The attached article was contributed by long time member Norman Preston. A good, quick read with good tips for those who may have a New Years Resolution!
This article was given to me by a U of Guelph lecturer,; I thought that it might interest you:
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an international fitness conference in Orlando, Florida. I was the only Uxbridge personal trainer on hand, and only one of three Canadians.
It was here that I had the privilege of listening and speaking to a legend in Golf Training, Kai Fusser, Director of The Annika Golf Academy.
As an Uxbridge personal trainer, I have certainly seen many clients that want to improve their golf game, realizing that physical fitness might be their biggest handicap.
Kai Fusser was one of the trainers primarily responsible for the golf fitness craze: Golf is now seen as a sport, golfers as athletes. The success of Annika Sorenstam on the women’s side and Tiger on the men’s side has been a powerful lesson for golfers aspiring to better their golf game.
In speaking with Kai, it was reaffirming to me that we shared many of the same training philosophies that I have utilized with my Uxbridge personal training clients. In the last year, two of my Uxbridge golf training clients have gone on to achieve their best results in golf:
- Gail Pimm had 3 top ten finishes at the Ontario Women’s Amateur Level, including a win at the Scarborough District Championship.
- Jacob Scriven earned his CPGA tour card!
As an Uxbridge personal trainer, I do not count medals or championships – that credit goes to the athlete. Congratulations Gail and Jacob!
Just as an athlete looks to improve , I do the same as a coach year, investing in coaching from the best in the industry so that I can continue to provide my clients with superior results.
I managed to get Kai Fusser to reveal his top 6 Golf training secrets and how to train for golf:
- The Base – It is important to have a solid stance, to feel the ground, a good connection and dynamic legs.
- The Axis – Rotating around your center is a fundamental movement pattern that you must master. You must be aligned and stacked for performance and injury prevention.
- The Core – You must pull abs in and up every time, training your core with movement and to accomodate change in direction
- Power Flow – Learning to let the forces travel without tension as you turn around the center is required for a pure swing.
- Perfect Practice – If you want there to be a transfer from the gym to the course, you must ensure that every repetition has a purpose.
- Mental – Goals create action. Everything starts with the right belief system. You must train this.
How are you doing? If you’re looking to take your golf game to the next level, I can help you get yourself and your golf game in shape as I have proven with my Uxbridge personal training clients.
Circuit training is a great way to do resistance training and aerobic training in one workout. You select a certain number of exercises, and go from one exercise to the next with little or no rest, until you’ve completed all of them.
A circuit can be set up any way — it’s fun to be creative. You can do a full body circuit, a lower body circuit, core circuit, upper body circuit, etc. By doing the exercises consecutively, your heart rate stays in the aerobic zone, at the same time developing lean muscle tissue. You can also add in exercises like jump rope and step-ups.
Circuits are great for all levels, beginners up to advanced. A circuit of 6-8 exercises is usually a good beginner level, working up to 12-15 exercises done twice for advanced. As you can see, a circuit can last as short as 10-15 minutes and go up to 60 minutes.
Time Involved: 10-60 minutes
Body Benefit: Workout in half the time!
What To Do After The Workout
Many of us have a great pre-workout and workout routine. We drink plenty of water before and during exercise, warm up, stretch, work the entire body, and even get in some cardio training as well. Then, after the last exercise, we promptly head back to the locker room, change, and journey home.
What so many out there do not realize is the importance of what you do after a workout. You may have done the majority of the workout, but how you treat your body in the minutes and hours after exercise has a direct effect on muscle soreness, muscle strength and growth, and staying hydrated.
After your last exercise, your workout is not over. The first thing you need to do is cool down. Even if running was all that you did, you still should do light cardio for a few minutes. This brings your heart rate down at a slow and steady pace, which helps you avoid feeling sick after a workout. Walking on a treadmill for five minutes is a good and easy way to cool down.
Then, you should stretch again. This is one of the most important things you can do. After a workout, muscles naturally contract. Stretching again prevents them from shrinking. It allows your muscles to rebuild, growing bigger and stronger, and thus allowing you to get the full benefit from your efforts.
Stretching after exercise also relaxes your muscles, helps speed circulation to joints and tissues, and helps removal of unwanted waste products, thereby reducing muscle soreness and stiffness. Add mental sharpness and you have all the reasons you need to make sure stretching comes not only before, but after every workout as well.
Even when you are actually done exercising, you need to keep replenishing your fluid levels. It’s recommended that you drink another 2-3 cups within two hours after you have finished. Then, drink water regularly afterwards. You may not feel thirsty anymore, but you still need to replenish yourself to avoid getting dehydrated.
Eating is one of the last, but one of the most important, items to do after a workout. You have not only burned hundreds of calories and lost carbhydrates, but you have also actually torn your muscles. You need to repair your muscles and boost your energy levels, and you need to do it fast. It’s recommended that you eat within 90 minutes of your workout, but the sooner the better.
Look for foods that are packed with complex carbohydrates and high in protein. A perfect example is a tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread.
The carbs will re-energize your body, while slowly turning into calories – so you have plenty of time to burn them before they turn to fat. The protein helps repair your muscles, so they grow stronger while your body rests until the next workout.
