Answers to Your Questions on Fitness, Exercise and Weight loss

My latest observations, experiences and advice as a personal trainer about fitness, exercise, fitness equipment, weight loss and more.

 Inspirations Personal Training Home Page : Personal Trainer Blog Home : January 2006

January 1, 2006 12:47 - Q. What is the best exercise for weight loss?

A. I saw a product demonstration a couple of years ago that really impressed me because it looked like a way to put fun into an exercise that isn't always exciting. After doing some research I discovered that the type of exercise involved and the way it is done have a whole lot more benefits than just being fun.

A major benefit is in rapid fat loss!

Not just weight loss because the the exercise both accelerates the burning of fat while strengthening and building muscle.

I'm talking about rebound exercise and during my research I found university studies showing that rebound exercise resulted in dramatic fat loss and that the reason for this is the activation of the lymph system. The lymph is the liquid which circulates in-between our cells, to carry the wastes and toxins, out of our body, keeping it healthy.

Did you know that there is 4 times the volume of lymph fluid in the body as blood? The lymphatic fluid is kept in motion by our natural movements. It doesn't have a pump like the heart for circulation. As the lympatic system is also our immune system, if we don't move enough and cause the lymph fluids to move, toxins build up and poison our cells. Lymph fluid can actually crystallize into "Cellulite" which is not attractive and is hard to lose.

I am currently working on an article for my website on the topic of rebound exercise for weight loss and will post a link when it is ready.

If you are looking for exercise that is fun This is the product I saw demonstrated...

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 2, 2006 07:01 - Did you make a New Years Fitness Resolution?

Happy New Year Everyone!

This is the time of year that I get busier. I see an increase in new clients calling for a free consultation determined to lose some weight and get in better shape in the year ahead.

It's great that people make the promise to themselves to improve their health and appearance and I want to give you a few tips that will help to ensure you don't end up in trouble and quit early.

The first tip is to take your new exercise program plans to your doctor to make sure there is nothing about your health that might be adversly affected by suddenly becoming active.

Tell him/her your plans in detail so the doctor will examine you with exercise in mind. High blood pressure, narrowing of arteries etc. are health conditions not to be ignored! as a sudden increase in the demand on your heart could have a disastrous effect. The point is to find out if there are any fitness activities you should avoid NOW because of your current physical condition.

Once you get the green light from your doctor you can start pumping iron, right? Wrong! First, be sure to get instruction on the proper technique. If you plan to work out by yourself, you should sign up for a few sessions with a personal trainer. If you join a gym, you might be entitled to a few introductory sessions with a certified personal trainer. Your personal trainer will show you how to use the exercise equipment properly and will give you an initial workout program to follow whether you have fancy equipment at home or not.

My clients have a choice as to how often they come in to work with me. Initially I recommend a committment to a 12 week program at 3 sessions per week. 12 weeks is enough time to see some dramatic results and for my client to learn their way around the exercise equipment.

From that point on the choice is yours...the cost of a personal trainer at 3 sessions per week can add up quickly so many opt for a much reduced schedule with me. Once a month can be all thats needed to keep on the right track and get updated workout routines if you are consientiously exercising on your own at home or a gym.

There are also some excellent online programs that provide illustrated exercise descriptions and progressive workout plans as well as nutritional advice.

One such online source can be found here... Free Fitness Analysis

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 3, 2006 07:02 - What's the Best Way to Start and Keep Your Fitness Resolution?

If you follow my advice and get help from a Personal Trainer to begin your exercise routine, you'll be told all about warm-up and stretching.

The last thing you want to do is put a lot of stress on cold muscles so it is important to do a short warm-up before getting to the exercises. Failure to warm up can result in injury such as a muscle tear that could curtail your workouts until you heal (injury could spell an end to your fitness plans altogether).

A short jaunt on the treadmill or elliptical trainer is a great way to get the blood flowing and the muscles warmed prior to a strength training workout. Another good warm-up is about 10 minutes on a rowing machine which works pretty much every part of your body.

If you don't have access to these machines, try running on the spot or some light calisthenics for about 10 minutes.

You don't have to push yourself too hard during the warm-up phase, just enough to loosen up those sedentary muscles and begin to breathe a little harder.

You can get some more background information on Stretching on this page.

More on beginning your exercise program in my next post.

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 4, 2006 06:55 - More tips for those starting a new workout program

Proper breathing technique is especially important for weight training.

Many people just starting an exercise program have a tendancy to hold their breath when training with weights. Holding the breath can actually weaken the body and lead to dizziness or blackout. Your muscles are using a large amount of blood and the oxygen requirements are much higher than when resting.

So, be conscious that you must exhale when you are performing the positive portion of the exercise.

That means, for example, that when doing a bench press you should exhale as the weight is being pushed up and inhale as it is lowered.

Here's another tip for anyone starting a new exercise program: Don't Overdo It!

Your newfound enthusiasm for getting into shape could cause you to do too much too fast. I've seen it happen to clients and I've also done it myself in the past when I've been unable to workout as usual for a while due to a vacation or other absense.

