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Category Archives: Fitness

Back Pain Risk Factors

1. Muscle imbalances: nearly every ache, pain, or injury people suffer from today are mostly caused from muscular imbalances. Over 80% of people have muscle imbalances that go undetected. Over time, these muscle imbalances will cause numerous muscle and joint problems such as wear and tear on the joints, which eventually leads to arthritis, bulging disc or back spasms. An imbalanced muscle is a weak muscle.These weak muscles cannot stabilize the joint in its socket causing the joint to become misaligned and move at a slightly incorrect angle or rotation. When these faulty movements are repeated hundreds of times, the joints, tendons and muscles begin to degenerate.

2. Poor posture: Today’s diverse clientele with varied needs offers a unique challenge to health and fitness professionals. The one-size-fits-all approach to exercise programs is commonly unproductive and potentially dangerous. Many injuries and chronic back pain is a result of cumulative affects overtime.

Faulty postures and poor body mechanics will cause lower back pain and be at least partially attributed to these same faults. Improper movements will cause micro trauma to the joints and soft tissues. You may experience pain initially maybe pain comes and goes and doesn’t get much attention but overtime the problem worsens and aching, pain, or stiffness begins more frequently.

Until you correct the problem not just the symptom your back will be prone to injury or re-injury. The problem (muscle imbalances) the symptoms (poor posture) the solution (Muscle Activation Techniques).

3. Not enough exercise: Inactivity can cause our muscles to shrink and lose strength. This is a natural process, but living an inactive lifestyle (no exercise) will accelerate the loss. Physical inactivity causes an average muscle loss of 5-7 pounds per decade. Strength training is a simple concept it involves briefly working your muscles, on a regular basis, a little more than they are accustomed to working.

Cardio and Fat Loss

1. Cardio And Muscle Mass Loss. When it comes to cardio training, one thing you do need to be very careful about is the risk of muscle mass loss that comes with cardio training. If you do too much cardio training, you may not just be losing body fat, but the very tissue that helps you stay lean in the long run.

Steady state cardio training poses the greatest risk here, so avoid doing more than a few hours total per week.

2. Cardio And Calorie Adaptations. Next, you will also want to consider the calorie adaptations that are revealed when you do too much cardio training. Essentially, your body gets better at doing what it’s doing.

At first, you may burn “x” number of calories doing your cardio session but as time goes on, your body may start to burn fewer calories. This is why with any cardio you do, it is important you are progressing. Advancing means working at a higher level or adding more resistance as needed.

3. Cardio And Appetite. Another point to note is cardio can increase your appetite. Essentially, you can be doing cardio but experiencing more hunger, so if this then leads you to eat more, you have just offset the benefits the cardio session provided.

You will want to carefully monitor your appetite and food intake when doing cardio to ensure this is not happening. Otherwise, all your hard work will have been for nothing.

4. The Best Type Of Cardio. All in all, which type of cardio should you be doing for an optimal fat loss? The best type of cardio will be high-intensity interval training, and this should be performed 1 to 3 times each week. You should not need much more cardio than this level to lose fat. If you feel like you do, consider making some adjustments to your diet instead. Chances are, a few modifications there would serve you far better.

Fix Bad Posture

To fix bad posture one of the number one methods is to just stand up straight. That’s right what your mom has been telling you is the best way overall. If you practice sitting and standing straight all day everyday for 30 days; I promise you will be shocked by the results. Your posture will dramatically improve.

To find your normal posture take your shoulders and bring them all the way up and back and then let them hang down. This is your normal posture and a great way to work on shoulder protraction.

Shoulder protraction is caused by a tight chest, tight lats, and a weak upper back (rhomboids). The way how to fix bad posture problem would be working to strengthen the rhomboids twice as much as the chest and lats.

Exercises such as barbell rows and reverse cable flies will greatly help you fix your weak rhomboids. Also spending a lot of time actively and statically stretching the chest and the lats to relieve some of the tightness.

A great chest stretch is done by holding your arms bent at 90 degrees and leaning against a doorway with your chest sticking forward. To stretch the lats hang off of a pull up bar relaxed for at least 20 seconds 4x.

An anterior pelvic tilt is caused by tight hip flexors that pull the pelvis down from the front. Tight lower back muscles pull the pelvis down from the back symbiotically creating a steering wheel turning effect on your pelvis. The glutes are weakened by the position that your hips are in, and are unable to pull the hips into the proper alignment.

The way we would fix this deviation is by strengthening the glutes through weight training exercises such as squats, lunges, bridges, and hip extensions. Also it is of even greater importance to spend a lot of time stretching the hip flexors and the lower back. Sit and reach is still one of the best stretches for the lower back.

Salsa Dancing for Fitness

Salsa’s popularity began to percolate beyond the borders of the Latin neighborhoods in the early Seventies, spreading into New York’s ballrooms and dance halls. Although somewhat formulized when practiced by those who favor profession competitions, salsa dancing in its most traditional form is typically spontaneous and extremely energetic. Dance movements alternate between the very slow and the furious, an embodiment of its lively musical style.

