Tag Archives: Personal trainer

What Are Your Scales Telling You Really?

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I’m not advocating that you should throw out your scales but you should be aware that your scales don’t tell you what you need to know most and that is “what are your body fat percentages and distribution?” It’s not just our health we seek to improve when we aim to lose weight, let’s be honest we want to look as good as we feel. In fact the two go hand in hand, often times the better you look the better you feel. By far the best way to look fitter and be healthier is to shift the focus of your efforts from losing weight to gaining muscle and lowering your overall body fat percentage.

Measuring your body fat percentage is a great way to keep track of your progress. It’s a far more accurate indicator of your fitness level than weight alone. That’s because when you’re working out regularly, your muscle mass goes up and your fat goes down, sometimes it’s an even swap and the readout on your standard scales won’t necessarily reflect that change. Knowing your body fat levels gives you a better indicator of how well your program is working. A healthy range for women is 20 to 25 percent, but for a leaner more defined look aim for around 18 to 22 percent and for men 18 to 24 percent with an athletic look coming in at around 14 to 17 percent. N.B. everyone is different and different bodies will have different appearances even if the percentage body fat is the same, this can be attributed to bodyfat distribution. If you have reached 18% body fat or lower now is the time to switch your focus to building muscle. At this point it isn’t necessary to concentrate your efforts on losing much more bodyfat indeed it can start to become unhealthy. You need a minimum amount of fat on your body in order to perform optimally and not have symptoms such as Amenorrhea, bone loss, and low energy.

Types of Measurements
There are a number of ways to get your body fat percentage measured. Some of the more common include; hydrostatic weighing, bio-impedance scales, and skin fold callipers.


Hydrostatic weighing
Hydrostatic weighing is the most accurate way to gauge body fat percentage. Unfortunately, it’s not the most practical—it involves being dunked under water in a gigantic water tank, while exhaling entirely.

Skin fold calliper
Skin fold callipers can also be accurate, but there’s a catch—you have to be measured by the same skilled person like myself, every time. This eliminates measuring differences from person to person. If you are working with a trainer who has been trained to use skin fold callipers, they should measure you once a month with callipers to get the most accurate assessments.

If you don’t have a trainer to help you out, however, your best bet is to use a bio-impedance scale. To get the most accurate measurement on a scale, always do it at the same time of day and make sure you are hydrated properly. The most common issues that will throw the scale off are varying levels of hydration, ladies if it’s that time of the month (don’t measure yourself during menstruation), or if you have food in your stomach.

Clothing indicators
Finally, my favourite tool: A pair of jeans. They don’t lie. Use a pair of jeans that you can’t button and try them on every 3-4 weeks to see if you are making progress. Whether the scale is budging or not doesn’t matter if your jeans are buttoning.

Muscular Male Torso Isolated on White

Ways to Lower Your Body Fat
There are two ways to lower your body fat: Lose fat (obviously), and build muscle. Extra muscle will rev up your metabolism to help burn off some of the fat. Plus, it’ll make you look leaner overall.

The best way to decrease your body fat percentage is to use a full body strength training program two to three times a week, using heavier weights with lower reps. This will stimulate your body to build lean body mass while burning fat. For the best fat-torching results, add in one to two days of interval-training cardio on top of your lifting routine.

And, of course, you cannot train with a bad diet so you’ll need to dial in your food by fueling your body highly nutritious protein, fruits, and veggies throughout the day.

Check out some of my other articles on diet and training or for more intense training tips visit my sibling site manicworkouts.com



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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.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

In the absence of testosterone production ladies will tone and firm their muscles and NOT grow them to man-size proportions.

ladies arms


Arms 6

Edited from an original article by Graham Ulmer


2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

How 15 Minute Doses Of Physical Activity Can Boost Your Life


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.

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.

Fun Workouts Like Zumba Will Remain Hot In 2012. ACSM Predictions

Core Training And Fun Workouts Like Zumba Will Remain Hot In 2012


The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 45,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. Now in its sixth year, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently completed a worldwide fitness trend survey of 2,620 ACSM certified professionals from Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe, North and South America. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) also completed a fitness-trend survey of more than 1,500 experts and certified professionals. The two leading fitness organizations in the world seem to have quite similar 2012 worldwide fitness trend predictions.

Educated fitness professionals
ACSM’s number one fitness trend prediction concerns educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals. The fitness industry will continue to give importance to upgrading skills and knowledge of fitness professionals and aside from the recognized certifications and continuing education, more professionals will seek advanced professional education and take related fitness and health courses to answer the demands of the growing health and fitness industry.

