There is no easy road to recovery. It’s a difficult path, but dealing with addiction is imperative. However, the stresses involved can often seem overwhelming at times. Yet, a good fitness regimen may help you handle the pressures of recovery. How You Benefit Maintaining a healthy balance during recovery may be difficult. The stress may make us want to hole up in our homes, eat comforting food, and hide from life’s troubles. However, a good fitness routine can help you release the stress that is making things difficult. If you’re low on energy, working out can help raise energy levels. Exercise can help improve sleep. Having better-quality sleep means you’ll feel restored physically and mentally. Exercise also releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, which can help purge anxiety. It can also build up self-esteem and confidence you may have lost. It doesn’t take much, and it’s a good idea to start slowly. Take a walk around your neighborhood to start, or find an indoor mall. Little things can quickly add up to help you feel better. Helpful Exercises Once you’ve started the basics, you can ease into different kinds of exercise. If you find something you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to stick to it. Join group activities, like sports, for an uplifting and encouraging environment. Exercise done in nature, like kayaking, has additional benefits that may help reduce stress even further. It’s important to not do too much too quickly, however. Recovery is going to stress your mind and body, and you will need some time off each week to rest. Not only will your body and mind have time to replenish this way, but you avoid the risk of “overtraining syndrome,” which affects sleep quality and causes exhaustion. Overtraining can also be a sign of replacement addiction. Remember, moderation is key. Moderate to light exercise five times a week is all you need to feel the benefits. Work on Mental Health While exercise is a great start to keeping your mental health in check, it isn’t the only way to find peace of mind. Meditation is a fantastic route to quieting unwanted thoughts. It may help increase your ability to focus while also giving you a new tolerance for discomfort that may be necessary during this time. As mentioned, sleep is a deciding factor in improving mental health. Good sleep not only rejuvenates your body, but it allows the brain to recover as well. After solid sleep, you may find yourself better able to handle stressful situations than when you are sleep-deprived. Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet. These can both fuel your brain to give it what it needs to thrive. Avoiding sugar and caffeine, and other stimulants, can help keep your blood sugar steady and your mood elevated. Routine for the Long Term These changes may seem like they’re coming at you quickly. Trying to change how you live and take care of yourself overnight may be overwhelming. That’s why you should start gradually and not do everything simultaneously. To maintain your new routine, you want to be sure that you aren’t trying to do too much at any one time. You won’t get things done, and then you may feel guilty, which can lead to spiraling behavior. Sit down and plan out your schedule, giving yourself lots of flexibility while doing so. If you think you want to go for an hour-long walk in the park, give yourself an extra 20 minutes for warmups and cooldowns, as well as to compensate for anything that might happen along the way. Take lots of breaks, especially when establishing a new routine. You don’t want to burn out and give up. Don’t berate yourself if things don’t go exactly to plan. Instead, think about how you can improve in the future. It takes time to establish a new routine. With a little extra care, this difficult time can be easier. With moderate exercise, a healthy diet, and lots of self-care, you can give yourself the boost you need. This is your time. Live your life to its fullest. -Susan Treadway firstname.lastname@example.org
10 Unhealthy Habits of Training by Andrew Clayton on May 28th, 2014 -
As the growth of strength sports have come about we are starting to see more young people compete in strongman. As a young strongmen myself, I love the idea of our youth picking to do something challenging and not as popular. So I decided to compile a list of some of the unhealthy habits that I, and fellow young people, commonly do. I am sure there are way more than 10 (says the older lifter) but these are some of the big ones that came to mind. The purpose of addressing these is not to accuse young lifters but to inform them and help guide them through the lessons that many mature lifters already know.
1. You always want to try something new
With the internet, plethora of magazines articles, and gimmick infomercials it’s no surprise young people are losing interest in one training program to go to another. With the demand for content in the health and fitness industry, new and exciting training programs and wild and elaborate exercises are being published. I wish I could say I didn’t fall for it. I used to see new articles posted weekly and think, “That’s what I was missing”. So another exercise got added. Eventually you find yourself doing 100 exercises each with little benefit. I only stopped when I started to notice the cycle of exercises or the flip-flop. One week unilateral leg work is cool and the next it’s not.
