January 2018 - Ageless In Shape

Monthly Archives: January 2018

What To Wear To Gym

What To Take And Wear To Gym: Your Ultimate Guide For Getting Ready For Your First Workout

What To Wear To Gym

Once you made up your mind that you are committed to getting in shape, finished setting up your training and goals, it's time to take the next step. Especially if you never trained before you need to decide and choose the right clothes and accessories to take to your gym sessions.

You don't need to buy every possible item remotely related to gym and weight-lifting activities, as most sales people at your local sports store would have you believe. There are a few essential things you do need to invest in however. It can basically be broken down into three sections:

  1. What to bring to gym.
  2. What to wear to gym.
  3. What support & protection you require.

There are a few optional items you can consider as well which will definitely add value to your workout, but is not absolutely essential.  I will briefly touch on those later on.

What To Bring To Gym

It may sound rather obvious to you, but this part is often forgotten when planning your first couple of gym sessions. You concentrate on what you are going to wear and use at the gym. How you are going to get everything there, including small but necessary extras, are often forgotten and quickly thrown together as an afterthought at the last minute. It's importance may not be evident at first, but the irritation and inconvenience caused by not making these relatively insignificant choices can turn into a real annoyance over time. Let's have a look at the necessities:  

1. Gym Bag

The first important item on your shopping list. Although you may be tempted to you use your backpack you used in college or any old sport bag you happen to own, you need to take a few things into consideration. First, your bag needs to be sturdy yet light. You don't want to carry a heavy bag around, especially after an exhausting workout. At the same time it needs to be strong enough to protect the valuables you carry in it.

Secondly, it needs to be big enough to fit everything you'll need to carry, but also small enough to fit into your gym locker. Before going for something small and compact, consider everything you may have to fit in your gym bag. You have your gym accessories like training gloves, a training belt and a supplement/water bottle. You may also have to pack some warm sweatshirts and pants to stay warm, especially when it is much cooler outside than in the gym. And never ever forget the humble but very essential gym towel.

The third thing to always consider, is to have separate compartments in your bag. Not only does it make access to the different items in your bag easier, it also prevents a small leak or spill to turn into a complete mess in your bag. For example, after getting ready in the locker room, you quickly want to get what you need for your session. It may just be your water bottle and towel, or maybe your training gloves as well. Having everything in it right place, stops you from wasting time digging between clothes and other objects, making things quick and easy.

As you get more experienced and starts planning your workouts more orderly and regularly, you may start packing your water bottle and a few supplements you want to take during or directly after your workout. Accidents do happen, and a bottle not sealed properly or a powdered supplement not properly closed, can very easily spill in your bag. Many good gym bags come with sealed compartments to keep your supplements isolated and cool, preventing such a small spill to spread to your clothes and other gym accessories in you bag. 

I am including an example of good gym bag as a visual reference guide.

Adidas Team Bag

Adidas X 17.1 Team Bag

This Adidas training bag possesses all the qualities I described in this section that is essential for a good training bag. It is just one of many examples, but should serve as a good visual reference as to what to look for in a gym bag.

2. Your gym towel

Now this seemingly insignificant item is absolutely vital in my books. A good gym towel helps you keep the sweat at bay, but also plays an important part in personal hygiene. It also an essential item when it comes to being considerate to fellow gym goers. We all know the disgust and revolt when confronted by a bench drenched in its previous occupant's sweat.

Simply take along a small light towel that can cover the bench you are lying or sitting on, and use it to wipe down access sweat as well as wiping down the weights you used. It is both hygienic and also considerate to everyone else in the gym. You get specifically made and branded gym towels, but using a cheaper generic one that is suitable, is perfectly fine.

3. Water / Supplement Bottle

Most gyms have water fountains spread throughout the gym floor where you can quickly re-hydrate between sets. There are quite a few reasons you may want to carry your own bottle with you however. Simply from a convenience point of few, it just makes sense to carry your water with you where you can quickly take sip whenever you need to. More often than not though, quite a few more serious athletes use energy or intra-workout supplements in liquid form to keep their bodies fueled and energized throughout their workouts. 

Also remember that you may have supplements you prefer to take directly before or after your workouts, while still being at the gym. Quite a few new supplement bottles contain bigger caps, that serve as a container for these supplements you need to take while still at the gym.  It saves you the space packing the supplements separately in their containers would have taken up.

4. Some Warm Clothes while working out. 

Yes, you are going to get hot and sweaty while exercising.  Also, as described in the following section, you need to wear light, comfortable clothes that do not restrict movement. Just remember after gym, you need to give your body some time to cool down. Especially when it's cooler outside the gym, take a sweatshirt and pants with you that you can put on afterwards to stay warm and keep your body protected from the sudden change in temperature. Your immune system is a bit compromised after an exhausting workout, so rather be safe and keep those colds away.

What To Wear To Gym

When it comes to the appropriate gym wear, there is one very important golden rule I will always emphasize: Whatever you're wearing, make sure it is light, comfortable and not restricting your movement. Wearing clothes that is breathable and sweat absorbent is also highly recommended. Having said that, withing this criteria, you are really spoiled for choice with all the different types of gym clothing available. Here are a few guidelines to help you decide:

1. Tops and pants

For women

women gym clothing

The norm among women who are avid gym goers and in shape, is gym tights with matching tank tops. Normally made of polyester/nylon containing a percentage of lycra /elastine for elasticity, these pants are extremely light, comfortable, breathable and is also sweat absorbing. Thy come in full length, three quarters and shorts, so choose whatever is comfortable.

(Just don't confuse this with leggings, which is a very thin version and supposed to be used underneath other clothing. I know this is a sometimes a contentious and controversial issue, with some girls wanting to be more "daring" by wearing it in place of normal tights to the dismay and anger of other women. I am not going to get involved in this issue, but acknowledge the fact that leggings were originally designed to be worn underneath other clothing. I'll leave it at that.)

Today, the term "yoga pants" are commonly used as an "umbrella term" to describe all the different kinds of gym tights or yoga pants. Technically though, traditional yoga pants is made of a thicker knitted material and completely opaque, and also ends up a little more at the bottom. It is also made of a form-fitting stretchable material, making it very comfortable and easy to move in as well. Some women find this more suitable to their taste and find it to be more discreet. Whichever you choose, you really have a huge variety of choices available to you.

