Tag Archives: fitness

Make Waves to Get Stronger

7 May

At our facility, the goal is always the same — improve athletic performance and fitness through the development of strength and conditioning.  But we use a wide variety of tools to help our clients reach (and exceed) their goals.

Heavy ropes are one of the tools we use to improve strength, muscular endurance, and build lean muscle mass.  They work each arm independently, eliminating strength imbalances, and provide a great cardio-metabolic workout in the process.

Heavy ropes are available in a variety of lengths and thicknesses, but a 50-foot, 1 & 1/2-inch-thick rope tends to work best for most people.  You can purchase them from a fitness retailer or website, or make your own.  To anchor it, just loop it around a pole.

Here are some heavy ropes training tips:

  • Don’t just wave the ropes up and down.  Different motions will work different muscles and skills.  Swing the ropes in circles, side-to-side, or diagonally.  Alternate between simultaneous and alternating swings.
  • Use the ropes anytime during your workout.  Heavy ropes can be used for a dynamic warmup, finisher, or an entire workout in and of themselves.
  • Adjust the resistance by moving closer to or farther away from the anchor point.  The amount of slack in the rope determines the load.  Moving toward the anchor point (more slack) increases the intensity.
  • Switch your grip.  Hold the rope underhand, overhand, or double (fold over) the ends.
  • Keep both feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart; to start, hold the ends of the rope at arm’s length in front of your hips; knees bent, hips down and back, chin up, chest up.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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What’s More Important — Diet or Exercise?

30 Apr

Your genetic “blueprint”dictates a lot about your fitnesshealth, and wellness.  But we all have a window of opportunity within which we can have an impact.

And, while diet and exercise are both significant contributors, you can impact your metabolism to a greater extent through exercise.

Simply stated, pound-for-pound, muscle burns more calories than fat.

The best way to build muscle and burn fat is high-intensity interval resistance training (HIRT).  HIRT continues to build muscle and burn fat even after you have left the gym.

In one recent Italian study, lifters doing HIRT burned 18% more calories 22 hours after exercising than individuals who did traditional strength training.

Next time you’re in the weight room, try this approach:  Choose three exercises.  Start with the first exercise and, using 80-85% of your 1 rep max, do 6 reps and rest 20 seconds; do 2-3 reps and rest 20 seconds; do 2-3 reps.  That’s one set.  Do 7 sets of all three exercises.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Fit is Good, Strong is Better

8 Nov

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Strength training is the way to go.

In addition to improving the way you look, feel, and function, there continues to emerge compelling evidence that strength-based training also benefits long-term health and well-being.

The problem… ?  The vast majority of adults neglect to do even the minimum recommended amount of strength-based exercise.

Here is another resource – a large Australian study – providing support for strength-promoting exercise:

Push ups and sit ups could add years to your life according to a new study of over 80,000 adults led by the University of Sydney.

The largest study to compare the mortality outcomes of different types of exercise found people who did strength-based exercise had a 23 percent reduction in risk of premature death by any means, and a 31 percent reduction in cancer-related death.

Lead author Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis from the School of Public Health and the Charles Perkins Centre said while strength training has been given some attention for functional benefits as we age, little research has looked at its impact on mortality.

“The study shows exercise that promotes muscular strength may be just as important for health as aerobic activities like jogging or cycling,” said Associate Professor Stamatakis.

“And assuming our findings reflect cause and effect relationships, it may be even more vital when it comes to reducing risk of death from cancer.”

The World Health Organization’s Physical Activity Guidelines for adults recommend 150 minutes of aerobic activity, plus two days of muscle strengthening activities each week.

Associate Professor Stamatakis said governments and public health authorities have neglected to promote strength-based guidelines in the community, and as such misrepresented how active we are as a nation.

He cites the example of The Australian National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey which, based on aerobic activity alone, reports inactivity at 53 percent. However, when the World Health Organization’s (WHO) strength-based guidelines are also taken into account, 85 percent of Australians fail to meet recommendations.