So what works? The basics will almost always work. The thing is, no one wants to hear that squats, deadlifts, bench, and overhead will work now and eight weeks from now. Once you can wrap your mind around the idea that your program has the potential to get you strong you will get strong. Belief in the system combined with hard work will make you gains, even if the programming isn’t ideal.
2. You think you know everything
I guess every young person goes through this stage. In training this can be even more crippling. I read the articles mentioned above and thought I knew something about training. Maybe I was teaching my friends to lift or something. I had empty confidence I knew what I was doing. In the end this just led to overtraining, injuries and stagnation. All the while you think, since you know it all, you don’t need to ask for help. WRONG! It is never too late to ask for help. The further I got in strongman the more people I found myself asking questions. The best part is most strongmen, whether professional or amateur are very open and will share some insight, or at the very least, point you in the right direction. In asking for help I learned I knew less than I thought, much less. As I went into college I was also faced with more of the science of training. It’s now laughable to think I knew anything considering the complexities that are involved in the development of the human organism. Ultimately, this has left me very humble and open to others’ ideas.
3. You don’t listen or respect your strength elders
Just like thinking I knew everything I found myself not giving credit to the men and women that came before me. As I started to develop my abilities in strongman events and competing in general there were times I beat guys who might be 20 years my senior. Sometimes I even overheard that I had beaten their all-time personal best. So as a young kid that went to my head. “Why should I respect someone who, at 30 something years old, with a decade of training just now overhead pressed 300?” My answer: They have been in the game awhile! Now having nearly 5 years of strongman competitions under my belt I realize the physical, mental, and emotional toll it takes to stay in the iron game. Multiple those to 10 or 15 years of sacrifices and setbacks and you see that every elder of strongman deserves respect! When I came to realize the sacrifice and dedication it took me I instantly had more respect for my elders. By taking advice from my elders I have avoided many mistakes and possibly gained some respect myself as a lifter coming up the ranks.
4. You train like you are a better athlete than you are
The best explanation of this habit is the male ego. We all want to be better than we are (or once were). That’s why everyone in high school ran a 4.1 40 yard dash and weighed 250lbs at 8% bodyfat. So like any boy I had this problem. You start to think you are “special” because everyone has told you that. You aren’t!
In applying this to training, it was common for me to train like top powerlifters and strongmen. Maxing too often, not doing enough volume, and eating more calories than I needed because I thought I was one of the big boys. In reality I didn’t deserve that ice cream; I only pulled 2 singles on deadlift. In hindsight I should have taken a step back, said to myself “I don’t have the base of strength to train like an elite lifter”. I now realize there is nothing wrong with labeling yourself lower on the totem pole as novice or intermediate. Better to be novice in training methodology, and compete advanced, than train advanced, and compete like a novice.
5. You think training methods are set in stone
Like anything people find a method that works and they assume that the others don’t. One of the biggest examples is Westside. If Westside works for you, great! But just because it works for you right now does not mean it will always work, work for other people, or be the best decision long term. While this is focused towards younger more naïve lifters I have made this mistake at all levels of my development. Now I am not saying to revert back to the first habit of trying something new but when a program or method runs its course you need to find another method. As you develop as an athlete weaknesses with change, goals will change, recovery ability from a typical workout will be less, etc. With all of these variables you have to recognize the importance of change. I think Brandon Lilly says it best when he mentioned that his method of the Cube is the best he has found thus far. But when it stops being the best method he will change his methods.
