Monday, February 23, 2009

More Random Thoughts

Just thought I would post some more random thoughts as I sit here at work…

I experimented in the gym I work at last weekend. I re-organized all of the plates on the free-weight side of the gym. I made sure there was an equal amount of plates distributed throughout. After 6 hours of open gym time the plates were all over the place. The organization was no more. It was a wreck. I just don’t understand how it is so hard for people to put weights back where they got them. It’s not a hard thing to do. It takes no extra effort at all.

I am so sick of this cold weather. Especially when I get teased with 50+ days every so often. I hate winter and need some warmth in my life. Snow and ice are just worthless. I can’t wait to make my way to the southwest.

My cousin has been reading the book Game of Shadows. It’s about the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs in sports. It seems like this is the biggest thing being talked about right now and everyone is out to get athletes. I agree that all these players shouldn't be lying about it but at the same time I don’t see why people put so much negativity with athletes who are exposed. In my opinion, athletes have probably been using performance enhancing drugs since they were created, which was a long ass time ago. I feel sorry for players today who have to deal with the ridicule. I know if I could help my career by taking a supplement I would have no problem doing it. The public is just too quick to judge when they really don't know the facts.

I started doing this exercise last week. I had done roll-outs before but never on a stability ball. This is a great new exercise for core development. The video below shows it from a kneeling position but try from a standing position for more difficulty.

Make sure you continue to work towards your goals every day. Wake up with intentions to get shit done. I know I am well on my way to reaching my goals and may just reach them two months in advance...Don't let me show you all up.

I have some new followers to the blog. I love to see that people are reading. I hope that I can help and inform people and maybe stir up questions and debates. I realize I don't know everything and that is why I encourage people to contact me to discuss. I love to learn new things. I just hope everyone enjoys the posts and keeps following.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Choice of Improvement

Scenario 1:
Dawn breaks, I awake to the chirping of birds while the sun covers my room with happiness. I spring out of bed, throw on my clothes, and skip off to class. No pain, just happiness. I may only weigh 160lbs and of coarse I don’t reach any of my goals but hey, I feel good and can walk normally. It’s a great life.

Scenario B:
I am abruptly awaken by the screeching phone alarm. Its 3 hours before I need to be anywhere but I have to get my breakfast in somehow. I stumble out of bed to get my food and stuff down the calories. I lay back down only to be reawaken by another alarm a couple hours later. Trying to get dressed is almost impossible because I am so sore. I painfully walk to the gym to get my workout in. It's hell on my body, it’s not always fun. But I WILL reach my goals. I make other people in the gym look soft and weak. At the end of the day I am proud of my accomplishments and gains. The pain and hurt are non-existent at this point. Just pure bliss.

Anything in life worth having is worth hurting for. Will you sacrifice to reach your goals? Will you go through pain to achieve what you want in life? I know I will be choosing scenario B. Make the choice, I hope its not scenario 1.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Love Shaq

Hot Off the Press

This past summer, at an internship at the University of Louisville, I got to work on a project for the coach and athletes. This project was a cookbook for the athletes, full of healthy, easy to make recipes. I didn't create the recipes but I analyzed them for their nutritional information. I also typed and formatted the book. After a long wait, it was finally published and my copy was mailed to me. I was very impressed with the final outcome and excited to see the work complete. Thanks to Teena Murray for allowing me to help with such a big project. Although it was very tedious and time consuming, it was a great experience.

Friday, February 13, 2009

"Should you keep taking that multivitamin?"

In the LA Times this week there was an article written questioning multivitamins. In this article the columnist discussed a study that was done looking at the effects of multivitamins over 8 years. Of the 162,000 participants involved in the study, about half took some form of a multivitamin. The results discussed in the article showed that the participants who took a form of vitamin were no more likely to ward off major diseases such as cancer. With the evidence that multivitamins have no effect on postponing or preventing cancers the columnist went on to question why so many Americans take a daily vitamin. With many physicians recommending them to fill nutritional gaps and no prescription needed, the columnist went on to say that "most people assume they are safe. But those assumptions are not warranted."

The thing that this article and columnist failed to look at is the other benefits of multivitamins. Most people do not take a multivitamin to prevent cancer, yet to fulfill their nutritional needs. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, deficiencies are among a large number of people for the following:
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

These deficiencies are result of poor diets and with by simply taking a daily pill, these deficiencies can be somewhat controlled. Certain deficiencies can cause problems over time. For instance, low iron can lead to anemia while low amounts of B vitamins can lead to neural defects. A multivitamin is a simple way to increase the intake of certain vitamins and to keep better overall health.

It is important to explain to the public that multivitamins are not a cure for cancer or a prevention method either, but for an article to down vitamins and question their need and popularity is poor journalism. If vitamins were not needed then why do so many physicians and so many health professionals recommend a daily vitamin to help people reach higher health? Maybe this columnist needs to look into vitamins a little more and start taking a daily dose of B vitamins to improve her brain function.

Inspiration from LA Times Article:

Monday, February 9, 2009

Building a Better Foundation

In the past couple of years I have done a lot of reading, a lot of observing, and a lot of learning. One thing that has caught my attention and intrigued me is the topic of "prehab". I had never really thought much of it until an internship I had this past summer at a collegiate strength and conditioning program. The coaches there incorporated prehab exercises in every workout. There was a lot of emphasis on joint mobility and joint stability. They composed movement screenings to determine problem areas and prescribe extra work to fix said problems. Seeing all of this focus on correctional exercises made me start to think about the things I had been doing with my own workouts as well as clients I had. I started to research and dive into more literature on the topic and my own training philosophies have been altered somewhat.

