Diet and Training or is it Training and Diet?

Which one is more important?

Age old question asked and answered by many different fitness and nutrition professionals. So, I figured I would take a crack at it. There are a few different people:

Some tend to want to “just” go go go and not focus on diet or use food as a reward for all the hard work they’ve put in. Sometimes they feel that working out gives them a license to eat whatever they want. However, chances are you won’t find them on the cover of a fitness magazine anytime soon. As the great Strength Coach Mike Boyle says “You can’t out train a bad diet”.  

Some “diet” yet don’t want to “sweat” or lift any weights or only see exercise needed for athletes. These people will probably lose muscle mass (and trust me you want to keep and make as much of it as you humanely can!) by not taxing the muscles to at least stay strong and big. As we all know, “Muscle burns more than fat!”

Coach Joey has a pecking order for overall health. It is as follows:

1)     Strength Train 2-4 times a week. This will tell your body that you “need” the muscle you already have and encourage some new muscle hypertrophy (growth) to be able to keep moving the way you want and stay active for years to come

2)     Keep your protein high for 2 main reasons…. Higher protein will help you keep muscle and aid muscle hypertrophy. It also serves as a satiety trigger which is super important because if you don’t feel full or satisfied you WILL overeat and probably gain lots of fat. Having trouble getting in the right amount of protein? Consider an Amino drink or chewable pills. It provides you with all the amino acids. You can find my favorite, and the best cleanest ones are here: Amino Pills + Amino Powder

3)     Get your phytos in! Vitamins and Minerals from food first then supplement when needed. Fruits, veggies make up your phyto nutrients. For now don’t worry about how much (although 5 servings of fruit at a time might be a little too much for most). Veggies as much as possible as long as each vegetable isn’t covered in cheese sauce (toppings add lots of unnecessary calories). This will help ensure your body functions properly and overall health is optimized. Not getting all your phytos in? Consider an organic greens powder to drink to fill in gaps.

4)     Make sure you move each and every day (and no getting in and out of the car doesn’t count as movement haha). Should be Yoga, walking, light stretching, basketball game or similar, cardio strength circuit, etc) This will not only burn a few extra calories but will also keep you mobile and encourage your body to keep joints mobile and strong.

5)     Calories NEED to match your activity level and your level of fitness. It also has to match your body composition currently. Example a super muscular person probably needs more calories than the person with the same height and weight that thinks playing video games is a strenuous form of activity.

To answer the question, like most things in life is a good balance of exercise and “diet”. Just don’t be all one sided if you want a balanced healthy body.


Hip Mobility

Today I’ve got a few different exercises and stretches for you to do to increase your hip mobility, loosen your hips, and set your self up for better squats in the future. Increasing your hip mobility can also help protect your lower back and relieve back pain, as well as increase athletic performance. Check them out below!


High Step Ups

While I was injured I had to get creative with exercises.  I couldn't do heavy traditional lifts so I increased intensity with range of motion with a high step up. This is a great exercise to stretch out the hips, increase range of motion and work your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Make sure your knee starts above hips to create that deep squat feel.  You don't need heavy weights with this particular exercise, as the intensity is the range of motion.   


Mini Band Upper Body Workout pt. 2 of 2

The mini band is back and welcome to pt. 2, upper body. Today we're using the mini band to work not only your arms, but your core and midsection as well. 

All 3 of these exercises can be done at home, without the use of extra weights, while still getting an excellent strength workout. These exercises will help you strengthen your shoulders,back and arms, tighten your core and burn calories. Combine these with the lower body workout in pt. 1 and you'll have a great, full body workout.




At Home Strength and Fat Burning Exercises

Today we're all about bringing it back to the basics. We're talking squats and pushups. You may be thinking to yourself, "I already know how to do those, why are you bringing them up?" Because they work! There's a reason they've been and stayed popular for so long and that is because they are easy, effective and almost everyone has the ability to do them without any extra equipment. 

If you're looking for something to start getting you back in summer shape, that's what we're bringing to you today. We're breaking down these 2 basic exercises and showing you how you can increase their difficulty as well as turn them into fat burning workouts.


What Kind of Exercise REALLY Changes the Body?

Sometimes you have to do things that are not in your wheelhouse to get the results you want. With summer right around the corner, results are something all of us are focused on. Well, maybe not all of us.  Don’t care about body composition results and looking good for the Summer?  Then stop reading now and carry on......                          

