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Do You Eat This Super-Food?

Here is the current newsletter that was just sent out to my personal training and bootcamp clients.

The Missing Link to Optimal Health

Do you rarely get sick, have no need for prescription meds, and can’t remember the last time that you had to visit the doctor?

If you answered no to the above questions then you are likely suffering from nutritional deficiencies.

It’s hard to know exactly what to eat for optimal health, especially since everyone has a different opinion.

Even when you make every effort to eat healthy, your diet almost always lacks important nutrients.

In her book, Green For Life, Victoria Boutenko set out in search of the perfect human diet. She immersed herself in nutrition research and discovered a very interesting observation.

The Chimpanzee Connection: Chimpanzees and humans are more closely related than any other animal species. In fact, research shows that we share 99.4% of our DNA sequence with our chimpanzee friends.

Why is this significant? Chimpanzees are in far better physical shape than humans, and possess strong natural immunity to cancer and other fatal — and quite common — human illnesses.

Victoria’s research all pointed to the chimpanzee diet as the reason for their superior health. Chimps and humans have vastly different eating habits.

It’s All About The Greens: While humans enjoy pizza and hamburgers, chimps eat a diet extremely high in dark leafy greens — an item that hardly exists in the human world.

Victoria then turned her focus on dark leafy greens. What she discovered was a super-food packed with extremely high levels of nutrients. Here are 5 amazing facts about greens:

1. Greens are packed with amino acids…AKA protein.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that dark leafy greens are a legitimate source of protein. It’s true!

Protein molecules are made of a chain of amino acids. When you consume protein from chicken, you’re getting chains of amino acids that have already been assembled into a complex protein.

When you eat dark leafy greens you are getting a plethora of individual amino acids. Your body then takes these amino acids and assembles it into complex protein chains.

2. Greens give you lots of insoluble fiber…like a sponge.

You know fiber is important, but did you realize that fiber is needed to rid your body of toxins? Insoluble fiber is extra special, since it is built like tiny sponges that each absorbs several times more toxins than its own volume. Check out just a few of the many benefits of fiber:

  • Fiber reduces cholesterol
  • Fiber prevents and reduces the risk of cancer
  • Fiber lessens risk of diabetes and improves existing diabetes
  • Fiber helps shed unwanted pounds and prevents overeating

 

3. Greens promote bodily homeostasis…necessary for optimal health.

Homeostasis is the physiological process that regulates all substances in your body at ideal levels for optimal health. It is a very complex process, one that your body is constantly working towards.

In order for your body to achieve homeostasis it needs an abundance of vitamins, amino acids, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and minerals. Greens are a super provider of all of the above.

4. Greens are alkaline…which promotes healthy cells.

In 1931 Dr. Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize for discovering the cause of cancer: weakened cell respiration due to lack of oxygen on the cellular level — this causes fermentation, which results in acidity, or low pH.

There is a close connection between the foods you eat and your pH balance. For example, Parmesan cheese is highly acid forming, -34; while spinach is an amazingly alkalizing food, +14.

When you get plenty of greens on a daily basis, you’re able to better maintain a good alkaline pH balance.

5. Greens are made of chlorophyll…liquid sun energy.

As amazing as it may seem, the molecule of chlorophyll is strikingly similar to the molecule of human blood. Chlorophyll heals and cleanses your organs while destroying harmful substances.

Here are just a few of the powers of chlorophyll:

  • Chlorophyll builds a high blood count
  • Chlorophyll helps prevent cancer
  • Chlorophyll counteracts toxins
  • Chlorophyll promotes an alkaline body
  • Chlorophyll helps sores heal faster
  • Chlorophyll improves varicose veins
  • Chlorophyll improves vision

 

Introducing The Green Smoothie: While the evidence for eating lots of greens continues to mount, who really wants to chomp through a pile of spinach everyday? The solution is as convenient as it is efficient: the green smoothie.

Victoria discovered that when she blended greens with fruit and water, the result was an easily absorbed, delicious smoothie. The key to reaping all the benefits from your green smoothies is to use a wide variety of greens and to drink it every day. Most enjoy it as a quick, nutrient-packed breakfast.
*See the recipe below*

Victoria did a study where people drank green smoothies everyday for a month. Most participants reported a noticeable increase in their energy levels after just the first week. This boost of energy may be just what you need to get into gear with your workouts.

Remember, regular challenging exercise is the key to achieving your ideal body.

Call or email today to get started on a fitness program that will get you to your best body quickly.

Green Weight Loss

Need more convincing that greens should be a regular part of your diet?

People who consume green smoothies report fewer cravings for unhealthy food and tend to snack far less than when they aren’t getting their greens.

So sip your green smoothie with a big smile, knowing that you’re turbo charging your health and expediting your weight loss.

Green Smoothie

  

Green smoothies consist of 3 basic ingredients: greens, fruit and water. Have fun experimenting with a wide range of varieties of both the greens and the fruit in order to reap the most benefit. You may be surprised to find that the simple combination of greens and fruit is quite delicious.

