How To Warm Up Before Lifting Weights : A Complete Guide

how to warm up before lifting weights

The million dollar question, how to warm up before lifting weights.

Should you sit and do some arm circles or slap hug yourself with your hands?

What about spending 30 minute foam rolling every inch of your body? (Well.. maybe not EVERY inch…).

Or maybe you just don’t warm up at all and say f*ck it?!

Don’t worry, in the article, you will learn everything you need to know about warming up before you lift front to back.


Well, you will know if you stick around for the whole article that is.. If you leave half way through (yea, I’m talking to you) then you won’t.

So for the sake of you actually learning how to warm up before lifting weights and for the sake of me not writing this article for no reason..

Stick around for the whole thing, mkay?

How To Warm Up Before Lifting Weights

Main Modalities Of Warming Up

Before we dive into exactly what you should do the warm up, let me first cover the 4 main modalities of warming up in my professional opinion.

  1. Foam Rolling
  2. Stretching ( Static vs Dynamic )
  3. “Activation”
  4. Warm Up Sets

As a bonus at the end, I will also talk about doing cardio as a warm up before your lifting.

Let’s break them down piece by piece.

Foam Rolling

If you have ever been into a commercial gym you have for sure witnessed the foam rollers.

They sit there, sometimes on their phone, laying back on a foam roller “rolling their back out, bro!”.

Kinda looks like you’re taking a nap and texting to me, bro.. But..

Now, I joke, not all people who foam roll are like that.

You will also have the guy who foam rolls his right glute medius (only his right.. Not even the left yet..) for 26 minutes before he goes and does one set of squats.

Okay, I joke a little bit more, but let’s really talk about foam rolling.


Is It Beneficial?

Yes and no.

It may be beneficial for two main reasons, both which people don’t usually think about when they think about foam rolling.

When someone thinks about foam rolling, they think you are sitting there breaking up your muscle tissue with this oversized foam cylinder.

That’s not really what happens.

According to this systematic review and Meta Analysis HERE , foam rolling changes come primarily from

  • Increases soft tissue elasticity
  • Increases pain threshold
  • Stretch tolerance

What does this mean?

This means no real structural adaptations or changes occur, aka, your muscles aren’t getting “less stiff”, you are just in the short term changing your Range Of Motion (ROM) for that ONE particular workout session.

Also, long term differences in pain perception are noticed through longer duration foam rolling (4+ weeks) which can also lead to changes in ROM.

Which, in my opinion, can be a good or bad thing.

Okay, so foam rolling may give you a larger range of motion…

But, for that workout, do you ACTUALLY have that range of motion? Or… Do you artificially have that range of motion because you foam rolled before hand.

A lot of people will need to foam roll for 10 15 20 minutes to “get loose enough” to do a certain exercise or lift a certain weight on a certain exercise.


Let me break something to you.


If you need to foam roll for 20 minutes to hit 200lbs on your squat, you need to not be squatting 200lbs.

You need to work on improving your mobility / stability from other exercises, fix your form, or lift less weight.

Therefore in my opinion foam rolling as a tool to go lift heavy weight or gain a new range of motion so that you can overload the muscle with high intensity I think can actually do more harm than good.

If you are overloading your body with heavy weights in a range of motion you don’t ACTUALLY have, you only artificially have for a brief period of time because of foam rolling, that can lead to injury.

Your body doesn’t actually have that range of motion so for you to go there with heavy loads, usually it backfires.

Now, on the flip side, if let’s say you foam roll as a tool to gain that new range of motion and pick a weight that is appropriate for that exercise / new range of motion, I think that is a different story.


For example, foam rolling your quads to be able to get down into a front foot elevated split squat ( If you don’t know what that is, you can click HERE ) with either bodyweight or “light weight”, whatever that is for you, to strengthen your body in that new range of motion in a safe way?

Now you’re talking.

Therefore, I don’t think foam rolling is either “good” or “bad”. I think it is merely a tool that if used correctly, can help.

If used incorrectly though, can cause harm.

My Two Cents

I think foam rolling could potentially be a useful tool if you are someone who simply enjoys doing it or it “makes you feel better”.

If it makes you feel better, who the hell am I to tell you to not do it.

I would say though, I would spend at max no more than 5 minutes foam rolling. That’s for your entire body, not just one muscle group.

So maybe 30-60 seconds on your glutes, 30-60 seconds on your quads, and 30-60 seconds on your hamstrings, and 30-60 seconds of calves.

Cool, then get into your lower body workout. 2-5 minutes of foam rolling is more than enough.

There is just not enough evidence behind it for me to suggest you do anything more than that.

Side Note!

I know this article is about how to warm up before lifting but let me just say this.

Foam rolling I think could potentially be a useful tool for AFTER your workout.

This is because, as somewhat mentioned above, foam rolling can trigger your PNS (Parasympathetic nervous system ).

Basically this is your “rest and digest” nervous system. This helps get you out of fight or flight.

When you are working out, you are in fight or flight mode. Once you are DONE working out, you want to get out of that as quickly as possible to be able to start the recovery process from that workout.

Throwing in some again short duration foam rolling can be a way to potentially kick on your PNS, start that recovery process, and help you maximize recovery post workout.

Personally, I don’t foam roll post workout because well I’m lazy.. But I do think there is more merit to it POST workout than pre for this reason.

Stretching ( Static Vs Dynamic )

how to warm up before lifting weight stretching

One of the most common questions I get asked is WHAT ABOUT STRETCHING?

Yes, in all caps, because that’s how people ask me.

Let me first break down stretching into the two forms, passive and active.


Passive or “Static” Stretching

Passive stretching is the form of stretching where you really aren’t actively using your muscles to stretch. You are using some sort of tool to help you stretch.


For example, if you are lying on your back, you bring your leg to your chest, and you pull on it with your arm.

This is passive stretching because you aren’t actively contracting your muscles to move the joint, you are using an apparatus to help aid you.

For this article, this can also be referred to as your “passive range of motion”. How far can you move your joint passively.

Active Stretching

Active Stretching would be the opposite of passive. You are actively using your muscles to move your joint through a range of motion.

For example, lying on your back and moving your leg towards your chest as much as you can WITHOUT any help.

how to warm up before lifting weights stretch

This is also referred to as your active range of motion.

Notice how in these two pictures, the passive stretching, I am getting my leg much farther when I pull on it vs when I don’t?

That’s the difference between my passive vs active range of motion.

Remember when I said foam rolling can in the short term increase your range of motion, somewhat artificially.

This is what I meant. You are using an aid to increase the range of motion, but do you actively have control over that range of motion? Those two things are different things.

Anywho, back to stretching.

Passive Vs Dynamic

To piggy back right off of this, there are two main forms of stretching.

Static vs Dynamic.

Static is pretty self explanatory. This is your standard hamstring stretch I showed you above where you are pulling your leg up, or laying on your back pulling your knee to your chest.

The second form of stretching is dynamic stretching.

This is where you are taking your joints through your active full range of motion instead.

An example may be something like a sprinter starter, here below!

One is stationary, the other is moving, to keep things quite simple.

My Two Cents

Now that we know the difference in stretching, when it comes to how to warm up before lifting weights, I would stick with Dynamic Stretching.

The reason is because you are taking your joints through an active full range of motion.

Passive stretching is cool and all, but again, you don’t actually have that range of motion you are working on.

So even if you can pull your leg back farther, that doesn’t mean you can control that range of motion.

You don’t want more range of motion just to have more range of motion. You want more range of motion that you can control.

Getting lower in a squat is of no use if you can’t control it. You will just end up rounding your lower back, caving in your knees, or compensating one of any number of ways.

You want to actively control the range of motion, therefore, dynamic stretching is going to take your joints and muscles through that active range of motion.

Again, I wouldn’t spend much time on this here either (this will be a common theme, so stay tuned haha).

I would maybe once again spend 2-5 minutes MAX dynamic stretching, if you are going to do it at all.

You don’t need much when it comes to “getting your joints and muscles ready to go”. Most people way overdo their dynamic stretching.

Also, passive or “static” stretching has been also shown to decrease performance in the gym, up to potentially 8% .

Now, is this a MASSIVE deal? Not sure, maybe. If you are a gen pop person, maybe it isn’t a massive deal. But if you are someone who takes your workouts very serious, then this can make or break some PR’s that day.

And overall, it just isn’t the most optimal. Therefore, I’d stick to mainly dynamic stretching if you are going to do it.

Yet personally.. I wouldn’t work in a ton of dynamic stretching work. Mainly because of what we are going to talk about in the next section. Keep reading.

“Activation”

The next thing we can touch on when it comes to how to warm up before lifting weights is what I call “activation”.

Well, really, I didn’t come up with this term, many other people did before me.

I also use it in quotations because there is like stigma around “activating” your muscles.

Heard of “glute activation” before? This craze you need to “activate” your glutes or else they won’t work?!

Yea, no, not true.

Your muscles are always working. Especially your glutes. If your glutes weren’t working, you wouldn’t be able to stand up from a chair and walk around.

So, your glutes are fine.

Now, with that being said, I actually personally do think there is some merit to “activating” your muscles before a workout.

“Activation”, More So “Contraction”

As opposed to calling it “activating” your muscles, I like to just simply think of it as doing exercises to contract your muscles through a full range of motion.

This does a few things

  • It maps the motor pattern from your brain to your muscles to get those muscles “firing” correctly for the workout ahead
  • It gets some blood flow to the areas you are looking to work
  • You can not only take your joints through a full range of motion before your workout, but you can do it in a fashion while you are also contracting your muscles with some light resistance


All of these things can lead to..

  • Decreased risk of injury
  • Increased workout performance (ie more weight lifted, more reps done, etc)
  • Increased active range of motion

Therefore, this is my personal favorite way on how to warm up before lifting weights.

Let’s go over some more in depth examples below.

My Two Cents

This is the main modality of “warming up” I would do before your workout.

I think this is the most effective, most time efficient, and best bang for your buck way to warm up before a workout.

I usually split this up into two sections of the body. Lower and upper.

This coincides with the way I program for all of my clients and Clubhouse members, we usually run 3 or 4 day splits where we do a lot of lower and upper body workouts.

I will cover some examples of warm up exercises for both lower and upper body.

Lower Body

There are a main few muscles you should be looking to warm up before lower body are going to be..

  • Glutes
  • Core
  • MAYBE Hamstrings

I put hamstring as a maybe because most people usually can get away with just focusing on the first 2.

Adding in core here because when you think about lower body exercises.. Squats, deadlifts, lunges, RDL’s, etc.

That usually involves a lot of core bracing and strength, right?

Activating your core before a lower body workout can be a great way you can not only be stronger, but also keep your lower back safe and injury free.

What are some ways you could warm up each of these?

So glad you asked, I can link some examples below.


Glutes

A simple glute bridge is a GREAT way to warm up your glutes before a lower body workout.

.

This may be somewhat of a “dynamic stretch”, but you are adding resistance with the band. One of my fav glute warm ups.

This exercise is a great way to add in some stabilization component to your glute bridge.

For these exercises, 2 sets of 6-10 reps would work just fine.

Core

Many exercises can work here for core, but I like working in some anti movement exercises like these plank transfers

The pallof press is another favorite of mine.

You could even work in some reverse crunches as a way to get your core “firing” before your lift.

For these exercises, 2 sets of 5-8 reps would work great.

Hamstrings

As I said, most people will be golden with glutes and core, but the elevated hamstring bridge is a great way to get some contractions of your hamstrings.

This can be a great warm up (or even a great regular exercise, LOL!)

For these exercises, 2 sets of 6-8 reps would work great.

Remember

I put 2 sets of 6-10 reps for most of those exercises.

Remember, this is a WARM UP.

The whole point of how to warm up before lifting weights is to get READY for the workout, not start the workout!

You aren’t supposed to be killing yourself with super high intensity here. You are supposed to be simply WARMING UP your body for the upcoming intensity.

Yet you don’t want to burn yourself out by spending too much time in your warm up exercises.

Sample Warm Up

Therefore a very simple warm up could be

Glute bridge 2 sets of 8 reps

Pallof Press 2 sets of 8 reps each side

Bam.

That would take you maybe 5 minutes max.

That’s about how much time I’d spend on a warm up before your workout. Your time spent during your workout should be spent working out, not, warming up.

Upper Body Warm Up

For how to warm up before lifting weights for your upper body, here are the main muscle groups I would look to.

  • Upper back (traps, rhomboids, scapula as a whole )
  • Shoulder joint complex (simply moving your shoulder joint through a full range of motion)
  • Lats
  • Core ( maybe)

I wrote core in there because you could in fact add in core if you wanted to as well. I won’t create a separate tab for these as the examples are above.


Some examples of each would be…

Upper Back


For each exercise, 2 sets of 6-8 reps would be plenty.

Remember, the important part here is you are not trying to “tax” your muscles. Simply contract and be controlled with your moves.

Shoulder Joint

For each exercise, 2 sets of 5-8 reps is more than enough.

Lats

For each exercise, 2 sets of 6-10 reps is more than enough.

Upper Body Warm Up

A very easy and quick upper body workout could look like..

1a. Band Face Pull 2×8

1b. Band Up & Over 2×6

1c. Tall Kneeling lat pullover 2×8

That rounds as the “Activation” section of the warm ups.

If you do that for each of your lower and upper body workouts, you will be setting yourself up for some major success.

Now, onto the other very important part I like to include in my “warm ups” for myself and my clients.

Warm Up Sets

Another critical piece of how to warm up before lifting weights is to be sure you include warm up sets into your training.

If you aren’t familiar, there is a difference between a working set vs a warm up set.

( I wrote about this in depth on THIS ARTICLE HERE if you want to give it a read ).

Essentially let’s say you are supposed to 3×6 reps on your squats.

That is three WORKING Sets you are supposed to be completing with your workouts.

A working set is a set you take 1-3 reps shy of failure. This is a very hard, challenging, and almost grueling set.

Yes, that is every working set, not just the last set of that 3×6.. If it says 3×6, that is 3 working sets taken very close to failure.

That is what a working set should be.

But, I don’t expect or want you to head into your 3×6 doing that right away.

That’s a great way to get injured.

If you are doing let’s say 200lbs for 6 reps on squats and that is what you want to be your WORKING weight…

You will do some warm up sets BEFORE getting to that weight.


It might look like…

Set 1 – WARM UP SET – the bar for 5 reps

Set 2 – WARM UP SET – 100lbs for 4 reps

Set 3 – WARM UP SET 150lbs for 3 reps

Set 4 – 1st WORKING SET – 200lbs for 6 reps


So, your “set 4” would actually be set 1 of your 3 sets of 6 reps on squats.

Yet, you did warm up sets to work up to that working set.

You should be doing this for your exercises as well and that is worked into your “warm up”.

This is a great way to get your body warmed up and used to the movement you are doing to once again..

  • Stay injury free
  • Lift more weight
  • Do more reps
  • Work the right muscles


& on and on.

Warm up sets are something you should work into your training as a part of your warm up.

How Many Warm Up Sets Should You Do?

Well, this somewhat depends.

This depends on your..

  • Exercise
  • How much weight you are lifting


There are 3 main forms of exercises. Compound, accessory, and isolation.

Compound movements are your bigger movements like squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc.

Accessory movements are movements like lunges, RDL’s, lat pulldowns, rows, etc.

Isolation movements are moves like bicep curls, tricep extensions, leg curls, etc.

For your compound movements, you will probably have 2-5 warm up sets depending on how much weight you are lifting.

The more weight you lift, the more warm up sets you will have.

For accessory movements, I would have 1-2 warm up sets.

For isolation movements, I would typically just stick to 1 warm up set and get into your working sets rather quickly.

If you need help with compound, accessory, and isolation moves, you can listen to this podcast I did HERE that goes over all of this in depth as well.

How To Warm Up Before Lifting Weights : Cardio As A Warm Up?

how to warm up before lifting weights cardio

As promised, the last part I will talk about for how to warm up before lifting weights is speaking on cardio.

People will ask me if I think they should do cardio as a warm up before their workout.


Here is what I will say.

If you like doing 5-10 minutes of cardio on the treadmill or bike before your lift, mozeltov, go get em.

Do I think you need to do it? No, not really. I think the activation work and warm up sets are usually more than enough.

Yet if you like doing cardio beforehand, then perfect, go for it.

I wouldn’t typically recommend you doing more than 10-15 minutes though because you don’t want to burn up too much fuel or glycogen before your workout to where it is going to hinder your performance.

You lifting weights take a lot more physical and mental stress than walking on the treadmill or doing the bike does.

Therefore you want to be as fresh as you can heading into that workout. Doing 30 40 60 minutes of cardio before hand is inherently going to take away from that workout, which means your performance decreases.

If your performance decreases, then you lift less weight.. Do less reps.. Have worse form..

All of this then leads to less results and an increased risk of injury in the long run.

To avoid all of this, and to optimize your training, I would usually leave the cardio for AFTER the workout if you want to do that.

Again, 5 or 10 minutes of low intensity cardio before hand just to get some blood flowing or what not is one thing.

But any sort of longer duration or high intensity cardio work I would leave for AFTER the workout.

Make sense?

How To Warm Up Before Lifting Weights: Extra Note

You just learned my preferred way of warming up is through “activation” exercises and warm up sets.

Now, I will say, this I am writing this article for the general population of people.

The information in this article is what I believe a LARGE majority of people would benefit from following.

Though I am not naive that of course some individuals may need some slight extra direct work to specific joints.

For example, if someone has had a hip injury, they might add in an extra hip mobility exercise.

Or, if someone has had a shoulder issue, they may work in an extra shoulder mobility exercise.

I am not writing an article for a specific individual, I am writing an article for the masses to consume.

Yet even with this being said, I still do not believe that you need to be spending more than 5-10 minutes max total warming up.

How To Warm Up Before Lifting Weights : That’s It!

PHEW.

That was a lot.

If you stuck around for the whole thing, you should be damn proud of yourself. I hope you learned a ton from this article.

