Skinny for the Summer

Spring is here! And while it might not feel like it at the moment, we will soon put away our jackets and shed all of our layers for clothing that shows off our figures. Now is the perfect time to start thinking about your diet and exercise routine and to get back into shape for the beach!

To get into shape, you need to eat right AND exercise. One cannot exist without the other. Rather than obsesses about crazy workouts or counting calories, the most important change you can make to promote weight loss is to alter your environment and your habits in order to make weight loss and health second nature. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, “the key to changing habits is to understand how change really occurs. And for the most part, it occurs by design, not by accident or wishful thinking. It occurs by transforming the unconscious choices we make every day, shifting them so that the automatic, easy, default choices become healthy choices, not deadly ones.”

The old adage, “you are what you eat,” hits the bull’s eye when discussing diet. While the amount of food is important, the types of foods we eat are just as important.  Sugar is toxic, and it is very important to limit foods with extra sugar in order to see weight change.  Many people have food cravings and find change to be extremely difficult.  As stated before, in order to change your eating habits, you must change your environment. Do not keep candy, chips, and sugary items in your house. Place fruits and nuts within easy reach. Make fruit more accessible by cutting it up and displaying it. Do not go to the sections of the grocery store where you may be tempted to buy unhealthy items, and avoid restaurants or shops where you have a weakness for their unhealthy choices. Serve meals in portions and put away leftovers, and use smaller plates to eat less. Find new recipes online and keep condiments handy in the house to flavor food. Also, plan your food and snacks in advance so you never have to “cheat” and so you are never left hungry and have to grab something unhealthy. Change is possible if you have a plan!

Similarly, you need to have a plan for exercise. Make sure to set aside time to go to the gym and workout. Make it a priority and schedule it into your calendar. Exercise should be easy, so find your obstacles to working out and create a solution to them!  Also remember that cardio is not enough to change your body; resistance training is necessary to boost your metabolism, increase muscle mass, and burn fat. Work with a personal trainer to learn how to safely exercise and have him make you a routine to follow. Change your current habits and start your routine to see results!

It is all about having the motivation, ability and a trigger to change. We live in an unhealthy world, so we need to create our own healthy environment and design it to make it easy to do the right thing. That is how we create health, and it is the key to success in weight loss and transformation of mind and body.

The Negative Effects of Gatorade

Gatorade has long been a popular sports drink, especially for kids. It is marketed as an electrolyte replacement drink for athletes.  Electrolytes are substances that contain free ions and conduct electricity1.  In the human body, electrolytes are responsible for regulating nerve and muscle function, blood pH, hydration, blood pressure, and damaged tissue repair1.  Some examples of electrolytes that are in our bodies are sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride1.  The levels of electrolytes in our blood change when water levels in our body change, for example, during altered hydration status1.   When we sweat, we lose mostly sodium and potassium, and they must be replaced in order to maintain the proper balance in our bodies1.  According to ACSM, two pounds of sweat contain an average of 800 mg of sodium (ranges between 200-1600 mg) and 200 mg of potassium (ranges between 120—600 mg)2.

Gatorade has three different lines of sports drinks: G2, Gatorade Protein Recover, and Gatorade Thirst Quencher.  All Gatorade products have a list of difficult-to-pronounce-ingredients, and many of these ingredients are forms of sugar or artificial sweeteners.  In fact, sugar is the second ingredient after water; the ingredient list on a food label lists the ingredients in descending order of prominence and weight.  Therefore, Gatorade products are mostly sugar and water.  In fact, Gatorade Thirst Quencher has a whopping 14 g of sugar, coming mostly from sucrose syrup and glucose-fructose syrup. “The American Heart Association recommends that no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance come from added sugars.  For most American women, this is no more than 100 calories per day and no more than 150 per day for men (or about 6 teaspoons a day for women and 9 teaspoons a day for men)3.”   This is about 24g of sugar for women and 36g of sugar for men.

