Bump on the Hump

 

We are dedicating Wednesdays (affectionately known as Hump Day) to providing you with information from our prenatal program, thus Bump on the Hump. Each week we will offer tips, the newest prenatal exercise news and recommendations and general information as it relates to prenatal and postnatal fitness. We hope you or someone you know can benefit from what we have to offer. Feel free to share each week’s post with your family, friends and coworkers!

 
This week’s tip:  Sunscreen Safety.
 
sun
 

Although our beach trips may be winding down as we move quickly through August, it is still important to stress the use of sunscreen no matter where or when you are exposed to the sun. Protecting yourself from the sun, especially while pregnant is more important than ever. Your body’s pigment-producing cells (called melanocytes) kick into overdrive during pregnancy, making your skin more susceptible to UV-induced discoloration.
 
While sun exposure doesn’t directly affect your baby, sunburns may   raise your core temperature in extreme causes raising the risk of birth defects. Use at least SPF 30 and reapply every two hours, rub in vs spraying on and make sure your sunscreen doesn’t list oxybenzone as an ingredient which is linked to low birth weights.  The use of protective gear such as hats, beach umbrellas and coverups are great choices as well.

 
If you have any questions about safety in the sun, contact us. Know someone who wants to stay fit during and after pregnancy?  Get in touch with us!

 

Pregnant CTA2
 
References:

1) Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 

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Alcohol and Exercise: Do They Mix?

 
drink
 

An effective nutrition plan, when combined with an exercise program, can have a positive effect on weight loss and muscle gain. An effective nutrition plan includes the beverages you consume such as water for hydration and caffeinated beverages which have a tendency to dehydrate. Beverages also include the consumption of alcohol which may delay or even derail your progress towards your goals.

 

Alcohol is considered having empty calories as there are no nutrients but it does in fact have calories. A single shot can have upwards 100 calories or more. That really adds up when you are trying to lose fat.  It also slows down your metabolism by disrupting the Kreb’s cycle. Let’s take a look at how alcohol effects your metabolism.

 

What is the Kreb’s cycle?

 

The Kreb’s cycle is part of the pathway for the breakdown of glucose and also for the breakdown of all metabolites, including other sugars, amino acids and fatty acids. Since the Kreb’s cycle isn’t working correctly, fats cannot be broken down. In short, your body is trying so hard to digest and metabolize the alcohol, that fat burning stops all together.

 

Now let’s take a look at what the effects of excessive alcohol consumption can play on your body.

 

Muscle Growth:

Myofibrillar protein synthesis (MPS) is the driving force behind how the body adapts and responds to exercise. This response is directly related to the recovery and growth of skeletal muscle. During the recovery period following a workout, MPS is significantly elevated, which makes the right nutrition crucial for muscle growth. (1)This is also the time when alcohol can negatively impact gains and really interfere with muscle recovery and regeneration. One reason is that it dehydrates your muscle cells. Because your cells aren’t holding as much water, it becomes much harder to build muscle. The second reason is because it blocks the absorption of many important nutrients that are key to muscle contraction, relaxation and growth including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and potassium.

 

Hormones:

Testosterone: Lowers testosterone in blood and increases estrogen. This can cause increased fat depositing and fluid retention.

 

Growth Hormone: Helps with the growth and maintenance of tissues like muscle and collagen as well as helping to regulate metabolism. There are two ways that alcohol can negatively impact this hormone:

 

  1. Increases the stress hormone cortisol, which can reduce the levels of growth hormone by as much as 72 percent. (2)
  2.  

  3. Growth hormone is predominately secreted during the early sleeping hours of the night. Because alcohol tends to disrupt natural sleep rhythms, it can decrease the amount of growth hormone released by as much as 70 percent. (2)

 

Skeletal System: Reduces absorption of key minerals needed for bone strength and increases the risk of fractures and osteoporosis later on in life.

 

Liver: Creates imbalances that can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), fatty liver and hyperlipidemia (build-up of fats in the bloodstream).

 

Excessive alcohol consumption can also play a large role on physical performance.

 

  • Energy levels decrease lowering your workout intensity.
  • Dehydration follows the night after drinking which can be felt the following day.
  • Alcohol can disrupt your sleep by altering your cycles, changing the duration of sleep time and increasing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. Increased fatigue and poor reparative sleep can affect your physical performance the following day.

 

While there are many negative ways excessive alcohol consumption can affect the body, drinking in moderation can have some positive effects.  It can reduce stress levels and increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind). Red wine is known to have antioxidants which can help protect the body’s cells against free radical damage which can be a precursor to diseases like heart disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. (3)

 

Consuming alcohol in large quantities has a direct effect on your metabolism, causing fat to be stored instead of being utilized as an energy source. If your fitness goals are to increase muscle mass and decrease fat, you will want to make sure that alcohol is limited in your diet. Watching your alcohol consumption can also help with general health. If you have any questions on how we can help with your fitness goals, contact us.

