Alternative Fitness Concepts programs are based upon 4 pillars. One of the 4 pillars is Mobility Before Strength which means we fix mobility issues first and then build strenth upon it. In order to maximize results you need to be able to move through the full movement of any exercise. If you start building strength before you can go through a complete movement you are not going to receive the best results and you will increase your chances of an injury.
What we see on a daily basis are people going into the gym that lack mobility doing pushups, bench presses, or squats. They actually are building strength upon a body which doesn't move well. To solve this, in the beginning of every workout we included 6 mobility exercises. These mobility exercises can be completed by all fitness levels, and will also show us the areas which lack flexibility. If you are looking for the very best results from your workouts you must first have a sound plan to improve your mobility. This is one of the cornerstones of AFC's Life training program. Mobility before strength.
1. If there was ever a time to eat for enjoyment. Christmas is the perfect time. Enjoy your food.
2. Drink with a happy heart.
3. Taste a little of all the sweets.
4. Sample all the food in small portions.
5. If you have to go back for seconds eat slowly.
6. Give whats left to friends who do not have families.
7. Think about the homeless and hunger when you are enjoying your Christmas dinner.
8. Have kindness in your heart on this day.
9. Remember your family and close friends are more valuable than gold.
10. Remember its only one day.
1. Eat real food.
2. Workout regularly
3. Sleep 8 hours a night.
4. Stay positive.
5. Drink adequate amounts of water daily.
6. Reduce stress.
7. Be consistent.
8. Don't diet.
Don't waste your time with quick weight loss diets or some type of special workout. Consistently eat real food, workout regularly, get plenty of sleep, and stay positive. Weight gain is a combination of food, stress, feeling bad, and lack of movement. If you can correct these basic areas you will be able to lose weight and keep it off.
This weeks workout for your core.
1. Elbow plank - 15 seconds to 2 minute hold
2. Reverse crunch - 10 to 20 times
3. Cobra - 15 seconds to 1 minute
4. Side Plank - 15 seconds to 1 minute
5. Reverse lunge with sand bag or not - 6 to 10 on each side
Repeat 3 sets at your pace 3 times a week.
In this weeks challenge I will address the most asked question in the gym. How do I flatten my stomach. This is the most asked question but its not an accurate question. Because the stomach can't be flatten by doing core work or any type of exercise. You should start with a sound nutritional plan first to reduce the body fat around the waistline.
The better question should be. How do I make my stomach strong? There are many benefits to a very strong core. This week we will start you off on a very simple but highly effective core challenge. So lets get started reaping the benefits.
We will use a very simple core exercise for the core challenge. The Plank. #Less equals more
First you need to know what position to start in based on your present fitness level. Most of us know what a plank looks like but, if you don't, here is a simple way to look at it. The plank is the position you start in if you where doing a push-up. Your hands should be a little in front of the shoulders, at shoulder width apart and the feet should be together. Your shoulder, hips, knees, and feet should create a straight line. Your goal is to maintain this straight-line for the entire time of being in the plank. When you can no longer hold a straight line then you rest and make a note of the time
We will use a 3 phase program for the plank challenge. You need 3 items which would represent 3 different levels for this challenge. In your home you will need a table, a chair, and the floor. In the gym you need 3 levels also which could be an adjustable bench or 2 different ones plus the floor as your 3rd level.
If you can't hold a plank correctly on the floor, then you would use one of the other 2 levels which allows you to hold the plank in correct alignment the longest. Once you have the correct level then you follow the plank challenge as written. When you are stronger move to a lower level.
*Inhale through your noise and exhale out of your mouth long slow breaths continuously.
*Do not round your upper back.
*Do not let your hips sag.
*Do not lift your butt up out of position.
*Your hands should be facing straight.
*Push through your heels.
*Keep legs straight.
* Make sure your low back doesn't sink.
* Keep your body level.
If you never used a plank before, what might happen is your wrist might become a little stiff and painful. To prevent this from happening do only 1 set the first week. This will allow your wrist time to become stronger without injuring it.
It takes 4 weeks for your body to completely adapt. Which means, to gain its maximum strength. Its very important to complete the 4 weeks before you try any other version of the plank. Use the basic plank to build your base of core strength first. Do not try to do to much when you first start. Leave a little gas in the tank.
1st - 5th days - Hold plank for as long as you can and time yourself. 1 set - Maximum time 2 minutes
1st - 5th days - Hold plank for as long as you can and time yourself. 2 sets - Maximum time 2 minutes each set
1st - 5th days - Hold plank for as long as you can and time yourself. 3 sets - Maximum time 2 minutes each set
1st - 5th days - Hold plank for as long as you can and time yourself. 4 sets - Maximum time 2 minutes each set
Advance tips: If you are already good at holding a plank, these tips will help you refine your plank to maximize your results from this exercise.