Excessive sugar in the diet can be very bad for your health, and it is important to try to limit the amount of added sugar in your diet.  Sugar that is naturally occurring in fruit and milk is perfectly fine; it is the added sugars that need to be decreased.  Consumers need to beware because sugars are hidden in many different kinds of foods, such as salad dressings and crackers4.

One negative consequence of excessive sugar intake is weight gain and obesity.  Sugar is very calorie dense, and as stated before, it is added to numerous foods and drinks4. Additionally, eating a lot of sugary foods displaces more nutritious foods in the diet, and these foods don’t provide the same satiety as healthful foods, and therefore cause overeating4.  A second issue with added sugars is that they increase the risk for higher triglycerides, lower HDL, and higher HDL, which contribute to an increased risk of coronary heart disease4. Lastly, sugar contributes to tooth decay4.

The G2 line of Gatorade has fewer calories and less sugar; but it does have sugar alcohols instead.  Sugar alcohols are a type of reduced-calorie sweetener5 that provides fewer calories than regular sugar.  They do increase blood sugar levels, but less dramatically than regular sugar5.  On a positive note, they do not cause tooth decay. Sugar alcohols can have some negative GI side effects, such as bloating and diarrhea6

Another huge problem with Gatorade is the amount of food additives and colorings added to the products.  For example, one additive is monopotassium phosphate, which is not only used as a food additive, but also a as a fertilizer and fungicide7.  It is a bit scary to be ingesting an ingredient used to fertilize plants.  Additionally some flavors of Gatorade contain brominated vegetable oil (BVO), a food additive used as an emulsifier in drinks with citrus flavoring10.  Bromine – part of BVO – is an element found in flame retardants9!  Some research shows that it may build up in the body leading to thyroid problems, memory loss, and skin and nerve problems9.  It has been banned in Japan and Europe10.  In January 2013, Pepsico announced they had plans to remove BVO from Gatorade; however, there are no current plans to remove it from Mountain Dew10.

Gatorade is also filled with many food coloring, such as blue 1 and red 40.  Many studies have showed a link between children and hyperactivity due to food additives11.  In fact, 35 years of research has shown that many children with ADHD show significant improvement in their symptoms when they eliminate artificial food colors from their diet12.

Many popular athletes endorse Gatorade and some may use it to replace electrolytes during sporting events and training.  Gatorade isn’t completely bad; it does replace sodium and potassium and help restore electrolyte balance and hydration status.  Athletes are paid to endorse products, and they may not do their due diligence to find better and healthier alternatives.

A Better Alternative:

If you are looking for an electrolyte replacement drink, there are better alternatives available.  Thorne Performance, a line of supplements geared towards athletes and their needs, has created, Catalyte, an electrolyte and energy restoration complex.  Catalyte is all-natural and does not contain calories, sugar, additives, or caffeine. It is also gluten and soy free.  Catalyte comes in a lemon lime flavor and the product is easy to mix.  In fact, the Catalyte powder formula contains vitamins and minerals that, when mixed with pure water, makes a tasty electrolyte supplement that helps repair and rebuild muscle.

 

References:

  1. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153188.php
  2. sportsmd.com/SportsMD_Articles/id/395.aspx
  3. http://www.rivercityraces.com/files/user/Electrolyte_Replacement.pdf
  4. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Frequently-Asked-Questions-About-Sugar_UCM_306725_Article.jsp
  5. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/sugar-alcohols.html
  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_alcohol
  7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopotassium_phosphate
  8. http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/2323-sugar-bad.html
  9. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bvo/AN02200
  10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brominated_vegetable_oil
  11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22864801
  12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21127082

Fast Food…The Fast Track to Poor Health

Fast food is extremely prevalent in the United States. It is synonymous with the American lifestyle, undeniably as American as apple pie. By definition, fast food is food that can be prepared and served very quickly. Usually, the food is pre-cooked, re-heated and served in a packaged form to take-out. Even though most people know that fast food is unhealthy, it has become part of our busy lifestyles because it is affordable, tasty, and convenient. Every day, 25% of the US population eats some sort of fast food. In 2012, the fast food industry generated total revenues of $195 billion U.S. dollars in more than 300,000 restaurants.