Servings: 1

Here’s what you need…

  • 1 bunch (2 cups) red dandelion greens (feel free to use spinach or any other dark greens)
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1-2 cups filtered water

 

  1. In a high speed blender mix the ingredients until smooth.

 

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 199 calories, 1g fat, 47g carbohydrate, 10g fiber, and 6g protein.

Proper nutrition will not only help to improve your wakeboarding, it will also help make you look better on the boat. 

Roger Ernst II, CSCS 

PS – Test out the smoothie and let me know what you think.

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4 Signs It’s Time to Change Your Workout Routine

Guest blog by Jen Mueller.

What to Do When Your Workout Isn’t Working for You

— By Jen Mueller, Certified Personal Trainer

When you started a regular exercise program, whether to lose weight or improve your overall health, your enthusiasm and motivation were high. Even though exercise wasn’t the most exciting activity you had experienced, you began feeling better and seeing results from your hard work. You managed to get yourself out of bed early, to squeeze in a little gym time each day, and stick to your plan without much effort.

But then slowly, the novelty began to wear off. You started finding reasons to sleep in and found “better” things to do with your time. Then before you realized it, you had missed a whole week and your drive to continue was missing in action. Is this common scenario just another motivation issue? Probably not. Could something else be getting in the way of the excitement and effectiveness of your previously-rewarding workouts? The answer is yes! Luckily, you can learn to identify the signs that it’s time to shake-up your workout routine so you can remain consistent and enthusiastic about exercise. Here are four of the most common signs and what you can do to get back on track:

Top 4 Signs Your Workout Isn’t Working

1. Your workout bores you.

You used to like walking on the treadmill, so why do you dread your workout each day? It’s easy to get bored if you stick with the same routine for too long. Sometimes it helps to add variety to your walks. For example, try taking your workout outside, adding speed intervals, putting new music on your iPod or bringing a friend along. If all of that isn’t enough, then maybe it’s time to try a new activity. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try biking or are interested in a new class at your local gym. Change can help keep your workouts fun and interesting, giving you something to look forward to. And that is exactly what will keep you coming back for more.

2. Your workout isn’t giving you results anymore.

Someone who does the same activity all the time is likely to plateau much sooner than someone who varies her workouts. Just as you can get bored by always doing the same exercises, your body can also adapt to these exercises so that they don’t offer the same benefits that they once did. A little variety might be just the thing you need to get the scale moving again or bust through that strength plateau. “Variety” means either changing something about your current routine (adding speed, distance, hills, resistance, etc.) or trying a totally different activity. If you like some consistency and don’t want to change your workout each time you hit the gym, change your routine at least every 4-8 weeks (this includes incorporating changes to both your cardio and strength training exercises). This will keep your muscles challenged, your body guessing, and the results coming!

3. Your workout leaves you more tired and sore than before.

Exercise should give you more energy, not leave you feeling rundown. If you’re feeling overly tired or perpetually sore, you could be overtraining. Your body needs time for rest and recovery. It is during this down time that you build strength and endurance by allowing your muscles to rebuild and repair. If you don’t give your body ample recovery time, you’ll become weaker instead of stronger. If you have been overtraining, your first priority should be rest. You might need up to a week off to recharge mentally and physically. Once you are feeling better, start back slowly. Reevaluate your workout program and find ways to make changes that will prevent this from happening again.

4. Your workout is no longer challenging.

Running a 10-minute mile, for example, becomes easier as time goes on. If your workouts aren’t challenging you anymore, it can be helpful to wear a heart rate monitor. Your heart rate will change over time as you become more fit. By using a heart rate monitor, you’ll know to change up or intensify your routine, and ensure that you’re working in your target heart rate zone. Challenging your body improves your fitness level and can also provide a sense of accomplishment as you become stronger and work toward your goals.

Changing your workout routine whenever these signs arise will help keep your motivation high as you work to improve your fitness level. The key is to pay close attention to how you’re feeling both physically and mentally. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore that you dread, but something that makes you feel good about yourself!

Roger Ernst II, CSCS

PS – To read the full article click here.

Short Term High-Intensity Interval Training (HIT) As Effective As Moderate Long Term Endurance Exercise, Study

Here is yet another article/study about the many benefits of interval training.

Click HERE to read the article.

Be sure to let me know what you think about the article and the study in the comments section.

Roger Ernst II, CSCS

7 Reasons Why You Can’t Lose Weight

This post is from my latest newsletter that was sent out to my personal training and bootcamp clients today. Although it is related to weight loss, you can still use many of the ideas to help imrove your wakeboarding.

 

7 Reasons Why You Can’t Lose Weight

There are few things more frustrating than not being able to lose weight.

You want to be slimmer and to tone your body, but your weight won’t budge.

Read the following 7 Weight Loss Blockers to discover what is standing in your way and how to quickly and easily begin your weight loss journey.

