Category Archives: Fitness

LL Cool J | Hotboxing with Mike Tyson EP 32

I found this interview very real in a way that reflected the true friendship between Mike and LL Cool J. What I found even more interesting was the family history that they shared with each other. You can be following habits that run in your family for ages but never know until you find out who you truly are.

Sets, Reps and Muscle Types

Working out has almost become a science. But what is the best rep and set combo? There are so much information just on this topic alone that it can be a bit discouraging. Luckily, I am going to try to make sense of it all, and make it a bit more easy to understand.

Of course, I am going to use what I have found in terms of research and apply it to the world of calisthenics.

One of the best places to start is to first look at the two two terms and their respective definitions: reps and sets.

“Reps” is short for repetitions. A repetition is the number of times you actually perform an exercise or movement.

For example, if you do 10 push ups, than you have done 10 repetitions of push ups.

“Sets” are the total number of repetitions you do for an exercise or movement.

For example, if you do 10 push ups, than you have done 1 set of 10 repetitions.

Now that you understand to some degree what a “rep” and “set” are, the more important question becomes what is the right mix of reps and sets and rest between sets?

There is no one size fits all when it comes to how many sets and reps. It really depends on your fitness goals, objectives and skill level.

A good understanding of muscle hypertrophy is also an essentially component that sometimes gets overlooked.

Muscle hypertrophy is essentially the ability to grow muscle skeletal muscle.

There are three types of muscle:

1) Skeletal muscle
2) Smooth muscle
3) Cardiac muscle

Lets go over each briefly.

Skeletal muscle are those which attach to bones and have the main function of contracting to facilitate movement of our skeletons. They are the striations that you see on a bodybuilder or someone in great shape. 1

Smooth muscle is also sometimes known as Involuntary muscle due to our inability to control its movements, or Unstriated as it does not have the stripy appearance of Skeletal muscle. Smooth muscle is found in the walls of hollow organs such as the Stomach, Oesophagus, Bronchi and in the walls of blood vessels.2

Cardiac (Heart) muscle is found solely in the walls of the heart. It has similarities with skeletal muscles in that it is striated and with smooth muscles in that its contractions are not under conscious control.3

The Skeletal muscle is what I will be focusing on as I discuss muscle hypertrophy.

There are two types of muscle hypertrophy:  myofibrillar or functional hypertrophy and sarcoplasmic or non-functional hypertrophy.

Think of functional hypertrophy as strength and non-functional hypertrophy as growth.  This is, of course, a gross over-generalization and in no way am I saying that bodybuilders are not strong as well, nor am I saying that the “strongmen” out there don’t grow in size and muscle.

It’s just a way to wrap your head around these two concepts as it pertains to your overall fitness goals.

The amount of reps and sets really depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

In order for the muscle to grow you have to shock it, you have to do something out of the norm, to induce any type of growth. That also goes without saying when it comes to any other area of your life.

If you just go through the motions, and you don’t focus on the actual movements, and you are not pushing yourself to the limits and beyond, you will not see progress.

No matter what rep and set combo you are doing.

I learned this from the P90X founder, Tony Horton:

1. Variety: Mixing it up, changing the routine, to shock the body, this is also called muscle confusion. Muscle strength, endurance and growth are the results of confusing the body.

2. Consistency: A constant routine is also a pillar to muscle growth and strength because it sends a signal to the body to be in a prepared ready state for activity.

3. Intensity: Your workouts need to be intense, otherwise there is no reason to be working out. It”s called working out for a reason, it’s not called going thru the motions. You need to give 100% effort. Or as Arnold Schwarzenegger likes to call it, “Being in the zone. Do it and go all at it.”

