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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Debunking Common Exercise Myths, Part 1

by Chad Anderson, CSCS

Myth #1: Heavy weights make you “bulky”

Heavy weights typically do not lead to increased muscle mass, moderate weights do. Muscle mass is more of a function of volume (ie. number of sets x number of reps). Muscle mass is best gained using multiple sets (3-5) for moderate repetitions (8-12) at moderate loads (70-80% 1RM). Using heavy loads (85% 1RM and above) for repetitions in the 1-5RM range will lead to strength gains with minimal hypertrophy. Hence, heavy weights do not make you “bulky.”

Myth #2: High repetitions are for toning

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this. Too many times to be sure. Toning (a term I hate to use) is a result of losing fat and building muscle tissue so that you develop a degree of muscle definition. While there are rep brackets better suited for body compositional changes, there are no rep brackets that “tone.” Body compositional changes are a result of the program as a whole, not just the rep bracket being used. As for high repetitions, repetitions of 12+, they are better suited for developing muscular endurance.

Myth #3: You can only burn fat by doing cardio

You would think that by now most people would have realized that cardio is not the only means by which you can burn fat. However, nearly EVERYONE I speak with in the club where I work only knows fat loss by one method: cardio. Sure, cardio can result in fat loss, but it is most effective the first 6-8 weeks of an exercise program due to the changes in hormonal response that occurs with adaptation. Ever notice how many people perform long duration cardio day in and day out only to leave the gym looking exactly the same? I rest my case.

An overlooked method of burning fat is weight training. Many people understand that by adding muscle mass you burn more calories around the clock, which may result in more fat loss. However, what most people fail to realize is that a weight training routine can be manipulated to achieve a specific hormonal response that is conducive to fat loss. In other words, you will get a different hormonal response from doing high repetitions as opposed to doing low repetitions. The key then is to manipulate training variables in such a way that it will promote fat loss. I will elaborate further on this topic in a future article.

Debunking Common Exercise Myths, Part 2...coming soon!

About the Author:

Chad Anderson, CSCS, operates a personal training, fitness programming, and consulting business while also holding a full-time position as a senior personal trainer at a commercial health club. He holds a BS degree in exercise science with a minor in nutrition and is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. You can visit his website at:

www.afitsolutions.com.

Get Out and Play: Top 7 Outdoor Exercises

by Aaron M. Potts

Do you remember when our parents used to yell at us to go outside and play? They would get so tired of us running around the house munching junk food and fighting with our siblings that they would practically kick us out of the house!

Well, we may not have the same child-like activities lined up to get outside for anymore, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't still get out and enjoy the world! Exercising outdoors has many benefits, and they include the following:

- Little or no equipment needed to get a good workout

- No crowded gyms or obnoxious people to put up with

- No driving time to the local fitness facility

- No need to put on makeup or special clothing to workout at the gym

- Vitamin D enhancing sunshine for our skin

- The ability to workout anytime, anywhere - even on vacation

- Two words: Fresh Air

There are probably other reasons that you can think of why an outdoor workout would fit into your particular lifestyle, so now all you have to do is learn what kind of activities can be done outside.

Refer to the following Top 7 list of exercises that are sure to leave you sweaty, worn out, and feeling great when it's all over!

LUNGES

Like all exercises, lunges should be done with absolutely perfect form. When done correctly, a lunge will work every single muscle in your legs at some point throughout the movement, including the all important Gluteus Maximus (that's the primary buttocks muscle, for those of you not anatomically inclined).

Variations on lunges that require no equipment include; Standing Lunges, Alternating Lunges, Elevated Lunges, Rear Lunges, and Walking Lunges.

PUSH UPS

Push ups have always been one of the most effective upper body exercises, but they have somehow gotten lost in the world of shiny chest press machines and fleets of various types of exercise benches. However, the push up is still an incredibly productive exercise, and it requires no equipment whatsoever.

The 3 basic push up movements include Standard Grip, Wide Grip, and Close Grip. Alternating those 3 types will ensure maximal stimulation to the chest, shoulders, and triceps. In addition, you can elevate your hands to make the movement somewhat easier, or elevate your feet to make the movement somewhat harder.

Also, if you are really feeling brave, you can even throw in some Bounce and Clap Push Ups!

SQUATS

Many people simply don't understand the incredible power of doing a Squat the right way. Through improper instruction, inappropriate form, and just plain laziness, the incredible effectiveness of the Squat has been lost in the mix.

Variations including Standing Squats, One-Leg Squats, Plie Squats, Wide-Stance Squats, and Overhead Squats. Think you can't get enough stimulus out of Squats? Try doing 50 perfectly formed repetitions and see how tired your legs are!

STEP UPS

Brutal is the best word to describe this exercise when done properly! Using nothing more than a picnic bench, a piece of playground equipment, or even just a decent size rock, you simply step up onto your elevated surface, step down, and then repeat on the other side alternating back and forth.