Blocker #1: Your Mind

Your mind is your number one ally when it comes to achieving your goals. However, until your mind has been programmed for success, it will do more to derail your efforts than to help you.

  • Take a few moments each day to visualize yourself at your ideal weight. Imagine how it feels to look the way you’ve always wanted.
  • Protect your mind from any negative self talk. If a negative thought comes to mind, immediately reject it.
  • You want to be thin and fit, and yet you think of yourself as out-of-shape and fat. Re-program your mind to think of yourself as fit and attractive, and you will be well on your way toward achieving your goal.
  • Give up the belief that you can’t achieve the body you’ve always dreamed of. See it first in your mind, and then in the mirror.

Blocker #2: Your Fear

Change makes most of us nervous – even if it is a change in the right direction. You may not be consciously aware of the fear you have of getting into shape. Until you conquer this fear, your weight loss efforts will be blocked by self sabotage.

Professional speaker and author, Anthony Robbins, has outlined three specific beliefs that you must have in order to conquer your fear and instantly create a lasting change.

  • Believe that something MUST change. You can’t be wishy-washy about it. You can’t be considering it. You can’t even be pretty sure about it. You’ve got to be rock solid.
  • Believe that YOU must change it. You can’t pass the buck of responsibility and expect to lose weight. It’s on your shoulders. Other people will prove to be great assets in your journey, but in the end you are the one who is going to make it happen. You have to want this weight loss enough to make it your personal mission.
  • Believe you CAN change it. You may have failed in the past, but that doesn’t matter. When you put your mind to it, you’re able to do amazing things. Do you believe that you are capable of losing weight? Once you own the belief that you can, you’ll be unstoppable.

Blocker #3: Your Excuses

Your excuses for being out-of-shape are getting old. An excuse takes less immediate effort than an action, but in the long run the action taker always has the advantage. Don’t allow excuses to ruin your life any longer.

  • Don’t skip out on your responsibilities with excuses, instead expect more from yourself.
  • Focus on the big reason why you are losing the weight. Make a list of the benefits you’ll enjoy once you achieve your goal, and read them first thing each morning.
  • Remember that you can only have two things in life: excuses or results. Which do you want?

Blocker #4: Your Commitment

How many times have you tried to lose weight, only to give up a week or two later? We live in a commitment-phobic world, so it’s no wonder that you routinely abandon your goals. If you truly want to lose weight then your commitment to the process is a must.

  • The margin between success and failure is bridged by your commitment. Don’t give up until your goal has been achieved.
  • Treat exercise with the same importance as a work meeting, and you’ll never skip it at the last minute. Find three available 60-minute time slots in your schedule and mark them (in pen) on your calendar. Now stick to your schedule.
  • If you don’t give up, then you’ll never fail.

Blocker #5: Your Diet

If you consistently eat the wrong food, then you’re weight loss efforts will all be in vain. To put it bluntly, you need to stop eating junk. Processed foods, refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup do not belong in your diet if you want to be in great shape. Cut these items out of your diet and replace them with real whole foods like lean meats, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fruits.

  • Don’t eat processed foods. Even though processed foods are accepted by our society, they contain tons of chemicals and empty calories that will make you sick and fat.
  • Fat contains twice the caloric density of protein and carbohydrates, so make sure to limit the amount that you consume. Eat lots of lean proteins and wholesome carbohydrates from plants and whole grains.
  • Vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts and seeds are filled with fiber and antioxidants which are vital for healthy weight loss. Snack on these instead of packaged treats.

Blocker #6: Your Patience

It takes time to transform your body from fat to fit, even though you want it to happen overnight. Remind yourself that it took time to put the weight on, so it will take time to take the weight off. When you find your patience wavering, or when you encounter a frustrating plateau, do the following:

  • Review your goal. Is it specific and measurable? Is it small and attainable, rather than monumental? Focus on your goal when the going gets tough.
  • Make each workout a new experience. Challenge your body with different resistance, new exercises and a varied pace.
  • Remember that anyone can have one great workout, but that won’t get you the body you want. The only way to achieve your goal is by consistently exercising and eating right, plain and simple.

Blocker #7: Your Support

People who exercise alone are less challenged, less accountable and are more likely to fail. It makes sense. Who would rush to the gym if no one is was waiting for them? Who would push themselves if no one was paying attention? Exercising alone is a recipe for disaster.

  • Find a workout partner who is in better shape than you, or better yet, work with me, your local fitness expert, to guarantee your results.
  • I am passionate about seeing you achieve results – don’t waste your time, energy and effort on mistakes.
  • When you start a program with me, you suddenly have the upper hand on weight loss. I’ll be in your corner, coaching you each step of the way, keeping you accountable to workouts and giving you that dose of encouragement when you need it most.

Get serious about your results and begin the last weight loss program that you’ll ever do.

Roger Ernst II, CSCS

Interval Training

If you aren’t doing interval training, you should be.

Interval training is great not only for fat loss and cutting down your workout time, but also for improving your wakeboarding.

