Posts Tagged ‘fitness exercise’

By Charles Staley

Ever since the “jogging craze” of the ’70’s, aerobic exercise has been the method of choice for those attempting to “lose weight.” Gradually, the resistance training area of most gyms and clubs is being scaled back to accommodate all manner of equipment designed to elevate the heart rate. With the aerobic revolution in full gear, I feel compelled to ask, “Why are people getting fatter and fatter?”

For those who have critically studied sport training and exercise physiology, this is a rhetorical question.  A quick look at any national level track meet speaks volumes about the effects of aerobic versus anaerobic training.  Compare the physiques of 100 meter sprinters against long distance runners, such as marathoners. Although sprinters do little or no aerobic exercise (it’s not specific to their events), they are just as lean (if not leaner) than their aerobic counterparts. They also have more attractive physiques, which is a by-product of the muscle they’ve gained from hours in the weight room and short-term, intensive running. By contrast, the marathoner’s lack of muscle gives him a “flat” physique. His extensive and frequent forays into the aerobic zone have caused his body to lose muscle (since muscle weighs more than fat, it is the body’s preferred tissue to cannibalize in the interest in lightening the load).  If you’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to lose 10 to 20 pounds of unwanted fat, despite spending hours upon hours on the stairclimber, read on. Anaerobic exercise may not be politically correct, but it IS physiologically correct—if fat loss is your objective.

Since our language affects the way we think, let’s begin by revising our vocabulary for a moment. I’d like to encourage you to delete a few words from your personal dictionary. Words like tone, shape, contour, sculpt, and all the rest of the vague descriptions you hear on late night infomercials. These terms are irrelevant with respect to the adaptations you can expect from any form of exercise. In reality, there are only two bodily tissues that you have two ways: You can gain, or lose. (By the way: tone simply refers to a state of partial, involuntary contraction, a result of muscular work. Even the most rotund can have muscle tone, and the thinnest people sometimes have no tone.)  So the goal is to gain muscle and lose fat. When you do so, let everyone else call you toned and sculpted.  Of course, many people, influenced by the exceedingly massive (and rare) physiques adorning the covers of muscle magazines, shirk at the prospect of gaining muscle. It’s a shame— myophobia keeps more people from achieving their fitness goals than any other single factor. Just a few pounds of added muscle can make a dramatic difference in your physique, not to mention your health and well-being. Muscle (unlike fat) needs calories to survive. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be. Bigger muscles burn more calories than smaller ones, even during sleep!

Personal trainers— people who earn their living by making substantial changes in their client’s bodies— regard resistance training as the most important item in their professional “toolbox.” Dave Sinnot, trainer of many top Hollywood stars, including Sean Penn and Angela Bassett, is amazed at people’s avoidance of weight training: “People who think that aerobic training is the ultimate fat loss method are totally missing the boat. I’ve worked with people who spend half their waking hours doing some form of aerobics.  They complain that they aren’t getting results anymore. As soon as we shift emphasis to weight training and nutritional modifications, they always start improving immediately. It’s like their body was begging for it!” Dave related to me that Angela Bassett (star of “What’s Love Got To Do With It”) was not blessed with great genetics as many people assume, and was actually “pudgy” when he started working with her.  What’s the best approach for people wishing to improve their body composition? First, don’t eliminate your aerobic sessions. It’s a good practice to do a handful (three or four) of 20 to 40 minute sessions a week. More than that, and your body starts to drop valuable muscle in an effort to adapt. Second, take another look at your resistance training program. Most people simply don’t spend adequate time and effort in the weight room, and those that do make one or more of the following four mistakes:

1) Too many exercises: One exercise per muscle group per workout is plenty. The key is to pick the right exercises, and work them hard. Forget about “hitting the muscle from different angles” and “shaping” exercises— this is all propaganda stemming from bodybuilding circles.

2) Ineffective exercises: Don’t avoid so-called “hard core” exercises for fear of getting a result. Choose multi-joint exercises, such as squats and their variations, bench presses and their variations, lat pulldowns, and shoulder presses. Smaller muscles such as biceps, triceps, and calves will receive adequate exercise when you do the multi-joint movements mentioned above.

3) Insufficient intensity level: High reps DO NOT “tone” a muscle! For beginners, high reps are important to strengthen connective tissues, and to allow for technique mastery. But for optimum muscle building, stay in the 6 to 12 range for the majority of your workouts. If and when you get to the point where you don’t want additional muscle, just cut back on the volume and frequency of training.

4) Lack of progression and variety: If you don’t seek increases in strength, your body will stop responding. Similarly, if you train in exactly the same manner for extensive periods of time, your body will adapt to the monotony, and stop responding, no matter how good the training program is. For this reason, there is no perfect training program. Most successful trainers use several programs, which they rotate as needed.

