- Created on Thursday, 07 January 2010 18:56
As an advanced species, when it comes to naturally improving and caring for our lives, sometimes humans seem to be going in the wrong direction. We may be smarter as a whole than all other animals but some of our actions compared to animals in the wild are just stupid.
Here are four differences to consider. Compare your actions and habits to those of an animal in the wild and see if you are doing what is natural to help your health and fitness, or are you going against nature.
Sleep: Pet owners know there is no need to tell your pet that it's time for bed or time to take a nap. But too many humans avoid or put off getting enough sleep like it is an unnecessary nuisance. Technology can be a big part of this problem. I'm guilty of staying up too late just to catch the end of a television show or read a few more emails. It's not just adults either. Little kids fuss about having a bedtime, teenagers try to stay up all night then suffer through the day sucking down Starbucks. When your body is signaling that it needs to rest and recuperate listen to it. The detrimental effects of sleep deprivation have been well documented. Make getting a great night's sleep a regular part of your routine.
Food: Only domesticated animals and those over exposed to humans and our poor nutritional habits will consume junk. Given the choice between fresh, natural foods (meat, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds) or something created in a lab, wildlife will naturally pick nature over manufactured. What about you? I'm sure you know which is the healthier, wiser choice but are you making an effort to make the right choices? Try to make the bulk of your diet foods that are minimally processed and as close to natural as possible, like fresh produce.
Eating: No, this isn't the same as the previous topic. That was about What we choose to put in our bodies. This is about volume, intensity, and frequency. This is where humans should excel but we fail miserably. With most of us having access to more than enough food there is no reason to stuff like we are going into hibernation or are unsure of the next kill (or shopping trip in the case of humans.) Carnivorous predators do their best to get their fill of the freshly killed prey because it may be days, or in some cases weeks, before they eat that well again. But every calorie consumed is put to great use. Herbivores on the other hand are constantly grazing to keep the energy levels up. Most natural carnivores are powerful but unlike some herbivores, who are also naturally strong, they don't have as much endurance. Think about a lion chasing an antelope. Wildlife naturally knows how vital staying hydrated is to life. Can you use this info and adapt your eating habits to better suit your fitness goals and training preference? Are you making sure to stay well hydrated throughout the day?
Energy Conservation and Usage: Again, it's human influence that causes chronic over-fatness and obesity in animals. This is due not only to the types of food and eating habits but also inactivity due to confinement(like being stuck in an office cubicle) and access to permanent shelter and a regular food supply. But even animals kept for people's companionship or entertainment usually do their best to remain in a positive state of physical condition. All animals have the strength to easily handle their body weight. Can you easily handle yours? Are push ups and pull ups part of your routine? Cats and dogs stretch multiple times a day. Do you? Given the chance to sprint even adults house pets will readily accept the invitation. How many adults do you know that will run at top speed just for the fun of it? Stretching is easy, try doing it at least once a day, especially if you have a sedentary occupation. Fit some physical activity into your daily routine. Get up and move. Not only is it good for you, it's natural.
Photo courtesy of flickr.com/travlinman43
- Created on Tuesday, 29 December 2009 19:32
Some people workout for their appearance, some for athletic performance, some because we just love to, and some to save their lives. When I say save their lives it has more than one meaning. Yes, some people have been given an ultimatum by their doctor- “start exercising and change your diet or die fast.” But also because some people face life or death risky situations daily, like police and deputies, firefighters, and members of the armed forces. What about you?
In one of his recent blog posts fitness advocate Freddie McCloud asked the question "Could you save yourself?" He used the cliff hanger scenario that you see in movies where the hero is hanging from the edge of a cliff and has to pull himself up to safety. Then he goes on to saving the heroine and together they conquer all evil and save the world, right? Anyways, Freddie who used to be 280 pounds, but not solid muscle at the time, knew before getting serious about improving his fitness that his answer was no. He was too heavy to perform a pull up. Fortunately now he can.
