Wednesday, June 27, 2012
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Thursday, June 21, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Friday, January 1, 2010
The Media are experts at writing articles and selling magazines, and occassionally will do an excellent piece of investigation. However, media reports are potentially misleading because they are not necessarily fitness experts. There are many things that make someone a great trainer, and I didn't expect to be included in TimeOUT's ranking of the 7 best trainers in New York City. However, I am disappointed that not one single selection appears to have any college degree in exercise science, kinisesiology or physical therapy. One wonders how these people were selected.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
DON'T let your hands down, and make sure they come back into place after you've thrown the punch
DON'T get excited, stay as relaxed as you can be
DON'T forget to pivot on your power punches
DON'T get hit
- HENRY "HOT PEPPER" BRENT, 1982 & 1984 USBA Flightweight Boxing Champion & Trainer at NYSC Wall Street
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Most people should be working most of their muscles in the full range of motion most of the time so that the whole muscle gets trained.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
No judgment here, it is hard to quit. But smoking deprives your muscles of oxygen and raises your blood pressure. You DON'T want to do this immediately before or after working out.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I see women lining up at the adductor and adductor machines every day in hopes of shaping and toning. There are more problems with this approach than you can image. Most importantly, that after sitting all day - and literally stretching your glutes and spreading your hips - why do a seated exercise? Try lunges in several directions, squats, abduction standing or lying on your side instead.
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Tuesday, March 3, 2009
This one goes out to the man I saw yesterday who did 600 of what he considered to be crunches on the slant board. In fact, he only flexed his spine about 5 degrees and lifted his head up - doing what I called neck crunches. Your rectus abdominis and obliques - the 6 pack and side muscles - work together to flex your spine. So if or spine isn't flexing, you aren't doing much to work these muscles. If your muscles aren't strong enough, take baby steps - smaller movements, fewer exercises, no weight or incline. Otherwise, you could be wasting your time and you risk neck or back injury.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Body fat measurement is a blunt instrument at best, and needs to be done carefully by a professional. Scales and electronic measurements are not terribly reliable, you can do almost as well with this:
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Whether you're joining a gym, running in the park, or walking at the mall, nothing is going to happen if you don't actually get your workouts in. Put it right into your calendar! It may help to attend regularly scheduled classes, meet a friend, or have an appointment with a trainer. I've had many clients who wouldn't make it at all without their training appointment, or who would cancel because they weren't in the mood if not for the 24-hour cancellation fee.
Monday, January 12, 2009
For safe and lasting weight loss, plan on losing between 1-2 pounds per week. Faster weight loss may be unhealthy and you run the risk of yo-yoing, experiencing rapid drops and quickly gaining. Instead of fad diets, make long-term lifestyle changes. Maintain a calorie deficit of about 500 - 1000 per day, you can eat less or workout more or do both. Remember that as you lose weight, your calorie needs also drops. However, if you are beginning an exercise program, make sure that you don't reduce the calorie intake so much that you don't have energy to work out.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Research has shown that we are most effective in achieving our goals when they are clearly defined, measurable, achievable, and are realistic but at the same time represent a little bit of a challenge. It also helps to break your goals up into smaller goals so that can have little successes along the way. Subscribe to my fitness newsetter's January edition to read about setting goals that get results.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Most injuries happen within the first few months of beginning an exercise program. In fact, about half of all new gym members end up suffering some sort of injury that prevents them from continuing. See a trainer first for an assessment and recommendation on your program, and advise on proper exercise form. This can help reduce the risk of injury and ensure that your program produces the maximum results from the start.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Start or maintain your exercise routine as much as you can during the holidays, even 20 minutes a day can help. And avoid the over indulging that can make it even harder to meet your goals. (Some gyms are even offering special discounts during December).
