Category Archives: Mind-Body
With the cooler weather kicking in, my exercise program will probably be changing a bit. I won’t be going on such long bike rides but hope to stay frequent enough in doing them. I loathe stationary conditioning work and would rather freeze outdoors than be on a non-moving object for any length of time. To give you an example, I recently bought an elliptical for my wife and it’s in the garage. I debated on whether to use it or get “weather ready” and go for a ride outside. Literally 12 seconds after being on the elliptical I went and got dressed and jumped on my bike and did 22 miles in about 70 minutes. Good choice on my part by far.
So now that you a glimmer of an idea into my likes/dislikes, I am planning on doing the following for the next several months:
Strength Training: 2-4 times per week
Outdoor Biking: 1-3 times per week
Walking: 50,000-70,000 steps per week
Shoulder Mobility Work: 2-4 times per week
Lower Body Mobility Work: 2-4 times per week
All of these aspects of fitness will be addressed as I see fit (no pun intended). Time, weather, mood, needs, etc will dictate what gets done when and how with the ultimate goal of achieving the level of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” ~ Karen Lamb
How true a statement as many people reflect after time has passed and realize their postponing an exercise program has resulted in another year of “I would’ve and should’ve….”. Starting something such as a well thought out health and fitness program takes time, knowledge and most importantly, execution. For those looking to circumvent starting such a program, excuses are plenty, but the problem is we keep aging, we keep losing muscle tissue, we get fatter and that year has passed and there’s more ground to make up.
I’ve stated this many times, it doesn’t take much time to stimulate lean muscle tissue, fat loss and improve cardiovascular conditioning, you do, however, need to know how to do it safely, efficiently and effectively and of course, be committed to the process. Two to three times per week for less than 30 minutes per session can make that “wish you started” feeling a thing of the past. And if you can only make it in once a week, no problem, something is always better than nothing.
Here’s a simple solution: leave it to someone who has the experience, the knowledge, the passion for the field of fitness and helping others ‘get it done”. Contact me for a free consultation so we can discuss starting your new program.
After training since the tender age of 15, the last 36 years of my life have been a continuous dedication to the field of health and fitness. From my novice training years starting in high school and being the only guy to “lift weights” (via Nautilus machines and the Nautilus Principles) and playing basketball (an unheard of combination back then) to now, I think I’ve picked up a thing or two about training. I’m far from being an expert and believe once you think you are an expert you’ve already proven yourself the fool because no one truly knows everything and can certainly learn – or should at least strive to continue to learn anyway.
I’m a firm believer in working hard – in and out of the exercise arena. Nothing builds more character and allows for a person to discover what they are really made of than when they train. Training is a personal thing, so personal I find it quite amusing when people tell me how I should be doing it. It’s an opportunity for self-discovery, a chance to be mono-y-mono with one’s self – the struggle of wanting to quit versus the desire to push on, can I do more versus I will do more.
Over the last few month’s I have been focusing a bit differently on my fitness and not concerning myself with what most would consider ”"rules of engagement”. I don’t like rules, especially when there’s no real reason for them so I have no problem doing my own thing, but I do have some time-honored and time-proven approaches that I feel are advantageous to my health and fitness. Now, here comes the sticky wicked and that’s that these approaches are not always beneficial nor desirable because sometimes, priorities need to be shifted.
As I’ve gotten a wee bit older and have been more active this summer, I am finding that my normal approach to strength training is still beneficial to my health, fitness and overall performance, but a tweak here and there might be a good consideration. I have recognized the following over the last couple of month’s based on an ache here and a pain there and what it takes to get rid of them and better still, prevent them. Interestingly enough, once one thing is altered it seems there is a domino effect and one needs to be aware and act accordingly.
So, here’s what I’ve concluded recently:
- I need and prefer more frequency of exercise – daily if possible
- I need to include more joint movements
- I need to train with greater plains of motion
- I need more volume of sets and exercises
- I need to stay with higher reps
- I need to replicate patterns with multiple sets
- I need not train the same exercise too many sessions in a row
- I need to work in a cumulative fashion for overall health and fitness benefits
- I need to reduce my intensity of effort to achieve the above list
I will at a later date get into more detail about each bullet point and if anyone has any questions regarding my points, please feel free to comment on this post.
On July 8th, 2011 my family took a punch to the gut when we were told that my extremely healthy, fit wife Lori had breast cancer at the age of 49. No family history, no warning signs, no illness, no medications, no reason why, but we had breast cancer. Fortunately for us she was diagnosed early (stage zero) and following standard operating procedures, surgery was to be performed to remove the cancer cells. Unfortunately, there were several surgeries in a very short period of time (four in total in less than a five weeks) to remove the elusive cells and the surgeries really took their toll on her. After the surgeries and prior to our next step, she and I went for a casual bike ride one day down at the beach and unknowingly, I pushed our enthusiasm a bit too hard and it really knocked her out – and that was just after a couple of easy miles. She’s not an easy one to say “quit” and so I hadn’t realized how much the surgeries had worn her down. Of course, I felt terribly guilty (still do) and after that we just focused on getting her healthy and ready to deal with the impending radiation treatments (all 30 of them over a 6 1/2 week period).
