Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Until then, get your workouts in, stay strong & train smart! As Alwyn Cosgrove says, "It doesn't matter what you eat or how you exercise between Christmas and New Years..... But it matters how you eat and exercise between New Year's and Christmas!"
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
A good philosophy is that if you want to build the best building, you need the best raw material and the best builders.
Basically - if you want the best result, you need the best stuff.
- If you are going to eat - eat the best food
- If you are going to exercise - do the most effective exercise
- If you are going to supplement - take the best supplements
- If you want to learn something - learn from the best experts in the field
Any time you try to get the best result without the best stuff - you're going to fail.
Bottom line - take the TOP line. Always go to the best choice first!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
We’ve all heard the alarming statistics regarding the Obesity Epidemic in the United States. What we don’t always hear are the statistics that relate to our children. Since the 1960’s the number of overweight children in the US has increased more than 4 times!! Almost 20% of our youth are now considered overweight! Over 70% of overweight children and adolescents will become overweight adults! Type 2 Diabetes used to be rare in American Children. It now accounts for up to 45% of the newly diagnosed cases of Type 2 Diabetes! The number of children developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, liver disease and sleep apnea are significantly higher. All of these have a direct relationship to obesity. Technology and convenient foods have left us with a nation of inactive overeaters. Picture the differences of a child in the 1960’s to a child of the 2000’s -
Child in 1965
- Walks/rides bike to school
- Participates in Physical Education Classes daily
- Participates in Recess
- Eats a homemade healthy lunch
- Walks/rides bike home
- Completes homework with pen/paper/books
- Walks to mailbox to get the mail
- Goes outside to play/ride bike/run/sports
- Sits down with family to eat a homemade meal
Child living in 2009
- Drives to school (bus or parent)
- Physical Education no longer available
- Possible recess but only for limited time
- Eats convenience foods or high fat/calorie cafeteria foods
- Drives home (bus or parent)
- Completes homework on computer
- Check email on the computer
- Watches TV, uses computer, plays video games
- Eats convenience foods in front of the TV
As parents the absolute BEST way we can encourage an active life is to be an “active” example:
- Get your children involved in the “food process” – Food shopping, preparing cooking, gardening. They are more likely to eat it if they helped grow and/or prepare it. Make is a learning experience.
- Encourage “Instinctive Eating”. Give your child choices at mealtime. Don’t force them to eat when they are not hungry and don’t make them eat foods they are uncomfortable with. Eat family style with many choices.
- Combine exercise with household chores. Each person does one chore and one exercise until the chore is done.
- Incorporate smaller children into the workout -Put your baby in a front carrier or backpack while you walk or do a workout. Put your baby in a stroller and complete a stroller workout that could include walking, running, skipping, lunging, pushups, plank, dips, etc. Walk with the stroller in different environments – outside, in a mall, at the zoo or theme park (many families have yearly passes..take advantage of them!)
- Bring your family with you when you walk – Make it a nightly routine and let them pick a different “vehicle” to ride every night – bike, scooter, wagon, skateboard, etc. Play games when you walk – Count the fire hydrants, count the birds, identify flowers or the bugs (my boys favorite!!).
- Have a family competition. Each person picks an exercise on Monday. Do as many as you can. Then train throughout the week with the goal of improving by the weekend. The family member who has the highest percentage increase is rewarded. Keep the focus on the fact that everyone is improving.
- Designate one evening as family fitness night. Each person gets their turn at picking the activity for the night as well as a food for dinner. Everyone will get their chance to choose their favorite activity and food and you’ll get LOTS of variety!
- Create a fitness scavenger hunt! Make each item an exercise. When each person finds an item they must use the item. For example, when you find the jumprope you have to jumprope for a minute. The first person to find all the items will have gotten a great workout as well as a prize!
Getting started is the hardest part. Start small and let your children be involved in the planning and choices. Remember that children naturally want to move and they will learn from your behaviors. Show them how to live and love an active lifestyle!-AR
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Workout: 45 Minutes
A) Strength Training: 20 Minutes - 30-30’s Mayhem
- 1-Arm Burpee Variation
- Side-to-Side Push-up Variation
- Y Split Squats Variation
- Push-up Row Variation
- Skater Jumps Variation
B) Metabolic Training: 20 Minutes - 50-10’s Dynamite
- Single-Leg Burpee Variation
- Tempo T-Push-ups (3-1-X)
- Tempo Single-Leg Hip Extension Variation (2-2-2)
- TRX T + Row Combo (Bent-Over T’s if no TRX)
- Tempo Squat Jump Combo Variation (3-1-X)
C) Finishers: 5 Minutes - 20-10’s Ultimate Tabatas
- Front Pillar to Push-up Transfer Variation
- Side Pillar to Push-up Transfer Variation (L)
- Side Pillar to Push-up Transfer Variation (R)
- Single-Leg Back Pillar Variation (switch legs halfway)
BRING IT! Happy Thanksgiving!
Monday, November 23, 2009
The deadlift is notorious as a back breaker in most peoples minds. When in fact, it is the poor execution of a deadlift, combined with poor mobility / flexibility, improper warm-up, poor core strength and many other factors that led to the acute or cumulative trauma.
I wanted to give everyone a quick, easy-to-understand, easy-to-apply setup for the conventional deadlift. It will give you the perfect setup everytime.
