Continuing on my path of observations I have to include the male presence in the fitness facility. The last blog post was about the girls, but this one is geared toward the men who are regular exercisers in the gym. Although there are some similar things that both the male and female do, there are definitely some unique traits many men possess when they workout.
I should also mention, that there are some very well-rounded exercisers (both male and female) that have excellent workout programs and continue to make progress, change things up and are still seeing success with their goals. These blogposts are more just my keen observation on the more common reasons gym sessions are less than optimal for both sexes.
If you are a male who regularly exercises (3 or more times per week) do you take part in any of the following mistake activities when you workout at the gym or elsewhere?
1. Doing too much too soon- jumping into a two hour workout session that includes high intensity activities and large volumes of weight training is going to leave you sore as hell! While some delayed muscle soreness is expected it is important that men understand gradual progression by slowly adding more to the mix. Going from no exercise in 6 months to 2 hours of exercise in the first session is extreme and beyond most high end guidelines. Tone it down a bit!
2. Using less than optimal form or movement speed- more often than not too much weight is the cause of poor exercise performance. There tends to be a hang-up on “how much weight” one can lift, rather than how well the performance is. Injury risk is dramatically increased when poor technique or too fast of speed is executed. Ask a certified pro to help you gauge a proper starting weight and use correct form ALWAYS.
3. Not warming-up properly or at all- a proper warm-up is crucial to preparing the body for more vigorous activity, for lubrication of joints, for gradually increasing heart rate and improving the body’s ability to neurologically connect to muscles and movements. Jumping in at full speed or lifting heavy without warming up is also an excellent way to pull and/or strain a muscle, plus decrease activity potential as the body has not gradually worked into the higher intensity levels.
4. Ignoring the lower half and the trunk- Similar to how women will do tons of exercises for their problem areas in hopes to dissolve away fat, men seem to spend more time and energy building their upper body, arms and shoulders, but barely touching those highly important lower body muscles and their core. Neglecting any of the major muscles groups leads to imbalance, potential for injury and disproportion of the muscles in the body. Besides, you don’t want to be called “chicken legs” now do you?
5. Practically running away from the stretching area- very rarely do I see men finishing their workouts with appropriate stretching. Over the years this will take a toll and decrease joint range of motion, may lead to back pain, stiffness and a decreased ability to perform day to day functions like taking off your T-shirt. All the major muscle groups should be stretched at the end of the workouts and held for 15-30 seconds each.
Of course all of these mistakes have proper guidelines, activities and opportunities for repair. Seeking the advice a certified fitness professional or just making a conscious effort to heed some of the tidbits of advice I have offered will be beneficial. Do your best to make adjustments, work efficiently and enjoy your workouts mistake free!
I’ll be watching!
In health and fitness- Amy
Many of my female clients are gym members who have been working out for years, but are no longer seeing results or are just plain bored and frustrated. They are dedicated individuals who enjoy the benefits of exercise, but are ready to throw in the towel because they are either gaining weight, losing function or just feeling stagnant.
It comes as no surprise to me because I often view them in the gym and understand why they aren’t meeting their fitness goals or seeing further improvement. There are some common mistakes among woman (trust me men are not excluded from this) that are made when it comes to working out, which can lead to these discouraging scenarios.
Are you making any one of these common mistakes?
1. Focusing too much attention or cardiovascular/cardio training- this builds muscle endurance and burns calories, but isn’t the most effective way to build the lean tissue needed to support optimal body composition
2. Not putting enough intensity into their workouts- I don’t know if it’s fear, habit, stubbornness or just a combination of all three, but women need to up their workout intensity to burn more calories, improve their fitness levels and provide overload and progression to their current workout routines. This applies to cardio and strength routines!
3. Still doing 100′s of reps of exercises to spot reduce- spot reduction can only happen via plastic surgery. Weight loss will happen all over the body with a combination of cardio, strength and good eating habits. Doing 100 leg lifts per leg every day is called muscle endurance training and will not make the fatty tissue on top disappear.
4. Skipping exercises that work major muscle groups- they don’t like to work their back, but love to work their legs so they skip all the back exercises in the circuit, or just do the ones they like. This alone can lead to a screaming case of muscle imbalance, which can increase the risk of injury. You’ve got to train the entire body, front to back, side to side, deep and superficial!
5. Going back to old habits- doing the same routines for 20 years is will lead to plateauing (no longer seeing results or change). This is why it is so important to work with a certified professional to help you change up your routines, keep you fresh, improve your fitness levels and prevent overuse injuries and boredom.
Notice a trend in any of these habits? Do you do one, a couple or all of them? It’s all fixable! Making a change to just one fo these common mistakes will certainly give you some results and encourage you to start fixing the others. After all, aren’t results what you’re after?
