- Created on Wednesday, 14 October 2009 23:19
The first thing I want to do is clarify that the exercise Jillian described during the first Trainer Tip was a "Stiff Leg Deadlift", not to be confused with the exercise called only a "deadlift." She was correct in the execution and benefits of stiff leg deadlifts, just not accurate with the name. Bob's tip about push up progression was right on the money. Now only if he would use that kind of progression with the show's morbidly obese contestants. More on Jillian later.
The theme for last night's show was control, or lack or loss of it.
The contestants were presented with a chance to spin a wheel for an opportunity to choose the members and trainers of the newly formed black and blue teams. It was little surprise that Tracy won. She should buy some Powerball Lottery tickets when she leaves the ranch. I'm not sure of her tactics for choosing the teams as she did (splitting up all but two of the original pairs, one being hers') but it was her choice and ultimately she hurt quite a few feelings on both teams. Former brown team's Danny declared it was "Game On". It has been Game On since they partnered up and put on different color shirts. Let's never forgot there is a quarter of a million USD on the line. The only change is that now people are pissed off.
And speaking of pissed off I'll come back to discussing Jillian. She was quick to claim that Tracy did not form a bond with Bob, Tracy only picked Bob to avoid the butt kicking Jillian was going to give her in the gym. Well, maybe if Jillian looked at the first word in her profession's title she might have a clue. Personal Trainer. Add "ity." Maybe that was the basis for Tracy's decision. It does matter that the trainer is experienced and qualified, but a huge factor in choosing a trainer is compatible personalities. Not everyone is motivated by screaming, cussing, threats and belittling. For some it can be a distraction from the training and add negative stress to an already stressful situation.
As usual there were plenty of tears shed. Mostly because of the way the original pairs were split up. Rather than letting it get the best of them all the contestants should have used it as a positive learning experience- support is great, dependence is bad. When they leave the ranch they will be relying on others for support so they should get used to not having the same teammates and trainers quick. It will help them succeed and stay successful long term. The trainers should have taken advantage of the switch to explain this.
There were two prominent situations that I felt both trainers were not following standards of true professionalism. A big part of our responsibility is client safety. Liz passing out on the treadmill is ultimately Bob's responsibility. He may not have been personally training her at the moment but he should have made her well aware of exercising at an appropriate level of intensity. Bob did do a good job educating his team on their shopping trip. Hmm... did you read my post last week?
Once again, if there was a non-exerciser watching and considering starting an exercise program there is the possibility they may have been scared away after seeing Jillian push Amanda to the point of losing her cookies, or Granny Smith apples I believe she said. Strike 2! Another instance of disservice to the fitness training profession courtesy of the National Broadcasting Company.
My last rant is about Dina's failed attempts at doing box jumps. First I'll say that plyometrics are not only a highly productive form of exercise, they can be extremely fun- for some. For others they can be terrifying as in Dina's case. I have experienced it with a client myself. But since it was not a requirement to do them we simply switched to an equally sufficient exercise the client was more comfortable with and moved on with the workout. No cameras, no drama, no message of overcoming one's fears, no wasted time. Just a safe, effective and productive workout without making someone feel inadequate or resistant to exercise.
- Created on Saturday, 10 October 2009 13:32
They called this week's episode an experiment, but really it was a test of what the contestants learned up to this point about eating. The contestants were locked out of their kitchen for the week and had to rely on take out for for all of their meals. That's probably what got most of them in their obese conditions to start with. That plus the lack of healthy physical activity.
They were quick to realize that when you are not in complete charge of your food- purchasing and preparing, you can never be sure.
- Created on Saturday, 03 October 2009 16:56
It does not take long for the producers of this game show to exploit the personalities of the contestants to create drama and animosity. I would guess no one behind the scenes was shocked when Tracy took the bait to increase her chances of continuing to get free training, health care and nutritional guidance, plus furthering her odds at winnings the $250,000 grand prize. After all, studies have shown there are certain types of personalities that give in to temptation easier than others, even if it may mean self sabotage. Looking at some of the questions asked on pages 5, 6, & 7 in a casting call application for an NBC show where clashing personalities were not as crucial for show ratings as one that places strangers in the same household for a lengthy period I'm sure the producers know Tracy like they know the backs of their own hands.