*Make sure your head stays neutral. Do not let your forehead reach down to the floor.
*Try to open your chest so your back muscles stabilize your shoulders instead of your chest muscles..
*Make sure your shoulder blades are depressed and not up toward your ears.
*Your hands should have a slight external rotation but still are facing straight forward which helps the shoulders stay locked into a depressed position.
*Push back through your heels to lock your legs straight.
*Slightly squeeze your inner thighs and push the feet together. This will help stabilize you when fatigue starts.
*Breath long slow breaths in through your nose and out slow through your mouth. This should be a continues flow of breath without breaks. You are using your breath to activate your core.
*Bring your hands closer together to activate more deeper core muscle fibers. Your hands can actually touch each other side by side to narrow the base of support. Your feet should be together not wide.
*If your hip flexors are tight you might see a sinking in your low back as you fatigue. There might also be some pain in your back if this happens. You need to stretch your hip flexors to prevent this from happening. As you become stronger in your core this will be easier to manage. Stop if you have any form of pain.
*To develop maximum core strength.
*To maintain neutral alignment in a horizontal plane.
After 4 weeks you should be able to complete a 2 minute plank with ease. The plank is a simple movement but if its mastered it builds a powerful base to build up on. #Less equals more
Reggie - Email us if you have questions.
The number #1 injury we see in the gym are shoulder injuries. It is the most complex joint in the human body. It has to move in multiple planes of motion freely. If the shoulder lacks full mobility the amount of stress put on the muscles can lead to overuse. Which can cause the development of scar tissue, trigger points, pain, and at times inflammation. Overuse is the biggest contributor to shoulder injuries and they are not easy to fix.
How to fix your shoulders
The 2 basic problems you will have with your shoulder are tightness, and weakness.
Tight shoulders are mainly cause by bad posture, bad training technique, overtraining, lack of movement, scar tissue, and repeating the same movements over a long period of time,
Weakness in your shoulders are caused by lack of strength, overtraining, an injury, tight shoulders, scar tissue, and lack of movement.
1st step is to increase the range of motion in the shoulders in all planes.
This can be done with a foam roller or massage ball followed with a stretching program and then exercises to strengthen the shoulder.
We focus first on recovering and cleaning up the shoulder rotators, shoulder abduction, internal and external rotation as base of movements. As you regain movement in all planes you need to start strengthening next.
Here is a concept we keep in mind when we are working on mobility and strength. Agonist and antagonist muscle concepts. This is a concept which states when a muscle contracts the opposite muscle relaxes. Also, is the base concept of active stretching. Active stretching is the stretching technique we use first to lengthen the muscle after foam rolling it. When you have a tight muscle you first apply a foam roll technique(myofascial stretch) to improve the range of motion of it then you active stretch it. However, it will not stay unless you strengthen the opposite muscle.(The antagonist)
How to strengthen the shoulders.
A very important TIP!!!
A common posture disfunction is forward head position and rounded shoulders. This posture position rounds your back which rounds your T-spine. The shoulder joint is a complex part of the scapular and the scapular is attached to the T-spine, ribs, and arm, by muscles. What this means, if the T-spine movement is compromised this will effect the shoulder joint. This leads to a dysfunctional movement, shoulder injuries, tightness in the shoulder, and loss of strength in the shoulder. The major point to take away from this is although the shoulder is painful, the problem with shoulder started from the bad posture which effects your T-spine which determines the scapular position. Fix your posture, and T-spine first and your shoulder will heal and start to move better.
The 3 dimensional Shoulder
We break the shoulder down to 3 basic parts. The T-spine, shoulder rotators, and deltoids.
The 1st phase and the base of the shoulder correction is the T-spine and scapular.
Our T-spine workout consist of 2 steps.
1. Increasing the flexibility of the chest muscles.(Pectorals major and minor)
2. Using a foam roller or therapy ball to increase the mobility of the T-spine.
The 2nd phase is to strengthening the shoulder rotators. There are 4 rotators with 3 basic movements. Each movement needs to be strengthen.
The third phase of the shoulder is to strengthen the deltoids. The deltoids should be the last of the 3 muscles strengthen.
We use 4 basic exercises the front raise, side raise, a standing cobra A-position, and overhead raise. These exercises helps to correct rounded shoulders and the stronger you become with these exercises the improvement you will see in your posture.
Watch the video below to see some of the exercises we use in this workout.
Sitting to much is like sipping on poison. Sooner or later you will have to deal with the end. I have 5 sisters and I tell each one of them this at least once a month. They are all retired and living a life of leisure. However, this could turn quickly into a seriously health issue. I want my sisters to understand if they stop moving daily their bodies will age much faster. The joy of retirement will end with prolong periods of aching stiff joints, back pain and low energy. Of course I could say this a little nicer but in order for them to truly get how devastating sitting for hours can become, I prefer the latter. Some people think if you rest your body with very little activity its good for your health and longevity. Its actually the opposite. The more active you are the better. When you are aging at any age your body is losing muscle and the less you move the more muscle you lose. You probably have a relative or a friend or know someone who has aged to the point to where they can not even stand up from a chair. I remind my sisters of this every month so they never forget what happens if they stop moving. The quality of their life is affected by some very simple choices.