 
References:

  1. “Alcohol Eats Away At Muscle Mass”. Accessed 14, August 2015. The American Council on Exercise. http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness-fact-article/2636/alcohol-eats-away-at-muscle-mass/
  2. “The Effects of Alcohol on Muscle Gains”. Accessed 14, August 2015. The American Council on Exercise. http://www.acefitness.org/blog/5567/the-effects-of-alcohol-on-muscle-gains
  3. “Is Drinking Red Wine Actually Good For You?”. Accessed 17, August 2015. Greatist.com http://greatist.com/health/drinking-red-wine-actually-good-you
  4. “6 Ways Alcohol Affects Your Body”. Accessed 14, August 2015. The American Council on Exercise. https://www.acefitness.org/blog/5221/6-ways-alcohol-affects-your-body
  5. “The Krebs Cycle”. Accessed 17, August 2015. Austin Community College. http://www.austincc.edu/emeyerth/krebs.htm
  6. “Alcohol and Bodybuilding: Do They Mix?”. Accessed 14, August 2015. Bodybuilding.com http://www.bodybuilding.com/teen/bigalcohol.htm
  7. Image courtesy of xtremelife at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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Understanding GERD: Do you just have heartburn or something more serious?

 

heartburn

 

We’ve all heard it said after a meal.  Your uncle or aunt holds their chest and says “I think I have heartburn.”  You may feel a burning in the chest or throat called heartburn. This burn typically happens after eating and may occur at night. Sometimes, you can taste stomach fluid in the back of the mouth. The burning is the most common symptom and affects over 10 million people on a daily basis! If you have these symptoms more than twice a week, you may have GERD.

 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, happens when a muscle at the end of your esophagus does not close properly. This allows stomach contents to leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it. You can also have GERD without having heartburn. Anyone, including infants and children, can have GERD.

 

Here’s the Science

 

Your esophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. At the lower end of the esophagus, where it joins the stomach, there is a circular ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). After swallowing, the LES relaxes to allow food to enter the stomach and then contracts to prevent the back-up of food and acid into the esophagus. Sometimes the LES gets weak or relaxed allowing liquids in the stomach to wash back into the esophagus.  This is called reflux, which is a normal process and can happen to everybody. It is when the reflux becomes bothersome that it becomes a real problem. In general, damage to the esophagus is more likely to occur when acid refluxes frequently, the reflux is very acidic, or the esophagus is unable to clear away the acid quickly.

 

Symptoms of GERD

 

Let’s look at some more symptoms of GERD:

     

  • Dry cough
  • Asthma symptoms
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Regurgitating/ vomiting
  • Persistent sore throat

 

The following signs may indicate a bigger problem and you should seek help from your healthcare provider:

     

  • Difficulty or pain with swallowing
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chest pain
  • Choking
  • Bleeding (vomiting blood or dark-colored stools)

 

What can you do?

 

If not treated, GERD can lead to more serious health problems. In some cases, you might need medicines or surgery. However, many people can improve their symptoms by making lifestyle changes mostly which include diet and exercise.

     

  • Avoid alcohol and spicy, fatty or acidic foods that trigger heartburn- Some foods cause relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, promoting acid reflux. Try to stay away from things like citrus, caffeine, chocolate and peppermint.

 

  • Eat smaller meals- this may prevent the stomach from becoming overdistended, which can cause acid reflux.

 

  • Don’t eat close to bedtime- Lying down with a full stomach may increase the risk of acid reflux. By eating three or more hours before bedtime, reflux may be reduced.
     

  • Lose weight– Studies show that people who are obese have 2.5 more times the likelihood of GERD symptoms. The benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks and discomforts of acid reflux so it is important to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle. Low impact work like walking or smoother workouts like strength training and biking are a great solution. Too much jumping around can cause the reflux to be exacerbated and it is better not to do any work on your back because that may increase symptoms. Make sure to stay hydrated as the water can aid in digestion. Allow time to digest before starting your workout.

 

Making lifestyle changes is a great way to reduce GERD symptoms. Depending on the severity of your symptoms your doctor will come up with alternate ways to treat GERD. As always consult your physician or medical provider before beginning an exercise program. If you have any questions about starting or maintaining an exercise program while being treated for GERD, contact us.