Not to single out Tracy though, it does take a certain type of personality to be willing to get weighed in on television shirtless or wearing only a sports bra and spandex. But I'm sure adding in the chance to win a nice chunk of cash adds even more willing personalities. Even I would consider trying out for a show that guaranteed to greatly improve my strength and physique if there was a possibility of winning six figures.(Hey Spike TV, how about a game show for people wanting to add muscle, drug free! I'll apply.) Which brings me to Jillian. Jillian, Jillian, Jillian. I wonder would she still have millions wanting(or was it wishing?) to be trained by her if they had to pay and didn't have a chance at winning a quarter of a million dollars? I would guess there are just as many wanting to be trained by former Biggest Loser trainer Kim Lyons, who does offer personal training on her site. Jillian does not.
I will say that I do have to agree with Jillian's frustration of not being listened to. As a trainer the second most frustrating thing is spending time educating a client about what works, what does not, what is true, what is fiction and fantasy, what to do and what NOT to do only to have them ignore your advice, not put it to use, or do the opposite. The most frustrating is for the client to tell you they have been following your advice and find out later they have been lying. If you are not going to be honest with your trainer you probably won't be honest with yourself regarding exercise and diet.
- Created on Tuesday, 29 September 2009 20:08
I'm not sure if you need to be a southern Californian, or a die hard college football fan to have heard the news about USC tail-back Stafon Johnson's injury. He was seriously injured while performing the bench press. One thing I can be sure of is that you do not have to eliminate this great exercise from your training program, or decide against ever adding it. I say this because one other thing I'm sure about is that some trainers will use this as an opportunity to speak out against this particular exercise, or weight training in general.
There are still individuals that spread the rumor that certain exercises, such as squats and bench presses, are bad for you. I completely disagree. Done properly (using correct form and proper progression), the bench press is no more dangerous for the average person than bending over to tie your shoelace. The argument that bench presses are bad for your shoulders is usually due to instances of overuse- not switching the exercises in your program periodically, or improper form, not setting the scapula to emphasize the stronger prime mover muscles of the chest during the exercise.
I do not know every detail about Mr. Johnson's accident. I did read that he was being spotted by an assistant strength coach. I do not know what kind of grip he was using or what percentage of his one repetition maximum he had loaded on the bar. I did hear a USC coach state that it was a "freak accident", so do not believe that it was because he was doing an unsafe exercise.
- Created on Wednesday, 23 September 2009 17:42
What is becoming a seasonal trend with The Biggest Loser is the ridiculous drama over the dreaded week 2. Just because there were a couple of (or a few) consecutive seasons where some of the contestants did not do as well at the second week's weigh in compared to the high losses of the first week, week 2 is something to be feared. That's according to Bob, Jillian, and the show's writers and producers.
Maybe one of these seasons they'll give Dr. Huizenga some airtime regarding this mystery during a week 2. I would like to hear his opinion about why week 1's change is so much more radical than the following week, although the overwhelming majority of last night's losses were still extremely high. I have already made my conclusion about why the first week's losses are so great- water weight. Water (sweat) has weight. So when you lose extreme amounts through over-exercise, you will lose its equivalency in weight. With poor, sodium rich diets like the contestants were probably enduring prior to their stay at the King Gillette ranch, their abused bodies were most likely retaining excessive amounts that would not affect normal hydration levels after a significant loss. Still, I'd like to know what Dr. H thinks, but then the show might lose some of the suspense and drama.
Last night's episode did have its positive points. We got to hear Jillian coaching the importance and facts of proper nutrition, energy balance- calories in versus calories out, meal planning and advanced preparation, and the role of hormones. I specifically recall her mentioning that a calorie is a measurement of energy. All these factors work in conjunction, over time. So why the over the top torture sessions called the last chance workouts? Unless it is an abnormally long bout (3+ hours), realize that any weight lost during one workout is water weight, all to be regained after eating or drinking anything containing H2O. Anyone reading this that is exercising to aid in your effort to lose fat please pay attention to what I mentioned above. Stepping on the scale immediately after your workout is not going to give you an accurate measure of any fat burned from the session.
One other thing I must highlight was the segment, while Jillian was teaching nutrition, showing the therapeutic care some of the contestants were receiving- knees and ankles with ice compresses held in place by elastic bandages. I think the only other time I've seen something similar was a sidelined athlete during a professional sports event. This just goes to show the extreme measures the contestants are being pushed through. So if you still think you can lose 5 pounds in 5 days with just a few minutes of easy exercise like infomercials tell you, think again.
About eighty minutes into the show I did take about a ten minute break from TBL to root for the SD Padres as they came close to winning, getting four runs in the 9th, only to lose 10-11. When I returned, as usual Jillian was dropping *F* bombs like a Marine on the front lines. With all the fancy equipment on the ranch she resorts to the simplest of tools- a rope. Good job Jillian. It just goes to show that you don't need to spend thousands on equipment for a good workout. You certainly don't need a smith machine to do plyometric exercises (as Bob had Julio doing), push ups or a medicine ball are just as, if not more effective.