Dangling from a cliff is just one scenario though. Here is something to think about, whether you workout or not, if your life depended upon your level of health, fitness, and strength would you be able to prevent your own death? Imagine yourself in a terrifying scenario such as this: You're in a high rise building, let's say on the forty fourth floor. Suddenly there's a series of explosions, you feel the building shake and hear people screaming to run and get out. The power is out. The elevators are useless. You know you need to get out of that building, and fast. There's a mad rush to the stairs, people are panicking, pushing others out of their way. You are now facing a descent of forty four floors to safety. Could you make it? Really think about how fit and healthy you are. Could your heart handle the rush of adrenalin? Do you have the cardiovascular endurance to run all the way to safety? What would happen if you got to a certain point where the stairs were destroyed. The only way to progress is by climbing down holding onto railings. Are you strong enough? Do you have the physical endurance, the mental strength, the will, and the confidence to not give up? Or do you stay put and possibly lose your life and put others at risk of losing theirs?
You and I could come up with dozens of other scenarios where your health and well being are at risk- a building fire, hostage situation, shipwreck, being chased by a pack of dogs. You might be thinking, "yeah, but that's not going to ever happen to me." And hopefully that's the truth. But what if? When you exercise, are you taking care of all the components of fitness? Are you including strength training for strength, not just aesthetics? Are you doing cardio to help make your heart stronger and healthier, not just because you want the caloric deficit? Are you making sure to stretch regularly so you don't easily strain a muscle when the time comes it has to work outside of the range of motion you are accustomed to exercising in? Are you going outside of your comfort zone to see how much you can handle, mentally more so than physically, at least occasionally? Are you doing a variety of exercises- body weight, heavy external resistance, high reps, static holds for time, high intensity, applying compound resistance, complex patterns to improve your balance and agility? Do you have the physical strength to handle your own body weight plus some external force pushing, pulling and/or twisting against you? Could you run to safety holding some very precious cargo, like maybe your child?
Next time you get ready to workout, regardless of what your goals are, ask yourself if your program is helping you live a longer life in more than one way.
You can read Freddie McCloud's original post Could you save yourself by visiting his blog- www.byebyebigguy.com
- Created on Tuesday, 22 December 2009 20:59
|Recently I received a catalog from a well known fitness retailer. This company which is best known for its easily portable resistance cable equipment shocked me by declaring Kettlebells as the #1 fitness product in the world. First let me say that I have nothing against kettlebells. I own a couple pairs and use them occasionally. I have clients that have them and we incorporate them into their workouts and sometimes even build the entire workout exclusively around the kettlebells. In my opinion the kettlebell is a good piece of equipment, but would I consider them the #1 fitness product in the world? No, I wouldn't, but I'm sure there are plenty of people that would. While there are certain exercises that are best performed using kettlebells they can also be performed using other forms of "free" resistance like dumbbells, medicine balls, mini-med balls, and sand bags or sandbells.
It's true that you can get a full conditioning workout (strength, endurance, agility, and more) using only kettlebells but the same can be said for lots of other pieces of fitness equipment. What it all boils down to is the program. Hopefully you already know that to get and stay fit you do not need any equipment other than your body and mind. Your individual training goals will dictate what fitness product will be #1 for you and your goals. Personally my top pick, based upon my goals, is a pair of adjustable dumbbells. What is your #1 fitness product?
- Created on Friday, 18 December 2009 15:10
It's no secret that it costs more to eat a healthy, clean diet than it does to eat junk or fast food. A $20 bill will get you a larger quantity of food from McDonald's than it will if you spend it at Sprout's. That's a big problem. It's also cheaper to buy national brand groceries, which often have cents-off coupons online and in the newspaper making them even more affordable, than it is to buy natural and organic varieties, which are quite a bit harder to find coupons for. Well thanks to a great site called Best Organic Food Coupons you can access coupons for dozens of natural and organic products. Some are just a click away from being printed instantly. Visit Best Organic Food Coupons and make eating healthier more affordable.
