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|Posted on June 27, 2012 at 6:11 PM||comments (1)|
Hey everybody, hope you are all enjoying a beautiful Summer day. The following blog was written with YOU in mind, and my hope is that you find it both informative and empowering. Please read through it, and share it with everyone you feel would benefit from it's message.
In fitness (and in life) arming yourself with the best information available can help you conquer any goal, often in less time and with even better results than you imagined. And there’s no better resource for that advice than the health and fitness professionals whose careers depend on getting people results. To help you reach your potential, it's my goal to share with you the very best tips, mantras, and motivation secrets I've learned and read along the way. Let's take a look at some of the very best I've come across so far.
Stop worrying about the exact percentage of fat you burn during exercise (i.e. staying in the “fat burning” zone), and instead focus on the total calories burned from fat (which include the calories you burn after an intense strength session). To burn more fat over a 24-hour period (and not to mention, get in great shape), go as hard as you can, as long as you can.
2. Get Fit from the Inside Out
Instead of only looking to the scale and the mirror for feedback, focus first and foremost on how exercise makes you feel—more energetic, healthier, and less stressed. Cosmetic changes will naturally occur if you seek out and adopt a fitness plan that you enjoy and take to heart.
Has your busy schedule taken over your workout routine? Fit in fitness first thing. Research shows that people who work out first thing in the morning work out more often. Why? Because you're less likely to make excuses when you get it done before something else can get in your way.
4. Make Time to Meditate
Learn how to incorporate meditation into your daily routine, no matter how brief. So much of our suffering, pain, insecurities, and struggles are caused by a disconnection with ourselves and our source. Meditation costs nothing, requires nothing, and can be done anywhere. In order to change your body, you need to change your mind and the way it is hardwired.
If you try something and it doesn't work, try something else. If you're injured, switch gears and focus on another aspect of your fitness until you heal. Never stop searching for the right workout and schedule until you create exactly what works for you. When you find it, don't be swayed by fads, the opinion of others or even the experts. Doing what you love is the surest way to ensure you will be fit for life.
6. Put Parkinson's Law into Practice
Parkinson's Law states that the perceived complexity of a task expands to fill the time you allot it. So if you don't set hard deadlines and timelines, you're not going to be as focused or productive as you could be. Instead of wasting time at the gym, create hard deadlines for your workouts: estimate how long your session should take and enforce that you finish in that amount of time or less. Create a negative consequence for not sticking to it. Once you begin to create and enforce deadlines, the BS gets toned down and the results increase dramatically.
Your body knows better! On days when you don't feel like working out, that's your mind talking. Your body yearns for movement, circulation, and healing. When I'm having one of those days, I'll take a few moments just to breathe well, and invariably, my arms want to stretch and I might press my hands into a wall and lengthen my spine—anything. And it always feels better.
8. Make an Emotional Connection
Most people don't truly enjoy exercise, but studies show that when you connect with something you like - whether it’s a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, fitness video, or piece of equipment - you make a positive emotional connection and are significantly more inclined to stick with that exercise routine. Find a way to create a positive emotional connection [to your workouts] to stay engaged and wanting to come back again and again.
When it comes to exercise selection, focus on compound moves, not isolation exercises. A compound movement is something that engages every muscle in your body - such as pull-ups, pushups, or planks - whereas isolation exercises focus only on one muscle group. Compound movements will make you stronger, more explosive, and more toned than anything else.
10. Aim High but Stay Realistic
I'm sure that everyone reading this has heard the expression, ‘Rome was not built in a day.’ It's been my experience that even the most competitive and knowledgeable athletes (including even myself) set expectations that are often too high, and it’s natural to get disappointed when you set an expectation and fail. It’s good to have goals, just make sure those goals are smart, achievable ones.
For anyone who has worked with me you know that I like to remind you that support begins at the bottom, meaning be conscious of what your feet are doing. Most people get caught up in the movement of the exercise and forget about the importance of proper foot placement. Understanding that your feet are the foundation for all of the body parts above will help to create overall balance and proper spinal alignment, making each exercise that much more effective.