The most notable statement was made by Abby- "It works..., watching your diet, counting your calories, moving...., It works."
- Created on Wednesday, 16 September 2009 20:11
Last night the 8th season of The Biggest Loser premiered, and as usual I could not help but cringe at some of the things the contestants were put through. It's way too many to cover in this post but each week I'll cover those things that I feel are most cringe worthy. But first I have to ask, are my family members the only viewers that are not obese? Jillian and Bob, at the very start of the show made the comment that “the contestants are you!”
No they are not. Less than halfway through the show my 13 year old son even made the statement that the show and its host/trainers/celebrities seem to think that everyone watching must be overweight. I'm sure a large portion of the home audience is overweight. Statistically, with the large portion of the US population being over-fat, it only makes sense. What concerns me is that some of these people are not just watching for inspiration, motivation, or plain entertainment but for nutritional and exercise help and advice.
The first thing the audience must realize is that the contestants have much more than the support and guidance of 2 trainers. They have as much support as a professional sports team. Last season these important people were finally given a bit of camera time. Most importantly is the doctor, a key figure in their weight loss program. Everyone of the contestants are in the category of individuals that do need to consult a physician before starting an exercise program. Add the fact that Bob and Jillian begin by pushing the contestants way beyond their physical limits (vomiting during a workout is not impressive.... on the exerciser's part and certainly not the trainers'!), constant medical supervision is a must.
But it is not just the trainers. I blame the show's producers. They are pushing the envelope further and further each season. In the past I used to only wonder who would be injured by Jillian. Now, after seeing Gerald collapse in the gym during the first episode of the last season and then Tracey needing to be med-evacuated off the beach last night, I wonder which season will be the one that someone dies. Maybe these irresponsible stunts, like making morbidly obese, unfit, untrained people do a one mile race without training, are to make the audience aware of the dangers of the extremely unfit attempting to exercise without supervision. Personally I think it is for sensationalism, i.e.ratings, hence more advertising cash.
I noticed that they were also using new, “interesting” equipment, just because it was available. While it may be fun or provide variety, you don't need a Jacob's ladder for a great cardio workout. Decent shoes and an open trail will do. And if you are going to use kettlebells, at least use them for exercises designed for the offset weight. Otherwise good old fashioned dumbbells will do the trick. But don't have someone trying to do something as difficult as a renegade row on their first workout because it looks like a cool exercise. What happened to proper progression? And what about the importance of proper form?
Something else that amazed me was Bob's statement that the contestants are getting bigger and bigger, and it was because America's citizens are getting larger. But shouldn't he realize that as they get fatter they are also become more unfit? So why that harder workouts right from the start? Is it only for the contestants' benefit or more for the viewers'? Again, where is the progression?
Hopefully those viewers needing to drop excess fat through proper nutrition and exercise realize that working out does not have to make you sick to your stomach, if you start at an appropriate level and progress gradually. The last thing people struggling with excess body fat need is more fear of exercise.
- Created on Tuesday, 08 September 2009 20:23
“Check With Your Doctor Before Starting Any Exercise Program”
“Consult Your Physician Before Beginning This or Any Exercise Program”
You've probably heard or read this disclaimer before. It could have been on an infomercial for an exercise program or equipment, or on a fitness website. Is there some assumption that you have a health problem?
My opinion is that it is way too general of a statement and if people (especially here in the USA) are listening to that particular piece of advice, too many people have been given one more excuse to put off starting an exercise program. The organization that I am certified through has guidelines on who I should make get a letter from their doctor saying it is okay to start exercising. I'm not going to going to give the specifics, but some I do not agree with.
One that does not make sense is the age factor. To me it would seem silly if I met with someone already physically active and in good shape and health, and told them they needed to check with their doctor before I could start working with them. Only because of their age. I can even use myself for this example. I have no intention of ceasing my workouts anytime soon. But in 2 years from now if I was to hire a trainer the guidelines would be for the trainer to recommend that I get a physicians clearance before we started on a program.
Common sense needs to override this particular fitness guideline. What doctor is going to tell someone in good health not to start an exercise program? Obviously if you have health issues like heart or blood vessel problems you should being seeing a doctor regularly. And chances are the doctor has probably recommended that you start exercising and watch your diet. If you haven't taken his or her advice yet ask them what precautions you need to take when exercising, and get started. If you are already in good health you should not postpone starting your workout based on a blanket disclaimer.
