Friday, January 31, 2014

Short Term verses Long Term work outs

“I spent three hours in the gym today”
“I can’t go to the gym because I just don’t have the time”
Do you hear these excuses? I do and all the time. This is the reason why I believe that people can get what they need to get done in 30-40 minutes and no longer. Yes, this includes cardio work and weight training. There have also been studies that have proven that short term workouts are much better for the average person than long drawn out workouts, even when it comes to building muscle or losing weight.

The following excerpt from an article published in the UK Telegraph, "6 Minutes of Exercise A Week As Good As 6 Hours" by Peter Zimonjic, elaborates on this study.

"Just six minutes of intense exercise a week does as much to improve a person's fitness as a regime of six hours... Moderately healthy men and women could cut their workouts from two hours a day, three times a week, to just two minutes a day and still achieve the same results, claim medical researchers".

No, I think this is a bit extreme but I understand where he is going with this. So let me put my little spin on this. Studies have been done through several Universities that, in their final assessment they found that with short term work outs (less than 1 hour) your caloric burn can stay with you up to 2 days whereas with long workouts, (more than 1 hour) when you are ready to leave and go home, your body is pretty much back to normal. They have shown that your caloric burn has stopped by the time you get out to your car.

Look at it this way, you should be trying to make working out part of your life, not your life and if you are going to spend hours at the gym, it is no longer a small part of your life but it has become a large part of your daily life. I can see how this can drive people away, especially since our lives are so busy in so many other important areas.

I believe that 30 to 40 minutes of working out is sufficient for Joe Public because, face it we are not trying to become Olympic athletes, but we are only trying to get ourselves in much better shape and maintain it over the rest of our life. How can you do everything in 30-40 minutes? It’s easy. When you get to the gym already have your workout in mind and plotted out so that once you are off the treadmill (only 10 minutes) you can immediately get right to work. Now because you are only going to be working out for 30 to 40 minutes, the usual 10 minute water breaks are not necessary. Once you finish with one exercise immediately move to the next exercise and continue this until you get everything done. Then at that time get some water and get ready to leave.

Now for your Olympic athletes and those that are sports specific this idea will not work because there is so much more that goes into understanding the training necessary to be on the top of your game for that particular sport. However for Joe public just wanting to get fit and stay in shape, 30– 40 minutes daily is just fine.

Monday, January 27, 2014

You need motivation?

I love my wife and I know she loves me. I am confident that regardless of what happens to me she will always love me. But does that give me the right to not give her my very best in all that I am and all I do?

I love my wife so much that I want to give her my all at all times. I want to be the best I can be, not so I can brag about who I am and what I can do but so that I make her even more proud of me. I know that regardless of what happens to me she will love me, but should I not try and give her even more reasons to love me? I keep my body in good condition not just for my own edification but so that when she is out in the public she can really feel proud of what I look like and who I am. Just as my love is unconditional towards her and her love is the same for me, because of that it makes me want to give her more than my very best.

This last week I had a conversation with a few members about this one subject. I asked them a really stupid question, “Does your spouse love you?” I knew the answer because I knew each one of their spouses but I was trying to make a point, understanding that, why would you not want to give them your very best. Their problem was motivation. They just can’t seem to get motivated long enough to make a difference in their physical lives as they tell me. My next question was if they love their spouses and their resounding response was “of course”. My next statement was, “then how could you not find motivation in just that?” the room went silent.

So what is it going to take America for us to finally wake up and see that we need to improve on our health? One day when your spouse or significant other tells us that they are seeing someone else and when we see that other person they look like “a knock out”? Or when our doctor tells us that we have a major illness that could have been avoided if we had been in better shape? Or when you finally lose a limb because of the diabetes we contracted due to weight and diet issues? What is it going to take before we wake up and get yourself in better shape? We have all the excuses on why we shouldn’t get up and get going but in the end are we really showing our spouse or significant other how much they really mean to us? Or are we being selfish and resting on the fact that our spouse loves us enough to have to take care of us when we are down.

What more motivation does a person need then the unconditional love of their partner? It is truly selfish to receive love without giving it back tenfold. Do we want or need motivation? Look at our partners and ask yourself a question, are we really giving our partners the very best we can give them? If the answer is no or maybe, then what more motivation do we need. Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

To be or not to be...and then why not

Are you out of shape? Can you stand to lose some pounds? What real long term or short term benefit is there in being out of shape? I can’t think of one however, I can think of many benefits to being in shape. But I am not going to write to you the obvious, but ask you a few questions.