Remember that building muscle involves creating micro-tears in the muscle you that "burn" feeling that when done in moderation actually feels kind of good. You become aware that you have done something good for the muscles. If you push too hard, especially early on, the feeling goes beyond a mild "burn" sensation and becomes painful... and the pain can last a few days.

The healing of those micro-tears causes the muscle to grow and get stronger and you must allow about 48 hours before stressing those same muscles again. BUT...Pain can be a strong disincentive to doing more exercise, so go at is slowly to'll be much more inclined to keep your resolution!

A good place to start your new plan is with a Free Fitness Analysis.

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 5, 2006 08:29 - Remember not to overdo your new exercise program or you could be sorry

You should gradually increase the duration and intensity of your exercise sessions as you become more physically fit.

Start with low weight and do 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions. For any particular exercise you want to work to the point of muscle failure...that is until you just can't do one more repetition. Ideally, that point should be at the end of the 3rd set of about 10 to 12 repetitions. If it happens sooner, you are probably starting with too heavy a weight.

When you can handle the 3 sets of 12 reps and still feel like you could go on, the time has come to increase the weight, but do it in small increments. If you are performing bench presses, add maybe another 10 pounds. If you are doing bicep curls, try another 5 lbs. A good rule of thumb is to add another 5% of the weight you are currently using.

In other words, if you complete a mile run this week, don't start running five miles next week. Increase your exercise goals in smaller increments.

Consider getting a Heart Rate Monitor

Investing in a heart rate monitor is another way to ensure you are exercising safely. A monitor can ensure you stay witin your target heart rate range.

The formula for determining your target heart range is to subtract your age from the number 220. In other words: 220 - age = maximum heart range (you should stay within a 60-80 percent range of this number).

For instance, if you are 30 years of age, your maximum heart range would be 220 - 30 = 190.

If your heart rate is under the target you are not working hard enough and conversely, if it is above the target range you may be overdoing it...

So be safe!

Read more here about Heart Rate Monitors

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 6, 2006 19:18 - Further Pointers for your exercise program

It would seem like common sense but you should stop exercising if you experience severe pain or discomfort! No pain, no gain is not really a good motto. If you experience severe pain, discomfort or swelling during your exercise session, you should immediately stop working out. If any of these conditions persist, you should see a doctor.

Drink Plenty of Water

Keeping yourself hydrated is very important when you become involved in regular exercise so increase your water intake...Drink water before, during and after your exercise sessions.

As a rule of thumb you should drink about half your body weight in ounces per day...That would be about 75 ounces of water a day for someone weighing 150 lbs.

Give yourself some time off.

A couple of days off per week is recommended. Your body and systems require time to recover and heal and grow. Failure to take time off can result in overtraining...a condition where all the exercise you are doing is not doing any further good and is simply wearing you out.

Read more aboutour body's water requirements here.

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 7, 2006 12:06 - Write down your starting point and set your goals

Any successful exercise program needs a plan.

Your plan should include your starting point, your goals and the exercise and nutrition plan designed to get you there.

Whether you sign up with a personal trainer or an online fitness/weight loss program or go it on your own it is important that you write down your starting weight, body fat %, and body measurements as well as your goals.

Equally important is to have a custom designed fitness and nutrition plan that will get you to your goals. Have your plan printed out in black and white so you can easily follow it and keep track of progress using a chart.

Weigh yourself no more often than every 2 weeks or so and take your body measurements at the same time. Your progress will become obvious as you record your new numbers and improvement is very motivating.

As you become stronger and are tracking your progess on the chart, you will clearly see the improvements. Have a look at the weights you started out with and the weights you are now able to use. How long and at what speed were you initially able to run on the treadmill compared to now?...It's nice to see the improvement and you'll also be feeling the difference.

If you are going it on your own, I recommend you read and follow a book such as Johnny Bowdens' "Shape Up" or Bob Greens " Total Body Makeover" and there are many others that have pretty good fitness and nutrition plans. You may have to adjust it a little to suit your own situation. Reading these books can also be inspiring.

If you'd like to try an online program have a look at this one...Fitness Analysis

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 8, 2006 16:41 - Weight Loss Mini-series

Some time ago I wrote a lengthy and informative weight loss article that was designed to be delivered as an email mini-series to people who would subscribe through my website at
Inspirations Personal Training.

For whatever reason I never did post the email address for the miniseries on my website and I just came across it in my files so I thought I'd present it in a series of posts in this Personal Trainer Blog.

I'll be presenting a ton of information so you won't want to miss a single installment. The beauty of blogs is that all of the installments are posted in order so you can go back to read anything you might have missed.

Learning the concepts is very important. You'll then be armed with the knowledge that many others lack and on your way to your new life.