Fitness to me is not about how fast you run or how many big muscles you have. I tell everyone we train that fitness will effect the quality of your life. It only takes a few simple choices. My job is to inform and share my knowledge with those who will listen to the message.
The 10 rules to avoid sitting to much.
1. Take a daily walk
2. Watch less television
3. Do more outdoor activities
4. Develop friendships with active people
5. Visit your neighbors more
6. At work use a standing desk for part of the day
7. Lose weight
8. Go dancing
9. Join a gym
10. Do not sit longer than 1 hour without standing and walking around.(Except in a movie)
Good posture starts with good sitting and standing habits. Todays lifestyles makes it very challenging to keep good posture. These days we might find ourselves watching television for several hours, using our phones texting or surfing the internet, at work working at a computer most of the day, living with high levels of stress, and trapped in unhappy situations. If you spend most of your day in one or serval of these lifestyle patterns you will develop bad posture. Which can lead to back, neck, shoulder and hip pain. One good thing about the human body is that its very pliable. Which makes it possible to regain good posture. Posture is an imbalance in muscle strength and flexibility. Your back muscles should be the strongest muscle group on your upper torso but those who have bad posture, the back muscles are the weakest muscle group and the chest muscles are very tight, not necessary strong but tight. Gravity is always forcing us down to the ground but if we are leaning forward most of the time our back muscles become overstretch and weak. The muscles on the front of the body becomes short and tight. The tight muscle will not let us stand erect again, until they are stretch out and the back muscles are strengthen to where they're strong enough to hold us in and upright posture. There still is hope.
Most of us might think exercise is good for your posture. However, exercising could even make your bad posture worse. Say for instance you just started working out and you already have bad posture. If you start strengthening your muscles first you are merely re-enforcing the bad posture by strengthening tight muscles. If you are just starting to workout you should start with flexibility and mobility training to re-set your posture first. If not soon or later you will develop a pain issue in your joints, back, neck or shoulders.
Exercising can create bad posture if you do not use good form when you workout also. I stress to each client that form and technique is very important. What if you exercise for years with bad form. If sitting for hours through your life watching television and you develop bad posture, than exercising for years with bad technique will do the same. Its just this simple.
Here are 10 tips to have good posture:
1. Stand every hour and walk around.
2. Reduce your tv watching.
3. Only spend a designated amount of time on your phone.
4. Sit up correctly.
5. Strengthen your core and back.
6. Become more active.
7. Think positive.
8. Adjust your work station.(invest in a standing desk).
9. Stretch every morning.
10. Invest into a posture training program
Bonus - If you workout.
1. Always stretch before and after your workouts for at least 10 minutes.
2. Train your back muscles 70/30 percent to the front muscles.(The posterior) - all back muscles, glutes, hamstrings, and calves should be as strong or stronger than the front muscles.(anterior), but not the reverse.)
3. Develop perfect technique to reduce injuries.
4. The T-spine should be mobile. If your T-spine is not mobile then it will be very difficult to have good posture. In every workout spend time to improve T-spine mobility. If you can reach an optimal level of mobility you will see your posture improve very quickly.
Please give us feedback.
If you have questions. Email Reggie
Each week we are adding a specific challenge in our blog. The best way to achieve your best result is by focusing on one movement. The squat is one of the most important movements you do each day. When you lose strength to where you can not perform an adequate squat you will automatically feel 10 years older. The squat is king for those who are getting older. The squat provides great aesthetic benefits such as nice looking firm legs and butt. This squat challenge will benefit you in every aspect of your life. If you workout already or someone who hasn't worked out for years this challenge will help.
All of the challenges are very simple and highly effective. There are 2 groups we will focus on in this challenge. They are Group 1 and Group 2. Group 1 are those who can not do a free squat. Group 2 are those who can perform a correct squat.
Group 1 tips.
You need a regular sitting chair or bench.
You will sit on the chair with your feet about 12 inches apart.
Then stand up and sit down.(This builds the strength in your legs for you to develop strength to execute a free squat)
You will do this 5 days a week.
1st day 5 times- 1 set only
2nd day 10 times- 1 set only
3rd day 15 times- 1 set only
4th day 20 times- 1 set only
5 th day 25 times- 1 set only
2nd - 4th week
1st day 25 times- 1 set only
2nd day 25 times- 1 set only
3rd day 25 times- 1 set only
4th day 25 times- 1 set only
5 th day 25 times- 1 set only
Group 2 tips
Follow this challenge only if you can perform a correct free squat
Stand up with your feet a little over shoulder width apart.