OK, if you’re still reading you want to change. The time has passed where you say you're going to do it and nothing happens. You REALLY WANT TO THIS TIME.  Well, you are at the right place.  Today I'm breaking down the best approach to get this done. Take note, this is not the list of what you “like” to do, but what actually works - there is probably a BIG difference.  This list would normally start off with the first 3 things being NUTRITION, NUTRITION, NUTRITION. You can't change your body without changing your nutrition. However, today we are going to bypass that, as we dove deeper into that last week. So take a few minutes and check out that blog. Go ahead, I'll wait....

OK, you're back! So, after a solid lower calorie/higher nutrient diet, the list looks like this:

  1. Heavy resistance training.  High weight for lower reps (in the 1-5 range).  I can not express this ENOUGH.  When you cut calories to lose fat, your body will start losing muscle mass.  That is a critical error in most people’s approach to fat loss.  As we age, we are already losing muscle at an alarming rate, UNLESS you train to keep muscle.  My friend Tony Gentilcore says “what makes muscle, keeps muscle”.  He means that lifting to always try to “gain” muscle, especially while on a reduced calorie diet,  will help you keep the muscle you have and possibly even gain some new muscle.  That is a good thing for body composition (remember, this list is not what you “think” you should be doing, but what you SHOULD be doing for proper recomposition.)  Heavy resistance training also encourages bones to strengthen and possibly even add some bone mass over time.  
  2. Hypertrophy training.  Lower weight for higher reps (in the 5-12 range).  OK, now that you got a heavy lift in to encourage bone health and muscle strength, now is the time to tap into that strength and use it for slightly higher reps and higher sets.  This will do two-fold. A) It will add some nice mass to the muscles that you just worked. This will, in turn, make you look leaner and thinner, yet have some muscle on your frame. B) Burn those calories by doing the reps in a circuit fashion.  Done correctly (Jtab training will show you how to) this leads to enough cardio conditioning while still building or keeping muscle that you will see fat loss changes even after only a few sessions.  
  3. Sprint/ropes/sled/bike sprint work.  This could be timed work or rep work (do six 5-10 second sprints, etc).  1 or 2 days a week should be plenty, unless your nutrition is AWFUL (which it should be if you did the nutrition work we mentioned at the top of this blog first).  Rope work usually is timed for 10-40 seconds of work with a minute break and repeat.  Usually 5-30 minutes is all you need for this “all out” work. Or do what you can handle before you get sloppy and start working less intensely.  
  4. General movement “work”.  Yes, just be more “active”.  Go walk around stores, light hikes, park further away from the entrance of stores/grocery stores, clean house, walk around the neighborhood.  Do light activities that you ENJOY!  As long as the other 3 (again the amount of time you should devote to each is dependent on diet and nutrition) are done intensely, you can just do what you enjoy doing. 

There you go, and easy recipe to follow that may hard to execute week in, week out.  Maybe people find that having accountability helps them keep to this schedule so they don't fall off the wagon and start seeing results before the warm weather hits. If this sounds like, reach out to Jtab Training today to set up your first appointment and see how we can help you change your body correctly!


Move of the Week: Thanksgiving Day Stretches

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and while we are all excited for that delicious dinner, we all know how we're going to feel afterwards. Our stomachs are full, and our backs and hips ache from sitting in chairs all day. Today, our Move of the Week features a series of stretches that you can do right in your chair (or on the couch before your tryptophan coma) that will help open up your hips, stretch out your back and get your glutes firing. So, enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner, but get at least a little movement in your day to help prevent those post dinner pains.


Move of The Week: Deadlift Warmup

Whether you've been working out for years, or are just starting, today's move is a great refresher for technique. It utilizes a foam roller, which can be found at almost every gym or gym store. It's inexpensive and has a million uses so it may even be worth grabbing one for yourself at home. This warmup move helps you focus in your glutes, lats and core to ensure you're body is working how it needs to for deadlifts. Deadlifts, or single leg deadlifts, are often a move that is performed wrong which can lead to injuries. However, when performed right, deadlifts are an excellent exercise as they work more muscles than any other exercise in one shot, including upper back, lats, and legs. 

Check out video below to help get your body in proper form the next time you lift!


No Equipment Warm Up and Full Body Exercise

We're back this week and we have a series of exercises that yet again don't involve any equipment. All you need is a bench, or chair or other flat surface off the ground. 

