Monthly Archives: May 2012

Why Foam Rollers? Lower Body Edition

Not too long ago, my friend came up to me with pain behind her knees.  She asked me what she can do to fix the problem.  As I got my eastern medicine kit out, and started to take a look, I quickly realized that it was not the knee that hurt.  Her pain was present in the knee, but really it was the insertion of the biceps femoris (hamstring) down where it inserts at the knee that was the culprit.  I spent about fifteen minutes working on it, and boom, she felt as good as new.  I told her her next step is to go out and purchase a foam roller.  She did, and fell in love with it and I have yet to hear her complain about knee pain ever since. 

So why Foam Roll?

Foam rolling is an overlooked part of many peoples exercise programs.

Let’s start with what a foam roller is.

A foam roller is a cylindrical piece of hard-celled foam.  Almost like a pool noodle, but much denser.

It’s use is for self myofascial release or trigger point therapy.  This means that you are using the foam roller in an acupressure or massage-like way to roll out the sensitive areas of various muscle groups.  Trigger points are the same as knots in the muscles that are hypersensitive to stretching.  Meaning, when you have trigger points in a muscle group that trigger point will decrease the range of motion of that muscle. We get trigger points for many reasons, mostly because of faulty movement patterns that cause muscles to overwork in compensation for other muscle groups.

When using a foam roller properly, it will not be pleasant the first time. The sensitive areas in the IT band, quads and groin can be painful when first using a foam roller, but rest assured, over time and continuous use the pain will become less and less.

The benefit of foam rolling are:

1. Increased range of motion and flexibility.

2. Increased range of motion without a decrease in muscle activation.

3. Help reduce pain.

4.  Help restore faulty movement patterns along with exercise.

5. Increase blood circulation to stagnant areas.

These benefits will not be found anywhere else unless you go out and get a massage. As Mike Boyle once said, this is the poor man’s massage therapist. You will be astonished by the difference foam rolling can make in the way you exercise and the way you feel once you become consistent with it.

I have found the best times to use a foam roller are prior to exercise, and early in the day or right before bed on off days.

If I am exercising after I foam roll, I keep it brief. Iwill foam roll for ten to fifteen minutes, do my dynamic warm-up and then my workout. This order  allows me to improve the flexibility of the muscle fascia. Fascia is all the connective tissue that connects your body together; the muscles, bones and all other tissues. Every muscle is covered by fascia, and foamrolling will help restore the function not only to the muscle, but thesurrounding fascia. After foam rolling, I will do a dynamic warm-up. It will include some dynamic stretches, and exercises to activate the muscle groups I will be using within my workout. This allows me to stretch my muscles at their newly allotted range of motion, and help my muscles activate properly duringexercise.

If it is an off day, I will treat this more like a massage, and take my time to really dig into the most tender spots.  After this I will follow up with stretching.  This is good to get a good stretch at the muscles full range of motion now that the muscle fascia isn’t as adhered.  This is the problem with just stretching and not foam rolling.  If you stretch a muscle that is hypersensitive to stretch, you are just stretching within it’s already limited range of motion.  Foam rolling has been shown to improve flexibility on its own without stretching.  So if you can stretch at this new found range of motion you will be able to get a better stretch of the muscle at its end range or motion.

I myself  prefer to roll out in the day, because I stretch and do some general activational exercises for my glutes and shoulders afterwards. This makes my body feel a lot better and looser for the rest of the day, which is especially good because I am on my feet all day.

How to use:

Here are the techniques to lower body foam rolling:

IT BAND

The IT band is located on the outer part of your thigh. It runs from hip to knee. So when rolling out make sure you cover the entire length, not just close to the hip, or not just too close to the knee. You can segment the leg. Start by doing ten to fifteen rolls by the knee and work your way up to the hip. Doing ten to fifteen rolls in each segment you use. You should spend extra time on the most sensitive areas. Meaning more rolls.

Technique:

  • Lay on the foam roller, so that your outer thigh rests on top of it.
  •  Place your other leg over the top of the leg you are foam rolling and rest your foot flat on the floor.  This will allow you to place weight onto that leg to hold you up as well as to help you push yourself forward and back so you can roll over the muscles.
  • You should also be proped up on your elbows, so you can use them as well to push you up and down the foam roller.

QUADS

The same rules apply here as they did for the IT band.

