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Sep
5

6 Exercises For Stand-up Paddle Boarders

Core Exercises on Total Gym GTS

How To Train Your Stand-up Paddle Boarding Enthusiasts With Total Gym Exercises

From oceans to rivers, lakes and ponds, Stand-up Paddle Boarding (SUP) is a fast-growing recreational pastime. SUP requires a unique combination of core strength, dynamic balance and cardio-respiratory efficiency, making it a fun and challenging way to get a great workout. As this activity has exploded in popularity, I’ve noticed more and more health club members and clients expressing an interest in improving their strength and fitness levels, so they can enjoy their time ‘walking on the water.’

Whether it be running, rock climbing or SUP, whenever I work with a client who is into a particular recreational activity, I always ask this question: “Do you do your favorite activity to get in shape, or do you want to get in shape to maximize enjoyment from that favorite activity?”  It’s always interesting to see how people respond. Most will say they do a particular activity because they feel it’s a great form of exercise. My response is to point out that adding some activity-specific conditioning to their workout routine, can help improve their overall fitness. They will have more strength and stamina to enjoy their favorite pastime. Nowhere is this more important than for Stand-up Paddle Boarding.

The body of water where an individual will be doing most of his or her SUP should also play a factor in the conditioning program.  An ocean will require more focus on dynamic balance to accommodate the constantly changing surface. A lake or pond may require more core and rotational strength to provide the propulsive force to keep moving. To help one of my clients improve his fitness for SUP in Mission Bay (located in San Diego) I created the following workout for him.

Squats and Unilateral Squats

Place feet toward the top of the squat stand positioned shoulder-width apart.  Lie back slowly making sure the head is on the glideboard.  Begin to squat slowly.  Repeat 20 times.  Then lift one leg and with the other, slowly squat.  Going slowly keeps the muscles under resistance for longer and so builds strength and muscle definition faster.  Repeat 12 single leg squats on each leg or 30-45 secs.

Unilateral Chest Press

This position provides training and conditioning of the anterior shoulders, chest and arms.  Trunk stabilization is integrated into the exercise, as the upper body is upright and unsupported.  One arm presses help improve core strength by integrating all of the muscles that control thoracic rotation; helpful for the rotational forces generated while paddling. Do the same number of reps or amount of time on each side. 12-15 reps each arm or 30-45 secs.

Kneeling 2-Hand Press

Combine hip and core strength; squeeze thighs and gluts, press hips forward and keep spine tall while doing this exercise. Do the same number of reps or amount of time on each side. 12-15 reps on each side or 30-45 secs.

Kneeling Shoulder Extension

With an upright posture, press the handles back and down past the hips, in an arc motion.  Maintain a stable trunk as the hands return with control, back to the starting position.  This exercise will enhance strength of the upper back and arm muscles (triceps) used for paddling. Keep your spine long and hinge from the hips while pressing arms straight back. 12-15 reps or 30-45 secs.

Kneeling Bicep Curl

Strong arms and grip are a requirement for successfully moving the paddle through the water; doing curls on your Total Gym not only blasts your biceps but also involves many of the muscles responsible for core stability. 12-15 reps or 30-45 secs.

For a good pump – keep one elbow in a flexed (bent) position while doing a rep with the other arm, alternate arms.

Kneeling Torso Rotation

SUP is done in a standing position, therefore strength exercises for the core should be done in a similar position. Keep your hips pressed forward, gluts squeezed and focus on rotating from the shoulders. Do the same number of reps or amount of time on each side. 12-15 reps on each side or 30-45 secs.

Doing timed sets and trying to complete as many reps as possible during the time can be an effective way to increase the cardio-respiratory benefit of the workout.  Make sure to do the same amount of time on each arm or in each direction.

This workout can either be organized horizontally: completing all sets of an exercise before moving to the next.   Or it can be performed vertically: moving from one exercise to the next with little-to-no rest (circuit training). Start with 2 sets of each exercise and progress to 5 sets. If doing horizontal sets, rest 30-45 seconds after each exercise; rest for 90-120 sec. after a complete circuit.

