Tag Archives: Fitness

How Do You Know What To Do For Your Workout?

I’ve been asked this question quite a few times so it’s time to get some answers:

“What exercises should I do?”

I put this post together to help people find a little bit of direction when they’re trying to figure out, what they actually need to be doing to get where the want to go.

The tricky part in all of this, is that, depending on what you want to accomplish, the path to take is different, and while I can’t cover every possible exercise or routine that would work for everyone, I can give you some ideas on how you can build your own fitness plan that meets your unique situation and needs.


The best place to start, is in getting a solid understanding of what you want to accomplish. Some people just want to ‘lose weight‘ or ‘gain muscle mass‘ but the problem with that is that it’s not a very clear goal, and vague goals lead to vague results.

Vague goals, lead to vague results.

Wanting to just ‘gain muscle‘ is really a fairly general goal and I think it leads to this hang up on what you actually need to do to reach your goal. Instead, we should aim for goals that are a little more specific.

If you want to ‘lose weight‘ where do you want to lose it from? Some people want to focus on the mid-section, or their arms, maybe the lower body, or maybe all three places. It’s okay to want to improve in multiple areas but you need to be specific on what you want to accomplish.

If you want to ‘gain muscle mass‘ where do you want that muscle mass at? Are you looking for broader shoulders, a bigger chest, maybe bigger arms, or possibly all three? It’s better to have 3 specific goals you want to accomplish than 1 general goal.


Knowing what you want, in a very specific manner, is exactly where you want to start. And it’s important to understand that if you want to target multiple areas, you should do it in phases. What I mean is, don’t try to ‘gain muscle‘ in every single area of your body all at once. That’s going to lead you to burnout, which means eventually you’ll quit, and what good does that do?

Instead we need to focus on playing the long game. Start small, add as we go, and give our bodies a chance to adjust. Once you’ve got a good idea of what our goal is, and we’ve narrowed it down to something specific, the next thing you’ll want to do is identify a single exercise that works towards that goal.

For example, if you want to work on your mid-section. Start by adding crunches to your routine. Do 1 more crunch, than you did the day before, for 7 days straight. Don’t miss a single day.

If you want to build a bigger chest. Start by adding pushups to your routine. Do 1 more pushup, than you did the day before, for 7 days straight. Don’t miss a single day.


When you get to day 7, take 5 minutes and Google, “core exercises” or “body weight chest exercises” and click on the first article. Look for an exercise that looks interesting and add it to your routine. This is exactly how I’ve built every single one of my routines, ever. You start small, you research what you need, and you build into your routine.

This is exactly how I’ve built every single one of my routines, ever.

Now on day 8 you should have 2 exercises in your routine. Maybe you have crunches and heel touches, or maybe you have pushups and decline pushups. Your count for the first exercise should be up to 8 repetitions and for your new exercise it should start at 1. Do this for another week, and then add 1 more additional exercise that you’ve researched and are interested in.

Do this for about 5 weeks. This will give you 5 different exercises, all focusing on the goal you want to accomplish, but allowing your body to build up to it, and adapt to the increased challenge of the routine. When you get to week 6, look and see if you can change your routine by swapping out an exercise or adding additional sets.


This is enough information to get you started on any workout routine. What you’ll find is that building the routine isn’t all that hard, it’s starting it and sticking to it day-after-day that most people fail at. If you struggle in these areas I have plenty of tips on how to overcome those challenges.

Be sure to reach out to me on what is most challenging for you and follow below for more tips!

If you want more tips read: 3 Tips to Stick Your Workout

Fitness Invention Ab Rollers & Row Handles

I’ve recently obtained some new workout equipment (yay Christmas) from Fitness Invention and wanted to provide a follow up on the equipment, it’s quality, and my experience using it. You can catch the unboxing video on my Instagram account:

Let’s start with the Row Handles:

Fitness Invention Double D Handle Cable Attachment + 2 Gym Handles + 3 Snap Hooks – V Bar Cable Attachment – Close Grip Row Handle – V Handle Cable Attachment – Cable Machine Attachments for Gym

The Row Handles set comes with a great quality D Handle. It’s extremely solid and has some good weight to it. The grips are durable and help to maintain my hold on the bar when I’m mid workout, and starting to pick up a sweat. I really love the D Handle bar itself because it forces you to keep your form and hands tight to your chest on your pulls.