How to Deadlift Video
Here is what you’ll see in the video:
- conventional deadlift stance
- distance from bar
- hip placement / posture
- tension, irradiation
- grip considerations
- concentric phase
- eccentric phase
- bracing, intra-abdominal pressure
- upper back engagement
- head posture
Here is a step-by-step setup guide for conventional deadlifts:
- Setup with your feet shoulder width or slightly wider than shoulder width apart
- Toes can be straight ahead or turned outward
- Shins should be approximately 4-6″ AWAY from the bar
- Grab the bar with a double overhand grip (until the weight gets too heavy)
- Legs will be straight
- Take a big breath and force your abdominals outward and hold
- Drop your hips as your knees shift forward toward the bar
- Create tension in your upper back and lats by squeezing your armpits and pulling your arms downward
- Drive the floor away, keeping the bar against your body all the way to lockout
- Once bar gets to your knees finish the lockout with a powerful glute contraction, finish in a straight line
- Move hips backward, keeping the glutes and hamstrings on tension
- The bar will move downward and once the bar reaches the knees, drop straight downward back to the floor
How to Modify a Deadlift
Beyond the Range – pulling through a greater range of motion (ROM) which helps accelerate through sticking points and is done by standing on an elevated surface. It can be either 100lb plates or a 4″ box.
Pulling Against Bands or Chains – forces the lifter to accelerate to lockout which develops greater end range strength and rate of force development (RFD)
Band Assisted Pulling – assists the lifter off the floor and should be setup to deload before lockout, allows supramaximal weights (great than the lifter’s 1RM) to be used
Change the Implement – varying a barbell, a trap bar, dumbbells, odd objects or an axle will modify the tension and leverage of the lift
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Dynamic Warm-Up - Complete a set of each exercise in the same numbered pair (for example, 1A & 1B, 2A & 2B, etc.) back-to-back w/ no rest between sets. Once finished, rest for 1-min. and move on to the next exercise pair.
- 1A) Jump Rope - 30 sec.
- 2A) Lateral Skiers - 20 reps
- 1B) T-Push-Ups - 20 reps
- 2B) Dynamic Lunges - 20 reps
- 1C) Jacks - 20 reps
- 2C) Gate Swings - 20 reps
- 1) Squats - 2-3 sets x 4-6 reps
- 2) Bent-Over Barbell Rows - 2-3 sets x 4-6 reps
- 3) Jump Squats - 3 sets x 10-12 reps
- 4) DB Rows - 2-3 sets x 4-6 reps
- 5A) - Bench Step-Ups - 2-3 sets x 12-15 reps (each leg)
- 5B) - Lat Pulldown - 2-3 sets x 12-15 reps
- 6A) DB Squats - 2-3 sets x 12-15 reps
- 6B) Push Press - 2-3 sets x 12-15 reps
- Seal Jacks - 30 sec.
- Jump Rope - 90 sec. of active recovery
- Single Leg Lateral Hops - 30 sec. (each leg)
- Jump Rope - 90 sec. of active recovery
- Mountain Climbers - 30 sec.
- Jump Rope - 90 sec. of active recovery
- DB Swings - 30 sec. (each arm)
- Jump Rope - 90 sec. of active recovery
- Jumping Jacks - 30 sec.
- Jump Rope - 90 sec. of active recovery
- Burpees - 30 sec.
Again, notice that I didn't do any slow, boring cardio. I worked using a combo of various training zones, supersets and high-intensity intervals (HIIT) in the Metabolic Zone which results in a higher output of fat calories and post-workout metabolic acceleration.
Train hard & have fun!
Friday, November 13, 2009
I shared this w/ one of our leadership teams at GJFA the other day, and thought I'd share it w/ you. Some of it was copied, some is mine. Use it if you like.
The Difference Between Good and Great Leading-
Great leaders are shaped and formed in the trenches while most good leaders are born good leaders.
The difference between the 2 is a very thin and fluxuating line.
Great leaders are shaped out of 4 experiences: call, style, skill set, and context in which you see yourself. – when a leader’s call, style and skill set fit the context, the stage is set for a great leader. Opposite, sometimes the stage is set for this, but we never make the transition from good to great. Nothing bad w/ being a good leader, but if you want to make the transition, whether in church ministry or in the work field- . Let’s discuss the diff-
Great leaders challenge the prevailing rules about how to conduct ministry, while good leaders work w/ the cards that are dealt. Great leaders are never content w/ the status quo, they always have a holy discontent w/ the way things are. They know that man-made rules are made to be broken because there is always a better way.
Attitude- Today’s attitude gives me possibilities-
· My attitude when I begin a task affects the outcome more than anything else.
· My attitude towards others often determines their attitude towards me.
· My attitude, not my achievements, give me happiness.- Money will not give you happiness and debt will make you unhappy.
· My attitude- good or bad- is contagious.
Great leaders intuitively read the signs of the times while good leaders struggle to make sense out of the moment. One of the reasons good leaders never achieve greatness is because they’re to busy, preoccupied, making stuff out of nothing, doing things that don’t mean much to the big picture. They don’t take time or sit still long enough to hear. So they fail to see what God is trying to accomplish.
Today’s priorities give me focus.
· Time is our most precious commodity.
· We cannot manage time, we only manage priorities.
· We cannot change time, only our priorities.
· Priorities help us to choose wisely.
Most great leaders are constantly recreating their leadership to fit the times, while most good leaders tend to rely on past performance. Well it worked back at so and so, it worked 10 years ago, 5 years ago isn’t even acceptable. It’s much harder for a person to remain a great leader in times like today w/ such exponential change in every aspect of life and leadership.
Today’s health gives tomorrow’s strength-
· Lasting leaders recognize their body is a vehicle that carries them to their mission.
· Proper diet and exercise provide the energy to lead well over the long haul.
· Your physical health will impact your spiritual stamina and perspective.
Great leaders see no limits of what God can do thru them. They rely on God for the impossible, while most good leaders try to calculate what is possible. Great leaders know that the only way to know the limit of possibility is by pushing it to the impossible. Great leaders know that we don’t need God for the possible, we find God in what is thought impossible. If it’s possible, possibly we are doing it on our own.