- Created on Wednesday, 16 December 2009 17:19
Last week was the finale for season 8 of The Biggest Loser. I wish I had placed some bets. All three of my predictions held up. First Amanda, America's choice to be a contestant on The Biggest Loser, triumphed over Liz to be the third finalist competing for the grand prize of $250,000 and the title of The Biggest Loser. 49 year old Liz now looks closer to her age. When the season started the extra weight she was toting made her look at least 10 years older than she is. I'm sure the unhappiness of being so overweight, which showed on her face, was the reason for that illusion. Liz proves that healthy nutrition and regular exercise gives you the results of two popular cosmetic surgery procedures- liposuction and a facelift, without the costs or risks, but with many other positive health benefits you won't get from those surgeries.
As the host Alison Sweeney called the at home contestants out in groups of four I was instantly impressed with the progress Antoine made. He looked great! Losing an impressive 215 pounds, I started to think his transformation was going to be the one to win the money. After he was quickly bumped out by Julio's 44% weight loss I didn't think anyone was left that could lose enough to beat that. When the second quartet come out it was apparent Tracy really did her homework. She proved it when the scale showed her loss of 47+%. As I mentioned in a previous post it was Rebecca (losing 49+%!) that won the at home Biggest Loser title. I liked the look of dark-haired Rebecca better but she still looked fantastic. Congratulations Rebecca!
Shay, who started the season as the heaviest contestant and was still the heaviest at the finals, was given a big incentive to keep up with her fitness/fat loss program. Along with season 3 champ Erik, Shay agreed to return for the season 9 final weigh-in. For every pound she loses Subway will award her $1,000.00! She has a chance to take home more than the winning at-home contestant. How's that for providing motivation?
The battle for the grand prize was between the two former giants Rudy and my pick, Danny. Even though he lost an incredible 52.94% of his former self it wasn't enough for Rudy to claim the title. My pick since week 6, Danny- The Season 8 Biggest Loser, lost a mind blowing 55.58% of his starting weight. Way to go Danny!
I personally can't imagine being twice my current body weight, muscle or FAT. It is hard to imagine what these people must have felt like before losing the weight they did. Let's all hope that everyone of the contestants continue to make exercise and healthy eating an important part of their lives and keep off (or continue losing) the excess, unhealthy fat.
- Created on Monday, 14 December 2009 18:08
One of the websites I have been pleased with is Spri Products. In my opinion they have the best rubber resistance products on the market. A while back, quite a while, I placed a very big order with Spri Products. Some of the items where immediately put into service but some were kept on hand as backups and replacements. I had close to a dozen stability balls that I was keeping to replace others when they started to show signs of wear and tear. I sold one to a private group training client. Usually when I train this particular group at their place of employment I bring all the equipment. At certain times of the year our training location changes and they bring their own balls. It was during one of the sessions when my client brought the ball I sold her that I noticed it was not holding it's shape.
We deflated and re-inflated it and it definitely had an egg shape rather than being round, like a stability ball should be. I sold her another one to replace the misshapen ball and in less than a week we noticed it was experiencing the same problem. She thought maybe it was from the ball sitting in her car in the summer heat.
I've left a ball in my car with the windows up in the summer and have never had that happen. I figured this can't just be a coincidence and it wasn't. Another big problem was the fact that I had these balls for much longer than the return period policy. I figured I would call Spri Products anyway and see if they could do something. I was not happy with the idea of having almost a dozen exercise balls that I was not comfortable using. I thought maybe they'll give me some kind of discount if I exchange those with some new ones. Well at first I spoke with a customer service rep who told me she would have to research my order and call me back. After one week went by without me hearing from them I called them back. I was expecting to hear "Sorry, too late, if you would have read the policy you'll see we can't do anything for you. Would you like to order some new ones?" I immediately asked to speak with a supervisor. A friendly young lady named Jessica spoke with me and said "We'll take care of this." She was not lying. Not only did they replace the balls, she inflated some of them and let them sit inflated for a week to make sure what she was going to send me would not have any defects. And the best thing, after I received the replacements I noticed they even upgraded with a higher quality item! Talk about going above and beyond. Not only are Spri's products great, their customer service is great too. At least if you deal with Jessica!
Click the following link to visit Spri- The Professional's Choice.