Squat down as far as you can with a straight back.(Do your best)
Then stand back up.
You might need to take a break before you complete 25 squats but each week it will get better. As you get stronger focus on doing them straight through, non-stop.
1st - 4th week
1st day 25 times- 1 set only
2nd day 25 times- 1 set only
3rd day 25 times- 1 set only
4th day 25 times- 1 set only
5 th day 25 times- 1 set only
After 4 weeks you have the options to repeat the challenge again or repeat 2 sets instead of 1. Good luck. Train smart.
Please give us feed back, we would like to hear from you.
I see a client almost everyday with back pain. We have been very successful correcting acute or chronic back pain in all of our clients. I will share with you several solutions which we used to remove clients from years of back pain. Even though you have back pain the problem which is causing the back pain is in another part of your body.
1. The most common problem we see with back pain is tight hamstrings. Tight hamstrings decreases the amount of forward hip flexion at the hip joint. This increases more movement in the lumbar spine and overtime the muscles of the lumbar area(low back) become tight from overuse. The muscles will also develop scar tissue, and weaken leaving the muscles shorten. The tight hamstrings are mainly caused by sitting for prolong periods, or inactivity. Some of us are born with tight hamstrings and over time this creates the same problem. What also causes tight hamstrings is tight hip flexors and a weak core. What we see from this problem is low back pain and hamstring pulls combined together.
Most of the time when the hamstrings are tight the glutes are weak because the hip can not reach full hip extension. The shorten hamstrings inhibit the glutes from having a full hip extension therefore reducing the glute strength. What happens is we become knee extension dominant and our quadriceps become over developed. We then have the appearance of big quads with a small butt or just tight quads and a weak butt. Overtime the large quads tighten the front hip flexors and weaken your core by causing to much anterior pelvic tilt. We are caught in a loop at this time, where you have two causes of back pain present in your body. This is called a muscle imbalance in flexibility and strength.
Here is another cause of back pain. A weak core. This is a little tricky because when the core is weak it could be the initial cause or the result of tight hip flexors which also is caused by sitting to much or being inactive. I will say if the core is strong it should support the body after hours of sitting. But, I also will say what we find is people with weak cores most of the time. The solution is simple if you only think about the core. Strengthen the core. However, you still have to check and correct the hamstrings as you strengthen your core. This is a little challenging but if you think and assess yourself or client properly you solve the pain issue.
How do you get out of this predicament? I will keep this answer simple because there are many options you can follow. We have to first assess the movement patterns to see which muscle is the original cause of this imbalance. Most of the time its the hamstring shortening from sitting for prolong periods or working out with bad technique(incorrect form).
The simple solution to start a program to lengthen the hamstring. Here is a very simple one we use which is highly effective.
Before you start the program check to see how close a person can come to touching their toes after you complete the program check it again to see the improvement.
**This is a hamstring program with no hip flexor or quad tightness.
1. Foam roll hamstrings
2. Active stretch hamstrings. Sit on a bench with the lower leg hanging off at the knee. Extend the knee as far as it will go 20 times. Make sure the back stays very straight. No rounding in the mid to low back.
3. Strengthen quad with single leg knee extensions on a machine or ankle weights.
(Recheck the length of the hamstring by having them try and touch their toes.)
4. Do a step up on a bench 3 to 6 inches off floor. 10 - 20 times each side
Check out some of other pain fix programs in the future or just email us if you have questions.
Lets think about it! Pain solutions
In this weeks Let's Think about it I'm talking about back, shoulder, knee, hip, and ankle pain. This video covers how to correct pian issues, by not focusing on the pain. Pain is caused by an imbalance in the body which needs to be corrected before you can totally alleviate pain. Check it out.
Are you feeling the affects of aging? Lack of muscle tone, stiff achy joints, low energy, bad posture, morning body aches, lack of sex drive, loss of strength, fatigue, shortness of breath, etc,.. I could go on an on but, instead I will share with you a number of solutions you can do about these. Somewhere in this list you might find multiple things going on with you and in this blog I will break down each factor and show you how to reverse the effect of each one
Whats interesting is the basic signs of aging are predictable. Which actually is good, because it gives us an opportunity to observe the patterns and develop techniques to counter them. If you remembered or noticed when you were in your teens most of us was still growing and developing muscle but, when we reached our 20's you might have noticed a changed in the appearance and firmness of your muscles. The basic rule of aging, is muscle loss starts in the early 20's and every 3 years your body will lose about a pound of muscle. About the time we reach 30 years of age there will be a 3 pound loss of muscle and then at 40 years of age there will be an acceleration in muscle loss and firmness. This continues through your 50's, 60's, 70's,,etc.. This is real time aging. There is also a hormonal effect which occurs along this same time line which affects aging, and the same solution for muscle loss will benefit the hormonal changes also. Since the body ages in a very predictable pattern we can observe the muscle loss year by year. This allows us to develop programs which slows down and completely stop muscle loss which helps maintain a youthful appearance and higher functional levels longer.
