5 Best exercises to improve heart health: April 26, 2017
Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is any form of activity that increases your
respiratory and heart rate, essentially challenging your heart to work harder
and become stronger. Cardiovascular fitness will improve the way your body uses
oxygen. As your heart becomes stronger, you will find that you aren't winded
walking up the stairs, you can perform physical activity longer, and your
resting heart rate will be lower, meaning your heart is more efficient at
pumping blood through your body. Though any aerobic exercise is good for your
heart, these five physical activities are top-notch for heart health.
The human body was born to walk. Whether you rack up the miles on a treadmill or
hit the road, brisk walking is a natural way to improve your fitness. Wear
supportive, comfortable walking shoes, strap on your iPod and get moving. Though
a leisure stroll is better than sitting on your couch, push yourself to walk at
a fast pace to achieve a moderate intensity level.
Though more challenging than walking, running is another heart-healthy physical
activity that the human body is ready-made to do (barring physical limitations
or injuries). In addition, it is one of the best ways to burn calories (a
150-pound person can burn 100 calories per mile), a bonus if you are also trying
to lose weight to reduce your risk of heart disease. If you are a beginner to
running, start out with a brisk walk and add 1 to 2 minutes of running every 5
minutes of walking. As you get more fit, you can increase the minutes you run
until you don't need to walk in between.
The pool may be a great place to float lazily along, but that water can also be
a full body fitness challenge. Swimming laps or even participating in water
fitness classes will not only raise your heart rate and improve your heart
health, the water provides multi-directional resistance that will improve your
muscular strength and tone. Swimming is a safe alternative if you have joint
problems that walking or running can aggravate.
Another cardiovascular activity that is easy on the joints, cycling is a
low-impact exercise that you can do solo in the gym, in a spin class, or outside
on the road or trails. Make efficient use of your cycling time and bike to work
or to do your errands. Even better, join a cycling club and enjoy the camraderie.
While your heart is pumping you'll also be building strength and toning your
lower body as well as your core muscles, if you take your bike off-road.
Interval or circuit training
If doing a solid stint of aerobic exercise bores you tears, mix up your cardio.
For example, for every 3 minutes of cardio, do 1 strength training exercise or a
high-intensity burst of cardio for 1 minute. Another option is to choose 5 to 10
strength training exercises and perform 1 set of each, doing lower weight and
higher repetitions while moving quickly from one exercise to the next to keep
your heart rate up. This type of training will not only keep you motivated to
exercise, it will improve your muscular strength, endurance and heart health.
Before you start a new exercise plan, talk to your doctor to make sure the
physical activities you want to do are appropriate for your age, health and
All About Vitamins, April 25th, 2017
Put simply, a multivitamin is a nutritional supplement that includes a
combination of vitamins, and often minerals. Vitamins are good for you, right?
So it should be a no-brainer: why not take a multivitamin.
The hitch is that there is no standard or regulatory definition for
multivitamins, meaning that the composition and quality can vary significantly
from product to product.
Originally designed to protect against micronutrient deficiencies resulting from
inadequate dietary intake, multivitamins’ application has been broadened over
time. Now not only do you have vitamins to supplement nutrient deficiencies, but
products with specialized formulas which purport to meet a variety of goals,
including: increasing performance, aiding in weight loss, protecting against
cancer and other illnesses, and improving longevity. Can vitamins really do all
that, or is it just a big marketing game?
Multivitamin Summary: Key Takeaways
As this is a long article, here are the key takeaways so you can quickly
The long term health benefits and risks of multivitamins are inconclusive
If you do not have a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables, a
multivitamin may be beneficial as nutritional insurance
A whole foods powder supplement is likely the best bet, my favorites are
Lindberg Fruits & Greens+
If you don’t want to drink a powdered supplement, consider a true whole foods
multivitamin supplement by Megafood, or Garden of Life
While challenging, eating as much as 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
Whole-Food Vitamins vs Synthetic Vitamins
I like to break down multivitamins into two broad categories: whole-food derived
(found in natural, whole foods) and synthetic (created in laboratories). Without
getting too technical, it is important to understand that just because something
has been synthesized in a laboratory doesn’t necessarily mean it is not the same
as what is found in nature. However, it is often different – for instance,
synthetic Vitamin E is structurally unique from that of natural Vitamin E.
With both types of vitamin on the market, the argument against using synthetic –
which include chemical distillates – is that they are not recognized and used by
the body the same way vitamins from whole foods are. In research on scurvy (a
disease defined by a Vitamin C deficiency), for example, it was found that whole
foods containing Vitamin C quickly eliminated the illness while ascorbic acid
(the distillate) supplementation had little effect.1 Whole food vitamins (in
their highest quality form) contain the vitamin complexes as they exist in
nature, and are theoretically recognized by the body as whole foods.
Vitamins Do Not Have To Be Tested Before Appearing On Store Shelves
Although the FDA has established “current Good Manufacturing Practice” (cGMP)
regulations (requiring that vitamin manufacturers evaluate their products by
testing purity, strength, and composition), because vitamins are classified by
the FDA as general food products under the category of dietary supplements, and
no testing is required before the manufacturer brings a product vitamin to
The primary safety concern with multivitamins is toxicity from over ingestion of
a vitamin, or mineral, leading to increased risk of illness. For example,
ingesting too much zinc interferes with copper and iron absorption. Since people
do not need to consult a doctor before ingesting vitamins, you can potentially
take vitamins that interact with one another in ways that can hurt, rather than
help, your health.
Additionally, as with any nutritional supplement, there is a risk of impurities
in the product, which can have severe consequences. For example, a contaminated
batch of tryptophan from a particular manufacturer in Japan was linked to 37
deaths and 1500 cases of permanent disability.2
Long Term Health Benefits of Multivitamins Are Inconclusive
Diets high in fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart
disease, and a host of other medical conditions.3 4 5 It’s hypothesized the high
concentrations of anti-oxidants & fiber reduce inflammation and protect against
chronic disease. So, the natural progression from this is the belief that
supplementing with isolated forms of the anti-oxidants and nutrients found in
fruits and vegetables would confer the same benefits.
The research, however, on the benefits (and harms) of vitamin supplementation in
the general population is inconsistent. Supplementation of a nutrient confers
health benefits if a person is deficient in that nutrient. That should be
obvious, but that is not what this article is about. The question we need to
know the answer to is: will taking a multivitamin make us live longer or perform
The gold standard of research study design is a randomized, placebo controlled
trial, in which subjects are divided into experimental and “control” groups,
with the experiment group receiving a placebo, or inactive substance, and the
experimental group receiving the substance to be studied.
Last year, the Journal of the American Medical Association published the results
of the first large scale, placebo controlled trial examining the long-term
effects of multivitamin supplementation on cancer. The researchers found an 8%
decrease in total cancer incidence in men taking a multivitamin. However, other
observational studies find no association between multivitamin use and lower
cancer rates, and some even find evidence that supplemental intake of certain
vitamins may actually increase risk of certain cancers.
To further complicate matters, the few randomized controlled trials that have
been done have produced conflicting results. Some show decreased cancer
incidence6 and others show no effect or elevated risks.7
As far as improving performance, the research is also equivocal. For example, a
study published in the Journal of the American Society of Clinical Nutrition
shows no performance improvement in runners after 3 months of multivitamin
supplementation. Similarly, a study entitled “Chronic multivitamin-mineral
supplementation does not enhance physical performance” concluded just that.8 A
study from 2006 in Research and Sports concluded that a liquid multivitamin
supplement had no effect on “Anaerobic Exercise Performance” in people consuming
an adequate diet.
Herein lies the problem and its resulting million dollar questions: What is an
adequate diet and does the definition change depending on exercise habits and
The research on multivitamins is lacking overall and even the research that has
been done shows conflicting results. So what are we to do?
Ideally, an individual should strive to eat a variety of fresh fruits and
vegetables (10+ servings) every day. Few people would disagree that this is the
best way to get nutrients, improve energy and performance, and guard against
disease. There is certainly a synergistic health effect from the contents of
fruit and vegetables (both the things we know about and probably things we don’t
know about), as nature’s design is most likely the best. The problem lies in
executing this type of plan over the long run.
This is especially true for people who are trying to restrict calories to lose
body fat, as 10 pieces of fruit would provide about 1000 calories per day. So
what is the next best thing to eating that much produce? The makers of Centrum
will say that taking a Centrum a day is the best alternative. Companies that
sell whole food vitamin supplements will tell you that taking Centrum will do
more harm than good, as the body doesn’t recognize and utilize synthetic
vitamins the same way it does natural micronutrients. Unfortunately, there is no
clear answer provided by research.
If eating 10+ servings of fruit and vegetables per day is not feasible for you,
the next best thing is a product that most closely approximates it, namely, a
“super greens and reds powder,” which is essentially fruit and vegetables
concentrated down into a powder to be taken daily. This bypasses the issue of
poor use of isolated nutrients and the idea that nutrients in real food exist in
combinations impossible to replicate in a lab. There are many of them out there,
but Lindberg Fruits & Greens+ is my choice.
