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A Fitness-Filled Weekend

It’s probably safe to say most of us wonder where our weekends go. This one, however, flew by particularly fast for me as it was one filled with plenty of fitness fun – both physical and mental.

With B2C President Brent Brookbush & “Classmates” the “Intro to Functional Anatomy” Workshop

Mother Nature graced us with one of the most magnificent weekends in recent memory filled here in New York City. Since I wanted to get out and enjoy the sunshine as early as possible on Saturday, I got my butt to the gym before 9 am and put my new love of Tabata training to good use. If you’re looking to make the most of an hour at the gym, here’s what I got accomplished in that time Saturday morning:

  • 5 minute self-myofascial release (SMR) with the foam roller and static stretches for my calves, TFL and latissimus dorsi.
  • 20-minute”Tabata Derby”: Using my UltraTimerHD app (as recommended by my friend and fitness pro Roberto Murichi), I completed four sets of Tabatas featuring the following exercises: squats, push-ups, sit-ups and planks. Thanks to the app, I simply pressed start and knew exactly when to work for 20 seconds, rest for 10 and continue. Once the first four-minute Tabata was completed, the app also allowed for the crucial 60-second “rest” period before moving on to the next exercise.
  • 1000-meter rowing “sprint.” This took me about 10 minutes. Not my best time ever, but I had just finished the Tabata Derby, so I gave myself a bit of a break.
  • 20-minute interval elliptical training. (The last five minutes were more of a cardio cool down.)
  • 5 minutes SMR and stretching, mirroring what I did at the start of the workout.

Sunday’s “workout” lasted much longer – a little more than eight hours to be exact – but it was a totally different experience. I spent the day at the Sports Club/LA on New York’s Upper East Side for a B2C Fitness workshop entitled “Functional Anatomy 1: Intro to Human Movement Science.” The class was taught by my friend and B2C President Brent Brookbush.

Not only did taking the workshop help me gather some of the needed CEC’s (Continued Education Credits) I need to maintain my personal training certification with the National Academy of Sports Medicine, but it also offered an amazing refresher on anatomical terminology and the interactive function of joints, muscles, fascia and the nervous system as it relates to human movement.

The course was filled with fun anecdotes and interactive activities, and it was also great to meet other personal trainers and fitness professionals with different levels of experience in the industry. Any of my readers who happen to be fellow fitness pros and need some CEC’s (or just want to brush-up on everything from planes of motion to movement analysis), I’d recommend taking any of Brent’s workshops in a heartbeat.

While the physical and mental workouts may make for a groggier Monday than usual, I’m happy to be armed with refreshed energy and knowledge to continue on the quest to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

The Importance of Core Training

Photo by: Leslie Hassler

Chances are you’ve heard, seen or read stories about people’s quest to work on their “core.” That’s good, because core training should be a crucial component of anyone’s exercise routine, regardless of his or her fitness level. Why? To put it simply, if you have a weak and unstable core and you don’t do anything to make it stronger, your body can’t move the way it’s supposed to. That’s one of the easiest ways to put yourself at increased risk for injury.

So, what exactly is the core? It’s the part of the body made up of the lumbo-pelvic-hip-complex, thoracic spine and cervical spine. This region of the body is where all movement begins and where we find our center of gravity. The muscles in the core are broken into two categories: the stabilization system and the movement system. The important thing to keep in mind is that if the stabilization system doesn’t work properly, then your body will make compensations to move, and these compensations can ultimately lead to injury. Here’s an example: you could have strong “abs” (rectus abdominus), external obliques and erector spinae, but weak stabilizing muscles in your lumbo-pelvic-hip complex. Without proper stabilization, extra stress is placed on your vertebrae and this can lead to low back pain and possible injury.