Thank you for reading and if this was a bit of information overload, you can feel free to look into our training options below to let us take the guesswork out of your training for you.

You can check out our Clubhouse HERE, which is my group coaching program where I write a new, in depth, scientifically designed workout program each month.

Or, if you are interested in more 1:1 coaching, you can click HERE To fill out our application form and see if we may be a good fit for coaching together.

Again, hope the article helped, and look to hear from you soon.

-E

How To Do A Barbell Bench Press : Your Comprehensive Guide

how to do a barbell bench press

In this guide I am going to show you step by step how to do a barbell bench press.

The bench press is one of those “staple” movements that I believe every lifter should know how to perform correctly.

Yes, every lifter, not just the meathead guy who is looking to get all jacked up.

Male, female, young, old.

It is a fundamental movement pattern that can be great for developing upper body strength as a whole.

So no matter who you are or where you are in this lifting journey, I know this guide can help you out.

Without any more blabbering, let’s get right into it.

How To Do A Barbell Bench Press : Step By Step

Step 1 – Lie On The Bench

You may think this is a pretty simple, basic step.

Lie on the bench.. Ok Eric?

But, there is some nuance to this that you want to ensure you get correct.

A lot of people will actually slide too far up on the bench, putting them in a disadvantageous position.

This is because when you unrack the bar, you will have next to no room to actually perform the movement correctly.

You will more than likely bring the bar too far down or too far up on your body.

Your elbows will either have to flare out super wide or you will feel like the barbell is about you topple down in front of you, leaving a not so pretty scene.

So when you get set up on the bench, make sure you get set up to where your eyes are around in line with the barbell / maybe even a little bit behind the barbell.

how to do a barbell bench press where to lie down at

You don’t want to be directly underneath it, you want your arms to be somewhat “reaching back” towards it to grab and unrack it.

See how here my arms are reaching back towards it and then I am unracking it into position.

Step 2 – Set Your Feet

Um, Eric.. A guide on how to do a barbell bench press and you are telling me what to do with my feet?

^ that was probably your thought just now, I know, I am a mind reader, duh.

The answer is yes to that question my friend and here is why.

While yes, the bench press is in fact an “upper body movement” for sure, one of the critical components that is most overlooked is having proper leg drive.

You want to have a strong, steady, stable surface to push from, right?

If your legs aren’t involved in the movement, how are you going to have a strong surface to push from?

That’s like if you were to go and push someone, but you were super off balance and or not sturdy.

Not only would you not push them, YOU would probably fall over as a result of having nothing to push from.

The same goes for a bench press.

When it comes to leg drive on a bench press, I personally like to have my feet flat on the ground, kind of digging my heels into the ground.

I would walk your feet up as far as they can without arching your lower back or lifting your butt off the bench (we will talk about that later in this guide) and set up shop for the bench press.

Then, think about bracing your core (if you need to learn how to brace your core, read this article HERE).

As well as squeezing your glutes like you are trying to trap a 100$ bill between your butt cheeks.

You should also then think about pushing the ground away from you with your feet, again, without lifting your butt off the bench.

With that set up right there, I believe for most people this gives them the best leg drive they can have.

Now, I know some people may not have as long of legs as I do.

For that, I would say you may be able to stack a weight plate underneath your feet while you do this to still allow you to have that flat and stable surface to push from, just simply a bit higher up.

You will also see some people come up on their toes as they bench press.

I don’t want to say this is inherently bad or wrong, because it isn’t.

It’s just not my preferred way to do it as I believe it cuts out some leg drive. Again, imagine if you were to push someone on your toes vs pushing someone with your feet flat, dug into the ground hard.

Which do you think would be more effective?

Step 3 – Brace / Use Your Lats

Again, one of the most underrated and underutilized tools in a bench press is using your lats.

Once more, yes this is a “chest” exercise per say, but that doesn’t mean your back isn’t going to work.

During a bench press, you want to be sure you can engage and brace your lats, to do a few things..

  1. Help brace your core that much more because your lats are a part of your “core” musculature to a degree
  2. Keep your elbows from flaring out too wide (we will talk about why later on)
  3. Keep your shoulders from rounding forward and causing very, very painful front shoulder pain
  4. Create an even stronger, stable base to be able to push up to lift the most weight possible

How you brace your lats is actually quite simple.

Again, I will drop a video here below of it for the visual learners.

But essentially I want you to think about doing two things.

First, think about shoving your shoulders down and back into your back pockets while you kind of “wrap” your shoulders around the bench.

You want to almost think about creating an arch in your mid to upper back while you do this on the bench.

I should be able to fit 2-4 fingers in between your mid to upper back and the bench.

Then, second, think about squeezing the air out of a tennis ball between your armpit.

Or, think about breaking the bar in half with your hands.


With those few things, you will have braced and engaged your lats, getting you finally ready to perform the movement!

Step 4 – Grab The Bar ( Where To Place Your Hands)

When talking about gripping the barbell, everyone may be different here.

Some people like a bit wider, some people like a bit closer in.


For a general rule of thumb, I would say grabbing the barbell a little bit outside shoulder width is a good place to start.

I would play around with it slightly though. If a little wider feels or little closer better for you, cool.

The one thing I would caution against is sometimes I see people go too far or too close and it ends up putting a lot of stress on the shoulders / wrist.

Therefore I would start with slightly outside shoulder width and work either slightly in or slightly out from there depending on what feels best for you.

Step 5 – Unracking The Barbell

Now starts the fun part of how to do a barbell bench press.

You need to be able to unrack the barbell correctly, because if not, you will put yourself at a massive disadvantage before you even start the movement.

I mentioned earlier that you need to be reaching back to the barbell. Your arms should not be directly above you and pick it off the rack.

You almost want to think of your arms like a lever, taking the barbell off the rack and levering it into position.

See that right here once again…

You want to get it so that you position the bar slightly above your sternum level (closer towards your neck area than your belly button area).

Towards the lower part of your chest.

You then want to make sure your elbows once again are not flaring out wide, you want those elbows to be “tucked” as much as you can.


I used “tucked” in quotations there because you will only be able to tuck the elbows so much with the barbell because you can’t move your hands.

Because well, it’s on a fixed barbell.. But you can once again engage your lats and get those elbows “tucked” think more at a 45 degree angle as opposed to a 90 degree angle.

I would then take a big breath into your belly, brace your core, then from here you are set, braced, and ready to now perform the press!!

Step 6 – Lowering The Weight Down

Phew, we are FINALLY ready to do the movement.

Crazy how in depth just the set up is, isn’t it?

Have you ever thought about the bench press this long in your life? No, this is just me obsessing about fitness way more than the average person?

Cool Cool.. figured so..

Anyhwo, now you are ready to perform the bench press.

This part is “relatively” simple, but again, there are nuances.

First, you don’t want to think about going directly down and up.

This is because most people who do this, they end up flaring their elbows out wide at a 90 degree angle as opposed to keeping it tucked more towards that 45 degree angle ish.

We can talk more about why this is bad later on, but for right now, just think about NOT going straight up and down.

Rather, think about lowering the weight not directly straight down, but down and a tad bit in front of you.

So think you are lowering it more towards your sternum / lower chest area, as opposed to your neck area.

This will ensure you keep your elbows where they should be, as well as keep your shoulders healthy for the long haul.

As well as when you are lowering the weight down, please remember to keep your shoulders pulled down into your back pocket and keep the slight arch in your upper back.

Please.


The #1 reason injuries occur during a bench press is because people go down, do not keep the arch in their back, round their shoulders forward, and this creates a ton of unnecessary and unwanted force inside your rotator cuff and shoulder joint.

Then, since their shoulders round forward, they then compromise by flaring their elbows out wide, putting even more stress on the shoulder joint / rotator cuff as well.

Therefore it is paramount that you keep your shoulders tucked down and back into your back pockets, keep the slight arch in your upper to mid back, and lowering the barbell down to your lower chest as opposed to mid or upper chest.

Step 7 – Pushing The Weight Back Up

So for this step in how to do a barbell bench press, again it may seem simple, but there are specific steps I want you to take.

First, I don’t even want you to think about pressing the weight up necessarily.

Weird, I know, but stick with me.

I want you to think about

#1 pushing the ground away from you (leg drive)

#2 pressing the weight through the ceiling

This will give you some internal focus to actually make the movement easier because if you just think about “getting the weight off your chest” you will be less explosive than if you focus on what I laid out above.

Then, I want you to do the opposite of what you did with the lowering portion.

In the lowering portion I said lower down and slightly in front, with the press, I want you to press up and slightly behind you.


Slightly. I don’t need you pressing all the way back to the rack.

More so just don’t think you are pressing solely straight up and down, you want to have a slight arc with the bar path as it travels up and down.

A little bit in front on the way down.. A little bit behind on the way up.

Step 8 – Re Racking The Barbell

This step is pretty self explanatory yet nonetheless lets quickly cover it.

Once you finish however many reps you are doing you are going to rerack the barbell.

Again, you are going to re rack it by letting it drive slowly behind you and placing it on the rack.

Remember, to unrack it you reached behind you slightly and brought it out in front of you right?

To rerack it you are going to bring it slightly behind you and rack it like this.

This may feel a tad bit weird at first, but I promise the rack will be there and you will be able to set it right down.

How To Do A Barbell Bench Press : Most Common Mistakes

Whew, okay, that was a lot!

Now that we have gone step by step, let’s cover some of the most common mistakes on how to do a barbell bench press.

Mistake 1 – Lifting Butt Off The Bench

how to do a barbell bench press common mistake

Yep, that is a picture of ME, the author of this guide, making a mistake!

Shocking, right?! Even professionals make mistakes?!

Yep!

Now I corrected this shortly after, but nonetheless, this is a mistake you don’t want to make.

You want to use leg drive, but you want to use it in a way where your butt does not come off the bench.

If you find your butt coming off the bench too much, I’d either re adjust your feet position or lower the weight.

Oftentimes we lift our butt because the weight we are using is heavy AF and we can’t keep proper form while doing it.

So, we use our lift our butt to compensate!

It’s okay to slightly back off the weight if need be for right now to get the form right.

In the long run, you will get stronger by having proper form and be able to lift that weight no problem…

It just takes patience, my friend.

Mistake 2 – Flaring Elbows Out Wide

We talked about this a bit earlier, but you do not want to have your elbows flared out wide at a 90 degree angle.

You want to keep them tucked as much as you can. Again, you can only “tuck them” so much with a fixed barbell in your hand.

Yet you still want to be sure you are not letting the elbows flare out because this is where gnarly shoulder impingement happens.

This is basically your upper arm jamming into your shoulder joint and it just doesn’t create for a very fun scenario.

The way you correct this is by

  • Keeping your shoulders pulled down and back into your back pockets
  • Keeping a slight arch in your upper to mid back
  • Following the bar path we mentioned earlier, not straight up and down, a slight arc each way

Mistake 3 – Rounding Shoulders At The Bottom

Again, I know we briefly touched on this, but once more please don’t let this happen.

I don’t need the front of your shoulders absolutely screaming from doing bench press anymore.

Trust me, I dealt with that for too long as well!!

To fix this, do all of the 3 things we mentioned above in the previous correction / mistake cycle.

How To Do A Barbell Bench Press : That’s A Wrap!

Well, that’s all I got for you today in this guide for how to do a barbell bench press!

I will also say, I know that some people are visual learners, so for that I am going to drop here below an in depth video of me going over the bench press as well.

I hope both the video, written words, and pictures helped you out in getting your form down pat.

If you liked this article, feel free to check out some of my others where I go over exercises super in depth just like this.


As well as if you are interested in getting some coaching myself or my team,

Feel free to check out my Clubhouse HERE or apply for 1:1 coaching with our team HERE.

We take out all of the guesswork for you when it comes to your nutrition, exercise, accountability, everything.

Hope to hear from you soon,

-E

What Is The Best Rep Range For Muscle Growth?

best rep range for muscle growth

In this article you are about to read, I am going to clearly and concisely lay out the best rep range for muscle growth.

I am somebody who tries to spend their time in the gym in the most efficient way possible.

If I am going to give up 45 60 75 min of my day in order to get a workout in, it better be yielding the result that I want.

If the result is muscle building, then there are certain protocols you can and should use in order to achieve that results.

One of them is the best rep range to use to make sure your time in the gym isn’t wasted for no gainz, bro.

No, but really, let’s make sure we take the time to learn this so your workouts can be worth the time and effort you put in, shall we?

Best Rep Range For Muscle Growth

How Does Muscle Growth Occur?

I think the right way to go about beginning to talk about the best rep range for muscle growth is to first talk about how muscle growth actually occurs.

I want to touch on a view different topics that are all going to play a massive role in building muscle, as well as themes throughout this article.

Progressive Overload

I am going to keep this short and sweet, but only because I have already written an entire in depth article about progressive overload on my website as well.


You can check that out HERE if you would like.

Yet for the “cliffnotes” version, progressive overload is very simply…

Doing more over a period of time.

So if 4 months ago you were lifting 10lbs for 8 reps, you better not still be lifting 10lbs for 8 reps today.

You better be increasing the weight you are lifting or the reps you are doing (to a degree, we will talk about this a bit later on!).

Let’s say now you are doing 25lbs for 8 reps, awesome progress man!

Or if last week you did 10lbs for 8 reps, cool.

Next week, you should try to look to do 10lbs for 9 reps. Or 12.5lbs for 8 reps.

This concept of progressive overload is quite frankly an oversimplified one, yet, it is one of the most important ones.

It is just making sure you are doing more “work” over a period of time. In this case, “work” is described as doing more reps or weight in the topic of building muscle.

Why does this need to happen?

Because as I have mentioned in previous articles, for your body to change you need to put a stress on it that is great enough to elicit an adaptation response.

Aka, in order for your body to CHANGE!

If 4 months ago you were lifting the 10lbs for 8 reps, and you are doing still doing that to this day, your body has no reason to keep changing.

It has already adapted to that! Your body doesn’t need to keep changing, it already changed enough to withstand that level of stress you are placing on it.

It did it’s job and it doesn’t need to do more than that. Remember, your body wants to maintain something called homeostasis.


This is essentially staying the exact same. Doesn’t wanna lose or gain anything, it wants to stay right where it’s at because that is the easiest and most efficient way to keep you alive.

YOU are the one who wants to build muscle, therefore YOU are the one who needs to create a stress great enough to elicit an adaptation response.

Which, is why, you need this progressive overload to happen.

Again, if you want more info on this as it is a crucial topic to understand, check out this article HERE or video version HERE.

Mechanical Tension

The next part to discuss when discussing the best rep range for muscle growth is mechanical tension.

To define mechanical tension..

In simple terms, Mechanical Tension can be defined as a force normalized to the area over which it acts..” (Schoenfeld, 30).

In my own personal definition, I just like to think of it as how much tension and force are you creating inside your muscle fibers when exercising.

Think about when you are doing a bicep curl.

How much tension and force are you creating inside that bicep muscle when you are doing that curl?

Are you just kind of dogging the movement, not really pushing yourself, and not putting in a ton of effort?

Or, is that bicep curl you are doing CHALLENGING.

This determines how much muscle is going to be built in that specific muscle.


High mechanical tension = more muscle growth.

Low mechanical tension = less muscle growth.


So the more force you produce within a given muscle is correlated to the amount of muscle growth you will potentially be able to see.

How can you create mechanical tension?

Well, again, without turning this article into a science research paper (because that is probably not why you came here!)

You can create mechanical tension through load (the amount of weight you lift).

The higher the weight you are lifting, the more mechanical tension you create inside a muscle.

So you lifting 100lbs for 5 reps is typically going to induce more mechanical tension inside a muscle than you lifting say 50lbs for 20 reps.

Though, mechanical tension can also be somewhat impacted by the duration of loading as well.

Potentially to a lesser extent, but it is still created.

Think like lifting with a little bit lighter weight and higher rep sets here.

So wait a minute, both heavy weight and low reps, plus, light weight and high reps, can induce mechanical tension?

So that means both are viable options for the best rep range for muscle growth?

Yes, because there is another way to produce high amounts of mechanical tension.

Let’s talk about it.

The Best Rep Range For Muscle Growth

They All Work!

Here is the honest answer to this question.

Technically, you can build muscle in any rep range.

Light weights for high reps technically can build muscle.

Heavy weights for low reps technically can build muscle.

Moderate weights for moderate reps technically can build muscle.

They all work (though, stay tuned, because there is a “best” one you will figure out later on!).

There is one key denominator that has to be present though.

This Is The Caveat.

You have to take your sets close to failure.

This is the caveat.

You can build muscle in any of these rep ranges so as long as you take the set close to failure because that is what triggers a high level of mechanical tension inside the muscle.

So if you are doing a bicep curl for 6 reps and you take it close to failure, you will have high mechanical tension, and you will be able to build muscle.

If you are doing bicep curls for sets of 20, and you take it close to failure, you will also have high mechanical tension and be able to build muscle!

Now, what do I mean when I say going close to failure?

Great question.

This is something 99% of the average gym goer really doesn’t comprehend, and it’s a shame, because it may be the most important thing.

I am going to put a video here below of me performing a set that is taken close to failure, then, we can talk about it after.

.

In this video I am doing a 1 arm landmine row or a “Meadows” row, in honor of John Meadows, RIP.

I want you to notice something about this set that can make you look to understand what it means to “go close to failure”.

  • Notice the speed of the reps. I am doing about 8 reps here. Look at the speed of reps 1,2,3 and 4.

They are moving at a pretty good pace right?

No real “struggle” yet.

Now, go back and look at the last couples of reps, reps 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Notice how I was moving the weight up on the concentric portion (concentric just means on the way up, so think up on a bicep curl or up on a shoulder press) at a good speed.

Yet as the reps got farther and farther into the set, the speed on the way up started to slow down. Involuntarily, I might add.

Meaning I was not trying to slow down on the way up.

It was purely happening because my muscles were starting to get fatigued and I was pushing close the failure.

The last rep or two you can really tell the speed slows down.

THAT, my friend, is how you know if you are truly close to failure or not.