 

References:

     

  1. “GERD”. Accessed 26 May 2015. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Medline Plus. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/gerd.html#cat3
  2. “Getting Fit with GERD”. Accessed 26 May 2015. Spark People. http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=824
  3. “Even a Little Weight Gain – or Loss — Can Affect Your Heartburn.” Accessed 26 May 2015. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/features/weight-gain-loss-heartburn
  4. Image courtesy of samarttiw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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Balancing your Workout: Adding Balance Exercises to your Program

 

balance
 
Each year, more than one third of adults over the age of 65 fall. (1) In young, healthy adults balance is an automatic reflex and as a person gets older, slower reflexes, weaker muscles and poor flexibility affect the sense of balance.  Trips and falls can result in twists and fractures and can impact everyday independent living.

 

Balance and flexibility are often two parts of fitness that get overlooked, possibly due to people thinking they are of  little importance. However, both can play a vital role in overall fitness and function. Last week we discussed flexibility and we now know how important stretching is to our exercise program. We now focus on the final piece to our exercise program- balance.

 

By definition, balance is the ability to maintain the body’s position over its base of support within stability limits, both statically and dynamically. (3) Balance is based on the following three mechanical principles that relate to alignment and the body:  center of gravity, line of gravity and base of support.

 

Center of Gravity: This is the point at which the mass of the body is considered to be balanced on either side in all planes (frontal, sagittal and transverse). For an average person, this point is at the level of the second sacral vertebrae, but changes depending on a person’s position in space and whether or not he or she is supporting external weight. (2)

 

Line of Gravity: An imaginary straight line through the center of gravity toward the base of support to maintain balance without moving.

 

Base of Support: This is the area beneath the body that is encompassed when one continuous line connects all points of the body that are in contact of the ground.

 

 

A simple test can be done to measure balance and the popular stork-stand balance test can assess static balance by reducing the base of support. Ideally, you should be able to stand on one leg for at least 20 seconds unsupported for static (not moving) balance. Once you have a baseline, you can determine what kind or how much exercise you need to train your balance.

 

Balance exercises can help prevent falls by improving your ability to control and maintain your body’s position whether in a standing or moving position.  If you already have balance issues, balance activities can be started simply by shifting positions. Shifting should take place in all directions, including angles, with different placements of the feet.

 

Improving balance requires a progression, or an increase in intensity.

 

How do we progress our balance movements?

 

  • Increasing the number of repetitions or the length of a balance activity
  • Decreasing base of support by moving feet closer together
  • Adding movement to make the activity more dynamic
  • Reducing input from other senses, such as closing the eyes
  • Reducing points of contact. For example decreasing the amount of support from the arms can be progressed by using both hands, then one hand, then one finger, and finally no assistance
  • Adding unstable surfaces like a balance pad

 

The American College of Sports Medicine, or ACSM, offer guidelines for balance activities and suggest such activities be done at least two days per week. Here’s an example of how a simple progression can be done at home:

 

  • Weight shifts. Step side-to-side, forward and backward. Then step forward and backward at an angle.
  • Single leg stance. Stand next to a counter or chair for support. Stand on one leg and touch the toe of the other leg to the front, side and back.
  • Single leg stance with movement. Stand next to a counter or chair for support. Stand on one leg and perform a partial squat. Repeat five times with each leg.

 

The key to any balance program is regularity, and these activities are not meant to be done at a high intensity. Remember, balance is essential for all human movement and movement and is necessary for all activities of daily living. The ability to balance can mean the difference of leading an active lifestyle and a sedentary one. If you have any questions about how to incorporate balance in your workouts, contact us.

 

References:

 

  1. “Better Balance: Easy Exercises to Improve Stability and Prevent Falls”. Accessed 27, July 2015. Harvard Health Publications. http://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/better-balance-easy-exercises-to-improve-stability-and-prevent-falls
  2. “Improving Your Flexibility and Balance”. Accessed 27, July 2015. American College of Sports Medicine. https://www.acsm.org/public-information/articles/2012/02/02/improving-your-flexibility-and-balance
  3. “Training for Balance, Training for Life”. Accessed 27, July 2015. The American Council on Exercise. http://www.acefitness.org/blog/3208/training-for-balance-training-for-life
  4. Image courtesy of marcolm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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Flexibility Training: A Key Element to your Workout

 

stretching

 

Chances are we sit most of the day starting with our commutes in the morning to sitting at a desk with a computer. We put in a full day of sitting hunched over our desktop and get back in the car and end the day sitting at the dinner table and on the couch watching TV. You probably feel stiff and achy at some point during the day and that’s because sitting for extended periods of time leaves your body tense and shortens the connective tissues that link your muscles to your bones.(3)

 

What is flexibility and why is it important to me?

