Fitness & Wellness

Why A Yearly Physical Is Important, Now More Than Ever

Why A Yearly Physical Is Important, Now More Than Ever

Not matter what age you are or how healthy you look, a yearly physical is important. It’s not all about how healthy you are now, but more as a reference point to track your health. If you’re in great shape and suddenly have a big weight gain, the weight will show up when you have a physical. While it could be something as simple as overeating or not exercising, it also could mean a problem. The same is true of an unplanned weight loss.

A physical helps you to get better acquainted with your health care provider.

If you’ve ever gone without a regular health care provider and suddenly had an issue, it’s a scramble to find someone who will give you an appointment. It’s even worse if you simply have a concern, but nothing that’s urgent. When you see a health care professional when you’re not ill, they have a better idea of the differences in your physical appearance and a list of things like allergies, weight, chronic conditions and general physical health.

Sometimes, an annual checkup is all about prevention, rather than illness.

For kids, vaccination and disease prevention are top priority, for adults, screening vital functions are top priority. Whether it’s checking cholesterol, blood pressure or various cancer tests, all these types of preventatives can catch a problem before it becomes a serious issue. If blood pressure or sugar levels are higher, changing diet and getting more exercise may be all that’s necessary and can prevent serious harm high blood glucose levels and high blood pressure cause.

Getting an annual physical will help you develop a relationship with your doctor.

You should feel comfortable with your doctor before you have a serious issue. You can’t do that if you wait until you have a serious condition and then have to find a doctor that’s taking new patients. Annual physicals are not only good for the doctor to learn more about you. It’s also good for you to learn more about the doctor and whether he or she believes in the same type of approach if a serious condition occurs. If not, you have time to find a new health care professional you trust.

  • For children, regular screening is even more important than for adults. It helps identify developmental problems, both physical and mental and can be the first place a visual problem is identified.
  • Screening for cancer is all part of annual physicals. Breast, cervical, prostate and colon cancer screening are often part of an annual physical and can be more easily treated the earlier they’re found.
  • Ensuring your family history and your personal health history are on file and up-to-date is also important. Both provide information for the doctor if you suddenly became ill and couldn’t do it yourself.
  • Whether you’re taking over the counter drugs or prescription drugs, reviewing their use with the doctor can help identify any side effects and help find the best way to deal with your medical condition.

For more information, contact us today at JarFit


Building Muscle Without A Gym

Building Muscle Without A Gym

At JARFIT in Denver, CO, we work with people here and online. We know that not everyone has access to all types of gym equipment and focus on exercises for both settings. Building muscle without a gym isn’t new, it’s been done for years. Some people buy inexpensive types of equipment, like jump ropes, resistance bands and kettlebells to supplement bodyweight workouts. You don’t even require weights, since household items filled with stone, sand or water can be used and adjusted to your fitness level.

Always start with bodyweight exercises, so you can begin immediately without waiting to get equipment.

We provide great workout programs based on your level of fitness that you can do at home. But if you want to go it on your own, start with the basics. Use squats, push-ups, lunges and planks. Make sure you have good form before you worry about increasing sets, speed or creating a circuit for circuit training. You can modify the exercises to work muscles on different planes or work different muscles once you get the basics. Squats can be traditional squats, jump squats, or isometric squats, just to name a few. Lunges can go from traditional to split-squat lunge jumps and lunge holds. Front planks, side planks and bridges are variations of these favorites.

Make sure you warm up and a jump rope can do it.

If you’re working out inside, a jump rope is ideal. Outside dynamic movements when you walk for a few minutes get your muscles ready. Resistance bands can be added to your workout and create modifications for your bodyweight workout. It can help create variety and prevent plateauing. Storage is far easier for this minimal type of equipment and so is cost.

If you’re strapped for time, how about making chores a workout.

Tackling the heavy lifting and moving fast to get physical chores done can be just as much exercise as a traditional workout and build muscle tissue. For women, simply carrying the groceries to the car or loading and unloading them can create a lot of heavy lifting. Putting maximum effort into every chore as you work fast to build endurance, too, can help you build the muscles you want.