Check out this article if you are still doing long slow cardio workouts.

Roger Ernst II, CSCS

Hacking

Guest blog by Alwyn Cosgrove

 

Hacking Your Strength Training
Alwyn Cosgrove

When I started out in the fitness-training field, the average client tended to be an active person who used gym exercise to augment the other types of activity he got outside the gym. Few of us specialized in fat-loss training, simply because it wasn’t the primary goal of the majority of our clients. It was a nice side-effect of solid workouts and a good diet, but it wasn’t the main reason our clients came to work with us.

Today, it’s the opposite. What we do with our clients in the gym may be the only exercise they get in a typical week. We regularly see clients who work 50 hours a week, not counting the two hours a day they spend commuting. Many of them can’t train on weekends because of work-related travel, or because it’s the only chance they get to spent time with their spouses and kids.

Since opening our facility in 2000, we’ve measured the body-fat percentages, abilities, range of motion, and posture of all our beginning members. I can say this unequivocally: The average beginner today arrives fatter and in worse shape than the average beginner just nine years ago.

That presents a huge problem for us. We have to address posture, strength, mobility, flexibility, elasticity, and cardio-respiratory endurance simultaneously. And we’re lucky if we get three hours a week to do it.

A traditional program won’t work for this population.

Now, before anyone counters with “dedicated people make time,” let me assure you that I’m talking about people who are dedicated. Let me describe two of my former clients:

Client #1: a professional motocross rider

• Races 45 weekends a year

• Flies out to the race site on Friday, competes Saturday and Sunday, and flies home on Monday

• Practices Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

• Trains with me Tuesday and Thursday

• Starts all over again on Friday

This is a guy who’s married, with two young sons. Is he not dedicated? Do you see any additional room in his schedule that would allow him to train more than he does?

Client #2: a doctor

• Works 60 to 70 hours a week, and is often on call longer than that

• Commutes an hour to work each way

• Married with three kids

• Attends his kids’ soccer games, and tries to spend to spend as much time as possible with his family

• Trains with me three times a week

Is he not a dedicated person? Should he devote more hours to the gym, at the expense of saving lives or spending time with his family?

The solution: To give these dedicated but time-challenged clients the best possible results, we need to hack traditional training down to its most basic and fundamental elements.
Hacking 101

You may be familiar with the term “life hack.” Basically, it’s a time-management system in which you hack away the unessential stuff in your life to increase productivity.

If we define productivity as “maximizing results per unit of time invested,” we can see the benefits of it. The goal is to spend less time doing things that bring us little if any benefit, and more time doing the things that improve our income, prospects, pleasure, and quality of life.

Another way to look at it: maximize productivity by minimizing redundancy.

As a fitness professional and owner of a training facility, I realized I had to hack our training programs if I had any hope of keeping pace with the rapidly changing needs of our clients.

For example, it’s not uncommon to see programs that include three exercises or more for each body part. So for biceps, you might see the barbell curl, EZ-bar curl, and seated dumbbell curl — three exercises that are more similar than different.

Hacking Your Strength Training

Barbell curls, EZ-bar curls, and seated dumbbell curls are essentially the same exercise.

Our first hack would be to switch to barbell curls and incline dumbbell curls. Now we’ve reduced the total number of exercises by a third, and we’ve also chosen a non-redundant exercise — the incline curl — to give us a different angle of pull and allow us to hit more muscle fibers.

A second hack would choose one of those exercises as our sole focus.

A third and final hack — the “max hack” — would eliminate the isolation work completely. Instead, we’d do close-grip chins, which would target the biceps effectively enough while also recruiting lots more muscle and building total-body strength.
Body by Pareto

The Pareto principle, also known as the 80-20 rule, is an important key to successful hacking of any type — whether we’re talking about training, running a business, or the overall management of our lives.

It’s named for Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist who in 1906 observed that 80 percent of the wealth in Italy (and every country he subsequently studied) was owned by 20 percent of the population. After Pareto published his findings, many others observed similar ratios in their own areas of expertise. In the early 1940s, an industrial-efficiency expert named Joseph Juran applied Pareto’s ideas to project management, describing the principle of “the vital few and trivial many.”

Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, popularized the idea for my generation of entrepreneurs when he observed that 80 percent of his income came from 20 percent of his clients. So he hacked off 80 percent of his clients, effectively reducing his workload by 80 percent, and focused on the clients who accounted for 80 percent of his income. Yes, at first he took a 20 percent pay cut, but his productivity and income soared on a per-hour basis.

You can apply the Pareto principle to workout hacking with the assumption that 80 percent of the consequences come from 20 percent of the causes. Or, put another way, 20 percent of the exercises you do produce 80 percent of your results.

Let’s say you have a total-body workout with 10 exercises. If we hacked out eight of the 10 exercises, and just kept squats and chin-ups, would you expect to get just 20 percent of the results? Chances are it would be the opposite — you might get 80 percent of the results by focusing on just 20 percent of the exercises. So most of your results come from just two exercises, and relatively few results come from the other eight.

