Tag Archives: squat

Jan. 11.

What Goals are Realistic for You?

What Goals are Realistic for You?

To lose 20 pounds in one month, to have more energy, to fit into size 8 jeans by spring; these are most of our goals but are they realistic based on the body’s anatomy and your past history? To better give you some idea of how to set realistic goals I have answered some questions about weight loss, muscle gain and strength!

How fast can I build muscle?

First off, genetics DO play a role in all 3 topics (weight loss, muscle gain and strength.) There are three different body types: mesomorph, endomorph and ectomorph. Mesomorphs and endomorphs build muscle at a faster rate than ectomorphs who are hard gainers.

So on average how fast can the human body gain muscle? A 200 study analysis showed that the average rate of muscle increase was about 0.1-0.2% per day on untrained people. That means if you want to add an inch to your arm size it would take at least 2-4 months! Studies show the first week or two all muscles can do is repair and there are no extra resources to build. Therefore it will take at least 2-3 months of consistently training to see any major changes.

Overall muscle growth varies a lot per person. Some can gain 4-8lbs of lean mass in 3 months (this is the majority of people) but some bodies actually can gain at 2 times that rate!

How fast can I lose fat?


The most important factor in fat loss is your metabolic rate. If you are a serial dieter you metabolism may be damaged and somewhat non-responsive. Every time you lose and regain weight it will become harder each time you try to lose fat unless there is some time given for metabolic repair.

If your metabolism is responsive a good base of how fast you can lose is:

Body fat percentage ÷ 20 = % of your current weight you should aim to lose per week.

Another way to calculate is 1.5 pounds of FAT per week, this could equal more on the scale since we are talking just fat not including water weight. Studies have shown that if more than 1.5 pounds of FAT (not scale weight) is lost that there will also be muscle loss.

When it comes to body types mesomorphs and ectomorphs lose fat at the fastest rate with the least amount of output. Endomorphs can lose fat at the same rate but usually require more output.

How fast can I increase strength?


The first variable in strength increase is how long you have been working out. Have you ever heard that saying “muscle memory?” Well it’s actually more like central nervous system memory. Your brain will always remember movement patterns that are repeatedly done, like riding a bike or back squatting. Therefore be able to perform better and lift more with each squat session.

Second variable is simply what you inherit. There are two types of muscle fibers slow and fast twitch. Fast twitch muscle fibers are used for power and force, the amount of fast and slow twitch fibers you have are actually inherited.

Third variable, who gains strength quicker males or females? Males and females can have equal strength though men will gain strength at a faster rate because majority of the time they will have larger muscles and therefore able to move more weight.

My tip

Write down you overall goal (ex. Loose 20lbs.)

Then evaluate how much muscle or fat you have. Focusing only on scale weight can leave you frustrated and feeling like your body is just broken!

From here make a training plan where you can track MULTIPLE things (ex. How much weight your lifting, how fast you can do an action, circumference measurements,body fat and lastly scale weight.)

*If you are just beginning, a good time frame to have a goal is 6 months, then from there you can further break the goal down.

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Oct. 02.

The Mobility Issue

The Mobility Issue

Increasing the mobility of the kenetic chain to get the most out of your squats.

Mobility is usually an issue for beginner lifters or those who sit majority of the day . The initial assessment done by a fitness professional should cover all mobility issues with muscles and what tendons and joints therefore are being affected. Most individuals don’t realize there is an issue until too late and injury occurs.

What & why is it important?

-For proper muscle contraction and eccentric contraction. Muscles work in antagonistic partnership, therefore when one contracts the other will relax; a simple example is the bicep and tricep. In a mobility assessment I would quickly be able to assess that you would not be able to safely complete a tricep extension if your bicep does not have the flexibility to fully extend in an eccentric contraction; therefore not allowing the tricep to fully contract. Mobility is a partnership between muscles and joints to attain the full range of motion in a movement.

Mobility and the Squat

Almost everyone that starts exercising incorporates squats, yet aren’t getting the most out of it. During the squat movement it is easy to tell where an individual lacks mobility because form and center of gravity are compromised.

The perfect squat form.


Mobility issues in 4 main areas:

Ankles- Ankles should be able to dorsiflex in a squat position.  Many people start working out by doing cardio which tightens the calves and anterior tibialis, then if you sit all day the muscles and tendons don’t allow the ankle to fully flex therefore also tightening the joint. Some will never get full flexion but mobility exercises with the ankle do help and allow you to fully get low in a squatting position.


Angle of ankles in a dorsiflex position with feet not at an angle.

Thoracic spine- In a previous blog spinal flexibility was discussed. If your thoracic spine is not flexible in the extension, center of gravity is compromised therefore the weight will not stay loaded on the quads through the movement. You will almost always notice lower back pain following squatting if you have little to no flexibility in the thoracic spine (this though may not be the only reason for back pain following lifts.)


One of many exercises to increase thoracic mobility.

Hips –One indicator to noticing that your hips are tight is lack of gluten activation. Your hips are your body’s center and any issue related to your hips affects the body’s whole kinetic chain. Those individuals with desk jobs, I recommend you stretch regularly for hip mobility issues are often seen with those who sit all day. Three muscles that tighten while you sit: quadratus lumborum, mediums gluteus and the piriformis. If hip flexors are tight, hips will be seen to have an anterior pelvic tilt causing you to have an excessive forward lean in the squatting position.


quadratus lumborum stretch

Knees- Knee mobility can be helped through working on short and long abductor flexibility as well as making sure tendons around the patella are not tight. Knees in a squat should not go far forward past ankles.

Besides the exercises shown there are many others to help correct mobility issues in these areas.

 A body in motion staying in motion.

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