Hand care for athletes!

The truth is that the state of your hands says a great deal about you as a person. It is common knowledge that if you take part in the strength game that you are going to end up dealing with callused hands, torn skin, and being a little rough around the edges. However, this doesn’t need to lead to you having a sandpaper handshake for the rest of your life.

Chalk can only get you so far!

Chalk can only get you so far!

So what exactly is a callus, and what causes them? Well calluses are very similar to blisters i the way that they are simply a separation of skin layers due to friction, with a subsequent fluid build up underneath them. Once they have dried and hardened then they become full blown calluses. They are caused by friction against the skin by another surface. Calluses are common for workmen, rock climbers and strength athletes given the amount of resistance activity they have to undertake with their hands.

Short of a world record, nothing is worth this.

Short of a world record, nothing is worth this.

The fact is that skin trauma to the hands is an inevitable part of strength training, but while many like to view their calluses as marks of pride, the truth is that there is nothing beneficial about having hands like a cliff side. If calluses tear, they are actually pretty messy and can cause you to develop some mega rips in your hands. Tears to hands are some of the most common and most easily avoided injuries in lifting, and Rebellion Strength is going to teach you the secret of having strong, yet healthy hands.

1.Wear Gloves –

HA! Just kidding! Sort of…

If overly manly man says it, it must be true!

If overly manly man says it, it must be true!

2. Train your grip –

The truth is that the movement of the bar against the skin that causes a shift in the hand that leads to skin being stretched. The harder you squeeze the bar the harder it is going to be for the bar to move around in the centre of your grip. The fact is that a great number of lifters that I have seen in my time as a PT simply don’t understand how much force is actually needed to have a strong grip. More often than not I find myself having to use the cue, “choke the bar” to actually get my clients to engage their grip fully. Add more time under tension by adding in pause reps to help develop your grip and above all else – squeeze the bar!

3.Use Straps –

Ok, this time I am not joking. While straps get a bad rap as an easy way out of lifting big weights ‘correctly’, just like anything else if they are used appropriately then they can save your hands a great deal of stress in your workouts. I like to cycle the use of straps in and out of my workouts in order to give my hands a chance to recover while still getting in enough work to develop my lifts. People tell you that straps are cheating, but as far as I am concerned they are just a tool to help you get towards your goals faster and with healthier hands.

4. Actually take care of your hands –

Ladies are pretty good at this. So chaps, stand up and take note! There is nothing sexy about hands that can snag a pair of your best gals tights, so sort it out. Sack up and go into boots and buy a pumice stone. Then go into Lush and get a hand moisturiser than will absorb into the skin and help your skin stay strong. Bad moisturiser sits on the first layer of skin and isn’t absorbed into the other deeper layers of skin, these are what you wan to avoid, so go in and ask the Lush ladies if they can help you. Once you have these essential items get home soak your hands in water and use the pumice stone to smooth out your calluses. From there wash of what ever lose skin has been worn away and then moisturise your hands to make sure that the skin heals cleanly and smoothly. If the site where the callus was is jagged its just going to tear again.

The final form of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” – Anne Frank

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Stronger.

5 Easy tips for getting leaner!

The fact is, weight loss is easy. Getting lean and in shape, now that is a different game entirely.

Eat less, do more, and you will burn off weight. It really is as simple as that. However, as any good lifter knows, losing weight is not the same as getting lean. The act of weight loss is simply defined as mass being taken from your body and broken down into energy, but this is not always a good thing.

They are lean, not skinny. Know the difference.

They are lean, not skinny. Know the difference.

The common thought is that we need calories to live and function. If we do not get enough of them we starve. If we eat to many of them, we get fat. Seems simple doesn’t it? While this thought is largely correct, as with all things, if it seems to too good or too easy to be true, then it probably is. Losing weight is the unbiased break down of mass, and that includes muscle tissue. This is the last thing that we want, and here’s why.

Muscle is the most metabolically active tissue in the body with a caloric demand of 50Kcal per Lb, and that is just at maintenance level. We want your body to be as metabolically active as possible and to have as much active functional muscle as possible to make sure that your metabolism is as high as possible. The moment you start losing muscle, you are literally losing cylinders from your metabolic engine and this is why fat loss tends to stall when you simply reduce calories.