6. You get caught up in the “optimal”
For me this was a huge issue. Back when I attempted to be a bodybuilder (more like fat builder) I read all these articles of needing protein or you’d become catabolic. So of course I had a pre-workout shake, intra-workout shake, and post –workout shake. My meals around training had to be timed perfectly as well. I needed to wait an hour after eating to take my NO-Xplode! Then I needed to be in the gym 30 minutes later or it was all a bust. Well, this rarely ever happened. For awhile I was mad I could never get it to work out. But soon enough I realized that training to make everything perfect just makes you miserable. In training things aren’t going to be perfect. You will mess up programming and diet. You will miss sleep, go too long without eating, and maybe not have carbs hit your system exactly 45 seconds post training. Getting used to dealing with these issues and mentally blocking them out might be one of the best things a young lifter can develop. Control what you can, don’t worry about the rest, and just lift.
7. You think people care how good you are on a lift
I think this point had been thoroughly made by many of the top lifters but I will go ahead and reiterate. As a younger lifter I thought that there was a certain level that, when I reached it, I would be noticed. That people would talk about me. So even after a national championship, records, competition wins, etc. the praise was never enough. Most people around me, even to this day, still ask me if I workout. At no point in this sport will you “make it”. At no point will everyone all of a sudden be shocked by your achievements in this sport. Even now as a professional I realize I am far from what could be thought as “making it”. I think that once you find joy in the grind of training and self improvement then you have made it. And this is something I still strive for, so don’t worry.
8. You rather be a YouTube hero than a good lifter
(I should probably premise this by saying that making a training log or promoting yourself as an athlete is completely different.)
What I am referring to are the channels of lifters with a thousand awesome gym lifts but no ability to replicate that in competition. To make things worse, lying about weights, reps, and just generally trying to justify everything is common. As a younger lifter I posted many more training videos than I do now. I think one of the reasons I stopped is I am a big believer in making it count when it counts. While it might be fun to hit maxes in the gym day in and day out with friends it’s even more fun (in my opinion) to have those numbers count for something. Add to that the joy of competing and pushing yourself it just makes sense to save it for the big show. If you want to keep posting YouTube videos that is perfectly fine, I can’t tell you not to. What I will say is try to use actual competition and not key strokes and YouTube links to help prove your worth. So far this has been much more rewarding. In addition, it is more positive to get along with competitors (at an actual competition) than fight on the internet over whether or not something would pass in competition.
9. You insincerely set goals that are too broad
“I want to get my pro card”. I don’t know how many times I might have said that in strongman but thank goodness I got it or else I could have been a perfect example of this category. I hear lofty goals like this all the time. Young people are more likely to say things like this as we don’t always think before we talk. Now with a little more experience I think the better way to go is keep your goals vague to people and save the specifics for yourself. It has been my experience that many people could care less about your goals and will mock them when given the chance. So protect them. As far as limiting broad goals, try to pick objective measurements. The good (or bad) thing about strongman is there are so many. (Weight, reps, distance, time, etc.) Using competition outcomes as a goal can often lead to negative views of performance as competitors vary by region and show level. Finally, make sure these goals don’t do damage, such as Fred Hatfield said, “Goals often prescribe performance limits”. Don’t make a 700 pound deadlift your 4 minute mile. Anything is possible, even if you have to be the first to do it.
10. You think you are entitled to something
Last, but not least, the most obvious. Growing up as part of this younger generation I have been and will probably continue to feel too entitled. In strongman this doesn’t work anymore than anywhere else. Judges don’t owe you a quick downcall, promoters don’t owe you a fast show, and sponsors don’t owe you any money, no matter how great your lifts. The bottom line is you are going to have to wake up every day hungry to show your worth and take what you think you deserve. This is probably the hardest habit to work on and again, one I still struggle with.
Andrew Clayton is a recen
I get asked all the time if I’ve tried CrossFit, my friends text me without fail when the games are on and tell me I should be there, and I’m asked my opinion of it on a weekly if not daily basis. So I’m going to share that opinion with you. I know that a lot of people won’t like it, and Crossfitters may react quite negatively, but the goal of my page is not to simply go along with what is popular or to avoid tough subjects so that people won’t “unfollow” me. The goal of my page is to educate people about fitness and health and to warn against potentially harmful or unhealthy diet and exercise practices, and that’s what I’m going to do in this article.