What I love about the way you exercise with Total Gym, is it allows several different options for both foundational exercises and creative movements and more advanced exercises, if needed.    I follow the KISS method (Keep It Simply Silly) and use exercises that focus on the foundational patterns of movement. This way, clients have the highest probability of actually doing the workout I design for them. That’s how this program is designed, to make it more challenging when using timed sets. I challenge clients to complete as many reps as possible in the time frame and then encourage them to meet or beat that number on the next set.

About the Author

Pete McCall is an educator, performance coach, personal trainer, author, consultant and host of the All About Fitness podcast. Based in San Diego, CA, Pete holds a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, completed a Fellowship in Applied Functional Science with the Gray Institute, is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Currently Pete is an adjunct faculty in exercise science at Mesa College, a master trainer for Core Health and Fitness, a blogger and content contributor for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and online instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Consulting with organizations like the World Bank, Reebok, 24-Hour Fitness, Core Health & Fitness, the Institute of Motion and Fit Pro, Pete has experience identifying needs and delivering solutions. Frequently quoted as a fitness expert in publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, U-T San Diego, SELF, Glamour, and Shape Magazine and featured as a fitness expert for TV news outlets including WRC-NBC (DC), Fox News, Fox 5 San Diego, and NBC7 San Diego, Pete is a sought-after media resource for accurate, in-depth insight on how to get results from exercise. www.petemccallfitness.com

Aug
28

Total Gym Core Strengthening Program

5 Total Gym Exercises That Will Build A Strong Core

Being in the fitness industry, we all understand the importance of having a strong core.  Fitness professionals also know how to get the core strong and keep it strong.  However, the average person doesn’t think about having a strong core, or if they are, it’s mostly for vanity purposes and say, looking good at the beach.  But in reality, the real goal should be to strengthen the core for FUNCTIONAL  purposes.  Strong core muscles make it easier to do many physical activities and help minimize injury.

Like most personal trainers and fitness professionals, we have all heard our fair share of clients complaining about their bad backs. We see them grimacing and we see the discomfort on their faces.  We don’t like to see our clients in pain.  However, the good news is, that with all these bodily aches and pains, an opportunity is created for us to teach, educate and motivate our clients.  We can get them to start stretching and strengthening their midsection every day, so that they move better and feel better.   Of course, if they come out looking amazing too, with a firmer tummy and/or 6 pack abs, that is a extra bonus!

Use your Total Gym GTS to let your clients know all the benefits of having a strong core and get them to buy into what you are teaching and trying to get them to do.  Have fun with it and keep inspiring them to do more.

Chest Press

Grasp handles to bring the glideboard halfway up the rails.  Facing away from the tower, straddle the rails and sit toward the top of the glideboard.  Position handles next to the rib cage and with cables on the inside of the forearm.   With tension in the cables position the legs on the glideboard with knees slightly bent.  Bring the handles and elbows up to chest height with palms facing down.      Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep, then repeat the movement.    (3 Sets, 15 Reps)

Upright Row

Grasp handles and pull the glideboard halfway up the rails.  Straddle the rails and sit toward the top edge of the glideboard, facing the tower.  With tension in the cables, extend arms directly toward the pulleys and lift feet off the floor. Palms face in.    Now repeat that motion to complete the 1st set. Remember to pull in towards your body fast but to go out slowly to control the movements and maximize the muscle contractions. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep. (3 Sets, 15 Reps)

Kneeling Lateral Torso Rotation

Grasp both handles to bring the glideboard up the rails.  Stand facing the rails and anchor handles down near the top edge of the glidgeboard (hand closest to the tower is holding handle).  Kneel on the top portion of the glideboard facing sideways.  Separate the knees to create a wide base of support between them.   With tension in the cable slowly lift both handles from the glideboard and extend the arms diagonally across the body and upwards.  Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep, then repeat the movement.  (3 Sets, 10 Reps in Each Direction)

SCRUNCH

Attach the SCRUNCH Accessory to the top of the rails.  Facing the tower, keel toward the top of the glideboard.  Grasp the SCRUNCH Accessory cross bar on the outside with palm facing in and rest the elbows on the padded surface.  Maintaining a neutral spine, position the shoulders directly over the elbows.  Press elbows into the scrunch padding to maintain a neutral shoulder position.. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep, then repeat the movement.
(3 Sets, 15 Reps)

