Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

I LOVE Push-Ups!!!

November 8, 2009

I love push-ups! Anyone that trains with me can tell you so. As soon as someone enters the Longevity Personal Training world my clients learn how to do them and also learn to expect them in their workouts.

Push-ups have become the measuring tool of upper body strength. They test the whole body. While doing a push-up you engage your arms, chest, abdomen, hips and legs. The act of lifting your own body weight can be taxing for even the very fit.

There are many ways that you can do push-ups in order to change their difficulty. Some of my seniors simply push off of a wall. Most of my clients do a standard push-up. And a few brave souls find themselves with their hands on top of a medicine ball and their toes on top of a Swiss Ball.

Push-ups can be done in almost any setting, whether you are in a gym or in a hotel room.

Many times when I have a day that I don’t have the time to get a full workout in, I can be seen dashing off to a corner of the gym to knock off another set of 25.

Push-ups give you NO reason not to do some type of strength training during your day.

I LOVE Push-Ups!

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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

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

Gym Etiquette – Part 1 (because I’m sure that the rant will not end here)

September 24, 2009

What happens to people when they enter the gym? I know I’m about to generalize here, but really just because the gym is not your home doesn’t mean you should treat it as if it is a dumping ground.

For the most part gym members are fairly attentive to their behavior. But on the other hand there are those who just can’t seem to clean up after themselves, put their weights away or throw their trash in the trash cans.

I can’t tell you how many times I have walked up to a piece of equipment in order to get it ready for my client to use and find it covered with the last person’s sweat. Does it really take that much of an effort to wipe down a bench or cardio machine that you have just used? How do you feel when you approach a machine and find it in this state?

I’ve been working in gyms for many years now. I haven’t been in one gym that doesn’t have a designated area for each piece of equipment. Yet at any given time it seems that I still have to go to great lengths to find the right Swiss ball, correct dumbbell or have to look behind some other piece of equipment or find a mat.

Many times I start my day early enough that I open up the gym that I work out of. I walked in yesterday and by the time I walked from one end to the other I must have picked up 8 water bottles that had been left behind (yes not thrown out). Occasionally clothes are left behind (and yes, not in the locker room), iPods, and other personal effects. What would your mother say!?!?!?!

And by the way if you are a trainer reading this, then you have as much responsibility to keeping the gym clean as your clients!

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

Small Races vs Large Races

September 6, 2009

Today I had the opportunity to run in the Annual Jerome Hill Climb. There might have been 150 runners in attendance. The weather was on the cool side and although the sun was a bit bright, it was a great climate for a race.

I’ve been entering races now for 26 years. I’ve been in races of all sizes. From large ones that have 30,000 participants to others who barely pull together 100. In fact I was in one, in New Jersey where I think that maybe there was 20 of us that lined up at the starting line.

Point being, I really enjoy the smaller runs. The allure that the bigger runs have with their media hype will certainly pique my curiosity in the future. But today when the starter stood in front and yelled GO! And nobody had to worry about nudging anyone out of the way when we started. Or the fact that I could run, right from the start instead of walking for 15 minutes before everyone had a chance to spread out and then run.

Well today reminded me of why I love entering into races, especially the local sponsored, locally organized ones. The races that at the end you’re not inundated with advertisements, your surrounded by people who just want to run, who give you an acknowledging nod or smile, because you are part of a community.

Next time you’re planning to do an event, please consider the ones your local organizers are putting on. Maybe this year instead of doing the Rock n Roll Marathon you look into the Lost Dutchman Marathon. I’ll bet you’ll run just as hard.

OH SH**……That Feels Good!!!!

August 30, 2009

Recent studies have concluded that the more aggressively you express yourself verbally while going through discomfort, the easier it is to withstand it.

During an experiment that was being held at Keele University in the U.K. by psychologist Richard Stephens, students held one hand in a bucket of ice water for as long as they could – a common test for pain tolerance. While their hands were in the water, they were told to say curse words. The most common words used were “f-ck” and “sh-t”. They then put the other hand in and used words such as “brown” and “square”.

Men were able to leave their hands in an average of 30% longer when swearing and women 44% longer.

Stephens notes that some experiments have linked pain tolerance and aggression. So if cursing increases aggression it may also alleviate hurt.

So next time you have one more interval to do on the track that you just can’t get through or one more rep to push out beyond fatigue. Let it all out!

On second thought you may want to look around first before you offend anyone close by.

Running Uphill Vs Downhill- Today’s Workout

August 23, 2009

This morning my workout partner and I ran South Mountain. We did this in preparation for the Jerome Hill Climb which is going to be held in a couple of weeks. As you can guess both of these are steep up hill (all the way) runs. Although I was pleased with my conditioning and the time it took us to complete this run, there was one aspect that really stood out, and surprised me. While we were running the hills of the first half my legs were able to kick into gear and I was able to advance much quicker than my running mate. Anytime we leveled off and the grade changed (including the 2nd half which is all downhill) he was far and away the stronger runner. Now I realize that we use different muscles going up than we do going down. But I can’t imagine that my quads were that much weaker for him to just blow right past me, when, while we were going up I was able to do the same to him. As a trainer I know that I can manipulate my muscle groups so that I can increase my strength in one area over the other. But I’m curious, have you experienced this as well? What have you done to equalize the strength in your legs? Did you change the way you ran the downhill? Was your technique different?

Stretching…..Do You???

August 15, 2009

This week I had a conversation with a fellow that I have been training for several years. In the past year he has stepped up his running and in fact is going to join our team for next year’s Ragnar Relay. I was taken back when he told me that he didn’t stretch after his runs. After some thought I realized that this was actually pretty common. Stretching after running should be as automatic as running itself. Not having enough time is not a good enough reason to not stretch. After all it really doesn’t have to take any more than 3 to 4 minutes to complete. After running I religiously put my knees through their full range of motion by doing 10 squats then do a standing quad stretch for 30 seconds each. After this, what is left is to stretch my hamstrings, again for 30 seconds each. This really assists in stopping a lot of the soreness that I would feel had I not gone through this routine. What do you do after running? Do you have a different routine that you follow? What can you share with the rest of us to assist in our recovery?