Technique:

  • Lay on your stomach, so that your quad is on the foam roller.
  • Place the other leg on top of the leg you are rolling.
  • Prop yourself on your elbows so you can push yourself up and down the foam roller.

GROIN

This muscle group can be the trickiest to roll. The same rules apply as all the others; make sure you cover all the area between the knee and hip.

Technique:

  • Place the foam roller on a 45 degree angle so that the part of the roller closest to your head is pointing towards you.
  • Bend your leg 90 degrees, and place the medial part of your thigh on the foam roller.
  • Roll the groin in three segments; lower, middle and upper thigh.

HAMSTRINGS

Technique:

  • Sit down with your legs straight and your hamstrings on top of the foam roller.
  • Place your hands slightly behind you to push yourself up and down the foam roller.
  • Start from the knees and work towards your hip, or vica versa.

CALVES

Technique:

  • Sit down with your legs straight and your calves on top of the foam roller.
  • Place your hands slightly behind you to push yourself up and down the roller.
  • Start from the knee and work towards your ankle, or vice versa.

SHINS

Technique:

  • Kneel on the foam roller so that your shins are on top of the foam roller.
  • Roll from ankle to knee, or vice versa.

Other considerations:

When foam rolling, you can also turn your body on slight angles, to hit the muscles differently.  This is where a lot of trigger points reside as well, so feel free to explore your body as you get better.

If you do not have a foam roller, or can not afford one, you can use a tennis ball to do this. It is a little more invasive and will hurt more due to its size and shape. Tennis balls work better some areas that foam rollers can’t get to, but this is more advanced than this post.

Also, this can be hard to do for some people. People who are obese or those who lack upper body strength. There will be a lot of propping and holding yourself up. Make sure, you take your time and use the appropriate density foam roller. If it is not dense enough you will have to work harder to feel the tenderness in the muscles. And if it is too dense, it will hurt so much you won’t be able to take the pain and roll out.

Was this post helpful, enlightening, the purest, greatest thing you ever read? Do you foam roll? Let me know, leave a comment below!


This Week’s Good Reads

Here is this week’s good reads.

Sorry I missed them last week. I have been very busy lately so I will cut straight to the chase here.

For those of you who are always doing three sets of ten reps day in day out this is the perfect article for you.  It gives great guidelines on what physiological systems each rep range works on (hypertrophy, endurance or strength) as well as how to apply it to your workouts based on your level of fitness and mentality on training.

Quit going into the gym mindlessly with no plan and no idea of what your training program effects are on your body.  Put some thought into it, and you will see big differences faster.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SETS AND REPS

With the computer era in full effect many of us forget how to use our shoulders.  No matter who you are, or how many pounds you can lift, your shoulder stabilizers and rotator cuff will always need some extra activation work.  Check out this great exercise by Eric Cressey, it is a great movement that will strengthen both the scapular stabilizers and the rotator cuff.  This is a big bang for your buck exercise as it will help the muscles needed for posture as well as help the little muscles surrounding the shoulder to help perfect your technique while exercising.

TRAINING THE ROTATOR CUFF AND SCAPULAR STABILIZER SIMULTANEOUSLY – ERIC CRESSEY

This is a great read for anybody who has any pain with a particular exercise or for the person who jumped into an exercise that was probably too much for them and has horrible technique.

Ben talks about how to modify exercises if they are painful, if you don’t have the equipment, if you are trying to progress or regress, and if you are deloading.

By learning how to modify exercises you can exercise any time any where and do it successfully.  This is a great tool in any person’s bag the exercises no matter what their dedication or fitness goals really are.

HOW AND WHEN TO MODIFY EXERCISES – BEN BRUNO

This has to be one of the most entertaining articles I have read in a while.  It is all about deadlifts.  If you don’t deadlift, read it anyway.  You will want to after that.  If you already deadlift, read it.  You will want to deadlift immediately.  It has humor, and science all into one.

It made me spontaneously go for my one rep max on deadlift.  And I got a new PR.  If that is not a good enough reason to read it, then JUST READ IT!

75 WAYS DEADLIFTING JUST PLAIN ROCKS – DEAN SOMERSET


6 Things I Have Changed My Mind About (Part 3)

It is finally here, the third installment of the six things thatI have changed my mind about. I hope it has enlightened you a bit on how I havegrown and changed the way I have viewed fitness and exercise over time. And I hope it shows you to not be afraid to do so as well. There is a lot of information to be learned about health, and it is a relatively new field being studied. So there will be a lot more changes over time most likely for myself as more and more research in the science labs as well as the gym labs (where we do our workouts and test how well they work).