If using a super foods powder is not feasible, the next best thing is a whole
food multivitamin. It is very important to scrutinize the label of whatever
product you’re thinking about buying, as often times products label “whole food
multivitamins” are actually synthetic compounds combined with yeast (a whole
food). Megafood, makes a good product, as does Garden of Life.
I recommend against the routine use of traditional multivitamins, unless you are
part of a special population that research has shown to benefit from them.
Still, if you are a hard training athlete, or are at risk for deficiencies due
to restricted nutritional plans, you will likely derive more benefit from
supplementation with traditional products than none at all. It is, however, a
much better idea to use a preparation that more closely mimics eating real food.
In conclusion, there are no clear answers, and in the end the decision to
supplement with multivitamins needs to be tailored to the situation of each
individual. For most of the population, and especially athletes and people
looking to improve body composition, a whole food derived nutrition supplement
is a solid bet.
Best Exercises For Bone Health Prevent osteoporosis and fractures with
these bone-building moves By CARLIE HANSON April 24, 2017
“Exercise stimulates bone formation, because bone put under moderate stress
responds by building density, and, depending on your age and workout regimen, it
can either increase or maintain bone-mass density,” says Steven Hawkins, PhD,
professor of exercise science at California Lutheran University. That’s why
physical activity can reduce your risk of sustaining a hip fracture (which is
usually caused by osteoporosis) by as much as a whopping 50%.
More from Prevention: Bone Health: Your Stay-Strong Plan
Dr. Hawkins cautions that if you already have osteoporosis or osteopenia, your
best option is to protect your bones by improving stamina and balance, which
will help you avoid falls. He recommends cardiovascular-endurance exercise such
as walking, low-impact aerobics, and dancing. These serve the additional purpose
of building muscle strength, which will help keep you upright and free from
fracture-inducing falls. (Consult a health professional before undertaking any
regimen, of course.)
If your bones are still healthy, working out with weight-training machines, free
weights, or resistance bands, as well as doing exercises that use your body
weight as resistance (sit-ups and push-ups, for example), will all build your
bone density. The single best way to increase bone density is jumping (think
jumping rope, jump squats, plyometrics), according to Dr. Hawkins.
To build bone mass in the three areas most prone to breakage from falls—the
spine, hips, and forearms—Dr. Hawkins suggests this trio of moves: Romanian dead
lifts, biceps curls, and triceps extensions.
Romanian Dead Lift*
Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Bend forward from waist,
keeping abs contracted and back straight. Squeezing through glutes, return to
standing. Repeat. For an extra challenge, do the same move with 1 dumbbell** in
each hand, arms extended in front of thighs.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms extended by sides, 1 dumbbell** in each
hand, palms facing away from body. Bend elbows, bringing weights toward
shoulders. Slowly lower to start. Repeat.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms extended overhead, 1 dumbbell** in each
hand. Keeping elbows close to ears, bend arms, lowering weights toward shoulder
blades. Straightening elbows, slowly raise weights back to start. Repeat.
*Do 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.
** Weights should be heavy enough that you can do only 8 to 10 reps for each
set. If you can do more with proper form, increase the weight.
10 Relaxation Techniques That Zap Stress Fast: April 23, 2017
By Jeannette Moninger
Relax. You deserve it, it's good for you, and it takes less time than you think.
You don't need a spa weekend or a retreat. Each of these stress-relieving tips
can get you from OMG to om in less than 15 minutes.
A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety. “Research suggests that
daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more
resilient to stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago
health and wellness coach.
It's simple. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus
your attention on reciting -- out loud or silently -- a positive mantra such as
“I feel at peace” or “I love myself.” Place one hand on your belly to sync the
mantra with your breaths. Let any distracting thoughts float by like clouds.
2. Breathe Deeply
Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed,
with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath
start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the
process as you exhale through your mouth.
“Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and
lowering blood pressure,” psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD, says. She's a
certified life coach in Rome, GA.
3. Be Present
“Take 5 minutes and focus on only one behavior with awareness,” Tutin says.
Notice how the air feels on your face when you’re walking and how your feet feel
hitting the ground. Enjoy the texture and taste of each bite of food.
When you spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel less
4. Reach Out
Your social network is one of your best tools for handling stress. Talk to
others -- preferably face to face, or at least on the phone. Share what's going
on. You can get a fresh perspective while keeping your connection strong.
5. Tune In to Your Body
Mentally scan your body to get a sense of how stress affects it each day. Lie on
your back, or sit with your feet on the floor. Start at your toes and work your
way up to your scalp, noticing how your body feels.
“Simply be aware of places you feel tight or loose without trying to change
anything,” Tutin says. For 1 to 2 minutes, imagine each deep breath flowing to
that body part. Repeat this process as you move your focus up your body, paying
close attention to sensations you feel in each body part.
Place a warm heat wrap around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes. Close your
eyes and relax your face, neck, upper chest, and back muscles. Remove the wrap,
and use a tennis ball or foam roller to massage away tension.
“Place the ball between your back and the wall. Lean into the ball, and hold
gentle pressure for up to 15 seconds. Then move the ball to another spot, and
apply pressure,” says Cathy Benninger, a nurse practitioner and assistant
professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.
7. Laugh Out Loud
A good belly laugh doesn’t just lighten the load mentally. It lowers cortisol,
your body’s stress hormone, and boosts brain chemicals called endorphins, which
help your mood. Lighten up by tuning in to your favorite sitcom or video,
reading the comics, or chatting with someone who makes you smile.
8. Crank Up the Tunes
Research shows that listening to soothing music can lower blood pressure, heart
rate, and anxiety. “Create a playlist of songs or nature sounds (the ocean, a
bubbling brook, birds chirping), and allow your mind to focus on the different
melodies, instruments, or singers in the piece,” Benninger says. You also can
blow off steam by rocking out to more upbeat tunes -- or singing at the top of
9. Get Moving
You don’t have to run in order to get a runner’s high. All forms of exercise,
including yoga and walking, can ease depression and anxiety by helping the brain
release feel-good chemicals and by giving your body a chance to practice dealing
with stress. You can go for a quick walk around the block, take the stairs up
and down a few flights, or do some stretching exercises like head rolls and
10. Be Grateful
Keep a gratitude journal or several (one by your bed, one in your purse, and one
at work) to help you remember all the things that are good in your life.
“Being grateful for your blessings cancels out negative thoughts and worries,”
says Joni Emmerling, a wellness coach in Greenville, NC.
Use these journals to savor good experiences like a child’s smile, a
sunshine-filled day, and good health. Don’t forget to celebrate accomplishments
like mastering a new task at work or a new hobby.
When you start feeling stressed, spend a few minutes looking through your notes
to remind yourself what really matters.
WebMD Feature Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD
HYDRATION: HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU DRINK DURING EXERCISE? April 22, 2017
As the weather starts to warm up again, it’s time to ditch the winter thermals
and start re-focusing on your hydration needs during exercise. With so many
drink options available and mixed messages about how much and when to drink
during exercise, this article will look at the ‘who, why, what, when and how’ of
Hydration needs are highly individualized due to variations in sweat rates
between people, or even for the same person exercising in different conditions.
Sweat rate is influenced by a number of factors including:
Body size – larger body sizes tend to sweat more
Fitness level – fitter athletes generally start to sweat earlier
Genetics – some people naturally sweat more than others
Temperature – hot and humid conditions increase sweat rates
Wind – air flow over the skin improves body cooling and reduces sweat rates
Exercise intensity – as intensity increases, so does sweat rate.
So, while there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to replacing
fluid losses from sweat, being aware of your own hydration needs before, during,
and after exercise is an important consideration for all active people.
During exercise, fluid is critical for maintaining blood volume, regulating body
temperature, and for muscle contraction. Sweating is the body’s way of
maintaining core temperature while exercising but the loss of body fluid that
occurs can result in dehydration (eg. if fluid intake is suboptimal). Generally,
the body has a good capacity to tolerate low to moderate levels of dehydration;
however, as levels of dehydration rise, performance can be impaired through:
Increased heart rate
Increased perception of effort
Impaired cognitive performance (e.g. skill and coordination)
Gastrointestinal issues, such as nausea
Increased risk of heat illness
With so many drink options now available, deciding which fluid best suits your
needs can be tricky. When choosing the best drink for you it’s a good idea to
The duration and intensity of your session
Whether there is a need to replace carbohydrate and electrolytes during the
Individual preferences (e.g. flavor preferences, gastrointestinal comfort)
Unlike plain water, dairy options and sports drinks contain carbohydrate and
sodium (salt). When used appropriately, carbohydrate can have positive effects
on performance, especially during moderate and high intensity exercise. Sodium
is an important electrolyte that aids hydration by helping the absorption of
water through the gut and assisting the body to ‘hold on to fluid’ more
effectively (e.g. reduce urine output).
