Stay Fit During the Holidays

Thanksgiving is only a few days away. Just because a holiday centered around a huge meal is coming up does not mean we need to throw our fitness goals out the window or even put them in hold. There is a way to enjoy this holiday with your family and stay on track. Here are a few tips I follow every Thanksgiving when we head up to in-laws:

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-1-54-49-pm1. Plan Ahead: This is especially important if you are traveling. Pack everything you think you will need. I typically bring a box or laundry basket filled with food and supplements. I can’t expect or depend on others to have the kind of food I need on a daily basis. If you will be gone for multiple days and don’t think you will make it to a gym bring resistance bands or some type of workout gear. Plan your workouts before and after the holiday so you don’t miss a beat.

2. Traveling food: If you will be traveling don’t start off on the wrong foot. Make sure you bring water and healthy snacks for the trip. I always load up my 6 Pack Fitness meal management bag for road trips. Because it keeps everything fresh and cold I can even pack an actual meal. Check out 6 Pack Bags and get 10% off HERE. Gas station and fast food is a killer.

3. Grocery stop: While I bring what dry goods I can in a box if I am going to be out of town for multiple days I sometimes swing by a grocery store and pick up whatever else I need. I attempt to eat like normal regardless wherever I am.

4. Thanksgiving day: Treat your Thanksgiving meal like a typical cheat meal. I give myself 2 planned cheat meals a week. I will eat and drink whatever I want until I am comfortably full. This is just another one. No difference. Don’t make it a free for all the entire day. Eat a little lighter breakfast. After your Thanksgiving feast try not to keep snacking on the higher carb and fatty foods. Lean towards the lean turkey and veggies.

5. Do some cardio: Chances are most of us will not hit the gym on Thanksgiving because we will be with family. But there is no reason we cannot find 20 minutes to go jog or do a short cardio circuit in our guest room. Do this before Thanksgiving dinner and do at least 20 minutes.

6. Back to workouts: If possible try to hit a gym the days after Thanksgiving even if you are out of town. I always hit the YMCA in Salina, KS during Thanksgiving weekend. Most gyms have a guest day pass or small fee of $10-20. Just pay it and stay on track. If getting to a gym is just impossible pick up a set of resistance bands. Check out my resistance band workout that can be done anywhere HERE.


-Wittig, ISSA CPT

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Weak Point Prioritization

img_05802We all have weak points in our physique. We may see other lifters and envy their shoulders, wide back, or big calves. Just remember a lot of hard work was probably put into those prized muscle groups. Maybe they were gifted genetically. But this is about you. What areas of YOUR physique are lagging behind and need improved. Focusing on what others have only takes away time from you to work on yourself. There is a difference between being a beginner and needing to develop everything, and lifting for a bit and having actual lagging muscle groups. The thing I have always loved about building is how through effort you can alter and shape the body. The outcome is solely dependent on the effort and planning you put into it. Here are my general tips for turning a weak point into a strong one.

1. Identify the weak area. Be honest with yourself and recognize a weak point when you have one. If you have no idea ask someone with experience and whom you trust. Then break down the specifics. If its your chest is it your upper chest, outer, inner, etc? If your Triceps are lagging is it the lateral head or the long head? I recommend pulling up images of great physiques that have all the muscle groups labeled. Chances are you have more than one area that needs improvement.

2. Select exercises to target your specific weak point. To accomplish the task if bringing up a particular muscle group you need the right tools for the job aka exercises. You can always look online. I am old school and have copies of books such as ‘Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding’ laying around. I still reference that book every now and then. While we cannot completely alter the genetic shape of our muscles, through proper planning and hard work you can build new muscle and greatly improve any area.

3. Prioritize the weak area. Don’t make Monday “Chest” day. Make it your weak point day. Start the week off strong targeting that area in need of most improvement. Start the workout focusing on that specific angle of the muscle needing attention. If it’s upper chest start with a Incline movement. If it’s your abs start your Monday workout with abs then move on to Chest or whatever.

4. Increase frequency. Plan your workout schedule to hit your weak area 2-3 times a week instead just once. Stop doing the same program and try something new. I was a one major body part a day for years. When I switched to hitting every muscle group twice a week I had great results.

5. Keep a workout journal. Your workouts need to be progressive. It’s difficult to progress if you cannot remember to the pound and rep what you have done in the past. Bring a notebook or use an app and track every workout, exercise, rep, and weight. Make notes on what you feel works and what didn’t. Build new workouts based on accurate data. I’ve kept a workout journal every since I started at 15.