  • Let your furniture be your gym equipment. Chair push-ups are ideal when you’re at the office. Grasp the edge of the chair and lift yourself up with your legs outstretched in front of you and not touching the floor to build muscle strength.
  • A tractor tire can be a piece of equipment. These huge tires can be lifted rolled, used to jump inside and out of repeatedly. There are numerous exercises you can do with a rope tied to a branch of a tree, too.
  • Make a kettlebell out of a plastic detergent bottle or milk jug. Fill it with enough rock, water or sand to match the weight of kettlebell you’d use. As you build strength, add more sand, rock or water.
  • The key to success is to continuously strive to improve every day and be consistent. Create a workout schedule and stick with it. No matter how much I motivate people, ultimately, their success or failure depends on whether they follow the program or not. It’s all up to you. Just do it.

For more information, contact us today at JarFit


Muscle Gain Myths

Muscle Gain Myths

You’d be surprised at how many muscle gain myths there are. I think I’ve heard them all since I started JARFit in Denver, CO, but sometimes people surprise me. They’ve read these myths on chat boards or heard them in the gym from the Adonis with bulging muscles. There are many reasons to build muscles and transform yourself, so whether you want to have a competition body or just the best body on the beach, we can help you learn the right way.

One big myth is that you can’t shed fat at the same time you build muscles.

It’s definitely harder to do, but both can be done at the same time. The key is not to cut your calories too drastically, just a hundred or two below your baseline amount. It’s also important to ensure that you get a good amount of protein, so your body has the raw materials to build muscle tissue. You need a good mix of strength training and cardio, plus flexibility training to prevent injury. I’ll help you with a program that’s right for you.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female, you won’t necessarily get bulky lifting weights.

Weight lifting is a great way to burn calories and help ensure those calories come from fat. It takes special training to build bulky muscles. Lifting them will help your heart and tone your muscles if you do strength training two to three times a week if you’re a man. Because women have less testosterone, building bulky muscles is even harder and requires almost complete dedication with a strict diet and hours of work. It requires a focus on the right type of muscle building exercises and lots of them.

Some people simply can’t build muscles is another myth.

While genetics, age and gender does play a role in how well you build muscle, they aren’t the final answer. People who are slender and have a smaller frame may find it more difficult to bulk up, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. In fact, with the right diet that includes adequate calories and protein, the right type of training program followed consistently and adequate sleep, you’ll be amazed at the progress you can make.

  • Another myth is that you need special equipment to build muscles. In fact, you can do it with bodyweight exercises alone. Barbells and dumbbells can provide a lot of help, but aren’t necessary.
  • To build muscles, you need to do isolation movement workouts is a myth. Compound movements build big muscles faster, but isolation exercises can sculpt the body’s appearance.
  • You need to focus on cardio is a myth. Cardio training burns calories, but takes those calories from both fat and muscle tissue. Strength training burns calories, while building muscle tissue.
  • One of the biggest problems I have to overcome with clients is that their buddy got great results with XYZ workout. Most people don’t realize that no one routine is the best way for everyone to build muscle tissue and what works for your buddy, may not work best for you.

For more information, contact us today at JarFit


When To Take A Break From Working Out

When To Take A Break From Working Out

While it may sound contrary to my lecturing on consistency, periodically you need to take a break from working out and take a day or two off. You have to give your body a breather occasionally and avoid the problem of overtraining. Whether you’re hoping to get your body competition ready, just want to look great or are training for any type of athletic endeavor, such as a distance run or a mudder, taking time off gives your body time to mend the micro-tears that came from working out and makes them stronger.

A high resting heart rate is one indication that you might need to take a rest.

Track your heart rate. If you have a FitBit, heart rate monitor or other tool, it can be beneficial to know your normal heart rate. It’s important to take it in the morning and establish a normal for you. If your heart rate goes up to higher than ten beats a minute more per minute, it’s elevated. Some doctors suggest that having a heart rate that’s higher than five beats a minute more means you’re overtraining.

Do you feel exhausted all the time and have trouble sleeping?

