Today I'm answering your questions in terms of working out and lifting. Hopefully, it will give you some things to consider in terms of your workouts and how to make them more effective. I also share what you can get in my FREE masterclass workout program. Ready to learn? Let’s dive in.
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/167
Follow me on Instagram!
- Free masterclass workout program (4:28)
- Progressive overload at home? (8:41)
- Keeping your heart rate up during rest between sets (13:27)
- Choosing the weight that is appropriate for you (19:54)
- Crossfit and progressive overload (22:51)
- Deload weeks (27:44)
- How you would change your macros on those run days (32:30)
- Certain workouts based on body type (35:39)
- Breathing techniques for lifting (36:49, 39:44,43:22)
You're listening to Biceps after Babies radio episode number 167.
Hello and welcome to Biceps after Babies radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife, and mom of four. Each week, my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Hey, Hey, Hey, welcome back to another episode of Biceps after Babies Radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, and today, I'm answering your questions. It has been a hot minute since I did an Ask Amber anything. And I was talking with my team. And because we are kind of dubbing October, a #BackToBasicsMonth, #BackToLiftingBasicsMonth, I was talking to my podcast manager and she was making a recommendation that we could do something in terms of working out and lifting. And helping you guys out to be able to take that leap right? That for a lot of you that leap of whatever the next step is in your journey. For some of you that's getting into the weight room for the very first time. For some of you it's starting to implement dumbbells or going from you know, dumbbells to barbells, or for some of you it's that next leap is like really starting to focus on compound lifts and maximizing your squat or your bench, your deadlift or your clean and jerk or you know, whatever it is. So my goal here is to be able to help you with whatever that next step is for you in terms of working out. And so we thought it would be a great idea to put it on Instagram, say “Hey, what questions do you have?” And then answer them here live on the podcast. These are also fun for me, because a lot of times I'll put up question boxes on Instagram. And people ask you questions. And I'm like, I could talk for 5-10 minutes on that one topic because it's nuanced. And there isn't like one right answer. And you got to talk about different topics to really understand this. And, and so when I'm responding. So sometimes when I put up question boxes, I skip some of the questions that are like these are really good questions. And we probably could have a really good in-depth conversation about them. But I can't answer it in like one or two slides on Instagram. So that makes this forum this format a little bit better for some of these more nuanced questions where it's not just like, “Oh, yeah, there's like one single answer to it that I can type out in a paragraph.” But rather we're going to get deeper into some of these more nuanced questions. And I don't know about you, but a little nuance.
Follow, like and subscribe my podcast 3:00
But before we dive into answering questions, I'm just gonna remind you if you are not yet subscribed, nope. Actually, iTunes changed things. You don't subscribe to a podcast anymore on iTunes, you like a podcast. No, you follow it. I think that you follow it. Hold on, let me check. Yep, now you follow a podcast episode. So if you're not yet following the podcast on iTunes, or I don't know how you subscribe on Spotify or Stitchery or any of those other places, but I know that there's a way to do it. I'm sure you could figure it out, because you're a smart cookie. But if you are not following, liking, and subscribing, whatever the terminology is, for the platform, or through which you're listening to this podcast episode, I'm gonna invite you to go and do that now. That's great for the show. It's great for you. Because it automatically just downloads each week's episodes, so that you can kind of have a stash, ready to go when you're ready to, you know, go on a walk, or go to the gym or listen in your car while you're taking your kids somewhere. And I would love to have you subscribe to the podcast if you are not yet. And then if you already are, I would ask you have you written a review? Have you written a rating interview and submitted that on iTunes? If not, if you would take five minutes to do that it really does help the podcast. And it really helps me to be able to continue putting out free content so that the podcast can reach more people. And the content that we put out here can reach more people. And if you've done that, you've done both of those things. Well, you're amazing. Thanks so much for being here.
