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Are You Losing Motivation With Your Workouts?

Are You Losing Motivation With Your Workouts?

Are you losing motivation with your workouts? The gym can be a lonely place, like a foreign land – almost like an iron jungle – if you’re not sure what you’re doing in there. Which is one of the main reasons people lose interest. After all, when you’re not seeing improvements it’s hard to keep motivated. Hire a personal trainer and don’t get lost in the iron jungle! It doesn’t have to be that way.

Consider hiring a certified personal trainer

Are you losing motivation with your workouts? enough to consider getting professional help? personal training isn’t a cheap service of course, but a very sensible and positive one as they’ll keep you accountable. Most trainers will get you to pay in advance and if you don’t show up you lose your money! Before you think this is unfair just think of it this way, you are hiring the services of a professional who will keep you on track and get you to your goal, but if you aren’t serious about it you’re wasting their time and yours and of course your money, after all, it was you that asked for their help, they didn’t ask you. Would you like to be waiting on someone and they don’t show up? No, of course you wouldn’t. So bare that in mind before you commit to hiring a trainer. Bottom line is…you are expected to show up.

The Role of a Personal Trainer

The Role of a Personal Trainer. Personal trainers possess the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to design safe and effective fitness programs. They instruct and assist people in reaching personal health and fitness goals.

When you are just starting out with an exercise program or you aren’t seeing results with your current routine, a personal trainer can give you the help you need. Knowing how you can benefit and whether it will be worth the expense can help you decide whether this is a good choice for you.

There are a number of reasons people work with trainers. Some want an individualized program so they can lose weight or get in shape while others simply need to be held accountable for their workouts. Wherever you are on your exercise journey, a personal trainer may be just what you need to finally reach your fitness and weight loss goals. is hiring a personal trainer right for you?

Helpful Advice for Beginners

1)  Surround yourself as much as possible with people that understand your love of working out and agree with it, that’s not to say avoid people who don’t understand or don’t workout, but if your list of friends only consists of the latter you won’t find much support from them as they simply don’t understand the benefits you get from working out, and as a result the motivation required to get up early and workout simply won’t be there as readily as it would be if you surround yourself with like-minded gym friends. You are who you hang with, so beware negativity can rub off on you and possibly ruin what enthusiasm you have for working out.

2)  Find a training partner who is as serious about working out as you are, that way you will both encourage, motivate and help one another be accountable to keep showing up creating productive workouts, you are more likely to want to go knowing your trainer partner is depending on and expecting you to be there. If your training partner isn’t serious about it and sees your training times as nothing more than an excuse to socialize then neither of you will benefit and never achieve anything. You can socialize after but try not to let your training sessions be used this way. Again, don’t look for excuses not to go. Obviously if you’re feeling unwell that’s an entirely different matter, but not to go because you simply can’t be bothered to make the effort to get out of bed is a complete waste of your time.

3)  If you’re a beginner with very little experience, the chances are you’ll soon get bored with your attempts at working out simply because the time in the gym will be a frustrating one not really knowing what to do for the best. The gym to a beginner can give an intimidating feeling of being lost in an iron jungle! This is another great reason you might think about hiring a personal trainer, someone that knows what they’re doing and can design a program to best suit whatever your fitness needs are, also keeping your workouts and indeed your mind fresh and productive. Your time is valuable so don’t waste it struggling and wandering around lost in the iron jungle.

4)  Nowadays we seem to be a society where 90% of the population can’t function without a cell phone permanently attached to their hand! Unless you absolutely must workout listening to music from your cell phone why even bring it into the gym? If you’re worried about leaving it in your car or locker then at least turn it off. Working out to music is one thing, but if all you’re doing is constantly checking for texts it’s a huge distraction your mind doesn’t need. Like in the story you just read if it`s early morning who would be texting you at that hour anyway? Your friends who don’t workout will still be asleep or getting ready for work and your early morning gym friends will be working out. After all, you’re most likely only going to be in the gym around one hour so give the cell phone a break, you can check your phone after your workout, but for the most part it’s just one more huge distraction your mind doesn’t need. Focus your mind on your workout, not the phone! 

An investment in your future

Personal training is investing in your health. Thinking of hiring a personal trainer? Are you feeling like things you used to do with ease, are now not quite so easy? Feeling little aches and pains that were not there before? Out of breath just walking the dog around the block?

If any of the above relates to you and you want to do something about it, then a hiring a personal trainer might well be the solution.

Before you dismiss this thinking of `hiring a personal trainer is too expensive` think about this, how expensive will it all get when your health is possibly on decline years from now, and you’re faced with medical bills when you’re then in no position to change things? Act now before it gets to that stage.

Summary

Are you losing motivation with your workouts? Is hiring a personal trainer right for you? From helping you reach your fitness goals to figuring out how to exercise safely with a chronic condition, there’s many reasons why hiring a personal trainer could be one of the best investments you’ll ever make in your overall health and well-being.

Remember, ask yourself this, are you losing motivation with your workouts? If so, don’t get lost in the Iron jungle! There are ways to avoid lack of motivation when it comes to working out. Check this book out below for motivation without gyms or weights.

It`s Not Always About Hi-tech Equipment

It`s Not Always About Hi-tech Equipment

It`s not always about hi-tech equipment and fancy gyms, sure they’re nice, but how many times do you go (when they’re open) and without thinking go from one machine to another? nothing wrong with that if you get a great workout in, but it kind of takes creativity away, as you don’t have to really think about it.

Life without gyms – get creative! So, as we all know, at present, all or most gyms are closed due to coronavirus. Now sure, it’s a big inconvenience not being able to get to your gym, but don’t let this stop you from getting your daily workout in. It`s time to get creative, and you`ll be very surprised just how creative you can get without a gym or even owning a set of weights.

Back in 1980, at the age of 16, there was a time where we had life without gyms, they simply didn’t exist, certainly no fancy gyms, certainly not where I lived anyway. So, this is my story of how I got into weight-training without a real weight set, and more to the point just how creative I became in order to get my workouts in.

A homemade lat pulldown contraption

Even before I knew what a lat-machine was, I came up with an idea of constructing something in my dads garage, which consisted of something that would resemble a pull up bar, that was already bolted to the wall that my dad used to hang various things off.

I looked around the garage and found a very strong looking metal bucket and an equally strong looking thick rope along with a 5-foot-long steel bar, which we combined together to resemble a lat machine.

So, the rope hung over the pull up looking bar that was already bolted to the garage wall, one end of the rope was the 5-foot-long steel bar, and the other end we had the metal bucket. You get the picture, right?

Now, everything was in place apart from one important item, no weights for the bucket.

So, time to get the wheelbarrow out for quick a trip down the back yard. I filled it up with large rocks and pushed it back up to the garage, a workout in itself let me tell you.

The next items I called upon was the use of a weighing scale and hammer and chisel, basic things you`d have in the house and garage or shed really. I set about making the rocks as close to 10 lb. each as I could get, I wasn’t exactly a sculpturer, but with a little careful chiseling it worked just fine. So now I had several 10 lb. weights to place in the bucket in the form of rocks.

Now let me tell you, trying to control that rope and bucket wasn’t easy, it would swing wildly, and after a few near misses, eventually I got it down and had some seriously tough workouts, and can honestly say my back muscles have never been that sore ever since! Of course, at the time I had no idea just how much I was using stabilizing muscles to perform this exercise.

All I can say is when I finally joined a gym years later, when one actually opened, this particular exercise was so easy for me on a nice smooth real lat-pulldown machine, I could comfortably use the entire stack much to the shock of many in the gym. Still to this day, this is my favorite exercise.

One armed rows with a coal scuttle

First of all, let me explain exactly what a coal scuttle is, in England back in the day most houses had a coal fire, and an outside coal shed, basically a very small brick building that coal was kept in. A coal scuttle was the utensil to carry the coal from there into the house to the fireplace.

The coal scuttle itself we had, was around 3 ft long and held a good amount of coal, at a guess I’d say 30 lb. or so. Never actually thought to weigh this, but this made an ideal tool to use for one arm rows, much the same as if you were using a dumbbell.

I would carefully bend over with one leg in front of the other with knees bent, and hand placed on knee for support. I’m sure you can picture this if you’ve done this on a bench. As the coalscuttle had a long handle it was perfect for this exercise.

I would perform 20 reps one side, then switch sides and pretty much do this for 30 minutes straight. Remember, I had no idea what I was doing, other than enjoying my homemade workouts.

working out in the kitchen with cans of baked beans

As England was quite cold at times, actually most of the time, I preferred to workout indoors in the kitchen. We had kitchen chairs that were comfortable with a straight padded back.

Ideal for shoulder presses, my choice of dumbbells this time was to be a couple of large cans of baked beans, no idea what they weighed, not much, but when you’re doing sets of 20 reps for 30 minutes they really do feel heavy very quickly.

In the same fashion I would perform bench presses by laying on the floor on a cushion pushing the cans of baked beans. I would alternate this with push-ups, a very effective combination.

For triceps I could do hammer curls with old plastic milk cartons full of water, combined with push-ups with hands spaced closer together.

Biceps, I would curl basically anything I could find, the heavier the better. My mindset was, If I could hold it, I could curl it! One day it would be something that resembled a bar, other days something that resembled dumbbells.

As for legs, I would squat for an hour at a time every other day, just free standing with no additional weights, combined with calves. When I stood up from my squat, I would then do my calf raise.

Abs I would do everyday as a cool down, on the kitchen floor for around 10 minutes after each workout.

Summary

Now, I’m not saying follow what I did, as I admit back then I had no idea what I was doing, but hopefully this will give you a few ideas to carry on working out at home until your gyms open up again.