Unfortunately, there are many negative effects associated with consuming a diet filled with fast food. Generally, the foods come in large portion sizes that are high in calories, trans fat, saturated fat, salt, sugar, and additives. Additionally, they often lack vitamins and minerals. Fast food is representative of a dietary pattern that is the complete opposite of what is recommended for a healthy body. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans reports that these poor eating habits create nutritional deficiencies and weight gain. These nutritional deficiencies can put your metabolism under stress and cause fatigue and lack of energy. Fast food does not contain adequate amounts of protein or good carbohydrates, and it doesn’t contain the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.

Repeatedly eating at McDonald’s or KFC makes it more likely that people will gain weight and become obese. This is because fast food contains many more calories and fat than traditional food. On average, fast food meals contain over 1000 calories, which is about half the recommended daily caloric intake for men and women. Fat levels are also high; hamburgers with multiple beef patties, cheese, bacon and mayonnaise may exceed the 65 milligrams fat limit, which is recommended by the USDA for one day. If you routinely consume more calories than you expend, you will gain weight. High caloric foods contribute to weight gain and obesity and can cause many health problems as well as shorten life spans. In fact, a recent study found that a person’s BMI (body mass index) increases by .03 every time he or she consumes a fast food meal. Obesity is linked with many co-morbidities, such as heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, sleep apnea and asthma. Fast food is wreaking havoc on our children. Our kids are being set up for a lifetime of health problems. Currently, roughly one out of every three children in the U.S. is now overweight or obese. Extra weight affects a person’s overall health, and when obesity begins in childhood, the child is faced with a lifelong struggle with weight and health issues.

Another negative effect of consuming fast food is its effect on heart health. Fast foods contain high amounts of salt and cholesterol; in fact, American sodium intake comes mostly from processed foods and restaurant foods. Increased salt intake is linked with high blood pressure. Excessive dietary sodium can also have a negative effect on renal function, even leading to kidney disease. Too much cholesterol can cause plaque build-up in the arteries, called atherosclerosis. This condition can lead to stroke, heart attack and death. Additionally, many types of fast food contain oxidized fat, which is very dangerous to our blood vessels and can cause problems with circulation. This can cause plaque formation and lead to atherosclerosis as well.

Diabetes can be another consequence of fast food consumption. When you regularly consume too much refined sugar, there can be permanent negative effects on blood sugar levels. Beverages such as milk shakes and soda have high sugar content. According to the USDA, chocolate shakes have 62 grams of sugar, and colas have 44 grams, in 16-oz. servings. Fast food coleslaw, French toast sticks and even cheeseburgers also contain significant amounts of sugar.

Fast food intake is also linked to liver disease. The extra calories and fat take a toll on the liver because the liver is responsible for processing fats in the blood. The excessive fat and calories overload the liver and fat builds up in the liver cells causing liver damage. The liver is capable of regenerating itself; it is a very resilient organ. However, years of eating fast food may cause build up that can’t be reversed, similar to what happens in atherosclerosis.

Interestingly, fast food has also been negatively correlated to performance. High fat intake may lead to difficulties concentrating and poor cognitive function. Research also links fast food to depression. People who regularly eat fast food are 51% more likely to develop signs of depression. Some research also suggests that fast food may be addictive. Further, excessive fast food intake is a risk for Alzheimer’s Disease. The list goes on.

Our bodies were never designed to cope with the high-energy dense foods consumed in the West, which is contributing to the obesity epidemic. There are many healthy “fast” options that we can fit into our busy lifestyles. Supermarkets are filled with pre-made sandwiches and salads, Greek yogurt, cut up vegetables and ready to eat fruit. We only have one life to live, and if we make the right choices, we can reap the benefits of taking care of our body and our minds. Fast food should be eaten in moderation, and should only be a small part of a healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.

