Archive for the ‘Workouts’ Category

Are They Working Hard or Hardly Working?

A personal trainer should be very easy to talk to, smiling, dressed well and appear to be organized and prepared. The personal trainer should be paying attention to the client, what they are saying, what they are doing and how they are doing it. They should be providing feedback and motivating the client. The personal trainer should be inspiring and engaged with the client at all times. Their tone of voice and body language should be motivating and attractive. They should be putting the “personal” in personal training. That is what you are paying for!

A personal trainer should be very easy to talk to, smiling, dressed well and appear to be organized and prepared. The personal trainer should be paying attention to the client, what they are saying, what they are doing and how they are doing it. They should be providing feedback and motivating the client. The personal trainer should be inspiring and engaged with the client at all times. Their tone of voice and body language should be motivating and attractive. They should be putting the “personal” in personal training. That is what you are paying for!

It has been some time since I have put my thoughts into writing but today I saw something that inspired me to write this short article about the things you should be looking for in a personal trainer. 

For the past ten years I have had the opportunity to work with, manage and teach many aspiring health and fitness professionals. In this time, I have also been a witness to many practices that I will never understand and today was one of them. When I exercise I tend to keep to myself and observe everyone else. I do this for a couple of reasons; one of them being that I am a lifelong student and I am always watching people to learn from them and their successes and mistakes. The other is that I have had the pleasure of observing some of the best and some of the worst fitness professionals in the industry.  

Today, I witnessed something that I still cannot wrap my head around. When I am teaching aspiring fitness professionals the one thing I spend a fair bit of time on is safety. Today I witnessed a complete disregard for safety by a certified personal trainer. While working with his client and spotting her on a dumbbell flat chest press, he spotted from the elbows (which is the first mistake). When spotting his client, she failed and the dumbbell fell on her face. The part that I am still struggling with is that within a minute, he attempted to spot her again from the elbows, and again, the weight fell on her face. First things first, when spotting any dumbbell press, you should always spot from the wrists or hands so that when your client does fatigue, you do not push the weight into their body or face like I witnessed today. This is one of the most commonly made mistakes in a fitness facility but any educated fitness professional should know this. Secondly, he did it twice!  

There are an increasingly large number of people seeking personal trainers in North America. With this demand, the industry has been exploding with new theories of training, new certifications, new styles of training, new corporate fitness facilities and more and more boutique style training facilities. Before you sign up and purchase personal training, there are some things you might want to consider.  

  1. Age, Maturity, Engagement, Body Language, Appearance and Attire 

Something that is not always easy to determine prior to purchasing personal training is the age and maturity level of the fitness professional. But if you have the opportunity, it is always a good idea to observe the personal trainers while they are exercising in the facility and while they are engaged with a client. This will reveal very important information regarding the personal trainer’s perspective on exercise and their approach to personal training. Look for things like whether the personal trainer has their shoes tied up, are they leaning on equipment or sitting down when their client is exercising, are they observing their client’s performance from all angles and viewpoints, are they smiling and making eye contact with their client, are they carrying a coffee while they are training their client, do they look like they just rolled out of bed and were late getting to the client’s session, are they carrying their client’s file and are they writing down information, are they actually watching their client’s technique or are they looking at other gym-goers, are they motivating and talking with their client? In between sets are they being personable or are they staring off into the distance, are they offering feedback to their client? Does the client look like they are enjoying themselves? Are they working hard or hardly working?  

The answers to these questions will tell you the quality of the personal trainer you are going to get. The personal trainer should be very easy to talk to, smiling, dressed well and appear to be organized and prepared. The personal trainer should be paying attention to the client, what they are saying, what they are doing and how they are doing it. They should be providing feedback and motivating the client. The personal trainer should be inspiring and engaged with the client at all times. Their tone of voice and body language should be motivating and attractive. They should be putting the “personal” in personal training. That is what you are paying for! 