Free masterclass workout program 4:28
Okay, so let's dive into our questions. Now. I will say when I put this out on Instagram, I had a ton of questions that were very similar to something like this. Can you explain more about technique? Can you talk about reps and sets? How do I get started? How do I pick exercises? How much weight do I start with? How do I increase it? How do I cycle through muscle groups? Is it better to lift heavier, lift light? Do I want more reps or less? How do I do this at home? Lots of questions that were in that kind of sphere. And I want you to know that I've already created a resource that is going to answer a lot of those questions for you. So what I'm going to really recommend is that you go and listen to my free masterclass, it's an on demand masterclass, meaning you can listen to it at any time. And you just go to bicepsafterbabies.com/workshop, to pick a time that works for you. But in that class, you are going to learn the five elements that your workout program must include to make sure that you're not wasting time at the gym. The thing that I hate most is seeing women take time, make time in their life, go to the gym, but the things that they're doing in the gym aren't actually creating the changes in their body that they want. And so they end up just wasting time in the gym. And I don't know if you don't have time to waste. And so in that class, I teach you about the five elements that must be in your programming to make sure it's actually being effective. And then at the end of that class, I have an offer for my build your workouts program, inside of build your workouts, all of those questions that I just talked about how to know how many reps and sets? How do you know how much weight to start with? How to know when to increase? When will it not increase? How to pick your exercise? And how to get started? More reps, less reps? All of those questions, I answer inside of my program, build your workouts. And so I think it's really important and valuable. And I give a lot of free content and education on the podcast and on my Instagram and on my email list and lots of places. And I also have paid programs. And so I'm not going to cover questions that are directly answered inside of my paid programs. But I will invite you to come and join those paid programs, because you will learn a ton in build your workouts about how to make sure that your programming is actually driving you towards the goals that you have set for yourself. So that's interesting to you. I suggest starting with my free masterclass, it's called the five vital ingredients. Your workouts must include building muscle and losing fat. And you can get signed up for that at bicepsafterbabies.com/workshop. And you can go and pick whatever time slot you want. It's an on demand class, which means you can watch it at any time. And that's going to give you a much better understanding of what your programming needs to include, so that you're not wasting your time at the gym. Okay, so I'm not going to answer those questions because I already have stuff that's created that answers those questions. So instead, we're going to dive into some other questions that were asked by people that maybe aren't completely directly answered in build your workouts or in that in that masterclass or that are like a little bit more nuanced that we can almost get into like a little coaching, you know, me, I'd love some coaching to gain some coaching with some of these questions that people submitted. Okay.
Progressive overload 7:54
So the very first question comes from Jen, and she said, “Can you implement progressive overload at home?” Now, if you do not know what progressive overload is, I teach about this topic in the workshop that I had mentioned. But really, really briefly, progressive overload essentially means that we need to be stressing our body more and more and more each time, in order to create the desired stimulus that we want, which for most people is, you know, building muscle or building strength. And if we don't implement progressive overload, your body isn't going to respond in the fashion of building muscle or building strength. So it's something that is crucial to be included in your programming, if that is your goal to build muscle.
Can you implement progressive overload at home? 8:41
And so this is a question I get a lot of, can you progressive overload at home? Now, inherently, there's no difference between progressive overload at home and at the gym. But the difference for many people, and this is why people tend to ask the question, is because people don't have the same equipment, often at home, as they do at the gym. And so that's typically where this question comes from, is like, I don't have a ton of equipment at home, I have a limited access to weights or to how you know how many weights or exercises that I can do. Am I still able to progressive overload? And this isn't a matter of like, yes, you can progressive overload, or no, you can't progressive overload. But really asking the question of how we can implement progressive overload to the best of our ability with the resources that we have access to. So if you have something like a cage, or you know you have a barbell with a rack, you have much higher and more ability to progressive overload with access to that equipment, because you can continue to add weight almost infinitely. And adding weight is one way that we progressive overload. And so when people have limited access to weights, you only have dumbbells and they only go up to two 25's, then people ask the question of like, “well, if I can't increase my weight, am I not able to progressive overload?” And the one thing that I will say about this is that while increasing your weight is one way to progressive overload, it is not the only way to progressive overload. There are other ways to progressive overload, including adding more sets, adding more reps, slowing down the tempo, or doing tempo lifting, so that you're doing a slower, concentric or eccentric phase of the movement, doing things like bottom halves, or half, you know, half reps, or even reducing the rest time in between your sets. So there are other ways to progressive overload. And can you implement those things at home? Absolutely.