Lets first look at muscle loss. When we lose muscle we also have other side effects from the muscle loss.
1. Loss of strength - Our strength and energy is directly related to the amount of muscle we have. If we lose muscle then automatically we will lose strength and energy. In our everyday life this translates into feeling weak, fatigue, weight gain, slower metabolism, and loss of muscle tone.
2. The amount of strength you have will determine if you move easily or be challenged moving throughout your day. Example: Walking up stairs, standing up from a chair, sitting down, and standing on your feet for prolong periods of time would become more challenging and exhausting.
3. When you have low energy you move less. The less you move the less your joints moves and this leads to your muscles becoming shorter and tight. Then you start having achy, stiff joints and guess what happens next. You even want to move less, because it hurts to get up, stand, walk, and run. You just want to rest more because you are feeling tired, stiff, and old.
4. Muscles are what burn calories and losing muscle mass means you will not burn as many calories also. What comes next is weight gain which makes you more tired, reduces your energy, makes moving around harder, distorts your shape, and makes you feel bad. This is what it feels like to become older.
This is a very realistic observation of how we age and the order of how these other factors come into play. Knowing how this happens gives us a great advantage. We can use specific training programs which can slow this down for years and even completely reverse it.
Nutrition has a very powerful effect on how you age also. We like to look at the human body as a species of the planet like a plant. Everyone understands what happens to plants if they are not properly cared for. The plant is rather simple in its nutritional needs. It needs rich dirt, water, and sunlight and you'll have a healthy plant. However if you neglect one of these base nutrients you will see signs of droopy leaves, weak color, drying or dying leaves falling from the plant.
When we contrast this to a person you'll see a similar process. The human body needs specific nutrients to have optimal health. If the basic nutrients are not meet then you will be unhealthy which also affects how you age. Lets look at the very basic nutritional needs and how they effect how your body ages.
Water - Your body is 70% water. Your body functions much better if it's fully hydrated. Water plays an intregral part in every function within the body. If the water in your body is low you will show signs of dehydration which reduces the functionality of all the working processes in your body.
Every second of the day your body is reproducing new cells, metabolizing food for energy, removing waste products, growing your hair, and your nails. If you are fully hydrated your cells, skin, hair, and nails are very healthy. If we are dehydrated our bodies will not digest food properly and will also lack the ability to remove toxins from the air we breath and from food we eat. This shows up as bad breath, bad body odors, and disease. Keeping a youthful appearance requires the body to be at an optimal level of hydration.
Protein - Protein is the building blocks of muscle. Consuming an adequate amount of protein daily is vital to healthy cell development. Which could be either animal or plant based protein. The ingredients of every cell is protein. Your skin cell is made from proteins. Having healthy skin which passes the test of time requires a high quality protein in the proper amounts daily.
Carbohydrates - Carbohydrates are the fuel for your muscles and many vitamins and minerals. Eating natural whole foods instead of process carbs is mandatory for optimal youthful health. Consuming green leafy vegetables with less starch carbohydrates is an ideal combination for long term positive health.
Fats - Fats are powerful nutrients which is used for development of enzymes, and plays many roles in the body vital functions. It serves also as dampener between your skin and muscle plus the organs also. Having an optimal level of fat helps the skin maintain a youthful appearance for longer periods of time.
The major point of the nutritional tips is consuming high quality foods, with adequate amounts of water daily will give you the best advantage to feeling, and looking youthful for years longer.
Exercise has an amazing effect upon how you age. Just by doing any type of exercise you can slow down some of the physical effects of aging. This article is dedicated to the general benefits of exercise and how it can play a huge roll in feeling younger.
Weight training - The major benefit of weight training is it's ability to slow down muscle loss and improve strength. The most basic weight training program can accomplish this result. By weight training 3-4 days a week the muscle will increase in size, which translates into more strength and a firmer muscle. If you consistently increase the amount of the weights there will be an improvement in strength to the point muscle loss will completely stop. This will prevent and reverse all of the other effects of muscle loss(aging). This advice works best if you are young and looking forward to keeping your youthfulness as long as you can. If you start in your twenties you have more time and you can prevent some of the early effects of aging from occurring.
If you are 40 or above you have develop some of the side effects of muscle loss. Lack of strength, low energy, loss of muscle firmness, achy stiff joints, loss of mobility, and bad posture. You would need to correct these first which will make you feel younger. Start with correcting mobility issues first, correcting posture, rebuilding your strength in your stabilizers, and then weight training to improve overall strength.
Even though traditional weight training is very effective, functional weight training is another option available for weight training. This type of training trains you to be functional in everyday life. This functional training combined with traditional training will possibly make some of you feel 20 years younger. You will feel and move like you haven't in years.