With women's tops things can become a little more tricky. Many women in great shape love the the freedom and comfort a tight-fitting tank top provides. There are an equally large portion of women who prefer to be more discreet and are not comfortable in tight-fitting tank tops. You may be in great shape or feel you have certain body parts you are not comfortable with yet. For whatever reason, you just choose not to expose that much of your body. A wide variety of light breathable full-length tops are available, like fitted t-shirts and sleeveless tops. You can even go with a slightly over-sized top if you are more comfortable. 

A last important point that I am constantly reminded of by female colleagues, and comes up time and again on fitness blogs, is the importance of wearing a sports bra. No matter what your breast size or the amount of movement you are going to perform, never neglect wearing a quality sports bra. The support it provides, not only provides short term comfort, but also have long-term health benefits.

From research and speaking to many female clients and colleagues, I realize appearance is more important for women than it is for men in the gym. Whatever you choose to wear, remember the golden rule, is that it must be light, comfortable and not restrict movement.  Just please remember, at the end of the day, you are there to get in shape and exercise, not make a fashion statement, so wear what YOU are comfortable in.

For men

men gym clothing

When you look at men in general, you find the majority wearing comfortable sweatpants, and either a t-shirt or tank top. Obviously a lot of your more advanced trainers with already impressively developed upper bodies, tend to be more comfortable with their tank tops. Well you know they saying, "If you got it, flaunt it..."

A few beginners and sometimes very skinny guys find the need to wear tank tops as well. There may be good reason if you find it the most comfortable for training. This is perfectly fine. Just be aware, if you're in a testosterone filled gym with a few outspoken big guys roaming around, you may be setting yourself up to be taunted and mocked a bit.  

An increasingly popular type of t-shirt for men, are fitted and made from an polyester/spandex mix to make it flexible and easy to move in.  As with the women's version, it is also light, breathable and absorbs sweat easily. Most of your major brands have quite a variety of them available in their range. I would highly recommend these t-shirts over you more traditional cotton shirts.

When it comes to pants, you'll find quite a few men wearing tights with comfortable shorts over them for "discretion". Athletes like bodybuilders with big quads, and trainers doing a lot of leg work prefer this combination, as it gives you more freedom of movement than the more restrictive sweatpants.

Comfortable loose three-quarter gym pants are also used, especially among your more casual trainer. Then you get a few daring or adventurous souls who use real loose "jogging" style shorts. Let me be blunt, this is NOT a good idea for gym. For the simple reason that loose shorts can reveal way too much, especially with a lot of exercises that involves you lying on you back. Exercises like bench press or leg presses where your hips are thrust into the air, may turn out to be way too revealing, creating sometimes very awkward situations. I spoke to way too many men and women who were left very uncomfortable after being confronted by a very "awkward and revealing" situation involving shorts. If you are dead set on wearing shorts, just be considerate and wear a pair of tights underneath it.

Let me finish with the same words I used for women clothing. Whatever you choose to wear, remember the golden rule is that it must be light, comfortable and not restrict movement.  Just please remember, at the end of the day, you are there to get in shape and exercise, so wear what you are comfortable in.

2. Socks

Let's be very clear about it. Socks are an very essential part of your gym wear. Not wearing socks is just not an option. Not only is it more hygienic, but helps to prevent the unpleasant odor normally associate with sweaty feet and training shoes. I don't need to go into much further detail. As long as it is a comfortable, light and breathable sports sock, you can choose the color and length to your heart's content.

3. Shoes

When you have a look around at people's feet in the gym, you will notice that almost every possible type of sports shoe is used, although it must be noted, the vast majority are either running shoes  or cross-trainers. And with good reason. To understand this we need to look at the general requirements of a good gym shoe.

Support, especially ankle support, is probably the most important requirement especially when it comes to gym training. Not only do you move around in different directions when working out, your feet need to be stable and secure when planted on the ground or flat surface when a substantial amount of weight is placed on it.

Secondly, (and you will see me repeat this point for most wearables throughout this article), it must allow maximum amount of freedom of movement. Whether you are doing floor work or training with equipment, your feet changes its stance and angle quite a bit. Any shoe that are restrictive on foot movement, will cause some discomfort as a result.

My third point may be frowned upon by some serious weightlifters. For the vast majority of people training to get into shape, a light, comfortable and breathable training shoe is highly recommended.

This point clashes directly with what is seen as a proper traditional weightlifting shoe. These shoes are designed to provide a lot more stability and support for use under a very heavy weight, as is normally the case with weightlifters who sometimes work with huge amounts of weight (sometimes hundreds of pounds). As a result these shoes are much sturdier, normally heavier with a bigger and stronger sole to provide the support and stability required by these heavy weights.

When training to stay in shape, and even when relatively heavy loads are used, the comfort required for a thorough workout with diverse movements outweighs the limitations of a heavier and more restrictive weightlifting shoe. I will almost be willing to bet that even your most dedicated hardcore trainer will never work with such an extreme weight that will require dedicated weightlifting shoes.     

It is clear from countless reviews and user testimonials (including personal experience), that both the appropriate running shoe or cross-trainer is the ideal training shoe for gym training. Due to their nature both shoes are designed to provide excellent ankle support. You get wide variety of running shoes designed for different types of running, which will make certain types of these shoes more suitable for gym training. Similarly, you get a wide variety of cross-trainers, most of which are perfect for workouts, but some more so than others.

You can easily do a Google search which will show you the best shoes for your needs, as plenty of research and comparisons have already been done on this issue. Here are just two examples of a running shoe and cross-trainer that will be excellent for gym training.   

MIke Zoom Structure 20

Nike Zoom Structure 20

An good example of an running shoe perfectly suited for gym workouts

Asics Mens GEL Intensity 3

Asics Mens GEL-Intensity 3 Training Shoes

An good example of an cross-trainer perfectly suited for gym workouts

    What Support & Protection You Require

    When you start looking around at what else you need to complete your gym "setup", you are suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer amount gym "accessories" that is available today. I put it in quotes, as I really consider some these as nothing more than glorified fashion accessories or status symbol.

    There are however, at least 2 gym accessories that are absolutely essential to keep in your gym bag, for both support and protection:

    1. Your gym belt.

    No matter what your goal in the  gym is,  at some point you will need the support of a training belt. Whether you are doing seated shoulder presses or squats, supporting your lower back is vital, and using correct form is simply not enough protection. Not only does it support and protect your back, but the added stability helps you to safely handle heavier weights.

