The Importance of Mentor in Your Life

Hi guys,

Just wanted to share a few thoughts and my opinion on why I think it’s important to have a mentor in your life.

P.s. If you can’t open this format just go to my YouTube 🙂

I hope this helps and I’ll talk to you later!

Until next time,

GymKat

 

 

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Ketogenic Diet

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Based on the scientific evidence it is my true belief that when it comes to health benefits ketogenic diet proves to be one of the best options. It also proves to be a great option for endurance athletes and even strength athletes can get away with it just fine when structured properly.

Everyone is different but certain things are undeniable. Ketogenic diet can prevent, treat and reverse type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, has a positive effect on psychological disorders, and that’s why I chose to stick with it.

Your body can produce up to 120g of glucose a day without any glucose present in your diet and studies show that keto adapted athletes store glycogen in their muscles for the activities that require such fuel. Carbs are not evil, don’t get it twisted. In my opinion, they are just not necessary in most cases.

I can talk about it for hours but instead of repeating what has been said by the scientist I am providing you with the links to studies and interviews so you can decide for yourself. I always believe that in order to agree or disagree with something in life one has to have a good knowledge of the topic. So here you go 🙂

Have more questions? Leave a comment or drop me an email.
Best wishes and talk to you soon,
GymKat 🙂
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The Power of NOW

Living in a present moment seems so obvious, but it’s such a difficult thing to do at times. We often either drown in the past or dream about future. Ability to “imagine and analyze” is one of the most important features that stands us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Imagination can be a very powerful tool. It can make you strong and powerful or break you into pieces.

Happiness comes from a deep appreciation for all we already have, for the life we live, for the feelings we are fortunate to feel (even if they are negative at times). Quite often, we just get stuck in our imagination and seem to always be looking for some better place in a future to be; and when that moment comes we forget to stop and recognize the present.

I think the life is really about making the best of the present moment. Understanding, that whatever is happening to us, good or bad, happens for a reason and worth appreciating regardless of the circumstances. It doesn’t mean you have to smile all the time or don’t have a right to be sad. We just have to remember our feelings and emotions dictate our actions, and therefore, predict our future.We don’t attract what we want – we attract what we are. Regardless of how you feel at the moment, there is no better choice than being in the NOW. Your life is happening now – it’s called present for a reason.

So look around you, look inside you and acknowledge that everything you have now is a gift.

 

Best wishes,

GymKat 🙂

 

 

 

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Fitness is a Lifestyle

_MG_6248 (2) copy2I think it is safe to say that problems are evolutionary drivers and crisis often proceeds a big change. It’s at the moment of the great discomfort we often find a new way that helps us grow.

In 2012 when I hit the rock bottom with my emotional state, there was a moment when I felt that “enough is enough” and that it was the time to try something that I subconsciously knew could help. I needed to start creating a stronger body, because strong spirit can only reside in a strong house.

I’ve been a professional athlete for over a decade back in Russia, but whith the move, daily problems, new life, and new experiences occupied my mind and I stopped exercising on a regular basis.

I started going to the gym next to my house. I was training religiously, trying different techniques and programs. I was training 4-6 hours on sime days (that’s not a recommendation). Every single day I was showing up and training like my life depended on it, becaise in some sense of it, it did. When I felt like crying, I pushed myself harder, I ran faster and lifted heavier. Within several weeks I noticed my body starting to change, depression started to ease, problems were not that tragic and that future was actually more exciting than what I originally thought.

Years of unhealthy habits allowed me to forget that overcoming difficulties in a physical state ALWAYS translates  into a stronger spirit and clearer mind. Fitness showed me my strengths and presented me with the opportunity to extend my hand to others, to prove them that they are stronger than they think they are.

To be the “saving grace” fitness has to become a lifestyle. It has to be something that you crave. You can only crave it when you I’ve gotten the taste of what it can do for you. Give yourself a chance to feel the positive effects of healthy lifestyle and regular exercise. Give it a little time to show you how strong you are. Trust the process – nothing happens overnight! I assure you, the reward is well worth it! 🙂

Stay positive and keep grinding!

 

GymKat 🙂

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“How to Squat” in Simple Words

    image1 (1) There are numerous articles on the web and tons of literature on how to squat but many of them are in a pretty complex language that maybe difficult to understand for most. Squat is one of the most basic movements that most people tend to do wrong 90% of the time. The purpose of this post is to explain the “Why and How” in simple words so that you were able to immediately apply and correct your own technique if necessary.