I’ll start with a few personal anecdotes. When I first stumbled upon CrossFit, I was working on a Navy base and started working out with some of the guys there. CrossFit was just starting up and military guys were loving it. The first workout I did was a series of pullups, pushups, and dips, and I couldn’t move my arms the next day. No big deal, I’d been sore before. I did a couple more WODs (CrossFit-speak: Workout of the Day) that were these types of circuits and they were fine. But one of my friends later invited me to the gym she taught at and I jumped in on a WOD. First of all, I got there as people were attempting to do muscle-ups. No one was succeeding. The training they’d had in CrossFit really hadn’t prepared them to do this movement, so it was just a matter of attempting it over and over again. These were people who had been doing CrossFit for years at this point, and I’ve never gotten as many looks as when I jumped up on a pair of rings and pumped a couple out. What was my secret? How could I do this without having done CrossFit ever before? Well, I had trained as an athlete, lifted, and done many bodyweight exercises over my years as a collegiate athlete. CrossFit doesn’t translate into body control . Secondly, the workout was going to have deadlifts, which I had never done and to this day I still don’t do them (but that’s another post altogether on risk:reward ratios). Having never done deadlifts, I got less than 5 minutes of instruction before weight was piled on. Then, I got 5 minutes of instruction on the “kipping pull-up”, which I also refuse to do and that is a separate post as well. Then I got 5 minutes of instruction on kettle bell swings (yep, you guessed it, I don’t do those either because it is not a beneficial movement for the body and typically puts the back in bad positions) before I was given a 35 lb bell. Then the timer started. I was constantly yelled at to go faster, to take shortcuts, and to do movements that previous injuries precluded me from. It was a whirlwind and all I remember was stopping at one point and watching some of the bad form that people were using around me. And that’s when I started to worry. A few months later, a guy I was seeing tried to convince me to try CF again and I did a workout with him. He was pretty knowledgeable of form, but the workout we did involved thrusters, burpees, and kettle bell swings as fast as you could possibly go. I should have known better that the thruster combination of cleans and push press shouldn’t be done for speed/time, but I did it anyway. I was dead afterwards and incredibly sore the next day, with some aches and pains that didn’t go away for quite a while. I started doing some research and I’ve never done and will never do CrossFit again, and here’s why.
First of all, let me say that I have been an athlete for years. Let’s just disregard high school, and jump right to collegiate athletics. Never once, in the 5 years I was at Florida State University working out with a 3 time back-to-back national championship team, did my strength coaches give me a workout sheet that told me to do Olympic or Power lifts for time. Never once did they give me a workout that told me to do sets of 15, 20, or 30 Olympic or Power lifts. Never once did they tell me to do as many as I possibly could. Never once in the nearly 2 years I’ve been at A&M working for a men’s 4-time national championship track and field team and women’s 3-time national championship team, have these things occurred. Why? Because Olympic and power lifts are not meant to be done in sets of 30 or for time. They are extremely technique-oriented and are meant to be explosive and powerful over very short periods of time with plenty of rest. Subjecting your muscles to those movements continuously for time or for reps sets you up for injury. Every coach I’ve trained under has done one of two things: given a workout with heavy weight for low reps, or given a workout with lighter weight for higher reps. When I say higher reps, I’m only talking 10. Anything higher than that were ancillary exercises, such as abs, push ups, pull ups, and the like. But rarely were even these ancillary exercises performed for sets of more than 15 or 20. The point here is that subjecting your muscles to extremely high stress repetitively is not good. CrossFit seems to think that the more pain you are in, whether on that day or the days following the workout, the better. The more you disregard the pain and keep pushing through it, the “tougher” you are. But this is not true, and more importantly, it’s not healthy.
