4 Ways To Get In Shape For Summer

4 Ways To Get In Shape For Summer

The first days of summer mean the sun is coming out and it is time to reveal those abs, shoulders and arms. For some, it is a good thing and for others, there is room for improvement. Here are 4 effective ways to get in shape, and stay in shape, for the upcoming summer season.

Exercise at least 5 days per week

What do you need to get in the best shape of your life? 60 minutes of vigorous exercise at least 5 days per week. What about the other 2 days? Light activity is best to facilitate recovery and burn calories. If you get bored easily doing the same routine day in and day out, feel free to mix it up. On Monday, go for a long walk. Play tennis on Tuesday. Go for a swim at a local pool, take a long bike ride or hike on the other days. This should be enjoyable, don’t trap yourself into things you do not enjoy!

Make Sure You Are In A Calorie Deficit

People like to ignore this one, likely because it actually requires work. There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat. If you cut your calories by 500 calories per day, multiply that by 7 days and there is a 3500 calorie deficit! That 3500 calorie deficit would lead to 1 lb. of body fat lost. Combine this with exercise and you are almost guaranteed to win the fat against the fat covering up your midsection. The only variable is length of time it will take as some have more body fat than others.

Consult a Personal Trainer

Personal trainers devote themselves to being a better health and fitness expert everyday. Even in today’s times, you can now work with a trainer strictly online, virtually through platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype and even in person. Everyone needs accountability and trainers provide exactly that.

Lift Weights!

Lifting weights properly strengthens your musculoskeletal system and helps keep your bones strong. A strength training program is key in developing a strong, attractive looking body. Building muscle also helps you burn more calories, which in turn, helps you lose more weight!

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Arthritis and Injuries: Exercise Is Necessary

Arthritis and Injuries: Exercise Is Necessary

For many years, we believed people with arthritis or bone and joint pain should not exercise for fear of exacerbating the problem. However, we have found that those who battle with arthritis and injuries still need exercise. Many older adults experience arthritis from general wear and tear or repetitive movements. Sometimes, arthritis can develop from past joint injuries that never healed properly. Arthritis can be very painful to the point of not wanting to move or perform activities of daily living.

How Does Exercise Help My Injuries or Arthritis?

As the health and wellness industry began to learn more about arthritis, we found that decreasing your activity does not alleviate pain due to arthritis. We found that strengthening your muscles not only helped alleviate pain due to arthritis. It also helps strengthen your bones. Wolff’s Law states “a bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads under which it is placed.” (Wolff’s Law) Simply stated, in healthy people, strengthening your muscles can strengthen your bones.

As a Personal Trainer, I hear many people say they do not exercise because their joints hurt or they have a nagging injury. While it is true that rest is the best treatment in some cases, there comes a time when you need to strengthen those muscles to regain strength. If you rest too long after an injury or from pain due to arthritis, it can lead to atrophy or muscle loss.

What is Atrophy?

Atrophy is not to be taken lightly. If you experience atrophy, it has the potential to lead to other injuries or increase the probability of developing arthritis in other parts of your body. For example, if you experience a knee injury and rest too long on one leg, the muscles of the injured leg will shrink which could cause you to compensate by putting more weight on the other leg. When that happens, more weight is placed on the opposite hip which increases the probability of injury the other leg. Before you know it, you have a bad knee on one leg and a bad hip on the other leg. You only have one body, so take care of it!

What Are My First Steps?

If you are in a similar position with an injury or arthritis, the first thing you should do is talk to your doctor about how you should go about rehabilitating your injury. Most likely they will suggest seeing a Physical Therapist. You should ALWAYS follow the instructions your Therapist suggests for you, they are very good at what they do! Once you are done with your therapy, it is best to continue to exercise with professional supervision with an experienced, qualified Personal Trainer. A good trainer will be able to pick up where your Therapist left off and get you back to normal.

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5 Ways to Annihilate Your Workout

5 Ways to Annihilate Your Workout

We are always looking for ways to progress our workouts to challenge ourselves. Here are 5 ways to annihilate your workout the next time you step into the gym.

Workout with a Partner

Working out with a partner can dramatically impact your fitness program. Having a source of accountability in anything, whether, fitness, job, etc. can help keep you motivated and improve your performance. While having a buddy is great, you still have to make sure that they are the right workout partner for you.

