Posted on 35 Comments

What have I been doing lately?

Hi everybody, how are you? Have you missed me? Some of you may have wondered what I’ve been doing lately because I have not blogged as often as I used to.

As many of you already know, my father suffers from Alzheimer’s and it has worsened in recent months. From the caregiver’s point of view, it is mentally draining. Everything is routine and repetition, day after day. So I started to feel like I needed to get away from other routines, like blogging, doing and learning new things, to regain my joy, clean my mind and open new horizons.

The first thing I did was to escape for a week to Malaga to do some courses at the school of sport sciences:

  • latest strategies to lose weight,
  • strength training,
  • functional training,
  • and hypertrophy programming variables.

I learned many new things and met very interesting individuals. Without a doubt, it was a good idea and my clients will benefit in the future from what I have learned in these courses.

But although fitness is my passion, there are many more things to learn about.

I have completed the Facebook Blueprint courses. Last month I have been testing the Facebook ads.

I decided to start small, with a limited budget and focusing on the region where I live, Galicia. I think the results are not bad for a beginner.

If you have any suggestions to improve the results, I’d love to hear them!

Having taken a break from blogging has worked well for me. I have recharged my batteries, and soon you will hear from me again on a regular basis. Until then, be happy and do not skip your workouts!

Big hugs!

Posted on 15 Comments

Top fitness tips to succeed this year.

Top fitness tips to succeed this year

It’s the second week of the new year and I think it’s time to offer some of the best fitness tips to succeed this year. According to statistics some have already abandoned. Do not throw in the towel so soon because this is a long distance race.

Set your goals

Many people skip this part and unfortunately, it is key. First of all, reflect on what you want to accomplish and why you want to do it. Paint a clear picture of your objectives and of what drives you. Write out three or four sentences with what your goals are for the year. Keep the language simple and avoid words like “hope,” “maybe,” and “try.” Instead, use words like “will” and “must.”
Read out loud these two sentences and feel the difference:
A: “I hope to lose 30 pounds and maybe workout 4 times per week.”
B: “I will lose 30 pounds and I must train 4 times per week.”
The second statement is much more assertive and is a more powerful message. 
Your goals should be realistic but it doesn´t mean you shouldn´t be ambitious. W. Clement Stone wisely said:
Top fitness tips to succeed this year

And Bruce Lee reminds us:

Best fitness tips
Consider shifting your mindset from goal orientation to path orientation. You are on a journey to get fit. You set your goals but you still have to walk the path. Enjoy your journey and refer to your objectives often to remind why you started in the first place.

Log your workouts

There are a number of reasons why logging your workouts could be beneficial.
Progression. This is the number one reason to keep a training log. Two huge and common mistakes I see in the gym are those who increase their training volume in huge jumps, likely resulting in injury or burnout, and those who stay stagnant at the exact same weights/sets/repetitions for months and months, and wonder why they aren’t seeing any progress. The principle of progression, one of the seven main principles of exercise, states that overload of exercise should occur in gradual progression rather than in major bursts. Keeping track of your workouts will allow you to analyze your progression, as well as ensure that consistent, yet gradual gains are being made.

Motivation. Similar to keeping a food journal, logging your workouts will help motivate you to continue with your training plan. Knowing that must put in a workout before you can record reps or instead leave the page blank, can be enough incentive. Further, physically seeing the weight add up on paper is motivation to continue making progress with your training.

Keep you accountable. Training logs distinguish wishful thinking from reality. It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you had a great (or horrible) workout, but by writing down what you did, how you feltgoals achieved, etc. this will tell the real story. Training logs keep you accountable for what you’re doing on a daily basis.

Build confidence. Athletes often take a critical view of themselves, always looking for areas that need improvement. Keeping a log of daily success forces you to recognize your progress and success, and this leads to and builds confidence.

Trial and error. After a particularly successful training cycle in the gym where you made gains, or perhaps a training cycle you struggled through. Having access to particular statistics and notes on your training will aid in building future training plans. Keeping a detailed training log enables you to better find the factors in a good or poor performance. For exampleyou may find your performance flattens when you get less than six hours of sleep, or that after a stressful day at work you struggle with your motivation. You can scrutinize what you have done to look for trends or patterns, so you can make any needed changes.