We begin with a warm up designed to stretch out your hips and upper body all while getting them ready to work. Following the warm up is a series of pushups (a classic but always good), regular squats (again sometimes the traditional moves are the best), scalp pushups (to really work those shoulders), and split squat (get ready for screaming quads). 

Between our blog last week and this week you should now have a set of exercises to get your heartrate up and your muscles pumping all without using any gym equipment. Now, there really is no excuse to get up and get going!


Jtab Programming Part 2(Day 2)

Last blog post we discussed Day 1 (Sheet 1) of how Jtab formats a program for one of Joey's clients.  This week we will break down Day 2 (Sheet 2). 


Day 2 is a Full Body workout with Lower Body Pull and Upper Body Push emphasis. Day 2 normally starts with an upper body power drill and immediately goes into a drill that either helps hip mobility, hinge work for the deadlifts that are coming, or an upper back activation drill to make the rest of your workout better. 

Section 1- Power Exercise -  3-5 reps for 2-3 sets

1a) Explosive Face Pulls.  Why?  This drill helps wake up the upper body and create a power output on the upper body as well.  This will help set up the rest of the workout as we need the upper back muscles to be firing on all cylinders for heavy deadlifts, etc. 

1b) Lower Trap Activation.  Why?  This piggy backs on the last exercise as it helps fire up the correct upper back muscles so we can use them when we deadlift and press. 

Section 2- Strength Exercises for the day. These are opposite movements from Day 1's exercises.  These also include a third exercise for hip mobility or core activation.  Just like Day 1 strength section we try to stay low reps (about 3-4) so we can go heavier on these.

2a) Trap Bar Deads.  Why?  Trap bar deads are one of the better hinge assisted drills to create strong hips, glutes and hamstrings and upper backs.  It also teaches clients how to correctly pick things up off the floor, something that happens all the time at home and at work. 

2b) Push Press.  Why?  We need to work on our pushing muscles and with this exercise you lift overhead, creating strong pushing muscles.  This offers a good opposite movement to the trap bar deadlift which is why we do them back to back. 

2c) Lateral Lunge Stretch.  Why?  Deadlifts tend to make your adductors tight and many just have tight adductors in general so this drill will help stretch them out. 

Section 3- This is the higher rep range (about 12-15 reps) group of 5 exercises done back to back. This will create further hypertrophy and crank fat loss as a result. 

3a) Band Pulldowns. Why?  This is a great exercise to keep tension on the lats in a vertical pulling fashion, like a pull-up.  Bands allow you to do high reps without breaking form.  This spot is reserved for all different kinds of pulling exercises since we just did heavy pressing in the strength section.  We all need to pull more than push and this helps keep it a pull heavy program.

3b) Quadruped Leg Raises.  Why?  This exercise will get those glutes cranking and sore without any loading on the spine since we already did heavy deadlifts before.  Most people can stand to do high rep direct glute work towards the end of their program.  This spot is reserved for lower body exercises that either compliment or work as an antagonist to the heavy strength exercise.   

3c) 1/2 Kneeling LM Press.  Why?  This is a great overhead shoulder pressing variation that doesn't put as much stress on shoulders but you still helps you really work them.  This spot is reserved for all upper body pushing exercises while working on shoulder stability.  

3d) SLDL's. Single Leg Deadlifts.  Why?  This is a great core balancing and hamstring/glute exercise that again deloads your spine but still gives you a great hamstring/glute workout.  This spot is reserved for single leg work, either pushing or pulling.  I try to figure which the client needs to work on.   

3e) Farmer's Walks(1,2).  Why?  This is a great exercise for either fat burning/conditioning and posture and grip work.  Loading bilaterally (one arm) while walking and loaded 1 forces those abs to work to keep yourself walking straight and not tilting to one side.  This spot is usually reserved for core exercises or hitting some triceps in the back of your arms. 


The Jtab Programming

Here at Jtab Training we believe that everyone deserves their own, individualized program. While the trainers here have access to all sorts of fancy, state of the art, professionally built programs,  sometimes it’s the simple ones that are the most impactful for beginners.  I would say beginners are first stepping into the gym to the 5 years of strength training seriously. Let me break down why I believe in these programs and how I came to create them.