1) When you look in the mirror do you like what you see?
2) Do you feel uncomfortable going to a beach or pool?
3) Can you run a mile if you had to?
4) Could you walk a mile if you had to?
5) Do you have to shop in the big and tall stores and not because your 6’5” or taller?
6) When you are around other people do they look like they feel sorry for you?
7) Do you get out of breath easy?
8) Can you walk up two flights of stairs without stopping and not getting out of breath?
9) Can you walk up one flight of steps without getting out of breath?
10) Do you need to take medications just to get going in the morning?
11) What if you stopped taking your medications, what would happen?
12) Do you spend more than $10 a month of medications?
13) Are your cloths fitting tighter than they use too?
14) Do your friends think that you are older than you truly are?
15) If your kids wanted you to play an active aerobic game, could you for more than 10 minutes?
16) Can people look at you and say to themselves that they want to be like you?
17) Can people look at you and say that they want to do what you do?
18) When you go to the doctor, are you ever nervous about your physical results?
19) Is you general physician your best friend because of all the health issues you may have?
20) Are you tired of having to take so much medication just to get going?

If you honestly answer these questions and any or all of them are answered yes, then what are you doing to change your situation? Just complaining about your situation does nothing. Telling your friends who may be in the same situation as you does nothing to improve your situation. Just praying about it without any action does nothing. Getting depressed and feeling sorry for oneself does nothing. However putting a systematic plan together and finding a person to help you and keep you accountable will yield you positive and long lasting results. Now get off the couch and do it. If you need help, every morning I post an exercise on my FB page Parkers Place Total Fitness. Like us on that page and enjoy the benefits of a good practical workout. Enjoy…

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Living in the past

What do you do when your life goes into turmoil? What do you do when everything seems to be going wrong? You have tried to change and maybe for years you have been able to make the necessary changes you needed to, but all of a sudden, like a car blind siding you, life throws you a big curve ball.

Maybe it‘s a divorce that you didn’t think would happen or an illness that surprised you. Maybe it is an economic situation that you have been fighting for years that has now seemed to rear its ugly head again. Maybe you have been in a ten year cycle that you can’t seem to break. What do you do when you’re in the midst of the problem?

Most people, unfortunately, revert back to many of their old ways regardless if those ways are harmful to them or not. Some psychologists think that this is because there is security in the past and fear when it comes to trying to understand our future. We find comfort in what we use to do because we have an idea of the responses or results we may get. Gamblers may go back to gambling even though in that past life they may have lost their shirt but in every occasion they were able to rebound in some way. Smokers may go back to smoking and even when they know the harm that cigarettes will cause; it is the comforting element of reliving a past that in some way makes you feel you can handle it, again.

I personally believe that when we make positive life changes that life will have a way of testing us. Are we truly who we now say we are or are we just going to cave in when times get tough? Most of us, including myself, want to quit and give in but is that really the right thing to do? Of course the answer is no, but in reality when life gets hard and you so desperately need a break from the fight and there is no one that can truly help you nor understands you or your situation is it that easy to stay the course? No it isn’t and in most cases darn near impossible. Or it may at least seem that way.

In life I believe that we all go thru a maturation process that eventually leads us down a path of understanding what the true meaning of life is. When we go thru these struggles that life brings us and we question our purpose of being it is easier, much easier to quit than to stay the course. However by staying to course, this strengthens your resolve to solidify our new way of thinking and acting. I believe that problems and stresses are meant to strengthen us and teach us. I believe that when we go thru those times in our life when our world is turned upside down, we need to stay focused and believe in the changes we made and not look back into our past. Resolving the problems and then going forward will always bring a positive outlook. Quitting and reverting back to past habits will only bring about negative results.

With that stated, let’s stay focused on our new formed positive habits and stop dwelling in the past or feeling sorry for ourselves when we go thru problems. Let’s remember that problems are temporary but how we resolve those life issues will be permanent.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Selfless or Selfish that is the question...