Great leaders are willing to ‘ready, fire, aim’ while good leaders always want to have everything in place before they fire. Great leaders are always laying it on the line, stepping out where most people fear to go.
Your commitment will be tested everyday, that’s just how it is, BUT, Staying committed helps you overcome many of life’s obstacles.
Great leaders are passionately focused on a few things and flexible on everything else, while good leaders try to wrap their hearts and minds around too many things.
Great leaders empower others; good leaders delegate ministry to others. Good leaders are always trying to accomplish more.
Delegate: a person acting on behalf of another
Empower: to give official power to or legal authority.
Today’s family gives me stability
Families are often lost- spent as the price for successful ministries & businesses- make time for your spouse and kids-
If the part of your home that you lead is not ‘in order’ you cannot expect to lead others.
Success is having those closet to me, love and respect me the most.- You can not come in here, lead others and then go home and act an entire different way.
Pray w/ your spouses. Just heard today 65% men & 55% women upto age 40 commit adultery. They didn’t plan on it, sin crept in…. I challenge you, what’s on your TV? Desperate housewives, sex in the city, shows that glamorize adultery and immorality?
Leadership isn’t about getting people to do what you want them to do; great leadership is about helping people achieve what God created them to be.
The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is how they think. What do you think about? God is the source of great ideas!!
If you are in are part of this ministry and it is a huge burden, maybe this is not what God called you to be involved in. Find a spot where you are happy and like doing what you do and where you get the most fulfillment; that’s where you are supposed to be.
Great leaders are like scouts and coaches than player. They’re constantly looking for talented, passionate leaders who have the potential to be great, while most good leaders are focused on the fullfilment of a particular ministry.
If you want to be great, empower people to reach their potential.
Great leaders surround themselves w/ good leaders, while good leaders surround themselves w/ people of lesser skills.
This shows extreme insecurities. Afraid someone is going to take your job or think you cant do it. This is where we need to show and exude confidence, not to be mixed w/ arrogant or cockiness.
Some leaders spend to much time focused on problem people or needy people and overlook the other 99% . Sure, these people need help, but the leader doesn’t have to run around and help and clean all the messes, empower others to help others.
Today relationships give me fulfillment.
· You’ll enjoy life more if you enjoy people.
· You’ll get further in life if people enjoy you.
· Most people can trace their success and failures to relationships in their life.
Great leaders are made by how they create or respond to the context in which they find themselves. Buckle up and get yourself in a context where you can become all that God has made you to be. If you’re not in the right context, find the one that fits you. Don’t settle for ‘whatever’.
Time is short, most the time we only have one shot at this.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The problem with fast food is that over the decades they have been increasing their serving sizes. Today when you order a small fries, you actually get what would have been a medium size just five years ago. The larger serving size you are served, the harder it is for you to know when to stop. From the time we are children our parents teach us to clean our plates because there are those less fortunate who have no food. So if we are given an extra large fry, we should be thankful and eat the whole thing.
Fries, burgers, nuggets, shakes, sodas, and other items you can find at fast food establishments are usually three times larger than the amount you should be consuming. This means that you could easily be consuming 1,000+ calories per meal when you super size it. If you are trying to stick to a healthy 2,000 per day calorie diet, you will have consumed over ½ of your entire daily food allowance.
Another problem with the foods you are served at fast food restaurants is that these foods lack nutritional value. The foods are high in fat and sugar. By regularly consuming these high calorie meals that do not have any nutritious value is basically poisoning your body.
There are even some studies that have shown fast food may be addictive. The high levels of salt and sugar content found in most fast food items cause the brain to seek them out. This stems back thousands of years when salt and sugar were hard to come by so people would stock up on their supply when they could.
People will continue to frequent fast food restaurants as long as they continue to see ads on television for Big Macs and super size fries. One solution to this problem would be to limit the number of ads fast food companies can have at any one time.
While we cannot blame fast food companies entirely for our increasingly expanding waist lines, it is their food that is making us this way. If they increased the cost of a burger and lowered the cost of a salad there may be more incentive for consumers to choose the salad over the burger.
As long as fast food companies are making money off of their 1,000 calorie burgers, they will continue to sell them. The best way to prevent weight gain associated with a fast food diet is to completely cut fast food out of your diet. Drive right by those golden arches and hurry home where you can make a healthy meal. Completely removing fast food from your diet is similar to detox; it removes the addictive properties found in fast food.
Also, exercise is a vital aspect that is missing in most people’s daily lives. This is an essential piece of the puzzle to reverse the effects of high calorie fast food diets. Incorporating some type of a daily exercise routine will decrease your risk of heart disease ten fold.
Be sure to check out this video by Josh Trent (fitnessSD), NASM-CES, simply titled "Fast Food Fitness". It's a great video that depicts the problem with fast food and how it affects your health based on the decisions you make for what you eat.
Remember.....less hot dog and more downward dog!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Recreational soccer is an effective health-promoting activity for untrained men
Krustrup et al.
British Journal of Sports Medicine 2009;43:825-831
36 healthy untrained men were randomised into a soccer group, a running group and a control group.
Training was performed for 1 hour two or three times per week for 12 weeks; at an average heart rate of 82% of HRmax for both training groups.
During the 12-week program, the soccer group improved maximal oxygen uptake (a measure of aerobic fitness) 62% more than the running group. The soccer group also lost an average of 50% more fat than the running group (6lbs vs 4lbs).
The soccer group had an increase in lean body mass of 3.75lbs, an increase in lower
extremity bone mass, a greater decrease in LDL-cholesterol and an increase in fat oxidation
during running at 9.5 km/h. The running group saw none of these changes.
