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Push/Pull Split Training

Posted on June 3, 2018 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)


For many in the over 40 population, fitness activity is undertaken for the sole purposes of making significant improvements in functional ability to offset the physiological challenges that occur with aging. Adopting a regular fitness program has shown to decrease the risk of conditions such as: obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety and diabetes. However, a small percentage in this demographic also aspire to make significant improvements in muscle mass and body composition. Although the advent of sarcopenia (loss of skeletal muscle mass) is much more prevalent after age twenty-five, nearly everyone can improve their physique if they embrace scientific training principles. Their desire to push past plateaus and optimize their genetic potential leads them to seek out effective training programs.


The purpose of this article is not to present a be-all end-all method to induce muscle growth, nor is it to engage in a lengthy debate on the most effective muscle building workout. My intention is to provide readers with an effective alternative to the commonly employed 5-Day Split routine and to simplify the training process. The typical 5-Day Split routine incorporated by many bodybuilders looks like the following:


Day 1: Chest

Day 2: Back 

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Shoulders

Day 5: Legs

Day 6: Arms 


In contrast, Push/Pull Split training although not a new phenomenon is an effective alternative to the traditional body-part split. This method breaks training up by movement pattern. Your chest, shoulders, thighs and triceps get hit on the push day, and your back, hamstrings, biceps and rear deltoids get worked on the pull days. By repeating both workouts on alternate days of the week, you increase the frequency with which each muscle gets trained. The frequency of movement is better for skill acquisition than body-part splits performed once per week and is an important factor in muscle development.




The science of hypertrophy training is ever-evolving as new evidence replaces outmoded training practices. However life does not allow for the acquisition of all conclusive data before one embarks on the path of muscle development. When employing the services of a personal trainer it is the trainer's responsibility to make use of all the scientific research available in combination with providing the professional, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills associated with good coaching, to ensure the best results for those whom he/she serves.


The most apparent benefit to Push/Pull Split training is its application. One need no longer burden oneself with trying to remember the specific muscles trained in the previous workout. All one needs to recall is whether the last workout was a push or pull day. Try Push/Pull Split training for thirty days and assess your results. The ease of application and results may surprise you.


If You're Tired of Starting Over, Stop Giving Up

Posted on January 7, 2018 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)


The new year is the time when many flock to the gym resolving to improve their health and fitness through exercise. While I welcome any catalyst that helps foster personal improvement, it's no secret that the majority of these new year-fueled-enthusiasts will abandon their goal within a month or two. The two major culprits contributing to most failed fitness makeovers are injury and lack of results.
 

Injury prevention and quantifiable results are of special importance to the mature adult population. It is no accident that this group disproportionately represents my proudest achievements. There are certain physical challenges associated with training those over age 40, however there are also many benefits. One such benefit is an acquired wisdom that realizes that there is no magical formula to success and that real change is the result of the consistent application of a well-designed plan.


Success in fitness is best achieved with the help of a qualified professional. While it is certainly possible to achieve results on one's own, I liken the process to representing oneself in a court of law without an attorney. When choosing to exercise, older adults are generally more receptive to enlisting the services of a professional to learn how to perform exercises properly. Performing exercises improperly will diminish results, and in many cases lead to injury; the two culprits previously noted as demotivators.



I have yet to meet the person young or old who joins a gym with the intention to squander their time and financial resources. As a culture, we are ignorant to proper exercise techniques and fitness. This ignorance isn't based on lack of intelligence, it's simply the lack of knowledge on a particular subject. Those of us who are not chemists, if left up to our own devices in a chemistry lab would probably blow up something. This doesn't mean we are unintelligent. It simply means we are ignorant to chemistry.

 

Early adulthood was once described as 'the age of infinite wisdom' and the gym is a testament to the assertion. I routinely encounter many youthful gym enthusiasts who forego proper instruction, performing ineffective and often potentially dangerous activities, obtained from friends or internet videos. I'll often introduce the subject of haircare to them, inquiring as to whether they perform their own styling and maintenance. The typical response is a quizzical look that suggest the absurdity of such a question. Their reply is that an important activity that dramatically affects their appearance 'a haircut', should be left up to a trusted professional. Yet while the negative ramifications of a bad haircut are short-lived, the negative consequences associated with improper exercise practises can be life altering.

 

The belief system that we have is called our paradigm. This paradigm is our filter system. Unfortunately paradigms are based on feelings and the past. Acting on incorrect information, no matter how deeply held, can be catastrophic or at the very least; painful. My fitness challenge to you in the new year is to keep an open mind. Allow your paradigm, your belief system, to drop and be receptive to new learning. Subscribe to exercise as a lifetime commitment and seek professional help to achieve maximum results and minimize the risk of injury. Adopt a personal fitness program that is sustainable over the long-term and commit to it year-round.


