Archive for October, 2009

Does Your Purpose Change With Age??

October 30, 2009

Why do you workout? For what purpose do you train? If you have been working out for any length of time (years), has your perspective of “why” evolved?

I recently became sick and found myself taking about 2 weeks off from my routine. This is the first time I have had any measurable time off for about 2 years. I typically lift 3 times per week and run or do some kind of cardio 3 times per week.

To give you a little background I’m approaching 51 yrs of age and I began exercising at 13. Over the years I have been kind of steady. Never taking a full year off but certainly life has gotten in the way (good & bad) and I have found myself in cycles, on/off/on/off.

During that time when I didn’t miss I had very focused goals in mind. Races, increase in amount of weight to lift, decrease of body fat, etc. Once I attained these goals I would then relax my intent.

I never thought that approaching any age would change me. But my routine took on a whole different attitude in the year approaching my 50th birthday. I DON’T MISS!

What strikes me now, and I see this in my senior clients is that my purpose has changed dramatically.

My seniors are amongst the most loyal clients that I have. It takes a mountain for them to cancel an appointment. They’re not concerned about bigger biceps, they’re not signed up for any races. They are very happy to come into the gym get their workout in and then get on with their lives. THEY DON’T MISS.

So what is different? Certainly, even if we don’t have full time jobs we still have schedules and obligations. It’s true just ask anyone who is retired, and they will tell you that they are busier now than when they worked.

Priorities have changed. And along with them so has my outlook on health & fitness. I still enter races, and oh yes I’m still very concerned with my aesthetics.

But now when I enter races it’s much more about having fun, rather than faster times, and being with the community that I enjoy so much.

Currently my oldest client is 86. She sees me 3 times a week and plays golf twice a week. I train several people in their 70’s and a few in their 80’s. They just want to be the best they can be for where they are in their lives. They are very happy to be using 2, 3 or 5 lb weights.

They are grateful for every day.

I’m a couple of decades away from these folks but I can relate more and more to what is most important in their lives.

Don’t get me wrong I still want to be in front of my friends at the finish line. And I still peek over to see how much weight my contemporaries are lifting.

But as long as I am exercising most days of the week then I am satisfied with where I am. I know that I am doing all that I can do to enjoy MY life and be as fit as possible.

We are all somewhere in the continuum of life. And the same goes for the level and intent of our health & fitness.

So what about you? And I realize that this question goes out to those who have been at this game for a long time. Has life changed your perspective concerning your goals? Are you as competitive as you use to be? As long as you are active there really isn’t a wrong answer to this.

For more Health & Fitness please visit our ongoing blog at


Why Am I So Tired????

October 25, 2009

My alarm goes off at 4:10am. My first appointment of the day is at 5:30am. My last will end at 7pm. I make my way to bed by 9:30pm and then repeat this process for the next 5 days. This has been my schedule for the last 10 years. Funny thing is although this may seem like a lot. I know quite a few people who work hours like this. In fact we Americans work more hours and take less vacations than other westernized countries.

We are workers. We put in the hours. Aren’t we told that this is what it takes to be successful? Aren’t most of the successful people you know doing just this?

If I don’t get to bed by 9:30 and get the sleep I need, then I may not feel the effects the next day. But by the time the end of the week comes, I’m a zombie.

When I feel myself struggling towards the end of the week, because I haven’t gotten enough sleep. I will often take a nap in the afternoon. Now I realize that a lot of people don’t have this luxury. But a 20 to 30 minute rest is all it takes to recharge your body.

Sleeping is overrated!! Not really. I’ve known many college students that have come down with colds right after final exams. Why is this? Well they have been spending many nights before their tests studying to ready themselves for that one day. Sleep deprivation breaks down your immune system, hence the cold.

Not only does missed sleep effect your immune system but it can also decrease your

  • Motivation
  • Patience
  • Judgment
  • Performance
  • And much more

Although, this is a general guideline and needs vary from person to person. Research done at the Scripps Clinic Sleep Center in La Jolla, Calif., has shown that 6.5 to 7.5 hours of sleep a night is ideal.

So what about you? How much sleep do you get? How much do you think you require? How do you feel if you haven’t gotten enough sleep? What can you do to change this? (hint: the answer isn’t more caffeine!)

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

How Do You Train?

October 15, 2009

I train a lot of people. Some have events they are working towards. Some have very specific goals (weight loss, balance, specific body parts they want to improve).

Yet quite a few just want to be as well-conditioned as they can be.

When I first began to train others as an occupation the workouts were very “straight sets” based. This is how bodybuilders train. They do a set of a particular movement, rest, and then do another set of the same movement. We would repeat this process for each exercise and body part that we were working.

As I have evolved as a trainer I use circuit training as a rule. This especially suits my clients who are seeking out a higher level of conditioning.

A typical workout goes like this:

We will begin with an appropriate aerobic warm-up and then a stretching period to loosen up their body. And then it’s off to the races.

A session is about an hour and in that time I can work every major body part for multiple sets. We move from one exercise to another with little rest. I can do this by using opposing muscle groups or combining upper body to lower body.

