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The Perks of Having a Personal Fitness Trainer

Posted by on Aug 31, 2016

The Perks of Having a Personal Fitness Trainer

It’s no longer just about weightlifting or cardio anymore – nowadays, hiring personal fitness instructors is all about having the best assistance in developing a healthy and fit lifestyle. According to Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist at the American Council on Exercise (ACE), studies have shown that personal trainers can help people stick to their exercise routines more effectively than they would on their own. If you ever thought that hiring personal fitness trainers is just a waste of money, you probably haven’t realized their true worth.

Here are some of the benefits of having your own personal fitness trainer.

Building Confidence

Working with a good personal trainer can help you boost your confidence level. With positivity, encouragement, and understanding, a good personal trainer can show you all of the best in yourself.

A good trainer also can help you reach your physical goals, improving the way your body looks, feels, and operates on a daily basis. This leads to you feeling more confident in yourself and your abilities. Doing it alone can be tough because you may be your only source of inspiration; humans are indeed social beings who thrive in the presence of others. Hiring a good personal trainer can definitely help you achieve the results you want.

Setting Goals and Achieving Them

A personal trainer helps you define your fitness goals. They take into account your current fitness level and discuss what you want to achieve through your workout. While you may have some idea of the goals you want to set, a professional is able to help you break them down into smaller goals that are specific and realistic. The personal trainer also helps assess your progress toward those goals.

trainer working with person

Having fitness goals is so much better than just trying to be fit and work out randomly. Numerous studies conducted in the field of success psychology have shown that individuals who set goals have a far better chance of achieving them than those who do not.

Personalized Workout

Personal trainers create a specific workout plan just for you based on what you want to achieve. The personalized plan typically gives you better results than a general workout plan. Because they know your physical condition and medical background, they are able to make adjustments in the program to fit your needs.

Anyone can do a workout from Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness, or any other magazine, but they are simply an attempt for one-size-fits-all programs that don’t take into account differences between individuals that make them unique. These types of programs may lead to injuries as well if you aren’t familiar with the exercises or just aren’t prepared for the training techniques involved in them.

Having a personal trainer allows you to have customized workout activities based on your specific goals, the time you have to devote to exercise, the equipment available, and many other factors (e.g. specific health needs, social support, and current mental state). Having this type of program also allows you to achieve the results you desire in much lesser time.

You might find fitness programs to be difficult to follow at first, but once you get into the habit, it is generally very easy. Some people do a lot of cardio, but no weight training, or vice versa. It is very important to get a bit of both, as cardio is wonderful for your heart and weight training is excellent for bone density among other things. If this sounds like you, you are the perfect candidate for fitness programs planning.

Proper Workout Mechanics

Professional fitness trainers have spent time studying and practicing the correct way on how to perform workouts. In this way, they would know how one can maximize their results while diminishing the risk of injuries. This is another of the many benefits of hiring your own fitness instructor.

pushups with trainer

A professional trainer teaches you the proper way to perform each exercise movement in your routine. They can demonstrate the movement first and then watch you perform it so that they can correct any issues with your posture or technique. Learning how to perform exercises properly reduces your risk of injury.

For example, if you are lifting a lot of weight, your body is likely to become slightly misaligned, which can place your muscles, joints and tendons in awkward positions that could potentially cause strains or tears. It is best to ease up on the weight if it means you are better able to maintain proper form. Proper form during workouts is something most people take for granted, but is still of utmost importance.

Efficiency

Time is gold, and everybody knows it. You probably have what seems like an endless amount of things to do each day. Hiring a personal trainer can help you get results much more effectively and in less time as well. Personal Training Courses are designed to reach your goal faster than what you normally would if you’re just training by yourself, and fitness trainers know just about every training course that’s best for anyone.

Efficiency can lead you into getting the most out of the time that you spend working out. In most of fitness instructor guided workout routines, there are much more efficient exercises and techniques than you think. For example, you might be doing too much of upright rows, where you can get by with dumbbell shrugs and still get the effect that you wanted for your traps.

trainer on sport ball

Also, having a personal trainer would guarantee a spotter. Spotting is a crucial component of fitness training. Proper spotting for appropriate resistance training exercises enhances a lifter’s mental and physical performance during resistance training. Without a spotter weight-lifters may put themselves at a higher risk for lifting-related injuries. Furthermore, spotting hastens your muscle development by a huge margin because your muscles properly contracted and trained as compared to a normal weight lifting session on your own.