Just about 2 years ago I decided to move into a bigger gym (Happy 2 Year Anniversary to Me!) and with that I knew I needed a better “plan” for my clients.  The space would be bigger, there would be more people training at once (also called semi-private training which is a blog for another day), and more clients overall.  It was then that I started to put my brain on creative mode and made the 2 Day template I use for most of my clients (Whether they do both days in one week or rotate week-to-week).  Each day is both a full body strength and hypertrophy/conditioning workout.  Broken down below is a sample of a Day 1 from a female that is about 2 years into serious strength training.  I wanted to take the time to explain the WHY’s, WHAT’s and WHEN’s of the program template I decided to create for my clients.  Any questions on the program please feel free to contact me about it.  

Day 1 Full Body with Lower Push and Upper Pull Strength Focus

Section 1 - Power exercise in the 3-5 rep range for 2-3 sets

1a) Banded KB Swings.  Why?  A few reasons…  As we get older we lose power output and one of the only ways to get it back is to work on explosive exercises.  Day 1 is usually a lower body power exercise while Day 2 tends to be an upper body power exercise to get one of each in each program.  It also strikes the central nervous system to get ready for the rest of the workout.  Here we have KB Swings with a band under feet attached to the bell.  This creates a crazy explosive hip hinge, relaxes the hip flexors and fires up the glutes and hamstrings (which most people, especially females, need help with). 

1b) Hip In/External.  This spot is usually reserved for some hip mobility or stability and/or some core activation.  This exercise will help mobilize internal and external range of motion through hip capsule.

Section 2 - The almighty strength portion of the day, where the reps are under 5 and we are trying to get as strong as possible. 

2a) Zercher Squats.  This is a little known squat variation that really gets that core firing like crazy while still getting in a squat pattern.  It also doesn’t load the spine as much making it a bit safer than most squat variations.  We vary the sets and reps each week slightly to get even heavier or more volume week by week.

2b) 1 Arm Dumb Bell Rows.  This is a great upper back/lat exercise that can be used in any section of a template.  Here it is in the strength section so the goal for her this month is to go as heavy as she can for those low reps to really build up that pulling power.  Unilateral work also builds up contralateral abdominal strength which is great for minimizing lower back pain from life. 

2c) Anti-Rotary Stab.  No we are not stabbing anyone here.  This is an anti-rotation stability core exercise to further assist with both of those other lifts and to get some more “core” work in. 

Section 3 and 4 - The next 2 sections (broken up into groups of 3 exercises each) are for more mid level strength work and also for some hypertrophy and conditioning work in the 8-10 rep range (try doing a challenging exercise for 10 hard and heavy reps and see how hard you are breathing afterwards!). 

3a) Incline Bench.  We are hitting some pushing (upper push section) muscles this time after pulling for heavy strength earlier (1 Arm DB Rows). 

3b) Frog Pump w/Dumb Bell.  This is a new exercise to me made popular by the Glute Guy, Dr. Bret Contreras.  It is another version of a loaded glute bridge to hit glute meds.  This spot is reserved to hit the glutes and legs again in an opposing fashion as the heavy strength lift (Zercher Squat) for the day.  We all need more glute work!

3c) L-Sit Holds(leg lift/abs).  This section is for more core work and/or more scapular work, both things needed in our society of bad posture and lower back problems. 

4a) Meadows Rows.  This spot is reserved for more upper pulling work to again work on a stronger more muscular upper back and back shoulders.  We all want a stronger upper back for many reasons (another blog post for another time).  This also gets us doing uni-lateral (one arm at a time) work to fight any imbalances we might have. 

4b) Kettle Bell Rope Curls.  This spot is reserved for many different ab exercises or the ever popular bicep muscles, ‘cause who doesn’t want better biceps?  This is a fun variation of the classic cable bicep curl since we don’t have a cable machine here.

4c) SB Rollouts.  This spot is reserved for again more core work if not done in 4b or some great functional farmer carry variations.  Farmer carries can be done for a warmup at beginning of a program or at the end for conditioning/core/grip work.  These rollouts work the anti-extension function of your abs (they are for more than crunching!). 

Day 1 ends up being a full body with every major body motion being challenged in one way or another.  Next week I will write up Day 2 using this same person’s sheet so you can see the flow of a well thought out program.         


Move of the Week: Renegade Rows into Shoulder Press

Today's move is a killer... a total body killer that is. These 2 exercises are a great combination that can be done at home with some light dumbbells. By combining the two exercises you're going to get a great shoulder, back, core AND glute exercise to leave your entire body feeling tight and toned.

