Finding the best fish oil isn’t easy. I’ve tried dozens. Heck, half of them I threw away before the bottle was empty. That’s why I wanted to write this Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil review.
Now, before we dive in, it’s important to note there’s more than one way to skin a cat. With regards to health and nutrition, truer words have never been spoken. What works for me, might do harm to you.
Personally, I’ve found noticeable benefits to taking Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil. Here are just a few of them:
My energy levels increase.
I get better sleep.
My joints feel better, too.
I also noticed my focus improves.
…For me, fermented cod liver oil has been a near miracle supplement. I’ve recommended it to friends and family for years. Some have loved it. Others not so much.
P.S: I’m no doctor. This is not medical advice.
Who Is Green Pasture? What is Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil?
Green Pasture is a Nebraska-based company created by Dave and Barbara Wetzel. They began creating concentrated butter oil on their farm in the early 2000s.
After researching the numerous benefits of high-vitamin butter oil and listening to Dr. Weston A. Price speak on the topic, the family dedicated their whole business to developing oil products designed to improve health and well-being.
After consulting with Dr. Price, the company realized the huge nutritional benefits between combining high-vitamin butter oil with cod liver oil. Thus, Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil with Butter Oil was born.
While you can purchase the company’s cod liver oil without the butter oil, the miracle combination comes from mixing the cod oil and butter oil.
The Blue Ice Royal Blend Fermented Cod Liver Oil w/ Concentrated Butter Oil has been shown to offer a variety of health benefits. The product took off when it was mentioned in Tim Ferris’s book, The 4-Hour Body.
Tim claimed the product could offer testosterone boosting benefits, along with a myriad of other positives. While I found The 4-Hour Body to be marginally average, this tip was one I took to heart. And I’m thrilled I did.
A look inside the bottle.
The Benefits of Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil
Why? Because of the numerous benefits of Green Pastures Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil. Here are just a few I noticed:
The biggest benefit I’ve noticed since taking Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil is reduced inflammation.
I’ve had ankle and knee surgery due to injuries sustained from college basketball. Taking fermented cod liver oil w/ concentrated butter fat helps my joint pain – significantly!
When I take 3-6 capsules of Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil a day, I’m able to walk, run, and jump with less pain than on days I don’t. It’s noticeable.
Why? Because Blue Ice contains a high amount of Omega-3s, which have been proven to reduce inflammation naturally (Source).
I can’t quite put a finger why my energy levels feel higher after taking this supplement. After all, I’m no scientist.
I just notice that my focus and energy levels tends to be higher on days I take Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil – compared to days when I forget to take the supplement.
I’m able to focus on my online businesses for an extra hour or two each afternoon before I want to take a break and hit the gym. Then in the gym, I have a little extra push to get the last set and rep in.
Improved Skin Quality
While I’ve heard about fish oil being beneficial for skin quality, I’ve never noticed my skin improving when just taking fish oil or cod liver oil. My skin improved when the concentrated butter oil was added to the equation.
Concentrated butter oils have been shown to naturally moisturize the skin while also balancing the oils. This combination often leads to less breakouts and a “glowing” skin tone that many love.
If you’re looking to improve your skin just a little bit, Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil will help.
Immune System Booster
Concentrated butter fat has been shown to improve the immune system functions. Cod liver oil has been proven to reduce the risk of immune diseases.
But combined? When concentrated butter fat is consumed with cod liver oil the effects are said to be compounded.
Personally, I notice I get sick less when taking Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil over a six-month span, especially when compared to traditional fish oil which don’t do much for me.
Nutrient Rich Supplement
Blue Ice Royal Blend Fermented Cod Liver Oil w/ Concentrated Butter Oil is packed to the brim with nutrients.
The product is chalk full of:
…And so much more!
So? Well, many who are proponents of this believe that users of Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil notice benefits because of deficiencies.
The supplement is so packed with nutrients that a majority of people will find one of their deficiencies replenished when taking the product.
Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil Review: Downsides
Now, I’m a huge fan of this product from Green Pastures, but I know that no products are perfect.