Motivation

Motivation is something that can truly help you become more fit. If you’re not at all motivated to reach your goal, you may never be able to achieve it. The same goes with fitness.

Then again, motivation is often difficult to maintain when you exercise on your own. Regular sessions with a personal trainer enhance your motivation to continue with a workout regimen. They are highly trained on how to motivate a person. Even if you don’t use a personal trainer for every session, knowing that you are going to meet with your trainer soon motivates you during your workouts.

come on you know

You also get the satisfaction of showing your trainer the improvement you’ve made as your exercise program progresses. Having someone to validate and affirm your improvement, especially from a trainer could help you see how you gradually reach your fitness goals.

Accountability

Another common problem is lack of commitment to a regular exercise program. When you exercise on your own, it is easier to skip a session here and there or fall off the wagon completely since there’s no one to hold you accountable for you actions. When you work with a trainer, they keep you accountable, making it more likely that you’ll stick with your training program.

A great personal trainer helps keep you accountable for not only exercise, but also nutrition. On top of that, by spending money to hire a trainer, you are making yourself much more accountable for the exercise and lifestyle changes you will make: people are naturally more invested in things they pay for. Having more on the line can help you live the life you desire.

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Why You Should Start Doing Back Exercises

Posted by on Jun 13, 2016

Here’s the thing: you don’t need to be an aspiring bodybuilder or an athlete before you think about lifting weights or doing back exercises. Because no matter what your profession is, back pains will start to develop once you stop taking care of yourself.

A man in the gym flexing his back muscles.

Whether you’re a gym regular or someone who has just started training, a trainer or therapist will almost always advise you to do lower back exercises. Perhaps they want to add in a routine training for injury prevention and better overall body strength.

Even if you don’t realize it, your body particularly needs back exercises just like how plants need fertilizers or dogs need dog probiotics: you can potentially survive without it, but your life would be so much better with it.

So what’s the big deal with back exercises? Why do we need to do them in the first place?

The Natural Benefits of Back Exercises

Back exercises provide spinal support.

The body’s muscle groups located at the lower back includes stabilizers that act as support for muscles around the spinal cord and consequently, the spinal cord itself. Some of these muscles make up the part of the core muscles that takes a lot of benefit from consistent toning and strengthening. The body’s core muscles are so important as they are the direct connection of the lower body to the upper body. As such, it provides a vital role in maintaining balance and aligning the body’s center of gravity during various physical activities.

In the grand scheme of things, the core carries the body and distributes the pressure brought about by gravity or other outside force acted on it. By carrying the body and distributing the stress all over it, the core is able to support the body’s internal infrastructure. This includes a huge part of the spinal cord, the abdominal organs, and many other important parts.

Muscular anatomy, the core.

This is how vital taking care of the core is. Many kinds of lower back exercises like leg curls and back hyperextensions actively work out the lower back muscle groups, which means that the core muscles can function more easily because they are stronger.

Back exercises facilitate proper balance among muscle groups.

If you’re not a bodybuilder, you are usually not appropriately using your muscles. Sometimes, you might find muscle pains that you have no memory of stressing. No matter who you are or what you do, you ought to take care of your back muscles as they are the muscles that takes care of all your other muscles.

Say you’re lifting a box full of your old stuff. The act of lifting any object definitely takes a toll on your back muscles as time progresses. Think of it as a sum of many stressful actions that eventually makes your body ache – especially your back muscles.

This is the reason why bodybuilding is always good for the body, especially when you train properly. In handling heavy weights, the back muscles are also trained in order to provide balance with the chest muscles. In a more general sense, there’s also the “strong limbs/weak core” scenario, or someone who trains up the pecs and arms without training the back and abdomen.