5. WHAT I ONCE THOUGHT:

Personal Training is for the obese and pretentious.

WhenI started working out at the BQE gym when I was seventeen, personal training was under the radar; you barely heard of them. There were no biggest loser shows on television. Trainers were specifically for the celebrities and the rich, and when I did see a personal trainer, the guy was rocking his frosted tip haircut and having his clients do sit-ups, bench-press and bicep curls foran hour.
As for myself, I once believed I never needed a personal trainer. I was self-sufficient enough to create my own exercise programs. I received tremendous results in my first year of training and I went around to all the biggest guys in the gym and asked them their secrets. But even with al lthat knowledge I gained, there was still a ton more that I was able to learn. And on top of that even more information. As I continued to learn I realized everything Idid when I was younger was incorrect. This is what made me change my mind about personal training.

WHAT I THINK NOW:

Everyone needs a trainer, at least some point in their life:

Even though I made progress and thought personal training was a joke, I now
endorse it. Is it because I too am a personal trainer? I think not.

Here are top 3 reasons you need a personal trainer:

1. It is not your forte.

Face it, for the majority of us exercise selection, program design, exercise progressions and regressions are foreign to many of us. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been training for twenty years or twenty days. We all have our jobs, our specialties that take up all of our free time. It wears you out so when it comes to the gym, you go inside, do your usual routine and get it done with. You follow a routine your workout partner has been doing for a while, or something you read in Men’s Health, or you just hop on the tread mill for an hour and call it a day.

Where are everyone’s training logs, that show a detailed description of their plan? How does anyone know if what they are doing is even working? There is barely a thought process anymore to peoples’ workouts. It’s all about “I just want to look good,” but not many people I see look much different than when they started.

Exercise is a science; it is very complex in its nature, just asthe human body is. Leave the science to somebody who has studied it for years, has practiced it in their lab (the gym) and has understood what human movement and exercise is really about.

You wouldn’t trust yourself to fix your car unless you were a mechanic, think of exercise and the human body is the same way. The body is like your car, the longer we live and use our bodies the more run down it gets.  Between the aches and pains, the loss of strength and power as we age, we all need a mechanic (personal trainer) to fix it. Even I work with the trainers and strength coaches I am around to help myself get better and make sure my exercise technique is on point.

I am not saying that a person needs to do personal training their entire lives. I am saying that they should work with a personal trainerfor a significant amount of time to understand how to program design effectively, learn how to properly progress and regress exercises, how to playaround with the exercise variables (reps, sets, frequency and intensity) and how to perform the correct technique. Once you have gotten the basis, and have written copies of all the exercise programs you have been on, you can use that in order to continue your workouts and continually get results thereafter. Then pop by your personal trainer every now and again to make sure everything is up to par,
as well as get some extra motivation and some new tools for your new craft.

2. Motivation

This one is probably the biggest factor in most peoples’ decisions to do and continue personal training – at least that’s what many of myclients tell me. After a long day of work, it is very easy to want to plop down on the couch and zone the rest of the world out when you get home. It is also easy to go to the gym, look at the deadlift bar and say scratch that I am tired; let me go do some light leg press. Hard work in the gym is the last thing anyone really wants to do. But if your committed to a trainer, you will give it all you got because now you are responsible not just to yourself, but to your trainer.

Having a trainer also gives you an appointment to go to the gym.  There are no ifs, ands or buts. Your boss pissed you off that day by assigning you extra work, or your work computer was out for half the day and got so backed up you couldn’t finish your work, or Joe missed putting up one of his amazing posts (sad emoticon here).   It all doesn’t matter because if you got that training session to attend and you will be there.

So that means you will be going to the gym at least two times per week. That is a great start. Now all you need to do is force yourself to attend one or two more times per week and there you have it. You will be consistently working out HARD for a long period of time. And that is the first step to achieving any fitness related goal.

3. You Butcher Your Exercises.

This is an important one. Exercise technique is one of the most important aspects of actually exercising. This is what will help you not only get stronger and leaner, but improve your posture, and help you reduce chances of injury and help rid you of those aches and pains.