When you really think about it, being in good physical condition is the most selfless act one could ever do. Shocking? It should be. Look at it this way, if you are in shape;

1) You will be able to physically fend for yourself even at older ages
2) You will always be ready, at a moment’s notice, to respond or be ready for anything
3) Your friends and family will have the confidence in your ability to take care of yourself
4) You are not a burden to anyone, quite the opposite on so many levels you will be an asset
5) You will motivate others to physically be the best they can be
6) You are a slave to no one (besides your spouse of course)
7) You are not a slave to medications of any type

If you don’t believe me then think about the opposite. Imagine if you are really out of shape. Imagine if you have ailments that need attending to. Well…

1) You may not be physically able to fend for yourself at older ages
2) You may never be ready at a moment’s notice to respond or be ready for anything that comes your way
3) People may feel you as a burden and feel as though you need them more than they need you
4) People could consider you a liability and whereas they will take care of you on so many levels they are probably wishing that you were in better physical condition
5) You will motivate people but not the way you think. They will remind themselves of how you are and try not to duplicate it in themselves
6) You will motivate others to be or to stay in shape
7) You could be a slave to the health system

In my many years of being a personal trainer I have noticed that the older one gets the harder it is for them to stay in good condition. I have noticed those who in their 50’s were in real good shape deteriorate over the years but because of their great physical conditioning in their earlier years slowed the aging process down and had a relatively good life at older ages. Whereas the person who came running into their later years and had physical problems tended to really dread their later years and they became slaves to the medical system and the medications that needed to take to stay alive.

Let’s look at this in another way. Say you are the parents and you are always active. The probability of you becoming a burden to your kids may be slim to none. As a matter of fact your relationship with your adult children will be more of good friends than care taker or parent. Whereas if that same parent were in poor health, the kids would feel a sense of responsibility to take care of that parent and now the child may have to become the parent.

I saw this in my own life. When my mother lost her battle (even though I think of it as winning) with cancer, up until her last days she was in the best shape she could be in and because of that she was not a burden to my sister or I. Yes we still did everything we possibly could to be there for her but up till the end she was self sufficient and strong. Then on the other side of the coin, I have a friend who’s parents were really out of shape and for the most of their life they were really kept alive by the medications they took. When they got older I saw a total switch were my friend became the parent and his mother became to child.

My Pastor said something that other day that once I thought about it really made sense, “Most of our blessings come from helping others. If you cannot help yourself then how is it you can really have a great effect on others and help them?” Look at it in another way… Being out of shape and wasting your precious life is selfish on so many levels. There should be no glory in being diabetic or having “self induced” high blood pressure or “self induced” high cholesterol because of lifestyle. In the end you might just become a burden to all. Where is the blessing in that?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Leg Day!!!!

Remember that… Wednesday is LEG DAY!!!! This workout will give your arms and upper body a break for at least a day. Before I get into that a little more I want to discuss one thing that needs to be brought up and it is in the area of rest.
Just recently my son and I were working out and pretty hard. After the workout we were both tired and need a break and I felt good that I was able to keep up with him. That next day we went at it again and once again we both went to total fatigue. This went on for a number of weeks. Then something began to happen, I began to find myself needing more sleep and I was feeling really fatigued most of the time. I was seeing real good gains in his strength but I was feeling as though I was losing whatever strength I had or at least it was getting harder and harder to keep it up.

Everyone was telling me that it was my AGE that was finally showing and I would roll my eyes and think to myself, “Whatever!!!!!” I even consulted some doctors on the subject, and their response to me was that I was just getting older.

Now, I’ll admit that there is truth to the fact that I am getting older. But it still doesn’t answer the question why. Then just the other night I was pondering this question and I began to remember an article I read on a real famous distance runner and the frustration she was going thru as she was trying to keep up with her younger counterparts. She states that at first the workouts were pretty hard but as time went on those same workouts, where she should had been excelling in, she was actually getting slower and feeling weak. “What was the problem”, she thought to herself. Then her coach had a brain storm of an idea, “Let’s not scale your workouts down but let’s not go at it every day like you use to but space them out every other or every third day and let’s make those workouts count.” Well, they did that and what she found was that she began to get her energy back. That coupled with a minor tweak in her diet plan put her back in contention for the Olympics.

I look at her example and I notice one thing, she needed more rest than her younger competitors and the reason was because her body was not recovering as fast as it use to. In a nut shell I have learned that as we age our recovery time slows down and we need more and more time to recover. Our muscles won’t respond as often or as quickly as they once did. Now that doesn’t mean that you are done, but what that means is that what you once took for granted, you can no longer take for granted. As we age, we must be more specific in what we are trying to accomplish. It is still important for us to workout with our younger generation because it keeps us on our toes and keeps them pushing harder. It slows our aging process down and in the end keeps us feeling pretty good.