I started working out at the age of 12. If I had asked my mother to take me to the doctor to ask if I could start exercising I may not have started until I was 13!
The population has enough health problems that can be prevented, alleviated or eradicated through exercise and proper nutrition. The last thing anyone needs is another hurdle to starting a fitness program.
“Use Common Sense When Starting An Exercise Program” is what I say.
- Created on Thursday, 03 September 2009 17:36
Motivation, mainly the lack of it, is a big obstacle for many people when it comes to consistency with regular exercise. Add to that the daily requirements of life in general and it's easy to find yourself missing more workouts a week than you perform.
For many people, putting others in front of themselves leaves little time for rewards like the benefits of exercise.
Well, what if you knew that for every minute or mile that you exercised you were helping raise cash for a good cause, other than your own health?
Would that motivate you to make time to exercise?
Training for an event like a race is a great way to get yourself to commit to a regular routine. And often these events donate portions of the proceeds to charity by way of entry fees and/or participant fund-raising efforts. Now you can help support a handful of charitable organizations without spending any money or asking family and friends for sponsorships.
Plus 3 Network links its' members with corporate sponsors and non-profits in a shared goal of worthwhile giving. Basically, you sign up(for free), select a cause/sponsor combination, and start logging your activities. For every mile or minute of exercise you do, the organization you select receives a donation from its' corporate sponsor. You also have a chance to earn rewards for yourself.
Below are the current causes that you can help support:
Breast Cancer Fund, World Bicycle Relief, Project Rwanda, Environmental Defense Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, League of American Bicyclists, Trips for Kids, Nevada Cancer Institute, Bikes Belong, and The Conservation Alliance.
I've already signed up and I am supporting the Environmental Defense Fund.
After you sign up come back to this post and let us know what cause you selected.
- Created on Wednesday, 02 September 2009 12:08
I used to think that some people were losing sleep because they were so upset about having flabby, slack abs. How else would you explain all the late night infomercials for ab equipment, airing when most people are, or should be fast asleep in their beds?
Now it seems that any time of day or night you can flip through the channels and find an extended commercial for the latest "Ab This n' That." Is the whole world obsessed with exercising their abs or is it just here in the USA where levels of obesity are still climbing fast?
I'm sure you've seen plenty of the commercials I'm referring to. They all seem to have the same scenario: some poor sap struggling to button up a pair of jeans that are 2 sizes too small; the same or some other misguided individual "wasting time doing endless crunches" which they are shown performing with the worst possible form; animated graphics such as red flashing pain points on someone's neck and back illustrating the pain caused by "conventional ab exercises" (no kidding, when you consider the terrible form the actor is using). Then it introduces the savior to all things exercise and fitness- The All New, Amazing "Ab Blah Blah Blah"!
And just like the commercials' format, the equipment all seems to have the same similarities: "It works all areas of the abs!"- even the mythical "Lower Abs"; it alone can “replace thousands of dollars worth of commercial gym equipment”; it can “sculpt a sleek, sexy set of six pack abs, effortlessly in just minutes a day”; you can “watch the fat from your midsection melt away from this one easy exercise done in a fraction of the time most ab workouts require" (playing not only on the spot reduction myth but also the instant gratification factor); and best of all "It easily folds away", so you can stash it under your bed and forget about it, or tuck it into your closet until next spring's garage sale. The last reason is a very important feature because most people that buy these ab gizmos wind up not using them. Some don't even open the package, or they open it up, discover it requires some assembly and never put it together. "What, this thing requires effort from ME?!?! That's not what the commercial said!"
Why don't people use these ab miracle machines if they are so wonderful (which they must be, look at the results they show, right)?
For one, other than the Bowflex, most of the exercise equipment sold by way of television informercials are just novelty gadgets, a flashy way of doing one those "worthless conventional ab exercises." Some are just downright useless.
My main theory is that the people who are buying them are doing so out of desperation, and the marketers know it. The target demographic has one thing in common- past failure at exercise, and extreme frustration because of it.
What is unfortunate is that this will continue to go on. Misled consumers will continue to make multimillionaires out of the "Ab Machine Pimps" who are selling junk based on nothing more than people's dreams of finding that miraculous magic bullet for fat loss. What is even more unfortunate is that the secret formula, the miracle, or the secret to getting those shapely abs is well known and proven. Plus it does not have to cost you "Three easy payments of $XX.95, plus shipping and handling".
I'm sure you know what it is.
