- Stefanie is at her goal weight, with a total loss of 10 pounds (or more) & continues to get buff!
- Kim finished a half marathon last week and was down 5 pounds
- Wendy continues to increase her speed, with her last running time: 12 miles in 1:44:01
- Van is down 10 pounds and 2 pant sizes
- Erica lost 3.12 pounds, an inch off the hips and a half inch from her waist
- Tonia has lost 3 pounds, continues to lose inches everywhere and is down another pant size
- Michelle lost 2.2 pounds her first week
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
- Specific- Specific goals result in better performance. Aim to workout a certain number of days per week, the total amount of cardio time per day, etc.
- Measurable- Measurable goals help you to know if the strategy is working. This also helps to minimize the tendency to view success in "all or nothing" terms, which sets up an individual for certain failure.
- Aggressive- Aggressive goals tend to create greater performance. This is a great confidence builder as well. You feel better knowing that you're not taking the easy way out.
- Approach- The approach to goal setting should be a focus on the positive end result, rather than the negative states to avoid. Avoidance goals tend to backfire.
- Relevant- Relevant goals help to maintain focus. Multiple goals can cloud your vision, thus limiting your success. Keep your eye on the prize.
- Time bound- Short-term goals raise confidence and determination. By creating dead-lines, you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
The big issue with the prone curl is the recruitment of other muscle groups, mainly the hips and back. While the hamstrings work in a cooperating fashion with these muscle groups, they should not be the primary movers in the exercise. You'll easily notice this compensation by watching the individuals (hopefully not yours) rear end pop up in the contraction. It's not really the most flattering position to be in.
Better alternatives involve the stability ball, of course. If you need to work on incredible amounts of strength, go for cable exercises. If you absolutely have to use a machine, use the seated curl rather than the prone. You'll be glad that your hamstrings will get a great workout and your won't be the one flashing the junk in your trunk for the rest of the gym to see.
Monday, April 23, 2007
- A leisurely bike to the grocery store, leaving the car at home: 291 cal/60 min.
- Walking/running/playing with the kids at the park: 175 cal/60 min.
- Tending to your organic vegetable garden: 233 cal/60 min.
- Planting a tree: 204 cal/60 min.
- A jog around the neighborhood: 350/60 min.
- A friendly game of basketball in the driveway after dinner: 291 cal/60 min.
- Flag football before a family barbecue: 408 cal/60 min.
- Ultimate Frisbee on the green grass: 146 cal/60 min.
- Tennis in the sun: 350 cal/60 min.
- Hiking in the Great Outdoors: 291 cal/60 min.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Corrective flexibility is designed to improve muscle imbalances and altered joint motion. It includes static stretching and self-myofascial release (SMFR). This is the beginning of the flexibility continuum.
The next progression is Active flexibility. Active flexibility is designed to improve the extensibility of soft tissue and increase neuromuscular efficiency. It allows for cooperating muscle groups (agonists and synergists) to move a limb through a full range of motion while the functional muscles (antagonists) are being stretched. This progressive phase includes SMFR and Active-isolated stretching.
The final progression is Functional flexibility. Functional flexibility is integrated, multiplanar soft tissue extensibility, with optimum neuromuscular control, through a full range of motion. Essentially, it is movement without compensations. Functional flexibility uses dynamic stretching and SMFR.
Dynamic stretching uses the force production of a muscle and the body's momentum to take a joint through the full available range of motion to improve soft tissue extensibility. Dynamic stretching is used as a pre-activity warm-up, formed as 1 set of 10 reps for 3-10 different exercises. Medicine ball rotations and walking lunges are good examples of dynamic stretching.
By training in an integrated, systematic fashion, you'll achieve optimum results in an efficient manner. You'll maximize your results without increasing the risk of injury, leaving you sitting on the sidelines.
Friday, April 20, 2007
She's been running many miles, working out on the program for a little over 2 months, all the while getting faster and stronger along the way. She's put in some hard work and it's totally been paying off. Way to go!!