As a final suggestion, remember that the entire personal training profession was founded upon the fact that resistance training works! Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re beyond benefiting from one. Personal trainers make their living by getting fast results for people. For information on finding a certified trainer in your area, please call the ISSA at (800) 892-ISSA.

Consider These Facts:

1) According to a recent study presented in IDEA magazine, the average female aerobics instructor has 18% bodyfat. This is higher than the average female competitive weightlifter (16%).

2) According to a recent study published in Muscular Development magazine, muscle necrosis (tissue death) and inflammation can be observed in the calves of marathon runners 7 days after a race.

3) According to Dr. Marc Breehl, a leading anesthesiologist specializing in cardiac surgery, the enlarged hearts of aerobic athletes are weaker, not stronger than those with anaerobic backgrounds.

4) Resistance training has numerous benefits to the heart and vascular system, including improved ejection fraction of the left ventricle, and improved elasticity of the arterial walls. This from Power: A Scientific Approach, by Dr Fred Hatfield.

5) Virtually everything we do in life is anaerobic. Aerobic activity is an artificial state which the human organism is not well adapted to. For the majority of individuals, loss of function associated with aging is due to lack of strength, not aerobic capacity.

Like I always say:   Get Strong Stay Strong!

Chris

kbinfo_tgu

Burn fat and look great too with this whole body exercise known as the Get Up.

One of my favorite applications is to set a timer for 5 minutes and do Get Ups alternating arms each rep.

You can also plug them into a circuit.  For example:

kettlebell-swing-sequence kettle_row(1)

20-30 Kettlebell Swings Followed by                          10-20 Alt. Renegade Rows

and finish with Get Ups for 5-10 reps each side.

Dont lollygag!  Work hard, push yourself and youll look and feel great!  If it was easy everyone would be doing it!!!!!!!!!!!

Enjoy!

Get Strong Be Strong!

Chris

This is a great little exercise routine (inspired by Gary Gray)that involves multiple planes of motion, multi level lifts and doesnt take a lot of time.  So, if someone tells me they dont have time to exercise, I say Bull@#$&!  I have an answer!  The Matrix.  It only takes about a minute and a half!  And if they still say they dont have time, I tell them to just do it faster!  Or I know they really dont want to exercise.

THE MATRIX       Alternate reps for 6 for each movement in each plane.  Move as quickly as you can with full range, good form and control. Try doing multiple sets with 1-3 min rest between.

Shoulder to Overhead Series

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Waist to Shoulder Series

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Lunge and Reach Series –  Chest to Knee or Floor (if able)  Do sagittal then frontal then rotation   

 Start / Return Pos.    DSCF0036   DSCF0037  DSCF0038

Lunge and Reach Series 2 – Chest to Knee/Floor and Return to Overhead Position

Do sagittal then frontal then rotation

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Some variations are to use 2 diff size weights and/or do with one or both eyes closed

Have fun and enjoy!!!!

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

Never Workout Without Music!                           fun1

Did you ever pay attention to the soundtrack of your favorite TV show or movie? Did you every wonder why certain songs were playing at certain times? Music evokes emotion, and emotion can carry you through even the toughest of workouts. I’ve had workouts totally come apart when the battery died on my iPod Nano!

Several studies have been conducted to show the effect of music on workouts. One study showed that upbeat, hard-driving music can increase your strength and intensity, while another study revealed that music has been shown to increase pain tolerance during a workout.

Putting on a pair of headphones also helps you to block out all of the distractions that loom at the gym (as previously noted). Sometimes, just hearing the opening beat of some of the tunes on my iPod gets me revved up – especially since I workout first thing in the morning (more on this in future issues of the newsletter).

Some of my favorite tunes on my workout list include a variety of genres:

“Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor

“Welcome to the Jungle” – Guns ‘n Roses

“Beautiful Day” – U2

“Wake Up Call” – Maroon 5

“Enter Sandman” – Metallica

“Higher” – Creed
Make your own workout mix and get moving!


Never Workout Without a Heart Rate Monitor!

The best way to keep yourself honest in the gym is to wear a heart rate monitor. A heart rate monitor will let you know how hard you are working, and when you need to crank up the intensity of your workout. Whether weight training or interval training, it is the best indicator of how hard you are working and help you to figure out your optimal rest intervals.

For example, during interval training, you need to create an oxygen debt – that is, your body is asking your lungs for more oxygen than it can provide. How do you know this is happening? After you stop your hard effort, your heart rate should actually increase and you begin to pant in an effort to take in more oxygen – and that is your debt situation. Having the HRM makes it much easier to determine when you’ve reached this point.

I’ll go into the optimal ranges for your heart rate activity during exercise, calculating your maximum heart rate and other relevant information. For now, get a heart rate monitor, read the manual and take it for a test drive. You don’t need one with all of the bells and whistles (unless you’re into gadgets like me) – my favorite brand is Polar, and you can get great prices by searching the Web.


Stop Socializing at the Gym!

