the next. Start with a plan and small wins. This is a much more sustainable route than going too aggressive from the start. Ask a coach at Leander FIT for tips or support with your challenges and goals.
  3. Be yourself. At Leander FIT, we don’t have rigid rules or a 1-size fits all approach. We cater to you, so you can be your true self. If you want to be pushed hard one day, let us know. If the next day you want to take it easy and recover or focus more on chatting and socializing at the gym, that is awesome, too! At Leander FIT You will never feel pressured to prioritize the needs of others. You pay for a premium service and we deliver premium results by prioritizing your needs and fitness experience.

These are just a few ways to experience enhance your fitness journey. Come join Leander FIT, your hometown gym, and see how we make fitness fun and exciting. We have a spot just for you and look forward to showing you why we are Leander’s Best Fitness Community. Head over to https://leandertxfit.com/ and book your free trial in the top right corner, today. See you soon, and Get Your FIT On!

Why you should love the Lunge

Lunges, split squats, and other unilateral leg movements are tremendous tools for building a strong, functional, and balanced body. Yet they tend to take a backseat to the more popular lower body exercises like squats and deadlifts. Let’s explore some of the benefits of lunges, common faults, and some popular variations so you never miss a lunge day again!

Lunges are a fundamental human movement pattern and take many different forms. The movement is generally defined as a split legged stance with one foot planted in front of the body and the other extended behind the body. From this position the athlete can raise or lower their body while stepping forward to the lead leg or returning to the rear leg. Lunges require leg strength, core strength, balance, and coordination. They can be performed as a bodyweight movement, under an external load, or explosively as a plyometric exercise. There are really an incredible number of ways to perform this exercise. Depending on your goals there are many ways that training lunges can be beneficial.

If you are looking to improve balance and coordination you could train lunges with a loading pattern that increased the demand for midline stability. Lunges performed with a barbell overhead or a single dumbbell or kettlebell loading one side of the body will achieve this. Due to the stabilization and core strength required to complete a lunge variation of this sort there is a huge transfer and application to sports and life. Ensure that the load demands don’t force you into a compromised position and that you have the necessary mobility to handle the movement pattern (AKA ask coach if you’re not sure)!

To develop greater strength and enhance muscle growth select lunge variations that allow for greater external loading. A reverse lunge is a popular option for this as it allows the weight to remain in the lead leg ensuring proper form and engagement of the posterior chain. Reverse lunges can be performed with dumbbells held at waist level or a barbell in the back rack position to go hard and heavy. A good rule of thumb is to keep the majority of the load in the front leg as you perform the movement. Select a load that allows for a controlled descent to the floor allowing the knee to kiss, not crash into, the ground.

To prevent injuries, increase range of motion, and correct imbalances the Bulgarian split squat or Bulgarian lunge is an excellent choice. This exercise is performed by working one lead leg at a time with the rear foot elevated on a platform 4-6 inches higher than the lead working leg. This movement optimizes the hinge position of the hips and is greater for activating the gluteus muscles. A popular loading pattern for this lunge is with dumbbells held in suitcase fashion. Make sure to select the appropriate box height to elevate the rear leg to prevent the spine from hyperextending at the end range of motion. Take care to stabilize the lead leg and focus on balance to reap the benefits of this killer lunge variation.

If you want to learn more about the best training movements be sure to discuss your goals with one of our coaches!