 

Everyone knows that resistance training and cardiovascular exercise are beneficial to your health but it seems as though less people view flexibility the same way.   Flexibility is needed to perform everyday activities with relative ease. Things like getting out of bed, lifting our children and putting away our groceries all require flexibility.

 

Flexibility deteriorates with age and without adequate flexibility, daily activities become more difficult to perform. Over time, we create body movements and posture habits that can lead to reduced mobility of joints and compromised body positions. Staying active and stretching regularly help prevent this loss of mobility, which ensures independence as we age.

 

Flexibility exercises can also help protect you against injury. You know Those achy knees and back from sitting all day? Flexibility exercises can alleviate those aches and pains  by lengthening those connective tissues. Being flexible also significantly reduces the chance of experiencing occasional and chronic back pain.

 

Adding flexibility exercises to your workouts is a great way to complete your program because they help with your everyday activities allowing you to move with a full range of motion and be able to move with less effort or pain.

 

How do I add flexibility exercises to my routine?

 

Many people know flexibility exercises as stretching. An excellent time for flexibility training is after your workout is complete because the muscles are warm and pliable, allowing them to stretch farther. Stretching reduces stress in the exercising muscles and releases tension developed during the workout. It also assists with posture by balancing the tension placed across the joint by the muscles that cross it. Proper posture minimizes stress and maximizes the strength of all joint movements. (4)

 

There are several exercises to incorporate starting from your neck and working down to your ankles.  Here are just a few examples:

 

Shoulder Stretch:

Stand back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart and arms at shoulder height.

Bend your elbows so your fingertips point toward the ceiling and touch the wall behind you. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort, and stop immediately if you feel sharp pain.

Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.

Let your arms slowly roll forward, remaining bent at the elbows, fingertips now pointing to the floor.

Hold this position for 10-30 seconds.

Repeat.

 

Chest Stretch:

Standing in front of a wall, keep your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.

Place hands on wall at shoulder height.

Slowly push your arms back, while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort.

Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.

Repeat.

 

Back Stretch:

Start on all fours with shoulders over wrists and knees hip-width apart.

Arch the middle of your back up toward the ceiling, and gently let your head and neck hang down toward the floor.

Keep your arms and thighs straight.

Repeat.

 

Hamstring Stretch:

Lie on your back with left leg extended and resting on floor.

Raise right leg, keeping knee slightly bent.

Reach up and grasp right leg with both hands. Keep head and shoulders flat on the floor.

Gently pull right leg toward your body until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg.

Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.

Repeat other side.

Once you feel more comfortable you can pull leg back without the knee bent.

 

As with all other components of your workout, flexibility training should be based on the FITT method. (4)

 

Frequency- Should be included at the end of every workout, can be done every day.

 

Intensity- Start at your comfort level and adjust to increase the stretch as you become more flexible. Stretches should not be painful and you should stretch to the point of discomfort.

 

Time- Should last 5-10 minutes.

 

Type-There are two types of stretching, static and dynamic.

 

Are there different types of stretching?

 

There are more then a couple types of stretching.  Here are the two most common types.

 

Static– This method of flexibility training involves taking a specific joint or set of joints through a range of motion (ROM) to a comfortable end point (at least 20 seconds), resting for approximately 20 seconds, and then repeating the stretch two to three times.

 

The goal of static stretching is to overcome the stretch reflex (the automatic tightening of a muscle when stretched, which relaxes after approximately 20 seconds) to coax a joint into a wider ROM. This is done by holding the stretch gently and not overstretching the muscle. (4)

 

Dynamic- This method of flexibility training uses increasingly dynamic movements through the full ROM of a joint. Dynamic stretching develops active ROM through the process of reciprocal inhibition, where the agonist muscle is contracting while the antagonist or opposite muscle is carried through the lengthening process. (4)

 

When performed correctly, dynamic stretching warms up the joints, maintains current flexibility, and reduces muscle tension. The exercise begins at a slow pace and gradually increases in speed and intensity. This method of stretching is best performed before exercise or activity that is movement based, like tennis or golf.

 

 

 

What are the key guidelines to safely stretch?

 

  • A stretch should be smooth and slow, never jerky or bouncy.
  • Breathe normally throughout the stretch.
  • Don’t lock your joints when stretching, keep a slight bend to prevent injury.

 

Remember, stretching can be done every day.

 

Flexibility training is a must for a well rounded exercise program.  The examples of flexibility exercises above are just a small sampling of stretches that can be done. For more information and examples, please contact us.

