Friday, September 24, 2010

Explosive Strength Workshop

Wow, Ive been so busy being a trainer I have had no time to blog about training! Anyway here is a quick look at what me and Sean are going to be going through at our workshop today. In case it is a little confusing, the unstable land mine is a bosu ball (just make sure it is stable!) If you have never tried these I really encourage you to, they are crazy hard!

Foot/Ankle complex
Single leg plyo box jumps
Turkish Get-ups
Double Hop – unstable landmine
Lateral Lunges w/ overhead DBs
Single Leg Romanian Dead lift
Deadlift to Clean Press

Since this is a class we are doing, we will be throwing some things in between each workout so nobody is ever just standing around, try adding something like that to your workout, so your recovery time is an active recovery.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fitness: NFL Style.

Week 1 in of the NFL season is underway! And while my Bears bring me no optimism this season, there are many hopeful fans out there that believe their team has what it takes to get to the big show. What exactly does it take to get to the superbowl though? Does it take raw talent, a genius for a coach, a rocket arm at QB, or a tenacious defense? I would venture to say that the single most important element of a winning football team is their training regimen. Think about it, you can have all the talent in the world but if your sucking air by the end of the first quarter your talent will not show when it really counts. That is why every NFL, college, and high school team places so much emphasis on preseason training.

Football, maybe more than any other sport, has benefited from the modern age of strength and conditioning training. Football players are now bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter than they have been in years. However, you do not train athletes like that on accident, it takes a lot of research and well planned workouts from some of the worlds best strength and conditioning coaches.

If your curious like me as to what a NFL training regimen looks like then check out this article:

There are some great principles in this article that you would be ill advised to ignore, there are many speed drills done by the professional that can help you reach your goal as you are pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

So if even if your favorite team doesn't do anything special this year, maybe you will be all the motivation you need to bring out your inner football player, and get healthy.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Stability Ball Workouts

                Ready for a more advanced workout? For workouts that not only build strength and increase heart rate, but also require mental concentration and balance? If your answer is yes, and you already have a base of adequate strength then maybe it is time for you to incorporate stability balls into your workout. Stability balls are a relatively new edition to the health and fitness industry, first being utilized by the physical rehab industry; they have now crossed over because of their versatility, low cost, and ease of use.

Stability balls are a great (and I emphasize great) way to help you reach your fitness goals. Most of the exercise that are done on stability balls not only put increased stress on your muscles, but they add the extra dimension of balance and concentration. Let’s take use the dumbbell bench press for an example: normally, this exercise is done on a bench lying on your back, but if we swap out the bench for a ball it requires two extra things from you. (1) With your feet now act as stabilizers, in order to keep you from falling off the ball, this means you will trigger some small muscles in your legs to keep you stable that you otherwise would just not use. (2) In an attempt to keep your torso stable you now have to contract your abs throughout the exercise; this added stress will increase your core strength.

But they are not just good for variations of existing exercises, they have an endless potential for original workouts that range from beginner to advance. Any work out done on a stability ball can be done in a relatively small space, and you don’t need a multiple balls, to do multiple exercises, just one is all you need. This article is a good example of the diversity that stabilities balls give; notice that if you did all ten exercises in this article you would have gotten a total body workout.

So next time you’re in the gym give them a try, if it’s your first experience expect to feel awkward and a little shaky, chances are your stabilizing muscle have not had to work as hard as they do now.

Here are some links for more great workouts and ideas:


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Health and Fitness: a Survival Technique.

                “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis

                I start with this quote today, not only because I admire C.S. Lewis and his works, but because I think it can be applied to fitness in a unique way. On the surface this quote looks like it belongs in a philosophy blog or something to that effect, but not a health and fitness blog. But take a look at the last phrase “it [friendship] is one of those things that give value to survival.” The key word here is survival, and I believe as the time and culture has changed, our method for surviving has dramatically altered as well.

                When the word survival pops into your head what do you think of? If you are like me then you conjure up a “castaway” image; complete with long beards, spear fishing, and the volleyball companion.  Obviously this type of survival is no longer necessary in our culture, so would we conclude survival is dead? Certainly not, for in this sedentary society we have a much more subtle problem: excess. It is excess that is cutting our lives short, it is excess that limits our potential, and it is excess that requires us to expend our energy in such an artificial way.

