mind pump strength training

1394: How to Build More Muscle & Lose More Fat by Reducing Stress, Best Priming Movements to Improve Your Big Lifts, Effectiveness of Kettlebells Vs. Dumbbells & More | Mind Pump

Key Takeaways

  • Intermittent fasting is about changing your relationship with food, not a performance hack to build muscle or lose fat
  • Sometimes you need a vacation! Perception of stress in your life has a huge impact on physiological outcomes
  • It’s important to figure out specific primers for your body to optimize spine alignment and muscle engagement for improved lifting
  • Both dumbbells and kettlebells should be incorporated into a workout routine
  • Confidence and passion go a long way for new trainers
  • If you’re a new trainer, be hungry to learn from others around you


The Mind Pump hosts are Sal Di Stefano (IG: @mindpumpsal), Adam Schafer (IG: @mindpumpadam) and Justin Andrews (IG: @mindpumpjustin).

In this episode, hosts Sal, Adam & Justin answer listener questions about why taking a vacation can help you reach your fitness goals more effortlessly, the best priming movements for squats, deadlifts, bench press and the other big lifts, whether kettlebells are superior to dumbbells, and how a new trainer can overcome imposter syndrome.

Limitations of the New Intermittent Fasting Study

  • In a new study, researchers assigned one group to a condensed eating window (intermittent fasting) and compared against a group with no time restriction
  • The intermittent fasting group lost weight, while other group did not
  • Further examination showed the weight loss of the intermittent fasting group was muscle and not fat loss
  • Major limitation: nothing was but time was controlled, participants could eat anything they wanted, exercise was not considered, food quality was not considered
  • Intermittent fasting isn’t a performance hack – it shouldn’t be used for weight loss, fat loss, muscle gain
  • Intermittent fasting is about changing your relationship with food

Benefits of Vacation

  • Sometimes when you go on vacation and foods that normally cause gut issues are tolerated, sleep issues disappear, and general mental health improves
  • Likely the result of reducing stress – on vacation stress and pressure is reduced, your time is your own, your focus is on things you enjoy
  • When you’re under a lot of stress, you crave low quality food, eat more, sleep poorly
  • Stress impacts your body’s ability to gain muscle, burn fat, control food cravings, sleep well, digestion, etc.
  • Perception of stress in your life has a huge impact on physiological outcomes
  • Some clients even benefit from substituting one workout for something stress-reducing
  • Recommendation: incorporate a stress management technique in your life – could be meditation, prayer, yoga

Priming for Squats, Bench Press, Deadlift, and Other Big Lifts

  • Individualized priming moves for your body are superior to general
  • Non-specific priming moves could be more damaging and reinforce bad patterns if not tailored to your needs
  • There’s no comparison to priming your body properly
  • The closer you get to alignment and stacking your spine for the best range of motion, the more you’ll benefit from your exercise and improve lift
  • If your knees collapse in on squat: try tube walking as a primer
  • If your squats are quad dominant: do floor bridges to activate glutes
  • If you have a forward-leaning upper body: prime head and neck with wall test  
  • General priming moves for squat: combat stretch, 90/90 rotations, prone cobra or band row to pull upper shoulders back
  • General priming for deadlift: single-leg toe touch, windmill
  • General priming for bench press: row or something that involved pulling the shoulders back
  • General priming for overhead press: wall press

Dumbbells vs. Kettlebells

  • Both offer a different approach to completing movements
  • Dumbbells are more versatile
  • Kettlebell weight distribution changes feel of exercise and length of the lever can be more readily altered (longer lever creates more tension, resistance, and force)
  • Kettlebells are great for dynamic, ballistic moves
  • Takes more education and technique to use a kettlebell properly
  • Don’t avoid either one – both have value and should be included in routine for best results

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome & Tips For New Trainers

  • Imposter syndrome is common among new trainers
  • New trainers have a heavy burden of learning nutrition, mechanics, program design and giving information to clients who might know a decent amount themselves
  • Passion and confidence go a long way
  • You know way more than most of your clients! Most of your clients don’t need advanced knowledge
  • 99% of clients just need to learn how to properly do a squat, engage their core, basic nutrition fundamentals
  • Tip 1: Don’t pretend you know more than you do – it’s ok to say you need to look into something before providing a response
  • Tip 2: Stick to teaching your specialty and the thing you know well
  • Tip 3: Be confident that you’re valuable enough to ask for money and get paid for your services
  • Tip 4: Don’t be afraid to talk to people
  • Tip 5: Be hungry for education! Learn something every day, talk to other trainers around you to build a toolbox
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Notes By Maryann

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