You'll learn:

  • the truth of why obesity is such a problem in North America today - I'll bet you weren't aware of some of the real reasons.
  • why you may have failed in the past at losing or keeping off unwanted fat.
  • what part hormones play in weight gain and how they can sabotage your efforts to lose weight.
  • the truth about fat burners.
  • step by step process to finally get in control of your weight.
  • how to keep the weight off permanently.

This information is not just 'off the top of my head' conjecture but is based on my education and experience combined with research gained from a select few, credible weight loss and health experts. Sources will be quoted where necessary.

I'll get started in my next post...

See also my page on
Weight loss tips

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 9, 2006 06:58 - "Crash Weight Loss Primer" Mini Series

To successfully make it through today’s jumble of misleading and
conflicting information, you're going to have to become a very shrewd and
discriminating consumer. I’m here to help you do that, and that’s why I wrote
this short primer.

There are three basic reasons why it's so hard to find truthful information today:

1) Money (Greed).

Weight loss is a 30 billion-dollar a year industry. Gimmicks, hucksters and outright liars as well as legitimate business are out for a share of the pot.

The lust for money is the basic reason behind Myth #1, Fatburners work.

Ephedra based products do have a thermogenic effect, but ephedra is a drug and is addictive and the side effects are as bad for your health as the excess fat. That's exacty why they are now banned. Don't believe the claims that the new 'ephedra free' products are as effective as ephedra - they simply give you expensive pee.

Don't believe the claims that losing weight is fast and easy with some revolutionary new system. You already know in your logical mind that the claim is bunk but the ad copy can be so compelling that it's all you can do not to send in your 3 easy payments of $29.99.

2) Information overload.

Nowadays, lack of information is not a problem. In fact. the problem now is too much information ! 24/7 infomercials, hundreds of diet and exercise books and dozens of magazines clutter the newsstands every month. And that's not even counting the millions of weight loss and fitness websites on the net.

3) Conflicting advice.

Even industry professionals like registered dieticians, research scientists, MD's, PhD’s, and certified trainers, dispense huge amounts of contradictory advice.

There are a lot of opinions out there and everyone seems to tell us something different.

So just who do you believe?

Well I’m about to tell you the truth as I see it.

See also my page on
Weight loss tips

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 10, 2006 06:27 - "Crash Weight Loss Primer" Part 2

A little bit of knowledge of how it all works will help tremendously in deciding on the right weight loss program for you, whether it's an online program, a program from a book, an offline fitness/weight loss studio or a program you design for yourself at home.

You need to be able to see through all the media hype and fad diets. Sure, given the wide range of different people with different metabolisms, hormone levels and genetic make-ups there are bound to be success stories for any crazy diet. And even if there aren't any perfect examples for their testimonials, some unscrupulous companies simply make them up and use models. There ought to be a law...well, actually there is but snake oil salesmen have been around for centuries and taking money from a willing market will never grow out of style.

But you will know better.

Set your priorities and be realistic:

This report is written for you if your goal is to improve your health and feel better about yourself. Changes in eating habits alone can have a drastic, positive effect on your health and cause you to lose fat but a reduction in calorie intake will soon cause the body to go into survival mode and your body will become reluctant to use up its fat stores. It then looks for another source of fuel and turns to breaking down lean muscle tissue and even bone density weight.

Well, lean muscle tissue burns calories even at rest, so it makes sense that having lots of lean muscle is a good thing for anyone wanting to lose weight. It also makes everything you do much easier and more enjoyable.

The obvious answer to this is strength training which will build those natural fat-burning muscles and, incidently, you won't ever hear me talk about weight loss without strength training.

If you are wondering about aerobic exercise (running, cycling etc.) it is definitely good to a point. Initially it will strengthen the large lower body muscles which is certainly desirable, but once your body gets used to it, it will stop growing stronger and the continued effort will begin to break down muscle tissue to use as fuel which is not desirable. Combine that with the bone-jarring long term impact that running has on the joints and you will understand why I recommend that your program not be restricted to aerobic exercise but also include strength training.

Sure, everyone wants to lose weight but you will learn that the best way to do that is to make gradual changes in eating habits and activity levels. You will be amazed at how much better you feel about yourself when you actually begin your program and make it a regular part of your schedule. Progress can be much faster than you imagine and there is no greater motivation than success.

So the first step is to set realistic goals and make a plan for implementation and write it all down.
Time planning is part of your implementation plan because if you leave exercise up to chance, chances are good that at the end of the day, there'll be no time left. Set aside a time each day to be active, preferably the same time each day so it becomes ingrained and unforgettable. Make it your time to do good things for yourself and think of it that way.

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 11, 2006 06:34 - "Crash Weight Loss Primer" Part 3

When you consider your goals, you should be specific. For example, let's say you decide you want
to burn off 25 pounds of body fat...

The next thing need to do is determine about how long it will take to achieve that goal...

1-2 pounds a week of fat loss is great progress and realistic which means you should plan on it taking 18 weeks overall but you should set a shorter term goal of say 13 pounds in 9 weeks. It is important to set shorter term, reachable goals. Acheiving these shorter term goals is extremely motivating.