The Gym Handles are also really great quality. I’ve been using them for over a month, multiple times a week, and the material has held strong. The grips are softer and easier to squeeze, but mostly I’m impressed the material does so well when I get into my higher weight rows.

As a little extra, the set comes with some Carabiner clips that are some of the toughest I’ve used. My previous set would start the bend as I went up in weight. This set is solid. I think I could max out my pull machine with these clips and they’d still hold strong. The set comes with three clips, two medium and one large.

Now on to the Ab Roller:

Fitness Invention Ab Roller Wheel – 3-IN-1 Ab Wheel Roller with Knee Mat and Jump Rope – Ab Roller Wheel for Abdominal Exercise – Ab Workout – Home Workout Equipment – Abs Wheel Roller – Abs Roller

For starters, the great part about this Ab Roller is that it comes with some extra toys. You get the Jump Rope and Knee Pad as a bonus. When you consider what you’re paying and what you’re getting, this is already a steal.

When it comes to the Ab Roller itself. I love it and am using it every week. Assembly was incredible easy (see the Instagram video above). You just slide the two handles through the center and you’re done!


The quality of the roller is top notch as well. I’m weighing in at 190 lbs and the roller has no problem rolling with my weight. The foam handles are comfortable to grip and the way the roller is designed, it’s easy to roll to the left and right sides and target the obliques.

I highly recommend not just this Ab Roller but anything Fitness Invention. I’ve been scooping up more and more of their gear and every item has been top quality (plus the extra jump rope and knee pad you get)! Looking forward to trying out more and adding to my collection.

Carabiner Clips, Weightlifting Belts, & Posture Correctors

What a hefty title for a post…

I wanted to take a minute to post about some of the more recent equipment I’ve picked up in the last month and share some updates on it’s usage, quality, and how I’ve felt about it so far.

The first item on the list is the Fitness Invention: Rope & Handles kit.

Tricep Rope Cable Attachment 35 Inch with 2 Exercise Handles + 3 Carabiner Clips – Cable Machine Attachments – Tricep Pull Down Rope – Cable Attachments for Gym, Home Gym Accessories

I was actually only looking for a new Carabiner Clip, because the one I had currently was getting bent, when I stumbled across this kit. I had found a couple of others online but then I came across this nice little kit and at the time it was on sale so I went ahead and picked it up. I’ve made use out of it every week so far and it’s been really sturdy. The extra clips meant I didn’t have to move a single clip from the top of my machine back to the bottom or vice-versa, which was nice.


The handles and rope are both of a nice quality and I’ve been putting them to use with roughly 150+ lbs on the machine. I haven’t noticed any wear or tear and the products look like they will last quite a while. If you’re in the market for handles, a rope, or clips, this is a great set!

Next up on the list is the classic Weight Lifters Belt by RitFit:

RitFit Weight Lifting Belt – Great for Squats, Clean, Lunges, Deadlift, Thrusters – Men and Women – 6 Inch – Multiple Color Choices – Firm & Comfortable Lumbar Support

As I started adding deadlifts to me routine my lower back was giving me issues. I particularly noticed I would have more pain as I was coming off the rack with the weight for calf raises, so I wanted to get something that would help me get a little more support. Before I made my purchase I did a little research into just what belt would be the right fit.

I had used weightlifting belts for most of my high school sports career but I never really, fully grasped how they should be used. While looking into what belt would be best I learned that you actually want to inhale and really push your stomach into the belt to create pressure in your mid section, which gives you a stronger trunk when you lift heavy.


With that in mind I opted for this RitFit cloth belt as opposed to a leather one and I’ve been extremely satisfied with it. The cloth material is very comfortable and very easy to get around the mid-section. I feel like I can get a very deep inhale and really fill up the belt and push my stomach into it, which gives me really great support for squats. With this belt and a little bit of core work my lower back has already started feeling better.