Plank

Disconnect the pulley from the glideboard and stow the handles.  Remove the standing platform.  With the glideboard at the bottom of the rails, face the tower and kneel on the lower part of the glideboard.  Place forearms towards the top of the glideboard, palms facing in.  Raise the knees off the glideboard and align the neck, shoulders, hips and legs into a level plank position.  Press into the forearms to keeps the shoulders in a neutral position. Shift the glideboard up and down into the closed and open positions. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and then you repeat the exercise to complete the set. (3 Sets, 15 Reps)

So there you have it, a simple but VERY effective core strengthening program that your clients can perform on your Total Gym machine to help them to get stronger and become more flexible so that they can protect their back for the long haul and minimize the risk for lower back pain.

About the Author

Mike Z. RobinsonMike Z. Robinson is the owner of the highly successful personal training facility, MZR Fitness as well as Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises which features & highlights a myriad of options to help fitness professionals grow their businesses and careers. Mike was the 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, is the author of the E-Book: “Fitness Up, Everything Up”, and he is also a Media Spokesperson for both the American Council on Exercise & IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

Aug
15

10 Minute Total Gym HIIT Workout

Total Gym HIIT Workout

Watch the video

Quick Total Gym HIIT Workout That Will Get Your Clients Huffin’ and Puffin’

As a fitness professional, even if you have not done HIIT yourself or implemented this type of exercise programming for your clients, then I’m sure that you have at least heard of it and know that it has become one of the most popular workout programs in the world.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is an effective training technique in which you give maximum effort through fast, quick, and intense bursts of different exercises followed by a short and/or active recovery period. The reason that this type of training has become so trendy is, because it works and gets you great results by keeping your heart rate up and efficiently burning more fat. With its fast paced movements and very little breaks, the HIIT phenomenon simply delivers. It is a great program to implement into your own client program.   And it’s easily customized to fit any client fitness level.

Did you know that HIIT is so versatile that it can be used with a combination of exercises and equipment like your Total Gym GTS?  In fact, here is a sample workout program for you to prescribe to your clients immediately. I bet that after this HIIT workout on the GTS, their heart rates will read higher than a credit card bill during the Christmas holiday. Trust me!

Have your clients try the following 10 minute HIIT workout program for a total of:

  • 2 rounds and 40 seconds of work with 15 seconds of rest

and don’t forget to challenge them in each workout to increase their reps each time.

Total Gym Incline Push UpsIncline Push-Ups: (using Squat Stand)

Stand facing the squat stand and place hands on the top edge, slightly wider than shoulder width. Position feet about 3 or 4 foot away from the squat stand with arms and body straight. Standing on the balls of your feet, lower yourself down in a slow and controlled manner. Push your body up until arms are extended to complete the first rep.

Dips: (using Squat Stand)

Position the rails at the highest position and then facing away from the squat stand, place your hands on the top edge, shoulder-width apart. Edge your feet out in front of you and straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints. Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle. Be sure to keep your back close to the foot platform. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press down into the bench to straighten your elbows, returning to the starting position. This completes one rep. Keep your shoulders down as you lower and raise your body. Please note that you can slightly bend your legs to modify this exercise.

Total Gym Leg RaisesLeg Raises:

Lay down on the glideboard making sure that your head supported – you may have to scoot your butt down a little.  With your arms fully extended above your head to grab onto the LAT Bars with your hands facing one another. With your arms fully extended and your body stretched out, begin to lift your legs up simultaneously as high as you can to form the letter “L” out of your body, then slowly lower them back down. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep, then repeat the movement.

One Legged Sitting SquatOne-Legged Sitting Squat Jump:

Sit upright with your butt as close as possible to the bottom of the glideboard. With one foot on the squat stand and the other leg resting at the side,  squat on the one leg by going down slowly until you feel engagement in the quadriceps region of your leg, then press to lift your body back up to complete the rep. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep, then swiftly switch legs and perform the same movement on this side. Alternate the movement back and forth between both legs.

Total Gym PikePike: (on glideboard)

Please note that you must supervise this carefully as the glideboard is very unstable.

Place both hands on the squat stand and straddle the glideboard.  While still holding the squat stand get on to your knees and then up onto your feet. On your toes with your heels in the air push away from the squat stand to make an upside down “V”  and come back to the starting position. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and then you repeat the exercise to complete the set.