Now back to Leg day… Today get a good leg workout in. Make sure that it includes Lunges and Squats. Those are the two best exercises one can do for the legs. Now after your workout, enjoy your day…..

Monday, January 6, 2014

Second Week

So here we are, the second week into the New Year and we might be a little sore from last week. This is not time to take a break but begin to create a routine that you can easily follow each week. What I am about to show you is a five day program. This can be modified for three days or even two days and I will try and describe those programs at the end.

Now, this is the first Monday of the New Year and in most gyms, for those that go regularly, Mondays are usually Chest days. This is a good time to begin to put a routine together so that every Monday you know what you are going to do and for other people, Mondays are a great day to begin to cardio classes such as Step or Aerobic.

On Tuesday you still aren’t too sore so it is good to get some Back work in. So today let’s spend some time working our back from top to bottom. You only really need to do four exercises to get every part of your back completely. Now, unless you are trying to build muscle it is suggested that you start and finish with 5 to 10 minutes of cardio.

On Wednesday you should be feeling Monday now and because of that we need to give your body a chance to rest so today let’s do Legs. In most gyms in America, Wednesday is leg day. By doing legs in the middle of the week it gives your upper body chance to recover for Thursday’s Arms. However today I would suggest starting with 15 minutes of cardio or at least until your about ready to breakout in a good sweat. Now you may want to supplement this day with a Spin class or Step aerobics to get that sweat you really need. Then Enjoy.

On Thursday today is Biceps and Triceps day, this should be the hardest day of the bunch and it should take you a few minutes more to complete. Please note that the previous workouts should take you no longer than 30 minutes to complete. Once arms are complete then take Friday off and then I suggest going to the next paragraph.

On Saturday, this should be your shortest day. Today is shoulders day. Before starting shoulders I would suggest getting in a spin class or something similar so that you can get the sweat you need to get. Once you got your sweat on then go workout your shoulders.
Sunday take off and then repeat this series for the next few months. If at all possible find a buddy to do this with it will make it much more fun and challenging.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Day three…

If you have started a program at your local gym at this point you are getting a little sore. This is not time to stop but continue because the soreness will eventually go away. Have you written out your goals yet? Remember losing weight and feeling better is really not goals but by-products of you achieving active goals. This will also keep you in the game much longer and give you a realistic chance to maintain your level of fitness.

Today I would suggest that if you have been lifting that you concentrate more on cardio more so than weights. If you have been concentrating on cardio then you may want to concentrate your efforts on some weight training. Day three should be much different than day one or two. This gives your body chance to recover from the beating it took the last few days. Also remember what you did on day one you are now feeling. It takes two days before you truly feel the soreness. This is called the D.O.M.S effect. That stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. However, on the third day that soreness goes away. As an example, let’s say you workout out on Monday and today is Wednesday, this should be your worst day after Monday’s workout. On Thursday Monday’s soreness will subside. However, if you work out every day it may seem as though you are always hurting and you probably are and that is why I want you to take the third day off and do something different. This gives your body chance to catch up and heal itself.

My schedule looks like this:
• Monday 300 Chest work
• Tuesday 300 Back work
• Wednesday Plyometric legs
• Thursday 1000 rep Upper Body Insanity (If you want this workout email me. It’s total pleasure)
• Friday 500 Core work
• Saturday running
• Sunday Church

Notice how I don’t do the same thing every day. It is important because the body needs time to recover before you go at it again. Please also note I get my Biceps and triceps on my Chest and Back days.

In a few days I will be putting a video together showing you what these workouts look like and how they are to be done. For now, enjoy the rest of your day and stay focused.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The time to quit smoking

Any time is a good time, especially in light of all the information we get from the FDA about how bad smoking is for us and this blog is not to persuade you to do anything but to give information to those that are about ready to quit for the New Year and what they will be in store for.

May be for years you have smoked and you have put on a few extra pounds but now you are deciding to quit. So to get in front of the curve you decided to go to the local gym and sign up thinking to yourself that by doing this you won’t gain any extra weight. Maybe you are thinking that since you have stopped or will be stopping you should begin to “eat healthier” and cut out so of the sweets you every day. These things could not be further from the truth. As a matter of fact it won’t matter what you do, thinking that you are getting in front of the weight curve, you will gain weight.