It’s easy to see why. Compound exercises recruit more muscle, allow you to use bigger loads, and burn more calories than isolation exercises. That’s why you want to build your program around them, and why your workouts should start with exercises like deadlifts or squats, the ones that produce the best results on a rep-by-rep basis.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you’ll get 100 percent of the results you want with a hacked program. The goal of hacking out what’s unessential from your training program is to free up more of your time without significantly diminishing your results. Don’t hack for the sake of hacking; you want to eliminate redundant or trivially beneficial exercises so you can accomplish other goals, in or out of the gym.

In the next few sections I’ll show you examples we’ve used successfully with clients in our facility. As you’ll see, there’s a sound basis in science for most of these hacks.

The Frequency and Volume Hack

Back in 2000, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared equal-volume resistance training over one day or three days per week. [1] The participants in the study were experienced lifters. Group one performed the entire workout — three sets of each exercise — on one day. Group two performed the same volume of work, but spread it out over three days. So they did one set of each exercise in each workout.

The researchers found that the once-per-week group achieved just 62 percent of the strength improvements of the three-times-per-week group, and also gained less muscle. The men in the second group put on nine pounds of muscle, vs. four pounds for those in the first group.

This gives us an idea of how to start our training hack: It’s better to reduce volume per workout than it is to reduce frequency. So if you work out three times a week, it’s better to make those workouts shorter than to do longer workouts less often.

A review published in Sports Medicine in 2007 looked at several studies on strength training and hypertrophy across different populations.[2] It concluded that, for hypertrophy, it’s better to train each muscle group three times a week.

Anecdotally, we know that a lot of bodybuilders use an increased frequency to bring up a lagging body part. If the problem is that every body part needs to be brought up, then three total-body workouts should work better than a series of split routines in which body parts are hit just once or twice per week.
The Sets and Reps Hack

Now that we’ve settled on three total-body workouts a week, we have to figure out how to hack unessential elements of those workouts to keep them at a reasonable length. But we still want results, so we have to figure out how best to employ sets and reps to increase size and strength.

A study published in JSCR in 2002 compared two different types of periodization.[3]

Traditional linear periodization works something like this: In weeks one to four, you’d do eight reps per set of all your exercises. In weeks five to eight, you’d do six reps, and in weeks nine to 12 you’d do four reps. So you’d progress from a hypertrophy protocol to one that emphasizes pure strength.

Undulating periodization aims to achieve those goals simultaneously, so on Monday you’d do four reps per set, on Wednesday you’d do six reps, and on Friday you’d do eight reps.

The researchers found that undulating periodization was better than linear periodization for strength gains.

Thus, we’ll use three distinct ranges of sets and reps in our three total-body workouts each week. That brings us to the next big question: Which exercises should we use?
Exercise Hack

At the 2000 annual conference of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, researchers at Ball State presented a study that compared the effects of two different workouts on upper-arm circumference.[4]

One group did four compound upper-body exercises in each workout, while the other did those four exercises plus biceps curls and triceps extensions.

Both groups increased their strength and arm size. But in 10 weeks of training, the additional arm exercises provided no additional benefit.

So if you’re going to hack your training program to make it as efficient as possible without sacrificing benefits, you can eliminate direct arm training with isolation exercises.

Hacking Your Strength Training

Big arms, no curls.
Workout Duration Hack

Sir Charles Scott Sherrington won the Nobel Prize in 1932 for his contributions in physiology and neuroscience. Sherrington’s law of reciprocal innervation states that “for every neural activation of a muscle, there is a corresponding inhibition of the opposing muscle.” This means that when you work your chest muscles, the opposite back muscles are forced to relax, thereby resting.

It’s easy to apply this one: Instead of waiting two minutes between sets of bench presses, for example, you can perform one set of the bench press, rest for one minute, and then do a bent-over row. After you finish, you’ll rest for one minute, then repeat the sequence until you complete all sets of both exercises. In an average workout, this technique saves at least eight to 10 minutes without sacrificing performance.

“If you could only do one exercise … “

I hate questions like this. But I do have an answer: The snatch-grip deadlift probably works more muscle through a bigger range of motion than any other single exercise. (In other words, I’m not comparing the snatch-grip deadlift to a combination exercise like the clean and press.) So we’ll start with that as our primary exercise. Our secondary exercise will be the front squat.

I also like to do single-leg exercises, so we’ll create a second total-body workout in which we use dumbbell Bulgarian split squats to target our quads, with step-ups as a hip-dominant counterpart.

For upper-body exercises, we’ll stick to the ones that use the most muscle and avoid single-joint exercises. The big four here will be chin-ups, dips (or dumbbell bench presses), dumbbell rows, and barbell push presses. We’ll do two of them in each of our total-body workouts.