- Created on Wednesday, 02 December 2009 20:10
Not much to discuss about last week’s episode. The contestants were quizzed on the financial impact of obesity and won cash based on how well they did. At this stage there appears to be less emphasis, or should I say 'air time' of the workouts and more dealing with the contestant’s emotions. The support issue was brought up between Amanda and Bob. This is one other thing that viewers watching to gain pointers from the show need to be well aware of. It's important to realize from the start if you can or can't do it on your own. If not, get help, right away. Sometimes information is not enough. Coaching- hands on, in person coaching will not only be the difference between success and failure, for some it is the difference between getting started and just thinking about it. It's also very important to surround yourself with positive influences. That does not mean you need to get all new friends or become a hermit. But you do need to make lifestyle changes and it is best to alert everyone of your intentions.
Allen was voted off. I wasn't too surprised about that. As I think about it, I'm sure he had been below the yellow line as often as some other contestants he would have probably been sent packing much sooner.
Wednesday was the NBC Where Are They Now show. What I noticed was quite a few of the former contestants did put some weight back on. Not all as much as season 3 winner Erik Chopin, but some enough to still be considered obese. As was witnessed from Wednesday's show, most of the winners get down to an unrealistically low level of body fat. This is something that for most is difficult not only to obtain but much, much harder to sustain. A $250,000 pay off has to help I'm sure. I know it takes a whole lot more than a few packs of Extra Gum. Season 7's winner Helen is doing a great job of staying fit but Pete Thomas of season 5 wins the award for keeping the greatest amount of weight off. They did not update every past contestant; I would guess they would need too many hours for that. Hopefully NBC will keep airing updates on past contestants. Even devoting maybe 90 seconds to 1 or 2 past contestants before a few commercial breaks during the future season's regular episodes would be nice.
Last night's episode followed the final four as they spent 2 months at home. They now have hard work ahead, for possibly the rest of their lives, but mostly between the ranch and the grand finale weigh in. Liz has one of the biggest obstacles- being accustomed to gym workouts and not having one very close by her farm. The contestants now must face the reality of making fitness a regular part of life, unlike the fantasy fat loss world they lived while at King Gillette Ranch.
The finalists were given the challenge of running a full marathon. Season 7 runner-up Tara made a special appearance to motivate Danny and Liz during the race. I'm not much of a runner, but I would bet than any true marathon runner would tell you those folks did not have adequate preparation for running a full marathon. All four did finish and for completing they were allowed to choose a charity that received a $10,000 contribution.
Amanda and Liz were the two below the yellow line, and are at the mercy of the home audience. I'm predicting since Amanda was the viewer's choice to be on the show she'll be the viewer's choice to be one of the final three. Even though Rudy has made tremendous progress my money is still on Danny to be declared The Biggest Loser.
- Created on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 14:12
Yoga has many proven benefits: improved flexibility and range of motion, positive effects on blood pressure and chronic pain, and stress reduction are some of the most common that come to mind. But for someone unfamiliar with Yoga who is interested in practicing the poses there can be one drawback: the terminology. For a beginner joining a class for the first time may be as foreign and intimidating as placing an order for a medium coffee at the most popular coffee house chain. Before you order a Yoga DVD I would suggest you check out the Yoga Journal website. The site has a glossary of Yoga terms, a section on holistic healing and what I like best- a poses section that illustrates the pose and has step by step instructions plus that pose's main benefits, any cautions to be aware of before attempting the pose, and helpful beginner's tips. Visit YogaJournal.com
- Created on Saturday, 21 November 2009 21:10
This week's episode was the make over show which has been done as long as I can remember on the series. The only major difference that I noticed was that instead of the makeovers preceding a photo shoot for Prevention Magazine they were for inspirational speeches the contestants had to give in front of an audience of three hundred and the sponsor was TV Guide. In addition to their make overs and a new outfit the remaining contestants got the gift of visits by their loved ones.