  1. Education/Certifications 

Aside from the personal side of personal training, you want a personal trainer who knows what they are doing. In the industry today there are more certifications than we know what to do with. There are certifications that you can achieve by attending a weekend course, certifications that require a minimum of two years of post secondary education before you can achieve them, certifications that you can achieve online, certifications that are one day workshops and certifications that specific to a type of equipment. What you want to look for in a personal trainer are certifications that are theory based because the theory-based certifications typically require formal education prior to attempting the certification. Some of the more common theory based certifications are CSEP – CPT, NSCA – CPT, NSCA – CSCS and the YMCA Fitness Education certification. These are certifications that require education and mentorship hours to achieve. This means that they have formal education in health and fitness in addition to their personal training certification. Keep in mind that just because someone is wearing a shirt that says “Personal Trainer” does not mean they are certified. I was a “Personal Trainer” for a year at a well renowned fitness facility without any certifications 

Most fitness facilities will post their personal trainer’s credentials for you to see. Google what the certifications are or the requirements to obtain them to see just how qualified your personal trainer is! 

Ideally, your personal trainer should have formal education (post secondary) in health and fitness as well as a theory-based certification. I am not saying that any personal trainer who does not have this is not high quality (I currently do not have a theory based certification but I do have 10 years of post secondary education in exercise science and 16 years of work experience in the field) but it is something to consider!  

  1. Walking the Walk 

Another questions to ask is, does your personal trainer practice what they preach? Are they coaching you to do something that they cannot do themselves? If this is the case they might not be best suited for you. Think about your stockbroker. If they were encouraging you to purchase a specific stock, but they would not purchase it themselves, would you buy it? If your doctor prescribed a medication for you but they would never take it themselves, would you be confident in taking it? Find out what your personal trainer does in their spare time, their hobbies and interests. This will tell you a lot about whether they will be able to inspire you and motivate you to health and wellness.

In closing, a real fitness professional will be professional. They will treat their job as a profession. They will design workouts and programs specific to your needs and your abilities. They will contact you on your off days and see how you are feeling. They will ask you questions about you and listen to your answers and offer advice when needed. They will be YOUR personal trainer and make you feel that way. They will inspire you to be better, to do more, to achieve goals that you have never thought possible. They will educate you and teach you why you are doing what they are telling you to do. And lastly, they will encourage you and guide you to the results you want to see while making sure you are getting there safely. 

If you have any questions or comments I would be happy to hear from you. Check out my website at www.mohawkcollege.ca/corefusion, follow me on twitter @nickjpetrella and @corfusion1, add me to facebook or email me at nicholas.petrella@mohawkcollege.ca. I would be happy to hear from you! 

Sammit Fitness

Dan Sammit

Sammit Fitness is committed to providing health, fitness and performance training and education. 

I am currently involved with 2 successful small businesses. I am the co-founder of Pin High Performance and the owner of Sammit Fitness.

Pin High Performance develops custom fitness programs for golfers of all levels. Sammit Fitness is committed to providing health, fitness and performance training and education.

Over the past several months, Sammit Fitness has been working with health care providers and a holistic health program (sponsored and funded by SunLife Insurance) through a local hospital to help people with various health conditions. It has been a great opportunity to give back and help transform people’s lives through exercise and education.

Today, I enjoy being physically active on a daily basis but it has not always been the case.

Many of us were introduced to fitness through sport. My childhood was no different. In the warmer months, track (sprinting), soccer, baseball, bike riding, hiking and street hockey were the norm. In the colder months, downhill skiing was the major source of physical activity.

As I got into my teens, physical activity became an afterthought. I made poor food choices which lead me to become overweight for several years. I became very self-conscious of my body and my height or lack thereof. Going into high school, I was 5’2” and a very out of shape 140lbs. This caused a lot of anxiety for a few years.

It was not until I was at the end of grade 10 that things started to change. Over the summer I grew about 8 inches and gained about 20 pounds. When school started in the fall, I was much taller than many of the kids that used to pick on me. I gained a new confidence. Since I would not be the smallest, slowest guy on the field, I decided it was time to go back and try sports again. I signed up for baseball, and got back to regular activity.

I kept up with my exercise and sports into my early 20’s. That is when I was introduced to weight training. I also stumbled into a part time job at a nutrition/health food store at that time.

