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Monthly Archives: September 2016

September 30, 2016

11 best fitness tips

In this episode, I wanted to share my best fitness tips.  Each of these fitness tips build on each other.  You really need to keep each of these in your programming to ensure you're getting the most out of your fitness program.

My best fitness tips

1. Warm up
This has to be everyone's #1 fitness tip.  Like rubber, your muscles and connective tissue get stiff when they are cold.  It is important for you to do a proper warm up to avoid injury.  A warm up consists of slow and controlled movement to get the blood flowing through your body.  Only after you've warmed up should you stretch or exercise.
2. Have purpose
Each time you go to “work out” you should know why you're there. I see so many people come into the gym and wander from place to place with no clear agenda.  I'm not saying they're wasting their time, but they certainly are not getting the most out of those sessions.
3. Focus
Once you're in the gym, focus on why you're there.  The only reason for you to have your phone out is to skip a song on your playlist or record your effort on a fitness app.  Yes, you are on a rest, but without focus you're likely resting too long.  See warm up above.
4. Use good form
This is another key fitness tip.  Injuries will keep you from meeting your fitness goals.  Just as a good warm up is important for injury prevention, you should use good form.  I'd encourage you to listen to the episode with David Knox, author of Body School.  If you don't know good form, ask a trainer.  I'm even willing to help, just ask.
5. Have consistency
Consistency is key to reaching your goals.  Our bodies adapt to the exercise when we work through a challenge, feed, rest cycle.  Taking too many days off will stall your progress.
6. Push
Using the same weight each time you work out will help you retain the strength you have, but you won't be getting any other benefit from it.  When you exercise, push yourself.  As I said above, you have to challenge, feed and rest to get results.
7. Rest
Another big part of the adaptation cycle, rest is imperative.  This includes rest between sets, which should align with your purpose (shorter rests for endurance/mass and longer rests for strength).  It also includes the rest between workouts.  Don't think you can work the same muscles every day and see improvement.  You have to allow the muscle to rebuild, which can take up to 72 hours.
8. Nutrition
Your muscle requires protein for rebuilding and some glycogen for fuel.  Making sure you're getting enough food is important.  If you're working while you're on a calorie restricted diet, you might find you don't have the energy to push.  As a result, you're holding yourself back from seeing good results.
9. Hydrate
Hydration is key.  You should make sure you're fully hydrated before you hit the gym.  I like to take a sip of water between each set.  This typically has me walking more during my workout and keeps me hydrated.  And I'm not on my phone.
10. Reevaluate
From time to time, you'll need to step back and see how you're progressing.  This reevalution will help you avoid plateaus.
11. Educate yourself
Take the time to educate yourself.  This goes with form, fuel, exercises, and reps/sets.  You need to figure out what works for you.

 

I hope you enjoyed these fitness tips.  Do you have any fitness tips you'd like to add to the list?  If so, please comment below…

4 fitness modalities that matter

September 28, 2016

Better movement and form with David Knox

In the book Body School, David Knox lays out the ways movement and form will keep our body healthy, fit and injury free.  As a life-long dancer (yoga, jazz and modern) and a martial artist (holding two black belts), David knows a thing or two about movement and form.

Six elements of movement and form

  1. The general position of arms legs and torso
  2. The finer alignments of the torso, limbs, hands, feet, neck and head
  3. How the muscles are used
  4. How breathing is involved
  5. The degree to which one can recognize and release unnecessary tension
  6. One's ability to perform movement in a strong, fluid, controlled manner

Treadmill pros and cons

Pros

  1. Treadmills are easier on your joints.
  2. Treadmills have handrails for safety.
  3. Treadmills keep you out of bad weather.
  4. Treadmills provide a consistent environment.
  5. Treadmills provide measurement tools such as a heart rate monitor.
  6. Treadmills often have tvs and magazine/book holders.

