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The diversity in movement applications that can be used to enhance health and performance related fitness allow for numerous activities and training modalities. The plus side of the many new pieces of equipment is that they can often be used to more efficiently get results and provide variety to a workout. The first step of a professional is identifying the purpose of the equipment and its role in a program. In some cases the gimmick outweighs the benefit. Although client’s need motivation, and interest and fun are key elements of that motivation, it is important to not lose focus of well devised programming in exchange for personal “entertraining.”
Tracking performance is a requisite to improving the body through desirable and purposeful adaptations. New exercisers experience notable improvements in a shorter period of time compared to their trained counterparts due to neural improvements as the body develops greater efficiency. It is not uncommon to see double digit percentile improvements in each of the first two months. During this phase, even subpar personal trainers will generate results as the body rapidly adjusts to physical activity. Once the body has made its initial adjustments to the routine stress and reached its early tissue potential physiological adaptations begin to slow down. This is when competent trainers begin to shine. Due to the rapid adaptations and the psychological impact of seeing improvement - it is a smart idea to identify these changes for progressive adjustments as well as client motivation. This demonstrates the relevance of recording data during each workout the client performs so that forward thinking and preparations reflect the physical state of the individual.
With all the attention given to the obesity epidemic and lack of physical activity in America it would be safe to say most people know that exercise is important component in the maintenance and improvement of health. This being said, sedentary living and rates of obesity and overweight have reached all-time highs. The collateral effects include national health care issues. Researchers at the University of Missouri found that healthy adults who received interventions focused on behavior-changing strategies significantly increased their physical activity levels, whereas the use of cognitive based interventions did not. The government and private sectors spend millions of dollars on awareness and education (Let’s Move, Play 60, etc..) to try to change knowledge and attitudes about the importance of physical activity, yet according to researchers these methods may not improve physical activity.
Many of the common ailments and skeletal inefficiencies that affect athletes and fitness enthusiasts are actually created by the activities they engage in on a routine basis. Strength and fitness training facilities alike provide numerous machines and equipment to stress the body for what seems to be better performance. Cardiovascular machines help to improve heart and vascular efficiency, selectorized machines help develop bigger muscles and bilateral symmetrical exercises like the squat can produce impressive improvements in strength. So if all these benefits are yielded from a fitness facility or traditional exercise approach than how may they also contribute to musculoskeletal problems?
“One has to get in shape to get in shape”. This simple tagline sounds like a redundant thought but actually underscores the importance for personal trainers to understand and put into practice appropriate starting points and progressions for their clients. Individuals who hire certified personal trainers are often looking for rapid results. However, human physiology has its own pace regardless of the goal. Certainly, water weight can be reduced quickly by cutting carbohydrates, but for effective long-term weight loss goals to be met and sustained, proper progression is necessary. Starting a new exercise program too aggressively is a pitfall for many personal trainers. Those who have years of experience and the appropriate knowledge and understanding of key fitness concepts such as Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and Rate Pressure Product (RPP) consistently implement appropriate starting points for new clients and effective short-term goals that are achievable and build upon each other, resulting in long-term goal achievement.
Screening and assessment is a requisite first step in developing the needs analysis for new clients. One of the relevant components to consider in this process is body composition. It is one component of health-related fitness that should be assessed in the evaluation process as it is clearly understood that elevated levels of body fat cause negative physiological actions within the body leading to systemic low-grade inflammation and an increased risk for all-cause metabolic and cardiovascular disease. Body composition by definition is the ratio of body fat mass to fat-free mass; expressed as a percentage of body fat. There are many direct and indirect methods to assess body fat and elevated risk for disease such as (but not limited to); use of height/weight tables, measurement of body mass index (BMI), measurement of the waist-to-hip ratio, hydrostatic weighing, air displacement plethysmography (Bod Pod), dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and other internal imaging mechanisms, circumference measurements, skinfold measurements, bioelectrical impedance, and near-infrared scanning. These different methods of assessment have varying degrees of accuracy and practicality.
The rising prevalence of obesity, cardio-metabolic disease and related disorders in developed countries worldwide has demonstrated significant negative impacts in social, economic, and health care sectors. Experts site the high costs of disease related treatment and loss of workplace productivity as relevant factors affecting America's economy. There are currently more overweight than underweight adults worldwide for the first time in history and excess weight and physical inactivity are considered the primary root of the problem. According to new research from the American University in Washington, D.C. in addition to the energy imbalance, the obesity epidemic is largely due to growing insecurity, stress, and sense of powerlessness in societies where high calorie, high-sugar, and high-fat foods are readily available.
Weight loss always seems to be at the top of the list of desired accomplishments for people at the beginning of a new year. There are many methods, or combinations of methods, that can be employed to lose weight - but not all will produce equal aesthetic and health-related benefits. Applying dietary modifications in conjunction with a combined resistance training and aerobic exercise program has been shown to be the best overall method for losing weight in a healthy manner. It is well documented that maintaining a negative caloric balance while ensuring the maintenance of lean mass is the optimal way to lose weight. Interestingly, the anaerobic component of exercise is the key to success as excess aerobic training causes a reduction in lean mass particularly when combined with caloric restriction.
As New Year’s resolutions abound, the freshly motivated will be looking for surefire remedies to initiate weight loss and increase lean mass. For many people the first step is buying supplements to make the process more efficient. One of the most popular supplements for the newly-motivated fitness enthusiast is a 2-5 lb. container of processed protein which is available even at Costco. Protein supplementation has been shown to be favorable for weight loss and improving body composition in conjunction with balanced nutrition and routine exercise. Protein shakes (when supplemented for a meal) may reduce total caloric intake, suppress appetite (whey), and allow for proper synthesis of muscle mass with appropriate training. Many individuals tend to over-consume protein however; basing their decisions on invalid and amplified recommendations set forth by fitness enthusiasts, bodybuilder magazines, and supplement-industry marketing campaigns that commonly affirm 1-2g of protein should be consumed per pound of body weight for optimal weight loss or anabolic results.
Even the smallest of refinements to a resistance training program can provide for significant differences in adaptation over time. A good example of this is the employment of varying gripping methods during applicable lifts. Utilizing the proper grip for a given exercise will keep joint angles aligned in a manner that will not cause undue stress to major joints such as the wrist, elbow, and shoulder. The primary types of hand positions or grips used in weightlifting include: