Fat Loss & Leg Day

For most people, leg day is a struggle. The result: many work legs once a week and work all other parts of the body 5 or more times a week, counting a rest day.

What if I told you that working legs could help you gain more muscle everywhere else, as well as help burn fat? 

Let me share how…

To start, the more lean mass, or muscle, you have on your body, the more calories you burn. Being in a calorie deficit aids in fat / weight loss. If you aren’t working out your legs you are giving up a lot of potential fat-burning opportunities. Not only is it giving up some prime real-estate, the gluteus maximus, better known as your butt, is the largest of all muscles on your body. This enough should have you working your legs more frequently. If not, here are some more reasons to work your legs.

If you are working your legs, you aren’t working your arms, correct? Did you know that on those days you don't work your arms you are giving them more time to rest, gain size and strength between workouts.

All muscle gain happens when the muscle is resting and has time to reconstruct after exercise.

When your legs are stronger and more stable, not only will your lower body be getting stronger, your upper body will be gaining as well.

Through every upper body movement you are improving stability by keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground. The result: as your legs get stronger you will be able to stabilize you core more efficiently while performing upper body exercises.

So lets recap

  • Legs are a big muscle group
  • Gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle
  • Give upper body more rest
  • Work legs more
  • Increase the fat burn
  • Become more stable for upper body movements

With consistent leg days you will benefit yourself through muscle and strength gain as well as fat loss!

And that, is Fitness By Design.


Why Resistance Training is Important for Fat loss

Spring is starting, meaning summer is right around the corner. There will be tons of outdoor activities you’ll want to be conditioned for including, for some, the “dreaded” swimsuit weather. To combat weight gained over the winter months many will spend hours on cardio equipment hoping it will do the trick. But doing this, like may have occurred every other year, will result in falling short of health and fitness goals.

The typical desire is to tone up and lose that stubborn belly fat. The reality is that cardio alone will only get you so far. Have you considered adding weight (or resistance) training to your cardio routine? Many haven’t as they are under the assumption that weight training will make them bulky.

Let’s explore the science...

Mitochondria and Metabolism

Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. Mitochondria converts food into energy. Muscles, have many mitochondria to produce energy for quick movement to do work. That being said, if you build more lean muscle mass, you will now need more fuel to aid these muscle fibers.

In other words, you are speeding up your metabolism. This means that even your resting metabolic rate will increase and you will burn more calories simply sitting at work. Even more so, while doing cardio.

Rep Range and Muscle Tone

The amount of reps or “repetitions” is the amount of times you contract the weight from start to finish of each set of an exercise.

Rep ranges play a significant role in muscle development.

  • The lower reps (1-8) are for strength gain
  • 8-12 are for increasing muscle size (a.k.a. hypertrophy)
  • 12-15 is for muscle toning and anaerobic cardio, when teamed with low rest time of 15-30 seconds. This also increases lactic acid threshold.

Anaerobic Cardio (Without Oxygen)

Lactic acid is produced when your body is in an oxygen deficiency. The body needs energy for muscle contractions. For the process to create this energy the body needs oxygen. Once the body is working to the point that it can no longer get enough oxygen it creates lactic acid. Lactic acid is the burning feeling you get while exercising.

Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption

When you elevate your heart rate and need for oxygen, you increase oxygen demands post workout. That means you will increase your metabolic rate and need for calories to be burned, to create energy to provide oxygen and get rid of the lactic acid build up.

In closing, there are a number of different modes and reasons for resistance training but if you choose the correct rep range it can be used to support your weight/fat loss goals.

And that is, Fitness By Design.


The importance of stretching

You’ve likely heard that it is important to stretch. So, before a workout you stretch for what seems like a sufficient amount of time by performing two or three random leg stretches for anywhere between 3 to 14.5 seconds and then start your workout.

Well, to ensure the maximum benefit of your stretching it might be worthwhile for me to share more on the “why” you need to stretch and strengthen appropriate muscles to keep yourself moving properly and in balance.

Here we go...

Stretching is for everyone. Why? Because repetitive movements create tight muscles. Whether you are a conditioned athlete, or an accountant, you need to stretch. When a conditioned athlete is bench pressing, he is tightening his chest muscles. When an accountant is typing on his/her computer all day, shoulders rolled forward, he/she is tightening their chest/trapezius muscles. Both of which can ultimately lead to upper cross syndrome.

You know that little old man or lady with a hunchback? They’re an example of someone with an extreme case of upper cross syndrome.