The optimal amount and timing of drinks will depend on your individual sweat
rate and exercise conditions (e.g. hot vs. cold weather, easy ride vs. racing,
etc). An Accredited Sports Dietitian can work with you to develop an individual
hydration plan but as a general strategy:
Begin exercise well hydrated
Follow a hydration plan based on your individual needs while exercising
Rehydrate after you finish exercising as you are unlikely (and it’s not
necessary) to replace 100% of fluid losses during exercise
Keep in mind that there is no performance advantage to starting an exercise
session over-hydrated and it is actually more likely to result in negative side
effects. Being too aggressive with your hydration can lead to interrupted sleep
the night before, bloating and gastrointestinal upset, and the frequent need to
urinate during exercise. It is important not to drink beyond your needs while
exercising, as this can result in a condition known as hyponatremia (a medical
issue where sodium levels in the blood become too dilute, most commonly seen in
endurance or ultra endurance races where large volumes of low electrolyte fluids
are consumed beyond participants’ needs).
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of hydration needs and realize
that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to drinking during
exercise. Here’s a quick summary of tips for optimizing your hydration plan:
Aim for pale yellow urine over the day – it’s a good sign that you’re
Avoid high levels of dehydration – this can impair performance and increase risk
of heat illness
The best drink choice is different for different sessions – consider the
duration and intensity of the session, the need to replace carbohydrate and/or
electrolytes and individual preferences
Individualize your hydration plan and the timing of drinks during exercise –
this will depend on your sweat rate, environmental conditions and practicality
More is not better – there is no performance benefit to being over-hydrated and
it will increase your risk of negative side effects
Ways Exercise Can Help You Tame Diabetes, April 21, 2017
Looking for a proven way to delay the onset of diabetes or slow down its
progression? Try lacing up your sneakers, rolling out your yoga mat and/or
slipping into your bathing suit and get moving.
“Exercise is a key component to keeping blood glucose (blood sugar) levels in
the correct range, encouraging weight loss and reducing cardiovascular risks,”
says family medicine specialist Nishanthini Sooriyapalan, MD, who goes by Dr.
Nish. “Just check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine,
especially if you have co-morbidities, such as heart failure.”
According to Dr. Nish, diabetes is one of the most common diseases in America,
affecting nearly 30 million Americans. A metabolic disease, it occurs when blood
sugar levels are higher than normal. The chronic disease is the seventh-leading
cause of death in the U.S.
Dr. Nish answers questions about the ways exercise controls diabetes and how to
safely begin an exercise routine:
How does exercise help control my blood sugar levels?
A. “People with type 2 diabetes have too much blood sugar in their blood because
their body doesn't produce enough insulin to process it, or because their body
doesn't use insulin properly,” she says. “When a muscle is exercised, it draws
glucose out of the bloodstream for fuel, helping control levels of sugar in the
blood. This effect continues not just during exercise, but for 24 to 72 hours
Will exercise help me with other diabetes-related issues?
A. Dr. Nish says that by staying fit and active you can also:
Reduce your risk for stroke and heart disease
Lower your blood pressure and blood glucose
Help your body use insulin
Raise your good cholesterol and lower your bad cholesterol
What are some recommended exercises?
A. “You should aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise – like walking, hiking,
stair climbing, dancing, swimming, tennis, bicycling or outdoor hiking – at
least five days a week, or a total of 150 minutes a week,” says Dr. Nish. “And
weight-training exercises should be done two or three days a week. You should
include working with hand weights, elastic bands and weight machines.”
She also recommends incorporating Tai Chi or yoga into an exercise program.
Can I just go from being a couch potato to a jock?
A. “To prevent complications, any new or rigorous exercise program should be
approved by your doctor, who may refer you to a physical therapist, diabetes
educator or personal trainer,” she says. “You might have to start out exercising
10 minutes a day until you can build up your stamina and strength.”
She also advises people with diabetes to check their blood sugar levels before,
during and after an activity to prevent low or falling blood sugar levels.
“And it's also prudent to have a piece of candy or fruit nearby while you
exercise,” she says.
Can I do exercises while at my desk job?
A. Even while you're at work you can improve your blood sugar levels by moving
every 30 minutes. She suggests doing activities, such as:
Leg lifts or extensions
Overhead arm stretches
Desk chair swivels
Walking in place
“No matter how simple the moves, whether sitting down or standing up, exercise
is an effective way to improve the body's ability to use insulin and help
control blood sugar levels,” Dr. Nish says.
Effects of Exercise on Depression Underestimated, April 20th, 2017
by Justin Karter
A new meta-analysis finds that the large antidepressant effects of exercise may
have been underestimated in previous reviews. This latest report, published this
month in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, examines twenty-five previous
studies and concludes that regular exercise has a large and significant
antidepressant effect in people diagnosed with moderate and severe depression.
“The effects of exercise on depression have been a source of contentious
debate,” the researchers, led by Felipe Schuch, write. “Previous meta-analyses
may have underestimated the benefits of exercise due to publication bias. Our
data strongly support the claim that exercise is an evidence-based treatment for
While past research has demonstrated a consistent antidepressant effect for
exercise, there has been controversy over exactly how large the effect actually
is. In 2013, a Cochrane analysis found that when the review was limited only to
high-quality studies with a low risk of bias the effect of exercise on
depression was small and non-significant.
The Cochrane review has come under scrutiny, however, and new high-quality
randomized control trials on the effects of exercise in depression have since
been published. The new study aims to expand upon and update the Cochrane
analysis while also investigating the effects of publication bias.
The researchers examined twenty-five total trials which included data on nearly
1,500 adults with depression. After adjusting for publication bias, they found
that exercise had a large and significant effect on depression when compared to
controls. For those diagnosed with major depressive disorder, the effects of
exercise were found to be even greater.
Their results also indicate that both aerobic and mixed exercises were effective
at reducing depression symptoms and that moderate and vigorous exercises were
more effective than those of light intensity. Those who had training supervised
by professionals also fared better than those who exercised on their own.
“Overall, our results provide robust evidence that exercise can be considered an
evidence-based treatment for the management of depression,” the researchers
write. “The fail-safe assessment suggests that more than a thousand studies with
negative results would be needed to nullify the effects of exercise on
The updated review found a larger effect size for exercise than the earlier
Cochrane analysis. The study authors attribute this difference to the fact that
they excluded studies that compared exercise to other active treatments and
included updated results from new studies published after the Cochrane analysis.
Benefits of Exercise, April 19th, 2017
Want to feel better, have more energy and even add years to
your life? Just exercise.
The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to
ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical
Need more convincing to get moving? Check out these seven ways exercise can lead
to a happier, healthier you.
1. Exercise controls weight
Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When
you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the
activity, the more calories you burn.
Regular trips to the gym are great, but don't worry if you can't find a large
chunk of time to exercise every day. To reap the benefits of exercise, just get
more active throughout your day — take the stairs instead of the elevator or rev
up your household chores. Consistency is key.
2. Exercise combats health conditions and diseases
Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter
what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or
"good," cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch
keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular
Regular exercise helps prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and
concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, a
number of types of cancer, arthritis and falls.
3. Exercise improves mood
Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A
gym session or brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates
various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise
regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
4. Exercise boosts energy
Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can
improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance.
Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your
cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health
improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.
Source: The Mayo Clinic
Top Ten Reasons to Hire a Personal Trainer April 18th,
ACE's Top Ten Reasons to Hire a Personal Trainer
Motivation – Personal trainers wear many hats, serving not only as coach, but as
an educator, confidant, role model and a major source of motivation and
encouragement as well.
Consistency – Do you find it difficult to stick to your program? Scheduling
regular appointments with a personal trainer helps eliminate any excuses you
might come up with for not exercising.
Safety – Unsure about how to use the chest press machine at the gym or how to
perform walking lunges without hurting your knees? A personal trainer will show
you how to exercise safely (including which exercises to avoid) and instruct you
on the proper and safe use of exercise equipment.
Individualized Instruction – What works for one person, may not work for another
when it comes to choosing an exercise program. A personal trainer will develop
the most effective program for you based on your fitness evaluation results and
personal goals. Beginners in particular benefit from instruction on how to
perform specific exercises and program planning.
Effective Workouts – Today's hectic lifestyles mean you don't have time to waste
on ineffective exercise routines. Personal trainers help maximize your time by
providing workouts designed to meet your goals quickly and efficiently.
Supervision – Personal attention during exercise is the primary function of
personal trainers. Need someone to spot you while you do pull-ups? Looking for
feedback on your running form? No problem-that's what your personal trainer is
for-to observe, assist and, if necessary, correct as needed.
Sports-specific Training – Many amateur and professional athletes work with a
personal trainer during the off-season to prepare themselves for in-season
competition. Whether you want to shave some strokes off your golf score or beat
your brother-in-law at tennis, a personal trainer can tailor your program to
your sport of choice.
Injury Rehabilitation – Injuries and accidents can prevent you from
participating in your favorite activities. An experienced personal trainer,
however, can make the road to recovery a smooth one by recommending exercises
that emphasize overall muscular balance to prevent future injuries.
Special-needs Training – Research confirms that individuals with health
challenges such as diabetes, asthma, osteoporosis or heart disease benefit
greatly from regular physical activity. These conditions, however, can make
exercising safely a challenge. Many personal trainers are experienced in
designing programs that address the special needs of these and other conditions.