Program A

1) Snatch-grip deadlift
2) Dumbbell Bulgarian split squat
3a) Dip
3b) Dumbbell row

Program B

1) Front squat
2) Step-up
3a) Barbell push press
3b) Close-grip chin-up

Here’s how we’ll alternate programs A and B:

Week one:

Mon: Program A
Wed: Program B
Fri: Program A

Week two:

Mon: Program B
Wed: Program A
Fri: Program B

Sets and reps for A and B work like this:

Mon: 4 sets of 4 reps of each exercise. Rest 90 to 120 seconds between sets.
Wed: 3 sets of 8 reps of each exercise. Rest 75 to 90 seconds between sets.
Fri: 2 to 3 sets of 12 reps of each exercise. Rest 60 to 75 seconds between sets.

Select a load that’s appropriate for each exercise, given the rep range. You want to stop one or two reps short of failure on each set. Try this system as written for up to six weeks. You’ll do each program nine times, but only three times at each rep range.
Final Thoughts

Is this the perfect program? Absolutely not — the perfect program doesn’t exist. It’s just one way to hack out the unessential, trivial, and redundant exercises from your program, replacing them with the most effective exercises, and employing them in the most time-efficient way I know.

Does it work? Let me put it this way: I wouldn’t still be in business if it didn’t.

Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you are going to be “hacking.”

Roger Ernst II, CSCS

P.S. – For more info and articles from Alwyn Cosgrove – Check out alwyncosgrove.com

Flipping the Switch: Turn Your Motivation On

This post is actually taken from my latest newsletter that was sent out to my personal training clients and bootcamp clients. Although it is related to health and weight loss, many of the ideas and concepts can be directly translated to wakeboarding.

Read over the article and be sure to let me know what you think, and what your motivations are to improve your wakeboarding.

 

Flipping the Switch: Turn Your Motivation On

Have you ever wondered how some people are able to maintain amazing bodies while you struggle with your weight?

They make it seem so easy to achieve and maintain results. What do they know that you don’t? When you boil it down, the answer is quite simple.

The missing link between you and your ideal body is good old motivation.

A healthy dose of motivation coupled with determination will get you almost anything in life. So how do you know if you’re genuinely motivated?

  • Motivation will tell you to get out of bed for an early workout.
  • Motivation will nag you to put down the doughnut.
  • Motivation makes passing on fries a reflex.
  • Motivation makes a sweat drenched workout exciting.
  • Motivation constantly reminds you why you do what you do.

If your motivation levels are lacking, read the following four steps to turn on your motivation.

Step #1: Pinpoint Your Motivator.

Motivation stems from having a goal. What is your goal? Why do you want to get into great shape?

Once you uncover your personal motivator you’ll find that motivation flows quickly your way.

Take a minute to really uncover the reason that you want to lose the weight. Don’t say something vague like you want to ‘Be thinner’ or ‘Look more attractive.’ Dig deeper – there is a very specific motivator in your life, you simply need to uncover it.

Here are some possible motivators…

  • I want to have more energy to keep up with the kids.
  • I want to improve my health through weight loss to extend and improve my life.
  • I want to lose 15 pounds before my vacation.
  • I want to restore my confidence to wear sleeveless shirts.
  • I want to regain my figure to impress and attract my significant other.

Step #2: Make It Official.

When you write something down it suddenly feels official, doesn’t it? Write down your motivator for getting into great shape, and post it where you will see it often – next to your alarm clock, on the bathroom mirror, or in your car.

Each time you see your written motivator take a moment to visualize yourself accomplishing your goal. Try to make the scene as clear in your mind as possible. This is a powerful tool for maintaining your focus and direction.

Step #3: Be Practical.

It’s game plan time. You know what you want, and now you need to map out exactly how you’ll achieve it. It is important to be practical in your planning, rather than throwing out ideas that you know you won’t stick with.

With any weight loss goal it is important to 1) maintain a healthy low-calorie diet, and 2) participate in a consistent and challenging exercise program.

Plan a routine that will fit into your schedule and you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Also choose an exercise program that you enjoy – don’t force yourself to jog everyday if you hate jogging.

Step #4: Call For Backup.

Enlist the support of your friends, family and co-workers. Tell everyone about your goal to lose weight and get fit, you’ll be surprised how supportive most people will be. By being open about your goals you’ll likely be an encouragement to others to make healthy changes in their own lives.

 

Roger Ernst II, CSCS

Touch Your Core With Light Load/High Velocity Resistance Training

I just received the latest edition of the Performance Training Journal from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA.) In it they have a bunch of great articles about “Core Training.” The articles are very well written and state a lot of the same methods and beliefs that I have about “Core Training.”

In wakeboarding, it doesn’t matter what skill level you are, you are always using your “Core.” Because of this, it is vital that you maintain a strong and stable core so that you can ride harder, longer, throw that new invert, and add an extra 180 to all of your spins.

With that in mind, read the article below and let me know what you think about it. Also, be sure to leave a comment and let me know if you want to see some more articles and info about “Core Training.”