Secondly, CrossFit coaches are able to get certified in a weekend. The only real barrier to opening up your own CrossFit gym is how much money you have. Very few of them have any real knowledge of proper form, which is especially critical for Olympic and Power lifts. So on top of having an already overly-strenuous, very high intensity program that sets you up for injury to start with, most people are doing the lifts and other exercises all wrong and there is no one there to correct them. The strength and conditioning coaches that I have worked with as an athlete all have master’s or doctorate degrees in kinesiology or a related field. They have interned as graduate assistants for years. They have attended and presented at conferences, taken numerous certification exams, and have had to pass demonstration practicals in order to work with athletes in the weight room or on/in the field, track, court, or pool. These professionals have dedicated their entire lives to providing a safe and effective strength-training program for high caliber athletes,NOT a single weekend plus some cash. And not a single one of them recommends CrossFit. Not a single one of them has ever given me workouts that look like CrossFit WODs. Even athletic training staff (medical/PT/rehabilitation/chiropractors) that I have talked with have said that they would love CrossFit if they didn’t work with athletes, because they would always have people to treat. Translation: CrossFit means job security for medical professionals due to the high rate of injury among the ranks of Crossfitters. These same athletic trainers warn every single athlete against CrossFit and tell them the health risks of being involved in it. Kinesiology professors have told their students that they better never find out that they have anything to do with CrossFit. No entity of professional athletics promotes CrossFit.
With all of that said, one has to wonder why people still do CrossFit. Why would so many people ignore advice of professionals and risk injury? For the most part, I think people want a workout to follow, they want to be part of a gym, and they want fellow sufferers and coaches to motivate them. People think that hurting is a good thing, that pushing past your body’s limits means you’re getting stronger, and that not being able to walk the next day means you had a good workout. People should be properly educated on form, acceptable rep numbers, and the warning signs of when to stop. Until gyms step up to the plate and accept the responsibility to do so, there will be injury both now and in the future for CrossFitters.Many articles have been written on the dangers of CrossFit, and I’ll share just a few with you here.
The following link describes some of the health issues with CrossFit, especially the extremely scary possibility of CrossFit’s unofficial mascot: Uncle Rhabdo. It also addresses the “don’t quit” mentality of CrossFit, which is a dangerous one to have in athletics. Huffington Post’s article shares the stories of Crossfitters who have pushed their bodies so far past their physical limits that they put their health and lives in jeopardy. The moral of the story: it’s just not worth the chance.
Even WebMD recognizes the risks and problems of CrossFit:
“be aware that the CrossFit coach may not have an appropriate educational background in sports conditioning. Strength and conditioning specialists spend years learning proper technique of explosive exercises and some have degrees in exercise science, biomechanics, or kinesiology.”
“CrossFit claims that the system is “empirically driven and clinically tested” which insinuates that the methods are scientifically supported. A review of the current scientific literature, however, shows no published studies about CrossFit in top-rated peer-reviewed strength and conditioning or exercise physiology research journals.”
“Not only are the exercises themselves risky, but performing them under a fatigued state, such as during an intense circuit, increases the risk of injury even further.”
The following article looks at the findings of a study by the Consortium for Health and Military Performance in conjuction with the American College of Sports Medicine. Dr. Michael Esco, associate professor of physical education and exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery, is quoted saying, “Even though you go to an affiliate, the coaches have a weekend certificate. I’m in a field of academics where we teach students; it takes years to learn the proper mechanics of an Olympic lift, for example, or a plyometrics exercise – far more than just a weekend certificate.”
I’d also like to highlight a quote from a Dutch neurophysiologist, Kenneth Jay, in regards to using weights for cardiovascular gains (this actually includes kettle bells as well)
“With an increased HR to VO2 relationship it will never be as good as typical cardio exercises. It is simple physiology really. Increased heart rate decreases the time available to fill the left ventricle of the heart, which means that the left ventricle will contain and eject less blood per contraction. This means that the “stretching” of the heart wall, which is necessary to increase your stroke volume and your VO2, does not happen. It’s the Frank-Starling mechanism in full effect and it’s basic cardiorespiratory physiology. Moral of the story: STOP thinking you can “get your cardio in” by lifting weights – no matter how fast you lift them!“
Science of Running has posted a couple of great articles that show why CrossFit’s workouts and claims are invalid. Thefirst article addresses why CrossFit seems to work for people, at least at first:
“in CrossFit’s key demographic, we see a lot of initial change. Why? Because it’s random highly intense exercise. For the unfit or formerly fit, this works great initially. People see results because it’s a very high stress workout. It’s why you see results when you do insanity or any of those workout videos. It isn’t that the exercises are super awesome targeted muscle sculpting patented exercises. Instead, it’s that the people who generally do them weren’t doing anything before.”
