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Merry Christmas from Victory Fitness!
After the flurry of Christmas, Kwanza and “Festivus for the Restofus” related activities drifts down and as you sit in front of your fire and breathe properly for the first time in weeks, you will naturally turn introspective as 2013 draws to a close. I know, I know, it’s not even Christmas yet and I’m already talking about the New Year but I have an excellent reason for doing so.
Instead of putting all your faith on one big push on the first day of the year, you should realize that most life changes and behavior modifications require six weeks to change an old habit and another six weeks until the new habit becomes permanent. To translate that means if you have a physical, body-related goal in mind for 2014 you should be thinking now about the steps that will help you get there. Most people jumpstart the first week of January and have already given up before 30 days have finished. When I worked for a large corporate facility, the dawn of January first would see all the trainers forced to wear cheesy t-shirts with a slogan of “You Can Do It!” We would joke that we should get another set made for the three week mark that said, “There’s Always Next Year, Bitches!”
Chuck the non-motivating, stereotypical slogans and clarify for yourself a couple of things:
1) What are your goals: short-term is where you would like to be in six months and long-term is where you want to be in a year. Recognize that lasting changes don’t occur in two weeks, even if you’re consuming protein shakes and taking a Spin class everyday.
2) Identify where your true challenges or obstacles may be. Let me give you an example: a friend of mine and fellow trainer had a baby and in addition to working was going back to school. She gained a few pounds eating cookies and wanted to get back to a body place that she was more comfortable. Time was the first challenge. So she dedicated a specific 30 minute window every weekday that she could commit to at least doing some cardio. Here’s where the challenges can get a bit more subtle. She realized that when she went to the locker room to change her shirt, friendly women would start conversations with her and she would use up 10 or 15 minutes of her window. Disappointed with herself, she would just bag the workout. The victory was that she came up with a solution. She now wears her workout shirt under her uniform. The second she goes on break, she pulls off the top layer and heads for the treadmill. In several weeks, she was back to her lean self. Real change is possible! But it may require more than a thought to fulfill.
A personal trainer can help you set goals, identify obstacles and create ways to aid you over the hurdles. Even using a trainer once a week for the first six weeks of the year can keep you on track until the habit sets in. Victory Fitness offers you flexible ways to help you achieve your resolutions! So ask yourself now before 2013 comes to its end, “What is your Victory Today?”
Maybe you have parents who are retired but whose knees ache when playing with grandchildren? Maybe you and your hubby keep talking about getting in better shape but never do? Maybe you have a friend that needs some extra support to make needed lifestyle changes? Maybe you’re done shopping and it’s time to get a goody for yourself?!
Victory Fitness Online Personal Training is the gift that keeps on giving! It’s affordable and if you get two people to train at the same time it’s half the price! No membership, no hidden costs – just a great personal trainer wherever you need them to be!
Apparently a Mom in Canada was fined under the school’s new guidelines for a balanced lunch. She sent her kids with a leftover meal consisting of beef, potatoes, a glass of milk and fruit for dessert. The school then “supplemented” the home cooked meal with Ritz Crackers, that in their view represented a grain! And they fined the mother $5 for each child!
Let’s discuss this from a nutritional viewpoint. Mom made a pretty balanced meal; Protein=Beef, Veg=Carrots, Fruit=Unspecified fruit for dessert, Complex Carb=Potatoes. Now it is true that potatoes are not a grain, but they are a starchy carb that is low in fat, preservatives, salt and low on the gylcemic index (no blood sugar spike.) Plus, they are high in seratonin, which boosts brain activity. The only way it could’ve been better is if it were a sweet potato, which is listed as a top 10 super food. You might not want to make every carb source at every meal be from Potatoes (did I mention I’m living in Ireland;) grains are needed too. And I would like to see some green vegetables in there, but who are we kidding the kids probably won’t eat that without adult supervision. Good job mom – even if some dollar hungry bureaucrat says, “No.”
On the other side is the school’s “supplemental choice.” Ritz Crackers?! While it is true they are made from a grain! It’s made of highly processed, refined wheat flour. That means that the properties that make up whole grain foods/complex carbohydrates are null and void. In processed flours, the exterior fiber and shaft around the kernel have been stripped away and the kernel itself, ground down to fine powder. So the advantages of a complex carbohydrate/grain: 1) when combined with a protein source makes a full branch chain amino acid for your body and 2) fiber for your digestive track are completely absent. Additionally, not to bash Ritz crackers, because they are yummy but they also contain: partially hydrogenated oils – a.k.a. sludge for your heart and arteries – and high fructose corn syrup – another refined, not so good ingredient for your system. Plus they have very little nutritional value. But because they are tasty and small, you can consume a lot of them, way more than a serving size in record time. That means you get “empty calories.” It’s like eating fried cardboard in terms of nutritional value. You are full, but the body is not thanking you.