Another way to identify overtraining is difficulty falling asleep or inconsistent sleep for several days in a row where you wake up frequently. Overtraining can cause a change in your normal sleep cycle that should alert you that you need a few days off from training. Two days off may be enough to reset the cycle and get back to normal.

If your body is always sore, there may be a problem.

You can expect some soreness, especially if you are a beginner, but there’s a problem if it’s constant. You may not be taking enough recovery time for your muscles to heal. Delayed onset muscle soreness can last as long as 72 hours, if the soreness lasts beyond that, you may be overtraining and not letting your muscle heal. Always let your training know if you’re having problems recovering, so he or she can help you take the recovery protocols that work for you.

  • You might need a break from working out if you find you’re more susceptible to colds and illness than normal. While exercise boosts your immune system, too much can actually harm it and lower your immunity.
  • You may be overtraining if the quality of your workout diminishes. Everyone can have a bad workout, but two or more in a row, where you didn’t perform as well as previous ones, may indicate you need a rest.
  • If you’re losing muscle rather than gaining it and have less endurance, flexibility or strength, you may need to take a few days off and give those muscles a chance to heal. You’re probably overtraining.
  • Listen to your body. You’ll know when you aren’t feeling your best or doing your best. I want clients to let me know when there’s a problem. Taking a day or two off is better than losing ground or getting sick.

For more information, contact us today at JarFit


Is It Better To Workout In The Morning Or Evening

Is It Better To Workout In The Morning Or Evening

If I work with a client in Denver, CO, the best workout time is always when I’m with them. For those who use my expertise from a distance, the best workout time, morning or evening, is often one of the first questions I get. It’s a bit more complicated than you might expect, but consider this. You know I create a personalized workout for each person. That’s because no two people are alike. The same is true for workout time. No two people have the same internal clock or schedule, so there are good reasons for either working out in the morning, midday or the evening.

Studies show that your hormone levels in the morning may make that time of day more beneficial.

If you want the best way to burn stored fat, you’ll exercise in the morning. The body has a hormone profile that metabolizes fat better. Growth hormone levels and cortisol are both higher and those are part of the metabolic process. That’s a plus for weight loss. You also get your workout out of the way avoiding the potential of your schedule becomes overcrowded.

Consider a lunchtime workout.

If you have a rigorous routine, like many of you do, midday may be the best time for you. While you’ll burn more fat in the morning, you’ll have the energy for your best performance in the afternoon. The reason is that you’ve eaten breakfast and sometimes lunch. That increases your blood sugar levels, so you have the energy for a tough workout. If you have an afternoon slump, you can avoid it with a workout at lunch. In fact, some studies indicate that you might actually burn up to 10% more calories than you would in the morning or evening, but the jury is still out on that one.

Don’t discount the evening.

While it may be handy to workout after work, so you can relax and end your day, unfortunately, relaxing is probably the last thing you’ll do. Exercise revs you up and sometimes makes it difficult to sleep if you do it too late, such as right before bed. Some studies show that working out at night can actually help suppress the creation of ghrelin—the hunger hormone. It could mean you will eat less and make it easier to lose weight.

  • Hate getting up any earlier than necessary? Try a morning workout for a few weeks. You might find that your body will adjust and be more alert in the morning.
  • An early morning workout may help productivity, since it burns off the hormones of stress. It can also mean you’ll feel happier all day, which is good for mental health. Researchers also show it’s easier to adopt healthy habits that are done in the morning.
  • For people that are definitely NOT morning people, no matter how many benefits it may offer to some, it simply won’t work for you. It can cause you to reduce your effort or even skip workouts.
  • The best time of day to exercise is the time of day you’ll actually do it. Whether you choose morning, afternoon or evening, pick a time and put it in your schedule. Be consistent and your persistence will pay off.

For more information, contact us today at JarFit


Building Muscle Without A Gym

Building Muscle Without A Gym

If you’re worried that you won’t have the room in your home for all your gym equipment and there are no gyms open nearby or they’re just too expensive, you can still get the muscular look you want. Building muscle without a gym is far easier than you may think. You can do it with a few simple items or skip the equipment altogether. It all depends on what you can afford, have the space for and really want to do.