Every gym has one – I call him “the Mayor”. He’s the one who knows everyone and feels the need to come over and talk about just about anything. He’ll do his very uninspired set on one of the weight machines, often grunting loudly or distorting his face to get further attention, and when he finishes says “Whew!” loudly to no one in particular. The poor soul who acknowledges him will then be subjected to a 10-minute discussion on the economy, the presidential race, the stock market, or whatever strikes his fancy. He may even horse around with the personal trainers, who are now not watching their clients as they perform their sets.

You should avoid the Mayor at all costs – he will derail your fat loss efforts in an instant! In fact, you should avoid all interaction during your workout, with the exception of asking someone if they are using a particular weight or rack. If you’re following my advice above and working out to music, this is really easy to accomplish – just turn up your tunes and tune out the others.

Folks at my gym may think I’m anti-social because I don’t acknowledge anyone – heck I don’t even look at people – while I’m in the middle of my workout. Why? Because I only have a limited time to accomplish my goals for that day, and stopping even for a moment to chat takes away from the time I have. And if I don’t reach my goal for that day, I consider it a failure (more on that in future newsletters). To combat people’s perceptions, if you care about things like that, a simple smile or wave hello as you enter or leave the gym is enough to reassure them that you are not a recluse. But once you strap on your music, it’s “Go Time!”


Never Workout Without Consuming Protein Afterwards (and Sometimes Before)

I train first thing in the morning, so sometimes I drink a protein shake prior to heading to the gym, sometimes I don’t. There is a lot of debate over working out in a fasted state that I won’t get into here. Suffice it to say that consuming protein before your workout has been shown in research to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat, so it is a good idea to have a protein shake before a workout, especially if you’ll be working out later in the day.

You should always consume protein after a workout, preferably a protein shake made from whey protein isolate. I will go into much greater detail in subsequent newsletters about reliable brands, tasty recipes, etc. How much protein? Take your current body weight and divide by 5.5 – that is how many grams of protein should be in your post-workout shake. What about carbs? The conventional wisdom says that the number of grams of carbs in the post-workout shake should equal the number of grams of protein. BUT…what I have found through my research and practice is that post-workout shakes are more effective for fat loss if they are kept low in carbs. One of the aspects of protein consumption that will be covered later is exactly how many grams should be consumed in a day, and questions about safety concerns from ingesting large amounts of protein.


Stop Stretching Before Your Workout

Do you know how many people walk into the gym from the street and immediately start to stretch? Do you know how counter-productive this is?

First, there are two kinds of stretches – static and dynamic. An example of static is when you throw your leg up on a parallel bar or rack and bend at the waist until you feel a slight pull, then hold for a period of time. Static stretching before workouts is a very bad idea. Static stretching forces the muscle to relax, this making it weaker. When a muscle is weaker than its counterpart (for example if your hamstrings on the backs of your leg are weaker than your quadriceps in the front of your leg) it causes an imbalance that could lead to strains, tears and pulls.

Dynamic stretching is the way to go to get loose before your workout. Save your static stretching for any time other than before your workout.

Part 2 of the great article by Matt Lisk

Get Strong! Stay Strong! ( and for Gods sake take this advice!)

Chris

From Jeff Martones H2H: Kettlebell Drills from http://www.tacticalathlete.com

The “Hot Potato” is a fun H2H drill that can be easily combined with other H2H drills for interesting combinations.  Due to the fact when black kettlebells sit in the hot sun – they get HOT – you’ll find it natural to want to toss the bell like a hot potato!

The Hot Potato is a dynamic drill for strengthening the muscles of the core and upper body.  There are many variations to this exercise; some develop more hand/forearm strength than others.  Be sure to start out with a light kettlebell and gradually progress with both number of reps and with increased weight.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4

Technique:

  • Starting in the “rack” position, hold the ball of the KB in your hand with the handle pointing down. (Figure 1)
  • Contract you lats and keep your triceps touching your ribcage upon impact.
  • Using hip snap alone, quickly and explosively “pop” the KB up and over to the receiving hand – allowing the KB to initially follow a short arch. (Figure 2)
  • Keep your glutes and abs tight throughout; the power behind this exercise is generated with the legs and hips.(Figure 3)
  • Actively exhale with every catch. (Figure 4)

 

 

Tips:

  • Beginners & indoor users may hold on to the handle with the free hand.
  • Be sure to keep your elbows close to your body and let some air out as you catch the KB to absorb some of the impact.
  • Go fast!!  Don’t let the bell “rest” in the palm.

Variations:

We will feature the many variations in future weeks . . .

Combines well with:

  • Around the Body PassTM
  • Figure 8TM
  • Front Squat

Benefits:

  • Strengthens all the muscles that stabilize your core.
  • Strengthens the muscles in the hand and forearm.
  • Develops oblique strength and lats.
  • Improves eye-hand coordination.

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and watch your nose!)

Chris