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Fluid replacement drinks like Gatorade or Powerade can be taken during cardio bouts or sporting events of 1 hour or more and will improve your performance. Food and protein supplements can actually decrease performance because they take blood flow and energy to digest. Instead, eat or supplement about an hour and a half before or within 30 to 60 minutes after.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
This is dedicated to a couple of guys I met in Brooklyn who have shoulder problems. They've heard me tell them not to do certain exercises, they've read it on the blogs, they've heard it from physical therapists or doctors. They are both very intelligent, and they aren't professional body builder (who might at least get some financial benefit from destroying their bodies. Yet I continually catch them doing exercise routines that are VIRTUALLY GUARANTEED to cause problems and likely injury. I wonder what that's about?
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
This one goes out to the poor guy who had severe shoulder pain, had previously been diagnosed by a real doctor with a real shoulder injury, and had his friend prescribe "NSAIDs" - not Advil but Aleve.
First of all, who knows what happened to that already weak shoulder? Maybe a doctor but not your friend. Second, who says that any medicine is appropriate? I have had orthopedic surgeons who say not to take anti-inflammatories for certain conditions. Finally, your friend thinks that Advil isn't an NSAID but Aleve is. He's wrong on that count too. You've only got 2 shoulders, take care of them!
Monday, October 27, 2008
- You just don’t seem to do enough exercise on your own, or you cut your sessions short
- You regularly lose motivation
- You don’t push yourself as much as you need to
- You find it hard to find the time to exercise
- You can lose weight, but you always seem to put it back on
If this is you, then you will be far better off using a personal trainer, according to Michael Vincent of Fitness Attitude Health Club in Tweed Heads West on the Gold Coast of Australia, Your trainer will manage your whole training portfolio for you, monitor your progress and make the changes necessary to keep you motivated. Starting is hard enough, but now you have to maintain momentum as well. Your trainer is the one to give you maximum results, in the minimum period of time.
I'll have to look these guys up if I ever get back to Australia!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
It is a popular myth that you are less prone to injury using machines than you are with free weights. This is somewhat, sometimes true...but in many cases machines can actually increase the risk of injury and/or make recovery more difficult. Why? Machines force the body to move in a fixed path of motion. This one factor helps muscles stabilize, but at the same time can force the body to move in a way that is not entirely natural - which can place stress on joints and tendons. As with any movement done repeatedly, you can set up a repetive motion injury. Free weights, cables and tubes can give you a less restrictive path of motion. If you're rehabbing, ask your doctor or physical therapist if machines or free weights are right for you.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
If you want to run, consider walking and cycling first. Both will build your aerobic base without the impact and stress of running, you can gradually incorporate running in and increase the amount. Slowly build your aerobic base, if you're monitoring heart rate stay at 65%-70% of your maximum heart rate* while increasing and let your body learn to work harder without increasing heart rate. (Easy wasy to estimate your maximum heart rate is 220-age).
Sunday, September 28, 2008
But you can end up hurting yourself badly. This message is going out to the 2 guys who I saw yesterday on a stretching table...One had his legs on the table under the weight of his friend, his body suspended while he did oblique twists and crunches. So his spine is extended, in other words there is an arch in his back, and it is supporting the fullw eight of his upper body because his legs are locked under the weight of his friend.
One wrong move....the consequences could range from a few days of back pain to disk damage to paralysis. And it isn't even all that effective as an exercise. Someone looking to up the abdominal challenge might accomplish the same thing more safely suspended from a pullup bar with abdominal slings.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
DON'T USE MOMENTUM FROM RAISING YOUR LEGS TO ROCK YOUR UPPER BODY AND WEIGHTS INTO SITTING POSITION!!!
You generally want to avoid momentum when handling weights...This particular contraindicated movement puts the spine, disks, and muscles of the lower back at tremendous risk of injury even without weights, and any muscles involved in this maneuver or in supporting the weights are at risk. Please carefully put the weights down.
