Monthly Archives: March 2012
One of my clients, Marty R. decided in February 2011 that it was time to take control of his health (and life). He established a goal of hitting of quitting smoking, exercising and obtaining a certain bodyweight. Marty contacted me in late August/early September 2011 to start training again with me. See, about 5 or 6 years ago Marty started to train with me but experienced horrible headaches when he exercised. At first I attributed it to EIH (exercise induced headaches) but after a half a dozen workouts, Marty had to stop. He realized, at some point, that the cigarettes were causing his problem.
Marty has been extremely focused for several month’s – weighing himself (but not obsessively), checking his body fat levels, monitoring not just his calories but his quality of food, walking, recreating and working his ass off when he trains at the gym as I can attest to. Keep in mind that weight is not always indicative of progress as Marty, without strength training, may have reached his weight goal sooner, however, he would not have put on any appreciative muscle tissue therefore leaving his total progress “scale related”. When you strength train – properly, consistently, intensely, you build strength, muscle tissue and cardiovascular fitness and therefore adding muscle shows on the scale. Below is a chart of Marty’s weight loss progress. I’m hoping he revels his body fat progress chart as well since it is quite impressive for a 58-year-old male:
In one of my many conversations with the now retired legendary NFL strength coach Kim Wood, we discussed training individuals who are currently “in season” for their athletic endeavor. The gist of the discussion was on the idea of how to implement a strength program while someone is involved in their chosen sport or activity and how to apply a smart and effective program to compliment their focus of that activity or sport. The depth of the discussion goes beyond what can be written here since it isn’t a cut and dry answer because as with everything, it’s individually based but the conversation did however gravitate to an area of thinking that I’ve subscribed to for many, many years and feel can be beneficial to many individuals – especially those who are in season.We discussed how too many people get focused on numbers and just “lift weights” and make that their sole source of progression, and although they may use good form, they may not be focusing as well as they could on each and every repetition.
I have always subscribed to the idea that the quality of the work far exceeds the amount being used and quality should be prioritized above quantity. Focusing on “quality of work” takes the stress of the exercise and places it on the muscles – where it belongs.I have no ego – I have no one to impress – I have no one who cares how much I can “lift” – my priority is to train safely and have exercise be more beneficial to my life. To enforce this approach, I have gotten to a point where I stopped counting my repetitions and focus totally on the quality of my work – feeling the muscles being used – INCH BY INCH. I have coached some of my clients on this as well – and those who can “dial in” to what I’m suggesting have commented on how much more intense their sessions are and how full their muscles feel. They also noted how much more sore they feel and how “deep” they noticed the muscles are being worked. Keep in mind they were not sloppy before – they are just very focused and even more deliberate now.For those of you who want to give it a try, reduce your poundage’s by about 20% or if you are accustom to performing higher repetitions (15 or more), anticipate a 20-25% reduction if you go very controlled. Do not count reps, do not count time – just connect your “mind to muscle” and FEEL every fiber working inch by inch and hold the contracted position for a 1001 count. I can almost guarantee this will be a new experience for you and one you will find to be very beneficial
I am often asked questions that, for me, are not easily answered as simply as the questioner would possibly like. See, asking a question, in my opinion, requires an answer worthy of providing as accurate a response as I can provide. I feel that it would be irresponsible on my part to give a watered down, Reader’s Digest version of a response just to make things simple. Because of my feelings toward this, I often catch my questioner in a total “deer in headlights” kind of mode or I can almost hear them telepathically saying “why the hell did I ever ask him this question”.
I recognize my answers are deep, probably deeper than most anticipated or really care to hear, but me being me, I feel it’s necessary to give the question asked careful consideration of my thoughts and therefore, share my opinions based on what I think. Now, if there’s a straightforward answer (which, in most cases when I’m asked a question I see no one answer), I could easily offer a quick, less in-depth and what would most likely be a sub-par response to make it quick and painless for the other person, but I just wouldn’t feel comfortable that I gave them the level that I care to strive for anyway as responding thoroughly is part of what I deem as important.
