Archive | May, 2010

I am a Squiggly! What Shape Are You?

5 May

This may come as a surprise to most exercise enthusiast, not everyone enjoys exercising.  In fact, many people struggle to maintain a regular exercise program. Motivation, or the lack of, is one reason people stop exercising.  Motivation is complex and individualistic.  What motivates one person may not inspire another.  Linda Shelton, author, editor and fitness expert, explored the idea of fitness personalities and suggested motivation may be related to exercise compatibility.  For example, I love to exercise.  Today I did a kickboxing workout, followed by resistance training and core conditioning.  Yesterday I did an intense med-ball workout and the day before that, fitness fusion yoga.  This workout program might seem random, a mixed bag of activities, and that would be correct!  According to Linda Shelton’s fitness personalities, I am a Squiggly and my exercise program reflects my dislike of routine and my desire for variety.

Shelton defined five fitness personalities, classified as geometric shapes, which differ in workout structure and motivation.  Which fitness personality best describes you?

Square
Do you like to plan all activities and events? Are you most comfortable with a familiar routine and schedule? If so, you may be a Square.

According to Shelton, Squares are very committed to their exercise program and thrive on routine.  Exercise plateaus and lack of progressive results are potential obstacles for Squares.  To avoid unproductive repetition and stagnation, try including a new activity into the weekly routine.  For example, if you are running the same distance every week, try including sprint intervals and running hills.

Rectangle
Do you like order and routine? If something interferes with the day’s workout, are you comfortable moving from plan A to plan B? Do you enjoy groups and perform better with social interaction? You may be a Rectangle.

Rectangles are comfortable working out alone, however are more motivated in a group setting.  The key to continued exercise enthusiasm is to combine a set schedule with social interaction.  A great example would be joining a running group or an exercise class.

Triangle
Do you have a competitive edge and keep detailed exercise logs? Then you may be a Triangle.

Triangles are goal motivated.  Without a new training goal, Triangles lose momentum.  Shelton suggests partnering with an equally competitive buddy and train for specific events, such as marathons, or triathlons.

Circle
Do you find yourself at the gym socializing more than exercising? Are you emotionally driven and put the needs of others before your own?  If this sounds familiar, you may be a Circle.

Circles enjoy social interaction.  Incorporating structure and a social environment, group exercise classes and partner training are great options to keep Circles focused and motivated.

Squiggly
Do you dislike routine? Need a lot of variety? Do you quit if you are bored or not having fun? Then you join me among the Squigglies.

Squigglies should try an extremely varied exercise routine and include an assortment of new activities to keep motivation high.

Now it is your turn. What shape are you? Does your workout routine match your personality shape?

Linda Shelton presented her study findings at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 2009 Health and Fitness Summit in Atlanta, Georgia.
Reference:

American College of Sports Medicine, 2009.  Getting in step with your fitness
personality.  Retrieved from http://www.acsm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=ACSM_News_Releases&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=12542

Netscape, 2010. The 5 fitness personality types.  Retrieved from http://channels.isp.netscape.com/whatsnew/package.jsp?name=fte/5fitnesstypes/5fitnesstypes&floc=wn-nx

Nichols, N. 2009.  Discover the perfect workout for your fitness personality.  Retrieved from http://www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=discover_the_perfect_workout_for_your_fitness_personality

Making Exercise a Sport

5 May

Crossfit Games 2010 Norcal Sectionals where FIT Trainers, Jimmy and Rick, Competed

Physical activity and exercise are interchangeable phrases, but sport is defined as: an individual or group competitive activity involving physical exertion or skill, governed by rules, and sometimes engaged in professionally (often used in the plural).  Physical activity is the goal for health and well-being but motivation can often be a challenge so why not look to sport for the inherent motivation it provides?

Being a part of a team, the motivation that comes from trying to make yourself better, the satisfaction derived from supporting others to do the same . . .these are all benefits traditionally been reserved to organized sport but thanks to Crossfit, every and any individual who wants to stay or get in shape has access to them.  Participating in Crossfit is different from going to the gym to get a workout, it is the feeling of being a part of something bigger than yourself.  The workout of the day is not just about how well you do, it’s about supporting or inspiring those around you, it’s about pushing yourself to try your hardest and do your best.  Like taking up any new sport, it can feel awkward at first leading to uncertainty, but then you chat with a more seasoned Crossfitter and learn that they too were once like you.