While working at the store, I became quite familiar with vitamins, herbs and supplements. This was extremely helpful with my weight training regimen and getting me healthy.

At this point, I was still unsure about my career path. I had the opportunity to manage several stores so I decided that I wanted that challenge. While I was running the stores and interacting with clients, I realized that I really enjoyed helping people with their health. It was gratifying to know I was empowering them and helped them feel better. That is when I knew I wanted to make my career in the health and fitness field.

Today, I enjoy being physically active on a daily basis but it has not always been the case.

Today, I enjoy being physically active on a daily basis but it has not always been the case.

With the support of my family and friends, I enrolled in the Fitness and Lifestyle Management Program (FLMP) at George Brown College. I had been out of school for several years and this program was a real challenge. After 3 years, I graduated and have not looked back since. My pursuit of knowledge did not end at school. I constantly read and study under some of the best fitness and health professionals in the world. My passion for helping people get healthy and reach their fitness goals keeps me going every day.

I enjoyed weight training but needed an additional challenge after school was complete. Enter Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). A friend of mine took me out to a class and I was hooked. It was hard to understand how these small guys and girls were able to handle larger opponents with ease. Talk about motivation! I knew that I had to learn this martial art. The sport has taught me some valuable lessons in dedication, perseverance, confidence and respect. It has been a great addition to my regular exercise routine. I am currently an active competitor.

Due to the varied sports and activities, my training and workout schedule have evolved over the past few years. I periodize my training based on various goals to maximize my results. Here is a snap shot of my current workouts:

1. Jiu Jitsu 2-3 times per week (1.5 hr per session)

2. Weight Training or HIIT 2 times per week (using free weights, kettlebells, sandbags, clubs, body weight) 20-30 min

3. Joint mobility is done daily (active recovery)

Daily meals can vary but here is an average day:

Breakfast: 2-3 eggs with ezekiel toast or fresh pressed juice (mainly from greens) with plant based protein and essential fatty acids

Lunch: 1 of chicken, fish or meat with mixed green salad, olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Supper: 1 of chicken, fish or meat with steamed vegetables (several types) or salad

*as many organic, non GMO ingredients as possible

Other important factors for daily health and fitness I follow are:

*3 liters of water spread throughout the day.

* Sleep from 10:30pm- 6am

Supplements are limited because I try to get as many nutrients from food as possible. That said, I use coconut oil (daily), BCAA’s (daily) and plant based protein on occasion.

Eat well, move daily, set goals, keep a positive attitude, and enjoy every second of life!

Eat well, move daily, set goals, keep a positive attitude, and enjoy every second of life! ~ Dan Sammit

Current GoaIs: Training to compete in several BJJ tournaments (3-5 more this year)

Start training for an athletic model/bodybuilding contest in 2014 or 2015

Continue to study and mentor with the best people in the industry

For those of you looking to start your fitness journey remember that physical activity can be done anywhere. Don’t get hung up on going to the gym to get fit. Choose activities you enjoy doing. Eat well, move daily, set goals, keep a positive attitude, and enjoy every second of life!

 

Follow me on twitter @SammitFitness and @GtaMMACoach
For golf fitness: dan@pinhighperformance.com
For health, fitness and performance: dan@sammitfitness.com

 

1, 2, 3 Lift!

For many women, and some men, targeting the butt during exercise is priority. From an anatomical standpoint, the butt consists of three muscles known as the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. When you want to create a fuller, rounder butt, you need to work these muscles with weight training exercises. You can use free weights and the weight of your body to achieve this goal.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Bulgarian Split Squat

  • REDUCE your hips and thighs, and melt away those stubborn saddlebags
  • SHAPE your gluteal muscles to get you a perfectly round derriere
  • LIFT your bum so it looks great from every angle
Reduce, shape and lift your bum with the following exercises:
1. Lunges – Performed correctly, the lunge is excellent for reshaping the butt. Options include static, dynamic or step-ups.
2. Donkey Kicks (or kickbacks) are an excellent butt isolation movement.
3. Squats (or split squats) are a staple!
4. Butt Lifts – are very effective and work the hamstrings and lower back as well.
Wonderbum Womens Lift

