How to Track Your Food

If you are trying to change your body in any way you need to track your food.

It doesn't matter if you're trying to add muscle and weight, or lose fat and slim down.  Tracking your calories is non-negotiable.  You must do it.  There is no way around it.

Calorie intake is the number one factor that dictates your weight and size.  It's so important that it can't be left to guess work.  You need to know exactly how many calories you need to ingest, and properly track those calories to ensure that you will hit your goal.If you don't track your calories you have no room for complaint when you don't reach your goal.  You didn't work hard enough, you didn't stay disciplined enough.  

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Patrick Henigan
A Smarter Way to Train Your Abs

If you're a beginner in the gym you shouldn't waste a lot of time training your abs.  Your time in the gym needs to be focused on being efficient and effective.  You need to focus on exercises and movements that will produce the biggest strength gains in order to reach your goal quicker. 

Spending 30 minutes deadlifting is unbearably more effective than spending 30 minutes wiggling around doing poorly executed crunch variations.  Bigger movements will burn more calories and make you stronger.  Focusing on doing stupid ab exercises will make your stomach sore, and that's pretty much it.   

All that being said, you can target your abs directly in a quick and effective manner.  You just need to be smart about their inclusion and add the right kind of resistance.

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Patrick Henigan
Posture Fixes that Won't Make You Look Ridiculous at Work

Bad posture is a position that hinders the natural movement and/or position of your spine.  It forces your body to compensate by limiting ROM or transferring force to another part of your anatomy.  For example if your hips slide forward on the chair it will make your upper back round, pushing your shoulders and scapula out of position causing you to look like the hunchback of Notre Dame.

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Patrick Henigan
3 Ways to Fix Your Shoulder

Shoulders can suck.  A lot of you reading this probably have shoulders that are in constant pain, make weird noises or are actively trying to kill you.

That’s not a good thing, but you can fix it.  You need to incorporate smart strategies and lifts in the gym.  

Here are 3 stupidly easy strategies to incorporate into your workout plan.

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Patrick Henigan
"I Need to Get in Shape to Get in Shape!"

You don’t need to “get in shape” to work with a trainer, or take a finely crafted fitness class.  A good trainer and a good instructor will enable you to maximize your current potential while constantly improving.  They’ll keep you mentally engaged while ensuring that you’re working in ranges that are healthy, sustainable and improvable.  

You'll get in shape much faster by training instead of spending 8 weeks trying to get in shape to get in shape. 

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Patrick Henigan
Eating Carbs at Night Will Not Make You Fat

Recent studies show that your metabolism speeds up while you are sleeping.  This is especially true if you are working out regularly. 

The majority of your muscular and cellular repair takes place during sleep.  In order for your body to repair it needs a fuel source.  By eating carbs before dinner you are actually enabling your body to build muscle and burn fat.

Eating carbs at night has many other benefits.  Carbs help you sleep better and deeper.  They will also provide a fuel source for an early morning workout the following day. 

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Why Your Body Isn't Changing

Trying to get in shape is a long process.  

It's a frustrating process.  

As a society we have no concept of delayed gratification.  If we want some thing, we want it NOW.  We expect things to appear at the snap of a finger, or the tap of an iPhone screen.

Your body doesn't work that way.  

Your body won't change after a week of good eating, or a month of consistent workouts.  It takes time to adapt, and then even more time to optimize.  The only thing that really matters when you're trying to change your body is consistency and hard work.  

Look, I get it.  We've all been frustrated by a lack of progress in our body when we "feel" like we're doing everything right.

Well....

Your feelings don't matter at all.  If you don't have the facts to back up the way you feel you're setting yourself up for failure.  

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Patrick Henigan
Strong Chest, Safe Shoulders

Many cranky shoulders are due to an artificial range of motion being imposed by the loaded barbell. Basically the bar is forcing your shoulder into a more provactive position than the joint is capable of. 

Shoulder pain happens when the bar is near the chest.  That position places your shoulder joint into both a high degree of extension and internal rotation.  That's not a bad thing in and of itself, but many people don't have the needed stability or mobility to handle position without a lot of compensation.  By purposely limited your range of motion you can give your shoulder some time to chill, while still training your chest hard. 

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Patrick Henigan