box_nelI hear a lot of my gym buddies talking about how they love the gym, but get often get bored of it. One could argue they aren’t true gym rats, but I totally get what they mean. It’s not so much about the gym atmosphere in general, but rather, the fact that their particular workout programs become monotonous and routine after some time.

Of course, switching up the exercises to provide a new challenge while still targeting the same muscle group is one strategy to counteract the gym lethargy, but eventually this will become just as routine, and chances are you picked the exercises you are already doing for a reason. For example, many experienced weightlifters will schedule or organize their workout based primarily on what they require for their goals, but then a secondary factor can be what equipment is commonly available at certain times. Therefore, many weightlifters and other gym-goers are restricted to how much variety they can add to their workout at the gym.


I was recently convinced to try out a new boxing gym with a friend of mine who I frequently hit the gym with. I myself focus a little more on gym-specific exercises and power lifting, and I wasn’t looking for anything new at the time, but I figured what do I have to lose?

The real question should have been “What do I have to gain?”! First of all, if you think boxing is a sport only for tough guys who like to get punched in the face, it’s not. I was shocked at the variety of people I saw in this boxing gym, from total newbies like me, to experienced fighters training for an upcoming fight. It was unreal to watch, and one of the best parts was everyone was welcoming, supportive, encouraging, and overall friendly.

That being said, what I was most interested in was the workout (of course). For someone who is used to heavy-lifting, I was extra curious about the workout when I noticed there were hardly any weights in the gym at all. I quickly learned that boxers often avoid weights, or at lease powerlifting, as they need to maximize their strength AND speed, all while keeping their overall weight as low as possible. So how do they get so ripped, but yet weigh in like a feather?

The answer lies in their workout structure. Boxing workouts work on a round-to-round schedule, whereby everyone is on the same “stop-and-start” schedule, for lack of a better way to put it. A speaker will make a buzzing sound at the start of the round, and then everyone begins working. My workout consisted of a good solid warmup, three rounds of shadow boxing, three rounds on the heavy bag, three rounds on the speed bag, three rounds on the reflex bag, individual work with a trainer mixed in there depending on the day, and then some skipping, core exercises, and cool down exercises. Rounds last for three minutes and you get a one minute break in between. At no point did I ever lift a weight, but WOW was I ever sore the next few days! The speed bag was definitely the hardest for me, but as I learned it I could feel my reflexes and coordination improving, and shortly it become one of the most fun exercises for me. Plus, it set my shoulders on fire!

I quickly realized how focused boxing is on training for cardiovascular fitness, but the constant exercise involving punching, as well as more standard exercises under your own body weight, really allowed for every muscle group to be worked hard. This style of exercise is perfect for dropping weight in terms of fat, while at the same time putting on a bit of muscle and getting absolutely ripped.

Last, but not least, it was an extremely fun challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed! It’s a great way to mix up your workout routine, and even boxing alone would be way more than enough to get in shape and stay in shape. It’s affordable, and all I really need was a good pair of boxing gloves, and once I became a little more experienced, I also benefited from investing in a nice pair of boxing shoes, but the latter isn’t necessary if you’re participating on a recreational basis.

At the end of the day, I simply encourage you to keep an open mind for different types of exercise that could benefit you. For me, I found boxing to be an incredibly exhausting workout that hit various aspects of fitness that I didn’t even realize were weaknesses for me! Looking back, I could have figured this out on my own, but having been stuck in the gym mentality forever led me to believe I didn’t need anything else. You never know how much fun you might have trying out some different exercise programs, and no matter what you try, your body will thank you!

Power Lifting vs Bodybuilding

Power Lifting vs Bodybuilding

Power lifting is a sport that originated with bodybuilding and both power lifters and bodybuilders have essentially the same goals, to get bigger and stronger.  You can use the techniques in power lifting to enhance your bodybuilding efforts.  The thing that separates the two is the competition.  When a power lifter competes his goal is to move as much weight as possible, while the objective in bodybuilding is to become as big and defined as you can.  That being said there are bodybuilding competitions, the most famous being Mr Olympia but the judging is subjective rather than objective in power lifting.

Power Lifting

There are three events in a power lifting competition, the squat, the dead weight and the bench press.  Unlike a bodybuilding competition, no one is concerned with definition, symmetry or how bulked up you have become they are concerned with how much you can lift.  There is no need for you to learn poses that showcases your muscle definition, nor do you need to shave your legs instead you focus on endurance and raw strength.  Competitors in power lifting are placed in classes based on age and experience and they compete in all three lift categories.  If you’ve never been to a power lifting competition the video below will show you what it is all about.

The Training

Training for both the bodybuilder and power lifter is not that different; both try and push themselves to attain the next goal.  Both are dedicated to health and fitness and a good diet.  You won’t achieve success in either discipline by living off of fast food.  Diet is a critical part of any training regimen and that includes staying away from bad food and fueling your body with what it needs.  Building muscles and strength requires clean proteins and plenty of vegetables.  Bodybuilders, more so than power lifters pay close attention to their diet and what will allow them to lose weight quickly.


Power lifting and body building can have similar workout routines, both disciplines mean plenty of hours in the gym.  Both will work closely with a trainer to plot out a routine that will yield the best results.  The power lifter pushes themselves so they can lift more weight, the bodybuilder does the same thing to develop and hone muscles. You will likely see both of them in the gym on a daily basis, whatever your style is discipline is part of reaching the pinnacle of your sport.


Dangers of Steroid Use

Why Athletes Use Steroids

Why do athletes use steroids to build muscle mass and what do they actually do?  Weightlifters and bodybuilders will use steroids because it will enhance your muscles, make them more defined and it will do so quickly.  Professional competitions in both weight lifting and bodybuilding competitions have banned the use of steroids, and taking them comes with risks…lots of risks.

How do they Work

The amounts of anabolic hormones in your blood are raised and this stimulates the growth of your muscles.  You end up with muscles that are larger and more defined, and this is what every bodybuilder is trying to do in the gym every day.  The anabolic steroids you will find in gyms are mostly testosterone based and the extra testosterone will allow an athlete to train harder and longer.  Make no mistake, this comes with a price.

The Risks of Longterm Steroid Use

Anabolic steroid use, especially in the long term comes with many health risks and not just your physical health.  The mood swings while taking steroids can be extreme and longterm users are no stranger to depression.  Some people can become very aggressive and “roid rage” is a real thing.  It’s not just your mental health you’re going to have to worry about it is damaging to every major organ system in your body.  Here are some of the things that steroid use can do.

  • Shrinking Of The Testicles.
  • High Blood Pressure.
  • Higher Levels Of Cholesterol.
  • Liver Disease.
  • Enlargement Of The Prostate.
  • Loss Of Sexual Libido.
  • Menstrual Problems.

If you’re new to bodybuilding or you play any competitive sports the temptation to use steroids can be enormous.  You can build muscle naturally by changing your technique.  Work out consistently 3-4 times per week, and increase the amount of weight you are lifting while at the same time lowering the reps.  You should be trying to do three sets of each exercise and yes you may have to work up to that.  You should feel muscle fatigue at the end of the sets…not pain.

Bodybuilding goals or any fitness goal for that matter has never been achieved overnight.  Bodybuilding shouldn’t just be about getting cut, it’s also about improving your overall health. Steroid use is anything but healthy and you really need to weigh short term benefit against your long term health.  Achieving your goals through hard work is always better than taking a shortcut, no matter how tempting.  The world doesn’t need your roid rage either.