So there you have it, a calorie crushing 10 minute HIIT workout to help your clients elevate their fitness level. Have your client perform this workout routine 3 days per week for the next 4 weeks and be sure to remind them to combine this workout program with a balanced nutrition regimen, adequate sleep, and lots of water to create optimal levels of health and fitness for themselves.

About the Author

Mike Z. RobinsonMike Z. Robinson is the owner of the highly successful personal training facility, MZR Fitness as well as Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises which features & highlights a myriad of options to help fitness professionals grow their businesses and careers. Mike was the 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, is the author of the E-Book: “Fitness Up, Everything Up”, and he is also a Media Spokesperson for both the American Council on Exercise & IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

Aug
8

7 Ways Members Benefit From Circuit Training

ELEVATE Circuit

ELEVATE Circuit Training – Get Results That Retain Members

Weight loss is one of the primary reasons why most consumers look to join a health club and start an exercise program. Yes, traditional aerobic conditioning like running on a treadmill, sweating buckets in an indoor cycling class, or the popular high intensity strength training workouts, can help burn calories for weight loss, but the simple fact is, that many people don’t enjoy them.  They can be intimidated by the loud music and fast-pace of indoor cycling or could get injured by doing exercises too challenging for their skill level.

If you’re looking for ways to boost member engagement and retention, here’s a little secret.  It doesn’t matter how good the exercise is for helping an individual reach his or her fitness goals, if a member or client doesn’t enjoy it, then they’re not going to do it.  So now what do you do?

Make Exercising Enjoyable

One of the best ways to improve retention is by creating happy customers, which means featuring exercise options they WANT to do because they’re both fun and relevant to their goals.

Fortunately, there is a mode of exercise that can be both fun AND effective for weight loss: bodyweight circuit training; specifically circuit training featuring bodyweight exercises.

In general, circuit training involves a series of resistance-training exercises for different movements or body parts with little-to-no rest between each exercise. The traditional selectorized resistance-training machines, normally used for circuit training are effective but also expensive, not easy to move around or reconfigure and can be intimidating for some members.

A good strength training circuit should not only be time-efficient and easy to follow, but should be easy to adjust and re-organize to create different workouts from week-to-week or month-to-month.

Make It Easy To Follow

Lack of time and not knowing what type of exercise they should be doing are two of the most frequently cited reasons for why club members or personal training clients have a hard time following a workout program. As health and fitness professionals, it’s our job to help our clients overcome these roadblocks.

Strength training circuits should transition between exercises for upper and lower-body muscles or alternating movement patterns like from push-ups to pull-ups to help members do workouts that are both time efficient and effective.

Circuit training on the ELEVATE Circuit can provide the following 7 benefits:

Burn More Calories

The body burns 5 calories of energy to use 1 liter of oxygen. Circuit training can use most of the muscles in the body, which significantly increases oxygen consumption when compared to a mode of cardio exercise relying primarily on the lower body. Any mode of exercise that increases oxygen demand also increases energy expenditure, making it an effective strategy for weight loss.

Alternating between upper body, lower body and core muscles, while circuit training on ELEVATE can help increase oxygen consumption in the body, resulting in the ability to burn a lot of calories in a relatively short amount of time.

Total Gym Elevate CircuitWork Smarter Not Harder

Bodyweight circuit training can be considered both moderate intensity cardio-respiratory AND strength training exercise both of which are important for fat loss. Too much high intensity exercise (where breathing is much faster than normal, and saying more than a couple of words at a time can be difficult) for more than 50 to 60 minutes at a time could actually lead to burning muscle instead of fat.

At a higher intensity of exercise, the body will use primarily carbohydrate for fuel. Once this carbohydrate is depleted, the body uses the hormone cortisol to convert protein to fuel in a process called gluconeogenesis. When this happens, less protein is available to repair muscle tissue damaged during the exercise.

Fast Track Strength Training

Bodyweight strength-training circuits can actually increase lean muscle mass throughout the entire body while most modes of cardio training involve primarily leg muscles. Doing bodyweight exercises to a point of momentary fatigue can stimulate the type II, fast twitch muscle fibers responsible for improving strength and size. Increasing activation of the type II fibers can result in larger, more defined muscles throughout the entire body.

