Explosivelyfit Strength Training

Explosivelyfit strength training builds powerful bodies!

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250717 Sticking to an exercise program

250717 Sticking to an exercise program

There are those who exercise because they like it and those who exercise because someone told them they had to. Which one are you? If the latter, then perhaps you could benefit from a few tips on staying with it on your own.

Before doing any outside of normal activity see your doctor if any of these conditions exist in your background:

  • If you are a man over 40 or a woman over 50
    • If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma or are obese.
    • Are at a high risk for heart disease, particularly so if you have a family history of the disease or stroke of if you have any other health risks that should be considered and subsequently evaluated by a medical professional.

Getting moving

  1. Activity counts, no matter what it may consist of it is still movement and movement is what activity is all about. Choose something you like to do and stick with it. It can be as simple as walking around your property or neighborhood.
    2. Get a mechanical motivator like a pedometer to track how many steps you took at the end of the day. Go for at least 10,000 steps each day and you will soon notice the health benefits of doing so.
    3. Start a logbook. Once written down you begin a history of your activity and soon will be reluctant to miss a session.
    4. Hook up with a friend and exercise together. Both of you will make gains in your health.
    5. If you don’t have time to get a full session in then split it up into more manageable times. The current wisdom is ten minutes is about the shortest time that makes positive changes in your body and ultimately your health.
    6. Use the stairs at work or in the stores. Get that body moving. Don’t get lazy by taking the easy way out on the mechanical devices to get somewhere.
    7. Eat your noon meal on the go, get out in the fresh air by walking or doing something that gets your heart rate up.

Your body was built to move and not just sit on its butt.

180217 Bend like the willow

180217 Bend like the willow

Being faithful to your exercise and health programs is an admirable trait. But what happens when it starts interfering with your life and more importantly to the lives of those who love you? I’ll tell you. It’s time to reappraise the situation and make some necessary changes.

Most hardcore fitness enthusiasts exercise come hell or high water, no matter what they will find a way to get their exercise session in every day. I know a person who has not missed one single day in over twenty years.

Every day this person did something positive for their health and fitness; even while recovering from major joint surgery. They have pushed to get better by regaining their range of motion and doing isometrics to build the muscle strength back to its pre-surgery status.

Has this dedication caused conflicts in their life? I suspect so. Let’s look at how you can avoid these same issues.

Putting the check on the calendar

I call minimally doing something positive for yourself putting a check on the calendar for that day. The check on the calendar simply means you did something on this particular day to help improve your health in some small way. It doesn’t mean you went all out on the exercises; just that you did a little bit.

Suppose you were scheduled to max out on one of your lifts or run a faster than normal mile but your wife or child became ill and had to be cared for. No one in their right mind would consider taking time off to exercise as planned if a loved one needed their help. You are no different.

Abandon your schedule and help them out. There will be breaks in the day when you can get out the skip rope and hit it hard. Do as many pushups and sit ups as you can in one or more minutes. Do something for yourself, but not at their expense, during the time you’ve got before they need you again.

If you aren’t in good mental and physical shape it’s going to be much harder caring for someone else.

Sometimes it really is better to stop the head long pursuit of strength and high level physical fitness and smell the roses for a brief minute or two before hitting it again. Just don’t take to long…

Prescriptions for strength training

101216 The benefits of resistance training

101216 The benefits of resistance training

A lifestyle of activity provides ongoing lifelong benefits for many people. Amongst these favorable side effects are reductions in high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Using our muscles helps in staving off osteopenia and osteoporosis by engendering positive changes in bone mineral density. This, along with a higher level of lean body mass leads to healthier body composition figures, i.e. more lean muscle and lowered adipose or fat tissue in the body.

For those who are finding it difficult to stay at a healthy body weight, strength training may be another method of control. It has been noted that muscle is more metabolically active than fat which means more calories are burned if you have more muscle mass compared to fat tissue.

A greater percentage of lean muscle mass brings with it increased feelings of self esteem, greater self confidence and certainly contributes to a much more positive body image.

Now that a few of the recognized benefits have been listed, it’s time to get started planning your strength training program.

Misguided, but well intentioned, people go out and buy an expensive, supposedly multipurpose machine. Those who do generally find that it doesn’t fit them, is uncomfortable to use, is too big, too cumbersome or worse yet hurts them. Simply put they would have been better off spending their money on a set of free weights, a bench and knowledgeable coach to guide them along for a few months. A small set of weights consisting off a couple hundred pounds, a sturdy bench and coaching sessions would set them back less than the high priced ineffective machine that ultimately will end up in the garage or basement and then in a garage sale.