Every day I am in the gym I see every exercise in the world being butchered. The most common on the cutting board are row variations, deadlifts and pushups.

Everyone is doing rows with their shoulders rounding forward and their head ninety feet in front of their head like a bird pecking for some bread on the floor. All you are doing is stressing your pec minor and your neck extensors, making your ever so slumped posture even worse.

I also see people doing deadlifts like they’re a camel; with their backs rounded so much their storage of water will burst at any second. 80% of the population will have back pain at some point in their life, and a large amount of asymptomatic people will still have some sort of disk degenerative problem shown by a number of studies. (1) With this all being factoid, it becomes essential that we all lift with proper technique, as to strengthen the muscles and structures of our body to keep our spine stable.

Using a trainer to help teach you proper technique is essential for everybody, no matter how good you think you are at a particular exercise. Many times a person just needs to be coached through some of the technical flaws in order to understand how to do the exercise. And once they practice it a few times, it becomes ingrained in their mind and technique will be perfected after that.

On the other hand there are also a lot of people who, no matter how many times they are cued to do an exercise properly, just can’t do it. All my clients who have this problem they know who they are.  This is because they have muscle imbalances that prevent them from doing the movement at all. These people need to work with a trainer who can correct their muscle imbalances and help them move their bodies better so that they can accomplish good technique without compensation.

If you are looking for a trainer, read this really good article by Molly Galbraith on what to look for in a personal trainer.  If they do not meet these qualities, turn around a walk away.  Do not waste your time or your money.

How to Tell if Your Trainer Knows What They’re are Doing?

6. WHAT I ONCE THOUGHT:

Results are based off the scale.

When I started working out, I was seventeen years old, weighing 120 pounds
soaking weight at six feet tall. I was what my co-worker would say, like a leaf that would be blown away by the wind. He still says that today, but it doesn’t hold much truth anymore.  Thank God… I was barely able to bench the bar, and had about as much strength as a dying flower.

All I cared about was getting big. I wanted to get to 185 pounds so badly, no matter what the cost was. After eating meal after meal and spending a ton of money on food, the highest weight I have ever achieved is 173 pounds. And on about four different occasions, the second I make it to that weight, I get sick, and lose 13 pounds and revert back to 160. This happened to me most recently about 8 months ago. I have gained five pounds since going up to 165.

WHAT I THINK NOW:

Results are based on how my body feels and looks.

I no longer care if I make it to 185 pounds. If it happens awesome, but I want to keep my body fat at around 7 – 8 % so I will not force it. Plus, when I get sick at that weight, I get debilitated for three days, and lose 13 pounds. Definitely not fun.

I just care about getting stronger, maintaining a good posture and having zero
pain. I am doing a great job at all of this right now. My strength is slowly becoming respectable and I am not feeling much pain in my SI joint (low back) even though I had a herniated disk at L-5 S1.

If weight gain and increasing muscle mass is your goal, take it slow. There is no
reason to try and jump weight quickly and gain excess body fat. Because, that is what will happen with quick weight gain, unless you are seventeen years old.

If you want to lose weight, you need to lose the obsession with the scale. There
will be times, where the scale doesn’t want to drop for a couple weeks. But as
long as your clothes are fitting more loosely and you have the appearance of losing weight, you cannot get hung up about it. This is you losing body fat percentage, while maintaining or gaining muscle mass. This is good, and it a necessary step to prolonged weight loss. It is when you start to see no difference in how your clothes fit, how your body feels and looks as well as changes in the scale you should then work on what changes you can make to pass this plateau.

1.  Jensen MC, Brant-Zawadzki MN, Obuchowski N, Modic MT, Malkasian D, et al: Magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine in people without back pain. N Engl J Med. 1994;331(2):69-73.)

Was this post helpful, enlightening, the purest, greatest thing you ever read? What have you changed your mind about? Let me know, leave a comment below!


Nutrition Plan 102

I have been getting a ton of questions on how someone can lose fat lately. So I have decided to add to my Nutrition 101 Plan a little earlier then I intended to. Make sure you read that first or else this post will have no use to you.

Losing fat is not a race, so please try not to think about how much you can lose as fast as possible. The truth is if you do weight loss correctly, there will be times where the scale barely moves, but you will see a difference in aesthetics as well as in the way your clothes fit.

