Now that the weather is getting nice, you may be tempted to forgo your resistance
training and head outdoors for some aerobic exercise in the fresh air. But beware:
if you give up your resistance training, you will be giving up more than
you bargained for.
Why resistance train?
Resistance training is critical for true fitness. Without it, your muscles will atrophy. If you aren’t building muscle, you are likely losing it.
And if you are 20 or older, you are definitely losing muscle, unless you are working hard to build it. Beginning at age 20, we begin naturally losing muscle mass every decade.
The old liché holds true for muscle mass: if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Have you ever broken your arm or leg and had to wear a cast for a few weeks? Remember what greeted you when the cast was removed? Your arm or leg was a lot smaller and felt weak. That is because just a few weeks of disuse caused the muscles to begin atrophying.
Here are some of the benefits of resistance training:
· Stops muscle loss and helps begin the rebuilding process.
· Makes daily acttivites easier, from carrying groceries to rearraging your furniture.
· Gives you a sculpted look.
· Increases bone density, giving you a strong, stable skeleton.
· Improves balance and coordination.
· Prevents decay of the pads between your bones, so that you do not hurt when you move.
· Causes the tendons to grow deeper into your bones, reducing the chance of tearing.
· Builds muscles which will burn more calories, even while you are resting.
· Reduces blood pressure by making your heart stronger.
· Increases your metabolism.
· Decreases blood sugar, which helps prevent insulin resistance (the precursor to diabetes).
· Improves your aerobic capacity: the stronger your muscles, the better your endurance.
· Gives you a general feeling of wellness and strength. If you are strong, you feel strong.
· Makes you a better athlete: there is no substitue for strength!
· Prevents the weak, frail “skinny-fat” look.
· Raises your energy level. The more muscle you have, the less effort you have to exert and the more energy you have available.
· Secures future protection against falls and fractures. If you age with dense bones, strong muscles and good balance, your risk of injury plummets.
· Creates 22% more afterburn than aerobic exercise does. (Afterburn refers to the fat and calories that your body burns in the hours after you have finished your workout.)
Still tempted to give up resistance training?
Why aerobic exercise is not enough
“ But ,” the question goes, “ Can’t I just go for a run and build muscle? I’m using muscles when I run! ”
The answer is NO! Running or other aerobic exercise is not a replacement for resistance training. They are different exercises and provide different benefits. Aerobic exercise does not deliver the needed stress to your bones, muscles and tendons.
In order to build strength, you have to pull hard on tendons, do microscopic damage to your muscles and literally bend your bones. Going out for a run or putting in an hour on the treadmill will not do this sufficiently.
This is not to say that aerobic exercise is not important: it is! But it is not resistance training. You need both. And if you omit one, you do your body a great disservice.
Avoid the “skinny fat” syndrome
Another danger of focusing on cardio or aerobic exercise to the exclusion of resistance training is becoming what is known as “skinny fat.” Skinny fat is a condition in which a person appears thin on the outside, but inside they are unhealthy and at risk for illness.
If you are losing weight through diet and exercise but not simultaneously doing resistance training, you are not only losing fat: you are losing muscle as well. Your body will burn through your muscles tissue as surely as it will burn through your fat. As you lose muscle, you lose a major source of energy, and you lose tone and definition.
Further, as you lose muscle, your bones become weak, because they do not have to do as much work. Weak bones are a precursor to osteoporosis.
Hidden fat is also a risk for the “skinny fat” person. When 800 slim people underwent an MRI scan to check for visceral or hidden fat, 45% were found to have excessive amounts of internal fat, undetectable from the outside1. Visceral fat is the most dangerous fat to have, because it accumulates around organs such as the pancreas, heart and liver and then begins releasing hormones and other secretions that lead to disease.
Resistance training can reduce visceral fat and help prevent the additional formation around the organs.
Don’t give up your resistance training just because spring is here and you are eager to get outside. There is no substitute for lifting heavy weights 2 to 3 times each week. Your health is on the line. GET AFTER IT!
Minimum Effective Dosage: Train Smarter Not Harder
There are few things as exciting as new boot campers eager to make serious lifestyle changes and make up for lost time in their quest to get fit and healthy. Their motivation and passion are contagious, and watching transformations is one of the most fulfilling aspects of being a trainer.