How to Reduce Your Risk of a Heart Attack

Heart attacks are the number one killer of both men and women each year in the United States. A heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs when a blood clot develops in one the blood vessels (coronary arteries) that lead to the heart. This blockage can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle. A heart attack is not the same thing as cardiac arrest, which is when the heart suddenly stops. Symptoms of a heart attack vary and may include: pressure, pain, or tightness in the heart, feeling of indigestion, heartburn, or abdominal pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, lightheadedness, sweating, feelings of anxiety, and trouble sleeping.

Heart attacks can be caused by numerous factors. The most common cause is a build-up of plaque in the arteries, called atherosclerosis. Plaque is a sticky substance that originates from cholesterol and other substances. When this build- up causes the coronary artery to narrow, it leads to a condition called coronary artery disease. The plaque that is built up in the arteries can rupture and spill into the bloodstream causing a clot, which can block the flow of blood to the heart. Other causes of heart attacks include spasms in the coronary artery, commonly caused by drugs like cocaine, tears in the artery, and small blood clots and tumors.

There are many risk factors for a heart attack that can be decreased or eliminated through dietary modification and exercise. Common risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes, family history of heart attack, lack of physical activity, obesity, stress, illegal drug use, and a history of preeclampsia. Males over the age of 45 are also at higher risk.

Adopting a heart healthy diet is the most important thing you can do to prevent a heart attack. This includes eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lean meats. The diet should be low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars, and high in protein antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Avoid processed foods and eat fish two times per week to get omega-3 fatty acids. Take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement if you cannot consume enough fish.

Exercise is another important factor to minimize your risk of having a heart attack. The heart is a muscle and gets stronger through exercise. Find something you enjoy, develop a routine, and do it regularly. Adequate sleep, which is about 8 hours per night, has also been shown to positively effect your blood pressure and your heart.

To further decrease your risk of a heart attack, it is important to decrease your LDL cholesterol. This can be lowered through exercise, cessation of smoking, and a healthy diet low in fat and high in fiber. It is also important to lower your blood pressure through a low salt-low fat diet, decreased alcohol intake, exercising, and smoking cessation. When dietary interventions are not enough, prescription medications such as statins and diuretics can be used to lower cholesterol and blood pressure respectively.

The key to heart health is diet and exercise. February is heart health month, the perfect time to start your heart-healthy diet and exercise program.

Benefits of Exercise

You Think I’m Doing This for My Health???  Actually, Yes!!!

It is common knowledge that exercising has many health benefits, yet according to the Center of Disease Prevention, over half the US population does not exercise; only 48% of adults meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines.  This is mind-boggling, considering how physical activity positively effects health and improves quality of life.

Physical activity affects both the mind and body.  From a physical standpoint, it helps prevent many diseases and health conditions.  For example, exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, and stroke.  Additionally, studies show that physical activity is associated with lower incidences of colon, breast, and lung cancer.  Weight-bearing exercises strengthen bones and help prevent osteoporosis.

With proper diet, exercise can also help combat obesity.  When you exercise, you burn calories.  One pound is 3500 calories; so in order to lose one pound a week, one must have a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day.  Burning calories through exercise and physical activity helps reach this goal.

Besides weight loss, exercise through strength training can change body composition and tone muscles.  Also, certain physical activity can help alleviate arthritis pain by improving functional ability and joint mobility.

Exercise also has positive mental benefits.  Research shows that cardiovascular exercise aids in stress reduction.  Additionally, exercise can improve mood by decreasing stress, tension, fatigue, and anger. It also helps decrease depression and anxiety and has a positive influence on self-esteem.  When you look and feel better, you are happier and your confidence tends to increase.

Working out can help improve memory, both in adults and children.  This is because of an increased production of cells in the hippocampus section of the brain, which is responsible for learning and memory.  Furthermore, exercise appears to enhance creativity up to 2 hours after a workout.

Research shows that exercise increases productivity.  Those who exercise regularly seem to have more energy and are able to get more done.

