Wednesday, June 11, 2014

June is Men's Health Month and a Great Time to Get More Active

 June 

Do you know what you could be doing better?

Here's some resources on men's health:
1. Men’s Health Network – www.menshealthnetwork.org
2. MHN YouTube – www.youtube.com/user/MHNMedia
3. Men’s Health Resource Center – www.menshealthresourcecenter.com


Here's a few great outdoor ideas for June:

Out and around the DMV (DC MD VA)

Great Falls Park VA http://www.nps.gov/grfa/index.htm
Georgetown Waterfront Park http://www.georgetownwaterfrontpark.org/
(note: the link to download the map is actually on the right)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Thoughts on Saturated Fats

Is Butter Better? Read On!


AHA Guidelines May Not Be Based On The Best Research 

New Book Casts Doubt On Years Of Common Methodology

Investigative reporter Nina Teicholz has just released a book this week challenging our thoughts about how we structure our diet. In a WSJ article, Ms. Teicholz outlines her issues with AHA guidelines that recommend less animal fat (or saturated fat) as part of ones diet. She contends that the reduction in saturated fat has led to the increased consumption of carbohydrates, which has cascaded into another entirely different set of health issues such as type 2 diabetes. Her book is available at http://www.thebigfatsurprise.com/

Here's a few other articles that support this contention

Is Beef Bad For You? Or The Environment?
Environmental Impact Of Meat

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let's Run To Get In Shape? Slow Down On That Idea....

Putting the right foot forward

Starting off on the wrong one can make you trip

Ok, Enough with the puns. My favorite spring pastime, besides baseball, is observing the new runners out there. Yes, you have seen them too:

You see, there are four really important parts to running:
  1. Posture - good spine control while running is important
  2. Cadence - how often and at what frequency you strike the ground
  3. Midfoot - too much heel is bad for your back, too much toe is prancing!
  4. Lean - proper placement of center of gravity
Not everyone has the proper form for running, but believes it is an easy and economical way to lose weight. But it's not when done incorrectly. It can become a huge expense and burden on ones time to heal from running injuries.

The number of injuries per 1000 people is pretty low, but the chronic injuries can reoccur  in a half to two thirds of runners reporting injuries. Runners World had a pretty comprehensive article on many of the injuries that can occur while running and how to best avoid them. You can find it at this link.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A New, Five-Minute Workout!

The Best Thing About Five Minute Workouts...

...Is That You Can Do As Many Rounds As You Want!

Exercise #1 Body Saw

You'll need a little bit of equipment for this, like Glidders or any furniture mover, or even just a towel if you are on hardwood.
Start off in a solid plank position (I discussed good form for planks in an earlier post).
Extend your forearms forward to slide backwards and tuck your hips under you so as not to squeeze your low back for balance. You abs and lats should start to become more active and you should bring your shoulder blades to the front of your body as you extend the arms to engage your lats even further.
Pay particular attention to how his shoulder blades come forward to stabilize the body. Proceed through this exercise slowly for :30 seconds

Exercise #2 Opposite Side Toe Touches

From the plank position, raise up into a straight arm plank. Swing your left leg under your body as straight as possible until you can touch your left foot's toes with your right hand. Repeat with right leg to left hand.
You can go as fast or as slow as you like. Always pull the abs up and in to support your back. Repeat this movement for :30 seconds

Exercise #3 Burpees

I think this says it all! The ever popular squat thrust!
Do as many as you can in one minute.

Exercise #4 Alligator Push-Ups

Drop back down to the ground and perform a solid push-up. Then walk one hand forward and perform another push up with your hands staggered. Hop the other hand forward and perform another staggered push up. Scuttle along the floor like an alligator
Keep this up for one minute!

Exercise #5 Roll Up Squat Hop

Starting on your back, roll onto your shoulders (building momentum), then rock back to your feet, and finish with a jump hop. A mat is really helpful for this or some decent carpeting.
Keep rocking and rolling for one minute!

Exercise #6 Quick Switch CrossOver Lunges

A crossover lunge just means to cross the plane of your opposite leg moving laterally. Step forward and across your body, then return to start and switch to step to the other side. Pick up some speed and perform this for :30 seconds

Exercise #7 Crab Crawl Toe Touch

Finish off the workout with a crab crawl position and, with hips off of the floor, alternate touching your toes.
Do these for :30 seconds!

Want a tougher workout? Do another round, or two, or three, or however many!

Here's a couple of my other workouts:



And To Reward Yourself: High Protein Chocolate Mousse!!!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Opening Day Exercises

This week was the more official opening day of major league baseball, which used to not happen until April 1 for about a century. In honor of the historic opening day, I've put together a workout for those of you who play or would like to play baseball or softball.