By keeping your back straight and your head up the entire time, you will maximize recruitment of all of your leg muscles, and you will get an incredible cardiovascular workout as well. Go for perfect form and you will quickly see the benefit of this great exercise.

CHIN UPS

The outdoor version of Chin Ups and Pull ups can be done using anything from a low-hanging tree branch to any number of different pieces of playground equipment.

When done properly, Chin Ups and Pull Ups will humble most people, even avid exercisers. Bring your body up completely until your chin is at or above your hands, and lower back to the start under control. Repeat for as many as you can do!

UPHILL SPRINTS

Don't try this one until you can run a good 100-yard dash on level ground! This exercise is just what it sounds like - running uphill. Run up a decent size hill as fast as you can, walk back to the bottom, and repeat. Bring oxygen, but leave your pride at home, or else the hill will take it from you!

DUCK WALKS

This exercise is so simple, yet about as hard as it gets. Simply squat down until your thighs are at or below parallel to the ground, stay in that position, and start walking. Go about 10 steps and then walk backwards to your starting point. Repeat as many times as necessary (which won't be many) to reach total exhaustion!

As you can see, doing outdoor exercises has all of the benefits listed above including one benefit that wasn't listed - they are hard! If you are up to the challenge and sick of the gym, give your body and your mind an Earth-moment and get outside and play!

About the Author:

Aaron Potts is a Personal Trainer and Fitness Success Coach whose customers include consumers as well as other fitness professionals. Sign up for his free Fitness Journal at http://www.fitnessdestinations.com/ or visit his coaching site at http://www.ptsuccesscoach.com

9 Super Health Tips That Have Worked For Me

by Judy Thompson

Copyright 2005 Judy Thompson

This is a “what has worked very, very well for me” article. Reasons I wish to share these tips include: (1) for the last 15 years I have not been sick or experienced more than a slight cold, nor do I take any prescription medications; (2) I have a lot of friends, both older and younger than me, who have suffered from many illnesses and diseases. I believe that if my friends would follow similar health practices that I do, many would see improved results in their own health; and (3) the internet provides me with an opportunity to share this information, without anyone feeling obligated to read it or to utilize my suggestions.

I do not claim to have all the answers or practice the “perfect” diet and exercise plan. I realize that a person’s genetic inheritance and environment can also influence a person’s health. However, I believe that most people would benefit by implementing suggestions in this article.

Here is a PLAN for generally pretty good health, as I see it.

1. Prevention is a lot better than a cure. Living a healthy lifestyle is a lot easier than trying to get over any kind of disease.

2. Balanced living is important. Not all work, not all play. Not too much stress. Some meaningful socializing, but also meaningful time alone with God. Some service to doing good and helping others, but not so much as to consume all your quality time with God, your family and your friends.

3. Eating habits. Lots of fruits & vegetables. Raw foods everyday. Leaf lettuce and Romaine are much healthier than head lettuce. Raw foods are important as they add enzymes that assist in digestion. Several helpings of fruits and veggies daily will help your health.

4. Good elimination daily. Consume plenty of fiber and drink plenty of water.

5. Not overweight. Take a good digestive enzyme supplement. It will help you digest your food. Older people especially would benefit from this since they may have more problems with digestion. Also, raw fruits and vegetables are low in calories and aid digestion. Do not eat a lot of refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, white bread, white spaghetti, etc. Go sparingly on those high-calorie desserts.

6. Get adequate exercise. If you have an office job, you will have to work harder at this than someone who naturally exercises as part of his job.

7. Get adequate sleep at night, at least 7 or 8 hours for most people. Sleep in the dark, complete darkness if possible.

8. Detoxify. We are exposed to many toxins throughout our lives. Exhaust fumes, cleaning supplies, mercury (dental amalgams), lead, aluminum, parasites, etc. Fortunately, our bodies do get rid of most toxins. However, we don’t throw off all toxins, and over the years, toxins will build up. It is important to eliminate toxins since a build-up of them can contribute to a host of diseases.

9. Take good quality vitamin and mineral supplements. Generally, we don’t get everything we need from foods. High quality supplements can help in preventing illness and disease.

A real health nut or nutritionist may wish to add to or take away from the above list. One thing about good health and nutrition…even the best experts in the country will not agree on everything. Plus, when it comes to diet and exercise, “one shoe does not fit all.” Though I still work for a living, I am at an age where many people are retired and I believe that I have learned a few things about a healthy lifestyle. Some of those things have been shared with you in this article.

Wishing you the very best of health!


About the Author:

Judy Thompson is a former Health teacher and for many years has been a student of natural nutrition. Nutrition information and products may be found at her website:
http://shopnutronix.com/333015895

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