In the last couple of weeks I have been very busy with my job and research that I am doing to help improve myself. I also have switched gears from a long distance endurance athlete to power and strength. I have currently been doing Wendler’s 5/3/1 lifting program. I have been on the program for about three weeks. and It’s just like Wendler says it is the simplest and most effective program for strength gain. This is my thought on the program so far. I think it is a great program but you must have some experience in the weight room first before you begin the program. The reason why I say that is that there is little to know program for assistance work. For example I am doing the 5/3/1 for the Big lifts(Bench Press, Squat, Dead lift, Military Press). Each day is a lift in which the program followed by assistance work depending on what your goals. I chose to stay as athletic as possible. So the assistance work for the program would say on Bench day 75 x BW( Body weight) chin ups & 75 x BW push ups. There is no specific set rep scheme for the chin ups or push-ups. People who don’t have any idea on how to program will be able to develop a plan to to make sure they are achieving the assistance work. Other than that the main lifts will take a lot of effort and give you plenty of room to push yourself on open sets. Once you get done with the main lift you feel very accomplish. Now the program runs in 4 week cycles and you will have to max out at the end of each cycle( 1 week is a deload week which will allow you to recover.) If you are an advance lifter and you are looking for strength gains I completely recommend the Wendler’s 5/3/1 for strength gains. If your not sure in how to program assistance exercises in the program then you can find someone to help you
I have seen a lot of trainers I have seen some good trainers and some bad trainers. I will give a list to help you pick the good from the bad. This is all my own opinion so take it as it is.
1. Overweight personal trainer
If your personal trainer has a gut or is overweight you may want to consider picking a new trainer. If there philosophies on exercise has not helped them get in shape.
How can they help someone else. Yes this may seem a little shallow and you should not judge someone by how they look if they were serious about there jobs or had a passion to help people get better they would be in good shape themselves. Would you allow someone who is broke to manage your money?
2. They Bosu ball people to death
IF your watching a trainer train a client and they use the Bosu Ball/balance board like its the cure for all diseases. It will be time to find a new trainer. I don’t know where this crazy for unstable ground training came from but the general population does need to use bosu ball for every exercise. Train on the surface in which you live or perform on. It is very simple. I have send countless people standing on a bosu ball shaking trying to perform bicep curls with 8lb weights. The bosu ball makes people think that they are working harder than they really are. Especially when people are doing simple movements like curls or partial squats
3. Machine weights
If a personal trainer has taken your money and promptly walks you over to the machine weights just kindly ask for your money back. Machine weights for the most part are idiot proof. Look at the picture guide select your weight and perform the guided movement in the machine. If most of you workout consist of weight machines then ask for your money back. I believe that trainers need to not only show you a proper work out program but also teach you skills with using free weights as well.
4. Don’t advocate good technique
If your trainer does not mind keep reminding to have good technique when performing an exercise then they don’t really care. I have seen many personal trainers what clients perform partial squats. Teach people to go full range of motion or make sure they are doing an exercise proper and safely. If they can’t perform full squats on a bosu ball have them do it on the ground it is plan and simple.
5. Still perform sit ups and crunches
This is relatively new but none the less if your personal trainer is keeping up with the current research they would know that sit ups and crunches cause more problems to the lumbar vertebrae. So why are they still subjecting their clients to this torture. There are several other ways to Strengthen the core muscles. You have planks, med ball tosses, farmer walks, suitcase carries x band walks, Pallof presses, land mines and etc. These exercise are more friendly on your spine and get better results than crunches and sit ups.
In conclusion if your personal trainer is overweight, makes you use the bosu ball and Machine weights for a lot of your exercises, doesn’t advocate good technique and is still making you perform good sit ups and crunches its time for you to find a new trainer or a new gym in entirety.
I will keep this short and sweet. I have done two mud runs one 5.5 miles in the Fall( in South Carolina) and a 12 mile tough mudder in the Winter( in Georgia). From those two runs I have learned a lot and if you want some advise on clothing and what too bring I will list it out for you.
1. Gloves– A good pair of gloves is essential. During the winter time they will keep your hands warm. Warm hands function better than cold hands. Also they protect your hands from splinters or little nicks and cuts that can occur.