So, here are a few downsides I found during my Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil review:
Costly: This certainly isn’t the cheapest fish oil or cod liver oil product on the market. In fact, it’s one of the more expensive ones. At $42 shipped with Amazon Prime for a one month supply, Blue Ice is an expensive nutritional supplement.
Hyped Up: From Tim Ferris to many a nutritionalist and blogger – Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil has been hyped up for it’s nutritional benefits. While the product does work fairly well, claiming it’ll improve your health single-handedly is a bit far fetched. The product should always supplement a healthy diet and exercise routine.
Cod Liver Oil for days!
As of late, Green Pasture got involved in a bit of a scandal. A study was published claiming the company’s products didn’t contain the vitamins it claims and that certain batches of cod liver oil were rancid.
Of course, this set certain parts of the nutritional community afire, as many have taken this products for years with great success.
The reality of the situation? Many have questioned whether the publisher of the report had undisclosed financial motivation to damage Green Pasture.
I’d recommend checking out this resource if you’re concerned:
Make no mistake about it. Travelers like to do yoga. From your backpacking hippie chick to your fitness-obsessed businessman flying to a new city each week, a travel yoga mat can come in handy.
I tried traveling around with a regular old yoga mat, but things just didn’t work. A regular yoga mat takes up too much space in a backpack or suitcase. You just can’t fold them properly.
So I started looking around for travel yoga mats. I tested a few out before I came across the Manduka eKO Superlite. I did my research and checked out some reviews.
Every person said the same thing – this is an amazing yoga mat, whether you travel or not!
Such a thin yoga mat! Great for the road.
Of course, I threw down a few bucks and bought my very own travel yoga mat – a purple Manduka eKO Superlite. After traveling with this bad boy for over a year, I’m incredibly pleased with the purchase. Here’s why:
Who is Manduka?
A leader in yoga mats and accessories, Manduka was founded in 1997 by Peter Sterios. Sterios was originally an architect, but quickly fell in love with yoga. He dropped his old professional and became a dedicated yogi.
Eventually, Peter Sterios stumbled upon a yoga mat that changed the way he did yoga. The mat was elegant, yet firm with fantastic grip. He found the mat to be so good that he wanted to share it with others.
Manduka was born. Peter named his company after Mandukasana or the frog pose. He quickly began sending out his exceptional yoga mats to some of the best teachers he had practiced with.
These yoga teachers shared his Manduka mats with their students, and the company quickly began to grow.
To this day, many have found that Manduka yoga mats are some of the best in the world – with nearly unmatchable quality, craftsmanship, and performance.
After testing out the Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Yoga Mat, I have to admit that I agree. Manduka makes a great product.
Why a Travel Yoga Mat?
Now, some may ask – why do we need a travel yoga mat? That’s a fair question. Why spend extra money on a mat when you’re on the road? Well, there are a few good reasons to.
First, it’s nearly impossible to find space for a full-size yoga mat in your backpack or luggage. There’s simply not enough space when you roll up one of these mats. It doesn’t work. Trust me, I’ve tried.
A travel yoga mat, like the Manduka eKO Superlite, allows you to fold up the mat to the size of a small laptop. Then you simply slide it into your bag and off you go. A good travel yoga mat will barely take up any space in your luggage, especially compared to a traditional one.
Using the eKO Superlite.
Next, a yogi should always travel with a mat. While many gyms around the world have mats for those practicing, it’s always good to throw down your yoga mat in the hotel room and enjoy a little yoga flow for 8-10 minutes before starting your day.
The Manduka eKO Superlite is also ideal for stretching before and after the gym. I even use the mat to foam roll on every now and then.
What I Love About the Manduka eKO Superlite
Nearly everything. I’m a huge fan of this travel yoga mat, but let’s take a look at the details and see if the Manduka eKO Superlite could be for you, too. Here’s what I love about the travel mat:
Lightweight, Small Size
This travel yoga mat is small. Coming in at only 2 pounds, the Manduka eKO Superlite isn’t going to weigh you down on the road. The mat is full-sized from a length and width standpoint with measurements of 68″ long and 24: wide.