12. Share Your Goals with Others
Talking about and sharing your goals with other people is a great way to hold yourself accountable for taking action. It will give you a greater purpose, as you’ll find that you want to follow-through on what you've told people, and it will help you create a support network. You may even find that other people have helpful suggestions based on their own experiences, expertise, or personal and professional networks.
I am always amazed at how people sabotage all their incredible efforts in the gym by overeating junk foods. (Sound like a gym we all belonged to once upon a time?) If you commit to a diet of clean food - mainly all colors of plants, lean quality proteins, good healthy fats, and grains like quinoa and amaranth - and limit processed food, fast food, sugar, super starchy grains, and trans fats, you can see tremendous results in your body.
14. Kick Up the Intensity
A lot of people put the time into their workouts but completely fail when it comes to their intensity. Bottom line: If it doesn't feel hard, it isn't. Learning this will drastically change your fitness level and your ability to achieve new goals.
Always have a goal in place to keep yourself motivated. It can be anything from a short-term fitness goal like going to the gym three times in a week, to getting in shape for your high school reunion, to running your first 5K. Initiatives like the 2012 METropolitan Fitness best mile challenge and the September 30th Merrell sponsored Down and Dirty Mud Run are perfect examples of knowing where you’re headed so you'll keep moving in the right direction.
So there you have it! Listed above are 15 of the best secrets I could think of to share with all of you. Naturally, I'm assuming that you all have enjoyed reading this and will share this with friends, workout partners and loved ones alike. Should you have any of your own secrets to share, or feel like commenting please do so as I'd love to hear some feedback. In the meantime, keep training!
Yours in health and wellness,
|Posted on June 19, 2012 at 4:29 PM||comments (0)|
Hey everybody. I hope this blog reaches you in good spirits, great health, and in the midst of your best Spring ever. It is with the latter in mind that I am preparing the following blog for all of you to read and share. With the first day of Summer coming tomorrow and temperatures expected to be between 94 and 100 degrees here in NY the next few days, I thought there was no better time to speak about the impact of heat on our bodies. Please feel free to share this with everyone whom you feel would benefit from the information. Thanks and have a great, safe Summer season!
As temperatures rise, the body uses its built in systems to cool itself. It does this by letting heat escape through the skin and by evaporating sweat. If your body does not cool properly, then you may suffer a heat stroke. Anyone can be affected by the heat, but older adults are especially vulnerable.
Heat-related illnesses occur when the body gets too hot. If you're exposed to high temperatures for a long time and don't replace lost fluids, the body systems that regulate temperature become overwhelmed. In the heat, your body cools when your sweat evaporates, but on hot days, the evaporation is slowed due to increased moisture in the air. As a result, your body produces more heat than it can control. Heat-related illnesses can also result when large volumes of sweat are replaced with fluids that don't contain enough salt.
By the Numbers
Heat cramps typically occur during heavy exercise in extremely hot environments. As the body sweats, it is depleted of salt and moisture, which lowers salt levels in the muscles and can cause cramping.
Symptoms of Heat Cramps
Heat exhaustion is the body's response to losing an excessive amount of water and salt. The body typically reacts by excessively sweating. Athletes, outdoor workers and elderly people are particularly susceptible to heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion may occur after several days of exposure to extreme heat without proper fluids.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
Exertional Heat Stroke
The most serious of heat-related illnesses, exertional heat stroke occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature. If a person's body temperature rises above 103 degrees, they're suffering from heat stroke. Although treatable, exertional heat stroke can lead to heart attack, permanent disability or death.