Still Sexy at 60

Posted on December 11, 2017 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (1)


 

Had I the good fortune to receive compensation for every time I heard the statement "I used to be able to (fill in the blanks)," I'd be a millionaire right now. There is a commonly held assumption that age dictates one's capacity to perform physical activity and improve or maintain body composition. Clearly, the body as any living organism, has a finite existence and will eventually complete the natural life cycle. From birth to around the late 20s to early 30s, our muscles grow larger and stronger. Subsequently, we start to lose muscle mass and function, a process known as sarcopenia. However, much of the deterioration and decline assigned to old-age is simply the effect of inactivity.


The most effective way to counter physical decline and deterioration at any age is through consistent activity. Many of my personal training clients are demonstrating the remarkable capacity to improve performance and build muscle well into their 60s and beyond. The best defense against sarcopenia is exercise, specifically resistance or strength training. These activities increase muscle strength and endurance using free weights, cables, resistance bands, body weight, and a variety of new technologies.


Resistance training helps your neuromuscular system and improves the body's ability to convert protein to energy. A periodized training program of resistance, cardiovascular and flexibility training, incorporating the proper repetitions, intensity, and frequency is important for achieving maximum benefit with the least risk of injury. Mid-and long-distance runners continue to make improvements in their pace and distances through proper injury-free training.


Just to be clear, one's fitness potential will not be as great at age 60 as it would be at age 20, but the capacity for improvement still remains. Since most individuals never achieve their youthful potential, there is no true barometer to measure this potential against their accomplishments in later years.

The take home message is: Stop worrying about what you were once able to accomplish and focus on the NOW. I see amazing results from clients who no longer allow the ghost of their youthful potential to influence their present day results. The wisdom of age has taught them that their capacity for progress is yet to be determined.


Increase Flexibility and Strength Through Yoga

Posted on July 31, 2016 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)



Over age 40 symptoms of self-neglect such as weight gain, high blood pressure, poor digestion, stiff and achy body, insomnia, and anxiety begin to manifest themselves. By aiding in detoxifying the body and stimulating and balancing the endocrine system, which among other things regulates aging, healing, metabolism and immunity, yoga can help turn things around and contribute to better health. There are numerous styles and teachers who will emphasize different aspects of this ancient practice. Some practitioners favor the traditional teaching methods whereas others who may not be looking for “enlightenment” in the traditional sense may simply be seeking a way to manage their stress and find aching back relief.
Headstands may not be in the cards for everyone. However if you spend a few hours a week doing some stretching, relaxing breathing exercises and being still, you will notice a profound change in your awareness of yourself and your surroundings. You will manage stress better and improve your posture. It will be easier to concentrate and you will sleep better. Research out of the Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard’s McLean Hospital found that healthy subjects who practiced yoga for just one hour had a 27 percent increase in levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that boosts mood and lessens anxiety compared with a control group that simply sat and read for an hour. The transformative power of yoga is profound.
Yoga provides time for personal observation of your physical and mental state. It’s a time for reflection and a time for you to let go of physical and emotional residue left behind by your hectic schedule. Many individuals over 40 can no longer participate in sports that involve impact or agility. For them, yoga provides a fun and safe alternative. Yoga is a continuous journey; I've had the good fortune to practice with several amazing teachers including Amanda Reh, Yoga in Lake Eola Park and Allison Egan Datwani pictured above. For more on Allison visit http://www.allisonegandatwani.com


Strength Training for Older Adults

Posted on July 26, 2016 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (9)


 

Strength training becomes even more important as we get older. As we age, our metabolisms tend to slow down, acompanied by a loss of muscle mass and bone density. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, bone loss usually speeds up for both men and women during midlife. For most women, bone loss increases after menopause when estrogen levels drop sharply. In the five to seven years after menopause, women lose up to 20 percent or more of their bone density.

Studies have shown that resistance training can prevent bone loss and may even help build new bone. In one study, postmenopausal women who participated in a strength-training program for a year saw significant increases in spine and hip bone density, two areas affected most by osteoporosis in older women. Strength and balance/stability training programs targeting the hips and core, can help prevent falls, a leading cause of injury and death in the older population.