2. Plan for the worst weather and hope for the Best In cold weather make sure that you minus another 10 – 15 degrees for wind and water obstacles. You may think that you will be warm from running but submerging your body in cold will cause your core body temperature to drop so keep that in my I recommend some long sleeve shirts and or long tights to wear. Not only will they help you stay warm they will help protect form cuts.
3. Bring at least two towels and simple clothes to change into after the race. In both races afterwards they had a designated area to change clothes and the ground was so muddy that it was difficult to stand or they had gravel which was painful to stand on barefoot. Bring an extra towel one to dry off the other to use as a mat to change on. It will make everything a lot easier.
4. Have family/Friends members carry water and meet you at certain parts of the race to give you nourishment and or water. Some races provide bananas and other snacks but if you have a picky stomach its best to stay with snacks that you are familiar with and have family or friends meet you at certain obstacles to provide you with those snacks. In one mud run the provided water but they ran out during my wave( I ran at a later start wave).
5. Shoes with wide/deep Tread this is important as you run up and down through the nature trails remember after water obstacles the trails will be come slick. If you have low tread on shoes they will be packed with mud and become very slick. It will be similar to driving a car with slick tires on ice.
6. Practice running up and down hills. When preparing for a mud run make sure to get some hill running training because that is what you will be doing unless you are in the middle of nowhere.
7. A watch – this is optional but for me it helped keep me on track and on pace. The first one I ran I didn’t have a watch and I lost track of time the second one it was a lot better but that is based on preference
8. Have Fun – When in doubt keep your spirits positive and you will have a great time. IF you didn’t have teammates before the run you will afterwards be positive and help others.
Well my race was this Saturday and it was one hell of a race 12 miles of obstacles and cold weather and electric shock. It was a pain in the rear end. But when you cross that finish line you will get the greatest feeling of accomplishment. If it wasn’t for the cold weather I probably would have posted a better time but excuses are for the weak. Overall if you wanted something to test your fitness a toughmudder is something to look into. I will post some tips in another post
Every day as I talk to more and more people in the fitness and health industry I start learn many new things. The biggest thing that I have learned is that the Fitness(just like many other words) has a different meaning for each person or the phrase “I want to get in shape”. Well what kinda of shape are you talking about? Being in shape or being fit has has a huge range of meaning. If you talk to the skinny kid in high school his idea of being Fit is being strong with chiseled chest and washboard abs. You ask a middle age man with cardiovascular problems the same question he will answer I want to stop taking these medications and live a normal physically active life. Now same word but completely different meanings. The word/phrase has gets its meaning from what you value highly in life. My own personal definition of Being in shape is being able to perform many different physical activity efficiently without any pain. My looks come second even third in my definition of being fit. I like to be able to play basketball, tennis, skate, racquet ball and many other activities without pain. I have been plagued with injuries throughout my basketball career. Now people definition of Fitness can change over time. I had a former teammate from college his definition of being in shape was being able to play basketball at a high level. Now that he is done playing ball his goal of being in shape is to look as ripped/cut as possible. His definition has changed based on what was important in his life. Whatever your definition in life is you can strive to reach that goal. It will take a lot of time and sacrifice to achieve those goals. My roommate in college gave me this old African Proverb ” If you want something to eat you grab with one hand, If you want some more take with the other hand. Now if you want something else you will first have to place something down in order to gain more.” My interpretation of this proverb is if you want to achieve a goal you must be willing to sacrifice something in return. A good example is a person who is trying to get off their hypertension medication. In order to do so they must first change their diet and start exercising. If they don’t sacrifice the fried foods and eat a healthier diet The will be unable to achieve their goal of getting off the medication.
I have been meaning to write on this subject for a while. When I first began working out and designing my own program I would do the essential exercises. Bench Press, Bicep curls, shoulder press, triceps pull down, Lat machine different leg extension, leg curl, leg press. I knew I was getting stronger but was it making me a better athlete? As time went on I started to do more reading and studying and learn to improve my workouts. Instead of developing a plan to work specific muscles I should pick exercises that will help me with movements of the body. Now what are movements of the body Pushing, Pulling, Squatting, Hinging, and Loaded Carry. Dan John World Renowned Strength Coach is where I got those five movements from.( Suggest you check his books especially Never Let Go) Now Coach Mike Boyle another world famous strength coach expanded on those movements in more detail. Horizontal Push, Horizontal Pull, Vertical Push(over head), Vertical Pull(pull ups) , Knee dominate leg exercise(squats) Hip dominate exercise(dead lift) Pillar Strength( planks) Full body( Olympics lifts if there are in your program.) Now if your program has one exercise in each area then you are covering your entire body without problem. If not then you will have to switch some exercises around to make sure you cover all the major movements of the body. The goal is to make sure your body is balance. This way you don’t just hit the same mirror muscles all the time and cause misalignment with your body.