All this might sound primitive, but when you have no gyms, it works! So, instead of worrying and complaining and being depressed about having no gyms to go to at present, get creative! You`ll be surprised at what you can come up with in your own home.

Remember, It`s not always about hi-tech equipment and fancy gyms. Life without gyms – get creative!

Stay safe!

Yoga – Good For the Mind and Body

Yoga - Good For the Mind and Body

Yoga – Good for the mind and body. An ancient practice and meditation, has become increasingly popular in today’s busy society. For many people, yoga provides a retreat from their chaotic and busy lives. This is true wherever you may be. Yoga provides many other mental and physical benefits.

Types of Yoga

There are many types of yoga. Hatha (a combination of many styles) is one of the most popular styles. It is a more physical type of yoga rather than a still, meditative form. Hatha yoga focuses on pranayamas (breath-controlled exercises). These are followed by a series of asanas (yoga postures), which end with savasana (a resting period).

The goal during yoga practice is to challenge yourself physically, but not to feel overwhelmed. At this “edge,” the focus is on your breath while your mind is accepting and calm. Lets now look at the many benefits of this amazing form of exercise

Improves your flexibility

Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga. During your first class, you probably won’t be able to touch your toes, never mind do a backbend. But if you stick with it, you’ll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You’ll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That’s no coincidence. Tight hips can strain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue, such as fascia and ligaments, can cause poor posture.

Builds muscle strength

Strong muscles do more than look good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain, and help prevent falls in elderly people. And when you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility. If you just went to the gym and lifted weights, you might build strength at the expense of flexibility.

Perfects your posture

Your head is like a bowling ball—big, round, and heavy. When it’s balanced directly over an erect spine, it takes much less work for your neck and back muscles to support it. Move it several inches forward, however, and you start to strain those muscles. Hold up that forward-leaning bowling ball for eight or 12 hours a day and it’s no wonder you’re tired. And fatigue might not be your only problem. Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems. As you slump, your body may compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in your neck and lower back. This can cause pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine.

Protects cartilage and joints 

Each time you practice yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion. This can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing and soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used. Joint cartilage is like a sponge; it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be soaked up. Without proper sustenance, neglected areas of cartilage can eventually wear out, exposing the underlying bone like worn-out brake pads.

Protects your spine

Spinal disks—the shock absorbers between the vertebrae that can herniate and compress nerves—crave movement. That’s the only way they get their nutrients. If you’ve got a well-balanced asana practice with plenty of backbends, forward bends, and twists, you’ll help keep your disks supple.

Betters your bone health

It’s well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. Many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight. And some, like Downward- and Upward-Facing Dog, help strengthen the arm bones, which are particularly vulnerable to osteoporotic fractures. In an unpublished study conducted at California State University, Los Angeles, yoga practice increased bone density in the vertebrae. Yoga’s ability to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol (see Number 11) may help keep calcium in the bones.

Increases your blood flow

Yoga gets your blood flowing. More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet. Yoga also gets more oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result. Twisting poses are thought to wring out venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in once the twist is released. Inverted poses, such as Headstand, Handstand, and Shoulderstand, encourage venous blood from the legs and pelvis to flow back to the heart, where it can be pumped to the lungs to be freshly oxygenated. This can help if you have swelling in your legs from heart or kidney problems. Yoga also boosts levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues. And it thins the blood by making platelets less sticky and by cutting the level of clot-promoting proteins in the blood. This can lead to a decrease in heart attacks and strokes since blood clots are often the cause of these killers.

Ups your heart rate

When you regularly get your heart rate into the aerobic range, you lower your risk of heart attack and can relieve depression. While not all yoga is aerobic, if you do it vigorously or take flow or Ashtanga classes, it can boost your heart rate into the aerobic range. But even yoga exercises that don’t get your heart rate up that high can improve cardiovascular conditioning. Studies have found that yoga practice lowers the resting heart rate, increases endurance, and can improve your maximum uptake of oxygen during exercise—all reflections of improved aerobic conditioning. One study found that subjects who were taught only pranayama could do more exercise with less oxygen.

Drops your blood pressure

If you’ve got high blood pressure, you might benefit from yoga. Two studies of people with hypertension, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, compared the effects of Savasana (Corpse Pose) with simply lying on a couch. After three months, Savasana was associated with a 26-point drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number) and a 15-point drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number—and the higher the initial blood pressure, the bigger the drop.


Regulates your adrenal glands

Yoga lowers cortisol levels. If that doesn’t sound like much, consider this. Normally, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol in response to an acute crisis, which temporarily boosts immune function. If your cortisol levels stay high even after the crisis, they can compromise the immune system. Temporary boosts of cortisol help with long-term memory, but chronically high levels undermine memory and may lead to permanent changes in the brain.

Additionally, excessive cortisol has been linked with major depression, osteoporosis (it extracts calcium and other minerals from bones and interferes with the laying down of new bone), high blood pressure, and insulin resistance. In rats, high cortisol levels lead to what researchers call “food-seeking behavior” (the kind that drives you to eat when you’re upset, angry, or stressed). The body takes those extra calories and distributes them as fat in the abdomen, contributing to weight gain and the risk of diabetes and heart attack.

The foundation a healthy lifestyle

Move more, eat less—that’s the adage of many a dieter. Yoga can help on both fronts. A regular practice gets you moving and burns calories, and the spiritual and emotional dimensions of your practice may encourage you to address any eating and weight problems on a deeper level. Yoga may also inspire you to become a more conscious eater.

Lowers blood sugar

Yoga lowers blood sugar and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and boosts HDL (“good”) cholesterol. In people with diabetes, yoga has been found to lower blood sugar in several ways: by lowering cortisol and adrenaline levels, encouraging weight loss, and improving sensitivity to the effects of insulin. Get your blood sugar levels down, and you decrease your risk of diabetic complications such as heart attack, kidney failure, and blindness.

Helps you better focus

An important component of yoga is focusing on the present. Studies have found that regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ scores. People who practice Transcendental Meditation demonstrate the ability to solve problems and acquire and recall information better—probably because they’re less distracted by their thoughts, which can play over and over like an endless tape loop.

Relaxes your system 

Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath, and focus on the present, shifting the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (or the fight-or-flight response) to the parasympathetic nervous system. The latter is calming and restorative; it lowers breathing and heart rates, decreases blood pressure, and increases blood flow to the intestines and reproductive organs.

Improves your balance

Regularly practicing yoga increases proprioception (the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is in space) and improves balance. People with bad posture or dysfunctional movement patterns usually have poor proprioception, which has been linked to knee problems and back pain. Better balance could mean fewer falls. For the elderly, this translates into more independence and delayed admission to a nursing home or never entering one at all. For the rest of us, postures like Tree Pose can make us feel less wobbly on and off the mat.

Maintains your nervous system

Some advanced yogis can control their bodies in extraordinary ways, many of which are mediated by the nervous system. Scientists have monitored yogis who could induce unusual heart rhythms, generate specific brain-wave patterns, and, using a meditation technique, raise the temperature of their hands by 15 degrees Fahrenheit. If they can use yoga to do that, perhaps you could learn to improve blood flow to your pelvis if you’re trying to get pregnant or induce relaxation when you’re having trouble falling asleep.

Releases tension in your limbs

Do you ever notice yourself holding the telephone or a steering wheel with a death grip or scrunching your face when staring at a computer screen? These unconscious habits can lead to chronic tension, muscle fatigue, and soreness in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, and face, which can increase stress and worsen your mood. As you practice yoga, you begin to notice where you hold tension: It might be in your tongue, your eyes, or the muscles of your face and neck. If you simply tune in, you may be able to release some tension in the tongue and eyes. With bigger muscles like the quadriceps, trapezius, and buttocks, it may take years of practice to learn how to relax them.

Helps you sleep deeper

Stimulation is good, but too much of it taxes the nervous system. Yoga can provide relief from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Restorative asana, yoga nidra (a form of guided relaxation), Savasana, pranayama, and meditation encourage pratyahara, a turning inward of the senses, which provides downtime for the nervous system. Another by-product of a regular yoga practice, studies suggest, is better sleep—which means you’ll be less tired and stressed and less likely to have accidents.

Boosts your immune system

Asana and pranayama probably improve immune function, but, so far, meditation has the strongest scientific support in this area. It appears to have a beneficial effect on the functioning of the immune system, boosting it when needed (for example, raising antibody levels in response to a vaccine) and lowering it when needed (for instance, mitigating an inappropriately aggressive immune function in an autoimmune disease like psoriasis).

Gives your lungs room to breathe

Yogis tend to take fewer breaths of greater volume, which is both calming and more efficient. A 1998 study published in The Lancet taught a yogic technique known as “complete breathing” to people with lung problems due to congestive heart failure. After one month, their average respiratory rate decreased from 13.4 breaths per minute to 7.6. Meanwhile, their exercise capacity increased significantly, as did the oxygen saturation of their blood. In addition, yoga has been shown to improve various measures of lung function, including the maximum volume of the breath and the efficiency of the exhalation.

Yoga also promotes breathing through the nose, which filters the air, warms it (cold, dry air is more likely to trigger an asthma attack in people who are sensitive), and humidifies it, removing pollen and dirt and other things you’d rather not take into your lungs.

Prevents IBS and other digestive problems

Ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation—all of these can be exacerbated by stress. So, if you stress less, you’ll suffer less. Yoga, like any physical exercise, can ease constipation—and theoretically lower the risk of colon cancer—because moving the body facilitates more rapid transport of food and waste products through the bowels. And, although it has not been studied scientifically, yogis suspect that twisting poses may be beneficial in getting waste to move through the system.

