Tag Archives: fitness instruction

HOW DO OUR ARMS GROW?

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article reviewed and edited by STEVEN MILNER IIST

Most people tend to look at their arms as an indicator of the amount of muscle they are gaining, muscle growth in the arms is typically the same as elsewhere in the body except that the arms are known as our show muscles, so how do they grow? This article is a bit technical but I have deliberately avoided throwing numbers and study citations at you because they don’t really help you in the real world of physical results. Sometimes it’s helpful to know which atoms and molecules are broken off, replaced or reordered but that’s the science behind it all and I’m more concerned with the practise of self improvement.

Muscle growth typically occurs at the structural and chemical levels. Further, strength increases are highly related to changes in muscle fibre size. Increase in muscle size is typically referred to as hypertrophy. The National Strength and Conditioning Association (USA) reports that hypertrophy in the arms can be observed after about 16 workout sessions.
HYPERTROPHY
The NSCA purports that increases in muscle size, or hypertrophy, result from an increase in the cross-sectional area of muscle fibres after resistance training in the arms. Resistance training induces increased synthesis of the proteins, actin and myosin. Additional proteins accumulate on the perimeter of each fibre, which increases its diameter. Further, the number of myofibrils within the muscle has been shown to increase, thus adding to increases in muscle size.

FIBRE SIZE
Two types of muscle fibres exist. Type I fibres are associated with longer-duration activities such as cycling, while type II fibres are engaged during short-duration, explosive activities such as power lifting. Both muscle fibre types are stimulated during resistance training in the arms, although type II fibres are engaged to a greater degree. Therefore, type II muscle fibres tend to increase cross-sectional area to a greater extent than type I fibres.

FIBRE CONVERSION
Muscle fibre types have been shown to change as a result of training, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Resistance training results in muscle fibres taking on type II characteristics. Type II fibres are more prone to size increases, and fibre-type conversion may contribute to overall muscle growth in the arms after exercise.

STRUCTURAL CHANGES
Resistance training in the arms increases density and volume of many of the structures that form a muscle fibre, such as the myofibrils, sarcoplasmic reticulum and T-tubules. These changes also contribute to muscle fibre growth and thus increases in muscle cross-sectional area.

OTHER MUSCULAR CHANGES
Resistance training results in cellular changes in the arms as well. Increases in mitochondrial density, capillary density and improved acid-buffering capacity have all been associated with increased muscle size. Wilmore and Costill report that hyperplasia, the splitting of fibres into daughter fibres, may also occur, though research on this topic is equivocal.

A LITTLE REMINDER FOR THE LADIES
In the absence of testosterone production ladies will tone and firm their muscles and NOT grow them to man-size proportions.
DON’T WORRY LADIES YOU WILL BECOME MORE BEAUTIFUL, NOT BUTCH.

ladies arms

FELLERS? GO FOR IT! GROW HUGE…

Arms 6

Edited from an original article by Graham Ulmer

 

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ZUMBA “It’s exercise in disguise.”

ZUMBA “It’s exercise in disguise.”

by STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT Qualified

I’ve been asked a few times now about Zumba and whether or not it’s a fad and does it work? Last year I reported on predicted trends for health and fitness in 2012 with a post titled “Fun workouts will remain hot in 2012 by the ACSM” Zumba makes it into the top ten at nine and looks set to climb as 2012 goes on.

Top 10 worldwide fitness trends for 2012
1. Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals
2. Strength training
3. Fitness programs for older adults
4. Exercise and weight loss
5. Children and obesity
6. Personal training
7. Core training
8. Group personal training

“9. Zumba and other dance workouts
ZUMBA! and Other Dance Workouts. ZUMBA! Requires energy and enthusiasm from the instructor and the participants, which combines Latin rhythms with interval-type exercise and resistance training. ZUMBA! and other dance workouts first appeared on the list of potential trends in 2010 and ranked no. 31 of 37 potential trends; in 2011, it was ranked no. 24 of a possible 31 choices. In 2012, it jumped to the top 10. Clearly, the popularity of ZUMBA! is growing with this rapid escalation in popularity. Future surveys will determine if this is a trend or a fad.”
(According to ACSM’s HEALTH & FITNESS JOURNALA | www.acsm-healthfitness.org )

“I think people are waiting to see if we’re a fad, but class numbers keep getting bigger and Zumba is becoming more popular, so now, people realize we’re here to stay,” said Alberto Perlman, CEO and co-founder of Zumba fitness. “Zumba is liberating and magical, and one of the key ways it has expanded is through word of mouth,” Perlman said.