In this case, you may suffer some area-specific injuries or conditions simply because the surrounding muscle groups are not prepared to deal with the additional bulk or pressure on another. It’s always a good idea to pay attention to the balance between your lower back and other core muscles in relation to the primary muscle groups in the chest and arms while you are engaged in an intensive weight training program.

Back Exercises Without Weights

Surely, lifting weights maybe too much for beginners. Luckily, Dailyburn.com gave a few good back exercises that do not require weightlifting:

  1. Reverse Snow Angels
  • Position yourself face down on the ground with arms at your sides and palms facing down.
  • Peel your shoulders and hands a few inches off the ground by pinching your scapula together and engaging your lats and rhomboids in your mid-back.

A floor exercise to train the whole back.

  • Keeping your head facing down, in a slow, controlled motion, bring your arms up past your shoulders and up to your ears until your thumbs meet directly above your head.
  • Then, bring your arms back to the starting position. The key here is keeping the arms straight and elbows locked through the entire movement to engage your lats and shoulders.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets.
  1. Dolphin Kick
  • Position yourself face down on a bench so that the crease of your hip is at the end of the bench.
  • Your feet should be resting on the ground with your hands firmly engaged on the underside of the bench for support.
  • Straighten out your legs while raising them all the while engaging your abdominals, glutes, hips and spinal erectors in your low back. Your toes should be pointed away from your body and above your head at the top of the movement.

Lower back exercise.

  • Hold this static position for 5 seconds by firmly engaging every muscle in your body, before dropping the feet slightly below the bench and contracting again for 4 additional reps.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets.
  1. Superman
  • Lie face down with your chin on the ground and eyes at a neutral gaze.
  • Your ankles should be touching with toes pointed under you.
  • Reach your arms straight out above your shoulders so your palms are resting flat on the floor.
  • Engage your back, glutes and shoulders to pull yourself a few inches off the ground.

Core/back exercise on the floor.

  • Your arms and legs should remain fully contracted so that your hands and feet are elevated to the same relative height at the top of the static hold position. Hold this position while fully engaging your body and“fly” like Superman.
  • Repeat for 3 reps with a 15-30 second static hold, and 30-60 seconds rest between sets.
  1. Hip Hinge
  • Stand up straight with your hands on your hips. Your feet should be slightly wider than your hips and firmly planted on the ground.
  • Start the movement by engaging your core, pushing your ribs down and pulling your shoulders slightly back with a neutral neck position.
  • Bend forward at the waist in a slow and controlled manner while keeping your shoulders in line with your hips.
  • Keep your back, glutes and hamstrings engaged throughout the exercise. Bend forward until you are parallel, or just above parallel to the floor, before bringing yourself back up to the starting position.

Straight back while bending.

  • Note: A common error to this exercise is rounding the back, resulting in a loss of the neutral spine position. Form is crucial to this exercise and should be replicated perfectly on each rep to avoid injury and get the most out of the exercise.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 10-15 reps, with a 30-60 second rest between sets.
  1. Nose and Toes Against the Wall
  • Start in a push-up position with your feet against the wall.
  • Next, walk your feet up the wall while keeping your core tight, hips flexed and spine neutral.
  • Place your palms firmly on the ground just outside shoulder width as you begin to inch your hands towards the wall.
  • The top of the position will be reached when just your nose and toes touch the wall with firm hand placement on the floor and rigid core for a “hollow body” position.

Wall pushup demonstration.

  • Upon completion, safely come down by walking your hands away from the wall and bringing your feet down in a controlled manner.
  • Repeat for 3 reps with a 15-30 second static hold, and 30-60 seconds rest between sets.
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Improving the Health of Your Neck and Upper Back