The number of capillaries per muscle fibre was also almost 50% higher in the soccer training group than in running. Both groups reduced blood pressure equally.
The researchers concluded that participation in recreational soccer training, has significant beneficial effects on health profile and physical capacity and in some aspects it is superior
to frequent moderate-intensity running.
What does this tell us? Well, think about soccer. The difference is more than adding a ball while running. Soccer (I mean FOOTBALL) is essentially a form of interval training (although the work and recovery periods are randomized - CHAOS training as my friend Robert Dos Remedios calls it). It's also multi-directional, multi-movement (jumping, heading, running, sprinting, kicking, tackling, with contact) and multi-planar.
Basically this study shows that open interval training, using multiple movements and directions is superior for conditioning, muscle building and fat loss when compared to the same intensity of running.
I just wish they'd discovered that watching soccer was just as good.....
By the way, why do they call it "soccer" when it's really FOOT-ball? Played with your feet.....
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Question: Is caffeine good for my workouts?
Answer: Caffeine has long been used by endurance athletes and sleepy office workers alike to help increase energy and endurance, but is it safe and does it work?
Studies have found that, when it comes to exercise, caffeine:
- Delays fatigue
- Slows the breakdown of muscle glycogen, which means your body has more fuel to keep going
- Enhances endurance
- Keeps you more alert
- Can reduce muscle pain during exercise
- May lower perceived exertion, making exercise feel more comfortable
While caffeine can have a positive effects on endurance exercise, you don't need it to have a good workout. If you're a competitive athlete thinking of using caffeine, keep in mind that it is a diuretic, so you may need more bathroom breaks. That could affect your workouts as well as your hydration levels.
How Much Caffeine Is Enough?
Studies have shown that 3 mg/kg to 6 mg/kg is enough to enhance endurance. The average cup of coffee has about 60 mg to 120 mg, so it doesn't take much caffeine to do the job.
Caffeine is a stimulant, so it does have side effects that could cause problems for certain people:
- Increased urination
- Stomach upset
- Trembling or shaking
- Trouble sleeping
- Increased anxiety
If you're pregnant, you should avoid caffeine and you should also be cautious if you're on medication or taking other performance-enhancing supplements that contain other stimulants. Too much caffeine can increase the side effects and could be dangerous to your health if you have other illnesses or conditions.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Dynamic Warm-Up - Complete a set of each exercise in the same numbered pair (for example, 1A & 1B, 2A & 2B, etc.) back-to-back w/ no rest between sets. Once finished, rest for 1-min. and move on to the next exercise pair.
- 1A) Forward/Backward Jumps - 20 reps
- 2A) Gate Swings - 20 reps
- 1B) Lateral Jumps - 20 reps
- 2B) Dymanic Lunges w/ Overhead Reach - 10 reps
- 1C) Jacks - 20 reps
- 2C) Reverse Dynamic Lunges w/ Twist - 10 reps
- 1) YTWL Delt Raises -10 reps
- 2) Prone Plank - Hold for 60-sec.
- 3) Single-Leg Glute Bridge - 15 reps/side w/ 2-sec. pause @ top of the movement
- 1A) Body Weight Squats - 2 sets x 10 reps
- 1B) Spiderman Pushups - 2 sets x 10 reps
- 2A) Bulgarian Split Squats - 2 sets x 10 reps each side
- 2B) Inverted Row - 2 sets x failure
- 3A) Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift - 2 sets 10 reps each side
- 3B) DB Push Press - 2 sets x 10 reps
- 4A) Side Lunge - 2 sets x 10 reps each side
- 4B) Pullups - 2 sets x failure
- 1) DB Swing
- 2) Burpees
- 3) Squat Jumps
- 4) Shuttle Runs
Notice that I didn't do any slow, boring cardio at all. The reason being is that I worked using a combo of high-intensity intervals (HIIT) and supersets which results in a higher output of fat calories and post-workout metabolic acceleration. If fat loss is what you're after, you can't go wrong with HIIT and supersets.
Train hard & have fun!
Friday, October 30, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Recently I have been hearing a lot about divorce, adultery, cheating, immorality and so on. All over TV and billboards you sex being glamorized. Just today, a friend of mine came and talk about this messy subject of affairs and adultery that he was in the middle of.
Look at this heart wrenching, staggering stat- 65% of men and 55% of women will commit adultery by age 40. That is so sad!
I heard a message the other day about this subject and want to hit some points and add some of my own to it.
5 Ways to wreck your marriage -
Neglect your marriage
- Start w/ yourself and your body
- Give majority of energy to something else besides your marriage
- No relational intimacy- no sex- if so, by all means, make it boring and as predictable as you possibly can
Enjoy common interests & form an emotional bond w/ someone else besides your spouse
- Projects at work, co-ed sports, training at the gym
- Try to relate to them and tell them things about your spouse you don’t like
Anticipate your time together w/ another
- Extra cologne/perfume, make excuses to leave the house
Flirt w/ others
- Email, FB and text them
- Make sure you delete all communication between you 2 so spouse doesn’t find out
- Leave notes, touch, joke w/ one another
Make excuses and rationalize your actions
- Lie and deceive your spouse
By all means, God wants you to be happy!Now that I have your attention, lets talk about this subject!
People never intend to commit adultery, it happens subtly.
Do whatever it takes to radically reduce and remove the risks.
God’s line w/ adultery isn’t just the act of, we think “well, we are friends, we haven’t crossed the sex line yet” but God’s line starts w/ our eyes, heart and mind. Check out Matt 5:28.
Guard your heart, eyes and mind.
Listen, if you kept a video log w/ all your interactions w/ other people through out the day, whether same or opposite sex and showed it to your spouse, would you be proud of how you behaved?