Start with the obvious, bodyweight exercises.

Here’s a piece of equipment that only gets better the more you use it. Bodyweight exercises have been used for years to build muscles and tone all parts of the body. When you think of bodyweight exercises to build muscles, think push-ups, pull-ups, calf raises, lunges and squats, just to name a few. There are multiple variations of these exercises. To maximize the benefits, increase the repetitions and decrease your rest time. Use variations on the basics to work all muscles on all planes. I’ll help create the perfect program for your needs.

Consider simple pieces of equipment.

Consider a TRX suspension trainer or resistance bands, both of which can help you build muscles without taking up much room and can be stored easily, no matter how small your home. Both are quite portable, so you can travel with them, take them to a playground to use or use them at home. You can use either to build strength, tone or build muscle tissue. They follow the same principles of using body weight and resistance to make muscles stronger.

Create your own equipment.

You can use a doorway pull-up bar to help build muscles. While it is a piece of equipment, it’s only slightly bigger than the TRX, stores easily and is relatively cheap. Create your own home gym with this item and when you’re done, store it in the closet for the day. Make your own weights without a lot of expense. Plastic laundry detergent bottles can be filled with water or sand to the weight you desire and used. As you build your muscles, simply add more sand or water to the container to make it heavier.

  • Do you have a park nearby? The monkey bars and jungle gyms may be meant for kids to play, but they’re also great pieces of gym equipment when the kids aren’t in the park, such as early morning.
  • You can build muscle by lifting heavy things. Consider jobs to be done around the house or look for an opportunity to get some extra cash doing “bull” work and heavy lifting. Find ways to incorporate heavy lifting into your life as much as possible, like rearranging furniture frequently.
  • You can modify the plank in several ways and watch TV as you do each. It’s a way to get your entertainment in and build strong muscles at the same time.
  • If you don’t have access to a gym or gym equipment, I’ll create a workout for you that doesn’t require any. My goal is to create the best workout to help you reach your goals quickly.

For more information, contact us today at JarFit


Good Upper Body Home Workouts

You need all types of exercise for all parts of your body. Some people think they’ll get fit just by running. What they forget is that running just works the lower body and does nothing for strength or flexibility. You need upper body workouts and complete fitness training. While I work with people at various levels of fitness, both in person in Denver, CO and online, I try to create workouts that benefit people both with and without equipment. The person who wants to lose weight and get fitter might not have all the equipment that the person who competes has, so I created upper body home workouts for them.

Do circuit training at home.

You can create a workout that offers cardio, strength and flexibility by doing circuit training. Adjust your workout to your fitness level by controlling the number of repetitions, speed and length of rest between exercises. Finish the workout off with a round of burpees for a total body benefit. Do push-ups and if you’re fitter, raise one hand to the sky as you hold yourself in upright position, turning your head to look at the hand, lower yourself and do the same with the other hand. Follow it with a set of superman holds. Rest. Do a set of inchworm, followed by a set of plank walkdowns. Rest. Do tricep dips, followed by downward facing dog and rest. Finish the workout off by doing as many burpees as you can in one minute.

Planks are great upper body and core strength builders.

There are a of ways to do planks. All of them build upper body strength, plus benefit the core and workout the total body. You can do planks in various positions to target different muscle groups. Laying on your back and doing an upper facing plank, lifting one leg, dipping and raising works the wrists, shoulders, neck, back, hamstrings and core muscles. Rolling side planks increase core strength plus shoulder and back strength. A walkdown plank with a shoulder tap helps your biceps, wrists, shoulders, and glutes.

An old favorite, push-ups, are still great for upper arms.

It might seem old fashioned by I always say you should do things that work, not just do things that are fashionable. Push-ups work to help build upper body strength. Just like the plank, there are many different ways to do push-ups and each works different parts of the upper body. The basic push-up is my all time favorite. Push-ups work chest muscles, shoulders, triceps, abs and the serratus anterior. You’ll work a new area with a wide push-up, where your hands are placed further out. It works the chest and shoulders more. A narrow push-up works triceps. Pike push-ups work serratus anterior, shoulder, upper back and triceps.

