If any of you reading this article have built your own home, you know a solid foundation makes all the difference in the world. The same holds true when working on your body. Isn’t it funny to see a person at the gym with a great upper body and puny legs. For some reason, men and women alike seem to avoid working on their legs. Believe me when I say this, training legs is a chore! Being a personal trainer, I usually put my clients through a strenuous leg workout first, so they can experience what it feels like to have sore quads, hamstrings and calves. The women I train always want to firm up their butts ( gluteus maximus) so showing them how to do lunges and squats is important. Their primary function is to extend your legs from your hips when your leg is bent. The largest muscles in your legs are called quadriceps, or quads. These are the muscles that form the entire front part of your leg. They are comprised of four muscles that work to straighten your lower leg from a bent position. Leg extensions, squats and presses are the best movements to build powerful quads. Opposite the quadriceps are your hamstrings, which cover the entire posterior aspect of your upper leg. The hamstrings are actually three muscles that work in concert to perform two actions: to extend your leg from the hip when your leg is straight, and to bend your lower leg from the straight position. Lying leg curls and stiff-legged dead lifts are the best exercises to perform when training your hamstrings. Finally, there are your calves. This muscle group is located in the back of your leg, below the knees. One of them is called the gastrocnemius. This diamond shaped muscle works to push you up on your toes. The other muscle, the soleus, is deeper and comes into play when your knees are bent and you need to lift your heel. The third muscle is called the tibialis anterior, which is located on your shin in the front of your leg. Exercises to build great calves include seated calf raises and calf presses on the leg-press machine. Strong leg muscles are the key to injury prevention in sports from cycling to running. Strong legs also protect your hips, knees, and ankle joints from a lifetime of stress from walking, running, jumping and climbing stairs. Squats and lunges are the best exercises to help build and maintain strong, good-looking legs.
How many times do you hear people blaming their parents for their predispositions or DNA? I can honestly say I have blamed my hypertension and glucose issues on my parents because they suffer these problems also. So naturally, if a parent has some kind of defect, there is a pretty good chance you might suffer the same fate. Although the whole population can benefit from a physically active lifestyle, a new study shows that individuals with a genetic predisposition to obesity can benefit even more. Based on research by Dr. Ruth Loos from the Medical Research Council of Epidemiology in Cambridge (United Kingdom), the genetic predisposition to obesity can be reduced by an average of 40 percent through increased exercise. Genes might make it more difficult for some people than others. However, living in the healthiest environment and eating and exercising in a consistent manner can increase your chances of living longer without relying on tons of medication. In a recent segment on CNN, the United States was ranked the highest amongst industrialized nations when it comes to prescriptions filled. We are a nation that relies too much on medication and not enough on exercise and diet. I myself have to take certain medications to keep my blood-pressure and glucose levels in check. As easy as it is to blame my parents, being a personal trainer affords me the knowledge to know what to eat to help stabilize my numbers and to share my knowledge with others who suffer the same issues. Practically everyone I know who is forty and older takes some sort of medication. The scary thing is, now I am meeting people in their thirties who are taking medication, sometimes for no reason at all! So don’t blame your parents. Get busy in the gym and stay healthy!
This decision whether to train at home or join a gym is very important to your success in reaching your fitness goals. More often than not, many of us think that by buying a few workout and DVDs from our favorite reality shows will ultimately give us the results we are craving. For those people who are disciplined enough, working out at home could be the right choice. In this article I will explore the pros and cons of either investing in a home gym or joining your local health club to get the best workout money can buy. Let’s start with working out from your home. Coming from someone who has done both, I can honestly say that I’ve had some great experiences training from home with friends when I was younger, and more recently with my wife. The biggest plus about having a home gym is the convenience. Nothing like coming home from a long day and throwing on your favorite workout clothes and hit the corner of your home you’ve designated as your workout area.
Also, setting up your home gym should not break your bank. Plenty of great workout equipment is available on-line for great prices! E-Bay is also a good place to look because lots of people buy treadmills and exercise bikes which later on act as coat racks. Don’t be one of them. If you are thinking of working out from home, make sure you’ll have enough space, privacy and safe equipment. One of the pitfalls involved with home gyms is motivation. I found it very difficult to get myself motivated to work out by myself. Not only that, one time I found myself trying to get that last rep on a flat bench with 325lbs. on the bar and suddenly realizing I can’t get it off my chest. This is where a spotter could have helped. If I were at a health club, I could have yelped for help! The bottom line is, workouts from home could save you time and money if you are a highly motivated person. Now lets discuss the pros and cons of joining a gym. First the pros. Looking for the right
health club may be like looking for a new home, only different. Instead of looking for closet space, you’ll want to focus on the general cleanliness of the gym area and locker rooms as well as the quality of the equipment. Having a pre-determined idea of what type of workout equipment you’ll be focusing on will make your decision easier. If your planning on using free weights, check the quality of the barbells and dumbbells. Are they comfortable in your hands and feel sturdy, not loose? Also, check out the other types of equipment like the machines and aerobic equipment. Is it new and current or does it look like Jack LaLane might have used it! Health clubs offer you the opportunity to use a personal trainer if you can afford one. Personal trainers can not only familiarize you with the equipment, but also set you up with diets and help you reach your goals, again money well spent. I find that working out at a gym enables me to meet new people and also network my
skills as a personal trainer. You might benefit from this experience also. Most health clubs open up early in the morning and stay open late at night to accommodate almost anyone’s schedule. Most gyms also offer daycare, which is very important for moms looking to get back in shape. Some of the downfalls of joining a gym are the expenses involved with membership, working out with people who might be in better shape than you, and just plain getting there. Let’s face it, some of these clubs bind you to long contracts with lots of upfront expenses. Make sure you fully understand what your signing up for. As for as being insecure about sweating with other people, don’t sweat it! Most members are too busy looking at themselves in the mirror, not you. Location is key to your decision also. With gas prices reaching four dollars a gallon in most states, driving the extra distance three to four days a week might get pricey. In my personal opinion, you can’t put a price on
getting in shape and improving your health and your outlook on life! Whatever your choice may be, make sure you have a plan and a set of realistic goals before hitting the weights. Be careful and have fun!
