November 23, 2010

How do you know if you have a great personal trainer???

Unfortunately, you may not know if your trainer is good at what he or she does until you've already committed a lot of time and money.  Trying to find a skilled trainer among all the rest can be a very difficult task and it's far too easy for the average person to become a "certified" personal trainer.
What does all this mean???  It means that Joe Smith who dropped out of high school can find an organization that provides a Personal Training Certification for about $300 and a few weeks of studying.  In a month he could be training you at your local gym, and you wouldn't know the difference between this guy and a great trainer until it was too late.  This is an extreme example... but YES, there are certifications that DO NOT even require a high school diploma.

Here are a few things to look for in your personal trainer...

1) At least a bachelors degree in an Exercise Science related field.  They don't need to have a BS to be a great trainer, but it certainly shows that they're dedicated to the field and assures you that they do in fact know what they're doing.  Beware of the "well... I guess I can just be a personal trainer now" types.  If your trainer is working other jobs as well as personal training... get off the treadmill and run out the door!  I'm serious, this person is training solely for money, NOT because they know how to help you achieve your goals.  You don't want a "job personal trainer," you want a "career personal trainer."

2) A C.S.C.S. (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) is by far the most difficult certification to attain.  Although there are some great trainers with other certifications, it's less common to find a bad trainer with a CSCS due to its requirements.

3) An actual passion for fitness... if your trainer doesn't even workout themselves... Dump Them!!!  Trust Me.  On the other side...just because your trainer is in shape DOES NOT guarantee that they know what they're doing. 

4) A busy schedule... if your trainer isn't busy, then there's most likely a reason for it.  There aren't many good trainers in the field, so the good one's are highly sought after.

5) The ability to customize programs to your needs.  Everyone is different...and to achieve your goals in the most sound and logical manner you need a customized program.  There is no one size fits all.  If your training at a fitness club, take a look around... if you see a trainer performing the same exercises with EVERYONE, the chances are that they've gotten lazy and become an "exercise of the day" trainer.  This absolutely does happen, just watch.

Lastly...ask your trainer what your doing and why your doing it...  A competent and confident trainer will be happy to explain exactly why your doing what your doing.  Be curious, ask questions, it will pay off.  There are a lot of trends in the field right now that are grossly misused, make sure you don't become a victim of one of them.

Find a Great Trainer Below!!!

Personal Trainers in Darien      Personal Trainers in New Canaan     Personal Trainers in Rowayton

October 23, 2010

Expert Darien Personal Trainer Explains the #1 Reason that people "can't" lose weight...

Since I was in middle school, I've been in and out of many different fitness clubs, and I've definitely seen it all.  Unfortunately, the most common occurrence that I've come across is that many people do the same exact workouts week after week after week.  Then, they eventually become discouraged when the don't see or feel any changes even though they've been consistent and dedicated to their workouts.  Sound familiar???

Eventually, many have asked me for help and I always start my explanation with a great quote from Albert Einstein who said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." 

This is the most important thing to remember when you're planning your workouts(because you are PLANNING your workouts right?).  The most basic principles of fitness and the human body state that you will adapt to whatever new stress you place upon your body.  In this case the stress is your workout.  When you lift weight's you "stress" your muscular and skeletal systems.  Then, your body adapts and builds stronger muscles and stronger bones to be better prepared for the next time that you have to lift a heavy object.  The same goes for cardio...  When you do cardio you "stress" your heart, your respiratory system, and your circulatory system.  Then, your body adapts and you have a stronger healthier heart as well as a greater ability to perform that same bout of cardio the next time.

So, if you're doing the same thing every time that you workout, then what does your body have to adapt to?  It doesn't have anything to adapt to so it doesn't.  This is why progress often stops, and this is the number one reason that most people end up discouraged and learn to accept the fact that they "can't" lose weight.  You must understand that your body likes to maintain a state of homeostasis.  To break out of this you must consistently provide something new to adapt to.  How to do you do this???

It's simple, just make your workout slightly harder or at the very least slightly different every time.  Here are a few variables to work with...

Cardio- run, bike, swim, elliptical, etc... Change your speed, duration, or incline/resistance.  Try to do intervals instead of steady state cardio or vise versa.

Resistance Training- Change the exercises you perform, the repetitions in each set, the number of sets in each exercise, or the total number of exercises.  If you normally work you're whole body, try to work just lower body one day and just upper body the next day or vise versa.

Changing your body can be much more complicated than this, but this is one huge step in the right direction!

If you want more ideas or guidance feel free to contact me or post questions, if you want to work with me directly or another great expert in the field than click below

Darien Personal Trainers    New Canaan Personal Trainers

October 21, 2010

Short on time? Here's a great short workout that will get the job done fast!!!

1 circuit...  5 exercises...  5 rounds

Perform 1 set of all 5 exercises with <30seconds rest in between.  After you run through the circuit once, then you can rest for 60 seconds before you start round 2(same between round 2 and 3, 3 and 4, etc...) 