If you’re a beginner, you can do both push-ups and planks from kneeling position until you get stronger. Always start slowly and make sure you have the form down before pushing yourself too hard.

You can do weight exercises at home even if you don’t have weights. Use soup cans or put sand in detergent or plastic milk cartons or drink containers and add more sand as your strength improves.

If you are limited on space and/or money and want some home equipment, resistance bands are inexpensive and easy to store. They’re great for working out the upper body.

Be aware that Pike push-ups are tough and not for the beginner trying build some muscle strength. Completing a set of pike push-ups should be on your goal list as you progress.


Good Exercises For Rock Hard Abs

Good Exercises For Rock Hard Abs

Seriously, there’s nothing more satisfying than taking a pose and seeing that chiseled appearance with abs that are accentuated and sculpted. You can get those abs but it takes time, patients, the perfect diet and exercises for rock hard abs. Core workouts are good for developing strong abs and some are better than others. Here are a few exercises I like to include when I want the best results.

You need to target three areas, upper abs, lower abs and obliques.

You can create a circuit that will address all three areas, doing a set of each of these exercises before you rest, then start over. Start with a kneeling cable crunch for your upper abs. You’ll need a cable machine. You can improvise with dumbbells and laying on your back on a bench instead of kneeling and lowering the dumbbells behind your head with your biceps next to your ears and knees bent, then raising up into a crunch. Follow this exercise immediately with a hanging leg raise.

A hanging leg raise is more difficult and targets lower abs.

The second exercise in the set is the leg raise. If you don’t have a pull-up bar, I suggest you get one. There’s normally around $20 and fit in your doorway, store easily and are important for many different exercises. Grab the pull-up bar using a shoulder-width pronated grip—palms facing down—keeping your eyes forward. Keep your legs straight and toes pointed as you lift your legs that’s slightly past parallel to the floor. Hold for a second or two and slowly lower back to the starting position. Try to go as slowly as possible when you lower your legs to maximize the benefits.

Another piece of equipment you need for ab workouts is an exercise/Swiss ball.

If you’re short on cash and want a good piece of ab equipment, an exercise or Swiss ball should be on your list. These balance balls require you to use your core muscles to maintain balance while you do each exercise. This one works the obliques. You start by laying back on the ball with your feet shoulder-width. Put your hands behind your head. Crunch your upper toward the left, allowing your body to curl to get the most stretch. Do several repetitions and curl toward the other side.

  • For a change of pace, do a jackknife sit-up and hold. It works the lower abs. Lay on the floor extending arms and legs and lift to jackknife position, attempting to touch your toes and maintain that position for three seconds.
  • Try a forearm plank if you’re a beginner. Get into push-up position, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms, not your hands. Keep your body straight with feet aligned with the head. Tighten all core muscles and hold for a half minute to a minute.
  • Another easy to master, but tough to do exercise is the alternating heel touch. Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slightly lift off the floor and touch the right hand to the right heel, then touch the left hand to the left heel and back to the right. Do several repetitions for obliques.
  • A bicycle crunch is good for all abdominal muscles. Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your legs, keeping them bent. Lift your upper body at a 30-40 degree angle as you mimic pedaling a bike.

For more information, contact us today at Jarfit Body Transformation Experts


Stay Hydrated

Stay Hydrated

It can get quite hot in Denver, CO, and you’ll often sweat a lot in the summer, but during the winter it’s just as easy to get dehydrated. In order to look, feel and perform your best, you have to stay hydrated, particularly during your workout. In this case, don’t turn to energy drinks, unless you’re working out hard for over an hour. Instead, focus on water. It’s better for you than soft drinks or coffee, even though coffee will give you a boost.

The composition of your brain and heart is 73% water.

When you realize that two of the most important organs are mostly water, that’s quite eye-opening. Your lungs are even composed of more water at 83%. Now imagine that you have less fluid than you need to function at top performance. You’ll probably feel mentally foggy, maybe even a little light headed. Your joints will ache, since water acts as a lubricant. You’ll even tire faster and have a less effective workout. It makes sense to sip on water throughout your workout, doesn’t it?

