Deload Week: What, When, Why

If you follow any sort of strength training or fitness regimen, hopefully you’ve at least heard the term “deload” thrown around at some point. What you may not know though, is what does deload mean, and how does it pertain to your plan and your goals?

Last week was a deload for me, so I thought it was a good opportunity to talk about this part of training. It’s the part of training that’s not glamorous or sexy, and it’s not going to give you any bragging rights. But what it will give you is a refreshed and recovered body, ready to take on your next training session with a vengeance.

What is a deload week?

To put it simply, a deload period is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a time to reduce the loads and stresses that you’re putting your body under, in order to let your muscles, connective tissue, and CNS recover from all of the demands of training. We’ve all heard it before, but it’s true that your muscles don’t necessarily get stronger in the gym, they get stronger during recovery. And unfortunately, a simple day off every once in a while isn’t enough to let that happen. Extended recovery time can happen in a multitude of ways, depending on what your training has been like and how your body is feeling overall. There are a few different ways to go about this:

  • Decrease Intensity/Volume: For instance, if you follow an upper/lower split strength training program, you will keep your same lift days intact, but train under much lower load than normal. This generally means decreasing the weights lifted, decreasing sets and reps, and just generally doing less. This is not a time to push your max, and I honestly try to keep loads of the big lifts at around 50-60% of my max during a de-load period. I use this time to really groove my movement patterns, still allowing my body to work through the full range of motion, while placing it under much less stress than normal.
  • Cross Train: Depending on what your normal training regimen is, you can use a deload period to allow your body some new movements. If you’re a distance runner, you could spend a few days in the pool or on a bike, still allowing your body to exercise but with little to no high-impact activity. The same can be true for weight lifters. This past week, instead of hitting the weight room, I did a couple of light jogs and some kettle bell work. This felt good to me and kept my body moving, but was much less stressful for my CNS than heavy deadlifts and hip thrusters. You could also spend this time on activities that will nourish and enhance your movement patterns, such as yoga, leaving cardio and the weight room out of the equation entirely.
  • Do nothing: I don’t mean “do nothing” as in lay on the couch all week, but there are some times when it’s necessary to take a short break from exercise all together. It can be hard for some people to accept this, but sometimes life just takes a toll on us, and exercise is just another form of stress that’s weighing us down. Taking easy daily walks, meditating, stretching and daily foam rolling are great ways to take care of your body when you really need a true, do-nothing, deload.

When should you take a deload week?

Like many things in the fitness world, this all depends. Many people have them scheduled into their training programs, building a recovery week in after every 4-6 weeks of training. This is a great way to ensure that you’re giving your body the rest and recovery time that it needs to perform at it’s highest level, and is a great way to ensure that you aren’t over-training. People who train at a much higher intensity will need to do this more often, while people who train at a lower intensity can generally get away with going longer in between (6-12 weeks, depending on your training style).

If you don’t have a program written out for you though, how do you know when you your body needs a little bit of a break? You could just write it on a calendar and schedule them yourself, but you could also just do a little listening to your body. If you’ve been training for 4 weeks straight (or more), and you start to notice any of the following, a deload might be in order for your health.

  • Unusual fatigue* - If you find yourself unusually tired all the time, not being able to make it through workouts, or just feeling generally run down, it may be time for a break.
  • Persistent soreness:  Yes, when you first begin a workout program, you will probably be sore at first. But contrary to what some believe, you should not be sore all the time from your workouts, and you certainly shouldn’t have lingering soreness for days after a routine or lighter session. Last week, my legs were sore all week, despite keeping my lifting numbers relatively low. This told me that I needed a break, even though I didn’t have a deload scheduled!
  • Injury – I hope this one is obvious, but if you’re battling an injury that won’t improve, please take some time off. There can be a fine line between training hard and training too hard, and an injury can tip you over that line pretty quickly.

Does it have to be a full week?

The short answer here is no. If you train at a high intensity 4+ days per week, I would recommend a full week of recovery time. But if you train at a lower intensity, or only work out 2-3 days per week in general, you could probably get away with 3-5 days off instead of a full week.

This can also take some tweaking at different times too; just because you took 3 days off a month ago and felt great, you still might need a whole week this time around. Please listen to the things your body tells you, you are the only one who lives there. I can tell you that you need 3 days of deload, but if you get to day 3 and your legs are telling you that you need at least one more day, than that’s what you need to do.