Cons

  1. The treadmill does not train you to deal with real world surfaces.
  2. The handrails can be abused.
  3. Exposure to different weather can provide health benefits.
  4. Treadmills can train you to not be aware of your environment when you walk/run outdoors.
  5. The gadgets on treadmills may not really be valuable and may be inaccurate.

The five considerations on stretching

  1. How often should you stretch?
  2. How far should you stretch?
  3. How should a good stretch feel?
  4. Should stretches be held statistically for a period of time, pulsed, of constantly extended?
  5. Does it matter which muscles are stretched first?

The six injury causes

  1. Impact
  2. Repetitive stress
  3. Range of motion
  4. Hyperextension
  5. Resistance overload
  6. Changing speed and dynamics

Links:

Facebook

email: davidknoxbs@gmail.com

You Can Run Pain Free | Brad Beer

September 26, 2016

Is your inner voice a nice person?

Our inner voice is a very powerful thing.  It drives our mood and feelings, and it can determine whether we will be successful in our health and fitness journey.

I'd like you to take a few minutes to do an inner voice audit.  Answer the following questions (you may want a pen and pad to write down a few notes):

  • Think about your current health or fitness.  What words come to mind?
  • What are your health and fitness expectations in one, three, and ten years?
  • When you slip up, what is your tendancy?  Do you stay focused on that or do you look to move on?

Now take a few minutes to think about this.  Would you use the same words to address someone you love?

The good news: you can change your inner voice.

I'm currently reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, PhD. Yes, I actually read more than just health, fitness, and weight loss books. This best-selling book has been out for a while and has gotten a ton of praise in the business and education fields. That said, I think there are some very practical applications for someone on a health and fitness journey. I'll include a link to the book at the end of this post.

In the book, Dr. Dweck explains that mindset typically takes one of two natures:

  1. Fixed Mindset – People with this mindset believe that we are who we are and cannot change.  They believe intelligence is fixed and cannot be improved with effort.  They believe we are who we are and cannot change our behavior, habits and thoughts. When they fail at something, tend to stick with things they're good at and avoid the challenge.
  2. Growth Mindset – People with this mindset believe that we can change and improve.  They believe intelligence can be improved with effort. They believe we can change and become better people. When they fail, the see it as an opportunity to learn and improve and relish the challenge.

Maybe you feel you have a little bit of both. Or maybe you think intelligence can be improved but we can't change who we inherently are deep inside.  That's okay.  Rather you're squarely in one or the other, or have some of both, you can move into a growth mindset, which in the end is the inner voice you need.

How do I change my inner voice?

You can improve your inner voice with a few practices:

  1. Awareness/mindfulness
  2. A proof-based mantra – I know I will be healthier because…
  3. Gratitude
  4. Immediate return to plan

So, is your inner voice a nice person?

If isn't, now you know you can fix that.

The love diet | Dr. Connie Gutterson

Naked in 30 days | Theresa Roemer

 

September 23, 2016

Pause training – mix things up with a pause

Pause training is thought of as an intermediate to advance technique, but I think there are some good applications even for the beginner.  In this episode, we'll discuss pause training and how you can use it in a safe and effective way.

Benefits of pause training:

  1. Increase intensity
  2. Improves strength through the full range of motion
  3. Often safer than other methods

This method works for two basic reasons:

  1. It increases the time under tension.  Most beginning trainees focus on the number of repetitions and sets.  Added together these represent the total number of repetitions for any given exercise.  Yet, there is one other dimension in weight lifting, which is the time the weight is being moved.  Increasing this time variable ramps up the intensity.
  2. It removes momentum from the lift.  Many lifters have a natural bounce at the bottom of a lift.  This allows them to build momentum, which reduces the total intensity of the exercise.  Using a pause reduces or eliminates this momentum.