Do you want to shed those extra pounds, try sipping on water throughout the day.

There’s a lot of ways water can help you lose weight. The first is that thirst sometimes tricks your brain into thinking you’re hungry. If juicy watermelon sounds good, you may be craving the fluid. The next time you feel hungry, when you shouldn’t, drink a glass of water before you reach for food. Also, drinking an eight ounce glass of water before a meal will help you eat less, if you’re trying to shed some weight.

Include drinking more water in your healthy habits.

Are you addicted to sports drinks? It might be because of the sugar. Drinks like Gatorade have loads of sugar. In fact, they actually taste a bit like salty, weak Kool-Aid. If you must drink a sports drink because your workout is long and you’ve lost a lot of electrolytes, try a premium drink with coconut water and natural flavoring. For those times you workout less than an hour and throughout the day, make water your drink of choice. You’ll find it easier if you start your day with a glass or two of water the minute you get up.

  • If you’re getting headaches or muscle contractions, you might be dehydrated. Drink water to see if it gets better after you do. Dehydration can lead to severe consequences, like heart failure or convulsions.
  • The older you are, the more prone you are to dehydration, especially if you’re a senior. There are many reasons. Seniors often fail to drink water and the older you are, the quicker you dehydrate.
  • Looking your best and having supple skin that’s free of blemishes starts with drinking more water. Everyone wants to look their best, but if you’re competing, it’s even more important. Drinking adequate water helps.
  • At JARFit, we provide loads of tips to help you get that sculpted look you want and ideas that will help you score at the top in competitions. We customize the workout and diet to your body and your needs.

For more information, contact us today at The Body Transformation Experts


Do You Have A Fitness Routine?

Do You Have A Fitness Routine?

When you first think of a fitness routine, you picture a workout regimen that includes exercises like squats or lunges. A fitness routine is more than that. It may start with a program of exercise, but also should include a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and many other factors that lead to living a fit lifestyle. What you eat should be addressed first, since great bodies start in the kitchen. Next, turn to a workout program.

You are what you eat, so meal prep can get you on the road to a healthy fitness routine.

What is meal planning? It’s the concept of planning meals one day, including a shopping list. Shopping on the next day and preparing meals on the weekend or when you have the most time. It keeps you focused on healthy eating and makes it far easier than stopping for take out, so you’ll be more apt to stick with the program. We can help you with meal plans, all you have to do is prepare them and enjoy. Meal prep also helps you learn how to eat healthy and develop healthy eating habits that last forever.

Schedule your workout at the same time.

Your workout is important and should be a top priority. That means you should put it in your schedule as you would any other appointment. It should have flexibility, strength, balance and endurance exercises so you attain all types of fitness. While having one routine that you know well is what many people do, you need more than one workout routine. You need to make sure you work all muscles on all planes and vary the workout to avoid plateauing. We can help you with a workout designed specifically for your needs.

A fitness routine means you drop bad habits and encourage good ones to replace them.

Do you smoke, drink, take drugs or other substances that can damage your body? Stop! Replace those bad habits with good ones. For instance, switch to sipping water throughout the day and ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Both of those are better for your body, for good health and a better appearance. Never underestimate the importance of sleep. Your body releases HGH—the human growth hormone—when you sleep. Your muscles also recover. Make sure you get at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep.

  • Keep a sleep schedule too. It’s important for maintaining your internal clock, which helps you wake up easier and fall asleep quickly. Don’t change your schedule just because it’s the weekend.
  • Stay mentally positive. Your attitude is a very important part of your persona and can make the difference between success and failure. Practice staying positive and finding the best in life.
  • If you find you’re having a hard time with looking at the bright side or suffer anxiety when posing, learn meditation and breathing techniques to help you in stressful times. Stress takes it toll on your body.
  • Take time to stretch frequently. Big muscles tend to be stiff muscles if you don’t have adequate flexibility training. You can also take time to stretch throughout the day. It helps with blood flow, while reducing the potential for injury even when you’re not working out.

For more information, contact us today at The Body Transformation Experts