If the speed on your last couple of reps starts to involuntarily slow down on the way up,
then your muscles are getting close to failure.

.

If not, then you aren’t close to failure, and you either have to lift more weight or do more reps to get there.

Also take note of my form here.

I didn’t massively start to break down form and hump the air to get the weight up.

I was simply taking the set close to form failure.

If you are looking to build muscle, this is one of, if not the most important skill you are going to need to understand how to do.

If not you won’t be able to ever maximize your muscle growth, no matter what reps you are doing.

And before you ask me…

Yes, this is what EVERY SINGLE WORKING SET should look like.


If you don’t know the difference between a working set and a warm up set, or what a working set is, click HERE to listen to this podcast where I explain it in depth.

Seriously, I get that question upwards of 20-50x per day. The answer is in that podcast if you give it a listen.

Now, What Is The “Best” Rep Range For Muscle Growth?

Okay, so we know that technically speaking you can build muscle in any rep range as long as you go close to failure.

Cool, but that still doesn’t mean there isn’t a best rep range for muscle growth, because there is.

Typically I like to breakdown rep ranges into 3 categories.

Heavy” – 1-5 reps

Moderate – 6-12 reps

Light – 12-20+ reps

( “heavy” is in quotation marks because we will talk about this later!).

Let’s break down the pros and potential cons of each rep range in their relationship to muscle growth.

Heavy 1-5 Reps

When you are lifting in the 1-5 rep range, you are inherently going to be lifting “heavier” weight.

Think about it. How much weight can you do for 3 reps of a squat vs 20 reps of a squat.

Let’s just say it’s 300lbs vs 150lbs.

For no other reason other than the lower rep range you can lift “heavier” weight.

Again, as we learned aboved, the lower rep ranges and higher weight typically lead to higher amounts of mechanical tension.

Which, is a good thing, when we are trying to build muscle!

Also, these lower rep ranges are able to work in a lot of neurological strength as well.

Most people don’t know but there is in fact a difference between building strength and building muscle.

You can have both at the same time and they often do go together, but they don’t have to.

Strength is a neurological adaptation.

Building muscle is a physiological adaptation.

You can get neurological stronger without necessarily adding more lean muscle mass to your body.

Vice versa though, you can add lean muscle mass, without necessarily gaining a ton of strength.

When you train with a bit heavier weights that allow for more mechanical tension, there is research to show this is also going to positively impact your strength gains / performance as well.


Therefore, higher weight and lower rep style sets can be great for building muscle AND strength.

Which, a stronger muscle has the potential to be a bigger muscle because it can produce more force and lift heavier weights.


Yet here are the potential drawbacks.

When you are doing such heavy, low rep work, inherently you are putting a ton of stress on your

  • Joints
  • Tendons
  • Ligaments
  • Connective Tissue
  • Muscles
  • Central Nervous System

& more.

This is okay in small doses, but in order to build any amount of significant muscle, you are going to need higher volumes.

When we talk about “volume”, I am referring to the number of hard working sets per muscle group per week.

Thus over time, if you need to perform a lot of sets in a lower rep range / higher weight style of training, all of those things listed above take a beating.

Not to mention mentally speaking hyping yourself up to do 5 sets of 3 heavy a** reps of a bench press or deadlift is nothing short of draining over time.

To show up in your workouts having to do that week over week can be a bit taxing over time. Which can lead you to not actually having the intensity needed to lift the weight you need to lift or push close to failure.

Thus, minimizing your results.

Therefore if we are solely focused on muscle growth, then doing higher amounts of muscle combined with lower rep, higher weight work can be a perfect cocktail for an injury and or under recovery over time.

Making it maybe not the “best” rep range to do a LOT of work in if your main goal is to build muscle.

Notice I said “a lot” of work..I don’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t do ANY work here. More on that to come.

Light – 12-20+ Reps

best rep range for muscle growth

You may have heard or seen tons of bodybuilders talking about lifting for “the pump”.

They would say the best rep range for muscle growth is by doing super high volume, tons of reps, tons of sets, just “burn” the muscle up.

And again, as mentioned previously, you can in fact build muscle in any rep range. Obviously so as long as you take it close to failure!

Yet here is the issue with light weight, high rep training when it comes to muscle growth.

First off, the mechanical tension you get from doing a set of 20 reps is inherently lower only because the weight is lower.

Yes, you can take this set close to failure, but even still the mechanical tension will be lower a tad lower.

If we know mechanical tension is higher with heavier loads, and mechanical tension is important for muscle growth, then we typically want to train in a way to MAXIMIZE that mechanical tension.

Also, while you may be able to build some muscle in this rep range (maybe, we will talk about that in a second!).

You are going to usually not build much strength in this rep range because the load you are using is so light that you don’t get the positive benefits of the neurological strength gains.

You may get some muscular endurance / stamina gains, but you most likely will not get any strength gains.

Therefore if you are someone who cares about getting stronger, these rep ranges may not serve you MUCH use.

Not to say they can’t be implemented, they certainly can, but I just wouldn’t make them a large portion of your training.

.

Not to mention that when we talk about going to failure with 12, 15, 20 + reps, we often don’t go to failure with our muscles.

Meaning, our muscular ENDURANCE or our cardiovascular system typically starts to fatigue before our actual muscle fibers do.

Therefore, you may be “burning out” during a 20 rep set.. But it isn’t because your muscle fibers are burning out, it’s because your muscular endurance and or your cardiovascular system is getting close to failure.

Which is why you may improve your cardiovascular system or muscular endurance because you are taking THAT close to failure, but you aren’t necessarily taking your muscles close to failure via mechanical tension.

Thus making this maybe not the best rep range for muscle growth.

Moderate 6-12 reps

You may have seen before that the best rep range for muscle growth is in that 6-12 rep range.

Truthfully, that would be about right.


In this rep range it allows you to..

  • Lift “heavy enough” weight to maximize the heavy loading for optimal mechanical tension, without going TOO heavy where you beat your body up too much, or without going TOO light where you are working more muscular endurance instead
  • Allow for proper neurological strength adaptations to come along with it as well – allowing for both strength and muscle gains
  • Allow for proper training volume over the course of the week to optimize muscle growth (sets per muscle group per week) without being under recovered or increasing risk of injury

How To Split This Up?

I said earlier that you don’t need to NOT do 1-5 reps or 12-20+ reps.

There is merit to doing all types of rep ranges in your training in order to create a fully well rounded physique and performance within your body.

Here is how I typically like to split up the rep ranges when.

65-75% of your volume (sets and reps) should come the 6-12 rep range

25-35% should come from the 1-5 & 12-20+ rep range.

This can be over the course of a week or a single workout. I like to do a single workout split up.

I can drop an example here below.

.

BB Back Squat 3 sets of 5 reps (lower rep, heavy work)

BB RDL 3 sets of 6-8 reps

Reverse Lunge 3 sets of 6-10 reps

BB Hip Thrust 2 sets of 8-12 reps

Lying Leg Curl 2 sets of 12-15 reps (higher rep, lighter work)

.

Notice how the first and the last exercise were around the 1-5 and 12-15 rep ranges.

Then the middle 3 exercises were in that 6-12 rep range.

Out of the 13 total sets in this workout, roughly 65% were coming from the 6-12 rep range.

I like to dedicate the heavy, low rep strength work to the compound exercise for that day.

In this situation it is the back squat. You can get in some of the heavy work to increase strength to then help you over time continue to lift more weight in the 6-12 rep range.

Which, if you lift more weight in the 6-12 rep range, you can build more muscle due to heavier loading and more mechanical tension.

Then for the lying leg curl I did 12-15 reps.

Here you can work a little bit of the higher rep work, get more of that “pump” factor, and take it close to failure in a higher rep range.

I like saving the higher rep work for isolation work. Things like leg curls, leg extensions, bicep curls, tricep extensions, etc.

These isolation movements typically respond well to a tad bit higher rep work due to the inherent nature of only working ONE muscle group at a time.

By the the way, if you want to learn more about how to set up a daily workout routine, I did a super in depth podcast HERE on that if you want to check it out.

Going “Heavy”

Earlier I mentioned “going heavy” and I put it in those quotation marks.

While yes, inherently lifting 5 reps you are going to lift more weight than you would for 12 reps, that’s true.

Yet all of your exercises should be “heavy” because you should be taking all of the exercises close to failure!

What might be “heavy” for a 5 rep squat might be different than what is heavy for a 12 rep bicep curl.

Yet for THAT exercise, in THAT rep range, you need to pick a weight that is “HEAVY” for that.

Just because it’s 12 reps it doesn’t mean you aren’t going “heavy”.


No.


You are going “heavy” for that exercise and that rep range that is given because no matter what you should be going close to failure.

Best Rep Range For Muscle Growth

Well, that’s a wrap folks!

Hope you enjoyed this article and hope you got some value from it.


If you did, feel free to share it with someone.

As well as if you read this and you are like “hoooollyyyy … information overload!!”.


Don’t worry, we got your back.

We do in fact offer coaching options that take all of this guesswork out of it for you so you can just get the plan and dominate.

If you want to check out our group coaching The Clubhouse, I can link that right HERE.

Inside the Clubhouse I write a new workout program each month for the group.

Or, if you were more interested in in depth 1:1 coaching, you can fill out our application form HERE for that as well.

Either way hope it helps and look to chat soon.

-E

How Often Should You Workout Your Abs : Your Complete Guide

how often should you workout your abs

I know, you want a 6 pack, and you are wondering how often you should workout your abs.

I wondered the same thing back when I first started working out as well.

Hence why I was the kid doing 100 sit ups each day before I went to bed!

Then it went into spending at least an hour per day in the gym doing various different ab exercises.

Luckily, I found a better way to go about developing ab muscles and just because I love you, I am going to share that way with you right now.

You just have to promise to love me back and stick around to read the entire guide. Otherwise, you will miss pieces and won’t be able to see as good of progress.

We got a deal?

Cool, let’s hit it.

How Often Should You Workout Your Abs

Seeing Your Abs

Before we dive into the actual training part of things, this needs to be said.

What you must understand is that everyone has abs. Yes, even you who are reading this right now. I know it may seem shocking but all of us have ab muscles.

Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to stand upright, hold our internal organs in place, etc.

Now, your abs are a muscle which you can “hypertrophy” ( make bigger / more defined ) so you can certainly do exercises that can make them “pop” more.

Yet this will remain true..

No matter how much you workout your abs, you will never see your abs unless you are at a low enough body fat percentage.

That’s it, bottom line, no other way around it. You need to be lean enough in order to actually see your abs.

The only way to see your abs is by being lean enough. People then ask me “Well how lean, Eric?!”.

Well idk, can you see your abs yet? No? Cool, then get leaner.

The way you “get leaner” is by simply losing body fat.

You lose body fat through eating in a calorie deficit. I have talked at nauseam about a calorie deficit before here on this website or on my youtube channel, so check either one of those two completely free resources out.

Yet the truth remains, most people think they can just “crunch” their way to seeing their abs.

Sorry man but that won’t happen. No amount of ab workouts are going to allow you to see your abs if you aren’t at a low enough body fat percentage.

So, Does That Mean You Shouldn’t Workout Your Abs If You Have Body Fat To Lose?

I get this question as a follow up a lot. People tend to ask “Well, if I can’t even see my abs unless I lose body fat, are they a waste of time to train them until I get lean enough!?”.

The answer is no, it is not a waste of time, and you do not have to wait.

For the first reason of you can still get stronger. Having a stronger core is going to help you in every single area of life no matter what.

It will protect you from injury, get you stronger in your lifts, help with posture, etc.

Also, remember abs are a muscle just like any other muscle. Therefore if you work them properly (as you will learn how to do by the end of this guide) then WHEN you lose the body fat, you can then make your abs “pop” more.

We can talk about this a bit more in depth here below, but in short to answer this question…

No, it is not a waste of time, and no, you do not have to wait until you are lean enough.

Two Main Goals

how often should you workout your abs

Now that we have that out of the way, when talking about how often should you workout your abs, there are usually two main goals at play.

The first is going to be what we talked about above, for aesthetic reasons.

You want to have a more defined stomach and see your abs “pop” a bit more.

I know I mentioned that doing ab exercises won’t automatically make you burn belly fat to see your abs more. That is done through you eating in a calorie deficit and losing body fat.

Yet there are specific exercises you can do to make your abs “pop” a tad bit more as you get down to the leaner body fat percentages.

We will talk about those shortly.

The other goal that people usually have with training abs is to get a stronger core overall with the benefit of helping their lower back pain or getting stronger in their bigger compound lifts (squat, bench, deadlift, chin up, etc).

Yes, if you didn’t know, if you suffer from lower back pain, it could be directly correlated to your core strength (or lack thereof).

I was someone who struggled with lower back for many years but when I finally took my core training seriously, along with fixing some form / mobility issues, I saw a massive improvement in my lower back pain.

Both goals are valid and they require somewhat of a different approach to training because the way you would train for aesthetics differs than that of more of a strength purpose.

Don’t you worry though, we are going to cover both here in this guide, so you are in luck!

Let’s break down some of the different ways to train your core.

How Often Should You Workout Your Abs : 5 Main Exercises

When you are talking about ab exercises, there are 5 main ways you can train your abs.

Those are going to be..

  • Breathing / Bracing
  • Anti Extension
  • Anti Rotation / Anti Movement
  • Loaded Carries
  • Flexion

Let’s cover each one piece by piece.

Breathing / Bracing

This is the most fundamental part of training your abs.

If you do not comprehend this part then your ab training will greatly suffer.

Not only will your ab training suffer, but your other workouts will suffer as well.


Either by not being able to be as strong as you possibly can and or getting injured (like what we talked about above).

Proper core bracing and breathing is essential in training your abs from both an aesthetics perspective and from a “functional” strength perspective.

I know it sounds a bit nuts. When you clicked on an article titled “How often should you workout your abs” I don’t know that you expected to be told about how to breathe.

You probably thought you had that down pretty good if you were alive to even read this.

Yet when we talk about breathing for your workouts, there is something called “diaphragmatic breathing” or belly breathing.

If you’ve ever seen a baby lay on their back and breath, they do this perfectly.

Their stomach inflates and deflates as they breath. They are diaphragmatic breathing.

That is what you need to learn to do first and foremost. The video above shows you in depth how to do that.

Essentially what you can do to learn is lay on your back, bend your knees with your feet flat.

Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.

When you breathe, you want to see the hand on your stomach move up, NOT, the hand on your chest.


The reason this is important is because if you do not comprehend this part, you won’t ever be able to have control of and work your abs properly in any exercise.

I promise, I wouldn’t just be re teaching you how to breathe for nothing.

As well as if you are breathing through your chest instead of diaphragmatic breathing, it is going to be damn near impossible to BRACE your core along with it.

Thus leading into the next point which talks about core bracing.

I won’t go too massively in depth on how to brace your core because well I actually already did.

I wrote this article HERE on how to properly brace your core if you want to take a peek at it.

But in short, think about two things when you are bracing your core..

  1. Pooping
  2. Getting punched as hard as you can.

If you need more clarification on that, as mentioned, check out the article above after you get done reading this.

Anti Extension

Now that we have covered breathing and bracing, you are ready for the next step in how often should you workout your abs.

This part is going to be talking about anti extension exercises.

I want you to think of your spine. For the purpose of this article there are going to be three main parts we will be discussing with it.

Extension, rotation / movement, and flexion. Those are three functions your spine is capable of doing.

Now, just because your spine CAN Do those functions, a lot of times we may not want huge degrees of any of those things.

Especially if you are trying to squat or deadlift heavy weights. The force of performing massive amounts of spinal extension while doing a heavy deadlift is a great way to get a compressed disc and hurt your lower back.

Therefore one function of your abs is to keep your spine “neutral” and not allow your spine to extend.

Performing ANTI extension exercises is a way to keep your spine in a “neutral” place.

(People will argue to the death about this. Yes, there is some degree of spinal flexion and extension naturally in your spine, which may lead to a natural “curve” but large degrees of it under heavy loads is not something you want to have happen.)

Anti extension goes a long way in saving your spine from injury as well as making sure you are the strongest you possibly can be during your lifts.

You can leverage proper positioning to move the most weight possible while staying injury free.


Some examples of anti extension exercises are linked below. We will talk about how many reps / sets to do a bit later in the guide.

Bird Dog

Plank Reaches

Deadbug

.

Anti Rotation / Anti Movement

The next form of exercises we are going to cover are anti rotation / anti movement exercises.

Remember a huge part of your ab muscles job is to resist movement and keep your spine neutral while you are performing exercises.

One way they do that is by making sure your spine does not rotate as you perform lunges, shoulder presses, chin ups, deadlifts, anything.

It keeps your spine tight, compact, strong, and in place to once again save you from injury as well as allow you to lift the heaviest weight you possibly can.

You want to almost think your body is a concrete statue.

Trying to be strong, upright, compact, sturdy. You know, all of those adjectives and synonyms.

The purpose of anti rotation exercises is to get you better at doing just that.

These movements may seem “simple”, but trust me, if you do them right your abs will be BURNING.

Pallof Press

Side Plank

Plank Transfer

.

Loaded Carries


Another great way to work your abs is through loaded carries.

I talked breathing and core bracing above right?

If you read the core bracing article you will know exactly what I am talking about here, but for short, I want you to think about your core as an unopened can of soda.

With this unopened can of soda, what happens if you kind of tap the outside of it with your finger.

Does it create any dents in the can?

No right? Why?

Because there is so much internal pressure built up inside the can from the carbonation that it can’t be dented maybe unless you slam it against the wall..

But if you do that, it’s just going to explode anyway.

You need to work on doing the same thing with your core so that during movements like squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc, you can have so much of something called


Intra abdominal pressure” built up inside that you are able to be as strong as you possibly can be.

Loaded carries are a great way to work on doing just that.

These exercises are meant to go for more duration or endurance as opposed to reps.

Go super slow when doing them. Again, these exercises I list below may look simple to you, but they are incredibly difficult if you perform them properly.

Farmers Walk

Offset Farmers Walk

.