Challenges when you do progressive overload at home 10:49
The challenge does come that there's only so much that you can do to progressive overload. Like, if you only have up to 25 pound dumbbells, there's only so much that you can do, like we're not gonna do like 100 reps of something, to be able to continue to progressive overload. So at some point, it there likely will be need that you will need to add more equipment to your gym, you'll need to add heavier weights, you'll need to upgrade to a barbell, which you can add, you know, again, nice thing about a barbell is that you're like the sky's the limit with the amount of weight that you can really add to a barbell versus dumbbells, where it you know, it gets very hard to like wield 100 pound dumbbell, whereas, you know, 100 pound barbell is much more easy to wield. So I'm a big fan of barbells. One, because they are able to really, you're able to work a lot more muscle groups simultaneously with a lot of compound lifts, things like the squat, the deadlift, the bench, the clean, and jerk, press, things like that are able to work a lot more muscle groups. And yes, you can do those with dumbbells, but you will typically be able to lift heavier when we have a barbell. So I'm a big fan of graduating and investing. If you really do want to build a home gym, and that's really where you want to do your workouts getting to that point where you invest in a barbell, you're going to be able to go so much further with that at home. But for those of you who are at home, who only have certain equipment, and you only have certain dumbbells, and you only have a certain amount of space, the question really becomes like, how can you maximize what you have? So rather than saying, “Oh, I don't have a dumbbell, or I don't have a barbell, I can't add any more dumbbells, I might as well not do it at all.” say, “What equipment do I have? And how can I make this work? How can I progressive overload as much as possible? How can I implement these other, you know, techniques that Amber talked about that aren't necessarily adding weight, but can add an increased stress on the body in other forms and how can I continue to do that in the meantime, right? And maybe I'm saving up and maybe I want to expand my gym, or maybe I'm just like, at home for a season. And I recognize this is just a season in my life. And, you know, eventually I'll be able to go back to the gym.” So you know, I'm all about whatever you have, like let's maximize what you have and how you can use the equipment that you have. And then let's start dreaming to about that next step. Do you want to go to the gym? Do you want to? Or do you want to do it at home? If you really want to do it at home? Can we start investing in equipment that's going to allow you to go further in your fitness journey.
During rest between sets, Is it okay to do light jogging/jumping to keep your heart rate up? 13:27
Okay, the next question is from Emily. And she asked: “During rest between sets, Is it okay to do light jogging/jumping to keep your heart rate up?” And I would ask Emily, what your goal is. Because if your goal is to keep your heart rate up your whole workout, sure, that's gonna help keep your heart rate up the whole workout. But for most people, your goal isn't actually to keep your heart rate up. Your goal is what you think keeping your heart rate up, will actually do. So oftentimes, we've associated with the things that we've been taught in our life, keeping your heart rate up, is really good for burning calories, for creating, you know, a caloric deficit and for you know, burning more calories in a certain period of time. If you can keep your heart rate up, then that's just gonna burn more calories. And so, you know, that may be coming into where this question is coming from, because it's like, “Oh, I've been taught that, like, I need to be sweating. My heart rate needs to be up the whole time and that's a much better workout.” But we have to be careful there because what does “better” really mean? What we really want is an effective workout and an effective workout is always pointed and directed towards the goal that we want to accomplish. And so we always have to be working backwards from like, what's my goal? Is my goal to keep my heart rate up? Or is my goal to increase my aerobic capacity? Is my goal to build more muscle? Is my goal to lose more fat? Is my goal to run a marathon? Is my goal to get my first pull up? Is my goal to get a bodyweight deadlift? Like, what's my goal? Because that's going to answer the question for us of like, what, once we know what the goal is, now, what do we need to do in between our sets to be able to get there.