Free weights provide endless opportunities to exercise. They create greater strength gains because of increased muscle fiber recruitment brought on by having to maintain the movement of the bar in its path instead of allowing the machine do it for you. Using free weights permits full range of movement during the exercise. This motion is unencumbered by the limitations of a machine and makes for unimpeded progress. Using free weights increases the range of motion helps to maintain flexibility in the joints.

Additional benefits of free weight set ups are greater personalized accommodation to individual body structure differences such as height, weight, torso types, limb length and joint mobility. Free weights mandate greater skill development in balance and coordination which are vitally important to leading an active life.

Probably one of the most important reasons to strength train is the fact that it will help to decrease fatigue brought on from daily living activities.

As we age the sense of balance gradually diminishes along with our agility, coordination and overall body awareness. All of which are leading causes that contribute to falls, injury and fractures. A healthy body plays a significant role in preventing injury and if injured then in the rehabilitation of that injury.

Many individuals who participate in sports find the stronger and more physically fit they become, the better their athleticism on the field.

If the choice is made to buy your own weights and get started, then it incumbent upon you to get a medical check up and discuss this exercise option with your doctor before starting out on your own to greater fitness.

Remember to have a spotter for over head, on the back or over the face lifts such as the military press squat or military press exercises. Of course if you decide to perform heavy lifting then a spotter should also be an essential part of your lifting program. Always use correct technique, lift safely, sensibly and smart.

261116 Beginning fitness and health exercise guidelines

261116 Beginning fitness and health exercise guidelines

Often times an activity requires specific equipment be available in order to participate. Advanced fitness and strength training methods fall into this category. However a beginner with the desire and motivation to get moving will do well without any specialized gear. Just the basics are necessary.

Clothing that is comfortable and even a bit loose fitting, paired up with a quality cross trainer athletic shoe can be a beginning. Place the accent on quality when making your purchases; they last longer and in the long run you get more for your money. Once you’ve got the clothing it’s time to begin.

Start out with an overall general warm up prior to any intense exercise, the exception may be for those of you who like to jog. In your case just start out on your run but go slower until you are warmed up sufficiently to move faster. Notice that I am not advising you to stand like a stork and pull the other leg up to your buttocks. This is a waste of time and can cause injury to a cold muscle.

Exercise at an intensity level high enough to produce results. Aerobic benefits appear shortly when exercising within your target heart range. Stay away from the low intensity nonsense-get going. And for you strength athletes lift in the two extremes of your one repetition maximum. One day will be at the 30-60% for speed and the other at 85-100%.

Train at a level of intensity that allows you to carry on a conversation with your friends. If not, then you’re overdoing it a tad unless you are getting ready for a contest.

Keep yourself hydrated. The days of toughing it out without water are long gone.

The cool down is as important as the warm up. One of the most effective cool downs is to simply walk around until your breathing and pulse return to near normal levels.

If you happen to be a little under the weather, health wise, it’s best to skip your session for the day. Get well and then hit it again.

Having a good time while you exercise means you’ll more than likely stay with it longer and staying with it means making steady health progress.

100916 Timing your meals to increase the effectiveness of your workouts

100916 Timing your meals to increase the effectiveness of your workouts

Morning workouts may be somewhat better for weight loss. There is some evidence showing that more fat is burned when exercising before eating breakfast. This may be because when exercising later on these sessions will be fueled by the proteins and carbohydrates from meals eaten earlier in the day.

However, if you have any type of a heart disease, working out in the morning may not be your best option because your risk of a heart attack is slightly elevated.

Some of the research is showing that exercise in the afternoon may be better for building strength and endurance. These same studies are showing that your aerobic capacity, coordination, flexibility, muscle strength, and reaction time show the greatest training peak between 1600 and 1900 hrs.

Even though the research is becoming clearer as to the best time to exercise each day, it is not going to make a hill of beans if these times are not good for you.

Each day is special, and each day you have to make a conscious decision as to when you are going to work out. The more habitual this workout time becomes the better the chances are that you are going to stick with it over the long haul.

As for deciding what time to eat your biggest meal of the day, you may want to keep this in mind: stuffing yourself at the local buffet shortly before going to bed will almost guarantee you of a poor night’s sleep because your body is working to digest all the food you ate.

050916 Fall fitness begins at home

050916 Fall fitness begins at home

The kids are off to school and finally you have some free time to yourself. Now is your chance to get fit. So where do you begin? Start with a consult with your doctor to see what they think of your new physical activity plans.

After you have discussed the situation with your doctor and if your health is such that you can become engaged in a fitness program start with a low intensity schedule so you aren’t so sore the next day you can’t move.

Each day set aside a time just for YOU. Make this a priority to follow through with your exercise plans unless a true emergency presents itself.

Write on your calendar what you plan to do or better yet write it down in a logbook that can be as simple as a three-ring notebook. Put down your weight, your goals for the day, week, month, and year.

