When The Going Gets Tough… Keep Going

This time of year, we get a lot of new members starting at the gym and others who are already members starting back up into routine again, that is no secret. January is a busy time as the start of a new year is a natural time to refocus and set new goals that a lot of times are around taking better care of ourselves.

Some will stick with this new habit and a lot won’t.

Last week I had 2 identical conversations with 2 different members about sticking with their routines when times get tough.

Inevitably at some point something will come up that is going to test your commitment to your exercise routine and make it more difficult to maintain. Stress at work, a family member gets sick or money gets tight and one of the first things we let go of is our own health and fitness when in reality in these stressful situations it’s the one thing you should be fighting to maintain.

To take care of others the best you can or take on stressful situations, you need to be at your best. Maintaining your own health and fitness through these situations is not only the best thing you can do for yourself but also for those around you. Exercise is also one of the best stress relievers.

Maybe you have to revisit your routine to shorten it up, do it at home or only do 2 days a week instead of 3, but whatever you do, don’t give it up. There is always a way to make it work if it’s important to you.

We have all heard the speech on an airplane where they tell you in case of an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on first before helping anyone else with theirs. Without you getting oxygen you are not going to be much help to anyone else for very long. Think of your exercise routine as your oxygen mask.

Take care of yourself first and you will be better able to take care of others and be able to take on other stressful situations better.

Make this the year you stick with it, no matter what.

What NOT To Do

Rather than start the New Year off with the typical advice a personal trainer would give to his or her clients or what you would normally hear on the news in regards to what you should do or try to do to improve your physical fitness and well being in this New Year, I’m going to do the opposite, just because I hate doing what everyone else does.

Here goes. And by the way, these “DO NOTS” are scientifically proven, well researched and come from very credible and reliable sources.
So, DO NOT

  1. …over eat.
  2. …eat after 8pm.
  3. …eat burnt or blackened meat (men…..strongly linked to Prostate Cancer.)
  4. …eat animal fat (saturated fat) from conventionally raised animals.
  5. …sit on your ass all day.
  6. …microwave food in plastic containers.
  7. …microwave unless you have no other choice.
  8. …slouch when sitting.
  9. …smoke, (vaping included).
  10. …hold your cell phone to your head (use the speaker).
  11. …over train (work out too much, too often).
  12. …hold your breath while lifting weights.
  13. …deprive yourself out of a good nights’ sleep.
  14. …drink fluoridated water   
  15. …forget to control the negative when strength training
  16. …drink sodas
  17. …eat a lot of manufactured and processed foods                            and finally…don’t eat yellow snow.

Why Exercise Really? (Part 2)

A few articles ago I wrote about some statistics that should confirm in one’s mind that exercise should be a part of everyone’s life and why. In this article, looking back at how active we used to be years ago compared to now should also prove to be another convincing factor as to why we should exercise.

Let’s have a look back over the past 50 years. I’m about to turn 60 in a few months and I have a great memory of all that I and all others used to do years ago compared to how we do those same things today. Much has changed. Depending on how you look at these changes or advancements, they can be regarded as good or bad, but I wanted to list a bunch of these changes I’ve seen over the past 50 years just to drive home a point.

I remember……

1. …my dad and then even me after I got my driver’s license, putting the car in the garage. Stop the car, get out, open up the garage door, get back in the car, pull the car in the garage, get out of the car, exit the garage and then shut the garage door. This took place several times a day. Today, push a button to open the garage door, push a button to close it. NO PHYSICAL EXERTION WHATSOEVER.

2. …getting up from the couch to change the channel on the television, or turning the volume up or down, or adjusting the picture quality, turning it on and turning it off. Today, sit on the couch and push buttons, or even just “say a command”! NO PHYSICAL EXERTION WHATSOEVER.

3. …adjusting the reception on the television by climbing up on the roof of the house and physically turning the antenna in a different direction. It’s true! Today, satellites and cable do it all for us. NO PHYSICAL EXERTION WHATSOEVER.

4. …dialing the telephone with a rotary dial. If it was long distance, it was 11 numbers. Today, tap or voice command. NO PHYSICAL EXERTION WHATSOEVER.

5. …running to the phone every time it rang so as not to miss the call. Today, we carry the phone with us at all times. NO PHYSICAL EXERTION WHATSOEVER.

6. …as a young driver, driving vehicles with no power steering, no power brakes, no power windows, no cruise control, nothing. Today, we press a button to start the vehicle, press another button to lock or unlock our vehicles, push another button to roll windows up and down, push another button to open doors and trunks, hatches and tailgates, we don’t have to keep our foot on the gas pedal if we have cruise control, we don’t even have to brake or steer anymore because the new vehicles do it all for us! NO PHYSICAL EXERTION WHATSOEVER.

7. …nailing. We didn’t screw woodwork together; it was all nailed manually with a hammer. If a screw was required, your forearms, your grip and a screwdriver did the job. Today, we have nail guns to drive nails or cordless drills to drive in screws. NO PHYSICAL EXERTION WHATSOEVER.

8. …learning to type in high school. Actually “pecking” at the keys on the manual typewriters and physically returning the carriage at the end of each and every line! Today, tap or voice. NO PHYSICAL EXERTION WHATSOEVER.

9. …heating up leftovers. There were no microwaves when I was a young boy. Anything that needed to be heated was done on the stove top. Today, push a few buttons, and voila, it’s heated. NO PHYSICAL EXERTION WHATSOEVER.