Flexion Based Exercises

Thus far we have talked about 4 of the main ways to work your abs.


All of them have been more or less about intentionally resisting movement with your spine and keeping yourself strong and braced.

For your knowledge, these exercise variations were more so geared towards the

  • Injury prevention
  • Strength gain
  • Core Stabilization

Type goals.

The next step is talking about flexion based exercises where the goal is actually going to be to intentionally move (flex or round ) your spine.

These exercises are more based around the aesthetics goals of having your abs “pop” more as you get down to a leaner body fat %, but I will say this.

I would usually not recommend doing these flexion based exercises without doing at least some of the strengthening / stabilizing exercises.

Why? Well because it can sometimes lead to injury, especially if you already have been working with a compromised spine position during specific movements.

So although I know you might be like “OH SWEET, THESE MOVES MAKE MY ABS POP MORE, LET ME DO ONLY THESE!”.

I don’t think that would be very wise.

I also don’t think it would be wise to “avoid” them either. Some people will try to tell you flexion based exercises are “bad” for your spine.

I actually used to think this. I don’t think they are inherently “bad” unless you do what I said above with not working in other movements.

Flexion based exercises can be a great addition to your training especially if you are in fact looking to have more defined abs.

I can link some examples below, and remember, the goal here is in fact to actually “round” your spine almost into “bad posture”. That is how your ab muscles actually get work done to them.

A lot of people will do crunches for example but never actually round their spine, so they are just working a ton of neck and hip flexors.

Reverse Crunch

Cable Crunch

Hanging Knee Raises

.

Putting It All Together

Alright, phew. Now that you know the different exercises you can perform to work your abs, it’s time to actually talk about how often should you workout your abs.

As well as giving a sample routine of what this would look like so that you can cover both the strength based work as well as the aesthetics based work.

For how many times per week you should workout your abs, I would suggest anywhere form 2-4x per week.

Remember your abs are a muscle too, they do not need to be directly worked every day or you are going to suffer from overtraining them.

They are already indirectly worked in every workout you do because when you are doing a squat for example, your core HAS To work in order to stabilize your spine like we talked about earlier.

Or even when you are doing a bicep curl to a degree your abs are working to keep your spine neutral.

If you go off and try to train abs 5 6 7x per week, you are doing overkill and will probably do more harm than good.

They need to be worked enough to elicit a response but then be able to recover from that work properly or else it will be all for nothing.

Therefore 2-4x per week is usually the sweet spot.

I also don’t recommend dedicating an entire day to doing abs.

You could in some situations, like if you wanted to maybe workout your abs on a rest day from your workouts here and there.

Yet I usually don’t recommend this a ton because again you want to be able to have your abs properly recover. If you work them everyday you can’t have that.

Plus, I just don’t think you need to be doing that many exercises where you dedicate a whole day to doing abs.

More on that now.

Now, how to go about setting this up?

Here is what I do for all of our clients and Clubhouse members that we write programs for.

Let’s be honest here.. How many times have you said you were going to do abs after a workout…

And that has ended up much like your imaginary friend Jerry. Never actually coming to real life.

Yea, same. I went from going to do hours of abs per week to skipping them every damn workout session.

I figured out why though, I would save them for AFTER the workout. By the time I was done my workout, I was either too tired to do them and said f*ck it.

Or I had to run off to work or something.

Through coaching thousands of people by this point, I found most people had a similar problem.

Therefore, what I started doing plus what I do now with all of our clients is programming 1-2 ab exercises in the warm up for the workout that day.

Again, this is so you actually do them and don’t say f*ck it after the workout is done.

But also there is some merit to “activating” your abs before a workout.


For example, if you are going to do a deadlift, you don’t want to extend your spine right?

Well if you do a plank, which is an anti extension exercise, you are going to basically train your brain to fire those muscles for the workout ahead.

Therefore you can use the exercises to “prep” your body and brain for the workout ahead so to speak.

So as long as you don’t overdo it on the volume (amount of sets and reps).

Which is another reason why I like to throw abs in on the warm up of the workouts.

How much of each should you incorporate?

Well, this somewhat depends on your goals.

As mentioned the exercises provide different benefits, so if let’s say you are really focused on having your abs pop more maybe you include a bit more flexion based exercises.

But something like..

  • 1-2 Anti Extension
  • 2 Anti Rotation
  • 1-2 Flexion based
  • 0-1 Loaded Carries


Throughout the course of a week is a good place to be for the most part.

I would look to include 1-2 exercises for 2 sets in each warm up day.

These don’t need to be super draining or intense sets either. These should be slow, controlled, and properly executed sets. Remember, you don’t need A TON to see a difference in your ab training.

Let’s cover how it might look for a 3 day upper and lower body workout.

Monday – Lower Body

  • Plank (anti extension) 2 sets of 30-60 sec
  • Palloff Press (anti movement) 2 sets of 6-8 reps

Wed – Upper Body

  • Reverse Crunch (flexion) 2 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Front Rack Carry (loaded carry) 2 sets of 30-60 sec

Friday – Full Body

  • Bird Dog (Anti movement) 2 sets of 5-7 reps
  • Band Crunch (flexion) 2 sets of 8-12 reps

Here we have a full weeks worth of ab training. This would be 6 direct total ab exercises for 12 sets over the course of a week.


That, my friend, would be MORE than enough to see progress in both strength, stabilization, and aesthetics over time.

How Often Should You Workout Your Abs : Final Word

I hope you were able to enjoy this guide and get some benefit from it.

I know the answer to how often should you workout your abs may seem simple surface level, but wanted to give you some in depth insight as to the reasonings and WHY behind it.

Hope you can take this info with you and program it into your training.

As well as if you want help with your training, you can check out either our Clubhouse HERE where I give out new workout programs that take out all of the guesswork for you each month.

Or our 1:1 coaching application form HERE for a bit more personalized 1:1 direct help and programming.

Look to hear from you soon,

-E

How To Split Up Workout Days : Your Complete Guide

how to split up workout days

One of the most underrated and overlooked parts of working out, how to split up workout days.

Sure, you can kind of just go into the gym, do some random machines, and hope for the best.

Or, you can follow another random youtube video workout that has you dying and out of breath in t minus 69 seconds.

Yet just to be quite frank with you, neither one of those are going to get you the results you are looking for.

Now don’t get me wrong, it is certainly better than not working out at all. You doing any exercise is something you should be damn proud of.


Yet that’s just it, those two things I mentioned above are exercise. You are not following a real program.

You are just kind of “guessing” instead of following a real program, which means, you will get “guessing” results.

If you want to maximize your results and take things to the next level, this article is for you, so stick around and read the whole way through.

How To Split Up Workout Days

How Many Days Per Week?

Before diving into the meat and potatoes of how to split up workout days, let’s first lay out how many days you are looking to workout.

For this article, when I say “workout”, I mean strength training and or any kind of high intensity work (ie, hiit cardio, which we will talk about later in this article).

I am not necessarily speaking to the lower intensity modalities of training, like low intensity steady state cardio and or simply walking / getting steps in. (Which yes, walking IS in fact exercise!).

Though I will talk about ALL forms of exercise in this article and how you can fit it into a weekly workout split, when I say “workout” I mean higher effort / higher intensity work.

Therefore, I recommend someone “working out” anywhere from 2-5x per week, depending on a few different variables. (Which yes, we will cover soon, don’t worry!).

This is the “sweet spot” I have usually found that allows people to not only see progress, but also be able to sustainably fit it into their lifestyle.

It sounds like a great idea to workout 6 or 7x per week, trust me, I used to do that. Not only did I workout 7x per week I did two a days 7x per week.

I am speaking from experience here. Before the end of this article you will learn why working out say 3-5x per week is going to get you MORE results than working out 6-7x per week.

People often think “more is better”. Working out 7x per week must clearly allow you to see more progress than working out 4x per week, right?!

Wrong.

In fact, why don’t we just go ahead and cover it right about now.

Working Out LESS To See MORE Results

Something the average gym goer doesn’t understand is this.

You don’t make progress when you workout. That’s not when your body changes.

During your workout, your body actually breaks down. Working out is a stress on your body.

It is a “good” stress and a stress that is needed in order to change your body, yet a stress nonetheless.

Therefore you don’t change your body when you are doing your workout, you change your body when you RECOVER from that workout.

If your body is broken down and stressed, how can it change? Well, it recovers from that stress and says “oh damn, that was tough! We need to adapt to that stress in order to make sure we can withstand that stress next time!”.

Thus, how the “adaptation” stage comes about. This is where your body changes by building more muscle, getting stronger, changing in size / shape, etc.

Three stages. Stress, recover, adapt. The adaptation stage is the stage you need to get to in order to change.

Get it?

Well, here’s the deal. Remember how I said working out is a “Good” stress?

It can be, for sure, if you are able to recover from that stress. Yet if you are placing more stress on your body than what it can recover from, you are going to be under recovered.

I like to think of this like money. Let’s say a pair of shoes you want costs $100. If you got $100, then hell yea you can pay for it and get those new pair of shoes!

But, if it costs $100, and you only have $75, sucks to suck bud but you won’t be getting said pair of shoes, no matter how much you kick, scream, or yell.

Just the law of the land.

Same goes for recovering from workouts. You only have so many recovery points to go around and working out isn’t the only “stress” you put on your body.

There is stress if you aren’t sleeping a full 8-9hrs per night, plus work stress, relationship stress, kid stress. I could go on and on.

If you have 100 recovery points to go around and your stress in total is 125.

Sorry Jack but you aren’t going to change your physique, get stronger, build muscle, any of it!

Quite literally the only way you can do that is by having this recovery stage completed which then leads into the adaptation phase.

Therefore most people who try to workout 6-7x per week are simply running themselves in circles by putting more stress on their body than what their body can actually recover from.

This leads to under recovery, burnout, plateau, and no progress.

Now, can SOME people workout say 6x per week and see progress?

Sure, some can. Usually those who..

  • sleep 8-9hrs per night
  • are in a calorie surplus (eating MORE food than their body burns intentionally )
  • potentially are on performance enhancing drugs to speed up their recovery
  • lives a very, very low stress lifestyle
  • has their nutrition dialed in with nutrient dense Whole Foods, high protein, tons of fruits + veggies, etc

& on and on.

But the average Joe (which, I consider myself!) who lives a real life, has other stressors (work, kids, spouse, etc), working out intensely 6x per week is just going to be a lot to recover from. Bottom line.

Opposed to working out somewhere between say 2-5x per week, you will be able to put that “good” stress on your body, while also being able to recover from it, and see progress in the end.

Which isn’t that why you are working out in the first place, to see progress?

Happy dances and smiles all around!

Does that make sense?

How To Split Up Workout Days : “Bro Splits”

how to split up workout days

Now that we know working out somewhere between 2-5x per week is going to be most optimal, let’s also talk a bit of science here.

You have probably seen before the typical “bro splits” where someone will do something like…


Monday : Chest

Tuesday : Back

Wednesday : Shoulders

Thursday : Arms

Friday : Legs


And they repeat that week to week. Essentially just doing one body part per day, hitting each body part once per week.

Unless you are on steroids or performance enhancing drugs, this is going to be something you do NOT want to do. Let’s talk about why.

There is something called “volume” in your workouts. There are a few different ways to define volume, but for the purpose of this article, let’s define volume as

The number of working sets per muscle group per week


A working set means if your life depended on it, you MAYBE could have done 1-3 more reps in that set for that exercise. Maybe.

So if you were supposed to do 10 reps on a lat pulldown, you need to get to that 10th rep and say you MAYBE could’ve done 1-3 more reps, maybe. That is a “working set”.

Volume does not include warm up sets or sets where you do not push super close to failure for whatever rep range you are doing.

Volume only includes working sets taken close to or at failure.

Now that we have that down, let’s break down some of the research.

According to the research analysis by James Krieger & others, the amount volume needed per muscle group per week to see change in your body is

10-20 working sets per muscle group per week

This typically refers to the bigger muscle groups like glutes, chest, back, quads, hamstrings , etc.

Smaller muscle groups, like biceps, triceps, side / front / and rear delts may be a bit less, but that is because they get worked during your bigger muscle group work.

For example, if you are doing a bench press, you are inherently going to work some tricep.

Or if you are doing a chin up, you are inherently going to work some bicep.


Depending on the muscle group, your experience level, and how you set your split up, these smaller muscle groups may need somewhere between 5-10 direct sets per muscle group per week.

That is if you are really trying to improve that specific muscle group. If you are someone who building huge bicep peaks isn’t overly important to you, you may be able to get away with less and or even minimal to no direct bicep work. Again, this all depends on the individual.

Yet for this article, let’s stick with the 10-20 sets per muscle group per week data because without that, the smaller muscle group sets per muscle group per week won’t matter anyway.

Cool, we know we need to hit somewhere between 10-20 sets per muscle group per week.


Well why can’t we just do that all in one day?

Just absolutely obliterate our chest or glutes with 20 sets in one workout?

Well again, this things called science * Cue the magical stars and rainbows *.

Once again, according to research analysis by James Krieger, studies show that after about somewhere between 8-12 working sets per muscle group per workout, you start to see diminishing returns.

Think of it like a bell curve. You are able to add sets and push hard until you reach about a certain point. After that certain point, the bell curve starts to drop off and you start to actually make LESS progress.

how to split up workout days bell curve


This is what happens after you pass let’s just take the middle number and say 10 sets per muscle group per workout.


Why is this? Many reasons.

From a scientific standpoint, muscle protein synthesis starts to get negatively affected once you pass the top of the bell curve.

But also from a “practical” standpoint, if you are training with hard, intense, working sets.

Sets that you are taking very close to failure.. After you reach the 8, 9, 10 set per muscle group mark for that session.. You are gassed.

No other way around it, and if you aren’t, this is the sign you aren’t training anywhere near hard enough.

I see people do these workouts that call for like 25 total sets of chest or glutes in one workout. They’ll have something like

Hip thrust 5 sets of 10

Squats 4 sets of 8

Lunges 4 sets of 8

Glute kick back 4 sets of 12

RDL 4 sets of 10

And on and on.

No chance in hell that workout is going to yield any results for you.

There is simply no way you are going to be able to go close to failure on those exercises for that much volume.

You might fail from a muscular endurance standpoint, but that’s working more of a cardiovascular stress, not a muscle building / strength training stress.

Which, when we talk about seeing change in strength and muscle adaptations, one of if not the biggest components is having proper intensity. Aka, going close to muscular failure, not just muscular endurance or cardiovascular failure.

By doing more than 10 sets per muscle group per workout, your intensity and how close to failure dips off, which means your results do to.

But wait, we needed 10-20 sets per muscle group per week to see progress?!

Yep so that means if you have the typical “bro” split of working out one body part per day, you can only hit the minimum threshold of about 10 sets per week.


Therefore you are automatically handicapping your results by choosing this split due to the fact you won’t be able to increase your volume at all throughout the week.

It also makes it so you spike muscle protein synthesis in that muscle group ONE time.. It takes 48-72 hrs to recover.. But then you don’t spike it again in that muscle until next week.

It has this HUGE spike up one day, yet the rest of the week it is decreasing and then dormant until next week.

There are benefits to having multiple muscle protein synthesis spikes in a muscle multiple times throughout the week.

Therefore, the typical bro split, is not going to be the most optimal route to take when talking about how to set up workout days.

Hitting your muscle groups 2-3x throughout the week with a bit more moderate volume each session generally lead to more results over time.

How To Set Up Workout Days : Recovery Days

how to split up workout days : rest days

Another thing to consider when talking about how to set up workout days is taking into consideration rest days.

Again, looking at the science, it shows us that when you workout a muscle group, you want to be waiting at least 48 hours, if not 72 hours to hit that muscle group again (reference The Science & Development of Muscle Hypertrophy by Brad Schoenfield).

This is because if you workout the muscle before it is done going through the muscle protein synthesis / recovery process, you impair that process.

Which is going to impair results because remember, like we said, unless you recover from your workouts you cannot adapt.


If you can’t adapt, you can’t change.

Not to mention that if you continuously hit a muscle group back to back to back day after day like a lot of these hiit bootcamps or gym classes do, you not only risk not recovering, but also risk injury.

Your muscles and the surrounding tendons, joints, ligaments, connective tissue, and so on, are not adequately recovering.

This is a big no no for your body. It is going to get very angry with you and backfire sooner or later. Backfire by injuring so that you are FORCED to stop working out.

Which when you consider you want to see progress in your workouts, if you are injured, you can’t workout at all.

If you can’t workout at all, good luck seeing progress!

You won’t be able to be consistent if your workout split is set up poor due to injuring yourself and from not optimizing your recovery.

This is why it is recommend you wait at least 48 hours, if not 72 hours.

If you are working out glutes on Monday, you should not hit glutes til at least Wednesday, if not Thursday.

How To Set Up Workout Days : 2-5 days

Alright, now that we have the knowledge from the previous sections, let’s actually dive into what some weekly workout splits will look like for 2-5 days, respectively.

You may be wondering “Eric, how the H E DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS am I supposed to hit muscle groups 2x per week with adequate volume if I am only working out 2-5x per week?!”.

Don’t worry, I got you.


Let’s take 2x a week for example.

2x Per Week Workouts

I will be very honest with you, 2x per week workouts are not my favorite workouts by any stretch of the imagination.

You are quite limited in options here and you will inherently not be able to hit as much volume as you would with other options we will list out.

Yet if you insist on “only” being able to workout 2x per week, I would 100% go with 2 Full Body Days.

Something like..


Monday : Day 1 Full Body (A)

Thursday : Day 2 Full Body (B)

This way you have a few days in between like we talked about above to let your muscles recover to be able to optimize progress and hit it hard the next session.

Also, since you are working your full body each workout, you are hitting your muscle groups 2x per week and can work in adequate volume.

Now I will say, you may really need to bias specific muscle groups if you are taking this route because you only have so much volume / time to spend in a workout.

So you may really want to focus on say glutes and back and make your workouts very focused on those two while keeping everything else more so just at “enough” to get by.