Monday, September 15, 2008
This can cause your lower back to arch and cause pain, injury, and damage to the back and disks. Instead, plant your feet and heels firmly, or cross your legs if you cant touch the floor. Be sure that you pull your abdominal core.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I am shocked by how many trainers claim to have all sorts of certifications and education by organizations with every imaginable acronym, but are actually certified by NADA. And shocked by the clients who are so charmed that they just believe them. It is reasonable to ask to see copies, or to find out what organization they are certified by and verify it online. Make sure the certification is current, not expired: Personal Training Certifications require that the trainer earns continuing education credits and recertifies every 2 years. Don't take chances with your health. I've listed the links for some of the top certifying bodies below (you can verify me at NASM). Check out WHO they are certified by. There has been a positive change in recent years: The best certifying bodies are now themselves ACCREDITED by the NCCA, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. Individual Gyms themselved, no matter how large, are NOT accredited certifying bodies. Of course a degree in Exercise Science, Physiology or the like from an accredited College or University trumps a certification any day. If someone is quoting you a bargain basement price for training, chances are they don't have the certification or education. (I make one exception here, that you will often find a new trainer who is very diligent and working towards getting their certification and education - as I was several years ago. This might be someone worth making a commitment to, but you deserve to know so that you can decide).
NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine)
ACE (American Council on Exercise)
ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine)
NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association)
Thursday, September 4, 2008
NOBODY CAN DO IT FOR YOU!
Time for tough love: It takes commitment and consistency to get results, and that begins with YOU! Success starts with making the appointment with yourself. Take out your planner and schedule your visit to the gym - whether its by yourself, with a workout partner, for a class or a personal training session. Some people benefit from the company of others, some need to lay down the money for training and risk a cancellation charge to make it. It's all up to you, your mother, spouse, girlfrend, boyfriend, partner and even your trainer CANNOT make the commitment for you. Your health is important to you and the people you love, so please don't put it off!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
It simply means that you have worked your muscles in a new and different way. Your muscles should adapt to any specific workout after you've done it once or twice. If for some reason you enjoy getting sore each time you work out, just frequently change your workout -it's an approach that really doesn't make sense. Muscle soreness is not necessarily a bad thing, but don't constantly change to chase it.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
· BEHIND THE NECK LAT PULLDOWNS
· LEG EXTENSION MACHINE
"The leg extension machine has been proven to only strengthen the quads to do the leg extension machine, not to support the body during functional activities (eg: stairs). Muscles in the leg are meant to work against gravity and in combination. Any other environment puts the knee joint at risk and wastes your workout time."
John is a Physical Therapist at Recovery Physical Therapy 30 Wall Street, 4th floor.
Monday, August 25, 2008
The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine recommends replacing running shoes every 300-600 miles. The midsoles of shoes compress and lose their ability so absorb shock, so your joints end up absorbing the impact - you may feel foot pain, shin splints, knee pain, hip pain, and so on. Use a separate pair of shoes for running and if you are running every day, consider alternating between 2-3 pairs of shoes to give the midsoles time to decompress. For other sports such as basketball, consider changing shoes after about 60 hours of use. Someone with knee pain asked my advice last week, I had him replace his year old shoes, and within days he was feeling better!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
They called these "deep knee bends" in my father's days. This exercise has been considered obsolete and absolutely contraindicated for 40 or 50 years. I thought it went the way of the Dodo Bird, so I didn't include it on the original list. But every once in a while you see someone or visit a website that still hasn't gotten the message, they bring it back from extinction and risk severe damage to the knee cartilage. DON'T DO IT!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I spoke with a man who was holding a 35 lb plate behind his head while bending over in a Roman Chair. The spine is made to support the head, not the head plus 35 lbs. The potential for major and minor injury is literally endless from doing this move. Whiplash, nerve impingement, disk damage, reduced blood flow to brain to name a few. If you must do back extensions with weight, hold the weight at chest level. (The back extension exercise is questionable to begin with for most people, given the prevalence of tight lower back muscles from sitting all day long, but that's another story).
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
NO BEHIND NECK PULLDOWNS!