But in their excitement, many boot campers make a common mistake – overtraining. The thinking goes like this: “If 20 push-ups are good, then 30 must be better,” or “If 35 pounds challenges my muscles, then I’ll really get ripped if I do 50!” In other words, more is better and leads to faster results.
Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case, and taken to the extreme can lead to getting hurt and MISSING workouts. As with most things in life, moderation and consistency in fitness are the keys to success . Too much of anything can be a bad thing, and there is no need to do more than the minimum needed for maximum results.
For example, consider medication. If 200 milligrams of Advil takes away your headache, you do not need to take 1000 milligrams. It will not make your headache go away any more effectively, because 200 milligrams will make it disappear completely! Taking 1000 milligrams is not only wasted effort, but it could have dangerous effect on your health.
It is important to realize that over training in fitness not only doesn’t deliver faster and better results, but it can lead to injury and burnout . Pushing your body beyond what it can effectively handle will usually result in a strain or muscle tear.
Likewise, for those just starting, if you blast out of the gate at top speed with an intensity that you can’t possibly sustain, you will burn out and likely give up. The wisest choice is to practice moderation and consistency.
Remember, what you do every day is more important than what you do every once in a while. Those everyday activities may not be terribly exciting while you are doing them. And you may not feel like you are making progress. But give the compound effect time to work. Your effort will pay off. You will become stronger, more fit, and others will begin to notice.
Take care of your body and your mind by practicing the “Minimum Effective Dosage” strategy. Do what is necessary to get you to your goal, one step at a time. Better yet, work with a Certified Fitness Professional or Specialist to determine your programming needs and you can bet your ass that you will get there in half the time it would normally take you doing it by yourself!
'What you do every day is more important than what you do every once in a while.'
reason why celebrities and other highly successful people use coaches and
And that is why so many people are turning to Private Coaches & Personal Trainers to help them move from mediocre to excellence in their pursuit of health, fitness and weight loss.
Sport Scientists have shown how Group Fitness classes leave you with more muscle or better tone.
More than 91% of people who start an exercise program quit early —even before their new routine becomes a habit, and 61% will give up within the very first week!1
Why? Because changing your lifestyle is hard. In spite of all the infomercials and ads claiming that you can lose weight and transform your body in thirty days (or six weeks at the longest), the truth is, getting fit requires a lifestyle makeover that takes
If any of these components is missing, the odds of success plummet.
The good news is that one component virtually guarantees the continued presence of the other two, and that is support- -and support is the heart of what a good Coach provides.
A Coach helps with the time factor in two ways:
1. Finding time in your schedule to actually work out
2. Sticking with your program long enough to reach your goals.
A Coach supports you looking at your schedule and find ways to make fitness fit. A seasoned Coach or personal trainer has much wisdom in the area of time management and is a master at figuring out how to work exercise into even the busiest schedules. He can also design workouts that are both efficient and effective. Finally, a Private Coach can also provide the motivation that you need to keep going, long after you would have stopped were you doing working out by yourself.
Determination is also an area that a Coach/Personal trainer supports you in. At the beginning of your new fitness program, you have excitement, novelty and the joy of discovery to keep you going. But eventually, what used to be new and fun becomes old and boring. If determination fades, you will find yourself wandering off track in search of the next exciting pursuit.
Your Coach(es) will help you keep your determination. He will remind you why you are doing what you are doing. He will get into your life and help you move past obstacles that arise, and he will talk you out of excuse-making. He will constantly hold before you the consequences of your choices. He will keep you moving forward.
And finally, a Coach supports you as your source for practical, step-by-step instructions for building health. At HIT Fitness Warehouse, Your Coach is an expert in the field of Exercise Science. While under the tutelage of any Coach at HIT Fitness Warehouse, you do not have to design your own program of fitness, constantly wondering whether you are doing the right exercises in the right way. A Private Coach or Personal Trainer will create a customized blueprint that will help you achieve your goals.
A Coach or personal trainer is your insurance policy against being another number in the appalling fitness drop-out statistics. Don’t try to go it alone; we all need help.