Keeping your heart rate up is counterproductive when your goal is to have muscles and become stronger 15:22
If you are like most women who are lifting weights, and your goal is to get stronger, or to build muscle, or to build muscle and lose fat, you have to recognize that the goal isn't to keep your heart rate up the whole time, that's not really the goal, the goal is to stimulate the muscles in a way that is going to cause them to respond by getting bigger, or getting stronger. And that's what we're really going for. And if that's the case, you want to gain more muscle, you want to get stronger, you want to improve your metabolic capacity in terms of how much you can eat, then keeping your heart rate up is actually counterproductive to what you want to do. Because I will tell you, if I did a heavy set of squats, and then I went into jumping squats or something else, it was like keeping my heart rate up, I will never ever, ever be able to perform on that next set of squats to my potential. It's too hard. If I did, like, let's pretend I did 155 on my squats, and then I kept my heart rate up the whole time. And then I went and tried to do 150 again on my squats, dang, I wouldn't be able to do I'd have to go down and wait. So what you're giving up by trying to keep your heart rate up is that you aren't actually doing the thing that's going to build the muscle, which is lifting that heavyweight. So a lot of times we've been sold this bill of goods that we got to keep our heart rate up. But if your goal is to build muscle, your goal is to keep your heart rate up, your goal is actually to lift something, recover as much as possible as quickly as you can so then you can go lift it again. And so I will tell you for if you are lifting heavy enough, meaning you're actually and that's a this is a whole nother topic, this idea of like lifting heavy people have ideas in their head of like what I mean when I say that, but when I say lifting heavy, I'd simply mean like it's a challenge for you to finish. So 15 pound dumbbell curls may be like a struggle for you to finish those last couple of reps. That would be lifting heavy for you. So if you're lifting heavy and you are challenging yourself, the last thing that you are going to want to do when you set those weights down, is go do jumping lunges, or jumping jacks or some sort of calisthenic to keep your heart rate up. So I would argue that if you're able to go in and do something to keep your heart rate up, after you've lifted something, you aren't probably lifting heavy enough to be able to really build muscle. And that's why I have a real problem with these, these workouts that are all about hopping from thing to thing. And just like kind of lifting some weights and kind of doing some jumping jacks and kind of like dancing around and like doing all these things. Lindsey Parker in the episode where I interviewed her, she calls it “Bouncy bouncy.” It's like going into all the things is actually not an effective workout for what most women are trying to do. It's not going to help you build muscle. It's going to be counterproductive to that. So during rest, is it okay to keep your heart rate up? Sure if that's literally your goal. If your goal is to build strength if your goal is to build muscle that's actually counterproductive to your goal.
Should we be lifting more starting out? 18:42
Okay, this question, she said that she saw a meme saying moms carry around 30 pound kids and then lift 10 pound dumbbells. Should we be lifting more starting out? So I think it is a good meme. Like the purpose of a good meme is to stop and make you think a little bit. And this meme does that right? Like we see this all the time of women lifting 10 pound dumbbells and then they're lugging their 30 pound toddler around and there's like this disconnect like you can lift a 30 pound toddler, why can't you lift heavier dumbbells? So it does make you think in that way. Now we have to be careful with generalizations because the muscles that you're utilizing to be able to carry a 30 pound toddler is very different from maybe the muscles that you're using to do a 10 pound you know dumbbell curl. You're using just the bicep for that one lift. Whereas, when you're carrying your child, using a lot of different muscle groups and your body in different ways to be able to do that. So it's kind of an apples and oranges comparison. But I think the point still stands that many women undercut themselves with how strong they already are when they go and try to select a weight to utilize.
Choosing the weight that is appropriate for you 19:54
So how do we know that you're selecting the weight that is appropriate for you? That's really the question behind the question. How do we select an appropriate weight? And I will say, the first time that you go and do any, you know, any program or a lift for the first time, you're not going to know out of the gate, which weight to do. So the first time that you do a program, a lot of that, like the first session is really, weight selection is trying to figure out what the right weight selection is for you for that exercise and the number of reps and sets that you're supposed to be doing. And so what we're looking for is that by the last 1-2 reps, you are barely able to finish it, while still maintaining good form. If you get to the end of the assigned number of reps, and you could do one or two more, you've gone too light. And if you get to the end of the reps, and the last two are like ugly, because you're swinging your body and your form is going out the window to be able to finish those last few reps, then it's a little bit too heavy. And so the first time that you're doing these exercises, a lot of it is just figuring out that weight selection, making sure you're not going too heavy, not too too light, but that you're actually getting to where, yeah, those last two reps, I can finish them with good form, but dang, it's challenging, it's hard to finish those. And if you're not feeling that way, then we need to make an adjustment to the weight.
Changes in workouts and reps and sets exercises are a terrible idea on many levels 21:30
This is also why programs that change your workouts and your reps and sets and exercises consistently are a terrible idea on a lot of levels. But especially on this level of weight selection, like if this week you're doing back squats. And you're supposed to do three sets of 10. And you figure out a weight that's that works for heavy, but not too heavy, and you know, doable and fits all the metrics that I shared. And then next week, instead of doing back squats, 3 for 10, you're assigned goblet squats, 4 sets of 6, you're going to have to go through that whole process again of figuring out a weight selection. Whereas if every week, you're doing 3 sets of 10 a back squat, you have an idea about that weight selection, you can continue to add it week over week, again, implementing that progressive overload. Okay, so that's really the answer this question is, you know, how do we select weights? How do we know that we're lifting properly for the exercise that we're doing? How do we know that we've selected the right weight selection for that, and that's how you do it. It's by a little bit of trial and error the first time and then you can base the next weeks off of that, you know, weight selection that you determined that first week.