Reverse lunge--- 12 reps each side (alternating legs) add weight appropriately
Push-ups--- 15 reps (if you can't do a full push-up modify it, if it's easy do clapping push-ups)
Physio ball leg curl--- 12 reps (if it's easy with both legs, try it with 1 leg)
Pull-up OR Inverted row--- 15 reps
Plank--- 60 seconds

     If you keep your timing strict, this workout will take less than 30 minutes.  It will hit every major muscle group in your body, and you will gain a cardiovascualar benefit from it that will keep your metabolism on overdrive for 12-36 hours after you finish!!!

Unfortunately, I can't coach form or show you the exercises through the computer... so until video clips are up feel free to contact me for more tips.

High Fructose Syrup soon to be called "Corn Sugar"

     Apparently, the Corn Refiners Association has caught on to the fact... that we have caught on to the fact... that high fructose corn syrup is like poison. 

     They're proposing a name change, so that high fructose corn syrup would be read "corn sugar" in ingredient lists on your food products.  This is a marketing strategy that's used to trick consumers who are making an effort to choose the right foods.  How bad is that huh? 
Welcome to the world of trickery from the food industry.  It's for these same principles, that low sugar/low fat foods aren't always a better choice(but that's another topic).

     If you don't know... high fructose corn syrup is found in many soft drinks, packages foods, candies, cakes, cookies, and even a lot of ketchups among other things.  It has been linked directly to metabolic syndrome, elevated triglycerides, hypertension, fatty liver disease, excess uric acid levels(associated with gout), and has even been linked to faster aging.  The use of high fructose syrup has increased in the US over the last few decades, and the rate of obesity, diabetes, and insulin resistance have all increased right along side it.  This is NO coincidence! 

     So, read your labels, and keep up with this story to see what alias you need to look for in your labels!!!

Check this article out HERE 

Why all you die-hard runners need to incorporate weight training into your routine...

Running is a great form of cardiovascular exercise, because you can do it anywhere.  It's a tremendous way to improve your heart health, lower blood pressure, and burn some extra calories among its many other benefits.  However, running does have some downfalls IF all you do is run. 

So... how do maximize the benefits of running while avoiding some of its potential negative effects?  Simple, you incorporate a weight training routine.  Not just any weight training routine, but a specific routine that will go hand and hand with your running. 

Here are some benefits an endurance athlete reaps when adding weight training...
1)      Improved running efficiency 
2)      Lowered risk of injury
3)      Lowered risk of overtraining
4)      Improved flexibility and ROM (range of motion)

     When you run, you are repeating the same motion over and over again.  This means that you are working the same muscle groups over and over again creating a muscular imbalance and setting up an ideal environment for injury.  By working the muscles that are neglected during your runs, in addition to the muscles that are used while you run, you will wind up with a much stronger foundation, leading to faster times and a lowered risk for injury.
     Most people have heard of cross-training, and in its simplest form here is how it works.  The more variety someone has in their routine the better their overall results will be.  There are definitely some exceptions, but weight training for runners is not one of these exceptions.  Weight training improves strength, helps to stabilize your joints, strengthens important core muscles, and improves flexibility (although general misconceptions will lead you to believe the opposite).  Runners are often found with weak and tight muscles, unstable joints, and core/lower back problems all of which can be corrected or even better yet prevented through weight training.
     To finish off, I would like to clear up one other major misconception that many runners tend to have... 

     Weight training will not "add bulk" to you frame and slow you down.  The only single way that anyone can gain weight or "bulk" is by consuming more calories than they are burning.  Although the exact number of calories will vary, it is safe to say that an avid runner is burning A LOT of calories on a weekly basis.  In addition to the massive caloric expenditure from running, weight lifting is going to burn even more calories while creating an increased metabolism, which is ideal for burning body fat while at rest.  With this said, I can guarantee you one thing... if you're running a slower time becuase you're heavier, then it's because of additional body fat.  I promise you it is NOT because of muscle.
Please don't hesitate to contact me or post questions here.

Why you need to eat breakfast...

           I know you've been hearing this since you were a child with no real explanation, so I'm going to clarify one great reason to eat breakfast which is to improve your body composition.
While you're asleep, I'm assuming you're not eating?  Correct?  So when you wake up you have gone a long period of time without food (yes, even if you had a late dinner).  The longer your body goes without food the slower your metabolism becomes due to what's called a "starvation adaptation."  Even though your brain knows that you can go to a store to get food whenever you would like, your body doesn't know this.  Your body needs to be fed frequently to know that it's not going to be "starved."  This goes back to primitive times when we would hunt and gather our food and our next meal was NOT guaranteed.

Next, you need to understand that the physiology of your body is designed to "survive," it's not designed to look lean, toned, and/or muscular so you must "trick it" at times to achieve your desired look.  The more body fat you have, the longer you can survive is food ever became scarce, because that ugly soft stuff we all want to get rid of is actually a form of stored energy. 

So if your body is starting to question when that next meal is coming (because you haven't eaten anything all morning, then your metabolism will slow down in an attempt to maintain all that "stored energy" around your waist.  The longer the time between feedings/meals the more pronounced this negative effect becomes.  So eat your breakfast and keep your meals small but frequent to maximize fat burning through your diet.

This is the most simplistic explanation I have, but if you're interested in details please dont' hesitate to contact me or post questions.