Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

Ice, Ice Baby!!!…….What do you do for recovery??

August 17, 2012

This will be the first in a series about recovery modalities. What assists your muscles during the recovery phase so that they can be ready for another workout in order to continue to increase your fitness levels?

My muscles are sore!!! ……Well how does that happen and what can you do about it?

DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is the pain felt in muscles several hours to days after strenuous exercise. DOMS is the result of ruptures within the muscle, as well as damage to the muscle’s connective tissue.

So what can you do about it?

ICE, ICE, ICE!!!!!!

I have made this recommendation to those suffering countless times. It shocks me when someone comes in the gym complaining of an injury. I ask them if they’ve iced and they just look at me with a distant stare.

But it really can be that simple.

The application of cold for the treatment of injury is widespread in sports medicine today.  Ice applied to the injured area will help prevent or reduce swelling. Which then will allow the tissues and muscle to repair quicker than if it is still fighting off the inflammation first. Ice packs, ice massage, gel packs can all be used to reduce inflammation. Hence reduce the soreness you are feeling and then allowing you to hit it hard in the weight room quicker than if you don’t bring the inflammation down.

Ice should be left in place for approximately 15-20 minutes. You won’t get any additional effect by applying it any longer.

In the future we will explore the use of heat and moist heat when recovering from one workout and getting ready for the next.

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

www.longevitypt.com

Got Your Back????

May 31, 2011

How’s your neck feel? How about the top of your shoulders? Do you have a tightness between your shoulder blades?

Well it turns out your not alone.

In the last couple of years I’ve had several of the executives I train complain of these symptoms. Even to the point of seeking out medical advice.

I only bring up that they’re executives because this is one of a few things that these people have in common. They sit at a desk in front of a computer. Other common traits are that they are in high stress occupations. And another is that they workout every chance that they can (very frequently). You would think that the latter would be their saving grace.

When it comes to weight training balance is what you want to strive for. You see the one body part you don’t want to forget about is your BACK. The reason that a lot of people who do resistance training suffer with upper back problems is that they forget to include back exercises. The tone and muscle that is made, especially with chest moves pulls your shoulders in and forward. Combine this with sitting at a desk and not taking the time to consider correct posture and you’ve got the formula for a tight neck and shoulders…..OF COURSE!!!

But take time to strengthen your back and you can counteract this.

In a previous post I listed chest and back as the 2 upper body parts to always train. But you must include your back both upper and lower. Lowers should be trained with your ab moves to make it a complete core workout. And upper back is just as important due to its connection with your posture.

Back exercises include dumbbell rows, lat pulldowns and pullovers and the list goes on and on. There are plenty of movements to perform so that you can counter the effect your other upper body training is doing to your posture.

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

www.longevitypt.com

Are You Experienced???

May 17, 2011

Are you experienced?

Not long after I moved to Phoenix and joined those who would climb the local mountains, did I find myself remarking about other “novice” hikers. You know what I mean. When you see the helicopters circling Camelback or Piestewa Peak Mountains don’t you knee jerk in thought and say to yourself, “dumb tourist” or “first time hiker” almost in disgust?

Last October I was running the “Camelback Loop”. (run from one parking area to the other and then up one side of the mountain and down the other to the original spot where we began). It was a great day for me. Everything felt really good. I was on FIRE! Once on the mountain especially as I was coming down, dodging hikers, wondering why they were in my way. A stumble here and a stumble there but recovering every time. I was the King!…..Until about 10 yards from the end. I dodged around the last hiker, and my right foot caught a rock. When I pushed off of another with my left I heard my hamstring pop and I landed hard off trail. It took about 20 minutes for me to get up and limp away. Aggressive Physical Therapy for the next week allowed me to walk upright again. It would be another month before I could hike and a second month before I could run again.

Are you experienced?

In the past couple of months the news has been sprinkled with athletic tragedy. Sally Meyerhoff an experienced and accomplished athlete lost her life while biking. Clint McHale lost his while rock climbing at Camelback Mountain.

There are simple rules of the road to follow when biking and running on the streets. Wheels go with wheels (in other words, bikes should be riding in the same direction as cars) and runners should be running, facing traffic. Stop at traffic signs. These should be easy to follow yet we still find situations where we choose to play with the “edge” and push ourselves into danger zones.

What is it in our mind set that allows us to push the edge no matter the consequence but then fault others as if we should be immune to the same scrutiny? Is it that magical line that takes us from safety to danger that is alluring?  Is it in the name of that higher level of competition that we play with this?

I’m certainly not sure of the answers. But I am very aware of the fact that it could be me or any one of us that could be getting a free helicopter ride off the mountain. I have often been heard to say during training sessions “you have to train so that you can train another day”.

I certainly do not want to hear your name in the news tomorrow. And I have no intent in you hearing mine. Please be careful. Enjoy this environment that we live and play in. And respect it as well.

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

www.longevitypt.com

Napping!!!

