Empty Promises Made to our Nations Veterans

Empty Promises Made to our Nations Veterans

This isn’t my typical post. This isn’t going to be as light hearted as you’re used to. If you can deal with that, please keep reading. If you don’t think you can, please try to keep reading anyway. If you’ve been following me for a while you may remember that back in November for Veterans Day I introduced you to a non-profit that is near and dear to my heart. Lift for the 22 is doing wonderful things for our nations veterans, and is ran by a couple of amazing guys. If you’re not familiar with Lift for the 22, they’re a non-profit who purchases one year gym memberships for veterans across the country. 22 is the number of veterans who commit suicide each and every day. LFT22 is fighting to reduce that number. These gym memberships provide a sense of community and an outlet for service men and women transitioning from the military to civilian lifestyle.

Recently, LFT22 was the victim of an elaborate con. They were promised a rather large donation of $425,000. This donation would be enough to provide gym memberships for every single veteran who is currently on their wait list. It turned out the individual who promised this donation was not able to follow through on his promise, and had never planned to. You can read the full news story here.

I believe whole heartedly in their cause and have experienced first hand the impact their organization has had on veterans. My husband is heavily involved in the program and I’ve had the honor of meeting some incredible people because of this. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to me that this happened and it’s going virtually unpunished. I’m not the type of person to watch this kind of thing happen and not do anything. I’m going to do whatever is in my power to help them recover from this. So what can YOU do to help? It’s simple, really. You can visit Liftforthe22.org and make a one time cash donation, or set up a reoccurring monthly donation. You also have the option of purchasing Lift for the 22 apparel and all proceeds go straight back to helping our vets. If you don’t have the cash, no sweat. You can help spread the word. Share this post. Share the news article. Not only do we want to help LFT22, we want to ensure nobody else falls victim to this mans schemes.

Gym Safety: Four Simple Ways to Stay Safe and Strong in the Gym

Gym Safety: Four Simple Ways to Stay Safe and Strong in the Gym

Today, I have a guest post from buildingyoubetter.com! Gym etiquette is super important, but what’s even more important is gym safety. This guest post highlights just a few ways you can protect yourself in the gym;

When we go into the gym, we usually have some specific goals in mind. Whether it’s to lose weight or to build muscle, or just to feel stronger and ready to take on life’s challenges, we’re there on a mission. While some of us practice good gym safety rules, some of us tend to make a more hardcore approach in an attempt to get results quickly. When I first started training, I fell solidly in this group. I wasn’t worried about gym safety nearly as much as I was getting to my workout and lifting as much weight as possible. In fact, it took a severe shoulder injury to make me realize how important taking a few precautions was.

Training in the gym is very much a physical activity, and it places stress on the body. With any physical activity, there is a certain chance of injury. But by playing smart, we can greatly reduce those chances with some gym safety precautions. Some things we learn through experience, and some things we should know from common sense. I should have known better than train the way I did when I was first starting out. But hopefully, by sharing what I’ve learned with you, I can help you avoid any injuries of your own.

  1. Warm-up before your workout. This may be obvious to you, or it might be something you overlook. I have never enjoyed warming up; I’d rather get right to the heavy lifting. But what I’ve learned over time is that I enjoy soreness and injuries even less. Trust me when I say that a good warm-up is important. And don’t even think about stretching before a workout. Your warm-up routine should consist of moderate physical activity that will pump blood into the muscle group you plan on training. Try some light sets of your main exercise, or try another exercise that’s less challenging. Just don’t take it to failure; take it easy and get ready for the heavy work to come.
  2. Don’t lift too heavy. No, I don’t mean you need to make your workouts easy. I’m just saying you need to keep them manageable. Make sure you control the weight, instead of the weight controlling you. Whether you’re lifting moderate weight for high reps, or heavier for just a few reps, be sure to perform each rep with proper technique. If you can’t get the weight up with good form, then it is too heavy for your rep scheme. Either scale back the reps, or drop off some of the weight.
  3. Use a spotter or proper safety equipment. This rule doesn’t apply to every exercise: spotting someone on curls is just silly, and asking for a spot on deadlifts can get a little weird. But heavy bench sets, squats, or overhead presses definitely warrant a spotter for gym safety. And if you’re lifting heavy enough that you need a spotter, that spotter needs to be competent. You’re trusting this person to have your back if something goes wrong in a potentially dangerous situation. Make sure they know what they’re doing, and make sure you talk to them before you begin the set. Let them know what you want to do, how many reps, when to step in and help, etc.
  4. Use supplementary exercises. While failing to follow this gym safety rule won’t cause an injury right away, it can lead to some serious problems over time. Focusing on just one or two lifts, or even just the Big Three, can cause imbalances in your muscles. Imbalances in your physique not only look bad, they’ll also cause problems in your posture, and leave your joints and weaker muscle groups vulnerable during a big lift. While the major lifts should be at the core of your weightlifting program, smaller exercises are important as well. By focusing on a balanced approach that works the support muscles as well as the major muscle groups, you’ll see better development overall and also stay safe and strong in the gym.