When you look at the body and the movements that are used in training, sports, and everyday life there are 3 portions of the body that serve as a foundation. These 3 areas are the core, the hips, and the shoulders. Any movement involving the lower body will almost undoubtedly involve the hips, whether it be flexion, extension, or some type of rotation. The same can be said for the upper body and the shoulder joints. As for the core, I have previously mentioned that it is the center point for the body and must stabilize to hold us upright and to perform our daily tasks. If these 3 areas are are not incorporated into ones training, then gains will not be maximized and injury, whether chronic or acute, is likely.

Let's take a look at the shoulder joint first. The shoulder joint is the most movable joint in the body which also makes it the most unstable. There are a group of small muscles that surround the joint and provide the stability and mobility of the shoulder. Included in this group of muscles are the infraspinatous, supraspinatous, teres minor, subscapularis. The deltoids are the major shoulder muscle but without the smaller muscles we would have a problem. Incorporating exercises into a warm-up that can strengthen these smaller muscles will help with injury prevention as well as provide a stronger base in which to strengthen the rest of the upper body. Including mobility work into a workout will also improve the function of the shoulder joint, allowing for better range of motion.

The hip is a similar joint, however there is a smaller range of motion in the hip because of the make-up of the ball and socket. Hip strength and mobility are the most lacking aspects of performance that I have noticed in people I have worked with. Most people don't squat to parallel because they can't. Their hips won't allow them to go that low. Another implication with squatting is the caving of the knees. This is something else I notice in a large number of people. Once again, weak hips. Injuries to the knees, more than not, can be connected to a lack of strength and mobility in the hips. Without bettering the hips, it's going to be hard to improve both squat form and strength. Think about sports. The hips are positioned and used in many different ways throughout a sporting event. They are the foundation of running, jumping, squatting, cutting, and so on. It's very easy to add hip exercises to a warm-up on a daily basis. These exercises over time will improve the hip from front to back as well as medially and laterally.

Prehab and corrective exercises are easy additions to a workout that can be utilized as a warm-up while improving the basis of all movements. There are a number of exercises and progressions for these areas. I myself have added some hip and shoulder work to my workout and feel that my squat form has improved immensely and my weight is also seeing an increase. I also incorporate these types of exercises in all of my clients as a form of warm-up. I have seen an improvement in them as well with both lower body form and executions as well as upper body. I suggest an addition of one or two exercises for each and see the improvements of strength and mobility.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Intervals For Better Results

Last week I posted about using interval training and weights to build a better body rather than doing steady state cardio. I figured I would build off of that post and explain in more depth interval training and different methods associated. Before I get into details I want to preface by saying that those new to exercise and intense training should partake in about a month of steady-state work and simple weight training, in order to build up some endurance and strength. Also I am not totally against long distance cardio 100%. For weight loss clients and athletes involved in a more aerobic sport, I like to incorporate a day of recovery where a long easy paced run or bike ride is completed.

There are many different types and protocols of interval training. Some are more sport specific and some are just created to incorporate power and strength into a more cardiovascular workout. Interval training ranges from weights to sprints to repeats to tabata training. Interval weight training can be as simple as having an exercise for three different body parts and cycling through each exercise, a circuit if you will. Running sprints of a specific distance with a rest time of about double the sprint time is a type of interval training. Composing a workout that consists of intertwining periods of sprinting with periods of jogging on a recumbent bike or a treadmill are also simple, yet effective methods of interval training.

Other methods of interval training include repeats and tabata training. Repeats are a way to get a lot of distance into a more strength and speed oriented workout. Mile repeats, half-mile repeats, 100m repeats and so forth are commonly used, especially for field sport training. Three 1-mile repeats would be a total of three miles but it would be ran in a fashion that would be more explosive and recruit more muscle. Run a mile as fast as possible, rest for about 4-5 minutes, repeat. This can be done with any distance under a mile.

A highly intense form of interval training is known as Tabata training. I have seen many different time intervals associated with this type of training but one that I have seen more often is that of 20 seconds of exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. With this time combination you would complete 8 sets. This would be done with an exercise that works multiple muscle groups at once. It's a grueling workout but very effective. Other time intervals I have worked with include 1 minute on, one minute off; 30 seconds on, one minute rest; and so on. Honestly, one can mess around with work:rest ratios to fit their capabilities and to tax themselves to the fullest. You can also pick a group of exercises to cycle through. If you are familiar with CrossFit then you have seen plenty of this. Now I am not a follower of CrossFit, and I find some of their workouts to be ridiculous, but I have gotten ideas from them. CrossFit is an all around approach and doesn't focus on one aspect of fitness. Some of their stuff is very effective for weight loss because of its use of interval training.

Interval training has been shown lately to be the most effective way to cut fat and reduce weight. It can also save time by getting a great workout in 20 minutes. However, beginners should be cautious to this type of training and work their way into it. Feel free to email me with questions or check out the websites below for further information.

Tabata Training



Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Throw Back Jam

This may be one of my favorite songs of all time...