 

 

Let’s start with the list of the most common mistakes:

  1. Forward lean
  2. Heels come off the floor
  3. Knees falling inwards
  4. Not going bellow parallel

Let me begin by saying that most of these mistakes can be fixed by only two moves:

  • Putting your feet slightly wider than your hips
  • Turning your toes out to 30-45 degrees angel

Now stand up and give it a try? Feel the difference?

     The main reason for that is the anatomy of our hips, the hip joint in particular. In my practice I train people of all fitness levels and ages, so far I can recall only several clients that were able to squat properly with their feet pointing straight forward.

     When it comes to your skeletal anatomy there are several major factors that will determine how you move. The hip socket itself is positioned differently in all people (higher/lower, more towards the front or the back of your body), so the angle and depth of the hip socket, the length of the femoral neck and the angle of the femoral neck in relation to the femur will greatly determine how your body moves. That will also determine whether you going to have a so-called “butt wink”.

     Your skeletal anatomy cannot be changed, however, there is another important thing to consider. Your flexibility. Flexibility is something that you should work on a regular basis (if not every day then at least 4-5 times a week). Lack of flexibility in any muscle group will lead to compensation from other muscles and as a result, a wrong technique of the squat. Remember, everything in our bodies is connected and depends on each other. If one link is off, something else has to assume and distribute the load in order to perform the task. So put some work in and stretch on!

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     Most of you have heard that when you squat you shouldn’t go bellow parallel and that your knees should not go forward. I am honestly, not sure where this came from and how it ended up and many personal trainer educational books. What I do know, is that this advice is not appropriate for most people who have no pre-existing conditions that can be worsened by squatting low. Here is why.

     First of all, our knees designed and meant to move beyond the toes when you squat. It’s literally impossible to squat properly without your knees going beyond the toes line. I mean look at the squat of the baby and tell me where their knees are going? Additionally, if you stop your knees beyond the toes, it will require you to lean forward in order to keep the balance, which under the load (like a barbell on your shoulders), will create more pressure on your back and may result in a back pain.

     Considering you don’t have any pre-existing conditions that affect your knee joint, and correct technique of the squat, you should not feel any pain in your knees when you go bellow parallel. If you do feel the pain, it is most likely due to either lack of flexibility in one or several muscles (quads, calves, hip flexors or IT band) or weak tendons and ligaments (that need to be strengthened).

     Now let’s look at why you should squat bellow parallel. The tension put on your knees during the descending part of the squat increases as you go all the way to 90 degrees angle and starts to decrease once you pass that point. In other words, you are putting a lot of pressure on the knees without giving them a chance to release the pressure by passing the parallel mark.

     Of course, there are cases when squatting to just parallel or slightly above is the only option due to injury or other physical limitation. However, most people should be able to squat low as it not only will strengthen your knees and back, but also provide better activation for your glutes.

Now let’s try to sum it up and go through the major points of the squat step by step

  1. Start with your feet slightly wider than your hip width (find a comfortable position that feels natural)
  2. Point your toes out to 35-45degrees and bring your heels in slightly
  3. Keep your chest up and lower your hips as if you are trying to sit on the chair behind you
  4. Keep your weight on the heels the entire time but do NOT lift your toes off the floor
  5. Press your knees out so that they follow your toes
  6. Keep a constant tension in your upper and lower back (try to arch – not round)
  7. Without bouncing at the bottom reverse the movement while keeping your body as upright as possible.
  8. Ta-Da! That was one rep, let’s do ten more 😉

     When done correctly, you shouldn’t feel pain in your back, knees or ankles. Squat is a great move that should be incorporated in some form in any well-rounded fitness program. Learn how to do it correctly and you are going to rip the benefits.

     I hope this clears up some confusion and will help you build a better, stronger body (and booty). Stay strong and active my friends. Let me know if you have any questions and I will talk to you soon!

GymKat 🙂

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Fat Loss Myths

myth-busters

As I personal trainer I meet a lot of people on daily basis. Pretty much every new person I meet has a question about some sort of “magic technique” or “way” that, as they believe, may help them achieve their fitness and health goals. These “magic pills” vary greatly: corsets to slim the waist, cleanses to start up fat loss, no carbs after 6pm, “superfoods”, fat burning supplements…And the list can go on and on…

Most old school myths have been busted by real science a while ago, but these myths still manage to find a way into lives of folks that just starting their health journey. And it doesn’t help that new ones keep piling up on top of each other with a speed of light. While some myths can be pretty harmless, other ones may set you up for a disaster. Today I will address some common myths that I hear the most.

