4 Foods You Should NEVER Eat

Diets are hard. 

Diets are confusing. 

There is an endless stream of conflicting information and misplaced passions that seem to pull us in a million different dietary directions.  In our quest to lose weight and change our body we can simplify things by following a named diet.

Should you go Keto? Paleo? Vegan?

There are ripped people who follow each of these diets and will swear it is the only way to achieve the physique of your dreams.

Sometimes it’s better to find what you should not eat, before you find out what you should eat.  By eliminating troublesome food you can begin to focus on the beneficial nutrients that you need to take in.

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Patrick Henigan
Add Intensity to Your Workout In 5 Steps

Have you ever seen that guy in the gym who does 2 or 3 reps of an exercise then just sits there on his phone for 5 minutes?

Or that girl who lies on the ground with her feet on a Swiss ball while she find the best dog filter for her next selfie?

They come to the gym for about an hour, but do maybe a minute of work?

You know a few of these people, you might even be one of those people.

They will be the first to complain that their body isn’t changing and the first to remind people how often they “go to” the gym. 

They never accomplish anything because they are incredibly unfocused.

In the fitness game distraction and laziness are equal sins. Here’s how you can avoid those two disasters:

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Stop Skipping Single Leg Exercises

A single leg exercise is an exercise in which only one leg bears weight or generates force.  I’m sure you couldn’t have figured that out on your own.

Single leg exercise are a great, often under-utilized tool in the fitness arsenal. 

Single leg exercises can be used and programmed to great effect in programs designed to burn fat, add muscle and build athleticism and balance. 

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Exercise is a Privilege, Not a Chore

When we hit a wall in the gym the only person to blame is ourselves (only children and college students blame other people).  That blame can very easily turn into negativity or flat out “fuck it-itis”. 

Something we always forget when we’re in a bout of this “fuck-it-itis” is that exercise is supposed to be fun.

Exercising is basically play for adults.  Like kids do, on a playground.  Except we don’t go to a playground, we go to the gym.

We live in a country where we are blessed enough to perform physical labor for the sheer act of self-improvement. 

Think about that for a minute. 

You don’t have to lift heavy things in order to find food to eat, you don’t have to run away from something trying to kill you. 

You get to lift heavy things and run fast in order to make yourself better.

It’s really a crazy thing. 

Throughout human history acts of physical exertion were needed to survive.  Now we do them for fun.

If this is the case- why do we get so stressed about it?

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Patrick Henigan
How to Build Your Glutes

The glutes (gluteus maximus, medius and minimus) are THE most important and largest muscle group in your body.  They are also the most neglected and ignored muscle group in your body. 

Weak glutes lead to lower back pain.  The two are inexorably linked.  Your lower back depends on your glutes, hip flexors and hamstrings to remain strong and stable.  Without them you will have an unbalanced, out of line pelvis which will put extra pressure on your lower back.

Weak glutes are more times than not a result of prolonged periods of sitting.  It’s unfortunate that most people are forced to sit on their ass all day at the office.  The process of sitting for long periods of time tends to tighten the hip flexors, which basically deactivated the glutes. 

Weak glutes also lead to overcompensation from your hamstrings and quads, making strains and pulls more common.   Without a strong, working medius to align the femur, knee and ankle, you’re more likely to overpronate(turn in, arches flat on the ground) your feet, which can cause plantar fasciitis (heel pain), Achilles’ tendinitis and shin splints. Inhibited gluteal muscles also lead to tight iliotibial (IT) bands, and patello-femoral pain, or runner’s knee.

The good news is that glutes respond very well to strength and mobility training. 

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Patrick Henigan
Lifting Will Not Make You Bulky!

The statement “women should not lift weights” is one of the biggest fitness lies perpetuated by the media.  

This article is intended to provide some facts about the benefits of weight lifting for women, the drawbacks of a cardio only plan and provide women with the resources they need to begin a course of strength training.

If you want to look toned you need to lift weights.

If you want to burn more calories during and after exercise you need to lift weights.

If you want to boost your metabolism so it is constantly burning more calories you need to lift weights.

Weight lifting is good for everyone

It will burn more calories than a yoga class or an hour on the treadmill and will provide a longer lasting metabolic effect.  I still encourage you to do yoga and cardio, but your fitness regimen needs to be well rounded.  For it to be truly well rounded there needs to be an element of strength training.

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Exercise You Should Be Doing: Front Foot Elevated Split Squat

Single Leg exercises are amazing. However, they are often not fun to do so many people never perform them.

The classic single leg exercises provide a ton of benefits. They’ll build your quad, hamstring and glutes. They also challenge your hip to remain neutral through a complete range of motion. Both of these factors go a long way towards building bigger legs and asses and also beating back pain.

In short, single leg exercises kick ass. You need to be doing them.

Some people, however, have a hard time performing single leg exercises like lunges and step ups due to hip pain and knee pain. Some people also get bored doing them.

Luckily there’s a simple variation you can employ if you fall into either of those camps.

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Patrick Henigan
Fix Your Warm Up, Fix Your Body

Each of your limbs, joints, muscles and tendons are dependant and affected by every other limb, joint, muscle and tendon in your body.

That’s why it’s so important to focus on creating a connection between your mind and your body at the beginning of each workout.

Turning this mind-muscle connection on will enable you to build more muscle, move better and function at a higher physical level. Once you can signal and feel each muscle contracting you will enable your body to recruit more muscle fibers into each movement.

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How Much Protein Should I Eat?

If you come to me and say “I need to lose inches” “I need to gain muscle”  “I need to lose weight” or “I need to tone up” there is one piece of advice I will give you.

You need to eat more protein.  

As a Personal Trainer I say this so frequently I'm thinking of getting it tattooed on my forehead.

Protein is necessary to build and maintain muscle.  This is of extra importance if you are aiming to lose weight, inches or reshape your body.

Adequate protein intake while eating a caloric deficit will expedite the fat loss process.

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Patrick Henigan
Use Isometrics to Get Stronger

Using a heavier weight is not always the best way to make an exercise more challenging.

Adding a longer Isometric is more beneficial than butchering reps with a heavier weight.

If you're trying to gain muscle the quality of your movement matters and this is an intelligent way to challenge yourself.

If you are someone who has joint pain adding a heavier weight is only going to further your joint problems.

There is always a way to get results by thinking outside the box.

Every exercise has three portions. The concentric- where the muscle shortens or flexes, the eccentric- where the muscle elongates and stretches and the isometric- where the muscle is fully contracted and the motion is paused.

You can manipulate all 3 of these phases to achieve greater results. Today I’ll show you how to manipulate the isometric.

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Patrick Henigan