Why is upper cross syndrome harmful?

Upper cross syndrome can cause:

  • Shoulder impingement
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Inflammation of bursa (fluid filled sack that counters friction in the shoulder joint)
  • Arthritis in the shoulder joint

So, if you’re already exercising, it can lead to shoulder injury. If you haven’t started exercising, once you realize you’re developing diseases due to obesity, or simply living a sedentary lifestyle, you may very well be stopped in your tracks by a shoulder issue.

You can avoid this through proper stretching.

What should you stretch?

Chest muscles: Place your elbow on a door frame, slightly above 90 degrees and externally rotate your shoulder (open chest). Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the opposite shoulder.

Trapezius muscle: Interlock your fingers behind your back, palm to palm. Now slightly tilt your head to one side and pull the arm opposite the side your head is tilted down. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat in the opposite direction.

What should you strengthen?

  • Rhomboids (the muscles between shoulder blades)

  • Low/mid trapezius (the muscles that lower the shoulder blades)

  • Rear delts (the muscles on the back of your shoulders)

Now, back to the conditioned athlete and the accountant. Shoulders aren’t the only thing to worry about. Lifting improperly will usually lead to tight hips and quads, as will sitting at a desk all day with your hip flexors in a shortened position. Both can lead to lower cross syndrome.

Have you seen someone walking around with their butt out and lower back arched? That’s an extreme case of lower cross syndrome.

Why is lower cross syndrome harmful?

Lower cross syndrome can cause

  • Lower back problems

  • Excessive quad use, and resulting knee pain

  • Arthritis of the knees and hips

As stated in the section on upper cross syndrome, if you are a conditioned athlete working hard and not stretching it can cause you to strain your back, knees or hips. If you’re an accountant sitting at your desk all day, when you finally decide to workout you may feel lower back, or knee pain.

So what should you stretch?

Hip flexors: Place one knee on the ground and keep the other at a 90 degree angle. Now flex the glute (your butt) on the same side as the knee that is down. Also make sure your core is tight and you’re not arching your back. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Quads: While standing, bend at the knee and grab your leg behind you. Try flexing your hamstring and glute on the leg you’re stretching while keeping your core tight. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the opposite leg.

What should you strengthen?

  • Glutes

  • Core (Torso/abdominal muscles)

  • Posterior chain (the muscles on the backside of your body, neck to heal, responsible for proper stability and hip extension during a bend in lift)

Now that you know some specific reasons to stretch, go ahead and give these exercises a try!

And, if you’d like to learn exercises for strengthening the opposing muscles listed, come on in for a free / complimentary workout and I will show you the right ones for you! :)

And that’s, fitness by design


Eating For Optimum Fat Burn

When you have a stressful and demanding job, which many people do, it is hard to eat correctly and not put on some extra pounds.

What happens to most people is they say, “all I eat is salad.” or “I can’t find anytime to eat so I make up for it at the end of the day.” These are just a couple of dieting habits that need to be put to a halt.

You may have heard that it is best to eat 6 small meals during the day. This is an excellent approach!

Now you may be wondering why…

When you eat 6 small meals a day, you are keeping your body in a higher metabolic state. Put in better words “If you don’t use it, you loose it.”

You need to keep your body used to specific meal timings and keep it in the habit of knowing that it will be getting food soon. If you constantly binge eat at the end of the day your body will go into panic mode. Meaning, any time food is put in the system your body will stow it away as fat because it is nervous as to when it will be fed again.

Here’s another simpler way of putting it…

If you know anything about building a fire, you know to start a fire you need kindling (small twigs) to light… then you put the bigger stuff on which keeps it burning until you have to put a bigger log on.

When eating, you need to do the same thing… Keep that metabolism up with kindling and then logs to burn.

When you binge eat at the end of the day after having a small breakfast you are basically putting some kindling on… waiting 12 hrs then throwing a soggy tree trunk on whats left of the original kindling. It just isn't a healthy situation...

About salads…

When having a salad try to stay away from (or at least minimize the use of) salad dressing, as most are jam packed with sodium “which retains water." This essentially does the same thing as binge eating at the end of the day. When you have too much sodium and not enough water, when the body finally gets water it will hold on to it because it is nervous it won’t receive water again.

The other thing is, try to switch from iceberg lettuce to spinach. Iceberg lettuce has little to no nutritional value and is mostly made up of water. Spinach, on the other hand, has water and tons of vitamins!