Increase Metabolism

Higher levels of lean muscle mass equate to a higher resting metabolism, which means the body will burn more calories while at rest. At rest, 1 pound of muscle can burn up to 7 calories of energy during a 24-hour period. Adding 5 to 7 pounds of lean muscle mass can increase resting metabolism up to 50 calories a day or 350 calories over the course of a week. Given that the body uses approximately 100 calories to walk a mile, this can be considered the equivalent of taking a 3.5-mile walk.

Using ELEVATE can help add lean muscle mass to your body. As you increase the amount of muscle tissue your metabolism will become much more efficient at burning calories meaning that you can increase caloric expenditure even when you are NOT exercising.

Combine Strength Training With Cardio

Row Trainer small group class

Row small group class

To increase energy expenditure for weight loss, combining circuit training with cardio exercise can be extremely effective. For example, after completing a circuit of resistance-training exercises, hop on an ELEVATE Row for 3 to 7 minutes of steady-state, moderate-intensity exercise. The cardio exercise should focus on the aerobic energy system, so your breathing should be quicker than normal, but you shouldn’t be out of breath.

Non-Intimidating

Weight rooms can be intimidating, which can keep members from doing beneficial strength training exercises. A bodyweight circuit that is set up away from the free-weight area can provide a non-intimidating environment for club members to obtain the many benefits of strength training, while also establishing the base level of strength required to progress to more challenging forms of resistance training.

Trainer-Led Sessions Create Rapport and Encourage Members

Scheduling a trainer to assist members during busy times can provide a higher level of service to members who are attempting to use the circuit. A trainer can push members to work a little harder on the circuit, which can be an important component for achieving results. In addition, coaching club members through an established machine circuit provides a way for trainers to meet a number of members during each shift. As the trainers help the members, they can learn names and establish rapport, both of which are essential for long-term success.

In this era of demanding, high-intensity group fitness classes and technically complex free-weight training programs, the idea of returning to circuit training, which was popular in the early ‘80s, may seem like a return to the dark ages. The accompanying video can help you understand how the Elevate Line can be organized to create an effective strength training circuit that can help your members reach their goals from weight-loss to enhanced muscle definition. One of the best features of the Elevate Line is that all pieces are easy to move around meaning you can create different circuits to meet the needs of different populations of members or clients you serve.

For more information on the ELEVATE Circuit – call 858 764 0078 or visit totalgym.com

About the Author

Pete McCallPete McCall is an educator, performance coach, personal trainer, author, consultant and host of the All About Fitness podcast. Based in San Diego, CA, Pete holds a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, completed a Fellowship in Applied Functional Science with the Gray Institute, is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Currently Pete is an adjunct faculty in exercise science at Mesa College, a master trainer for Core Health and Fitness, a blogger and content contributor for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and online instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Consulting with organizations like the World Bank, Reebok, 24-Hour Fitness, Core Health & Fitness, the Institute of Motion and Fit Pro, Pete has experience identifying needs and delivering solutions. Frequently quoted as a fitness expert in publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, U-T San Diego, SELF, Glamour, and Shape Magazine and featured as a fitness expert for TV news outlets including WRC-NBC (DC), Fox News, Fox 5 San Diego, and NBC7 San Diego, Pete is a sought-after media resource for accurate, in-depth insight on how to get results from exercise. www.petemccallfitness.com

Jul
31

Online CECs – Keeping Education Updated

Personal Trainers: Stay Up-to-Date With Online CECs

When it’s time to renew your personal training and/or group fitness certification, I think we can all admit that it could be somewhat simpler.  But that just isn’t the case, and unless you have a lot of time to spend on sifting through all the ins and outs, the re-certification process can be time consuming and confusing. So let’s break it down and try to simplify.

Online “continuing education units” (CEU) can be obtained through several bodies, such as the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).

One CEU is ten hours of participation in an education program.

Several years ago, we had to attend conferences and classes to as well to accomplish the same goal.  I still believe that is a great way to keep up with industry innovations and news, however online CEUs are becoming the norm now, for maintaining certifications.  Pretty much all the major certifying agencies have online CEU courses, so you really don’t have to leave the comfort of your laptop to stay current.