But how is the Superlite so lightweight? The travel mat is only 1.5 mm thick. This yoga mat is super thin, which cuts out all the excessive weight and lowers the eKO Superlite to right at 2 pounds.
Easy to Pack
The eKO Superlite from Manduka won’t take up much space in your luggage, either. And it’s not just because the mat is so thin and light.
Most yoga mats roll up. You can’t really fold them, especially well. The Manduka eKO Superlite is designed differently. You can roll up this travel mat, but there’s another way to pack it.
The eKO Superlite folds up like a piece of paper. You can fold this travel yoga mat up like a book or small laptop computer. Then you just slide it into the area where your computer should be in your backpack. It’s that small.
In fact, a lot of times I fold up the eKO Superlite and then lay it on the bottom of my backpack and lay my folded clothes over it. The travel yoga mat barely takes up any space.
If you’re traveling light, the Manduka eKO Superlite is a dream come true!
I’ve taken this yoga mat to a half dozen countries and used it countless times. The eKO Superlite still looks as good as new. Why? Because this travel mat is incredibly durable due to the detailed construction from Manduka.
Made out of natural grip rubber with closed-cell structure, Manduka focused on designing a tightly woven scrim to increase the durability of the mat. And it worked!
Even with daily practice, this travel yoga mat will hold up for years to come.
Now, some think you have to sacrifice grip when purchasing a travel mat. Manduka made sure that’s simply not true. With natural grip rubber, the eKO Superlite is a sticky and grippy mat. You won’t slip and slide on this mat at all.
If grip is one of the main things you consider when buying a yoga mat, the Manduka eKO Superlite will not disappoint.
Actually Works Well
Sometimes with travel products, you have to make a few sacrifices. That’s just how it goes. If you shrink a product down to a third of its normal size, you’re probably going to lose some type of functionality.
That’s not the case with this travel yoga mat. The Manduka eKO Superlite is such a good mat that many people use it year around – even when they’re not on the road.
Overall, this is an impressive mat – whether you want to travel light or are just looking for the ideal yoga mat for your practice in one specific city.
Manduka is a yoga company that focuses on eco-friendly practices. As such, the eKO Superlite is made with non-Amazon harvested materials like natural tree rubber.
All Manduka materials are natural, biodegradable and eco-friendly.
Look at the focus. The intensity!
Manduka eKO Superlite Yoga Mat Review: Any Downsides?
No product is perfect, especially those designed for travelers. As such, here are a few things the eKO Superlite doesn’t do perfectly:
Not Super Soft
There are softer yoga mats out there. Why? Because most yoga mats are much thicker than the eKO Superlite. This is a minor trade-off when buying a travel mat compared to a regular one.
Personally, I only have minor issues with the thickness and softness when I’m on my knees. For these poses, I use one of these. When standing or sitting, I have no issues.
Priced around $40 USD, the Manduka eKO Superlite isn’t a cheap yoga mat. You can get cheap yoga mats for $10-15 USD online, but they will be big and bulky. As a traveler, these options just didn’t work for me.
Personally, I find the eKO Superlite was well worth the price, especially considering the mat will last 2-4 years due to the incredible durability.
My Recommendations For Travelers
It’s never been easier to travel with a yoga mat. Thes eKO Superlite mats are easy to pack and don’t take up much space. I’ve been traveling with mine for awhile and wouldn’t trade it.
Initially, I despised foam rolling altogether. I never thought I’d be writing a Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller review.
In fact, I never planned to foam roll much at all. Maybe it was because I didn’t have a Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller. Or maybe it was because foam rolling added an extra 25 minutes to the end of basketball practice.
Now, I’m a huge fan. In fact, I’ve taken my GRID foam roller to over a dozen countries with me. I won’t leave the United States without this bad boy.
Why? Because it truly is the best foam roller available. Plus, you won’t find many a foreign gym that carries these useful devices – Trigger Point or not.