6. Stretch and flex it. Learn to have complete control over that lagging muscle group. Be aware of how it feels to flex or contract that particular muscle. Make sure you can feel it on each rep. Remember that every exercise has a purpose. Find that purpose when you do each and every rep. Stretch the muscle group in question between sets as this will not only help you feel the muscle, but keep nutrients coming in and transport wastes out.

7. Nutrition and supplementation. Don’t forget that bringing up a lagging muscle group is still building muscle. To build muscle you need to bring in a proper amount of nutrients (calories, protein, carbs, fats) and water. Extreme effort needs to be put into how you are eating. The what you eat, how much, and when are all important. If your eating is on point the right supplements can assist in building muscle especially if you have not done so before or took a break from them . I personally take Kaged Muscle supplements. When building muscle I specifically take: Pre-Kaged (pre-workout), In-Kaged (intra workout), Re-Kaged (post workout whey protein), and Kasein (slow digesting protein before bed). Get 15% off with my code “Wittig15”.

-Wittig, ISSA CPT
Kaged Muscle Athlete

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Functional Cardio: The Monstrosity

wittig-1503Who likes to challenge themselves? I got the perfect little routine for you. Every Sunday I go to the studio where I train clients (Elite Training Tulsa) and come up with routines on the spot to push myself. These are typically lower body focused functional HIT cardio type workouts. This latest one I put myself through I called “The Monstrosity”. It really kicked my butt- perfect! I am thinking of doing something similar here soon and stepping it up. Give this a go and let me know what you think.

The Monstrosity Circuit: Do each of these back to back with no rest for 1 round. Do 4 rounds total.

A. Box Jumps: 15-20 reps. I prefer to use a height I know I can make and just jump higher versus running the risk of face planting.

B. Squats: 10 reps. These are barbell squats going very deep, full range, and slow. I used just 135lbs.

C. Kettle Bell Swings: 15-20 reps. Sumo position and swing high. I used a 35lb kettle bell.

D. Squats: 10 reps.

E. Ball Slams: 15-20 reps. I used a 20lb weighted ball. Hold it high overhead and slam down with as much force as you can. Drop the hip to pick it up on the rebound.

F. Squats: 10 reps.

G. Rope Slams: 30 reps. Using battle ropes double slam. Switch out if you do not have access to battle reps.

H. Squats: 10 reps.

I. Walking Lunges w/Twist: 10 steps each leg. I held a weighted ball and did a slow side-to-side twist at the bottom of each rep. These lunges were done wide and deep.

J. Squats: 10 reps.

So you are hitting 50 slow, deep squats each round and 200 total. Have fun.

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-Wittig, ISSA CPT
Kaged Muscle Athlete

Lower Ab Monster Set

Getting the lower portion of the abs to show often comes down to diet, but it also a difficult area for some to develop. Recently I wanted to bomb my lower abs specifically so I designed this Monster Set and it exceeded expectations. Give this lower ab focused workout a go and let me know how it goes.

leg-raise-aLower Ab Workout: Monster Set
Do each of these 5 exercises back to back with no rest for 1 set. Do 3-4 sets total. Hit 10-12 reps of each exercise.

1. Captains Chair Leg Raises (to ceiling)
2. Captains Chair Leg Raises (legs parallel to floor)
3. Captains Chair Knee Raises
4. Floor Leg Raises
5. Reverse Crunches

*Do each rep slow and controlled. Hold each contraction for a count or two and take the negatives slowly.


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-Wittig, ISSA CPT
Kaged Muscle Athlete

Back Width Giant Set

img_0649One area of my physique I have put extra effort in working this last year is my Back specifically back width. It’s an area I continue to prioritize by starting my week with Back and hitting it twice a week. I try to get the most out of every rep by making sure to go through the full range of motion and take negatives slower. Between each set of chins and pull downs I stretch my lats by grabbing onto something with a reverse grip and pulling. Here is a Giant Set I will occasionally do that is especially nasty.

Back Width Giant Set:
Do these 4 exercises back to back with no rest for 1 set. Do 4 sets of 10, 10, 8, 8 reps of each exercise.

A. Wide Grip Chins
B. Wide Grip Pulldowns to back
C. Wide Grip Pulldowns to front
D. Close Grip Pulldowns

Give it a go and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Fuel your workouts with Kaged Muscle’s Pre-Kaged. Mix with 16oz of water and drink 30 minutes before workouts. Get 15% off with my code “Wittig15”.