 
References:
 
1. ”Flexibility Exercise (Stretching)”. Accessed 23, June 2015. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Flexibility-Exercise-Stretching_UCM_464002_Article.jsp

2. ”Flexibility Exercises”. Accessed 23, June 2015. National Institute of Health. NIH Senior Health. http://nihseniorhealth.gov/exerciseandphysicalactivityexercisestotry/flexibilityexercises/01.html

3. “6 Simple Stretches for Flexibility’. Accessed 23, June 2015. Independence Blue Cross. http://savings.healthycoupons.com/ibx/article/fitness/6-simple-stretches-flexibility

4. “ The Importance and Purpose of Flexibility”. Accessed 24, June 2015. Human Kinetics. http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/the-importance-and-purpose-of-flexibility

5. Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 

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Cardiovascular Exercise: A Fitness Guide

 
cardio1
 

This week we discuss cardiovascular exercise, part of the 4 components of our well rounded exercise program. As we noted previously, as per the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate intensity aerobic exercise every week. (5) Cardio can improve both the function and the performance of your heart, lungs and circulatory system. Many different cardio exercises exist and you can choose what works best for you by determining what will fit your intensity and goal level.

 

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, cardiovascular exercise is any activity that increases heart rate and respiration while using large muscle groups repetitively and rhythmically.(1) Cardio falls under high, low and no impact and here we will look at the differences.

 

High Impact: Both feet off of the ground at some point during the exercise. Examples include running, jogging and jump rope. High impact exercise might be good for those that have a baseline of fitness, no recent injuries and no bone or joint problems.

 

Low Impact: Any aerobic activity during which one foot is kept on the ground at all times. Walking and hiking are considered low impact. Low impact exercise is good for beginners, older adults and those with joint or bone problems. Low impact tends to be less jarring on the body and reduces the risk of injury. Remember, low impact doesn’t necessarily mean low intensity.

 

No impact cardio: Typically considered any water activity such as swimming and water aerobics because being immersed in water reduces the pull of gravity on your body. Cycling is another example as the bike supports most of your weight. No impact cardio is a good option for those that are recovering from an injury or have bone and joint problems.

 

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), is another way to get your cardiovascular training. HIIT is a technique that alternates brief speed and recovery intervals to increase the overall intensity of your workout. Most cardio workouts are done at an exertion level of 5, but HIIT workouts are meant to be performed at an exertion higher than that, usually 7 or higher. They can be as short as 8 seconds or as much as 5 minutes. The higher the intensity, the shorter the speed interval and recovery is equal to or longer than the speed intervals. HIIT workouts can significantly increase aerobic and anaerobic fitness. (2)

 

A few things that cross over from our blogpost about resistance training include F.I.T.T principles and progression.

 

F.I.T.T includes frequency, intensity, time and type. When applied to cardiovascular exercise, our training program might look like this:

 

Frequency: 3-5 days a week

Intensity: 50-85% of heart rate maximum (220 – age x .50 to .85)

Time: 20-60 or more minutes per session, continuous or intermittent activity

Type: Aerobic (run, elliptical, brisk walk, bike ride, swim, dance, jump rope)

 

The recommended rate of progression in an exercise conditioning program depends on the functional capacity, medical health status, age, individual activity preferences and goals, and an individual’s tolerance to the current level of training.

 

No matter what type of cardio you choose, it’s not so much about time as it is what’s right for your body and your goals. It’s also important to enjoy they type of cardio you do! When starting or maintaining a cardio it is important to remember the following:

 

  • Don’t overdo it, increase gradually as your fitness level increases.
  • Warm up before getting into the most challenging part of your workout. This lets you increase body temperature and heart rate and allows your muscles to get comfortable with the work it’s doing.
  • Cool down before stopping. Performing 5-10 minutes of low-to-moderate intensity activity after moderate-to-vigorous exercise keeps blood from pooling, flushes metabolic waste from the muscles, and gradually returns circulation to pre-exercise levels.

 

Do you have questions about how to get started with a cardio program? Looking for new exercises to incorporate in your current program? Contact us for more information.

 

References:

 

  1. “Definition of Cardio Exercise”. Accessed 13, July 2015. Livestrong.com. http://www.livestrong.com/article/114986-definition-cardio-exercise/
  2. “High Intensity Interval Training”. Accessed 13, July 2015. The American Council on Exercise. http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness-fact-article/3317/high-intensity-interval-training/
  3. “Cardiovascular Exercise”. Accessed 15, July 2015. The American Council on Exercise. http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness-fact/1/cardiovascular-exercise/
  4. “ACSM Issues New Recommendations on Quantity and Quality of Exercise”. Accessed 20, July 2015. http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/news-releases/2011/08/01/acsm-issues-new-recommendations-on-quantity-and-quality-of-exercise
  5. “2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Summary”. Accessed 1, July 2015. Health.gov. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.  http://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/summary.aspx
  6. Image courtesy of Toa55 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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Workout Essentials 101: Guide to Resistance Training

 

Workout Essentials Resistance Training

 

We’re kicking off a 4 part blog series on 4 major areas of exercise that will include: resistance training, cardiovascular, balance and flexibility.  This week’s edition is on resistance training.  We’ll look to define what resistance training is, some foundational principles, benefits of resistance training and what type of resistance training you should incorporate.