Ahh protein! Gotta have it, gotta love it! The million dollar questions are how much do we need per day and what is the best form to ingest? Let’s start with how much. Now, since this is a fitness site, I’m assuming those reading this are training on a regular basis and can benefit from the amounts discussed. The figures I’m about to present to you are based on research done by governing bodies like the FDA and Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intake. These experts, as well as experienced personal trainers and bodybuilders recommend 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight a day. For example, a 200 pound male should eat around 200 grams of protein throughout the day. This might sound like a lot, but if broken down to six meals a day, that’s about 34 grams per meal. The same formula also works for women. The type of proteins we eat is as important as how much. Protein comes in many forms. Meats, poultry, fish and nuts are the best forms of protein to choose from. You can also rely on protein powders to help supplement your diet. I always include some sort of protein with each meal to aid in building muscle and help speed up my metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more you metabolize fat. For the average fitness guru, a diet of lean meat, fish, fowl, eggs, dairy products, nuts and a protein drink once or twice a day will provide the protein and all-around nutrition required for muscle growth! Remember, if it swims or flies, eat it!
Your biggest limitation is your reluctance to move forward. Get over that, and you can get over anything.
Time, money, knowledge, and resources are minor considerations when compared to one vital factor – your willingness to get it done.
By all means, do the research, raise the money, make the plans, and gather the materials. Then manifest your willingness by taking action.
Without an action plan, you have no forward momentum.
How do you reach the highest level of willingness – the level at which you step boldly forward? You make sure you’re doing what really, truly matters to you.
Go ahead and admit there are some things that mean all the world to you. Your purpose is unique, and there is no limit to the achievement it can inspire.
If you feel hesitation, there’s something about what you’re doing that’s not in complete agreement with your goals and dreams. Get honest, get authentic, and you’ll find yourself getting it done.
This is a difficult topic to nail down for everyone. Some of us have schedules that only permit us to train at night, others in the morning. This article will discuss in general how often you should train and as far as what time of the day, that’s open to debate. There are pros and cons to both night training versus day. I feel that whenever you can dedicate a few hours in the course of a day to train two body parts and at least 30 minutes of cardio, you’ll be moving in the right direction. Being in the fitness industry, I speak to many professionals about the frequency of their workouts and how much time they spend at the gym. Most of us agree that training three times a week, and spending 60 to 90 minutes per workout is sufficient. Now if you’re the type that goes to the gym and discusses world events with others, you’ll be there longer. But if you’re like me, I am in and out of the gym in an hour and a half. A typical workout for me is Mondays: chest, triceps, shoulders, 30 minutes of cardio, and 10 minute abs. Wednesdays: legs, 30 minutes cardio, and 10 minute abs. Fridays: back and biceps, 30 minutes cardio, and 10 minute abs. Tuesdays; I don’t do any lifting, but I will do 30 minutes of cardio and the same goes for Thursday. On Saturday and Sunday, I rest. Now rest is key when training regularly. Your muscles need time to recuperate, that’s why I feel training on consecutive days might be too much. You have to realize that when you are weight training, your muscles are actually being stressed and expanded(pumped up) and that’s why you get sore. The more sore you become, the better the workout! I say this assuming you know what you’re doing when you get to the gym. By no means should you take on a workout program without talking to a professional trainer or someone who has spent many years in the gym. Quality, not quantity is the key to getting the most from your workouts. As long as you are able to train all body parts, get in 2 to 3 hours of cardio per week, and eat clean. Getting in shape and staying in shape should not be a chore – it should be fun! Treat working out like a hobby and you’ll love the results!