Wonderbum – Women’s Lift

You may also wish to consider undergarments that lift and enhance your derriere! Having never tried one of these before  we decided to try Rounderwear.  Being a bit of a tom boy myself I was drawn to wonderbum women’s lift and couldn’t wait to give it a try. We ordered online and it arrived in a couple of days! Stress free! I am a firm believer in clean eating and exercise to deliver my fitness goals and I didn’t have much faith in the undergarment industry to deliver results BUT wouldn’t you know… it actually works! What a pleasant surprise! It took all of my hard work and lifted it just a little bit higher. Happy days are here again!  I’m no longer a skeptic. We’re still working hard at the gym but it’s nice to know that there’s a little extra support there when I need it!

Thanks Rounderwear your product kicks ass!

Your friends at Socially Fit.

http://www.rounderwear.com

The Misfitstudio

Today I am the owner and creator of MISFITSTUDIO. It’s a unique Pilates, fusion and yoga studio in Toronto. My interests lay in building awareness, love and building a community with like minded healthy individuals. My current projects on the go, beside running a studio, managing a full and amazing staff, creating classes, playlists and running an Art Collective; I am writing a fusion teacher training program.

I am grateful to have been raised in a loving and artistically supportive environment. From an early age I showed a deep interest in art and dance, and that was never questioned. Following both through my childhood and teen years, I continue to this day. It  has always been celebrated. Health has always been a priority in my home; eating well, then rushing off to ballet, rhythmic gymnastics and expressive movement classes were a part of most evenings. I have always been physically active. I actually didn’t think about it, other than I needed to move every day; that was just a beautiful given and amen for it. My life has organically flowed from dance to yoga, to Pilates, to teaching, to studio owner.

Movement as meditation is my mantra.

I believe we could all benefit from a little endorphin kick everyday; a reconnect to yourself; an untangling and a quieting that happens when we focus on just one thing. I value this so much. It is what I encourage every student to attempt to do knowing the positive affects on my body, mind and spirit. I see my physical practice as my faith. I have an innate desire to move, to breathe and to flow with grace.

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I am thankful that I have the most incredibly supportive system around me. My family and friends have been with me on this journey from the very beginning. They constantly remind me of love in the world; of devotion and pure support. I am grateful every day for them and their true belief in me and my vision. Everyday is a lesson; an unknown. The surprise of it keeps me guessing and I have acquired skills that I never would have imagined. I take it all in stride and see it as an opportunity to learn and grow and be a better version of myself. I see each day as an accomplishment and take great pride in what my body can do as opposed to what it can’t.

I wake up and meditate to set my day. Then I practice a little on the floor beside my bed; yoga; stretching and breathing; then I’m good to go for the day! My morning shake is seasonal fruit, a scoop of protein powder and a handful of Bcomplex, omega 369. I take a high performance multivitamin and I drink magnesium before bed. I eat tons of fresh vegetables, delicious salads, quinoa, seeds and nuts. I love me some good dark chocolate!

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What if today is it?  What if today was the last day? I would like to learn more about the aging body. It’s my current focus. As my mother grows older I want to know how to offer a positive support for her and her generation so I’ll keep working toward this effort. I learned a very difficult lesson as a young girl and it taught me that you just never know when life will end. So I urge you to make the most of each day. Feel good, smile and glow from the inside. The only way to be inspired is to feel inspired, and moving every day contributes to that in a tremendous way.

Community is a massively important part of my life. I would like to take this time to thank friends, fellow teachers, mentors, students and family for contributing to the endless supply of positive energy in the Pilates, dance and Yoga community in Toronto!

I believe anyone can achieve their dreams! I am living mine and each day I am grateful for the love, lesson and unknown. The journey can be up and down, yet full of beauty and inspiration. Follow your dreams!

MedX

MedX Precision Fitness

MedX Precision Fitness specializes in proactive solutions for fitness and health. They provide private 1-on-1 training sessions that employ a research based approach to exercise, focusing on productivity and efficiency. Their once per week sessions are performed in no more than 20 minutes and are perfect for any busy professional. Located at Bay & Richmond (downtown Toronto) every session is professionally supervised in a completely private and clinical environment using state-of-the-art MedX exercise equipment.