Two use cases for pauses:

  1. Sticking point.  A sticking point is where you are weakest with a range of motion.  For many lifters, this is the bottom of bench press or when your arm is fully extended in an arm curl.  By lowering the overall weight used and pausing around the sticking point, you'll build more strength around that point in the range of motion, allowing you to lift more through the entire range of motion.
  2. At the bottom of the range of motion.  I will use pauses at the bottom of a range of motion to help build flexibility and control at that point of a lift.

Application:

I use pause training in two different types of exercises.

  1. For isolation movements like the bicep curl or triceps extension.  In isolation movements, you can use a pause to either eliminate momentum or work through a sticking point.  Be careful as isolation movements typically use one muscle group and one joint and the added stress of the pause can cause an injury if not properly supervised.
  2. For compound movements like the squat or push up.  I used the technique for both momentum reduction and range of motion work.  You'll still want to watch your form, but this is the safest use of pause training.

Example of pause training:

Squat to the bottom and hold for improved range of motion:

  • Use 50 – 70% of your normal weight for the lift.
  • Hold for 3 seconds.
  • Use a timer, it is difficult to count seconds to yourself when you get fatigued.
  • Drive out of the bottom using good form.

Body by science | Dr. Doug McGuff

September 21, 2016

Aging well with Dr. Mark Williams

In his book, The Art and Science of Aging Well, Dr. Mark Williams writes about the current science on aging in a way that give insight into how we should live to make sure we have the highest quality of life as we age.  He notes a statistic that is quite relevant to aging.  The death rate for humans is one per person, in other words, we all die.  It is all just a matter of how and why.

Eight myths

  1. All old people are the same and they are falling apart.  We all age at different rates.  Even the organ systems age at different rates.  Because of the nature of growth and experience, as we age we become more valuable, not less.
  2. Losing weight will make you live longer.  We are very weight conscious, yet severe dieting can increase your chance of death.
  3. As we age we become more forgetful and senile.  It is true dementia, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's are more common when we are older, but those are disease states.  Forgetting names, walking into a room and forgetting why you're there, and losing car keys are all symptoms of being normal.
  4. You can't teach an old dog new tricks.  We don't naturally lose productivity as we age.
  5. There is nothing we can do about aging.  We can make choices.  Only about 30% of our longevity is genetics.  That gives us 70% of the puzzle for aging well.
  6. Old people are an economic burden.  We can ensure we have systems that don't cause a larger, older population to be a burden on the young.  In fact, older people provide a lot of uncompensated productivity through volunteer activities.
  7. Old people are not interested in sex.  Older couples do remain active and are happier with their sex life.
  8. You're going to end up in a nursing home.  Only 3% of people end up living in a nursing home.

Cell Aging

It used to be thought that cells live forever.  This was disproved by Leonard Hayflick.  A cell can replicate approximately 50 times before they effectively die.  The only way to break out of the aging control is when the cell becomes malignant.

Cells count the number of times they can replicate.  Each time a cell replicates the end is slightly shorter.  A telomere is an end-cap that causes the cell to stop replicating and the cell dies (apoptosis).

Sugar and Aging

If our blood sugar is high, which is typically measured in blood work as A1C.  This shows advanced glycation end products (AGE), which gums up the works.  High consumption of high glycemic and processed foods age us faster.  Avoiding these kinds of foods are important for aging well.

Benefits of Exercise for Aging Well

We were made to move.  Physical exercise is a key requirement for aging well.

Proven benefits of exercise:

  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Reduced risk of sudden death
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Improved mood
  • Less of depression
  • Weight loss and loss of fat
  • Reduced risk of diabetes
  • And most likely a reduced risk of cancer

How much exercise should we get?  An answer came from one of Dr. Williams' clients.  Work up a good sweat every day.

Three Keys of Aging

  1. The amount we lose is surprising small due to aging itself versus other things.
  2. The older we get the more important self-maintenance activities become.
  3. The opportunity to improve goes up if we're not on the extreme ends of the fitness continuum.

Links:

Facebook – Mark Williams, MD

 

Cracking the Aging Code | Josh Mitteldorf

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