Start with a dynamic warm up which means you aren’t just static stretching in a passive mode. A dynamic warm up, for example can be skipping rope, rotating your arms and legs around in big circles. The objective of this part of the exercise session is to get your heart and breathing rate up, to loosen up your muscles and get ready for a more rigorous physical endeavor.

If this is the day, you have decided to do aerobic conditioning, i.e. cardiovascular then skipping rope is not necessary. Start out slowly and gradually build up your speed of movement until you are at your target heart rate. Maintain this heart rate for twenty to thirty minutes for at least three to four times a week. Do this on alternate days between resistance training days, which now follow.

You can resistance train without weights or any other types of equipment using body weight moves such as the common push up and chair squats.

Do this entry level ‘no equipment’ fitness schedule for one month and I guarantee you will feel better! Write all that you do down in a workout logbook diary.

Monday

  • Walk or jog for five to ten minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Tuesday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
    • One leg chair squats-one leg held out in front as you descend
    • One leg squats-one leg held behind you on the chair as you descend into the squat
  • Calf raises
    • Two legs standing
    • One leg standing
    • Seated with a small child held securely on your knees
  • Hamstring bridges
    • With feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
    • With feet on the floor as above described
  • Push ups
    • Regular
    • Modified (pivot on your knees)
    • Modified wall lean against a wall and do a push up at an incline
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Wednesday

  • Walk or jog for five to ten minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Thursday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times a piece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
  • Calf raises
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Friday

  • Walk or jog for five to ten minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Congratulations, week one is behind you and now its time for a small two-day break then at it again Monday. This week though change it around by doing three resistance days of training instead of just two like last week.

Monday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two to three more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair-as described above
  • Calf raises-as described above
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)-as described above
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Tuesday

  • Walk or jog for five to fifteen minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Wednesday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two to three more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
  • Calf raises-as described above
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)-as described above
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Thursday

  • Walk or jog for five to fifteen minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Friday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two to three or maybe even four more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
  • Calf raises
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Yahoo you have now made it to your SECOND weekend break. Now repeat for next week by doing three days of cardio work and two of resistance training. Be sure to write it all down.

Keep it up for the rest of the month and notice how much better you are feeling about yourself.

100716 What if you don’t feel like exercising today?

 

100716 What if you don’t feel like exercising today?

Putting a check mark on your calendar doesn’t mean not exercising, it means still going to the gym and lifting for at least 10 minutes. If, after the 10 minutes you still feel like passing on the day then move on to the rest of your day. At least you gave it a shot. It didn’t work out but you gave it a whirl.

Come back the next day with a new attitude and go at it again. If, however the same feelings of the previous day are still with you then it is time to make some drastic, wild changes in your exercise routine. Stop what you are doing and do something vastly different and give your body and mind a rest.

Instead of doing squats, do Bulgarian split squats, believe me your glutes and hamstrings will remind you later on of how you treated them. Use dumbbells rather than barbells, attach bands to the plates and do squats with swinging weights on the end of your bar, go into high reps, recall Bompa recommending rep ranges of up to 250 in a single set throughout the year on an infrequent basis as being conducive to further growth.

The idea is to move away from your normal exercise routine and get out of the rut you’ve created by not being creative with your schedule.

030716 What if you don’t feel like exercising today? 1 of 2

030716 What if you don’t feel like exercising today? 1 of 2

Today is one of those days; you know the ones when exercise isn’t something you want to do. The signs are all there, like the feeling in your head of wanting to do something else instead of exercise, of dreading going to the gym, not feeling well, have a cough, seem to be dragging, tired of the routine, not looking forward to the exercises on the schedule, not feeling enthusiastic about it anymore…

Does the word overtraining come to mind? It could be, if you are displaying psychological signs (generally noticed by your intimate associates who really know you and your personality) such as irritability, more displeasure with life rather than pleasure, a loss of your sense of humor….and this is just a mere portion of the psychological signs. Other indicators of overtraining are physiological and once these appear you are already overtrained.

It is a well known fact that psychological signals appear before the physiological signs begin show up such as a higher morning pulse rate, lower energy levels, sleepiness compared to arousal, increased tiredness, plateaus, decreased strength….But are you overtrained?, unless you have been hitting it hard without a slow down this is unlikely.

It could be something other than overtraining. And that something else just may be brought on by a lack of interest due to others things on your daily list of stuff to do such as

  • mowing the lawn,
  • chopping wood for the winter,
  • weeding the garden,
  • watering the raspberries,
  • washing the truck,
  • reading the latest book you just bought,
  • studying for a CEU exam,
  • going to Costco, or going to a
  • doctors appointment,

So what’s a person to do in this dilemma? The answer is as simple as putting a check mark on your calendar.