In fact, it can be darn near impossible to even buy your average foam roller when traveling. In most countries, they just aren’t popular.
But back to this Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller review. What makes this roller the absolute best one on the market? Let’s dive in and find out.
Foam Rolling 101
Ok, so before we get too far into the Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller review, we need to talk a bit about rolling. Why do people foam roll? What are the benefits of foam rolling?
Well, we all have our reasons to foam roll. If you’re looking for Trigger Point reviews, then there’s a good chance you’ve enjoyed rolling before. Here are a few of the common benefits or reasons people foam roll:
Faster Muscle Recovery
Potential to Prevent Injuries
Break Up Scar Tissues
Lowers Lactic Acid
Increased Range of Motion & Mobility
Now that we know why people love to foam roll so much, let’s take a look at why the GRID Foam Roller is so awesome.
Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller Review: The Best On The Market?
Enough beating around the bush, you came here to read a Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller review. So here it is. Here’s why the GRID is the absolute best foam roller on the market and well worth the money:
~ Unique, Patented Design
The Trigger Point GRID comes with a unique design that offers a three-dimensional surface. The multi-faceted surface allows your tissues to become a bit aerated while rolling.
What does this mean? Basically, the textured surface ensures extra blood flow and oxygen reach your muscles while you’re rolling. This improves recovery times and minimizes muscle soreness.
The three different surfaces include:
Smooth, Flat Surface: Like a regular foam roller. This is the ideal level for beginners.
Tube Style Surface: A bit deeper than the smooth surface. Don’t start here if you’re brand new to foam rolling.
Small, Pointy Area: By far the most aggressive level. Use this when you really want to get into the tissue.
~ Hard Core
Most foam rollers are made of, well, foam. That’s it. Nothing else. The Trigger Point Foam Roller is made of a hard, hollow core that’s covered in a unique EVA foam.
This structural design ensures that the GRID Foam Roller is much firmer than traditional models. Again, this leads to enhanced blood flow into your muscles when using this model.
~ Durable Foam Roller
Sure, the Trigger Point GRID is one of the pricier foam rollers on the market. I get that. However, the model is also exceptionally long-lasting and well-made.
I’ve had my Trigger Point GRID for over three years now! The roller had been all around the world with me. I’ve had to have used it 1,000 times by now. And guess what?
My Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller still looks and functions like it’s brand spanking new! Talk about durability.
How can this thing last so long? Well, the hollow core helps, but it’s mainly due to the great products that Trigger Point puts out. As the premier manufacturer of foam rollers, the company knows what they’re doing.
Lastly, the Trigger Point GRID was designed to hold up to 500 lbs. Thus, the thing was made to take a beating and keep on ticking.
~ Ideal For Every Foam Roller
One thing that’s so awesome about the Trigger Point Foam Roller is that it’s ideal for every level of foam lover. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been foam rolling for over a decade or you just started last week, this is the best roller on the market.
Why is it so good for all experience levels? The magic happens due to the three surface levels. Beginners can use a “lighter” surface while starting out, but experts can dig into their deep tissues, too.
~ One-Year Warranty
Trigger Point stands behind the GRID Foam Roller. You’ll get a one-year warranty when you buy this product. So you won’t have any worries about the longevity or durability of the product.
~ Trusted By the Pros
Finally, there’s one easy way to tell that the Trigger Point GRID Foam Rollers is good. Really, really good. How? Step foot into any athletic performance gym or high-end physical therapy center and you’ll find a half-dozen of GRID Foam Rollers lying around or being used by patients and athletes
The best athletic trainers, physical therapists, and chiropractors all recommend the Trigger Point because it works.
The Trigger Point GRID is one of the pricier foam rollers on the market. This is especially true when you can get a basic foam roller for under $10 online.
However, you always get what you pay for. I’ve never had a basic roller last more than six months on me. These rollers are big and bulky. They don’t travel well. Nor do they get as deep into your muscles.