-Wittig, ISSA CPT
Kaged Muscle Athlete

My Approach To Reverse Dieting

14206226_10210183804331473_4034940874299023269_oCutting carbs and dieting down for a contest is one thing, but there is also an art to reversing the process and getting back into maintenance and then gaining mode. The last thing you want to do after getting extremely cut is gain a bunch of unwanted fat right away. I am sure many of you have heard of the term “reverse dieting”. I am going to breakdown the concept and how I do it. Let me explain I am not a daily macro counter. I’ve ran the numbers enough in the past to know what I need to be eating for a particular goal.

Reverse Dieting: This is the process of slowing introducing calories, typically carbs and a little fat, back into the diet. I slowly add in each of these carbs (which also means calories) over a period of 3 weeks or so.

A. Carb Up Breakfast: The first thing I add back into my diet right after a contest, or low carb cycle, is a solid carbohydrate source for breakfast. For me this might include 1/2-3/4 cup oats, 2-3 slices of 100% whole wheat bread, or 100% whole wheat pancakes or Belgium waffles. Each of these with a little fruit such as a banana or berries. Looking to bring in 30-50gs of carbs that had been missing.

B. Post-workout Dextrose: There is debate rather glycogen stores are low enough after workouts to warrant spiking glucose levels, but after personal experimentation I do supplement with 30 grams of dextrose immediately after every workout with exception to a few days before a contest. I mix in 3 tablespoons of non-flavored dextrose into my post-workout Re-Kaged whey shake. **Get 15% off Re-Kaged on with code Wittig15.

C. Light Carbs for Lunch: My typical low carb lunch is 8oz of lean protein, 2 cups veggies, and 16-20 oz of water with Kaged Muscle Hydrachrage. I will roll with this set up for many weeks. I start adding carbs for lunch very slowly. The first thing might be just an apple. I’ll wait 2-3 weeks before adding in potato or rice in addition to the fruit.

D. Dinner Carbs: The weeks leading up to a contest or near the end of any cutting cycle my dinner will be similar to lunch- 8oz of lean protein and 2 cups veggies. I typically add in two 100% whole wheat tortillas and make wraps.

So my reverse dieting might breakdown as follows:
Week 1: Introduce A and B.
Week 2: Introduce C (apple only) and D.
Week 3: Increase amount of A (1/2 to 3/4 oats) and add to C.

cv8ogxfvyaalj-xI shoot to get to a healthy maintenance level in around 3-4 weeks, then if I plan to start building muscle I slowly continue to increase carbs over another 3-4 weeks. My protein is always high and remains around the same until I am really pushing to increase calories in a gaining cycle.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me:

-Wittig, ISSA CPT
Kaged Muscle Athlete

Time Off or De-Load?

img_0694After a intense program or a big event like my recent physique contest it is important to find a way to let your body rest and reset. Intense programs stress our nervous system, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and mental state. But does that mean we should skip the gym for a week or do what some call a “de-load” week. I am in favor of de-load weeks and feel they can help kickstart progress. They not only provide a time for our bodies to make a full recovery, but more importantly our minds. I feel its a good idea to do de-loads every 6 weeks or so especially if you lift very intensely like I do.

I am not a big fan of taking a extended break out of the gym. I tried that once a few years ago when my family and I were on vacation and it was a mess for several reasons. Not only did I get my ass handed to me in the gym when I got back, but it also had me feeling slightly depressed. I lost weight, strength, and my motivation was lacking. It took me a while to really get back in the swing of things. Whereas with de-load weeks you are just toning down intensity and volume. Just holding back versus skipping had me revving to tear up the gym the following week. But that is just me. Find what works best for you.

Here is how I de-load:

*Lower volume: Instead of 20 sets for a particular muscle group I might only do 15. If I typically hit 15 sets I might only do 10-12. I am a higher volume type of guy in general.

*Stop before failure: I still lift fairly heavy, but I stop several reps before failure. I don’t try to hit any PR’s during this time.

*Form over weight: I tend to lift slower and go through the entire range of motion during de-load weeks. This is a time to reset and evaluate lifting form.

*No advanced techniques: Along with stopping before failure I don’t include any drop sets, strip sets, forced reps, negative repetitions, etc.

*Strategy building: I use this “down” time to re-focus and formulate a plan on how to make improvements in my physique, program, and nutrition. Don’t continue doing things that are not working.

*Nutrition: I keep my nutrition consistent during de-load weeks. Unless I am close to a competition I also have ~2 cheat meals a week.

*Cardio: I continue to do cardio during de-load weeks, but I shorten the time and intensity.

-Wittig, ISSA CPT
Kaged Muscle Athlete