April 20, 2011

Napping. Yes what we’re talking about is that brief time period we have when we lie down during the course of our day to recharge our body’s batteries. What?!?!?! You mean you don’t NAP? Maybe you should.

We are told that it is best to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. But the reality is that most of us live very busy lives. It is more likely that we are getting 6 to 7 hours of sleep and maybe even less. The average sleep duration is now almost 2 hours shorter per night than it was 50 years ago. Although this may not seem like a significant difference when we continually sleep this way we’re actually causing a “sleep debt”. Which can then show up as poor physical health, increased stress and emotional instability. Sleeping less has been linked to increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular problems.

Benefits of napping include:

  • Relaxation
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Increased alertness
  • Improved mood
  • Improved performance, including quicker reaction time, better memory, less confusion, and fewer accidents and mistakes

So how long should you nap? And is there an ideal time of day to do this?

Naps should be kept short. 15 to 30 minutes is optimal. Napping longer does have its benefits but you can also risk disrupting your sleep later in the evening. As far as what time of day, many studies have been completed and there are many variables to be considered. But typically after lunch our bodies go through what is known as a “post-lunch dip” in wakefulness. This is a time when sleep propensity is at its highest. So if you can the ideal time would be an hour and a half to two hours after lunch. This is the time that you can recharge your batteries in order to end your day with a flourish of energy.

Truth be told due to the hours I sometimes work. I’ve been known to sneak out to my truck even at a late morning hour and grab 15 minutes in order to refresh. So when the need hits don’t fear the nap. Embrace it! It’ll do your body good!

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

www.longevitypt.com

Overtraining – Is This You?

April 5, 2011

How many times a week do you workout? Notice that I said times not days. If you’re doing a class in one part of your day and then running for a period of time or lifting weights during another part of your day then you’re working out more than once in that day. Count these, not the days. How many days a week do you take off?

How do you feel when you wake up the morning after a workout? Are you still tired? Have you become a little more irritable? Are your legs feeling heavy when you’re going for your next run or workout? If any of this sounds familiar you may be suffering from overtraining.

In a very detailed paper published by the School of Physiotherapy at Curtin University, they define over training as – “an imbalance between training/competition versus recovery. Alternatively stated, it is too much training or competition combined with too little time for regeneration.” They list symptoms among others as “waking unrefreshed, loss of competitive drive, injury, muscle soreness and joint pain.”

Butler Universities Adrian Shepard goes a little further and lists other symptoms as

  • Decrease in performance
  • Increase in resting heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increased muscle fatigue, disturbed sleep patterns
  • Depression, irritability, apathy and low self-esteem

Dr William Kraus a cardiologist at Duke University who studies exercise adds that “you just feel bad. The spark is gone.”

Dr Steven Keteyian, director of preventative cardiology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit says ‘there’s another trap, athletes are obsessed and gullible. They will do anything they can to improve their performance and they don’t know when to stop.”

As many of my clients have heard from me, the real work happens after the training ends. It begins with the recovery process. When the body has a chance to rejuvenate itself and prepare for the next load that is about to be delivered. If your body does not get this time to rest then you will continue to tear it down and it will NOT have a chance to increase its condition, and you can risk injury.

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

www.longevitypt.com

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Upper Body Training

November 1, 2010

Just like everyone else I’m in a time crunch to get my workouts in. In the last year I have gone from circuit training to splitting up my body parts into separate days. Well as you can imagine even for someone who lives in a gym this can be time consuming.

But since I try to be more of a listener in order to be a learner, I have been taught that in a pinch I really only need to do two body parts per week for my upper body. Chest and back.

When working on my chest I am also indirectly using my tricep muscles. When working on my back I am also using my biceps. There are many weeks that go by that I only have time to do these groups and for sure my arms have not suffered.

This is how it works. The function of your tricep muscles is to extend your elbow. So every time I complete a pressing movement I am also contracting my triceps. Since the function of your bicep is to bend your elbow, every time you do a rowing motion you are also using your biceps.

So how about you? If you are doing resistance training how do you fit it into your schedule? Do you circuit, or like me do you hit different muscle groups? What is your efficiency level like in the gym? Are you a gabber or do you zone every distraction out, get your work done and then out the door so you can enjoy the rest of your life?

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

www.longevitypt.com

Compression for Increased Running Performance

October 12, 2010

There never seems to be an end to the “latest and greatest”.

Recently compression clothing have been getting some attention in endurance events. Certainly compression stockings have been used to help circulation in medical environments for a long time. In fact graduated compression stockings were initially designed in a clinical environment to increase blood flow. So wouldn’t it make sense that athletes could also use this technology to their advantage?

Sports apparel companies market a variety of compression clothing towards athletes touting a number of performance and recovery benefits.

Could this assist athletes in performance and recovery? Is this real or just a matter of perception? Participants involved in compression studies expressed feelings of support when running.

 

So what does the research say?

In an article written in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. The researchers concluded that data suggests that wearing compression garments in the recovery from exercise may alter the inflammatory response to damage and accelerate the process inside of the muscle.