Why do you do CrossFit if it's not implementing progressive overload, and do you lift in addition to CrossFit? 22:51
Alright, next one. “Why do you do CrossFit if it's not implementing progressive overload, and do you lift in addition to CrossFit?” This is a really common question. If you've listened to the podcast before, you know, I love CrossFit, I've been doing it now for three years, it's been super fun. It's been really enjoyable for me. And it's what I'm loving right now. And I will also let you know that CrossFit is not very good if your ultimate goal is to gain as much muscle as possible, or to have as much hypertrophy as possible, or even to get as strong as possible. CrossFit is created to be constantly varied, like that's literally in the like definition of CrossFit, constantly very functional fitness. And so the whole idea with CrossFit is that you're never doing the same thing. You're always mixing and matching and doing some gymnastics and some weightlifting and some powerlifting and some, you know, plyometrics, and like some cardio and all these different things all mixed together, so that nothing is really the same from time to time. And if you know anything about progressive overload, it's like the antithesis like constantly varied is the antithesis to progressive overload. So can you get stronger with CrossFit? Yes*. Can you build muscle with CrossFit? Yes* So that Asterix would be I would say, Yes, you can. And it's also not optimal. So if you took two people who were brand new to lifting and like had never lifted and you put one of them in CrossFit and you put one of them in more of a hypertrophy, bodybuilding style programming, the bodybuilding hypertrophy, you know, programming is going to build muscle at a faster rate than the person who is at CrossFit. Now that's not saying the person at CrossFit won't build any muscle or won't be able to drink they absolutely will. For sure. But if we're comparing those two, it's going to be a slower process because of the lack of progressive overload. So if that's the case, why the heck do I do it? Well, the answer is because I'm not really trying to put on muscle right now. It's not my goal. However, we always have to work backwards from what our goal is. I've had periods of time where my goal was to put on more muscle and I did more bodybuilding style, more powerlifting style training, where I was really intentionally progressively overloading week to week. And that was my goal and so I structured my programming in a way that aligned with that goal. That's not my goal right now. My goal isn't really to put on a ton of muscle, I have a decent amount of muscle, I probably could put on more, but it would be a lot of effort. When you think of muscle growth, it's in terms of a curve that tapers off. Meaning if you first start lifting, you're going to see a lot of gains in terms of strength and building muscle. And the longer that you've been doing it, the more advanced you are weightlifting, the more effort and energy and time you have to put in to keep having gains in terms of appreciable muscle mass gain or appreciable strength. So could I put on more? Absolutely. But I would have to put a lot more time and effort into it. And that's not just where I'm at right now. I like the amount of muscle that I have on my body. And my goal really isn't to put on more muscle, it's to do fun things with my muscle. It's to do fun things with the strength that I've built up over the years. It's to challenge myself in new and different ways with different modalities. That's my goal right now. So if my goal was to build muscle, yeah, CrossFit is not optimal for that. But it's not my goal right now. So that's why asking yourself what your goal is, is always the most important thing because then we work backwards from what that goal is. People also ask me “Can you include CrossFit and you know, do some progressive overload on the side?” Absolutely. And I know people who do that, who love CrossFit, they love the community, they love the WODs. And they'll go, you know, a couple times a week, almost using it really kind of like your cardio time. And then they'll do weight training, you know, three to four times a week, where they're getting more of that progressive overload. So they're creating that stimulus in the body that allows them to build the muscle that they want to build. So you can absolutely do that. But yeah, CrossFit isn't optimal for progressive overload. It's not optimal, it's not optimal for building muscle. Again, that doesn't mean you cannot build muscle in CrossFit. It doesn't mean you cannot build strength in CrossFit, you absolutely can. But I don't do it for that. It's not what I'm doing it for. So that's that, that's me. And that's why I choose to go to CrossFit. And you know, it's not always about building muscle. There's lots of other valuable things that you can be finding in your workouts. And so anyway, that's my two bits about CrossFit.