To get a great ab workout you do not need any equipment. As a matter of fact, you can exercise every part of your body without the need for equipment. But if you insist on buying exercise equipment to train your abs, why not get something that allows you to train all of your other muscles too?
I'd like to know:
1.Have you or do you know of someone that has bought an ab exerciser from a television ad?
2. If yes, do you, or they, still use it? If not why not?
3. If you are outside of the USA, how often do you see ads on television for abdominal exercise equipment?
I look forward to your comments.
- Created on Monday, 24 August 2009 16:19
Probably the most common reason why people exercise or start an exercise program is to lose weight or maintain their body weight. Often people will set a goal to reach a desired exact body weight or lose an exact number of pounds.
My attitude regarding the management of one's physical structure is to not make your body's weight the number one objective of your fitness and nutrition efforts.
When the goal is health, fitness, or aesthetics, I feel stepping on the scale should be, at the most, secondary to other more relevant factors: fitting comfortably into a smaller clothes size; tightening your belt another notch; decreases in circumference around troubling areas; improvements in body composition results; strength increases during your workouts; improved cardiovascular function and capacity – decreased run times for a predetermined distance and the ability to exercise for a longer duration; visuals – before and now pictures, and the mirror's reflection.
The BMI is proof that your weight alone is no guarantee that you have the body composition and health you're working hard to obtain.
It is not uncommon for your body weight to fluctuate by as much as four pounds from day to day. What, when, and how much you ate, recent evacuation or lack of, and water intake or loss (sweating) are a few common reasons that can account for these variances. Medications and hormones can affect water retention that will show up on the scale.
If you do feel it is important to base your progress by weighing yourself regularly here are a few tips.
Select a weight range as a goal rather than an exact figure. If you need to stay at or below a specific weight for some type of athletic competition or for your work, set your target at least 2 pounds below the requirement. If you are looking to reach a new body weight based on personal reasons – health , aesthetics, self confidence/esteem, pick a range that has a plus/mijus 3 or 4 pound tolerance.
When you do step on the scale try to control the variables mentioned earlier for more consistency. Weigh yourself at the same time of day. If you relieve yourself before getting on the scale make sure that is the case each time. Proper hydration is an important factor for good health, so it would be better for you to drink a measured amount of water before each weigh in and not weigh yourself after losing a great deal of sweat. Reduced body weight should be achieved through fat loss, not water loss.
You may also consider reducing the frequency of weigh ins. Depending on your size and situation, a weight loss of 1 – 2 pounds a week is a good goal and helps ensure it is fat you are losing, not muscle. A once a week weigh in should be enough to let you know if your workouts and eating habits are on the right track.
- Created on Saturday, 22 August 2009 17:23
Taking a cue from a Dallas dentist who was inspired by congress' Cash for Clunkers program, the federal government quietly unveiled details of its own Cash for Chompers program. The federal program was introduced in Kentucky and West Virginia, the 2 states with the country's worst toothless rates, to test its popularity and success. Results from studies note the average Kentucky family has 12 teeth compared to the 12.8 of the average W. Virginia family.
A Kentucky lawmaker anonymously stated his state was chosen based on its desperate need of dental care and since it has the fewest teeth of any state the cost can be kept low(1).
A West Virginia representative was pleased his county was chosen, remarking “If we can get our citizens to understand the importance of dental health then the program should go over smooth as paint in other states. And if we can maybe get all three dentists in our state to stay employed that will be a bonus”(2).
Unlike the Dallas program that pays for dentures, under the federal program eligible families will receive a voucher for free exams and x rays, and can get teeth cleanings for $2. The program clearly states though that it will cost the patient extra if they have more than 5 teeth. If they need fillings or any other work, patients will receive a rebate covering up to 80% of their out of pocket costs or gift certificates to Wal Mart.
Modeled after the wildly successful auto program in many ways, this new economic stimulus/health care program is unique in the fact that it is being funded entirely by another federal program nicknamed “Grands for Grills.” Already running in Georgia, New York and California, participants receive cash for the mouth jewelry worn over their teeth. The jewelry is then either melted down and sold for a profit, or kept in it's original shape and sold to television personality and rapper Flavor Flav.
- The Power of Temptation
- Impact of Weight on Arthritic Knees
- MVE: Conclusion - Part 5: Post Experiment Followup
- MVE: The Conclusion - Part 4: My Experience
- MVE: Conclusion- Part 3: My Physical Changes
- MVE: Conclusion- Part 2
- MVE: Conclusion- Part 1: the Final Stats
- MVE: Four Days Remaining
- MVE: Cheeseburger in Paradise
- MVE: I Missed My Gastronomic Vice