These are just four simple rules for gym safety. If there is any piece of equipment you are unfamiliar with in the gym, ask someone to show you how to use it safely. Consider getting a personal trainer if you still feel uncomfortable. Sometimes being in a hurry and forgetting gym safety can actually set us back further in the long run.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out more great articles at buildingyoubetter.com!

June Updates

June Updates

Happy June everyone!

I know I’ve been MIA, and I’m starting to try to get back in the swing of things. I didn’t realize that after being a night shift workers for 5 years that going into a daytime job was going to be a less than flawless transition. I’ve felt that there isn’t enough hours in the day for me to get enough sleep, get proper nutrition and go to the gym. I can say my diet has improved over the past few months, but my fitness regiment has been less than ideal. I’ve been able to consistently continue to get to the gym 3 days per week, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. I’ve seen very little progress since I started this journey nearly a year ago. I think that should be motivation to try harder, but it’s been discouraging more than anything. I don’t want to turn to supplements but I’m wondering if it’s the extra push my body needs.

What have you guys done when you’ve felt like you’ve hit a plateau?

7 Fitness mistakes you didn’t know you were making

7 Fitness mistakes you didn’t know you were making

7 common fitness mistakes

If you’ve just started on a fitness regiment it’s highly likely you’re making at least one of these mistakes and you didn’t even know it. I know I’ve made not one, but almost all of these at some point.

  1. Thinking more weight is better, yes you do want to gradually increase your weight to see greater results. The important thing to note here is quality over quantity, do not sacrifice good form for more weight.
  2. Cardio = weight loss, while having a good cardio regiment can lead to some weight loss it’s not necessarily the most effective way. If you combine cardio, weight lifting, and a good diet you’re guaranteed to see results faster.
  3. Watching the scale, I have said it before and I will say it again, STOP LOOKING AT THE SCALE. I’m guilty of it too, and it can be discouraging when the numbers aren’t changing or you see them go the opposite way you want them to. What’s more important is how you’re feeling, not what the number on the scale is. If you want to track your progress focus more on taking pictures and measurements.
  4. Thinking supplements will do the work, while supplements can be a good catalyst to push your results along, they can not do all the work for you. If you’re not willing to put in the time at the gym, or focus on a good diet, supplements will do very little for you.
  5. Never taking days off, I understand being motivated to want to see results but days off are important. Your muscles repair themselves while you sleep, and not getting enough rest can be not only harmful to your fitness regiment, but your health in general.
  6. Giving up too soon, a lot of people get discouraged when they don’t see the changes they want. It can take 2-3 months for your body to even start registering you’ve made a major diet or fitness change. Keep going, and the results with soon follow.
  7. Only working on one part of your body, you think your arms are fat, so you only work out your biceps and triceps. You’re going about it the complete wrong way. A lot of people don’t realize that targeted fat loss isn’t a thing, if you want your arms to slim down you need to focus on your diet, not just doing bicep curls every day.
Gym Etiquette 101

Gym Etiquette 101

gym etiquette

For some people gym etiquette is something that comes natural, for others it’s a foreign concept. If you’ve never been in a gym before you’re quite possibly unaware that there’s certain things you can do to make your fellow gym goers happy, or drive them insane. I’m here to make it a bit easier for you to be courteous during your sweat sessions.

  1. Re-rack your weights, for me personally this is one of the biggest things you can do to be polite in the gym, for both the staff and other gym members. If you’re using 45 pound plates in the squat rack, don’t leave them in the squat rack! What happens when the next person that comes along and wants to use the squat rack isn’t as strong as you, and can’t move those plates? If you’re me you say “f*ck it” and find something else to squat with, but that may not always be the case. Also, most of us love our gym staff members, don’t make them have to clean up after you at the end of the day, put your crap back where it goes.
  2. Wipe off your equipment, look around, any gym you go into will have access to paper towels and a sanitizer of some kind. It’s there for a reason. That reason being that nobody wants to use a bench that is soaked with your booty sweat.
  3. Respect others space, don’t start stretching right behind the girl who’s doing kick backs, unless you want your ass to have an awkward encounter with her foot. Not sure if someone’s using a piece of equipment? Ask. It’s not hard to simply say “hey, are you using this?” instead of snagging someones bench and ruining their workout.
  4. Respect the gym, if and when gym equipment is broken or damaged it is really expensive to fix or replace, treat it as if you bought it with your own money. I know, I know, things get real heavy sometimes but do your best to not slam things down on the floor 1. it’s not good for the weights, and 2. it’s not good for the gym floor, let me explain. If you’re working out in a heavyweight gym this likely isn’t as issue but for smaller gyms, dropping heavy weights on the floor can end up being very costly for them. If the floor is only covered in about 1/2″ of that rubbery stuff, and underneath it is just concrete, what do you think is going to happen when heavy weights are repeatedly dropped on it? Yep, that concretes going to crack. So, unless you want your athletic facility to be closed because they have to re-pour concrete, try not to toss your weights on the floor folks.
  5. Use it or get off of it, if you’re doing more texting than lifting on that bench, GTFO.

What are your biggest gym pet peeves? Leave them in the comments below!

Happy Lifting!

-Hailey