Next time you put down the dumbbells and think your work is done, remember these after-workout necessities to maximize your efforts and get the most out of exercising.
The following is a list of the 10 most common and significant mistakes that I see well-meaning Uxbridge gym rats making day in and day out. Odds are that you’re guilty of at least three of them, no matter how self-disciplined or how careful you are. So please read on, because the information in this list may save you enormous amounts of wasted time and effort.
And most importantly, a mistake isn’t a mistake if you make it once and learn from it!
- No Goal – When’s the last time you jumped in a car without knowing where you were going? Never. Okay, then when’s the last time you did a workout without having a crystal-clear objective? Always. I thought so.
- Sacrificing Quality to Quantity – More isn’t better – BETTER is better! Make sure you do something well before you do it more.
- Fatigue Seeking – The way to assess the quality of a wokout isn’t by how sore it makes you feel. The way to do this is to measure the degree it improves the qualities and/or abilities that you’re trying to develop.
- Training in Pain – Everyone’s heard of “no pain, no gain.” Well, pain is your body signaling you that something is wrong. I suggest that you listen to it, adjust your workout accordingly, and seek medical attention if pain persists for more than a couple of days!
- Excessive Focus on Load – Sure, lifting heavy is important but it shouldn’t be your only consideration. In general, if you need a spotter, you’re probably lifting too slowly and should lighten up.
- Too Much Focus on Strengths – People tend to do what they like to do or what they are good at. But, if you overuse a strength, it is sure to become a weakness.
- Insufficient Diversity – One of the lessons that I learned early on was that there is no “best” program out there, but Charles Staley has come close to describing it: “The best program is the one that you’re not doing.” Remember, any program has both positive and negative effects. You must counteract the negative ones. And, you do this by optimizing diversity in your fitness programming.
- Lack of Continuity – Changing your program too often is just as bad as doing the same routine workout after workout. For you to get good at something, there is a great deal of motor learning that must occur – and this is achieved through repetition.
- Poor Biomechanics – The goal of any exercise should be to feel tension in the target muscle, but no discomfort or pain in the joints. Every rep is an opportunity to perfect your technique, and each rep should look identical.
- Too Much Aerobic Exercise – If you’re looking to lose fat, regular doses of aerobic exercise can improve recovery, but too much can sap your strength and cause you to lose muscle.
If you’re making these mistakes, STOP! If you want “real” results you need a REAL plan that ties your goals and current fitness level together.
Don’t know how? No problem.
At Body Fit, you can hire an Uxbridge fitness professional to individually guide you to a successful outcome, or if you’re a DIY’er choose to follow one of our online training programs professionally designed with a specific goal in mind – such as “Fat Loss for Women, Fat Loss for Men, Bodyweight Workouts, Strength Workouts, Core Workouts, etc”
With summer in full swing, there’s been a lot of talk around Uxbridge about abs lately. It seems everyone wants to lose a few inches off the waist, get a flat stomach or six-pack abs.
As a fitness coach, I could go on about diet and how spot reduction doesn’t work, but forgetting that for now – here’s the problem that Mike Robertson and I see: Most folks “training” their abs are still caught up in outdated training methods, and not focused on what science has brought to light over the past 5-10 years. Let’s take a quick look at the actual anatomy of your abs, as well as the various functions that your Rectus Abdominus (RA) provides.
The RA is a large, beaded muscle that runs from your xiphoid process and bottom of your rib cage to your pubic symphisis. It’s interesting (and important) to note that instead of being one long, continuous muscle, the RA actually is broken up into several smaller sections. But more on that later.
The RA has several well-defined roles, along with some lesser-known roles, too. Let’s examine each.
The primary functions of your RA include:
– Trunk flexion/Resisting Trunk Extension
– Posterior Pelvic Tilt
– Transmission of “hoop” stresses
Let’s look at each in a little bit more depth, as this is where the story starts to unfold.
Any Uxbridge trainer or fitness enthusiast who knows anything can tell you the RA can promote flexion of the trunk. This is why you’ve seen the ridiculous number of ab rollers, Bender balls, and other gimmicky guru crap being sold at 2 am in the morning for decades.
The idea, initially, was that sit-ups were the best to promote this flexion movement pattern. Then, people started looking deeper and decided that sit-ups placed too much compressive loading on the back, or that they didn’t “isolate” the RA from the hip flexors. Thus, crunches were deemed better for “isolating” the abs and keeping the back healthy.
The problem, however, is that while your RA is capable of producing trunk flexion, the underlying anatomy leads us to believe that this role isn’t nearly as important s the fitness industry has given it credit for. At the Chicago Perform Better Summit in 2007, world reknowned spinal biomechanist Dr. Stuart McGill went so far as to say that if your RA was really there for crunching and trunk flexion, instead of having the beaded sub-sections, you would have one long, continuous hamstring instead!
We also need to ask ourselves another question: At what cost are we crunching? This is where we have to examine the big picture. Will trunk flexion help “bring out” our abs? Maybe – but at what cost? When we examine the big picture, we start to realize several things.