Also, before you ask, yes those workouts should be different workouts.

I wrote an entire article on why if you want to check it out HERE.


Yet for some cliff notes, you see the most progress when you hit your muscles from different angles, resistance profiles, and exercise variations.

If you do the same workout both days, you are missing out on an entire day where you could be throwing in different exercise variations, hitting the muscles from different angles, etc.

How many exercises per session?

Well, it depends.

I would say anywhere from 6-12 exercises per session.

If you want help on how to structure your workouts, I can link a video I did HERE On my youtube that will help you out a ton.

Again, I will say, if you are only working out 2x per week, you are not someone who is SUPER keen on making a TON of progress because if you were, you would be probably opting for the 3 or 4x per week option we are going to discuss here in a second.

Not trying to sound harsh just being honest. I know you are “busy”, but we all are. Today, I woke up at 4am this morning and it is currently 6pm as I am writing this article.

I will work til about 9pm and do it all over again tomorrow. Not to brag about how much I work, but to say we all make time for the things that are very important to us.

I don’t have to sit here and write this article to you, for free.

I am doing it because I value you and want you to win.

The same goes for your fitness. If you want to really maximize your workouts I’d shoot for the 3 or 4x a week option we will cover now.

3x Per Week Workouts

Now it is time to cover how to split up workout days if you are doing 3x per week workouts.

Before I dive into this, I just want to make this point.

Oftentimes I get people asking me “Eric, is working out 3x per week really enough to see progress?!”.

The only answer I have to this question is to drop below some of my clients transformation pics here below.

how to split up workout days 3x per week

All of these people you see above have worked out 3x per week, every week, consistently.

You can be the judge to let me know if 3x per week workouts “work” or not 😉 .

Now, when it comes to how to set them up, I personally like the option of something like.

Monday : Day 1 – Lower Body Day

Wed : Day 2 – Upper Body Day

Fri or Sat : Day 3 Full Body Day

This way you once again allow for proper recovery in between sessions, as well as you can hit your muscle groups 2x per week with this split since the full body day you are hitting lower and upper.

Sometimes people will ask about a 3 day per week full body workout. You can do this, I am not the biggest fan typically because I believe it is a bit harder to recover from for most people.


Plus, I think being able to have a lower and upper body day

  1. Allows you to focus on those specific muscles a bit more which most people enjoy
  2. Allows you to put more volume (working sets) into your weekly routine since you have a whole day spent on ½ of the body instead of the full body

4x Per Week Workouts

In my opinion the “gold standard” of how to split up workout days.

4x per week workouts are my personal favorite as well as I have used it on literally thousands of clients and Clubhouse members to get them kick a** results.

The 4x per week really allows you to work in a good amount of volume over a weekly basis, while also still allowing for optimal recovery.

I would split up the 4x per week workouts like this below.

Monday : Day 1 – Lower Body (A)

Tuesday : Day 2 – Upper Body (A)

Wed : Rest

Thursday : Day 3 – Lower Body (B)

Friday : Day 4 – Upper Body (B)

In case you aren’t familiar, the A and B indicates different workouts.

So yes, each of these 4 workouts you should be having different workouts. Again, if you need further clarification on this, check out this article HERE.

This split is money because as you can see, you are hitting your muscle groups 2x per week, while also allowing for proper recovery in between.

It also allows you to add more volume because you now have a 4th day and the days are dedicated to ½ of the body instead of the whole body.

People sometimes ask if they have to rest in between or if they can go all 4 days in a row.

You CAN go all 4 days in a row, yes, I just typically don’t recommend that because that day off in between really lets you go into the latter half of your weekly workouts recovered, refreshed, and ready to kill it!

As opposed to those last 2 workouts being “half assed” because you were exhausted and tired from the first two workouts in the week.

But if you absolutely need to, yes you can do all 4 of these back to back since they are different muscle groups.

5x Per Week Workouts

how to split up workout days 5x per week

When talking about how to split up workout days and 5 days a week, this is typically something I reserve for advanced individuals who are very focused on body building.

The reason is 5x per week allows you to put more volume on more specific muscle groups.

Unless you are advanced, you typically do not need to spend the extra volume on the muscle groups.

Also, like I mentioned, unless you ARE focused on body building, then you typically don’t care about doing 3 extra sets for your side delts to make your delts pop more.

Or you don’t care about doing 3 extra sets of biceps to make your biceps pop more.

You are more focused on simply wanting to get stronger, get healthier, build muscle, drop body fat, etc.

Also, 5x per week workouts doesn’t allow for much life flexibility.

For example, what if you wanted to take a long weekend with your spouse.. But you can’t because you gotta get that friday workout?

Or if something pops up with work or school or kids or anything.. Most “normal” people who again aren’t super focused on bodybuilding can’t or don’t want to consistently workout 5x per week for months and years on end.

Again, I would know, I tried.

Therefore if you are NOT focused a ton on bodybuilding – I would stick to 3-4x per week workouts.

Now if you are focused more on bodybuilding, which to be honest I am for certain periods of the year, I would suggest a 5x per week split and it would look like this.

Monday : Day 1 Lower Body (A)

Tuesday : Day 2 Upper Body

Wed : rest

Thursday : Day 3 Lower Body (B)

Friday : Push Day

Sat : Pull Day


Push just means pushing muscles workout (chest, shoulders, triceps).

Pull just means pulling muscles workout (back, biceps, rear delt).

Again, this would allow for adequate recovery while also working each muscle group 2x per week.

This time since you have a “push” and a “pull” day you can usually put more volume on muscles like biceps, triceps, and shoulders.

Or, if you were focused on glutes or legs a bit more, you could do

Monday : Day 1 Lower Body (A)

Tuesday : Day 2 Upper Body (A)

Wed: Day 3 Lower Body (B)

Thurs : Day 4 Upper Body (B)

Fri or Sat : Day 5 Lower Body {C}

This way you could throw extra volume on your leg days as needed.

How To Split Up Workout Days : What About Cardio!?

As mentioned above, when I talk about “workouts” I am solely speaking to weight training above.

For “cardio” here is what I usually tell my clients.

I would simply

  • Get 5-10k steps in per day, closer to the 7-10k mark as best as you can
  • Once you do that, if you WANT to work in extra cardio on top of that, I’d work in 1-3 days 15-30min per week of low intensity steady state cardio (LISS). This is cardio that is something like walking on the treadmill, using a bike, going swimming, using an elliptical machine, etc. All while keeping your heart rate LOW. You should be able to hold a conversation while doing the cardio, that is how you know you are in the right heart rate zone.

Why the low intensity steady state and not HIIT?

Well, HIIT is very taxing and stressful on the body from a “recoverability” perspective. Remember how we said you can only recover but from so much.

Hiit takes up a lot of recovery, where at steady state low intensity cardio actually helps promote recovery (so as long as you follow the guidelines above and don’t do too much of it).

Plus, from a “calorie burning” perspective, the amount of calories you burn from hiit vs LISS is minimal at best.

The negatives that can come from too much hiit cardio would again dig yourself a deeper hole in recovery which can have you not see progress.

Therefore, you should leave the fat loss component of your journey up to your nutrition.

If your goal is to maximize your workouts and recovery, LISS is going to be a better option than hiit in 99.9% of scenarios.

How To Split Up Workout Days : 6x Per Week Push, Pull, Legs

As mentioned above, I am not a fan of working out 6x per week, for all the mentions listed above.

Yet I get this question a lot so I will offer my thoughts. There is a split that is a “Push, Pull, Legs” split.

This is working out 6x per week with again, the push pull legs cycle split up 2x per week with one rest day.

It is a split I personally ran in my life for a while. What happened?

I started to plateau on my progress (muscle development, strength gains, etc). The burn out started to get to me because I was under recovering. I did not have a very “flexible” lifestyle.

Now, I am not saying you CAN’T do it. Some people do it and love it, cool.

Again, I would say you would need to check all of the boxes talked about above (calorie surplus, sleep 8-9hrs a night, etc etc).

And you have to be someone who is really focused on bodybuilding, yet even then, it’s not something I would personally recommend.

I don’t think if you are working out 6x per week you are going to either be able to recover from it or be able to keep the proper intensity of going close enough to failure. Which, again, is a massive part of seeing progress.

Just my two cents.

Which Split Is The “Best”?!

Well, there really is no “best” one.

Again, like I mentioned above, I typically recommend a 3-4x per week split. For most people I have found this is a sweet spot to be able to see kick a** progress, while also making it a sustainably part of your life.

But between the two of those, there is no “right” answer. It would depend on you and your schedule.

Remember, if you follow a 3x week workout with 100% consistency, you will see better results than following a 4x per week workout with 70% consistency because “life” happens.

Or if you know you like a routine of 4x per week, rock with 4x per week.


The only “right” or “best” one is the one you can be the most consistent with.

But Wait, How Do I Set Up My Workouts?!

Listen, quite frankly, that is an entirely different article in of itself.

In fact, I did write an article on it HERE.

As well as did a video on it HERE.


If you would like to see some examples of this in action, I’d highly suggest checking out those resources.

This one article you just read is one small sliver of what goes into creating a “real training program” I talked about above.

Or, of you would like for me to simply just take the guesswork out of it for you with a plan that tells you exactly what to do, I suggest you check out my Clubhouse HERE.

The Clubhouse is a program where I create 3-4x per week training programs and you get a new one every single month.

How To Split Up Workout Days : Wrapping Up

Whew, I knew there was a lot of information here. I hope it helped and if you need to, go back and reread some areas.

As mentioned above, typically a 3 or 4x per week workout split would be the “sweet spot”.

If you are someone who really can only workout 2x per week, I would go with that.

Or if you are someone who is more focused on body building, I would go with 5x per week.

I hope this article helped you and if you feel you need even more in-depth 1:1 coaching, you can fill out our application form HERE to see if we may be a good fit for coaching.

Look to chat soon.

-E

How Often Should You Change Your Workout Routine

how often should you change your workout routine

Every person who works out has gone through this question at some point, that is of course the question of, how often should you change your workout routine .

Whether you are pretty new to lifting and still trying to figure things out, or whether you have been exercising for a while yet realized you don’t know the answer to this question.

The answer is actually quite important because it can make or break your progress in your workouts.

I am going to outline piece by piece the answer to this question here in this article, so if you were looking for an in depth answer, you have come to the right place.

If you were looking for some quick, bullsh*t answer, with not much context or education behind it, then this may not be the place for you *insert emoji of me shrugging my shoulders here*.

Yet I know you want an in depth answer, otherwise, you wouldn’t be ready to read every single word of this article without skimming over any of it….


Right? 😉

Perfect then, let’s get into it, shall we?

How Often Should You Change Your Workout Routine?

Why Should You Change Your Workout Routine?

Ever heard of the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”?

Well, kind of. In regards to how often should you change your workout routine, I would say this saying doesn’t necessarily hold as much weight (ha! Get it?!).

Some people think you can do the same workout program over and over for YEARS and get results.

While have some people done that and seen results?

Sure, but people also used to send messages with f*cking note cards taped to birds, or use to get around with solely horseback instead of cars.

Just because some people saw progress doing something one way, doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a more productive and efficient way.

Hence, us evolving as a society of humans always looking to innovate and improve.

I digress, the point being is, yes you should be changing up the workouts you do.

For various different reasons, in fact, let’s go over some of the main ones right now so that you can be educated.

I am a firm believer that the more educated you are on a topic, the likelihood of you succeeding at said topic is much greater.

Thus, let’s get to learning, Jack.

1. Overuse Injury

Whenever someone asks me “how often should you change your workout routine” one of my first answers as to WHY they should change always goes to overuse injuries.

Think about it for a second.

When you are repetitively doing a specific exercise, your

  • joints
  • tendons
  • ligaments
  • connective tissue
  • and muscles

are all taking the same force week after week after week, right?

It’s the same movement pattern, challenging in the same ranges of motion, and repeating over and over the same stress.

No matter if your form is in fact good with the exercise, the fact remains, you are still hammering that same movement pattern over and over.

Eventually, what can happen is, your body can basically break down and develop an overuse injury.

Because you have done the same movement pattern over and over for so long, it just becomes a bit too much for your body to handle for various different reasons.

This is where you get these “little aches and pains”.. Sore elbows here… Cranky knees there.. Overly tight hips here..

These start off as “little” aches and pains, yet over time since you are not switching your workouts up, these little aches and pains turn into bigger, more serious injuries.

I will give you two quick examples.


Let’s say someone is doing a sumo deadlift, you know, like this right here.

how often should you change your workout routine : Sumo deadlift

Now, I know not everyone can have as beautiful of a lifting face as I do here, but stick with me.

Doing sumo deadlifts inevitably are going to place some stress and pressure on your hip joint due to the wider stance you get.

So, over time, if you ONLY do sumo deadlifts, and you NEVER switch up…

You are asking for some sort of overwork / overuse injury on your hips. They simply are getting taxed and stressed at a high level week after week and if you don’t give them a chance to lessen up a bit by changing up your workouts, they can surely scream back at you via injuries.

Now someone might say “Well I do conventional deadlift so it isn’t as bad!”.

You’re missing the point.

Cool, you don’t do sumo deadlifts. Conventional deadlift inevitably puts a bit more pressure on your spine and hamstrings.

Therefore overtime, your hamstring and spine can develop an overuse injury to them as opposed to your hips.

It’s not one specific move, it is any move that is done too frequently over a period of time.

Or let’s take a chin up for example.

I see a lot of people try to get better at doing chin ups so they have a chin up party at the gym week after week after week.

Which, if you are doing something like the Grease The Groove Method (A low intensity, high frequency method for improving a specific lift) then that’s one thing.

But doing them with high intensity and effort week after week, I have seen really tend to f*ck up people’s elbows, wrists, and or shoulders.

Again, simply just due to the fact that you are repeating this same plane of motion movement pattern for a bit too long.

So while there is merit to keeping the same workouts for a certain period of time (we will talk about how long a bit later), if you do it for too long too frequently, it can surely backfire.

This is one reason why it is important to change your workout routine.

2. Challenging The Muscle From Different Angles

A second reason to change up your workout routines is due to you wanting to challenge the muscle from different angles.


I will use your back (more specifically mid / upper back ie traps, rhomboids, rear delts), biceps, and hamstrings as an example.

If we are talking about training your mid back muscles, these are big muscles that have various different functions in the body.

Therefore, to only train it from one angle would just quite simply make no sense.

For example, let’s say you are doing a 1 am dumbbell bent over row to work your mid back (like this here below).


That is a horizontal pulling movement.

Awesome, but you are missing a key component of training from a vertical pulling movement.

Throwing in something like a wide grip lat pulldown would be a great work your upper back in a vertical pulling pattern.

BUT WAIT!

You can also do a close grip lat pulldown to once again work your mid back muscles from a different angle of pull and resistance.

BUT WAIT!

You can also hit your mid back by doing a seated cable row variation instead of a dumbbell bent over row variation!

I could go on, but the point being is, you can only fit so much in a weeks worth of a workout routine.

For you to be able to hit your back muscles from various different angles, you are more than likely going to have to change up your workout routine from time to time to focus on these different angles.

Let’s take your biceps as an example as well.

You can work your biceps in the shortened position (this is typically when your arm is out in front of you doing a bicep curl, we will touch more on this in the next section).

Something like a preacher curl you can see here below.

Okay, so you can hit your bicep in the shortened position using a preacher curl, sweet. That is with the resistance (the weight) coming from down below you.

BUT, you can also hit your bicep in the shortened position from above doing something like a 1 arm high cable curl, like you see here.

Cool, but you can ALSO hit your bicep in the shorten position hitting something like a crouching cable curl where the weight is actually coming from in weight of you, here as you can see below.

Again, as you can see, you can work the bicep with just one angle.. Sure. yet inevitably you are under training that muscle for both maximizing strength and developing the muscle for aesthetics purposes.

Finally, we can touch on hamstrings.

You can hit your hamstrings from something like an RDL, as you can see here below.

You can hit your hamstrings from something like a bridge or thrust, as you can see below.

Or, you can hit your hamstrings from something like a curl, as you can see below.

Within even these variations, there are multiple variations you can choose from as well.


Again, point being, for you to get a fully developed muscle, you will need to hit the muscle from all angles.

If you ONLY do one or two exercises, there is really just no way to make that happen.

3. Challenge Muscle From Different Ranges Of Motion

Whenever we talk about how often should you change your workout routine, we have to mention this one as well.

I spoke on this in the previous section, but your muscles can be challenged in different areas of the range of motion.


It can be more challenging at the bottom, at the top, in the mid range.

Let’s take again biceps and glutes this time.

When talking about biceps, you can work your bicep in a shortened position or a lengthen position.

Something like a crouching cable curl like I showed you above, that is working your bicep in the shortened position because your arm is out in front of you.

But, you can also work your bicep in a lengthened position.

This is when your arms and shoulders are extended behind you and when your bicep is fully stretched, that is when it is challenged the most. Something like this 2x arm face away curl right here.

You can also challenge the muscle in the mid range by something like a regular dumbbell bicep curl.

This means it has the most resistance and the most challenging around the middle part of the rep as you curl up.

Then again, as you saw from above, even with these variations there are different angles you can hit the muscle from.

To get a fully developed bicep muscle (or ANY muscle) you need to be hitting it from different angles.

Simply just doing ONE or TWO exercises over and over more than likely will not cut it.

You will need to have some variation to your workouts.


We can take your glutes for example as well.

You can do something like a hip thrust, which is going to challenge your muscle in the shortened position (at the top when you are squeezing your glutes).

Or, you could something like an RDL, which is challenging your glutes in the lengthened to mid range position.

Or, you could do some sort of split squat variation, which is challenging again in that lengthen to mid range position.

Without going TOO much more in depth, you can see again, there are many different exercises that can make sure you challenge the muscles in these different ranges of motions.

Yet again, if you only do the same exercises over and over, never changing up your workouts, you won’t be able to have this happen.

4. Different Goals

When talking about why you would change up your workout routine, you can (and should!) also change up based on different goals.