And what happens when it’s no longer new?
“We get stale, we stop improving, or our body breaks down.”
The writer also makes a great point about the difference between variation in workouts, which is necessary for the body to improve, and randomness in a workout:
“Variation not randomness- Variation is good, but the direction you take that variation matters!”
Why is random variation bad? Because you don’t have a plan to progress, you don’t build on previous gains, and you don’t balance or strategically target your workouts:
“What’s worse is that there’s nowhere to go. When your bread and butter is randomized intensity, performed at near max or to exhaustion, you can’t just simply push beyond exhaustion to the next level. Once fitness gains flat line, no amount of pushing will create a new stimulus. You’re maxing out the intensity, and because you don’t believe in progressive, controlled, low-moderate and high intensity mixes, you’ve got to nowhere to go. There’s no way to progressively overload and create new stimuli and adaptation.”
The second article addresses CrossFit’s claims that it enables people to become better endurance athletes. If you’re an aspiring endurance athlete, you may want to read the whole article, but I just wanted to highlight a couple important quotes:
“if you’ve been in the coaching business long enough you know that hard stupid work doesn’t get you anywhere. You can’t just do work that is painful just because it hurts and expect to get better.”
The goal of a workout shouldn’t be to hurt! I’m not saying that workouts won’t push you, or that you won’t ever hurt during a workout, or you won’t ever be sore the next day. I AM saying that hurt isn’t the goal. Just because you feel exhausted or your muscles are burning doesn’t mean it was a great workout. A great workout targets specific muscles, specific actions, specific and PERSONAL goals! Hence, the next problem with CrossFit, the lack of individualization:
“There is no individualization. Workout of the day. That’s the norm.”
Finally, Livestrong.com has a good article on the subject as well, addressing rhabdo and injury risk. Perhaps the best quote of the article is the last one: “while CrossFit motivates its followers to exercise, the growing fear is that the current model and lack of monitoring is more likely to build broken bodies than create a healthier nation.”
So my question to you is this: do you want a broken body? Or do you want to get fit in a healthy way? Do you want a coach screaming at you to finish the set even though your form has crumbled and you’re experiencing pain? Or do you want to train smart? Do you want to follow a coach that got certified in a weekend? Or do you want to rely on decades of research and training that strength and conditioning coaches have acquired?
I can tell you that I have worked and trained with collegiate athletes, national champions, world champions, and Olympians. The goal of these athletes is to challenge the body, but stay within their body’s limits. Pain is not gain for them, pain could mean injury, and injury means being unable to compete. Maybe for a season, maybe for life. These athletes must be smart with their training, and know when to stop before serious injury occurs. Coaches, athletic trainers, and other staff educate them on staying within these limits and developing their strength and athletic abilities safely. So my advice: don’t do CrossFit for weight loss, to get ripped, or to throw around heavy things. Train like an athlete, but train safely. Combine sprints/cardio with proper lifting and clean diet and that will get you where you want to be: fit and healthy!
Aside: I’ve showed this article to a couple people who have been in CrossFit for a little while, and I’ve noticed a slightly disturbing trend. There is a sort of “brainwashing” that occurs from the first time a person steps into a box (CrossFit-speak for “gym”) that creates an “us vs. them” mentality. Boxes have attempted to combat the bad reputation of CrossFit by saying that other gyms do bad stuff but their gym is different, their coaches know good form, their gym focuses on safety. This is simply not true and every single thing that I’ve posted in this article refers to EVERY SINGLE GYM THAT FOLLOWS CROSSFIT. There are no exceptions, if you’re following the WODs, it’s not good for you, it’s not safe, and you’re putting your health in danger. Take it for what it’s worth, but please believe that your box is NOT different, no matter what your coach says.