Now, by contrast the act of getting leaner is the reduction in the level of the bodies adipose (skin level) fat cells. This is done via proper fuelling of the body, dependant on its activity level and the gentle decrease of calories. This is far more maintainable from the standpoint of you and I as average people but does require the insight of a fitness professional, or more research into how to properly fuel your body. Alternatively you can click here to receive a free nutritional e-book.

To make life a little easier, I have put together a few top tips that I think will help you get leaner, rather than just lose weight.

1 – Train for hypertrophy!

As we said, muscle is the most metabolically demanding tissue in the body and as such having as much of it up and working is what we ultimately need in order to raise your base metabolic rate. This means that you are going to be burning more calories at rest, leading to a greater number of calories burnt daily, month, and annually. To do this, make use of traditional hypertrophy training programs such as 3 x 10, 5 x 8 etc. This greater volume when matched with proper nutrition on your training and non training days will lead to an increase in muscle and number of calories burnt per session.

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The greater the muscle, the greater the calories burnt.

2 – Increase your protein intake

Protein is the building block of life. It provides 4kcal of energy per gram. Protein is stored in the body as muscle and is only used for energy production when carb stores are deleted. Proteins need to be broken down into amino acids and converted into glucose by the liver if they are to be used for energy production. This process is known as gluconeogenesis.

Protein is synthesised into your body in order to begin the repair or development of your cells. As such your protein intake is one of the primary factors in your bodily development, and should be included to one degree or another in every meal. Protein is also highly thermogenic regarding its nutritional density. It takes calories to digest food to get more calories. Protein has a huge caloric requirement for breakdown relative to its size and if you are working out the majority of the broken down amino acids will be put to work building more muscle. To start make sure you are taking in 1.2 – 1.5g of protein per lb of lean bodyweight and adjust as necessary.

3 – Address food quality before calories

Jumping straight into calorie counting is one of the worst ways to get yourself into trouble when trying to lose weight as it is highly inaccurate, and mentally draining. This is not to say that calories are not important, because they are. However, addressing issues of food quality are the first port of call when looking to get people losing weight. Educating yourself on what it means to eat according to your goals is going to to create a long lasting understanding of good nutrition, and good nutrition is for life. Diets are not.

4 – Don’t dive bomb your calories

Dropping your calories should be the last thing that you address when you are going down the garden path of weight loss. Managing your calories is something that should be done in relation to your macronutrient needs, and once that is addressed then we can start thinking about dropping calories. However, this should be done at a slow rate. As with prescription medication, we want the maximal response from the minimum dosage. Dropping your calories substantially will lead to a point of plateau from which your metabolism will start to take a dive, and in response your body, being the survival machine that it is, will start to take break down the surplus muscle tissue and the metabolic demand that goes along with them. Keep your calories as high as possible, for as long as possible, so long as you are still meeting your goals.

To look like a healthy athlete, you have to eat like a healthy athlete

To look like a healthy athlete, you have to eat like a healthy athlete

5 – Don’t go it alone!

This is the most important aspect of the whole journey. Make sure that you have a support network. Getting lean is a long process and can be stressful if you go it alone. The reason why weight watchers and other programs of that nature are so successful is that they bring you into a community that creates a sense of society and accountability. Get a group of friends, a page on facebook, or hire a trainer, because the more support your have, the more accountability you have to those around you and as such you are more likely to stick to game plan rather than go native with a box of Reese’s Pieces.

These are some tips that I hope will make things easier for you on your journey to a leaner, sexier you!

If you passed up on the e-book at the start of this article and would like to rectify that, click here.

To find out how you can get strong and realise your inner athlete just click the link below.

http://bit.ly/1rvbFHQ

Good luck and, remember:

Train Strong.

Live strong.

Be Strong.

Strong, not “for a girl”, just strong!

Ok this is one for the ladies. The place of barbells with in the life of the everyday woman is something that I am very passionate about and to that end, I am please to announce that I am dealing with a wonderful new training partner, and yes, she is a girl who wants to lift. Interestingly enough, she has a very unique goal. Nope, she doesn’t want to get slim and she doesn’t want to drop a dress size. She wants to get strong! Now, before you jump to conclusions about this lady, I can confirm that she is sporty, attractive, and feminine.