Yeah, it may not initially taste as good, but rest assured that meeting your health and fitness goals, being in the best shape of your life, will feel great!

In closing, take these tips and watch yourself burn off some of that stubborn body fat!

And that, is Fitness By Design.


What To Look For In A Personal Trainer

Performing as a fitness professional for a number of years, with dozens of clients, I’ve witnessed some questionable practices by gyms and personal trainers. To be fair, I have also met a lot of great trainers. However, when considering a personal trainer, it can be tricky to identify the great from the under-qualified.

Here are some criteria to look for in selecting a qualified personal trainer.

Does the trainer you’re about to give your hard-earned money to, look like they workout?

Does your potential trainer preach that he/she can get you into the shape of your life while rocking a beer gut, hunched shoulders and clearly demonstrates a lack of energy?

One thing you might ask yourself is: “If this trainer has all the answers to get me into the shape of my life, why do they look like they just rolled out of bed, ate a donut and handed me a pen to sign-up for their obviously flawed fitness program?

Criteria: Make sure your potential trainer walks the walk and is a living, breathing example of what their fitness program can do for you.

What degrees, certifications and life experience does your potential trainer posses?

Here is a common scenario...First, you will meet with a bubbly fitness manager (a.k.a. Salesperson) with AMAZING credentials who will psych you up to sign a contract for their FLAWLESS fitness program. Afterwards, they will hand you off to some average Joe or Josephine, who has a cereal box personal training certification. The bubbly fitness manager is now off to close on their next sales lead and sign up the next prospect.

Next, when that cereal box certified trainer is losing his/her clients, he/she will quit, leaving YOU with the task of trying to find another trainer within that facility, with little to no help from the bubbly fitness manager (I mean Salesperson).

Criteria: Avoid the bait and switch by making sure the person with the credentials is the one who will be training you. Don’t waist your time and money on a trainer who hasn’t earned a degree in some sort of exercise science, sports medicine or exercise physiology program of study, on top of their certification.

Does the trainer assess your current fitness level?

The first time you meet with your personal trainer they should bring you through some sort of movement screening and basic questionnaire to see how you move, if you’re prone to injury or have any health-related considerations they should be aware of.

They should then work with you to manage any imbalances and make sure you’re moving correctly without pain or discomfort before they begin to advance you.

I’ve heard clients telling their trainer: “This hurts my knees.”, and the trainer responds, and I quote, “mhmm just keep going.”

Criteria: Make sure the trainer performs a fitness assessment and fine tunes your program when needed and is responsive to any indications of pain and discomfort.

Does your potential trainer have a one-size fits all training program?

Yes, it makes sense in the initial stages of a fitness program to perform similar routines, so the trainer can get a sense of where to progress or regress a client in certain areas. But, in the case above, if the client’s knees hurt while stepping forward, in a lunge motion, the trainer should have their trainee step backwards, instead, so they can properly load their glute and remove the shear force on their knee.

Criteria: Make sure your potential trainer doesn’t have a one-size fits all program.

Does the personal trainer have client references and testimonials?

Sure, a trainer can have the look, credentials, an assessment process and flexible training programs. But, can they connect you with reference clients who you can speak with and/or provide positive testimonials sharing how they've helped numerous people achieve their fitness goals?

Criteria: Make sure your potential trainer has clientele (like you) who can share positive feedback about their training experience, such as what you'll find on my testimonials page.

In closing…

To avoid potential waists of time and money, and achieve your fitness goals, consider hiring a highly qualified independent personal trainer. Why? They are likely more experienced, thorough in their approach and able to help you meet your fitness goals while avoiding injury.

In addition to being with you every step of the way, they are more cost effective. That is, the fees to engage an independent personal trainer don’t include the overhead costs you will incur with a personal trainer operating within a membership gym environment.

Who doesn’t want to save money for a better experience?

I hope this post helps you confidently maneuver the fitness industry to find a personal trainer who fits your needs and who will be with you every step of the way towards achieving your fitness goals!

And that’s Fitness By Design


The Importance of Proper Breathing

When starting a new fitness program for fat loss, muscle gain or endurance, proper breathing sounds like the least of your problems, right? What you might not realize is that proper breathing techniques aids your body with more efficient functions.

Here’s how!

Energy Supply

With proper breathing you will fuel a more efficient way to use and create energy from oxygen and will better regulate lactic acid build up.

Lactic acid is what causes the burning sensation in your muscles when you are working out. More oxygen reduces the burn...