Fitness corsets

Companies that sell fitness waist trainers/corsets claim that they compress your core, ramp up perspiration, release toxins, and metabolize fat. The tight fit also restricts your abdomen, reducing your food intake during the day. Advocates assert that these garments will help you lose fat and inches from your waist.

Ladies (and some gentlemen), as much as I would love it to be true, it is never going to be more that just an empty promise…

First of all, let’s determine what the waist is: it’s a space between your rib cage and your hips. Depending on how long that space is, how big are your hips are and how narrow your rib cage is, your waist will look either smaller or bigger.  That being said, I’m sure we can all agree that you can’t move your ribs further away from your hip bones, and move fat from belly to your hips by wearing a corset…

Second, I hear you saying: ” but it helps to burn fat on the stomach!” Which brings us to the next topic of the “fat spot reduction”… Sorry guys, but that is not possible either. Fat spot reduction doesn’t exist (unless you are going for a lipo). Your body shape (in its healthy state) is always determined by your genetics. So if you tend to store most your body fat in the stomach it means that you have to lower overall body fat percentage in order to see a flat tummy. No corset will do that for you!

And of course, let’s not forget that the space between your ribs and hips wasn’t made for aesthetic purposes, it’s a home to your organs (that you probably want to keep)…Every time you squeeze the life out of your waist your organs have to travel either up or down. Constricting the abdomen and torso could also impair lung function by restricting the amount of space available for the lungs to expand into the abdomen and fill with air.

I understand that we are often pressured by the society to adhere to the certain beauty standards. However, I also understand that I only have one body and I need to take a good care of it. If you are looking to create an illusion of a smaller waist, then pay more attention to your back and legs muscles. Bigger lats (back muscles) will create a V-tapper and so will bigger glutes and quads; all of that combined will bring the illusion of a smaller waist.

Negative calorie foods

Oh, how I wish it could be true!!! Unfortunately, the only negative calorie “food” out there is ice. According to the “experts,” a negative calorie food requires more energy to digest than it provides you when you eat it. And included in the negative calorie food list are celery, apples, and bananas.

Real food cannot be a negative in calories. It’s a shame that people are out there promoting this stuff, and it’s too bad that so many people fall for it. Let the common sense fat loss principles apply. It’s going to take consistent effort, working hard at your workouts and with your nutrition to get the results you want.

Drinking ice cold water will help you burn calories and lose fat

Standing in line at the grocery store is a great place to pick up the latest fat loss myths. You’ll also find this one all over the Internet.

This myth often comes along with some calculations showing that by drinking 8 glasses of ice-cold water you can burn 70 calories per day. Regardless, drinking cold water is not going to burn any more fat than drinking room temperature water.

Lose weight by putting the fork down after 6pm

All foods contain calories regardless what time you eat it. The simple truth is that eating too many calories will cause you to gain weight. A 2012 study compared overweight people who ate carbs throughout the day and those who ate them at dinner. The nighttime carb eaters lost more weight and body fat and experienced less hunger during the day—researchers noted that the evening group had better levels of hormones that regulate satiety and hunger. The explanation may also lie in the body’s production of Growth Hormone (GH). GH is a powerful hormone that controls how much fat your body burns and how much muscle it builds. At night, your GH peaks while you sleep, ultimately shutting off the moment you eat your first meal.

While eating before bed will not damage your fat loss, it may, however, have an effect on the quality of your sleep. For that purpose alone I usually recommend eating your last meal couple of hours prior to going to bed.

Sweat suits

My favorite…Old school…For decades, many people have used sweat suits, garbage bags or saunas in order to lose weight quickly. I have to admit, I’ve done it myself as a kid when I was a martial art competitor. Why? Well, because back then nobody really knew bad side effects of that, and because you do lose wait for the short period of time; which is all you need when you are a fighter who needs to make a category.

Let’s talk about the effects of such “miracle” for a second. You will definitely lose weight but it will come in a form of sweat, NOT fat. That being said, you will gain it back as soon as you eat again or drink water. Sweating excessively has no useful purpose in a healthy weight loss. In fact, your metabolic rate (and thus a calory burn) is higher in cold, not in heat! The dangers of sweating to lose weight can be severe – they include overheating (heatstroke), extreme loss of electrolytes (kidney damage/death), and other cardiovascular-related emergencies.

On a side note, I just want to mention that the same rules apply to the sauna and hot tub. There are many people who faint in the sauna or hot tub because they think it’s a good idea to walk in there right after intense exercise and “sweat it off”.