Power and Explosion instead of Endurance and Strength

When thinking of baseball, the first thing that should come to mind is that everyone is just standing there and then need to jump into action! Here's a few exercises to put some spring in your step for baseball or softball

Lateral Ladder Drills: 

Working on lateral movements is really important because not everything in this game comes right at you.
For this workout, if you have a ladder, then use it like you see in the video.
If you don't have a ladder, you can still do this.
Take ten lateral steps leading with your left (or until you finish the ladder) and then turn and straight sprint 15 yards. Repeat leading with your right, finishing with the sprint.
Perform this for each side 5 times




Medicine Ball Tosses:

This excellent video from Eric Cressey shows you how to build power through your hips- perfect for either throwing or hitting.
Repeat this drill 20 times for each side.
If you don't have a medicine ball, just throw something else. It's about building speed and power, so the weight isn't as important








(Landmine) Lunge Press:

This is a great exercise for transfer of power from leg to arm. You can do this at the gym with the landmine press, or at home with a small weight.

Reverse lunge and then press overhead with the opposite arm ten times per leg.









Jump Squat (or Box Jump):

This exercise helps build explosive power through the legs. You can do this with or without the box.
Perform 20 box jumps or jump squats, each time dropping the legs to above parallel (no need to deep squat).










Indoor Defensive Drills (for when it rains):


 This video has some great ideas for indoor practices, working on fielding balls, and other drills that don't require a field to perfect.



Nutrition!

It goes without saying that better performance goes hand in hand with better nutrition. Make sure you are getting enough protein (I wrote about this), eat good carbohydrates before games (did this too!), and avoid processed and fried foods (empty calories).

See you on the field!

Monday, March 17, 2014

At-Home five minute Leg Workout!

Another Washington DC Snow Storm Have You At Home?

Get in a fast leg workout before shoveling snow!

You can try to do four rounds of the following:

5 Reverse Sliding Lunge on each Leg
This video has them using a towel to slide the leg backwards, but you can order a set of Gliders for carpet or hardwood for about $15.












5 Pistol Squats on each Leg
Starting from :45 is the tutorial on how to stand up on one leg from a chair, but feel free to go through as many p[progressions as you feel comfortable.












10 Box Squats or Squat to BOSU Dome 
The box squat can be done on a bench, couch, or whatever you can find around the house.













The Squat to BOSU Dome is an excellent progression that really works your abs and hip flexors more than the the box squat. You can learn more about the BOSU Balance Trainer here 











Stay Warm and Stay Active! Spring Is Just around the Corner!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lateral Knee Pain Solutions: It's not really your knee!

I usually take a "bottom-up" approach to assessment, which means that we look at the full kinetic chain from your foot's contact with the floor and then work up to the top. Today, we are just considering a painful spot that can develop on the outside of either leg near the knee. There is a tendon that runs along the outside of our legs, starting at the hip near the hip flexor muscles and runs down along the thigh right next to the knee and close to your hamstring muscle. This tendon is called Illiotobial band or IT Band for short. The IT Band is a tendon, not a muscle, so its job is to stabilize the knee either when extended or flexed, depending on trunk position. Basically understood, it keeps you stable while walking, jogging or running.
theragrid.com
A common source of discomfort related to inflammation of the IT Band is felt either at the hip or on the outside of the knee. One thing I have learned from professionals about IT Band rehabilitation is that there really isn't a stretch for this part of the leg. You end up stretching the hip muscles or muscles in the lower leg, and not much at the spot you want to address. The best method for relaxing these trigger points is to foam roll those spots.

As you can see from the video, you simply roll back and forth along the side of the leg. If you find a particularly tender spot, try holding the roller there for no more than 15 seconds. Applying pressure releases the tension in the muscle and tendon. If you don't have a foam roller, make sure you start with a softer roller to get started. I personally recommend Power Systems for their different types of rollers.

For more information on this topic: Contact Me!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Get a Head Start on your Spring Makeover

It's Not Just For Your Home

Here's a few simple changes you can make starting tomorrow

Thanks to the wonderful snowstorm today, I've had the opportunity to make over my blog to better serve you guys. So it got me thinking: what are a few things I could do better for you, and, more globally, what are things we could do better for ourselves as spring hopefully approaches (swiftly!)


Firstly: I've added a page where you can go look at all of these products I mention on this blog. You can check it out here. This way, when I add a new workout for a BOSU or recommend a foam rolling position, you can just go look at one and then order it if you'd like.


Secondly, I've simplified the layout so it's easier to find my older posts


Finally, I've added an easy way to sign up via email. It was impossible to locate before. We will lose the sleek and dynamic layout in favor of functionality for now.


And now- on to a few quick tips to get ready for spring!

  • Take a few deep breaths, and learn to relax. I blogged about this last year, and I expect to help you reduce your stress into this year as well.
  • Reducing external stress allows you to lower your levels of cortisol without having to find food to calm yourself down.
  • Release the tension in your back by lying with a foam roller along your spine and reaching your arms above your head. Great way to unwind.
It's also a great time to think about using natural products to help reduce the likelihood of headaches and sinus pressure. Some water with lemon (to your taste, either lemon concentrate or some slices of lemon) can help reduce compression headaches.
It's also a good idea to switch to natural and organic cleaners. You can order these products online for much less than regular cleaners at discount stores. Visit this link to learn more.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fitness News From Around The Web

What's Trending This Week In Fitness?