Gives you peace of mind

Yoga quells the fluctuations of the mind, according to Patanjali’sYoga Sutra. In other words, it slows down the mental loops of frustration, regret, anger, fear, and desire that can cause stress. And since stress is implicated in so many health problems—from migraines and insomnia to lupus, MS, eczema, high blood pressure, and heart attacks—if you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll be likely to live longer and healthier.

Increases your self-esteem 

Many of us suffer from chronic low self-esteem. If you handle this negatively—take drugs, overeat, work too hard, sleep around—you may pay the price in poorer health physically, mentally, and spiritually. If you take a positive approach and practice yoga, you’ll sense, initially in brief glimpses and later in more sustained views, that you’re worthwhile or, as yogic philosophy teaches, that you are a manifestation of the Divine. If you practice regularly with an intention of self-examination and betterment—not just as a substitute for an aerobics class—you can access a different side of yourself. You’ll experience feelings of gratitude, empathy, and forgiveness, as well as a sense that you are part of something bigger. While better health is not the goal of spirituality, it’s often a by-product, as documented by repeated scientific studies.

Summary

Yoga is a systematic practice of physical exercise, breath control, relaxation, diet control, and positive thinking and meditation aimed at developing harmony in the body, mind, and environment. … Most people are familiar with the physical poses or yoga positions but don’t know that yoga involves so much more.

Sounds pretty good right? Try it for yourself and see and feel the benefits. You should be able to find a class in your area. Remember, Yoga – Good for the mind and body.

Warming up and Cooling Down

Warming up and Cooling Down

Warming up and Cooling Down. Appropriate warm-up and cool-down periods are an important part of any exercise program. The question is…do you remember to do them?

THE WARM-UP

Why warm up?

Before starting a bout of exercise your body needs to make a number of adjustments. These include:

  1. increasing your breathing and heart rate.
  2. increasing the energy-releasing reactions in the muscles; and
  3. increasing blood flow to the muscles to supply them with more oxygen and to remove waste products.

These adjustments do not occur straight away but require a number of minutes to reach the necessary levels. So, the purpose of a warm-up is to encourage these adjustments to occur gradually, by commencing your exercise session at an easy level and increasing the intensity gradually. If you were to start exercising at a strenuous level without a warm-up, your body would be ill-prepared for the higher demands being made of it, which may cause injury and unnecessary fatigue.

What is a warm-up?

A warm-up usually takes the form of some gentle exercise that gradually increases in intensity.

What does a warm-up do?

A pre-exercise warm-up does more than just make you warm, it:

  1. increases blood flow to the muscles, which enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients.
  2. warms your muscles, which promotes the energy-releasing reactions used during exercise and makes the muscles more supple.
  3. prepares your muscles for stretching.
  4. prepares your heart for an increase in activity.
  5. prepares you mentally for the upcoming exercise.
  6. primes your nerve-to-muscle pathways to be ready for exercise; and
  7. prevents unnecessary stress and fatigue being placed on your muscles and heart, which can occur if you exercise strenuously without a warm-up.

The warm-up is widely viewed as a simple measure to prepare your body for exercise of a moderate to high intensity and is believed to help prevent injury during exercise. Although there is a lack of clear scientific evidence that warming up prevents injuries – due to ethical constraints of doing studies in which the design involves a potential increased risk of injury to some participants – anecdotal evidence and logic would suggest that a warm-up should reduce the risk and, at worst, not increase it.

Ensuring an effective warm-up

To make your warm-up effective, you need to do movements that increase your heart rate and breathing, and slightly increase the temperature of your muscles. A good indication is warming up to the point where you have raised a light sweat.

If you’re exercising for general fitness, allow 5 to 10 minutes for your pre-exercise warm-up (or slightly longer in cold weather).

If you are exercising at a higher level than for general fitness, or have a particular sporting goal in mind, you may need a longer warm-up, and one that is designed specifically for your sport.

Warm-up options

Follow these options in the order listed.

1. General warm-up

To begin your warm-up, do 5 minutes of light (low intensity) physical activity such as walking, jogging on the spot or on a trampoline, or cycling. Pump your arms or make large but controlled circular movements with your arms to help warm the muscles of your upper body.

2. Sport-specific warm-up

One of the best ways to warm up is to perform the upcoming exercise at a slow pace. This will allow you to simulate at low intensity the movements you are about to perform at higher intensity during your chosen activity.

Typical examples include steady jogging, cycling or swimming before progressing to a faster speed. This may then be followed by some sport-specific movements and activities, such as a few minutes of easy catching practice for baseball players, going through the motion of bowling a ball for lawn bowlers, shoulder rolls, or side-stepping and slow-paced practice hits for tennis players. Sport-specific warm-ups are often designed by a qualified trainer in that sport.

3. Stretching

Any stretching is best performed after your muscles are warm, so only stretch after your general warm-up. Stretching muscles when they are cold and less pliable may lead to a tear. Stretching during a warm-up can include some slow, controlled circling movements at key joints, such as shoulder rolls, but the stretches should not be forced or done at a speed that may stretch the joint, muscles and tendons beyond their normal length.

Another component of stretching during a warm-up is ‘static stretching’ — where a muscle is gently stretched and held in the stretched position for 10-30 seconds. This is generally considered the safest method of stretching.

Perform a light static stretching routine at the end of your warm-up by stretching each of the muscle groups you will be using in your chosen activity. A static stretch should be held at the point where you can feel the stretch but do not experience any discomfort. If you feel discomfort, ease back on the stretch. Remember not to bounce when holding the stretch.

Studies comparing a warm-up that includes static stretching with a warm-up that does not include static stretching have shown that pre-exercise static stretching improves flexibility, but its effect on injury prevention remains unclear. Hence you may find it better to keep most of your static stretching for after your exercise session, that is, as part of your cool-down.

Apart from static stretching, other methods of stretching include ballistic, dynamic and PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) stretching, each of which is best done under instruction from a qualified fitness instructor or sports coach.

THE COOL-DOWN

Why cool down?

The practice of cooling down after exercise means slowing down your level of activity gradually. Cooling down:

  1. helps your heart rate and breathing to return towards resting levels gradually.
  2. helps avoid fainting or dizziness, which can result from blood pooling in the large muscles of the legs when vigorous activity is stopped suddenly.
  3. helps to remove metabolites (intermediate substances formed during metabolism) from your muscles, such as lactic acid, which can build up during vigorous activity (lactic acid is most effectively removed by gentle exercise rather than stopping suddenly); and
  4. helps prepare your muscles for the next exercise session, whether it’s the next day or in a few days’ time.

You may see conflicting advice as to whether cooling down prevents post-exercise muscle soreness, also known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which tends to occur after doing unfamiliar exercise or working at a harder level than usual. However, even if cooling down doesn’t prevent DOMS, the other benefits of cooling down mean that you should always make it a part of your exercise session.

DOMS is more common after unfamiliar exercise involving ‘eccentric’ muscle contractions, such as jogging downhill, or lowering weights, as the muscles are put under more stress than normal in these activities. However, such soreness usually only occurs in the first few sessions, since the muscles adapt, and with continued training should not occur.

Ensuring an effective cool-down

For an effective cool-down:

  1. perform low intensity exercise for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes; and
  2. follow this with a stretching routine.

Cool-down options

1. Continuing your chosen exercise while gradually lowering its intensity

Gradually slowing down the pace and exertion of your activity over several minutes can seem a natural progression, as well as fulfilling the need to include a cool-down period at the end of your exercise.

2. Slow jogging, brisk walking or gentle cycling

Another option is to jog, walk briskly or cycle for a few minutes after your exercise, making sure that this activity is lower in intensity than the exercise you have just performed.

Stretching as part of your cool-down

The best time to stretch is during your cool-down, as at this time your muscles are still warm and most likely to respond favorably, and there is a low risk of injury. Stretching helps to relax your muscles and restore them to their resting length and improve flexibility (the range of movement about your joints).

As a guide, allow 10 minutes of post-exercise stretching for every one hour of exercise. Make these post-exercise stretches more thorough than your pre-exercise stretches. Ensure that you stretch all the major muscle groups that you have used during your exercise. Stretch each muscle group for 20 to 30 seconds, 2 to 3 times.

Summary

Whatever your chosen activity may be, there’s no getting away from the fact, warming up and cooling down are a vital part to any exercise program, ensuring proper muscle function and preventing possible injury.

Do you remember to do them? If not, start now before you get injured. It`s never too late to change your habits.

Understanding the Different Body Types

Understanding the different body types

Understanding the different body types. Everyone is different, and it would be a strange world if we were all the same.

Do you have trouble losing body fat, yet seem to gain it after even the smallest slip up with your diet? Or does it feel like you can eat for days without gaining an ounce? Or do you feel you put on weight simply by just looking at food?

It could have something to do with your current body type. But is it really that simple? personal trainers know just how complex body types can be, and important to recognize the differences when designing programs and training clients.

So, now let’s explore them more in depth and analyze how they relate to overall body composition. 

WHAT IS BODY TYPE?

Body type, or somatotype, refers to the idea that there are three generalized body compositions that people are predetermined to have. The concept was theorized by Dr. W.H. Sheldon back in the early 1940s, naming the three somatotypes endomorphmesomorph, and ectomorph.

It was originally believed that a person’s somatotype was unchangeable, and that certain physiological and psychological characteristics were even determined by whichever one a person aligns to.

According to Sheldon, endomorphs have bodies that are always rounded and soft, mesomorphs are always square and muscular, and ectomorphs are always thin and fine-boned.

He theorized that these body types directly influenced a person’s personality, and the names were chosen because he believed the predominate traits of each somatotype were set in stone, derived from pre-birth preferential development of either the endodermal, mesodermal, or ectodermal embryonic layers.

