Friday, September 23, 2016

Shake your glute thang!

What? You were looking for "Leg Day?" Well, the glutes are the largest muscle group in the body and huge part of the posterior chain which is mostly made up of the legs and hip complex (including the glutes).

If you're looking for a way to increase stability in the hips for walking, running, and even just standing, then add hip thrusters to your workout today! Especially if your daily activities include, well, a lack of activity and mostly sitting!

Start on the floor and progress to adding weight and then move the torso onto a bench or even the edge of the sofa.

Get those glutes fired up!

Apply it and try it:

  • 3 Sets of 12-15 reps
  • If you're new, then aim for 1 set of 12 reps. Repeat this 2-3 times per week and you'll start moving and standing stronger!


In health,
Corpo Fitness

Monday, June 27, 2016

To track or not to track?

That seems to be the question these days in the fitness world. From Fitbit to Apple Watch, Garmin, Jawbone, there has been an explosion of wearable fitness watches, pedometers, and everything in between to track steps, calories, and more from your wrist or waist.

But why? Who really looks at all that data everyday? Well, I guess I do! Ha! But as a trainer, that information means something to me and to others will likely have a completely different meaning. For example, it's 11:20 pm and I'm thinking, "my Fitbit sleep quality is going to plummet tonight"...especially with a client session in the next 8 hours awaiting my morning.

For myself, I've been using a Fitbit Surge for the last year almost. I wanted to join the fitness-wearing-revolution that seems to have taken over. No longer do you see the average digital watch. Even my wife wears her purple Fitbit Charge HR when we're going out. So, not only have they become a tool in the gym, but fitness trackers are an accessory to life.

With my Surge I track steps of course, but also floors climbed, calories burned, miles covered, and active minutes of exercise. It gives me GPS with my runs for more accurate mileage data, sleep quality tracking (last night, I was awake 1x, 12x "restless," and 19 mins awake/restless in all.

To some, all of this information can be just plain overwhelming and to what end do we track data these days? For some, it's just another app on the phone to look at, charging of a device at night, and thing to remember. I get it, frankly, that was why I went away from Apple for my tracker as it has to be charged everyday. My Fitbit I get days out of the battery and it's had a longer presence in the tracker world. So, needless to say, I've been extremely satisfied with the performance of the Surge for all my workouts.

The Challenge
You have this tracker and you're looking at the numbers...does it help? Hopefully, studies show that having others to workout with is motivational. So, having a tracker to work out against, striving to hit 10,000 steps per day are just a means to keep challenging oneself. Even the ability to compete with friends and join different challenges like "Weekend Warrior" to see who takes the most steps between friends are all just ways to get in the game and motivate one another to keep moving!

According to Fitbit's blog, the why comes down to this:

Fitbit starts everyone off with a 10,000-step goal, and here’s why: It adds up to about five miles each day for most people, which includes about 30 minutes of daily exercise—satisfying the CDC’s recommendation of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Thing is, 10,000 steps per day might not make sense for you. You may need to nab more if you want to lose a certain amount of weight, or take fewer steps if you’re new to fitness or recovering from an injury. Your step goal can vary depending on your needs, and it can also shift over time. Here’s how to set it right for you. (https://blog.fitbit.com/should-you-really-take-10000-steps-a-day/)

So, if you're looking for a fitness tracker, do some homework and read up online. Go in the retail stores that sell them and read up on the features of each one. If you're not already using a Heart Rate monitor, definitely invest in a tracker with that ability to help during cardio sessions and to measure intensity. Plus you can get a great resting HR measurement out of it while sleeping!

Happy Tracking!

-Corpo Fitness

References
1. https://blog.fitbit.com/should-you-really-take-10000-steps-a-day/
2. http://www.wareable.com/fitness-trackers/the-best-fitness-tracker

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

1 mile above 6,035 feet

"How do I let you talk me into these things?" I don't think I'm that persuasive, but somehow on Memorial Day this year, my wife asked me just some 10 minutes into the climb that exact question as we embarked on the ever popular Manitou Springs Incline.

"The Incline," as it's informally called, has been ringing in my ears for years and I had yet to find the time to make it south the 1.5 hours or so to climb the behemoth trail and experience the 2000 feet of elevation gain.

We didn't set out to break any records that day except maybe to beat the weather that was slowly creeping in on us.

Honestly, I was shocked at how well my body was handling the multitude of steps and elevation gain. A true testament to the work I'd been doing the last 10 months in my own workouts with strength and endurance. I truly was moving through the obstacle of 12-15" steps without much stress. Granted more stops were being made than I had anticipated but again, we weren't in any race.

However, about two-thirds of the way up, we started to hear the rumble. The mountainous shake of thunder nearby and the slow drops of rain that grew heavier as we climbed higher. Nevertheless, we kept going finding some shelter off to the sides of the trail.

And then, we reached the last 300 steps to go, which is also the area commonly known as the 'false summit' which leaves one to believe they've reached the end of this hiking hell. Pushing each other along, not letting my wife give into the challenge we had already conquered so valiantly, we finally reached the top finding reward in a snack at the final crest of this beast of a trail.