An example of this would be to do a chest press into a lat pulldown right into a leg curl and then repeat. The client’s chest is resting while they are working on their back and then legs.

After a series like this I will typically put them on a cardio machine for 1 to 2 minutes at a moderate to high level. Their body isn’t getting any resistance placed on it but their hearts are working hard.

We then move on to the next series of resistance moves.

I’m often asked “what’s the rush?”

So what does this type of training do in a functional manner in the world outside of the gym?

All of my clients are driven, active people. Whether, this is at their job, their social life or as their lifestyle. What we are doing in the gym is conditioning their bodies for the stress that is placed upon it during their daily activities.

I work with grandparents who now have no problem keeping up with their grandchildren.

I work with heads of corporations who can lead by example. Because they can work circles around most of their younger executives due to their conditioning.

And I also train those who are at mid-life. They are looking ahead towards the rest of their lives and want to take their health and fitness into their own hands, before some disease that could have been prevented by exercise comes knocking on their door.

I would like you to ask yourself. How do I train? What am I training for? Do the two interconnect? Are you just spinning your wheels in the gym doing the same movements time after time?

Do you have any questions that you would like to ask me about what you are doing? Can I help you problem solve around a plateau?

As always I am at your service if you need any help. Just ask.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

Trail vs Road??

October 11, 2009

The race began as we ran down the trail into the desert. Down into the washes and then back out, down and then back out. The washes were a mix of sand and rock they ranged from about 3 to 8 feet deep. This action repeated itself 3 or 4 times until the trail leveled out. Just as I get my bearings my ankle turns on a rock and I see ground in front of me there’s barely enough time to put my hands out to protect myself. As I’m falling I brush up against someone and then notice him falling beside me to my right. I look back quickly to see if I’m about to be stepped on by any of the other runners. The closest ones are about 6 feet away. No time to sit, up and keep running. I go by the fellow that I took down still lying there. I have to keep running.

A quick inventory check comes up with a bloodied thumb and scraped up leg. No big deal.

I love trail running. For that matter I really enjoy mountain biking over road for the same reason. Lack of predictability.

And although I find myself on the road more times than on the trail during my training, there is nothing like being in a natural environment away from cars and images of urban life.

Nature abounds. Whether I am riding my bike in the desert or trail running in a forest. The connection to nature is unquestionable. Along with that we then have to react to what it gives us.

When I run on the street I can depend on my foot strikes landing flat. When I run or bike on trails there is not much time for daydreaming. I must stay on task. Each next step may not land so evenly.

That’s the fun part. Not knowing.

So what about you? Where do you prefer to train? As long as you are active there is no right or wrong answer to this question.

Does life force you into the gym? Do you enjoy the camaraderie of weekly bike rides? Or would you rather the solitude of hiking alone on a mountain range?

For more Health and Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

Meta WHAT?!?!?!

October 4, 2009

When we talk about metabolism and metabolic rate the first thing that comes to mind is energy. We all know people who have “slower” (gain weight easy) and others who have “fast” (can almost eat whatever they want without gaining) metabolisms.

But how do you measure this? Is there a numeric scale?

The answer to what your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is comes down to how many calories you need to survive to maintain your weight.

And yes once you attain that number you then apply your activity level and then that changes your calorie needs to what you require.

Up until recently in order to get an accurate number you would spend time in an atmospheric controlled chamber known as a calorimeter. The amount of heat that you produced at rest would then be measured. Problem is this chamber was quite expensive. So it was very difficult to find one.

Technology is a wonderful thing. Recently, a hand held device has come on the market. This device is called a MetaCheck and it can calculate your RMR in about 10 minutes. You breathe into its mouthpiece where lung gases are collected and their oxygen content analyzed. Formulas are applied and your answer is given in calorie requirements.

So why is Resting Metabolism so important? Don’t we speed it up through exercise?

Our metabolism absolutely increases while we are active. But we don’t spend the bulk of hour 24 hour day exercising. Most people burn 70 to 80% of their calories at rest.

So how does this apply to weight loss?

Sometimes weight loss plateaus occur because excessive calorie restriction causes your metabolism to slow down to conserve energy. When you know your RMR then your diet can be adjusted so that the maximal amount of calories can be taken in without risking weight gain.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

I Know EVERYTHING……Really???

October 1, 2009

As trainers we are looked at as the ones who have all the answers to your questions regarding health & fitness.

Well, here’s the bad news. Not really.

Although I have met many that will act like and tell you that they don’t have anymore to learn. I am very skeptical of anyone who has all the answers. Personally, I hope I never stop learning.

I was asked today by another trainer about metabolic rate, and how to measure metabolism. He was with one of his clients and they were wrestling with different ideas.

I threw in some ideas of my own including measuring the thyroid. But that turns out to not be exactly correct either. So I went home and started searching the web. (I’ll give you the answer in my next posting)

Point is. Beware of those who put on the façade of the “all knowing”. I have far more respect for those who are able to ask questions rather than give false answers.

We may be called “gurus” and “experts” and certainly a lot of us have higher educations and are well equipped to answer most of the questions that come our way. But every once in a while….

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at