How often do you include deload weeks? 27:44
Okay, how often do you include deload weeks, so a “deload week” is a week where you are decreasing the intensity or the frequency of the exercises that you're doing, recognizing that you don't actually get stronger, you don't actually build muscle when you are lifting weights. You get stronger and you build muscle, when you recover from lifting those weights. The recovery is actually the place where your body is actually strengthened, your muscles actually grown. And it is in that recovery time, that's why recovery is so incredibly important when we were talking about really any physical data station that we're trying to create, but especially we're trying to create muscle. So deload week, as you know, everybody has their own ideas about how often to take deload weeks, but essentially a deload week is just where you are decreasing the amount that you are doing, to allow for an act of extra additive, you know, amount of recovery. Knowing that stress is cumulative, meaning you know, when we stress our body over time, right, week, after week, after week, after week, some of that stress is cumulative, like some of that stress continues to build up. And we can recognize that taking a deload week every once in a while can help us to come back refreshed, you know, really recovered to a higher level and be able to, you know, hit the gym hard. Like I said, there's lots of ideas about how often to do deload weeks, how to structure your deload weeks. Some people take them as often as you know, every six to eight weeks. Some people take them a lot, but you know less frequently. Some people on their daily deload weeks completely don't do anything. Some people just reduce the intensity, some people reduce the volume of training. There's like as many ways as you could structure a deload, you'll find coaches out there who utilize those things in their training. And so I would say deloads are much more individual specific than a lot of things that we do. And so you kind of have to, you got to test around a little bit of figuring out how your body best responds and how you feel your best. You'll know that a deload week has been, you know, programmed effectively, when you are excited to come back to the gym, the week after your deload week, and you feel super strong and super recovered. If that's the case, then whatever you did during that deload week has been very beneficial and helpful to you. That's the goal when you come back from a deload week.
My personal structure of deload weeks 30:24
So personally, the types of deload weeks that I typically take are in conjunction with my vacations. That's kind of how I choose to structure my deloads, where I go on vacation, I don't know, 3-4 times a year, typically for something like a week. And I won't work out during those weeks. So I take my deloads as a complete rest, like I don't, I don't lift, I don't like you know, do anything. I just like resting during that week. And I come back and I'm excited. And I'm rejuvenated and I feel stronger and that's what works for me. When I was powerlifting, I would do more frequent dead loads, I want to say like every 2-3 months, we would do a deload week. And in that case, we would reduce my intensity typically is what we would do. So when I say intensity, I mean we would reduce the weight that I was lifting. So instead of squatting 175, I would squat 145, right, so same number of reps, but I'm just squatting at a lower intensity, and so it's not quite as stressful on my body. And we would utilize those throughout my training. So you know, TLDR there's really not a “wrong way” to take a deload week, as long as when you're coming back, you're feeling rested, and rejuvenated and ready to like get back to things and kind of mess around with that and your programming to see how that works. And this really comes down to also listening to your body. Once you've trained enough and, and felt what it feels like to be fully recovered, you start to feel what it feels like when you're not recovered. And so if that's the case, I don't just like to say, Hey, I got into a fight to do CrossFit. So I'm just gonna ignore that and go to five days of CrossFit. I'll take days off where it's like, I can feel it, my body's not recovered. I'm feeling worn down, I'm just going to, I'm going to skip this day, and go back, you know, go back the next day. And so I'm listening to my body all the time. But then those deload weeks are really nice, because it's kind of like a full wreck rest and recovery taking me back to it.
How you would change your macros on those run days 32:30
Okay, Stephanie said, “How should Macros change on long endurance days, like a five hour run?” So typically, I don't recommend Macro changes if your workouts are less than, you know, 90 minutes. And that's because when you set your macros, or when your coaches set your Macros, they've included that activity level into the calculations. Now for my endurance friends who are working out, you know, 2-3-5 hours, doing marathons or triathlons or whatever it is that you guys are all doing for five hours. That is something that I typically say, as an exception. And when you're working out for that long of a time, you really start to tap into and deplete those glycogen storages that are in your muscles. So we're not going to get too much into bio science. But glycogen is how your body stores glucose within the muscles. And when you are going for three, four or five hours, you are really depleting those glycogen stores. That's why when you run a marathon, they call it like hitting the wall. I don't know, I ran one marathon, I hit the wall right around mile 20. And you just feel like you hit a wall where you're like I'm like, I don't know, if I can keep going like I'm so tired. Like, everything starts to kind of shut down. And that's because you have reached the end of what glycogen storage is and you know, your body's like, Oh gosh, we still need more energy. So for my endurance athletes, what I will typically say is that we can start to mess around with carb loading before and during your cardio. So you know, starting with 50 grams of extra carbs, maybe 100, maybe 150, maybe 200 depending on how long your endurance is going to be. And doing that beforehand, meaning like the day beforehand, or even the morning of to really top off those glycogen stores that you have in your muscle so that you can have more access to that glucose during those five hours that you're going. And then I mean, I'm not an endurance expert. So I would guess somebody who's asking this question likely knows more about endurance training than I do. But this is why most long distance athletes will carry things like gels and stuff because they can have those simple carbohydrates that are ready to go. So they'll have not only pre workout carbs, but they'll also have intra workout carbs. Where you're having that glucose, you're eating that banana mid run. So that again, the whole goal is like, how can we keep our body having access to that glucose that it needs to be able to keep going. So that's the answer about how you would change your macros on those run days. And that's going to be a little trial and error of figuring out, you know, how many carbs you need to add versus how long you're going. But that's something that you can do on your own and start to feel how your body best responds with that. Pre and intra workout carbohydrate intake.