Ego Boost – It's a fact-feeling good makes you look good, and vice versa. Not
only can your personal trainer help you achieve your health and fitness goals,
they provide you with positive feedback on your performance and bolster your
confidence to take on new challenges.
Tomorrow we will be starting our new spring workout
program... April 17th, 2017
Waiting to Start a Fitness Program Means Never Reaching
Our Goals, April 15th, 2017
How many Mondays have gone by without starting a fitness program? What other
things continue to take priority? We have good intentions, want to get in shape
but follow through is lacking.
It's time to put a stop to the excuses that get in the way of our health and
fitness. Health is our wealth and we couldn't live such a busy life without it.
Think about that. Declining health equals no work, no social life, and no money.
Not that money is or should be the most important thing in life.
Our priorities are skewed and our reasons to not get fit make no sense in the
big scheme of life. Why are we waiting for illness to hit our life before taking
action? Our lives require a priority overhaul. Don't you agree?
Living a life without good health is not a quality life at all. When the morning
routine means taking pills for proper body function there is something wrong.
This is referencing self-induced illness created by not taking care of
ourselves. This shouldn't be an acceptable norm for society. This should piss us
off and motivate change in our life.
Waiting for someday is no longer an acceptable excuse. Besides, someday doesn't
qualify as a day of the week. Do you want to lose fat, look good naked, feel
great, move better, and be more confident? Do you want to toss those pills
prescribed from self-induced illness? Do you want to be healthy?
In order to improve our health and fitness, we need to make it a priority.
Change takes a choice and we're all responsible for our health and fitness. Your
busy lifestyle should include consistent workouts and healthy food.
Fitness takes good time management. For example, making gym time one of your
social hours without canceling. Another way to improve our eating habits is
being prepared with a packed cooler at the workplace. This will keep us out of
the vending machines, break room junk food, or nearby restaurants.
You can achieve your goals by applying simple changes. It will be a progressive
life-long journey. Life is meant to be enjoyed with a healthy, fit body. The
choice is yours to make it happen. All in fitness love. Stay Healthy!
Use Fitness to Work Through Emotional Upset: April 13th,
Life is not meant to be easy easy and all wrapped in a pretty bow all the time.
The truth about life is it can suck and be filled with very difficult emotional
and even physical hardships.
Emotional junk can weigh down our brains and bodies and cause us to retreat into
a shell of self-defeat. When we're struggling with emotional upset from any life
situation, it's important not to give up on you. During these times we tend to
not take care of our health and fitness. We really can become our own worst
Emotional upset can happen at any given time and we can choose to handle it in a
healthy or unhealthy way. It really comes down to us being responsible for our
own physical and emotional health. This also includes maintaining our fitness
Emotional upset seeming to be the most painful occurs in close personal
relationships with spouses, significant others, dearest friends, and family.
It's also the most difficult to navigate feelings that may include anger and
resentment. We can become so bitter it interferes with the quality of our life
We tend to walk around with unrealistic expectations of how things and life are
supposed to be. We want to be in control of how people treat us and really
expect others to be like us. Often times we create our own upset because things
don't happen according to our own thought processes.
These self-induced feelings can create an unhealthy person that we ourselves
find hard to recognize. It can be difficult when we feel hurt, but it's also
important to recognize if the hurt is real or created from unrealistic
In the midst of emotional upset, it's important to exercise and release
endorphins to help us feel better. Studies have shown exercise to be one of the
best methods for stress reduction, decreased depression, and overall positive
It would be wonderful if life had an easy button to simply remove all the drama
causing us emotional pain. The closest thing we possess to make that happen is
our response to what causes the upset. We can choose to walk around with a bad
attitude or choose to be positive with a healthy response. A great workout can
enhance our positive feelings even more.
Having a healthy response to unhealthy situations takes learning and practice,
but the reward is a healthier happier life. There is nothing worse than stewing
inside and growing an emotional pimple until it bursts into ugliness. There are
so many positive avenues to take care of the problem in a healthy way. Eating
healthy and exercise are great ways to improve our mental and physical health.
Other ways to work through emotional upset include meditation, prayer, or even
reaching out to a licensed therapist.
Life is similar to a classroom and we are students learning through each
experience. Every circumstance is an opportunity to learn and grow in a positive
way. With every upset, we can choose to become healthier people. Remember, life
is 10 percent what happens and 90 percent how we respond to it.
April 11, 2017
Standing alt bicep curls: three sets/15 reps
Standing barbell curls: Four sets/15 reps
Seated concentration curls: three sets/15 reps
One arm preacher curls: three sets/15 reps
*all sets with slow tempo
*30 second rest in between sets
*stretch between sets
Spring training program day 1: April 7, 2017
Wide grip pulldowns: pulldowns to the front
Reverse grip pulldowns: right below chin
T-bar rows: as heavy as possible w/ correct form
One arm dumbbell rows: good stretch on bottom
*all exercises three sets
*emphasis on hypertrophy
*one minute rest between sets
Fitness is a Process You Achieve One Day at a Time:
April 4th, 2017
Believing anything happens quickly is not realistic. Fitness is a process of
small changes creating large results over time. No magic wand to instantly
provide a chiseled physique or bikini body. We may want that, but not how it
works. Quick fix thoughts only set us up for frustration and failure.
Achieve fitness one day at a time. Biceps don't suddenly appear after your first
day in the gym. What does occur when you apply fitness daily is progress. The
muscle will show up but let it work, grow and build. It's like a fine wine or
great simmering stew. The journey will be rewarding but patience is required.
One of the worst things you could do is to jump into a fad diet or take
unregulated fat burning supplements thinking this is the answer. Read the small
print on any of these pseudo-fitness deals. "Best results when accompanied with
a healthy diet and exercise program" is what you'll find.
All that needs to happen is to follow the small print which is the best advice
on those bottles. In fact, any results achieved comes from implementing a
healthy nutrition plan and exercise. You're the one doing the work, not what's
in those bottles.
Fitness done daily will take time and effort but the lifelong results are the
reward. It's also a journey and not a destination. There's no need to feel
rushed or stressed about getting fit. It's really a simple process often
over-complicated. Find healthy foods and exercise you enjoy and this is what
keeps you coming back for more.
Avoid jumping ahead in your mind to what you want now and focus on today. What
are you doing today to reach your fitness goals? Did you exercise, eat
healthily, and get plenty of rest? Awesome! Celebrate your daily achievements.
Write them down if it helps. Stay positive even when things aren't showing up as
fast as you think they should.
We're all different in how our bodies respond to change. Comparing to friends or
people we see at the gym is the thief of joy. We're not here to be or look like
someone else. Our job is to become our best healthy self through daily choices.
Who cares if your friend lost 5lbs and you didn't reach that mark. Fitness is
not about who is faster at achieving results.
The goal is getting fit and loving ourselves through the process. The days are
going to pass anyway so focus on adopting a healthy lifestyle the right way.
Today is what we have, tomorrow isn't promised and yesterday is gone. Be in the
now with your fitness and you'll get there one day at a time.
Example of a senior program, March 20th, 2017
1/ seated leg raises, 2 sets, 10 repetitions
2/chair squats/3 sets/10 repetitions
3/seated 5lb dumbbell curls/3 sets/10 reps
4/Seated 5lb dumbbell front raises/3 sets/10 reps
5/standing yellow tube front raises/2 sets/10 reps
6/standing yellow tube bicep curls/2 sets/10 reps
7/standing weighted plate front raises/2 sets/10 reps
8/standing dumbbell bicep curls/2 sets/10 reps
Many of us struggle with weight loss including myself. I remember the days
when I could eat a whole pizza and not put on a pound. These days are a little
different now I must watch what I eat and make sure to get my 50-minute
workout in daily.
So, I’ve put together some strategies to help you smash
1. Figure out your basal metabolic rate. You can use the BMR formula to
figure this out BMR = 655.1 + (4.35 × weight in pounds) + (4.7 × height in
inches) – (4.7 × age in years), use a BMR calculator which can be found online
or you can get resting metabolic rate test. The RMR test determines the number
of calories your body is using at rest by analyzing the amount of oxygen your
body uses. Talk with a personal trainer or fitness professional to find out
more about BMR.
2. After you find out your BMR you will need to measure your activity
level. There are many products out there that can help you do this. Devices
like your cell phone, I watch, Fit bit, polar HRM to name a few. These devices
will track your activity and tell you how active you are. This will give you a
good idea of how your activity plays a role in your weight loss. If you like
running I would get one that doubles as a running watch. There are many
choices out there so many sure to talk to a fitness coach or trainer to help
find the best option.
3. Once you find out your BMR and have an idea of your activity level you
can start to look at what you’re eating. Yes, I know that having a food
journal can be a pain but it does help. Pick up a tracking app and put it on
your phone. Tracking your food can make or break you when it comes to your
goals. Many of these apps have a BMR calculator built in. There are many apps
out there my personal choice is my fitness pal. Talk to a nutritional coach or
personal trainer to pick a tracking app.
4. Set up a schedule for your workouts. You need to focus on your goals and
set up a daily workout. We all are very busy and it’s very hard to squeeze in
a workout but exercise has been shown to make you more productive. Exercising
regularly will increase your energy levels which will help you get things
done. I try to put aside 50 minutes per day for exercise. Having a personal
trainer can help you stick to this schedule.
