Saturday, June 10, 2017

Simplefit: A Bodyweight Exercise Program for Beginners

June 10, 2017 0
Simplefit: A Bodyweight Exercise Program for Beginners

Body-weight exercises, also called calisthenics, are an excellent workout alternative for people who do not have time to get to a gym, have no money to join a gym, or are reluctant to jump right into heavy weight training. There are a variety of exercises available to try, such as push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups (chin-ups), squats, and dips, that can hit a variety of muscle groups and promote muscle strength and stamina.

The Simplefit workout plan is a way of combining body-weight exercises with weekly fitness challenges in order to increase overall fitness level. The information below illustrates how to set up your own Simplefit program, how to perform the body-weight exercises involved in the plan, and how to track your progress.

Simplefit Exercise 1: Push-Ups

The beauty of Simplefit is that all of the exercises can be done at home without any weight training equipment (a pull-up bar and push-up bars could provide more comfort). In the absence of weights, the individual will be focusing on using body-weight resistance in a variety of exercise motions.

The first motion in the program is the push-up. The push-up benefits quite a few different areas of the body when done properly. It has been known to exercise the chest, arms, shoulders, and even the abdominal muscles. There are quite a few variations of the push-up that place extra focus on different areas of the upper body. For proper push-up technique, please refer to the video on the right.

People having trouble completing push-ups have been known to try wall push-ups or push-ups with their knees on the ground as alternatives.

Simplefit Exercise 2: Squats

Squats are the second group of Simplefit exercises. Traditionally done with weights on the shoulders, squats can also be done with body-weight only. When done improperly, weighted squats can be dangerous as they can exert a great deal of pressure on the knees and spine. Body-weight squats alleviate many of the risks and allow the individual to complete a higher amount of reps of the exercise.

If you are unable to complete your squats in the form shown in the video to the right, consider trying step-ups or lunges as possible alternatives.

Simplefit Exercise 3: Pull-Ups

The final exercise, the pull-up, is also the most challenging exercise in the Simplefit program. For many people, just completing one or two pull-ups will be a major achievement. After practicing the motion and becoming more coordinated, it will be possible to increase the number of reps.

Pull-ups work the arms, shoulders, chest, and abdominal muscles when done correctly. One of the biggest mistakes made is adding a swinging motion while lifting the torso up and down on the pull-up bar. Review the video to the right for the correct form in completing a pull-up.

How Does Simplefit Work?

The plan itself is very easy to follow, and allows for some modification if needed. The first step is to select 3 non-consecutive days (ex. Monday/Wednesday/Friday) to perform the exercises. Each day is built around the same core exercises, but with a slightly different purpose on each day.

Simplefit only calls for you to perform push-ups, pull-ups, and squats, but if you are having trouble with any of the exercises you can always substitute for it. If the workouts are taking longer than a half an hour to complete, you may want to go back down a level until you are ready to move up again. Workouts under 5 minutes may be a sign that you are ready to move up to the next level for more of a challenge.

What Do You Do Each Day?

The first training day of each week is devoted to promoting Endurance. During Endurance days, do as many rounds of the assigned exercises as possible within 20 minutes.

The second training day is devoted to focusing on Strength. On Strength days, you should complete five rounds of each exercise, and time how long it takes to complete all five rounds. Be sure to rest for 3 minutes between each round, and do not count rest time in your final time stats.

The final training day of the week is Judgment Day. This day determines whether or not you are physically ready to move on to the next level of exercises. During Judgment Day, finish your full set of exercises as quickly as possible, and count any rest times in your final time stats.

Full 8 Week Simplefit Workout Program

Day 1 - Endurance
Day 2 - Strength
Day 3 - Judgment
Level 1
1 pull-up; 2 push-ups; 3 squats
2 pull-ups; 6 push-ups; 10 squats
10 pull-ups; 21 push-ups; 21 squats
Level 2
1 pull-up; 3 push-ups; 4 squats
3 pull-ups; 8 push-ups; 13 squats
13 pull-ups; 26 push-ups; 26 squats
Level 3
2 pull-ups; 3 push-ups; 5 squats
3 pull-ups; 10 push-ups; 16 squats
16 pull-ups; 33 push-ups; 33 squats
Level 4
2 pull-ups; 4 push-ups; 6 squats
4 pull-ups; 12 push-ups; 20 squats
20 pull-ups; 41 push-ups; 41 squats
Level 5
3 pull-ups; 5 push-ups; 8 squats
5 pull-ups; 15 push-ups; 26 squats
26 pull-ups; 51 push-ups; 51 squats
Level 6
3 pull-ups; 6 push-ups; 10 squats
6 pull-ups; 19 push-ups; 32 squats
32 pull-ups; 64 push-ups; 64 squats
Level 7
4 pull-ups; 8 push-ups; 12 squats
8 pull-ups; 24 push-ups; 40 squats
40 pull-ups; 80 push-ups; 80 squats
Level 8
5 pull-ups; 10 push-ups; 15 squats
10 pull-ups; 30 push-ups; 50 squats
50 pull-ups; 100 push-ups; 100 squats