All of this is accomplished using a unique form of resistance training, that being High Intensity Training (HIT). What separates HIT from other forms of strength training is that the primary focus involves effort and recovery. In addition, HIT is a low force, low impact form of strength that is both safe and extremely effective for all types of trainees. In a nutshell, HIT is a form of progressive resistance exercise characterized by a high level of effort or intensity and relatively brief and infrequent workouts, as opposed to typical training methods involving low to moderate levels of effort and longer, more frequent workouts. The fundamental principals of HIT are train harder, trainer briefer and train less often.

Shaun was

Shaun (an ex-marine) was nauseous after the first 6 minutes!

We decided to take Sheldon up on his offer of a FREE session. He was warm and welcoming and assured us that we would be out of there within an hour. With our busy schedules it’s always a bonus when we can fit in an intense workout.

What he accomplished in 15 minutes left Shaun (an ex-marine) nauseous and sore for quite some time.

You hear HIT exercise and your expectation is to move at a fast pace, but that’s not the case here. With seven pieces of equipment (used in push-pull rotation) Shaun worked his entire body. The key however was not to move at a fast pace but to constantly engage his muscles while moving at a snails pace (micro movement) to exhaustion. Shaun couldn’t feel his legs and his knees actually buckled after he completed the leg extensions. It was utterly ridiculous, he couldn’t believe it! We’ve now incorporated this technique into our daily workouts. We concentrate more on the muscle being used; overall form in general; as well as control. It’s not about how fast you can go; or how much weight you can lift or push; but how much you can control without momentum.

If you’d like to shake up your workouts; it doesn’t matter how old you are or what level of fitness you’re at; we suggest you give them a try!

Thanks Sheldon, you totally kicked our ass!

Your friends at Socially Fit

 

How To Get the Most Out Of Your Cardio Training

high-intensity-interval-training

The importance of cardiovascular exercise is undisputed and the benefits that are associated with regular cardiovascular exercise are well documented BUT do you know how much cardiovascular exercise to do, how intense your cardiovascular exercise should be and what it should feel like?

Quite often we are told by fitness professionals that we need to do between 10 and 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise anywhere from 3 to 5 days a week in order to see adaptations from the training. As true as this is, if you do not have the proper intensities, your adaptations will be limited!

What is Cardiovascular Exercise?

Cardiovascular exercise is activity that elevates your Heart Rate (HR) and keeps it elevated for a specific amount of time.

How do I measure my intensity?

The most accurate and one of the easiest methods to monitor your intensity when doing cardiovascular exercise is HR. HR is easily measured by most pieces of cardiovascular equipment by placing your hands on the designated handles however, this is not always easy to do nor is it recommended when you are running on a treadmill. Because of this it is my professional opinion that a HR monitor is the single best investment you can make on your body along side your footwear. A HR monitor will allow you to exercise and maintain an intensity throughout your cardiovascular and resistance training workout that will stimulate larger gains!

What intensity should I work at?

It would be easy for me to tell you that you need to run at a speed of 5.0mph and an incline of 1% for 35 minutes but that would not be appropriate for everyone. In order to assign intensities for people relative to their ability, we use percentages of maximal HR. Based on your ability you should be working at intensities from 40-100% of your age predicted maximal heart rate. The higher the intensity you are working at, the shorter the duration of the training session.

How do I know what intensity to start at?

Begin working at 40% of your age predicted maximal HR and try to complete up to 60 minutes of continuous cardiovascular exercise. If you are able to complete 60 minutes at 40% of your age predicted maximal HR then you can increase your intensity by 10% of your age predicted maximal HR.

How do I calculate my intensity?

In order to calculate the target heart rate range for your training all you need is a calculator and your age.

220 – your age = your age predicted maximum heart rate (APMHR)

APMHR x the percentage you wish to work at = the Target Heart Rate for your training

For example, if you wanted to work at 50% of your APMHR and you are 50 years of age, your calculation would look like this.