Roger Ernst II, CSCS

Touch Your Core With Light Load/High Velocity Resistance Training
Kyle Brown, CSCS

One of the hottest fitness trends in the last decade has been core stability training. Unfortunately, this trend has led many athletes, as well as personal trainers, to move away from training major muscle groups and instead design entire workout programs around core training. Yet, as new research suggests, core strength does not significantly contribute to overall strength and power and shouldn’t be the main focus of a workout program (1). Many bodybuilders do not even do isolation movements for their core as they are aware of the fact that in nearly every standing resistance training exercise, the core must stabilize. Yet, while developing a strong core is important for increasing athletic performance, reducing likelihood of injury, and reducing existing pain levels, a strong core can be developed by stabilizing while simultaneously training your major muscle groups. A unique way to torch your core is with light load/high velocity resistance training, as you are able to train with high intensity at a sprinter’s pace.

A core stability exercise can be defined as “any exercise that channels motor patterns to ensure a stable spine through repetition” (2). Therefore, for example, squats, pull-ups, and standing overhead presses are all core stability exercises as they all require the core to stabilize. If your goal is to develop core strength and power while training major muscle groups, training at a high velocity can challenge your core. These explosive movements are very fast-paced, intense, high-energy, anaerobic movements that require a lot of muscle groups to fire simultaneously. This type of training allows the athlete to rapidly accelerate and achieve maximum velocity on every repetition. Moreover, the power output in a short amount of time is astounding. For example, if an athlete is able to do 25 repetitions with 40lbs cable presses in each hand (80 pounds total) in 20 seconds, that is 2,000lbs of power output in 20 seconds.

Rather than focus on how many repetitions to perform, instead focus on completing the maximum number of repetitions within a given time frame with high intensity and proper form. I cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining proper biomechanics while training at high velocity, as it will not only prevent injury, it will also effectively engage the proper muscles and lead to a more challenging workout. Too many times athletes, as well as trainers, sacrifice proper form for speed. To increase core activation, perform these exercises in a less stable environment. Marshall and Murphy compared muscle activity in the rectus abdominis, transversus/internal oblique abdominis, external oblique abdominis, and erector spinae when push-ups were performed on a Swiss ball versus a stable floor. The results demonstrated that at the top portion of the push-up, with the hands positioned on a Swiss ball, there was significantly greater activity in the rectus abdominis (35% vs. 9% of maximal activity) and transversus/internal oblique abdominis (33% vs. 13% of maximal activity) (3).

References

1. Nesser TW, Lee WL. The relationship between core strength and performance in Division I female soccer players. JEPonline 2009; 12(2):21 – 28.

2. Verstegen, M, and Williams, P. Physioball routine. In: Core Performance. New York, NY: Rodale, Inc., 2004. pp. 73 – 88.

3. Marshall, PW, and Murphy, BA. Core stability exercises on and off a Swiss ball. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 86: 242 – 249. 2005

Trampoline Training

September 10, 2009 1 comment

I was just going through a bunch of old emails and either deleting them or putting them into folders, in an attempt to become more organized, and came across this article.  In the article it gives a couple of different exercises that can be performed using a trampoline in order to improve your core strength and also your wakeboarding. 

 The article talks about using a smaller trampoline that is often found in many health clubs and fitness centers, but there is no reason that these exercises can’t be performed on a full size trampoline. 

If you are not already using a trampoline in order to improve your wakeboarding, you NEED to start.  Trampolines are a great, safe way, to learn new tricks that you are trying to land on the water.  By using a trampoline to perfect your new move before you head out on the water, it can save you a lot of time, and also some pain from not falling as much. 

There will be more to come on trampoline training later, but for now, read the article below and let me know if you have anymore exercises that can be performed using a trampoline.

Roger Ernst II, CSCS

 

 

Trampoline Training: Bounce Your Way to a Rock Hard Core

 

Kyle Brown, CSCS

 

When you mention the word trampoline, most people recall fond childhood memories of playing outside bouncing into the air as if they are defying gravity. Yet few people are aware of not only the health benefits of a trampoline but the tremendous core training benefits. Moreover, they do not know that many gyms and personal training studios now have mini indoor versions of trampolines called rebounders that elicit the same benefits. By bouncing on a trampoline, you are harnessing the force of gravity to strengthen every cell in your body. 

 

Your core muscles include all muscles from your abdominal, lower lumbar, and pelvic regions. They are responsible for supporting your spine and providing you balance and stability. Traditional core training involves movements like sit ups, crunches, bridges, and planks. Yet many athletes including many gymnasts have been able to develop incredibly powerful core muscles without any of these exercises. This is due to the tremendous amount of core strength required to stabilize in their sport. And the trampoline is a perfect example of a sport that requires and develops tremendous core strength.