Overall Impression

Ultimately, the Simplefit program is designed to be a basic calisthenic workout for people looking to slowly get into better shape. By no means is this an advanced program for people who have already been involved in long-term weight-training. Simplefit can also be effective if you are traveling or away from the gym for an extended period of time. People seeking a more extensive and advanced workout should probably bypass Simplefit and opt instead for Crossfit or a BeachBody related workout program.

Those seeking additional body-weight exercises may be interested in You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises by Mark Lauren.

Preparing Your Child for When You Leave on a Business Trip

June 10, 2017 0
Preparing Your Child for When You Leave on a Business Trip

Going out of town for business can be a challenge. Business meetings, conferences, and training sessions are pretty much the norm for a lot of careers nowadays. You not only have to book your travel plans and reserve a place to stay, you also have to temporarily learn a new area. As tough as this can be, it gets even more difficult when you add children to the mix. Although many parents would publicly say they welcome a break from family, there are also those that hate spending time away from their kids.

The stress isn't only about parents. For many children, there is confusion over why Mom or Dad has to go away for work. With each day that passes, a child's emotions can get out of control. If handled the wrong way, a business trip can be a nightmare for both parents and children.

Thankfully, there are some simple ways to prepare your child for your time away from home. By explaining why you must leave, communicating while you are gone, and setting up expectations, you can assure that going away on business doesn't end up torturing the family.

1. Explain Why You Are Leaving

One of the easiest things you can do in preparation of your trip is to make sure your child knows why you have to leave. As crazy as it sounds, there seem to be a ton of kids out there that have no clue what type of work their parents do. By taking the time to explain what your job is and why it is important, you can make sure your child understands why the business trip is necessary.

2. Explain Where You Will Be and For How Long

So you may be leaving on business, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun telling your child where you will be. Take the time to pull out a map or globe and show them exactly where you are traveling. If you'll be flying, show the route that you'll be taking to get there. Go over your itinerary so your kids can have a better idea of where you are during your travel day.

At the same time, let your child know how long your trip is supposed to last. Come up with a fun way to count down the time so each passing day brings more excitement than sadness.

3. Set Up a Way to Communicate

At this point in time, there is no excuse for not being able to communicate with your child while you are away. Whether it be cell phone, email, Skype, or snail mail, there is always a way to let your kid know how you are doing. If you choose to call or video chat, try to arrange a designated time so you don't accidentally miss each other and have to skip a day.

4. Leave Surprises While You Are Gone

Although you may not be home, you can still find ways to leave bits of your personality around the house. Leave notes or small presents in special places throughout your home. Write messages of encouragement to help your children get through the time you are away from home. You can also make it a game to see if they find them all before you get back from your trip.

5. Bring Something Home as a Reward

Once your trip has come to an end, find a way to reward your child for surviving your time apart. If you travel frequently, you can come up with a theme on the types of presents you bring back (ex. hats, t-shirts, or teddy bears from each city). Over time your child will look over their collection with pride and look forward to your next trip.

Most of all, be sure to spend plenty of quality time with your kids when you get back home. Time spent together after a business trip is the best present you can possibly give!

Do you have children? Do you travel on business often? How would you prepare your kids if you had to leave home for a business trip?

How to Spice Up Your Dorm Room

June 10, 2017 0
How to Spice Up Your Dorm Room

Going away to college for the first time can be an exciting yet intimidating time in a person's life. There is so much planning that goes into selecting a college and making sure that finances are in good shape that one often forgets about the actual room they will be living in for the next year. Yes, the college dorm room is not only the center of studying, but also the den of social interaction. At one moment you may be using it to cram for your history exam, and the next you will be using it to host a party with some of your closest friends.
While everyone knows about the basic items needed for a college dorm room, such as microwaves and refrigerators, there are plenty of things that can add some extra flavor to your new home. Do you want your space to be the talk of the campus? Do you want the rest of your floor to be envious of you and your roommate? Try a few of the following, and you'll be amazed how you can maximize your space while also giving your room some additional flair.

