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Benefits of Strength Training

1)  Increased functional strength

It's a simple fact:  The stronger your muscles, the easier it will be able to perform your activities of daily living, such as cleaning the house, carrying groceries, gardening or playing with the kids.

2)  Decreased chance of injury

Many injuries occur due to muscle imbalance or muscle weakness.  The stronger your muscles, the more stable your joints will be and the less likely you will be to experience many of the most common aches and pains.

3)  Improved sports performance

Whatever activity you enjoy participating in at whatever level - golf, tennis, cycling, swimming, you name it - you will do it better and enjoy it more as a result of engaging in a well-rounded strength training program. 

This holds true for the recreational to elite athlete as well.

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4)  Increased metabolism

The more lean muscle you have, the higher your metabolism and the more calories you burn all day long.  After age 30, you begin to lose muscle every year, slowing down your metabolism and adding to weight gain.

The good news is that this muscle loss is not inevitable.

5)  Look better

Want to look better as well as feel better?  Building lean muscle through consistent strength training will help you achieve and then maintain your healthy weight.

These are just a few of the many benefits of strength training.  Incorporating this into your workout routine will help you move and perform better in daily activities, improve your balance, your posture, keep your bones strong, prevent back issues like kyphosis, improve your mood and your self-confidence, etc. etc.

You want to be strong as you age!



Balance

Woman Balancing and Stretching

Balance is often an overlooked element in many fitness routines & yet it is something you use each & every day. Every single step you take relies on balance. Walking up & down stairs, going from a flat surface like a sidewalk to an uneven surface like grass, getting out of a chair & even just standing upright, requires balance.

The majority of the time, our bodies adjust for balance without us even noticing it. Tiny adjustments in the foot, ankle, hips & core keep us level. Good balance gives you the stability you need to be confident in all of your movements. This includes your workouts. Balance can boost agility & strength in a way that will keep you healthy in all stages of life. And of course strong balance is a key part of avoiding falls as we get older.

*** Your core is your foundation & if you build a strong foundation, the other pieces fall into place. The good news is that improving your balance is easy to do. If you challenge your balance on a regular basis, you will improve it, so it is something that you definitely want to add into your ex routine. Use it or lose it! It can be as simple as standing on 1 foot while you do bicep curls, doing ex on the Bosu, doing the bird dog ex, performing standing ex on the Pilates chair—it's an endless list.  Start working on your balance today!


Belly Be Gone!

If you want to get rid of belly fat, you might be tempted to resort to ab exercises. Makes sense, right? Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way.

But, studies have found that lifting weights for the entire body may actually help you lose abdominal fat.

  • Strength training doesn't just contribute to a leaner body, but a leaner midsection as well.
    • If you aren't lifting weights now, there's no better time to start! Find a simple total body program 2 or 3 times a week to get yourself on the right track.
    • Please check out the many different exercises under the Move of the Week tab on this website. There you will find specifics on how to perform the exercises - upper and lower body ex ideas as well as core exercises.
  • Interval training is great for burning calories and building endurance, but it's also a great way to target more abdominal fat. That doesn't mean that steady state isn't important - for example, jogging on the treadmill for 30 minutes - but that interval training will give you better results, push your limits and keep your workout a little more exciting.
  • A great idea for adding intervals to your routine is to include 3 to 5 short bursts of high intensity exercise for around 30 seconds, then slow down and recover before going into the next interval.
  • Another way would be to create a walk/run interval workout alternating 1 minute of walking with 30 seconds of sprinting or hill climbs.
    • Repeat that for 20-25 minutes.

Bottom line...to reduce belly fat, you will see the best results by following a healthy diet with a good blend of cardio and strength training!

More on this soon!


Heavy / Light Strength Plan

Woman Lifting

Having Variety in your workouts is important for your muscles and to prevent you from getting bored!

Try this...Heavy / Light Strength Plan
This involves lifting heavy weights to create lean muscle and lifting light weights to promote fat loss. The best part is that you'll be in and out of the gym in less than 30 minutes a day.

The intention is to do an exercise for four sets with a heavy weight and low reps (up to 6 reps) and then another exercise that targets the same muscle group for four more sets with higher reps (up to 12), but with lighter weight.

Take 2 to 3 minutes of rest between the heavy sets and 45 to 60 seconds between the light sets.

So, how does this work? When you lift heavy weights, your muscles fatigue and ultimately grow (you won't look like a bodybuilder - no worries). Then you work the same muscle groups with lighter weights to totally exhaust them and increase endurance.

*** Only 2 exercises per body part...the goal is to shed fat, add more strength, burn more calories and give you more energy throughout the day! 


A great combo for triceps could be doing overhead triceps extensions with heavy weights and triceps kickbacks with lighter weights.
For stronger biceps, try heavy hammer curls and light preacher curls. For leaner, more sculpted legs, do leg presses with a heavy weight and lunges holding light dumbbells at your sides.

So add some variety to your routine & give this a try! Please let us know how sore you are - just kidding!?!? I am going to do this next week.

This would be a great workout plan for a group challenge, don't ya think? Stay tuned - it won't be til May or June, but this would be an awesome challenge!


Goblet Squats

Goblet Squat

Squat Stuff...