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So, that’s 70kg over her head…who says strength isn’t feminine!?

 

The reason I felt I needed to describe some of this lovely lady’s characteristics is that it is a social convention to consider strength as a masculine pursuit rather than a universal pursuit, on which gender has no bearing. See, this woman wants to be strong both in and out of the gym, and express her strength in all aspects of her life. Isn’t this truly what strength is all about? This week I want to throw some tips out there focusing around strength and how a few changes in your views on strength may in fact make you a stronger more powerful woman. All these titles are quotes I have heard from a number of women, and if I had the chance, these are the things I would like to say to these women.

  1. “Being strong isn’t feminine!”

 

I want everyone, including you lovely ladies, to be happy in the bodies that they are in, and live a life that is full of joy and expressions of your fitness and strength. Now if a woman decided that she wanted to become a bodybuilder and become as massive as possible, then I would support her in her choice, as it is a choice which is leading her down the path to happiness, and most importantly, its on her own terms. With that being said, I realize that most women do not want to walk down this path, but just because you don’t want to be bulky, doesn’t mean you should forgo strength training.

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Have the strength to not stop!

 

I know that the general school of thought is that weights only make you big and strong. While this can be true, they can also make you faster, more toned, slender, and other things besides all that. The barbell is a tool; its how you use it that dictates your results. Being strong allows you to push past challenges in your life, whether that be picking up more shopping without throwing your back out, or climbing a rock face, having more energy to play with your children, or opening heavy doors. What could be more feminine than having nothing hold you back from living your life as a woman who can push through everything with pride and strength? So remember ladies, strength is never a weakness.

2. “I couldn’t do that, I’m a girl!”

 

Fair enough, women are not as strong as men, at least not maximally. Strength is a multi-faceted concept which we could debate the nature of for hours on end, but what I want to touch on is that fact that strength is a pursuit which is passed over because women think that they can’t be strong, simply due to the fact that they are women. I don’t think any of the women reading this magazine would want to have their gender be used as an excuse, or be viewed as a short coming, so why let your gender have any bearing on your training? Whether you define strength in terms of gymnastic ability, endurance capacity, or maximal strength, you must pursue this goal without any limitation. You can be as strong as you choose, so long as you follow a good strength program and pursue it with absolute commitment. Female gymnastics is one of the most impressive displays of feminine strength I have ever seen, and none of these women could ever be considered weak or unfeminine. So don’t let your preconceptions of what you can or cannot do hold you back from being the strongest person you can be, in what ever capacity that may be.

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You’re damn straight you can!

 3. “I don’t want to get bulky!”

 

So, going back to what I said in point 1. – the barbell is a tool, and how you use it is going to dictate the results that you get. With that being said, I am a man who is very much on the path of strength. I am committed to being as strong as I can be, in every definition of strength that I can think of, and I can tell you one thing, its really hard to get big. I mean, it is really, really hard, and I have the added advantage of having a substantially higher level of testosterone that you ladies do.

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Life is always moving.  Be strong in movement!

Using weights to increase your athletic strength will not make you big and bulky, but it will increase your metabolic rate and improve your posture – if used correctly. It can make you faster, burn fat more effectively, increase the efficiency of your body at partitioning the nutrients that you eat by making your body more opposed to storing fat, and many other things. Beneficial all round!

Lastly, if there is one thing that you ladies take away from this is that weights help to increase your bone density. Why would you want that? Well, a little known fact is that 50% of women in the UK experience some form of osteoporosis. This is a weakening of the bones which can lead to all sorts of medical issues and has one of the most simple fixes for the majority of cases… Strength training! Wolfe’s law dictates that the density of a bone is directly correlated to the amount of resistance placed upon it. The stronger you are, the denser your bones are and the less degeneration you will have as you age. This in itself is an argument for why even the elderly should also engage in strength training in order to regain some of their strength and improve their posture. So why not start now?

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Get ready to start the journey

Remember ladies; femininity is founded in strength. Never forget the potential that you all have to become the strongest version of yourselves, both in and out of the gym.

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Strong.

Rogan

For any information or questions regarding the blog, or for any information regarding my services as a Personal Trainer, please contact me via my Facebook Page, Twitter, Email, or in the comment section below.

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Email: rebellionstrengthhq@gmail.com