Add Color to Walls with Photos and Posters

When I was in college, the first thing that stood out to us as we moved in was how barren the walls of our room were. In some colleges, you may end up with white-colored cinder block walls. In others, you may be lucky enough to have insulated walls with a better paint job. In any case, one of the first things you will want to do after unpacking your bags is to get some photos or posters up on the walls.

Before taking this step, be sure that you identify your college's rules on how to hang pictures and posters. Some schools are pretty strict on not allowing nails or tacks in order to hang things up. In many cases, you may be forced to use a special type of putty that will hold the poster/photo in place. The goal is to decorate the walls without damaging the walls because trust me you will end up paying for damages later.

When it comes to photos, I found that having a good selection of photos from home were good conversation starters with my new friends in college. You don't want to post anything too juvenile because you're beyond that now, but you do want to put up things that will help people understand more about you. The photos can also lead people to want to ask more about your background. Feel free to get creative with the layout around the room. Some people create photo collages and hang them around the room, while others stick with traditional frames spaced around their desk.

Another easy way to spice up the dorm room is to locate posters and hang them up around the room. I've always been partial to framed posters because they give off a more refined look and they keep the edges of the poster from tearing over time. However, if you don't have the time or money to frame them, feel free to hang them up any way possible.

Your posters should be something interesting that will make your room memorable. A poster of the latest Playmate might look cool to the other guys on your floor, but is that really going to impress the women that you bring back to your room? And that latest Star Wars movie poster? Is it attracting visitors or pushing them away? Figure out what works best for you, and find something original. Nobody wants their walls to look exactly the same as everyone else in their dorm.

Maximize Your Space with Lofts and Crates

No matter what college you go to, your dorm room is most likely going to be a lot smaller than the room you left at home. Chances are you are still going to try bringing way more stuff than you should during your freshman year. In order to make your dorm room as comfortable as possible, you are going to have to find ways to maximize the limited space that you have.

One way of doing this is by using a bed loft frame. Not every college allows this, but they are great space savers if you are able to use them. I have to admit, I haven't seen many guys that have these, but times may be changing. If not, then make it work for you the best way you know how. The frames themselves help to raise the bed mattress further off the floor so that there is extra storage space underneath your bed. If you have the right kinds of plastic storage bins, you can store some of your clothes comfortably underneath your bed leaving your closet free from clutter.

Another object that I found useful was an empty milk crate. Usually the local stores would have a few sitting outside waiting to be disposed of, or the store owners would gladly give them away if asked politely. They may take a little bit of spray paint to match the rest of your decor, but they end up being great stackable storage for everything from clothes to books.

Relax Your Eyes With Natural Lighting

Lighting is another huge adjustment that you will have to make when you move into your dorm room. Many of the halls have overhead florescent lighting which over time can lead to head aches and eye strain. Nothing is worse than a fluorescent light that continually flickers when you are trying to do something important. Not to mention, some nights you may just want to relax with your lights dimmed instead of on full blast.

For times like these, I suggest having at least one lamp capable of giving off some natural light. The lamp can either have one setting or have a built in dimmer whichever fits your preference. Halogen lamps used to be popular for this type of lights, but became dangerous due to the amount of heat they gave off in the process. Don't be surprised if your college bans the use of halogens on campus. Keep this in mind before you spend money on them at the store before the school year starts.

Lamps are another thing that can demonstrate your personality. There are a variety of colors, shapes, and lamp shades to choose from. Pick the one that sets you apart from the crowd and starts conversation. It's the little things that show off how unique you are compared to the rest of the college crowd. It may seem awkward in the beginning to be different, but by the time you graduate you'll be glad that you set yourself apart.

Bring the Noise With a Sound System

The final piece of the puzzle is the sound system. A room just isn't a room without some way of producing some music. Whether you are studying or just hanging out with friends, you are going to want some way of playing music in the background.

I found that the shelf systems produced the best sounds without taking too much space within the room. Nowadays most of them are equipped so that Ipods, smartphones, and other MP3 players can be plugged into them eliminating the need to burn CDs. Find something with a remote so that you can lay back in bed at night and control your tunes without having to get up.

All in all, it doesn't take a ton to make your dorm room come to life. Start with those areas and work from there. Check out what your friends have done and find ways to work your own flavor into it. By the time the year ends, you'll be sad to take down all of your hard work.