So what’s the point to all this? Lori was a very active, healthy woman and still got cancer, however, she fought hard, kept doing what she could to keep fit without interfering with her recovery and we built her back up to where she’s now riding with me on our road bikes. In a short amount of time we’ve been pumping out 25 miles at a clip with our average speeds right around the 16-17mph mark. In fact, she took me by surprise this past Sunday as I was in front on our ride and turned it up a bit to 19+mph and I looked over my shoulder to see how far back she was and to my surprise, she was right on my wheel.
So, am I bragging a bit about my wife? Hell yes! Do I usually share personal things with others (especially people I don’t know)? Hell No, but I do want to acknowledge was she’s accomplished but also let others know that you’re not down and out unless you decide to be. It may take time and it may be hard, but it is doable and you can make a come back when you approach it slowly, positively and progressively and as you can see, a lot can happen in a year.
I had the pleasure and the honor of being the first to speak at the Easter Seal’s “Lunch & Learn” in New Brunswick, NJ. COO, Linda Mayo and Health and Wellness Director (and MAJOR fitness enthusiast and author) Laura O’Reilly did a phenomenal job of coordinating and implementing this awesome program to help educate their employees on health and fitness. I sure wish other companies took an interest in their employees like this group does. I can’t wait to get back in the fall for my next talk. Thanks everyone for making this such an enjoyable and successful venture. – Fred Fornicola
I wanted to do something today and I couldn’t quite make up my mind so I decided to do a short strength workout. I decided to do the following:
Cybex Neck Extension: 1×30
Paramount Pullover Machine: 1×15
Barbell Curl: 1×30
Forearm Leverage: 1×35
Went for a run in the 100+ heat….
A couple of things learned:
1) It’s the afternoon and I can feel the pump and fatigue in my upper body. Pretty incredible for just one big movement.
2) I have to do one thing at a time – meaning, perform either strength training, cardiovascular training, recreational training or relaxation and don’t intermingle any of them….more on this later
100% effort, what does that mean? I’m not just referring to the type of training we do here at Premiere Personal Fitness where we work damn hard at everything we do to get the most from our workouts and ourselves, I’m talking about 100% effort that first and foremost starts in your mind.
A person who is dedicated to improving their health and fitness gives 100% of themselves in all aspects of improvement. When that happens, good things occur. As someone who strongly encourages 100%, I in turn give 100% effort back to that individual to help support their goals. I have over the years given more to an individual than he or she has given themselves – meaning I have cared about their health and fitness more than they have and I found out that was a mistake on my part. I can only guide and support what an individual is willing to give of them self so giving more on my part is futile. What I have learned over time is to give each individual I work with 100% back of what they give themselves. This way my efforts are not exceeding those who give little and not depriving those who put more into their health. Don’t get me wrong, I poke and probe to get people to “pick up the pace” but in some cases even leading a horse to water can be strenuous and in turn, it can take its toll on me. This does lead to frustration for me….an unfair situation for both me and the others that I train so I give back what each person gives of themselves, hoping that moment comes around when they finally “get it”.
The Buddhist proverb, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear” is one I recognize when I work with my clients. I realize that some people are just not ready and very well may never be, but I as an educator I will be waiting for that moment if it does appear and will be ready to give 100% effort.
Goal setting is very important in making progress in your health and fitness. Aimlessly going to the gym and going through the motions is not a foundation for making progress. You must “Train With a Purpose”. When you are not purposeful, your enthusiasm starts to wane, improvement is little if any and you end up quitting…no big surprise there. Not having goals is the equivalent to getting in the car and driving…but not having a destination or a plan. Now sometimes that can be good and even exciting, but not on a constant basis. Think about this: How can you formulate a plan without a goal? You can’t, really. Goals create motivation.
Goals create focus. Goals keep you in check. So the key is to evaluate your current situation and make a realistic long-term goal with short-term goals as stepping-stones to your ultimate achievement.
So where do you start? Again, evaluate your current health and fitness situation and establish aworthwhile goal that isn’t easily attainable but yet not ridiculously out of reach. It would serve very little purpose other than setting yourself up for failure to ask the impossible of yourself; conversely, setting goals to low leaves you in the same sinking boat of making little if any improvement.
So how does one go about setting a goal for their exercise program? Well, for some, it can be something as basic as setting goals to actually work out a specific number of times a week/month. For others, it can be completing a certain amount of pushups, reducing their 1-mile run time by 30 seconds or achieve a specific body fat percentage. The key is to create something challenging for yourself and stay motivated and “go after it” because just sitting around isn’t going to do much for you.
It is very interesting, quite surprising in fact, that many people who “lift” find doing other activities such as running, hiking, cycling, etc to be far less of an importance. Some even go so far as to say that performing activities/recreating doesn’t qualify as exercise. Personally, I don’t see the need to define what someone does to enhance their health and fitness, as long as they are doing something that results positively for them. Others will also argue that we are far better resting after we “lift” and that being sedentary is more profitable for overall health. I disagree.
Physical activity, in general, has many benefits that far outweigh a quasi-sedentary lifestyle. Fresh air, sunlight, socialization, just movement in general can be beneficial when intelligently incorporated into one’s life. A proper strength training program will enable one to not only improve their well-being, but offer functionality in life and therefore, I can’t imagine sitting idly by when I could be outside enjoy nature and benefiting from it.