Now, here’s the ripple in the pond – the one that really gets me. When I take time to entertain a question and give it some thought and then share my response, thoughts and/or opinion(s), I don’t expect the individual to just immediately ”do what I say” because I said it. Hey, my response could be so far-fetched that I could be talking out my gluteus maximus and be completely off base, but when it’s something I’m pretty experienced in or have taken the time to dissect into a minimum of a couple “what ifs”, it’s probably worth at least paying attention and listening to what I have to say, especially if it’s going to help. Some people feel that I get angry if they don’t follow my advice. This is not true as it’s not anger, but confusion. My issue, if you will, is not a personal one, it’s one of bewilderment and curiosity as when a person who needs assistance, asks for it and then receives it and then does nothing with that assistance to improve their situation. Now THAT’S what usually gets me as it is very difficult for me to wrap my small mind around why a person would choose to “stay put” when a viable option has presented itself. Again, it’s not because I offered up the possible solution but that there’s a solution (or at least potentially) and no initiative is taken. That dumbfounds me and as I recognize that it’s not my place to worry, but I still care and more so, I wonder why no action is considered on any level. Maybe it’s laziness, lack of discipline, a fear of succeeding?
So, for those of you who took all this time to read my long-winded post on why I can’t offer a simple answer, you can certainly see how my mind will not allow for that to happen as this post is quite lengthy and if I had that capacity to answer something simply my post would have possibly been made up of just a line or two, but like I said, for me, that’s just not possible.
The Internet has created such a dogmatic view on what is the “best way” to exercise that it has paralyzed more people than helped them. Implementing protocols such Tabata conditioning, high intensity training, CrossFit etc., etc. have erected stone walls and kept people from thinking for themselves. Individuals have laid stakes to claim idealistic opportunities – making others feel that if they can not follow through on their “optimum recommendations” they will not fullfill their true potential – speaking as if their way is the only way. Is the Tabata 4 minute protocol enough work to satisfy one’s “health needs”? I don’t know, maybe, maybe not. Is that all the time you truly have to exercise? If so, then by all means train for those 4 minutes. Hell, a little bit of something beats a whole lot of nothing any day. Can you find 15 consecutive minutes in your day to do something for your physical, mental and emotional being? If so, then do it. It’s not the exercises, the routines, the training systems, etc. that makes the body healthier and stronger, it’s in the DOING that does and for anyone who sits and plans yet does not execute will find themselves standing in the exact spot where they started.
On the heels of my last post regarding the need for activity and my connection to walking, I would like to extend the offer for you to become part of the Premiere Fitbit Team. This is made up of ”friends of Premiere” and you can view the activities and steps/mileage that you and others are achieving for the day/week. The Fitbit has become incredibly motivating for me in that I find myself making an extra effort to walk more not only to pile up the steps and mileage but to take advantage of the health benefits I’ve experienced. The walking has been extremely beneficial for my flexibility of my hips and lower back. My gait has improved and I have tons more energy.
If you are interested in becoming part of the Premiere Team and have your Fitbit, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Whether you suffer the traditional allergy symptoms or not, allergens in the air can wreak havok on your body. Trouble breathing, dizziness, lethargy, trouble focusing and the like can all take their toll on us. A good way to combat some of these symptoms naturally is to try some or all of the following:
* Nasal Saline Soution several times a day
* Local honey (start with 1/2 tsp and move up to a full tbls over two week period – the local honey is from local bees eating the local pollen) and if not local, get raw…local honey can be gotten at Asbury Park Roastery
* Vitamin C 2-5 grams a day
* Drink plenty of water
* A good multi vitamin/mineral (I carry these at Premiere)
* Exercise regularly but if you are a “sufferer”, retreat to indoors for the time being
All of these are to stimulate and support the immune system
Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness is celebrating its 6 year anniversary this month. We are approaching 18,000 copies sold world-wide and would like to thank everyone who has been so supportive of our book over the years.
Matt Brzycki & Fred Fornicola
A good study on High Intensity Interval Exercise worth reading.
A quick reminder that I have opened up the Premiere Personal Fitness Discussion Board to share thoughts, views, comments, ideas, research, etc. as a learning tool for everyone. This is not a typical forum as it is not geared toward a specific way of eating or exercise or any particular philosophy. It may get one-sided at times, but it will not doubt be a learning opportunity for those participating. I encourage questions and open and respectful discussions. Any immaturity, name calling, etc and you’re gone….pretty simple.
Feel free to invite others who may benefit from the site as well.