SOMATOTYPE THEORY, DEBUNKED

Let’s take a deeper look at how he classified each one:

ENDOMORPH

  1. Relative predominance of soft roundness throughout various regions of the body.
  2. Digestive viscera are more massive and relatively dominate bodily economy.
  3.  Have a more relaxed, comfortable, and extroverted personality.

MESOMORPH

  1. Relative predominance of muscle, bone, and connective tissue that dominates bodily economy.
  2. Heavy, hard, and rectangular in outline.
  3. Have a more active, dynamic, assertive, and aggressive personality.

ECTOMORPH

  1. Relative predominance of linearity and fragility
  2. Greatest skin surface area relative to body mass causes greater sensory exposure
  3. Have a more introverted, thoughtful, inhibited, and sensitive personality.

Some notions of Sheldon’s theory have held up over time, providing the foundation for more accepted applications of somatotyping, but much of it has not.

The theory that personality is determined by body composition has been abandoned by the psychological community. Additionally, we know that no one is hopelessly predetermined to either be fat, muscular, or thin as a lifelong consequence of prenatal development.

What makes our bodies what they are is an absolutely vast array of environmental and social influences, genetic variations, geographic locations, and personal decisions across the entire lifespan.

THE BODY TYPE SPECTRUM

So then why are we even discussing this topic? Because while the notion of a predetermined body composition looks far-fetched through a 21st century lens, many of the physiological markers and observations associated with each somatotype do actually exist in the greater population.

However, the modern understanding is flipped from Sheldon’s original concept; it’s our physiological characteristics that determine the current somatotype, not the somatotype that determines our collective physiologies.

No one exists within purely one somatotype; instead, we are all constantly in flux and fall uniquely on a spectrum somewhere between all three.

YOUR BODY TYPE IS NOT A LIFE SENTENCE

As they are understood and accepted today, body types reflect a generalized picture of how a person’s physiology is functioning in their current state. The observable somatotype represents the current sum of their physical, dietary, and lifestyle choices up to that point in time, combined with a variety of uncontrollable factors influenced by both genetics and the surrounding environment.

For example, at one extreme end of the spectrum, a person who has easy access to high-quality food, makes habitually healthy diet choices, is free of chronic disease, and consistently trains at progressively higher intensities will always have a more functional, muscular, and leaner body composition.

On the flip side, someone who always sits all day and eats a lot of excess calories from junk food will undoubtedly develop the “soft roundness” stated in Sheldon’s original classification of endomorphs.

But remember, a body type is not a life sentence. If it were, personal trainers and nutrition coaches would all be out of jobs. The fitness industry, at its core, is all about helping people learn to use tools they can control (i.e., improved lifestyle, diet, and exercise techniques) to overcome challenges presented by genetic and environmental factors that they otherwise have no agency over.

Body type will shift based on lifestyle, activity, and diet modifications. This notion is made clear when looking at average physiques of elite athletes in different sports, where consistent training and diet standards lead to similar average body compositions grouped across the somatotype spectrum.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR BODY COMPOSITION

Research continues to prove that physical training and consistent, habitual changes to the diet have a strong influence on improving body composition. Metabolic conditions such as hyper- or hypothyroidism are fully within the realm of modern medicine to manage and improve, and chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes are manageable and can even be remedied in many cases through improvements to diet and exercise routines. Simply type “[exercise/diet] impact on body composition” into your favorite search engine and quickly become overwhelmed with the breadth of research spanning the last century.

The human body is highly adaptable and always seeks homeostasis (i.e., equilibrium) within its environment. But it can take a while to break old patterns that the body has gotten used to. This fact – that change takes time and consistency – is more than likely what leads many people to resign to the notion that they are stuck in a somatotype; because change is hard, and it’s often far easier and convenient to chalk one’s body dissatisfaction up to forces beyond direct control.

But this is also where Certified Personal Trainers and Nutrition Coaches have the most opportunity to build long-lasting relationships with clients.

Muscle is healthily gained at around one pound per month, and fat healthily lost at around one pound per week. After a desirable body composition has been attained through lifestyle modification, physical training, and healthy changes to diet – and, more importantly, when those new habits are adopted and maintained permanently – the new body that is symptomatic of all those changes will eventually become the “new normal.”

Metabolisms and appetites adjust to new energy intakes, physical activity becomes a natural part of the day instead of a chore, and someone who was predominately ectomorphic or endomorphic will eventually see themselves displaying far more mesomorphic traits over time.

HOW TO IDENTIFY BODY TYPE

In light of all this, understanding a client’s current-state body type is quite beneficial for fitness professionals. A simple observation of body composition can help quickly identify various physiological situations a client might be dealing with and allow you to tailor solutions that will preferentially address each one. Use the following somatotype traits to determine which one a person primarily aligns to:

ENDOMORPHIC

  1. Stockier bone structures with larger midsection and hips.
  2. Carries more fat throughout the body.
  3. Gains fat fast and loses it slow.
  4. Naturally slow metabolism; potentially due to chronic conditions (e.g., thyroid deficiency, diabetes) but too frequently the result of a sedentary lifestyle and chronically positive daily energy balance.

MESOMORPHIC

  1. Medium bone structure with shoulders wider than the hips.
  2. Developed athletic musculature.
  3. Efficient metabolism: mass gain and loss both happen with relative ease.

ECTOMORPHIC

  1. More narrow shoulders and hips in respect to height.
  2. Relatively smaller muscles in respect to bone length.
  3. Naturally fast metabolism makes it difficult for many to gain mass.
  4. Potentially indicative of disordered eating (e.g., anorexia, bulimia) when BMI is ≤17.

Once you identify which somatotype a client most aligns to, consider the structural and metabolic challenges that are associated with it. Then, tailor the exercise programming and dietary coaching to overcome those hurdles. This will preferentially develop the necessary foundation that each client individually requires.

For the typical new client, the initial, overarching goal to “get in shape” will essentially boil down to a desire to shift their current-state body type toward a more mesomorphic physiology.

Obviously, there will be exceptions to this rule – there will always be endomorphs who want to get even bigger to compete in strongman events and ectomorphs who want to keep thin and trim for running ultramarathons – but it rings true for the majority of clients seeking the help of a Certified Personal Trainer or Nutrition Coach.

In light of that average goal, for example, a client who presents predominately as an ectomorph will most likely need dietary and training solutions that focus on muscle protein synthesis and overall mass gain, while typical endomorphic clients will benefit far more from frequent metabolic training and reduced calorie intakes.

So, take a look at each individual, critically evaluate whether you are using the right methods for the body type they currently display, and use the following tips to better tailor your programs for maximal success.

HOW TO TRAIN ENDOMORPHS

Training endomorphs should predominantly focus on fat loss techniques until a desirable body composition and functional cardiorespiratory efficiency have been achieved. Resistance training should be used to strengthen muscles and stabilize joints to support more-efficient movement elsewhere in life, but this population tends to need cardiorespiratory improvement and fat loss above all.

In the gym, work through OPT Phases 1 and 2, but keep the majority of training sessions focused on metabolic conditioning. Use short rest periods, circuits for resistance exercises, lots of plyometrics (within client tolerance), and use as much additional time as possible for steady-state cardio.

Consistent anaerobic and aerobic training will help endomorphic bodies increase their metabolic efficiency and boost the body’s daily energy requirement. Additionally, recommend that primarily endomorphic clients increase their non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) factor as much as possible, moving more during times of the day when they’re not in the gym. Commitment to a less-sedentary lifestyle overall is the most important thing for this population to begin overcoming their metabolic challenges.

Due to those slower metabolisms (regardless of the underlying cause) and a surplus of stored energy (body fat), nutritional solutions for primarily-endomorphic individuals should focus on techniques to maximize fat loss while still supporting, and even building, the existing lean muscle mass. To accomplish this, a diet that is both low-calorie and high in protein is ideal.

Diets containing daily protein of as much as 2.2 grams per kilogram body weight (and sometimes even higher) have been shown safe and effective for supporting existing muscle tissue during times of calorie restriction and weight loss.

After ensuring that daily protein requirements have been met, the remaining pool of calories can come from whatever blend of carbs and fats the individual best tolerates. Some may tolerate a very low carb “ketogenic” diet that helps them preferentially burn even more fat throughout the day, while others will experience hypoglycemia and its associated nauseating symptoms without enough carbohydrates in their diet. This rings especially true during workouts, where carbs are important to fuel the higher intensities needed for cardiorespiratory improvement.

But regardless of whether carbs or fats are the preferred source of energy, the most important thing is to determine the client’s total daily calorie requirement and keep food intake a bit lower (with still-ample protein) so that the body remains in a negative energy balance with as little muscle catabolism as possible.

  1. Maximize calorie burn and the improvement of metabolic efficiency by primarily using high-intensity, metabolic training techniques.
  2. Consume a high-protein diet with balanced carbs and fats that maintains a slight negative energy balance.

HOW TO TRAIN ECTOMORPHS

Ectomorphs face the opposite set of challenges as primarily endomorphic individuals. Due to the numerous factors previously mentioned, most ectomorphic clients have developed bodies with highly active metabolisms and “lanky” bone structures, making it hard for them to put on mass and keep it on.

For this reason, exercise techniques for hypertrophy and maximal strength should be prioritized, with a greatly reduced focus on cardiorespiratory training to reduce overall energy utilization.

After working through the initial level of the OPT model, Phases 3 and 4 will be of most benefit to average clients in this population. Hypertrophy and maximal strength resistance training are primarily anaerobic in nature and, when combined with longer rest periods, won’t stimulate elevated calorie burn in the moment like more-intense, fast-paced exercise programs will. When paired with a consistently positive energy balance, this type of lifting will preferentially help ectomorphs build up their body mass.