We are in this fight against excess and its companions, (heat disease, diabetes, obesity, premature death, and many others) some are fighting vigorously; others seem to have given up. But is survival not worth fighting for?  As C.S. Lewis states, friendship gives value to all this, and not only that but family, art, philosophy, education, love, and freedom.

It’s an abstract idea, but health and fitness is a survival technique, probably one of the most overlooked in today’s age. So if you are having trouble motivating yourself, just know that health and fitness is more than just the pursuit of six pack abs and overall sex appeal. It is a survival technique that not only gives us a better quality of life, but gives us more days to enjoy what is really worth living for.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Workout

Selected exercise
Reps per set
Chin Ups
Cable Press Down
Wrist Curl
Preacher Curl

Selected Exercise
Reps per set
Pull Down
Straight Arm Pull Down
Bent Over Row

Selected Exercise
Reps per set
Crunch w/Plate
Hanging Leg Raise
Russian Twist

20 mins. stationary bike

I love getting a great workout in on these semi-holidays, the gym is usually pretty quiet and on a day when most Americans are overeating its, good to know your one of the few doing some good for your body. Also, I'm splitting my workouts up a little differently these next few weeks. Instead of upper body, lower body, core I am doing arms/back/abs, shoulders/legs/traps, chest/abs/core. Its a little more specific, and allows me to put more emphasis on my core (a must in any athletic performance!)

On a different note: this summer I got into the habit of getting my workouts in the late afternoon/early evening instead of the morning like I used to. And let me just say I had forgotten how great it felt to have that extra boost of energy for the rest of the day. When I got off of work I actually had the energy to get stuff done! If your not getting at least a quick workout in in the morning I strongly recommend it! 

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Guide to Sit-down Restaurants

If I was to write a post on the nutritional bankruptcy of fast-food chains would anyone really be surprised? I would say not. We all know that fast food is bad for us, and most people only eat it when they are hard pressed for time or short on cash. 

But thankfully today is Friday, you got some extra coin in your pocket and a few hours before that movie starts, feeling good about your decision to avoid the fast-food today you head to your favorite sit-down restaurant. The dark atmosphere, and badly places televisions distract you from the similarities between their menu and McDonald's menu (Burgers, wraps, salads, desserts, ect.) so without so much a though you order up. It takes a while for your meal to come, but that is okay, because you are having a good time talking with friends, snacking on chips, and sipping your mountain dew. The main course finally comes, and by this time your so involved in the conversation that you fail to recognize that french fries are the "vegetable" of your meal. You quickly clean plate, close check, and leave a tip, and head out the door excited for Toy Story 3 for the third weekend in a row.

Now let me first say that I am not anti-restaurants, they are a great place to meet up with friends, (socializing is a crucial aspect of a healthy lifestyle that I will explore in a later post.) convenient, and really do provide some nutritious choices on their menu. It is not my goal to deter you from going to a restaurant this weekend or the next, my goal is simply to show you what that food really is.

When i say sit-down restaurant I mean those chain places like Applebees, Perkins, TGIFridays, IHOP, Chilies, Ruby Tuesdays, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Denny's, and other chain places like them. Your mom-and-pop restaurants may or may not be just as bad, and unless they release their nutrition info you really can not tell.

Here is the nutritional info for Denny's I hope you noticed right off the bat the same thing I did TRANS FAT! It seems that Denny's is still one of the few places remaining that cook with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils resulting. Besides the dangerous amounts of fat, you will notice that some of the burgers weigh in at 1,500+ calories, while the rest hover around 900. And this is just the burger we are talking about, not including the sides it comes with

This is where I would love to analyse the menu of Applbees (a favorite among college students), but they have yet to release the nutritional information on anything but their weight watchers menu.

So before you go out this weekend take some time to reaserch your favorite resturantes menue, chances are they will be several tasty options that don't set you back five pounds. A great web site for this is it has listing from most every restuarnt you can imagine. Or check out Eat This Not That! A great book on making better-for-you choices when dinning out. Eat This Not That! 2010: The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution
So enjoy the weekend, enjoy the company, and enjoy the food!