“Strength” Training- The Ugly Step-Child of Fitness

Dear,

Orange Theory’s, Bootcamps, dedicated runners and spinning enthusiasts.

I’m so happy that you’re exercising and taking action towards a healthier lifestyle but…

If you’re solely participating in one or in some cases all the above types of modalities than your exercise program is severely UN-balanced and deficient.

I know you’re sweating a ton, exhausted and burning calories while having fun and that’s huge but you’re missing a very important piece of the puzzle.

Strength.

For some reason as of late Strength training or resistance training has become the ugly step-child of the fitness industry.

Don’t get me wrong.

I enjoy conditioning a lot, it’s fun and it’s always our goal to have all of members be in great shape!

Cardio is actually a big part of our programming but it’s a compliment to a structured and PROGRESSIVE resistance training program.

You see if your goal is fat loss, and I’m pretty sure it is, than PROGRESSIVE resistance training is imperative to you reaching your Fat loss goals.

What is progressive resistance training anyways?

It’s essentially “adequately” overloading your muscles using a weight for your particular goal and then increasing that weight as you get stronger.

So what is NOT resistance training?

Using the same weight you did last year for 15 reps when you could’ve done 20 reps.

Doing Dumbell Bicep curls with 5pd’s in between the treadmill and row machine.

Performing Tricep extensions on the handle bars while on the spin bike.

Yoga.
Barre.
Pilates.

This is NOT an attack on anyone or any one organization.

This is also NOT a marketing post for my facility.

I suggest you continue whatever you’re doing if you’re having fun and it’s not injuring you.

BUT…

If you want long-term fat loss, improved self-image and confidence, an increase in calories burned while doing nothing, better posture, stronger bones and the ability to pick up things easier without injuring yourself than add a day or two of strength training in with your cardio.

Nothing and I mean NOTHING works better to change your body and give you so many other health benefits than good ol’ weight training.

If you don’t know how to strength train properly or you’re intimidated than hire a coach or a qualified trainer that you trust and get STRONGER.

You got this!;

Is “Corrective” Exercise Necessary?

Is “Corrective Exercise” necessary?

By Matt Pack

CorrectiveArticlePicA simple, not easy program design strategy to help your clients move, feel and look better while at the same time alleviating pain and preventing injury.

I will argue that a balanced strength-training program mixed with soft tissue mobilization and a consistent individualized stretching/mobility program is all the correctives that you may need.

“If you’re not assessing, you’re just guessing.”

From the moment our clients walk in the door my staff and I are watching body language, gait, and a host of other things happening in the pre-hab and active warm up portions of our training sessions.

The session begins and we’re back at it. Assessing, coaching and cueing everyone, “chest up, knees out, double chin” etc…

I know I’m going against the grain here but I’m convinced that when someone has an injury or pain they don’t always need an individualized corrective exercise program or Physical Therapy session

When in doubt refer out…

Training around pain NOT injury is part of the job and I’m convinced with the system I’ll show you below you can not only effectively prevent injury but also rid yourself or clients of common aches and pains.

Who’s your “Tribe”?

I’m often asked whom we serve and treat and how we assess them.

In our case the majority of our clientele would be “general population” business owners and professionals between the ages of 35-60 yrs. old looking to lose body-fat and feel better.

They are like most of the population spending a large majority of their day in the seated position.

They drive to work seated.

They work at their desk seated.

They workout seated and then they repeat it all over again the next day.

This very common scenario will eventually take its toll on your health and body showing up in low back, hips, shoulder, neck, or knee pain or some with a combo of it all.

This clientele without fail will usually be “stuck in flexion” but not always and showing:

Tight pecs
Tight neck flexors (SCM and Scalene’s)
Tight Lats
Tight Hip Flexors
Tight rectus abdominals

Weak Serratus Anterior
Weak upper back
Weak lower traps
Weak low back
Weak Glutes
Weak hamstrings
Weak lower abdominals

They also but not always lack:

Ankle mobility
Hip mobility
Thoracic spine rotation
Thoracic spine ext.

The goal in designing this persons program would be to “open” up the anterior portion of the body and “wake up” and strengthen the posterior aspect of the body. It’s easier said than done but ultimately we want to do the opposite of what they show up with and not reinforce the dysfunction that they may already have.