Keep it fresh- Amy
PS- 5 common mistakes men make in the gym is coming later this week
PPS- A more in depth article will follow both blog posts
AAHHHH bikini season. It’s here already and I’m sure some people are thinking they should have been doing a little bit more to prepare for baring the flesh for all the world to see. It’s OK, you’re not alone! Although the sun is up and shining bright, you can still get yourself beach body ready if you take the following suggestions to heart:
1. Move your body- like yesterday!
Seriously- everyone should be doing something that gets their heart rate up at least *30 minutes per day to a point you can tell your exercising. If you begin doing this today, you can expect to see weight loss with each passing week. *Can break this up into 10 minutes bouts throughout the day
2. Cut it out- all white sugars, flours and artificial ingredients.
Not only do they offer little to no nutritional value, but they lead to inflammatory responses in the gut, on the skin and in other bodily systems. They contain empty, less than optimal calories and most people eat more than they should; which leads to extra weight in unwelcome places. Instead choose whole grain, organic (whenever possible) and pure ingredients that haven’t been hydrogenated, refined or processed. These foods contain optimal nutrition for your body, plus more fiber to keep you fuller longer and less likely to fill up on junk foods. Pay attention to what you eat and READ your food labels!
3. Get some iron- lifts weights.
Strength training all your major muscle groups is a critical element to building lean tissue and keeping the body revved up and burning more calories at rest. Think of this: a pound of muscle can burn 50 calories per hour, while a pound of fat is 2-3 calories per hour. HMMM? Not too hard to figure out is it. More muscle is brought to you by strength training!!!
4. Watch the liquids- they have calories
Yes, juice, lattes, iced teas and alcoholic beverages contain calories. They add up quickly, too. Two beers can easily add up to an extra 300 calories, and you can double that if your indulging in one of those fancy umbrella drinks that include fruits juices and a few shots of liquor. If you’re trying to lose weight then watch those liquid calories and stick to plain water to quench your thirst.
5. Spray it on- self tanner
I’ve heard this quote over and over again from my client’s, friends and family members, “Tan fat looks better than white fat!” I don’t necessarily agree with them, but I do support the use of self tanners. They are a safe way to build a bronzed body -minus the sun exposure- and if it makes somebody feel more comfortable in their skin and willing to come out and play in the summer, then so be it. Spray, rub or dust it on!
Summer ready? Maybe not, but you still have time to get there. Get moving, watch what you eat and drink, lift some weights by joining a fitness boot camp or class this summer and spray on some self tanner.
Let’s all embrace what we got and enjoy the long, summer nights, bountiful fruit season, family, friends, sprinklers at the occasional smore. Now get out there and move it!
Here’s to a healthy, happy summer-
Happy Cinco De Mayo! I thought it was only appropriate to serve up a healthy blog post in honor of this special holiday. I find most of my friends, colleagues (myself included), and family like to indulge in the celebration of the 5th of May with some extra cheese, chips, salsa and of course something that contains lime and tequila.
Having a good time hanging with friends, joining others for a social celebration, eating fine authentic food and a little cocktail can just make it a great day don’t you think?
Because it is the 5th of May I thought it would be clever to share my 5 secrets to staying fit and hopefully inspire some of you to enjoy them, too.
1. I break a sweat every day (through exercise) for at least 30 minutes, but mostly longer
2. I strength train more than I do cardio; very important to maintain lean mass
3. I change my workouts continuously so I’m never bored and always challenged
4. 90% of the time I eat balanced, regular meals that include proper portions and calories for my level of daily activity and exercise routines. You won’t see me skipping meals!
5. I stay happy, positive and look for the best in negative situations. Being flexible and adaptable makes it easier to handle a crisis and go with the flow when things change or don’t go as planned.
These 5 little beauties have kept me fit, happy, healthy and allowed me the ability to do many physical/mental things other can’t. I think it’s important that we understand it’s not just exercise that matters, but also what you eat and how you handle life. It’s a package deal really.
Here’s to a happy, healthy and fun filled Cinco De Mayo. Indulge a little and embrace every moment.
Well the list goes on. Working down my list of top 10 questions and/or statements I get from clients and participants brings me to numbers 4, 5, and 6. Numbers 4 and 5 have a couple of similarities so I will wrap these two together in my response.
Trainer Top 10:
4/5- “I don’t want to look like Arnold so I don’t lift heavy, I just do muscle toning.” “I want a body like yours, what do you do?”