Go give her a shout out & a congratulations for an amazing accomplishment!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Historically, the week-long program includes four days of glycogen depletion (through a low-carb diet and exhaustive exercise), followed by three days of rest and a high-carb diet. This method had many drawbacks, including periods of hypoglycemia, irritability, increased susceptibility to injury and difficulty in compliance. In 1981, one study proposed a revised method that accomplishes the same goal with greater ease of compliance and fewer side effects.
- 6 days out: 70-75% intensity for 90 minutes, carbs = 4 g/kg of body weight
- 4-5 days out: 70-75% intensity for 40 minutes, carbs = 4 g/kg of body weight
- 2-3 days out: 70-75% intensity for 20 minutes, carbs = 10 g/kg of body weight
- 1 day out: Rest, carbs = 10 g/kg of body weight
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Music is a great investment. Any kind of MP3 player (or CD player, for that matter) with the music of your choice can make a big difference in the level of intensity, the ease of performance and give you the "cardio rush". Corporate Gyms tend to pump the latest Pop album into your brain until you go crazy. This music will not have the same effect as the music that you really like. The music that moves you.
To keep your cardio interval training interesting, just keep your pace with the beat of each song. You'll notice that some songs will get your Target Heart Rate way up there, where you're training at 80-85% intensity. Surprisingly enough, it won't feel like you're going to keel over. The music keeps you moving and you know about how long you'll continue pumping to the pace. Typically the next song is at a slower pace, offering you a little recovery time and an opportunity for your Target Heart Rate to drop before you work back up to the higher intensity again.
Going back and forth, up and down in intensity with music is a great way to keep interval training interesting and fun. You truly will be moved to the "cardio rush" with adrenaline pumping through your veins and making it that much easier to get to your goal.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Sleep and the appropriate amount of rest plays a huge part in the success of every goal, be it sports performance training, fat loss or muscle gain. Modern technological advances and the way we function as a society has made that success very challenging. In 1910, the average adult slept nine to 10 hours per night. Currently, we are lucky to get seven. The body is greatly effected by this.
Mammals are hard wired to store fat, become insulin resistant and get high cholesterol during the longer days of summer and then to sleep (hibernate) or at least starve for a while, become insulin sensitive again and drop cholesterol levels when the days are shorter (winter). This cycle was programmed into our physiology over thousands of years. Electricity and the light bulb brought endless light, which the body interprets as endless summer. Now, we don’t sleep (hibernate) and we don’t starve (for carbohydrates).
Literally, the later you stay up at night, the more your brain will force you to seek energy for storage by eating sugar (carbs). Again, your body is thinking “endless summer before the winter.” Sugar is the only path to insulin release. Insulin’s job is to store excess carbs as fat and cholesterol. Cholesterol levels increase to lower the freezing temperature of the cell membranes in preparation for the hibernation that never comes.
Additionally, all of these late nights equate to massive “light toxicity.” This condition causes excessive paranoid, aggressive, hysterical and urgent behavior, otherwise known as stress. In this chronic state, blood sugar is elevated, taxing the insulin response, increasing cotisol levels in the blood, which has powerful blood sugar mobilizing effects. This means, if you are not paying attention to these factors, signs and symptoms and you stress yourself out too much, exercise can make and keep you fat!
No matter the goal, sleep (or the lack thereof) can have a huge impact on not only performance, but the goal itself. If you're not sleeping well and under a lot of stress, this alone can effect your body and increase the level of body fat. For a recovering athlete, muscle recovery is slower, thus resulting in an extended injury cycle. Along with balanced nutrition, proper hydration and an integrated, organized strength training routine, a good amount of sleep can make a big difference in your success and overall health.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
The X-Factor is raw feeling. It's the feeling of catching a glimps of your expanding rear as you pass by the bathroom mirror and are completely shocked and caught off guard. "Is that really my butt? You've got to be kidding!" It's the feeling of overhearing the honesty of a child in the grocery store. "Mom! Look at how big their tummy is! Are they having a baby too?", when you're not expecting. It's the feeling of not being able to button up your favorite pair of jeans that used to fit OK. It's the feeling of not being able to open a jar of pickles and you have to ask your wife for help, who doesn't struggle in the least bit. It's the feeling of thinking you just ran a marathon when it was only a flight of stairs. It's the feeling of eminent death after your father just died from a preventable obesity related heart attack. It's the feeling that something is not right. It's shocking and it's urgent.