This is something you should take note of if your working hard to drop the fat pounds- the reward system. After all the weeks of hard work and effort that go into training toward your goals it is good to give your self a reward to recognize your accomplishments. It can help you stay on track knowing once you make it to a short term goal you'll be receiving your reward. I don't know how many men would have chosen make overs but for many ladies that is definitely an appropriate reward. Guys might choose to treat themselves to something different that appeals to their hobbies or interests, as would some females. But the one thing to try to stay away from is what got you to the level of over-fatness that you are battling. Picking a meal at your favorite restaurant, or some kind of sweet treat does not serve the purpose. Choose wisely!
The big physical reward challenge was something that I personally would have had a difficult time with. They had to traverse 700 feet across a 200 feet deep canyon harnessed on a tiny clear Plexiglas seat. Liz was clearly the most scared to do this. If I was there I would have been just as terrified. And ironically it followed another of my biggest fears- public speaking! It was Rudy that won the challenge. The reward was a two week vacation to the Fitness Ridge Resort in Utah.
The trainer's tips this week coincided with NBC's green week. One of Bob's tips was to buy local and preferably organic produce. Again I'll suggest going one better and start growing your own garden. The nutritional benefits of eating your own fresh produce are obvious but most people(non-gardeners) are unaware of the many health benefits from working in your garden such as improved self esteem, and reduced stress and improved blood pressure.
Another of Bob's green tips which was placed strategically during his private talk with Allen was to put his almonds in a plastic baggy. Wouldn't a reusable container be greener? You can use it more often right? And that advertiser does have their own line. Jillian suggested to bring your own thermos or cup when you stop for your java fix. Doesn't anyone brew their own coffee at home? Wouldn't it be greener to make one trip to get a pound of coffee that will make dozens of cups of coffee rather than driving to a coffee shop or convenience store and get something that hopefully tastes as good as what you could have made?
There are two positive spots from Tuesday that I want to point out. The first is actor Quintin Aaron's segment at the start of a commercial break. He gave us a brief look at what he had to go through to lose 100 pounds for his role of Michael Oher in The Blind Side- 14 workouts a week! Hopefully viewers stuck around long enough to learn how much effort is required to drop that kind of fat.
The other thing I wanted to emphasize was Jillian's remark to Allen when he expressed his frustration over only losing 5 pounds at the weigh in. Anyone trying to lose fat needs to look at any and all loss as a positive. It may not be the amount you wanted to see but it is a loss and that is good.
Now that Rebecca is gone I have her as my top pick for the $100,000.00 at-home winner. She looked amazing when they showed her running the half marathon after having left the ranch. Danny is still going to be the Biggest Loser. Watch. Speaking of watch be sure to catch Wednesday's special THE BIGGEST LOSER: WHERE ARE THEY NOW? starting at 8. I have been waiting for this show for a long time, but not to see anyone former contestant in particular. What about you, is there a former contestant you are curious about?
- Created on Tuesday, 17 November 2009 09:13
One of the most popular trends in fitness is the new group training format combining strength training, cardio, interval training, and various other modes of exercise, some of which can be called functional, some not. There are probably dozens of such classes or programs available in your town. Some are hosted inside of gyms or training studios, some are held at local parks, and you'll find one at just about every beach. Some of the classes will vary greatly depending on who formed the program and who runs it. But it seems too many have one thing in common- the inappropriate title of "boot camp".
As much as I love working out and fitness, the one thing I don't like is the hype involved with some fitness marketing. The term "boot camp" is one of my top fitness peeves. I realize "boot camp" sounds catchy- a training program similar to those of young men and women who have enlisted in the armed forces. Well, as someone who has spent 14 weeks at Parris Island (bonus days in a receiving platoon waiting for more to arrive), let me tell you, that one hour workout you choose to go to doesn't come close. Sure there may be difficult physical exercises, it may take place at an early hour when most people are still in bed, and it might even go on as usual regardless of the weather. But face it, it is a group exercise program with a name to make it sound like more than it is. Much, much more!
You don't get startled awake by bright overheads blinding you through your eyelids as your ears are blasted by the booming voice of a Drill Instructor. Your "boot camp" is optional, if you don't feel like going you can turn off your alarm, roll over and keep snoozing if you please. Not in real Boot Camp. It's out of the rack, toes on the line, and count off! Then seconds to get dressed(don't be last!) then your day, a full day of training begins. You don't get to choose what to eat, when to take a break and when you'll go to bed. Oh, and it's no big deal deciding what you'll wear to your workout. Your a Boot, that along with everything else is decided for you. But a Boot is training for different reasons than the average boot camper. And no one should be complaining.