For example, I run something called my Clubhouse. This is where I create new workout programs every single month for the people inside.


I am writing this in 2022, beginning of September.

Thus Far in the Clubhouse our workouts have focused on..

January – March = Strength focused

April – June = Hypertrophy focused (more muscle building)

July – September = Powerbuilding ( a hybrid between powerlifting and “bodybuilding”

.

For each of those “focuses” that we had, there were different workouts!

From the rep ranges, to the exercises, to the amount of exercises per workout, to the amount of sets per workout.


For example, when we are focusing a lot on strength, we are going to incorporate more work in the lower rep ranges (1-5) than we would if we are focusing on muscle building, which may be more in that 6-12 rep range.

Or, if we are primarily focusing on muscle building, we maybe won’t pick exercises like a deadlift from the floor.

This is because a deadlift from the floor isn’t a GREAT muscle building exercise, therefore while we focus on building more muscle, we take that movement out. We may swap it for say some sort of Romanian Deadlift variation to focus more on glute and hamstring hypertrophy.

When we are focusing on power building, we focus on some lower rep strength work, but not so much that it takes away from our overall muscle building component. We don’t go so hard on the strength side that we can’t do our isolation “muscle building” exercises at the end like lateral raises, bicep curls, leg extensions, etc.

We might also do something called “top sets and back off sets”, I can link a video on that here below.

Therefore when talking about how often should you change your workout routine, I think taking the current goals into consideration also plays a role.

We wouldn’t keep the same exercises, reps, rest times, etc for different goals. That would just be plain silly!

Also, yes, you should be going through some phases like this because the strength work will bleed into the hypertrophy phase. The hypertrophy phase bleeds into the powerbuilding phase, etc.

This is why following a real strength training program is so important.

5. Enjoyment

Another reason to change up your workout routines is simply for more enjoyment!

I have coached people for over 6.5 years now as I type this.

All of my clients, whether they are inside the Clubhouse or the people we work with 1:1, everytime they get their new workout program they are STOKED!

It’s like Christmas all over again!

There are new exercises, new reps, new sets.

New angles to hit the muscle from, new challenges to take on.

Changing up your workouts can give you that “new” stimulus, which for a lot of people, they enjoy that!

Unless you are like just so dialed into bodybuilding and this is your entire life, most people can’t do the exact same workout program over and over to truly enjoy it.

You may say you do.. But I know it’s just because you don’t feel like switching your workouts, or because you don’t know how to change your workouts.

Getting that “new” stimulus and almost a “new” dopamine hit can be advantageous because what happens when you enjoy your training more?

You push harder with it.

What happens when you push harder with it?

You see more results.

What happens when you see more results?

You wanna keep going with it. Ain’t nothing more motivating than seeing results, right?

That is why changing up your workouts can actually help your results continue to flourish.


How Often Should You Change Your Workout Routine

So.. How Often Though?

how often should you change your workout routine : dates

Phew, alright, I just covered 5 main reasons above on why I believe you should be changing up your workout routine.

Honestly, I could go on and give you more reasons why, but I will cap it there for now. This doesn’t need to turn into a dissertation.

I hope you got the point that yes, you should be changing your workout routines up.


Now, how often should this be taking place? Let’s talk about it.

My Recommendation

My recommendation for how often you should change your workout routine is typically every 4-8 weeks.

Let’s talk about why that number in particular.

First off, this allows you enough time to have something called progressive overload.


Progressive overload is a topic worthy of an article in of itself (actually, I did write an article about progressive overload, you can read it HERE when you are done this one!) so I won’t go super in depth.

Yet think of pogressive overload as simply the “thing” that causes you to change your physique, build muscle, get stronger, the whole 9.

It’s by far the coolest kid in school.

If you don’t have progressive overload, you are missing out on optimizing and potentially even seeing any progress at all what so ever.

Think of progressive overload is simply just “doing more”.

I am going to put a picture here of one of my 1:1 online coaching clients workouts.

Notice how from week 1 to week 4, in basically every single exercise, they improved?

They did more weight or more reps, right?

That is progressive overload. They did more!

This is what you need to make changes to your body and see results.

Therefore, if you are changing your workouts every 4-8 weeks, that is ample time to have this progressive overload.

Now, if you are changing your workouts every WEEK, no, that is not ample time to have progressive overload.

You can’t even progressive overload if you are doing something new each week. If you did goblet squats one week, then a split squat the next, then a barbell back squat the next, how can you get better at any of that over time?

You can’t. You’re just doing “exercise” at that point, not following a program.

Also, week 1 and 2 you really are just getting used to the movement, let alone being able to do more with it.

So usually at least 4 weeks on one program is what I recommend to allow for this progressive overload to happen.

We also talked about earlier being able to avoid overuse injury.


Typically speaking a 4-8 week span is a great time to allow for progressive overload, but then still not get overuse injuries from specific movements.

Also talking about hitting the muscles from different angles and ranges of motion, if you take your glutes for example, 4-8 weeks is a great period of time to work in certain exercises.. Progressive overload with them… crush it..

Then bam, swap it out for a new set of exercises to challenge the muscles from different ways.

As well as speaking from anecdotal coaching experience, usually around that 4 ish week mark, MOST people start to get a bit burnt out from doing the specific exercises and are “ready” for a change by that point.

Therefore again, keeping intensity high by keeping enjoyment high and exciting can lead to better progress over time.

Last but not least, this is a great period of time to allow for potential different goals to be worked in.

If let’s say you change your workouts up every 4 weeks.

You can have 2-3 4 week blocks with a hypertrophy phase, 1-2 blocks with a strength phase, and on and on.

Giving an ample amount of time to smash the goal, while still being able to include all that we talked about above.

How Often Should You Change Your Workouts Secret Hint : Deload Weeks

Another reason I like switching up after every 4-8 weeks is due to something called a deload week.

If you want to listen to an in depth podcast I’ve done on deload weeks, I can link that HERE .

Essentially what a deload week is, you are slightly decreasing your intensity and volume for a week.

Intensity is how heavy you are lifting / how close you are lifting to failure.

Volume is the amount of sets and reps you are doing.

Let’s say on a regular week, you are doing 3×8 reps with 50lbs.

On a deload week, you are lifting say 3×6 reps with 40lbs.


Why would you do this?

Well, when we workout we accumulate stress and fatigue.

If we just keep accumulating that stress and fatigue to never let it come back down, that is where people either stall out on their progress or get injured.

You can’t just keep linearly progressing with your workouts forever and ever or else we’d all be lifting cars above our heads by now.

Therefore with changing your workout every 4-8 weeks combining with a deload week…

You can crush workouts for say 3-4 weeks, get after it hard, accumulate stress and fatigue…

Then take that deload week to let the fatigue and stress come back down, your body will have a “supercompensation” effect, you will be able to recover better..

Then bam, be ready to push hard again for 3-4 weeks.

This is a great way to make “linear” progress over time.

The reason I brought up deload weeks is because the way I program deload weeks, whenever a client gets a new program, the first week is a deload week.

Why?

Well because again the first week of a new program you are going to learn the new moves, get the new routine down, etc.


This is a great time to take a deload week, then be able to push hard for 3-4 weeks after that, increase weight, increase reps, etc…

Then bam, take your deload week, switch programs, and keep on repeating.

Not Only How Often Should You Change Your Workouts.. But WHAT To Change In Your Workouts

I know this is question you may have and unfortunately, for all the information I have given you for free in this article, this is a question I can’t specifically answer for you.

Not because I am “holding out”, I mean f*ck I just wrote this entire article for free.


Simply because the answer to that question is one big fat “it depends”.

You may change exercises, reps, sets, days per week, rest time, there are so many variables to tweak.

Here’s the advice I can give you with what I do in the programs I write for people either in the Clubhouse or our 1:1 clients.

Typically speaking every 4-8 weeks I change the..

  • Exercises / Exercise Variation (going from maybe a reverse lunge to a bulgarian split squat, or a dumbbell bicep curl to a cable bicep curl from what we talked about above)
  • Reps ( maybe we are shooting for 6-8 reps in the first 4 weeks on squats, then to focus more on strength we focus on 3-5 reps in the next 4 weeks)
  • Sets ( if we are trying to bias a muscle group for more growth or focus, maybe we do 10 weekly sets per week to 15 weekly sets per week )
  • Tempo ( maybe we change going from 3 seconds on the way down in a squat and a 2 second pause, to only going 2 seconds on the way down and no pause to work on more explosive strength )

The list could go on as it would really just depend on the program you are doing.

I cannot truthfully tell you without writing a program for you, but hopefully the information from this article gives you at least an idea of what to do.

I can also link an article I wrote HERE on how to potentially structure your workout programs that may help as well.

How Often Should You Change Your Workout Routine : Final Word

Well, there you have it. I am hoping that was at least one of the most in depth answers to how often should you should change your workout routine you will find across the interweb.

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with a friend.


Furthermore, if you are interested in getting some programming done for you to take out all of the guesswork and planning in your workouts,

Feel free to check out my Clubhouse HERE where I write new workout programs each month.

Or, if you were more interested in 1:1 coaching, you can fill out the form HERE To potentially work with our team.



Hope this helps and look to chat soon.

-E

Can You Drink Alcohol And Lose Weight : The Hidden Truth

can you drink alcohol and lose weight

The one question everyone asks themselves when diving into a weight loss journey, “Can you drink alcohol and lose weight”.

I get it. Alcohol is sometimes a part of culture and societal norms (which we may challenge later on in this article).

As well as I know sometimes you may just thoroughly enjoy a drink or two… or 8. Cough.

Therefore if you are embarking on a weight loss journey, it would only make sense to ask the question “Can you drink alcohol and lose weight”.

You may ask this question and get a multitude of different answers. I am going to make sure you leave this article knowing the ins and outs of alcohol and weight loss.

Just be sure to not glance over it or skim it (yea, I know you were either already thinking about it or doing it!) because you may miss something.

I don’t want you to miss anything. I want you to leave here knowing every single thing you need to know to reach your goals.

Cool?

Cheers!

Can You Drink Alcohol And Lose Weight

Background On Weight Loss & Alcohol

Now if you have followed me for any amount of time, you may know the next few sentences of what I am about to say.

But maybe this is your first time stumbling across one of my articles, which in that case, let’s first lay out how weight loss occurs in the first place.


I won’t go super in depth on this because I actually have already done that in this article HERE or this video HERE.

Yet the only way you are going to lose weight is by creating a calorie deficit.


A calorie deficit is simply eating less calories than your body burns on a daily / weekly basis.


Energy in vs energy out. Calories in vs calories out.

As long as the calories coming in are less than the calories going out, you my friend will have yourself a weight loss equation.

This is the over the top most important factor. If you are in a calorie deficit you will lose body fat. Bottom line.

This is important because obviously alcohol plays a role in this calorie balance equation due to the fact alcohol has calories.

Let’s dive a bit more in depth into alcohol and calories respectively now.

Calories, Macros, and Alcohol

Briefly, let’s cover a few things about can you drink alcohol and lose weight.

You have your overall calories, then you have the macronutrients that make up your calories.

Protein – 4 calories per 1 gram

Carbs – 4 calories per 1 gram

Fat – 9 calories per 1 gram

Usually, people know these 3 macronutrients that make up our calories.

Enter alcohol.

Alcohol is in fact it’s own macronutrient.

It has 7 calories per gram.

Yep, people usually don’t know alcohol is it’s own macro. They usually chalk it up to a carb or sugar, which it very well could have some of those depending on the drink you are consuming.

This is important to know because people will pick the “lower sugar” or “lower carb” drinks, which could very well save you calories..

Yet this could simply mean instead of drinking 1000 calories in alcohol you are drinking 500 calories.

Which again if you are looking to be in a calorie deficit these calories count. Not only do they count, they can add up rather quickly if you are not careful.

Let’s take a real life example.

Let’s say you are going out with your friends and planning on having 3 8oz vodka and tonic drinks around 8pm.

This would be roughly 200 cals per drink, leading to about 600 calories coming from alcohol for that day.

Let’s then say your overall calories you are trying to hit is 1600 calories for that day (if you don’t know how many calories you are supposed to be eating for fat loss, check out THIS ARTICLE HERE after you finish reading this one).

This would mean the rest of the day you are going to need to figure out a way to only eating 1000 calories from say 8am to 8pm.

This is how you can keep the overall calorie deficit we talked about above.

Not to say it’s impossible, but you may have already been thinking “.. only 1000 calories!”.

Yep, you can lose fat and drink alcohol, yet it does in fact make it harder for this exact reason.

Let’s also talk about something you may have heard before which is the “empty calories” from alcohol.

Empty Calories From Alcohol

can you drink alcohol and lose weight

You may have heard your annoying cousin, bodybuilder friend, or Keto Karen aunt talk about how alcohol is “empty calories”.

Now, while those 3 people above don’t seem very enchanting, they do have some validity behind their claims.

They probably don’t know why, they more than likely just regurgitated info they heard someone else say out of a magazine.

Yet nonetheless, let’s talk about why this is true.

Let’s take a look at the one 8oz vodka and tonic drink for 200 calories.

Those 200 calories essentially do nothing for you.

They don’t fill you up or keep you satisfied. Which, when talking about a calorie deficit, you are trying to optimize your calories.

You are trying to keep your calories low and your satiety (how full you are) high because inherently eating less calories than you burn is going to leave you a bit hungry, proving to be challenging to stay in a caloric deficit.

Take 200 calories coming from say a chicken breast. That 200 calories and protein coming from a chicken breast is going to keep you full because protein is the most satiating macronutrient.

Ingesting 200 calories of alcohol essentially does not help keep you full or satisfied, leading it to be harder to stick to your calorie deficit because you are “wasting calories” in a sense.

Nor does alcohol provide any real nutrients, vitamins, or minerals to you from a health standpoint.

Take 200 calories from chia seeds for example.

It would provide some good nutrients like fiber which can help give you energy and keep you satisfied (again, helping out a calorie deficit).

As well as providing some omega 3 fatty acids which can help with the anti inflammatory process in your body.

Whereas alcohol is usually going to cause inflammation inside your body.

Let’s also talk about something people don’t understand with alcohol.

It makes me laugh sometimes people will smash 4, 5, 6 beers without blinking an eye, but white rice is apparently a direct spawn of Satan.

Let’s take 200 calories from rice compared to 200 calories from alcohol.

You may think “well what does rice do!? It’s just carbs!”.

Yep, carbs that your body is going to soak right up to use for energy for your workouts. There is something called glycogen. Think of glycogen as just fuel for your muscles.

Eating 200 calories of rice is going to get stored as muscle glycogen so that when you go and do your workouts, you will be able to push harder.

Lift more weights, do more reps, have more endurance, stamina, etc.

If you do this you are going to change your body more because your workout performance is heightened.

As opposed to alcohol where not only will it not store as muscle glycogen, it is actually going to impair the muscle protein synthesis in your body, which helps you recover from workouts, in turn changing your body.


So, it actually hinders your progress.

Not to mention if you wake up after a night of 3 4 5 drinks and try to go get a solid workout.. Don’t lie to me, that workout is going to take a hit. That is if you are lucky enough to even get a workout in.

Needless to say, that’s why alcohol is considered “empty calories”.

It really does nothing positive for you, your fitness journey, or body.

Now it may be sounding like I am a bit biased, and while yes I personally don’t drink alcohol, I am not saying this to say you shouldn’t drink.

I am purely just stating the facts and providing you with the information.



So while the answer to the question of “can you drink alcohol and lose weight” may technically be yes as long as you are in a calorie deficit.

It is going to make it substantially harder for you just from those reasons above.

Yet we aren’t done yet.. Let’s dive into some more facts about alcohol and weight loss.

Can You Drink Alcohol And Lose Weight? Things To Think About..

Sleep

Let’s bring up the topics of sleep, alcohol, and fat loss.

Again, as we mentioned earlier, you are going to lose weight so as long as you are in a calorie deficit.

Yet, just knowing that often doesn’t provide contextual information to real life situations.

Let’s play it out.


Let’s say you have one night where you do have a few drinks. Maybe you don’t even get completely wasted but you have enough drinks to impair your sleep for that night.

Do you know what happens when you are “sleep deprived”?

There are two hormones in your body called Leptin and Ghrelin.

Leptin is the hormone that tells your brain “I am good, I am NOT hungry”.

Ghrelin is the hormone that tells your body “I am NOT good, I AM hungry, let’s eatttt sucka”.

Even if you aren’t actually hungry.. This hormone will tell your brain you are.

When you are sleep deprived your Leptin decreases and your Ghrelin increases.


This means, even if you are not “actually” hungry for more food, you are going to be hungry for more food solely because your sleep got impaired due to the alcohol consumption.

Once again, can you still lose weight even though this is apparent?

Yep, for sure. Yet once again it makes it substantially harder because now you will be hungry due to being in a calorie deficit on top of your Ghrelin being increased.

This fat loss game is hard enough as it is and this is just making it that much harder.

Why put yourself behind the 8 ball and stack the chips against you that much more if you don’t have to?

Overall Activity

We just talked about the hunger that comes with having impaired sleep, let’s now talk about the activity changes it affects.

Remember, for you to lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit. This means you are eating less calories than you burn.

Now while I don’t usually encourage you to focus on doing tons and tons of cardio to lose weight because that is a game you will never win..

You can’t out train a bad diet.

I am not even talking about doing “cardio” per say. In this section I am going to be referring to just simply MOVING throughout your day.

There is something called your NEAT, Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.

This plays a critical role in your metabolism and your overall calories burned that day.

can you drink alcohol and lose weight tree


Think of NEAT as just all the extraneous movements throughout your day. All of your steps, all of your fidgeting, chasing your kids around, walking to the mailbox, everything.

When you are drinking alcohol.. Staying out late.. Having impaired sleep.. Are you heading into that next day like the Energizer Bunny?

I think not. A whole lot of laying out, netflix, and chips (we will touch on the food part here shortly).

