Getting Rid of Stomach Fat

SONY DSCSummer is on the way and so, understandably, we get lots of questions from clients wanting to know the best exercise to get rid of stomach fat so they can look their best in their bathing suit.  Unfortunately, and clients never want to hear thisthere is not one specific exercise that will help you get rid of abdominal fat.

You see, this type of localized fat reduction is not possible.  In fact, infomercials or advertisements promising localized fat reduction infuriate fitness professionals who know what is being promised is impossible.  You see, what happens during say, an abdominal crunch, is that as soon as you start crunching, your muscles cry out for energy to perform the movement.  But there is no direct line from the abdominal muscle cells to the abdominal fat cells surrounding them.  So your liver sends some energy, in the form of sugar or fat, to the abdominal muscles.  But that fat could have been sent from your arm, butt or back.  When fat is mobilized from a particular area, it is first sent to the liver to be routed towards its final destination for usage.

So doing abdominal crunches does not mean you are burning stomach fat.  If your abdominal fat is Read the rest of Getting Rid of Stomach Fat

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Need Some Speed!

Need Some Speed!

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Have you ever noticed that as most people age they begin to move more and more slowly?  It seems to take them forever to get out of a chair, walk across the room or bend down to pick something up.  This is because as we age we lose about 7 pounds of muscle each decade.  And this loss is dominated by a loss in the number and size of fast twitch muscle fibers.  These muscle fibers are the ones responsible for allowing an individual to move quickly, and to maintain agility, reaction time, strength and power.  As these fibers atrophy, we find ourselves moving very slowly.  However, the good news is that this loss can be slowed down and some cases, prevented by training your fast twitch muscles.  The rule is “If you don’t use it, you lose it”.  So it’s important to do whatever you can to keep these muscle fibers working so they don’t perceive that they are no longer needed.

Here are some ideas to help you maintain your agility and mobility as you age.
Try to perform one agility drill a few times per week.

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Lateral Agility Drill

Position 2 cones, chairs or props a few feet apart.  Now quickly step laterally to the outside of one cone and back to the outside of the other touching down towards the floor or cone on each end.  Try to go as fast as you possibly can.  Continue for 30-60 seconds.

 

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Sprint Drills

Place 3 cones in a straight line each about 25-50 feet apart so that the furthest cone is about 100 feet away from you.  Start the exercise by sprinting or walking fast to the first cone, then shuffle backwards to the starting point.  Then sprint to the second cone, then shuffle backwards to the starting point.  Then sprint all the way to the third cone, then shuffle backwards to the starting point.  Take a short break and then repeat this 3-5x.

 

 

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“Rectangle Drill

Place 4 cones in the shape of a rectangle or square with each cone about 30 feet apart from each other.  Start at one corner and sprint to the top of the square.  Then shuffle across the top of the square.  Then back-shuffle.  Then laterally shuffle back to the start.  Do this 3-5x one way.  Take a break and go the other way.

An easy way to incorporate agility training into your training program without even knowing it is by participating in sports like skiing, ice skating, inline skating, squash, tennis, soccer, racquetball, squash, basketball, or volleyball which all involve a high level of agility and speed.  You could also consider enrolling in dance programs like Zumba, Salsa or Ballroom dancing or choreography-based fitness classes like Funk and Hip Hop.  These types of activities will keep you agile and mobile into your later years – and it’s a fun way to achieve these benefits.

Ps. We are hosting the Summer Solstice Amazing Race event to benefit the Clark County Foodbank….a great opportunity to work on your speed!

PS. We are hosting a Triathlon Training Clinic every weekend.  Triathlons are another way to work your entire body, especially your arms!  We will help get you to the finish line.

 

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Beautiful Arms on a Budget

Beautiful Arms on a Budget

Now that the weather is warmer and we’re wearing a lot less clothing, you may be noticing a little less tone than you’d like in your upper body.  No worries – I’ve got a plan that will get tight, toned and sculpted right in time for summer.  Plus Michelle Obama and various other celebrities have shown us that muscle is the next sexy!

Try the following four exercises, three times per week on alternating days for the next four weeks and you’ll be impressed with the changes to your muscle conditioning.  Say good-bye to flabby arms

Chin Ups:

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The chin-up is one of the best upper body exercises and is definitely one of my favorite compound upper body movements.  The problem is most people can’t perform a full chin-up without assistance.

Fortunately, most gyms offer a Gravitron or other Assisted Chin-up machines enabling most people to incorporate chinups into their workout routine because the machines offer assistance.  The model at your gym may be either a stand-up or kneel model and it may either be computerized or involve only a weight stack.  The instructions on the front of the machine will clearly demonstrate how to complete the set-up process.

You will also notice that the chin-up exercise allows you to choose between 3-4 different grips – a wide grip, a mid-grip, a narrow grip and a reverse mid-grip.  We recommend to our clients that they use all the various Read the rest of Beautiful Arms on a Budget

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Best Exercises For Your Hot Legs!

Best Exercises For Your Hot Legs!