These are examples of Exercises in each category to give yourself an idea.
Bench Press, Push up, Dumbbell Bench press,
Barbell Bent over rows, Inverted rows, Bat Wings, T-bar rows
Military press, Shoulder press, Push press
Pull- up, Chins-ups Lat pull down , Rope climbing,
Knee Dominate legs
Squats(Front, Back), REFSS, Bulgarian, Lunges, Pistol Squats
Hip Dominate Legs
Dead lift( all variations Single leg, Straight leg, Good mornings, Sumo traditional)
Planks, Farmer walks, Landmines, Med ball tosses
As you go through your workouts day after day you start to lose some motivation. Now there can be a number of reasons why this happens it could be your diet, boredom( or tired of doing the same exercises) or it could be that things are happening in your life. Eventually you find your yourself constantly trying to amp yourself up before a work. Constantly trying to get your juices going before your work out. Now this constant amping yourself has made you good at preparing yourself for the workout but what about after the workout? Can you also teach yourself how to relax? Teaching your self how to relax is a very underrated skill. The constant abuse that we put our body through on a daily basis can cause the body to break down. Muscle tissue, ligaments, tendons, nervous system, bones, and the rest of your body is put under stress from all the physical activity. There are times in which we have to give our selves time to recover, heal, and rebuild. If you constantly in a hyped ready to tackle the day mood. You’re putting your body under stress. Chronic stress will do a lot of damage to your body with time. That is why I tell my clients that they need to practice how to relax. Some of my friends who are great basketball players and athletes can tell their mind and body to relax at the drop of a hat. It is a skill that has kept their bodies healthy. Being able to turn you body off will help decrease Cortisol levels and allow the body to go into repair mode. It is very important to schedule time for relaxation and rest. It is just as important as working out and without rest how do you expect your body to rebuild to make improvements.
Well I didn’t get the chance the get a work out in on Thursday. Life plans got in the way but that is fine I will use it as an impromptu day of rest. Rest is very important some days you will have to relax and allow the body to heal.
Diets the one word people hate to hear. I myself hate the word diet. When I hear the word diet or someone saying that they are going on a diet. That to me means temporary. Most people go on a diet to lose between 15-20 lbs. Others may want to lose more weight. Well usually what happens is that people go on the “diets” lose the weight then return to what they were doing before. The weight comes back and they begin the cycle again. Why does this happen so much? I myself have found been through the ups and downs of dieting. The reason for that is. Most diets are very hard to adhere to for a life time. The first question that people ask about a diet is “Is it effective?”. Most diets for the most part are effective if you ever heard of the 2 snicker bar diet?. Is that diet effective? yes it was effective but is that diet sustainable? No. Now if someone were to follow that diet they would get results but at the cost of their health. Now with my dieting experience what I have found to be helpful is to have “cheat meals”. What is a Cheat meal? A cheat meal is a meal that acts as a reward for sticking with my diet. I plan out my cheat meals with my social life. Usually I go out to eat with friends or the family on the weekend and I get to sit down and enjoy a good meal with them. Before I can enjoy the cheat meal I must make sacrifices throughout the week. It is a built-in rewards system that I have in my diets. Diets are very difficult physically and mentally. Constantly suppressing hunger pains and giving up your favorite foods(the bad foods) it wears a person down over time. That is why I tell my clients to have a cheat meal after a successful week of dieting. This way it turns your diet from a long-term endurance race into the 100 meter dash. The rewards will help keep you motivated and make your diet sustainable. The longer you stay on a healthy diet the better off you will be in life.
This is my first post my name is Desmond Smith I am Health Fitness Specialist I love everything about health and Fitness and I want to share my passion for Health and Fitness with everyone else I was a former basketball player I played for the Panama National team and I played for the Reno Big Horns in the NBA Development League. This Blog is here to help those get new information about new trends in the Health and Fitness industry.