Mental health

With better air supply your brain won’t be constrained by the rest of the body's need for oxygen and will be fully satisfied, ready to solve complex problems of everyday life.

Circulation

With proper breathing the blood supply will be full of oxygen to move throughout the body.

Heart rate

With proper breathing your heart will not have to pump as fast to circulate needed oxygen through the body. So, with proper breathing you can more quickly slow your heart rate down to a steady pace.

You may be wondering what the technique is…

Resistance training breathing:

Resistance training breathing involves inhaling when loading for an exercise (when the muscle is expanding) and exhaling when exerting energy (when the muscle is contracting).

Examples:

Push-ups

  • Breathe in when lowering to the ground
  • Breathe out when pushing away from the ground

Pull-ups

  • Breathe in when lowered
  • Breathe out when pulling up

Impact cardio (running, jumping jacks, jumping rope)

  • Breathe in and hold for 2 ground contacts
  • Breathe out and hold for 2 ground contacts

Another tip you have may have heard of is, in through the nose and out through the mouth. If you’ve ever wondered why this is important it’s because the nasal passageway has small hairs that act as a humidifier. With the air more humid, and closer to body temperature, your body will use that oxygen for energy to supply bodily functions instead of investing energy heating the air.

Said another way, breathing in through your mouth during exercise is like paying a $100 fee to withdraw $100 from your account. A losing proposition.

Conclusion

With proper breathing you will aid your body with better circulation and energy levels. With proper blood flow to all organs your brain will be working at optimum levels to help you focus on your goals in the gym as well as for the rest of the day. When breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth you will be using energy to workout, burn fat and synthesize protein instead of using energy to bring the air to core levels.

Remember, no matter what you are working out, it is crucially important to ensure proper breathing.

And that, is Fitness By Design.


The Importance Of Proper Water Intake

If asked, “How much water should a person consume during the day?” most would likely respond with “8 glasses of water a day”, right?

Well, here’s another question: “Would an athlete working out and sweating profusely need more water?”. The answer is obviously, “yes.” The point is, everybody has different water consumption requirements.

So, we’ve discussed that everybody needs water and that some people may need more or less water than others… but why?

Think about this for a second…

  • The human body is composed of roughly 60% water.
  • The brain is 75% water.

The 60% is used for

  • Digestion
  • Absorption of nutrients
  • Circulation / transportation of nutrients
  • Regulation body temperature

As you see, regulating water intake is very important for not only fitness but for everyday life.

Did you know, about 75% of all Americans are dehydrated and may not even know it?

What are some common signs of dehydration?

  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Dark colored urine
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness/ light headedness

How can we combat this?

On average men should drink about 13 cups of water a day.

On average women should drink about 9 cups of water a day.

But, if you are working-out, more fluids are lost through sweat and therefore needs to be replenished.

Working out and water consumption

Here is a trick you can try.

Weigh yourself before and after your workout. And, for every pound lost through water weight you should consume two 8 oz glasses of water.

So, if you weighed in at 150 lbs before your workout and 147 on completion, you’d need to consume 24 oz of water.

Conclusion

With better circulation your blood will more efficiently carry fat cells through the body to be converted into energy and burned. With better digestion you won’t feel constipated and bloated. With proper hydration your ability to transport and absorb proper nutrients will increase, leaving you healthier, energized and satiated from each meal.

With proper water intake, you will aid your body in more efficiently achieving your personal health and wellness goals.

And that, is Fitness By Design...


Welcome!

Welcome to the Fitness by Design Personal Training blog and website!

This is the inaugural post announcing my new business.

After receiving degrees in Exercise Science as well as Small Business Entrepreneurship, and providing personal training to dozens upon dozens of clients over the last few years, I have decided to strike out on my own.

Doing so allows me to provide the specialized training services that my clients have come to enjoy, at a more reasonable price, in a much more personalized environment.

If you are looking to improve your overall health and well-being and would like to consider a personal trainer, please contact me and you will receive a complimentary, no cost, no obligation, fitness assesement. We can discuss your personal fitness goals and objectives, and define a program that works for you, your schedule and budget. And, if you know of someone who is considering a personal trainer please point them my way. You will NOT be disappointed. I personally guarantee it! 

Please check out some of the testimonials provided by my awesome clients to see how I've helped others achieve their unique personal fitness goals!

Finally, I will be posting articles from time-to-time on tips, techniques and advice for maintaining outstanding health and well-being. If there is a topic that you'd like me to cover let me know.

And that, is Fitness By Design!