How Much Does it Cost?

Based on a summary review of available course sites shown below, the price for one CEU ranges from $150 to $250. NASM and ACE require 2.0 CEUs every two years, which will set you back between $300 and $500.

NASM claims to have a re-certification for life option, but you still have to pay for the 2.0 CEUs every two years, as well as your CPR certificate which is around $12-17.

NASM does waive the application fee for life and provides some discounts for courses.

                            All CEU Requirements Are Not Equal

CEU requirements and values are not the same.

NASM’s 2.0 CEUs or 20 hour requirement is more than AFAA’s 15 hours of education or 1.5 CEUs.

Consequently, a course that offers .10 CEU’s for NASM will offer 1 CEU for AFAA.

It’s confusing in that 15 of these courses will satisfy the AFAA requirement, while 20 will satisfy the NASM requirement. So, you have to calculate how many CEUs you’re really getting for the intended re-certification and that can often be tricky.

Check That Your CEU is Accepted

Be sure that the online CEU you purchase is accepted by your agency. According to their website, NASM does not accept CEUs from Continuing Education although they can be petitioned, which involves a fee.

Even if your agency accepts a course from any of the below sites, they may not accept all the course offerings.  So be very careful when reviewing which courses will count for your agency’s re-certification and how many credits it offers.

Some agencies also place more value on specific courses than others.

Sites Offering Online CEU Courses

Continuing Education ACE, ACSM, NSCA

ACE Fitness ACE, ACSM, NASM, NSCA, NFPT

Health & Fitness Continuing Education  ACSM, NSCA, NASM, ISSA, AFAA

IDEA Health and Fitness Association All

NESTA NESTA, NASM, NSCA

NASM  NASM

Fitness Mentors  NASM, NESTA, ISSA, AFAA, NCCPT, ACE. NSCA, ACSM

In addition to online courses, Exercise ETC., Inc. offers webinars for CEU credit and is accepted by almost all agencies.

So there you have it, a brief synopsis to help you continue with your education.  It’s time to open the pocketbook to stay current, but your clients will thank you in the end!

About the Author

Benita PerkinsBenita Perkins is a widely acclaimed health and wellness branding expert focusing on the fitness needs of women and the special demands they must overcome to step into a lifetime of healthy living through fun, interactive lifestyle events. Her company, Bennie Girl Health & Wellness Branding & Events, works with businesses and organizations to associate their brands and products with a healthy lifestyle, by identifying opportune events to participate in and activities that will best define and communicate the organization’s mission.

Jul
24

Why Your Clients May Not Be Shifting Weight

1992191 - Copy

What To Do When Some Clients Just Don’t Lose the Weight.

Are you clients stuck?  Has a client ever told you that no matter what he or she does, they are just not losing weight? They are on the same dietary suggestions that your other client is on. You train them the same way, yet they just don’t seem to be shifting enough.  Besides struggling with fat loss, some even lack energy and complain of not feeling up to par.  You are puzzled and frustrated as a trainer, because you see how hard they work. You do feel that they are eating well and are being honest, yet you see for yourself that the weight is just not budging, nor is there any shift in body composition.

I get it because I have been there too. Before studying naturopathy, I used to shake my head in amazement, thinking for sure that my struggling clients were not being true to themselves and were just simply closet eaters.  I now know better and would like to share this knowledge with you.

First a personal story. Years ago, when I was competing in natural (drug tested) body building competitions, I seemed to struggle more than a few of my colleagues with losing those last few pounds (especially around the belly). I was following the typical body building diet–high amounts of lean protein, no fruit or refined sugars, some low glycemic vegetables, some carbs and good fats.  The point that I want to emphasize with this type of “diet”, is that I was eating small meals throughout the day. I must say that I looked pretty good, but I did not feel great most of the time. I was constipated for the first time in my life. This period of up and down stomach issues, combined with losing my mother quite suddenly, led me to search out a naturopath for personal growth and awareness. I was so enlightened with what I learned about our miraculous bodies, that I decided to go back to school and become a naturopathy practitioner.

2022180Contrary to the popular belief that we are what we eat … we are NOT. We are what we DIGEST and actually, we can even take it another step and say that we are what we eat … eats.