If you’re in foam rolling for the long haul, it’s well worth it to pay a little more for a GRID.
~ Not as Deep as a Lacrosse Ball
The Trigger Point Foam Roller gets pretty deep into the muscle tissue. You’ll get way deeper with a GRID than a traditional roller. However, you’ll always get a little deeper than a foam roller with a lacrosse ball. This is just how things work. If you really need to get deep into the tissue, a lacrosse ball does a better job.
Don’t Just Take My Word For It!
I absolutely love this product. That’s why I’m writing this Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller review. However, don’t just take my word for it. My opinion only means so much.
Just look at all these other people who love the GRID roller:
The Right Model For You
Alright, if you’re ready to grab a Trigger Point GRID, you need to know that there are three different models. Big, little, and travel sizes. Well, that’s how I see them.
I’ve had the little or regular sized GRID for over three years now and love it. I’d highly recommend any and every foam roller get this size – unless they love the giant rollers for some specific reason.
Do not buy the travel sized roller. It just doesn’t work that well. I bought one and hated it. If you’re a foam roller, you will, too. I promise.
The Regular and 2.0 can hold up to 500 lbs. The Mini can hold only 250 lbs. Here are the rest of the dimensions:
GRID Foam Roller (Regular): 13″ long with a diameter of 5.5″
GRID 2.0 (Giant): 26″ long with a diameter of 5.5″
GRID Mini (Travel): 4″ long with a diameter of 5.5″
Is the Trigger Point GRID Good For Travelers?
Yes. Yes. And yes! If you’re a digital nomad or business person traveling around a lot, you won’t find a better foam roller on the market.
I’ve been traveling so long with the Trigger Point GRID that I wouldn’t know what to do without it. Heck, I even did a whole post on traveling with a phone roller.
Physical and mental health are both equal contributors to your overall well-being. Fitness and implementing a regular training schedule is vital for your physical health, whereas having a work-life balance and being mindful of your lifestyle is crucial for your mental health.
Travelling, exploring and taking time off to explore this beautiful Earth is particularly good for your overall well-being. Your fitness goals and training don’t have to suffer through just because you decide to take a vacation or travel for a few months at a time.
To avoid becoming that gym-goer who becomes reluctant at making any travel plans due to a strict training schedule, learn how to get the best of both worlds by adapting your training while you’re on the road.
Whether it’s for a mini break with the family or six months traveling across the world, get out there and enjoy what this Earth has to offer! Also, two weeks on vacation generally shouldn’t make a difference to your muscle/strength gains anyway, so you’ve got no excuse.
Training on the road!
Looking for some advice and key tips on how to travel while maintaining your fitness training? With the right preparation, a bit of creativity and getting the ideal balance, you’ll be able to enjoy a well-deserved rest from your day-to-day routine while keeping up with your fitness training.
I’m Lee Moran, director at Freedom Strength, and here is a little advice on adapting your training while on vacation.
Another type of workout for you to get to grips with, Tabata training is a high-intensity workout which consists of a routine of exercises that each last for just four minutes. The four minutes consists of 20 seconds of hard training followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times. Tabata training is ideal for when you’re on vacation or traveling as it’s a quick workout when you’re short on time.
This type of training typically includes bursts of exercises including push-ups, squats, burpees, jumping rope and medicine ball slams. Once you get into this kind of workout, you could create a variety of your routines, each with up to twelve separate exercises. Whatever exercises you decide on, Tabata training will increase your heart rate and raise your metabolism instantly. Some great exercises (with further explanations) are outlined below.
Tabata Training – Push-Ups
Push-ups are the ideal exercise to carry out while you’re on the road as you typically don’t need any equipment and just need a little motivation and some stamina. At your typical commercial gym or home gym, you’re probably used to using a specialist piece of equipment to carry out your dips and push-ups for the best performance. If you want to challenge yourself and increase the difficulty level of your push-ups though, you’re going to have to get creative.