Hopefully this helped some of you figure out how to work a deload period into your training program, if you don’t already include it on a regular basis. As I mentioned, after feeling overly sore and tired lately, I spent last week just doing a couple of easy jogs, some kettle bell work, and just walking a lot on a regular basis. My legs feel refreshed, my overall energy level is back up, and I can’t wait to get back into the weight room for my deadlift day tomorrow.

*Please also be aware that unusual fatigue and persistent soreness/pain can be indicative of something other than too much training. If you’re concerned about your health and things don’t improve with some time away from the weight room, please see your physician for a check up. Know your body!

Vacation Workout Quickies

If you are a fellow Bostonian, can I get a HELL YEAH for the weather this week? Finally some sun, temps into the 40s and 50s, and a reassurance that we may get out of this winter alive (and sane) after all. I know I can’t be the only one who has been basking in the sun for the last few days. I’ve made a point to get off the train a couple stops early just to walk more, and even made it out for a beautiful 4 mile run along the Charles River on Wednesday. Since I hadn’t run outside since the fall, I wasn’t sure how things would go for these old legs. But honestly I think the pure joy of sunlight took over, and it was a pretty blissful experience! The juxtaposition of the snowy views and the warm sun on my back didn’t hurt either. There really is a lot of beauty in our daily lives that we can miss if we’re not paying attention!

Ok, off my little Vitamin-D filled soapbox about appreciating the little things. Today’s post is inspired by the fact that although the warmer temps and sun this week have been encouraging, I’m well aware that we’re not in the clear yet. It’s only the beginning of March, and I’m sure Mother Nature has her own ideas about when she’ll actually let us fully thaw for spring.

Because we’ve still got some cold to go, most people I know are either in the middle of or planning a tropical vacation right about now, hence why today I’m giving you a couple of workout quickies. I know that when I’m on vacation, I still like to get a good sweat going on most days, but I don’t want to spend all of my time in the gym when I could be enjoying the beach. So whether you’re heading to a tropical resort, or just looking for a couple quick workouts for some busy days, here you go!

These are actually two quick workout circuits that I did while on my Honeymoon in December. This view from the resort gym made it easy to get things done, but all in all each of these will only take 20-30 minutes, depending on how tough you make them. The other good thing is that they both require very little equipment, just a treadmill for one and a dumbbell or kettelbell for the other. So even if your resort gym (or home gym) isn’t fully equipped, you can still get some good work in!

itrainthereforieat2

Just to be clear, you are first completing 10 reps of the burpees and squats, then 9, then 8, and on all the way to 1 each. As the graphic says, try to take as little rest as possible and complete this for time. To make this workout harder, start the pyramid at 15 instead of 10 — this sounds a lot easier than it actually is if you’re working hard! Additionally, use a little bit more weight on your goblet squats if you want more of a challenge, or make the push-ups traditional, and not incline.

itrainthereforeieat

As much as I don’t love treadmill work, I actually really loved doing this workout. Make sure you get a good warm up in before your sprints though, in order to avoid muscle strains or other injury. Make sure to go all out on the incline sprints, and set the incline at a level that is challenging for you. I think I did these at a 10% incline. In the “recover” aspect of the treadmill work, you are simply standing on the sides of the treadmill, NOT incline walking. If you are not accustomed to treadmill intervals in this manner, be very careful getting on and off the belt — use the hand rails!

The floor work is pretty self explanatory. To make this workout harder, take only 1 min rest between the treadmill and floor sessions. To make it easier, take 3-5 min rest.

Readers: Do any of you have tropical vacations coming up? What types of workouts do you typically do on vacation? 

New Balance and Barry’s Bootcamp

A few weeks ago, I arrived home to a glorious surprise on my doorstep. Unbeknownst to me, New Balance was (is) pairing up with Kate Spade Saturday to create a line of fun, funky sneakers that can take you to the gym, around town on a Saturday, or anywhere in between. When I opened the box, I was excited to find a handwritten note about the product, as well as these beauties right here:

New Balance NBxKSS

Needless to say, after the winter we’ve had, the burst of yellow was akin to some MUCH needed sunshine in my life. Also in the box was an offer to try out a Barry’s Bootcamp class here in Boston. You may remember I’ve tried one of these before with New Balance, and it totally kicked my ass.

Today, I just want to talk a little bit about the class and the shoes, and what I love about them both!