To accompany the mass gain-focused resistance training, ectomorphic bodies should eat a mass gain-focused diet. These individuals tend to burn through energy sources faster than most, so ample calories will be needed. Low-carb, fat-loss focused diets are not recommended here, and in some cases, it may be prudent to recommend that ectomorphic clients even incorporate “mass gainer” nutritional shakes into their diets.

And just like with endomorphic bodies that are working to become more mesomorphic, ectomorphs need high levels of protein too. 1.2 to 1.6 grams per kilogram body weight of daily protein has been shown to be optimal for muscle growth, with some individuals requiring up to 2.2. That protein should then be spaced out every three hours so that muscle protein synthesis (MPS) signals (from the amino acid leucine) are maximized all day long.

An additional protein shakes at night, right before bed to minimize the fasting window, can also be beneficial for maximizing MPS in individuals with difficulty gaining weight.

  1. Maximize muscle gain using lower-intensity hypertrophy and maximal strength resistance training with longer rest periods.
  2. Consume a high-protein diet with balanced carbs and fats that maintains a positive energy balance.

HOW TO TRAIN MESOMORPHS

There’s no avoiding the fact that mesomorphs have things a bit easier than others. Their metabolisms are relatively efficient, they carry functional – if not athletic – muscle mass and are essentially ready to take on whatever fitness goal they please with minimal foundational work. But remember, while there are undoubtedly some people who look lean and fit with zero effort, they are the exception to the rule.

Most individuals who present a more-mesomorphic body composition have developed it as a consequence of numerous factors over their entire lifetime. And for formally endo- or ectomorphic individuals who have improved their lifestyles, diets, and fitness, hard work and discipline are the biggest factors of all.

A mesomorphic body type indicates a client is ready to transition to more advanced forms of power, athletic, and sport-specific training. Comparatively, diets for mesomorphic bodies should be tailored specifically to health and fitness goals.

Protein should be consumed anywhere between 1.2 and 2.2 grams per kilogram body weight depending on the intensity of the exercise program, with remaining calories coming from a blend of healthy carbs and fats. Then, if changes in body composition are still desired, the daily calorie load can either be increased or decreased to gain or lose weight, respectively.

  1. Utilize OPT Phases directly aligned to client goals.
  2. Eat specifically for fitness goals and activity, increasing or decreasing daily calories to preferentially control body composition with positive, neutral, or negative energy balances.
  3. Increase protein intakes to as high as 2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight for muscle gain goals; or, keep closer to the 0.8 gram per kilogram of body weight FDA recommended dietary allowance (RDA) when healthy body composition maintenance is all that is desired.

Obesity – The Never Ending Problem

Obesity - The Ongoing Issue

Obesity – The never ending problem. To expand my knowledge on this worrying subject I visit with a local Doctor who specializes in obesity.

Doctor Roberts gives me a very interesting and rewarding interview. He tells me that most people who come to him are looking for the easy option rather than actually even trying a healthy diet. He also tells me he only believes in this kind of surgery when all else has failed and it’s a matter of life and death to the person concerned.

Before Doctor Roberts will even agree to consider any weight loss surgery he advises and recommends certain steps to try to avoid this. Doctor Roberts believes weight loss surgery isn’t the answer for the average person who is looking for a quick fix, simply because he doesn’t believe it changes the way people think about food. He says people must train themselves to realize they don’t need to be eating all day long.

“I really try to make them the understand the importance of diet and exercise, and that they really need to consult with a nutritionist and personal trainer who can both help them without resorting to surgery. I believe as a country the United States is literally eating itself to death with no signs of this ending anytime soon. We must stop people from seeing food as their comfort cushion, like the saying goes eat to live not live to eat” says a very concerned Doctor Roberts.

First he gives the patient a three month time frame in which to show they are serious about trying to lose weight by recommending a structured diet, sadly he went on to explain only around 30% follow this, he says everyone seems to have some kind of comfort food or drink that they aren’t willing to cut out, such as chocolate, fried food, beer and wine etc.

I can already see an opportunity for me as a personal trainer to fit into Doctor Roberts’s way of thinking about this matter, he asks when I get the opportunity to bring him some business cards which he will gladly display in his office and he will refer his patients to me to train and hopefully together we can help his patients in their ongoing struggle with obesity.

I found this appointment to be a very worthwhile learning experience with a professional who is seriously trying to change the way people think of food, and also a great source of potential clients in the future for my personal training business.

Self-control is needed

As a personal trainer, one of the biggest and most common of problems is getting clients to stay on a healthy diet, after all, why waste money on a trainer if you’re going to ruin the whole thing by eating junk food, doesn’t make sense really.

The Impact of Nutrition on Your Health. Fitness goals can be ruined by a poor diet! Your food choices each day affect your health — how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future. Diet can make or break your fitness goals.

Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health. Diet can make or break your fitness goals.

The Impact of Nutrition on Your Health

Unhealthy eating habits have contributed to the obesity epidemic in the United States: about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese. Even for people at a healthy weight, a poor diet is associated with major health risks that can cause illness and even death. These include heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer. By making smart food choices, you can help protect yourself from these health problems.

The risk factors for adult chronic diseases, like hypertension and type 2 diabetes, are increasingly seen in younger ages, often a result of unhealthy eating habits and increased weight gain. Dietary habits established in childhood often carry into adulthood, so teaching children how to eat healthy at a young age will help them stay healthy throughout their life.

The link between good nutrition and healthy weight, reduced chronic disease risk, and overall health is too important to ignore. By taking steps to eat healthy, you’ll be on your way to getting the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, active, and strong. As with physical activity, making small changes in your diet can go a long way, and it’s easier than you think! Diet can make or break your fitness goals.

Diet is so important to maintain good health

Nutrition plays a crucial role in processes connected to bone formation and maintenance of bone mineral density. The amount of calcium in the body is subject to a dynamic balancing process, including calcium levels in food consumed, the ability of the intestines to absorb it, and its secretion levels through the urine. All these factors influence the biological availability of calcium for the benefit of bone formation and the prevention of bone loss.

The process of bone formation reaches its peak during the first three decades of life. Diet rich in calcium during this period is highly important to achieve an optimal bone mass. Later in life, adequate dietary calcium supplementation is necessary for maintaining that optimal bone mass and for bone loss prevention.

Milk and dairy are considered the most readily available source of calcium in the Western diet. The remaining calcium is usually derived from leafy vegetables, dried fruits, tahini and soy. Calcium from most plants is less absorbable in the human body than that from dairy products. In addition, a small portion of the daily calcium consumption comes from drinking water (tap and bottled).

Most foods are poor in calcium; therefore, it may be difficult to achieve the required amount of calcium on a daily basis, even with a good and balanced diet. Attention should be paid to the fact that some of the calcium-rich foods, such as raw tahini, almonds and sardines, are also rich in calories and fat, and therefore it is advised to limit their consumption.  

Calcium from diet is not fully absorbed by the body. Calcium-rich foods such as legumes, broccoli, spinach, leeks, parsley and green cabbage contain additional nutrients affecting intestinal acidity, and thus reducing calcium-absorption in the body.  Calcium absorption rate ranges between 15%-70% of the amounts present in a particular food.

Calcium absorption potential depends on the overall food ingredients but is also influenced by various physiological and hormonal factors, such as age, vitamin D, stomach acidity and pregnancy. Therefore, calcium absorption potential and its biological availability are no-less significant factors than the original calcium content in food. 

Strong bones are vital to healthy life and life quality in advanced age. Therefore, it is essential to keep a diet rich in calcium early in life and if needed, to consume calcium supplements in order to achieve an optimal bone mass, which will be used as a bone reservoir later in life. An optimal bone condition has a direct influence on reducing the likelihood of bone fractures later in life.

  Comfort foods and drinks

A major problem seems to be the fact many people are so hooked on eating certain bad foods or drinks that they really can’t get their heads around the fact that it’s possible to live without them. Everything in moderation, but have you considered the fact your comfort food you think you can’t live without may just be the one reason you aren’t getting results?

I have personally had clients that have been hooked on chocolate, red wine, and of course fried food in general etc. the list is endless. All these things once in a while won`t hurt you, but every day, now that’s an addiction and a big problem.

A healthy diet and exercise really go together, like a perfect marriage if you only have one working it’s not going to work, and will really slow down results, or stop any results altogether. Considering most people are looking for weight loss these days most clients will quit long before they see results because of their inability to follow a structured diet. Diet can make or break your fitness goals.

In the fast pace of modern-day life everyone seems to be looking for a `quick fix` when it comes to exercise, especially weight loss, but in reality, there really aren’t any magical pills or magical diets to get you that look you so desire. Just mainly having the discipline to work out regularly and eat correctly.

It’s not that difficult, calories in versus calories out! It’s that simple, unless there’s a thyroid issue of course, but generally speaking it’s a lack of discipline that’s to blame. Diet can make or break your fitness goals.

My experience with this issue

One such client was Joe, who obviously liked his food but yet wasn’t too overweight. He came to me claiming to have tried every diet going but nothing would work for him.

After training Joe for 3 months we were making great progress in the gym apart from of course his weight loss. His pant size had gone down a few sizes but not his weight. If anything, his weight had increased a few pounds.

He claimed to be eating a good diet of salad, fruit & veg with no junk food at all or any alcohol, so this was a mystery as to why he wasn’t losing weight…or was it?

I had my suspicions about Joe`s diet so asked him to keep a food log for 2 weeks so I could see what exactly he was eating. When I studied this food log all seemed fine with oatmeal for breakfast, grilled chicken breast for lunch, Tuna salad for dinner with no snacking etc. on paper his diet looks perfect…if indeed it`s honest and accurate, which I highly doubted!