You can start off by focusing on your standard push-ups and then little by little adding some extra weight and resistant to your back, such as a book or two, to increase the difficulty. You can then develop your routine to include decline push-ups, handstand push-ups and clap push-ups for a more challenging session.
Tabata Training – Medicine Ball Slams
Medicine ball slams are a great exercise for incorporating into your regular training regimen, as it’s a full-body and multi-joint workout that will enhance your core strength and improve your overall sports performance. Taking this type of exercise on your vacation or on the road is easy as long as you can be a bit open-minded and easily adapt.
Normal medicine ball slams would involve standing tall, reaching over your head with the ball and then slamming the ball down to the floor. As you carry out this movement, you’d follow the movement of the ball with your body, avoiding bending at the waist, and then ending in a strong squat position. Depending on your holiday destination, you could just take a Medicine ball on your travels with you, but if you’re short on space, then it’s the last thing you’ll want to pack.
Sandbags are a great alternative for adding some resistance to this movement and offer a great alternative to the Medicine ball. Rocks could also be used as an alternative, however, won’t have the bounce of a ball so it’ll be safer to perform this exercise on the beach with a softer landing surface. If you can’t get your hands on either of those, pop to a local shop and purchase a cheap beach ball, basketball or football. These certainly won’t have the same weight as a Medicine ball, but they’ll still help you to perform this type of exercise.
Tabata Training – Burpees
Burpees are one of the best types of exercises you can do for both quick and intense training, as these exercises are a full-body workout and will help to enhance your core strength. Ideal for taking on holiday with you, Burpees can be performed pretty much anywhere as long as you have a big enough space and a flat surface.
To perform Burpees, simply start off from a standing position and then bend down into a squat position and place your hands on the floor in front of you. You then need to quickly kick your feet behind you into a push-up position and perform one push-up. Immediately return your feet to the squat position, and then jump up high back to your stand.
Tabata Training – Jump Rope
Jump rope is a fantastic workout to take with you on your travels! Not only is it a portable exercise which you can do anywhere, but it’s ideal for if you’re short of time and want to fit in a high-energy workout. A jump rope workout will help you to build endurance and burn fat at the same time.
Small enough to carry in your backpack on your travels, investing in a good quality jump rope will take your training to the next level as it’s an incredibly efficient and versatile workout tool. There are many jump rope routines you can do such as forward jumps, side-to-side jumps, backward jumps and single leg jumps. Combine your jump rope training with your Tabata training by performing four minutes of exercises followed by rest intervals.
Incorporating Recovery Time
Recovery time is a highly underestimated feature of any fitness training. As over-working your body and not allowing it to heal and recharge can often do more harm than good.
This is great news as you can incorporate plenty of ‘recovery time’ while you’re on vacation. The time you spend relaxing on that sun lounger or enjoying an evening stroll along the beach can be classed as your ‘recovery time.’
Learning to make the most of your vacation and not thinking about your training 24/7 can be quite a challenge to some people but just remember that recovery NEEDS to form part of your training schedule. Between each training session, you should be taking a day of rest when you can relax and be mindful of your mental well-being. You should be aware that more training will result in more recovery time as well, as it’s a balanced process.
About the author: Lee Moran is Director at Freedom Strength, a fitness company providing high quality products designed to improve athletic performance. With over 15 years of military service, 28 years of active UK Fire Service and currently a powerlifting coach and nutritionist, Lee is well studied in advanced strength and conditioning systems.
This guest post about free weights vs. machines was created by Seth Rose on behalf of First Rate Fitness.
Free Weights vs. Machines?
One of the biggest debates is between free weights and machines—and which is better? While both do a good job at hitting muscles, they each have their own benefits and downsides. We will explore the pros and cons of each method in this article.
Free Weights – Pros
Here are a few reasons why you should use free weights:
When you lift dumbbells, you may notice that you can struggle a bit to keep the weight balanced. This is because the dumbbell is not traveling on any specific plane, and it’s the body’s job to keep everything in line. To do this, your body uses ‘stabilizer muscles’.
