Thursday, October 28, 2010

When You Feel Over-Whelmed, It's Okay to Take a Mental Break

Personal trainer assessing a client's goals an...Image via WikipediaI got an early morning text from a client saying that life was really busy for her this week, and she needed a break from her workout session. Part of my job as a personal trainer is to motivate my clients to stay on track to accomplish their fitness goals. And another part of my job is knowing when a client is over-whelmed by the things of life, and giving them the okay to skip a session and to not feel guilty about it.

Sometimes as a personal trainer I have to discern the best road to take for the long-term health and fitness of my clients. If I convince my clients to keep their appointments if they are feeling over-whelmed by life, when it would be more beneficial for them to take a mental break, then I am adding to their stress.

When the things of life get in the way of your fitness plan it's okay to take a session or two off as long as you pick-up your workouts when you get your focus back. Let's face it, we all have days that we just don't want to get out of bed, and that's s sign that we need a mental break. My advice is to take one.
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Exercise of the Week; The Dumbbell Chest Press

The dumbbell chest press is one of the best exercises for developing and strengthening the muscles of your chest and the front of your shoulders. Again, you will have to experiment to select the proper weight to use. Pickup a dumbbell in each hand and sit on the end of a bench. Place the dumbbells end -up on your knees, then lay back on the bench and position the dumbbells at your sides at chest height; this is your start position. Press the dumbbells up over your chest until your arms are fully extended being careful not to lock your elbows. Slowly return the dumbbells to the start position. Your breathing pattern is to exhale as you press up and inhale as you return to the starting position.

If you are new to strength training, do 2 sets of 10 repetitions with a weight that the last 2 repetitions are difficult to complete. If you have been strength training for a while, do 3 sets of 10 repetitions with a weight that the last 3 repetitions are difficult to complete.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Exercise of the Week; the Seated Row

The seated row is also an exercise that targets the muscles of the upper back. I like to incorporate two movements (please see my post dated October 10th) for the upper back because these muscles are often neglected and weak in most clients that I see.

Weak upper back muscles not only lead to posture problems, they also lead to neck and shoulder problems. Place the pin in a resistance with which the last three repetitions are difficult to complete, again you may have to experiment to find the appropriate weight for you. Sit on the bench, and place your feet on the foot rest. Lean forward, and grab the attachment. Slide back until your legs are almost fully extended and hold the attachment waist height with your arms fully extended. This is your start position. Lift your chest high, and slowly pull your hands to your naval, while rolling your shoulders back and pinching your shoulder blades together. Then, slowly return to the starting position. Your breathing pattern for this exercise is to exhale when you are pulling in and inhale when you are returning to the starting position.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Exercise of the Week: The Lat Pulldown

I'm starting a series each week of showing you some of my favorite strength training exercises. This week we will start with the Lat Pulldown.

The lat pulldown is a great exercise for strengthening and developing the muscles in your upper back which are critical in having good posture. People whose shoulders are slumped forward most likely have under-developed upper back muscles.

First sit down and adjust the thigh pad to a position that firmly fits over your thighs. Then select a resistance with which the last three repetitions are difficult to complete. If this is your first time doing this exercise is may take experimenting at several weights before you find the right resistance for you. Next, grip the bar a little wider than shoulder width, sit down on the seat and place your knees firmly under the pad. Start with your arms fully extended and your chest held high. This is your start position. Now, pull the bar slowly down to the base of your neck while squeezing your shoulder blades back and together. Slowly return the bar to the starting position. (It should take about 3 seconds to pull the bar down and about 2 seconds to return the bar to its starting position). Proper breathing is very important so, remember to exhale as you pull the bar down and inhale as you return the bar to the starting position.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why When It Comes to Looking Good, Older Really CAN Be Better...

Kareem, 80 Year Old BodybuilderImage by AdamCohn via Flickr

Older people sometimes get really frustrated when it comes to fitness. Unlike when they were in their 20's, they can't eat whatever they want and have terrible habits while expecting to look and feel amazing. But the truth is, just because you're in your 20's doesn't mean you should give up on looking and feeling in the best shape of your life.

In fact, scientifically speaking, you can actually look BETTER.

The concept of muscle definition and why older people can get it...

Do you ever wonder what causes muscle definition like really visible 6 pack abs? Or why some people who are incredibly strong don't have it while others do?

Well, what causes muscle definition is the act of flexing your muscles combined with a low body-fat percentage. In fact, the more you work out your mind-body connection with a muscle, including being able to get a "deeper" flex, the more you will begin to see definition in the muscles with time.

They key words here are..."with time"

They key words when it comes to muscle definition is with time. Something that young people haven't yet truly experienced. That's why some of the most defined guys and girls you see are actually OLDER. Some prime examples of this are Sylvester Stallone at 60 or Jennifer Aniston at 40. Unbelievable right?

Actually, it's natural. They've had years to build their mind-body connection, and their body continues to get benefits in how they look even when they're older.

So next time you're worried about looking good when you're older, just remember that you've just begun to reach your peak!


Rafi Bar-Lev is a fitness fanatic and founder of the community fitness site, Passionate Fitness - Fitness Tips. He recently wrote about the top 15 exercises to lose weight and the benefits of intervals training. Check it out!
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Your Choice, Your Health, It's That Simple

90 Second Fitness the vookImage by Vook tv via Flickr

Getting healthier, losing weight, feeling better, and getting fit is not complicated. It’s about the daily choices you make. Choice is a powerful thing. You can choose daily habits that promote a healthy lifestyle or not. That choice is completely yours.

Many of the aliments that we associate with aging are the results of many years of making poor lifestyle choices. I’m 51 years old and I hear people my age complaining of the aliments of "getting older." I don’t know what they are talking about, because I feel as good as I did when I was 25.

The only difference is I choose to live a healthy lifestyle. I eat a healthy diet, I exercise on a regular basis, and I fill my mind with positive thoughts.

Here’s an example of the power of choice. I was sitting in a coffee shop a few weeks ago, and across the room I noticed 2 women sitting together. One woman was extremely over-weight and the other woman looked very fit. The over weight woman was eating a big cookie and drinking a latte, while the fit looking woman was eating a health breakfast wrap.

Now, I’m pretty sure that over-weight woman did gain those extra pounds by eating a cookie and drinking a latte just one time. Most likely, her extra weight is from years of choosing to eat cookies and drink lattes, or something similar for breakfast. No one forces her to make that decision. And on the other hand, no one forces the fit looking woman to eat the way she eats. It’s all about personal choice. While an occasional mocha latte and a big cookie for breakfast won’t make you over-weight, choosing to have them everyday probably will.

It’s your choice, it’s your health. You and only you are responsible for your health and well-being. Choose healthy eating habits and healthy lifestyle activities and you become a healthy person. It's that simple.

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