And last but not least is the Snoky Posture Corrector:

Snoky Posture Corrector for Women and Men, Back Support Straightener, Shoulder Lumbar Adjustable Breathable and Posture Corrector for Improve Posture, for Neck, Back and Shoulder Pain Relie

I picked this item up because I’m a classic desk jockey spending a lot of time behind the keyboard. I wanted to grab something that would help give me some extra support so I could try and improve some of my lower back pain I was experiencing.

I’m not as in love with this item as the previous two. While it does provide good support and does help you try and keep your posture right, it’s a little inconvenient to take on and off. The extra belt across the mid-section is nice but also not easy to slip on-and-off between video meetings.


Overall I do think this is a decent product I just think I would have been better off, personally, getting something that is a little quicker to throw on. The material is very nice but I noticed I would get a little hot or sweaty from the mid-section belt which means it’s probably not great to wear all day long under your clothes.

I would highly recommend the Fitness Invention Handles & Rope Kit and the RitFit Weightlifter’s Belt if you’re looking for any type of similar item. You might like the Snoky Posture Corrector if you don’t need to take it on or off many times a day. If there’s an interest in more reviews on this type of equipment let me know and I’ll keep sharing items I pick up as I build my home gym!

How To Gain Mass By Eating Right On Pennies (Part II)

Read Part I Here

In Part I, we covered some of the early stages of getting on the right track to gain mass. Starting small and working towards a bigger goal is always ideal so long as you continue to make progress. After going from skipping most meals to starting to eat breakfast I shifted my focus towards lunch.

Now again, historically, I wasn’t a lunch eater. Really my biggest hang up with lunch was two-fold. Having the time to eat it, and then not letting lunch put me into a food coma by the early afternoon. I wanted to really avoid grains and greasy foods as much as possible since these tended to put me in that food coma.

I started by making my lunches consist of either a small $3 steak or frozen fish. I always went with one or the other and used it as a way to gain some variety in my meals. I also consistently switched up the type of fish I was eating just to keep things from being too boring. In all honesty, the lack of complexity in the meals really did make things easier.


In addition to the main protein I added in some brown rice and cottage cheese. Getting enough fiber in any diet can be extremely difficult so the brown rice was a good supplement for that. The cottage cheese was just an additional boost of protein but ultimately I ended up swapping it out for a can of beans to avoid the dairy intake. Here is my rice of choice:

Minute Instant Brown Rice, 14 oz

Now that I had breakfast and lunch covered I started to iterate over my meal plan. As the weeks went on I adjusted and added in things or took things out. Once I was consistently hitting my breakfast goal I started adding in eggs. Eggs are very cheap and a great source of protein. The only problem was… I learned I had an egg allergy.

This forced me to substitute out the eggs but I didn’t want to lose the protein gain that I was getting from them so I opted to go with some slightly more expensive protein waffles and I smothered them in peanut butter. The ‘Kashi GO’ brand of waffle is pretty good for the price. The real winner here though is peanut butter. Any brand of peanut butter will do and the cheaper the better. I typically just go with a knock off store brand.

Amazon Brand – Happy Belly Creamy Peanut Butter, 16 Ounce

Lunch was the next target to iterate on. Dairy has always been a love-hate relationship type of thing for me and the cottage cheese was starting to get more expensive than I preferred. Again, protein was the name of the game so I wanted to swap it out with something that would keep the protein count high.

Canned beans for the win! You can grab a can of beans at any local grocery store and depending on what brand, they can easily fall under $1. There’s also an enormous amount of options when it comes to beans so you’ll get some extra variety there too. Bush’s tends to be a good one to go with.

Bush’s Best black beans Frijoles Negros – 15 Ounce (12)

At this point I felt like my meals were pretty set, as far as breakfast and lunch. I still ate whatever the rest of the family ate for dinner and because I was slowly building into this meal plan a bit each week I was able to keep it going steadily forward increasing my protein and calorie intake without spending a lot of cash.