Position yourself for success by working with a Personalized Group Fitness or a Private Coach/Personal Trainer and watch fitness and robust health become part of your life.
Prepare for Success: Back to School Tips
Have you noticed? The days are getting a little shorter, store aisles are full of school supplies and you may have seen a school bus or two making practice runs in your neighborhood. All this can only mean one thing: it’s back to school time!
If you are like most people, you are not quite ready to say goodbye to the relaxing days of summer. Late nights and lightly-scheduled days are a welcome break after a year of early mornings and homework deadlines. Those slow days of summer are such a welcome break!
But with the approach of the new school year comes the necessity to ease back into a routine that helps your children succeed. Changing routines can be tough under any circumstances. But when our routines change from ‘fun and relaxing’ to ‘less fun and somewhat stressful,’ it can be even tougher to pull off!
The best way to lessen the shock of a new school year is to ease your children into their school routine before school starts. Getting a jump start on new schedules and new responsibilities will allow them to adjust before school actually starts and the pace really picks up.
Here are some areas to focus on for back to school prep:
1. Sleep schedule. Almost without realizing it, we tend to slip into a different sleep pattern during summer—later nights make for later wake times. This is probably due to several factors, including the fact that the days are longer and the school bus isn’t coming! When school starts, however, your children need to be on a different sleep schedule, otherwise they will have a very hard time getting up. Try this: a few days before school starts, ease their bed times and wake times back 15 minutes each day. This will help them to painlessly get used to a more school-friendly sleep schedule.
2. Daily schedule. Your children have probably grown accustomed to low pressure schedules this summer. However, when school starts, having a schedule is critical. There are only so many hours each day to fit in school, homework, extra-curricular commitments, church and chores. Make it all work by creating a schedule that your children can follow.
3. Chores. The only way to make a busy household run smoothly is for everyone to pull their share of the load. Assign each of your children age-appropriate chores to do. Offer rewards for a job well done and give additional chores for non-compliance. Even preschoolers can help around the house by emptying small trash cans and picking up toys and books.
4. Planners. Buy each of your children a planner and help them to get used to using it before school starts. The more familiar they are with their planner, the easier it will be for them to use it when classes and other activities get underway. Encourage them to write in their class schedule, their homework schedule, their sports and club schedules and even their chore routines.
5. Fitness. It goes without saying that your children need to move. Literally. Sitting for long hours in the classroom and on the bus hinders their ability to concentrate and also lowers their energy levels. If your school does not offer a physical education program, get your child involved in some kind of exercise routine . If your school does offer a physical education program, get your child involved in some kind of exercise routine to familiarize them with slightly more advanced movements and the importance of exercise. Not only will their grades likely improve, but they will be less stressed in general and will be more able to handle the pressures that school brings.
Back to school prep does not have to be difficult; it just takes a little planning. Using these tips will help to instill good habits in your children that will set them up for success in the classroom and in real world.
*To get your child involved in a youth fitness program reach out to us and ask about our HIT FIT KIDS and Athletes in Training (AIT) programs .
If you have been working out over the past winter and spring
months, you may be surprised at the new challenges that summertime fitness
throws at you. So now on top of the Tactical Tuesday Challenges, Great 8 Challenges, and 24 Day Challenges, you have been slammed with Mother Nature's challenge! You are probably discovering that your body reacts to the heat and
humidity differently than it does to cooler, drier conditions. And if you have not discovered this already then start paying attention to your body and the little adjustments that must be made. The thirst, the excess sweating, the fatigue setting in a little sooner.
But don’t let the heat cause you to lose your momentum. You can keep working hard in the summer, you just have to adjust your approach a little. Keep the following summertime fitness HIT FIT Tips in mind as you continue getting stronger and healthier.
1. Cool down first! You can improve your performance in the heat by lowering your body temperature before heading outside. Taking a cold shower or simply putting ice cold cloths on the back of your neck can help you to better tolerate the heat.
2. Find some shade. You may need to move your workout to a different area in order to be in the shade. If you are a runner or biker, change your route to a wooded area.