The Class

I was trying to figure out a time to go with some other Boston bloggers, but with my weirdo work schedule, it just wasn’t going to work out. I ended up going solo to a weekday morning “butt and legs” class, which I was equally excited and nervous for. If you remember, the first Barry’s class I went to had been after work, and training after work for me has always been deathly difficult. Going before work, plus going to a butt and legs class would hopefully make this time around a little bit better.

Barrys Bootcamp 3

Class setup. You can see the treadmills on the left, and floor section on the right.

The class was taught by Sarah, and was super high intensity and high energy throughout. Barry’s classes are split into floor work and treadmill work, alternating between the two. There were a lot of incline sprints, lunges, squats, and burpees, and at the end of it I was dead, but in a good way. I would say the hardest part was the “manual” mode on the treadmills, when the power was turned off and we were pushing the belts under our own power. With the manual power, running at a 4.0 felt like a hill sprint, and left me totally gassed.

It was helpful my second time around to know what to expect with the treadmill work, but that didn’t make it any easier! If you’re looking for a high intensity workout to add to your routine, I definitely recommend checking out a Barry’s Bootcamp in your area.

Barrys Bootcamp

Sweaty post-class pic with Sarah — Thanks for a great class! 

The Shoes:

Can I say enough about these shoes? I love them. The color is fantastic and fun, and they are seriously comfortable. I will admit that I was skeptical to run in them at Barry’s, because my feet/legs tend to be very picky about what shoes I run in, but it ended up going just fine and they felt great. I don’t think I would run in these long distance, but for a class, they offered the perfect amount of support.

Barrys Bootcamp 2

Not only are they comfortable and supportive, but they’re definitely cute enough to wear around for a casual “Saturday” (hehe, get it?) or any day! I have received so many compliments on these shoes every time I wear them.  And trust me, it’s hard for me to find sneakers that I want to wear around on a regular basis. I have a hard time finding sneakers that I feel work with casual, non-athletic outfits. These work. They are cute and casual, and low profile enough to not feel like you’re wearing big clunky sneakers (does anyone else feel clunky when they wear sneakers with jeans, or is that just me?).

There are a couple different models of the New Balance Kate Spade Saturday, the WX711 (what I have) and the WX811.  These are limited edition shoes, so if you want a pair I’d snag them now! However, if you can’t get your hands on one of the NBxKSS styles, New Balance does have the 711 and 811 outside of the limited edition KSS, which are available now.

Here’s a little bit of information on each one to help you make your decision. :)

811
“For spring 2015, New Balance introduces a new fitness trainer for women in which science meets style: the 811. Inspired by Kinesiology taping techniques and the aesthetic it creates, the 811 provides bonded lightweight, strategically-positioned support for athletes. The versatile shoe can take women from studio and circuit training to cardio workouts without sacrificing style. The full CUSH+ midsole provides lightweight cushioning, and Fantom Tape technology enhances the mesh upper to deliver dynamic support to move with the foot.”

711
“The WX711 features Cush+ technology, providing one of the softest midsole foams offered by New Balance designed to comfortably take you through your whole workout, whether in the gym or the studio. But its extra softness doesn’t mean sacrificing durability. Cush+ is responsive, offering extra bounce to help keep you moving. Forefoot flex grooves enhance flexibility, enabling you to move freely, while a minimal upper construction provides a contoured fit.”

So there you have it, great shoes, great class, I couldn’t ask for more! I want to send HUGE Thank You to New Balance and to Barry’s Bootcamp for their generosity. Now, I’m off to brighten the world a little bit in my NBxKSS kicks!

New Balance NBxKSS 2

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post, although I did receive a pair of NBxKSS sneakers as well as a complimentary Barrys Bootcamp Class. All opinions, as always, are my own. 

The Biggest Lie In Women’s Fitness

As a blogger, I am extremely fortunate to be contacted by many fitness studios, brands, and other things fitness related to try out their products, classes, etc. I normally love these offers, and even when something is not necessarily in my wheelhouse, I’ll usually give it a try, unless it’s something that I do not feel comfortable supporting on my blog.

However, recently I was contacted by a new fitness studio about giving one of their classes a try. I’m not going to specify here, because I’m not here to make any enemies, I just want to get my point across. Anyway, this particular studio described their class to me in the email. And I’ll admit, they had me for most of it. I was just about to click “Reply” and write, “I’d love to try it out!” when one of the last lines of the email stood out like a sore thumb.

Our classes help to create lean, elongated muscles, they said.

Wait, what?