You can't help but flash a smile to the others that come over the crest of the trail's peak knowing what they'd just endured and that you all had achieved the same distance and in the same mixed sun and rain cover above.

So, with more steps than my Fitbit cared to track (it died naturally cause I'd forgotten to plug it in the night before...oops) and with many hours up and then down the Barr Trail to return to the parking lot, I learned that sometimes fitness is not fun for everyone (my wife vowed never to do that again :) And that we can surprise ourselves with feats that once seemed impossible, finding that they can be truly unforgettable...I wonder how fast I can get up next time...there's an app for that!

In health,
Corpo Fitness

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Change is...

Difficult. At least for some it can be. While others think and experience change as an easy process where one simply makes a choice and follows through with that decision no matter what.

Exercise, nutritional modifications, programming, waking up early or going to the gym after a long day at work: all are decisions that when compounded over days, weeks, months eventually should result in change. That change may be weight loss, weight gain, muscle size increases, strength increases-whatever it is, the result is usually victorious and celebratory.

But when one doesn't achieve those goals, what then? Even as a personal trainer, change is hard. Balancing a home life with a wife and two dogs, a full time "9-5" job on top of running a business, client programming, personal commitments and other endeavors...it's all hard to manage and balance sometimes. Even as I sit here trying to get my weekly post in (which has now been sitting in drafts for weeks) is a challenge as I sit and think of all the other things that should and could be getting done...like sleep!

So, how do we do it? How do we decide we're going to keep on doing the exercise we want to commit to or making a choice to eat healthier? As with most things it's a process of sorts naturally. But "that process" that is bottled up and sold online, in the infomercials, on the "As Seen On TV" shelves at the stores-well, it simply doesn't work for everyone.

There are apps, tools, books, podcasts and other ways that some of us find as a way to mark off the days of workouts or the logs of meals consumed all to track the process of our change. But what works?

Well, you have to try it out. For example I've been using Lose It! for years to log meals and gain visibility into the calories I'm consuming. Others find the task of tracking food daunting. I certainly don't do it everyday and had to use it for two weeks in school. But there are other ways to track your food, so try some apps, use a journal, give them all a go.

Meal plans are tricky and having recently purchased a fitness and food programming-type book from some well known fitness gurus, I can say that those books are not always realistic. My wife and I followed the program to the 'T' buying the foods given on the shopping list, attempting to prep according to the program and found that we were spending hours each night prepping and then cooking beyond what I've typically followed in meal prep behaviors. Some people can't eat the same thing 5 days in a row, I get it, my wife's tongue is fine tuned that way, mine however is not. I could care a less if I have chicken and rice for 5 meals or 10 meals and add a salad with it. But it can get boring. So, finding a meal program can be a challenge. To liven it up and get more specific to your needs, consider working with a Nutritionist or Dietician who can learn your likes and dislikes and cater an eating program to your biological needs. As a trainer, we can speak to big, general, food recommendations, but can't tell you specifically what to eat and when, which are sometimes the missing links to compositional changes and overcoming fitness hurdles.

The "Take-3"
1. Change can't happen overnight or all at once. Oftentimes, we try to do it all at once. "I'm going to cut out sugar;" "I'm going to workout 5 days a week;" "I'm going to eat Vegan and Gluten-free;" well, good luck, because as I've witness for myself and others, taking on too much is nearly impossible. It's not sustainable and often results in all of the above failing at the cost of maintaining one or the other.

2. You have to experiment with different tools like trackers, logs, etc. Ask yourself what you need to track: Calories consumed? Macronutrient intake? Calories burned? Then look for a resource that gives you just that and in the simplest way to do it.

3. Find someone else who needs to make a change as well and keep one another accountable. I text my clients or message them throughout the week to simply say, "Hey, I'm thinking about you..."or "How are the workouts coming this week?" It's a little reminder that they're not alone and there's someone who cares about their success in the changes being made.

So, go out there and change something for the better, healthier, stronger you!

In health,
Corpo Fitness


Sunday, April 3, 2016

"Weather" you want to or not.

That's right, it is sunny, blue-skies, and almost 70 degrees in Colorado. I am sitting here outside a coffee shop with my wife while she works on her school work and I work on my business. Who could ask for anything more?

So, why aren't we out hiking, biking, or running in this beautiful weather? Good question. I was in bed until 9:45am this morning, got up, walked the dogs, and then went to brunch. Then dropped off the dogs at the groomer and now here we are almost to 3 o'clock this afternoon and haven't even gotten 5000 steps in yet.

Rest and recovery comes in all forms. Foam rolling tightness to death and doing mobility exercises is not the only way to recover. Sometimes, your mind and body both need to just veg-out. Yes, the Netflix marathons are okay...in moderation of course :) Especially when two days prior I was maxing out on deadlifts-so my hamstrings are still "speaking" to me.

