Wednesday, July 29, 2015

6 Lean and Fit Summer Vacation Tips

Summer is here and the big question is "what can I do while I am on vacation to stay lean and in shape?  Here are some tips that will guarantee that all that hard work in the gym will not go to waste when you go away on vacation and have no exercise equipment.

1.  No equipment needed!  You do not need a gym travel pass and there is no need to overload yourself with heavy equipment to carry around at your vacation destination.  Keep it light and simple.  I few therapy bands and a yoga mat are all you need.

2.  Do strength and stability training for your smaller muscle groups.  This is good enough during your one week stay away.  This is beneficial because usually people focus less on the stabilizer muscles.  The muscles that attach to your spine and pelvis, core muscles, are actually more important for longevity in training than your larger muscles groups.  

3.  Revisit the fundamentals of exercise with body weight calisthenic training. These type of exercises promote strength, muscle maintenance and overall mobility.  This program will make you realize that you can benefit exponentially from exercising without weights. 

4.  Do not change your diet plan while you are on vacation.  Usually people tend to increase there calorie intake while away while reducing the physical activity they do.  Remember you must eat based on the amount of activity you do in a day.  Portion control should be your main objective on vacation, especially if you plan to relax the whole time.

5.  Protein before carbohydrates keeps your muscles in check!  You must consume the your daily recommended amount of protein each day no matter what.  Your muscles need the energy to maintain themselves even when you are resting and relaxing.  If anything, while you are away and less active, reduce the amount of carbohydrates you eat.  Limit your carbohydrate intake to strictly salads and whole grains.

6.  Do cardio everyday.  This is important.  If you plan on not gaining a pound of fat while you are on your retreat, it is important to boost your metabolism daily with some cardio.  Let's face it, a vacation includes a lot of unhealthy food and booze for the most part.  Keeping your metabolism in check and not letting everything go south can easily be maintained with high or moderate intensity endurance training in the morning.  

Got Water?

Have you been feeling faint, dizzy, nauseous, thirsty, or constipated?  If so, you may want to consider drinking more water regularly throughout the day.  This is important whether you workout or not or if you live in warmer than normal or cooler than normal climate areas.  

A good way to determine how much water you need each day is to divide your body weight in pounds by 2.2 to find your body weight in Kilograms.  Multiply this new number (your body weight in kgs) by 40 and you will get the amount of milliliters of water you need throughout a day.  Divide this number by 1000 and you will get an accurate amount of liters of water you need to drink a day to minimize the symptoms of dehydration, based on your body weight.  If you have a balance diet, you can factor in a liter of water from the food that you eat throughout the day.  Most people require anywhere from 2-4 liters of water a day but, this is highly dependent on how active or inactive you are.  The more activity you do the more water you must drink.

On days that you perform moderate to vigorous exercise you need almost 2 extra liters of water on top of your daily recommendation.  Before your workout it is good to drink 500ml of water or a 16oz bottle of water to help with joint fluidity and to maintain high blood volume.  Yes, you will prevent injury and your muscles and joints will feel and move better when you are hydrated. Dehydration can also reduce blood volume because blood is approximately 85-90% water. Your heart moves water packed bloods cells throughout your body at a high rate while you are active.  During your workout it is good to take a drink every 15 mins to maintain hydration.  Your lack of energy later in your workout could be because your body has to work extra hard to turnover oxygen and water.  After your workout, especially if you sweat a lot, it is good to drink a 1.5 liters of water within an hour.  This will guarantee that you restore all water lost and kick start the nutrient transfer of a proper post workout meal.  

Regular water intake is more important than you think.  The effects of dehydration may be the reason why you cannot improve your performance or body composition.  When your body does not have enough water it cannot function well.  This can decrease your metabolism and performance, mentally and physically.  The next time you feel thirsty it is important to know that your body has already started the unhealthy adaptation to the lack of water well before this feeling.  So drink water regularly and do not rely on thirst!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Exception to the Effects of Aging on Metabolism

It is true that your metabolism decreases gradually the older you get.  Factors that affect your metabolism as you get older are the type of lifestyle you live, how well you maintain your muscle mass, and your diet.  Aging alone decreases your metabolism gradually every ten years after you turn 25 years old.  You lose about 5-10 pounds of muscles every ten years as you age.  The affect of aging on your dwindling metabolism is dependent on how well you maintain your muscles. 
The best way to decrease the effects of aging on your metabolism is to build and maintain muscle with high intensity exercise and a balanced nutritional diet to compliment.  The types of exercise that can be categorized as high intensity are slow and fast speed tempo resistance training, sprinting, climbing, jumping, medicine and kettle bell training.  The type of exercise that will raise your heart rate to the same level as if you were being chased by a lion is great for muscular development.  The key to keeping a fast metabolism as you age is to work out at your maximum intensity on a regular basis.  Your body will adapt to the work that you are doing with your muscles by making them stronger and higher calorie burners.  High intensity exercise always defeats low intensity exercise because of it's contribution to muscle gains and also the metabolism boost you get hours after a workout.  High intensity exercise builds muscle and that muscle keeps your body composition normal as you age. 
Results are gained in the gym and during meal time.  If you are working out consistently you have to eat the right amount of macro and micro nutrients based on the goals you want to achieve.  Diet and exercise are equally important.  To increase or maintain your muscle as you age there has to be the right amount of nutrients fueling your body to support activity.  With the right exercise program and nutritional plan you will see that your age is just a number and your body composition is the true indicator of your metabolism.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Eat for Energy in the Morning!

