Thursday April 17, 2014
Back in the olden days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I did some very intricate strength training workouts. Some were split routines, doing upper body one day, for example, and lower body the next. Sometimes I would really detail it out - Chest, shoulders and triceps on day one, back and biceps on day two and lower body on day three, later, rinse and repeat.
There's no doubt that split routines can serve us well, especially if we're short on time and/or our goal is to put on muscle. But, if you're goal is overall fitness and weight loss, total body circuit workouts may be just what you need to build strength, endurance and burn calories.
What I like about these types of workouts is, first, they reflect how we use our bodies in real life. Namely, using lots of muscles and joints and limbs at the same time rather than just one at a time. Second, I just think they're more interesting than typical, straight set strength training.
What about you? Do you like the total body approach? Leave a comment and tell us about it, then check out some of my favorite total body circuit workouts.
Need more? Check out more circuit workouts for your workout pleasure.
Wednesday April 16, 2014
Are you old? I ask that because I get the feeling that anyone over the age of 35 thinks they're old. It works like this: When you get into your late 30s or so, you may notice a few changes - little lines around your mouth and eyes appear, maybe a slight spare tire starts to inflate around the waistline. But then you turn 40 or 50 and you think, "Dang, If only I realized how good I looked at 35..."
Around this time, things really start to, um, loosen up, shall we say. Perhaps things start to shift around in all the wrong places. If you exercise, the changes probably aren't quite as pronounced, but they are there.
The aging body can be frustrating, especially if you're a woman dealing with menopause and the weight gain that often accompanies that. Man or woman, we all hit that age where things change and I know many of us wonder, are these changes inevitable or can we do something about them?
I know way too many people who try to exercise the aging process away and, frankly, being fit can only do so much. I see so many woman, and plenty of men as well, who become obsessed, fretting over things that we may not have much control over. You may exercise and eat lettuce and lemon wedges all day long, but you still may have a little more excess fat around the middle, just due to hormonal changes. The fact is, exercise is much better at preventing weight gain as we get older than it is at helping us lose weight.
My question to you is, are our expectations too high? Growing up, I remember my grandparents looking very...grandparent-y - A little broader in the behind, a little more fat in the middle, gray hair...the works, and they didn't really seem bothered by these changes. These days, it's hard to tell the grandparents from the parents and many people are using everything from exercise and diet to plastic surgery to maintain a younger looking body. But are we trying too hard? Is there a point where you have to just let your body be how it is and focus more on your health and happiness?
What do you think? Leave a comment and tell us your thoughts on aging, weight gain and how to find acceptance.
Tuesday April 15, 2014
It's Tax Day and you know what that means, right? It means stress and do you know one of the best ways to get rid of stress? No, it's not drinking (although that can help occasionally)...it's exercise. And can you guess what exercise I'm loving right now? That's right: Split squats with rotations.
The point of this exercise is not, in fact, to "make people fall over for my own personal enjoyment," as some clients have suggested. That's just a bonus. The real point is that this is a killer lower body exercise that targets almost everything you can think of including the glutes, hips, thighs, core, balance, stability, patience, coordination and flexibility.
This is clearly an advanced move, so a few thoughts: First, the BOSU makes it more difficult, so try this on a more stable platform your first time around. Second, there's quite a bit of rotation here which may not work for every soul out there. I recommend having a rail or wall nearby to hold onto as you learn this move.
Do it right: Stand about 3 or so feet in front of a BOSU or step and place the right foot on top, resting on the toe.
Pause to get your balance and take the arms out to the sides as you bend the knees into a lunge.
As you lunge, rotate the torso, bringing the right hand towards the left foot and the left arm straight up overhead.
Rotate back to start and stand up, repeating for 12 reps on each side.
Split Squats with Opposite Rotation
Monday April 14, 2014
We talk about calories as though they're living, breathing beings...beings that we believe we can actually control. We want to burn them, cut them, slash them, get rid of them, measure them and, really, who can blame us? Sure calories don't have actual brains or emotions or opposable thumbs, but who hasn't felt slapped in the face by a big hunk of chocolate cake or a bowl full of greasy, salty yummy potato chips?
Yes, sometimes trying to control our calories is much like herding cats, but the good news is that there are multiple options out there for us. We can keep a food journal for example and count our calories. We can also monitor our portion sizes and avoid eating out too much. Another option is, of course, exercising those calories away.
So, what about you? How do you control your calories and which method seems to work best for you? Do you use more than one? Vote in this week's poll and tell us how you control your calories.