Lifestyle coaching and whole-life training
With more qualified and upgraded fitness professionals, there will be a greater focus on whole-life training, as predicted by ACE. Whole-life training or lifestyle coaching will benefit clients who need support managing stress, help following eating plans and exercise management to achieve their goals and get results faster. Many fitness centres will look to offer services such as lifestyle coaching, nutrition advice and a psychological approach to really give a holistic package to their fitness programs. Also, according to ACE, behaviour modification will become something we are more aware of and the ways it can enhance a client’s exercise motivation and adherence. ACSM’s top fitness service trend predictions are still personal training and group personal training. Most people will still get the guidance of a personal trainer to get faster results, and others will join small group personal training sessions (two to four per session) to experience some fun and challenge while exercising, and to lessen the training cost.

Weight loss and strength trainingdumbell curl
More fitness consumers will look for strength training as part of their fitness routine, and health and fitness practitioners will need to integrate this into their programs. However the ACSM predict that people will look for strength training programs more for maintenance, and not for body-building. Improved strength is always related to improved functional performance and weight management, as well.

Weight loss still the main motivation
According to ACE, weight loss will still be the top reason fitness consumers will seek fitness services. ACSM predicted that weight-loss programs incorporating exercise will still be one of the most in-demand tools to answer the needs of the growing overweight and obese population, especially this 2012. Fitness professionals will incorporate calorie management in their programs by expanding their focus to proper eating and exercise for weight loss.

Growing target markets: the elderly and the young
According to ACE and ACSM, elderly and the youth will still be the growing fitness target markets of fitness professionals in 2012. The fitness program focus for children will still be on obesity prevention and management, and for the retirees, it will be more on functional training, helping them to perform their daily activities well and safely, and improve their sports like golf without developing injuries.

Hottest fitness workouts for 2012
According to ACE, clients and fitness trainers will focus on functional and integrated exercises emphasizing core muscles and using body weight as resistance (like the use of TRX), some calorie-burning exercises like boot camp and interval training, and fun group workouts like Zumba that combine Latin rhythms with interval-type exercise and resistance training. ACSM also predicted core training (stabilizing muscles of the abs, thorax, and back) using BOSU, foam rollers and wobble boards, Zumba, and functional fitness as the hottest workout trends for 2012.

Corporate wellness
ACE predicted that employers will give more wellness programs to their employees to reduce healthcare costs and improve productivity. They will outsource wellness programs so that health and fitness can be affordable.

Community fitness programs
ACE predicted that fitness programs will emerge from local gyms, parks, and recreational centres to give access to the local community and prevent the growing problem of obesity. There might be more local leaders who will take action in influencing their people to get into an active and healthy lifestyle. Therefore, fitness will be for everyone, since it will be more lifestyle-based, accessible, affordable and even enjoyable.

Fitness technology
ACE predicted that social media and mobile-based apps for fitness will continue to become popular in the coming year, and fitness professionals will have the chance to be in contact with fitness consumers because of the latest technology. Fitness consumers will have more access to nutrition and fitness education, which is significant to maintain one’s motivation.

Edited from an article by Mitch Felipe Mendoza  for Inquirer Lifestyle.
email the author at mitchfelipe@gmail.com.

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

Is there any merit to Functional Strength Training?

Q: What is functional strength training?
A: Functional strength training has become a popular buzzword in the fitness industry. Unfortunately, it is also subject to wide interpretation.

In extreme cases some personal trainers believe that by mimicking the explosive, ballistic activities of high-level competitive athletes, they are training in a functional manner. All too often, however, such training programs greatly exceed the physiological capabilities of the average exerciser, which ultimately increases the possibility that an injury might occur. Most would agree that there is nothing functional about sustaining an injury due to improper training. In many respects, functional strength training should be thought of in terms of a continuous movement. Training to improve functional strength involves more than simply increasing the force-producing capability of a muscle or group of muscles. Functional strength training involves performing work against resistance in such a manner that the improvements in strength directly enhance the performance of movements so that an individual’s activities of daily living are easier to perform. Simply put, the main aim of functional training is to transfer the improvements in strength achieved in one movement to enhancing the performance of another movement by affecting the entire neuromuscular system. Accordingly, individuals shouldn’t rely on any single group of exercises. Individuals should use all the weapons in their training arsenal. Functional strength training should serve as a supplement to traditional strength training, not as a replacement.

Properly applied, functional strength training may provide exercise variety and additional training benefits that more directly transfer improvements to real-life activities.

Source: Bryant, Cedric X. 101 Frequently Asked Questions about “Health & Fitness” and “Nutrition & Weight Control”.