Greg Glassman, founder of Crossfit, describes it like this: In implementation, CrossFit is, quite simply, a sport—the “sport of fitness.” We’ve learned that harnessing the natural camaraderie, competition, and fun of sport or game yields an intensity that cannot be matched by other means. Using whiteboards as scoreboards, keeping accurate scores and records, running a clock, and precisely defining the rules and standards for performance, we not only motivate unprecedented output but derive both relative and absolute metrics at every workout; this data has important value well beyond motivation.

The Crossfit principle is competing against yourself.  It’s about self-improvement and mastery of skills.  It’s about practicing skills so you can be better than you were the day before. Like any team sport, tt’s not just about how well you do, it’s about supporting your teammates and being part of their success.  The thing most people seek from team participation, aside from the sport itself, is the camaraderie and community among teammates . . . if this is something you are seeking, and looking to try a new ‘sport’, why not drop in to a crossfit class and give the sport of fitness a try?

Fitness For the Future

5 May

Obesity, a term until recently was reserved for many older and extremely unhealthy individuals. This term however, is now applicable to the very roots of our country, our children. In a recent study conducted at Stanford University, it was found that nearly 1 in 5 of Americas youth are considered obese, 1in 5! That number is not only unbelievable, it is unacceptable.  Playing outside has given way to playing x-box live. Lunch time now consist of a trip to Starbucks for a large frappuccino and a scone. The numbers do not lie! The youth of this country have become some it’s most unhealthy.

On the other end of the spectrum, athletic kids are specializing in one sport at earlier and earlier ages.  While there are some obvious benefits to this, there are also some disadvantages such as increase stress due to competition and improper development.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Young athletes who specialize in just one sport may be denied the benefits of varied activity while facing additional physical, physiologic, and psychologically demands from intense training and competition”.

The simple fact is children need to exercise and benefit most from a well rounded program. The position of the National Strength and Conditioning Association released in 2009, states:

Despite outdated concerns regarding the safety or effectiveness of youth resistance training, scientific evidence and clinical impressions indicate that youth resistance training has the potential to offer observable health and fitness value to children and adolescents, provided that appropriate training guidelines are followed and qualified instruction is available. In addition to performance-related benefits, the effects of resistance training on selected health-related measures including bone health, body composition, and sports injury reduction should be recognized by teachers, coaches, parents, and health care providers. These health benefits can be safely obtained by most children and adolescents when prescribed age-appropriate resistance training guidelines.”(FAIGENBAUM etal)

The key to this statement is that the health benefits of a well planned and supervised program can help most children and adolescents when scaled according to age and ability. A well planned and administered youth exercise program will improve cardiovascular endurance, strength, flexibility, balance, coordination and increase bone mineral density. Increased self-esteem and a reduction in anxiety and stress have also been found to be affected from participation in an exercise program. Children and teens that are overweight or physically deficient are more likely to experience depression and anxiety in their adult life (Schmalz 2006). The effects of a sedentary lifestyle in both adolescents and teens will not only negatively effect them now, but throughout their lives.

As to the early specialization, Dr. Daniel Gould, professor of Applied Sports Physcholog at Michigan State University, explains, “En route to the college scholarship, or any other desired outcome that specialization is supposed to achieve, lie many physical, psychological and emotional pitfalls.  Physically, specializing too early may deprive youth athletes the chance to fully develop their fundamental motor skills, such as hopping, skipping, jumping and running, Gould said. Also, children are subject to overuse injuries, especially epiphyseal (aka growth-plate) trauma, he said.  An increase in doctors treating conditions such as stress fractures may be coming from kids doing too much too soon. Running excessive mileage or throwing curve balls can put stress on growth plates. There’s not always a pitch count for youth baseball.  Psychologically, early specialization may lead to burnout, which Gould defines as ‘formerly enjoyable activities becoming no longer enjoyable due to chronic stress.’ Of course, the psychological problem of burnout may manifest physically, as well, because children who quit sports may exercise less, or not at all.”