Programming is a science no doubt but not rocket science and once you understand the human body, “assess” 10312enough moving people and know your population and niche it’s more common sense than anything else.

First things first…

I believe that all good coaches should be asking themselves questions like who, what and how.

Who’s my client?

What do they want?

And…

How can I get them there the fastest safest way possible while helping them move and feel better?

Who do you train? Do you really know the clientele that you are serving, who your niche actually is?

If not, there is a good chance you may not be helping them as much as you could. In order to truly help someone you should know everything about them. You should be an absolute expert in that particular population.

Is it a particular sport?

Bodybuilding?
Geriatric?
Woman?

What is this population’s ultimate goal?

Increased speed?
Increased muscle mass?
Improve bone density?
Lose body-fat?

How do they spend their day?

Are they seated?
Standing?
Desk ergonomics?
Night shift?

What are the common stress demands that they encounter?

Work stress, home stress?

Are they married?

Do they have children?

What are their eating and sleep habits and common choices and mistakes made?

Health history, medications?

What motivates this person?

To effectively communicate, engage and positively effect, you must know your clientele’s goal, lifestyle and personalities like the back of your hand.

Now for the fun part…

The Program Design

After answering some of these questions and knowing this person you can then begin choosing movement patterns from the following categories:

Upper Push-
Bi-Lateral vert/horizontal- Shoulder press/Push-up
Uni-Lateral Vert/horizontal- Single arm shoulder press/Single arm cable press

Upper Pull-

Bi-lateral vert/horizontal- Pull up or chin up/barbell bent over row
Uni-lateral vert/horizontal- Single arm”W” Cable Pulldown/Single are Db row

Lower body-

Squat and hinge-
Bi-lateral hip/quad dominant- Trap bar deadlift/Barbell Back Squat
Uni-lateral hip/quad dominant-One leg RDL/Step-up

There are literally hundreds of exercises you could plug in this formula above. You are truly only limited by your imagination.

Want to take it even further?

Rotational pattern’s– Presses, Pulls, Wood chops, Grappler, Med Ball
Crawl pattern’s– Contra-lateral, mult-directional, prone, supine, bear, crab etc…
MUT (movement under tension) – Loaded carries and walks (kb’s, sandbags, partner)
Core and “anti” core patterns– ab wheel roll outs, Paloff presses, Club Bell anti-flexion, anti-extension
Conditioning- sprint/hill work, battlerope, med ball slams, versa-climber, air-dyne etc…
Correctives– Blackburn mob’s, shin-box, halo’s, prone cobra, crab reach, scorpion reach’s etc…

Misc…

Tumbling– rolling patterns
Animal Flow– Traveling forms, flow patterns and sequences
Gymnastics– ring work and body-weight ie. Levers, planches, cart wheels, parralettes
Hand balancing– wall and free standing

A “traditional” strength program-

Pre-hab

SMR– Foam roll
SCAM (Stretch hip flexors, Core Four Matrix, “activate” Glutes and Mobilize Hips
Stick work
Active warm-up

A1 Trap bar deadlift– Hip dominant leg
A2 Flat bench Db – bi lateral horiz. Push
A3 DB renegade row- uni-lateral horizontal pull
B1 Bulgarian Split Squat– uni-lateral quad dominant leg
B2 Kb Push Press– bi-lateral vertical push
C1 Jungle Gym Skull Crusher– single joint isolation with abdominal component
C2 Jungle Gym Scarecrow– bi-lateral pull/lower trap work

An Un-conventional Training Program
Restoration/Conditioning session using a similar formula

Pre-hab

8 movements, 45s ON, 15s OFF 2min break and 4 rounds.

Rotational Lunge– transverse plane, uni-lateral, hip Dom w/mobility,
Loaded Front Step– Prone closed chain uni-lateral w/ thoracic ext and hip ext
Alt Tripod– supine close chain, uni-lateral w/hip ext (Glute activation), shoulder stability and thoracic rotation
Alt side kick through– prone, closed chain, uni-lateral w/ core stability, anterior sling activation and conditioning
Bicycles-supine, core stability
DB Halo– core stability, shoulder mobility
Static Beast- prone, closed chain, shoulder stability, core stability
Blackburn Mob– posterior chain activation w/ scapular mobility and humeral internal rotation

As you can see each one of these movements has a particular purpose for a desired outcome that tackled strength endurance, stability, mobility, dynamic flexibility or conditioning.