    When lying down and doing leg presses or performing squats, you will feel your tummy pushing out. Wearing a belt will prevents this from happening. There is a theory out there that some exercises that push out your tummy can create an irreversible effect. They compare the muscles in your abs to a spring. If pushed out too far, it looses its elasticity and ability to stay flat and contracted. To be honest, I have never been able to prove this theory true or false, but using a belt definitely helps to keep everything in place and creates a stabilizing effect on the movement, allowing you to concentrate on the exercise.

    So what is the ideal training belt? First, it must have a strong and supportive back, but with some padding to not make it feel uncomfortable and feel the edges cutting into your back. Most popular belts come in different sizes, so choose one whose width protects and covers your whole lower back, but not any bigger as it will feel uncomfortable and not be as effective. Choose one that you can tighten firmly around your waste, yet allow room to pull it in tighter or loosen it a bit if necessary.

    When it comes to material, you basically get two types of belts. Leather and nylon based belts are the two major contenders. Most serious weightlifters use heavy duty leather belts with sometimes double buckles. These belts are very sturdy, extremely durable (I had mine since 1989) and provide very strong support. They have a few things counting against them though. Since they are so firm and rigid, they provide very little room for movement. Although keeping your back fully supported is very important, allowing only a little body movement can be very restrictive. Another potential drawback, is the hard edges of these belts that can cut into your back during exercises which can cause quite a bit of discomfort. They are also heavier than their nylon based counterparts in general. I am not discounting its importance at all. I just feel for general gym use for both men and women, heavy duty leather belts are a bit of an overkill.

    Nylon based training belts came a long way since it was first introduced as an alternative to leather belts. When it was first introduced, these belts were considered inferior. As with many other new products, there were questions about reliability and quality. These concerns were addressed over the years however, to the point where today's nylon training belts are very strong and durable. 

    It may not be as strong or durable as heavy-duty leather training belts, but has quite a few advantages that make it more suitable for general gym use. First, even though firm and supportive, it still allows some movement of the body it supports as the material is not as rigid as leather. Secondly, it allows some cushioning to be added around the belt, making it a lot more comfortable to wear. Many of these belts also comes with a strong Velcro strip in the front for fastening, making it easy to find a suitable position with the right tension around your waist. You are not limited to a buckle with fixed holes that may be just too tight or just too loose for your waist size.

    To sum up, you can't go wrong with both types of belts. I would just recommend taking a serious look at nylon based training belts due to its many advantages for general gym training.

fire team fit belt

Fire Team Fit Weightlifting Belt.

If you want a good and highly recommended example, take a look at the Fire Team Fit Weightlifting Belt. This is obviously not the only belt I would recommend or superior to all other belts in any way. It is just one example that exhibits all the traits that I mentioned in the previous paragraph that makes nylon based training belts more appealing and suited for gym training.

2. Training Gloves

Working with weights, whether it be barbells, dumbbells or even the grips of exercise machine, can really take its toll on your hands, especially your palms. Off course we don't  want our hands to be so delicate and sensitive that the slightest rough textured object will be painful to touch and break the skin of your palms. At the same time, none of us (women AND men)  want our palms to look like The Grand Canyon, with calluses so hard and tough that it will be able to withstand a nuclear explosion. Training gloves are therefore not an option if you are serious about weight training while looking after your hands.

Luckily,  modern weight training gloves are very light and comfortable. As is the case with gym clothes and training belts, you are spoiled for choice. So what makes a good training glove?

It depends a lot on your own personal preference, but first and foremost, a good training glove must have strong but flexible padding on the palms and bottom fingers. It leaves the top part of your fingers exposed to free up your fingertips for accurate feel and make it more breathable. (Most of us feel clumsy if we are unable to feel and touch with out fingertips, and since the weight and friction of weights are mostly focused on our palms and lower part of our fingers, I see no reason to use a full-length glove. I know full-length glove are available, but I find it to be restrictive and even dangerous, as it takes away a lot of the feeling you have with an "open" glove.) 

At the back of your hand the glove is either closed or open to varying degrees to help keep your hands from getting too hot and sweaty and making it as breathable as possible. At your wrist it is fastened by a Velcro strip for quick fastening.

A last but important point worth noting, is the lifespan of your training glove. As already stated, the padded part that protects your palms and bottom part of your fingers, must be tough but flexible. If it is too rigid and hard, you won't be able to close your hand and grip the weight properly. This compromise means that your gloves will get worn down much quicker than any clothing or other accessory. Depending on how often and how vigorously you train, be prepared to replace your gloves as often as once a year. This is no indication of an inferior training glove, but simply the normal wear and tear of constant hard weight training. Luckily training gloves are relatively affordable, so this should not be a problem.

training gloves

Trideer Ultralight Workout Gloves

These Trideer Ultralight Workout Gloves is an example a good and popular training glove.

Summing It All Up

One theme that you probably noticed that runs throughout this entire article, is the wide variety of options available to you. This is one of the many advantages of working out. You can tailor it to make it as personal and comfortable for yourself as you want to. I have outlined some guidelines I recommend you stick to, but at the end of the day the choice is yours.

If you have ever been into a sports store, you will know that there are a lot of optional extras I left out. I will cover these in a future article. I just don't see it as an absolute necessity, and don't see the need to focus on anything but the essentials for this article.

I hope you found this article helpful and interesting. Let me know if you feel I left anything out.

As always, feel free to leave me a comment or suggestion, and remember to join my  mailing list  to get informed whenever a new article is released, as well as helpful hints & tips and news on new developments.

Until next time, take care and let me know if there a specific new topic you would like me to discuss.

Wessel



Training Legs

Training your Legs: Why Leg Workouts Are So Painful But Necessary

Training Legs

There is just no way to deny it. We all HATE training legs. We hate and dread it to the point that a large majority of weight trainers and gym enthusiasts skip training legs altogether. You hear every possible excuse in the book. "My legs are already big enough, I do running/cycling for my legs, I have bad knees or joint problems etc."

leg training painful

I get it, trust me. This dread and apprehension are all with very good reason. Training your legs are downright painful and exhausting. And not the kind of pain and exhaustion you experience with any other body part. The pain of doing a proper set of squats or leg presses feels do not just unbearable, it feels like it travels up through your entire body and into your nervous system. You start feeling unable to catch your breath, you lungs burn and your whole body feels shaky.