This post outlines how many grams and calories of protein, carbs and fat you should consume per day based off the amount of calories you need to consume per day to lose weight as well as your lean body mass. This is why you must read Nutrition 101 Plan before reading this one.

PROTEIN

Protein is a highly important macronutrient needed in order to maintain and put on lean muscle mass. It helps put us in an anabolic environment. This allows our bodies to build muscle and get rid of fat. It is the hormonal state that we want our bodies to be in at all times. Protein also has function in just about every other part of your body from building up to repairing. They are the building blocks of the body. So not only is protein good for muscle and fat loss, but is a necessity for our
body’s survival.

So when it comes to how much protein to consume within a day, it will become apparent that protein intake must be high. Feel free to grab a slab of red meat and scarf it down while simultaneously bicep curling a baby cow. Makes for a great time.

Also higher intake of protein allows for greater satiety, which means, it will keep you fuller, longer. Therefore, you will be less hungry in a couple hours then if you ate a sugary or starchy meal.

So how do we know how many grams of protein to consume per day? Well for starters, we need to figure out what our lean body mass (LBM) is. If you haven’t already done so, you can figure that out in my nutrition plan 101 post  here.

For protein, we want to consume around 1 – 1.5 grams of protein per pound of
lean muscle mass. This number can be set to your own liking. There is no right
answer. If you are only eating 0.75 grams per pound of LBM currently you
might want to start with changing to 1 or 1.10 grams per pound LBM in order
to get a feel for how to increase your protein consumption. Once you have
gotten down consuming 1 to 1.10 grams of protein, if you are getting good
results you can stay there, or if you are hungry to0 often or carb insensitive
(carbs makes you gain weight easily), you can increase the amount of protein
up to 1.5 grams per pound of LBM.

If you started at one gram of protein per pound of LBM and you are
experiencing results, there is no reason to change it. On the other hand, if you are hungry quickly and eating too much, you may want to increase your
protein intake. Keep playing with the amount you want to consume, until you
find what is right for you.

So in the example previously used for a person whose LBM is 140 pounds using a
1.2 grams of protein per pound of LBM, they would need to consume (140 x 1.2 =)
168 grams of protein per day.

If you want to know how many calories that is per day you multiply that by four (168 x 4 = 672 calories).  This is because there are four calories of protein for every gram we consume. So this person needs to consume 672 calories per day fromprotein, or 168 grams of protein per day.

This gives you a complete guide on to how much to eat. The great part is it
doesn’t tell you what to eat, but how to eat. We all know generally what are
healthy food options, who are we kidding? People ask me what to eat all the
time. And I know they know what healthy foods are. People look for this
cookie cutter diet that will give them results. But the truth is that we need to
eat all types of food, not just a list of food I can provide you. Everything within
moderation; that is the key to long term success. As long as you stick between
all your numbers outlined for you in the last two posts, you will be on your
way to dropping body fat and increasing LBM.

CARBOHYDRATES

Everyone is afraid of these guys, but the truth is they are your friends. They are the major source of energy for your body, and the only source of fuel used by your nervous system. Think about it this way, if carbs were so bad for you, would fruit
and vegetables be bad for you as well? I think not. I have yet to seen broccoli try to take over the world, but it is a possibility… Until then, vegetables and fruit are good. And so are carbs, most carbs at least.

The worst carbs for you are the simple sugars. These are you table sugars, sodas, cakes and everything else that is awesome in life. They are all sugar, and usually high in calories. These things in MODERATION are fine. If you have a piece of cake
here and there or a soda on the special occasion your body will not shut down. It will process it like everything else, and you will be on your way. These things become bad when they are done consistently.

The carbs we want to eat more of are the complex carbs. These are our potatoes, apples, oatmeal and the paper plates you just ate your meal off of. These are the carbs we want to eat more of on a daily basis. This way we will get the carbs we
need as well as the nutrients we need.

For carbs, we want to consume between 0.5 and 1 gram per pound of LBM.

So for our subject with 140 pounds of LBM using a 0.75 gram of carb per LBM ratio, this person needs to consume 105 grams of carbs per day (140 x 0.75).

If we want to find out how many calories this person needs to eat per day, we again multiply by four (carbs are also four calories per gram). This would equal 420 calories of carbs per pound of LBM.

FAT

“Oh, that damn stubborn fat, I can’t get rid of it! I shouldn’t eat any because I want to lose fat…” WRONG!!!!!