I had two more spots that I wanted to add into my meal plan though to really help me top off my protein intake and also get some more variety into my diet like fruits and vegetables. For my morning snack I went with a 12-Grain bread made by Lewis. I couldn’t find this one on Amazon but these types of specialty breads tend to be cheaper than regular bread. You’ll also benefit from the extra fiber of a whole grain bread. PS… smother that bad boy in peanut butter too!

For my afternoon snack I focused on getting my veggie and fruit intake. A protein smoothie is ideal here. You can really get creative when it comes to your smoothies so I would go with whatever you think will work and do some experimentation.

I typically go with some sort of a milk or almond milk along with a Greek yogurt or frozen yogurt. I use store brands for all of these. I’ll then add in frozen spinach or kale and frozen strawberries or pineapple, which ever is cheaper at the store that week, along with a banana. Add in a scoop of peanut butter and some protein powder and you’re set.


This has been my diet for the last 3 months and I expect it to continue to be for a while. Meal planning always failed me in the past and trying to do all that work to create these outlandish meals for the week never worked out. Keeping things as simple as possible and as cheap as possible has been what really worked!

And if you’re thinking it sound boring to eat the same meals day-after-day it really hasn’t been. Instead of trying to figure out what I’m going to eat and then misstepping and eating something that really didn’t give me any energy was a bigger problem than getting bored.

It’s so much easier to just know what you’re going to have and have it, so you can get back to your day. Besides, I still have dinner to throw in some variety and because I ate pretty healthy all day, I don’t feel as guilty to go ham on some tacos at night.

If you’ve found some cheap and healthy alternatives in your diet let me know! I’m always looking for ways to add something new in or swap something out that might be better!

How To Gain Mass By Eating Right On Pennies (Part I)

Historically… I’ve been the skinny nerd type most of my life. Sure I played plenty of sports, but I have always been thin with low muscle mass. Anytime I tried to bulk up and put on weight, I would fail miserably.

I tried weight gainer shakes in my early twenties, I tried various bulking diets in my late twenties, and by my thirties I’d pretty much given up on ever having any real size

That all changed for me in the last 3 months. I went from 165 lbs at 6 foot tall, to a wild 195 lbs, gaining 30 lbs of weight. I want to share how that changed for me and what steps I took to finally increase my size for anyone else out there that has been naturally thin and wants to put on a little bulk.


The first thing I really had to do was figure out what other people were doing to gain mass and by other people, I don’t mean some guy on the internet writing a blog (like me… lol) no I mean like how the big dogs like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dwayne Johnson were doing it.

I didn’t want to just take advice from someone who had only been going too the gym for a while (which is also what you’re doing by reading this… lol) I wanted to get it straight from the horses mouth so I basically just sat down and started reading up on what they were doing. What were they eating, how were they lifting, and what their strategy was. Once I had that, I pretty much had the blueprint for what I needed to do to reach my goal.

If you’re curious, their strategies are basically just to eat a shit ton of food and then go hit the weights a shit ton. That’s pretty much what I’ve done except I took that blue print and applied it to my own life. Do I do it exactly like they do? No way, not even close, but I did take that blueprint and used it as my guide.

Once I had a game plan I started by identifying areas I was already failing in or weak in. I started with what I was doing wrong instead of starting with what I needed to do. In most cases, I think we always know what we need to do, that’s typically not the problem. The problem to achieving most of our goals is knowing how to remove the hurdles that prevent us from reaching them. So that’s what I did.


I was a 10+ year smoker, I stayed up late every night, and slept in most weekends. I skipped breakfast and most of the time fasted through lunch. It wasn’t until about dinner time that I would eat and then it was junk food from there on out. Oh also I didn’t actually workout.

So those were all of the things I needed to change… easy right?

Next I planned out what I needed to start doing that I wasn’t doing before, so that I could get to where I wanted to go. I knew I needed to eat more so I plotted out 4 meals in my day. These 4 meals would be the same, every single day (which really just made it easy) and dinner would be whatever.