Just a quick remark. For those of you loving your leg workouts, I acknowledge you and admire your dedication. I just can say with all honesty, in my almost 30 years of working out, I never met anyone who enjoyed their leg workouts in anyway. I have read bodybuilding magazines where some professionals claim to enjoy exercising their legs and even saw it mentioned on some online forums and blogs. But trust me, you are part of a very small minority, so count yourself lucky.

Having said all of the above, let me be the first here to put up my hand and acknowledge that I am one of many weight trainers who have been neglecting my legs (OK, skip altogether) for the better part of my gym career. It is only over the last 10 years that I started training legs seriously. And I am still playing catch-up. 

Why Leg Training Is So Painful And Exhausting

To be able to understand why we dread it so much, why it is so painful and a huge percentage of lifters avoid it altogther, we need to understand why this is:

1. Your Legs are by far the biggest muscle group in the body

leg muscles

Made up by 4 muscles that form the quadriceps at the front of your legs and the 3 muscles that form the hamstrings at the back of your legs, and including your glute muscles - all the muscles involved in training your legs is by far the biggest collection of muscles in body used for training legs.

It should come as no surprise then, that the best leg exercises (e.g. squats and leg presses) utilizes all these muscle groups at the same time. This explains the pain that a felt much more intensely than training other body parts. A lot more muscle fibres, and nerves connected to the central nervous system gets recruited, resulting in the intense pain experienced.

2. The demands on oxygen and recuperation

Another direct result of the sheer size of your leg muscles and its demand on your body, is the effect it has on your breathing and your capability to recuperate.

lungs

As you exercise the, the oxygen in your blood is used to help fuel and supply your muscles with energy. The oxygen you inhale into your lungs, get carried by a multitude of arteries in your body to the specific muscles required. Since your leg muscles require such a tremendous amount of muscle fibre activation, the oxygen demands on your body is extremely high, often to the point where you start experiencing a deficit in oxygen supply. The stress it places on your lungs make you feel severely out of breath very quickly. The accompanying feeling of you "lungs burning" are clear symptoms of this stress.

Your difficulty in recuperating is the second result directly caused by the demands of your leg muscles on your body. Again the sheer volume of muscle fibres that gets recruited, necessitates it to dig a lot deeper into your energy reserves than other muscle groups would. If you use the same rest period between sets that you do while exercising smaller muscles, you will find that your leg muscles are are still tired and not nearly fully recuperated for the next set. Sometimes the level of exhaustion is so severe that some athletes actually experience a feeling nausea  after an intense set.

If you never trained your legs with heavy weights and with great intensity before, you should start getting a clear picture as to why so many people dread training legs or avoid it completely. The goal of this section is not to discourage you at all, but to help you understand why you may find training your legs so difficult, and to explain the experience to anyone who haven't experienced the rigors of training legs properly before.      

The Importance Of Training Legs

As much as I emphasize with everyone going through this pain and understand completely why so many athletes go to great lengths to avoid leg training altogether, I have to stress that not training your legs is not an option. Not if you want to be successful and reach your goals.

The good news is that there is a lot you can do to turn leg day into a much more positive experience and actually start enjoying it, especially when you start seeing consistent results, but more on that later. It is important to realize why training your legs is so important.

1. Increase in testosterone and growth hormone release

This on its own may be reason enough to focus more on leg training. Doing heavy compound leg movements like squats and leg presses have shown to increase the release of testosterone and growth hormone. This benefits muscle growth and fat loss throughout the entire body, and not just your legs.

2. Increased overall strength

Increasing you lower body strength promotes strength in your upper body as well. For example, the support that your legs provide to movements like the bench press, with your legs helping to stabilize the body and helps to "drive the weight up". Exercises like squats and dead-lifts also strengthens not just your legs, but lower back and hip muscles as well. This provides tremendous support for performing shoulder exercises while sitting or standing up, allowing to you to manage heavier weights than you would without this assistance.

3. Symmetry

No doubt most of you would have seen some cartoon images in bodybuilding and fitness magazines, depicting guys with huge muscular upper bodies, but pencil thin (or chicken legs). This a running joke among the serious bodybuilding community, but sadly portrays a very stark reality. Even in the newer men's physique competitions, the lack of proper leg development is quite widespread.

It obviously makes your whole body look out of proportion. Especially among men, we try and hide under sweatpants and full length pants, reasoning that nobody will see it anyway. The problem is we see it ourselves and even if we don't want to admit, psychologically it creates a negative self-image of your physique. As we create a stronger upper body, we can also physically feel how much weaker and lagging our legs are in comparison. In the long term this has a very detrimental effect on your motivation and goals.

4. Mental Strength

As you motivate yourself and build the will and determination to commit to and finish your leg workouts, you automatically start to develop a much stronger will power and mental strength. You will see its effect as your other workouts seem to get that much easier and less taxing on your body, allowing to push that much harder. A very strong mindset or mental fortitude is a very precious asset to posses.

How You Can Stay Committed Training Your Legs

leg press

It is all good and well that we know all the benefits of leg training and how crucial it actually is. But that doesn't take away from the fact that it still is so tough and painful. Luckily there is good news. Quite few things can be done to make the experience a lot more positive.

I think its very important to honest here: No matter what you do, your leg workouts will always be painful, exhausting and leave you sore to greater or lesser extent. Having said that, ask yourself, "What in life really worth it and truly creates a lasting sense of accomplishment, comes without hard work, sacrifice and moments of discomfort?

Like I said, there are things you can to make the whole experience a lot less painful and dreaded. Two of them focus on the mental aspect and two on the physical aspect:

1. Confronting the short and long term consequences of skipping leg training on your mindset and confidence.

It is time to be brutally honest with yourself. You think you are fooling other people by not training legs. You argue that "it is not important to you" and "nobody will see it anyway". By using these among other excuses to justify your unwillingness to train legs, you are only fooling yourself. In all honesty this "nagging awareness"  is and always will be there subconsciously, popping up every now and then to remind you of what you're neglecting.

If you are even just slightly serious about getting in shape and building an aesthetically pleasing body, you will be well aware of the following habits and scenarios. You always feel the need to cover up your legs with long pants. Whether at work, in the gym, at home and especially when going to the beach or public swimming pool in boiling hot weather, exposing your skinny "chicken legs" becomes a harrowing prospect, that needs to be avoided at all costs. You may also relate to watching other weight-lifters and bodybuilders slaving away doing leg presses or squats with already well shaped muscular legs, with sometimes more than a slight feeling of unease and embarrassment or even guilt.