Posted by on May 19, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 2.17.27 PMNeck, upper back and upper extremity problems have become a worldwide pandemic because of our time spent seated and our head-forward postures. The good news is that there is an antidote and we will cover it in this article. Neck and upper back problems represent a massive socio-economic and public health burden as recent studies have shown them to be the third leading cause of disability worldwide. An understanding of basic anatomy is essential to grasping the impact that repetitive postures can have on pain, function, health and spinal longevity. The average human head, which weighs approximately 10-15 pounds or 4.5 -6.8 kilograms, sits on top of seven cervical (neck) vertebra (spine bones). The spine protects our vital and delicate spinal cord and spinal nerves and these bones are separated by discs that allow space for nerves to exit as well as being shock absorbers and necessary from normal range of motion. The spine, when viewed from the side, also has curvatures, similar to engineers creating curves in bridges, dams and other structures, for strength and flexibility. The spine is at it’s strongest when it has normal curves and appears straight when viewed from the front or back. However these curvatures and the position of the head in relation to the body can be altered from repetitive poor postures. This is commonly referred to as head forward posture or anterior head carriage (AHC). Forward translation of the head over the body by as little as 25 millimeters (2.5 centimeters) has been shown to add 10 pounds of strain to ligaments, musclesScreen Shot 2016-05-19 at 2.16.06 PM and spinal discs and joints in the neck and upper back (thoracic spine). Craning your neck forward for brief periods of time is of little consequence but when done repetitively over time it can lead to degenerative musculoskeletal conditions associated with this area. This is similar to a car with a frame misalignment creating uneven wear in the tires. Over the short-term people may experience neck, shoulder and upper back (between the shoulder-blade) tension. As months turn into years these postures cause spinal nerves to become irritated, compressed and dysfunctional while spinal bones and joints can degenerate from osteoarthritis (most common form of arthritis by far). The nerves that exit the cervical and upper thoracic spines can become dysfunctional causing problems with balance, vision, hearing, hormones, the jaw (TMJ), face, shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists, heart, lungs, gallbladder and more.

The Antidote:

Many devices and therapies are available but I will discuss what I feel the most effective strategies are. Let me start by saying that there are ways of taping or bracing the neck and shoulder blades to improve posture but these are not optimal in my opinion. The reason for this is that your body becomes dependant on them and it’s not sustainable to wear tape or braces for longer periods of time. Typically these postures have been habitually developed over years and the solution is not a quick fix but a gradual improvement over time. Fortunately most people can gain pain relief quickly even if the cause of the problem (biomechanics and posture) is yet to be fixed. Some of the solutions I detail below are ways to incorporate new habits while others are ways to treat fibrotic lateral posturemuscles and stiff misaligned joints.
  1. Awareness: I recommend setting a timer for every 20 minutes spent sitting at work or while studying. When the timer goes off, get up and move for 20 seconds, this is known as the 20/20 rule. Recall that when viewing the human body from the side that a plum (gravity) line drawn through the hip, should intersect with the knee, ankle, shoulder and ear. Be aware of the ear and shoulder line especially. It other words, keep your head over body and not craned forward or looking down at a mobile device such as a tablet or cell phone. This step is crucial to make progress.
  2. Head retraction exercises: My favorite exercise I call the ‘Angel’ because it is like doing a snow angel. I recommend doing it against a wall if possible as this is the most difficult. Here is a link to watch a video of it being performed. Stand against a wall or lie flat on your back. Retract your head (bring your head towards the wall or floor and if done correctly it should create double chins as your face moves evenly backwards) and slide your arms as low as you can then as high above your head as possible. The goal is to keep your wrists, elbows and shoulders against the wall or floor throughout the movement while keeping your spine in a non-arched posture. For best result perform this daily for approximately 10 repetitions.
  3. Massage therapy: Getting tough, leathery, fibrotic tissues broken-up will help increase motion allowing for exercises and stretches to be more effective.
  4. Stretching: Movement is life and stretching will help hydrate joints, let nerves slide and keep tissues supple. Following our featured video for aScreen Shot 2016-05-19 at 2.16.46 PM game changing stretch routine in this link.
  5. Chiropractic: Once spinal misalignments become entrenched chiropractic care is needed to restore alignment, motion and proper nerve functioning. Chiropractic is a performance enhancer and will allow stretches, massage and exercise to be more effective. Plus chiropractic helps connect you to your deepest self, allowing for increased clarity and inner awareness.
  6. Foam Rolling: Using a foam roller can help break up global adhesions in the upper back. This is not a replacement for a skilled massage therapist.
  7. Work place ergonomics: Adjust the chair, desk, monitor, phone, mouse or reading material so that you can perform your work in an optimal biomechanical position.
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