290216 Eating clean

290216 Eating clean

The experts at Tufts University set out the basic principles of eating clean as described in the book Eating Clean for Dummies. These are simple, common sense, guidelines that follow good dietary advice.

Start out with whole foods, preferably right from the farm that produced them. These would include such food items as whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and chemical free meat. Included in this area will be low fat dairy products, unsalted nuts (Costco sells these and they are delicious) and many varieties of seeds.

Some people believe that if the food is frozen, it detracts from the nutrients. This is not so, because by neglecting the frozen food isle in the store, you miss the great food choices such as the countless fruits and vegetables available there. Don’t forget the canned beans either. Rinse the liquid off of them first and then have at it in your salads or other dishes.

The most recommended advice from numerous sources is to avoid processed foods. This means any food with a label on it. If you actually do this, you miss out on many healthful options. For example, sugar is processed but so are the other options that are sugar such as agave syrup, fruit concentrate, or honey. The message here is to lower your intake of sugar regardless of its source.

Eating clean means figuring out what are the best options for your eating habits. Some have success grazing all day with five to six small meals during the day. Others stick to a more traditional three meals, with healthy snacks between them. Just make sure the food you eat is more nutrient dense with fewer unhealthy fats, less sugar, and lower sodium contents.

Whether you like to cook or don’t like to cook, the fact of the matter is if you cook your own food, you decide the contents. This can mean less sugar, less fat and less sodium in each meal all of which contribute to a healthier eating style. Plus you may save money too.

The last bit of advice from the experts at Tufts University is to make healthy food choice every day. Choose from the tremendous options of foods in the stores and make certain to get all three categories in your meals. These include the lean proteins found in fish, chicken, and vegetables. Stock up on whole grains of all sorts and use them in your cooking along with high fiber carbs and unsaturated fats[1].

Alter your eating habits one at a time; soon you will notice the benefits of the changes in your health and overall self-confidence.

[1] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fat/art-20045550

Monounsaturated fatty acids. This is a type of fat found in a variety of foods and oils. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that these fatty acids may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.

The allergy season is upon us – part two

The allergy season is upon us – part two

Once the results of your blood test or a skin reaction test our back you now have a clearer picture of what is causing your runny nose and watery eyes. It is now time to explore the options available to you to control this allergic reaction to your environment.

There are nonmedical steps that you can take to minimize your exposure to the allergens in your home and at work. The first steps to take are to avoid being around anybody smoking and to stay inside when the pollution levels are high.

Perhaps the first place to start at home will be to have your heating and cooling system serviced at start of the pollen season. On the other hand, if you are handy around the house, you can change your heating/air-conditioning (HVAC) filters and clean all the vents. Check your exterior windows to make sure they not allow any dust to come through. After you have your house tidied up it is time the take steps to protect yourself when you are outside.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to wear a mask when you go outside. But, if wearing a mask still does not alleviate some of the symptoms then, if possible, simply avoid going outside when the pollen counts are high with the irritants that affect you the most.

Dr. Stacy Gray suggests using nasal saline irrigations after exposure to allergens because they help clean out your nose. If these nonmedical interventions are not helping it is time to seriously consider other options.

There are a number of medical interventions available, amongst which are the use of the antihistamines, corticosteroid nasal sprays, decongestants, immunotherapy and non-steroidal nasal sprays.

Antihistamines work by counteracting the protein histamine that tissue cells release from deep inside the skin during a reaction to the allergen. There are a number of over-the-counter products (OTC) available. Benadryl has been used for a long time and is still effective however; there are newer products that work equally as well but without the side effects of drowsiness. Check with your doctor because there are many options out there when it comes to antihistamines.

Corticosteroid nasal sprays, as can be expected from the name, are manufactured steroids equivalent to the hormones produced in your adrenal glands. These work by reducing the inflammation caused by the irritants and at the same time cut down on the nasal itching, congestion, and runny nose. Since these are prescription medications, they will have to be ordered up by your doctor.

Decongestants reduce the swelling in the nasal passages. People with high blood pressure or heart problems should consider other options. They should not be used for more than several days because if used longer than a few days they can actually make the congestion worse. These are over-the-counter products but since they are also used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine they are actually kept behind the counter. In some states, you may have to sign for them.

Immunotherapy is a sequence of allergy shots that is intended to be used to build up an immunity to allergens over a period of 3 to 5 years. Your doctor may recommend this as a last resort especially if you are not responding to the regularly suggested medications.

Non-steroidal nasal sprays, containing cromolyn sodium, focus on the cause of the symptoms by preventing the allergens from even getting to the cells that release histamine. According to Dr. Gray, these types of products, although not quite as effective as the nasal steroid sprays, can be used long-term.

Dr. Gray says that since the allergy season is starting earlier each year you may want to start using a nasal spray a few weeks before the spring allergies begin.

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