If emails, FB, and texts were fair game and you didn’t delete them, would you be able to say you treated others w/ integrity and not be ashamed of what they saw? Or would you say YIKES, I wouldn’t want them to see how I gave this other person so much attention, or when I got w/ my buddies/girlfriends, how we talked about others of the opposite sex.
5 ways to help your relationship w/ your spouse -
Keep a growing relationship w/ Christ. When you neglect your relationship w/ Christ, things go downhill.
Never be alone w/ the wrong people. Who ever that may be, same or opposite sex. What’s the appearance seem to be?
Never talk badly about your marriage w/ the wrong people. Find another married couple to talk to.
Surround yourself w/ strong marriages.
Avoid all inappropriate place and situations. Ex old flames looking you up on fb or texting- don’t let it happen. Don’t put yourself or your spouse in that situation.
Avoid ALL appearance of evil.
If you have a job that puts you in bad situations, then quit. It’s easier to find another job than another father or mother to your children. True-life example- I have a buddy that got a job. I mentioned my concerns, he started anyways. The first day of training he went home, talked to his wife about it, listened to his wife’s views, went back and quit the job. He didn’t want to be put in any situation that could possibly lead to something else. Was he weak? HECK NO, he was avoiding the situation, guarding himself, and heeding the advice of his wife. Smart man and I respect him for that move!
Do what it takes to invest in your own marriage. When the grass looks greener on the other side, it’s time to water your own yard!
Your marriage takes work. After going on 18 years, I think Renee and I’s marriage is stronger now than it’s ever been. Why? Because we have been working on it for a while. It just doesn’t happen. We have open talks about things and situations in our lives.
- When we don’t work at it we fail
- Get transparent - open up and share your feelings and heart
- Get alone w/ each other- no kids or friends
- Get spiritual - Best thing that happened w/ Renee and I, we learned to pray together
- Get help - if you need help, find it
When we are unfaithful, God is always faithful.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
RESISTANCE: For a muscle to increase strength it must be “loaded” with some type of resistance. It matters little whether the resistance is applied to a muscle via machines, barbells, dumbbells, stretch cords, bricks, or even other human beings. This loading of a muscle is referred to as the “Overload Principle”. This principle states that, for a muscle to increase in strength, it must be stressed or overloaded, with a workout that is beyond its present capacity. Also, the load or resistance must be made progressively more challenging over time for strength to continue increasing.
REPETITIONS: There are 2 key components to the performance of a repetition. First, perform each repetition in a manner that is effective and safe. This means, move through the repetition in a deliberate and controlled fashion, without jerking. Second, each repetition should be performed through the greatest possible range of motion that is orthopedically safe. This ensures flexibility is maintained (perhaps increased) and that the whole muscle is being exercised, not just a portion of it.
RECOVERY: Remember, muscles don’t get stronger during a workout -- muscles get stronger after a workout during the recovery phase. If the demands of a workout are of sufficient magnitude, the recovery process is essential because it allows damaged muscle enough time to repair itself. There are individual variations in recovery. However, 24-48 hours is necessary for a muscle to recover sufficiently from an intense workout.
RECORDS: For strength training to be as productive as possible, it's critical to keep records that are accurate and detailed. Records document a history of what was accomplished. In case of injury, the effectiveness of rehab can be gauged if there is a record of pre-injury strength. Records can also be used to identify plateaus. Your workouts can be made more meaningful by keeping records!
Train hard, train smart & have fun!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Not only is a firm, flat stomach the ultimate symbol of sex appeal, researchers have found that losing abdominal fat is one of the most important steps you can take to stay healthy for life.
Most people realize that excess fat is unhealthy, but the key is where the fat is distributed. People with apple-shaped bodies (fattest in the abdomen) have a greater risk of heart disease and diabetes than those with pear shapes (fattest in the hips, buttocks, and thighs).
There are two main types of fat in the stomach area. Visceral fat is stored deep inside your body. It surrounds and protects your internal organs. Subcutaneous fat, on the other hand, is stored just under your skin. It's the stuff that wobbles when you jump up and down.
It won't surprise you to learn that the best way to lose abdominal fat is to eat right and exercise regularly. And there's a growing body of research to show that the fastest way to burn off the fat from your belly is with a combination of weight training and cardio exercise.
A good example comes from research published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. For the study, researchers compared the effectiveness of two exercise and diet programs. Subjects taking part in the study were assigned to one of two groups.
- Group one followed a diet based on the traditional food guide pyramid (50-55% carbohydrate; 15-20% protein; less than 30% fat). They also did cardiovascular exercise 4-6 days per week at 50-75% of their maximal heart rate. Each workout lasted 30-60 minutes.
- Group two followed a diet that was higher in protein and lower in carbohydrate and fat. Their exercise program consisted of alternating days of resistance and cardiovascular interval training six days per week.
And the result?
Subjects in group two (remember, these were the people who lifted weights, did more intense cardio, and ate more protein) lost more fat overall (-20.6%) than the normal group (-10.1%). They also gained 2 pounds of muscle (0.9 kilograms) while the cardio-only group, not surprisingly, lost muscle.
More interesting still, abdominal fat dropped by 26% in group two, but by just 13.5% in group one. In other words, subjects in group two lost almost twice as much belly fat as those in group one.
Now, I should point out that this wasn't the perfect study. For one, although the subjects were told to record what they ate, there's no way of knowing how accurate these records were. In other words, this was not a study where the diet was tightly controlled by the researchers.
Unfortunately, self-reported food intake is a notoriously inaccurate way to measure calorie intake. Some studies show that people underestimate their calorie intake by up to 50%. Which means that someone who says they are eating 1000 calories per day may really be eating 2000 calories.