 

When you bounce off a trampoline, you end up suspended in air and then land with twice the force of gravity, which challenges your body to grow stronger (1).  You constantly use your abdominal muscles with rebounder exercises to stabilize, maintain balance and postural control, and control the height of your jump.  Repeatedly bouncing up and down on trampolines develops proficiency for bracing the torso with intra-abdominal pressure and improves your core muscular endurance by maintaining an isometric contraction of the abdominals (1).

 

Trampoline training forces your body to use your core muscles as well as proprioceptors in order to balance.  Proprioceptors are specialized receptors that are located in the muscles, joints, tendons/ligaments, and the inner ear that provide information that enables your body to know where it is located in space and if necessary adjust posture or movement in order to maintain balance (1).  Proprioceptor training will work your core muscles as well as the rest of your musculature, joints, etc., thus improving your overall strength and balance. When you jump on a trampoline, every muscle in your body works simultaneously to adjust the body’s position to its constantly changing environment.

 

There are many exercises you can do to train your core on a rebounder. Here are a couple examples:

 

Sprint in Place

Stand in the middle of the trampoline and drive your knee up to your chest while simultaneously swinging up your opposite arm. Work at maximal output for 30 seconds to a minute.

 

Double Knee Ups

Stand in the middle of the trampoline and jump in the air as high as possible driving both knees to your chest.  Land and immediately repeat. The goal is to jump as high as possible

 

Side to Side Jumps

On either one or both legs, bounce from one side of the trampoline to the other.

 

Planks on Trampoline

Put your feet on the ground and your fists and elbows on the trampoline in plank position underneath your chest. Prop yourself up like a table or bridge using your toes and elbows. Use your gluteals and abdominals to stabilize.

 

Jump Twists

Use your core to twist your hips and keep your feet together while bouncing up and down.

 

References

1. Carter, Albert. (1998). Rebound To Better Health. National Institute of Reboundology and Health. Springville, UT.

5 Rules of Gym Etiquette

September 8, 2009 Leave a comment

I know that this doesn’t have to do with anything specifically related to improving your wakeboarding, but I just ran across this article on msn.com and thought EVERYONE who works out should read.  In my opinion, these are not the ONLY “unwritten” rules that should be followed in a gym, but it is a good starting point and also good reminders for everyone. 

Read the article below and be sure to post some of your “unwritten” rules, experiences, and stories from the gym.

 

Learn how not to wear out your welcome.

by Kristopher Kaiyala for MSN Health & Fitness
Everyone’s been the victim of Bad Gym Guy. You know the one: the smelly, sweaty, chatty health club member who spreads his body filth all over the locker room and exercise equipment, with nary a care for those around him. Bad Gym Guy cuts in line, slams the weights, talks loudly on his cell phone and seems generally oblivious to the world around him. Here’s our advice if you want to avoid him: don’t be him.

Gyms are social gathering places just like malls, coffee shops and work places. Basic rules of group politeness apply even if the club lured you into thinking it was there to cater to your every need.

So, what are the basic rules of gym etiquette? We enlisted the help of Chicago’s posh Lakeshore Athletic Clubs for the answers. Athletic director Diana Hoffman and head trainer Nancy Parks boast a combined total of more than 20 years in the fitness profession. They know Bad Gym Guy when they see him. Here are their tips to help you avoid becoming the fitness-club pariah:

1. Be quiet.

Cell phone use on the fitness floor is a definite no-no. No one wants to be party to your personal conversations; they distract from the mental focus everyone needs to achieve their fitness goals. “Also, if you are participating in a group exercise class, don’t talk in the back of the studio. It’s unfair to others participating in the class,” says Hoffman. You’re an adult. Don’t act like a grade schooler.

2. Clean off the machines.

You don’t want to sit in someone else’s sweat, so why make them sit in yours? “After using any type of equipment at the club, be sure to wipe it off,” says Parks. “Covering the seats or benches with a towel beforehand helps to avoid this problem, and it also protects you from germs that can be passed on through other people’s sweat.”

3. Be careful when handling weights.

Few things are more jarring at a gym than the loud clank of dropped dumbbells or barbells. Don’t permit the weight stack on any piece of equipment to slam down. “It is disruptive to others training in same area, is potentially damaging to equipment, and can cause injury to the user as it evidences an inability to control whatever weight is being used,” says Parks. “Also remember to put weights back when you are done; it’s thoughtless to leave them lying around.”

4. Share the equipment.

If you are circuit training, trade off sets with someone else, that way you can rest while someone else lifts. “If someone is already using a piece of equipment that you want to share, wait until they are done with their set before asking them,” says Hoffman. “If you ask them in the middle of a set, they may lose concentration. Even if they do respond, it could interfere with their breathing.” Cardio equipment must be shared as well. “Many clubs have time limits for these machines during their peak hours. Be sure to abide by these rules so everyone can benefit from the equipment.”

5. Watch your odor.

“Be sure to clean your workout clothes on a regular basis and don’t wear overbearing perfume or cologne,” says Hoffman. “Take a shower after your workout as well—you don’t want your smell to offend people on your way home, too!”

Yuck. We couldn’t have said it any better.