All these scenarios is a long way of painting a picture that points to one thing. This decision will always haunt and bother you to some extent. You will always be aware of this imbalance between your upper body and legs. And just like anything else you consciously or subconsciously try to suppress, it can play havoc on your confidence and the effectiveness of your training overall. Yes, for many readers this my sound like a complete overstatement  and "making a mountain out of a mole heap", but for anyone involved in training their bodies, this a very stark reality.

Then where is the silver lining, you will ask. After all, isn't this section suppose to help make training your legs easier. A resounding yes, but I had to bring you to this point to highlight the solution. The solution may sound very simple, obvious and feel like a bit anticlimax. It's not.

Simply start, and promise yourself that you will allow yourself three leg sessions. Let me explain. After your first leg workout, you will be exhausted. If done properly and for the first time, the experience will be especially painful and exhausting compared to other body parts. This first experience is what put a lot of weight trainers off from leg training altogether. For 2-3 days after your workout you will experience quite an intense muscle soreness. Sitting down, getting up and even walking my be a challenge. This experience normally cements the decision not to train legs ever again for anybody who was considering quitting immediately after the workout. Just remember now that you promised yourself you are going to do this three times. Now it is up to you stick to your promise you made yourself. Nobody but you can hold you to it.

Now, a couple of things are going to happen over the next three weeks (or however long your leg workouts are spaced apart). Your second leg workout may feel just as painful as the first one, but I can almost guarantee you with almost 100% certainty that the soreness you will experience over next few days will be less and not last that long. On your third session, you will definitely feel a difference. Your leg muscles will still get sore, but that intense pain will have subsided quite a lot, and you will find your leg muscles to be a lot more stable and comfortable under the weights. Muscle soreness over the next couple of day will now already feel a lot less painful than after the first 2 workouts.

So what exactly happened?

  1. You learned you have the mental strength to make it through multiple workouts, knowing how painful it can be. 
  2. You now know it gets easier with each workout. (Yes, it will reach a point where it will always be sore during and after your workouts, but nearly as painful and exhausting as your first three workouts.) 
  3. You also would have noticed that your leg muscles do adapt and adapt rather quickly. This means sooner, rather than later you will see results, which will give your willpower and mental strength a huge boost.

This brings me to my second point.

2. Weighing up the advantage of continuing what you started vs giving up and having to put you through the same hell again.

You now have a choice. You have just finished going through the worst part of starting your leg training, and in three sessions, already created a bit of a habit. You even proved to yourself you have the willpower to finish three leg workouts in a row.

You can continue and build on this good start, knowing it will only get more rewarding over time as the results starts accumulating. There will always be that small nagging voice telling you that this is just too painful and too much work. But having the knowledge that if you stop now, you will always have that dent in your confidence for the rest of your "training career", as well as the fact that you will have to start all over and put yourself through all the initial pain and soreness again in the future, can serve as enough of a detergent to keep on training.

3. Lighten the load and increase your repetitions

Especially with power-lifters, but also bodybuilders who prefer training with heavy weights, you see them battling and grunting to get a few reps out with an incredible heavy weight. It is this type of training that causes the pain experienced to be especially excruciating, sometimes to the point of being nauseating. 

The good news is that training legs with a lighter load and with a slightly higher rep range (up to 16) has shown to be more effective in a lot of instances than the extreme heavy weights and low repetitions some weightlifters use. This does not mean you don't have to push yourself, but it wont be nearly as painful as it will be when trying to force yourself to do 6 repetitions with a weight so heavy that you can barely manage 2 reps.

4. Managing an easing the dreaded DOMS

The what!? Don't feel bad, for anyone who is not a seasoned bodybuilder, physique competitor of gym enthusiastic this term will sound very foreign. DOMS is just an abbreviation for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. This is the term used to describe the muscle soreness you experience for days after your leg workout.

pain

There are many ways and means by which athletes try and reduce the DOMS experience or try and eliminate it together. From taking multiple ice baths, going for deep tissue massages to taking a cocktail of anti-oxidants to help bind the free radicals and reduce the lactic acid that is causing all of this discomfort, are used with varying degrees of success.

The most effective way of quickly reducing this pain though, is the one you won't want to use. It is called a "feeder workout". A day after your leg workout when your muscles start getting sore, get yourself back in the gym for five minutes, five minutes only. What you will be doing is one leg exercise of your choosing and use HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to quickly power and bulldoze through your pain. Some people prefer using the actual exercises they used for the original workout, but exercise machines like stationary bikes, orbital trainers and even treadmills can be used. If you happen to own one of these, you can even do this from the comfort of your own home.

So, for 5 minutes you will just have to be brave and tough it out. Use a relatively low setting and start peddling lightly (basically spinning). After 30 seconds start peddling as hard and fast as you can for another 30 seconds. You then return to just lightly peddling for 30 seconds before doing another high-intensity 30 seconds. You continue this for five minutes and you're done.

Yes, the experience is very painful and for a short period you will just have to clench your teeth and be brave. You will be pleasantly surprised how this short workout will lesson the amount of pain you experience afterwards and how quickly it disappears within a day or two. Compare that to be in pain and discomfort for two to three days after your workout. It is your decision, but I would bet 5 minutes is a very small price to pay for days of relieve afterwards.

As a further incentive, also remember that this small "feeder workout" have other benefits as well. Not only does it help flush out the free radicals and reduce the buildup of lactic acid on your muscles, causing the perceived pain to be drastically reduced. It also flushes your muscles with a much needed fresh supply of nutrient rich blood, speeding up the recovery process. Flushing out the free radicals that cause so much harm to your muscles, means that the damage and breakdown in your muscles get reduced significantly as well. I call this a win-win situation. 

And that does it for leg workouts. I realized I have gone on a lot longer than expected and went into a lot of tedious detail at certain points. I feel it is important however, to give you a lot more detail than normal, that you can better relate to and better understand certain scenarios and solutions.

I hope you found this article helpful and enlightening. I know its a tough issue, but also know you are not alone in this battle!

As always, feel free to leave me a comment or suggestion, and remember to join my  mailing list  to get informed whenever a new article is released, as well as helpful hints & tips and news on new developments.

Until next time, take care and let me know if there a specific new topic you would like me to discuss.

Wessel


Staying Motivated Heading

Getting And Staying Motivated: How To Not Give Up, And Stay Committed & Inspired To Keep Working Out

Staying Motivated Heading

Let's face it, whether you are a seasoned weight trainer, exercise fanatic or just starting out on your journey to getting in shape, at some stage you are going to reach a point where you just lose all motivation and just want to give up.