It's also worth nothing that subjects taking part in this study exercised for up to six days per week. Don't worry if you don't have time for all this exercise. With the right program, four days a week is plenty.
So, if you want to lose belly fat, here's what you should do:
First, you NEED to exercise. A feeble 30-40 minutes of cardio in your so-called "fat-burning zone" two or three times a week isn't going to cut it! As you may learned from reading some of my previous posts, a full-body training program that includes both cardiovascular and full-body resistance exercise (compound or multi-joint exercises) will deliver better, faster results.
Forget about doing hundreds of crunches, sit-ups, or any of the various "drawing in the belly button" exercises. They're virtually useless for most people when it comes to losing belly fat. Abdominal exercises DO NOT burn fat away from your abs! This can only be accomplished through a much more effective full-body training routine that maximizes both your metabolic response and your hormonal response to your workouts.
Remember, belly fat is stored energy. To get rid of it, you need to burn more energy (calories) than you eat. These exercises (crunches) don't burn enough calories to make much of a difference to the appearance of your waist and stomach.
The truth is, getting six-pack 'killer' abs has almost nothing to do with training! It has everything to do with low body fat. Personally, I still believe that developing the abdominal muscles is easy. The hardest part is getting your body fat low enough for your abs to show.
You'll also need to eat the right foods. I know it's a cliché, but a flat stomach is made in the kitchen.....not the gym. Deciding what to eat can be difficult, especially with the mass of conflicting and confusing information out there. When it comes to nutrition, most people have been given only half the story. Usually, it's the wrong half!
Ultimately, while there are a few basic principles to keep in mind when it comes to nutrition and weight loss, losing belly fat requires that you take in fewer calories than you burn. Don't be seduced into following an overly complicated diet masquerading under the guise of a "new and revolutionary" approach to weight loss.
Finally, you need to be consistent with your diet and exercise program. To lose belly fat, eating right and exercising regularly needs to become a habit, not just something you do when you can be bothered or when you "have the time." If your current schedule makes it difficult to find the time for exercise, change it. Get out of bed earlier & stop wasting time. As I say, life is too short spending it on the couch watching reality TV!
*Source: International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
Friday, October 9, 2009
In the last year or so, I've seen lots of good people and friends of mine leave the company. Well, today is the last day of work for another good friend of mine. Despite the fact that he's leaving, he sent an email to everyone he knew to say 'thank you' and for being grateful to have worked at a wonderful place.
What I want to share with all of you is a part of his email that we can probably all relate to -- regardless of what type of situation we are dealing with. We need to look beyond what's in front of us and visualize what lays ahead. Here's his email:
"When I was in high school, I spent a lot of time at the local airport and loved aviation. I often bummed rides in small aircraft and even took a family vacation or two in a rented airplane. Therefore, it was a special treat for me when I had the opportunity to fly in all of our corporate jets, the King Air prop plane, and even the helicopter!
On one of my business trips on the corporate jet, I remember it was an early damp gray morning - fairly dark and gloomy. I think my mood at the time must have been about the same as the weather outside. However, I jumped at the opportunity to ride in the jump seat between the pilots when they asked if anyone wanted to fly up front with them! I was probably the only one on the plane that was glad our flight was a long cross-country trip. The plane took off like a rocket! We soon leveled off and were above the clouds in no time. I could not believe how sunny it was above the clouds. I realized that we were still near the airport where we had departed, only now my perspective had changed. Instead of looking at the gray clouds – I looked down on the bright white clouds – and the sky overhead was clear blue! The only thing different was my perspective.
I think too often we can fall into the trap of looking at the bottom of the clouds and dwell too much on the grayness of the day – we need look beyond the clouds and remember that even on the gray days it is always sunny above the clouds!"
Just remember, determination, patience and courage are the only things needed to improve any situation.
Dave, I wish you all the best in your future endeavors as well as continued success in all that you do. You will be missed! Take care my good friend!
The Seated Leg Extension
The myth: It’s the safest way to work your quadriceps, or thigh muscles.
The truth: Physiologists at the Mayo Clinic determined that leg extensions place significantly more stress on your knees than squats. Why? Because the resistance is placed near your ankles, which leads to high amounts of torque being applied to your knee joint every time you lower the weight. What’s more, Auburn University scientists found that people who squat long-term have tighter, stronger knee ligaments than those who don’t squat at all.
The alternatives: Free weight squats, split squats, and lunges—performed with perfect form—are all better choices for working your quads and protecting your knees.
The Behind-the-Neck Lat Pull-Down
The myth: The best way to perform the lat pulldown is to pull the bar behind your head, down to your upper back
The truth: Unless you have very flexible shoulders, this exercise is difficult to do correctly, and can increase your risk for shoulder impingement syndrome—a painful condition in which the muscles or tendons of your rotator cuff become entrapped in your shoulder joint.
The alternative: Simple—just pull the bar in front of your head, down to your collarbone. You’ll work your back just as hard, but with less risk for injury.
The Pec Deck
The myth: It’s a super safe and very effective way to work your chest muscles.
The truth: This apparatus, also called the chest fly machine, can overstretch the front of your shoulder and cause the muscles around the rear of your shoulder to stiffen. The result: Doing this movement frequently can lead to shoulder impingement syndrome.
The alternatives: Forget the machine, and stick with exercises such as the pushup, dumbbell bench press and dumbbell incline press; they’re easier on your shoulders and the best way to build your chest overall. In fact, Truman State University researchers found that pectoral muscles are activated for 23 percent less time during the chest fly, compared with the bench press.
The Seated Hip Abductor Machine
The myth: This machine is the best way to work your out thighs, including your glutes.