Now you write out what you will have to do each week do meet your goal of losing 1.5 pounds each week...

You MUST be specific and if you have to, schedule in every single workout. It is important to set aside the time for your exercise program and make it a priority...think of it as time for yourself. If you just leave it until the end of the day thinking you will fit it in when you can, the time will never arrive.

Write down every single nutritional change you are going to make...I'm going to be giving you a list of suggested changes in your diet and eating habits that can go along way with weight loss and overall health. Here again my advice is to go it slow. Make a couple of positive changes each week in the types of foods and snacks you buy and eat. Trying to do everthing at once can be overwhelming.

If you do this, you are so much more likely to succeed... and remember, this applies to every aspect of your life!

I just found an online program that makes it extremely easy to set your weight loss goals and track them and the price is only $20 per year which seems like quite a bargain. Have a look at Start Your

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 12, 2006 06:41 - "Crash Weight Loss Primer" Part 4

Here's a simple formula for calculating your body mass index. (BMI). This will give you an idea of the percentage of body fat you have. The idea of course is to establish your BMI and then work to reduce it to get it to the desireable range.

Weight in kg divided by height in meters squared

To obtain kg -------- divide lbs by 2.2

To obtain cm --------- multiply inches by 2.54

Desirable range 20 -24.9

Overweight 25 -29.9

Obese 30 +

Before we even get to the exercise part of your program here is some advice on your daily food choices that will go a long way to improving your health and making it easier for you to lose fat and maintain a lower BMI.

Following these guidelines will get the cards stacked in your favour for a successful weight loss program and continued healthy weight maintenance.

These are the basic guidelines I use with all my clients so you are getting the same advice that others have to pay for.

  • First thing to do is to get rid of all the tempting junk food in your cupboards and fridge. The chips, candy bars, chocolates, chocolate chip granola bars etc. If they aren't there, you can't eat them. Replace them with healthy snacks such as raw or roasted almonds, cashews, walnuts, raw pumpkin seeds and raw sunflower seeds etc. Add a small amount of dried fruit or have a piece of fresh fruit.

    These snacks contain all sorts of healthy fats (yes there are healthy fats!) and fiber.

  • Eliminate all white flour products including pasta, breads and cereals, (use whole grain breads and cereals only) You are getting no nutritional value from these foods, only a large dose of carbohydrates that turn to sugar immediately after digestion.
  • Eliminate potatoes, rice, yams and sweet potatoes, bananas, corn...again, these foods are high in carbs and will work against any fat loss efforts.
  • Never eat after 7:30 p.m. Not even a light snack. Eating late at night gives you a fuel injection your body doesn't need for sleep, so guess what your body will do with it...more body fat!

More tips in my next post...

For the online program that gets my highest recommendation have a look at this one...Fitness Analysis

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 13, 2006 07:11 - "Crash Weight Loss Primer" Part 5

Keep in mind that once you have reached your desired weight in a healthy body fat range, you may start to include some of the foods you have given up occasionally and in moderation.

Here are some more of the guidelines and advice on your daily food choices that will go a long way to improving your health and making it easier for you to lose fat and maintain a lower BMI.

  • Don’t allow more than four hours between meals

  • Eliminate all processed foods. The additional chemicals do you no good and the processing tends to eliminate the nutrients of the original food.

  • Start by eating a good breakfast that includes some protein every morning.

  • Stagger your caloric intake so that it is not the same everyday. Eat lighter on days when you are less active and more on days when you know you are going to be more active.

  • Include some protein with every meal.

  • Include some raw whole food at the beginning of every meal. Fruit, veggie sticks or salad. (provides digestive enzymes also encourages smaller meal portions)

  • Use butter instead of margarine (in moderation). Your body cannot digest the vegetable fats and you avoid the risk of ingesting trans fatty acids.

    (Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 15, 2006 07:40 - "Crash Weight Loss Primer" Part 6

Following these guidelines and advice on your daily food choices will go a long way to improving your health and making it easier for you to lose fat and maintain a lower BMI.

Again, some of these foods may be added back to the diet once you have attained your target weight, in moderation of course. The focus now is to develop some healthy habits and reduce unnecessary fats and carbs.

  • Eliminate all creamed or creamy type dressings, dips and sauces. (yogurt is an exception)

  • If you are using a protein drink, limit protein drinks to one per day and use as a meal replacement or snack, possibly with some fruit or salad.

  • Restrict alcohol consumption.

  • For snacks use unsalted nuts and seeds instead of store bought granola bars, No more than ½ cup of nuts, (Raw or roasted almonds, cashews, walnuts, raw pumpkin seeds and raw sunflower seeds etc.) Add a small amount of dried fruit or have a piece of fresh fruit

  • Drink lots of water, at least eight cups daily

  • Drink up to four cups of green tea daily (promotes natural fat loss and contains antioxidants)

Remember that exercise, nutrition and the proper mental attitude (positive self-image) are the only things you need to lose fat permanently. Supplements are not a requirement. Some basic supplements are helpful for “nutritional insurance,” some are great for convenience and some supplements may even help speed up the fat loss process a little, but not nearly as much as the advertising leads you to believe.