Zumba classes are offered in more than 110,000 gyms in more than 250 countries. So it probably won’t be hard to find a gym that offers these classes. One look in the local classifieds lists loads of venues and classes to suit all levels and pockets. A friend of mine recently posted on facebook how much she had enjoyed a class she’d been to because it was fun and got her more sweaty than “just going to the gym”. She also said that she’d paid £2 and was considering another class at £3.50 but that another was too expensive at £6 per class. Being a fit lets you enjoy life more, getting and staying fit should also be enjoyable and Zumba certainly seems to fit the bill here. Give it a go and let me know what YOU think.

How 15 Minute Doses Of Physical Activity Can Boost Your Life

STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT

How 15 Minute Doses Of Physical Activity Can Boost Your Life

It is still better to exercise even for 15 minutes a day than to do nothing at all. It is better to do a consistent 15 minute workout that you can stick with, than risk prolonged discomfort with little return for your effort in turn leading to you quitting exercise in the end. There have been numerous studies published regarding the physical and mental benefits one can get from consistent short duration physical activities. This is good news for sedentary or inactive people who usually get overwhelmed with 30 minutes a day of exercise in the pursuit of health and fitness benefits.

Cardiovascular Health
An interesting three-month study published in the American Journal of Cardiology showed that 15 minute cardiovascular and strength training workouts can produce significant improvements in one’s fitness levels and heart health, such as decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol.

What 15-Minute Strength And Cardio Exercise Programs Can You Do?
Alternate 30 seconds or a minute of resistance training routine like push-ups, squats, lunges and abdominal crunches with a minute of cardio routine like star jumps, step-ups, jogging in place or dancing in place until you complete a total of 15 minutes. This type of workout can increase your heart rate throughout the 15 minute routine.

Walk briskly for 15 minutes early in the morning or in the afternoon.
Dance for 15 minutes every morning or before taking a shower at night.
Clean, sweep or map the floor nonstop for 15 minutes every day.

Waist Management
An Australian study published in Diabetes Care showed that people who take more breaks from sedentary positions, such as standing up more frequently from a sitting position or taking a single step, can have smaller waist circumference and lower blood glucose and triglyceride levels.

How To Incorporate Workout Breaks To Your Day
Give yourself a rule or set an alarm every 20-30 minutes so you can take a short walk or stretch break wherever you are. Standing or walking around the room while using the telephone is one option. Squeeze your butt while sitting, extend and bend your knees, lift and lower your arms and twist your torso side to side every 30-60 minutes.

Self-Control
A study on exercise and self-control conducted by researchers at the University of Exeter, published in Appetite showed that exercise helps reduce a person’s chocolate cravings and improves one’s coping strategy for stress.  This study also suggested that a short dose of exercise can help people who are trying to quit smoking to cut back on caffeine and switch to a diet.

How Physical Activities Improve Your Self-Control
When craving for something like chocolates or salty junk foods, try to get outside your house first and walk for 10-15 minutes. You might be surprised how physical activities can help diminish your cravings. Whenever you feel the urge to eat something, boredom doesn’t help, get busy by dancing inside your room for 10 minutes, or completing your household chores. This strategy will distract you from thinking too much about food. Try to do your 15-minute home workout routine and you will feel more empowered to control your urges to eat extra calories, because you might not want to offset the 100 calories burned from a short workout just by eating a 100-calorie piece of chocolate.

Better Mood And Self-Esteem
A 2010 meta-analysis, which collectively observed more than 1,200 participants, published in Environmental Science and Technology showed that “Green Exercise” or outdoor activities, such as walking, running, hiking, biking, taking your dog or kids out walking for as little as 5 minutes a day, improved self-esteem and mood, compared to physical activity lasting 10-60 minutes.There have also been a number of studies proving that sedentary people can benefit from shorter periods of exercise when it comes to mental health improvement.

15 Minute “Green Exercise” Tips
Walk your dog every day.
Play with your kids in the garden.
Check out the nearest park to your work, nowadays many of them have organised activities at lunchtimes.
Use your bike to run errands.

Live Longer
A study published this year in Lancet Journal and conducted by researchers at the National Health Institutes in Taiwan found that those who exercised 15 minutes a day, or a total of 90 minutes a week, extended life expectancy by three years, compared with those who did not exercise at all. This study tracked 416,000 Taiwanese adults.

Make A 15-Minute Workout Part Of Your New Lifestyle
Choose the most doable and the most practical activities you can for every day, like walking or doing the garden, and spice things up when you’ve got more time and resources.
Make your activities fun and enjoyable by involving your partner, your kids and even your friends.
Memorize by heart a simple 15 minute exercise routine that you can use to target your whole body, using only bodyweight exercises.
When on a trip or vacation, make a commitment to yourself to move at least 15 minutes a day, even just by strolling or climbing up and down the stairs several times a day.