Training diary

The training log is your own personal history of your training and performances. It can, and should, be used to see what works and what doesn’t for you in training to meet specific performance goals. Most athletes and individuals use training logs to keep track of the basics such as the number of repetitions and weight lifted. Limiting your training log to this basic information is only scratching the surface of the potential of what a training log can really provide.
While each athlete should structure a training log to meet their needs, a good training log might include:

  • The facts of the workout such as the number of reps, weight, miles laps, weather, the time of the workout, etc.
  • Goals for the workout and the extent to which each goal was achieved.
  • How you felt, physically.
  • How you felt, mentally.
  • Hours of sleep the night before.
  • The diet the day before, especially the last meal before the workout.
  • What you need to work on in the future based on today’s results.
  • success from the training session, i.e. what you did well or accomplished.
  • These lessons learned or reminders that can be applied to competition.

There is no single training log template that will meet the needs of all athletes. There are e-versions, pre-populated version, the good old notebook. The point, no matter what type of journal/log you useyou need to take the time to develop a training log in a format that you’ll use and will work for you. Your journal should be unique to you. Your thoughts, your workouts, your ideas are going into there. It should fit YOU.

Practice patience and celebrate small successes

Take your workouts week by week or even day by day. Look at Day 1 and focus only on what you have to do that day. Tomorrow you should only be focusing on Day 2. Keep your mind from wandering and letting the overwhelming future lead you astray. So focus on today.
Many people give up on their resolutions within the first seven days because they don’t see the results they want and grow discouraged. 
I think it’s because they don´t notice the small signs of success, the small wins. If you’ve never trained before and followed through for two weeks, that should be recognized. Also, huge results take time. It’s about keeping track of small wins. You may not lose those 10 pounds quickly, but if you lost 2 pounds, then you’re 20 percent closer than you were before, and you are on the right path. That’s great! 
Appreciate the small improvements you’re making, because without them, the big improvements won’t happen. As long as you look forward, figure out how to overcome the obstacles and commit to being the best you can possibly be. Each day you finish, you get one step closer. 
Fitness tips

Get yourself help

What Kris Gethin, The Rock and J-Lo have in common? They all have trainers (actually, Gethin has three.) 
Recently, the Rock posted a photo of himself in “movie-shoot-ready” shape, explaining that it took 18 weeks of extremely disciplined diet and exercise (he travels a lot so will often be found working out at 2:30 AM somewhere).
Also notice in his caption: He has an entire TEAM of people devoted to supporting him.
It’s the Rock’s FULL TIME JOB to be in shape. People pay him money (a lot of money) to be jacked, and then an army of other professionals is along for the ride to make sure he does it.
Regular people often think that:
 
  • this is a realistic outcome for an average person.
  • that they could a pro fit level eating and exercising into a normal life.
  • that they need to do everything themselves, and
  • that there’s something wrong with them if they can’t do everything themselves.
It doesn´t work that way. This is not a normal life or outcome.
No knock on the Rock, but do you think he (or anyone else) would stay on such a strict diet and training schedule if he wasn´t getting paid to be jacked? If he didn’t have a team helping him?
He has kids and a wife. What if he was just a regular dude with a commute and and high-stress job with long hours, and had to mow his own lawn?
 
Don’t know where to start? Just want someone to tell you what to do? There will be plenty of moments with self-doubt, and having the right people in your corner can mean the difference between success and another year of looking back, wishing that you’d achieved your goals. You don´t have to do this alone. Having a trainer will help you stay motivated, hold you accountable, and give your best day in and day out.

Follow these simple tips and make this year your best EVER!

Posted on 17 Comments

Would you like to lose weight?

who would like to lose weight

In August I started teaching fitness classes at a local gym. The classes are specifically designed for women between 25 and 60 years old. They have lost about 6 pounds per month, on average. Needless to say they´re really happy with their results.