5. Pick a plan and stick to it. Make sure you pick a plan that is
progressive and easy to follow. If you have any limitations talk to a fitness
trainer and set up a program to work around your limitations. Start with low
intensity cardio workouts and moderate intensity weight training. Focus on big
movements like squats, chest press and rows. Increase the weight at a slow and
6. Keep a clean home. This means that you clean out all the junk out of
your home. That means limited processed foods like cookies, soda, breads,
cakes and pasta. Focus on having veggies, lean meats, fruits, yogurt, beans
and nuts in your home. When you go out to eat then you can enjoy some of the
other foods that aren’t allowed in your home. This will let you enjoy those
foods when you eat out. If you have them in your home, you might turn to them
when you’re stressed.
7. Hire a professional if you’ve failed in the past and you are starting to
slip you might want to hire a professional personal trainer or nutritional
coach. Having someone to push you can make or break your program. A personal
trainer can help keep you on track and make sure that you are progressing
forward with your program. Sometimes getting an outside look can help you see
what is going wrong with your plan.
If you’re new to exercise, make sure to start out light for the first
month. When you’re doing, your cardio start with walking, elliptical or bike.
These are low impact cardio workouts that will minimize injury. When you’re
doing weight, training make sure to pick weights that you can do with control.
If you are having trouble I would advise seeking professional help. Getting
some help from a personal trainer can dial in proper form so that you get the
most out of your program. Working with a trainer can also help to minimize
Good luck with your fitness goals. I know that you will rock this. I have
put together a simple workout program below to get you started. If you have
any questions, feel free to reach out to us.
What a trainer can do that you can't do for yourself by
David Nickum, February 22, 2017
Personal trainers often recommend diet plans or foods, specific to the dietary
needs of an individual. Your fitness coach will recommend certain foods, which
will not just fulfill your nutrition goals, but will also keep you active and
strong. Such recommendations from trainers are not restricted to weight loss
or muscle gain, but they help in achieving the perfect nutritional balance.
Besides recommending the below healthy foods, trainers encourage drinking
plenty of water throughout the day and discourage consumption of processed
foods and sugars.
Foods Recommended By Personal Trainers:
Eggs are one of the most recommended foods by fitness
coaches – often suggested as a healthy snack to keep a person fueled through
the day. These are rich in vitamins, healthy fats and proteins. You can
prepare a batch of hard-boiled eggs early and keep them in the refrigerator.
One egg contains almost 6 grams of proteins and provides energy to stay fit
Watermelon is one of those fruits which help in replenishing the depleted
glycogen from the body. It helps in refueling the tired muscles after a
strenuous course of a workout. The fruit is high in electrolyte content and
water, which helps to keep the body hydrated. Prepare a homemade watermelon
drink with a few pieces of fresh watermelon and some ice cubes.
Personal trainers often recommend a slice of tuna before a morning workout
session. Tuna is a low-carb protein which contains all the essential
polyunsaturated fats, needed by the body. You can have tuna with a serving of
healthy raw vegetables. To add to the taste, you can drizzle some extra olive
oil on a slice of tuna and serve with fresh heirloom tomatoes.
Salmon has all the essential proteins with the benefits of all good fats,
much needed by the body for muscle growth and fitness. Bodybuilders and
athletes are often deficient in fats, hence including a few salmon fillets in
the diet, helps in gaining the deficient fat in the diet. You can have baked
salmon or grilled slices cooked in extra virgin olive oil.
Greek yogurt is a common choice of personal trainers for its high protein
count. If you have a bowl of fresh Greek yogurt after a tiring workout
session, it is known to help with muscle recovery. Store it in your pantry and
have it easily when you feel hungry or need to have something. You can also
toss in a few healthy berries and nuts and add to the nutrition count.
Oatmeal is often described as a comfort food, it is high in fiber and also
easy to prepare. You can have oatmeal with fruits, nuts, flax or Chia. Your
fitness coach might even suggest adding some protein powder to the oatmeal for
added benefits. Oatmeal helps in better digestion of food and encourages the
body to work harder.
The benefits of fresh greens can never be denied. It is always recommended
to have at least one serving of green leafy vegetables in a day – the most
recommended one is kale. It is said to be one of the best vegetables we have
around. You can have it steamed or in soups. It tastes delicious and can also
be added to egg dishes, salads and had a part of a healthy smoothie.
These were some of the most recommended foods by personal trainers – the
list doesn’t end here, and there are many more foods which are often
recommended by experts. Lastly, fitness freaks need to remember that they
should stay away from all kinds of trans fats and saturated fats, to achieve
their fitness goals.
February 15th, 2017-Today's focus Body Weight Cardio
lunges/3 sets 30 seconds
mountain climbers 3 sets/30 seconds
squat thrust /3 sets/15 reps
jumping jacks 3 sets
bicycles 3 sets/
Keep heart rate at working rate of 135 bpm
1.0 min between sets
10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD RUN WITH A GROUP by David
Nickum, February 15th, 2017
The fresh air, the changing colors of fall and spring, a refreshing breeze or
spray of rain when you are hot, or the warm sun peeking through the clouds when
you are still warming up. These are some of my favorite parts of running
outdoors. I started running in 2012 after a friend invited me to a 5k fun run.
Being a cardio junkie I immediately fell in love with running and challenging
myself to run a little farther, or a little faster each time. At first, running
was a solitary hobby, a time to decompress and rest my mind. But when the long
training runs for my first marathon became grueling, I decided to check out
running groups for some support, motivation, and variety. It was exactly what I
needed to renew my love of running. It has been almost 4 years since I started
running with groups and here is why I keep loving my running groups:
1. IT KEEPS ME ACCOUNTABLE
As much as I love running and I know I always feel incredible after, there are
still days where is an internal struggle to lace up my shoes. Maybe it’s early,
dark, raining, or cold. If I know people are expecting me I am much more likely
to get up and get going.
2. IT PUSHES ME HARDER
On average I run faster with groups because I have to keep up! Plus, let’s be
honest, all runs have a moment or two when you just aren’t feeling it. Having
someone to push you through those moments is invaluable.
3. IT’S SAFER
Running with a friend or a group is always safer. Especially when running in the
dark, heat, or inclement weather.
4. IT’S DISTRACTING/ENTERTAINING
Runs seem shorter when you are distracted by conversation. It also gets me out
of my head so I don’t focus too much on how many miles I have left or random
aches in my legs.
5. YOU WILL MEET NEW PEOPLE WITH NEW RUNNING IDEAS
I have met some great people through running groups. Meeting other people with
similar running habits has helped introduce me to new races and groups that I
didn’t know about before. I have also spoken to seasoned runners to gather
information about training plans, running nutrition, and general knowledge about
training and running recovery.
6. TWO WORDS…LONG RUNS…
For me, this is the main reason I started running with a group. Long runs are
LONG. I became burnt out on listening to my running mixes, and tired of running
the same route from my house and back. Having someone else around to pound the
pavement helps it go by faster and keeps me entertained.
7. YOU WILL FIND NEW PLACES TO RUN
Running groups take you out of your comfort zone to try a new route. The long
run group Pacers group in Arlington has a rotating start on weekends so you will
see a variety of routes. Even groups that start at the same spot each week tend
to try different routes on occasion. Get ready to explore!
8. THE GROUP OUTSIDE THE GROUP
All the groups I have been to tend to have another “unofficial group” that meets
before the running group or on another day. As you make friends in the group,
sometimes people organize for smaller runs with runners that have a similar pace
or training schedule. This has been helpful to me when I have a packed schedule
and can’t get to the regular scheduled groups.
Since many running groups are organized by running stores it is common that
these groups may have promoters from some of the running brands who may come to
fun runs and let runners try their shoes or other merchandise samples. Some
running stores also do injury screenings, prize giveaways, discounts, or group
activities such as spaghetti dinners before races. Who doesn’t love a freebie?
10. MAYBE MEET SOMEONE SPECIAL?!
A new great running friend or maybe something else? Who knows!
Reasons to use a Trainer by trainer Correen February 11th,
ACCOUNTABILITY & MOTIVATION- Trainers are experts at
holding you accountable. You have a set, paid appointment. Your trainer will be
there waiting for you with a smile on his/her face each and every time you show
up. They help you to not only develop your own personalized goals but to also
develop a realistic and achievable plan to attain these goals. Trainers have the
ability to believe in you even when you are feeling at your lowest and don’t
believe in yourself. “CAN’T” is not in a trainer’s vocabulary.
DEVELOP A ROUTINE- Sure, it’s easy to get to the gym and hop on the elliptical,
but then what? Trainers are educated on the most effective ways to help you get
to your fitness goals. They will work with you to develop a routine that makes
since and is realistic for you. If you haven’t worked out in months and are just
returning to the gym, a trainer will not expect you to begin a fitness regimen
consisting of 60 minute routines 5 days a week. A trainer will help you to
figure out what makes since in your life that will maximize your time in the gym
but not overwhelm you. They will work with you to develop an exercise routine
that takes you on the path to achieving your personal goals. All along the way
holding you accountable and providing motivation!
