Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Core Training

This article highlights the importance of viewing the core as a group of muscles that are all interconnected. Doing exercises that involve more of the core muscles will lead to a more effective workout and a stronger core. Not only that, but with the increasing intensity of the multi-joint core exercises, more calories will be burned, resulting in a loss of body fat, and possibly even leading to the appearance of washboard abs.

Read Up:
Good Core Training Takes More than Ab Exercises

Here are a few of my favorite core exercises:
Ab Roller: with a stability ball or with a wheel
Dynamic total body exercises like the bear crawl, inchworm, spiderman, and crab crawl

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Weight and Attitude

Here's an article from the ACE (American Council on Exercise) Fitness website. ACE was my first personal training certification and I've always liked their professionalism. The article is about our attitudes toward body size, and how despite an ever increasing number of diet products, exercise methods, and lower fat foods, the American waistline is only increasing. The article reminds us that the focus shouldn't be on dropping to a smaller size, or hitting a lower number on the scale. The focus should be on healthier living. With the focus on healthier living, the inches and pounds will both drop, without a concurrent drop in self-esteem.

An attitude adjustment in the right direction is something we all need.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cardiovascular exercise and insulin sensitivity

We've long known the benefits of cardiovascular exercise in its prevention of heart disease. Here is a recent study linking the benefits of cardiovascular exercise with the prevention and possibly even treatment of Type II Diabetes. Cardiovascular exercise was shown to increase insulin sensitivity in all the trial subjects, but especially in those with a previously higher insulin resistance. Although the article only specifically mentions the benefits for women, that is the nature of scientific research, and the findings of the study can also be assumed for men.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Body Part Split or Total Body Workouts?

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is why I do total body workouts with my clients (and for myself). There are several reasons behind why a total body workout 3 times per week is better than body part split 3 times per week, or even 5 times per week. For 48 hours after a resistance training workout, your muscle-protein synthesis is elevated. By doing another total body workout 48 hours after the first one, muscle-protein synthesis levels remain continuously elevated, allowing your muscles to strengthen and grow continuously. Hit the resistance training too soon after your last session, continuously, and you'll be pushing the muscle-protein synthesis to elevate before you've had adequate time to recover, leading to under-performance in subsequent workout, leading to less or no results.
Also, by resistance training total body 3 times per week, each muscle group gets worked 3 times per week. If you do chest on Monday, legs on Tuesday, etc, each muscle group only gets worked once per week. After 96 hours of no stimulus to that muscle group, the law of reversibility kicks in reversing the effects of training. This would happen every week, for every muscle group in the traditional body part split.
Here's an article from Men's Health outlining this very question. Alwyn Cosgrove, owner of Results Fitness, one of the most successful gyms in the country, is featured.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Artificial sweeteners not so sweet

Here is a Purdue study from a few years back about the negative implications of artificial sweeteners. The study is definitely food for thought, and while one shouldn't necessarily eliminate all sugar free snacks in favor of their sugared counterparts, we should be mindful of the potential negative effect of artificial sweeteners. Cutting back on junky snacks, in general, whether sugar free or not, in favor of a more nutritious choice would be the best decision.