There should always be a rhyme and a reason for every movement chosen.

You can also see that this isn’t a typical session. This would be more of a restorative session with a conditioning component. In fact you could even program something like this for an off-day or active recovery session.

A client’s training program should be created with a “method to the madness” utilizing primarily movements/patterns taken from lists and categories’ such as these. This is a great system/template to organize a well-structured strength and conditioning program.

In my opinion the goal of the Fit Pro is first and foremost the client and creating smart and balanced programming.

Balanced to me means choosing more standing (open chain) and ground based (closed chain) movements utilizing a good mix of upper and lower body multi-planar and bi-lateral/unilateral patterns. We choose more “pulls” than “push’s”, more hip dominant vs. quad dominant and more unilateral vs. bilateral with the majority of movements performed from standing than sitting.

The main goal is simply to get people to stand up more and MOVE!

This programming not only gives them the training effect they are seeking but also a lot of what they “need” more of.

In most but not all cases an approach like this will inadvertently address imbalances or asymmetries subsequently alleviating if not eliminating all together most people’s common aches and pains.

It’s like magic and I’ve seen it time and time again.

Open or lengthen what’s short on the anterior chain.

Strengthen and activate the posterior chain.

Increase ROM and mobilize joints that are designed for mobility while stabilizing joints that are designed to be stable.

Mobile, Stable and fully able.

If it seems simple it’s because it really is.

The great thing about this approach is that it doesn’t take a two hour assessment a Physical Therapist or a “corrective exercise” program filled with Bird Dogs and balancing acts to address someone’s aches and pains.

Please don’t misunderstand me.

I’m not against Physical Therapy or any other screening or assessments you may be using. In fact we use the FMS and I have a great PT in our own facility and I’m sure she would agree that the large majority of what people are missing could be achieved by improving the quality of their tissue, increasing mobility and simply getting the person stronger.

Most people in our society are simply weak and sit too much.
It’s totally possible to give your clients “correctives”, a good training session and have some fun along with it.

It’s all in the design of the program. Think outside the box and you can improve multiple training qualities all at one time. A little creativity can go a long way.

My 88 Year Old Grandmothers Top Tips To Optimal Health

I believe the key to reaching any goal is simulation. I said it in my last blog post to find someone who has what you want rather that be health, wealth, love or happiness and mimic there actions. Life is too short to learn from your own mistakes, it’s more efficient to learn from the mistakes of others. It’s simply a smarter and faster way to reach your ultimate end goal.

Speaking of simulation, this past weekend I had the pleasure of spending time with my 88 year old grandmother Mama Ruth. She had some very interesting things to say regarding the reasons she’s lived such a long and happy life.

Here’s a picture of Four generations.

photo 2
What an inspiration!

I like to say that genetics loads the gun and lifestyle pulls the trigger. I believe that my Mom, my daughter Lyla and I got a good mix of both but Mama Ruth’s behaviors and actions have definitely had a huge impact on our lifestyles and the way we raise our children. Learned behaviors and mimicking the actions of our parents out-weigh genetics all day in my opinion and that is so far so good. Fingers crossed;)

I also asked about her New Years Resolution and she said, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it! I will continue doing what’s always worked, why would I do anything else?”

Words to live by.

Grandma Ruth’s Top 5 Tips to finding the “Good Life”

1) regular exercise- I vividly remember Mama Ruth doing Jane Fonda videos when I was young. She also was a fantastic Golfer winning tournaments, making hole in one shots and choosing to walk every game rarely using a Golf Cart. Do to a fall, she no longer plays Golf but she does water aerobics 7 days a week. My Mom also just informed me that she’s in the pool daily rain or shine instructor or not. Now that’s dedication!

2) social/friendships- she has surrounded herself with positive people forming life-long relationships. She Also volunteers her time for people in need taking care of sick or ill family members and friends. She’s truly self-less and compassionate and there should be no surprise why so many people want to be around her.