“Unfortunately, less than 19 percent of Australian adults do the recommended amount of strength-based exercise,” said Associate Professor Stamatakis.

“Our message to date has just been to get moving but this study prompts a rethink about, when appropriate, expanding the kinds of exercise we are encouraging for long-term health and well-being.”

The analysis also showed exercises performed using one’s own body weight without specific equipment were just as effective as gym-based training.

“When people think of strength training they instantly think of doing weights in a gym, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

“Many people are intimidated by gyms, the costs or the culture they promote, so it’s great to know that anyone can do classic exercises like triceps dips, sit-ups, push-ups or lunges in their own home or local park and potentially reap the same health benefits.”

The research, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology today, is based on a pooled population sample of over 80,306 adults with data drawn from the Health Survey for England and Scottish Health Survey, linked with the NHS Central Mortality Register.

The study was observational, however adjustments were made to reduce the influence of other factors such as age, sex, health status, lifestyle behaviours and education level. All participants with established cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline and those who passed away in the first two years of follow up were excluded from the study to reduce the possibility of skewing results due to those with pre-existing conditions participating in less exercise.

Summary of key findings:

  • participation in any strength-promoting exercise was associated with a 23 percent reduction in all-cause mortality and a 31 percent reduction in cancer mortality
  • own bodyweight exercises that can be performed in any setting without equipment yielded comparable results to gym-based activities
  • adherence to WHO’s strength-promoting exercise guideline alone was associated with reduced risk of cancer-related death, but adherence to the WHO’s aerobic physical activity guideline alone was not
  • adherence to WHO’s strength-promoting exercise and aerobic guidelines combined was associated with a greater risk reduction in mortality than aerobic physical activity alone
  • there was no evidence of an association between strength-promoting exercise and cardiovascular disease mortality.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Keep it Simple

11 Jan

adult%20fitness14cropped1Here’s a simple fitness rule: DO SOMETHING EVERY DAY.

And, although it sounds easy enough, it’s also easy to get off track.

Two important considerations for an effective fitness regimen are proximity and simplicity (research shows that compliance is less likely if your workout is far away and/or complicated).

Rediscover your love of fitness.  The health and wellness benefits of exercise are well documented, and it’s a great stress reliever.

Just do something active for 30 to 45 minutes a day and your health will benefit.  This strategy is also likely to improve your quality of life and longevity.

And you can modify the intensity of your activity to accommodate your fitness level and desired results.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Do Anything But Nothing

8 Jan

cancer-exercise-011When it comes to fitness, it’s not necessarily about what you do; it’s about doing something.

Science suggests that you can get healthier, stronger, and fitter by following any plan regularly.

According to Men’s Health, the CDC recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, along with twice-weekly muscle strengthening sessions (not an unrealistic goal, but the CDC reports that 3/4 of men don’t reach it).

Best of all, your choice of activities is virtually limitless.  Weightlifting, basketball, softball, jogging, yoga, hiking, and biking are just a few of the broad array of activities from which you can choose.

Obviously, the key is to have an action plan, and your plan should be aligned with your goals (which should be consistent with your body’s needs).

And, of course, the best exercise is the exercise you actually do.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Train for Performance

6 Jan

performance-training-squat1For most young guys, “fitness” is about being as big as possible.  As we mature, we realize that fitness has little to do with the size of our biceps and more to do with how we function and perform.

Performance training involves determining what your body needs on a given day (based on your activities), setting performance goals, and creating – and executing – a plan of action that’s aligned with your goals.

Performance training is movement-based training, not muscle-based.

Performance training is about getting stronger, not bigger.  It’s about becoming more powerful, faster, and improving your endurance, mobility, and joint stability.

Trust me, you’ll get the aesthetics you’re looking for from training for performance.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Quit Obsessing Over How You Look

4 Jan

real-women-do-pull-ups1Decades ago, fitness was defined by how you looked.  Today, smart guys and gals know that fitness is more about how you perform.