Now of course when a client gives you a food log, what they write down and what they are actually eating can be two very different things, this is what I suspected was the case with Joe, but of course I couldn’t very well prove my suspicions. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, after all, why lie about it? He would only be hurting himself by doing so. He’s the one that’s paying me, I’m not paying him, and I told him many times diet can make or break your fitness goals.

Busted!

One morning I happened to be going into the local grocery store, when I saw a familiar figure coming out with a full basket of groceries, yes Joe! His basket consisted of several large bottles of soda, a couple bags of large potato chips, several packs of Guinness and many different boxes of cookies.

Before I could say anything, a very red faced Joe said “Err, I’m shopping for my neighbor who’s too sick to come shopping this week” I told him what a kind thought, I also gave him one of my business cards to pass on to his neighbor who must be in pretty bad shape to be eating this kind of junk!

Have you noticed when someone is lying to you, they seem to have an inability to look you in the eyes? Their body language gives them away every time as they try to convince you that what they’re telling you is the truth. Whatever! Joe had been busted, and he knew it! He never did return to the gym either.

Summary

When you start blaming your trainer for something you know you are doing wrong, can you honestly fool yourself into believing they are in the wrong and not you? If so, you will never have the discipline needed to get the results you wanted. After all, that’s why you hired them in the first place, right?

Remember this, hiring a personal trainer isn’t like waving a magic wand where results are concerned especially weight loss, you still have to do your part. If you are doing your part and not getting results then yes, change your trainer as it might not be a good fit, but if you aren’t telling your trainer the truth about your diet who are you hurting the most? Yes! you.

You’re paying the trainer, they aren’t paying you and it`s certainly not a cheap service, so think about this next time you feel like cheating on your diet. Remember, diet can make or break your fitness goals.

Unfortunately it`s all part of Obesity – The Ongoing Issue.

What’s Your Excuse For Not Exercising?

What's your excuse for not exercising? lazy person

What’s your excuse for not exercising? Working out in the gym might mot be for everyone, but there’s so many forms of exercising that there’s something for everyone! Unless serious illness prevents you which is an entirely different matter, there’s really no excuse, just do it!

Making exercise a daily priority. Having trouble fitting exercise into your busy life? Try these ideas to make fitness a daily priority and stay on track with your goals and health.

Whether it’s the holidays, overtime at work or you’re busy with kids, there’s always a rationale for putting exercise last, many times just excuses! However, the simple trick to getting in better shape and feeling confident about your fitness level is to make exercise a priority even when you’ve got a dozen other things to do. It can be done.

Yes, you can schedule daily workouts into your day planner or phone’s calendar, and you should if it’s a matter of reserving those times for exercise, but if you’re prone to skipping exercise already, you might need a stronger push in the right direction. To set a precedent for exercise, try these steps for making fitness a priority in your busy life.

Start your day off right

Your best bet is to exercise whenever your busy day allows it, but if you can plan on working out first thing in the morning. Getting exercise done early means you don’t have to worry about casting it aside later in the day if something throws you off course.

The later in the day it gets there’s likely to be many more reasons or excuses not to exercise. The more successful you feel about sticking to your workouts, the more you’ll want to keep up with that rewarding behavior.

Buddy up with a friend

When you’ve got one or more friends cheering you on and expecting you to show up and exercise with them, you’re less likely to blow off the workout. You wouldn’t want to stand up a friend or miss out on the social time of exercising together. While any supportive friend can make a good workout buddy, one who’s already motivated to exercise can help you jump-start the same habits and a similar mindset.

Priority by payment up front

Exercise is easier to skip when you’ve got nothing riding on it. That’s why laying down cash makes a lot of sense, financially and physically. Once you prepay for a personal trainer or an ongoing class or boot camp, you’ll want to get your money’s worth by showing up. Because if you don’t you forfeit the session and your hard-earned money. The trainer is already at the gym, so you need to be too.

It’s easy to get distracted and even easier to give up if we’re not seeing results as fast as we would like. The thrill of starting something new and challenging can dissipate over time if you don’t stick with your plan.

If your mind is strong, then your body will follow. Don’t let excuses and the afternoon munchies stand in your way of that body you’ve always dreamed of.

Look for windows of opportunity

There might be windows of opportunity for working out during times that you thought were out of bounds. For example, could you squeeze in a 10-minute DVD workout right before your morning shower? Is there a gym at the community center where your kids take dance, painting or martial arts classes?

Maybe you could drop in there for a quick workout while your little ones enjoy their own activities. You’ll get your exercise in and set yourself up as a role model of fitness for your kids. You don’t need to be in a gym for hours to get a worthwhile workout in.

Start Slow

We’re all guilty of throwing ourselves into some new fad workout; but then finding ourselves bored and itching for something new, again and again. It’s important to start off slowly with something that you know you like to do, such as running or even walking. The choice is yours.

If you have free time in the afternoon, head out for a nice jog or a brisk walk with a friend. Make your physical activity a time to have good conversation. This can help entice you to continue with your routine because you won’t view it as something you have to do, but rather something you want to do. Working out with a friend will be something that you look forward to.

Set Yourself Reasonable Goals

Going from zero to 60 is never a solid way to start a new routine, mainly because you’ll burn yourself out quite fast. It’s important to set realistic and reasonable goals that you know you can accomplish. For example, “I will wake up every morning at 4 a.m. and run 5-miles” is most likely not a practical task for anyone; and you don’t want to feel guilty for not meeting your goal. A reasonable goal in sight is the way to go and you’re sure to not be disappointed. Don’t run before you can walk, take it steady.

Designate Certain Days and Times

Plan to exercise at a certain time each day so it becomes a part of your schedule. If you know at two pm you have your favorite Pilates class, or made plans to meet a friend for an afternoon jog, stick with it. Planning your workouts ahead of time allows you to have something to look forward to and, like stated above; having a reasonable goal is essential in accomplishing them.

If you don’t set up some sort of plan, it’s easy to back down and procrastinate. But who wants to back down on their health? Schedule your activity by putting it in your phone, writing it on your fridge or even having a friend bombard you with annoying text messages until you get yourself going.

You’ll feel refreshed, invigorated and happy that you chose to dedicate an hour to yourself and health. The thought of exercising can be way worse than actually doing it.

Change It Up

Doing a steady 45 minutes on the elliptical can get boring, so it’s OK to change up your routine every few weeks to keep your workouts interesting. You don’t want to hit a fitness plateau and then give up all together. It can and does happen.

Enroll in a kickboxing class, lift heavier weights and alternate between a light jog and sprints for your treadmill routine. Also, don’t be afraid to take your workout outside of the gym. Mother nature offers more than enough resources for you to use in order to get a butt-kicking workout. Why not hike your local mountains, ride your bike around the park, run on the beach and take a tennis lesson at the local courts? If you keep your workouts exciting, you’ll probably never want to stop. The choice is endless.

Reward Yourself

Rewarding yourself is a great incentive to work out even harder, especially since it’s very easy to lose sight of your ultimate goal, and let’s face it, we all lack motivation at some point. Reward yourself for reaching a certain goal by getting a massage or purchase those new tennis shoes you’ve been dying to have. Little gifts for yourself can move you to do better and ultimately achieve more.

Try not to fall into the trap of rewarding yourself with cheat meals, junk food in other words. You`ll quickly get the taste again and find yourself wanting more. Do not be tempted as your body and mind will suffer.

Summary – Never Give Up

No matter the circumstance, never stop running towards what you want to achieve. A healthy lifestyle is forever, not something that happens for a year and then dissipates. If you’re taking control of your own body and health, stick with it.

It’s alright to have an off day, everyone does, it`s normal, but it’s important to fight through the stress, the long days and busy schedules. Push through your workouts and your journey to a healthier lifestyle. Fight for your right to be fit and fabulous by making exercise a daily priority.

Run Away, Fight Back or Freeze?

If attacked, you better have a plan of action! Today`s blog deals with a strange question that clients seem to think I can answer for them. During the many kickboxing and self-defense sessions I have instructed over the years, one of the strangest and most common of things clients ask me time after time is what would they do if they were to get attacked? The question is, how would you handle being attacked?

You may never have to worry about being attacked by someone, but it’s wise to be prepared to defend yourself just in case it happens. The best way to fight off an attacker is to strike or scratch them in their vulnerable areas, like their eyes, nose, or groin. Additionally, protect your head, stomach, and groin from their blows using your arms or items in your environment. If it’s possible, avoid the confrontation by projecting confidence, telling the person to back off, or running away. Until it happens, its really hard to predict exactly what you’ll do.

The 3 options

Very hard to answer that one really, but you would either do one of three things…

1) freeze

2) run-away, or

3) fight back

But once the adrenalin kicks in there’s no telling what’s going to happen, as it will be a spur of the moment action that you can’t possibly predict in advance, and apart from that it’s kind of difficult to tell someone else what they would do in that or any other situation. But as they’re paying me, they seem to think I should know the answer! These are the three options I describe to them.

Freeze – How would you handle being attacked? Many people still think attacks are something they see on the news or read online that happen elsewhere and to other people, but never near them or to them, sadly, these are the most unprepared people and if attacked will be so frozen in fear and disbelief that it`s actually happening to them that they will be unable to do anything but freeze.

Run-away – How would you handle being attacked? The safest option would be to run-away, certainly for someone with no fighting skills, but of course that may not be an option, but at least the people who would try to run away are able to react and try to escape. There’s no shame in running away, live to fight another day as the saying goes.

