Ways of Wellness - Your online support for all things health and wellness!

Welcome to the Ways of Wellness blog! My name is Jon Steuart and I am a physical fitness and nutrition enthusiast. While all of the contents/opinions herein are based on my personal experiences and research over many years, and not any formal education, I am absolutely confident that there will be something for everybody who is interested in improving their physical and mental well-being. Please feel free to leave your comments and questions.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Motivational Quotes - Health and Wellness: 05/18/11

"There is no substitute for hard work."
-Thomas Edison

Be it at your place of employment or in the gym, this quote by Thomas Edison is simply the cold, hard truth. Success and achievement are influenced by many external factors such as luck, timing, circumstance, relationships, knowledge and wisdom to name a few. However, hard work is something that can, if for no other reason than it being employed, bring one success and allow one to achieve their goals. Hard work is not easy, hence the word "work" being preceded by "hard" (you say so?). It is only human nature for one to want to achieve while putting out the least amount of effort. And why not? Efficiency is a good thing. That being said, health, wellness and getting in shape are simply facets of life that really do not allow for many short cuts. So if living healthier and having the body you have always wanted are important to you, put in some hard work...You might be surprised by what the hard work gives back to you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Beginner Weightlifting Routine - Upper Body / Lower Body Split

Beginner Weightlifting Routine - Upper Body/Lower Body Split

It is widely recognized that a well thought out and consistently executed weightlifting routine is extremely beneficial to any exercise regimen. Easy to say, but perhaps a little more challenging when it comes to the beginner. Where does one begin? What lifts should one perform? And on what days? And for how many reps? As you can see, there really is a bit more to it than simply picking up the weights and going for it.

With so many different weightlifting routines available to choose from, where do you start? I can tell you that I have experimented with MANY different programs including Upper/Lower, Push/Pull, Max OT and Blueprint to name a few. I too feel that one's workout program is something that should be switched up from time to time (perhaps every 8 weeks or so) to keep things interesting and to keep the body guessing. One program that I find to be very nice for beginners is the Upper/Lower Split.

The premise is as follows: On "Upper" days,you work upper body muscles (such as back, chest, shoulders and arms) and on "Lower" days you work lower body muscles (such as legs, glutes and calves). For what it's worth, I like to throw in abdominal exercises with my lower body days and will do so in this layout below. I would suggest a four day workout week that alternates between Upper and Lower days. An ideal split might be something like:
  • Sunday - Rest
  • Monday - Upper
  • Tuesday - Lower
  • Wednesday - Rest
  • Thursday - Upper
  • Friday - Lower
  • Saturday - Rest
As previously mentioned, on these days you will focus on working your back, chest, shoulders and arms. Since you will have two upper days per week, you can have two different upper body workouts to alternate in between. To keep it simple, I will list out a suggestion for Upper Day #1 and one for Upper Day #2, as well as suggestions for Lower Day #1 and Lower Day #2. In the example split above, this would mean that you would perform Upper Day #1 on Monday and Day #2 on Thursday with Lower Day #1 and #2 falling on Tuesday and Friday respectively.