 

According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate intensity aerobic exercise (i.e., brisk walking) every week AND muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms). By following these guidelines it is believed that we can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases and other adverse health outcomes.

 

What is resistance training?

 

Resistance training is sometimes referred to as strength training, although incorrectly. Whereas if someone does resistance training they can increase not only their strength but also power, endurance and hypertrophy or increase in muscle mass.  Here are the differences:

 

1) Strength – the maximal force that a muscle or muscle group can generate at a specified velocity OR “the weight that a person can lift” (6)

 

2) Power – outside of the scientific realm may also be termed “strength, might, force” but scientifically is the “time rate of doing work”, the product of force applied over a distance in the shortest amount of time OR “how fast can you move” (6)

 

3) Endurance – endurance relating to resistance training involves the conditioning of muscles to handles higher levels of fatigue.  Think of the push up test you had to do in high school gym class.  

 

4) Hypertrophy – refers to muscle enlargement resulting from training primarily due to the increase in cross sectional area of the muscle. (6) Think of your traditional body building programs to gain muscle mass. 

 

Very good physiologically sound exercise programs will include all four of these components while maintaining emphasis on the overall greater goal.

 

The Foundational Principles

 

There are three foundational principles to remember regardless of the type of program your embarking on.  They are specificity, overload and progression.  Without some thought on these your program will not yield the results you want.

 

The first, specificity, is to train in a specific manner to produce a specific adaptation or training outcome. (6)  This basically states that your going to get the adaptation based upon the way you train and the exercises you choose.

 

The second, overload, refers to assigning a workout or training regime of greater intensity then a person is accustomed to. (6) Put simply, increase the loads of the exercises, frequency of the workouts, changing rest periods, adding exercises or sets or a combination of all of the above.

Last, progression, is as simple as it sounds systematic and gradual increasing the intensity of training. (6)  This enables the stimulus (resistance training) over time to produce the optimal results.  Small progressive changes also minimize the risk of injury.

 
There are four more additional principles, the F.I.T.T. principle, that aren’t considered foundations but provide guidance in figuring out your resistance training program.

     

  • FrequencyHow often your resistance training sessions occur during a week and manipulated for overload and progression
  • Intensity – How much weight or force/stress/weight is used relative to how much a person is able to lift (that person’s 1 rep max); can also be manipulated by changing sets and repetitions
  • Type – The type of exercise the person will be performing
  • Time – How long is your workout going to be.  Take into account rest periods.

 

What are the benefits of resistance training?

 

1)  Increase in muscle mass –  the disruption and damage done to the muscle from resistance training results in the repair and remodeling process by which the cross sectional area (CSA) of the muscle increases; hypertrophy.

 

2) Development of bone strength – the mechanical stress or “load” stimulates the development of new bone.  The stimulus must be above the minimal essential strain (MES) in order for new bone formation.

 
3) Improved neuromuscular system – an increase in neural drive occurs allowing for greater levels of muscle recruitment leading to maximal levels of force and power.  An overall more efficient system.
 
4) Overall health improvement – lower risks of some of the following:

  • Premature death
  • Diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis
  • Risk factors for disease, such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol
  • Functional capacity (the ability to engage in activities needed for daily living)
  • Mental health, such as depression and cognitive function

 

What type of resistance training?

 

Any type of activity causes the body’s muscles to work or hold against an applied force or weight is good. The weight can be your own body, bands, cables, machines and free weights to name a few.  Just remember our foundational principles when planning your exercises: specificity, overload and progression.

 

As we started out saying, it’s important to work all the major muscle groups of the body: the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.  The incorporation of large muscle groups (squats, deadlifts, power cleans) are especially nice because of their effect on increased hormonal release and those hormones’ role in muscle production.

 
The choice to incorporate a certain type of resistance depends on level of physical fitness, how familiar a person is with specific exercise movements, and individual goals.
 

Of course the other concern is recovery. All of the resistance training in the world will be worthless if special attention isn’t placed on how you recover from your workout.  You won’t be able to reach your goal if your constantly sidelined with injuries.  We dedicated a whole blog on recovery before, which you can take a look at here.

 

Final Key To Remember!

 

There is no one workout plan that works for everybody. The key is to pick a plan that matches your current fitness level and stays in line with your goals.  Have more questions about your workouts? Know somebody interested in benefiting from exercise just like you? Contact us!