It may happen after a few weeks or a few months if you are new at weight training. You may be seasoned workout enthusiast with years of experience and a well developed muscular body with the perfect six-pack. Yet, for some reason, sometimes inexplicable for the person the involved, the will and motivation to keep on working out and exercising simply seems to evaporate into thin air all of sudden.

Exercising becomes a burden and the excuses to skip a workout starts outweighing the reasons to keep going. Worst case scenario you give up all together, with the chances of returning to the gym drastically declining longer you stay away. But why does this happen and can we do anything about it? 

Why We Lose Our Drive And Stop Training

There is no one specific reason why we lose our motivation and will to keep training. It not only depends on whether you are just starting out your fitness journey or have been training for 10 years. There are a lot of factors at play here. Lets look at a few of the most importance ones.

1. Not making progress or seeing any results

No Results

We see this most often among people new to weight training.  As already mentioned in another article (which you can read here) your body has an amazing ability to adapt to change. This is especially noticeable when you start training for the first time. Your body starts to respond rapidly to the new stresses on body, making it very easy to keep working out. Unfortunately, these changes start slowing down after 3-6 months and may even come to a complete standstill. For a many novice trainees this can be very disheartening, especially if they don't have the know-how to progress past this sticky-point or plateau.

A seasoned weight-trainer may experience this same phenomena, but this may happen after years of training and seeing constant progress. Even following the principle of Progressive Overload (read more about it here) does not seem to work anymore. This can be a little more difficult to address, but needs to be addressed pretty quickly, as it may be much harder to get started again after finally giving up after years of training.

2. Losing Interest And Plain Boredom

Bored

This is seen quite a bit, but especially among people who are consistently following exactly the same routine over and over again. Even while still seeing change and making good progress getting in shape, you may start feeling stagnated and even get bored of performing the same repetitive routine week after week. This makes it harder to set time aside to go to gym or perform your home workout routine. After all, why do you want to go and put your body through so much stress if you aren't even looking forward to the prospect?

Luckily, this is not such a difficult to problem to solve. Hint.... "Variety is the spice of life" More on that a little later.  

3. Distractions And The Demands Of Everyday Life

family

It is no secret. As we grow older, the perceived time we have available to us decreases dramatically. Work becomes more demanding, you get married and children may follow shortly afterwards. You constantly feel overwhelmed and tired, and "gym time" gets less and less priority and starts getting relegated lower down your to-do list as the months and years go by.

Distractions are not limited to growing older and the associated demands and added responsibility. A large percentage of younger people face many distractions of their own. The dramatic increase and accessibility of online and "on-demand" technology can be singled out as the biggest culprit.

I don't even have to discuss social media, as its influence and addictive nature has already been well documented. The sheer number of platforms available is staggering (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Whatsapp etc.) According to a study by the The Telegraph in 2015, teenagers spend and average of 27 hours per week on social media. Imagine what the number is today.

On top of that more traditional broadcasters and newer companies are now live-streaming movie and television content to your mobile device, directly competing with social media for your attention. I can go on and add online gaming  to the mix, but you get the picture.

So, where do you think does going to gym and staying in shape slots into position when it comes to priorities in the mind of the younger potential workout enthusiast? This will not be hard to answer!

4. The Absence Of Consequences Or Accountability If You Stop Working Out

accountability

For every action or lack thereof, there are consequences one way or the other. If you keep showing up late for work and start calling in sick when you don't feel like working, you will receive a warning which will quickly be followed by losing your job if you don't pull yourself together. No job, no income. A situation we all are desperately trying to avoid.  

The same with eating. If we skip a meal or two, we start getting hungry very quickly. Even if you manage to withstand the hunger urges for a sustained period of time, your body will suffer the consequences. Losing wait, severely weakening your immune system and an increase in loss of energy are just some of the consequences.

Unfortunately, the same can not be said for neglecting your workouts or stop exercising altogether. Especially if you are exercising alone or nobody knows about your training regime. You now have no one to answer to, which makes it that much easier to quit. Off course the consequences of not exercising, like gaining weight, a weakened immune system and loss of energy may make you feel guilty for a while. These aren't "urgent" consequences that are immediately felt however, making the instant gratification of relaxing at home, watching tv or socializing with friends a lot more appealing.

A Solution For Every Problem

Now that we know some of the main reasons why we lose motivation or even completely stop working out, can anything be done about it? Absolutely! Let's go through the 4 problems listed in the previous section and see how we can combat and overcome these obstacles.

1. Not making progress or seeing any results (solved)

No Results

This common problem is actually not that hard to address. All it really requires is a little more knowledge, your imagination and some experimenting.

As I already mentioned, your body is amazing in its ability to adapt. The trick is to learn to keep catching your body "off-guard", forcing it to adapt again and again, which means new growth and progress. The principle of Progressive Overload is used to achieve this. I have already discussed it in detail (which you can read here), but in short it simply means putting the body under new stress to force it to keep adjusting. This can be done in by various means:

  1. Never allow your body to get used to a weight. As soon as you can comfortably perform a routine without reaching failure, increase the weight your using. This way more stress on the muscles causes new growth and change.
  2. Another very effective way to force your body to change, is to lesson the rest period between your sets, putting your muscles under tension long before they are used to be trained again, stimulating more muscle breakdown and growth.
  3. Mix it up a bit. Off the top of my head I can think of at least 10 different exercises for each muscle group. This is not even taking into consideration the different variations in which you can perform each of these exercises. You'll be surprised what a difference bringing in a new exercise into your routine can make to stimulating new growth and making rapid progress. 

Just a quick last thought on forcing new growth and getting results. I know I mention it a lot, but again, but please don't be afraid to experiment. You may just "stumble" onto a routine that works wonders for you.

2. Losing Interest And Plain Boredom (solved)

Yes, doing the same thing over and over again, can become tedious and boring. Especially when performing a strenuous and exhausting activity week after week you can start losing focus and interest very quickly.

One solution that works very well, has just been mention in the previous point. Mix it up. Changing and working in new exercises not only stimulates new growth, but keep things interesting. You know the saying, "a change is as good as a holiday" ?  Well, if you are lucky enough to live in an area where you have access to more than one gym, use it! Not only does the different environments help prevent boredom wit a change of scenery, you are also exposed to different groups of people with different training styles. Perfect for keeping you motivated and stimulating new ideas.