Your NEAT is massively going to decrease that day and the next day after, which is going to decrease your calories burned, which is going to negatively affect your calorie deficit & weight loss.

Again, making it harder for you to stay in that calorie deficit to lose weight.

Can you? Sure. Is it making it harder? Yep.

Workouts

When it comes to answering the question of can you drink alcohol and lose weight, your workouts have to be mentioned.

We spoke earlier about you will have worse workout performance because alcohol is “empty calories”.

I also want you to think about it from this perspective.

If the day or two after drinking you are kind of dragging a** and not really able to push yourself as hard in your workouts, inevitably you are going to burn less calories.

Again, I am not a believer that you should be focusing your workouts on how many calories you are burning during your workouts. I believe your workouts should be focused on getting stronger, hitting new PR’s, doing more reps, etc.

Yet when we talk about weight loss and the overall energy balance equation of calories in vs calories out, it has to noted that if you aren’t able to push as hard in the gym you don’t burn as many calories.


Your muscles don’t contract as hard so you don’t expend as much energy. You’re not able to lift as heavy which doesn’t expend as many calories. You don’t have as much stamina or energy so you can’t extend the sets as long so you burn less calories.

Again, point being, you are making it harder on yourself as a direct result of drinking alcohol.

It’s not just the 3 drinks and the calories from them… There are a million little ripple effects that come from those 3 drinks that you may not have even have connected together until right now.

Speaking of the calories from drinks, let’s be a bit more honest about that.

Can You Drink Alcohol And Lose Weight : Food Consumption Too…

Okay let’s face it.


When you drink, what the hell are you snacking on while you are drinking?

Pickles, celery, carrots, and romaine lettuce?

Yea, you aren’t fooling me (or your body).

Chips, nachos, burgers, pizza, etc. All foods that are higher in calories.

While again, can you eat all of those foods and still lose weight 100% yes… It makes it harder inherently because they are higher in calories.

Let’s take our example from the beginning, you have to eat 1600 calories to lose weight.

You are going out and going to have 3 drinks which is 600 calories then have a few slices of cheese pizza for roughly about 500 calories.

Cool, that’s 1100 calories for that specific time slot… That would mean the rest of the day you would need to eat 500 calories in order to stay in your deficit.

Possible? Sure. Likely? Not… Not likely.

Therefore you need to take into account the fact it isn’t just the alcohol calories coming in, it is usually going to be some food calories as well.


Those foods tend to be higher in calories per serving compared to something like eggs, oatmeal, salads, chicken, etc.

Again, making this journey a bit more difficult for you to lose weight..

Now, you may say “ERIC! HOW DARE YOU! I ABSOLUTELY WILL STAY STRONG…”.

Okay, lemme hit you with this.

Inhibition

In my opinion maybe the most important point of the answer of can you drink alcohol and lose weight comes down to this one word.

Inhibition.

If you are unaware of what inhibition is – for the topic of this article -it is essentially your ability to say no to things.

Your judgment, willpower, and control. That is “inhibition”. It just kind of gets kicked to the curb when you drink alcohol.

It is proven that when you drink alcohol your inhibition lowers. This is the exact reason why it isn’t a great idea to drink and drive, amongst others like delayed reaction time.

Therefore if your inhibition lowers, you are much more likely to to say “F*ck it, yea, I’ll have another drink!”.

Okay well another 1, 2, 400 calories later you are out of your calorie deficit.

You are more likely to to say “F*ck it, yea, let’s get that pizza and wings!”.

1500 calories later from wings and pizza you blew your calorie deficit out of the water for that night.

In general you are just more likely to not care about your goals or calorie deficit because your inhibition is lowered, which I can assume you know how that would end up.

Does Alcohol Stop Fat Loss While In Your System?

One thing you may have heard is that while alcohol is in your system, it’s stops fat loss and muscle growth.

The answer to that question is yes, this is true to a degree.

If you are having ONE drink, I would not worry about it.

Yet, if you are drinking enough to get pretty tipsy or drunk, yes, the physiological processes of muscle building and fat loss stop in the short term.

I say the short term because alcohol is a toxin after all.

When the toxin is found in your body in high quantities, your bodies main job is to get that toxin out first before it can continue with it’s processes of changing your body.

Therefore for a brief period of time muscle gain and fat loss stop, yes, but again as long as you are in your overall calorie deficit you will still lose body fat in the long term.


But again… do you see a common theme of alcohol and weight loss?

Can You Drink Alcohol And Lose Weight? The Final Answer

The final answer to can you drink alcohol and lose weight is in simple terms : YES.


As long as you remain within your calorie deficit you will be able to still lose body fat, for sure.

I am not telling you NOT to drink. You are a grown adult, you can make your own decisions for yourself. Who the hell is some rando on the internet to tell you otherwise?

Now, does it make it exponentially harder due to all the reasons we just went over?

Abso-freaking-lutely yes.

You are going to make something that is already hard (losing weight) even harder.


Now that you have the information you can make an adult decision of what you choose to do moving forward.

My personal suggestion is if you are very serious about losing weight would be to limit your alcohol intake to 1-3 drinks per week.

Yes, you read that right, per week.

Again, you don’t have to listen to me, but I would just strongly encourage you to decide what it is that you really want.

Does alcohol really serve you that big of a purpose? Or do you want to reach your overall bigger goals?

The beautiful part about life is you get to decide.

Hope it helped and if you were interested in getting some extra guidance, help, and accountability during your journey, you can fill out this form HERE to potentially work with one of our coaches.


Wish you well and chat soon,

-E

Should I Work Out While Sore ? Find Out Now.

should I work out while sore ?

Should I work out while sore ? – Asked everyone who has ever worked out in their life.

This question has irked gym goers and home workout warriors for decades and decades.

Today, we are going to put a screeching halt to it – solely because we are going to solve this mystery right here, right now.


Just be sure to keep your eyes peeled to the entire article solely because I am going to lay every single thing for you in depth.

If you stick around, you will leave this article having zero doubts of the answer to should I work out while sore.

Let’s get into it.

Should I Work Out While Sore ?

Well.. What Causes Muscle Soreness?

EIMD (Exercise Induced Muscle Damage) is usually what causes muscle soreness.

When you workout you create micro tears inside your muscle fibers (I know, crazy right?!).

People think you change your body inside the workouts. No, you actually break your body down during your workouts.


The stress and tension of lifting weights / exercising in general is what creates this damage.

When you recover from those workouts is when you actually change your body!

Even crazier, right?!

Nonetheless, this breakdown and “damage” of the muscles creates inflammation inside the muscle and causes the “soreness” effect.

EIMD is most apparent when you FIRST start working out or FIRST start a new workout program you just changed to.

That’s why when you first start lifting weights or when you come back after a long period of time off… Oh mama, you better be ready to hold onto something when you sit down on the toilet.

Or for example, all of our 1:1 clients or Clubhouse members get a new workout program every 4-5 weeks. Usually, the first week of this program, people are the MOST sore.

Yet after that first week, the soreness typically wears off because EIMD becomes less and less apparent as your body gets more used to the movements and exercises.

This is due to something called “the repeated bout effect”.

Essentially, when you continuously workout your body gets “used to” the stress you are putting on it.

Whether it is because you are doing the same exercise for 4-5 weeks (like you should be doing following a real strength training program!).

Or whether it is because just in general your body is getting used to handling and dealing with higher amounts of stress in this fashion.

As you repeatedly put your body through the stress, it is very smart, and it adapts to the stress.

This is actually how you change your body, get stronger, and build muscle!

You put a stress on your body (exercise), you recover from that stress, then you adapt to that stress.

I talk about this more in my progressive overload article HERE if you want to check it out.

This is important because I know so many people who just start working out get incredibly sore and it really deters them from continuing on in their workouts.

Please just know, if you stay consistent and keep pushing, the soreness will subside as it goes on.

If it is that bad, keep reading below to find out what I recommend doing.

This also then begs the question…

Do You NEED To Be Sore To See Progress?

should I work out while sore

I think when answering the question of should I work out while sore ties into the same question of do you need to be sore.

The answer is yes and no.

No because as long as you are having progressive overload over time, that is what matters.

If you are getting stronger, lifting more weight, doing more reps.. That determines progress over time.

Also, TOO MUCH soreness can actually be detrimental to your progress.

If you have too much EIMD (aka soreness) that can actually hinder muscle repair progress as well as performance in the gym.

Your muscles have something called muscle protein synthesis. When you try to train your muscle again when it is already incredibly sore, you are messing up this muscle protein synthesis process.

So now you aren’t recovering as well on top of the fact your performance in the gym has tanked.


(Remember from earlier, the way you change your body is by recovering from workouts. If you don’t recover, you don’t change).

Thus, less recovery and worse performance in the gym, that is NOT a very good equation for seeing results my fellow weight lifting friend.

Now, on the other hand, SOME soreness helps us indicate that we did in fact create enough tension inside of the local muscle we are trying to work in order to see some change to it.

For example, if you *think* you absolutely SMASHED your glutes or your chest.. Yet your glutes or chest aren’t sore even in the slightest.. Then we may need to rethink that “smashing”.

(Not like that, get your mind out of the gutter).

You don’t need, nor should you be debilitatingly sore after a workout, yet some soreness can be a good sign.

Alright, What Does All Of This Mean!?

Okay, let’s first sum up some information about soreness.

Soreness Takeaways

  • Muscle soreness comes from EIMD ( Exercise Induced Muscle Damage ) – this comes from exercising and putting your body under stress.
  • It is most apparent when first ever start a training program, when you have taken a long break from working out , or when you switch your workout program and start a new one
  • It will get less and less the more consistent you become, the longer you stick to a program and the more advanced you become through the “repeated bout effect”
  • You don’t NEED to be sore in order to change your body or see progress, yet SOME soreness is a good indicator you are creating enough stress & tension inside the muscle you are trying to work
  • Too much soreness is actually a negative thing and can cause diminishing results

Now that we laid out some key takeaways about muscle soreness, let’s dive into some frequently asked questions in regards to soreness and should I work out while sore.

Should I Work Out While Sore : FAQ About Soreness.

How Much Is Being “Too Sore”?

Great question.

Generally speaking if you are sore for more than 72 hours in a specific muscle, that usually is a sign you did too much or didn’t recover enough.

For example if you trained your chest on Monday and by the time Thursday rolls around if you are still debilitating sore, that is not something you want to routinely happen for reasons mentioned above.

What If You ARE “Too Sore” Consistently?

When talking about the topic of should I work out while sore – the fear of being “too sore” often pops up.

Well again, if you are a complete beginner, I would first remind you that you are going to be sore for the first few weeks until that “repeated bout effect” we talked about sets in.

Beyond that, if you are seeing your muscles are sore 72+ hours after you workout, you either need to..

  • Do less volume and intensity in your workouts
  • Recover better


Volume essentially means the amount of reps and sets you are doing.

If you are too sore, you should probably back off the sets and reps.

Intensity in this instance is something I am referring to as how close you are pushing to failure.

If you are too sore, you should probably back off and not push as close to failure as you are doing right now.

Or as mentioned, you need to recover better. How do you recover better? Well, you can..

  • Sleep more
  • Eat more calories
  • Eat more protein
  • Make sure you are getting proper electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium)
  • Work in specific actions to promote recovery (massage, foam roll, read, meditate)

To name a few.

What If You Are NOT Getting Sore At All?

As mentioned above, you don’t NEED to be sore to see progress, but a little soreness generally means you are working the right intended muscle.

Again, it will be more apparent the earlier on in a program and less apparent the later on in a program.

With that being said, if you aren’t even getting the slightest bit sore, you probably need to either

  • Do more hard working sets to failure (If you don’t know what a working set vs a warm up set is, check out this podcast I did HERE).
  • Lift heavier weight in a lower rep range – stop only lifting in the 12-20 rep range
  • Fix your form and execution of the movement. If your form is off, you will not be working the right muscles which means you won’t be getting sore (at least, sore in the right places!)

On a scale of 1-10, after the first week, I’d maybe aim to be about a 3-4 level of soreness after workouts to let yourself know you worked that muscle properly.

What Are The Negative Side Effects To Working Out While Sore?

should I work out while sore

Well, as mentioned earlier briefly, if you have too much EIMD it is going to impair the recovery process for one.

It is also going to cause worse workout performance.

Therefore if you can’t push as hard in the gym and you impair the recovery process needed to build muscle and strength, your results inherently suffer.

Potentially even go backwards.

You could also risk injury if your muscles are so sore they can’t contract and fire properly. Your form will get too compromised and increase risk of injury.

Whew.. now that we know all of that.. It’s time for the real question.

Should I Work Out While Sore?

I am going to break this down into two categories.

Beginner and intermediate / advanced.

First, beginner.

Beginner

Really quickly, I am labeling you as a beginner if you are in the first 1-2 months of following a real workout program for the topic of this particular subject.

Establishing that, if you are a beginner, yes you absolutely can and should workout while you are sore.

Remember the repeated bout effect, you need to be able to consistently put the stress on your body so that it can adapt to it to allow you to overcome that soreness.

Therefore if you workout for a week, then stop for a week because you are sore, you will never allow your body to truly adapt via the repeated bout effect.

You will “start over” each time after you take a week off because you are sore.

Therefore, I strongly encourage you to keep pushing through to allow yourself to get to that 3, 4, 5 week mark of consistently working out in a row.

This will allow your body to get used to the working out and the stress / damage that comes along with it – meaning you will be less sore as time goes on.

If you are someone who really cannot bear the soreness, just do what we talked about above, which is do a little bit less volume and intensity when you workout for right now.

If you are doing 3×8 with 50lbs for squats, do 2×6 with 30lbs.

Or if you are doing bodyweight lunges for 3×10 reps, do 2×5 reps.

Decrease your intensity and volume for right now, which will allow you to be less sore, stay consistent, and benefit from the repeated bout effect.

Intermediate / Advanced

Here is where the question of should I work out while sore becomes a bit more technical.

When you are past that beginner stage the answer is going to depend on a few things.

First is if you have given your muscles at least 72 hours to recover.

For example, if you are training glutes on Monday, and you can barely sit down on the toilet, yet you are supposed to train glutes on Wednesday…

No, I personally would not train glutes on that day.

You will more than likely not be able to train with enough intensity to produce results.

As well as you are not going to allow your body to go through the full recovery process necessary to grow stronger and adapt to the previous workouts stress.

Now, here is where context matters.


I just said I wouldn’t train glutes on Wednesday if your glutes are like 9/10 on the soreness scale.


Yet let’s say your glutes are only a 3/10 on the soreness scale.. You can feel them, they’re a little sore for sure, but it isn’t like you are crying going up stairs…


In this instance, I think yes, you could be able to train glutes on Wednesday.

There is not as much damage created (EIMD) therefore you won’t be impeding the muscle protein synthesis process nearly as much.

In some cases it could even potentially help the soreness because you are getting new blood flow to the area.

When you are sore you have inflammation inside the muscle. In order to recover you need to get this old blood out and push new blood in. Doing a workout while you are slightly sore can help do just that.

Key Takeaway

You can in fact workout while you are sore, if it is has been at least 72 hours or if your soreness is very mild.

But, if it has not been 72 hours and you are debilitating sore, I would hold off on working out for all reasons mentioned above.

Should I Work Out While Sore : Final Call

Welp, I hope this article helped you understand now only the question of “should i workout while sore” but also soreness as a whole in general.
If you enjoyed the article, feel free to share it with a friend.

As well as if you were interested in coaching with our team, I can link that HERE.

Look to chat soon,

-E

Peer Pressure To Eat Unhealthy : How To Deal

peer pressure to eat unhealthy

A dieters biggest dilemma is simply knowing how to deal with the peer pressure to eat unhealthy.

You at your Thanksgiving dinner and your Uncle shouts “Oh cmon it is one piece of pumpkin pie, live a little!!”.

Or maybe you are out to eat with your friends and you sit down at the table only to have your slightly intoxicated friend Sarah shout “Mary can’t eat the bread she’s on a diet!”.

All the while you are wondering how in the hell are you supposed to succeed with all of this going on around you making it that much harder to hit your goals.

Don’t worry because your pal Eric is here to the rescue.

I am going to cover exactly how to handle the peer pressure to eat unhealthy.

First I am going to dive into the psychological reason behind why people are peer pressuring you.

Then next I will give you 3 practical tips you can do when these situations pop up.

Be sure to stay tuned for all of it because I know it can help.

Sound groovy? Let’s kick it then.

Peer Pressure To Eat Unhealthy

Why People Peer Pressure You

I think before diving into any tips or strategies we should set a clear premise for why people peer pressure you to eat unhealthy.

The more you understand why it happens the more you will be able to understand it and handle it appropriately.

Why does your cousin continuously feel the need to try to get you to drink and or go off your diet?

Why do your friends time and time again work to seemingly sabotage your attempts to eat healthy?

Are they bad people? No of course not.

Normally there is one distinct thing going on that makes people try to peer pressure you to eat unhealthy.

It Is Their Own Insecurities

Think about it for a second.

Who is normally the one giving you shit and peer pressuring you?

It usually isn’t the most fit and healthiest individual. If it was they wouldn’t be pressuring you to eat unhealthy because they are in the same boat you are in.

Usually, not all the time, but usually it is someone who does not have their own nutrition, health, and fitness in check on their end.

If someone knows they should be following their diet but they aren’t how is that going to make them feel?

Probably guilty and ashamed.

They say to themselves over and over again they are going to start making changes to their nutrition and every Friday night they end up going out, smashing nachos and tacos, and getting white girl wasted.

Then every Monday morning they wake up and say “this is the week things are going to change!”.

Yet the same cycle repeats itself over and over again, leading them to feel guilty and ashamed for not doing the things they are supposed to be doing.


Fast forward to know when they see you.

You are not engulfing nacho after nacho, you are sitting there with your side salad as your appetizer.


Multiple tacos are not being demolished by you, rather you are eating your grilled chicken with some vegetables and potato.

Then as they are on their 4th alcoholic drink, they notice you haven’t had a single one yet.

You are doing the things they are supposed to be doing but they are not mentally strong enough to do.