 I’m open to trying different types of fitness classes. I’m not so stuck in the weight room that I can’t see the rest of the fitness world out there. But when you flat out lie in your marketing to women about your product, that’s where I draw the line. There is no class or fitness routine that will elongate your muscles — that is actually physically impossible.

If your class is something that gets women off their couch and gets them moving and having a good time, that’s wonderful, and I’m all for it. But it’s these lies that get to me and make me question your product. Why are we perpetuating the myth that women should work out to create “lean, elongated” muscles? Why are we not teaching women the truth, that if they want to appear more defined, they must build muscle and lose body fat. And if they want those muscles to appear longer than they already are, than the only option there is, quite frankly, to get new parents.

It’s this lie that keeps women paying for these fantasy fitness classes, even when they’re not developing the ballerina’s body they’ve always dreamed of. Scientifically speaking, the length of ones muscles is determined strictly by genetics, and cannot be changed over time into a longer, leaner form.  Do you know why ballerinas have the long, thin bodies that they do? Genetics. Trust me, years of plie squats will never turn my legs into dancers legs, and I know that because it’s pure science. Some woman who is promised “long, lean” muscles who dreams of that dancer’s body? She may believe that that can be achieved by certain classes because she does get an awfully good burn by doing endless reps of leg raises. But what happens when she never achieves this look — has she failed, because she can not recreate her genes into a thin dancer’s body? Of course not, but she may not know that.

ballet

[Source] Sorry, but this body type is NOT possible unless you were born with it. 

I recently had a conversation with a local fitness instructor who told me that most of the women that come to her classes only want to do body weight exercises, because those are what they think are going to give them the body that they want. Should this instructor continue giving her clients what they want, even though those desires are built upon the “long and lean” myth of women’s fitness? It’s a tough call, especially when you consider that because there are plenty of classes out there pushing this myth, going against the grain could potentially cause this instructor to lose paying clients.

So I guess the question is, are fitness studios just savvy marketers for using the key words that women want to hear — lean, long, sculpt, and tone? I, for one, believe that it’s not smart, but deceptive, and there is a huge disservice being done here. Women’s fitness should not be built upon lies, it should be built upon positivity, motivation, and reality. Women need to know that they will not develop a long, lean dancer’s body just by going to certain types of classes, just as they won’t turn into hulked out body builders by going to other types of classes.

Women need to be taught that the Tracy Anderson’s of the world are frauds, and that their legs will not become too big from spin class, nor will they become bulky from lifting heavier than 5 lbs.

This all being said, I just want to be clear here. There are many types of classes out there that are so far outside of what I normally do for fitness. This doesn’t mean that they’re bad, or that they’re not worthwhile, there are just certain things that I feel are more beneficial and more fun for me. When something comes across my inbox, I’m not usually one to poo-poo it just because it’s different, or because it’s not my go-to fitness method — I’m certainly not of the mindset that everyone out there has to be following the same routine in order to be fit. Heck, I’ll try a Zumba class if it’s offered to me, mostly because I just want to dance! It’s the lies and the wrong information that I have a problem with — feeding into women’s fitness myths through shady marketing is not the way to help women become healthier.

Buzz words aside, women deserve realistic expectations of how their bodies can change and what their bodies can do. There have been some amazing campaigns lately, such as the Like A Girl from Always, I Will What I Want from Under Armour, Be More Human from Reebok, and my personal favorite, This Girl Can. These are the types of marketing campaigns that truly show us what women’s bodies are capable of, and that show us that there is so much more to fitness than creating impossibly elongated muscles. Luckily, I think these are the future of women’s fitness, we just need to get more fitness studios to realize that there is so much more to a quality workout than creating a slim aesthetic.

Readers: Are you more attracted to classes that promise a long, lean look? What is it about a fitness class that attracts you to it? If you don’t really do classes, what types of fitness marketing appeal to you more– Aesthetic or performance based? 

A Drop Of Sunshine

Well hello!

It seems as if I’ve forgotten I have a blog. I haven’t forgotten, actually, I’ve just been in a bit of a brain freeze lately. I don’t know if I’d call it writer’s block, or merely an effect of the February blues, but I just have not been motivated to put pen to paper (err — fingers to keyboard?) lately.

That is, until yesterday. I’ve truly been feeling a bit blah, but I don’t want to come on here and just complain about the snow. Because who wants to read that over and over again? I’ve been searching my brain for something positive and/or productive to write about for the past week, and although I can’t say I’ve been totally down in the dumps, I certainly haven’t been feeling very Rah-Rah either.