220 – 50 = 170bpm

170bpm x .50 = 85bpm

Frequently Asked Questions

If I can train at a higher intensity, should I? YES!

If I want to lose non-lean mass, does it matter what intensity I train at? YES! The higher the intensity you can train at, the more calories you will burn!

I don’t need to lose weight, should I still do cardio? YES! The heart is a muscle that needs to be trained like the rest of the muscles in the body!

If I do cardio, will I lose muscle mass? NO! If you are conscious of your diet and the amount of protein you are consuming, your lean tissue will not be sacrificed by doing cardio.

Quick Cardio Tips

  • Stay tall with your chest up, shoulders back
  • Keep your core engaged
  • Focus on controlling your breathing
  • Do not lean on the machine when doing your cardio, use the machine for balance if/when needed

General Recommendations

  • EVERYONE should do cardiovascular exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes a day, 3 – 6 days a week. If you can do more, you should!
  • As you begin to improve, increase the intensity by 10% at a time
  • Do not neglect your heart; it is the single most important muscle in the body!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at nicholas.petrella@mohawkcollege.ca

Follow me on twitter @nickjpetrella and @corefusion1

Check out our website http://www.mohawkcollege.ca/corefusion

Add me on facebook Nick Petrella and “like” our facebook page Core Fusion Athlete Development and Conditioning

Real Women Lift Weights

Bench press with dumbbell (can also be done with straight bar)

Even though strength training exercises for the chest are thought to be primarily for men, many chest exercises can benefit women, too. Your fear may be that you’ll bulk up too much when training your pectorals, but the key is to perform the exercises in moderation and with light weight. Making chest exercises part of your regular workout routine can help firm your chest and improve the appearance of sagging skin.

Bench Press

Lie flat on your back on an exercise bench and plant your feet securely on the ground. Hold a pair of dumbbells next to your shoulders with your palms facing forward. Press your lower back into the bench to stabilize your body. Begin by pressing the dumbbells up, fully extending your arms and bringing them together at the top. Hold for one count and contract your pectorals. Then, release and slowly lower the dumbbells back to their starting position. Exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down. Do two sets of eight to 10 repetitions. You can perform the bench press on a flat exercise bench, as well as on a decline or incline bench press.

Assisted Pushup
Get down on your knees and hands on an exercise mat. Position your hands about shoulder-width apart and form a perfect plank from your neck down to the bend at your knees. Curl your lower legs backward and cross them. Slowly lower your upper body by bending at the elbows. Keep your core engaged to maintain your plank. Lower until your face is directly above the ground. Then, push up by contracting your pectorals and biceps until your arms are fully extended again. Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up. Do two sets of six to eight repetitions.

Chest Fly – elevated position
Chest Fly
Lie flat on your back on an exercise bench and plant your feet securely on the ground. Hold a pair of dumbbells and rest them on your chest as you get into position. Once set, push the dumbbells straight up above your chest, with your palms facing each other. Create a small bend at the elbows and slowly lower your arms straight out to your sides. Lower until you feel a light stretch in your chest. Then, squeeze your pectorals and bring the dumbbells back together above your chest in a smooth and controlled manner. Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up. Do two sets of eight to 10 repetitions. Chest flyes can be performed on a flat exercise bench, as well as on an incline and decline exercise bench.

Pullover
Lie flat with your back on an exercise bench that is set to horizontal. Plant your feet securely on the ground. Hold one dumbbell in your hands and rest it on your abdomen as you get into position. Once set, stand the dumbbell up vertically and grasp its top half from underneath with one hand overlaying the other hand. Wrap your thumbs around the handle to secure your grip. Then, push the dumbbell straight up above your chest by extending your arms. Maintain a slight bend at the elbows. Slowly lower the dumbbell backward behind your head. Lower until you feel a light stretch in your chest, then pull the dumbbell back up to its starting position. Keep your arms straight throughout the exercise. Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up. Perform this movement slowly and control the lowering and raising of the weight. Do two sets of eight to 10 repetitions.

Your friends at Socially Fit