Research shows that some physical activity is better than none and the benefits of exercising exceed the possible complications involved.  The Guidelines suggest 60 minutes of physical activity per day for both adults and children.  Additionally, the higher intensity, more frequent and longer duration the exercise, the more benefit that is derived.  Benefits usually occur with 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week and two days a week of muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups.

Weighted Vests

Gyms and fitness center are loaded with machines and equipment; there are balls, bars, free weights, balance discs, and all sorts of gadgets for the exerciser to choose from.  Sometimes it is hard to know the benefits of using one piece of equipment over another.  Weighted vests are tools that have become popular for a variety of fitness activities.  However, many people are not sure how or why to use weighted vests.

Weighted vests are heavy vests worn over the torso, which have varying amounts of resistance.  The most common weights are 20 pounds and 50 pounds.  The purpose of a weighted vest is to increase the intensity of a workout.  Since more weight is added to the body, the body is forced to work harder, which causes increased muscle mass and fat burning.  Vests are versatile; they are used for resistance training, weight loss, cardio benefits, and variation.

First, vests supplement resistance training and increase performance. Resistance exercise, or strength training, increases the strength and mass of muscles. This was demonstrated by a research study at Texas Tech University, where a group of athletes wearing vests were compared to those not wearing vests. They found that the group wearing vests had substantially better results with their resistance training .

Next, weighted vests intensify aerobic workouts, thereby increasing the number of calories burned and promoting weight loss.  A study in The European Journal of Applied Physiology showed this increased cardio effect by looking at a group of distance runners wearing a 50 lb weighted versus those without added weight.  Those wearing the vest had improvements in their VO2 max and lactate thresholds, both of which affect endurance exercise.

Further, using a vest can change up an exercise routine.  Our bodies adapt to the same patterns of movement, and it becomes harder to see a change when we repeatedly do the same exercises in the same routine.  By wearing a vest, we provide variation to our normal routine.  This will challenge our bodies so that we can continue to see results.

Another benefit from exercising with a vest is improved bone density.  Several small studies show that the extra load from a weighted vest can help build bones.  One four-year study on postmenopausal women showed increased bone density when a weighted vest was used during stair climbing.

Weighted vests have many benefits, but it is important to remember they should be used in moderation.    When first wearing a vest, a low amount of weight should be used and it should never exceed more than 20% of an individual’s body weight.  Too much weight may negatively affect the joints, muscles, and bones.  It should also be worn tightly secured to the body to avoid any additional strain.  An individual may experience back pain if it isn’t strapped on properly or if the weight is not distributed evenly.  When wearing a weighted vest, the force upon landing is greater, increasing the risk of impact-related joint injury.  Also, flexibility is limited because the vest constricts some types of movements.  Lastly, there is a potential for overheating since the vest covers a large area of the body.

While there are many reasons to try using a weighted vest during a workout, it is important to remember that weighted vests are not for everyone.  A doctor or personal trainer should be consulted before it is added to any exercise routine.

Strength Training for Children

Strength training offers many benefits to all types of children and adolescents. Strength training is a type of exercise and conditioning that focuses on the use of resistance to build strength, endurance, and size of the skeletal muscles1.  When done properly, strength training can improve sports performance, protect against sports-related injuries, increase muscular strength and endurance, strengthen bones, promote healthy cholesterol and blood pressure, improve self-esteem, and help children maintain a healthy weight2.

There seems to be controversy surround the proper age a child can begin strength training and whether or not lifting weights is appropriate.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Sports Medicine  (ACSM) and the National Strength and Condition Association (NSCA) all support strength training for kids.  In fact, AAP stated that “appropriate strength-training programs have no apparent adverse effect on linear growth, growth plates, or the cardiovascular system2.”