3) travel- Mama Ruth has traveled to every state in the US by Motor Home with her past husband of 60 years and current boyfriend.

4) positive attitude- She never sweated the small stuff. I can honestly say I’ve never seen her upset or raise her voice. In my opinion this step comes down to preparation and definitively knowing her end goal. Let’s face it, having money is freedom and that freedom allows for opportunities. She spent and saved money wisely to allow her the future that she envisioned.
5) eat real food- She always cooked real whole food and rarely ever eats out. She’s says knowing exactly what goes in her body is key. When you eat out too much you never know how they cooked it. Real, unprocessed food is all she knows and it shows.

photo 3
A picture is worth a thousand words.

Wow, those are some serious knowledge bombs dropped by a woman that’s lived it! Were talking about someone that still travels around in a Motor Home with her boyfriend of 15 years. She gardens and cooks her own food, exercises daily, keeps a positive attitude and surrounds herself with like-minded people.

She’s in perfect health taking no medications and hasn’t had any serious medical conditions or diseases. Most likely this is TMI but worth a mention. Mama Ruth admittedly still “wrestles” with her boyfriend on a regular basis probably more than most woman half of her age.

I believe that Her path to the “good life” is actually a perfect Blueprint that anyone could follow and flourish from.

Will you adopt some of Grandma Ruth’s principles to finding your own good life or will you continue to do the same things you did last year and expect a different result?

Kick Those New Year’s Resolutions to the Curb

They say that the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. Do you agree?

We spend hours and hours shopping and wrapping and exchanging material gifts, when we really should look at spending that time and energy on ourselves.

It’s not selfish. It’s selfless. And I will tell you why.

PFM Matthew Roy Photography

It’s this time of year that reminds us of what’s important. Friends, family and the time and good health to enjoy them.

Which is why, most people spend the week after Christmas repenting. As a last ditch effort, these same people put together resolutions for the new year. “I want to lose weight.” “I want to drink more water.” “I want to get more sleep.” “I want to enjoy life.”

Well, it’s all well and good to want these things. But how are you going actually going to achieve them? Have you engineered an actionable plan that will work? Do you even know how to construct the plan? Can you be trusted to do this on your own? Are you capable of being self directed? Are you accountable?

My guess is no. Most people aren’t. Here’s why.

Most people do not succeed with their resolutions because they simply don’t give themselves enough attention. Most people are so busy working, raising a family, doing for others, that they don’t set aside any time for themselves. They don’t deem themselves worthy enough to even be on their own To-Do List.

Sad, but true.

As adults , our days are dedicated to work, and our nights to more work, and being part of a family. We signed up for that but we need to set some priorities moving forward.

As it is, most find their energy depleted by the time it gets to doing things for themselves. We eat standing up, at the refrigerator most times. We go to sleep too late, leaving us tired the next day. We haul our kids around to their “extras” but never spend the time on ourselves.

We get lost in the pattern. It’s easier than marking our territory and carving out some productive time for ourselves. We say: “I don’t have time for me,” or “I’m exhausted.”

It doesn’t have to be that way.

There’s no reason why you, a valuable, awesome you, cannot have priority on your own list.

We just need some help. And there’s nothing wrong with seeking help out.

PFM Matthew Roy Photography 2

We cannot do it all nor should we want or have to. Accepting the fact that you will need to call in resources is half of the battle here. Unfortunately we subconsciously assign blame or guilt when we feel like we’re not doing everything we can. Guilt is not your friend, don’t embrace it like it is. Do the best you can and recognize when you need some help.

Let’s take me, for example. I have a tax guy, a housekeeper, a web design team, a staff at the gym, and more. I have my skill set that I am confident in. Outside of that, I staff it out. You should too.

I mean, you can cut your own hair but you don’t right? You could figure out how to change the oil on your car and do it yourself, but you haven’t, right? It’s the same principle.
Especially when it comes to fitness.

You are not an expert. Seek out a professional.

A fitness professional will:

  • Assess your current status and align with goals, exercise level and health history
  • Design a blueprint to follow to ensure success
  • Ensure exercises are done correctly preventing injury
  • Hold you accountable to the goals set out from our initial assessment
  • Educate and empower you to eventually take control of your own health and exercise programs

Instead of resolutions, I suggest three simple steps to success.