Core Workout Exercises Are Misunderstood All Over The World.


by STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT 28/11/11

 

Core workout exercises are misunderstood all over the world.
Many people think that core workout exercisesonly help in developing six-pack abs. However, outward appearances are a small part of the effectiveness of core and balance workouts. The core actually consists of many different muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis, running through the entire length of the torso, front and back. A strong base founded on effective balance and strong core musculature prepares you for powerful and explosive movement during exercise.

Core exercises improve your balance and stability.
Core workouts are easily compromised by the idea that the rest of your workout will cover most of your core requirements, it won’t. The core is known as the power house of the system as this is where most of our movement is generated. A strong core also protects the lower back from unnecessary injury and allows a person to work efficiently and safely. It also improves balance and stability as most core exercises are based on balance engaging the core.

Core exercises can help tone your abs.
Typically core exercises tone the mid section as they basically provide a workout that isolates these groups of muscles. Core workouts tighten the packs of muscles in the abdominal area and visually give an appearance of overall weight loss. And these exercises can be done everyday unlike other weight training exercises. You can choose from 2- 3 different exercises and you will require about 5 minutes of your time to get fit and strong in the mid section. Strong core muscles make it easier to do most physical activities: The limbs are intricately connected to the core complex and movements are very much dependant on core fitness. A strong core can help you work faster, harder and longer.

Exercise Technique.
If you can, execute the workout in front on a mirror to allow you to make corrections to your posture. The most important factor is to activate the abdominal muscle during execution .This can be done by coughing once and holding the contraction that happens when you cough. Square the hips and shoulders to engage the PC muscles of the pelvic floor.

Core exercises don’t require specialized equipment or a gym membership.
We can do core and balance workouts in the comfort of our own homes at almost any time of the day, and it doesn’t need to to take up too much time. You won’t need lots of fancy equipment to work on strengthening the core either, for some however, performing core workouts at the gym sets the right mood. If you’re a beginner you should take care to workout under the guidance of the professional trainer, especially if you want to try some of the more advanced techniques early on in your exercise regime. Some core workouts require alignment and balance that can only be achieved with sustained effort and repetition.

Let’s look at three core strength exercises you can do at home.

Super man: Lie face down on the floor with your arms stretched full out in front with your thumbs just touching. Raise the right arm and left leg off the floor until you feel a stretch, hold for 3 seconds and relax. Alternate with the other arm and leg and repeat for 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions. When it starts to get easier try HARDER you’ll know what I mean.

Plank: Lie face down, with forearms and toes on the floor slowly start to take the strain and raise your pelvis from the floor and straighten your torso. Set your eyes on the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Relax to the start position and then repeat 5 times

Supine bridge: Lie flat on your back on a mat or the floor with eyes set on the ceiling. Position your feet flat on the floor at about hip width and somewhere beneath your knees and hands just outside your ankles and alongside of your body. Now push your hips up till you have a straight line right from your knees to shoulders. Maintain a straight line posture as long as you can feel the muscle tension.

If it’s a flat tummy you most desire then check out my post on the Transverse Abdominals

Doctor’s orders for top fitness

Doctor’s orders for top fitness

Published on Thursday 24 November 2011 08:23 at Lancashire Evening Post

Doctors have launched a new scheme to avoid complications during operations and get patients back home sooner.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, which runs Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospitals, has invested more than £40,000 in cardiopulmonary exercise testing equipment as part of its new ‘fitness for surgery’ initiative.

Fitness for surgery will benefit 500 patients a year and give medics a much better measurement of a patient’s fitness and the risks of surgery.

This allows specialists to effectively plan the level of care and rehabilitation a patient will need after surgery and can identify patients who may be at risk of complication during the operation, so more appropriate treatment can be arranged.

Bridget Reynolds, who lives in Longridge, near Preston, underwent the test in preparation for surgery to remove a polyp. She said: “I had the cardiopulmonary test during my pre-op assessment.

“It is really reassuring to know that you’re fit and well for surgery and I now feel less anxious about the operation.

“Although it’s a long time since I took vigorous exercise the whole experience was quite comfortable. It’s a bit like having a go on an exercise bike. In fact I might get one for Christmas!”

Dr Tom Owen, consultant in anaesthesia and critical care said: “The fitness for surgery programme will help us to avoid potentially dangerous complications during surgery and allow us to identify patients who are likely to recover quickly after their operation and be able to go back home sooner.” Chris Simms, divisional director of surgery, said: “No one likes to stay in hospital for longer than they need to and the fitness for surgery programme will enable a better recovery following an operation.”