The truth: Because you’re seated, it trains a movement that has no functional use. And if done with excessive weight and jerky technique, it can put undue pressure on your spine.
The alternative: Work the same muscles, but while standing. Simply loop a resistance band around both legs, and position the band just below your knees. Now take small steps to your left for 20 feet. Then side-step back to your right for 20 feet. That’s one set. This is much harder than it sounds, but you can do it anywhere, and it’s also a great warmup for any sport.
The Seated Rotation Machine
The myth: Twisting on this machine helps melt your love handles.
The truth: It works the muscles under your love handles, but will do little to reduce the fat that covers them. What’s more, because your pelvis doesn't move as you rotate your upper body, this exercise can put excessive twisting forces on the spine.
The alternative: As long as you don’t expect to shrink your love handles, you can use rotational exercises to work your obliques. But here’s the secret to safety: Before you do any rotational exercises, brace your abs forcefully—as if you’re about to be punched in the gut—and hold them that way as you do the movement. This limits your range of motion and helps to keep you from rotating excessively at your lower spine.
The Smith Machine
The myth: This machine—which looks like a squat rack with a built-in bar that runs on guides—gives you all the benefits of squats, but none of the risk that comes from holding a heavy barbell across your back. That’s because the bar can easily be secured at any point during the movement.
The truth: Because the bar runs on guides, you can only move straight up and down as you squat—instead of down and back, as you would in a free-weight squat. The result: An unnatural movement that puts extra stress on your knees and lower back. Need another reason to skip the Smith? Canadian researchers found that traditional squats produced almost 50 percent more muscle activity in the quadriceps than squats done on a Smith machine.
The alternative: If you’re not comfortable with barbell squats, simply do the exercise while holding dumbbells at arm’s length next to your sides. You won’t need a spotter, and your body will be free to move through the natural motion of the squat.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
I was talking to Chris Frankel ( a lecturer and PhD candidate at the University of New Mexico) recently about the massive difference in terms of results between a resistance training program and a cardio based program in terms of fat loss, despite calories burned supposedly being equal.
Chris pointed out that most of the ways to quantify caloric burn from weight training and other anaerobic activites are estimates and have significant amount of error built in. On the other hand, it is really straight forward to measure energy expenditure as calories during steady state exercise. The problem has come when we have tried to use that measurement of caloric burn during aerobic work and apply it to resistance training or circuit training. Quite simply - that method of figuring out the calories just doesn't work.
I also read some recent work from the University of Southern Maine that used a more accurate method to estimate caloric burn from weight training than had been used previously.
These researchers pointed out that a weight training circuit burned 71% more calories than originally thought. In fact 8 minutes of weight training burned somewhere between 159 and 231 calories. That's 20-28 calories per minute! And this was a very basic program - not one designed for fat loss - to really maximize caloric burn.
Coaches and trainers have known for years that resistance training is a superior method of exercise in fat loss programs. Up until very recently, we really didn't know why -- as just comparing estimated calories burned did not account for the difference. However - now we know that resistance training burns more calories while you are doing it (using more accurate measurements), and when you factor in any post workout increases in metabolism, and any increases in muscle over 12-16 weeks of the program, the metabolic advantages are even bigger.
Action step: make resistance training the cornerstone of your fat loss and general fitness programs.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The Big 7
- Chest Press/Bench Press
- Military/Stranding Press
There are many variations of each of the exercises listed above. Variations consist of: dumbbells, barbells, seated vs. standing, different grips & angles, etc.
The key things about "The Big 7" are:
a) they are all compound movements, NOT isolation exercises
b) as a group, they hit every major muscle in the body (yes, they even work your abs for those of you who spend countless and useless hours doing hundreds of crunches)
c) they produce RESULTS!
d) they form the basics of any good resistance training program/routine; if your routine doesn't include each of these at least 1x per week, even if you're a beginner, it's time to get a new plan!
e) with the variations, you could do just these 7 exercises for years and never get bored; since I'm a firm believer in keeping things fresh, I suggest you add as much variation as possible which will limit your body's ability to adapt to a specific exercise program/routine.
Train hard & have fun!
Friday, September 18, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Check out this Metabolic Circuit that uses the training methodology of the Tabata Protocol - 20 sec. on, 10 sec. off/recovery.
Here's the details of the circuit:
- Push ups
- MB Whirlwinds
- Shoulder shuffles
- Band Hooks
- Mountain Climbers
- Split Squat Screamers
- Band Jumps
- MB Pick ups
Perform 20s on, 10s off and go through the entire running order twice.
Check out more at Nick Grantham.com
The times are a-changing and it's back to basics for everyone. Plus, it's back to school and back to work for almost everyone in North America.
And because so much more is expected of the "everyday" person - multi- tasking at work, coming home to a family, religious & community obligations - there hardly is ever any time to do much for ourselves.
And sadly, getting a workout in is usually at the bottom of our list of priorities.
When we do find time to train, we usually revert to something that we picked- up out of a magazine or even worse, try to remember what we did back in the old college weight room.
So when the time comes for us to realize that we do need to get in shape and start to live healthier lives we are faced with a dilemma - do we "make the time", be it an extra 3-5 hours per week, to go to the gym and train and cut out excess in our lives?
Can we find a sensible alternative that will...
1) create an environment in our bodies that will allow us to burn fat even if we're not training and
2) be flexible enough for our hectic schedules so that little (time) will be sacrificed.
My question is this...
Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can't it be both?
Can we focus on the essential allowing us to do what we love and still make enough to support our lives?
Can we alter our lifestyle to pare down to only what's necessary thus making room for more important things?
Can our workouts follow the same philosophy where we can do only what's necessary to get the results that we want?
The answer of course is YES and this is a change that I am noticing in health & fitness from our clients and those who look to us for advice.