FRESH NEW PERSPECTIVES & IDEAS ON HEALTH, NUTRITION, AND FITNESS- There is an
overwhelming amount of fitness, nutrition, and health information available. It
is impossible for the average person to have time to sift through this
information for what is most valid, accurate and up to date. It is the job of
the trainer to stay on top of health trends and continue their education in
order to provide you with the safest and most accurate information in the
industry. Is that new fad diet really effective? Will I really get a bikini body
by doing that popular workout? Is it true what I read in this fitness magazine?
These are just some of the questions trainers deal with on a daily basis.
Trainers are able to use their education, knowledge and experience to provide
you with tips and tricks to help you develop a healthier lifestyle. We are
constantly sharing recipes and ways to contend with obstacles in your nutrition
such as “candy in the office”, or how to manage menu’s when dining out with
friends. Often trainers are the first to say, “Hey, you’ve been complaining
about this for a little bit. Maybe you should go see a doctor, massage
therapist, nutritionist, etc.” We see you on a regular basis and are able to
recognize if something is different or just not right and are happy to point it
out and refer you to the appropriate expert. We care about your health and
well-being! And we will hold you accountable to taking care of yourself
nutritionally, physically, and with your overall health!
SOLID, CONSISTENT, NON-JUDGMENTAL SUPPORT- Not everyone has your best interest
in mind. Your trainer, though, only cares about you and your success. Your
trainer will be there. Each hour you spend with your trainer is an hour to focus
on you and only you! They will provide consistent feedback to help you better
yourself and achieve your goals. Most importantly, the trainer is able to do
this without making you feel inadequate or judged. We have all gone into the gym
and worried about what we look like doing an exercise or compared ourselves to
someone else. Trainers don’t judge or derogate. They help you to see all of your
successes, big and small, even when you can’t see them yourself. Through this
support, trainers will hold you accountable and motivate you, despite your
feelings about yourself!
PROPER TECHNIQUE & FORM- Watching all the you tube videos in the world and
reading all the fitness magazines, does not substitute having a person by your
side providing you immediate feedback on form and technique. It is very easy to
hurt yourself in the gym. Trainers pay attention, cue both your mind and your
body and help you achieve your goals more quickly by making sure you are doing
each exercise correctly. They can help you develop better running form, improve
your posture, and increase your strength by teaching you to recruit the proper
muscles and making a mind body connection. With each exercise trainers will hold
you accountable to proper form and technique preventing injury!
INJURY PREVENTION and/or INJURY REHAB- Often people shy away from equipment in
the gym because they are afraid of hurting themselves. Likewise, one may stop
attending the gym due to an injury. Trainers will teach you how to use equipment
properly so that you do not injure yourself. Trainers will also work with you to
prevent injuries in everyday life by helping you increase your balance,
flexibility, and core strength. They are able to focus on specific exercises
that will benefit you based on your activities of daily living. And in the
chance that you have suffered an injury, trainers are able to work with you to
safely exercise, keep your range of motion, and get your strength back. Just
recently, I broke my leg. My trainer did not let me stop working out. After
communicating with my physical therapist, we were able to develop a plan for me
to keep up my upper body strength and begin rehab on my leg. A personal trainer
will not let you use an injury as an excuse to not workout!!
SPORTS SPECIFIC TRAINING- Are you an athlete? Even a recreational athlete can
get better at their sport. Trainers have studied body patterns and movements.
They know the best exercises to help you develop strength, endurance, speed, and
agility for your sport. A trainer will know if you have been keeping up your
routine through your performance and will hold you accountable to the sports
specific exercises in your program!
MAXIMIZE WORKOUT/MINIMIZE TIME- You will burn more calories in less time when
working with a trainer. A trainer develops a program that is efficient and
allows you to get the most in, in the shortest amount of time. Time does not
need to be lost at the gym. If you are finding it hard to find time to workout,
not only will a trainer help you to get the most out of your work out, but they
will teach you how you can do that on your own. Each week trainers will follow
up to see if you achieved our workout goals for the week, holding you
accountable to exercise on your own time and make tweaks to the program to help
you be successful!
PERSONALIZED PROGRAM- Personal training is just that, PERSONAL! A trainer will
develop a program that is specific to you and your goals. If you have an injury,
if you want to climb a mountain, if you want lose weight to become pregnant,
have lower back pain… The program will be specific to you and only you! A
program your trainer takes the time to develop and teach to you. You know they
are going to hold you accountable to achieving the goals of that program!
RELATIONSHIP BUILDING- Some of my favorite time during the week is with my
clients. You develop a relationship with your trainer like no other. Your
relationship is very personal. There are not very many people whom you share
your goals so specifically, who in turn will work so diligently to help you
achieve them. Often that hour (or two, or three) a week you spend with your
trainer, is the only time in your week that is truly devoted to you, your goals,
and your successes. I have had sessions in which my client is angry and just
wants to workout. There is no talking for the hour. I have had sessions with
clients who have recently lost a loved one and their hour with me is their time
to escape. I also have sessions with clients where they are so excited to share
with me their personal successes and how what we are doing in training is
translating into their life outside the gym. Often times intimate details of
life are shared in sessions and I am so grateful that people trust me enough to
allow me these details. It is these personal relationships and the intimate
knowledge of who you are that helps the trainer work specifically with you and
to hold you accountable to your goals!
Although this post is titled 10 Benefits of Personal Training I thought it was
important to emphasize the eleventh. The one that is reoccurring through each
bullet point. The benefit that above all is most important.
RESULTS- Working with a trainer will allow you to achieve the results that you
cannot achieve on your own. Each person’s goals are extremely personal. Whether
it be weight loss, injury rehab, or companionship. A trainer is going to develop
goals that will lead you down a path to success. As a trainer, I work diligently
with each of my clients to help them recognize their results, tangible and
intangible, as well as results they never anticipated having. It is these
results that not only hold you accountable to me, but they hold me, your
trainer, accountable to you!
February 9th, 2017-Today's focus Back
Narrow grip pullups: the bread and butter for
bench over barbell rows: isolating the lats
reverse grip pulldowns: back strength
wide grip pulldowns to front: v-tape width
Back is extremely important and must be trained with proper
form to prevent injury. Goal is to widen v-taper thus giving the illusion
of a smaller waist.
Main groups activated: latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, rear
Four sets per exercise
All sets to failure
DRESS FOR SUCCESS WHEN RUNNING IN WINTER MONTHS By
David Nickum, February 8th, 2017
I absolutely love running in all seasons. There is NO WAY that I will pack away
my running shoes with my shorts and flip flops!
If you are also looking forward to a run in the brisk winter months, try some of
1. DRESS RIGHT FOR THE WEATHER & YOUR BODY.
A good rule of thumb is to dress like it’s 10 degrees warmer than it actually
is. However, everyone is different. Try wearing layers if you are new to winter
running, that way you can unzip or take them off if you get hot. Remember, your
goal is not to be warm before you start running, it’s better to start off
feeling a little uncomfortably cold, you will likely be just right when you warm
2. KEEP A JOURNAL.
Try keeping a journal of the temp and what you wore and how you felt. (Also the
post-it app on a smartphone works for me). This will help you remember what went
right and what went wrong when there is another similar day. I always feel
underdressed in my light weight jacket and headband on a 30 degree day, but my
experience showed that after about 5 mins of running this is just right.
3. IT BETTER WICK.
When it is cold I want anything that touches my body to be sweat wicking. Cotton
is way too cold for me, once it gets sweaty it feels like ice! I love mizuno,
under armour, and Nike cold weather running gear. Under Armour has fleece-lined
wicking pants and shirts that are amazingly warm, dry, and soft. Some of my
other favorite running shirts are the freebie tech-shirts I have gotten from
4. KEEP YOUR HANDS WARM.
There are some good running gloves on the market from what I have heard, but I
have never tried them. My go-to are the $1 one-size-fits all gloves for a cool
day and knitted mittens for a colder day. I like knitted gloves because I find
they are breathable and don’t get too wet. Mittens hold all your fingers
together creating a little hand-sauna for especially cold days. For an
especially cold day you can also try “hot hands” hand warmers which are
available for purchase at REI or other camping stores.
5. DON’T SLIP!
Snow and ice can be dangerous. Take a light if you are running in the dark hours
to help you look or for hidden ice. If you are running in the snow see if any of
your local trails get plowed, I believe W&OD and the trails around George Mason
University are plowed by the city so theses are good trails to use. Also, “Yax
Trax” are cleats attached to rubbed cradles that you can attach to your running
shoes. They will help you not to slip in the snow and ice.
Hydrate before you run, you still need water even though you feel less thirsty.
It’s hard to carry water because of might freeze, but try putting electrolytes
in your bottle, sugar and sale lower the freezing temperature of water. You can
also try a coozie to insulate or wear hydration close to your busy in a backpack
or belt. Water fountains that you use in the summer may be turned off in the
winter so don’t rely on those.