  1. Recognize who you are and what you are truly (honestly) capable of on your own
  2. Put yourself on your own To-Do list
  3. Staff it out to support the initiative.

Easy breezy, right?

Getting some “me” time not only helps immediately, it shows your family that you values yourself and models behavior that will help them prioritize in the future.

It’s a win-win.

Remember, “When in doubt, staff it out.” Let’s get moving in 2015.

Improve Posture At Work With This Simple Technique

Clock Posture Check

I often speak of ways to improve posture but the problem that most Movement Specialists and trainers face is that the people were helping go back to same environment that caused the dysfunction in the first place reinforcing poor posture and movement patterns.

This obviously minimizes improvement and the progress we’ve made. I’ve found that with altering the ergonomics of your work setting like the video below and utilizing stretching, strengthening and soft tissue practice you can make a significant difference in posture and movement mechanics.

My frustration with training and rehab programs is that you can’t control what people do while they are away from you.

With 168 hours in a full week, me seeing a client for 3 of those just can’t compete with the remaining 165hrs they are potentially undoing everything were trying to change.

So What’s the Remedy?

I once read that on average people look at the clock on their computer three times per hour.

Now whether or not that’s true, good strategies to reinforce “correct” posture in the work place are to STAND UP and perform a correction or two whenever you check the time on your computer.

That clock at your computer should be a reminder to perform a quick analysis of how you’re sitting.

What posture have you crept into?

Now stand up and make corrections or better yet I recommend that you purchase a standing desk like the one below:

Standing desk attachment

http://www.varidesk.com/varidesk-pro

This “Clock Posture check” if done three times per hour in a typical 8 hr work day accounts for 24 daily corrections.

Over a five day period you’re looking at 120 total Posture Checks for the week!

This is an excellent way to ensure your clients are making FORWARD progress and not “creeping” back into posture that they’ve gotten really good at holding.

Try some of these corrections on your next “Clock Posture Check”

Unorthodox Fat Loss Tool

The question arises often what can be done to make a normal evening “stroll” a little more challenging.

My usual answer is to RUN, but considering some people have injuries preventing them from running and others may not even be in shape to run the Weight Vest is an excellent tool.

I’ve been recommending clients to wear weight vests while training, walking, doing house work or simply for an active recovery for years.

I also really like it for my office workers/desk jockey’s to wear while at work.

It obviously all depends on your work environment but knowing the goal at work is to stand and move more motivates you to literally “workout” while at work.

You may look funny but hey, were getting you out of that seated position that causes HUMANS so many problems and the vest really challenges you to burn more calories while doing normal day to day activities.

I wouldn’t suggest that you wear it all day by any means but maybe for stints of 30 min to hour intermittently throughout your work day with the main goal being to increase training volume while increasing caloric expenditure throughout your day.

The Weight Vest

http://www.mirweightedvest.com/women-weighted-vest/MiR-20Lbs-Women-Weighted-Vest.html

Why Re-invent The Wheel?

Lately I’ve been consulting with clients that have some really great goals. Now whether they are realistic or not is actually irrelevant.
I do however sometimes question there course of action to reach that particular goal. The question is, do there actions match up with that goal they are reaching for?

Definition of Insanity- To do the same things over and over again and expect different results

Whatever your goal, Find someone ultra successful and take them to lunch. Get them to tell you everything they’ve done in order to achieve that particular goal. How bad do you actually want what they have? Are you really ready to do what it takes? Sacrifice what they have? Ready to get outside your comfort zone? If so, APPLY EVERYTHING THIS PERSON HAS DONE TO ACHIEVE WHAT THEY HAVE ACHIEVED.

Lets make it easy. Look at your goal and answer one question very honestly. Are your actions matching that goal? If not, either the goal must change to meet the action or the action must change to meet the goal. That simple folks! This goes for anything you want to reach in life.

I don’t know about you but I like to walk in the footsteps of people that have been successful in what ever I’d like to achieve. In other words If I want a successful business why would I get advice from someone from an owner that just put up an Out of Business sign in his window? If its me, I’m out meeting wealthy business men picking there brains over lunch and reading books by Donald Trump.