These last weeks, I’ve been thinking that I could turn these classes into a free online challenge to give back all the support you’ve given me during these four years I’ve been in the blogosphere.

The workouts last one hour, three times a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We do body weight and resistance bands exercises, so you do not have to spend money on expensive equipment.

Before spending hours setting up the challenge and no one is interested, I prefer to ask you, would you like to lose weight?

If so, a simple “yes” in the comments section would be enough to let me know.

Posted on 14 Comments

Free consultation

free consultation, fitness, bodybuilding, weightlifting, weightloss, sport, training, workout, diet

Until the end of the month I am offering a free consultation. A 15-minute video call where I will answer all your questions about your workouts and diets.

I´m working on a new service and I think this would be a  good first step to get to know how best to implement the apps I´m going to use in this new service: Calendly and GoToMeeting. So I think this is a win-win situation.

Do you have doubts about which training method is best for you? What are the most effective exercises you could do in the comfort of your home? What kind of diet would best suit your pace of life? What foods are sabotaging your results? I will solve any question you have. Do not hesitate and book your free 15-minute consultation.

I think these apps are really easy to use, but I´d really appreciate your feedback.

On the other hand, my fellow bloggers and friends, if you have no questions but want to talk to me and listen to my sweet voice, it will be my pleasure to chat about whatever you want, after 4 years of blogging. I would like to try this in as many countries and with as many people as possible.

I hope you like this initiative and encourage you to participate. Also, feel free to share with any friend of yours that could benefit from this free consultation.

Thank you so much!

Posted on 7 Comments

Plan your workouts like a pro

How to plan your workouts, fitness, cardio, strenght, sport, health
Today I´m going to explain how to plan your workouts like a pro. Planning your training sessions is key to succeed. I bet you´ve heard the famous quote “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. When it comes to fitness plans, “failing” means not meeting your goals and expectations. You have to plan ahead to meet your goals because it takes much more than motivation and goodwill to get there.
 
The technical term for this kind of planning is “periodization”. It is the process of dividing an annual training plan into specific time blocks. Each block has a particular goal. This allows us to create hard training periods and easier periods, to facilitate recovery. Periodization also helps us develop different physiological abilities during various phases of training.
 
Let´s say you have found a workout routine that works well for you. That´s great but, lately, no matter how hard or how often you work out, you just can’t seem to progress any further. You’re stuck on a plateau. This is because your body has adapted to the exercise you’ve been doing. You need to “shock” or “surprise” your body, give it a new challenge periodically if you’re going to continue to make progress. Instead of doing the same routine month after month, you change your training program at regular intervals, “periods”, or “cycles” to keep your body working harder, while still giving it adequate rest. That goes for both strength and cardiovascular training.
How to plan your workouts like a pro, training, workout, progress, success, sport, fitness, weightlifting, bodybuilding, health
The goal with periodization is to maximize your progress while also reducing your risk of injury. It also addresses peak performance for competition or meets. Periodization, if appropriately arranged, can peak the athlete multiple times over a competitive season (Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, track and field) or optimize an athlete’s performance over an entire competitive season like with soccer or basketball.
 

Periodization cycles are classified by amounts of time: 

 
The macrocycle is the longest, and includes all four stages of a periodized training program: endurance, intensity, competition and recoveryAll 52 weeks of your annual plan. For example, if you want to peak for an event one year from now, you can mark that date on your calendar and work backward to create a program that allows you to peak at that time. You can use the same process to identify several major events throughout the year and develop a plan that facilitates multiple fitness peaks.
 
The mesocycle represents a specific block of training that is designed to accomplish a particular goal.  Mesocycles are typically four or six weeks in length. For instance, during the endurance phase, you might develop a mesocycle designed to enhance your muscular endurance for six weeks.
 
A microcycle is the shortest training cycle, typically lasting a week with the goal of facilitating a focused block of training. Generally speaking, four or six microcycles are tied together to form a mesocycle.  
 
