Do you suffer from back pain?

Back pain can be one of the worst things to experience. Not only does it affect your everyday life physically, but it can also affect you mentally and emotionally. Back pain can be painful, exhausting, and just flat-out a hassle to deal with. There are a variety of different reasons why back pain occurs as well as a variety of different ways to rid yourself of back pain. Continue reading for plenty of useful information on what causes back pain as well as how to get rid of back pain.

What Causes Back Pain

Although the cause of back pain can vary from person to person there are a few key things that can make back pain worse. These are just a few of the things that cause back pain or contribute to it:

Sitting for Too Long

Although it may not seem as though it can cause back pain, sitting for too long can have an adverse effect on your back. Not only do muscles become tense but they can also become tired and achy causing them to become weak and feeble.

Not Sitting Correctly

Not sitting correctly is another cause of back pain. When sitting, always be sure the back is straight and supported. Also be sure that your feet are firmly planted on the ground and providing good support.

Over Extending

Overextending yourself whether it be at the gym, playing with kids, or just doing everyday tasks can cause a lot of back pain. Be sure when you are lifting weights, picking up children, or doing everyday tasks such as moving furniture you do not overextend yourself and always use the correct form and posture.

Not Exercising

One of the biggest causes of back pain is often lack of exercise. Exercise not only makes you look better but it also keeps muscles and joints feeling and doing their best.

How You Can Reduce Back Pain

These are just a few the main reasons for back pain. Although each pain is different there are ways to help combat back pain. Below are just a few of the simplest ways you can help lessen and control back pain:

Exercise More

Exercising and working out not only makes you look good and feel good but it also helps to keep muscles and Joints relaxed so they can always be at their best. Even simple stretches can help eliminate back pain and keep joints active.

Stand More

This is especially important if you have a job that requires sitting for long periods of time. Sitting for a long amount of time can have negative effects on your back. By taking occasional breaks and standing more you allow the muscles to relax and the blood to flow freely. If possible, do some light stretching or even some light cardio every hour or so to keep muscles moving.

Lose Weight

It is extremely important for those with back pain to ensure they are at a normal healthy weight. Added weight can cause back pain as well as leg pain and can take a toll on the body. Having a diet that is rich in healthy foods in conjunction with having a good exercise routine is the best way to lose weight and help fight back pain.


Above are just a few of the simplest ways to help get rid of back pain. Although every individual case and person varies avoiding extra back strain as well as following these helpful tips can help ease almost any kind of back pain.

Don’t Get Bored With Your Workout Routine

Are you bored of your normal workout routine? Even though it’s about to be a New Year and everyone will have new goals for their health, sometimes people find themselves struggling to get to the gym. When you become bored of your workouts, you begin to lose motivation to continue doing them. You can mix up your workouts just by using a deck of cards, and the best part about it is you can do it with or without going to the gym.

This workout game is all about challenging yourself to be better each time, and you can play alone or with a group. This article will cover a specific set of exercises, but each exercise can be changed up to fit whatever your needs. This set targets whole body, but if you’re more of a “arms one day, legs the next” kind of person that works too!

So, to get started you need to remove all the jokers from the deck and designate exercises for each suit. Here are my examples:

  • Hearts: High Kicks
  • Diamonds: Tricep Dips
  • Spades: Squats
  • Clubs: Bicycle Crunches

Face cards get their own exercises:

  • Jack: Jumping Jacks
  • Queen: Quick Lunges
  • King: Butt Kicks

Lastly, the number on the card equals the number of repetitions for that exercise! Jacks are 11, Queens are 12, and Kings are 13. Aces are wildcards for repetition and exercise so pick your favorite or most challenging, up to you! Some people like to use Aces as a burnout card and do as much as they can of a certain exercise. If you aren’t a fan of choosing an exercise in the middle of your routine, you can designate the Ace card as a certain exercise and number before you begin. For example, whenever you draw an Ace you have to do 15 arm circles.

Time to get working. Shuffle the deck and start drawing cards. Challenge yourself to finish a certain number of cards before taking a break. It doesn’t hurt to start small and work your way up! The ultimate goal is to work your way up to 13 cards, rest, and repeat until you’ve finished all 52 cards. Don’t forget to rest though so that your body has time to recover and you can give each workout your all. Want a little extra challenge? If you draw two cards of the same value consecutively, double the rep amount. If you are working out with a group, you can designate someone to referee and read the cards out loud, then change out the person each new round after the break.

Go out, grab a deck of cards and keep working hard to meet all your New Year’s Resolutions! If you need help getting on the right track for where you want to be, come meet our wonderful trainers at St8 Training located in San Marcos, TX.