If you want to grow in size than more reps lower rest periods, however if strength is what you are after than you want to lower your reps and you increase your rest periods:

Desired Outcome Growth Vs Strength Reps Per Set Rest Time
Explosive Power Strength 4-7 Reps 3+ Minutes
Peak Strength (Myofibrillar Hypertrophy/Functional) Strength 1-3 Reps 5+ Minutes
Strength (Myofibrillar Hypertrophy/Functional) Strength 4-6 Reps 2-3 Minutes
Hypertrophy (Sarcoplasmic/Non-Functional) Growth 8-12 Reps 60-90 Seconds
Muscle Endurance (Sarcoplasmic/Non-Functional) Growth 12-20+ Reps 30-60 Seconds

There are four additional items that I would like to address when it comes to reps and sets, granted these were popularized in traditional bodybuilding but can be easily applied to calisthenics:

1. Drop sets/Pyramids sets: A drop set is the simple technique where you perform a set of any exercise to failure or just short of failure, then drop some weight and continue for more repetitions with the reduced poundage. Increasing the reps/weights is called pyramid sets. (4)

2. Super sets: A super-set is when one set of an exercise is performed directly after a set of a different exercise without rest between them. Once each super-set is complete, then rest for one and a half to two minutes or more to recover. (5)

3. Training splits: Split system training is a system of weight training that divides training sessions by body regions — usually upper and lower body training. (6)

4. Volume: This is the amount of exercise you do, “high volume” training means that you are doing:

  • How much volume is being done per muscle group/body part both per workout AND per week.
  • How much volume is being done per exercise.
  • How much total volume is being done per workout.
  • How much total volume is being done per week. (7)

Incorporating any or all four of these methods into your workout routine can make a dramatic difference.

Read the full article at CalisthenicsMag

A Beaten Body Can’t Steal Your Soul: Renee Gunter

Our second LA heroine to share her truth is former haute couture model,  current urban organic farmer, and indestructible force of unconditional love Renee Gunter.

Renee’s a SURVIVOR (and the all caps are necessary) who was brutally abused starting at the age of two and then endured the loss of five of her babies as she fought her way to become a nurturing, supportive mom, not only to her two children, but to her hometown in South LA.

To see how Renee’s vigilant spirit soared in the face of sexual assault, death, and racism, watch her video.

Thank you to Daniela London, of the forthcoming clothing brand Choose Love, for providing us with the space to shoot all of our Los Angeles episodes.

Renee’s video was edited by Andrea Cruz

About StyleLikeU: We’re a mother-daughter team leading a movement that empowers people to accept and express their true selves.

Remember, Return

To Build a Traceur is a philosophy aimed at developing all forms of movement starting with the physical plane.
The mission is to gain the ability to observe, rest within, and remove oneself from all states of perception to master empathy in order to understand other subjective points of consciousness and inanimate matter itself.
Through the training of confrontation, manipulation and path finding through all landscapes, the lesson derived will guide towards the embracing the ebb and flow of circumstance that will allow us to see opportunity at any point of manifestation.
I employ a combination of movement practices, Qi gong, breathing techniques and a host of other disciplines to share principles that help my clients Master their ‘suit’

Learn how to join in at  Tobuildatraceur

The Story of a 78-Year-Old Vegan Bodybuilder – Jim Morris


Vegan Body Builder Jim Morris

As a professional bodybuilder for 30 years, Jim won many major titles including Mr. America, Mr. USA, and Mr. International. In 1996, Jim won the Mr. Olympia masters at age 61 as a vegetarian. In 2000, Jim became a vegan for health and ethical reasons. He continues to train regularly and works as a personal trainer in Venice, California. The film explores Jim’s amazing story and his fascinating thoughts on life, aging, and personal fulfillment.
A short documentary film by director Ryan Vance (veganfilmmaker).
2014 Slamdance Film Festival official selection
2014 Columbus International Film Festival (honorable mention)
2014 Utopia Film Festival
2014 Missouri Film Festival
2014 Awareness Film Festival
2014 Action on Film Festival
2014 Mostra Animal Film Festival
2015 Animal Film Festival

The film was shot mostly on a Panasonic GH2 with 14-140mm lens, Voitlander 25mm lens, and 12-35mm lens.

