Posts in : Fitness and Nutrition Blog

  • Jun
    19

    Smoking and Working Out



    You know that smoking is bad for you. Not only is it a bad habit, but it is a physiological addiction. Over the years I’ve had many clients who were smokers (whether they’d admit it or not), and I’d like to share my personal training advice and perspective of the effects of smoking and working out. (more…)

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  • Jun
    08

    5 Muscle Groups to Workout for a Sexier Body!



    In just about any gym throughout the country you constantly see both guys and girls working the same muscle groups. Of course these muscles are usually upper body muscles and are most noticeable while wearing a bathing suit. The unfortunate thing is that most of these muscles are also the least functional to the human body. Sure calves, biceps and abs look great, but how much do we actually need them? (more…)

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  • Jun
    07

    Top 8 Personal Trainer Pet Peeves – Gym Etiquette



    Are you going to the gym and working out or socializing?Think about this… the U.S. has become the most obese country on the planet, yet we spend the most amount of money on weightloss and fitness products and supplements! If there were a pill or packaged meal that actually worked to get you a perfect body, we’d all have one! The fact of the matter is that there is no substitute for exercise. The amount of effort put in, is equal to the results obtained. Period. (more…)

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  • Jun
    01

    Are BCAA’s The Magic Bullet for Fat Loss?



    Over the years much discussion and debate in the Fitness and Nutrition industry has revolved around the benefits of BCAA’s or Branched Chain Amino Acids as a supplement.  I’m not interested in debating the merits of any specific supplement really, but rather share with you my personal experiences and those of clients.

    What are BCAA’s?

    Branched chain amino acids or BCAAs are nutrients obtained from proteins such as dairy, legumes, and meat. On a molecular level, 3 essential components leucine, isoleucine, and valine form a branched chain chemical structure.

    Ummm, so what’s that mean?  Basically this is protein in its simplest form, and these 3 amino acids are part of a family of 9 essential amino acids which the body cannot manufacture itself. (more…)

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  • Apr
    03

    The Importance of Rest when Weightlifting



    The Importance of Rest and weightliftingRest is a crucial component to any well balanced weightlifting program. Some personal trainers will argue that it’s more important than the workouts themselves!

    To understand the importance of rest when weightlifting you must first understand what’s happening when you’re pounding out those reps in the gym!  When you’re working out in the gym, regardless of the muscle group or exercise, you’re actually tearing your muscle fibers.  The added stress from the weightlifting that is being placed on the muscle is causing the neurons to be ripped apart into what is referred to as micro tears. After any weightlifting workout, it’s important to allow the body an adequate amount of time to repair this “damage” that has been done.

    Your muscles do not grow from training or weightlifting.  Your muscles grow from recovering from the weightlifting that you are doing!  Therefore if you were to return to the gym the next day and train the same muscles again, your workout would be relatively ineffective, and could mean you are defeating the purpose of working out in the first place, because you’re breaking down these muscles again before they’ve had a change to repair themselves.

    The harder you train your body or muscle group, the more rest that they will need to recover and grow.  This is why many professional bodybuilders will not do whole body workouts, but rather focus on specific muscle groups each day.. to allow for proper recovery from each workout.

    Some hardcore bodybuilders even take entire weeks off at a time evyer couple of months just to “shock” their bodies and break any plateaus they may have come to.

    Getting restful and regular sleep cannot be overlooked when discussing the importance of rest when weightlifting.  This is your body’s most “anabolic”state of being.  In fact one of the main purposes of sleep is for the body to heal and recover from the day’s events and stress.  During sleep your body produces large amounts of growth hormones which obviously can help your body burn fat, build muscle, and heal wounds.  It goes without saying, that restful sleep also gives you more energy to work with the next day.  More energy means more effort in the gym!

    Don’t think of rest as slacking off from your weightlifting routine, but rather an important part of your overall bodybuilding or body composition goals. If your looking for the best weightlifting tips or fastest way to lose weight, you should also be looking for the best tips for getting a good night’s sleep.. because that’s when the body is adapting to the lifestyle changes you’re putting it through!

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  • Feb
    08

    Interval Strength Training 101



    Workout Gloves and Strength TrainingWhat is Interval Training?

    Whether you’re a gym rat or a weekend athlete, most of you have a general idea of what interval training is… or at least you think you do!  Working your butt off for a couple sets and taking a rest before your next set, doesn’t count as performing an interval!  You want to burn fat and build muscle right?   Put on your workout gear and weightlifting gloves… and get ready to work it out!