7. WARM UP BEFORE YOU RUN
Warming up in your house before you go out might make starting your run more
bearable. Try some jumping jacks, squats and lunges for about 1-5 minutes to get
your legs ready to move
How Can A Personal Trainer Help You by David Nickum,
February 6th, 2017
When you’re trying to get into good shape, one of the things that might occur to
you is to hire a personal trainer to help you. However, you’re probably
considering other options as well, such as just going jogging or getting a gym
membership or an exercise bike. You might be wondering if having a personal
trainer justifies the time and expense of having someone dedicated to advancing
you in your fitness goals. We think the answer is yes! However, before you just
take our word for it, here are some of the things that having a personal trainer
can do for you. The truth is, there are some things that are just difficult or
impossible to do for yourself. Having a trainer can help to ensure that you
don’t have any training gaps or miss any of the benefits of the exercise you’re
A PERSONAL TRAINER CAN EVALUATE YOUR FORM
One of the classic mistakes that people make when they are exercising is doing
the movement with improper form. This can lead to the movement being more
difficult than necessary, or a reduction in the amount of benefit that you’re
getting from that exercise, or in the worst case scenario, even an injury. A
personal trainer will be able to evaluate your form and make corrections to
ensure that you’re maximizing the benefits you reap from your workout.
Many people have the idea that the only time they need someone to evaluate their
form is when they’re doing a totally new and unfamiliar kind of exercise. “I’d
want someone to evaluate my form if I started using the rowing machine or doing
pull ups, but I definitely know how to walk and run. I’ve been doing that all my
life.” However, even when you’ve been doing something for years, a trainer can
benefit you. You might have been doing it wrong all those years. Even if you
were trained how to do it properly, you might have slipped unconsciously into a
bad habit. Or you might have had a minor injury, like a sprain or a broken toe,
that imperceptibly altered how you did that movement, and now your brain has
forgotten that you ever did it any other way. Most people benefit tremendously
from working with a personal trainer who can evaluate and correct their form in
A PERSONAL TRAINER CAN KEEP YOU CONSISTENT
It’s a well-known fact that gym memberships get neglected and the best of
resolutions to work out easily get shuffled to the side. Everyone is busy, and
the tyranny of the urgent often gobbles up the time we had set aside for working
out. However, there’s just something about having a personal trainer in the
picture that will help to overcome that tendency for everything to crowd out
your fitness routine. This is especially the case when your personal trainer can
come right to your house and spare you the hassle of driving to an external
Follow Your Own Fitness Path for Life Long Results: February 3rd, 2017
My daughter's 1st-grade teacher informed me she would always be a leader and not
a follower. This still holds true 25-years later and such great advice. I think
about her statement often and how it applies to health and fitness.
We all need to be leaders and not followers when it comes to our fitness and
health. Following the path of someone else with differing goals just doesn't
make sense. We are all unique in body, mind, and spirit. My goal isn't to be you
and I hope this is true on your end.
I am a skeptic when it comes to fitness miracles regardless of who is sharing
the information. I refuse to follow the beliefs of others just because they
heard it was the next best thing to sliced bread. Do you really think it's
healthy to lose 20lbs in 5 days? That's craziness.
I feel the same way about exercise programs. I review fitness trends before
agreeing with advertised claims of it being the newest and best workout ever.
What does impress me is solid research and leading myself with what works best
for me nutritionally and physically. Everything else is just fluff until proven
quality. Sure it takes work when you're a leader, but it's worth the time and
effort. Don't you want to apply sound principles to your health and fitness
program? There is so much crap out there that can actually hurt you and to not
be aware of this fact is negligent.
Leaders also do not feel the need to compare. They are confident moving forward,
regardless of how slow, with a tried and true fitness program.
Followers are more apt to give up and jump to the next new fitness trend hoping
to achieve something from empty promises.
Leaders stand firm with dedication while followers get lost in the shuffle.
Leaders will get lifelong results and followers will yo-yo through and typically
end up right where they started or worse.
Science has already proven consistent healthy eating and regular exercise is the
answer to good health. Leaders understand and accept this fact. Followers
continue to struggle. They want fast and easy and desire the results worn by the
leaders but are often unwilling to do the work.
It is so important to understand being a leader will be the success of your
overall health and fitness. We all have differing things going on genetically,
medically, and even emotionally. Accurate and successful fitness programs take
specific and personal needs into consideration. This requires us not to compare
our fitness to others and start directing our own path. Personal focus allows us
to discover what works best for us.
WHAT IS IN-HOME PERSONAL TRAINING? By David Nickum, January 31st, 2017
Many people are aware that proper fitness and exercise are an essential part of
a healthy lifestyle. There are a multitude of ways to work out, from going
jogging to getting a gym membership to doing yoga with friends. But one of the
options that tends to be under-used is the option of personal training at home.
Part of the reason why people don’t think of this option is simply because
they’re not sure exactly what it is, and this lack of familiarity causes people
to be hesitant to give it a try. In this article, we’ll look at what in-home
personal training is and how it can benefit our neighbors in the Fairfax
community and surrounding areas.
WHAT IT IS
In-home personal training brings all the benefits of a personal trainer right to
your home. The same exact things that you would do with a trainer at the gym can
be done right in the comfort of your own home. The personal trainer comes to
you, visits on your schedule, and brings all the equipment you’ll need to have a
In-Home Personal Training is Professional
When you choose in-home personal training, you are getting access to a
professional who comes right to your home and delivers excellent-quality
training in order to give you the best-possible results. It won’t feel awkward,
like having a stranger in the house, or even like having a service technician in
your house. There are two key differences:
First, the personal trainer has a business to run and a professional reputation
to maintain. If a personal trainer ever failed to respect you in your space,
that would be too costly to their reputation.
Second, you’re interacting directly with the trainer as you do your workout,
rather than just letting someone into your home who has a job to do, like
plumbing or wiring. Because you interact, you get to know them and they get to
In-Home Personal Training Gets Results
Having a fitness instructor come to your home is one of the fastest, most
reliable methods of getting in shape. The reason for this is that you get
customized, individualized instruction that is tailored exactly to you. If you
pop in a DVD, you’ll get a generic workout, but if you have a real person
telling you what to do and evaluating your form and your progress, you’ll get a
very specific workout.
In-Home Personal Training is Based on Your Goals
If you don’t know where you are and where you want to end up, your workout will
be aimless and you won’t make as much progress as you should. Our trainers here
at EPT are skilled in discovering your fitness goals and then creating a path to
get you there. Every exercise and every rep will be geared precisely toward
helping you get where you need to go.
7 TIPS TO COMBAT HUNGER by David Nickum, January 29th, 2017
7tips-to-combat-hunger Being hungry and make or break fitness goals. It is the
one major thing that can hold us back. Here are some tips and tricks to help you
1. Get a good nights sleep
When you get a good night sleep your leptin levels drop and your ghrelin levels
rise. Leptin suppresses appetite and ghrelin stimulates hunger. Eating 500
calories more or cutting them out can make or break your nutrition plan. So make
sure to turn in early to reach your goals.
2. Eat more protein
When you take in more protein your blood sugar will be more balanced, your
satiety will be increased and you will have the building blocks to build lean
mass. Protein takes longer to digest and will keep you full much longer. 30% of
your calories should come from protein. Good sources of protein: Lean meat,
Yogurt, Whey, beans and eggs.
3. Eat fiber
Everybody knows that fiber is an important part of your diet. Fiber is great
because it slows down the digestion process. We don’t use fiber as a fuel source
so it helps to keep us full. The goal is to eat about 20-30 grams of fiber per
day. Tips for getting more fiber: Eat more vegetables, fruits, beans and switch
to a high fiber wheat bread.
4. Eat at regular intervals
Try to keep a schedule for eating, this will help to stay on track without
cheating. We’re creatures of habit and staying on a regular schedule will help
5. Cut down on the sweets
Simple sugars digest very fast and your body will crave more quickly leaving you
wanting more. If you have a sweet tooth try to switch over to fruit the fiber in
the fruit will leave you feeling full and satisfied.
6. Drink more water
Water helps to suppress appetite and can really help aid you with your dietary
goals. Drinking an 8 oz glass will help shut down the hunger craving within
minutes. You may find that you were not hungry at all but you just needed a
little H20 to feel full.
7. Partake in strenuous exercise
Several new studies are showing that intense workouts may help knockout some of
the hungry pains. A short 5-10 minute workout might do the trick. Intense
workouts improve insulin sensitivity which can help keep feeling in control.
Using these tips will help you stay on track. Sometimes it can be hard to stick
to your goals when you hungry. Stay focused and you will see results. If you
have any questions feel free to message me.
SPAGHETTI SQUASH – HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS from David Nickum, January 25th,
October is an exciting time of year. Pumpkins everywhere are in the limelight
and get all the attention it seems. Walk down any aisle in the grocery store and
find a pumpkin spice version of many of your favorite foods. But don’t forget,
there are a lot of other fall produce to enjoy this month.
Here’s one you can pick up for dinner tonight:
– Spaghetti Squash-
Finding your squash:
Spaghetti squash is in season in Virginia in September and October. I bought a
fresh spaghetti squash this weekend at the Fairfax County Farmers market
(http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/farmersmarkets) in Fairfax city.