Doctor’s orders for top fitness edited by STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT

10 Reasons To Use A Personal Trainer

10 Reasons To Use A Personal Trainer

By Steven Milner IIST VTCT


We all need a little help with exercise sometimes, whether we’re just starting out or we’ve been at it for a long time. Still, there are people who shy away from personal training, unsure of what they’ll get out of the experience or whether it’s worth the money. There are a number of reasons people work with per trainers.  Some want an individualized program so they can lose weight or get in shape while others simply need to be held accountable for their workouts.   Wherever you are in your exercise journey, a personal trainer may be just what you need to take it to the next level.

1. You’re Not Seeing Results
If you’ve been exercising consistently for several weeks or months and aren’t losing weight or reaching your goals, hiring a trainer may be a good choice. A trainer can look at your current program and eating habits and help you see where you could make changes to create more effective workouts. A trainer can also help you determine if the goals you’ve set are realistic for you, hold you accountable for your workouts and help you stay motivated to exercise.  You may even find that you are getting results, just not in the way you expected, something a trainer may see more clearly from the outside.

2. You Don’t Know Where to Start
Knowing how to set up a complete exercise schedule that includes all the activities you need to do – cardio, weight training and flexibility – can be overwhelming.  Add the time and knowledge it takes to choose exercises, weights, reps and sets and you may quit before you even start.This is where a personal trainer can be the biggest help.  He can help you maximize your time while keeping you within your own limits so you don’t overdo it. He can also help you set goals and map out a specific schedule so you know when, how and where you’ll fit in your workouts.

3. You’re Bored with the Same Old Workouts
If you’re an experienced exerciser, maybe you haven’t considered working with a personal trainer. However, it can be a great choice if you need some variety in your workouts. A trainer can bring a fresh perspecitve and new ideas to challenge both your body and your mind. Even if you just do a few sessions or meet every few weeks, you’ll find it refreshing to have new workouts and new exercise toys to play with. A trainer can also introduce new ways to exercise – Circuit training, different methods of strength training and different types of equipment you’ve never tried before.

4. You Need to Be Challenged
If you’re like me, you tend to slack off on your workouts sometimes, especially when things get tough. A trainer can motivate you to push past those self-imposed limits, encouraging you to lift heavier, go longer and challenge yourself more than you would on your own. You’ll find it’s very hard to slack off with a trainer standing over you, telling you to do just…one…more…rep!  You may even find hidden strengths you never knew you had, which can motivate you even more.

5. You Want to Learn How to Exercise on your Own
Even if your goal is to create your own workouts and exercise by yourself, hiring a trainer for a few sessions can be a great benefit for learning the right way to exercise. This is especially true if you want to learn more about the muscles in your body, the exercises that target those muscles and how to do those exercises with great form. Just a few sessions can teach you a lot about your body, how it works and how to train it in the most effective way.

6. You Need Accountability and Motivation
Trainers come with built-in motivation. Not only are you investing money into your exercise program…you’re investing time as well. There’s nothing like a standing appointment to get your butt in gear for a workout. Not only that, a trainer provides some accountability so, even when you don’t have a session, you know your trainer will be asking if you did your planned workouts. Just knowing that may make it harder to skip your workouts.

7. You Have a Specific Illness, Injury or Condition
If you have any specific issues like arthritis, heart disease, old injuries, etc., working with an experienced trainer (who works with your doctor, of course) can help you find a program to help heal injuries and avoid any further problems. It’s also a great idea to work with a trainer if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant and want a safe, effective workout to keep you healthy and fit. Keep in mind that you want to find a trainer who has experience with your issues and make sure that trainer works closely with your doctor and/or physical therapist for the best experience.

8. You’re Training for a Sport or Event
If you’re training for a marathon, a golf tournament or some other type of sport or event, an experienced trainer can help you figure out what you need to do to stay strong without taking away from your other training. She can also help create a training program and map out a plan for the coming event. Just make sure she’s experienced in the sport you’re training for since not all trainers do sport-specific training.

9. You Want Supervision and Support During Workouts
Some people know how to exercise and they even know how to do the exercises correctly, but they like having a trainer around for support and supervision. If you’re lifting very heavy weights or need someone to help with partner-type exercises, working with a trainer might be a good choice for you. He can spot you during workouts and help you come up with a good training plan for your goals.

10. You Want to Workout at Home
If you’d like to exercise at home but either don’t have a lot of equipment or aren’t sure how to use what you have, in-home personal training is an excellent choice. A trainer can show you exactly how to use what you have to get the best workout for you or she can bring equipment with her to give you a great workout. She can also make recommendations for equipment that will help you reach your goals.