Erin Simmons - www.erinsimmonsfitness.me
I recently had a client, who has lost nearly 100 lbs, share a simple Motivational Technique with me that thought I would share with others.
She told me that when she first set out on her quest for fitness and weight loss, she bought a beautiful shirt. She intentionally bought the shirt one size too snug and hung it on a hanger on the back of her closet door, so she could see it every day.
Every Friday, she would come home from work and try the shirt on. If the shirt didn't fit, she would hang it back up and try again next week. However, if it did fit, she would go out in her new shirt and celebrate her achievement. Come Saturday morning, she would go back to the store and find another beautiful shirt... one size too snug and start again. She has gone through a lot of shirts!
This is a great technique for several reasons. First, it is fun. It is something to break up the monotony of getting into shape, which contrary to the Sensa commercials on TV, can actually take more than 7 days. Second, it's a much better guide to your progress than the dreaded scale! It shows a change in your body that numerical weight loss can some times distort, especially for those who are wisely choosing to change their bodies through a combination of diet, cardio and strength training. Lastly, it provides a small and simple reward system for your progress which we crave, not only in fitness, but in all aspects of our lives.
However, one thing should be noted.... If your shirt fits and you choose to celebrate your progress at McDonald's... You may be hanging the same shirt up again and again...
As a personal trainer and strength coach the number one question I am asked is how to lose body fat fast. My response immediately has nothing to do with how they train it is always what their nutrition is like. This usually follows with a roll of the eyes and then how they do hours of “cardio” per week with absolutely no results.
Think about when you first go into a commercial gym right after New Years day, what do you see everyone doing? Every piece of cardio equipment is taken with people generally reading a magazine or even watching tv. Here’s the problem with this, most people that start going to a gym unfortunately see no results and eventually give up. In fact last time I checked this number is around 95%! I find this statistic very sad considering when I ask people if they enjoy cardio machines 9 times out of 10 they hate it. Of course this will only lead to a lack of progress as well as eventually throwing in the towel.
The people that I would see in the gym in the best shape were always in the free weight section, men and women alike. They weren’t able to read a magazine or pay attention to a TV because real training needs absolute focus. Next time you are at the gym take a look around at who is doing the aerobics classes and doing cardio, are these the people you are trying to look like? If not then why train like everyone else? This should be proof alone why traditional cardio is mainly useless when it comes to fat loss. The biggest reason why it is useless is that overdoing cardio will raise you cortisol levels. This stress hormone can lead to excess abdominal fat as well as other health problems. Look at your typical sprinter versus a marathon runner.
Another problem with doing traditional cardio is that you body becomes very efficient at doing it which means the more you do it the less fat your body has to use for energy. This is why doing hours of cardio on a weekly basis literally gets you nowhere fast! I have known plenty of people that incorporated running into their routine and even started to run marathons and haven’t dropped a pound. Not to mention the beating your joints take and achy swollen knees will only hinder your fat loss goals further. It’s frustrating I know and I hate to see people work so hard towards their goals only to be going the wrong route. Now don’t get me wrong here, if your goal is to perform in some kind of an endurance event then that’s great and you will have to train accordingly. However I am strictly talking about changes to your physique and what is the best and fastest way to achieve your goals.
I want to share a study done by two of my former teachers at the University of Connecticut on how weight training paired with a proper diet yields greater results then aerobic training (traditional cardio).
Kramer, Volek et al.
Influence of exercise training on physiological and performance changes with weight loss in men.
Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 31, No. 9, pp. 1320-1329, 1999.
Overweight subjects were assigned to three groups: diet-only, diet plus aerobics, diet plus aerobics plus weights. The diet group lost 14.6 pounds of fat in 12 weeks. The aerobic group lost only one more pound (15.6 pounds)than the diet group (training was three times a week starting at 30 minutes and progressing to 50 minutes over the 12 weeks).