Cardiovascular conditioning - Your ability to breath efficiently when under a physical load or mental stress is such a benefit. Training your heart and lungs will make you feel as though you discovered the fountain of youth. Focus on improving your stamina and endurance by walking, bike riding, gym cardio machines, swimming, running, hiking, a sport, or recreational activity. Find something that you enjoy. Have fun!
Mental conditioning - In order to be successful you actually have to do the steps necessary to achieve the desired goal. This starts with mental conditioning. You will have to live a lifestyle where these steps are normal and easily completed. There is a simple way to create a working system which will keep you focused for years. There are 3 steps you need to adapt daily. Number one is thinking about what you want to achieve, number two is speaking consistently with full commitment to what you want to achieve, and number 3 is have the actions of doing the steps daily.
Step 1 -I awake every morning and I think these thoughts. I want to maintain youthfulness for as many years as I can. When I'm 60 I would like to feel like I'm 40.
Step 2 - When someone says lets go out to dinner instead of working out, you say no. I would rather workout and then go to dinner. Can we go at 7:00 instead of 6:00? Please'
Step 3 - I schedule appointments with myself to go to gym to workout and lift weights 3-4 days every week. I will never miss, Everything I do is schedule around my workouts.
Repeat these 3 steps week after week and month after month and year after year and you will develop a personality rooted in reality and is deeply rewarding. It works just by doing it.
Lets start with making an appointment with ourselves at least 3 times a week. Schedule it in and make everything else evolve around it. We are important and we will be better support for our families if we take care of ourselves. We want to inspire you to live your best life. You deserve it!
Welcome to our first Lets think about it segment. We are focused on real life fitness tips which helps you attain realistic goals.
Lets think about it is always a comparison between two opposing concepts. In this video I will speak to you about the difference between functional core training and traditional core training. We would like to high light how to choose the best core training program based on what you are trying to achieve.
We will bring one segment every two weeks for you to think about. We strive to inspire everyone to live each day better than the last.
Everyone wants a stronger core a flatter stomach, plus a six pack. This is the most requested fitness goal in history. Every time you turn on the TV, pick up a magazine, go on a social network, or pass a billboard you'll see an advertisement pushing an amazing program which will give you the stomach you so much desire. If only there was a simple solution.
This is challenging but, there is a way to achieve the flatter well defined stomach which you search for. But, first lets look at a few things we need to consider. There is 2 major things you should consider. Are you more interested in the appearance or the functionality of your core. Both of these objectives requires a different approach.
The traditional way of thinking about the stomach is the stomach will store fat on it and by doing ab exercises it will become flatter. A lot of magazines and info commercials have sold a lot of products based on this idea. Here is a general rule you should always follow. You can not burn fat off any part of your body by doing an isolated exercise. If your body has gain at least 5 pounds you might see it show up on your stomach. Therefore giving you the appearance of not having a flat stomach. Today there is no sound reason to reinforce this concept. It doesn't work.
Lets look at the functional core. Strengthing the core is more of a comprehensive approach to a strong flat stomach. The core is a group of muscles which work together to support rotation, and lumbar hyperextension. There are 5 major muscle which make up the core. The rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, transverse abdominis, and the erector spinae. There are many different movements which comes from the core. However, the major movement you want to focus on when training is rotation, and lumbar hyperextension. The core main job is to work as a stabilizer in training, walking, running, or jumping.
Here is a guide to help you create the best approach for you to strengthen and flatten your stomach. Every person will have a slightly different approach. We have found your genetics play a big part in having a flat stomach. We have put together 8 tips and if you match these tips together with your genes and with your lifestyle you will be very successful.
Start with these seven factors: genetics, body type, metabolism, fat storage, activity, nutrition, and strength. Choose which best describes you. Follow the suggestions of each.
Genetics - Some of us are born with flat well defined stomachs and you really never lose this until they are much older or gain 5-10 pounds or more in weight. While the others are born with stomachs which stores fat on it. Its a little harder to attain, but you can. If you are born with a stomach which stores fat on it then prepare yourself to be more mentally focus and patient. Set a daily goal each day of what you need to accomplish and do daily affirmations of successful thoughts and stay consistent. Lets take a simple approach to this and say if you where born with a flat stomach we will refer to you as Type A and if you were not then you are type B.
Body type- There are different body types and I like to describe them in this way. Your body has a genetic make up where your body fat is already determine where it will stored on your body first. The main three areas is the stomach, hips, and upper back. If your body stores fat on your stomach first it also is the last place you will lose it. This makes the process seem a lot longer than if it was on the hips or back. If you're body stores fat on the stomach lets say you are Type A. The others are Type B. My advice is to be patient either Type A or B. However, type B people should focus on being very consistent, Its more challenging for Type B people to attain a flat stomach but it can be done. Use all the suggestions we have given and you should be happy with the results.