Stabilizer muscles are a bit different than what we normally think of as muscles. Unlike the biceps or pectorals, stabilizer muscles aren’t worked by a specific movement pattern. Rather, they’re activated when you use free weights, to keep the weight in place.
This is important because in the long run, your stabilizer muscles should grow along with traditional muscle fibers. If they don’t grow, then you’re risking injury.
The deadlift, squat, and bench are all big compound lifts that allow you to move hundreds of pounds. Machines are usually much more limited, and the weight is harder to measure.
When you’re body lifts more weight, it goes under more (good) stress, which leads to more long term gains in size and strength.
Bang For Your Buck
Only have 30 minutes for a workout? Then using machines won’t cut it as they’re not time efficient. Machines only target one muscle at a time, meaning you’ll have to make your way around the gym. Compound exercises, on the other hand, allow you to target multiple muscle groups at once.
Take an exercise like rows. You can do rows with barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, supine grip, neutral grip, standing lying etc. Not only does this allow you to keep things interesting, but it also allows you to hit your muscles from a variety of angles, tapping into the different muscle fibers in the body.
Let’s say you have your favorite chest machine at your local gym. But you find yourself out of town without the machine—what to do?
With free weights, you can find them at any decent gym. Because a bench press is the same as a bench press anywhere you go!
If you’re setting up a home gym, then machines are virtually out of the question/ They’re just too expensive and take up too much space in your home.
While free weights are fantastic, there are definitely a few drawbacks:
You May Need a Spotter
When lifting heavy weights, it’s in your best interest to use a spotter. Although you don’t want to lift more weight than you could actually handle, there’s always the risk that something goes wrong. If you train at home alone, then you can’t have a spotter, thus putting you more at risk to injury.
Hard On Joints
Heavy compounds like the barbell squat can put a lot of pressure on the knees. And for people with prior injuries, that’s a no-go.
Machines – Pros
The benefits of machines are often the solution to the downsides of free weights. Here are a few:
Isolate a Particular Muscle
When doing a heavy bench press, a lot of trainees have a hard time hitting their chest. Because the weight is so heavy, and the weight is not on a fixed plane of motion, it can be hard to focus.
Using a machine, say a chest press machine, allows you to focus specifically on that individual muscle group. This is because the weight is on a fixed movement path that is specially designed to activate the targeted muscle group.
It can really make you cringe to see people in the gym use poor form. Not only are they not activating their muscles, but they are risking injury, especially with exercises like rows and deadlifts. While these are good movements to build muscle, a lot of people don’t get the most out of an exercise because of poor form. Again, machines are designed to hit the target muscle.
This also means that they’re easy to learn how to use (if you even need to figure out how). Simply read the instructions, sit or lie down on the machine, and go!
Good for Rehab/Bad Joints
Depending on your age, prior training experience, injuries, and other factors, lifting heavy free weights are not for everyone. Machines allow people to still train their muscles intensely, without risking physical aggravation.
If you ever go to the gym at peak hours, you’ll notice that the machines are always taken up. There may be people even waiting to use it.
The free weight section gives you much more room to move around without having some sweaty old man breathing down your neck.
Unnatural Range of Motion
When it comes to machines, not all exercises are created equally. While machines often make it easy for people with injuries to work out, a lot of machines may cause pain if used long term. Additionally, a lot of machines are just plain ineffective because they can’t naturally target muscle groups.
For example, the Smith machine is tempting to use for many trainees. However, when it comes to squatting, the smith machine it should be avoided. The range of motion is very unnatural and additionally, it can put a lot of pressure on the knees.
So, Which is Best? Free Weights vs. Machines
As we’ve just shown, both free weights and machines have their unique benefits and downsides. Therefore, for a complete workout and to see the best results from weight lifting you should utilize both.
A good way to approach this would be to start with a free weight, compound exercise like the bench press. Then after you’ve completed the desired amount of sets, you can move on to a machine like the pec-deck or a conventional chest press machine.
That said lifters, especially novices, would stand to gain more from free weights. They simply are more effective at total muscle growth, and should be put first and foremost.