Digestion is the process used to convert protein into amino acids, carbohydrates into glucose, and fats into fatty acids. Cells are microscopic, so they can’t absorb big structures – they can only absorb the elements found within these converted structures. It is not until protein, carbohydrates and fats are broken down that vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are released into the blood stream.

Understanding Digestion

For the sake of this blog, I am going to only focus on protein digestion … why? Because everyone is overly concerned about protein and too many trainers emphasize protein with their clients when in reality, most people have a hard time digesting protein and here is why.

The breakdown of protein into amino acids takes place in the stomach. The stomach has two functions to perform once the food arrives. First, it acts like a blender. The powerful muscles of the stomach squeeze and release the food into what we call “chyme”.  Think of it as an internal smoothie. This action takes place only in the stomach, so if you see undigested food in your stool, it indicates the stomach walls are weak. Although some foods, such as corn, do not break down, beware if you see broccoli, mushroom, or potato pieces in the toilet.

2022193The second function of the stomach is to produce hydrochloric acid (HCL), peptides and intrinsic factors. For a protein to break down, the stomach cells need to produce HCL and this is where many people suffer. Many people do not produce a good quality HCL making protein digestion difficult.

When the food enters the stomach, the body has already started to produce gastrin (a hormone that stimulates production of HCL). As the gastrin begins to move into the bloodstream, it signals the release of HCL and the other gastric juices needed, to convert protein into amino acids.

The chyme then leaves the stomach and enters into the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum. This is another important stage of digestion as these acids coming from the stomach need to be alkalized before further digestion can take place.

The liver, gallbladder and pancreas, all have digestive secretions needed to make the chyme alkaline. The liver makes bile (an alkaline mineral needed to alkalize the chyme) and stores it in the gallbladder. The longer the bile remains in the gallbladder, the more concentrated it becomes. Most livers never have a chance to concentrate their bile because people eat far too much acidic (cooked) food. And when we eat every three to four hours, the liver does not have time to process what it has already received. This is toxic for the liver. Added to this, I want to say that for the liver to make a “good quality bile”, it requires minerals such as sulphur, sodium and chloride, yet most diets are deficient in these minerals.

If a diet is deficient in minerals, we experience digestive problems.

Digestion should take place with ease. As a naturopath, we do not see this happening in most people today. Instead, we see gas, bloating, constipation, bowel issues, intolerances, etc. There is much more I can add to the path of digestion. It is a huge process, but for the sake of this blog, I want to focus on a few points that could be hampering your clients from progressing and seeing results in their programs.

When digestion, the first pillar of health, is weak, absorption is compromised and cells become hypo active. This means they do not have enough nutrients to do their work.  If the thyroid gland doesn’t have enough nutrients, then it cannot do it’s job properly.  The job of the thyroid gland is to create a hormone called thyroxin which regulates body temperature which is the rate of which the body burns calories.  Some people call this metabolism and say that their slow metabolism is to blame when in reality, it’s the poor digestion and lack of nutrients.   All of these compounding issues will lead to none-weight loss.

Now You Know, What Do You Do?

As a trainer, the first thing you can do if you see a client stuck in their progress is ask a few questions about how they feel after eating.  They might not be thinking about it. Often, I see clients who are so used to the way they feel, they don’t realize it is not right.

Here are some sample questions you may ask:

  • Do you feel like your food is just sitting in your belly?
  • Do you ever feel bloated?1957620
  • Do you ever feel tired?
  • Are you burping?
  • How is your elimination?
  • Do you see undigested food?
  • Are your stools too loose, too hard?

These are all signs that digestion is weak.

Referring your clients out to a licensed naturopath can be the best way for you to get your clients out of their rut if they are stuck!

To find out more, check out France Michaelson’s soon-to-be-released book.  Let’s Practice Health. Learn Why Your Gut is the CEO of Your Health.

About the Author

Frances Michaelson, N.D.Based in the West Island of Montreal, Frances Michaelson, N.D. is author of several publications including her upcoming book, Let’s Practice Health: Learn Why Your Gut Is the CEO of Your Health.