NO BEHIND NECK SHOULDER PRESSES!
NO UPRIGHT ROWS (FRONT ROWS)!
You may as well kiss your rotator cuff goodbye. These exercises are obsolete - they have been shown to cause injury or impingement of the rotator cuff muscles over time. In addition, they provide no meaningful advantage to other exercises.
DON'T ARCH YOUR BACK!
An arched back causes pressure on the spinal column, it can lead to damaged disks and vertebrae. Lower the weight, use a machine with back support, and strengthen your abdominal core if you find yourself arching. Be especially careful about this when doing any overhead exercises, the leverage of the weight increases the likelihood of injury.
DONT WORK THE SAME MUSCLES 2 DAYS IN A ROW!
Strength training damages your muscle fibers. Muscles recover, repair and actually grow during the 48 hours after your work them. You won't see progress and you increase the risk of injury if you don't allow the rest. This applies only to strength training, you can do cardio every day.
DON'T USE THE SAME EXERCISE PROGRAM FOR MORE THAN 6 WEEKS!
Your body adapts to an exercise program within 4-6 weeks, so you won't see much progress. You also increase the risk of repetitive stress injuries by continuing to perform the same motions at the same speed and intensity. Vary the exercises, weight, and tempo in your program at regular intervals.
DON'T DO THE SAME EXERCISES AS WHEN YOU WERE ON THE FOOTBALL (OR WHATEVER) TEAM OR IN THE MARINES!
Most of you are 5-50 years away from your high school and college sports days. You spend hours at a desk and commuting, and need to select exercises that are appropriate for grown ups who live a grown up lifestyle.
NO ROCKING, SWAYING OR BOUNCING!
If you an't stand still while performing an exercise, your using too much weight or doing something wrong for you. The exception is certain exercises where rocking or bouncing may be part of the exercise - for reference, this does not include biceps curls, shoulder presses, lateral raises, and most other exercises that I see people bouncing though.
DON'T SKIP MEALS - ESPECIALLY BREAKFAST!
Breakfast kick starts your metabolism and gives you the energy you need to exercise. If you're looking to lose weight, numerous studies have proven that people who eat breakfast are more successful at long term weight loss than those who don't. You'll have more effective workouts when your body had the fuel.
DON'T RELY ON BELTS, WRAPS AND BRACES!
The old fashioned weight belt may help protect your back, but over time it weakens your abdominal core because it is doing the job that you want to train your core muscles to do. No weight belts! Unless you're in the heavy-lifting phase of a power training program. Wraps and braces are a like a Band-Aid, they don't fix an underlying problem and in some cases transfer stress and problems to other joints. Talk to a sports medicine doctor or orthopedist before bracing, or that pain in your elbow may turn into an even worse problem at your shoulder.
DON'T WORKOUT UNTIL YOU WARM UP!
Spend about 5-10 minutes warming up with some cardio. Your muscles are less likely to get injured when they aer warm, and the warmup causes enzymes to be released that help protect the muscles and make your workout more effective.
NO LONG CARDIO SESSIONS BEFORE STRENGTH TRAINING!
You'll get more out of your strength training if you have the energy to dedicate to the workout, and save the cardio for later or another day. If you've just run 5 or 10 miles, you're ready to eat, not to workout! (This one is dedicated to one of my highly conditioned clients who ran a quick 8 miles before a strength training session... and took an early leave to get a yogurt).
DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH!
Proper breathing is to exhale on the concentric contraction, that is when you are actually shortening the muscle. It's the push phase on pushing exercises or the pull phase on pulling exercises.
NO UNNECESSARY SUPPLEMENTS!
Protein: According to the doctors at the American College of Sports Medicine, a 170 pound man needs about 131 grams of protein per day to increase muscle mass (1.7g/kg body weight) and about 100 grams to support endurance (1.3g/kg). If you're already getting that much in your diet, skip the supplement. More is not better!