According to Dr. Avery Faigenbaum, a renowned pediatric exercise scientist, there are many common myths that surround strength training.  The first is that strength training will stunt the growth of children. However, research does not support this myth and does not show decreased stature in children that engage in resistance exercise regularly.  Instead, this type of exercise has a positive effect on bone growth and development.  The second myth is that strength training is unsafe for children.  Actually, the risks of training are no greater than any other activity as long as there is qualified supervision and a safe training environment.  The third myth is that children cannot increase strength because they do not have enough testosterone.  However, testosterone is not needed to achieve strength gains, which is evidenced by strength gains in women and the elderly.  The last myth is that strength training is only for young athletes.  As discussed, strength training has a wide range of benefits and therefore is valuable to all boys and girls, whether involved in sports or not3.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics position on strength training supports the implementation of strength and resistance training programs, even for prepubescent children, that are monitored by well-trained adults and take into account the child’s maturation level.  The only limitation the AAP suggests is to avoid repetitive maximal lifts (lifts that are one repetition maximum lifts or are within 2-3 repetitions of a one repetition maximum lift) until they have reached Tanner Stage 5 of developmental maturity.  Tanner Stage 5 is the level in which visible secondary sex characteristics have been developed.  Usually, in this stage adolescents will also have passed their period of maximal velocity of height growth.  The AAP’s concern that children wait until this stage to perform maximal lifts is that the epiphyses, commonly called “growth plates”, are still very vulnerable to injury before this developmental stage. It is repeated injury to these growth plates that may hinder growth4.”

The NSCA offers these guidelines for strength-training programs:

  • An instructor-to-child ratio of at least 1 to 10 is recommended.
  • The instructor should have experience with kids and strength training.
  • When teaching a new exercise, the trainer should have kids perform the exercise under his or her supervision in a hazard-free, well-lit, and adequately ventilated environment.
  • Calisthenics and stretching exercises should be performed before and after strength training.
  • Kids should begin with one set of 8 to 15 repetitions of six to eight exercises that focus on the major muscle groups of the upper and lower body.
  • Kids should start with no load (resistance). When proper technique is mastered, a relatively light weight can be used with a high number of repetitions. Increase the weight as strength improves. Progression can also be achieved by increasing the number of sets (up to three) or types of exercises.
  • Two to three training sessions per week on nonconsecutive days is sufficient.

It’s important to remember that strength training should be one part of a total fitness program. It can play a vital role in keeping your child healthy and fit, along with aerobic exercise such as biking and running, which keeps the heart and lungs in shape5.

It is important to note that children should have a strong basic exercise foundation and have efficient movement patterns in order to develop strength and flexibility.  An ideal age to start strength training is 7-8 years old because balance and postural control skills have matured to adult levels.  Proper form, technique, and safety are keys to success, and therefore explosive and rapid lifting is not recommended because it is difficult to maintain proper form and perform exercises safely, which may stress body tissues2.

As for as sports specific training, a child athlete must master the basics, such as strength, balance, power, coordination and visual perception in order to improve athleticism. .   You cannot solely train specific skill, like throwing or swinging, for a specific sport.  The key is to improve strength, power, flexibility and speed through efficient movement patterns.  After a child become proficient in the basic skills, more specific skills can be introduced.  It is important to remember that flexibility is the key to preventing injury and stretching should not be neglected6.

In conclusion, strength training is safe for children and adolescents and should be incorporated into their exercise routine to increase both physical and mental performance.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strength_training
  2. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/121/4/835.full
  3. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/121/4/835.full
  4. http://www.strongkid.com/uploads/Myths.pdf
  5. http://www.protraineronline.com/exercise/strength-training-for-childrena-review-of-research-literature/
  6. http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/staying_fit/strength_training.html#
  7. http://www.todddurkin.com/the-best-exercises-for-youth-athletes/

All Trainers Are Not Created Equal

Most of the people that work with a trainer feel that their trainer is “the best.” I have never met anyone who doesn’t rave about his or her trainer, especially if he/she has been working with them for a substantial period of time. Part of the training experience is the camaraderie and trust formed between the trainer and his client, and the majority of people are very loyal.