Another very effective way to stay interested, is to find or stay focused on a role model that inspires you. If its a celebrity that you can easily find plenty of information on, that much better. You may admire the build of Zac Efron, the more muscular Dwayne Johnson or the classic bodybuilder shape of Arnold Schwarzenegger. On the female side, the classic curved but always toned body of Jennifer Lopez, the athletic and ripped Jillian Michaels or the super-fit Jessica Alba inspire millions of women worldwide. It really doesn't matter, chose whoever inspires you, look for photos of them on Google and build up your own private collection. Chances are there are also numerous videos of them on Youtube. Whenever you feel a lack of inspiration or motivation, look at your collection or favorite video. You'll be pleasantly surprised what a difference just looking at an inspirational figure and someone you admire can do for your motivation.

3. Distractions And The Demands Of Everyday Life (solved)

Although there is no denying the fact that the demands of work and family can rob you of the abundance of time you had earlier in your life, let's look at a few facts:

Despite these increase on demands on our time, we still manage find time for a lot of time for "non-essential" activities. In 2016, The New York Times found that on average,  the typical American adult spend an astonishing four and a half hours per day watching television. Things get a little better with social media, but not much. In another article from the same New York Times in 2016, it is reported that the average person spends 50 minutes a day on Facebook, by far the most popular platform. This is followed by Youtube with 17 minutes. 

All of this does not sound too bad, but if you add it all up, the average time spend on these leisure activities alone amounts to more than five and a half hours. This not even taking into consideration other social media use and additional leisure activities. Yes, these times vary among different countries, genders and age groups. But let's be very lenient and subtract 2 hours for any skeptics, still leaving more than three and a half hours still available. 

Now let's have a look at how much time you need to stay in shape. It has already been proven that you only need 90 minutes of vigorous training per week  to stay in shape. That is three workouts lasting only half an hour each! Now, you really want to argue that you are unable to find time to exercise and stay in shape? If you are more serious and committed to achieve even more ambitious results, four sessions lasting forty minutes per week are more than enough to reach almost any goal. That is less than three hours per week. (If you are looking to get started with a workout plan I can wholeheartedly recommend for men and women of any age, read this article.)

To sum up, you can probably find an excuse not to find the time to exercise and stay in shape. It has already been shown that if you really don't want to do something, you will always be able to find multiple "legitimate excuses" not to. With that said, it has been thoroughly proven that there no way you can blame a lack of time for not being able work out and stay in shape

Getting the younger generation (specifically those that are not already inspired and avid workout enthusiasts) to set time aside for exercise, is a pretty tough nut to crack. This is also a topic for a whole other discussion. I am wiling to say this much about it though. I think the most important part is education and encouraging children to get involved in physical activities and sports at an early age. I can go on, but I may tread on a few toes and wind a few people up, so lets leave it at that.

4. The Absence Of Consequences Or Accountability If You Stop Working Out (solved)

accountability

The ease with which you can give up on something when there are no real consequences or someone to answer to, is simply astonishing. Deciding to get and stay and shape, unfortunately is one of those decisions you normally take by yourself and pursue in isolation. So you can see how easy it is to cut back on your training and even give up, especially when working out starts getting difficult or you really struggle to get results.

The best solution is actually in the description of the problem. Being held accountable can be one of the main driving forces, keeping you going and pushing you through tough times and ultimately help you reach your goal. So, create that accountability.

 All of us have one or more person in our life close to us and who's opinion we value. It can be a spouse/partner, friend or sibling. Do yourself a huge favor and tell them about your decision and goals. And not just one person. Tell as many people close to you as you can manage; your partner, sibling and as many of your friends as possible. Even if you already started on your journey, tell them what you are doing and trying to achieve anyway.

This may be a bit uncomfortable and sounds self-serving, but your future self will thank you for it. Why? Simple, you created accountability. Everyone now knows about your commitments and goals. They see it when you leave for a workout, or come back late after one. It comes up in conversations, when you discuss future meetings or talk about about each other's week.

Now imagine contemplating giving up on your training. All of the sudden its not something you can do without having to answer some uncomfortable questions at the very least. You may even be chastised a bit by friends and family, especially if you were very vocal about your original decisions and goals. The mere thought of it will help you to keep going and not give up on your goals. And you will be glad you did it!

Apart from this very important step, there are a few other things you can do to help even further. Start keeping a diary, even if it is just to write down your reasons for starting and what your goals are, and keep track of small accomplishments and milestones along the way. Whenever you are in doubt and even think about giving up, you can always go back to it and remind yourself why you started in the first place and how far you've come.

As always, feel free to leave me a comment or suggestion, and remember to join my  mailing list  to get informed whenever a new article is released, as well as helpful hints & tips and news on new developments.

Until next time, take care and let me know if there a specific new topic you would like me to discuss.

Wessel

How Many Reps Heading

The Best Rep Range For Muscle Growth: Shedding Light On A Controversial Subject

How Many Reps Heading

As the heading of this article suggests, this is one very controversial subject I am about to jump into. As one fitness author once stated. If you really want to start one big bloody fight, walk into a room filled with personal trainers, strength coaches and physiological therapists, ask which rep range is the best, and then take cover!

Yes, it really is that controversial and experts in the field are very divided and just as passionate about their own personal convictions. Just to clear things up, if you are a bit in the dark about what exactly are being discussed...

The amount of repetitions (reps) performed per set of exercise to achieve the best possible result, in most cases muscle growth and strength, is the topic of conversation. (Obviously this includes the best rep range to get in shape in general and get a overall toned body.)

You can blame the whole controversy and different approaches on the 2 type of muscle fibres in your body.

Fast-Twitch And Slow-Twitch Muscle Fibres

Muscle Fibres

Fast-Twitch And Slow-Twitch Muscle Fibres are the two types of muscles found in your body. They differ quite significantly in the way they function and respond. 

Fast-twitch muscles are more abundant in the body, and also bigger in size than their slow-twitch cousins. They are also much stronger, and is used for big explosive movements, especially with heavier weights. Professional weight-lifting and sprinting are examples of where the use of fast-twitch fibres come into play. Unlike slow-twitch fibres they respond best to lower repetitions with heavier weights (typically 4-6 reps).

Not as abundant as fast-twitch fibres,  slow-twitch fibres are also the weaker of the two. However, slow-twitch fibres take much longer to fatigue, and are ideal for endurance activities like long distance running and cycling. They also respond best to higher repetitions with lighter weights (typically 16-20 reps).