Symptoms of Exertional Heat Stroke
I hope that after you finish reading this you feel better prepared to protect yourself while training outdoors this Summer. Remember, training SMART is equally as important as training hard!
|Posted on April 12, 2012 at 11:08 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on April 8, 2012 at 10:49 PM||comments (0)|
Hi everyone, hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Easter weekend. I wanted to make sure I introduced the next series of blogs now because I believe it perfectly coincides with all of our focuses towards improving our running abilities. Far too often we are looking at only the workout itself, and forget the importance of our post-run/workout recovery. It is this oversight I wish to address in the following blog. Please continue to follow this series as there will be additional installments to come.
Strategy #1: Recovery, Recovery, Recovery
If there's one thing we need to understand about training, it's this: It's not the training we do that counts; it's the training from which we can recover. But recovery involves more than plopping our butts on the couch post-run for some food, TV and a nap. Recovery is a multi-layered strategy for ensuring that we benefit from the training we do.
The most important part of our workout is the first 15 minutes after we finish. This is the time to replenish muscle glycogen (50-100g of carbohydrate), rehydrate and do our post-run static stretching and exercises.
Recover At Night
Studies show that people who sleep seven to nine hours per night live longer. Living longer is an essential part or running longevity. Good sleep also repairs cell damage, strengthens our immune systems, lowers stress, increases flexibility and keeps us alert and refreshed.
Recover Between Hard Workouts
Recovery days allow our bodies to adapt to the training stimulus of a hard workout. This is when our improvement occurs. Easy running during these days adds to our training volume and aids repair of damaged muscle fibers and connective tissue. It allows replacement of muscle glycogen, hormones and enzymes. A fit 25-year-old requires two to three days of recovery between hard workouts, while a 70-year old might need twice that.
Recovery From The Daily Grind
They say stress kills. But before it kills, it'll do lots of damage along the way. Stress lowers immunity, increases inflammation, slows healing, decreases bone density, decreases muscle mass, increases blood pressure, increases fat and intensifies blood sugar imbalances. So find an outlet. Shoot some hoops. Read a book. Write. Paint. Dance. Work in the garden. Or there's always some other alternative that will allow us to relax and decompress. Recovery makes us better runners. So seriously, find a way to chill out!
|Posted on March 29, 2012 at 11:22 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on March 26, 2012 at 11:12 PM||comments (106)|
As many of you already know, I'm a huge advocate of stretching in our continuing efforts to retain our elasticity and flexibility. What I'd like to highlight here in this blog are some of the benefits realized from flexibility training. In blogs to come I'll also discuss additional rules for stretching, provide examples of how stretching can lead to improved performance, and review additional stretching instructions. Should any of you have any questions, please reach out to me directly or post your questions here so that the forum readers can follow along as well.
Benefits of Flexibility Training
|Posted on March 18, 2012 at 5:03 PM||comments (105)|
Hey everybody, I wanted to take this opportunity to address a question which I get quite often at the gym. "How much cardio should I do, Mike?" While there is not one answer that fits all, I will say that the length and intensity depend largely on the health and fitness goals of the individual. Most of you know by now that I received my Certified Personal Training credential by graduating from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and it is there that I learned about using the acronym F.I.T.T.E to help me remember the general guidelines for cardiorespiratory training. I hope these tips prove helpful to everyone who reads this.
Frequency refers to the number of training sessions or activity sessions for a given time frame. The time frame usually consists of a week. But, depending on the client and his or her goals, it may be one workout a day, a month, or a year. For general health requirements the recommended frequency of activity is preferably every day of the week, for small quantities of time. For improved fitness levels, the frequency is three to five days a week.
Intensity refers to the level of demand the activity places on the body. This is usually measured by heart rate or maximal oxygen consumption. For general health requirements moderate intensity is preferred. This would be perceived as enough demand to increase heart and respiratory rates, but not cause exhaustion or breathlessness. For improved fitness levels, the intensity recommended is 40 to 85% of heart rate reserve (HRR) or 60 to 90% of maximal heart rate (HR max). Please refer to the blog I wrote 2/12/12 to better understand where your maximum heart rate zones are. http://www.metropolitan-fitness.com/blog/2012/02/12/Heart-Rate-Zones.aspx
Time refers to the length of time engaged in the activity. This is usually measured in minutes. For general health requirements, approximately 30 total minutes a day is recommended. This could be six 5-minute bouts, three 10-minute bouts, or two 15-minute bouts (or any other combination equaling 30 minutes). For improved fitness levels, the time recommended is approximately 20 to 60 minutes. This will vary, depending on the goal.