You can get the most out of your training by having a good understanding of each of the three cycles of periodization and then using these cycles to create a plan that allows you to peak for your most important events throughout the year.
For example, you can alter your strength-training program by adjusting the following variables:
  • The number of repetitions per set, or the number of sets of each exercise
  • The amount of resistance used
  • The rest period between sets, exercises or training sessions
  • The order of the exercises, or the types of exercises
  • The speed at which you complete each exercise

There are many different types of periodized strength-training programs, and many are geared to the strength, power and demands of specific sports.

You should also periodize your cardiovascular training for the same reasons: challenge your body while still allowing for adequate recovery time.
 
For example, you’re a recreational runner, running for fitness, fun and the occasional short race, you’ll want to allow for flat, easy runs, as well as some that incorporate hills and others that focus on speed and strength.
What you don’t want to do is complete the same run every time. If you run too easily, and don’t push yourself, you won’t progress. And chances are you’ll get bored. Conversely, too much speed or high-intensity training will lead to injury or burnout, and most likely, disappointing race results.
 
If you want to improve your time in a 10K or completing a half marathon or even a full marathon, you’ll need a periodized program geared to each type of race.
 
Specially designed periodized training programs are also available for cycling and many other sports.
 
Periodized training will ensure that you continue to make measurable progress, which will keep you energized and interested in reaching your goals.
 

Proven benefits of periodization:

  • Management of fatigue, reducing risk of over-training by managing factors such as load, intensity, and recovery
  • The cyclic structure maximizes both general preparation and specific preparation for sport.
  • Ability to optimize performance over a specific period of time
  • Accounting for the individual, including time constraints, training age and status, and environmental factors.

Plan your workouts according to your goals.

There are different types of periodization: 
 

Linear periodization

is the most commonly used style of training. This form of periodization gradually increases volume, intensity, and work by mesocycles in an annual training plan. Progressive overload is a major key to the success of this training style. This style is characterized by longer training periods, less reliance on super compensation, and a focus of more general training over specific.

This programming style is useful for building a strong foundation, progressing in one variable, and working towards a peaking point. Recommended for those who are newer to training, it’s definitely the easiest periodization style to understand.
 

Non-linear/undulated periodization

rely on constant change throughout training cycles. As opposed to a linear periodization that focuses on gradual increase of one variable, this style manipulates multiple variables like exercises, volume, intensity, and training adaptation on a frequent basis (daily, weekly, or even bi-weekly). Non-linear periodization is more advanced than linear and incorporates multiple types of stimuli into a training program.
This programming style is an excellent way of individually training one variable and secondarily training others at the same time. It’s often used for those with advanced training backgrounds and longer sport seasons. For example, think about a program that has you train strength one day, then power two days later – this is non-linear.
 

Block periodization

focuses on breaking down specific training periods into 2-4 week periods. It consists of a two-block design, accumulation and restitution.
In the accumulation blocks, the focus is directed toward supporting motor abilities while simultaneously developing certain strength qualities necessary for the athlete with a limited volume load.
The restitution block is essentially the opposite. They support strength qualities in the athlete, while addressing the development of specific, technical motor qualities with a limited volume load. These training loads must target different abilities (max-strength, explosive strength, max anaerobic power, etc.). 
The goal behind these smaller, specific blocks is to allow an athlete to stay at their peak level longer, since most sports call for multiple peaks. Within the training season, athletes will only focus on adaptations they need specifically for their sport, if an athlete doesn’t need endurance, they won’t train for it.
When trying to maintain a high level of athleticism for competition over an extended amount of time, block periodization can be a great tool. By frequently training specific training adaptations you work towards progressing in your sport with the variable you need, and avoid burning out.
 
Periodization has stood the test of time for the simple fact that there are so many progressions and ways to structure your training so that you can be at your best when it matters most. Failing to utilize any form of periodization for your training could lead to overtraining, failure to recover appropriately for progression, and the inability to see the progress you deserve from the time you put into training.

Help for beginners

To start planning your workouts, here is a linear periodization template, for free.

I know that planning workouts for the first time can be complicated, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask me and I will help you.