Physical activity for children and teens, is not only imperative in their lives currently, but also for success in their future. The physiological and psychological factors that are affected by poor health can cripple an individuals growth and development as an adult. Something as simple as completion of a simple exercise like a push-up, can send a child’s self esteem through the roof. The joy of physical success for children is not only an amazing thing to witness, but goes so far for their own metal health. Programs that range from general fitness to sports specificity, can be tailored to fit those that participate and help them take their own fitness and future to new levels. The health of today’s youth is the key to the success of us all in the future.

For information on kids fitness programs at FIT, please contact Frank@focusedtrainers.com

1.) http://www.ijbnpa.org/content/3/1/5

2.)  http://www.nsca-lift.org/youthpositionpaper/Youth_Pos_Paper_200902.pdf

3.)  http://prevention.stanford.edu

4.)  http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;106/1/154

Exercising in the Heat

4 May

When exercising in a hot environment (an environmental temperature of 86 degrees Farenheit or more), even a little loss of fluid will impair performance and increases the possibility of suffering a heat injury. Everybody responds differently to heat stress, and the effects should not be underestimated.

While exercising for longer than an hour in the heat, we won’t be able to totally avoid dehydration, but the following recommendations can help to offset large fluid losses:

  • Thirst is the body’s natural dehydration indicator. If you are thirsty, then it is too late, you are already dehydrated – avoid feeling excessively thirsty.
  • Drink adequate amounts of water daily. The general guideline is one liter for every 1000 calories you consume. Therefore, if you are sweating profusely, you need to drink more to replace fluid loss.
  • For every pound that is lost, drink two cups of water. To determine how much weight you’ve lost, take weight measurements before and after profusely sweating or following the end of your day.
  • Cramping is usually caused by a lack of sodium, not  potassium. Pretzels, potato chips as well as added salt into a sports drink can quickly replenish lost sodium for those cramping and/or losing large amounts of sweat.

One important consideration with regard to hydration is urine output. Dark urine can be a sign of significant dehydration. Drinking fluids containing sodium may decrease urine output, particularly when dehydration becomes significant (less than two percent of body mass). A low amount of sodium can be found in sports drinks because it improves taste and stimulates thirst. Drinks like this with added electrolytes (like Cytomax and Hammer Gel) may be the best choice for significant dehydration.

During long, hot exercise, sports drinks with standard sodium concentration may be ideal because studies have shown less fluid is consumed as taste decreases.

The ideal sports drink depends on your sensitivity to the type of sugar source, your fitness level, the duration of exercise and the temperature and humidity of the environment. Drinking fluids with a carbohydrate concentration of less than 8 grams (like soft drinks, energy drinks and fruit juice) during exercise delays gastric emptying and slows fluid delivery. Therefore, sports drinks are the best choices during long, hot exercise, especially where fluid demands are high, such as running, cycling, basketball, etc. Be aware hydration is also necessary for proper digestion of food and cellular metabolic processes. Proper hydration impacts health on an assortment of levels.

Seasonal Side: Roasted Red Pepper Gazpacho

4 May

Ingredients:

2c plum tomatoes, chopped

1c cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped

3/4c roasted red pepper, chopped

1 roasted poblano pepper, peeled

3 cloves roasted garlic

1/3c celery, chopped

1/4c scallions, chopped

3 tbsp whole cilantro

1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1c low-sodium tomato juice

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, divided

In the oven: Cut top of garlic head, exposing cloves, drizzle olive oil inside cloves, and place in 400-degree oven for 30-35 minutes.  Remove and let rest wrapped in foil.

Over a gas burner: Place red pepper and poblano directly over gas, resting on burner above medium flame, roasting until entire skin of pepper is charred black.  Place both peppers in brown paper bag and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Peel: (once they’ve cooled) garlic cloves and peppers, and chop.

In a blender or food processor: Pulse tomatoes, cucumber, celery, scallions, cilantro, parsley, vinegar, lemon juice, tomato juice and half avocado.  Add garlic and peppers, fresh ground black pepper and sea salt, blending until desired consistency.  Chill, covered for at least an hour or overnight to let flavors meld together.

Serve with: Seared white fish, shrimp, or tequila-lime marinated chicken.

For more seasonal side ideas or to share: analisa@focusedtrainers.com