3. Avoid caffeine. Because caffeine acts as a diuretic, it forces water out of your system. This is the last thing you want when exercising in the summer heat. Save your caffeine intake for several hours before or after your workout, rather than near the time you will be exercising.
4. Stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of water before, during and after your workout will reduce the heat stress on your body.
5. Choose your clothing carefully. Now more than ever it is important to wear clothing that will move sweat away from your body and help it evaporate it quickly. A cotton t-shirt may be fine in the winter, but you will be much cooler in a fabric designed for exercise.
6. Change your workout time. If you are used to exercising during lunch or in the afternoon, you may need to adjust your schedule for the summer months. Early mornings and late evenings are the best times for outdoor exercise. On blistering, hot days, even the shade will not bring much relief.
7. Wear white or light colored clothing. Lighter colors reflect the heat better than darker, more intense colors.
8. Take breaks. Your body can only handle so much extreme heat. When the thermometer climbs, you may find that you need more frequent breaks to keep performing at your best. Be sure to take them. Listening to your body and caring for it is not a sign of weakness: it’s smart.
9. Monitor your heart . The heat places greater stress on your heart. Keep tabs on your heart rate as you work out in the heat. If it spikes quickly or stays too high, give it a rest.
10. Hit the gym. You may find that it is best to simply move your workout indoors for the summer. If you would prefer not to put your body under summer stress, work out in a gym, and if I may suggest a GREAT gym, HIT Fitness Warehouse is South Florida's #1 Performance and Fitness Training Facility! Sorry, couldn't help but throw that out there. You will have the added benefit of personal attention , group accountability and best of all ....Great Coaches that care and have made Coaching & Training their lifetime career! It’s a great time to work on form, increase intensity, and plan out a new and exciting workout routine. Beat the heat by mixing things up this summer-try a gym workout.
Fueling your Body for Optimal Performance
From weekend warriors to Ironman finishers, performance is directly tied to diet. If you want to train at the peak of your ability and recover quickly, you must be intentional about what you eat, taking care to feed your body what it needs. Trying to work out with a body that is starving for essential nutrients will end only in frustration; and frustration eats your momentum and resolve with a voracious appetite.
Make the most of every minute you work out by fueling your body sensibly. Let’s look at the basics.
Nutrition 101: The Foundation
The big three nutrients that you need to be concerned with are carbohydrates, protein and fat. An eating strategy that balances these three macro-nutrients will skyrocket your fitness results.
· Carbohydrates: Some have argued that carbohydrates are the most important nutrient that an athlete consumes, because carbs fuel muscle. Every time you move one of your muscles, you are using carbohydrates. Your body breaks down carbs into sugars and then stores them in your muscles and livers. If you eat more than can be stored in either of these two places, the excess is stored as fat in your body.
Good sources of carbohydrates include whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans.
· Protein: In order to build muscle, you must have protein. Muscle is the foundation of every athlete: without a solid muscle base, you will be ineffective any fitness pursuit. Muscle also plays an important role in protecting you from diabetes. The more muscle you have, the more efficiently your body can uptake glucose from your bloodstream.
It is important to eat protein daily, because your body cannot store protein very easily. Protein from animal sources is the easiest way to get complete protein, but plant-based proteins can be combined to provide complete protein as well.
· Fat: It is unfortunate that fat came under such fire during the last decade or so. Fat is essential and you need a lot of it. The key is to know what kind of fat to eat. Avoid anything that is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. These fats are also called trans-fats and are very unhealthy. Instead try to get the majority of your fat from olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, wild-caught fish and free-range animal products such as butter, cheese, yogurt, beef and poultry.
Finding the balance
If you are like many people, you are often confused about how to balance out the different kinds of foods you eat. It seems as though there is a new diet promotion every day, promising all sorts of miracles.
The key, however, to fueling your body for peak performance is balance and moderation. In The New Rules of Lifting for Women , Cassandra Forsythe insists that eating a ratio of 40/30/30 (carbohydrate/protein/fat) will bring the best results. Start here and then adjust the ratios to see what best suits your body.