1 – Trunk flexion works to shorten our RA. Doing so exerts a downward pull on our ribcage, effectively pulling us into an increased thoracic kyphosis or “slouched” upper body posture. Not only is this aesthetically unattractive, but virtually useless to us as weight trainers, fitness enthusiasts or athletes. By pulling our body into an increased kyphosis, we lose the ability to get our scapulae into the appropriate positions and increase the likelihood of shoulder and rotator cuff problems.
2 – Research by McGill and others has shown that repetitive flexion/extension of the spine is injurious. Our spine only has so many flexion/extension cycles in it; once we hit a certain threshold, we get injured!
Mike Boyle has a great analogy here – it’s like a credit card. Bend a new credit card back and forth and, initially, it bounces back. But if you continue to bend that card, you eventually start to see a white crack. Continue to bend it back and forth, and over time that crack leads to a break. Your spine is not much different. And hey, maybe this is the reason that the Canadian Center of Activity and Aging identified spinal flexion as a movement pattern that should be contraindicated for those with osteoporosis – years ago!
Here’s another way to think about this – instead of thinking about promoting movement, start to think about how your muscles work to control or resist various movements as well. In this case, your RA not only promotes trunk flexion, but it also works to resist trunk extension! It’s not rocket science, but it’s a huge step forward in your thinking. Far too often, we only think of how muscles work in an open-chain, textbook definition, instead of what they do in real life.
However, there might be some exceptions to this rule – I can think of a few high-end athletes who might need some judiciously included trunk flexion in their programming. For most of the population, however, hopefully we can agree that crunching and trunk flexion movements probably aren’t in the best interest of our bodies.
Posterior Pelvic Tilt
The second function of the RA is to promote posterior pelvic tilt, and/or to control pelvic alignment. While many are focused on upper vs. lower RA, it only has one common nerve supply and therefore can’t be isolated into upper and lower sections.
Many people assume that exercises like leg throws and ab wheel rollouts must hit their “lower” abs harder, because they get so sore following these exercises (especially when compared to crunches). The primary difference, however, is that these movements emphasize the negative portion of the lift. Eccentric exercise has been proven time and again to increase delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), so it’s not so much that you’re training different muscles as it is that you’re shifting the type of training stress. Or it could just be that you’re doing something “new”, which is also virtually guaranteed to make you sore. It’s not necessarily better, it’s just different. But I’m getting a little off target here; I digress.
Transmission of Stresses and Force
The final piece of the puzzle is promoting or transmitting “hoop” stresses that are generated from the obliques. The idea here is simple – instead of working to promote movements around the lumbar spine, the RA (along with the rest of the abdominal muscles) was primarily there to prevent movement and transmit forces! Again, this was a huge shift in thinking.
So, in other words, isometrically training the rectus abdominus is consistent with its anatomy and stabilizing function to enhance performance and power development in the hips and extremities.
Quite simply, stop moving and start stabilizing! If you want to get the most out of your abdominal training, you’d be well served to focus on exercises that optimize pelvic alignment and train your body to stabilize the lumbar spine. Not only will you stay healthier, but you’ll perform better as well.
And if you’re an Uxbridge athlete, you should be aware of this fundamental concept – the core doesn’t promote the power itself. Instead, it transmits the power that the hips and thighs have generated.
1) You MUST create a caloric deficit – ideally from your diet AND through training. Do calories matter? You better believe that they do, but you also better believe that a calorie isn’t always a calorie where nutrient density is concerned.
2) You must do some form of muscular work intensely. Muscle is your primary fat burning tissue – if it’s not working hard – you aren’t burning hard.
3) Some form of energy system work can be a valuable addition to your program – but this is the single most over-used modality. Do too much of this and your efforts will backfire.
If you’re having trouble losing fat, you’re screwing up at LEAST one of the three things above.
Yes, but as an Uxbridge fitness coach, my job is to get results for you and my personal training clients in a timely fashion – not to hand out lollipops and blow sunshine up your *#%!
Clusters are one of my favourite strength training techniques for helping my Uxbridge personal training clients to bust through frustrating plateaus. A cluster is basically a set of several reps divided into single reps with a brief pause in between.
For example, you might do one rep, rest ten seconds, do another rep, rest ten seconds, do another rep, rest ten seconds, and so on.
While cluster training was popularized by Charles Poliquin, it’s pretty much how all Olympic lifters train. Olympic lifters train this way because when they do reps on the competitive lifts they drop the bar and reset after each repetition.
The working premise of clusters is that they allow you to perform more reps with a given percentage. A ten-second pause is enough to allow for partial ATP regeneration, the clearance of metabolites, and neural recovery.
So, when you do clusters, you should shoot for two or three more reps with a target weight. If you can bench 315 for three reps, shoot for cluster sets totaling five to six reps.
It’s important to note that you should replace the bar on the hooks between each rep. Trust me, you’ll want the rest.
But be warned, clusters are very demanding on the nervous system, so there are a couple of rules to follow: no more than one cluster per muscle group should be used in a workout and only for three to five sets.
Give this one a try and let me know how you progress:)