Fight back – How would you handle being attacked? Most likely the people who would fight back would be the ones ready to take action and understand anyone can be attacked. If you are to fight back, you must have the confidence to do what is necessary as you could be putting yourself in danger by choosing this option.

If you are going to fight back…

If you have pepper spray, use it! – Open your pepper spray and aim it at your attacker’s face. Spray it onto their face and try to get it into their eyes. As soon as they react to the spray, turn around and run away as fast as you can.

Typically, the effects of pepper spray wear off in about 15-45 minutes. Some people have a very high threshold of pain, so it’s possible the attacker will keep advancing on you. If they attack again, strike their eyes or nose.

Scratch your attacker in their eyes – Make your dominant hand into a fist and punch your attacker in their eyes. If you have keys, jam them into their eye. As another option, scratch at their eyes with your fingernails. This may scare off your attacker and might temporarily blind them so you can escape.

Keep in mind that you’re not trying to blind your aggressor, just inflict some damage so you can escape the scene. That being said, do what is necessary and if your attacker gets hurt, too bad! Maybe they`ll think twice before attacking someone next time.

Aim for the nose with a fist or open hand – Punch them in the nose with a closed fist or push your open palm up into the base of their nose. Alternatively, use your elbow to strike them in their nose if they’re within 2 feet of you. Keep your momentum going as you make impact, so your strike has more impact.

The nose is a vulnerable, sensitive area that’s easy to injure. Hitting your attacker in the nose will leave them in immense pain and should give you time to quickly leave the area. When someone feels blood running out of their nose it’s a huge deterrent.

Punch their Adam’s apple or throat – Ball your hand into a fist or turn your hand sideways. Then, aim for the soft patch between the attacker’s collarbone and the base of their neck. Strike them as hard as you can to temporarily interrupt their breathing.

Be aware that a hard punch to the Adam’s apple could collapse someone’s airway and kill them. Unless you are literally fighting for your life, don’t hit the attacker as hard as you can in the Adam’s apple. This is strictly a life and death punch.

A kick to the groin works great – Aim for the center of the groin, directly in the center of the attacker’s legs. This should incapacitate the attacker for several minutes while you run away. No matter how big and strong anyone is, this will bring them down immediately.

Keep in mind that your attacker will likely be expecting a kick in the groin and may quickly move away or block your kick.

If you’re being attacked by a woman, kicking her in the groin isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but it won’t be as effective as it will against a man.

The knees reduce their mobility. Kick the front of their knees to cause a serious injury and immense pain, or the sides of their knees to knock them down. Keep kicking until they fall or back away from you. This will cause them a lot of pain and limit their ability to chase you.

If your attacker has already knocked you to the ground, don’t give up the fight! Strike at the sides of the attacker’s knees with your elbows. It will be harder for the attacker to grab your feet if you’re kicking them in the knees because they’re lower to the ground.

Once your attacker is down, run! – Run and escape as soon as your attacker is down. Get to a safe location and call 911 to request help. Explain what happened, then file a report with the police.

Never try to “finish” a fight or detain your attacker. If you see that your opponent is in pain (e.g., because of a blow to the throat, eyes, or groin), don’t wait around to see if they are ok. Run away and get to safety: your car, inside a building, or in a crowd of people where the assailant won’t be able to find you easily, if at all.

I cannot stress this enough, how would you handle being attacked? once your attacker is down, do not admire what you’ve done, do not hang around for any reason what-so-ever! get out of there immediately. Live to fight another day.

Summary

If you are unfortunate enough to be attacked, you cannot predict what you’ll do, because once the adrenalin kicks in there’s no telling what’s going to happen, as it will be a spur of the moment action, how would you handle being attacked? this is where self-defense plays a huge part in giving you the confidence to protect and defend yourself in such a situation. Learn today, it could save your life!

Mike Tyson – The Ups and Downs

Who could ever forget the excitement a ferocious young Mike Tyson brought to the sport of boxing, walking to the ring already drenched in sweat wearing only shorts and boots, with a look of determination and intimidation that had most opponents beat before the first bell even sounded!

His early years were spent in a high crime neighborhood where bone crushing fights were a common occurrence. Since death was always around the corner and self-defense as necessary as bread and butter, Mike was inducted into the art of fighting at a very early age.

By the time he was 13, he had been arrested 38 times and petty crime became an everyday occurrence in his life. His latent boxing talent came to his aid in street fights and would later emerge as a fundamental aspect of his personality, thereby making him a boxing icon.

Childhood and early life

Born to Jimmy Kirkpatrick and Lorna Smith Tyson in Brooklyn, New York, Mike Tyson was one of the three children of the couple. He had an elder brother Rodney and a sister Denise who passed away in 1991 due to heart attack. Additionally, he also had a half-brother Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick from Kirkpatrick’s earlier marriage.

Kirkpatrick abandoned the family after the birth of young Tyson. Succumbing to the financial burden, the family relocated from Bedford-Stuyvesant to Brownsville when Tyson was ten years of age.

Ever since his early years, Tyson was involved in fights; of course those at this stage were basically only for personal reasons and did not have a professional ground. He resorted to his fist to solve problems of bullying. By the time Tyson stepped into teenage, he had already been arrested 38 times for knocking out grown men from the street.

Young Tyson completed his schooling from Tryon School for Boys in Johnstown, New York. It was there that Bobby Stewart, a juvenile detention center counselor and former boxer, noticed Tyson’s boxing skills. He honed them a little before introducing the destined-to-be champion to Cus D’Amato.

Under D`Amato’s guidance, Tyson trained for the sport. He was under the full-time custody of D`Amato who set a rigorous training schedule for the aspiring boxer. Tyson attended Catskill High School by the day and practiced in the ring by the evening. However, he did not graduate from the school and left his studies as a junior.

Amateur boxing career

Tyson’s training was very well evident in his performance at the Junior Olympic Games in 1981 and 1982, where he won gold medals by convincingly, beating opponents Joe Cortez and Kelton Brown, respectively.

He fought against the eventual 1984 Summer Olympics heavyweight gold medalist Henry Tillman twice in the trials, losing on both occasions. Failing to make it to the Olympics team, Tyson turned professional.

Professional boxing career

His professional debut fight was against Hector Mercedes on March 6, 1985. He won the same in the first round knockout itself.

In his first year, Tyson won 26 of the 28 fights that he participated in, 16 of which he won in the first round itself. Slowly graduating up the ladder, Tyson fought against veteran journeyman fighters and borderline contenders like James Tillis, David Jaco, Jesse Ferguson, Mitch Green and Marvis Frazier.

Tyson’s back-to-back victories brought him under media attention, who billed him as the future heavyweight champion. While his career was progressing upwards, Tyson faced turmoil outside the ring as his friend, philosopher and guide D`Amato left for the heavenly abode. Rooney filled up for the shoes of D`Amato.

Tyson’s first televised fight was against Jesse Ferguson. He stumped the opponent by breaking the latter’s nose in the fifth round. By the sixth round, Tyson was declared a winner.

By the age of 20, Tyson had won a record 22 back-to-back matches, 21 of those victories coming from knockout.

His string of victories finally brought him his first title fight against Trevor Berbick for the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight championship. On November 22, 1986 Tyson defeated Berbick in the second round knockout and at the age of 20 years and 4 months became the youngest heavyweight champion in history.

The glory years

Tyson’s win at the World Boxing Council was just the beginning of the many more to come. He defended his title by winning against James Smith to bag the World Boxing Association title as well.

His ambitious campaign to fight all the heavyweight champions in the world moved a stepped further as he knocked-out Pinklon Thomas in the sixth round and Tony Tucker in the twelfth round to win the latter’s International Boxing Federation title. With this, Tyson became the first fighter to hold the WBC, WBA and IBF titles in a single year, 1987.

Same year, Tyson defeated the 1984 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Tyrell Biggs by knocking him out in the seventh round.

In the year 1988, Tyson enjoyed being on top of the ranks in the boxing world. Having become popular as a ferocious fighter, his reputation grew by leaps and bounds after each successful outing.

Tyson competed against the top class legendary players James, ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith, Larry Holmes, Tony Tubbs, and Michael Spinks. While Holmes was a former champion, Spinks was a lineal champion who claimed to be the true heavyweight champion. Tyson knocked out Holmes in the fourth round (the latter’s first knockout in 75 professional bouts), and Spinks in the first round itself (the richest fight in history).

Tyson’s win over Spinks in flat 91 seconds in the first round was the zenith of his success. Expected to be the clash of the season, the stakes were high for the bout as Tyson’s aggressive infighting was against Spinks’ skillful out-boxing and footwork. Post the match, Tyson’s fame and recognition in the boxing world zoomed to reach the sky. As for Spinks’, he never played a match since his defeat.

The downfall of a champ!

Tyson’s glorious years were short-lived though. While his personal life was in turmoil, his professional life too was inflicted with chaos and mayhem. Rooney was fired and so was manager Bill Cayton. Don King filled up the space for the two but his alliance with this notable boxer did more harm than good.

Tyson changed his boxing style which led to his decline and downfall. Rather than draining out boxers with body blows, Tyson looked to finish the game in the first round itself and concentrated solely on the head.

Year 1989 saw Tyson in two matches against British boxer Frank Bruno and Carl ‘The Truth’ Williams. Though both the bouts turned out successful for him, Tyson’s magical capabilities as a boxer were heavily doubted.

The crack in the armor was prevalent in the 1990 fight against Buster Douglas. Despite being the betting favorite and experts’ choice, Tyson failed to match up to Douglas, who landed a flurry of blows on Tyson to lay him out of the canvas in the tenth round. This was the first time Tyson faced such a defeat. He did not just lose the match but lost the undisputed championship as well.