With over three decades of experience and a broad knowledge base, Frances is widely recognized as a leader in the health and fitness field. She is the former owner of Muscleup Inc., an exercise product distribution company, which she founded and operated for over 20 years. Frances is a licensed naturopath in Quebec and has been a personal trainer for the past 17 years. She is also an avid health and fitness blogger and a frequent conference presenter.  She can be found on her website www.livethewow.ca

Live the Wow

Jul
17

Total Gym Strength Training for the Over 40s

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Understanding Your Demographic – Teaching Total Gym Strength Training to Your 40+ Clients

We all know that as we age our body changes, and the need for strength training and overall fitness becomes ever more important for a higher quality of life and long term durability.  But as a fitness professional, we do not always understand this concept to most effectively service our over 40 clients.

5 components of wellness for the 40+ age group

A comprehensive program for overall wellness in our 40+ clients should include:

  • Strength training
  • Cardiovascular training
  • Mobility (increasing range of motion)
  • Nutrition
  • Supplementation

As a 40+ person myself, I can speak from personal experience that ALL those areas are important, not just one or two.  Here’s why:

The body drops muscle mass at a rate of 1% per year after the age of 40, so the need to create and implement an overall strength training program is vital to support the kinetic chain and maintain muscle on a person’s frame.

Why Strength Training Works

To feel strong physically transfers over into all parts of life.  Endorphins released after training can boost self esteem, self confidence and an overall feeling of well being. Performing daily tasks becomes easier and doesn’t require as much energy compared to someone who does not strength train.

Best Total Gym Strength Training Exercises

I will focus on 7 primary movements as a foundation for the strength program on a Total Gym machine. They include plank, hinge,  pull, push, rotate, squat and lunge.  Plank and hinge are not specific exercises, but rather are the foundation for the major strength movements for the program. Plank – this is the foundation for all movements.   Hinge – the ability to flex and extend at the spine is vital to safe and efficient movement and also to avoid injury.

Reps and sets – all exercises- 3 sets with a reverse pyramid design of 5/6/8 reps.  Drop 10% of the weight for consecutive sets.

See video for demonstration.

squat

Squat

Squat – The position offers partial weight bearing closed chain exercises as well as dynamic cable exercises for both upper and lower body muscle groups.  The incline plane provides optimal intensity levels to develop power in the lower extremities with closed kinetic chain plyo-metric exercises.

Upright Prone - Pull Up A

Pull-Up

Pull Up – The LAT bars are used to provide partial weight bearing exercises for the back, shoulders and arms.  This allows any client to perform a pull up exercises.  The lower intensity is also ideal for developing power in the upper body by incorporating plyo-metric exercise variations.

Chest Press

Chest Press

Chest Press – This position provides training and conditioning of the anterior shoulders, chest and arms.  Trunk stabilization is integrated into the exercises, as the upper body is upright and unsupported.

Inverted Shoulder Press

Inverted Shoulder Press

Inverted Shoulder Press – This position provides training and conditioning for the shoulders, arms and trunk.  With the inverted body position, the degree of incline will inversely affect the strength and stability components of the plank and push up exercises.  A lower incline emphasizes proximal stability whereas a higher incline emphasizes upper body strength.

Seated Lateral - Toroso Rotation A

Shoulder Rotation

Seated Lateral Shoulder (Cable) Rotation – This position provides training and conditioning of the truck, shoulders, chest and arms.  The line of pull provides a transverse plane resistance with a constant challenge to lateral trunk stability.

Lunge

Lunge

Lunges with external weight (med ball, dumbbells, kettle bells). – This position provides functional stability and balance challenges to the entire body while strengthening and conditioning the lower body.

Knowing your clients’ needs and wants is vital to helping people achieve their fitness goals.  Staying true to the initial intent and purpose of a workout program will sustain a client/trainer relationship and provide results for the client.

With the 40+ age group, keeping that perspective in mind is the best way to being an effective and trustworthy fitness professional.

About the Author

Neil MallisonNeil Mallinson is a Master GRAVITY Instructor, Master TRX Instructor and holds numerous certifications through NSCA and NASM, and has presented domestically and internationally for decades.

He studied Kinesiology and Sports Medicine at the University of Maryland College Park and specializes in sports performance training with a focus on mobility and recovery.  The ability to change a person’s life through fitness education and living a healthy lifestyle are what keeps Neil passionate.

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