I am left scratching my head. The idealist in me is excited that a school is trying to take juvenile obesity, juvenile diabetes and child mind/body development seriously; and is trying to engage parents in a productive way. However, the cynic in me believes that it is just a way to make money for the school and to force kids to enroll in the school lunch program, that means more money for the school. The school’s lack of knowledge about what constitutes a “balanced meal” or a “complex carbohydrate” or a true “grain rich diet” makes me think it’s not about the kids at all.
Parents, please get in the habit of recognizing when you’re serving a balanced meal with appropriate portion sizes. Every plate should have a Protein source: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes (beans/lentils) + Complex Carb/Starch source: long grain – “coloured/i.e. black,brown,red rice, cous cous, amaranth, cracked bulged, pasta, potatoes -sweet or otherwise, oats, etc. + Fruit + Veg. As for proper portion sizes – look at the size of your hand. If you’re a mom, your hand is a different size than your husband’s or your child’s – so the amount of food that can fit in a person’s palm is roughly the right portion size!
The trend right now in fitness is for trainers to advocate “Total Body Weight Exercise” as being the magical cure for every person wanting to lean up and get buff. But what’s not being openly talked about is the casualties that line this path. I want more fitness professionals and their clients to be mindful about what “total body weight exercise” really means.
It is true that the more muscles you get working at any given time the more calories you burn. That makes intrinsic sense. It is also true that your body moves on it’s own without you thinking about it, all day, every day in a multiplicity of complex multi-movement patterns. All of that is good stuff.
Now, what most athletes, many turned fitness professionals fail to take in to consideration is the different types of learning and their effect on motor co-ordination and the ability to perform an exercise correctly. There are varied learning types that people can be generally classified under, like visual or auditory. Visual learning style, means you see someone do it and you can then do it. Auditory learning style means you hear a list of directions and you can then sequence them back correctly. Most athletes are kinesthetic learners, that means they learn by physically doing a task. That is not to say that a visual learner cannot learn to perform the same task as a kinesthetic learner, but it means that there will be a higher learning curve for them on a task of physical nature. So trainers, just because you can do 100 picture perfect burpees in a row at speed, does not mean that your client should or can even if they want to.
Full body weight exercise requires a base level of strength. The building block structure should be first: 1) establish stability – the means by which the body can maintain the integrity of its joint structure under most forms of stress. Stress itself can be constituted in training terms by speed (how fast or slow is the pace), load (how much weight you’re lifting) and duration (how long are you lifting each load.)
Everyone has helped a friend move; imagine you lift a heavy box and you have to stand still and hold it until your friend gets his car. It would make a difference to your back and shoulders if that car were right out front or parked two blocks away. Now imagine you and your friend have to lift a really heavy box – but you only have to move it ten steps in a straight line. Chances are – you will both move as quickly as possible. Lastly, imagine you are carrying a heavy box that requires you to move down several flights of stairs – you are under load and the duration will be long and the pace will be slow. All of these scenarios are slightly different from one another in the demands they make on the body. And everyone can relate to feeling stiff and sore after a move. Proper training can get you to where none of those scenarios would be painful. You would be stable in maintaining your joint integrity.
The next phase of training should be symmetry. Is each individual joint and side equal to the tasks demanded on the body? Anyone ever tried to carry a toddler in one arm and lifted a bag of groceries from the back of a car simultaneously?
The last phase is dynamic performance. The ability to do intense, full-body, full-ROM exercises under various forms of stress. Yes, FBW exercises develop dense muscle mass more efficiently and effectively than any other form of exercise. But is it appropriate for everyone to go straight to the hardest, most bad-ass place first? An athlete has been doing crazy compound loaded movements for a lifetime – the brain actually functions differently (this is another topic for a future blog in and of itself!) To expect a client to perform like that before proper foundations are put down is a recipe for disaster. Anyone remember Tae Bo? Yes, great results are achieved but at what cost? My goals are not for people to feel good for the one year they did Cross-Fit. I want people to be equal to the physical challenges in their daily lives and to feel good and look great for the duration of their years!
In teaching, I like to use metaphors. And for myself, if I understand something it makes it easier to do. So think of your body like a car…
Cardio works like putting a more fuel efficient engine in your car. It gets great high energy output for a long period of time. In other words, you get great mileage with minimal fuel expenditure.