Where does this lead them in their head? It leads them to feel even more insecure, guilty, and ashamed.


Not only are they not doing what they are supposed to yet now they see you over here doing the same things they are supposed to but aren’t.

They Then Try To Make Themselves Feel Better By Bringing You Down With Them

peer pressure to eat unhealthy

Now I am not saying these people are trying to ruin you or they are bad human beings.

Yet the fact of the matter is they have to find a way to make themselves feel better for not doing what they told themselves they were going to over and over again.

What is the easiest way to do this? By making you join in their party.

If they get you to eat the nachos and tacos while washing it down with a few drinks, they immediately feel better about themselves.

Now it is not just them who is doing it, it’s you too. Therefore they can justify to themselves it is okay to do what they are doing and delay that feeling of guilt and shame for a few more days (until Monday morning rolls around of course).

You are their quick scapegoat out of feeling insecure, guilty, and shameful.

It is important to understand where the person is coming from that is giving you the hassle because once you understand that, you almost feel bad for them.

They aren’t strong enough to stand tall and do the things they are supposed to do so they try to bring you down with them.

Which actually brings me to my next point of what you should realize when you get peer pressure to eat unhealthy.

Take It As A Compliment

Again, think about it.

Said person is not doing what they are supposed to be doing which is making them guilty and ashamed so they are trying to take that out on you to feel better.

That person is not mentally strong enough to protect their goals and the healthy lifestyle they are chasing.


Yet you are.

You are the one who is strong enough to sit there and order a salad instead of nachos as the appetizer.

You are the one who is being mindful of your calories while you are out and practicing moderation as opposed to eating like an a**hole.

Not them.

I dealt with this a lot as a kid growing up as I was always the one very into fitness and eating healthy / clean.

This kind of lifestyle was something I loved to live. Yet I would be lying if I told you I never had people try to give me sh*t or make me almost feel bad for the way I choose to live.

At first it did mess with me, until I realized that the only reason they were doing these things to me was because I was strong enough to stand up for what I wanted.

Think about your friends and family around you.


Who doesn’t want to improve their health, drop a few lbs, and look great?

All of them right?

Yet who is actually doing it?

Not many of them, right?

When people are trying to get you to crack by the peer pressure to eat unhealthy, they are giving you a compliment.

They are acknowledging you are stronger than they are.

They are acknowledging they can’t do what you are doing.

Take that as a compliment. Use it as them envying you.

.

I can’t tell you how many of those same people who were trying to peer pressure me to eat unhealthy are now coming to me asking for advice.

They will do the same for you. They will compliment you and ask you how the hell you were able to transform your body and look so amazing.

Then you will laugh and smile. (and or maybe use a few curse words to them about they one Christmas Eve dinner when they wouldn’t leave you the hell alone).

Therefore above anything else, understand why the peer pressure is getting directed towards you and take it as a compliment that you are doing something great.

Remember no one is going to give people grief or peer pressure if they are following the status quo. It is only those who step outside of it and look to change that get talked about.


It means you are doing something right and to keep on pushing.

3 Practical Tips On How To Handle Peer Pressure To Eat Unhealthy

peer pressure to eat unhealthy tips and tricks

I started by talking about the mindset strategies you have to understand because I think without understanding where people are coming from.

Once you truly grasp that part, this is the easy stuff.

That being said you can’t just tell someone they are insecure and to leave you alone (unless you are me… I have before… ) so here are 3 of my best tips I can give you to defuse the situation.

** Total random side note, as I like to throw these in every now and then, if you want some help on how to count calories in these foods you are eating that might be homemade, check out my article HERE where I cover that in depth **..

The Challenge

If there is one thing I have seen that works tremendously whenever there is peer pressure to eat unhealthy is by telling the person you are on a challenge.

When people hear the word “challenge” it is like their guard is immediately let down.

For example if someone is constantly trying to get you to drink, buying you shots, and giving you grief for not drinking with them, tell them you are on a challenge.

Say something along the lines of

“Man I would love to honestly but I am on a 30 day no drinking challenge right now”.

Immediately the conversation will change. They will wonder how long you have been on the challenge, why you started the challenge, how it is going, and so on.

Here is where you can make things up as you go (my favorite!) or have the same script every time.

Either way, I have noticed that when you tell people there is a challenge involved they immediately back off.

It also gets them thinking about doing a challenge for themselves (which they probably need let’s be honest…).

This can be an easy way out of a situation without hurting anyones feeling or telling them they are insecure to leave me alone.

Again, that one is kind of my favorite but, moving right along.

Not Feeling Well

This was one I used til the wheels fell off when I was younger.

Whenever there was something I truly did not want to partake in, whether it was drinking, having desserts, or devouring pounds and pounds of pasta, my go to was always to mention “I am just not feeling well”.

When you tell someone you aren’t feeling well it is like they almost feel bad for pressuring you now.


“What is wrong?! Are you okay? Do you need anything?”.

“Yea, I need you to leave me the f alone”.

All jokes aside this one works great.

Think about it who is going to give you grief for not doing something because you have a headache, or have a stomach ache.

If they do then they are real a**holes.

If you want to be able to be out but skip out or a thing or two, this is one I highly recommend.

Take It To Go

This is another staple of mine when I was growing up particularly at family events.

I come from an Italian family with aunts who not only love to cook, but are damn good at cooking.

If I knew the pasta they were making was 1000 calories per slab they were putting on my plate, even though I knew I was going to train that next day and have an amazing workout, 8000 calories of pasta was a bit much even for me.


Not to mention the to die for cake and or pies they make.

So, what did I do?

Sometimes I combined all three, something along the lines of

“Oh this all looks so amazing! Yet I am on a challenge to try to eat no desserts for 7 days straight! I am also actually not feeling the hottest. Could I possibly take it to go and have it for later?”.

Bam, genius right?

Don’t hurt anyones feeling, don’t have to eat 8000 calories in one sitting, and even get some goodies for later so I can practice moderation.

You can do the same thing, maybe don’t use all three combined as that would take a graduate level ;).

Yet you can certainly ask them to take whatever it is home to go instead of having it right then and there.

At that point do what you please with it.


Give it to your brother, eat it for yourself the next day in moderation, hell give it to your dog I don’t know.

Either way, that defuses the situation of needing to have it right then and there and can buy you an easy way out.

You will thank me later trust me.

Confident On How To Handle Peer Pressure To Eat Unhealthy?

I know it can be a challenge. Hell, weight loss is hard enough as it is without the added peer pressure to eat unhealthy.

Yet I hope I helped you understand the psychology of why people are trying to pressure you in the first place as well as some practical strategies you can use to maneuver your way out of it.

I think with those two things combined, you will be able to hold your diet close to your chest with much success.

PS: I also have done multiple videos on my YouTube channel about how to eat out, in any capacity, and still see progress with your health and fitness.

I can link some of them HERE If you want to check them out.

As well as, if you are someone who wants some extra guidance and accountability with your fitness journey, I would strongly encourage you to check out my Clubhouse.

It’s where myself, and a whole bunch of people like yourself hang out to get stronger, lose body fat, and improve their relationship with food.

If you enjoyed the article feel free to let me know below, I would love to hear from you.

If you want to drop a strategy of yours I did not mention here feel free to do so as well.


Thank you for reading and look to talk soon.

-E

Low Calorie Foods That Are Filling : Top 12 Options

low calorie foods that are filling

In this article I am going to give you my top 12 low calorie foods that are filling.

Let’s face it, dieting sucks.


You are hungry, you want to eat more food, but you can’t.

There quite possibly is nothing worse.

Don’t worry, because I am going to teach you how you can actually eat more food, without breaking the banks on calories.

Thus leading you to stay full while on your diet, which leads to you sticking to your diet, which leads to you seeing results.

I know, sounds crazy right?

I promise, if you stick around for the whole article and don’t just skim it, you will be in a perfect place to do the seemingly impossible.

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Low Calorie Foods That Are Filling : The Concept

Before we dive right into the list, I want to set up a few principles of why these foods are going to benefit you first.

I am a firm believer that the more educated you are, the more likely you are going to actually implement what we talk about today.


Think about when you just learned something in school, in sports, in your job. You want to use that new information right away!

Same concept here. Stick with me as I do a little bit of educating to try and have you better understand this whole weight loss thing.

None Of These Foods Are Going To “Burn Fat”

You have probably scoured the internet or social media and found someone or something claiming that a certain food is going to “burn fat!”.

This weight loss drink is going to burn belly fat right off your body!

This super food is going to melt the fat away!

I am here to tell you nothing on this list is going to inherently lead to fat loss, because the only thing that leads to fat loss, is being in an overall calorie deficit.

This means you are consuming less total calories than your body is burning.

The next time you see an ad for anything that is “fat burning” or “guaranteed to promote weight loss”, just know it is total BS and they are just trying to take your money.

These foods we will talk about today however will help you get into and stay in this overall calorie deficit, which is why they are so important.

I just wanted to be very clear about that, none of these low calorie foods that are filling that will be listed here today are “magical”. They just will help you get and stay in a calorie deficit for the reasons listed below.

Volume Eating

low calorie foods that are filling big salads

One of the biggest concepts that I need you to understand is the concept of volume eating.

You know that in order to lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit, correct?

This means you need to eat less calories than your body burns. Yet one of the drawbacks of eating less calories is, you get hungry!

You aren’t eating as much food so your body gets hungry, this obviously then leads to it being harder to stick to your diet if you are always hungry 24/7.

( It may or may not lead to you having some hangry arguments with people!! ).

This is where you can insert this concept of Volume Eating.

This is how I want you to think of volume eating.

Imagine 1 snickers bar inside your stomach that is 230 calories.

Now imagine 3 cups of spinach inside your stomach that is 21 calories.

low calorie foods that are filling - spinach example

Notice how in this first picture, that little itty bitty snickers bar is taking up next to no room in your stomach, AND it is more calories?

Compared to the seemingly tons of spinach that is filling up your stomach for quite literally 10x less calories than what the snickers bar is.

This is volume eating.


You are eating more actual food volume and food content, without necessarily eating more calories.

This is going to fill your stomach up for much lower calories, which means you are going to be more full, less hungry, and being able to stick to your calorie deficit more efficiently.

Thus leading to better weight loss results by actually eating “more” food.

Now, Let Me Be Clear

This is typically why “ junk food” gets a bad rap.

There is nothing inherently wrong with a snickers bar. You can absolutely eat it and still lose weight, again, as long as you are in an overall calorie deficit.

Yet the reason that these foods can be somewhat contradictory to weight loss is they give you very little nutritional value, along with very little food volume, for a bit higher calories than some of the foods we will talk about today.

Which means you get less full, more hungry, and are prone to keep eating and eating more calories.

This then leads to you obviously not sticking to your calorie deficit because you are continuously low volume, high calorie foods, which means you will not lose weight.

This is why you should learn to practice the 80/20 rule .


This rule essentially states that you should have 80% of your food choices coming from nutrient dense, whole, “healthy” foods.


While 20% can come from treats you enjoy like a snickers bar.

This way your diet is primarily made up of lower calorie, higher volume foods to keep you full and satisfied, as opposed to the opposite.

This allows you to stick to your calorie deficit more consistently, which leads to sustainable weight loss.

I will give you the exact low calorie foods that are filling when it comes to volume eating a bit later in this article, but first let’s talk about high protein and high fiber foods.

Low Calorie Foods That Are Filling : High Protein & Fiber

low calorie foods that are filling - protein powder flexing

The next biggest concept I need you to understand is learning what foods keep you the most satiated.

Satiated just means the foods that keep you the most full.


We just learned about volume eating so we know that helps keep you full.

Let’s now talk about protein and fiber, the two most underrated things when it comes to dieting.


First I will cover protein.

I won’t beat the horse too much here, because I have done multiple videos and articles alike talking about the importance of protein in your diet .

Yet to keep things sweet, protein is the most satiating macronutrient.

( Macro nutrients are protein, carbs, and fats. Out of those 3, protein is the one that fills you up the most! ).

A lot of the low calorie foods that are filling we will talk about today have the basis of protein for this exact reason.

I have seen protein literally change peoples lives, not only when it comes to losing weight and staying more full, but also massively helping with things like binge eating or over eating.

These foods typically tend to be “lower calorie” between the fact that they are in fact lower calories, but they also fill you up the most.


Therefore you eat less calories overall as a result of eating protein.

If you are under eating on protein, you can do all of the volume eating you want, you will still more than likely be on the hungry side of the fence, so be sure to get adequate protein in your day.

Again, if you would like to, feel free to check out some of my resources above on protein.

Next up we have fiber.


People often forget about fiber and it’s role in keeping you full throughout the day.

Fiber is a very slow digesting micronutrient. This means it takes a while for your body to digest and break it down.

As a result, it stays in your stomach a bit longer leading it to fill you up longer.

As well as they typically tend to lean towards the higher volume side as well, making it a double whammy for those looking to stay full for fewer calories.

This is why a lot of fruits and vegetables have a ton of fiber in them, as well as they tend to be higher volume foods, which makes them a staple of any healthy diet.

Therefore finding some go to high fiber foods that you can consistently rotate and eat during your day is going to help you tremendously.

We will go through some examples of foods high in fiber here shortly.

Low Calorie Foods That Are Filling : 12 Top Options

Now you know there reasoning behind what keeps you full between fiber, protein, and volume eating.


By no means are those the only 3 concepts, there are plenty others, but for the purpose of this article I thought it was important you understood those 3.

We are now going to dive into the list of 12 low calorie foods that are filling.

As well as what makes them be able to make this list!


These are in no particular order by the way.

1. Watermelon

Watermelon is my go to food to myself or any of my clients who are dieting.

By far it is one of the “high volume, low calorie” foods that you can absolutely fill up on for low calories.


For a whole lb of watermelon, it is only 150 calories.

A whole lb! That is a ton of food going into your stomach for NOT a ton of calories!

Be sure to utilize watermelon to help curb a sweet tooth as well!

2. Strawberries

Strawberries are another great option for anyone who is looking to have a little volume eating to their game.


For a whole lb of strawberries, it is only about 150 calories once again.

A ton of food volume, for not a ton of calories.

Btw, strawberries and watermelon are my two favorite fruits, so I got lucky!

3. Oatmeal

I feel like a good quality oatmeal is one of those foods I just label as “stick to the bones” filling.

Oatmeal is high in fiber, as well as the food volume is a lot too.

It can also be very thick, which again can help fill your stomach up.


I like to use the regular, one minute, low sugar oatmeal. Not because sugar is bad, but because the one without sugar I have seen tends to be more filling and more food volume as well.

4. Spinach

As mentioned previously above, for 1 cup of spinach it is about roughly 10 calories.

Have you ever gotten out 3 or 4 cups of spinach and seen how much food that is? If not, I encourage you to do so.

Once again this falls under our volume eating category. This is the perfect one of the low calorie foods that are filling.

5. Greek Yogurt

low calorie foods that are filling Greek Yogurt

Now we dive into the protein that we talked about earlier.

Greek Yogurt is super high in protein as well it tends to be on the higher volume side as well, leading to a great low calorie filling food.

It is also quick and easy which is why it makes the top lists.

6. Cottage Cheese

I basically call cottage cheese greek yogurts step brother.

They are very similar. High in protein, high in food volume, low in calories, and quick and easy.

7. Cauliflower Rice

low calorie foods that are filling cauliflower rice

Cauliflower rice is a huge client favorite of mine.

It is a TON of food volume, for next to no calories!

For one cup it is around 25 calories.

Imagine 3-4 cups of cauliflower rice vs 3-4 cups of regular rice.

That would be a difference of 75 calories vs 375 calories roughly.

A massively underrated food when looking to lose weight!

8. Eggs

Eggs are a great source of protein, fat, and nutrients.


Yes, you can eat the egg yolk, that is what provides the healthy fat and nutrients.

These little guys can help fill you up tremendously and while the egg yolk might be more calories than just the egg whites, it will pay off in how it keeps you full.

You could also combine whole eggs with egg whites to keep you full and satisfied with getting the benefits of more food volume and the egg yolk health benefits!

9. Rice Cakes

Rice cakes are one of my all time favorite go to snacks.

For one rice cake it is roughly 30-40 calories.

They are also very easily digestible. You can add things to them as well like fruit, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.

Combine powers to get even more low calorie foods that are filling!!

10. Chicken Breast

There is a reason that chicken breast is a staple of any “diet” you see.

It is incredibly low calorie for a pretty decent amount, plus it is protein, which we know fills you up.

It is a leaner source of protein, meaning very minimal carbs or fats, but super high in protein.


This makes it a great choice while looking to keep calories low!

11. Protein Shakes

low calorie foods that are filling

Protein Shakes are a great way to get high volume (because you can mix it in water or almond milk, which adds more volume to your stomach for no calories) while also getting protein in as well!

It is a double whammy!

I wrote an entire article on protein shakes HERE if you want to check out which ones I recommend.

** Ps: If you want to try this particular protein powder, it is amazing-balls. Check it out HERE and you can use my code “ERIC” to get 20% off.

12. 0 Calorie Drinks

Alright while these technically aren’t a food, they sure are low calories!

0 calorie drinks are a great option you can use to your advantage while dieting, things like

  • sparkling water
  • Seltzer water
  • Diet soda
  • 0 calorie Powerade, gatorade, etc


Now some people might freak out over diet soda, but you don’t have to!

Should you drink 7 diet sodas per day? No, probably not.


But a few here and there throughout the week in moderation is 100% totally fine.


* Pro tip, the carbonation in 0 calorie drinks will help fill you up as well! *.

Low Calorie Foods That Are Filling : Final Word

Well there you have it!

The how, what, and why behind low calorie foods that are filling.

I hope you enjoyed this article as well as learned something from it.

Remember, dieting doesn’t have to suck as bad as people make it out to seem.

Be sure to use these tips here to help tackle your diet a bit better.

If you need some extra help with your own personal nutrition, feel free to head HERE to see if myself or my team may be a good fit for you!


Look to chat soon,

-E