There are no miracles in a bottle out there.

There are a few more nutrition tips in my next post.

For an indepth look at how your body works and the best way to lose weight I recommend Ultimate Fat Burners Diet Primer

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 15, 2006 18:29 - Perhaps the perfect exercise for weight loss

I mentioned a few days ago that I was putting together a page dealing with what NASA calls the "Perfect Exercise".

Scientific studies, made by NASA, show that rebound exercise is the most efficient, effective and pleasant exercise ever devised.

Rebound exercise develops all your muscles, shaping your body naturally

  • Reduces your excess fat / weight rapidly and safely
  • Prevents cardiovascular problems
  • Reverses or slows the aging process (for instance: firms your skin, maintains or restores your bone and muscle mass)
  • Prevents or corrects many health problems
  • Induces euphoria (thus fights depression) and reduces mental stress
  • Revitalizes your vision (program available)
  • Maximizes your vitality
  • Stimulates your lymphatic system thus:
    cleans your cells, eliminating the damaging toxins, reinforces your immune system and balances your metabolism

See my new page on Rebounder exercise here.

January 16, 2006 07:27 - "Crash Weight Loss Primer" Part 7

This is the last part of the list I give to all my clients concerning nutritional habit changes that they should consider to give themselves every advantage in the quest for weight loss.

I don't expect that everyone will follow all of these guidelines and I don't expect you to adopt them all at once. Just change a couple of things every week and soon they will become habits for a lifetime of healthier living.

  • Cheese is okay but limit consumption to once per day and look for low milk fat percentages.

  • Try to have a fresh salad before each dinner

  • Take a good quality multi vitamin daily

  • Include adequate daily fiber 25-35 grams or more

  • Take one-two tablespoons of ground flax seeds daily (omega 3 fatty acids and fiber)

  • Take one-two tablespoons of flax seed oil, Udos oil, or other good quality omega 3-6 oil daily

One last thing about junk food such as pop.

Adults and kids alike develop the habit of buying and drinking lots of pop thinking it can do no harm when the truth is that the junk is just as bad or worse for your kids as it is for you.

They need to develop good habits early on and some junk, like pop, actually acts as an anti-nutrient, that is it will not only fill your kids with sugar and/or chemicals, it will negate the benefit of vitamin supplements - so give them natural juices instead...

Tip to deal with kids ...give them a boost in their allowance to buy themselves a bit of junk, they won't argue with extra cash and may not spend it all on junk.

January 17, 2006 06:57 - "Crash Weight Loss Primer" Part 8

I just read a column by physiologist Greg Landry, MS. who has some pretty good tips on keeping your New Years Resolution. Not only nutrition advice but exercise advice as well. I'm going to include some of his material here because it reflects my opinions as well.

Do some type of aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, swimming, stationary cycling, aerobic dancing, etc.) on a daily basis, preferably in the morning!

If I had to pick a single factor that I thought was most important in a successful exercise or weight-loss program, it would be to exercise first thing in the morning -- every morning! Although your goal should be 30 to 60 minutes per day, some mornings, you may just be able to fit in a 10-minute walk, but that's still a lot better than doing nothing.

So why mornings?

  • Over 90 percent of people who exercise consistently, exercise in the morning. If you want to exercise consistently, odds are in your favor if you exercise first thing in the morning.

  • When you exercise early in the morning, it jump starts your metabolism and keeps it elevated for hours, sometimes up to 24 hours! That means you're burning more calories all day long just because you exercised in the morning!

  • When you exercise in the morning you'll be energized for the day! Personally, I feel dramatically different on days when I have and haven't exercised in the morning.

  • Many people find that morning exercise regulates their appetite for the day; that they aren't as hungry and they make better food choices. Many people have told me that it puts them in a healthy mindset.

  • If you exercise at about the same time every morning, and ideally wake up at about the same time on a regular basis, your body's endocrine system and circadian rhythms adjust to that. Physiologically, some wonderful things begin to happen. A couple of hours before you wake, your body begins to prepare for waking and exercise because it "knows" it's about to happen. Why? Because it "knows" you do the same thing just about every day. You benefit from that in several ways:

    • a. It's much easier to wake-up. When you wake-up at different times every day, it confuses your body and thus it's never really prepared to awaken.

    • b. Your metabolism and all the hormones involved in activity and exercise begin to elevate while you're sleeping. Thus, you feel more alert, energized and ready to exercise when you do wake up.

    • c. Hormones prepare your body for exercise by regulating blood pressure, heart rate, blood flow to muscles, etc.

  • For many people, that appointed time every morning becomes something they look forward to. It's time they've set aside to do something good for themselves; to take care of their body, mind, and soul. Many find that it's a great time to think clearly, pray, plan their day, or just relax mentally.

  • Research has demonstrated that exercise increases mental acuity. On average it lasts 4-10 hours after exercise! No sense in wasting that brain power while you're sleeping.