Getting on the treadmill to do a steady-state workout for some quick cardio and recovery is still a fine "rest day" activity. The recommended 150 mins of moderate intensity exercise is still recommended per the government, so find a creative way to accomplish that with the family.

The "Take-3"
1. Speed walk with the kids or dogs. Intensify the regularly scheduled activities that just seem like chores. Have to fold laundry? How quickly can you do it and how many rounds for time? There's a lot of arm engagement in folding clothes and if you have to run up and down stairs to the basement to get to the washer and dryer, even better!

2. Sitting in the sun is a "passive-warmup." You don't have to jog in place, perform 100 jumping jacks or jump rope your way to a warmup. A hot shower or soaking up the rays can be enough to get the body heated up and awake to start your movement preparation for your exercise. Plus, the Vitamin D is essential to your overall health and wellness.

3. Come rain or shine. Let's face it, no one likes to run in the rain or snow-well, some do, but it can be a beneficial element to increase intensity in any workout. You'll tend to run faster to get out of the rain and to stay warm in the snow. Plus, running in the different elements changes your body's proprioception: the ability to know where in space your body is moving. The snow creates an unbalanced surface that requires more neuromuscular response which in turn increases energy demand equating to a higher calorie burn. So, mix it up but don't slip!

In health,
Corpo Fitness

Sunday, February 28, 2016

16.1

No, this isn't a new running distance, but the first Crossfit Open workout for 2016 (Hence the 16 and .1) that was announced Thursday night and completed by thousands of athletes worldwide. These tests of fitness began in 2011 and run for 5 weeks.

This is the first year I am "competing" in the Open. At my affiliate gym, ProjectMOVE in Littleton, CO, 42 athletes took part and completed over 6.072 reps. I can say, "what an experience!" We completed 16.1 in heats starting at 4:30 and ending at 6:30. I was a part of the 6 o'clock group of 8 athletes.

Now, the workouts are designed in such a way that allows everyone coming from different fitness levels to compete. As with most Crossfit workouts, there's a Prescribed (Rx) and Scaled workout to accommodate those varying fitness levels.

The 16.1 Workout (Prescribed)
20-min. AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible)
  • 25-ft. overhead lunge
  • 8 burpees
  • 25-ft. overhead lunge
  • 8 chest-to-bar pull-ups
  • Men lunge 95 lb
  • Women lunge 65 lb
As much as I would have loved to press a 95 lb. barbell overhead for 20 mins and lunge 25 ft with it twice with 8 burpees and pull-ups in the middle and end, (which I did try one rep of that prescribed barbell weight) my shoulder stability just isn't there. Read about shoulder instability in a later post and how I've been working with a Right Shoulder imbalance for years.

So, I opted for the Scaled version of the workout:

  • 25-ft. front rack walking lunge
  • 8 burpees
  • 25-ft. front rack walking lunge
  • 8 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups
  • Men lunge 45 lb
  • Women lunge 35 lb


My Stats:

  • 6 rounds
  • 156 "reps"
  • Avg HR: 126 bpm
  • 215 calories burned; 11 cals/min
  • 1283 steps
Two days later, my glutes and quads are still a little sore. So naturally, I went on a 4.35 mile walk/jog just to drive and get some blood moving through those areas and I do feel looser thankfully!

Needless to say, Crossfit is a challenging sport, no question about it. The workouts themselves are mini-feats of strength, endurance, and shear mental will power to keep going. If you haven't tried going to a "box" (the common name for a Crossfit gym) then I suggest giving it a shot just to experience the workouts which should always have a scaleable workout to try. Admittedly, the workouts can be intimidating, but a good box should have trainers/coaches knowledgable enough to break down a movement, progress it and regress it for your needs.

And of course, always consult with your physician to make sure the activities are appropriate for your health and fitness level.

Here's to all the athletes in this year's Open! May the fittest person win! (It won't be me!)

In Health,
Corpo Fitness

Friday, February 19, 2016

Squeeze your butt!

The glutes: Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus. Some of the most important muscles in our hip region or "pelvo-hip complex" as it is sometimes called. But, one of the most underutilized group of muscles. Why? How? It's our butt right? We sit on it everyday, it must be doing something...Well, it is, padding your tush from getting sore by sitting on your pelvis or hip bones.

I want you to try something. If you're sitting, stand up. Just right there, stand up (paying mind to your surroundings of course and if you're driving, well hopefully you're not reading this while driving!)

So, how'd that go? You stood up, so mission accomplished right? Well, now, sit back down. This time, squeeze your butt like you're trying to keep gas from coming out (Oh please, we ALL fart) and hold it for a couple seconds. Do that three times.

Now, stand up again and squeeze your butt as you rise. Easier? Should have been. That's because the major muscle, the Gluteus Maximus, is a major component in hip extension.

When you walk and your leg crosses the body and extends behind you=hip extension. When you are sitting and your thighs move from parallel to straight=hip extension. So, when you walk, when you stand, squeeze your butt! You will move with more strength and stability!

In health
-Corpo Fitness