I added in a morning workout instead of an evening one and then I plotted out what was going to push me to do all of this. I’ve previously written about how to find a motivator in my prior post: Find You Why. Repeat Your Why and have gone into deeper detail to what motivated me personally.

Next steps were just to simply execute.

I started out by quitting smoking cold turkey and just replacing that with my meals. I don’t want to pass this off as something I did easily. It wasn’t easy and I was challenged every day by it. Powerful Why’s will take you far. Read the two links above if you want to read more on how I quit smoking.

Breakfast started out really small, I mean like really small. With just a bowl of oatmeal. Oatmeal is cheap and a great source of nutrition you just have to be careful to watch out for some of the name brands as they can be loaded with sugar. I like Better Oats and the apple version is top notch.

Here’s the link on Amazon:

Better Oats Bundle: (1) Apples & Cinnamon 9.8oz, (1) Maple and Brown Sugar 9.8oz (2 Boxes Total)

It comes out to just under a dollar for breakfast every day. Not bad.

After breakfast I would head to the gym and get my workout out in. I would always have a glass of water with me and I went ahead and ordered creatine to mix into it to help give me an extra boost. I was basically looking to give myself every edge I could.

I go with this one because it’s fairly cheap and nothing fancy:

BulkSupplements Creatine HCL Powder (100 Grams)

After a couple of days I decided to add another wrinkle to my plan and include a slice of toast with peanut butter shortly after my workout. I can’t stress enough how much you have to learn to fall in love with peanut butter. I am not a fan of peanut butter. I’m still not. BUT you get a lot of bang for your buck with peanut butter. It’s cheap and can go on just about anything.

I also doubled up and included a protein shake. There are a lot of different flavors out there and some of them are miserable. You just kind of have to shop around to find something you like but I highly recommend Banana if you can find it.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Extreme Milk Chocolate, 2 Pound (Packaging May Vary)

I’ve got quite a bit more to cover so I will follow up with a Part II in the next couple of days.

I will leave you with this little bit of advice, start small. Don’t try to make all of your changes in one day. Find a blue print (someone else who has done it) and use that as your guide BUT I say start small because you need to be able to adjust and modify your plan to fit your life. If you try to take someone else’s plan and just paste it into your life there’s good chance you’ll fail.

Let me know if you have any questions so far and I’ll cover them in Part II!

Read Part II Here

Should I Do a 3 Day Split or 4 Day Split for my workout? – Surprise! Neither.

This is going to throw a lot of people for a loop. A lot people are sold on performing a 3 or 4 day split for their weekly workouts and really… it makes sense right? We workout for a day, we get a day of rest for our muscles, and then we do it again. We all know that we need to give our muscles a day to rest so why wouldn’t this strategy work?

Because it doesn’t.

This is the most common advice I see on the internet on how to plan and schedule your workouts and to me it’s one of the worst. The advice isn’t intentionally trying to tell you to do the wrong thing, but in most cases it doesn’t provide you with enough context to really understand how to implement it.

The best way to go here, is to go with a 0 day split. Zero days, as in no days off. *Insert gasp*

What does a 0 day split mean? It means instead of going to the gym on Friday and then taking Saturday and Sunday off to ‘recover’ and then trying to go again on Monday, you just workout every day *insert second gasp*. Here’s why this works better than any type of a split.


One of the main reasons that people start workouts and then quit, is because they are trying to pick and choose which days they workout and which ones they don’t. They are trying to line up on and off days but if you’ve ever been a real life person, you know that sometimes you just have bad days on any random day of the week.

When this happens, people tend to try and shuffle around their workouts. They say, “oh I’ll just have today be my off day and I’ll pick back up tomorrow.” People do this all the time. I know because I’m people. And then what happens is it gets even harder to get back into your workout. And so before long…. you aren’t going at all.

photo cred: John Arano

Another reason split days become problematic is because people have this idea that they are going to go into the gym and they are going to bang out this super hard workout. They decide that today is chest day and they are going to go so hard and get a good pump in, but what happens every time after that? They are so sore, they can’t even function. Going to the gym seems like a nightmare and it takes them a full week to recover from that one workout. Which means more skip days.