Yesterday though, I had a glorious day off of work with nothing to do. I had been meaning to try a class at Turnstyle Cycle, because my lovely friend Caroline teaches there and I’ve heard awesome things about the studio. Well, yesterday was finally my day! I made my way to the studio, nice and early (a little bit too early due to my own scheduling mistake, but that’s ok). This gave me time to catch up a little bit with Caroline before class, and also a little bit of time to get comfortable on a bike before we started. If you haven’t taken a Turnstyle class before, their bikes actually move on an axis, so you actually lean into your “turns”, and the bike moves naturally while you ride. It’s a crazy feeling, and definitely one that takes a little bit getting used to, so I’m glad that I could have a little bit of time on a demo bike before class started so that I could avoid looking like a total idiot.

turnstyle_cambridge_neg_2

Class itself was awesome. It was high energy, let me escape from the real world for a bit, and left me feeling 100% refreshed and rejuvenated (and like my legs were going to fall off).  When I stepped outside after class, the sun was shining, and it honestly felt like the first time I’ve felt the sun in months. Caroline and her awesome spin class brought me back to life, and the incredible warm (can high 30s be considered warm?) sunny day was exactly what I need to get out of this funk.

Turnstyle Cycle

With Caroline before class — Pre-sweat, starting to feel blissed out already! 

So bring it on, Monday, I’m back and I’m ready to go this week. Train issues? I’ll deal with it. More snow? Please God no, but if that does happen, I’m going to try my hardest to not fall back into this funk that pulled me down for the past couple weeks. February is almost over, which means that my most difficult month of work is almost over. I have learned that the sun does in fact still exist, and that we’re not all dying a slow death under a mountain of ice and snow.

Readers: Are any of you experiencing the February blues? What do you do to pull yourself out of it? Have you tried Turnstyle Cycle classes? 

It’s About That Time…

Well here we are. Boston just got buried under a boat load of snow AGAIN, and I think it’s making me a little bit crazy. I know I’m not alone either. I don’t want to complain too much, but with a historic year for snow in the books –70 inches so far– (and considering it’s all come within the past 2 weeks), I hope you can all understand being a little bit frustrated with Mother Nature right now.

It’d be one thing if I had a ton of free time and close proximity to head out snowboarding with all of this fresh powder, but alas, that is but a cruel dream to torture myself with. Instead I have some dirty snow to shovel and angry neighbors covering each others cars in snow piles when their spots get taken (true story).

Anyway, since I’m feeling a bit stir crazy, today’s post might seem a little strange. It doesn’t really have a point. But neither does all this snow so I guess we’re all on the same page here.

It’s about that time…

…That I need spring. Listen. I grew up in New England. I’ve chosen to stay in Boston since college, and I truly do love it here. It’s not winter that I’m complaining about — that I’m used to. It’s this insane onslaught of snow and a feeling of restlessness that goes along with it.

It’s around this time of year every year (February in particular) that I start getting a little bit nutty at work, and this year’s endless snow is not helping. I am yearning a return to the stadium for some killer workouts, heck, even the ability to do hill sprints on walk up my street. There have been so many days lately where the city is all but shut down, and I think there are millions of people getting a bit stir crazy right now. With more snow coming on Thursday and then more yet again on Sunday, my crazy may  not end any time soon. Watch out!

Boston Blizzard

This is me walking to work the other day– just before I had to wait 90 minutes for a train that never came. #MBTAproblems 

…That everything hurts. I’m not sure if I’m doing something wrong lately, or if I’m actually just at the point in my life where at any given time, something will be hurting. It seems like my entire left side, from my hip down to my ankle is in pain lately, and I don’t love it. My training doesn’t love it. Because of this, I’ve started really paying extra attention to my mobility though, spending a good 30 minutes most nights foam rolling and stretching. I feel like it’s already made a bit of a difference, but that might just be wishful thinking on my part. Someone please tell me that at 32 years old, I’m not just destined for pain every day? I’m counting on my foam roller to be my savior right now, so I hope it doesn’t let me down!

…That we remember what being neighbors means. There’s a lot of ugliness in Boston right now, with people fighting over parking spaces, getting overly frustrated with the lack of consistent public transportation (count me in that camp), etc. But it’s around this time that we need to forget the ugly and look out for our neighbors.

I feel like being a neighbor doesn’t necessarily mean what it used to — honestly, I only know a couple of my neighbors names. But I think it’s important to forget all of the winter frustration for a time and focus on helping those around you. Help your neighbors shovel out their cars and driveways, or if you’re not able to do that, maybe offer them some fresh hot chocolate when you see them outside?