Remember that number we found in the Nutrition 101 Plan post, that tells us how many calories we need to maintain our weight per day?

For our subject it was 1,820 calories per day.

And remember that in order to lose weight we needed to subtract 250 calories from that number?

1,820 – 250 = 1,570 calories per day.

Or if we wanted to gain weight we add 250 calories.

1,820 + 250 = 2,070 calories per day.

Let’s say this person wanted to maintain their weight. They would take their 1,820 calories per day as there amount of calories to consume daily.

From the math above, we know that he will consume 420 calories per day from carbs.

And we also know that he will also be consuming 672 calories per day from protein.

Therefore, the rest must be from fat.

So, 672 + 420 calories = 1,092 calories from protein and carbs.

Subtracting total calories per day by the amount of calories combined for carbs and protein will tell us how many calories of fat to consume.

1,820 – 1,092 = 728 calories from fat.

In order to get grams of fat, we divide 728 by nine (since there are 9 calories of fat per gram of fat).

728 / 9 = 80 grams of fat.

You can do this with the starting number for each goal but the carb numbers will have to be played with.

If you’re trying to lose weight 0.5 – 0.75 would be good numbers for that goal. For gaining or maintaining we may want to increase it to 0.75 – 1 gram per pound of LBM.

It is all trial and error. All of these numbers may need to be modified until you find the right balance for you. Just remember no more than 30% of your diet should be from fat, and no more than 50% of your diet should be from carbs. If you follow all these guidelines, and I know there is a lot here, you will begin to meet your goals.

This is a pure outline, no thought needed once you have your outline set for you.

I know there is a lot here, so if there are any questions please comment below, and I will clarify where I can.

Was this post helpful, enlightening, the purest, greatest thing you ever read? How many grams of protein, carbs and fat do you consume per day? Does anyone have any other ways that have been successful to them? Let me know, leave a comment below!


This Weeks Good Reads

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to all of you who have been following me, and I’m glad that you all have been enjoying my blog in its beginning days. I also wanted to say thank you to my girlfriend Jen, who has so kindly agreed to proof-read my work to make sure I don’t make silly mistakes and sound stupid. 

Also please feel free to leave some comments, let me know what you guys and gals want to hear me write about.  What topics interest you etc…

BACK TO BASICS – MOLLY GALBRAITH 

Anybody who thinks that the basics are not for them and just jump straight to the big lifts, this is for you.  A reminder that no matter how good or strong you think you are getting, you can never forget the basics.  We must all go back and revisit them.  Sometimes you will be very happy at what you see when you do.  And sometimes you may find out that you completely lost sight of the basics and maybe even struggle to do them.  If that is the case, you better revisit them and master them.

TALL KNEELING LANDMINE – TONY GENTILCORE

This is a great exercise for anti-rotation and anti-extension.  This hits two categories that I talked about in my core training post.  By going from the feet to the knees, you are taking out one joint.  Allowing you to get a much better squeeze through the glutes to help lock your core in and to really allow your core to fire better.

This is a great exercise for all lifters, whether you are a beginner or advanced, you can perform these.  It is perfect for developing strong glutes, hamstrings and adductors (posterior chain) and will help you become much stronger then you are now.  If you think you’re a big hot shot that can squat heavy, try this exercise.  Just remember to leave the ego at the door.  If you’re a newb trying to learn to squat, this is perfect because it will teach you depth in your squat as well as give you confidence on your dissension into the hole.

SEVEN SHOULDER FRIENDLY EXERCISES – BEN BRUNO

For those of you with shoulder pain while bench pressing or during your everyday activities, give these push modifications a try.  You will be able to put on muscle while training your shoulder to be healthy.  This is a win-win for everybody.  Even those who have healthy shoulders throw some of these into the mix as it will keep your shoulders healthy and help you get stronger all at the same time.

Great read for you ladies who are intimidated by the weight room.  I do not know how many times on this blog or how many more times I will mention this, but it is important for woman as well as men to strength train.  There are far more benefits to strength training for women then just aesthetics as well.  Take a lesson from another woman on how to feel more comfortable in the gym.

 

6 Things I Have Changed My Mind About (Part 2)

Last night I went to Applebees and I saw some pretty amazing stuff.  There was a guy there, who was making balloon animals, right at the bar, next to me.  Except, they weren’t quite animals.  He made a mug of beer which even had the foam! He made a stripper on a pole, the rose from Beauty and the Beast, and Thor’s helmet and hammer.  All and all it was pretty damn impressive, and I was very happy to of taken home a souvenir.