The better way to do all of this is to just not have an off day. If you’re going to get into shape, and you’re serious about it, it has to become a part of your lifestyle. It has to be a part of who you are. It has to be something that you work on daily, rain or shine. It has to become habit, routine…. And I already know what you’re thinking, “but what about rest days?


You rest your muscles by working out other groups of muscles. That’s how you rest. You don’t do the same workout routine every day. You rotate around the body. So maybe Monday is chest, then Tuesday is core, followed by legs on Wednesday, and then Yoga on Thursday. Friday then becomes cardio, and Saturday is Back day. Wrap it all up with a Stretch day or another Core day and BAM! You’ve got a 0 day split.

The real reason this is a more successful way to go is that it allows you to build up consistency within your workouts. It doesn’t ask you to be Superman on Monday and then Shrek on Tuesday. That’s such an extreme to have to go back-and-forth on. Instead, it asks that you show up and get a little bit of work in each day and then hopefully you’re tracking your progress and each week you’re pushing for a little bit more.

Getting another little victory.

3 Tricks to Stick Your Workout

One of the most challenging things with getting our workouts in is sticking with them day-after-day. It’s always so easy when we’ve had a good night’s rest, things went well at work, we’re in a good mood and hitting the gym seems like a piece of cake.

But then it hits us… that day where things aren’t working out. Maybe we overslept or we’re feeling sore. Maybe work was shit or we’re just having a bad day in general and then when we think about the gym we stop ourselves and say, “I deserve a break from this day” and we skip.

It’s so easy to skip. It’s so easy to convince ourselves that we need a break from our struggles and that we should skip the gym. What we typically fail to realize is that there are some simple tricks to getting around these roadblocks and they are so easy you just can’t say no to them!


Trick #1

When you’re having that bad day. You know that day where you know you are going to skip the gym… well instead of telling yourself you’re going to skip, tell yourself you’re going to have a modified day.

When you have a modified day, do as little as you want to, to still get some level of physical exercise. Just do one pushup or one crunch. Do a single squat or a single jumping jack. Just do one and call it a modified day.

What’s more important isn’t that we go to the gym every day. What’s actually important is that we start building a streak. A number of consecutive days where we are getting physical exercise. Instead of taking a zero, take a modified day and do one exercise.

Trick #2

A lot of times when we fail to go to the gym we make it hard to start back up again because we realize the enormous amount of work and effort that needs to go into it. We see this huge mountain and we know there’s just no way we can climb it.

photo cred: Jeremy Bishop

Instead of trying to climb that mountain, use a graduated scale. That means, when you do fall off from your workout, start over from the beginning. Don’t try to climb the mountain in one big step.

Instead, try to do one pushup. Then on the next day, do two, then three, then four… if you fall off and miss a day, then pick back up again at one, then two, then three, then four… then five (one more than your last streak).

I make it so easy to build up with Little Victories each day, that’s it’s almost impossible to fail.


Trick #3

My last tip is one I see so many people trip themselves up on. They have one little thing go wrong in their life, and it ruins the entire rest of the day. They have one bad morning, one bad moment, and it sticks with them the entire day and ruins any chance of getting to the gym.

Any hurdles you have in your way to getting in shape you need to create alternatives for. For example, some people like to run, except when it rains. When it rains, they take a day off. One day off turns into two, and pretty soon they’ve missed a week.

Don’t let one little imperfection ruin your streak.

Find alternatives.

If you can’t make it to the gym, come up with an at home routine to do. If you can’t run because it’s raining, come up with an indoor routine. If you can’t go to the gym because of a pandemic, come up with routine you can do 6 feet from everyone else. Whatever it is, don’t strive for everything to be perfect. Find alternatives and modify when things aren’t ideal.

If you take these three tips and you use them every day, I promise you, you will stick to your workouts. You will have bad days and that’s exactly what these tips are for. It’s okay to have a bad day. Bad days should already be a part of your game plan because they are going to happen. The trick is knowing how to handle those bad days and not letting them ruin your streak.

Happy Lifting!