First of all, I should address the issue of looking like somebody else because you perform the same exercises they do. This is a common misconception amongst enthusiasts and unfortunately prevents many people from doing or not doing an exercise. Most people, OK women, think that lifting heavy will result in large muscles and a less than womanly presence. NOPE..you have to have certain genetics, loads of testosterone surging through your bloodstream and let’s not forget to mention the training time in the gym to get those great big muscles. Your genetics will grant you the ability to gain muscle or not gain muscle, and in my 17 years on the job I have yet to see any of my female clients turn into a hulky, muscle bound man with their training protocols. Most woman just don’t possess the genes to be Arnold.
By the way, calisthenic exercises, high repetition/low resistance exercises claiming to tone your muscles instead of build your muscles are just tapping into muscle endurance and the ability to do something a whole bunch of times until it burns. Nothing wrong with that, but it is inefficient strength conditioning and in the long run will not yield the results most people are looking for. A well rounded, effective training protocol should include strength based exercises that challenge the muscles to fatigue anywhere between 1-15 reps depending on your goals, needs and current fitness levels. As a matter of fact, the best results are seen when individuals change up their weekly strength sessions and include endurance, strength and power workouts. *A certified personal trainer can help you design a proper workout program.
Back to the genetic thing and working out like somebody so you can look like them. Here this: unless you are that person you probably won’t look like that person when you do the same exercises. Exercise will target specific muscles, joints and tissues, but the results will be individually based off of genetics, performance, motivation levels, consistency and dedication. Not to mention the often overlooked category of nutrition..too much food = too much waistline!
So go ahead, pump some iron and watch your genetic potential shine. I can’t change what God gave you, but I can show you the way to make it your best body ever if your willing to put forth the effort.
6. What can I do to improve my butt? (I summarized this from many comments)
OK..here are my 3 suggestions to help improve your butt:
1. Lift weights to build it up via wide-legged squats, lunges, deadlifts and hip extensions (best butt exercises). Perform 2-3 sessions per week on non-consecutive days and aim for 3 sets of 12 reps resting about 45-60 seconds between sets.
2. Cardio activities to help the backside include walking hills, running stairs, and sprinting so try to include a few of these moves as intervals in your current cardio programming a few days per week.
3. Put down your fork and push back from the table. Eating more than you move leads to weight gain and in some cases a bigger butt. If your goal is a smaller butt, then your portions and intake should be smaller, too! BONUS: if you combine exercise with better eating habits you will see the greatest results in your butt.
Now you know you can lift and not be Arnold, you can’t look like me when you do my workouts and you’ve grasped the concepts on how to make your butt a fabulous object to look at. Here’s to all of your muscles, butts and genetics.
Be healthy and stay informed!
PS- questions 7 & 8 are heading your way this weekend via video blog
Listen up past, present and future exercisers. There are some very important details that often get overlooked when individuals train and workout. As a matter of fact, these details are often the reasons people see lack of results, hit a plateau or just plain give up on their workout plans.
There is nothing more personally frustrating for me than watching an individual stop exercising because of lack of results. Exercise works for everybody no matter who you are, what you do or what you are willing to do. It works even better when you include the following details:
1. Variety- include different exercises, set/rep/rest period protocols, cross train and be sure to change your workout plan at least every 4-6 weeks to keep seeing progress. Hire a trainer to keep you fresh, advance your skill level and support you to your fitness goals.
2. Challenge Yourself- exercise needs to make you feel like you are doing something above your normal level of activity or current level of fitness. If you still do the same workout- time/duration, intensity level, frequency and never challenge yourself you will stay in one big PLATEAU. Hey, if that’s your goal then keep doing it, but if you want change you must CHALLENGE that body of yours (see #1)
3. Include Hell-Bent Workouts- 1-2 vigorous workouts per week are recommended and a must if you want quick results. At least once per week push yourself beyond your highest level of effort. Examples might include: adding 1 minute sprints to your 30 minute run, plyometric training, speed and agility drills, increasing resistance on your strength exercises. The goal is to push beyond your comfort zone to improve performance and torch more calories not only during your workouts, but also post workout. Trust me on this one…it works phenomenally. Just ask anyone who’s taken an 8 week Boot Camp.
4. Consistency- this is the most important variable. One workout will not yield results if you’ve been inactive for years or haven’t seen the weight room since college. You “don’t use it, you lose it!” Consistency is key to achieving good results. It will take the average person at least 4-6 weeks to see some of their hard work pay off. Even then, results will vary based off of individual efforts, genetics, physical abilities and motivation levels. Don’t give up because you’ve worked out 3 times and see no results..if I did I wouldn’t be here blogging about what a great thing exercise is!
Take into account we are all different beings with different levels of strength, flexibility, power and core strength. Using a program that is put together just for you and progresses properly will yield amazing results and leave you feeling incredible. Include the “musts” and watch those great results transpire!
Walking the Talk- Amy