From a strictly athletic point of view, a night of dancing is a superb workout. It merges aerobic and anaerobic training, working your stamina and leg strength. Any kind of dancing is a great way to build the perfect body shape. The continual movements build up aerobic stamina while steadily burning calories over the course of the evening. This helps to strengthen and tone your legs at the same time you lose weight. But salsa excels at this.

Experts say that dancing salsa can burn up to 10 calories a minute, without the negative side effects of high impact exercises such as running. You can learn salsa dancing in the privacy of your home or in a studio, with or without a partner and it’s a fitness program that can easily be integrated into your social life. By using salsa dancing to get fit, you will not only look great, but you’ll have no excuse not to get out more and improve your social life.

The sudden bursts of frenzied dancing in Salsa also can help to improve the anaerobic fitness essential to sports like sprinting, swimming and basketball. Equally important to the aerobic paybacks are the improvements in flexibility and dexterity, a commonly overlooked facet of fitness. Elasticity from dancing will help your swiftness, power and co-ordination by growing your overall range of motion.

Simple Tricks Flattening Stomach

1. Fat Intake

How much fat is in your diet? The American Food Pyramid says that a healthy diet is one that “Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts, and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

Following the food pyramid will help you find the fats you need in good foods like nuts and plant oils as opposed to potato chips and ice cream. You should be taking in less than 30% of your caloric intake from fat so check your labels when you’re purchasing packaged products. Many products now have the trans fats listed as well, so you can see which percentage of fat belongs to which group; saturated, non-saturated, trans, etc.

2. Carbohydrate Intake

Maybe your friends were on lo-carb diets and were amazed at the weight they lost. Maybe you tried one too? Carbohydrates are amazing in that each molecule attracts four water molecules to it and they hang out together inside your muscles. When you start decreasing the amount of carbohydrates you take in, you start to see weight loss in the form of fat loss. Oops, I mean WATER loss. No more carbs means no more four molecules of water hanging on, means lower numbers on the scale. Carbohydrate intake is essential for brain activity as well as muscle function. Our bodies feed off of glucose and glycogen which is supplied directly by carbohydrates. Eating whole wheat and whole grain is the way to go- stay away from white products; rice, pasta, bread, etc. Brown is best. Carbohydrate intake should be no more than 65% of your diet.

3. Cardiovascular Exercise

Running, cycling, swimming, aerobics; they are all using oxygen and so the prime energy source comes from muscle glycogen and fatty acids. The furnace is on and it’s burning fat. You may have heard that cardio is good for burning fat, and that is true. Cardio exercise should be done for a minimum of 20 minutes and hopefully for longer and should be done at least three times per week, hopefully more. According to the American Council of Sport Medicine, “If weight loss is your major goal, participate in your aerobic activity at least 30 minutes, for five days each week.”

You can’t melt fat off of one area specifically, but it will come off over the whole body in time. We all lose fat from different places first. Just remember that cardio is a complement to the diet and the floor work that will also do.

Spot Reduction

1. Muscle and fat are two distinct tissues. They have different properties and characteristics. It is not physiologically possible for one to be transformed into another. When performing these exercises, it is our skeletal muscle that is working, not the fat that may surround it.

2. When we perform any activity, we need energy for that movement. We get this energy from the foods that we consume. When we need energy for exercise, we do not choose which fuel will be used (determined by intensity). In addition, the energy used comes from the entire body not just the skeletal muscle that is moving. So the energy to perform those crunches may not necessarily be coming from your abdominal region!

3. Another key point to these “spot reduction” exercises is that they are anaerobic exercises. What does this mean? We have two energy systems that help us perform all activities. We have our aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. When performing these exercises effectively, the anaerobic system is the system of choice. Biochemically, carbohydrates are the primary fuel choice and fats cannot be used as an energy source.

4. IF you still are not convinced, here’s another point. Fat is stored as adipose tissue. If we were to use it as a fuel source, it needs to be broken down by the liver into fatty acids and then circulated into the bloodstream to be used as a fuel. The body is going to release fat stored from the entire body not from those specific areas we wish.

5. Deposition of fat is genetically predetermined. We do not control where we will carry most of our weight. This is also something that cannot be altered by performing specific movements.

Get Bigger Butt by Exercising

1.) Change your walk. Stand and sit straight with your shoulders square and your head raised. Keep your abs contracted and your pelvis in a neutral position. This will not only make your butt more prominent, but it’ll also slim your torso a bit and make your chest look bigger.

2.) Butt Bridges. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your arms at your sides. Lift your butt toward the ceiling, then lower it. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

3.) Squats. Stand erect with your feet about shoulder width apart and your arms extended in front of you. Bend your knees to a ninety degree angle with your back straight, then rise back up

4.) Lunges. Stand erect with your feet about shoulder width apart. Bend one leg behind you and the other leg in front of you.

5.) Do kick backs. Stand on one leg. With the leg that is free off the ground, kick it back until you see your butt squeeze into a bubble

6.)L eg lifts. Leg lifts (or raises) might sound like they’re focused on your legs, but really they’ll help work your abs.