The result of the match sent a wave of shock to the sports fraternity across the globe. The ferocious fighter, the brutal puncher and the undefeatable champion had lost his charm and his defeat meant the end of an era.

Tyson, eager to revive his image of the most feared boxer, had a couple of fights scheduled for the next year. He won back to back matches against Henry Tillman and Alex Stewart. Though his match against Donovan Ruddock was stopped in the middle with Tyson being declared the winner, to shoo his critics the two met again with Tyson claiming a victory in a twelve round unanimous decision.

Tyson’s next outing was against the reigning champion Evander Holyfield at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. However, he backed out from the fight due to rib cartilage injury.

In 1991, just when his professional life seemed to get back on track, Tyson was arrested for raping Desiree Washington, Miss Black Rhode Island.

In 1992, he was convicted on the rape charge was sentenced to six years in prison followed by four years on probation.

While serving his sentence, Tyson went into intense reflection and converted into Islam, receiving the name Malik Abdul Aziz. Reading philosophical books cast an influential role in the mind of Tyson who resolved to lead a disciplined life.

He was released in March 1995 after serving three years. However, upon returning from the jail, his alliance with Don King disrupted his theory of leading a disciplined life as he resolved to bizarre behavior.

Summary

Popularly known for his terrorizing power and intimidating temperament, Tyson quickly climbed up the ladder of success under the strong guidance of Cus D’Amato and Rooney to earn the nicknames ‘Iron Mike’ and ‘the baddest man on planet’. He was popular for defeating his opponents with a single blow.

Tyson dominant performance at the sports saw him reach the pinnacle of success, by becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

But just as quickly did Tyson climb the ladder of success, he went into the pitfall with the same speed, courtesy his tarnished childhood, poverty-stricken upbringing, poor judgement and criminal behavior. As such, when he was enjoying raving success and was at the peak of his power, Tyson suffered from serious blows due to his bizarre behavior, rape conviction, financial loss, bankruptcy and imprisonment.

His biting off the ear of opponent Evander Holyfield was the zenith as the world wrote him off as a damaged animal incapable of existing outside the ring.

Stars rise and fall, but Tyson has succeeded in securing a permanent place for himself in the annals of boxing and will always be remembered for his stunning knockout victories.

Did You Know Dumbbells Originated in the 1700’s?

dumbbells originated in the 1700’s

Did you know…dumbbells originated in the 1700’s when a rod was placed between two church bells. When a clapper was removed from the bells, they became silent, or dumb, hence the word dumbbell.

Many good reasons

Dumbbells and Barbells, why lift free weights? Well, for one thing, if you do not have the space for a large, comprehensive home gym then free weights are an excellent choice of fitness equipment to use in your home workouts. Another thing, free weights are an affordable way to grow your fitness equipment collection, and continue to challenge your workouts, as your fitness levels improve. Additionally, they are versatile, and require virtually little or no storage space. So, there’s many reasons to lift free weights.

I remember myself, back in the day starting off my fitness career with a 100lb set of plastic sand-filled weights, it’s amazing how creative you can be without access to a gym.

Strength training is not a modern invention

Egyptian tombs show pictures of lifting bags filled with sand and stone swinging and throwing exercises. These types of things were also popular in early Europe.

Weightlifting competitions originate back to the early Greek civilization. These events led to the origination of games that later became known as the modern Olympics. The pioneers of these events did not have the sophisticated equipment that we have today or the research on training and physiology to back up the exercises, but they did have the most important thing — the desire to lift something heavy for fun, sport, and physical health. Like I said previously, it’s amazing how creative you can be without access to a gym. In this case of course, gyms didn’t exist. Dumbbells and Barbells, why lift free weights? No other choice at this time.

The creative mind can overcome anything as they made equipment out of whatever they could. As time went on, they created more modern inventions for weightlifting. Indian clubs, which resemble a bowling pin and kettle balls (cast-iron balls with a handle), were popular in the early 1800’s. Weight-training equipment evolved in the form of pulleys, air pressure devices, and multi stations in the 19th century. At first, the people who used this type of equipment were strongmen performing at contests and exhibitions. Amateur weightlifting became a sanctioned event at the Olympics in 1896, although there were no female athletes. Women’s weightlifting didn’t become a sanctioned Olympic sport until much later.

Weight training progressed significantly in the 1900’s with the invention of the adjustable, plate-loaded barbell. Weight training became more popular at this time because it was much easier to change the weight on the barbells. Weight training really gained momentum when sports coaches began to see that it was an excellent addition to athletic and physical education programs.

Bodybuilding soon followed on the sandy shores of Muscle Beach in Venice, California. Bodybuilding was practiced by men and women who participated in physique shows, weightlifting competitions, and acrobatics demonstrations. This was when women’s progression into weightlifting really took hold.

Introducing the Nautilus Machine

This is primarily contributed to the Nautilus machines. These machines used variable resistance. The Nautilus variable resistance machines hit the market in the 1970’s. The machines were great because they were less intimidating than free weights. They allowed people to lift light weights easily, which was perfect for the woman who was just starting out. The creator of the Nautilus, Arthur Jones, preached a philosophy of training that gave people a road map and instructions for the use of his machines. He proposed a 20-minute workout three times a week that included one set of 8 to 12 repetitions for each Nautilus machine. Many people are still following his recommendations today.

The innovation of the Nautilus machines inspired a fitness revolution, and many different companies came on the market with their own resistance machines. In the 1970’s, the aerobics revolution began, and it flourished throughout the 1980’s. Women who had previously been training with weights were now jumping and stepping in aerobics rooms rather than going out to weight floors. A hybrid of selector zed equipment was the plate-loaded machine, which was introduced in the later 1980’s. Hammer Strength was the first of these machines. Entire body movement was the focus for these machines, rather than specific body parts.

The machines felt natural and smooth, and they actually led to a resurgence of lifting free weights. Women were coming back into the weight room. It was also becoming apparent, through research and anecdotal reports, that resistance training produced huge benefits for those who participated in sports. There probably isn’t any serious athlete or sports team today that doesn’t believe in training with free weights.

Strength training in the past was very plain; there was not a lot that could be changed about the way an exercise was done. Today, the world of weightlifting is changing all the time with new machines, workouts, equipment, and techniques. Fitness and everything associated with it has come far. Strength training is something that is only going to get better. The benefits that come from it are astronomical. We, as a society, have come to figure out that weight training is not only for a select few; it is for everyone. Every person needs strength training in some way or another, whether it be for fitness or medical reasons.

Strength training is evolving as we speak. From circuit training to multiple muscle workouts, functional core training is the cause of this evolution. Balance, stability, pure core strength, and functional training are vital to the new strength trainers. It’s only going to get better. Future strength training practices will allow us to function better and be able to produce a much faster, stronger, and more agile athlete.

What Are Free Weights, Exactly?

So, first thing’s first, free weights are any training load that isn’t connected to another apparatus or piece of gym equipment. It’s “free,” meaning you can pick it up, move it, and do whatever you want with it really. The only thing you’re fighting is the force of gravity on that object.

Your two main free weights in the gym are dumbbells and barbells, but kettlebells, medicine balls, sand bags, even tires are free weights. Pick them up and do what you will with them,

That’s in contrast to fixed weight machines, cable machines, and resistance bands, in which the load you’re working against can move in a limited number of directions. And sometimes, with non-free-weight apparatuses, gravity isn’t even the force you’re working against. When you’re working with cable machines and resistance bands, for instance, the source of resistance is the cable or band.

So, why lift free weights?

When the load you’re working with isn’t attached to anything, the possibilities of what you can do with it are pretty much endless. Free weights provide more freedom of movement across most exercises.

Take a squat, for instance. Perform it with a leg press machine or a Smith machine, and you bend at the knees and hips, and that’s it. Everything else is fixed, so you don’t have to worry about balancing, and your body isn’t able to move out of a straight-line path. Now, do the same squat with a free weight, and suddenly your muscles have to work to keep you from wobbling and your body doesn’t have to move any fixed path.

That’s good for a lot of reasons. First, it mimics how we move in regular life. Second, it activates and trains more muscle. And third, training more muscle means greater strength benefits and a lower risk of muscle imbalances and injury.

What’s your goal?

This could be anything from performing your first pull up to building muscle to increasing how much you can deadlift by X amount. The answer will influence not only the exercises you perform, but also how you perform them (reps, sets, weight used, rest periods, etc.), Also, keep in mind that your goals should include rehabbing or working around any prior injuries or aching joints; keeping injuries in mind will really matter when it comes to exercise selection.

How often will you workout?

It’s good to have goals here, but also be realistic. After all, if you create a free-weight routine that works different body parts each day, but you end up rarely hitting the weight room more than two days per week, half of your body is going to get left out of the equation. It’s always better to add a strength day than it is to miss muscle groups throughout the week.

How much time to devote to your workouts?

It’s hard to give a one-size-fits-all suggestion for how long a lifting session should be, because it really depends on the reps/sets you’re doing, how long you rest in between, how intense an exercise is, and how long each move takes to complete. Generally, most trainers say that 45 to 60 minutes is sufficient for a strength training session. But it’s important to be realistic about how much time you do have to devote to training. Pick a time limit that feels doable with your schedule and see how many exercises you can fit into that window allowing yourself time to perform all reps and sets with proper form and adding in time for rest, too.

Summary

The bottom line is this; choose a weight training system that you enjoy and that fits into your lifestyle. Aim to do weight training exercises of all the major muscle groups at least two days a week, keeping at least one day between strength training sessions.

And whatever type of resistance you choose, free weights or machines, remember that proper form and technique is more important than the specific type of equipment because should you injure yourself you might not be working out at all.