The first is a Renegade Row that is perfect for your core and upper back. Remember to keep your abs tight and your back flat as you pull the weights up and back. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull the weight back to really work your upper back.

The second workout is a Kneeling Press. Keep your glutes and core engaged as you push the weights up over your head to really work the top of your shoulders. If you're feeling strain you can put your hands in a more neutral grip to take pressure off your shoulders.


Move of the Week: Ball Roll Out/Walk Out

Today's Move-of-the-Week takes the plank to a whole new level. Using the instability of a ball (or walking out if you don't have one) it forces your core, shoulders and glutes to work harder to keep you balanced. This move is great for an awesome core workout, as well as shoulder stability and glute strength.

Tips to Keep In Mind:

  • Keep your knees, hips and shoulders in line
  • Keep your core tight
  • Pull down using your lats to move back and forth


Move of the Week: Bird Dog

Ok, who doesn't love an all over workout in one move? Want something even better? This full body workout move can be done at home! As in, inside your house where no one needs to see you.

Today's move is call the Bird Dog. This move rocks your core and glutes as well as focuses on shoulder stability and strength. Can you get any better than that?

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Keep your core tight and your lower back flat
  • Keep your toes pointed down throughout the movement
  • Keep your body flat and level as you push your leg and opposite arm out


Move of the Week: Scalp Push-up to Downward Dog

Tank top season is right around the corner and today's move is all about showing off those arms and shoulders. This double move (Scalp Push-up into a Downward Dog) helps with shoulder stability and lubrication which allows for better movement, posture and a more defined back. Can it get any better than that?!

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Keep your core tight throughout the entire movement
  • During the scalp push-up keep your elbows locked and squeeze your shoulder blades together
  • Push your hips up and back during Downward Dog to stretch hips and shoulders


Move of the Week: Full Body Warmup/Stretch

Warming up and stretching can be one of the things that many people forget about. Usually they rush right into their workout, without giving their muscles and body time to stretch out, and prepare for the work ahead. Today's move is a great all over stretch and warm up that won't take up too much of your exercise time. This move stretches out your hip flexors and gets your blood pumping, while working your thoracic mobility, shoulder stability and hamstring flexibility. It really is an all-in-one warm up!


Move Monday: Clamshells

This week we're hitting the glutes again - because who doesn't want a tight butt? Today's move uses an exercise band that you can purchase for about $1-$2 at most major fitness stores. As an added bonus, this move helps you ward off knee and back pain AND assists you in performing better at other exercises in the gym like squats, lunges and deadlifts. Not bad for just the floor and a band!

Things To Keep In Mind:

  • Keep your spine long and straight
  • Push your hand into the floor to keep from rocking
  • Use JUST your glutes to move your kneed of the floor
  • Squeeze your abs to stabilize your upper body


Move Monday - Glute Bridges on a Box

Who doesn't want to work their booty? Today's move is one that works your glutes and your hamstrings to lift and tighten. This move is done up on a box but can be done on any platform around your house like a stair, ottoman or small stool. If you do have an exercise band at home, putting it around your knees gives you that little extra oomph to tone and tighten even more.

Things to Remember

  • Move your glutes as close to the box as possible
  • Keep your lower back flat and straight
  • Keep your glutes and hamstrings tight and engaged
  • Keep your core pulled in and tight
  • Keep your knees pushed out and straight so they aren't falling in towards eachother


Move Monday - Plank Threesome

With temperatures reaching the mid 60's this week it has us thinking about the summer and bathing suit season. In order to get ready for the warm weather, today we have a plank threesome that is guaranteed to get your core (and the rest of your body) burning. This is a  combination of three different moves including a rocking plank, side-to-side plank, and hip rotational plank to work all sides of your core

Tips to Keep in Mind:

  • Keep your core engaged and tight
  • Keep your quads and glutes tight
  • Keep your head straight
  • When moving your hips always return back to home before moving to the other side.


Move Monday: Reverse Lunge

Ah lunges. Everybody may hate doing them, but everybody loves the results you get from them. This reverse lunch move helps to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, quads AND your core. Talk about an all-in-one workout!

Tips to Keep in Mind

- Use (or create) a line on the floor that you can keep your feet on either side of
- Keep your abs engaged and your torso upright
- Bring your knee down to the floor
- Use a weight or dumbbells to increase difficulty
- Attempt to do 3 sets of 10 reps per side