7.) Twist crunches. Lie on your back on the floor and bend your knees. Put your hands behind your head, keeping your elbows bent. Lift one shoulder off the ground, and twist to the opposite direction. For instance, if you lift your left shoulder up, twist your body toward the right. Repeat, alternating shoulders. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps. Rest for between 30 to 60 seconds between each sets.

Fit From Home

· Milk Jug Bent Over Row- A full gallon milk bottle weighs about 8 pounds. Fill it to make it the weight you desire. Hold in one hand (or you can use 2 containers, one in each hand). Bend at the waist to about 90 degrees and slightly bend the knees. Let arms hang straight down. Pull your elbow(s) up, pulling the jug towards your chest, as if you were starting a lawn mower. This is a great back and bicep exercise! *I suggest using containers with a screw on cap rather than the kind that snap on. Don’t ask me how I discovered this!

· Dog Food Squats- Grab a bag of dog food. Hug it close to you. Keeping your back as straight as possible (think “chest up”), bend the knees to about 90 degrees and stand back up. You are working quads (front of thigh), hamstrings (back of thigh), and glutes (butt), as well as abdominals! *Beware of dog!

· Kid Press- Really! If you have a young child, lie on your back while you are holding them on your chest. Press them up until your arms are straight and still over chest. They will LOVE this! If you don’t have access to a child, push-ups will do fine! Great for chest and triceps (back of arms). *You may want to use a spotter or at least do it over a soft run or on a couch just in case!

· Kitty Litter Carry- Bag or bucket, scoop-able or not, they all work! If it’s in a bag, hug it like the dog food; if it’s a bucket, hold it from the handle. Now, simply, walk! Go as long as you can carrying the litter. You can do it inside in a hallway, back and forth, or outside. Great for legs, shoulders, biceps, back, and muscular endurance. *Be prepared to explain rationale to neighbors!

· Laundry Detergent Curls- Hold a box or bottle of laundry detergent and curl it like you would a dumbbell. Arms down straight and by your sides. Bend elbow to brink soap towards same shoulder. Working biceps. *Item can also be used for the “clean and jerk”. J

· Couch Dips- Sit on the edge of the couch with your hands face down on the couch next to you. Slide forward so that your butt is hanging over the edge and you are supported only by your hands. Bend elbows to lower butt towards floor. Push back up and repeat! Great exercise for triceps! *Do it doing commercials.

Booty Shaping Workouts

Squats: Squats are the most popular exercise to tone up muscles. Use your own body weight for resistance training. Remember to keep your back straight while doing squats. This takes the pressure off your lower back and puts it on your buttocks were it is most needed. Other things to remember when doing squats are: distribute your weight evenly by keeping your feet flat on the floor and using your heels to push you up out of the squat. Don’t drop into a squat; use controlled movements so that your knees will not be put under a lot of extra pressure.

Stair Climbing: Instead of taking the elevator why not climb a few sets of stairs instead? Alternatively you can use a stair climber at the gym or in your home if you have one. The muscles in the backs of your legs and buttocks get an excellent workout when climbing stairs.

The Isometric Butt Squeeze: You can do this while watching T.V. Lie face down on the floor and squeeze your butt cheeks together for 30 seconds at a time. Alternatively, you can do this exercise while sitting in a chair or standing. Butt squeezes are exceptionally good for women; it tightens the pelvic floor area and tones the buttocks at the same time.

Step-ups: For this exercise you will need a step or bench. You start with one foot on the ground and the other on the stair. Push off with your foot that is on the ground until it reaches the same height as the one on the stair. Slowly lower back down until your foot is back on the floor. Change feet and repeat as many times as you can.

Some Mistakes When Workout Program

Expectations too high

If you expect to become a Joe Jordan or a Naumi Chambell after a few weeks of exercises, you’ll get disappointed. The purpose with your physical workout is to make yourself feel better and give you a better and richer life, not to compare yourself with others, whoever they are.

The measurement stick should always be the fitness and shape you were in before you started the exercising, and every improvements you do, are with references to this. If you do that, your expectations to the results of your exercise and workouts will be realistic, and you’ll be amazed of how good you really can be.

Getting Exhausted

Especially in the start up phase of a training program, some people are exercising so hard that they simply get exhausted or burned out. If you start your training program exceeding your present capabilities, and if you have not been exercising since you were a kid – you probably won’t be able to jogg or workout for the next 14 days.

Your muschles will hurt so much and your legs will be so stiff after your mega exercise, that you have to lay down and wait til you are able to exercise again. This is not very motivating. Start out the exercising very carefully and lite – that is especially important if you have not done much training before.

Doing exercises the wrong way

This can really be damaging, especially with anarobic exercises. If you are training at a fitness center you should make sure you’ve got all the instructions you need from the trainer before you do any workout. One little mistake in your exercise can damage your back for a long time, and even permanently.

The best is to have a personal trainer that can follow you through thick and thin throughout the exercise program but for most people this alternative is too expensive. So my advice is; if you are in even the slightest doubt of how to do an exercise, simply ask, ask and ask. The training staff is there to help you with your exercising, that’s their job.