Why Am I Plateaued? Training Q&A with Suzanne

You got questions, I’m answering ’em in my new Nirvana Training with Suzanne Q&A feature. You’ll get my perspective on strength training and nutrition for your goals, along with insights into my own training. To participate in next week’s mailbag, post your question on my Facebook page, ping me on Twitter, or drop me a line! Q. I’ve been following a popular strength-training plan consistently. Why have I plateaued? A. When people come to me for help and say they’ve been following {Read More…}

Break Through in the Weight Room

I’ve always felt the pull to explore. It’s what propelled me to relocate three times (once on my own), expand my writing career into personal training, and continue many smaller changes along the way. That doesn’t mean change isn’t scary to me. I cherish my cozy home, family, and routines. I’ve even had anxiety attacks and other physical symptoms of stress around times of change. And there have been times when I simply hid while I processed what I wanted {Read More…}

Are HIIT Workouts Superior to Steady-State Cardio?

Is  high-intensity interval training (HIIT) really the answer to weight loss and improved cardiorespiratory health? In the last few years, HIIT workouts have become the “go-to” cardio.  Word on the street is that if you’re not doing interval training, you’re training inefficiently. HIIT typically means circuit training, metabolic resistance training, or simply work/recovery intervals on a cardio machine. It’s currently the “hot” method of losing weight and increasing V02 max. I am not against HIIT at all, but I do think it’s important to look {Read More…}

Weightlifting Volume: How Many Sets and Reps?

A weightlifting variable that has a huge impact on your results is your training volume – how many reps and sets you do per workout. Predictably, there is no absolute consensus on the “best” volume for muscle building, but one principle is well-established: The more repetitions of an exercise you do, the fewer sets you should perform, and vice versa. This keeps the total number of reps you do of an exercise nearly equal, no matter how many repetitions comprise {Read More…}

Why You Shouldn’t Go to Failure When You Strength Train

Most likely you’ve heard the mantra, lift to failure. In strength training, this is common advice to ensure that the muscles are sufficiently fatigued (and swole enough to be in beast mode). In fact, training to failure is a principle routinely used by bodybuilders to elicit the most muscle gains possible.   “Training to failure” means lifting a weight so heavy that you have extreme difficulty completing or cannot complete the last one or two repetitions in a set. Some would {Read More…}

Women and Creatine 101

Like a lot of women, even though I’d strength trained for years I was still afraid of using creatine. I’m careful about what I put in my body and had more than a few questions: Would this “natural” supplement cause my already sensitive stomach to balloon? Would it turn me into the Incredible Hulk? Was it even safe? After some research, I decided to give creatine a try to see just how far it could take me with my muscle-building {Read More…}