Opcionales subtitulos en Español (Spanish subtitles)
Deutsche untertitel erhältlich (German subtitles)
Legendas em português do Brasil (Brazilian Portuguese subtitles)

Here is the PETA campaign with Jim:…
For more information on Jim or the filmmakers, please visit the Facebook page:…
Twitter: @jimmorrismovie

Here is Jim’s own site:

The Power of Intermittent Fasting with Dr. Nun S. Amen Ra
Dr. Nun S. Amen Ra is a living testament to the power of intermittent fasting. He eats only one meal a day, eats no meat, yet has a warrior physique and is a world weight lifting champion. This inspirational video is so full of eye opening information about the vegan diet, maximum life extension, fasting, meditation, yoga, the dangers of glycation and how sugar ages the body. Eating less lengthens lifespan, where eating a lot shortens it. HGH human growth hormone is increased in the body when fasting. This is great inspiration for fat loss, healthy vegetarian diet, muscle building and how powerful the results can be when determination, focus, willpower and steadfastness can be attained. Amen-Ra eats beans, rice, grains, peanut butter and plant-based supplements and teas. For those interested in all natural drug-free bodybuilding, enjoy this super informative video!

Brains Effects “Runners High”

The sensation may not just be about endorphins. A new study points to the same system of the brain involved in a marijuana buzz

German researchers have shown the brain’s endocannabinoid system—the same one affected by marijuana’s Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—may also play a role in producing runner’s high, at least in mice Credit:  Christopher Futcher ©

After a nice long bout of aerobic exercise, some people experience what’s known as a “runner’s high”: a feeling of euphoria coupled with reduced anxiety and a lessened ability to feel pain. For decades, scientists have associated this phenomenon with an increased level in the blood of β-endorphins, opioid peptides thought to elevate mood.

Now, German researchers have shown the brain’s endocannabinoid system—the same one affected by marijuana’s Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—may also play a role in producing runner’s high, at least in mice (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2015, DOI: 10.1072/pnas.1514996112).

The researchers hit upon the endocannabinoid system as possibly being involved because they observed that endorphins can’t pass through the blood-brain barrier, says team member Johannes Fuss, who’s now at University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. On the other hand, a lipid-soluble endocannabinoid called anandamide—also found at high levels in people’s blood after running—can travel from the blood into the brain, where it can trigger a high. “Yet no one had investigated the effects of endocannabinoids on behavior after running,” Fuss says.

To explore how endocannabinoids are involved, the team familiarized a group of mice with running on an exercise wheel regularly. Then the researchers split the group into two sets of mice: one that would run for five hours and one that would remain sedentary. Soon after their five-hour run, the rodents in the first group displayed far less anxious behavior than the sedentary set when exposed to a so-called dark-light box test. In this test, a mouse’s anxiety is measured by the frequency with which the animal darts from well-lit areas into the dark to hide.

Similarly, mice in the running group had a higher tolerance for pain than those in the sedentary group, as measured by their tendency to jump or lick their paws when placed on a hot plate.

Finally, the researchers performed these same experiments on mice that were given endocannabinoid and endorphin antagonists—molecules that block cannabinoid and opioid receptors in the brain, respectively. The endorphin antagonists did not significantly affect results, but mice treated with endocannabinoid antagonists and mice genetically engineered to lack endocannabinoid receptors were still anxious and sensitive to pain despite having run for hours.

The team’s findings suggest that endocannabinoids such as anandamide help cause runner’s high. “The authors have moved the field forward by providing such a complete view of how this key reward system is involved in allowing exercise to improve psychological state and pain sensitivity,” says David A. Raichlen, an expert in human brain evolution and exercise at the University of Arizona.

The researchers write that other key aspects of runner’s high, such as euphoria, are too subjective to study in a mouse model.

This article is reproduced with permission from Chemical & Engineering News (© American Chemical Society). The article was first published on October 5, 2015.

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