I can remember growing up and hearing my mother tell me, time and time again, to drink my milk. As a youngster, drinking plenty of milk is important for your bones and muscles because of the calcium and phosphorus it offers. Everyone needs calcium to maintain bone mass. Milk also is a good source of protein to help build muscle. But the liquid most important to our young adults and middle-aged exercise fanatics is good old H2O! Water is the most abundant macronutrient in our body. A male’s body is made up of 60 to 65 percent water; a female’s 50 to 60 percent. Water aids in digestion and is crucial to weight loss. Let’s face it, you’ve heard of many survival stories of people going without food for days or weeks, but going without water for a few days could end it all. Our hearts need it to beat, our muscles need it to function, and our minds need it to think (muscle and brain matter are seventy percent water). Ok, so you understand how important water is to our daily lives. Now the question is, how much do we need to consume on an average day whether working out or not? Most experts agree that whether you’re a male or female, 80 oz. per day seems to be the number. That might sound like alot, but if you spread that out throughout the day, it breaks down to 8 ounces, ten times a day. Now drinking more will not harm you (or drown you). You’ll just wind up peeing more than ever and releasing more waste. The only caveat to water consumption is the temperature. Drinking ice cold water makes it difficult to break down fats, and it can lead to digestive disorders and discomforts (stomach cramps). Drinking cool water is fine – leave out the ice! So drink up, and stay hydrated and you’ll be surprised how great you feel.
Getting yourself back in shape after years of eating whatever you want, whenever you want, is not an easy task. If you’re in your forties like me, you know it’s difficult to lose fat and put on lean muscle the way we could when in our twenties. This process actually starts to happen when we hit our thirties and gets worse after reaching forty. This article will discuss how important nutrition becomes as we grow older and our metabolism slows down and the fat storage speeds up. Training alone without the proper diet will not help you reach your fitness goals. When I was in my twenties, nutrition and dieting were two terms I didn’t think much about. Now, in my forties, I’m finding out that thinking more about what and when I eat is more important than how much I lift. Before you think I will be asking you to live on rice cakes and chicken, eating healthy to get the most from your workouts is not as tasteless as you think. We’ve all had a steady diet of the five
basic food groups, but here they are again. Bread, cereal, pasta and rice make up your complex carbohydrates. These nutrients are our source of energy. Carbs supply four calories per gram and should be eaten earlier in the day if your looking to burn off calories throughout the day. Vegetables also fall into this category and are a great source of vitamins and can be eaten anytime. Fruits are our third group and because of their high concentration of natural sugars, should also be eaten earlier in the day. The last two food groups are the most important for packing on lean muscle, dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese (always choose low fat or non-fat),and proteins found in lean meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts. As far as when to eat protein, I try and have some form of protein with every meal. If your able to eat five to six meals a day, having protein in each meal is essential to muscle growth. How much of each food group to eat is
debatable. The best advice I can give you is to see your doctor for a blood test to make sure all of your cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose levels are normal, then see a nutritionist to put together a diet that best suits your desired fitness goals. There are plenty of delicious, tasty foods available to eat that will help you maintain a safe weight and help build muscle. Good luck!
This article is the first of many I will post regarding all there is to know about getting fit and staying fit after you hit the ripe old age of forty. I know what you are thinking. Why wait until you are forty to start working on those ab muscles you haven’t seen since you were in high school? The short answer is life itself! I am a perfect example of how anybody can turn back the clock and look and feel as good now as I did when I was 20. Let me describe to you my evolution. In my teenage years, I played whatever sport was in season, from baseball in the summer, football in the fall, to basketball in the winter. Sound familiar? I could eat anything and everything and not get fat! The next chapter was college. Still very active in sports, but drinking alcohol by the truckload became a new pastime. Here’s where the beer belly started to rear its ugly head ( no punn intended ). After college and out in the work force, I could tell drinking and eating whatever I wanted had different results than when I was in my teens. Don’t get me wrong, I always was a gymrat and was self-conscience about how I looked, but I could tell the closer I got to my thirties, the tougher it was to stay in shape. As we all know, the older we get, our metabolism slows down and we store fat easier. It’s natures way of keeping us moving! Men are not meant to be stationary objects. We are made up of muscle that needs constant building and the right nutrition to keep our metabolism burning off those extra calories. Next stop on my evolutionary chart, my thirties! This is the decade where I got married, had kids, focused more on my career than staying in shape, and generally put the dumbells in the garage and bought a treadmill that eventually became a coat rack. Sound familiar? Okay, here comes your fabulous forties! After basically slacking through my thirties fitness wise, I started my mid-life crises by becoming a personal trainer. I know what you are thinking. It didn’t seem like I was too serious about staying fit or keeping up with the ever changing diets, supplements, and new methods of working out to jump into personal training. I didn’t fall apart that drastically where I couldn’t pull off at least looking like I might know what I was talking about. The problems I were facing were on the inside. I was dealing with high blood-pressure, high triglycerides and of course our ever more increasing problem, diabetes! So, are you depressed yet? Don’t be. I’m here to share the knowledge I gained over the last eight years. That’s right – I’m 48 and I want to help educate and motivate my fellow forty-something year olds so we can enjoy the second half of our lives without relying on medication to keep us breathing! Diet and exercise is all we need! In my next article, I will get the ball rolling with some basic information about finding a fitness club that’s right for you!