10. …watching my parents defrost the freezer manually. They emptied the entire fridge, boiled water in several pots, placed them in the freezer and splashed the hot water all over the inside of the freezer. Eventually they were able to break the ice free of the sides of the freezer box and remove it. Once done, reload the fridge and freezer. Today, the appliance does it for us. NO PHYSICAL EXERTION WHATSOEVER.

You get the picture, right? The requirement for physical exertion in our society today is literally gone. Moving sidewalks, wheels on our luggage and sports bags, elevators, escalators, and so on. The easier we can make something happen, the better. Years ago, joining a health club was like joining soccer, hockey, dance, or any other recreational activity. Today my friends, joining a health club is no longer for recreation (unless you are like me and actually enjoy lifting weights). As I allude to in my strength training seminars, a health club is nothing more than a simulator. It simulates hard work. The health club membership today strives to re-introduce to your body the physical demands that the human body was created to experience each day and endure. We are built to work, and work hard. Because we don’t physically challenge ourselves anymore like we should, we are aging prematurely. We may be living longer, thanks to modern medicine, but research confirms that the quality of our lives during the last ten years we live is very poor for most, and it shouldn’t be.

The difference between what happens in your life outside our gym walls and inside our gym walls is that outside, in today’s society, very little physical exertion is required to do anything anymore, and it’s only going to get worse, but inside our walls, physical exertion is required at all times to do all things.

So work, and work hard, and reap the reward of a great quality of life. See you at the gym!

Is Exercise Really That Important? Really?

Seeing how this is my 100th article, I guess I’d better make it a good one, so here it goes. I’m certain that everyone by now has heard that exercise should be a regular part of your weekly routine and why. Researchers have proof of how important it is because of what it does for your body systems and thus have been advocates of exercise for quite a while now.

Once you hear these things, you likely don’t want to hear them over and over again, so I won’t bore you with those, but, as researchers continue to do what they do best, they’ve actually come up with more and different reasons why regular exercise is so extremely important today more than ever before. These are fairly recent so I doubt you haven’t heard these ones before. So, without further a due, here they are:

These newly discovered benefits of exercise listed here are the result of legitimate, extensive, long term and documented research, some of which may get a bid technical, sorry.

1. People who continue to exercise well into their ripe old age live longer and stay healthier than those who stop moving and allow their muscles to waste away.

2. Exercise is a hermetic stressor (limited stress placed on your body to make yourself stronger). Therefore, exercise stimulates autophagy (the recycling of old, worn out cellular components, and a similar process called unfolded protein response (UPR). In the case of UPR, the cell degrades dysfunctional (misfolded) proteins, restoring the health of the cell. Rejuvenating the cells helps keep you young.

3. Regular exercise dramatically reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. A study from 2018 showed that women who were physically fit at middle age were a whopping 90% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease even decades later.

4. Another study examined the effects of exercise on patients with early stage Alzheimer’s and found that it improved memory performance and even reduced atrophy of the hippocampus, the memory centers of the brain.

5. Exercise that uses the legs in particular stimulates brain cells keeping you alert and healthy into old age.

6. Exercise has a powerful effect on the immune system. This means that exercise causes you to produce more of the enzymes that support cellular and mitochondrial function.

7. Exercise helps prevent heart disease which can be attributed to its effects on your gut biome.

8. Exercise increases gut bacteria richness and diversity.

9. A recent report from the Harvard Medical School stated that for some adults struggling with depression, regular exercise works as well as prescription antidepressants.

See you at the gym!

Machines vs. Free Weights

Which is better, using machines or free weights?

The answer depends on a few things such as your training experience, fitness level, goals, injuries or limitations to name a few.

Let’s take a look at each of the modes individually to see what matches up to where you are at with your fitness right now.

Machines

For the most part we recommend every member start with working on machines. Machines are a great way to safely introduce strength training and begin to build a strength base.

Because the machines only allow for a very specific movement it helps to ensure safety as well as that you will be engaging the correct muscles and therefore strengthening the right muscles. You do still have to make sure that you are performing the exercise correctly and pay attention to your form, but it is significantly easier to perform the exercises correctly on machines.

Machines are also excellent for isolating the muscle group you are working. The machines are a great tool for anyone at any stage of their fitness journey.

Free Weights

Free weights are more challenging. Unlike on the machine where you typically are confined to a specific movement, free weights require stabilization from other muscle groups to keep the correct movement and therefore makes the movement more challenging.

Free weights also translate to activities of daily living better. In every day life your movements will require some amount of stabilization from your muscles which training with free weights will help to improve.

The downside to free weights is that they can lead to injury more easily if the exercises are not done correctly.

In conclusion, one is not better than the other. They are different and depending on where you are in your fitness currently will be the best indicator of which is best for you.

If you are new to exercise or are starting up again after being off for a while, definitely start out on the machines, get your body used to strength training movements and build a solid strength base.

Once you have been on the machines for a while and have gained more strength, more confidence in the movements and in the gym overall, start to challenge yourself by incorporating more free weight exercises.

Don’t be afraid of the free weights. As I said earlier, the free weights translate better into everyday movements. Also, you should be continually challenging yourself, and progressing from machines to incorporating free weights is a great way to add a new challenge. That’s what it’s all about. Challenging yourself to get stronger, build more confidence and achieve and maintain a superior quality of life, whatever that means to you.

If you are unsure of exactly how to get started with strength training on the machines or how to start incorporating more free weights into your routine, we can help with that! That is what we are here for!