Category Archives: Fitness

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.

Documentary : Fighting Sticks of Arnis

Artwork: Fighting Sticks of Arnis

ArnisNew Release on August 23rd: Fighting Sticks of Arnis documentary. Available on DVD and download in HD 1080p formats. Featuring more than eight grandmasters of Modern Arnis and two grandmasters of Balintawak.

Fighting Sticks of ArnisFighting Sticks of Arnis



A rare chance to travel across the Philippines and explore Filipino Martial Arts with our guides on this epic journey, datu Tim Hartman from the USA and grandmaster Bobby Taboada.

In our journey we meet many grandmasters who are students of the founder of Modern Arnis, Professor Remy Presas. “I started in Modern Arnis” says grandmaster Rodel Dagooc. “Grandmaster Remy Presas was my godfather. Without him, Arnis would have become a dying art.”  One style that Remy Presas mastered is Balintawak, a dynamic single stick style. At his Cebu Nickelsticks school, grandmaster ‘Nick’ Elizar explains: “The aim of Balintawak is to disarm your opponent. This means using counter to counter because we assume our opponent is smarter than us.”  Elizar says “Striking is easy.  We teach you to defend and react very fast.”

Arnis, like all traditional martial arts requires hard work and sacrifice. Grandmaster Bobby Taboada talks about his early years of Arnis training: “I learned to accept the pain. That’s the reality of training in the Philippines… are you ready to accept the pain.”

Featuring in order of appearance:

Datu Tim Hartman: World Modern Arnis Alliance
Master Arnold Narzo:  Kalis Illustrisimo Repeticion, Manila
Master Ronnie Royce:  Base Laraw Kali Pamuok, Manila
Grandmaster Kyud Junn:  Lanada Kuntaw, Manila
Grandmaster Bobby Taboada:  Int. Balintawak Cuentada System
Grandmaster Nicomedes Elizar:  World Nickelstick Escrima, Cebu
Grandmaster Samual Dulay:  Int. Modern Arnis Federation Philippines
Grandmaster Jerry Dela Cruz:  Arnis Cruzada Philippines
Grandmaster Dieter Knuttel:  Deutscher Arnis Verband
Tuhon Rommel Tortal:  Pekiti Tirsia Kali System
Grandmaster Bram Frank:  Common Sense Self Defense. CSSD/SC
Grandmaster Rene Tongsan:  Arnis Аbaniko Tres Puntas
Grandmaster Rodel B. Dagooc:  Dagooc Arnis System / Modern Arnis

Self Taught Javelin Thrower Wins Olympic GOLD : Julius Yego

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Julius Yego wanted to be an athlete, only he couldn’t run very fast.

That can be a significant setback growing up in the highlands of western Kenya, where the best distance runners in the pre-eminent distance-running nation are molded. When it comes to sport, running is just about all that matters in Kenya.

So Yego had to come up with a different plan to succeed.

With the help of a sharpened stick, an “elastic” right wrist, and YouTube videos as a substitute for a coaching manual, he became a javelin world champion instead.

“Javelin is the sport in me, part of my blood,” he said. “I can’t sprint. I can’t compete in the 800 meters or the 100 meters. Javelin is the main talent I had.”

Yego, a world champion who isn’t a distance runner, goes against trends in Kenya and in international track and field in a refreshing way.

Forget convention — imagine a Jamaican winning a world title in the 10,000 meters, or an Ethiopian gold medalist in the 100 sprint.

Even that doesn’t encapsulate the essence of the journey of a boy from a rural farming village in the Great Rift Valley who practiced with sharpened sticks he cut off trees, and used online videos to teach himself to launch a javelin as far as the best from Scandinavia, Germany and Eastern Europe.

He launched one, a sleek metal one, further than them all last year to win the world championship title in Beijing.

When Yego threw 92.72 meters, hurling himself face-first onto the ground as the javelin left that fabulously flexible right hand, he catapulted into the top three best javelin throwers ever. His effort was the eighth furthest in history. Only the great Jan Zelezny (who has six of the top eight throws) and Aki Parviainen have thrown a javelin further.

There isn’t another African on that list of leading throws. There isn’t another non-European in the top 30.

“When I saw the Javelin fly I knew it was a huge, huge, huge throw,” Yego said, recalling that effort.

The first Kenyan to win a world title in a field event. An African record. The first man in 14 years to throw more than 92 meters. Only the fifth man ever to top 92 meters. All tremendous achievements, yet it very nearly didn’t happen.

In Cheptonon village in the Rift Valley, a young Yego thought he could succeed in javelin, believing he had a gift.

“My strength is my hand,” he said. “It is flexible and elastic. Very nice.”

For years, though, he was the only one who believed it.

He got very little help as his career progressed, so he turned instead to the internet.

He’d make his way to the closest internet cafe to his village and watch YouTube videos of the great Zelezny, his favorite, and others. Then he’d go home and put into practice what he’d seen. It was still tough. As recently as 2008, Yego, training alone and unnoticed, considered giving up when he was overlooked for the world juniors.

“At that point I didn’t want to do the javelin because there was no support,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press in Kenya. “Support was for the 800 meters … up to the marathon. They overlooked the field events.”

He stuck at it, though, and threw 75 meters in 2010. Encouraged, he kept watching the online videos, tweaking his training and technique. He won the All-Africa Games title in 2011 with a national record. More YouTube.

In the buildup to the 2012 Olympics, Yego got the chance to go to Finland and work with coach Petteri Piironen. After returning home, he kept in contact with Piironen through Skype. He still consulted his quasi-coach, too: YouTube.

Yego made the Olympic final by going past 80 meters. A Commonwealth Games title came in 2014 with 83.87. And then last year in Beijing, the world championships gold.

Source – BigStory 

Be Metaphysical: The Will to Run Day 18 – 22

Day 18 8.8 ( 5.62 Miles)

Run Run Run… Last night I finished off the last of some plum wine accompanied by a bowl of sliced mangoes. That led to an interesting dream I’ll save for another time. The weather was cloudy but I still managed to make it out. The goal set was for 5 miles. Rain from the night before caused the waterfall to be super intense. A usually packed water spot was pretty much empty because of the strong current. Fortunately there was a few people there taking photos and what not.


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Managed to catch a few behind the scene shots before I took off. Tuning to jazz music has been interesting as well. It keeps me in a nice mental space and gives my run a more cinematic feel. I begin visualizing how I look from all different perspectives.

Day 19 8.9 (4.26 Miles)

Today was going to be a busy day. I felt it coming. There was a guided meditation session I aligned to photograph and video record. It felt awkward driving to a spot I normally run to. It felt like I didn’t have my .7 mile pre warm up run before I made it to the trail. The rocks under my feet felt a little harder than normal typically I’m a mile and a half in and by then my legs and feet are warmed up to the subtle branches and stones I occasionally stepped on. Luckily I did a nice yoga session to start the day so my body was well stretched out and feeling good.


The waterfall meditation session was great! Definitely met really wm-18cool down to earth people. Shout out to @Thefallbackup for bringing everyone together for a peaceful vibe. if you are located in Atlanta and would like to join in on the waterfall meditation session find out more information from @TheFallBackUp The session is $5 and is well worth the donation.  The session begins with yoga to loosen up heading down to the rocks for the meditation.


Day 20  8.10


Day 21 8.11


I actually  did do some running today. A friend of mine came in town ruunnand had an idea to shoot a video of me running. Im not sure how it looks but I know I was doing sprints all through the woods jumping over trees and what not. The running segments were a bit inconsistent but Im sure I put up at least 1 mile in short burst. IG:LifeasDreams 

Day 22 8.12 (11.66 Miles) 

Today is the day for  who knows what!  I definitely would like to get a nice run in. Thinking about pushing for double digits. Even though I have not been running, I’ve been active in other ways daily.  With that being typed im not sure if Im achilles is warmed up  or ready for those limits. Then again a nice run would loosen it up and get it back to normal.


Getting off to a late start but Ive mapped out a route on flat ground to see the difference of running without hills makes.  If I require water I will have to run up a hill though and back but that shouldn’t be an issue once or twice.  I think im going to end up pushing my limit beyond my expectations!  LETS GOOOOOO!!! phone is  almost charged up, going to get some yoga in while videos load to dropbox. Everything is flowing as it should.

5:21 pm

That was brutal … I really didn’t consider the lack of sleep and little drink i had last night. Felt the resistance kick in around mile 6. Interesting moment .. a guy asked  “How many miles are you going for?” I yell about 50 He responds “Whooooo” … 5 minutes later ….  who the fk am I kidding, talk about trying to pump myself up I knew I was barely going to make 10miles let alone that x 5. I think I needed to hear myself say it plus I was being sarcastic. I ran into another Deer literally. When i’m in the car and during the night Deers are so majestic to me. When I’m running in broad day light and see one approaching i’m like oh shit this thing is about to chase and trample me, so I just turned around, actually I began to jog backwards to make sure he/she didn’t chase me and returned down the path I came. Ive arrived home to take a cold shower and sit down for a rest.  Ive officially dozed off 5 times in 5 minutes. Im going to get a mango and go to sleep for a few hours.

5:30 pm

No more mangoes. Time for a trip to the store. Coconuts are needed anyway no rest  for the wicked.

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