    Own The Zone

                First of all let’s debunk the myth of the “fat burning zone.”   Your body never really is exclusively only burning fat for energy, with possibly the exception of when we are asleep.  You’re almost always burning carbohydrates as well.   The common fat burning zone charts that you will see on cardio machines are not accurate.   The problem with that is you will be burning less calories overall by consistently staying in the fat burning zone. On the other hand, if you have your heart rate way up for the duration of the workout, you will mostly be burning carbohydrates.  Working solely in the fat burning zone means not burning enough calories, while the intense carbohydrate zone will be burning more calories but less fat.

    For example, if you do an hour of “fat burning” you may burn 200 calories with 120 of those calories coming from fat.  If you do an hour of all out training you may burn 400 calories but a very small percentage of those will be from fat.

    If you can find a good medium where you burn a lot of calories and get a good amount of those from fat then you are (forgive the cliché) “killing two birds with one stone”.  This is where interval training comes in.  By jumping the heart rate up to 80-95% your max you will be burning a very high amount of calories.  Then you will allow your heart rate to lower to around 65% by reducing the intensity.  When your heart rate is lowered, you will essentially be hitting the “fat burning zone”.  This cycle will be repeated a number of times, by the end you will have burned as many calories and as much fat from those calories as possible.  The thing many forget to do is lower that heart rate back down before beginning again.

    Treadmill

        A few systems I use for interval training are on a treadmill, with a medicine ball or on my favorite, the Versa Climber.  If on a treadmill bump up the incline (anywhere from 5-7%) then increase the speed a half mile an hour every thirty seconds (start at a jogging pace) until you hit that 90% range.  Once there, attempt to stay at that heart rate for 30 seconds to a minute until lowering the speed or incline.  After that you can lower the speed or incline to get down to that 65% mark and keep it there for about a minute.   Repeat that interval three times and then take a two-minute rest.  Try and do at least three cycles of this on your first day.  As you get better at the intervals perform more of them by doing more overall sets or more repetitions within those sets.  The workout will look something like this:

    Run @80-95% max heart rate      Duration: 30-60 seconds

    Jog   @65% max heart rate             Duration: 60 seconds

    Run @80-95% max heart rate      Duration: 30-60 seconds

    Jog   @65% max heart rate             Duration: 60 seconds

    Run @80-95% max heart rate      Duration: 30-60 seconds

    Jog   @65% max heart rate             Duration: 60 seconds

    Rest @lowest heart rate                  Duration: 2 minutes

     

    Repeat multiple times, attempting to add a set each week.

    Med Ball

              I love the medicine ball because of its simplicity and the amount of great exercises do with it.  My favorite is throwing it against a concrete wall because it is fantastic in developing pillar strength (hips, core & shoulders) and gets that heart rate up.  If you don’t have medicine balls at your disposal then just get a few exercises that are high intensity and easy to transition from one to the next.  Do the same thing, as you would with the treadmill in working until you get to that 80-95% heart rate, maintain it for a minute then lower it to 65% and maintain that for a minute.  You can get a group of exercises and cycle through them doing 10-15 reps of each.  The medicine ball is so great because you will be getting a total body workout and using your muscles a little more than on cardio machines. Don’t forget to wear good Gym Gloves to protect your hands!

               The Versa!

                The Versa Climber is a hard to find piece of equipment but if you see one, this should now be your first choice for cardio.  The great thing is that people rarely use them so it is always open.  As opposed to the treadmill or medicine ball the sprints will be much shorter, lasting anywhere from 5-30 seconds.  Do a sprint and rest for the equal amount of time (work for 15, rest for 15) until your heart rate hits 80-95%.  When you hit that heart rate, rest until you reach 65% your max and then slowly move on the Versa for a minute attempting to maintain that position.

    Anywhere

    Although I used pieces of cardio equipment as examples on how to do intervals, don’t limit yourself to just those.  You can run on a track or field, up stairs or even on the beach.  As long as you are manipulating the heart rate in a similar way you will be accomplishing the same thing.

    The Result

                These workouts are really exhausting and you will finish feeling really good about yourself.  Another bonus is that they will be shorter in duration than the typical 60-minute cardio cruise that most take.   You will be burning overall calories and fat calories in high amounts.  An added bonus is that you will be working multiple energy systems, increasing your endurance and strengthening your heart.

    Tips

                I recommend getting a heart rate monitor strap and watch (my favorite is Polar) to keep track of heart rates. Get a good pair of weightlifting gloves  From there do a testing day where you start jogging on a treadmill and gradually get your heart rate up by increasing speed then incline.  You should raise the speed or incline every minute until you feel like you cannot go anymore.  When you reach your peak and stop, count that number as your max heart rate.  From there you can figure out how high your intense zone (80-95% max) should be and where your recovery zone (65% max) should be.  Intervals are one of the most effective ways to exercise and provide tons of health benefits.

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