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I hope that you will be able to use the information provided to make educated decisions about your health and fitness goals. All questions are welcome, so please ask! Also feel free to go to my website and learn more about my company.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Muscle Imbalance: Shortened vs Tense

You may have heard someone say that their muscles are tight, or that they have poor posture and in some cases you may have heard the term atrophy. Visually all these conditions look about the same. One muscle might look shorter than the other, one muscle may look bulkier than the other and in the case of posture; the person doesn't appear upright either down below the waist or above the waist. In worst case scenarios it is even evident in the midsection. Muscle tightness, poor posture and atrophy can be attributed to many reasons but each has a root cause which leads to its manifestation. I will give you an example in which they all appear to be the same but the root cause is different. Muscle tightness could be associated to daily behaviors, lack of stretching or over straining and in some cases all of the above. Poor posture could also be attributed to the previous mentioned situations with the possibility of paralysis or injury or paralysis due to injury. Atrophy just like poor posture could be the result of little to no use of certain muscles as well as previously mentioned an injury. Posture and atrophy can be do to the over use and under use of the antagonist muscle. A perfect example of this is working out on your biceps leading to bigger anterior arms. Then neglecting the antagonist muscle in this case the triceps with little to no exercise in comparison. The scenario I just described often results in a posture which resembles a person walking like a guerrilla. The individual appears to be trying to show off by walking with his arms bent as if trying to demonstrate that they have enormous arms. The reality here is that they probably don't stretch the biceps and they are overpowering the triceps by putting to much emphasis on biceps training thus leading to a constant flexed posture of the arms. These same folks often walk with their palms facing behind them rather than to their side pockets. Don't let this happen to you!

Unless there are physiological reasons for poor posture such as paralysis or muscle injury which led to a permanent unbalanced appearance there are many things you can do to prevent the problem from getting worse. Here are a  few solutions I can suggest to help resolve issues related to poor posture and muscle tightness.  Stretch the muscles which have been shortened as a result of adopted lifestyle behaviors such as long hours of sitting behind a desk, extensive hours of driving and ergonomically incorrect positions of your car seat or desk arrangements. Educate yourself or hire a fitness professional to learn how to balance out your exercise routine so that you aren't placing to much emphasis on certain muscle groups while neglecting others. Get back to the basics and learn proper movement based on the situations you are faced with on a regular basis to prevent injury. Create and find opportunities to get your body to go through the various ranges of motions possible by all the joints in your body. Adopt a daily regimen of exercises which counter the effects of your daily behaviors (ex. Cobra Stretch to extend your arms, strengthen your glutes and stretch the frontal midsection as well as hips.)
The benefits of adopting good patterns is equivalent to the benefit of a good diet, getting enough rest and getting your daily exercise. You reduce the possibility unnecessary discomfort and a positive self-image. You will appear more confident and you will feel healthier. Like Nike says, 'Just Do It'!
Below are some useful charts. Take advantage of gaining knowledge and using it to your advantage. If you have further questions or need serious help, you can e-mail me at: 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Maximizing Your Shoulder Training Program

I've shared with you many things throughout the year. A lot of it focuses on doing things right and watching out for things that can cause more damage rather than benefits. I've talked about eliciting exercises that work the body as a unit rather than trying to isolate a single muscle. 
The shoulders are a muscle that can make you look like you work out or make you look like you aren't doing anything to address them. Broad shoulders look very attractive with a suit. When wearing a tank top they can make you look flimsy and silly if they have no bulk and definition. Throughout my nearly 17 years in the industry I have been to several seminars put on by organizations well recognized and respected in the fitness industry. I always enjoyed taking the courses which would focus on what's right and what's wrong about an exercise. There was a lot of emphasis on exercises that didn't make any sense either because they didn't actually work the muscles all those bodybuilding magazines claim or they the risk to benefit ratio was just way to high.
There are many exercises that are commonly done at the gym and those include dumbbell (or cable) lateral, anterior and posterior raises. Then you have the dumbbell shoulder press, reverse flyes and the upright rows. Let me not forget to mention that you also have an assortment of selectorized equipment utilizing plates, cables, air pressure and so on. The machines I am going to tell you right now are the most completely useless piece of equipment you could spent time working on. Better yet let me use the words waste your time. Machines are great for rehabilitation if anything at all but from a functional perspective they have absolutely no functional but rather dysfunctional benefits. Resistance bands may be useful since they are similar in function to dumbbells but if you are looking into investing on a piece of equipment based on life of use then these are necessarily a good choice because they often snap without warning. 
There is still another question to consider. Is it okay to perform it sitting? There may be some undue stress on the spine by doing a seated dumbbell or barbell shoulder presses. That is another story of itself. I would highly recommend you do them standing since the odds are that if this type of movement is ever required of you it will almost undoubtedly require you to do it standing in a real life situation unless you are confined to a wheelchair. 
So what are my recommendations. Based on the most recent research conducted by the American Council on Exercise, I will still argue that the best exercises to target the shoulders would be the Standing Dumbbell (or Barbell or Kettlebell) Shoulder Press, the Standing Dumbbell (or Barbell or Kettlebell) Bent-Over Row and the Standing Bent-Over Dumbbell Raises. You may find it boring to do these exercises over and over again but what good would it do for you to do exercises which are going to give you little to no benefit. You may want to do a few exercises that work the shoulders as a form of recovery and to change it up but don't do them very often if your goal is to have a nice set of well defined broad shoulders. 