Once a person stops smoking the average person WILL gain 50 to 75 pounds more. Even if they exercise rigorously it won’t matter, they will still gain it. Even if you run 10 miles a day it won’t matter you will still gain it. Why?

The reason is simple. We all know that the toxins in smoking are deadly and when a person smokes they allow these toxins in their body and from the moment the body receives these toxins, it begins a battle for survival. Our heart rate increases, which in turn increases our metabolism which in turn gets us to burn my of the fuel we consume every day. Now the average person has 10 cigarettes a day which means that their heart rate is beating real fast at least 10 times in a day which in turn means that our metabolism is racing pretty much all day. Now you decide to quit smoking and go to the gym or work out once in a day. Now your metabolism is really racing once in the day. It won’t matter how hard you work out in that one day. Are you getting it now?

Your weight gain is not because of the food you have consumed but because your metabolism isn’t running 24/7 anymore. It may only run once a day for a brief period of time. However, don’t let that stop you from quitting because there is good news. With a proper regiment of exercise and diet after 6 months your body will stop gaining weight, level out and then begin to slowly come down in weight.

So going into the New Year I absolutely want you to stop smoking, but remember that at first you may think that you are fighting a losing battle when it comes to you gaining weight, but you are not. At the same time you quit smoking, start a good and realistic exercise and diet program and in the end you will help your body win the battle of such a bad addiction.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Starting the year off right...

Every Year we all start telling ourselves that this year we are going to make a difference in our lives. This year we are not going to _______ (and you fill in the blanks) and within a short period of time you find yourself doing the one thing you said you were not going to do. Why is that? The answer is simple, because we told our brain that we were not going to do something, now we are concentrated on that one thing we said we were not going to do. Ever tell yourself that you were not going to eat after a certain hour of the day and what happens… at that time of the day don’t you find yourself really craving food? So, this year let’s stop with the “I can’t have” or “I won’t have” because that is the best formula for failure.

This year let’s break that streak and start by planning a goal of what you want to accomplish. You need to be very specific and once understood then the next thing we need to do is figure out how to make it happen. Now please understand that “weight loss” or “feeling better” are NOT goals. They are by-products of you achieving a functional active goal. By making active goals that are attainable you now have a starting point and an ending point and in turn once that ending point is reached, that ending point can then become your starting point. As an example, let’s assume that you don’t think I have a clue about what I am talking about and you go ahead and tell yourself that your goal is to lose weight and nothing more. First off, how will you accomplish that? Well nine times out of ten you will just decrease your food consumption. Now let’s assume you do that and then you lose that weight, now what? How will you maintain it? Your body will get a clue and then your weight will begin to creep back up, so now what, stop eating? No just like most people you will quit your “diet” and convince yourself that you are just made the way you are. Then you’ll go the doctor and find out you have diabetes or high blood pressure or high cholesterol and they will put you on medications and then you’ll convince yourself that you are healthy again. This is so far from the truth, but the reality here is that as farfetched as this sounds, this is why we are the way we are today.

Or let’s now assume that you believe what I am writing about and you create and active goal to shoot at, something like running. Let’s say that you go out and run a mile in 20 minutes. Now for the most part you walked it but now you see what your bottom time will be. Now make the goal that you want to run that mile in 15 minutes. Now set your workouts in such a way that you can achieve that goal. Now once accomplished then set another goal to be able to run it in 10 minutes and structure your workouts in such a fashion that you can achieve that time. Now remember in the beginning you were running 20 minute miles now you are running 10 minute miles, do you think you lost a few pounds? I don’t think a few pounds; I know you lost a whole bunch of weight. Now how can you hold that 10 pound loss? Well if you can consistently run 10 minute miles I am almost sure that you will maintain that loss.

Now what if you gain some of that weight back? Then I can assure you that you stopped running as much but now because you have achieved that goal of your weight loss already, will now know what it will take to get you back there. The real question is, do you want to get back there. When you make your goals visual and attainable then life becomes much simpler. Now it doesn’t necessarily have to be running, it could be walking or swimming or anything else active. However it needs to be active. Notice one other thing, I never spoke about food consumption throughout that last few paragraphs. Why? Because with most Americans the problem is not food consumption as much as it is exercise. Exercise in most cases WILL take care of most of the problems we have going on. Our bodies are wonderfully made; let’s help them by giving them a daily fighting chance. Let’s get active. Our bodies are not meant to sit around, regardless of who we are.