Upper Day #1
  • Bench press - 3 sets for 8-10 reps per set (Chest)
  • Incline dumbbell flyes - 3 sets for 8-10 reps per set (Chest)
  • Lat pulldowns - 3 sets for 8-10 reps per set (Back)
  • Cable rows - 3 sets for 8-10 reps per set (Back)
  • Military press - 3 sets for 8-10 reps per set (Shoulders)
  • Preacher curls - 3 sets for 8-10 reps per set (Biceps)
  • V-Bar triceps extensions - 3 sets for 8-10 reps per set (Triceps)
Upper Day #2
  • Flat dumbbell bench press - 3 sets for 6-8 reps per set (Chest)
  • Decline bench press - 3 sets for 6-8 reps per set (Chest)
  • Wide-grip pull-ups - 3 sets for 8-10 reps per set (Back)
  • Bent-over barbell rows - 3 sets for 6-8 reps per set (Back)
  • Dumbbell shoulder press - 2 sets for 6-8 reps per set (Shoulders)
  • Upright rows - 2 sets for 6-8 reps per set (Shoulders)
  • Dumbbell curls - 3 sets for 6-8 reps per set (Biceps)
  • Overhead triceps extensions - 3 sets for 6-8 reps per set (Triceps)
Lower Day #1
  • Barbell squats - 3 sets for 8-10 reps per set (Legs - Quads/Glutes)
  • Barbell lunges - 3 sets for 8-10 reps per set (Legs - Quads/Hamstrings)
  • Hamstring curls - 3 sets for 8-10 reps per set (Legs - Hamstrings)
  • Standing calf raises - 3 sets for 8-10 reps per set (Legs - Calves)
  • Roman chair leg raises - 3 sets for 12-15 reps per set (Abs)
Lower Day #2
  • Leg press - 3 sets for 6-8 reps per set (Legs - Quads/Glutes)
  • Straight-legged deadlifts - 3 sets for 6-8 reps per set (Legs - Hamstrings)
  • Quad extensions - 3 sets for 8-10 reps per set (Legs - Quads)
  • Seated calf raises - 3 sets for 8-10 reps per set (Legs - Hamstrings)
  • Rope crunch pulldowns - 3 sets for 12-15 reps per set (Abs)
So there you have it. A well-planned and well-rounded workout to set you on the path for success. If this is something that you stick to and support with proper nutrition, I have no doubt that you will be astounded by the progress you will make over a few short weeks (here are some healthy grocery list ideas to help you prepare). Please be sure to listen to your body and don't overdo it! This will be a massive change for your body and you need to allow time for it to adapt. Don't be alarmed if you experience DOMS in the beginning and just remember, they too shall pass. Have fun, journal your workouts, stay consistent and get ready for a new, more fit you!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Motivational Quotes - Health and Wellness: 05/06/11

"Don't sweat the small stuff."

This concept is one that really should be followed in all aspects of life. Too much time, energy and emotion can be spent being concerned with things that, really, in the big picture of life and what's important, are very insignificant. Take a moment to think about the last week - Were there any moments that left you feeling stressed, frustrated, angry, sad, or mad? Now, think about the cause of that feeling. What happened? Chances are you may have a difficult time even remembering or if you do, it is now seemingly silly that you even got so wrapped up in whatever it was that took place. The same holds true for health and wellness. Don't get overly obsessed with the relatively minor details (see Tip #5 of my Top Five Nutrition Tips) and you will find that living a healthier life really is enjoyable. Miss a day in the gym? SO WHAT! There are many more days in the gym ahead of you. Eat a large plate of nachos smothered in cheese and all other sorts of unhealthy goodness? WHO CARES!? There will be many more meals you eat that are far more healthy. Furthermore, getting frustrated or upset with yourself about doing so will only cause you to experience unnecessary negative feelings that will do nothing to improve the situation any how. Move on and continue with your life!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Motivational Quotes - Health and Wellness: 05/03/11

I just don't have the time...

Work. Life. Work. Life. Repeat.

Many of us lead very busy lives. Personally, just under half of each 24-hour day consists of work-related activities (getting ready for work, commuting, being at work, commuting some more, etc.). Then after work comes the "life" stuff - preparing meals, letting out and feeding the dogs, picking up the house as needed, running errands, and so on. Sound familiar? I am willing to bet it does.

"You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it."
-Charles Buxton

There are only so many hours in a day and it seems as though health (exercise, nutrition, etc.) often times falls by the wayside due to "not having enough time". Sure there are going to be some individuals in unique situations who might literally not have any additional time available in their day to make room for exercise (I would still argue though that appropriate nutritional choices can and should still be made). However, large in part, I feel that this excuse really holds no water and instead is just a mask for some other underlying reason as to why the individual is unwilling to focus on their health (i.e. lack of knowledge, feelings of embarassment, etc.). Put those fears aside, understand that you must start somewhere, make the time for exercise, prepare healthy meals and get appropriate amounts of rest...You will be glad you did!