And what about different grades of compression?

Until recently no studies were done on whether a heavier grade of compression was more beneficial than a lighter grade. In an article published by the Journal of Sports Sciences this past year researchers applied 3 different grades of compression on 15 endurance athletes. Rates of perceived exertion, muscle soreness and time to exhaustion were unaffected by the various grades. Overall there was NO difference in performance.

I’m not sure about you, but when I run I don’t like clothing that feels tight up against my skin. If I were to try these garments out I would try a lower grade one first and if I didn’t get the desired response I would try them again increasing the grade of compression.

So what about you? Have you tried these garments? What did you think? Have you tried any other of the “latest and greatest” products that are on the market? What has been your experience?

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

www.Longevitypt.com

When Should I Get My Next Physical Exam?

July 12, 2010

Many years ago a very good female friend of mine informed me that she hadn’t been to her gynecologist in years for a check up because she was afraid to be weighed. I almost fell off of my chair. This woman is someone who is very lean and works out quite a bit. In fact her appearance is of someone who could use to gain a few pounds.

When I turned 40 I began to have annual physical exams. It was because of a routine blood test that it was found that I had an elevated enzyme count that then led to the finding of a “pre-existing” condition that now has to be monitored every 6 months. I’m fine and if anything I’m in better shape now than I was 20 yrs ago.

What is bothersome is that I know that there are a lot of people out there like my friend who are not being checked for frivolous reasons.

The Penn State Hershey Medical Center states that the purpose of regular physical exams include

  • Screen for diseases
  • Assess risk of future medical problems
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle
  • Update vaccinations

It is recommended that everyone has two physical exams in their 20’s. For women a complete breast exam should be done every 3 years between the ages of 20-40. And pelvic exams and pap smears should be done every 1-2 years.

In our 40’s it is recommended that we have physicals every 1 to 5 years depending on what your doctor recommends and what the previous findings were. For women breast exams should be done annually.

And after the age of 65 even more extensive testing should take place.

There are many “silent killers” out there, diagnosis that you might have but don’t realize until they rear their ugly heads and then it may be too late.

So, how about you? When was the last time you were in your doctor’s office for a check up? if you haven’t been to your doctor in too many years, pick up the phone. If not for you, how about for those that are depending on you to live a healthy and fulfilled life.

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

www.longevitypt.com

Affects of Alcohol on Exercise

July 1, 2010

With alcohol being the most common drug of choice one has to wonder what effects it has on your athletic performance.

Sorry folks but this blog has to be written.

For the most part the people that I run into in the gym seem to have their acts together as far as their alcohol consumption is involved. But every once in a while during an early morning workout I’ll catch a whiff of someone’s partying the night before.

Now far be it for me to judge anyone on how they use their down time to kick back and relax. But if your goals include chasing your PR’s and pushing your body as far as it can go then realize that your nutritional intake includes EVERYTHING you digest including what you drink.

In a position statement issued by the American College of Sports Medicine, the ACSM states that “alcohol appears to have little or no beneficial effect on the metabolic and physiological responses to exercise. Further, in those studies reporting significant effects, the change appears to be detrimental to performance.”

Research at the University of Georgia states that-

Alcohol will not improve muscular work capacity and results in:

  • Decrease in overall performance levels
  • Slowed running and cycling times
  • Faster fatigue during high-intensity exercise

Adequate hydration is crucial to optimal performance. The diuretic property of alcohol can result in:

  • Dehydration and significantly reduced aerobic performance
  • Impaired 800 and 1500 meter run times
  • Increased health risks during prolonged exercise in hot environments

Ok so you don’t drink before you go to the gym or before your run. What about the day after. The same research as above showed that “drinking on the day or night before athletic activity hinders physical conditioning progress, and exercising with a hangover has been shown to significantly decrease performance capacity by as much as 11%”

So, ok I hear it now. “Hey I drink and I’m doing just great”. Well think about how much better you would be doing if you didn’t.

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

www.longevitypt.com

SURRENDER = STRENGTH

January 14, 2010

I have always been surprised that I have had more female clients than male. Such is the case with most of the Personal Trainers that I know.

Even when I worked in the commercial gyms. I found women far more receptive to getting help than men.

Whenever I approached a male member of the gym about training they would very quickly brush me off, and claim. “I know what I’m doing!” And then give me some story about how they used to do this or they used to do that.

Surrender = Strength

The women and men I worked with showed increased improvement. The men that did not want the help, for the most part stayed at the same level.

We could go on and on about male vs female ego. But suffice it to say that those that do not surrender themselves to experts in the fields in which they are learners have a difficult task at hand.

There isn’t a pro athlete, male or female who does not use a trainer. Most trainers I know workout with a partner. We all know the power behind having someone else push us past our own limits.

Trainers, what is your experience with this? Is it gender related?

Non-trainers, do you have a hard time asking for help? If you are using a trainer, do you see the difference in your results compared to when you didn’t use a trainer?

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

www.longevitypt.com