However, putting friendship and personality aside, only a handful of personal trainers are truly competent and knowledgeable. As a result, many people get injured, and sometimes the client doesn’t even realize that their trainer is responsible. Many injuries are repetitive injuries, which are injuries that occur gradually over time due to frequent, repeated, unsafe movements.

The client may not even know that they are being injured! For example, one morning a person can wake up with his knee bothering him and he is unable to walk without pain. He may not remember doing anything the day before to cause the injury; in fact, this injury may have been happening gradually over a period of time. Therefore, a client may be ignorant to what is causing his ailment. Injuries may be caused by improper form, unsafe exercises, or lack of knowledge about anatomy and how the body works. Clients need to be able to evaluation their trainers objectively; you cannot assume that all gyms are hiring qualified, competent trainers.

Currently, in order to become a personal trainer, intensive training or education is NOT required. All that is required is a certification that is accredited that the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCAA); for example, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), NFPT (National Federation of Personal Trainers and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). Most gyms require that their trainers are certified, but NOT all do! Make sure that your trainer is certified and that he attends seminars and takes continuing education courses to stay current.

The body is a complex machine, and it is important that a trainer understands proper mechanics to avoid injury, especially if the client has pre-existing conditions. A trainer should perform an initial evaluation and obtain a health history so that he may target weak areas and avoid aggravating an injury or condition that is already present. The evaluation should include testing flexibility, balance, core strength, muscle strength and endurance, and proprioception. Your trainer should be able to explain why he is choosing certain exercises and how they benefit you. He should also be knowledgeable in functional training, which is training for daily activities or a specific goal. Additionally, your trainer should be able to use the initial assessment to design a tailor-made workout program for each individual. There is no one-size-fits-all personal training.

There are many benefits to using a personal trainer rather than working out on your own. Choose wisely, because not all trainers are created equal. Do your due diligence and do your research to ensure you get the results that you want.

Circuit Training for a New You

Circuit training is a type of interval training that incorporates a series of strength and/or cardio exercises with little or no rest between sets. It increases your heart rate while simultaneously strengthening your muscles using a combination of resistance training and high-intensity aerobics. This combination of weight training and cardiovascular work makes circuit training a valuable way to exercise.

One “circuit” consists of a set of prescribed exercises performed in order with little rest between each exercise. The circuit is then repeated one to several times. Many different exercise stations can be incorporated into circuit training. Usually, stations alternate between muscle groups so little rest is needed. To increase cardiovascular endurance in circuit training, brief bouts of high intensity aerobic exercise, like jumping rope, can be incorporated. The exerciser gains muscle through the resistance training, while she/he simultaneously increases cardiovascular endurance as a slightly elevated heart rate is maintained throughout the entire program.

There are many advantages to circuit training. First, it is fun and brings change and excitement to routine workouts. There are endless numbers of exercises you can add to each circuit to change it up and make it more interesting. This type of workout also burns more calories than doing cardio alone as you maintain an elevated heart rate throughout the whole exercise routine. Additionally, circuit training is a practical solution for those with time constraints as it allows you to combine cardio and muscular fitness together in one session. Further, you can set up as many stations and exercises as you want, to either shorten or lengthen your workout. Another benefit to circuit training is that it is portable and convenient. It can be done at home, outside, or in the gym with minimal equipment. You can do use bodyweight to perform pushups, planks and lunges for strengthening and use stairs and jump ropes for cardio stations anywhere and at any time.

If you are looking for a new routine to help you lose weight and increase muscle mass, circuit training may help you achieve your goals. Circuit training is fun and is a great way to challenge your body, whether you are just beginning an exercise program or are a seasoned athlete.

December Gym Specials!!

Give The Gift Of Fitness This Holiday Season

December 2015 SpecialFor Them:
Receive 20% Off Any Training Package* Or Annual Membership
You Purchase For A Friend or Loved One

For You:
For Every Gift Certificate You Purchase, Receive 1 Complimentary Training Sessions

*Offer only valid for 10 pack training packages
** Offer valid through December 31, 2015