Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Myth Buster: No Muscle Sorness Means Bad Workout


By Ron McDonald Jr. - CPT

I was recently asked by a client "Why my muscles aren't getting as sore after recent workouts. Does that mean I didn't have a good workout?" This seems to be a common misconception as people tend to equate muscle soreness with workout effectiveness. I guess all that heavy breathing, sweat, crying, and funny walking during and afterwards isn't enough anymore. Huh?

The truth is that muscle sorness isn't a good indicator of a good workout. Muscle soreness generally occurs when you make your muscles do something that they just aren't used to doing or haven't done in a while. When you first start working out you will experience the most soreness. Forget about the next day... you were probably sore for the entire next week! But then as your body gradually gets more accustomed to what you're doing, your body gradually experiences less and less muscle soreness until it reaches the point where you are barely sore or even not sore at all. In addition it also has a lot to do with the specific activity such as resistance training where you will generally get more soreness do to the demand and stress on the muscle fibers, specific in the lengthening phase of the muscle. However remember the goal in the workout is to burn calories, elevate metabolism, and make progress, not to get sore. I mean if you want to get sore - just find a brick wall and run into it a couple of times. Now is that a good workout. I don't think so.

So, muscle soreness is not a indicator of a good or bad workout. It just indicates that you did something different in some way. Use other way to gauge your progress such as body fat analysis, a mirror, those jeans you are trying fit into, pictures, circumference measurements and/or workout log to judge whether or not what you're doing is actually working.

Good try though at getting out of your the next workout, but I will see you at the gym. Oh you want soreness do you...

Be Well.

***

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Are You Feeding the Fire?


By Ron McDonald Jr - CPT

Are you going through the day on limited fuel? Are you constantly putting new logs on the fire in a timely fashion throughout the day? If not then it may be time to strike another match to get that fire going. When I refer to "fire" I am speaking about your metabolism. I like to use the analogy that your metabolism is like a fireplace.

Your metabolism is very similar to a fireplace, in that if you don't put logs in the fire consistently over the course of a day, then it will mostly likely lower to a small simmer or much worst totally blow out.

What most people don't realize is that the human body is really a fat storage machine; And it is very good at it. This may come as a shock to many of you, but it is true. And the real kicker is guess where it likes to store all this fat - ladies and gentlemen. In the hips and thighs for most women and in the belly for most men. This further shows the importance of understanding how your body will respond to what you put in it.

This solidifies the importance of knowing how our body responds to what we put into it. You have to mentally decide to maintain a healthy body, because the body is NOT going to do it on its own. For example, if you are not active, and do not eat properly, what is going to happen? You are going to store more fat, right? So how do we solve this problem.

Here are some simple ways to rev up your own metabolism to achieve the results you desire in your fitness program:

  1. Don't even think about skipping breakfast
    When you wake up in the morning from that wonderful beauty sleep, rested or not, your metabolism is running at the lowest gear of the entire day. Your body is basically running on fumes! By eating something your body cranks into gear and metabolically starts working at a higher rate. That shower may wake up you up, but that breakfast wakes up your metabolism.

  2. Do not skip meals!
    You should be eating every 3 hours. When you eat your body has to digest food, by breaking it down into a usable form. This is called the Thermal Effect of Food or TEF for shorts. What does this mean to you? It means that eating burns calories. So the goal is for you to eat a combo of high-fiber carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats every three hours, in portions that are correct for your size and activity level. When it comes to the number of meals, less is not more. In fact, more meals, means more calories burned, so eat wisely, but eat up.

  3. Have a lean source of protein with every meal.
    What has the highest (TEF) of them all? Protein! When you eat protein, it is like throwing gasoline on a fire. By including a lean protein source with every meal you give a little extra spark to your metabolic power. When choosing your protein, remember the saying: "The less legs the better." Fish have no legs and are a lean and healthy source of protein. Turkey and chicken have two legs - take off the skin and don't fry it and you have a fabulous source of protein. With anything that is or comes from an animal with four legs, be selective. Lean cuts of red meat and low-fat or non-fat dairy are the best options.

Just some simple strategies to get your fire (metabolism) firing on all cylinders. However, I think that simple strategies are the secret to a healthy lifestyle. To me its all about keeping it simple. If you can incorporate these simple techniques into your weight management program, you will on your way to success and a metabolism thats on fire. Its super simple.

"Make Up Your Mind; To Make Your Body"

Be Well.

***

Monday, August 11, 2008

Exercise of the Week: Body Row

Image Courtesy of Fitness Generator

PREPARATION
Adjust bar at waist height on power rack. Lie on back and position body under bar so that bar is directly over chest region.

STARTING POSITION
  • Grasp bar with overhand grip (palms facing forward) and shoulder width apart.
  • Elbows should be facing forward
  • Backside of body off the floor
  • Only the heels are together in contact with ground

PROCEDURE

  • Pull chest up to the bar on a 2 second count focusing on pulling elbows behind you.
  • Lower yourself slowly on 4 second count to return to start position
  • Beginners: 8-10 reps / Moderate: 12-15 reps / Advance: 20-25 reps.

COACHING POINTS

  • Do not let hips drop during movement - activate glutes and abdominals.
  • Modify this movement by bending knees and placing feet flat on the ground.

TARGET MUSCLES

  • This is a total body exercise targeting the upper body. Specifically the muscles of the upper back around the shoulder blades.
  • In addition it will demand stability and control from the glutes and core musculature.

Be Well.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Myth Buster: If I eat late I will gain weight...

Body fat doesn't have a watch, so how does it know what time it is? This idea that if you eat after 6 or 8 o'clock at night you will just inevitably start storing fat, because that is the perceived "fat storage cut off point". This couldn't be further from the truth. Unless your a "Gremlin" you shouldn't have to worry about eating after midnight.

The real issue, when it comes to late night eating, many people consume more calories because it has been too long since they have last eaten and they are very hungry. This does not mean eating before bed makes you gain weight. It confirms that eating too much makes you gain weight – an important difference. So if you haven't consumed the necessary daily calories for your bodies needs, by all means you should eat something. What you eat is just as important, as there are low quality foods and high quality foods, but the goal is to eat enough calories to support your bodies daily functions and activity. In addition no matter what time it is you should limit your consumption of high fat, high sugar, and high calorie foods.

What is most important to understand is that weight gain and weight loss occurs over a continuum (a period of time of weeks, months, years), and not hour by hour. Understand that the body doesn't stop working just because we your sleeping. Your heart is beating, blood is flowing, hormones are being released, and cells are dividing. So you are still burning calories overnight.

So please be advised that there isn't any special time on a clock where your body will store more fat. In addition the calories in the food do not all of a sudden get higher just because it is after 8pm. So what really matters is how many calories you eat and burn over the course of a day, week, and month. In the end the only thing that matters is calories in vs. calories out.

EDUCATION and SAFETY always leads to RESULTS.

Be Well.

***

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