I think you know where I’m going with this.

You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Follow in the same footsteps as others that have figured it all out. Stop trying to reach goals doing things how you “think” it should be done and instead start doing things how it’s been “proven” to be done.

My main point is that if you want success, hang around successful people, think like successful people and DO what successful people do.

You know I love ya right?

15 Tips to accomplish “MORE”

Let me clarify what “more” is and what “more” isn’t. I know how you Lawyer’s can be;)

Use common sense. “More” doesn’t always mean extra training or demolishing yourself. I never have said no pain no gain. “More” might mean extra foam rolling or mobility work. It might mean waking up earlier to cook your breakfast. Whatever it may be, “more” is used for anything you need to get better at. It’s usually something you don’t necessarily like or enjoy. Probably something you’re not very good at but definitely something your body needs more of.

I personally need to work on my spelling and when to use words like their and there. I use commas, way, too much, and use explanation points when I don’t freaking need one! Like right there or their (wtf!!!) See!?

Anyways, here are my Top 15 tips for getting “more” done

1) join a challenge
2) join a team
3) workout with a partner or in a group
4) set some realistic goals, placing them in a visible place you frequent often
5) find some pain not physical but emotional. Pull out a dress or suit you’d like to fit back into. Ask yourself, What if you don’t do “more”? What might happen? Write it down.
6) go to bed at 10pm and wake up earlier
7) go to work a little earlier to get off earlier
8) do “more” during your lunch hour even if its 30min
9) ride your bike to and from work
10) tell loved ones what your up to. Inform them how bad you want “it” and ask them to hold you accountable.
11) most of us watch a few tv shows a night so why not train or stretch why watching. I personally stretch while watching So You Think You Can Dance. Darn dancers are limber as heck! A good workout idea would be to perform 10 Burpies at every commercial.
12) get two workouts in one day as often as you can. Lift weights in AM and get a cardio session done in the PM or vice Versa.
13) the weekends are great time for two a day sessions. You could also go for a hike, paddle board or choose what ever movement activity that floats your boat;)
14) workout with your family or loved one
15) offer to help a friend get back in shape, pushing someone else to exercise more which will in turn motivate you. Don’t let your friend down!

These are just a couple of ideas to help you get “more” done throughout your busy day. Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be intense exercise or exercise related at all for that matter. Everyone could use more mobility and better quality muscle tissue through stretching. What do you need more of? Prioritize that and use the tips above to help get it done.

All in all doing “more” of the same will most likely lead to ummm… More of the same. If you’re striving to move better, feel better and look better than do the opposite of what’s NOT working now and I guarantee the end result will be a different one.

Good luck!

Are you really doing enough?

First of all I want to congratulate you for working so hard lately especially the people that are participating in the current Myzone MEP’S Challenge. It makes me so proud when I hear about or see people getting in “more” throughout the week. In our case “More” means SESSIONS, SETS, REPS, EFFORT, TIME and INTENSITY towards there health and fitness practice. I did say practice, something we work toward getting better at ever-day right? I promise this extra commitment towards your practice will pay off major dividends.

Often times we take the minimalist approach to exercise thinking I worked out twice this week, I’m good! We justify this thinking by saying things like, “I wish I could find time for more or I don’t want to over-train or injure myself.” These excuses hold us back from truly reaching our full potential. People ask me how the MMA fighters I train get so “ripped”? I say simple, they train 3X PER DAY!

Results in fitness in health are no different then results you achieve at work or in relationships. You get back what you put in to it, simple as that. If you really want something you will make time for it!

Were one week into this 30 day challenge and I’m seeing people doing “more”. I witnessed Jacki and Gloria doing a Track Challenge this morning at the field. Later that same day I hear Gloria went for a bike ride. John rides his bike to work a few days a week while many of you run or ride your bike to PFM for your workouts. My point is that if you want extra-ordinary results you have to put in “more”.

Whether you’re in the challenge or not we all have the same 168hrs per week.

What will you use your time for today?

Will you find time for a little “more”?

I guess we’ll have to see just how bad you really want it;)