I thought I should mention that the common upright row you see in fitness and bodybuilding magazines and most fitness books are a complete waste of time. Regardless of the type of equipment you use, this exercise has been repeatedly proven to be a waste of time according to years of research rather than someone's personal feelings. Yes, you see them in Arnold Schwarzenegger's books and so forth but that doesn't make it right. The world used to believe that you would fall off the earth if you sailed to far out into the ocean because they thought the planet was flat or that the sun revolved around the earth because it appeared that way. Well guess what? We found out that wasn't true and it cost some people there life when they were right. Just because the majority of the people ignorantly believed those falsehoods to be true doesn't make it a fact. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

How to Identify Heat Stroke

The heat has been unforgiving this summer. Many of you may have heard in the media or through a casual conversation of the potential for a severe water drought. You may have received a notice advising you of potential fee hikes during peak hours of the day. You may have even been told there may be a hike in your utility bill if you don't reduce personal use of energy during certain times of the day. Then you watch the news and hear about floods going on in other parts of the country.
The heat for some has become an opportunity to spend more time outdoors. Although we hear of terms like heat illness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and so forth you may not understand the difference. Heat Stroke is more likely to effect those involved in intense outdoor activities and those age 50 or older. Do you know what to look for when someone is suffering a heat stroke? I want to give you some insight on this matter.

WebMD identifies Heat Stroke as:

The hallmark symptom of heat stroke is a core body temperature above 105 degrees Fahrenheit. But fainting may be the first sign.

Other symptoms may include:
Throbbing headache
Dizziness and light-headedness
Lack of sweating despite the heat
Red, hot, and dry skin
Muscle weakness or cramps
Nausea and vomiting
Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
Rapid, shallow breathing
Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering

What you should do if you or someone you know is suffering from a heat stroke: 
  • Call 911 first if possible (if not, by following these steps you may save a life. Call 911 as you proceed)
  • Have the person lie down on their back
  • Move the person to shaded area if outdoors or to an air conditioned room if indoors. Use a fan as an alternative or if someone else is present have them use a piece of card board or similar item to use as a manual fan to promote cooling air.
  • Remove unnecessary clothing if needed
  • Use a cool wet towel, sponge or water to help reduce the body temperature 
  • Use wet towels or similar items like ice packs to reduce body temperature by placing them at the back of the neck, arm pits, back and groin area.
  • You can also immerse the person in a tub filled with cool water but make sure the level of water is not so high you drown the victim. 
  • Let emergency staff take over once they arrive. 
Always be aware of your environment, current weather conditions and those around you. You could be saving someone's life as well as they can be saving your life if you suddenly start to feel any of the symptoms. Do be afraid to ask for help. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Hot Body Workout to Fit Hot Weather

If you're like me you probably don't care about being around a crowd of people while working out. As a matter a fact you may find it quite annoying trying to get a decent workout when the gym is full of people because you can't get to anything. You want to have a normal rhythm but it's quite impossible when everything you need is being used by someone else. Even worse, there is a group a folks working their mouths out more than their bodies as they surround the piece of equipment you need. Then there is the noisy guerrilla who feels it is their moral obligation to drop the weights so you could see he just repped a pair of 100 lb dumbbells. 
Well if you're not to over self-conscious about your environment, you could take advantage of working out at a local park. There are some parks that have small trails which can be utilized to give an extra zap to your cardio workout. Along my routes are several parks that fit this description. If anything there may be some street slopes which are similar to trails and can be taken advantage of to add intensity to your regimen. If you have a creative mind you can come up with an awesome workout at any level of intensity to add different types of challenges. I've talked about the TRX Suspension Trainer in the past. I mentioned to you that it's light weight and can be used just about anywhere. I would highly recommend you get yourself one as well as a few resistance bands. You can carry this with you as you get around the park, head up the hill or run up a set of stairs. You don't necessarily have to run if you aren't fit enough. You could start out by alternating some fast walking with a combo of strength exercises every 20 or 30 seconds. 
Here is an example of what you can do with just yourself and a TRX. Fast walk (jog or run) for about 20 seconds, stop and do a set of push-ups to failure, repeat you fast walk and do another exercise like 12 - 20 body weight squats, and continue. Remember to add some core exercises. You could jog, do some Pull-Ups with your TRX and then a set of isometric Planks for the next 20 seconds and so forth. The only limit is your imagination and your will to continue. Do you have it in you?

To Purchase a TRX Suspension Trainer which comes with a Guide Click Here: TRX Suspension Trainer