  • Exercise first thing in the morning is really the only way to assure that something else won't crowd exercise out of your schedule. When your days get hectic, exercise usually takes a back seat!

  • If finding time to exercise is difficult, anyone can get up 30 to 60 minutes earlier to exercise (if it's a priority in your life). If necessary, you can go to sleep a little earlier. Also, research has demonstrated that people who exercise on a regular basis have a higher quality of sleep and thus require less sleep! 2. Tone your muscles with weight training three days per week. Toned muscles really boost your metabolism and cause you to burn more calories 24 hours a day - yes, even while you're sleeping you'll be burning more calories. Toned muscles look good too!

    (Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 18, 2006 07:43 - Q. Why hire a personal trainer?

We've reached the point in this Crash Weight Loss Primer where we begin to discuss exercise.

If you've never considered it before, I recommend that you think about the benefits of hiring a personal trainer to get you on the right track.

A personal trainer can help you set up a program that meets your goals and can teach you the best way to exercise. A trainer will help you avoid common mistakes that can result in injury and wasted time, keep you motivated and push you past your comfort level--something difficult to do on your own.

A trainer also provides:

  • guidance on reaching your goals
  • education about strength training, cardio and basic nutrition
  • a reason to show up at the gym each week
  • accountability
  • ways to help track of your progress
  • encouragement

I'll talk a little about what to look for in a personal trainer in my next post...


(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 19, 2006 06:47 - What to Look for In a Personal Trainer

Don't just hire anyone as your personal trainer.

  • Education: A personal trainer should be certified through a reputable fitness organization such as the International Sports Sciences Association, (where I got my certification). ACE or NSCA. An exercise science or other related college degree isn't necessary, but more education in the field is a good thing.

  • CPR: your personal trainer should have an updated certification in CPR and/or first aid.

  • Experience: Make sure your personal trainer has several years of experience, especially in relation to your goals. For example, if you're a bodybuilder, you want someone knowledgeable in that area.

  • Specifics: If you have a specific medical problem, injury or condition (such as being pregnant, heart problems, diabetes, etc.) make sure your personal trainer has education in these areas and will work with your doctor. Look for a personal trainer with a good reputation for helping people lose weight if that is your main goal. Word of mouth is a great thing, so ask your friends who they would recommend based on results.

  • A good listener: A good trainer will listen closely to what you say and make sure he understands your goals.

  • Attention: A good personal trainer will be focused only on you during your sessions.

  • Tracking progress: A good personal trainer will regularly assess your progress and change things if necessary, adding variety and motivation, keeping your workouts interesting and fun.

Personality is important too since you'll be working very closely with this person. Make sure you get along with your trainer and feel comfortable asking questions. The average program should last about 12 weeks in length and you could be seeing your personal trainer up to 3 times per week for that period so you want to be sure you find someone you like and respect.

More in my next post..,


(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 20, 2006 06:34 - How to Find a Personal Trainer

An obvious place to look is your local gym or health club. Most gyms have personal trainers on staff and offer attractive packages for personal training usually if you buy a gym membership. You can also look in your yellow pages but I found that there were few listings in my yellow pages. More and more, the internet is the place to search...just google"personal trainer + location" and you should come up with some results. I have had several clients find me through my website.

The cost will vary depending on where you live and your trainer's experience and education. Typically, the cost will be anywhere from $30 to $70 a session.

A good trainer will usually offer a free consultation during which you can meet each other, discuss goals, programs, facilities etc. sure to take advantage of a free consultation.

If you go to a gym and they want to assign you a personal trainer, just be sure the manager knows what your goals and circumstances are so that a trainer with experience in that area can be chosen.

Get a referral from a friend who's had success in reaching their goals with a personal trainer

When you're at the gym, watch trainers with their clients and see how they interact. Make a note of trainers who get along with their clients and seem fully involved in their workouts...that may be a good one to choose.


(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 21, 2006 17:50 - What to look for in a good personal trainer:

  • A good personal trainer will not ignore or dismiss any of your questions. Detailed explanations that give you useable information should be expected.

  • A good personal trainer will work you hard enough that there is some soreness in muscles the next day but won't work you so hard that you will be in pain for days.

  • A good personal trainer will design a program that is appropriate for your physical condition and limitations.

  • A good personal trainer will spend all of her time ( remember it is your time and you are paying for it) working with you and will not interrupt your session to talk to friends or take phone calls.

  • A good personal trainer will consult with your doctor/chiropractor/specialist if you are seeing one,and it is appropriate, to best design a program for you that recognizes your physical limits and needs.

  • A personal trainer should watch you, correct your alignment, and explain what you're doing and why.

If you're having problems, talk to your trainer--they may not be aware there's a problem

It's your money and your have a right to get what you want and a good personal trainer will understand that.

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 23, 2006 07:04 - Exercise for the beginning beginner

This post is intended for the novice to exercise.