So when you are searching for a good (tough? challenging? fun?) group workout and you see the term "boot camp" just remember it's only a catchy name for group exercise. It is Not Boot Camp. And those of you already attending a group fitness class, it doesn't matter how many push-ups and sit-ups you perform, or how many times you swing a kettlebell, when the session is over and you are free to go about your day That's Not Boot Camp!
- Created on Wednesday, 11 November 2009 18:16
The Biggest Loser started off with positive statements from the contestants about making it to week nine and losing large amounts of weight only for them to be jolted with the news that two contestants would leave the ranch this week. One would be automatically eliminated for having the lowest overall percentage of weight loss and the next two lowest losses would be up for elimination by vote. I thought this would lead the contestants to resort to drastic measures but instead it was both Bob and Jillian. They proceeded to push the contestants harder than ever as if it would produce the impossible- keeping everyone above the red line, although for many of the contestants it did result in great losses . One thing that can be said is that it shows the benefit of having an external incentive beyond the ultimate goal. In the contestants' case it was the goal of staying above the red line, hopefully by at least three spaces.
The first over-training syndrome victim was Danny. The only surprising thing about that was that he has been the only one pointed out so far. Sadly the show did not go into much detail to explain what it is. Basically over-training is a condition of chronic fatigue resulting from exercising at a high intensity over a prolonged period of time. Symptoms include a chronically elevated resting heart rate, a plateau or decline in performance, excessive muscle soreness, reduction in appetite, unwanted or possibly excess weight loss(usually from lean tissue), plus changes in sleep patterns and habits. A person with over-training syndrome is at greater risk for exercise induced injuries, illnesses and a reduction or loss in motivation. The lack of progression and the constant increasingly high intensity workouts, which the contestants have been enduring from day one, are the perfect recipe for bringing on over-training syndrome. Over-training can be prevented by proper periodization of training, something that you do not see on The Biggest Loser.
I disagree with both Bob and Jillian regarding what to do about my pick's condition. Jillian was wrong to bench Danny. He is not an invalid at this stage, just reduce the intensity to give his body a chance to recover. Bob's statement was that he(Danny) could "rest after the finale." With that attitude Danny will be lucky to get to the finale without having been voted out by falling below the yellow line or without being limited by injury.
Later in the show my thoughts about the contestants resorting to extreme measures proved right. The former pink and orange teammates showed the exercise equipment they stole from the gym and put in their rooms to get in an additional 2 hours of exercise each day. It did not pay off because it was Daniel(orange) who lost the smallest percentage of weight, followed by Amanda(pink) then Shay(orange). I guess they haven't realized the importance of getting proper rest in regards to fat loss and fitness.
The last chance workout was two parts this week, although the contestants did not know it ahead of time. Their first last chance workout was a field trip off the ranch to do a trapeze workout. What they did appeared to be more like a suspension workout using a bar instead of individual handles which are normally used. They never did really fly through the air with the greatest of ease as I would guess that they were possibly expecting or fearing. The second last chance workout was just business as usual.
This week my questions about Daniel's former partner from last season, David Lee, were answered and unfortunately he has not gotten hooked on exercise. He told Daniel that he had more important things to do than lose weight. Again, hopefully he'll come around soon.
The best piece of advice on last nights episode was their introduction to Lara Bars. They are the best tasting, healthiest, most nutritious bars on the market. If you have not tried them go get some right now. GO!!
- The Advantages of Exercising at Home
- The Biggest Loser Season 8: 3 November
- The Biggest Loser: Season 8- "I don't hate Jillian..."
- Is Costco Creating Over-fatness?
- Before You Sign Up For a Gym Membership...
- The Biggest Loser Season 8: The Black Teams Visits Home
- Honest Experience
- The Biggest Loser Season 8: Control
- The Biggest Loser Season 8: 6 October
- The Biggest Loser Season 8: Game On