Remember: you must give your body what it needs to perform. If you don’t, you will end up tired, weak, and prone to frustration because you won’t have the energy or strength to work out. The better you fuel your body, the better it will serve you in your pursuit of fitness and health.
*Contact us for your customized nutritional program
Kevin Kohan, Sports Nutrition Specialist
We’ve talked before about the differences between men and women when it comes to fiber type distribution as well as body composition. But what does that really mean? Are there any functional implications?
If you asked me these questions when I was in the lab I would probably say well… it depends. And then I would pepper you with questions. What’s her training status? What was it 10 years ago? What is her body type? How much does she weigh? What about body fat?
But, if you catch me in the gym I would promptly invite you to load a barbell with 2x bodyweight and we’d sort it out.
The literature on this topic is too scarce and of course mixed. However, there are some common themes that underpin why we sometimes see sex differences in strength and power: body size and training status.
Strength & Power
To start with I want to clearly define what I mean by strength and power. When I say strength I am really referring to raw force production. When I say power I mathematically mean force x velocity. Both are determined by a multitude of variables: muscle-cross sectional area, contractile velocity, neurological control, and even pennation angle. We are living at the far left end of the fitness continuum here focusing purely on quick and explosive movements. Think deadlifts, squats, vertical jumps, power cleans, you get the picture.
Sex Differences – Absolute Values
When compared to men, women tend to be able to produce (on average) two-thirds of what their male peers can produce(1). This sex related difference in not consistent throughout the body though with values for the lower limbs being much closer to men and values for the upper body being much further away(1,2). However, men have much larger body sizes, more body mass, more fat-free muscle mass, and a different distribution of fat-free mass than women.
It’s All Relative
When strength and power are considered relative to fat-free mass sex related differences tend to disappear(1-4). I use the phrase “tend to” because there are many confounding variables. Several studies of trained men and women matched for activity level show no gender difference in strength between men and women when expressed relative to fat-free mass(3). However, several other studies have shown significant differences do exist(2-4).
Of the studies that show a difference there are two major criticisms. First, we tend to see significant differences in strength and power when untrained individuals are tested(3). This could be physiological, but it could also be the result of significant gender differences in lifelong physical activity levels(5). Therefore, activity level needs to be carefully controlled when comparing these two groups(3).
Secondly, when strength and power are expressed relative to cross-sectional area rather than just fat-free mass the sex related differences almost completely disappear(1-4). Why the difference? Well, fat-free mass isn’t purely skeletal muscle it includes bone, connective tissue, water, etc. So when we isolate only muscle we see almost no difference in strength and velocity characteristics between men and women.
But, just to twist the story one more time. A few different authors have shown that even when expressed relative to cross-sectional area women have lower strength and power capabilities than men in the upper body(2,6). I have to wonder though if this can’t also be partly explained by differences in physical activity. How many women do you know who have bench pressed regularly? While I can’t give you the answer right now, what I can tell you is that my interest is sparked. Don’t be shocked if you get recruited to participate in a study in the near future.
While it is clear that there are absolute differences in strength and power between men and women, these differences tend to disappear when relative strength and power are considered. Things such as body size, skeletal muscle mass, and training status will all have a significant impact on absolute values. There is some evidence that lower body strength is less affected than upper body strength, but this is primarily due to differences in skeletal muscles mass distribution between men and women. The science isn’t perfect yet, but more often than not we see that pound for pound women are just as strong and powerful as men.
0. Baechle, Thomas R., Earle, Roger W., and National Strength & Conditioning Association. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 3rd ed. 2008. Print.
0. Miller, A.E.J., et al., Gender differences in strength and muscle fiber characteristics. European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology, 1993. 66(3): p. 254-262.
0. Jones, E.J., et al., Cross-sectional area and muscular strength. Sports Medicine, 2008. 38(12): p. 987-994.
0. Trappe, S., et al., Single muscle fibre contractile properties in young and old men and women. The Journal of physiology, 2003. 552(1): p. 47-58.
0. Hunter, S.K., Sex differences in human fatigability: mechanisms and insight to physiological responses. Acta physiologica, 2014. 210(4): p. 768-789.