However, they seem to be in most grocery stores as well. My personal favorite
grocery stores for quality fresh produce are Trader Joe’s or The Fresh Market.
You can pick up one medium squash for about $2-4. That will make a plate of
veggie “pasta” for 1-3 people. Look for a squash that is golden yellow with a
firm rind without cracks.
Preparing your squash:
You can prepare your squash by baking, boiling, or microwaving it. I prefer to
bake mine in the oven. To bake, first pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Next,
cut off the stem of the squash and split it lengthwise. Scrape out the pulp and
seeds with a spoon and discard them. Place you halves open-side down in a baking
dish. You can add a small amount of water to help steam it. Cook 30-40 minutes,
until squash is tender. (If you are short on time, you can microwave the squash
cut-side up in a covered dish for 10-12 minutes as an alternative.) Once it is
tender, scrape the squash with a fork and it will come out looking like a plate
of spaghetti noodles.
Serving your squash:
You can pair your squash with your favorite spaghetti fixings. I really enjoy
Trader Joe’s seasonal “autumn harvest” pumpkin and butternut squash sauce with
some of their pre-made “fully-cooked turkey meatballs”. I also sometimes use a
red sauce like “Ragu tomato and basil, no sugar added” and mix in some cooked
ground beef, fresh basil, and garlic. 1 1/2 – 2 cups of sauce will be enough for
one squash. Top your dish off with some grated Parmesan cheese and serve.
How it measures up:
It looks like pasta but it’s nutritionally different. One cup of traditional
spaghetti weighs in with around 170-220 calories, 42g cabohydrates, 8 grams of
protein, and 2 grams of fiber. A one-cup serving of wheat spaghetti has about
170 calories, 37.2 grams carbohydrates,7.5 grams of protein, and 6.3 grams
dietary fiber. Spaghetti squash on the other hand, has about 41 calories, 10
grams of carbs, 1 gram of protein, and 2.2 grams of fiber in a one cup serving.
Squash has significantly lower calories and carbs than pasta, but it is also
lighter in protein so don’t forget to add your favorite protein to the side. So
now that you are saving over 100 calories a serving you can enjoy that pumpkin
We hope you enjoy!
Written by Lauren Krause.
How to use exercise to relieve knee pain by David Nickum January 19th, 2017
Here are some steps to help conquer knee pain.
I see people all the time with knee pain and it always seems to get in the way
of their fitness program. Many people start an exercise program then quit soon
after because of knee pain. There are many reasons for the knee pain and some
include muscular imbalances. Often I see people with weak glutes (The butt) and
this causes many of the smaller muscles to take over which can lead to muscular
1. Use the bridge exercise to help build glute strength. The bridge will help
correct the incorrect muscle patterns and get you back on track. The bottom line
is that weak glutes directly contribute to knee pain. Shoot for 3 sets of 20
reps. Make sure that you push straight down on the heals to activate the glutes.
Here is a video from Integrative Personal Training to get you started.
2. Lateral tube walking: Tube walking is a great tool to help correct muscle
imbalances that cause the knees to point inward. Just like an alignment in your
car it is important to have proper alignment in your hips. When your hips are in
good working order the knee joint tends to fall into place. The only equipment
you need is resistance bands. Position your feet hip with apart with a neutral
spine, activate your core, bend your knees slightly then walk sideways. Take 20
steps the right then 20 steps to the left and remember to use controlled steps.
Here is a video from breakthrough fitness to get you started:
3. Aerobic exercise can help with weight loss which will take some pressure off
the of knee. Cardio also helps the body with inflammation. When you have knee
pain it is a good idea to stick with exercises that are low impact like
swimming, biking or walking. Doing a simple aerobic program keeps the knees
moving which and help preserve the tissue. 20-30 minutes per workout should do
These are a few tips to help you get on the right track with knee pain. Many of
us suffer from pain and it can derail us from our fitness program. You can
repeat 2-3 days a week and do the cardio up to 6 days a week. If you have
questions feel free to message.
January 12th 2017-Today's Focus Chest
Flat Dumbell Bench press: Working the upper chest, use slow controlled form
Incline barbell bench press: Good stretch/range of
motion, squeeze on top, more focus on lower chest
incline dumbell Bench Press: Targeting complete
wide grip Pushups: Inncer chest/muscular endurance
All sets to failure
Three sets per exercise
January 10th 20017-Today's Focus Biceps
seated incline dumbell Curl-the staple and most
standing ez bar curls: supinated wrists
standing cable curls: good peak
Biceps, meaning two head muscle belly, responds well to the
Four sets per exercise.
All sets to failure
Why Do We Complicate Fitness? January 9th 2017 (from
http://stayhealthyfitness.blogspot.com/ great blog)
The only hard thing about fitness is negative thoughts about the process. We
convince ourselves a boring diet is needed and endless hours of exercise are
required. We go as far as considering it a burden and a cramp in our lifestyle.
Instead of turning our nose up at the very thought of getting healthy, maybe
rethinking the process is all that's needed.
Do you think people decades ago farming for a living to survive working from
sunrise to sunset worried about a diet? They may have spent hours doing physical
labor, but it was a lifestyle and eating healthy was part of it. Nothing
complicated, just some sweat, and eating home cooking straight from the garden.
Their bodies represented how they lived. Unfortunately, this has been replaced
by couch potato channel surfing, stuffing our faces with processed food and
diets that don't work.
Getting fit doesn't take a miracle diet and certainly isn't a secret to
accomplishing the goal. The problem is within our thoughts and unrealistic
expectations. You want to lose 20 pounds in a week and look like a fitness
model. Not going to happen. We also want the process to be an easy quick fix
requiring no workouts and drinking magic shakes while remaining on our sofas.
Wake up America!
Being fit and healthy is really simple. Eat greens, grains, lean meats, healthy
fats, drink lots of water and exercise at least 3 times per week. Nothing hard
about it and it's not a diet. Why is this process considered boring, tasteless,
and the end of fun in life? Society and marketing have done a great job
brainwashing people to believe a load of crap.
Eating a fresh organic crisp apple or perfectly grilled chicken breast are not
what I call horrible. Are you kidding me? Remember eating celery stuffed with
peanut butter? Now that's a healthy treat full of flavor and fun. Being fit will
take tossing the food myths and getting real with your thoughts about health. It
will also require you to move your butt off the couch and into the gym. Exercise
is what you enjoy. Love basketball? Start playing. Enjoy dancing? Look into a
Zumba class. I like to use the jungle gyms at parks and play around on those
doing pull-ups, step-ups, and triceps dips for example. No more excuses or
belief that fitness is complicated. It's time we all embrace the simplicity of
the process and have fun on the journey.
January 5th, 2016-Today's focus Body Weight Cardio
Jumping jacks/3 sets 30 seconds
burpees/3 sets/30 seconds
stair walks/3 sets/15 reps
mountain climbers, 3 sets
stationary lunges/3 sets/
Keep heart rate at working rate of 125 bpm
1.5 min between sets
January 3rd, 2017-Why Wait for New Year to Make a
I enjoy the excitement and celebration of New Year but not really a big fan
of the resolutions. Largely due to seeing so many people not follow through
after a few weeks, or even days. The fireworks of new healthy promises are
typically replaced by old habits. The new healthy lifestyle fizzles back into
the norm of unhealthy choices. Sad but true.
Why wait for New Year’s to make a positive decision to change your life and
become healthier people? Today is always the best day to make a change. Never
put off until tomorrow what can be accomplished today.
New Year has been a holiday used as a crutch to continue living unhealthy lives.
Why? Because we put off until the New Year what we should be doing now and abuse
the days leading up to the event. We create an excuse to consume large amounts
of unhealthy food and avoid starting an exercise program until the so-called
magical perfect time.
The reality is no perfect time exists and life doesn't wait for our decisions.
It goes on whether we join in the positive decision making process or not.
Procrastination is the thief of health and fitness. Not taking care of ourselves
eventually leads to poor lab results, obesity, heart issues, diabetes,
hypertension, increased stress and the list goes on.
Wouldn’t it be better going into the New Year with a healthy lifestyle already
I'm not trying to be a Darla Downer for the upcoming New Year. I simply want you
to consider the reason for waiting to become a healthy person. Celebrating is
awesome and decisions made on any day are worth raising a glass in cheers. I
applaud all efforts to adopt a healthy lifestyle and the awesome thing is it
doesn't have to wait until January 1st.
But what about all the holiday food and fun? I agree there is a bounty of savory
and sweet treats during the holidays. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a
little of this and that. This is called living life and balance. However,
including your healthy foods and exercise should also be part of your holiday
Let’s not use the holiday as an excuse to not take care of ourselves. We have
promoted a hall pass to a month of junk food for long enough. When the so-called
fun is said and done, we are left with expanded guts and butts. Why cause
frustration knowing it will be that much longer and harder to undo what has been
done? Think on that.
December 30th, 2016-Today's Focus Biceps
Seated incline alternate Curl-the staple and most
Standing ez bar curls: supinated wrists
Standing cable cursl: good peak
Biceps, meaning two head muscle belly, responds well to the
Four sets per exercise.
All sets to failure