Metabolism - We have 2 basic metabolisms, slow and fast. Your metabolism can be effected by your activity level, muscle to fat ratio, strength, and nutrition eating patterns. A fast metabolism will not store fat quickly and tends to burn calories very fast. A slow metabolism is just the opposite, it will tend to store fat quickly and burn calories slow. Fast metabolism Type A, slow metabolism Type B. If you have a slow metabolism focus on weight training to boast your strength and doing metabolic workouts at least twice a week.
Fat storage - The human body stores fat in fat cells on the body. There are more fat cells in different parts of the body. Where you see most of the fat in areas such as stomach, hips, and upper back there are more fat cells. If you have more fat cells on the stomach you are Type A, the others Type B. This is important because as you lose weight you will see it come off the areas where there are less fat cells first. So be patient and stay consistent. Stay true to the process and use affirmation to counter any frustration you feel.
Activity - When you move more your body burns calories for fuel. Your activity levels will have 3 conclusions. Your weight will stay the same, or it decreases, or increases. When it stays the same you are basically eating the same calories you are burning off. When it decreases you are moving more than you are eating. When your weight increase you are moving less than you are eating. If you noticed I reference moving as the focal point of what happens. In order to have a flat stomach you need to burn off the fat stored on your stomach. The best way to burn this off is to move more. The more you move the more weight you will lose and keep off and flatter your stomach will be. Whats recommended to have a sustain weight or fat loss is 10,000 steps a day. Type A if you are doing 10,000 steps, if you are doing less than 10,000 you are Type B.
Nutrition - Of course nutrition plays a vital part of your success. You have to make sure you are consuming enough fuel to keep your metabolism running. Eating high quality foods is your best choices. Lean proteins, vegetables, whole foods not process foods or white sugar. Drink as much water as you can daily. Type A if you are eating healthy as described, Type B if not.
Strength - The more strength you have the more calories your body will burn. Weight training your upper and lower body 3 days a week will greatly improve your metabolism. Also improve the strength in your core with functional core exercises. Type A if you are, and Type B if you don't.
Metabolic Training - This is a great way to boast your fat calorie expenditure. Using an interval training program of high intensity short duration training will elevate your metabolism for many hours after you finish. Adding up to more calories burned for energy. I would only recommend this twice a week. To much of it to quickly could lead to overtraining and fatigue. Slowing of your metabolism and a decrease in fat loss. Type A if you are using metabolic training, and Type B if you don't.
Our goal is to help you troubleshoot whats missing from your workouts. Once you have considered our 8 steps, all you need to do is add in the missing steps from your workout. The more steps you are using will give you better results. The type A person is all 8 steps in place every week. You might not be able to put all 8 steps in your weekly routine but if you could add some of the steps you will also get better results.
This really works. There are some genetics traits which helps some but, overall if you put in play these 8 steps you will attain the stomach you want plus much more.
If you are having recurring joint pain, there are generally two basic causes: an imbalance of mobility or an imbalance of strength. It's caused by your lifestyle, which could be related to work, exercise, or as simple as sitting too much.
Initially, pain is a signal. It's telling you that some part of your posture is not in optimal alignment. When you get the signal you have two options on how to address it. You can deal with the pain itself (through medication, ultra sound, electrical stimulation, local area medication) or you can find what is causing the pain and correct it. If the first sign of pain is not dealt with immediately, the area where the the pain is located will eventually develop some form of trauma within it. This can take the form of scar tissue, inflammation, or sometimes both. If not corrected, this will effect how the joint moves and can become a dysfunctional movement pattern, setting the body up for more problems. The better option is to locate the cause of the pain and correct it.
The area where you feel the pain is initiated by an imbalance in another location in the body. Our goal is to correct the imbalance so that the pain stops and never comes back. If you only provide relief for the area where the pain is located, your pain will return over time. Sometimes you have to apply both methods if the pain is really bad. You would use some method of temporary pain relief while also working on correcting the imbalance which caused the pain.
A mobility imbalance means you have a very tight muscle somewhere, pulling things out of alignment or inhibiting what should be mobile. Once you locate the tight muscle, you first need to lengthen it by using a myofascial stretching technique (like a foam roller). After this you would apply an active or static stretch to the muscle. To create a perfect balance, you would then strengthen the opposite muscle. By applying these steps, you return the proper balance between the muscles and your movement pattern becomes normal - and your pain ends.
With a strength imbalance, a muscle is weak while its opposite muscle is strong. You would need to locate the weak muscle and strengthen it. It's just this simple to fix. No more recurring pain.
A person's posture will tell you where the imbalances are. Rounded shoulders, protruding neck, arched or humped back, feet turning out - all are signs of a muscle imbalance. By correcting your imbalances and posture, you can relieve yourself of pain or prevent it from starting.
