Fitness Challenge

Benefits of Endurance Exercise

By PSSM Staff

When you read the benefits of aerobic exercise, it’s a no brainer to include steady state cardio or circuit training between 120-130 bpm for 25+ mins in your workouts.

  • Decreased risk of injury (esp in late stages of games)
  • Less stress & anxiety
  • Better memory and recall as well as ability to learn new motor patterns
  • Increased ability to recover from bursts of activity
  • Improved heart health and efficiency
  • Lower rate of glycogen depletion during exercise
  • Better sleep quality

Try a heart rate monitor or measure easily using a watch and feeling your pulse for how many beats you have for 15s and then multiplying by 4.  Include this at least 2x/week and build on your endurance gradually and with at least a day in between bouts to avoid overuse type scenarios. Running, swimming, biking, rowing, a circuit of exercises, its really your choice so mix it up and have fun!

Preparing for Holiday Races

By PSSM Staff

During the winter, there are multiple 5k races around the holidays. This is a fun event for family members to do together to create traditions and memories around the holidays. If you are concerned about signing up for a race there are a few things to remember and consider for a fun and successful race!

1) Make sure you have proper clothing and footwear. In cold weather, you need protective clothing to stay warm as well as proper shoes for walking or running. Technology and quality has improved recently so be sure to make sure you are up to date in proper footwear and clothing for the cold weather.

2) Follow a race training plan. If you have not run in a while, it will be tough to try and a race without proper training. Be sure to follow a race plan so that you are in good shape for the big day. Try starting with walking and working your way up to running a 5k. Trying to fit in a lot of training in a short amount of time can be detrimental so start you preparation sooner rather than later.

3)  Down load a GPS/running app on your phone. This is a great way to track your progress and keep you motivated during your training. There are many free apps for your phone or GPS watches to purchase to get a more accurate reading of your heart rate, speed and distance.

Olympic Lifting: Bigger, Faster, Stronger

By PSSM Staff

Olympic lifting brings beauty and beast mode into one graceful movement. The sheer power and technique is a delight to watch during the Summer Olympic Games. The two movements that are considered to be Olympic lifts are the Clean & Jerk and Snatch.  The reason for its popularity and known technique to the general public is possibly from Crossfit. Crossfit gave olympic lifting the boost it needed to spark interest among the fitness community.

What is Olympic Lifting exactly?

  • Olympic lifting is based on two movements stated above; it combines both explosive power and technique to complete a lift at one’s maximal effort. Most times Oly lifts are commonly performed by elite athletes in other sports to train for both power and functional strength.

How will I benefit from Olympic Lifting?

  • Olympic lifting is a whole body movement that requires you to recruit large muscle groups to perform this feat. Because this movement is a whole body exercise these lifts are effective for building muscle quickly and decrease fat composition.
  • The benefit extends beyond just aesthetics but biological. Metabolic and hormonal benefits have also been associated with the Olympic lifts. Full body exercises have been shown to increase human growth hormone, which results in healthier and leaner individuals. Also, more calories are burned during Olympic weightlifting workouts.
  • It will help increase your power output; in simple terms you will be able to display strength quickly in a short amount of time. With an improvement in power output oly lifts translates into improve jumping ability and sprinting speed.

If you would like to know more about Olympic lifting consult with a Strength and Conditioning Coach or a Trainer who is USAW certified. Always consult your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise program. Your doctor or other medical provider can assess your general health and tell you if the program is right for you.

How to Stay Fit During the Winter

By PSSM Staff

Now that it is cooler weather people are more inclined to stay inside and hibernate rather than getting outside to run or walk because of the chilly change in temperature. Fortunately, there are tips to continue to exercise and stay healthy during the holidays and cold winter months.

1) Invest in proper cold weather gear: Staying warm outside is pertinent to staying healthy and comfortable when exercising outdoors. Clothing that prevents wind or water penetration is key to stay safe, dry and warm when the temperature drops. Be sure to do your research on new developments in cold weather clothing and don’t forget your head, hands and feet when shopping!

2)  Stay well lit! With the change in time it is now much darker in the evening when people are likely to work out when they get home from work. You could switch your routine to a morning workout as it is now lighter in the early morning. Or if you want to continue to work out at night, invest in reflective clothing or lights to wear to stay visible to cars/traffic.

3) Stay inside to work out: Sometimes the weather is so bad or miserable that the only option is to work out indoors. Try investing in workout routines on demand on tape, gym equipment or a gym membership. This way you will always be protected from the elements!

Compound Exercises: More Bang for the Buck!

By PSSM Staff

In most situations when it comes to working out, people often use the excuse “I do not have time to dedicate myself to the gym.” Before becoming a License Physical Therapist, I was a personal trainer and strength coach. Most of my clients and / or patients were active and high functioning, training majority of my clients consisted mostlyof compound exercises. Compound exercises were efficient, got my clients moving, and were often simple. It is possible to get a superior workout—without spending hours in the gym.

The key is learning how to build a program composed of compound exercises. If you did not know already compound exercises is any exercise that works on multiple muscle groups simultaneously. A great example of a compound exercise is the squat, the squat is a multi-functional joint activity that targets the hip and knee musculatures, and trunk stabilizers.