Do certain workouts work better, based on your body type? 35:39
Okay, Becca said, “Do certain workouts work better, based on your body type?” And I actually have a whole podcast episode that I did on this. It's Episode Number 45, which we'll also link in the show notes, but it is about your body type. And what types of exercise tend to work better for that body type. Now, I will say that, in general, like, I talked about some things in that episode, and there's some controversy around body types and whether they're not they actually exist and if we really can and should be basing exercise off of body types. So I want to acknowledge that this isn't like hard science, where there's lots of meta analyses that back this type of thing up. But in working with lots of women, I have seen these different types of women with different body types, and seeing their bodies react differently to different training styles. And typically, what we're talking about is how easy it is to build muscle, and how much cardio typically is required for fat loss. So if you're curious about that, go head to Episode 45, where I talk about different body types.
What are different breathing techniques for lifting? 36:49
And then last question, and this is one I've gotten a couple times. So I thought this would be a good one to address on the podcast, Jen asked “What are different breathing techniques for lifting.” And I think this often comes up, when I post my lifting videos on Instagram, people are always asking me about what I'm doing with my breathing, and you know what they should be doing when they're lifting. So I will speak directly like a heavy lift for a barbell, mostly because that's what I'm most familiar with. And then I will also talk a little bit about maybe when you're doing, you know, lighter, non-compound lifts, and how that may be a little bit different. So in understanding how to breathe, when we're talking about big compound lifts, you have to understand the whole purpose of a compound lift, and when I say compound lift, I simply mean a lift that is utilizing multiple muscle groups. So something like a squat, doesn't just target one muscle group, it targets many muscle groups, it targets the quads, targets the hamstrings, it targets the adductors, it targets the glutes, it even targets the abs, it targets the upper back. So there's a whole lot of muscles that have to work in conjunction in order for you to be able to complete a squat. And so when we're starting to lift really heavy weights, we're trying to transfer power from the ground to lift this barbell. Right, my whole body is trying to conduct the power as I'm driving in front of my feet into the ground. I'm trying to transfer that power up through the bar to lift it up. And we know that the ability to transfer power is best with a rigid structure. So if I grasp a, you know, a rod of iron, I'm able to transfer my force when I'm swinging that rod of iron, and like hitting something, right, I'm able to transfer that energy through the rod into whatever it is that I'm hitting. Whereas if you think if I have like a piece of paper, and I'm trying to hit something just as hard with that piece of paper, I can exert as much force as I want. But all of that force gets dissipated out. And like very little of that force actually gets translated through the paper into the thing I'm hitting, right? If you think about it, which would you rather be hit with a rod of iron or piece of paper, a piece of paper because it can't transfer the force like a rod of iron can. So what we're trying to do is we're trying to transfer force, which means the tighter we stay, the more easily we're able to translate that force. What we're looking for when we're lifting barbells is to not leak out energy. Anywhere where we lack tightness. We're leaking out energy and when we leak out energy, we're not able to lift as much. Okay, so that's the concept and understanding.