0. Hoffman, T., R.W. Stauffer, and A.S. Jackson, Sex difference in strength. The American journal of sports medicine, 1979. 7(4): p. 265-267.
Regret-proof your life: set a deadline
A year from now you will wish you had started today.
It’s Time to Shake Things Up
Prevent deadline-creep: get competitive
Exercising by yourself can be tough. Nobody knows if you skip, there is no one to push you a little harder, and you don’t have a commitment to anyone else. One day off turns into two, and before you know it, weeks have passed without you even raising a sweat. Getting fit in isolation can be done, but it’s much harder and requires a resolve few of us have.
1. The biggest benefit that a group personal training offers is support . When you join a group personal training program, you are ensuring that you have like-minded people to motivate you and a qualified leader to help you reach your weight loss and fitness milestones. If staying motivated is a challenge for you, then a group personal training program will energize you to keep going. Members of group personal training programs can become close friends as they work hard and celebrate together.
2 . You will push yourself harder in a group personal training program. During your workouts, there are no distractions to cause you to lose your momentum or excuses to slack off. Your coach will expect compliance, and while we will certainly work within your ability, you will be amazed at how far you can go in the right environment. The feeling you get when you know you have pushed yourself a little further than you thought you could will give you confidence in all other areas of your life.
3 . Cost wise , you can’t go wrong with a group personal training program. They are led by certified personal trainers (not group fitness instructors), and this means that you get tailored, one-on-one help that approaches the attention that you get when you hire a personal trainer. But it costs much less!
4 . Ready for quick results ? Personalized Small Group Training program generally incorporate variations of high intensity interval training or HIIT for short. HIIT training has been scientifically proven to be more effective and more efficient than traditional exercist programs. We’re not playing games in here. Our goal is to change your life and have a great time doing it!
5 . It’s fun ! Team training takes the torture out of serious workouts. There is nothing like laughing with each other as you struggle through those last push ups or pant through that last few seconds of burpees. In fact, a recent study has proven that pleasant distraction reduces pain.1 Don’t worry-we’re not going to torture you, but any serious fitness work has moments of discomfort. The distraction of having others around you doing the same thing can mean the difference between finishing with a smile on your face and not finishing at all.
Some days you
simply do not have time for your usual workout.
Perhaps you are traveling or you have meetings from dawn ‘til dusk. Or maybe something totally unexpected comes
up and your workout time disappears.
When life steals your exercise time, however, you do not have to forgo your workout. If you have just a few minutes, you can burn off 100 calories, get your heart pumping fast and redeem at least a little of your workout.
Here are 10 ways to torch 100 calories
Use them on busy days or even to supercharge your normal workout days. Most estimates are for a person weighing approximately 130-150 pounds. If you weigh more, you can probably shorten the duration, but if you are lighter, add a few minutes to ensure that you burn at least 100 calories.
1. Take the stairs . Stair climbing for 15 minutes will burn 137 calories. Have a 15 minute break at work? Find a stair case and set your phone alarm to alert you when 15 minutes have passed.
2. Run a 5-minute mile . By the time you are 4 and ½ minutes in, you will have already burned 100 calories. If you can’t get outside, just run in place.
3. Ride a stationary bike at 20 mph for 4 minutes 54 seconds.
4. Work on the lawn. Pull weeds for 17 minutes, rake leaves for 20 minutes, or dig dirt for 16 minutes.
5. Calisthenics. Spending 15 minutes doing some light body weight squats, lunges, jumping jacks, get-ups and knee-ins will burn about 137 calories.
6. Go for a walk. A 150 pound person will burn approximately 117 calories by walking at a 4 mph speed for 20 minutes. Walk in place if you do not have a good area to walk in outdoors. Try walking in place while you watch your favorite television show!
7. Grab the vacuum. Vacuuming your home or office for 28 minutes will burn 100 calories. This is a great way to sneak in some exercise at work and get on the good list of your coworkers!
8. Chop fire wood. It is hot now, but winter is coming! Spend 5 minutes chopping fire wood and you will burn 100 calories.
9. Swim laps. It only takes 12 minutes to burn off 100 calories while swimming.
10. Mow the lawn with a push mower. 14 minutes is all it takes to zap 100 calories.