Curious how to relieve shoulder pain? I was six months back, but struggled to find any solid information through Google. A short search yielded the typical WebMD bullshit, but nothing that would help me. There was no actionable advice.
So I started digging. I wasn’t about to go through another surgery, but I couldn’t live a life not being able to lift my left arm above my head due to shoulder pain.
Luckily, I came across a few resources that helped heal me. I put together a plan and executed. Now, my should is 90% healthy and I’m living a normal life.
I can’t do heavy weight chest exercises yet, but I can do shoulder work with solid weights and complete ten push-ups. In two months, I’m confident my shoulder pain will completely be in the past.
P.S: I’m no doctor, fam. If you have a serious injury, you should always seek the advice of a medical professional. The information on how to relieve shoulder pain fast found below is meant to be educational and actionable, but should never replace the advice of a doctor.
How to Relieve Shoulder Pain
So, how did I do it? How did I relieve shoulder pain fast? Well, through a well-executed plan. Let’s dive in and see how you can heal your shoulder, too. Here’s my five-step plan to relieve shoulder pain:
Lots of Time
Make no mistake about it – you need time to heal your shoulder. Even minor tweaks and tears can take a few months to heal. It’s imperative that you’re patient with the process.
I injured my shoulder in November of 2016. I started my rehab regime in February of 2017. I wasn’t able to do a pull up until May of 2017. I started doing shoulder work and push-ups in June of 2017. My goal is to be back bench pressing (aka 100% healed) by September of 2017.
This is the type of recovery timetable you can expect with a serious shoulder injury. Now, everyone is different and your injury will surely be different from mine. Just don’t expect to be healed in a few weeks.
Managing Inflammation Topically
I don’t like taking NSAIDs. You won’t find anything about these pharmaceuticals in this post. However, there’s no denying that managing inflammation is paramount to relieving should pain.
Simply spray 4-5 squirts of magnesium oil on your injured area once or twice a day. Just be careful. Magnesium oil can have negative effects on your stomach. So you don’t want to use too much – even if it makes your shoulder feel amazing.
This step is huge and will make a noticeable difference for many suffering from shoulder pain right off the bat.
Now, the body does most of its recovering at night. So you want to ensure you’re giving the body everything it needs to heal your injury before bed.
Luckily, that’s pretty simple. All you need is tart cherry juice concentrate and a little ZMA. The combination of these two supplements will minimize inflammation throughout your body and ensure you get great sleep.
Just mix 1-2 ounces of cherry juice with water and then down it. Add 2-3 ZMA pills and you should be asleep within 45 minutes.
After a few weeks following this protocol, you should notice your shoulder feeling better when you wake up in the morning. Personally, my pain slowly creeps back up once I stop taking cherry juice. The stuff is potent.
Now, you can’t just take a few supplements and expect your shoulder will magically heal itself. For the majority of shoulder injuries, you’ll also need an active rehab program to fully heal your pain.
The basis of any shoulder rehab program should be hanging. Shoulder hangs, or hanging from a pull-up bar is exceptionally important for anyone suffering from shoulder issues.
Just start by hanging from a pull-up bar for 20-30 seconds 3-5 times every day. That’s it. Even if it hurts a little bit, try to push through things. After a few weeks, the pain from hanging should be completely eliminated.
You don’t need much weight. I rotate between 5-10 dumbbells, and do 12-30 reps depending on the weight and my workout that day. I do two sets of each lift.
P.S: Video coming soon here.
How to Relieve Shoulder Pain FAST
That’s it. It’s not complex. My methods regarding how to relieve shoulder pain fast include:
Time and Patience
Topical Pain Relief
Stretching the Shoulder
Strengthening the Shoulder
By following the above, I’d surmise 85-90% of shoulder injuries could be “healed” within six months without surgery or medical intervention. If you’re suffering from shoulder pain, give it a shot and let me know what you think.
Has anything else helped you recover from a shoulder injury? Sound off in the comments.