 
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References

     

  1. “Resistance Training for Health and Fitness”. Accessed 1, July 2015. American College of Sports Medicine. https://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/resistance-training.pdf
  2. “Physical Activity has Many Health Benefits”. Accessed 1 July 2015. Health.gov. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/chapter2.aspx
  3. “2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Summary”. Accessed 1, July 2015. Health.gov. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. http://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/summary.aspx
  4. “Strength Training for Bone, Muscle and Hormones”. Accessed 1, July, 2015. American College of Sports Medicine. https://www.acsm.org/docs/current-comments/strengthtrainingforbmh.pdf
  5. “Physical Fitness FITT Principles”. Accessed 6, July 2015. Teaching and Learning to Standards. Oregon Department of Education. http://www.ode.state.or.us/teachlearn/subjects/pe/curriculum/fittprinciple.pdf
  6. Baechle, T.R. & Earle, R.W. (2008).  Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning.  Human Kinetics: Champaign.

 

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Post Exercise Massage: A Great Way to Help Recovery

 

Did you know that July 12-18 is ‘Every Body Deserves a Massage’ Week? Every year massage therapists use this dedicated week to raise awareness of the benefits of massage. Massage can be very beneficial in conjunction with an exercise program. Let’s take a look at those benefits.

 

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It is stated by the American Massage Therapy Association that those who participate in an exercise program can benefit from massage therapy. Sports massage can be used to improve athletic performance, speed recovery, and can be utilized by all individuals who participate in any athletic and/or exercise program to help improve conditioning and maintain peak performance. There are enormous benefits to exercise and moving the body but with strenuous movement can come normal wear and tear to the body. Heavily exercised muscles may lose their capacity to relax causing tight muscles and loss of flexibility. Massage can help the body recover from strenuous exercise by helping in the following ways:

 

  • Reduce muscle tension and stiffness after exercise
  • Aid in increased range of motion
  • Improve soft tissue function
  • Support the recovery of heart rate variability and diastolic blood pressure after high-intensity exercise
  • Decrease inflammation of cells

 

In addition, massage can help with blood and lymph circulation which in turn lead to removal of waste products and better cell nutrition. All of these benefits add up to relief from soreness, better flexibility and potential for future injury.

 

Not only can massage be positive in the physical aspects of your life, it can improve overall mental wellness too. Massage can help quality of sleep and help those that suffer with anxiety and depression. Stress is a component which can negatively impact on an individual’s health and well-being. Massage therapy has been shown to be a means by which stress can be reduced significantly on physical and psychological levels.

 

During ‘Every Body Deserves a Massage’ week, take the opportunity to meet with your favorite massage therapist or ask us for a referral.

 

References:

 

  1. “Massage Therapy for those Who Exercise”. Accessed 22, June 2015. American Massage Therapy Association. https://www.amtamassage.org/approved_position_statements/Massage-Therapy-for-Those-Who-Exercise.html
  2. “Injuries, Exercise and Massage. Accessed 22, June 2015. Dr. Frank Lipman. http://www.drfranklipman.com/injuries-exercise-and-massage/
  3. “Massage Can Improve Health and Wellness”. Accessed 22, June 2015. American Massage Therapy Association. https://www.amtamassage.org/approved_position_statements/Massage-Can-Improve-Health-and-Wellness.html
  4. Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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New Offering For Client Success at B3 Personal Training

 

When I set out to become a personal trainer back in 2005 it was because I so passionate about exercise I wanted to share that passion with everyone else.  I love what I do, coaching, educating and helping clients to make a profound impact on their life.  That is why I’m excited to introduce MEALS.  MEALS will provide yet another way that we can assist clients in providing the highest service possible.

 

ModernPalate Logo

 

MEALS are made by a local catering company and will be dropped off at B3 Personal Training in Doylestown twice a week on Monday and Thursday.  Here are just a few highlights of this new program:

 

  • Maximum of 500 calories in each meal.
  • Made fresh, never frozen.
  • Loaded with vegetables and lean proteins.
  • Nutrition information is printed right on the label, no preservatives.
  • Delivered in a microwaveable safe container making it easy to take to work or on your business trip.
  • Menu changes each week with new choices.

 
I know that making this service available will only help clients reach their goals quicker while eating deliciously!  Please, next time you stop in for your session ask your trainer about MEALS and how you can get your hands on them!

 

If your not a client, stop in anyway and find out how you can still take advantage of this service!

