Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Only Problem You'll Ever Have...


By Rono - ISSA-CFT, WITS-CPT
Certified Personal Trainer

Pointing the finger at something else or someone else seems be a competitive sport. With all this "reality" TV going around, it may be coming to a 24 hour sports or entertainment network near you. Who or what is really holding us back? On a regular basis I have these deep insightful questions that really intrigue me, like the previous question. The answer to that question is in the statement we hear early in our childhood somewhere - "when you point your finger at someone else, you have three pointed back at you".

With so many things wrong with the world today, there isn't any shortage of things to point at as the cause of our problems. It is rather easy actually and doesn't require any deep thought to point the finger somewhere else. We can blame fast food restaurants for their unhealthy food, instead of choosing something healthier. We can blame the TV networks for making so many wonderful shows (NOT), instead of just not watching. We can even blame it on the rain, instead of using an umbrella. Working with clients of all ages and background, I have encountered a plethora of different reasons (excuses) for why someone cannot reach their fitness or weight loss goals. Who is responsible for the food that enters your body? Who is responsible for the time you commit to exercise? Who is responsible? Are these tough questions? In my experience I have found that the biggest obstacle that you have to overcome is "yourself". The only problem you will ever have is "YOU". If are able to get out of your comfort zone, make better choices, and do something totally different - you might just surprise yourself and accomplished all that you aspire - maybe even more. I try to convey to my clients that this fitness lifestyle is all about the discovery. I have learned more about myself and what I am capable of then I ever knew before, since I became committed to a healthy lifestyle. I firmly believe that others can do the same if they get out of their own way. Stop blocking your own success.

So when it comes to reaching your fitness goals or any other goal you aspire towards - I suggest you start with the "mirror" and take a real look into the person that is reflected. Oh yeah go ahead and flex those muscles while your at it. If you can't see them, then I will see you at the gym. Right?

Be well.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Your Muscles Really Don’t Care...

By Rono - ISSA-CFT, WITS-CPT
Certified Personal Trainer

When it comes to selecting exercises or what pieces of equipment to use, it can be quite an overwhelming task. In the fitness world today you are bombarded with new technology or the latest and greatest fitness devices all the time promising exceptional or immediate results. Regardless of what you see or hear one thing to always remember is that your "muscles really don't care".

When you are in the gym as much as I am, you will hear stuff like “that’s a girl exercise” or "that exercise is for men" all the time. I could be wrong (doubt it), but the last time I checked, exercises are not categorized by gender and your muscles have no idea what exercise or what equipment that you are using at any particular time. Whether you are using free weights, machine-weights, doing yoga/Pilates, resistance-bands, medicine balls, body weight, or lifting furniture when it comes to your muscles “resistance is resistance”. Do you really think your muscles care whether you’re lifting a dumbbell, resistance band, or heavy box of books from the garage? The answer is "NO". The job of your muscles is contract rapidly in response to the signals from the central nervous system (CNS), in order to create movement or effective mechanical force. The force output of muscle is directly related to the stimulus it receives. Each of these tools has different advantages and disadvantages when applied to an exercise program such as convenience, affordability, and safety just to name a few. The truth is different pieces of fitness equipment are designed for different purposes. Use the machine, free weight, weighted space boot, or any other resistance, that best meets your fitness objectives. For example resistance bands give the muscle a constant resistance force throughout the exercise movement with various tensions requiring more control. Weights (i.e. dumbbells) give the muscle a constant resistance force throughout the movement, with little control required. Resistance bands can challenge your muscles in an entirely different way, in some cases more.

However, the 100% bottom line is your muscles will adapt to the stress it is put under no matter what equipment you use or exercise you perform. The objective is to get your muscles to be placed under enough stress for the right amount of time to make them bigger, stronger, and able to perform the required movements better. The most important point to remember about resistance training using any form of resistance; is that if your muscles do not receive more stress than what they are used to, they will not continue to adapt progressively.

So the next time you plan your workout, try something new and give your muscles a new stimulus. Adding new pieces of equipment, exercises, or movements to your fitness program will keep you motivated, help you reach your goals, and keep your fitness program from getting stale. The problem with your workout routine - could be that it is just that "routine". Oh yeah make sure the exercise, equipment, and movement is appropriate for your fitness level.


Be well.

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