The X-factor makes you call to get a gym membership without hesitation, no matter the cost. It makes you skip the candy and chip isles at the supermarket. It makes you wake up early to get your workout done for the day. It makes you push that last rep out in your lift, when all you want to do is quit. It's the last mile in your morning run. It's the motivation to Just Do It. No starting on Monday. No "last meal" or last sugary treat. It absolutely starts NOW.
You may never get started on your fitness program if you don't know and understand your X-Factor. You may never stay in the game if you lose sight of it. Getting the ball rolling is not easy, but it's certainly easier when you have the X-Factor staring you in the face. There are always highs and lows in a training program. This makes it easy to slack off or quit. Not so much when you're reminded of your X-Factor.
What made you start working out and eating better? What made you get a personal trainer? What motivated you so much that you put action behind thought and feeling and followed through? What is your X-Factor?
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
If you read the nutritional labels of energy sports drinks and fat loss supplements, you'll notice a common ingredient. Caffeine. Caffeine is a CNS (central nervous system) stimulant that belongs to a group of drugs called the methylxanthines. Methylxanthines are found in more than 600 species of plants. The most common sources include coffee, tea, guarana, cocoa, mate and cola (kola) nut.
In various studies, caffeine ingestion was found to cause:
- an increased mobilization of free fatty acids (FFA)
- to spare glycogen (energy)
- stimulate the release of epinephrine
- block the effects of adenosine
- alter the calcium levels in the muscle
- increase blood pressure
- stimulate the CNS
Many studies have tried to demonstrate caffeine's ability to increase sports performance, but trial results have been unfounded. Caffeine has been found (but not necessarily proven) to influence performance lasting 30 to 120 minutes by increasing FFA release from adipose cells (body fat), possibly sparing glycogen utilization during endurance training. Caffeine may also increase oxygen uptake and lower the respiratory exchange ratio (RER).
Using caffeine in pill form has been found to be the most effective. Coffee does not appear to enhance performance in the same way. One study found that coffee was less effective than a caffeine pill (3-6 mg/kg pure caffeine).
However, the disadvantages outweigh the benefits of intaking large amounts of caffeine. Studies have used anywhere from 300 to 500 mg of caffeine in pill form (2.5 cups of percolated coffee = approximately 300 mg). The side effects would include headaches, increased heart rate and a potent diuretic effect (promoting dehydration) that could be detrimental during activity. Caffeine should definitely not be used as an ergogenic (sports performance) aid.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
The knee joint is a modified hinge joint, which basically means it has one degree of freedom (sagittal plane extension and flexion). The important thing to remember is that the machine will not dictate which muscles are used. Rather, muscle fiber alignment and the direction of resistance will. The quadriceps and hamstrings have a fiber alignment set up to concentrically perform extension and flexion. The entire exercise is wrong when it comes to functional movement, seeing as the quads function as reactors to gravity and ground reaction forces, not by selectively contracting against a machine.
The better option for increasing leg strength or specifically targeting the quads are squats. Hack squats, ball squats, dumbbell squats, single leg squats...there are a million different ways to do them. Plus, you'll increase your core strength and burn more calories this way than on a machine.
Monday, April 9, 2007
So what is sugar and why is it such a big deal? First there are simple sugars, fructose (or monosaccharides) such as those in fruit and honey, that require no digestion. Double sugars, fructose and glucose (or disaccharides), such as table sugar (sucrose), require some digestive action. High fructose corn syrup is made from corn starch. HFCS is a thick liquid that contains fructose and glucose, in roughly equal amounts. Sucrose is a larger sugar molecule that breaks down into glucose and fructose in the intestine during metabolism.