Strength Training is like putting a bigger engine in your car. The muscle consumes more fuel all the time and is much more powerful. This is why an athlete can eat more; the more muscle you have the more fuel you consume. This is also key to anyone trying to lose weight or lean up. Cardio is important, but gaining muscle and thereby putting a powerful engine in your system will help consume those extra fuel cans.
Fuel – Would you put molasses in the gas tank of your Ferrari? Or water, or oil? Of course not! So if you want your body to perform like a sleek, race car, treat it like such! Fill it with the best fuel sources you can!
Having just moved to Ireland – I have stood next to the gas pump with confusion on my face, not certain what is the appropriate fuel and procedure. But I definitely did not guess or shrug my shoulders and go, “whatever!” I asked, because if I put the wrong thing in, the system is going to crash and it will do major, costly and sometimes irrevocable damage.
I want you to think of and visualize your body as your favorite, high performing, beautiful, sleek race car (even if at the moment it looks like a well-loved station wagon) and make choices that will help you win every race. If you need help with those choices, try training with us here online at Victory Fitness!
http://www.everydayhealth.com/heart-health/heart-disease-on-the-rise.aspx?xid=aol_eh-cardio_2_20131021_&aolcat=ESR&ncid=webmail30″ title=”Heart Disease On The Rise” target=”_blank”>
The Obesity Epidemic
For Tracy L. Stevens, MD, a cardiologist in the Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City, Mo., and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, at the top of the list of causes is that more Americans are overweight and too sedentary.
“A big thing is Americans, for the most part, have lost track of who is responsible for their health,” she said. “Americans think it’s someone else, and they don’t have that discipline every day to be on top of their risk factors.”
Hey Victory Fitness – Do you train kids? “Check”, Do you train adults? “Check”, Can you help me lose weight? “Check!” THEN LET’S DO THIS!
Imagine you at age seven. Now see yourself on a see-saw. You are alone; your butt is low to the ground and it feels like a 1000 pounds. On the other end sticking up in the air, seemingly far away is the empty end of the beam. As you gaze longingly up into the blue sky, squinting at the warm afternoon sunbeams, a friend comes by. This could really get going now; you could overcome Newtonian inertia and have a great playtime. But the friend sits down right in front of you and they too are facing the tilted empty distant plank. So you ask the friend to go sit on the other end instead and the board comes into neutral and now, you can control the direction, pace and fun.
“What is the point of all this,” you ask? It’s simply a metaphor for balance. I continually, see people who need work on balance. I’m not talking about being able to stand on one foot for thirty seconds. I’m talking about the guy who’s working a 60 hour work week and then comes in at 7pm to do Boot Camp Class or the yoga die-hard who thinks stretching alone can take away all your aches and pains.
It is shocking to me how many people never stop to consider how much they are demanding from their bodies and yet, have absolutely no comprehension of how the system is actually functioning. Consider a race-car driver who has no understanding of auto-mechanics but who simply wants to get in the car and go fast…predictably, a crash is probably in the near future.
I know many serious cyclists, marathoners and triathletes, many of whom just to do the training for their events are continually putting their bodies under a lot of stress. It doesn’t feel all that demanding, because like all things you get used to it. Go back to imagining the kid on the teeter-totter. If you sat in the down position for several hours, that would begin to feel normal. But your playmate brings the board into balance; it now feels “scary” and “awkward” because you just haven’t done that before, and yet, it’s doing what the toy was designed to do.
So let’s go back to that work-a-holic guy in the bootcamp class. I’m not saying he needs to give up working out. But I would recommend finding a workout routine that works on strength training but without the fever pitch pace. And maybe a yoga class – NOT HOT OR POWER YOGA and a little more sleep. We want to balance the plank. Now for the lady in yoga class, who keeps complaining about back pain and thinks more stretching and more yoga is just what she needs. I would recommend that lady find a great core class and build some muscle mass in order to stabilize her joints, instead of asking her tendons and ligaments to keep over-extending. And you athletes – find some Hatha yoga, or even a basic breathing relaxation technique class, and let your system rest and repair itself so it can keep performing optimally. You may think that a boot camp class would count as “cross-training” because you’re not technically running or cycling. BUT if your muscles and joints are doing rapid fire movement and your heart rate is in your training zone, to your nervous system, you’re still doing endurance training.
As Indiana Jones says, “It ain’t the years honey, it’s the mileage.” If you want to keep playing forever, you have to begin to understand how your system is designed. If you’re giving it a lot of one thing, give it the things it doesn’t have! And if you need a playmate to help balance that board…contact me! Deborah@VicFitLA.com!