Other examples of compound exercises are:

  • Deadlifts
  • Squats
  • Bench presses
  • Barbell rows
  • Push ups
  • Olympic lifting
  • Box jumps
  • Battle ropes
  • Tire flips

While many people who participate at the gym tend to prioritize isolation activities over whole body movements, Whole body exercises stimulate more muscle fibers and enhance recovery. Compound, or multi-joint, lifts exerts stress onto the target muscles and body. When stress is applied to the body, the body adapts to grow and become stronger. The benefits from the adaptive stress are from the hormonal cascade (GH and testosterone) conducive to enhanced protein synthesis and greater muscular growth.The more muscles being used in an activity, the more you will burn in calories. By making these exercises the mainstay in your workout program, you’ll be challenging your body to continuously and effectively build strength and muscle hypertrophy.

The next time you are tempted to back out of your workout because of time, remember train smarter and not longer, by taking advantage of your new found knowledge for compound exercises. Always consult your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise program. Your doctor or other medical provider can assess your general health and tell you if the program is right for you.

TIME TO TAKE CHARGE

By PSSM Staff

You probably hear people say it all the time: “I don’t have time to exercise. I’m busy. I have too much going on.” Whether you believe these to be excuses or reasons isn’t the issue in this blog. This isn’t about condemnation. This is about change and improvement of quality of life. Why is it that we make time for/prioritize literally EVERYTHING else in life and save our health for last? We will literally go until we drop and to what end? So that we are no longer physically capable of doing everything that we THINK outweighs taking care of ourselves?

Here’s the reality: NOTHING OUTWEIGHS TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF. If your health isn’t important enough to make time for I don’t know what is. The analogy of thinking of your body as a car is good one for a reason. Our vehicles are crucial to everyday life. We are heavily dependent on them and they get us to every destination we need to frequent on a daily basis. All of those things are also true about your body; even more so, in fact. Well, we don’t neglect to properly look after our vehicles for fear of losing a commodity of life that we heavily depend upon and the great cost that will later come with fixing the damage. Your body is NO DIFFERENT THAN THAT CAR.

If you keep neglecting to move your body, eating the wrong things, loading up on sugary beverages, not getting proper rest, etc eventually you will feel the effects of “neglecting your vehicle” and the cost of fixing what’s wrong (specialist consults, bloodwork, outpatient procedures, surgeries and the like) will FAR EXCEED the expense of getting your car fixed. Health is a choice. You have options. Start where you are. Rome wasn’t built in a day so don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself. Set small goals and get after them one at a time. It’s time to take charge of your health before it’s too late.

Machine vs. Free Weights: How do I choose?

By PSSM Staff

The topic of conversation you will most likely have at the gym is to choose between weighted machines or free weights. A question you may ask yourself is: How do I choose? or Which one is better for me?

My answer is it depends on the individual.

  1. The question you would have to ask yourself is how many years have you been lifting?
  2. What goals are you trying to meet?
  3. Are you lifting for rehabilitation purposes, aesthetics, or functional fitness?

To determine between the two (WM vs. FW), here are basic suggestions for each.

WEIGHTED MACHINES:

When working with weighted machines they are commonly easier to use than their counterparts. Most machines have picture or descriptions on how to use the machine and what muscles the machine targets. Machines allow you to train with heavier weights without a spotter to reduce the risk of injuries. Additionally machine weights are useful for the elderly population or rehabilitation purposes.

FREE WEIGHTS:

When using free weights it allows you to train movements more specific to your needs/goals. You are not stuck to a specific motion which allows your body complete freedom to move. It places a greater demand on your stabilization muscles when training, using FW causes your body to recruit more muscle groups than WM. Overall, there is an endless variation of exercises you can do with FW and you can pretty much train anywhere!!

So, when it comes to the question of, “Which is better?” As I stated beforeIt ultimately depends on the person and their goals.

What is difference between endurance, strength and power?

By PSSM Staff

To fully understand the difference among the three phases of exercises we must first define each phase. Endurance is defined as a group of muscles that can generate sub-maximal force over a sustain amount of time or through repeated movements. Strength is defined as the ability of specific groups of muscle that producesmax force to overcome a resistance within a single exertion. Power is defined when a group of muscle is able to produce maximal force in a short amount of time possible.

When applying the phases to your exercise regime Trainers, Coaches, and/or Strength Coaches usually follow the standard repetition, sets, load and rest according to NSCA guidelines (National Strength and Conditioning Association). For Power examples like Olympic lifting, long jump and shot put are all events that require a huge amount of explosive force. According to NSCA guidelines if you are doing a single effort exercise it should be between 80-90% 1RM for 1-2 Reps and a multiple effort exercise 75-85% 1RM for 3-5 sets and 3-5 reps per set with a rest period between 2-5 min.For Strength, it requires heavy resistance, a low number of repetitions and a very long rest period. According to NSCA guideline for strength training is between 70% – 85% of your 1 Rep Max, between 2-6 repetition and 2-6 sets with a rest period between 2-5 min. For Endurance type activities think of your long distant runner or marathoner. All of your reps and sets are increased more between 12-15+ reps for 3-5 sets, but your rest period and working load are decreased.

Consult with a health professional to get help assessing your strength, power and muscular endurance. Always consult your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise program. Your doctor or other medical provider can assess your general health and tell you if the program is right for you.