Whether or not you should eat before your morning workout is an easy question to answer.  Yes you should!  What you eat before your workout will contribute towards the amount of energy you have to execute the workout at the right intensity to trigger the desired response.  You may get away with doing a shorter duration activity without compromising muscle maintenance or gains.  In most cases we all need energy to move after a 6-10 hour overnight fast, depending on how long you sleep.  What you eat before you workout does not necessarily have to be breakfast but it should compliment the level of activity you plan to do.  If your stomach does not agree with this advice, go light and simple no matter what.  Something is better than nothing so go bananas, a slice of bread with spread, or even an energy drink if you are not used to a morning meal.  Eat a light carbohydrate rich snack before morning workouts and your meal afterwards can be a wholesome protein packed breakfast.  In the morning you are more likely to burn off what you eat easier than in the evening because, workout or not, your body needs fuel to do any activity.  Calorie consumption is always better for fat loss in the morning than at night. Food is your body's fuel for the mind and body. In the morning you will be more focused and have more energy if you eat before you train.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Age of Fitness Trackers

Start off the year solid and set your fitness goal to be in top shape.  Let us forget about scales and the way you fit in your year old jeans.  Let us be motivated by monitored performance and reaching higher levels of intensity.  Tracking your heart rate during a workout is a great way to gauge whether you are working hard enough to build muscle, burn fat or to do both at the same time.  We cannot make any progress focusing only on day to day body weight and tape measurement readings. These devices as well as your perceived level of intensity are misleading  Confirmation should come from the fact that you have completed a greater amount of work in the same amount of time you take to workout.  Your goal should be to work harder, lift heavier, run farther, or faster than you ever did before.  You cannot do this unless you consistently track your progress and exceed your recorded limitations every workout.  To be better you must do better.  The future of heart rate monitors, fitness bands, and activity trackers are on the rise.  If you have not invested in one yet, you should.  Using these devices will make your workouts more challenging and meaningful.  You will be sure to force yourself out of your comfort zone knowing that your fitness tracking device has record that you have reached a certain intensity before.  The added benefits to your workout that a fitness tracking device can bring are exponential.  Seeing is believing!  Once you invest in a fitness tracking device and see how it works you will believe that you can do what it takes to be in top shape.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Ultimate Fitness Goal

The Ultimate fitness goal is to live a long healthy life of fitness with minimal injuries and maximum abilities.  To reach this goal you have to live a lifestyle of fitness with deliberate practice while taking little breaks.  Easier said than done!  The necessary steps to succeed and conquer the ultimate goal can seem boring and monotonous.  To be consistent with practice you must enjoy it.  There are benefits in not only the exercises we do but also the interdependent components of each exercise.  In order to do what is needed to reach the ultimate goal, respect and recognition must be given to the simplest parts of practice.  Having a fundamental focus is the key to staying consistent in practice and steady progression for a lifetime.

Improving movement patterns while also building integrity in the platform that supports all body movements will enhance the efficiency and coordination of any movement.  A stronger frame and core around it will last longer and will allow you to sustain less injuries in a lifetime.  Once you balance and stabilize your core you can progress to body movements that involve integration and coordination.  This focus will make the smaller steps that you must accomplish to reach the ultimate goal more meaningful and challenging. 

Your focus should not always be the end reward.  This can seem unattainable.  Building a passion for improving the interdependent segments will simplify your path to success and pose as a bigger reward.  More can be accomplished in your life through fitness if you break everything you do down in it's simplest form and strengthen each component individually inside out.  You will realize that the true value in practicing fitness comes from the effort that you put into fundamentals.  Your motivation to stay consistent on a path that leads to the ultimate fitness goal will come from the passion built from focusing on each interdependent segment of the whole. It will come from within you. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Many Benefits of Bilateral Training

If it is hard for you to get that sore feeling, you used to get, a day after your workout and you rarely ever increase the weight you lift, it is definitely time for change.  Variation is the best way to continue your progression no matter what your fitness goals may be.  A great way to add variety to your fitness regimen is to do all your exercises bilaterally or using one arm or leg at a time.
Here are 9 benefits of bilaterally training:
  1. Improves neural drive to the muscles
  2.  Activates internal and external oblique
  3.  Training one limb will enhance neural drive to the opposite limb
  4.  Promotes intramuscular coordination or neuromuscular efficiency throughout the entire body
  5.  Training in all 3 planes of motion at one time. (Front to back, side to side, rotating side to side or diagonally)
  6.  Increased stability, strength, and power when performing the same exercises unilaterally(two limbs at a time)
  7.  Improved movement efficiency and exercise economy 
  8. Creates balanced strength on both sides
  9. Adds more variety to your fitness routine that will minimize the risk of a plateau.  You Keep Getting Muscle Soreness!
Surprisingly these are just a few of the many benefits that you get from training with one limb at a time.  Just working out consistently with variation in general will lead to even more of the many benefits.  Sometimes all you need is a tip like this to accelerate progression, prevent injury, and stay motivated.