The bottom line is you should not neglect your core. One popular exercise for core training is the quadruped. It’s a great activation exercise for the transversus abdominus, which is part of the stabilization system of the core. Below, you can check out a video where I help Brent Brookbush, President of B2C Fitness and author of “Fitness or Fiction: The Truth About Diet and Exercise,” illustrate the correct form and progression techniques for a quadruped. Brent’s videos are geared toward other fitness pros, but the information and illustration are a great way to get anyone started on this effective exercise. Remember, core training is an essential part of any exercise routine in order to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Buy This Book!

Available at Amazon.com

When I entered the blogosphere back in July, my friend Paula Rizzo, The List Producer, gave me some good advice about how to select my topics. One tip was to write about the things that have helped me in my own fitness journey: a book, an exercise DVD or even a favorite group exercise class. So, today I want to tell you about the book that belongs on everyone’s shelf, regardless of your fitness level: Fitness or Fiction: The Truth About Diet and Exercise by Brent Brookbush, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM-H/FS.

Brent spent more than six years investigating the facts to shatter more than 60 myths surrounding diet and exercise including:

Myth #2: Carbohydrates are your enemy. What You Should Know: Excess calories are your enemy, not carbs!

Myth #24:  Products that target my inner thighs, abs, and back of my arms are an important part of my exercise routine. What You Should Know:  Don’t waste your time.

Myth #58: Sweating is good indicator of intensity, and is a great way to lose weight. What You Should Know:  Sweat is not a reliable indicator of intensity.
or fat loss.

Each myth is debunked through extensive research – more than 600 references are cited in the book –  and the facts are presented in plain English. (There are also great photographs that illustrate proper form for a wide variety of exercises.) There are no gimmicks, no fads and no empty promises. Whether you are a fitness novice or industry professional, Fitness or Fiction gives you the tools you need to build a program that will produce the results you want.

Brent Brookbush

Since 1998, Brent has educated thousands of personal trainers, written and consulted for various fitness magazines, and has been a revered personal trainer. He is also president of B2C Fitness, where he continues to develop cutting-edge training and development systems and educational publications for fitness professionals. Currently, he is an Instructor for PowerPlate, NASM, and B2C Fitness. In fact, he was my Instructor (along with Rick Richey) at the NASM Personal Fitness Workshop I took in March to help prepare for my CPT exam.

As a lifetime fitness enthusiast, novice blogger and recently NASM certified personal trainer, I know this book will become a primary reference when looking for ways to challenge myself or help others in their fitness journey. Adding Fitness or Fiction to your book collection is a surefire way to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

The Skinny on Walking

My friend Paula, the List Producer, offered up the following question for a blog topic: what IS the deal with walking anyway? To address this, I offer my personal experience along with input from Brent Brookbush, fitness guru and President of B2C Fitness, LLC; and throw in a link to an article I found particularly helpful about the subject.

These Streets Were Made for Walking!

Since moving to New York City four years ago, I can honestly say I have taken every opportunity to walk wherever and whenever I can: from home to work; work to the gym; the gym to someone else’s home – you get the picture.  I have always thought walking is better than no activity at all and it turns out, Brent agrees with me. However, he also stresses that while it can be a good starting point for beginners or those who fell off the fitness wagon and are slowly working back into a routine, it’s not going to do anything to improve actual performance. Why? Well, you’d have to walk ridiculously fast to get your heart rate up to just the first of three training zones – and how many of us can say that’s what we’re doing even as we try to pick up the pace on a walk to work?

To get some actual data to discuss the difference between running and walking, I searched the Internet and found this article by Rick Morris particularly helpful and hope you will, too. (It even includes a 1000 calorie fat-burning workout.)

http://www.runningplanet.com/training/running-versus-walking.html

So put this information together and what does it mean? While walking to work may not give you the same cardiovascular or calorie-burning benefits of a 30-minute bout on the elliptical machine or treadmill or a high-intensity 45-minute spin class, it’s still better than no movement at all.  Since I’m a big proponent of taking care of your body and your mind, if that walk to work helps you clear your head and makes you want to kick things up a notch with a run in the park or a bike ride over the weekend, then more power to you!

Remember, in the end, we all have to walk, run, ride or skip along our own path to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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