Going hand in hand with the hotter days of summer are the shorter shorts and minis, and so naturally at this time of year, we get lots of questions from clients, specifically women, about which exercise is the best one to tone their legs.

stepupa(1)Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a best exercise for any body part.  You see, the best program for sculpting any area is to incorporate a variety of exercises that challenge the muscles in a number of different ways.  And on top of that, you’ll need to regularly change and modify those exercises every 4-8 weeks to ensure regular progress.

Specifically, you should incorporate exercises like lunges, squats, step ups, bridging etc.  And there are a ton of variations within each of these exercises so the key is to mix it up!

Squats, lunges and step ups are really great choices because Read the rest of Best Exercises For Your Hot Legs!

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Cardio to Tighten Those Glutes!

Cardio to tighten those glutes!

Picture 003(1)As the weather warms, it reminds us that beach season is on its way.  Thoughts of swimming suits and bikinis can either excite or frighten you depending on how well you’ve taken care of yourself all winter.  For most women, the area that causes most concern is the fat that seems to deposit around our hips.  For whatever reason, many believe for child bearing and breastfeeding purposes, the fat cells in this area don’t seem to want to give up the fat.  The enzymes that mobilize fat from the fat cells around the hips and send it off to the muscles to be used for energy seem to be dormant.  So what’s a girl to do?

Well, we’ve heard it all before.  Cardio exercise will burn the fat directly and building muscle by lifting weights will tone the muscles in the area and help make you a ‘fat-burning’ machine.  So we’ve gotta be running, walking, cycling, or taking fitness classes 3-5x/week and on top of this, we’ve got to hit the weights 2-3x/week.  But what if you have a life outside of exercise?! Adherence to this kind of an aggressive program may seem challenging.  Luckily, there is a way you can burn body fat and tone the buttock muscles simultaneously.  There are certain cardio activities that target the gluteal (butt) muscles very well.  A program that includes these butt-busting activities will develop tone in this problem area like you’ve only imagined.

Get outside and enjoy the fresh air.

Hiking:

If you analyze the body’s movements during hiking Read the rest of Cardio to Tighten Those Glutes!

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Combination Training

Combination Training….

1legexerciseb(2)Time is of essence! In a one-hour workout, it’s difficult to achieve a proper warmup, an adequate cardio workout, a challenging strength training segment, some postural exercises and an appropriate cool-down and stretch.  How do we fit it all in?  Most people want results in the shortest period of time.  Who wants to spend 2+ hours in the gym?

Combination Training is the answer to your prayers

Combination Training is an integrated form of training that combines lower body, upper body, trunk musculature and balance training all into one exercise, accomplishing three times as much training in the same amount of time.

Combination Training is also a more natural and functional way of training.  Can you imagine any daily task that you complete regularly that involves only one joint or muscle group.  Our bodies just don’t function in an isolation fashion.  When you get out of a chair, bend down to pick something up or lift something to put it on a shelf, your entire body functions as a team.  And all sports require your muscles to work together.  And yet when we train in the gym, most people generally train their muscles separately focusing on only one body part at a time.  It would be like a football coach Read the rest of Combination Training

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Improve Your Balance – It IS Important!

Improve Your Balance:

 Consider these statistics:

  • One in three adults over the age of 65 will fall at least once a year.
  • Twenty percent of persons 75 years or older require medical treatment due to falls and over 50% of those hospitalized from a fall will die within one year of the fall due to secondary complications. 

 

kneedipb(2)Falls and impaired mobility are a serious problem for our aging population. The good news is that much of the decline in balance can be reversed through a program of balance training.  One study found that healthy people as old as 90 years can reduce the tendency to fall by 50 per cent through balance training.  It’s easy to see that this can help keep people independent and mobile far longer not to mention, reducing their risk for injury.

But listen up – if you’re younger, don’t write today’s column off.  Balance training is also an integral component of almost all sports, and yet so many athletes neglect this aspect of their training.

An athlete, older or not, who pays particular attention to balance conditioning will notice an improvement in their coordination, and their ability to transfer strength to their sport movements.  Studies also indicate that athletes who have suffered from an injury are more likely to experience re-injury.  This re-occurrence can be linked to the athlete failing to incorporate balance training into their rehab program.  Today, injury rehabilitation almost always includes a number of different balance exercises to ensure the patient develops kinesthetic body awareness.  This helps restore their previous level of coordination, agility, strength and endurance.  Balance training is absolutely critical for restoring normal functioning of joints and muscles.  Without balance training, the healing joints and muscles are not as proficient at staying in their neutral, safe positions and may function inappropriately under unforeseen conditions, thus causing re-injury.

You don’t need a tightrope to train your balance system!

Here are a variety of basic exercises to help you implement this type of training into your workouts anywhere with minimal equipment.

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One legged stance:

Begin by standing on one foot.  Slowly bend your knee lowering your body a few inches and then back up again.  Make sure your knee points straight ahead and maintain proper, upright posture throughout the entire exercise.  If your balance isn’t very good to begin with, you may want to have something sturdy close by to hang onto in case you lose your balance.  Perform 20 reps each leg.  Do this exercise while brushing your teeth, talking on the phone or making dinner – that way you’ll easily fit it into your day.  As you get better, try this exercise with your eyes closed, which would display a more advanced level of balance (not while cooking though :) )

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Upper body + One legged stance:

It’s also easy to implement balance training while doing traditional upper body exercises.  Replace any exercise that you would generally do standing on both legs with standing on one leg.  For example, bicep curls or shoulder presses on 1 leg.