People who have a poor attitude, are negative, have completely different goals or do just the bare minimum are not good workout partners for you. The whole point of having a workout buddy is to help motivate you and push you to that next level. You will want to find someone that has the same or at least similar goals, has a strong sense of accountability for themselves, and obviously someone who has a similar schedule as you. I was fortunate enough to have a workout buddy for a year who was just as nuts as I was because we had the same drive and same goals we were striving to achieve. Since I have been working out solo, it has been difficult to get the same results.

Keep a Journal

Yes, I am secure enough to proudly admit that I have done this myself and it works quite well! Now this isn’t a journal about the love of your life you let get away or the person at the gym you thought was cute. This is a workout journal where you reflect upon your workout and see what you can improve on the next workout.

Say Your Excuses in Your Head with the Voice of Donald Duck

I know, this seems a little weird, but before you judge, try it out. I was pretty skeptical when I first tried it, but it is actually pretty effective. It makes your excuses sound silly and childish and it helps you push through your workout.

End Your Workout with a Burnout

Ending your workout while giving every ounce of energy you have left can really help keep you motivated. I know when I really take it up a notch at the end of my workouts, I always feel great afterwards and it can actually help you boost through a plateau! It helps boost through a plateau because if you can go all out at the end of a tough workout, that means you should have the energy to start out faster or stronger next time!

Decrease Your Rest Time Gradually

This seems rather obvious, but this is also where a lot of people tend to go wrong. Often times people try to decrease rest time too fast (going from 60 seconds rest to 15 seconds rest). While this isn’t necessarily wrong, it can hinder you because the intensity increased too much and your nervous system will be taxed a little longer than normal. Decreasing rest time by even 5-10 seconds every couple of weeks will still yield results, but it will also guard against burning out too quickly.

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5 Workout Myths Debunked!

5 Workout Myths Debunked!

There are a plethora of fitness myths circulating these days. Check out these 5 workout myths debunked!

1. Only Work Your Abs to Get a Strong Core

As I mentioned in my article “What Is Your Core?” building a strong, stable core is NOT done by working ONLY your abdominals. Building a strong core also involves strengthening the lower back muscles, glutes and all the muscles that help you stay upright. With this said, this does not mean that you should neglect your abdominals, they still need to be worked just like every other muscle.

2. Squats are Bad for Your Knees

Squats are one of the best exercises anyone can do to improve core and total body strength. Often times, squats are done incorrectly and people tend to injure their knees first. When performing squats, you must first sit your hips back like you are sitting into a chair. Frequently, people will want to only bend their knees first which is where the knee problems come into play. Also, you want to ensure that your weight is in the center of your foot. Make sure you have a qualified, experienced personal trainer assess your squat from before you start performing squats on your own.

3. To Gain Muscle, You Must Eat Mostly Protein

Eating an excessive amount of protein does not mean that you will put on more muscle mass. While you should be eating a little over 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight to gain muscle mass, carbohydrates are your best friend while putting on size and improving strength. When you lift weights, you primarily use carbohydrates for your energy source. What happens when you do not eat enough carbohydrates? Your body will need to produce the carbohydrates necessary by converting protein to glycogen so you can use it for energy. This is a very inefficient way for your body to operate and can take a toll on your body in the long run. People who eat low-carb, high-protein diets do not produce greater muscle gains.

4. Deadlifts are Bad for Your Back

Deadlifts done incorrectly are bad for your back. When done correctly, deadlifts make be the single best exercise anyone can perform. Deadlifts work nearly every muscle in your body, strengthens your core and improves your functional strength. Also, due to the amount of muscle mass used during a deadlift it burns more calories than most exercises. It is EXTREMELY important to be taught proper form on a deadlift by an experienced, qualified personal trainer so that you do not injure yourself.

5. Stretch Before Your Workout to Prevent Injury

Static stretching before a workout is the most popular way people attempt to warm up before a workout. However, studies are now showing there is no evidence that stretching before a workout reduces the risk for injury. In fact, some studies even show that it may INCREASE your risk for injury if you only static stretch before a workout. Dynamic stretches/exercises are a much more effective and safer way to warm up before you start your workout.

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What Rep Range is Best for Me?

What Rep Range is Best for Me?