Should You Use Free Weights or Machines?

If you walk into most gyms, you’re most likely to see shelves filled with free weights or kettle bells lined up against a large mirror, and the rest of the space taken up by larger weight machines. More likely than not, both will be in heavy use. If you’re newer to weight training, you may be wondering whether to start with those free weights or to wait for your turn on a machine. More experienced gym goers, likewise, may be wondering which method of weight training is more effective towards their goals.

The answer isn’t always cut-and-dry, and the methods you focus on will depend on your weight training goals. Below we’ve put together a list of the pros and cons of free weights vs. weight machines; read on to see where each technique shines as well as their shortcomings.

Ease of Use

Machines win out in this category, as the diagrams they provide and the fact that they strictly limit your movement make it easy to intuitively figure out how to safely use them. Free weight techniques, on the other hand, require practice to nail the form, and improper technique could easily lead to injury.


When it comes to building strength for practical purposes, free weights are what you should choose. Machines target large muscle groups but neglect smaller, stabilizing muscles required for most real-life activities. Training these stabilizing muscles are especially important for athletes to avoid injury.

Muscle Isolation

Machines make it easier to target specific large muscle groups, which can be ideal for rehabilitating injuries or building size in stronger muscle groups. Although this also means that you can only target a single group per machine, whereas most free weight techniques target a wide range of muscles at once.


Once again, there’s no clear winner here. Free weights are portable and can be used anywhere and, as their name suggests, they allow for more freedom in workout variation due to their versatility. High-resistance free weight workouts like squats or bench press require a trainer or at least a spotter, however, whereas most machines can be used by yourself.


Finally, if you’re thinking of buying your own equipment, free weights will be much easier on your wallet. Even a broad range of weights won’t run you nearly as much as some of the more expensive machines.

As you can see, a combination of both free weights and machines is ideal for most people, which is why most gyms come equipped with both. But based on your individual needs, you may benefit from one technique over the other. More importantly, if you’re unsure which training techniques are best for you, the best piece of advice is always to ask a personal trainer to avoid injury!

Choosing the Right Cardio for You

There are certain kinds of exercise that will lead to more muscle gain, fat loss, or dexterity than others, no contest about that. But just because not all exercises have the same results, doesn’t mean there is one that everyone should do. But a great philosophy to have when you are choosing your activity is to choose the one you enjoy the most. Why is that? Because doing the most intense exercise once is not any better than doing an exercise you like that you will do several times a week. Some people like to be inside, some like to constantly see new sights outdoors, it all depends what you enjoy.

Cardio can be broken down into high-intensity and high-volume exercises. It can be very helpful, whichever you choose, to pick an exercise that you really enjoy. High-intensity like sprinting leads to exponentially more muscle gain and even fat burning, but low-intensity can be more relaxing, and with enough time, does indeed equal out to intense training. In fact, sprinting is almost as effective as squatting when it comes to building leg muscle. Swimming can be done either way, as can biking. Biking on a mountain or racing leads to great gains, as does swimming sprints. But if you are going to do sprints, you will need to take breaks between them. Jogging can be helpful, but it is more helpful when you run in an environment that has differences. Meaning hills, different types of running surfaces.

There’s a wide variety sports that you should consider choosing, but one drawback is that you need to actually to know a group of people to play with. Soccer or baseball/softball generally requires large teams, and it is recommended that you join an intramural or pickup team to find an active group. Basketball and tennis, for example, can be done 1v1 or in larger groups. Sand volleyball is a great one to play when you do not have a team prepared in advance as most courts in public areas have steady participation. But sports have that competitive angle that leads to increased interest. The more interested you are, the more likely you will keep going back, week after week.

Some good non-sport activities include swimming, biking, longboarding, kayaking, hiking and more. These all can take you to the great outdoors, something that may be what makes you enjoy your chosen activity more. Biking can be done on the road or mountains or trails. Swimming can be done against river currents, or in a pool. Longboarding can be done up hills, and builds leg strength and core stability. Kayaking is unique among cardio in that it actually lets you build up upper body strength. Kayaking is best in rivers, against currents, but will always be done in a natural body of water. For more advanced kayakers, you can choose somewhere with whitewater rapids or fast moving water. Hiking is essentially a long-walk, with additional stabilizer muscles used. Hiking will always take you to new sights. As well, it leads to an incentive to visit new towns and areas.