Please remember my caution to see your doctor before beginning an exercise program of any sort. I don't want anyone causing themselves damage of any sort.

Proceed with caution. Anyone beginning an exercise regimen should begin slowly. Allow yourself to get used to the strain of physical activity. As your body adjusts, you'll be able to increase the duration and intensity of your program. If you feel any discomfort, stop exercising and consult your doctor.

Dress comfortably in loose-fitting clothing. Wear the appropriate footwear. Consider the weather. If the temperature and humidity are extreme, either too high or too low, physical exertion may be dangerous.

Begin with a "warm-up" session. Stretch muscles slowly to avoid injury during the actual exercise. Get your respiration, circulation, and body temperature to increase by beginning with some low-impact exercises. Your warm-up should last about three to five minutes.

Begin the actual exercise phase at a moderate intensity. The duration will build cardiovascular fitness. Don't overexert yourself. If you exercise regularly, you'll be able to lengthen the time and increase the intensity. While you're exercising, you should feel your heart beating faster. You should be breathing more rapidly and deeply, yet still be able to carry on a conversation. You should begin to sweat. These are ways that your system responds to the challenges of exercise.

End with a "cool down" session. Spend a few minutes walking slowly to let your body gradually slow and cool itself. Just as you needed to gradually begin to exercise, you need to gradually begin to rest.


(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 24, 2006 06:19 - More for the Beginner

Plan for your next exercise session. Commit to it. In order for exercise to be truly effective, it must become a regular part of your routine. Cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone needs to be maintained.

First of all, exercise will only become a habit if it's fun! Pick something you will enjoy doing. If you like being with a group of people, try a team sport like basketball or soccer. You don't have to be a super athlete. Anyone can exercise. Social activities like dancing and mall-walking are also good. If you're more of a loner, try bicycling or swimming.

Don't kid yourself. Be honest about what you realistically think you can do. If you have always hated to climb stairs, step aerobics probably isn't for you. Maybe a walk around the neighborhood would be more pleasant. Many people today are walking toward fitness. For a fun, fat-burning exercise that you can do at home or in the outdoors, read my latest web page on rebounder exercise.

Consider your current state of physical fitness. If you haven't exercised in years, you'll definitely want to start with some modest activities. As you get adjusted, you can increase your activity.

Consider your schedule. Are you a morning person? Then plan to exercise in the morning. If you're addicted to your snooze button, plan to exercise in the evening. Start with just a small block of time, maybe fifteen minutes. As you get into your routine, you probably won't mind increasing to twenty, and then thirty, minutes. In order to be effective, you'll need to repeat your exercise routine 3 or 4 times per week.

Will you exercise at home or at a fitness center? Selecting a fitness center can be a challenge, but you may find the community support motivational. Will you need any special equipment? The variety of exercise equipment available for purchase today can be overwhelming. Be sure to buy the proper equipment. You can see a selection of exercise equipment on my page Exercise Equipment Reviews

Finally, take it easy. Make sure that you exercise intelligently and cautiously. Follow some guidelines for beginners. Exercise should improve your health, not risk it.
(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 25, 2006 06:32 - Fitness training systems

All forms of training are based on the principle that the body adapts to the type and amount of stress placed upon it.

The amount and type of stress (training) is easily varied to suit your training or fitness goal. Whether using barbells, selectorized machines or compressed air machines or whether doing light resistance and aerobic training you have complete and precise control over the weight or resistance used. As you increase the weight, your body is forced to adapt to the new stress level by growing and developing.

There are several systems that have been developed to accomplish this growth and development that vary according to personal goals, current level of fitness, heredity and other limiting factors.

The most popular system and perhaps the best known is the "set system"

The set system is hard to beat because it is so simple. All that is required is that you exercise for the appropriate number of repetitions and sets, resting between sets, and then move onto the next exercise, etc, until the end of the workout. This system is more appropriate for weight training because of the rest periods between sets. Aerobic exercise requires sustained stress without the frequent rests.

Superset System

The superset system is used to describe two alternating exercises for the same body part (giant sets) or two exercises for different body parts (compound sets) .

There is no rest between the two exercises in the super set, all reps are done back to back only resting between super sets.

Traditionally, supersetting is done to exercise 2 anatomically antagonistic movements. In english that means, for example doing a superset of bicep curls combined with triceps extentions or hamstrings combined with quadriceps.

You would do 8 to 10 reps of bicep curls followed by, without rest, 8 to 10 reps of tricep extentions. Rest, and then repeat the superset until all sets are done. Likewise with hamstrings and quads you would perform 8 to 10 reps of Leg extentions followed by, without rest, 8 to 10 reps of Leg curls, resting between sets.

More on supersets and other systems in my next post.

Exercises to work the entire body.
(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 27, 2006 06:31 - More on supersets and other fitness training systems

In my last post I described supersets that are two exercises that work the same joint in opposite directions.

Why would you want to do this?

Firstly, it confines the blood supply to a small part of the body rather than have it travelling to far reaching parts of the body and having the supply on hand allows for speedy recovery of the non-working muscles while the working muscles are active.