Because another Polar Vortex is crushing the east coast again!

Testosterone Warnings Becoming A Reality

  • Public Advocacy Group Asks FDA For Warning About Heart Attacks here and here
  • Other Hormonal Factors Could Contribute To Low Energy and Low Libido here
  • Concern's Raised About Testosterone Replacement Therapy here

Workout Motivations In Bad Weather

  • Simple, At-Home Workouts In Bad Weather here
  • Music Is a Great Workout Buddy here
  • Fast Five Minute Workout! here
  • 15 Minute Arm Crushing Workout here

Some Winter Meal Suggestions, Get Ready For Spring

  • 10 Winter Comfort Food Meals, Fast And Easy here
  • Simple Quinoa Recipes here
  • Mix It Up With Some Great Lentil Recipes (lots of Protein!)here

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Most Popular Fitness Trends For 2014

ACSM's Most Popular Fitness Trends For 2014

Which one are you going to try?

One of the biggest problems with fitness is workout boredom.

Therefore, we shouldn't be surprised that in the "vine" generation, we are seeing a resurgence of interval training, specifically high intensity interval training (HIIT). You can read the ACSM press release for their top ten trends, which seem to follow a specific pattern:
  • Get the workout done fast
  • Get the best possible results for your investment
  • Use as little or as simplistic (perhaps inexpensive) equipment as possible
  • Have a certified professional guide your workout
  • Workout in groups
  • Put the "fun" in functional

It shouldn't be a surprise that two of the most popular fitness trends are CrossFit and P90X, with their emphasis on basic exercises with minimal equipment. It should be noted that the "basic" exercises in CrossFit are actually quite challenging, including many Olympic style lifts, but the equipment needed is much less expensive than in classic gyms where you would need to spend thousands of dollars on equipment.
Sometimes, exercise is best served in social situations to help with commitment.
There's a great assessment test online to tell you about your "fitness personality". Having a profile of your likes and dislikes, as well as what you can improve about your attitude can broaden your activity ideas.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Low Down on Getting Down Low in Squats

There was a blog post recently that has sparked some heated debate over the past five days since it was posted. The original blog post was trying to point out that certain types of hip and femur structures will affect the squat position of each client, basically concluding that each person will feel comfortable in one foot position may not be the same as another. Apparently, his post got around to a bunch of people, including a DC Area Crossfit Coach who had nothing nice to say about poster (including saying "When you come at the king, you best not miss" a quote from the show The Wire). The original poster responded with a short video explaining that he was not trying to disprove mobility training, but was instead trying to enlighten trainers to some potential structural differences that may affect their client's ability to go.... ahem.... where they have never gone before.


I can tell you that studies have been conducted and written about in expert textbooks. One such book is "Strength Training Anatomy" 3rd Edition. For example, on p. 127 the author discusses how femur length changes the tilt of the torso during the squat, as does ankle flexibility. He also points out how femur length can  affect the position of the pelvis when going below horizontal on the squat.
The author further develops the issues involved in squating and deadifting in a separate section on p. 130 titled "Adapting Training to your Morphology." He further expands on torso tilt, which muscles are active in each type of body structure, and how flexibility affects the body's cantilever.
Take all of that into account, and you have yourself a pretty complicated exercise. The position of the bar, the torso, the pelvis and the angle of the thigh and lower leg (in relation to the ankle) are all part of what makes a good squat. Being aware of the differences in bone structure is just as important as monitoring a client's mobility.

And since a squat is a basic functional movement- it benefits everyone to be aware of every angle and every detail to perform it safely and effectively.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Late Night Cravings? SOLVED!

Every once in a while (or for some of us, it's every weekday), we're up late and feel the need to eat something, and it's just too hard to say no. Well, fortunately, we don't always have to withhold ourselves from those late night munchies. According to a short article from Women's Health, the expert advice is to eat something that won't spike blood sugar, make you more hungry, or be too calorie rich.
Sorry Jimmy, that just won't do
The best snacks are kept to about 100 calories, with no more than 15 grams of sugar, and about 3 grams of fiber. It's also good to wash it all down with a little water (flavored slightly with either lemon juice or another splash of fruit juice flavor- it helps curb the cravings).

Some suggestions are:
  • One cut up fruit in a 1/2 cup yogurt or sour cream
  • A cup of berries in that same 1/2 cup of yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup salsa and about 10-12 corn chips (low-sodium is better)
  •  6-8 carrot or celery sticks with hummus
  • Tzatziki and cucumber anyone?
  • Avoid breads, crackers, and high fat cheese
  • Get to know mascarpone as an option