Incorporating Training Variety to Prevent Overuse Injury

Posted on July 26, 2016 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)


As I noted in a previous post, much of the decline in fitness capabilities we typically associate to aging is the result of our decision to adopt a more sedentary lifestyle. My personal fitness philosophy to ward off father time and remain injury free is to incorporate a variety of different activities in my fitness plan. Through strength training, yoga, cycling and running I've been able to avoid the repeated joint stress and overuse injuries that often accompany fitness plans involving only one activity. Every decision has its consequences and if you choose to employ this fitness strategy you must accept the fact that it is unlikely that you'll become the world's best in any of your chosen areas. Mastery comes from concentrated focus, so the person who chooses to become world champion would not benefit from such a strategy. The excessive cardio employed by my fellow runners and cyclists would be counter productive to my aspiring champion bodybuilding associates. Increased flexibility produces decreased stability making powerlifting and yoga incompatible if one's goal is mastery.

 

To improve my fitness performance it often becomes necessary to train with those dedicated to a single discipline. Today I chose to cycle with Troi Lynch and Charles Mason whose strategy to help me beat father time was based on Rod Serling's Twilight Zone episode 'The Odyssey of Flight 33' where a commercial airliner moving too rapidly breaks the time barrier and is sent back in time. To say that the pace they established pushed me beyond my–too many Fun-day ride–comfort zone would be an understatement. When you're winded after the fist half-mile of a 30+ mile outing, you know it's going to be a tough go. Fortunately, my cycling mates were unsuccessful in their effort to take me back in time and I happily remain in the present day. Although stepping up in class can be overwhelming it is our mental approach that determines the physical outcome of our training. So when the temptation to give up and return to the comfort of my bedcovers presented itself, I simply committed to the process and finished the ride. So if or when you find yourself in a similar situation, let the principle "don’t let what you can't do interfere with what you can do" be your guide. As a personal trainer, I frequently encounter clients who get caught up in the detrimental exercise of comparing themselves to others and being overly concerned with making a fool of themselves. I believe that to be successful in life you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to remain perfectly capable of IMPROVING. Growth and change may be painful sometimes, but nothing in life is as painful as staying stuck in a place where you don’t belong. You can only fail if you give up on yourself. Thank you, Troi and Charles... I think?

The Importance of Recovery for Runners

Posted on July 26, 2016 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Running is done for a variety of reasons: to lose weight, to control stress, or simply to fit exercise into a busy week. Convenience is one of its most appealing aspects, as there's no fancy equipment involved and one need not be a skilled athlete to participate. Although most adults experience a decline in fitness performance around age 40, research shows that much of the age-related loss of fitness we take for granted is actually due to inactivity rather than age alone.

The possibility of injury is a major concern for mature runners due to the repetitive motion and joint impact of the running cycle. Rest and recovery are important for every athlete, but as we age, rest is even more critical to injury prevention and performance gains. You may find that instead of one recovery day after a hard-training run, you may need two days to completely recover. Running isn’t about speed or skill; it's about a mindset. All it takes is a pair of shoes and the desire to get out the door.

Fast or Far?

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

  

There's a fitness analogy I've been using lately: Do you choose to go fast or far? The fast, represents the throw caution to the wind route, that is willing to risk injury and long-term health, in pursuit of greatness. Bodybuilders who jeopardize their future health for jaw-dropping muscular hypertrophy are an obvious example. Others include: the NFL Hall of Famer living with a concussion related brain injury, the major league baseball pitcher with tendinitis and a torn rotator cuff. Knee ailments are common among retired NBA players due to joint wear and tear caused by jumping, sharp pivots and changes in direction. Tennis, volleyball, and gymnastics at the competitive level, frequently lead to severe and chronic pain, mobility impairments, and loss of full limb functionality later in life. The Soviet Olympic team scandal is a recent example of the quest to go fast. A study by the Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Keele University School of Medicine, in the UK reveals that the incidence of injury is significantly different between levels of sports involvement . Injury occurrence in athletes competing at international and regional/county level was higher, 87.5% and 64.0% respectively, than those who competed at national (16.7%) or recreational level (47.1%). The far, is a moderate approach to ones activities with the emphasis on consistent effort over time.

 

Sports and fitness activity with the focus on healthy, pain-free living, will not lead to championship medals. Practitioners of this sort will never be called the Greatest of All Time. However if long-term health is not your number one concern, and you choose to go fast rather than far, be willing to accept the consequences. I work directly with clients with late stage Parkinson's disease. The late Muhammad Ali was my boxing idol, but the physical consequences of his greatness far exceed my desire to achieve his level of boxing excellence. So, should you choose to travel in the sports and fitness fast lane, be aware of the potential consequences before you embark on your journey. Then in your post-glory years, forgo the fist pounding and 'why did god do this to me?' lamenting, when the debilitating pain bill arrives.



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