Having strong gluts is important to your overall strength. Squats are the key to building stronger gluts.

*There are tons of variations! Most people with the tried and true body weight squat, but there are plenty of others you can try to strengthen your gluts and lower body. There are sumo squats, pistol squats, split squats, etc. You can also hold dumbbells, use a bar, kettlebells, do them on the ball on the wall, use resistance tubes, and use cables - a long list!

*Your gluts are the biggest muscles in your body. If you want a total body workout, always get your gluts involved. The gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in your body, making it the biggest calorie burner too.

*Squats are also a core exercise Squats force you to engage your core for stabilization. Goblet squats (see photo) are perfect for challenging your core; holding a kettlebell or a dumbbell in front of your chest, forces you to stay upright and engage your abs even more.

*Squats aren't the only butt-building exercise you need. You need to add other exercises to your routine. To start with, add deadlifts, split squats and hip thrusters.

*Squats can reveal muscle imbalances. Your squat can tell a personal trainer a lot about your muscle imbalances, your body's structure, strengths and weaknesses. It may seem like a basic ex, but it's very easy to do it incorrectly. You may not realize your knees caving in, you are not using your hips enough, may be leaning forward, etc.

It's a good idea to use the mirror or have a trainer observe you. You can learn a lot about your body just by doing squats!


TRX

Suspension training, which you may know as TRX, is a super-effective way to torch your entire body, build strength and gets your heart rate up, just using your bodyweight. For the hard core weight lifters who think it will be easy, think again. Anything where you are forced to handle your bodyweight in space is beneficial in enhancing one's functional capability, including balance and core stability. The TRX leverages gravity and your bodyweight as you do lots of different exercises.

TRX Workout

My comments...

It's great for people in all levels of fitness. I would recommend getting some tips and instruction from a trainer, but once you get over the initial fear of falling on your face or your feet sliding out from under you (Ha!), you can figure it out and make your own adjustments and progressions as you get stronger and more comfortable with it. It's easy to adjust your stance or hand position and the TRX is easy to adjust to different lengths and heights from the floor.

The hardest thing that I experience with clients is getting them to really focus and use their core muscles. Once you get it and realize how to breathe, etc., the TRX becomes more fun. It's great for upper and lower body exercises, for cardio, for planks and for stretching. Performing bodyweight exercises will increase your strength, balance and flexibility.

I have seen how much increasing core strength can affect an athlete's power, running speed, tennis serve, golf swing and many other benefits. People love it because it's so different from the traditional way of training.

Recently, here in St Augustine, I took a client to a park, attached the TRX securely to a strong tree limb and showed her some exercises. She loved it! Something new!

So, you can obviously assume that I feel the TRX is an amazing invention and an awesome piece of equipment! If you haven't tried it yet, you need to! They are great to use in your own home. I attached mine to my pullup bar. They also have wall mounts you can use.

Just Saw This! You Can Get a TRX on Sale! I Have the Home Workout Package – Just FYI.

TRX Sale


Power Systems

Power Systems is a great resource for purchasing fitness equipment.  They have a huge selection, good prices, a large inventory and great, helpful customer service.

I love the Versatube resistance tubes - they are strong and durable with nylon handles (not plastic) that makes them comfortable to use.  The Versatubes come in a 48 inch length and a 60 inch length.  You will most likely use the shorter tube more, but the longer tube is good to have for many standing exercises.  For example, standing on the tube with both feet, and doing an overhead shoulder press.

I also recommend the Power Systems dumb bells in the hexagon shape.  They are easy and comfortable to handle and won't roll away from you when you set them down.  See link for more info.

Free Weights


Free Weights vs Resistance Bands

Most of us know that resistance training, because of its chief role in maintaining and/or increasing lean body mass (muscle), is an essential component of any weight management program.

Muscle contributes significantly to resting metabolic rate. Your resting metabolic rate is the minimum number of calories needed to support basic functions, including breathing and circulation.

So, are free weights or resistance tubing the best way to get results?

Both resistance bands and free weights have a place in a well-rounded program and I definitely recommend using both. Each of these exercise tools offer the kind of variety, flexibility and "real world" functionality that you do not find in weight machines.

So, how do they rate against each other?  You can see from the chart that increasing your muscle strength can occur with either one.

Bands come in different levels of resistance so you can use a light resistance for some ex, if needed, as with going lighter with free weights. I like resistance bands because of the diversity and the wide variety of ex that you can do. They are inexpensive, you can stick them in your suitcase or take them anywhere.

Resistance Band Kits

 
Resistance Chart

 

What Are Free Weights?

Free weights are basically any kind of weight that is not attached to a machine. Dumbbells, barbells, weighted medicine balls and even sandbags are all examples. There is many weight amounts to choose from, so you can increase your strength by how much weight you can lift and control. It's always beneficial to have a "spotter" to assist you when the reps are getting very challenging. I guess needing a "spotter" to some is a disadvantage. Storage and cost can become a problem.

Free Weights

Free weights are priced per lb, so it can start to add up. As for prevents cheating in the chart, there are many different ways that people perform ex with both tools that are not real beneficial and can be hard on their joints. So, not sure it should be called cheating. Using both resistance bands and free weights will keep more variety in your workouts and will keep your muscles guessing!