Not only is single-digit body fat uncommon, extreme leanness and muscularity is an unrealistic goal and – more importantly – unnecessary for athleticism.

According to Men’s Health, a recent NCAA analysis found that the average body fat percentage for running backs at the NFL Combine from 2006 to 2013 was nearly 12 percent.

Pay less attention to the mirror and scale, and focus on performance instead – how you feel and function.  Set a goal for yourself.

Can you do a pullup?  If not, get to work on accomplishing your first one – and then your first five.  If you’ve never run a 5K, sign up for a local event – then set a time goal for your next one.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Should You Skip Breakfast?

28 Nov

470_2677148[1]In the interest of balance, I thought I would share a recent article from Healthy Living titled, 5 Reasons to Skip Breakfast.  Obviously, I’ve extolled the virtues of breakfast in this blog — as well as in my personal and professional life — repeatedly.

This is the type of conflicting information that can make it confusing for people to make sound, educated choices regarding diet and nutrition.  Clearly, this article is more of an editorial than evidence-based research.

The article also lacks balance, as it only addresses a high-carb breakfast, and not the benefits of incorporating lean protein into your morning meal or snack.  There is a voluminous (and growing) body of research that supports eating something — anything — within 90 minutes of waking, especially for athletes.

A balanced, nutritious breakfast — along with smaller, more frequent meals and snacks throughout the day — can improve energy level and cognition, and help you reach your fitness, weight-loss, and/or performance goals.

Please see related article, Eat Breakfast!

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

It’s Not About How Much

7 Nov

HansFranz[1]How do you gauge success in the gym?  Lots of men and women focus solely on the amount of weight they can lose or lift.  And while these may be steps on your path to success, perhaps they shouldn’t be the ultimate goals.

Working out can increase your strength and improve your fitness, health, and wellness.  And, while the physical benefits are obvious, research shows that the benefits of working out may carry over into your mental, emotional, and even spiritual well-being.  Regular exercise has also been linked to productivity at work, satisfaction in relationships, and less stress.

Have fun working out by making exercise more like play.  Try new moves, learn new skills, and take on new challenges.  Variety in your routine can be motivating.

Keep track of how happy, confident, and energized you feel, as a result of your workout.  Improvements in fitness and increases in the amount of weight you push or pull will be valuable by-products.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Just Work Hard, Work Smart

27 Jan

work-smart[1]“More is better” is a philosophy that applies to a lot of different situations.  When it comes to strength training, though, more (reps, sets, days) is not necessarily better.  As a matter of fact, research indicates that more can be associated with a diminishing return.  Don’t gauge the effectiveness of your exercise routine by the amount of time you spend in the weight room.  Instead, take a closer look at what you accomplish — in both the short- and long-term.  Effort is important… you’ve got to work hard.  But hard work without a purposeful plan won’t get you very far.

What is Your Goal?

First of all, have a goal.  There are several different reasons for strength training.  Most people who workout want to realize improvement in one or more of the following areas:

  • Strength
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Agility
  • Athleticism
  • Hypertrophy (size)
  • Endurance
  • General fitness
  • Weight management

It’s important to understand what you want to accomplish, since different strategies are necessary to achieve different results.  A strength and conditioning professional can help you sort out things like exercise selection, intensity level, sets, repetitions, rest intervals, and days per week.  Make sure to align your plan with your goal(s).

Commit Your Plan to Writing

Once you’ve decided on the plan/strategy that’s right for you, put it on paper (or, I guess, in your smart phone).  Create a workout chart to track your activity and progress.  Refer to them frequently.

Be Aggressive but Realistic

You should challenge/push yourself a little more with each subsequent workout — add a little more weight, one or two more reps, or the speed at which you progress through the exercise.  Don’t allow yourself to plateau.  Your body will adapt to your current level of activity, so variety and progression is the key.

Organization/Commitment

Don’t leave your workout for when you “have” time.  You’ve got to make time for strength training.  Treat it as you would any other appointment or priority — schedule it in advance.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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