When we eat sugar, the consumption of glucose kicks off a cascade of biochemical reactions. It increases production of insulin by the pancreas, which enables sugar in the blood to be transported into cells, where it can be used for energy. It increases production of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate appetite and fat storage, and it suppresses production of another hormone made by the stomach, ghrelin, that helps regulate food intake. It has been theorized that when ghrelin levels drop, as they do after eating carbohydrates composed of glucose, hunger declines.
The interesting fact about fructose is that it is metabolized in a totally different way than other carbohydrates. It does not stimulate or require insulin for transportation to the cells. Since there is no need for insulin release, there is also no secretion of leptin. Therefore the feeling of satiety is altered—you continue to eat and possibly overeat.
Another concern is the action of fructose in the liver, where it is converted into the chemical backbone of trigylcerides more efficiently than glucose. Like low-density lipoprotein, the most damaging form of cholesterol, elevated levels of trigylcerides are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. A University of Minnesota study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2000 found that in men, but not in women, fructose "produced significantly higher blood levels" than did glucose. The researchers concluded that diets high in added fructose may be undesirable, particularly for men.
Other recent research suggests that fructose may alter the magnesium balance in the body. That could, in turn, accelerate bone loss, according to a USDA study published in 2000 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
While sugar may be a craving that you give into by munching on cookies and soda, or make your coffee taste better, it's not worth it. What's worse is that you could be consuming sugar without even knowing it. Read your nutritional labels. Don't eat anything that lists HFCS as an ingredient. If sugar (in any form) is in the top ingredients, don't buy it. A sweet treat every now and then isn't going to kill you, but when you unknowingly (or knowingly) eat it everyday, it just might.
Friday, April 6, 2007
Creating variety can be as simple as changing your form of cardio every 4-6 weeks. You can chose specific programs that target certain aspects of your goal (not spot reducing). For upper body development combined with cardio training, swimming is great. Need more leg and glute power and development? Try running hills or adding an incline to the treadmill. Rowing is an amazing way to improve back and shoulder development.
By combining Stage training with an organized cardio plan, you can create optimum long term results.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Single Set System
This is one of the oldest training methods out there. The single set system is the execution of one set of each exercise. Each set usually consists of 8-12 reps at a controlled tempo. This is most often used for individuals who workout twice a week. Although multiple set training is perceived as being more beneficial for strength and size gains in advanced exercise enthusiasts, the single set system has been shown to be as beneficial for a beginner.
Multiple Set System
This training method has been popular since the 1940's. The multiple set system consists of performing a multiple number of sets for each exercise. This form of training can be appropriate for both novice and advanced athletes, but has been shown to be superior to the single set system for the advanced exerciser.
The Pyramid System
This system involves a progressive or regressive step approach that either increases or decreases weight with each set. In the light to heavy system, an individual performs 10-12 reps with a light load and increases the resistance for each following set, until the individual can perform one to two reps, usually in four to six sets. This system can be used for workouts that involve only two to four sets or higher rep schemes, like 12-20 reps. The heavy to light system works in the opposite direction. The individual starts with a heavy load and for one to two reps then decreases the amount of weight and increases the reps for four to six sets.
The Superset System
This type of training utilizes a couple of exercises performed in rapid succession of one another. It can be combined with compound set and tri-set systems. Compound sets involve the performance of two exercises for antagonistic (opposite) muscles (chest/back combos). Working opposite muscle groups allows for better recovery and is more time efficient. Tri-set systems use three (or two) exercises for the same muscle group or body part (chest press, cable press, push-up). Typically, supersetting involves sets of 8-12 reps with no rest between sets or exercises. This is beneficial for muscle gain and muscular endurance.
The Circuit Training System
This is a system consisting of a series of exercises that an individual performs one after the other, with minimal rest. Circuit training is a great training system for those with limited time or those who need to increase their Target Heart Rate to burn more calories.
The Peripheral Heart Action System
This is a variation of circuit training that alternates upper body and lower body exercises throughout the circuit. This system is very beneficial for incorporating an integrated, multidimensional program to alter body composition.