Type refers to the mode or activity used. This can be virtually any activity. For general health requirements, this may consist of:
For improved fitness levels, this may consist of:
Enjoyment refers to the amount of pleasure derived from the activity by the client. This is sadly an often overlooked component of program design by many trainers and health and fitness professionals. Fortunately for all of you, I try to take into account the methods you enjoy (or at least hate the least). One of the most important aspects of creating a program is that it fits with a client's personality and interests; however, this does not mean that the client dictates what it is that we ultimately do.
One of the most important components of a properly designed training program is that it must be enjoyable. This means that the program and its activities must coincide with the personality, likes, and dislikes of the client. This ultimately translates into compliance, and that will equal results. I know that when I design a program for a client I try to ensure it will be both fun and challenging, because I know they will be much more apt to continue it. By complying with a structured program, the client will achieve the desired results. When this happens, it means I have the ability to have a drastic impact on the life of my client and nothing could make me happier!
So there ya have it. These are the F.I.T.T.E factors. So get out there and get healthy doing something you enjoy!
Yours in health and wellness,
|Posted on March 11, 2012 at 11:08 PM||comments (0)|
Hey everybody, I hope you found the last blog outlining your recommended reps and tempos helpful. I thought that the next thing we would address would be the general recommendations for rest in between those sets. As anyone who has worked with me will tell you, I love to find new ways to keep clients engaged and challenged. An important component of designing appropriate programs for clients is factoring in proper rest periods between sets. It is with that element in mind that I prepared the following information for all of you.
The amount of rest between sets of exercise will vary depending on the load used and the intensity of your routine. Sets performed with lighter weights will generally require less recovery time than those sets performed with heavier loads, explosive speeds, or done with high intensity. Other factors that will contribute to the selection of rest intervals include: training experience, conditioning, individual recoverability, nutritional status, and muscle mass utilized.
Rest Between Sets: General Recommendations based on goal
Training Goal Rest period between sets
(# of repetitions per set) for similar muscles
Endurance/Stabilization (12-25 reps) 60 seconds or less
General Strength (8-12 reps) 30-90 seconds
Hypertrophy/Growth (8-12 reps) 30-90 seconds
Maximal Strength (1-5 reps) 2-3 minutes
Power/Explosiveness (1-5 reps) 3-5 minutes
|Posted on March 11, 2012 at 10:25 PM||comments (201)|
Hey everybody. So another week is in the books and what a week it was! I was able to share a lot of great moments with clients and members alike and it has me excited about what the upcoming week has in store. As more and more people get further along in their training regimens it forces them to confront a vital training principle, "How many reps should I be doing?". I hope that the following blog helps answer the question that seems to be on so many minds.
Recommended Reps and Tempo:
Training Goal Velocity/Speed
Endurance/Stabilization (12-25 reps) Slow
General Strength (8-12 reps) Moderate
Hypertrophy/Growth (6-12 reps) Moderate
Maximal Strength (1-6 reps) As fast as you can with control
Power/Neural (1-6 reps) Explosive
Interesting tidbit: In a study, novice weight lifters were allowed to select weights they thought would improve their muscular strength on various pieces of equipment. The group selected weights that were too light to induce any gain in strength or size. For those of you who already train with me, you know how I can go on about how much I hate to see people working so hard engaging in activities that are ineffective for reaching their goals. Let's make sure that going forward we are focusing on not only working hard, but smart too!
|Posted on February 12, 2012 at 8:09 PM||comments (276)|