Secondly, it allows for increased flexibility around the joint and equal strength on opposing sides of the joint while at rest.

Take a rest between sets and when doing consecutive supersets be sure that the muscle groups being worked are far removed from each other to ensure that some of the same muscles aren't being used in back-to-back sepersets to prevent over-tiring of those muscles.

Another training system is called the Peripheral Heart Action System (PHA)

Workouts using this system are designed to not only promote strength but also to give a good cardio workout and are rigorous and should not be attempted by beginners.

The idea is to to do a sequence of sets of 4 different exercises in a row, without resting between exercises and the exercises in each sequence involve body parts far removed from one another. As opposed to the superset system I described above, this gets the blood rushing from one extreme to the other and hence the cardiovascular benefit. Recovery is allowed by the length of time between the use of each set of muscles.

Each sequence of exercises is performed 3 times with a rest between each sequence and then you move on to another sequence.

For example:
Sequence one
partial press
triceps extensions

Sequence two
back raises
leg curls
biceps curls

Sequence three
bench presses
side bends Left side
leg extensions

The PHA system can be very effective but I recommend you leave this until you have been working out for several months as beginners will probably have difficulty completing a PHA workout.

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 29, 2006 07:14 - The circuit training system

Another good system for beginners to exercise that can greatly improve general fitness is the circuit trianing system.

A series of stations is set up where at each station a different exercise is performed. The order is set up so that each exercise in sequence tends to involve body areas far removed from each other to avoid over-tiring a muscle group.

If you have ever been to a Curves franchise you will know what circuit training is. The training you receive at Curves though is a little different than what the textbook would indicate in that the exercises at each station are performed using the same speed and rythm. There is no encouragement to attempt to beat a target time based on your previous time and improve cardio endurance in this way. As a matter of fact, you can't speed up at a Curves without running into the next person in line as most franchises have several people training in the same curcuit at the same time. At Curves there is also little attempt to change the exercises in the circuit as the circuit is used by all of their clients and cannot be modified to suit an individual.

The exercises in the circuit should be set up to target your weaknesses. If you wish to train for a particular sport you should include exercises targetted to that sport early in the circuit and be attempting to always beat your target time. With the weight training exercises in the circuit though, you cannot speed the repetitions but must do your reps rythmically with a brief rest between reps or you will negate the full benefit of the exercise.

Please understand that I am not trying to badmouth Curves in this post because it is an exellent program for beginners and will definitely increase fitness levels to a point. However, if you are serious about getting in good shape you will quickly outgrow the Curves system and must challenge yourself with new and varied exercises.

I have started a list of exercises on this page to help with designing a workout program.

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 30, 2006 07:02 - The Cross Training system

It is commonly thought that "cross training" is limited to aerobic type activities such as the triathlon (swimming, long distance running and cycling) ...after all, "cross-trainers" are running shoes aren't they?

The actual definition of cross training involves taking the body through the ATP/CP pathway of muscular energetics.

In english, that means building both anaerobic and aerobic capacity.You push your anaerobic threshold with such activities as running 400-800 meters for best time, forcing those last four or five reps out of each set in weight training, or playing an extremely fast-paced game of tennis. In other words, you push yourself past what you can normally do.

Aerobic training involves pushing your cardio capacity to the limit through high intensity long-distance running, cycling or swimming. Again, you push yourself to surpass your usual limits.

Cross-training is when you put them all together.

Cross training is excellent for general fitness because it accounts for both aerobic and anaerobic strength and endurance.

Funny, I can't think of any true cross-training events in the olympics! Decathlon athletes though must have both aerobic and anaerobic strength and endurance in spades!

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

January 31, 2006 06:36 - Let's talk about diets

Many people want something for nothing, always looking for the easy way out.

This attitude also applies to those wishing to lose fat and gain muscle or to improve their physical fitness or sports performance. And in spite of the fact that most people know there are no miracles out there, many still fall victim to fad diets.

Good salemanship and an eager audience are the reason that so many of these fads diets appear on the market. Just look at the bookstore shelf for an idea of the number of diet books and you'll know what I mean.

Carbohydrate-Reduced diets

Fad diets ususally cut carbohydrate foods from their lists of recommendations. This not only leaves you with decreased levels of energy, but it can produce a frequently fatigued body not capable of performing anywhere near maximum capacity. The truth is, your brain, heart, and muscles, among other organs, need carbohydrates. By limiting carbs too much, you are defeating your objective of attaining physical greatness.

Just how are you going to perform an exercise routine if you are lacking in energy? The effect of low mental energy is also a hindrance to everday living let alone working out.

Protein Restricted Diets

Diets that drastically cut protein also have negative, unhealthy effects on the body, regardless of whether the person works out regularly or is mostly sedentary. Having a low protein intake when you are an active athlete is simply asking for trouble as muscle soreness, general fatigue and overall weakness accompany too low and intake of protein.

More on diets in my next post...


(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

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