Helping others around you will help you to feel better about this miserable winter — trust me. I shoveled out several of my neighbors cars and driveways the other day, and it was honestly the best thing I’ve done since this snow debacle started. Neighbors helping neighbors — doesn’t it have a better ring to it than “Neighbors dumping snow all over each other’s cars”?

…That I get my pull up game back. I have kind of neglected pull ups and chin ups for the past few months for no reason at all. Well, it’s time for that nonsense to stop. I’ve been adding parallel grip pull ups in between sets of my lower body lift days, and I’m feeling much stronger after just a couple weeks of doing this. I suppose there is a silver lining to the snow — after all of this shoveling lately, I may just add a couple more reps into my arsenal! Hoping to get back to my best of 8 consecutive reps soon — and hoping to get to 10 reps not too long after.

IMG_3254

Why hello old friend! 

Hey Bostonians — how crazy are you feeling at this point? Have you seen any ridiculous acts because of the snow? Non-Bostonians — sorry for the snow rant! 

Good Reads – Weight Loss Edition

Good morning everyone!  I’m sitting here looking out the window into another Winter Wonderland. With my 3rd snow day in the past week, I’d say Boston has been hit pretty hard! I’m not complaining though, since snow days are usually pretty rare when working at a college. Anyway, let’s hop to it.

After an amazing Super Bowl win by the Pats last night (did you guys watch?), I’m feeling pretty excited no matter what today throws at me! Of course the outcome was exactly what I was hoping for, but the game itself was an amazing game — I would venture to say it’s one of the best Super Bowls that I’ve seen, literally coming down to the last seconds (and that pass? What was that??). If you’re not a football fan, perhaps you watch just for the food and commercials? I have to admit, the commercials let me down a bit this year. Over all I didn’t think they were great, although there were a few shining stars in there.

In case you missed it, or haven’t seen this video circling the internet already, go ahead and watch my favorite of the night — from the #likeagirl campaign from Always.

This is actually a longer version of the commercial that was aired during the game, but I think the message is so strong I actually like this one better.

Today we’re going to kind of stick with this theme of perceptions and self esteem, and look at some good reads I’ve found lately that deal with different sides of the weight loss topic. Enjoy, and let me know what you think in the comments!

I Was On The Biggest Loser And It Was The Biggest Mistake I’ve Ever Made – Kai Hibbard on XO Jane.  I’ve posted a few articles about The Biggest Loser on my Facebook page recently, and I’ve written briefly about the show here. I have a lot of feelings about this show, most of them negative, and this article only serves to support them. This is a little bit of a different take than the articles I’ve already posted. Instead of detailing the horrible physical abuse that contestants on this show go through, Kai digs a little bit deeper into the psychological aspect of this “reality” show.

3 Things Women Must Do For Simple Fat Loss – Erica Hurst at Hurst Strength. Erica has a no-nonsense approach to training and this comes across very well in her writing. Fat loss doesn’t have to be complicated, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. In this post, Erica outlines three basic principles that must be followed in order for a fat loss plan to be effective. I whole heartedly agree with this entire post, especially #3.

The Unexpected Side Effects of Significant Weight Loss – Guest Post by Kerry Colpitts on Weighty Matters (Yoni Freedhoff). Again, a little bit of a different take on weight loss and the effects it has on the people who succeed. Does losing weight make you a better person? Does it mean that you deserve more in this life?

Dropping Weight Without Losing Strength – Tara Spencer at Sweat Like A Pig. If you’re looking to drop body fat without losing too much strength, Tara does a wonderful job of detailing how she’s going about it for an upcoming competition. Again, fat loss doesn’t have to be complicated, but especially when you’re trying to maintain strength, simple does not mean easy. Check out Tara’s tips,

Bonus:

Why A Fake Article Called Cuckoo For Cocoa Puffs Was Accepted By 17 Medical Journals  – Elizabeth Segran. I had to put this article in here even though it doesn’t really fit in with the whole weight loss theme. I just feel like it’s an important read for people who regularly read fitness, health, and weight loss articles, as these often cite research to prove their point. Why is this article so important to read? Because the author points out just how easy it is to create fake “research”, which can then be cited in the very articles you’re trusting for your own health information. The bottom line is that not all research is equal, in fact not all “research” is even real.

And that’s it. Enjoy your snow day if you’re lucky enough to have one, and for the rest of you, Happy Monday!