Monday, June 29, 2009

A Few Things...

I have a few things to voice my opinion about this morning. Basically just a time for me to rant a little bit.

Everyone knows about the issues of steroid use in baseball. It has been in the news for a couple years now and it seems like just when it's about to die down the name of another superstar is thrown into the steroid pool. The most recent has been Sammy Sosa. He was declared to have been using steroids and it hit the news channels right away. Then they said that the doctor who gave Manny the drugs he was suspended for, is going to be investigated by the DEA. As much as I am against cheating, I want to know why the government is spending all of their time and efforts on this issue when there are many other things they could be focusing on such as, oh I don't know, the soldiers in the middle east, the poverty in our country, or the whole economic slide that is going on right now. Why is this use of a performance enhancing drug, that doesn't have the proven side effects that people claim, such a big deal to the government when there are much more serious issues to be taken care of. Not to mention the fact that the use of performance enhancing drugs are present in just about every other sport, but baseball is the only one to get the blame. I am not against steroids and I definitely don't think they should be illegal, but I am against cheating so I don't condone the use of them in sports, however I just wish the government would stop worrying about sports and focus on a few other things.

Sticking with the topic of sports, I was watching some highlights of the world soccer cup that was taking place over the last couple weeks. Although I respect their athleticism, I am not a fan of the sport of soccer. Just not my thing. I did watch a little bit though since the U.S. was playing. What I noticed was the celebrations that occurred after just about every goal. And it's not just in this tournament but it is always seen in soccer. The image of Brandy Chastain ripping off her jersey after scoring the game winning goal in the World Cup is known by just about everyone in the United States. Soccer players are seen running around the field in celebration after scoring just about every goal. I have no problem with celebration in sports, but I do have a problem with the hypocrisy that occurs. Why is it OK for a soccer player to celebrate in such a vibrant fashion but it is distasteful and frowned upon for a football player to high step into the end zone, or a basketball player to show a little emotion and pump his fist after making a basket. A recent example...Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic was basically tackled while driving through the lane and after he got the foul and made the basket, his emotion was shown by some fist pumping and yelling. Instead of his emotion being complimented on, he was given a technical foul. It makes no sense to me. Why should it be a penalty for an athlete to show emotion while he is doing the thing that he loves. I wish everyone would stop being so uptight and just let others get a little excited every now and then instead of looking down upon the man who celebrates after scoring or gets a little angry when he doesn't get the outcome he worked 11 months for.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Box Squat

You may have seen a similar video on my buddies blog, We just started box squatting this week and decided to add some chains.

Box squat is a variation of the traditional squat where the lifter sits back onto a box, pausing at the bottom, then exploding upward. The keys to watch for on a box squat are to sit back onto the box, keep constant tenstion in the core so that the core does not fold over, and to explode straight up avoiding a foreward rocking motion. The chains add resistance as the bar and chains are lifted away from the ground.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Are You Functional?

There is a lot of emphasis on functional training in today's world from athletes to the elderly. I have recently had multiple conversations about functional training and when to use it and how to use it and it made me start to think. With so much talk about functional training, what really constitutes functional? Does functional training only include a movement that mimics a real life situation? Are exercises such as squats, bench press, and deadlift functional exercises? Let's take a look at the definition of functional...

Func tion al - [fuhngk-shuh-nl] - capable of serving the purpose for which it was designed: of or pertaining to a function or functions.

Looking at the definition there is a lot of movements and exercises that could be considered functional. In my mind, every exercise is functional. When creating a workout you include exercises that will serve a purpose towards your end goal. Therefore they are serving the purpose of the end goal, thus functional. For example, let's look at the squat for a baseball player. Some people would not consider it functional, however, I do. The squat increases quad strength as well as hip strength, glut strength, and core stability. As a baseball player, quad and hip strength can help make one faster, jump higher, and possibly stronger in the box. Wouldn't that mean that the gains from a squat transfer over to the skill of baseball? It seems that way to me. To address the other side, I agree that an exercise such as a rotational med ball throw is going to be more functional because it identically mimics a swing yet, in my mind, that doesn't make a squat not functional. The same goes for pre-hab exercises. Something such as scapular push-ups and scapular rows don't mimic anything in sports but they do create scapular strength and stability which is necessary for better performance and health in just about every sport.

So to say an exercise in a program is not functional, to me, is to say that it is useless. Every exercise in a program serves a purpose and a function in bettering that client, whether it be an athlete or not. When designing programs, keep in mind the purpose for each exercise. Why is that exercise included and why is it included in the manner that it is.

Monday, June 15, 2009

No Limitations

Just a few thoughts to hopefully help motivate those who read this. There is always a point in one's life where it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The things you want may seem impossible to achieve and the things you get may seem less than what is deserved. What you need to keep in mind is that there is always a way out. Some ways may take more work, but there is always a way out. I have heard a lot of talk about the law of attraction throughout my life and for a while I really didn't buy into it. But as I have grown and experienced more I believe there is some truth to it. From the thoughts you have to the people you keep around you, the outcomes in your life are affected. Positive feelings, positive people, and positive motives bring about positive results. Sometimes a slump in life is all about getting over feeling sorry for yourself and doing something about it.