The Split Routine System
A split routine involves breaking up muscle groups to be trained on separate days. Many body builders and sports athletes use the split routine system. It helps to bring about muscle size (hypertrophy) and more work can be performed for the allotted time per workout.
By creating variety in your routine, not only will you fight boredom, but you will also fight adaptation and plateau. The are so many ways to switch it up. Be creative, but stick to the techniques that compliment your fitness goal. Variety is the spice of life and also the key to efficient results.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
A person's set point is the approximate weight and fat percentage that an individuals body settles into during adulthood. Body fat is regulated in the brain by a mechanism in the hypothalamus. This mechanism chooses the amount of body fat it considers ideal for the body's needs and works to maintain that level. Theoretically, each person has a set point range. A low and a high side, determined by genetics. Where an individual ends up in that range is a result of lifestyle. If a person is active and eats right, they will end up on the lower side of the range.
The regulating mechanism controls body weight in two ways. First, it has an effect on the amount of food you eat. It is responsible for increasing or decreasing appetite to maintain the set point weight. Second, the regulating mechanism can trigger the body's systems to "waste" excess energy if you overheat or conserve energy if you don't eat enough. Energy conservation may lead to muscle loss and a slowing of the endocrine system due to the body's attempt to protect fat stores for future use. In addition, less muscle mass means the body requires fewer calories to function.
An individuals set point is genetically determined. Some people are satisfied with it, others struggle with it all their lives. There are some who can eat every sweet treat that crosses their path and still maintain a low body fat percentage. However, many still struggle with their set point and constantly diet and exercise to lose weight. The truth is, this weight loss is often a loss of both muscle and fat. Once they stop dieting, those who battle fat loss incorrectly or are unable to make the necessary lifestyle changes will ultimately return to their original body composition and most likely gain additional body fat.
On a typical calorie restrictive diet, the body loses lean body mass and in turn, burns fewer calories. As a result, the dieter is severely limited in the amount of food they can eat without experiencing an increase in weight and fat. To complicate matters even more, because fat is burned in muscle tissue, the decrease in lean body mass results in a decrease in the amount of fat burned while either resting or exercising. Poor genetics, in regard to body fat, can be exacerbated by improper dieting and exercise techniques.
Genetics may also play a role in how fast an individual is able to lose body fat. Two people with similar body composition and fat loss (or muscle gain) goals could workout using the same program and the dieter with the "good" genes may reach their goal in less time and with less effort. Genetic predisposition may have a twofold effect on a persons ability to lose weight and fat. It may determine the amount of body fat the system will attempt to store and the speed at which the individual is able to lose body fat.
While there is no way to change a persons genetical predisposition, it is possible to control whether genes are allowed to fully express themselves. If the cause of a persons body fat is genetic, they do not have to be a prisoner to heredity, because you can control what you eat and how much you move. Regular exercise and proper food intake must become "ingrained" in the brain.
The set point theory is applicable to those individuals who workout and eat right. It's for those women who strive to fit into a size 4 pair of jeans or patiently wait for the scale to show them the "ideal" number. It's for the men who focus on six pack abs and 21 inch biceps. It's for everyone who feels like they should all be the same size and shape as everyone else. It is not an excuse for the overweight or obese. The set point theory doesn't not mean that an individual is destined to be unhealthy.
Monday, April 2, 2007
Stefanie emailed me with news (before she got sick) that it's been ten years since she's been at her new weight.
Last week Kim was successful with her nutrition and cutting out sugar. She lost 5 pounds that week!
Wendy got her body fat percentage checked and has ONLY 3 percent (6 pounds) more to go to get to her goal (along with continuing to increase her speed in her marathon training).
Beth posted about her 13 pound loss after working out on the program (yeah!)
Van emailed and she didn't see any results with Weight Watchers after three weeks. Now after three weeks of diligent effort on the nutrition and workout plan, she's lost almost 9 pounds!
Big high fives to everyone busting their butts. It takes commitment and effort to achieve these kind of results. They've definitely earned it!!