Sports Drinks: Research shows that Gatorade-like drinks are effective when you're exercising or playing a sport for more than an hour, or if you like the taste and won't get enough fluids otherwise. Water is just as good if you're planning a 59 minute workout.
Creatine: Is one of the few supplements that has a long standing body of research, dating back almost 100 years. It shows no effect in aerobic performance, some short term gain in muscle size -believed by many to be increased water retention, and marginal improvement in strength or anaerobic performance.
Weight Loss & Energy Supplements: Most of these contain caffeine or guarana. Guarana contains about 3x the caffeine as coffee, and when it is included as an ingredient instead of caffeine, the manufacturer doesn't have to tell you how much caffeine is in the drink. Caffeine will help you lose weight, it raises your heart rate and is proven to increase fat metabolism, but would you have 3-4 cups of coffee? Taurine, also popular, has very little human research, which brings us to...
Other Supplements: Supplement makers can claim whatever they want. The government does not test nutritional supplements for effectiveness, safety, consistency, purity, or interaction with other drugs or conditions. Think about how often you hear about a drug that was FDA tested, or a supplement, that is later found to have harmed people. Do you really want to take that risk with your health?
IF YOU HAVE SHOULDER PROBLEMS, DON'T DO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING Overhead Exercises, Incline Chest Press (and possibly any chest press), Front Raises, Shrugs, Preacher Curls, Behind the Neck Triceps Extension
All of these exercises put you at risk of further injury and pain. Have a detailed conversation with your doctor and/or physical therapist about contraindicated exercises, and consider consulting a personal trainer with post-rehab experience to design a safe and effective program.
DON'T DO ANYTHING THAT HURTS!
If something hurts severely, or hurts for more than a week, its time to see a doctor. Don't assume that you can lower the weight and not do any further damage, sometimes it is the movement itself that is the problem. Get a diagnosis so that you now what you are dealing with.
DONT FORGET THE WATER!
Those ACSM Doctors say bring your water bottle along and: Drink about 1-2 cups of fluid 30 minutes pre exercise, drink ½ - 1 cup of fluid for every 15 minutes of exercise, drink 2 ½ cups for every pound lost during exercise. Drink even after your thirst is quenched.
NO STRAIGHT LEG OR DECLINE SITUPS!
These cause the back to arch and risks damage to the spine. Bent leg situps are not much better. Do crunches instead.
NO LYING FULL LEG & HIP RAISES WITH A DUMBELL BETWEEN YOUR FEET!
Never hold an unsecured weight over your face.
NO LEG EXTENSION MACHINE!
Current expert opinions on this machine, for most people, range from its a waste of time to its something that could hurt you if you have any knee problems. Try some lunges instead.
IF YOUR BACK HURTS, DON'T DO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING Back Extensions, Good Mornings, External Abdominal Exercises, Unsupported Above the Head Exercises, High Impact Activities
Generally avoid anything that makes your low back tighten and/or arch. Focus on strengthening your abdominal core - your deep abdominals, not the so called 6 pack muscles. In most cases, back muscles are overworking because the inner abdominal muscles are weak. Sitting at a desk all day is one thing that can make your abs weak and your back tight, so you'll want to progress to exercises that get you out of a seated position.
DON'T FORGET TO STRETCH!
Stretch before and after you exercise. Get your muscles into balance by stretching the tight ones before you exercise to get your joints in proper alignment and avoid injury; after exercise, stretch the muscles that became tight during exercise. You don't have to stretch EVERY muscle, just the tight ones.
IF YOU'RE PREGNANT DON'T...
Overstretch your muscles or use cables, your ligaments become lax due to hormones and you could overstretch them and cause long term damage. Don't overdo the cardio, you should be able to pass the "talk test" - if you are working so hard that you can't talk, slow down!
DON'T BEGIN AN EXERCISE PROGRAM WITHOUT SEEING A MEDICAL AND FITNESS PROFESSIONAL FIRST.
Make sure you are starting healthy and working healthy.