Rose from Beauty and the Beast

I really wanted a dumbbell though.

Part 2 of the things I have changed my mind about.

3. What I Once Thought:

Pain is a normal part of exercise.

When I was younger, pain was an integral part of my life. Between lifting heavy and playing sports, my body took a beating. My lower back hurt consistently, my knees were constantly throbbing, and I was getting injured multiple times per year. But all this is the normal process of working out hard right?  They do always say “no pain, no gain.” This was the mantra I lived by.

Even today as a trainer, people I work with or meet in the gym are always holding their lower back or elbows as if it bothers them. They always seem to respond, “It only hurts after my workouts” or”It loosens up after I warm up.” All these means you have pain associated with something you are doing in the gym and that my friend is no good.

What I Think Now:

The first time it started to dawn on me that I should not feel pain during exercise is after it was too late. I have already had my first herniated disk between L5 and S1. After rehabbing my own back to health, which took a full year to do, I was finally pain free, I was able to run without pain and weight train without pain. I realized pain with exercise is not supposed to happen. As I started to try and get strong again, certain movements started to bother my back. If this happened I took a step back, lightened the load, or even removed the exercise from my program completely. Over the course of three years of doing this, I can implement just about any exercise into my program without having back pain. I have not had knee pain in years, even after spraining my MCL playing football. I have had many clients who say, “my this muscle hurts after exercise, but that’s normal.” When did pain ever become the norm? If you have pain in any muscle group for any reason at all during exercise or not ,find someone who can help you fix it. Whether it be a good physical therapist, personal trainer, massage therapist, etc.

4. What I Once Thought:

You have to eat five-six meals per day.

In college, I studied Exercise Science and Nutrition at Queens College. I was even Dietetics major for quite some time before I decided that I wanted to pursue physical therapy. The first thing we are taught is that we need to eat frequently throughout the day, as to not slow down our metabolism.  Eat every two to three hours to keep yourself from going into starvation mode; this will spare your muscle mass and help you burn the fat.

What I Think Now:

Don’t get me wrong now, the above statement about what I used to think, is not invalid. The ideas up there stand true. But it’s more that I have added ideas to this theory. The truth is that eating five to six square meals per day is not the only way to lose weight and keep muscle mass. There is a lot of research coming out now about the effects of fasting on weight loss and muscle gain. The intermittent fasting nutrition plan has made a splash in the fitness field. I believe it works, and I have the success of some clients doing it. The problem with it is it’s hard to do.

Intermittent fasting consists of having a cheat day, a fast day and the rest of the days are partial fasts.

Now don’t go crazy and say I am not telling you to eat. I do not want to delve too deep into this topic yet, because many of you do not have the nutrition basics down. You should start off by referring back to my Nutrition Plan 101 post, and continue reading the series as it is played out. Each one will build the building blocks for the next post.  But the point I am trying to make here is that it is all about the amount of calories we consume over a week or month period and not a day to day basis.  If one day you cheat and eat an extra 200 calories, you can always just cut out an extra 200 calories throughout the rest of the week in order to still maintain the number of calories needed for that week.  By looking at nutrition in a much larger sense then one day, it gives you a lot more wiggle room for your indulgences, as well as keep you from going crazy when you do mess up.

Was this post helpful, enlightening, the purest, greatest thing you ever read? What have you changed your mind about? Let me know, leave a comment below!


This Weeks Good Reads

Today is Star Wars Day.  And that is pretty sweet (nerd alert).   Would love to sit tonight and watch a movie or two or three.  The only thing in this world better then deadlifting heavy is a light saber battle.  BOOYAH! 

On that note, here are my good reads for the week.

This is a good study done that proves that sleeping too little is associated with higher BMI’s. So if your looking to drop some pounds, look forward to an extra couple hours of shut eye to help kick start the body.

Longer Sleep Times Effect on Weight

This is a VERY GOOD read by Al Painter. He did a great job writing about a topic I highly believe in and a philosophy I use on an every day basis.

He points out the Four myths of exercising, and just as I do, wonder how they ever got there in the first place.

Ladies, after you read this, please go out and lift something heavy, it will make both you and I happy.

Why woman should train like a guy Woman Deadlifting