Of course, you can get some great cardio training in at STR8 Training. Whether you’re looking for classes or simply want to work out on your own, we have trainers available for questions from 8am-8pm, air conditioning, showers, workout lists and ideas, and more. Be sure to visit us or contact us if you’re looking to work on your fitness, we’d love to help you on your journey!

Choosing a Workout Plan: Strength Training

In the 1800’s-early 1900’s there was the rise of the strongman, the training was not specific, and sometimes training was simply tossing hay bales or carrying large rocks around a field. The late 1900’s was the first time that the scene had started boiling it down to a science that could be studied and fine-tuned for the best results, but it was still very crude. Today, we have a huge wealth of knowledge, and many topics have been settled to some extent. But with the amount of studies that have been done, there is so many conflicting views on the best ways to achieve the results. This has led to some experts defending yoga, cardio, outdoor sports (biking, swimming, kayaking, etc.), low-rep weight training and everything in between over any other method. But, there is no one correct way to work out. The reality is that for the most part, these all have a method to the madness, and the success depends on what you define it as. This will be a two-parter, with part one covering weight lifting, and part two covering cardio exercises, with both going over finding one that gives results and personal enjoyment.

Many of the high-intensity workout programs that have become popular recently, when done safely with proper form, can definitely help one become toned and in great shape for sports performance, but will likely not lead to a bulky strength like Arnold’s. The main criticism is that certain gyms do not focus enough on correct form. Form is crucial to not hurting yourself and gaining muscles. There is a lot of great, practical strength routines one can gain from doing these types of workouts. You’ll stretch, you’ll do cardio, you’ll do some weightlifting, truly it is an all around program. Any exercise routine based on using a lot of muscle groups quickly to push yourself to exhaustion (when done properly) can have amazing effects fairly quickly.

Then there are no nonsense, barebones weightlifting plans that are great for beginners through intermediate. It’s important to focus on safety while gaining building strength, covering all muscle groups, and laying out a path for success. There are several guides on correct form for lifting, going in detail over correct posture, supporting muscles and all in between.  You may want to add in some extra core work and some dips, and cardio on off days.

Of course, if you want professional training at an affordable price, be sure to visit our San Marcos gym. We would love to consult with you to discuss your desires and current abilities to help craft a plan that is safe and effective to help you reach your ultimate potential. We also offer a variety of classes at various times, so be sure to check the schedule and come in for one that sounds like a good fit for you–we welcome those who have only started on their fitness journey all the way to those who are advanced.

Our 1st Summer Weight Loss Challenge has ended

Results are in from our 1st Weight Loss Challenge. $500+ worth of prizes ready to go home! Thank you to everyone who participated.

Top 3:

Duration of Challenge: 1 Month
Pounds + Inches = Points

1. David McCarthy = 22.25 points
2. Carol Rocha = 17.25 points
3. Crystal Salinas = 15.5 points



Saturday Fit Camp is BACK!

Join us at 10am this Saturday for 1hr of Str8 Training. Whether your beginner or advanced, we will accommodate to your needs.
Current Fit Campers, use this as one of your weekly sessions or add it for only $5! If you’ve never been to STR8, come and try it for free! Any non-member who have tried us out and just want to attend on Saturdays the rate is $7.




Check out this #tbt. Muhammad during his high school football days with his Uncle Ronnie. Who thinks he should bring back the frosted tips?? Lol


Teacher Special – EXTENDED

EXTENDED SPECIAL! Just for our TEACHERS, we appreciate all that you do and we know that the school year can be stressful. We want to extend our summer special, YEAR ROUND.

Only $8 per Fit Camp, a price you can’t beat. Classes range from 3-10 people and you are always supervised by a Fitness Pro. Nutritional Guidance is included, classes are 1 full hour, and you get support from you fellow fit campers each time you walk in the door. Don’t wait until next summer, join today!



Weight Loss in Exchange for $$$

One more weigh in today and we will have the results for our weight loss challenge! We are giving away $500 worth of prizes to the 8 participants who stuck with it! Who’s ready for our next one??




Big Shoutout to client, Kristen Gray! She lost 5lbs and 6.5inches in just 3 weeks of personal training with Muhammad. We are excited to a part of her journey, keep it up!



September Special

Bring 1 – bring them all. We want to invite your co-workers to come and visit us this month. Please share with any co-workers you may think are interested, you never know this may be what they need to get started!


Push-Up Contest

Trainer meeting ended with push-up contest. Can you guess who won?


Full lot!

That’s what I like to see! Full house tonight at fitcamp. #str8training #sanmarcostx #fitcamp



Chicken breast, zucchini, and mushrooms sautéed in worcestershire sauce and topped with blackberries.