The main thing to keep in mind is that there is always a way out, no matter what. Sometimes you just have to step up and make some moves, take some risks, and raise yourself out of a slump. You can't always look to others for help. Some things must be done on your own.

I have used Will Smith before and I will probably use him again after this because the man preaches on hard work and always has good things to say. He is a very motivational man so listen to his words from the movie "Pursuit of Happiness".

Friday, June 12, 2009

Just Another Day

As I sit here at work, waiting to head home for another softball game tonight, I figure I would share some thoughts.

I am on the verge of a new adventure and am still trying to figure out how to go about it. This adventure I speak of is starting my own training business. I recently met with a gentleman who runs a gym in Louisville called Xtra Mile. He explained to me that I was welcomed to train there but it is all on me, I basically just rent the equipment. That means the clients I bring in I have to find. I am excited about this because I will be able to train how I want and not worry about a supervisor telling me specific ways to do things. Plus, it is a start to my ultimate goal. The problem I am running into, however, is marketing. I am unsure of how to really get my name out there and get people to know about me and my training. I have a few ideas but am still worried about recruiting clientele. Just another challenge that I am sure to overcome.

I have been reading up on some functional anatomy the past week. I have been able to read over the hip and shoulder joints thus far. Functional anatomy is very useful in understanding why certain exercises are used and the movement patterns that need to be worked. Along with that, understanding functional anatomy really gives an insight into dysfunction and movement problems or pains that you may come across with a client. I hope to one day thoroughly understand functional anatomy and the movement patterns associated.

There is a blind man that comes into the gym where I work. He just recently joined and I have been able to help him around and work with him some. He is one of the hardest working people I have seen in the gym in a long time and is always willing to try new exercises and learn about each one. I have so much respect for that and I wish others could learn a thing or two from his work ethic. Disability or not, you can still work hard and push towards your goals.

Remember, consistency is key. Whether your a rookie in the gym or a vet, consistency is what makes gains. It's also the little things that can boost you to your goals. Don't overlook and undervalue the small steps. If it's weight loss your after, take the stairs instead of the elevator or park in the last spot at the mall and walk a little further to the door. The extra steps in your day could be just what your body needs. If your trying to get bigger, don't skip out on the mid afternoon snack and don't sacrafice your sleep. Missed meals means missed calories and when your body has been pushed in the gym, it needs the fuel to recover. The small things.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fix Your Fat Loss

Working in a gym I see a lot of people, a lot of women especially, focusing on arms and abs. When I talk to these people about their workout they say that they want to lose the fat around their upper arms and stomach. To most people in the fitness world it is absurd to think about training with isolation movements to lose fat. The thing is, most of the average population thinks that targeting an area will make that specific area less fatty. Well I want to help spread the word that this is not how it's done.

Ladies, and Gentlemen, if you want to lose fat in certain areas you have to lose fat all over. Fat loss is not something that can be targeted. You can workout your upper back and build muscle specific to the upper back but you cant work out your upper back and lose fat in just your upper back. For this reason, if you want fat loss, you have to choose exercises that use large amounts of muscle. The legs, chest, back, and shoulders are the largest muscle groups. Exercises utilizing these groups are going to lead to better fat loss than something like bicep curls.

Another addition to a fat loss workout could be combination movements. Combining exercises to utilize even more muscle mass can get even better results. Something like a squat with a shoulder press. Using dumbbells you perform a squat then at the top of the squat do a shoulder press; Two exercises in one.

If your main goal is fat loss then you have to have an overall approach. You can't just focus on cardio, and you cant just focus on weight training. And within those you can't just focus on specific body parts. As far as cardio goes, I have voiced my opinion before. If you didn't see my post about interval training then check it out here. I believe that interval training will lead to better fat loss and in a quicker amount of time. However, novice gym-goers need to start with steady-state cardio (i.e. jogging on the treadmill) so they can build up some endurance to move into intervals.

Just remember, the more muscle you use the more calories you will burn. And as long as you are eating right this will mean better fat loss. Below is a few example exercises and combination lifts to add into your program.



Overhead Lunge

Push-up Row

You're a Jerk

The newest movement out of L.A., Jerking. I'm down with it but I can never give respect to the skinny jeans fad.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thoughts For the Day

Just some thoughts and what not.

I want to first say congrats to my friends Rob and Bobbie, who got married this past weekend. It was my first wedding experience and I am proud to say I was a part of the wedding party. I hope that they have a great life together and that Rob's testosterone levels don't start to decrease.

The weekend consisted of the rehearsal, the wedding, and some meathead activities in between. During that in between time I was introduced to the world of Professional Pole Dancing.

This is unbelievable. The strength, stability, and mobility in these girls is awesome. I hope that I one day meet a girl with talent like this.

I found this video this morning. Thought it was funny and I think I am going to teach my dog how to squat as well.

Softball starts this Friday. I am ready to start playing again. Team Wipe Me Down should be a dominant force and I will have updates throughout the season.