People now are sick of the excess and are learning to live with less. They are realizing that living a simpler life is more fulfilling than living a life of having too many things, spending more than they're earning and consuming more than they need to.
That's why it's time to...
Let the Kettlebell Revolution Begin
From a training standpoint, nothing provides more efficiency than combining kettlebell training with traditional bodyweight exercises. Separately they still will yield impressive results, but together, NOTHING can compare.
And for busy people, who don't have time to get to the gym, this is the ONLY style of training that provides better and faster results - I believe it even beats sprint interval training - and I challenge you to give it a try.
Kettlebells are compact, transportable and efficient. Combining a series of swings with kettlebell rows, presses & squats can not only improve your physical strength, but your body composition as well.
Because revolution kettlebell training is done in a circuit format with little to no rest between exercises.
Revolution training demands that body transforms - shedding fat and scultping muscle - in order to improve with your performance to complete these circuits in less time each workout.
As Alwyn has said many times before, "Improve your performance and your physique will follow." It's impossible to get better at Kettlebell Revolution training without your body shedding fat and building a sexy, athletic body.
The high intensity kettlebell revolution training applies turbulence to the muscles and causes the largest AFTERBURN response possible - so you'll be burning calories long after your session is complete.
Kettlebell training, an ancient and basic physical artform, truly IS the future of fat loss training.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
It's September 2009 and there's change in the air. We could say this everyday, but the month of September symbolizes change for so many American families. Kids are going back to school, and with the new school year comes new schedules and routines, new goals and new dreams. Even though summer may not technically be over for a few more days, Fall is on its way. The weather will start to cool, football and other fall sports have started and for those of us with school-aged children, we have a moment to take a deep breath and look around us.
Change. It's a fact of life. You've heard the saying, change or die... well, it's true for all parts of our lives - personal and professional. This anonymous abridgement of Reinhold Niebuhr's Serenity Prayer is a real favorite of mine, "God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me." So, take a deep breath, look around you and then look straight in the mirror. What are your goals? What are your dreams?
My goal this month is to help you to get started on your future by choosing change before it chooses you! If it is true that change comes in two forms, evolutionary and revolutionary, maybe now is the time to START YOUR OWN REVOLUTION. Revolutionary change is planned change. Change you choose. Change you lead. Change you celebrate. Here's how you can become an agent of change in your life.
Choose a healthier you. Now is a great time to get back into your routine and focus on making steady progress toward a healthier you! Hire a trainer, get back to your favorite classes, get outside and enjoy the beauty of autumn while walking, running, biking or hiking. Re-establish healthy fitness and nutrition routines NOW! September and October are the "teetering" months. On the one hand, we are still anchored in 2009 and hanging on to the goals we set earlier this year. But, on the other hand, we teeter toward the chaos of the holiday season, as it draws us closer to the fresh start of a new year. It's tempting to put our goals on hold and wait to renew them in January. Don't fall for this annual temptation! Jump in hard and jump in fast to close 2009 stronger and healthier than ever! Lock into fitness and nutrition routines NOW! Wait too long, and you'll be climbing a steep hill in January!
Choose a lower stress you. The first ingredients of a lower stress lifestyle begin with a healthier you, and this means proper exercise, nutrition and sleep. But, you can't lower your stress without supportive relationships - spouse, partner, family, friends, coworkers, classmates, teammates, etc. For years, research has shown that a lower stress you means a more social you. One positive outcome of these more challenging economic times is the increase in casual social gatherings among families and friends, without having to go out and needlessly spend money. Make the effort to be more social. Seek out healthy relationships. Take care of yourself by taking care of and enjoying those who love you. Turn off your cell phones, CHILL out and don't be afraid to smell the roses.
Choose a successful you. Are you passionate about what you do? Do you love going to work everyday? I can tell you that as a personal trainer and massage therapist, I love what I do and can't imagine doing anything else. I deeply believe that when you find your true purpose in life and aren't afraid to live what you love, true happiness is found. It doesn't mean it will be easy, but it will be right, and it will feel right. Follow your passion and live your purpose. If you are not, it's time for change.
Choose a positive you. Now, as always, it is absolutely critical that you keep your mindset positive. Nothing bothers me more than people who whine and complain about how bad everything is. GET OVER IT! Start a gratitude journal - it's one of the most powerful ways to keep life in perspective. Each night, simply write down 5 or 10things for which you are grateful for that day. This keeps things in perspective and allows you to be more centered and balanced in all aspects of your life. Additionally, I recommend you read great books, listen to motivational tapes, surround yourself with positive people and laugh often. Shut down your internal critic. Remember - it really is about attitude, not platitude. That is why the old saying says, "Your attitude determines your altitude."
Notice that I never said that change is easy or comfortable. Many times, it isn't. Many of us resist change because we fear losing control. At Fitness Quest 10, I often encourage our clients to try new trainers, therapists, or instructors. My message to them is to experiment with change - play with it and see what happens. Whether it's a new trainer, a new class, a new project or a new friend, there's something in it for you - something new you get to discover. Life is a series of discoveries and events, some bigger than others. Take it one day at a time. Keep change in perspective and realize that sometimes it isn't as hard as we make it out to be. Laugh, smile and rid yourself of the need to be always in control. Live in the present and stay focused on positive change and the future you desire.
Here's a little test to win you over. Name the three happiest days of your life. Maybe your list includes your wedding day, or the birth of a child, a graduation, a goal accomplished or an honor received. Now, of this list of three, how many caused change? You got it - all of them. Change - it's around every corner. It's attached to everyday, everyone and everything. Choose change. Seek it. Embrace it. START A REVOLUTION IN YOUR LIFE TODAY!