 

B3 Healthy,

 

Brent

 
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Exercise and Low Testosterone

 

How You Can Naturally Increase Your Levels

 
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The three primary anabolic hormones involved in building muscle tissue are testosterone, growth hormone, insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) as well as insulin and thyroid hormones. (6)  Testosterone is the primary androgen hormone that interacts with skeletal muscle tissue and will be our topic for this post.  We’ll discuss testosterone’s role in the body, the effect of aging on testosterone levels and finally how you can increase your testosterone naturally!  Let’s get started.

 

Testosterone, Key Role Player

 

Testosterone is produced in the testes. It plays a vital role in sperm production and is responsible for many of the secondary sex characteristics such as a man’s deep voice and hair on their chest.  In addition, testosterone contributes to a healthy libido, building muscle mass and maintaining energy levels.

 

Aging and Your Testosterone

 

Testosterone production starts to increase during puberty and after about age 30, most men experience a gradual decline in testosterone which continues throughout life. A drop in testosterone can contribute to losing his sex drive, feeling depressed, loss of muscle mass and having difficulty concentrating. Over time, bones can become thinner and more vulnerable to fracture.

 

Although age is the biggest factor for testosterone to taper off, there are other reasons as well. They include:

 

1. Injury to the testicles

2. Chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer

3. Chronic diseases, such as AIDS, kidney disease, alcoholism, and cirrhosis of the liver

4. Stress

 

Testosterone can be checked with a simple blood test to determine adequate levels.  A low test result should trigger a check of your prostate health and your red blood cell production.  Reduced testosterone production, a condition known as hypogonadism, doesn’t always require treatment. Serious medical issues sometimes coincide with decreased testosterone production, and they should be diagnosed and treated if necessary.

 

Although a decrease in testosterone is normal, there are ways to increase testosterone artificially as well as naturally. Artificial testosterone can be administered orally, through the skin in gel patches or injected. The treatment does carry side effects and it is important to talk to your doctor to make sure this is the right course of action for you.

 

Increasing Testosterone Naturally

 
Now, let’s take a look at some of the natural ways to increase testosterone which include exercise and a healthy diet. Incorporating the habit of exercise into your lifestyle has many benefits. There are 4 factors that matter when it comes to testosterone levels and exercise.

     

  1. Your weight– obesity is a big problem when it comes to low testosterone. Fat tissue converts testosterone into estrogen, the female hormone. Exercise and diet can help you lose weight and maintain an ideal body weight to help you increase your hormone levels.
  2.  

  3. Age– The older you get, the less testosterone boost you may get from exercise, but exercise can help with bone and muscle health and better balance- issues that are affected by low testosterone in the first place.
  4.  

  5. When you exercise– Testosterone levels vary throughout the day and are typically higher in the morning than they are in the evening. Scheduling your workouts in the late afternoons or evenings can help boost your levels even more.
  6.  

  7. Fitness level– Starting or increasing your exercise program can help boost testosterone levels.  Research has shown that men with 2+ years of resistance training experience result in higher levels of testosterone. (6)
  8.  

Which Exercises Are Best?

 
Ideally, resistance training maximizes testosterone concentrations in the body.  Guidelines for resistance training are (6):

     

  1. Exercises that use large muscle groups such as squats, deadlifts and power cleans.
  2. Heavy intensity about 85-95% of your 1-rep maximum.
  3. Moderate to high volume of exercise achieved through multiple sets, exercises or both.

 

Make sure to keep your workouts balanced with cardio and flexibility training as well.  All exercise counts! Exercise will also help improve your mood and stamina and can help with sleep, all symptoms of low testosterone.

 

Remember, don’t overdo it. Overtraining can do harm to your body resulting in a drop in testosterone levels.

 

Make sure to get rest. Sleep should become a priority, aiming for 7-8 hours per night.

 

As always consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

 

Addressing the big picture is key. You have to make several changes to maintain a healthy lifestyle but once this lifestyle becomes habit, you will see the positive changes to your body and mind.

 

If you have any questions on how to get started or to change your lifestyle for the better, contact us.

 
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References:

     

  1. “What is Testosterone?”. Accessed 21, June 2015. Healthline. http://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-testosterone#1
  2. “High and Low Testosterone in Men”.Accessed 21, June 2015. Medicine.net. http://www.medicinenet.com/high_and_low_testosterone_levels_in_men/views.htm
  3. “Does Working Out Affect Testosterone Levels?”. Accessed 22, June 2015. WebMd. http://www.webmd.com/men/features/exercise-and-testosterone
  4. “How Exercise can Help Low Testosterone”. Accessed 22, June 2015. Everyday Health. http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/low-testosterone/how-exercise-can-help-low-testosterone.aspx
  5. Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  6. Baechle, T.R. & Earle, R.W.  (2008).  Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning.  Human Kinetics: Champaign, p. 52-55.

 

 

 

 

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