 

 

 

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2 x 4 training:

Head down to your local hardware store and pick up a long piece of wood.  You can walk across the board like you are on a tight-rope, then do it up on your toes and then try it walking backwards.  You can shuffle side-to-side across the board.  You can catch and throw a ball to a partner while maintaining balance on the 2 x 4.  Your options are endless.  You can also do this along a curb or a log at the beach or park.

 

 

stabilityballbenchpressb(2)Exercise Balls:

Any exercise you would do sitting or laying on a bench can be advanced by incorporating a stability ball (they look like a big beach ball only much more sturdy).  By sitting on an exercise ball and performing say, an overhead shoulder press, your stabilizing muscles have to work much harder because you are positioned on an unstable piece of apparatus.  The same goes for laying over the exercise ball and performing say, a chest press.  By laying on the ball instead of a bench your stabilizing muscles are challenged to a greater degree.

Sports: 

There are some sports that will condition your balance without you even having to think about it.  For example, ice-skating, inline skating, alpine skiing, snowboarding, and water-skiing are sports that will maintain high levels of balance as you age.

Perform the above exercises 3 or more times per week and you’ll notice a substantial difference in your balance.

Note:  We are hosting a Running Clinic every Wednesday night at 5:30pm starting May 8th.  Running is another activity that will keep you strong and agile. 

 

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Running Injuries Caused By The Terrible Toos

As the days get longer and warmer, many head outdoors for workouts.  But many people wonder why, after starting an outdoor jogging routine, they develop shin splints or knee pain shortly after.

Running’s “Terrible Toos” are often the leading culprit and cause of most running injuries.

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Too much

Too soon

Too hard

Too fast

Too long

 

It’s easy to imagine how this can happen.  You wake up and decide today is the day you’re going to start your new training program.  You lace up your Nikes and head out the door.  Your ego dictates that a run-walk is for wimps and if you’re gonna go out for just 10 minutes, why even go at all?  So 30-40 minutes later, you’re finished and feeling proud.  Tomorrow you do the same.  Maybe you follow this program a few more times.  And then a week or two later, you start to experience those nagging aches and pains common to many new runners.  You decide the pain is not worth it and your short-lived running career is over.

Consider this: Read the rest of Running Injuries Caused By The Terrible Toos

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Burn Fat – Should You Go Hard or Easy?

Burn Fat – Should You Go Hard or Easy?

Spring is here reminding everyone that shorts, dresses, skirts, tank tops and bathing suits and in the near future.  That tends to be the kick in the butt than many need to start taking better care of themselves to lose fat and tone up.

sprint drill bBut many people are still confused as to which intensity of exercise will burn the most amount of fat.  You may have heard in the past that lower intensity activity will maximize fat loss or “Go at an easy, slow pace for longer to burn fat”.  The thought was that if you worked too hard, you’d just be burning sugars and not fat.  So many fit people lowered the intensity of their workouts fearful that they were not burning fat.  Unfortunately, they were misled and many people still believe that low intensity activity is the best way to maximize fat loss.  The reality is that theactivity that expends the most amount of TOTAL calories will lead to the most amount of fat burned.

Yes, during lower intensity activity you will burn a greater PERCENTAGE of fat and during higher intensity activity you will burn a greater PERCENTAGE of carbohydrates or sugars.  But the important point to note is that the total amount of fat burned is Read the rest of Burn Fat – Should You Go Hard or Easy?

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Best Exercises For Toned Abs!

What are the Best Exercises for a toned abs/abdominal region?

legextensionb1Spring has arrived and that means summer is just around the corner.  I’m sure that makes many of you just as happy as me!  It’s also motivation for many of us to shed some of those winter layers and get into beach-body shape.  Desiring a toned, fit physique is normal and for many, the stomach region is a major problem area.  Abdominal crunches have become the gold standard of ab exercises, but they may not be doing as much as we think to give us the toned mid-section and strong torso we need to play sports, walk, lift or perform other daily activities.

The problem is in the movement.  In an abdominal crunch, we perform technically speaking, a forward flexion of the spine.  But a lot of us spend the entire day in a forward flexed position.  We sit forward at desks, sit forward at a computer, sit flexed to watch TV, sit flexed to drive, sit flexed at a table to eat… No wonder the typical posture of someone who ages is rounded forward in a “hunch” back posture.  Why would we want to strengthen our body in a direction that we really should be trying to move out of?  It makes sense that we’d want to try to counteract and minimize these forward forces.  I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t be doing any abdominal crunches.  But you should compliment these crunch exercises with more functional and appropriate movements such as the following exercises.  Keep this in mind –there is no perfect abdominal exercise.  A variety of different movements and exercises is best.  

Perform the following best exercises for toned abs 3-4 times per week! Read the rest of Best Exercises For Toned Abs!

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