I believe sauna and hot tub are great tools for recovery and I recommend to use either one several times a week (15-20min at a time). So use it wisely and don’t overheat!

I hope this helps to clear up some “fitness mysteries.” Always remember, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is… Hard work and dedication always pay off, so keep grinding!

Gym_Kat

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Truth About Fat Loss and Getting in Shape

“A harsh truth is always better than a sweet lie” – one of the mantras I live by… By now, most of you know that I don’t like to sugarcoat things, especially when it comes to fitness and health.  That being said, today’s post is all about the harsh reality of the fat loss and getting in shape.

Keep in mind that this post is not meant to offend you or decrease the value of your efforts, it’s simply meant to open your eyes to what the reality. Let’s take a look at some key points  🙂

  1. “I want to tone up and lose some fat” – First and the most common statement I hear from people who start their fitness journey. Let’s look at what it really means. When you are trying to get a “toned look” that means you are looking to get more muscle and decrease your body fat. Since you can’t lean out (or tone) something you don’t have, first you need to increase your muscle mass, and for that, you need to lift heavy weights while being maintenance or very light deficit caloric intake. While it is challenging, it is possible to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time to certain degree. Lifting heavy weights and staying in a right macronutrient breakdown along with a right amount of calories can bring you the results you are looking for.
  2. Your legs are rarely as muscular and big as you think they are. If your lower body appears to be “heavy” it’s only due to the extra body fat on top, NOT due to a lot of muscle. Lifting heavy weights will help you build more muscle coupled with overall body fat reduction will create smaller, tighter appearance.
  3. Dear men, I can’t leave you out of this one. We all know that Monday is the chest day and that you love to work on your upper body. But your lower body also needs to be worked on and not only for aesthetics of it but for overall health and. It doesn’t matter how impressive your upper body is if you have no legs to go with it. Yes, it is much harder to train legs, but it doesn’t mean you should avoid training them!
  4. Thousands of crunches and other abs work won’t give you lean and sexy abs…You can NOT target fat loss. Your genetics dictates where the body will gain muscle easier and lose fat faster. In order to see sexy abs, you need to lose overall body fat.
  5. Hours of cardio will help you to lose body fat to a certain point, but will also significantly lower your body metabolic rate. The more cardio you do, the more efficient you become; efficiency is the greatest enemy of the fat loss. That being said, it doesn’t mean that cardio should be avoided completely. Not at all! It just means it should be used as a supplemental tool not as a primary driving force.
  6. Most women are quad dominant; in fact, even a lot of men nowadays are quad dominant. So if you don’t want to have “banana-looking” legs you need to put a lot of work in your glutes, hamstrings, and calves. This is not only for the aesthetic purposes but also for the overall health. Over-developed quads lead to weak hamstrings and glutes, as well as a lower back pain.
  7. Organic/natural food is a wonderful choice. However, an organic cookie is still a cookie. Keep that in mind when making food choices.
  8. Protein and granola bars are NEVER a better option than real food. Plus you will get the same effect from eating a sneakers bar with a protein shake as with eating a fancy protein bar that costs 3 times more.
  9. If you don’t see progress in your fat loss, there are only two possible reasons: a) you are either eating too much and moving too little, or b) you are moving too much and eating too little. There is no such thing, as “my body just doesn’t respond”. Do things the right way and harvest the results.
  10. Feeling hungry while in a caloric deficit intake is normal and is a good sign, actually. Hunger is a biological norm and a physiological response as any fat-loss diet will induce hunger over time and it tends to increase the leaner you get. If you’re expecting to get lean without ever experiencing hunger or cravings, well, you’re going to find yourself very frustrated.
  11. There is no such thing as “my body is craving” for such and such food. Your mind may be conditioned to crave certain things. Your body doesn’t think, the brain does. So push those thoughts away and stick with your plan.
  12. Implementing “Cheat Days” usually doesn’t create a positive impact on the progress. The only person you are cheating is yourself. I always suggest implementing If It Fits My Macros style of dieting which allows you to eat any food as longs as it fits your macronutrient requirements. If you constantly feel deprived of certain food, eventually you will binge, which is never a good thing. The secret of successful long diet is balance and sustainability. If you don’t see yourself doing something long term then you should look for other options.
  13. Great physique doesn’t happen by accident or good genetics, it’s always a result of a hard work and dedication. Yes, some people genetically have better body composition or slightly faster metabolic rate. But at the end of the day, chiseled physique is always a result of hard work and consistency over a substantial period of time.

YOU ARE CAPABLE OF ANYTHING YOU CAN THINK OF. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND DO THE WORK! 

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