Valsalva maneuver 39:44
So what is the most wibbly, wobbly, non-tough, nons-tight area of our body? It is our midsection, right where we have all of these organs in there. And we have all squishy things. And, you know, it's not super rigid and tough. There is a spinal column in there. But there's a whole lot of areas where we can leak energy. And so in order to combat that, we really want to create a rigid structure with the torso. And we can do that through what's called the valsalva maneuver. So the valsalva maneuver is a way that we are able to create intra abdominal and intrathoracic pressure, which creates a more rigid torso. Okay, and we do that by taking a big deep breath. And holding it and, and like, pushing out and creating that rigid structure in the chest and in the abdomen, okay, it's called the valsalva maneuver, it's also like the maneuver you would use to, like, push a baby out, or even to poop. It's a way that we're able to create higher pressure inside that creates that rigidity that we're looking for. Okay, so what you're seeing when you see people lift big, heavy weights is that valsalva maneuver, you're seeing them take a big deep breath, and then hold it, and not even just holding it. But like using that, that air in their chest to be able to create that rigidness through the torso and through the chest, so that you're able to transfer the weight more effectively. This is also why people will wear belts, the belt becomes a tactile cue to something to push against almost or just a tactile cue to remind you to keep the torso as tight as possible. So you're able to transfer that load. So that's what that's what belts do, they don't, “protect your bag”. That's not why you wear a belt, you wear a belt as a reminder, and as a cue to keep that torso over as rigid as possible so that we're not leaking energy anywhere along that lift. So if you've ever watched me lift, or you've ever watched someone lifting a big heavy weight, you will see they take a big deep breath, and they hold it and they create this tight, like they try to tense every muscle in their body before they go down into that lift. And then when you come up, you'll hear a lot of people go. Right? Like if you've ever seen me lift, you can get the breath, you hold it, you go down and you come up and as you're coming up, you'll hear like you know, the explosion of air coming out. Same thing, when I go into a bench press, take a big deep breath, hold it, bring the bar down, push the bar up, exhale, repeat, inhale, hold, bar down, bar up. And that allows us to lift heavier weights. Okay, so that's what you're seeing people do when you're seeing them do like big, heavy compound lifts.
Breathing while doing lower weight things 43:22
Now, the same thing doesn't necessarily apply as intensely when we're talking about lower weight things, things like a bicep curl, or a tricep extension. Or, you know, I don't know other things like isometric, maybe a calf raise or something like that, where we're working on one muscle group, you don't necessarily need to hold your breath. And in fact, a lot of times people will hold their breath while they're lifting, which is a big, huge no, no. Which seems counteractive to what I've just said, what I mean is when you're doing a set of 8-10, you don't want to be holding your breath the whole time as you're doing a, you know, a set of 10 or 12 reps. So you will want to be breathing while you're lifting. And typically, you'll breathe out as you lift the weights, and then breathe in as you lower the weights. So my favorite example is always a bicep curl. But as you are lifting the weights you are breathing out. And as you are lowering the weights you are breathing in. And again, that's a little bit different when we're doing like a set of 12 of something versus a set of, you know, 3-5, where, you know, if I'm doing a set of five squats, I am breathing, but I'm breathing in between each of the reps. And holding my breath during the reps because I'm wanting to transfer a lot more force and a lot more energy and a lot more weight through my body. So that is the answer to you know breathing techniques for lifting. And that's basically the basics.
The effectivity of your workout is relational to your goals 44:30
So hopefully, this was helpful. Hopefully it gave you some things to think about and consider in terms of your workouts and making them a little bit more effective. Again, effective is only in relation to your goals. So what is effective for somebody who's trying to maximize fat loss, is going to be different for somebody than what's effective for trying to gain muscle, which is different for someone who's trying to get stronger. And one of the things that you'll learn in that class when you go visit it, the bicepsafterbabies.com/workshop is how working backwards from your goal is the most important thing. There is not a one size fits all in terms of like the best workout program, because what the best workout program is for somebody who wants to run a marathon is completely different than the best workout for somebody who wants to get a bodyweight bench press. And so we always had to be making sure we're working backwards from what your goals are, and creating your workout plan to be able to move you forward towards your unique goals. And that's one of the things I talk about and highlight and teach you about inside of that workshop. So again, if you're interested in how to get started making sure that your workout program is effective, knowing how many reps and sets to do and how to put together your workouts to make sure that you're, you know, doing the right exercises and lifting the right weights, I really highly suggest checking out my workshop. It's free bicepsafterbabies.com/workshop. And then afterwards, you'll have an invitation to come and join build your workouts, which is a program that I've created to be able to help you make sure that you're able to understand programming, you're able to put together your own workout program if you would like or that when you go and purchase a workout program, you can get it ahead of time and make sure that it's aligned with the goals that you have set for yourself. That wraps up this episode of biceps after babies radio. I'm Amber now go out and be strong because remember my friend, you can do anything.
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