With so much information out there, it is understandable to ask, “What rep range is best for me?” Like many other topics I have discussed, this one has a  broad answer, it depends on what you want to accomplish. Below I have broken down the most common goals with rep ranges that are associated with it:

  • Strength- 1-6 reps
  • Muscle Hypertrophy (size)- 6-12 reps
  • Muscular Endurance- 12+ reps

It is also important to remember that these rep ranges are not exclusive in that only that one thing can be accomplished in that rep range. For example, if you are doing a program where you are doing 4-6 reps to gain strength, does not mean that you won’t experience muscle hypertrophy. Likewise, just because you are doing a muscle hypertrophy focused program does not mean that you will not be able to increase your endurance or strength. These are broad categories but let me break it down a little more for you.

Strength

When you talk about strength gains in this context, you can think more like Powerlifting, Olympic lifting or Strongman training. When you are training to increase your strength, the most common movements that produce the best results are your Deadlifts, Squats, Cleans, Snatches, Bench Press, etc. If you train in this rep range are likely training for a competition of some sort and can usually put up some serious weight.

What you will also notice is that these Powerlifters or Olympic lifters come in all shapes and sizes. That is because big muscles do not always reflect strength! That may seem odd but it’s true. You will see 300 pound bodybuilders that may squat 500 pounds but it is not unusual to see a 170 pound powerlifter squat that and even more. Why is that? Strength is actually more of a neurological adaption as opposed to a muscular adaptation. Yes, in general, the more muscle a person has the stronger they will likely be, but depending on how they train and eat, strength will vary.

Muscle Hypertrophy

Muscle hypertrophy is the most common goal amongst people when they start working out. When you have muscular hypertrophy, you will see an increase in muscle size as well as some strength gains. The muscle hypertrophy range is what most bodybuilders and fitness models do to increase their muscle size. I personally have seen great results in muscle gains in this category with my clients and myself and is the “base” rep range for most people.

Muscular Endurance

The muscular endurance rep range starts at 12 reps and higher. This rep range is where I start most of my clients who are just starting out to build up their muscular endurance. You may put on some muscle mass in this stage but it won’t be much because you are engaging your slow-twitch, type 1 muscle fibers that have limited hypertrophy ability. Nonetheless, I have found that this rep range can really accelerate muscle gains when someone transitions to a muscular hypertrophy program because their muscular endurance is high. People who are most likely to train in this rep range are endurance athletes such as runners, rowers, etc. This is also a great rep range for aging adults as well who may not have the strength to lift much weight.

What To Take Away From This

After reading all this information, you may be asking, what is the big takeaway from this? You need to match your training regimen with your fitness goals so that you have the best chance to succeed. People can often become frustrated with their results, or lack thereof, when improper training methods are used.

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The Benefits of an Online Personal Trainer

The Benefits of an Online Personal Trainer

Is your schedule pretty tight nowadays? Is your availability sporadic? Are things unpredictable at work?Are you finding it difficult to make time for the commute from work, to home, to the gym and then back home? Not to mention family obligations and kidsWell then… YOU are in luck. BEHOLD the modern arrival of the “online personal trainer” (offered by Fit Body Toddy Fitness).

Benefits

Here are a few of the unique benefits that come along with working with an online personal trainer. Work out on your own time! In addition to constant education, contact and availability from your trainer, many online exercises include lots of body weight exercises, which can be completed at home. You are now in charge of your fitness!

 

Cost

And now you may be asking yourself, “Is this route cost-effective?” Well then, I am pleased to inform you that while these fitness programs are JUST as personalized as any in-person programs, most personal fitness trainers charge much less for online training programs.

In some cases, you may actually find that an entire month of online training is actually cheaper and more beneficial than your typical, standard hour of one-on-one personal fitness training (keep in mind, this too is a one-on-one program specific to your fitness goals).

 

Availability

Online personal trainers are almost always available for questions and advice pertaining to your fitness regimen and nutrition plan. These programs are purposefully designed to fit your schedule and availability.

Typically, you can message your trainer at any time. Fit Body Toddy Fitness offers this open line of communication through an app called “Trainerize”… although other trainers may use Skype or something similar.

 

Accountability

An important idea to consider if you are leaning toward the online training route is self-motivation. While your trainer is only a click away, some find it is easier to lack in certain areas due to the simple fact that your personal trainer is NOT physically present…

However, assuming your online trainer is attentive, they are likely to be messaging you each week to check in on your development. There absolutely are no excuses anymore!

 

 

Oh! One more thing… should you decide to work with FBTF, not only will your trainer have flexible availability for questions and concerns regarding your fitness regimen, your trainer will also be able to answer any nutrition-related questions on the fly.

This could be prove to be extremely useful when grocery shopping or deciding where to eat.