The weight training group lost 21.1 pounds of fat (44% and 35% more than diet and aerobic only groups respectively). Basically, the addition of aerobic training didn't result in any real world significant fat loss over dieting alone.
Thirty-six sessions of up to 50 minutes is a lot of work for one additional pound of fat loss. However, the addition of resistance training greatly accelerated fat loss results.
This study speaks for itself and there are many others to prove it but I am going to give a quick explanation why weight training is superior. Traditional cardio will only burn a certain amount of calories during the session itself while weight training has been show to burn calories not only during training but the metabolism is elevated anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after! This means while you are at rest and even sleeping you are burning more calories than normal.
So when it comes to women weight training the biggest concern is that they don’t want to get big and bulky. Now I completely understand this but here is a big secret that the media and every fitness infomercial doesn’t want you to know: YOU COULDN’T IF YOU TRIED! I don’t want to get into the science of it but basically women do not have enough of the hormone testosterone to put on any real amount of muscle. Also to gain any substantial amount of muscle you would have to eat thousands and thousands of calories per day to even have a chance. What you see in bodybuilding magazines of women with muscles and veins popping out everywhere is the result of steroids not just because they lifted some heavyweights a few times.
Jamie Eason lifts weights and so should you.
I’m sure we all know plenty of guys that workout and are obsessed with getting big but how many do you know have really put on some muscle? My guess is not many, I have guys come to me all the time seeking out my advice on how to put muscle on and they are usually spending hours in the free weight area doing curl after curl. Just to prove my point if guys who have plenty of testosterone in them are having trouble putting on muscle then women really have nothing to worry about.
Ok now I know plenty of you really do think that you do get bulky pretty easy, well I have some bad news for you. It is not the muscle of your legs and arms that are making you look bulky it is the body fat around them. I guarantee that 99% of women that say this could get down to 20% body fat they would not think they would have bulky muscles anymore.
In summary if you want to lose body fat then your nutrition is number 1. Theold saying “you can’t out train a bad diet” will always hold true. Some people say that no matter what your goals nutrition is 85% of your results. No one knows the exact percentage but I would have to agree with this statement. So please stop wasting your time in the cardio area when it is not something you enjoy in the first place. As we have seen a proper diet along with intense weight training will bring the greatest results and the fastest which we all know we want results yesterday.
By Matt Mills
Working the “glutes” seems to be the focus of many of my female (and some of my male) clients. As we age, all of our muscle groups tend to sag, giving the impression of flatness and sometimes inaccurately, a lack of muscle. This can be especially apparent in the rear end. There are a lot of exercises, and techniques within those exercises, to help keep our butts standing up. This is aesthetically pleasing as well as helping with the proper fit of our clothes.
One great butt lifter is the “One Leg Raise”, however form is everything so let’s walk through it together: Start in a basic plank position, propped up on your elbows with your feet together. Your body should be perfectly straight; neither sagging nor arched. When you feel solid and comfortable, extend either leg and raise it as high as you comfortably can without arching your back or bending the leg at the knee. Point your toes as hard as you can, as this will create extra pull on the glute muscles at the base of your back.
Give yourself a 5 second count… When you get to 4 seconds, raise the extended leg up just a touch more to really pull the muscle. Done correctly, you should feel that one in the top of the glute. Do each leg 5 times without stopping in between.
When you get good at this, make it harder for yourself. Remember, you don’t make gains from what you can already do… You make gains from doing what you can’t! Try stepping it up a bit by resting your elbows on a Bosu Ball and eventually a Swiss (stability) Ball. Everything is the same in form. You’re just adding the always beneficial element of instability by resting on the unstable objects.
Always pay attention to your form. A natural tendency in this exercise is to arch our butts up, as it makes us feel we are lifting our leg higher. However, this takes away from the pull on the glute and lessens the simultaneous abdominal benefits of the exercise as well, so keep your body perfectly flat! Enjoy!