In some of our upcoming posts we will discuss specific ways to correct certain pain issues. Train smart. Doing less is more when you train smart.
One of the very first steps to improving hamstring flexibility is to improve the elasticity and the length of the muscle. There are 4 basic stretching modalities static, active, myofascial, and neuromuscular(NMS). Each stretching technique has a different benefit upon a muscle and a lot of times you need to use 2-3 different techniques to completely return a muscle to its optimal length. We start all of our work on the hamstring with a myofascial stretch. One of the areas we focus on is the top of the hamstring where it intersects with the gluteus maximus. We find a therapy ball is best to use in this area even though there are many other options we prefer to start here. We spend about 2-3 minutes in this area with side to side movements combined with 30 second hold positions in the most tender spots. After this time we use an active stretch technique where we extend and flex the leg for 20 repetitions. During this movement the quadriceps are contracting during extension which makes the hamstrings automatically release in this movement. If you observe the video you will notice my leg is totally extended and my back is straight. If the hamstrings are partially tight the leg would not fully extend and the low back would round backwards. After 4 weeks of doing this technique you would see a drastic improvement in this movement. Even though in this blog we only go over the first steps of 4 phases you would need to return the hamstring to optimal length. The other 3 steps will be coming in the next weeks. So check back or email me. Train smart.
Every week in the gym I'm working with someone with back pain from having tight hamstrings. Every person I have train with tight hamstrings had back problems. I realized this years ago and know I have been very successful helping clients overcome years of back pain.
Whenever the hamstrings are tight it, restricts full mobility of the hips. This creates more movement in the lower back region and lower back shouldn't be moving. Having tight hamstrings over a long period of time will cause the low back muscles to fatigue and develop scare tissue in the lumbar region of the spine. This will lead to back pain and lower back stiffness, siatica pain, and slip disc issues. Todays medical industry treat back pain as a problem directly associated with the muscles of the lower back. Which lead to them treating the lower back area with specific treatments and medication. However, this would give you relief but only temporary. You will still have continued flare ups of back pain over time. This is because they did not solve the problem which is causing the low back pain. We have focused on the hamstrings as a big contributor to back pain. By improving the flexibility of the hamstrings you can return the hamstring back to their optimal length and increase the chance of the pain going away and not coming back.
The best way to do this stretch is to use an active stretch technique. An active stretch is where you use the opposing muscle to stretch the opposite muscle. When a prime mover muscle is contracting the other muscle will automatically stretch. Start the hamstring stretch laying down on the floor with both legs straight. Place the strap around one foot while you holding the ends of the stretching strap with your hands. The correct way to execute the stretch is to lift one leg with only the muscles of the leg then at the highest point in the lift pull the strap with your hands for 2 seconds then stop pulling the strap and return foot to floor. Repeat this technique 15 - 20 times then do the other side. If you have a foam roller you could get more from this stretch if you foam roll your hamstrings before doing the active hamstring stretch. If you need other ideas on back pain please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This picture is a perfect example of a working lifestyle which leads to bad posture. Bad posture leads to neck pain, back pain, stiff joints, achy joints, loss of confidence, and the feelings of getting older. Work, home, recreation, and even sleep lifestyles will add to bad posture. By engaging in habits to create good posture is a start to feeling pain free, younger, and more confident.
Staying younger is a desire a lot of us have. It's nice to hold on to the feeling of youthfulness for as long as you can. Whats really amazing is there are some simple things you can do to make you feel younger. Here are 10 tips I have learned which really works.
1. Drink more water. Your body is 70% water and if you do not drink sufficient amounts of water your skin will look weathered and dry. The plus bonus to having adequate water is more energy. Yes that is correct. The more water you consume the more energy you have.
2. Don't sit with rounded shoulders.(Improve posture tip)
3. Stretch your chest.(Improve posture tip)
4. Strengthen your spine by doing the cobra daily.(Improve posture tip)
5. Strengthen core.(Improve strength tip)
6. Improve mobility of the hips.(Improve mobility tip)
7. Improve mobility of ankles.(Improve mobility tip)
8. Strengthen the glutes.(Improve strength tip)
9. Specifically improve the strength of the legs with weight training.(Improve strength tip)
10. Eat more vegetables and less process foods.(Eat better tip)
The base of our training programs is rooted in having good posture. Your daily routine can destroy your posture, working out can have a negative effect on your posture also. Bad posture is the very beginning of pain issues in your neck, shoulder, back, hip , knee, and ankle. When clients first come to us we look at their posture. We are looking for the basic posture distortions.
1. First lesson we learn was to correct these posture issues first. (Do not build strength upon bad posture)
2. Mobility must be regain and all basic movement patterns must be clean and without restrictions.
3.Use functional movements to improve mobility as a warm-up instead of cardio,( walking on treadmill)
4. Bad form creates bad posture.
5. Good form supports good posture.
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