Rep Ranges And The Different Schools Of Thought

With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that strength coaches and advocates of developing fast-twitch muscle fibres, strongly defend the "heavy weight, low reps" approach. A long rest between sets, normally 3-5 minutes, is followed to allow the muscles time to recuperate before the next heavy set.

Bodybuilders however, traditionally followed a "higher repetition" approach, normally between the 8-12 rep range. In general, they also follow an approach of "training to failure" with relatively heavy weights. (Training to failure means performing a set until you are unable to perform another repetition.)  Rest periods between sets are between 90 seconds and 2 minutes in general.

If you compare professional weightlifters and bodybuilders, it is very clear that bodybuilders are a lot bigger, with more defined muscles and less body fat. Yet, weightlifters are much stronger. More on that later.

To throw a third spanner in the works, there is a relatively new school of thought, advocating sets with long repetitions (16-20 reps) with very little rest in between (40 seconds or less). The argument is that the entire muscle is exercised (both fast-twitch and-slow-twitch fibres) through a process called progressive overload, resulting in muscle growth.

Making Sense Out Of The Chaos

Questions

Yes, it is very confusing to say the least. But what if I tell you that all these approaches mentioned in the previous section all have legitimacy? The only way to make sense of it all, is to break it down point by point and look at the facts:

1. Always Consider Your Ultimate Goal

Always take into consideration what the goal of the whole website is. To help men and women of all ages get and stay in shape. It may mean different things for different people. However, in general this means building some muscle, burning fat and in the process create a well-toned and healthy body. Does this mean that all the routines and principles followed by the extreme disciplines of weight training like endurance training (long repetitions) and weightlifting (short repetitions) should be completely avoided and ignored? Not at all! 

2. Progressive Overload: What It is And Why It Is So Important

This is probably the single most important principle to remember no matter what your goals are when it comes to weight training. If you want to see and keep on seeing changes in your body, you need constant Progressive Overload. But what is it and why is so important?       

In short, Progressive Overload is the continuous pressure being put on the body, forcing it to change. It can best be explained by looking at the beginner weight trainer. Whenever you start training with weights for the first time, you see your body changing very quickly, for the first 3 to 6 months anyway. Your body has never experienced weight training before, so it needs to adapt quickly to these new forces being put on it.

As we all know, the body is extremely good at adapting though. In general this a very good thing, but not so much when you want your body to keep changing. You experience this first hand when, after 3-6 months of weight training, the changes to your body starts slowing down and even come to a complete standstill. (In weightlifting terms it is commonly referred to as hitting a plateau.)  The only way for your body to keep changing, is to force it by applying more stress on it. This can be done in a variety of ways.  Increasing the weights you use, adding more reps to your sets, as well as shortening the rest periods between your sets are all methods used to stimulate progressive overload.   

Very few people dispute this principle. It is the way to reach this point where the body get stimulated enough to change, that brings me to the 3rd point.

3. Different Ideologies, Same Claim

I f you look at the advocates of short and heavy weight training, the goal is to use heavy weights which allows you you to do no more than 3-5 reps before reaching failure, using fairly quick explosive movements. This stimulates the fast-twitch fibers into growth. When a weight can be successfully lifted for 5 or more reps, the weight is increased to stimulate more growth. The principle of progressive overload is applied.

Advocates of the 8-12 rep range, aims to do the same. Slower and more controlled movements are used however, to exhaust the slow-twitch fibres and allow the fast-twitch fibres to come into play through the use of more repetitions. Again, the principle of progressive overload is applied.

Again, advocates of the 16-20 rep range also aims to do the same. Using very slow controlled movements with plenty of repetitions puts the focus primarily on slow-twitch fibres. The goal and theory is that by completely exhausting these fibres, with very little rest between sets do you get to fully stimulate the fast-twitch fibres once the former is completely fatigued. And yet again, the principle of progressive overload is applied.

Does this not leave us with the same unanswered question: Which rep range is best? Not really. We now have some clear facts and can see some familiar patterns emerging that will help determining the best option...

A Logical Conclusion

You will probably not be surprised to know that there are plenty of research supporting all 3 ideologies, as all of them are effective to some extend.

One ideology seems to stand out though. The 8-12 rep range appears to be the sweet spot. No, it is not because it is right in the middle between the other 2 more extreme viewpoints. Research backs this up, and leans heavily in favor of using this rep range with moderate weights for maximum results.

Remember the importance of stimulating both fast-and-slow-twitch fibres? Studies have shown the 8-12 rep range to put just enough stress on the slow-twitch muscles fibres to exhaust them fairly quickly before activating and putting the stress on the fast-twitch fibres. A fairly short rest period (approximately 40-50 seconds maximum) is also recommended to enhance the effect of progressive overload and stimulate the maximum amount of muscle fibre.

There are 2 other big advantages of using this rep range. First, using a high (16-20) rep range often cause your supporting muscles, joints and ligaments to tire before the bigger muscles you are targeting becomes fatigued. This causes you to stop prematurely or use too light a weight to finish your set, making it completely ineffective.

The second advantage may be even more important. Using a very heavy weight places your tendons and joints under a lot of pressure, making you more susceptible to injury. The same apples to using a high rep range, with the accumulation of reps building up unnecessary stress and tension on your joints and tendons. 

A Final Thought

So, we have determined the 8-12 rep range to be the most effective range for the best results (with which many experts will disagree no doubt). Does this mean the other schools of thought can be completely be disregarded? Not at all...

Remember your body's amazing ability to adapt? Well, even wit this "ideal" 8-12 rep range routine and even continuously adjusting your weights to keep you muscles stimulated through progressive overload, you will still find yourself at a sticking point or plateau at some point, where you just can't seem to make any progress.

This is the perfect time to set aside a week for some heavy weight, low repetition lifting. Making a sudden change like this has shown to "catch your muscles off-guard"  and stimulate fresh growth. You may even want to add a second or third week of heavy training before returning to your usual routine. As I mentioned in other articles, don't be afraid to experiment.

A lot more can be said and debated about the topic of the best rep range, but I trust you now have more clarity on the issue that will help guide you through your workouts. 

As always, feel free to leave me a comment or suggestion, and remember to join my  mailing list  to get informed whenever a new article is released, as well as helpful hints & tips and news on new developments.

Until next time, take care and let me know if there a specific new topic you would like me to discuss.

Wessel