Monday, July 12, 2010

Schooling

So today I started persuing my Master's Degree in Health and Wellness with a concentration in Sports Performance and Injury Prevention. It is a 13-month program and is completely online from California University of Pennsylvania. Throughout the program, I will post some interesting facts I learn so everyone who is interest in some fitness tips can learn with me.

I posted a poll question today about fitness in your work place. I know for a fact that the Heinz Corporation right here in Pittsburgh has great benefits for their employees regarding being healthy. If anyone else's place of work has anything related to fitness, please respond to this post and let me know. I'm curious what employers out there see the importance of having healthy employees. In the long run, it saves the corporation money on health care and provides for a much greater work environment.

Here is some good reading for everyone today. I'll have some good EOD's later this week along with another Client Profile.




Wellness Coach

Successful Wellness Programs

Article on Corporate Wellness

Thursday, July 08, 2010

EOD - Sled Pushing


After a little bit of a layoff, the exercise of the day is back with a really intense lower body exercise called sled pushing. This exercise is utilized by every football team from high school to the pros because it works your entire lower body while giving your legs the power needed to explode from a stationary position to a running (or blocking in football) position.

For women who are looking to tone their butt, this is an excellent exercise because that is the primary muscle working here. In addition to the glutes and the rest of your legs working hard, you have to stabilize your core and your upper body in order to push the sled with your legs which is another great way to get stronger.

It doesn't matter if you have a real sled outside or if you are inside in a gym, you can get the sled pushing motion just by pushing a weight plate as demonstrated in this video. You can even take two dumbells and put them on a flat surface and push down on the dumbells to move the flat surface across a floor.

Watch the video, try the exercise. Get creative in what you use for a sled. Let me know the results!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Setting up a Routine

I find it's always better to write down your weekly or monthly plan for your workouts before you head into the gym every day. Knowing what you are going to do ahead of time gives you a much more efficient workout rather then winging it and going in without a plan.

There are many different options when it comes to writing out a weekly routine. Some people have 3x/week plans, while others have 6x/week plans. Whatever it is you do, the main ingridient to being successful is to be consistent. Follow your routine as best you can.

Here is the routine I started today. I got it off of Muscle & Strength Online. They have a lot of routines here for everyone from bodybuilders to losing weight.

I always find it helpful to also write down my progress. So everytime I finish a set, I write down the weight I used, the number of sets I did and how many reps I did. This way you can track your progress over a period of time. Make it your own little journal. Not only with it show you when you need to increase or decrease weight but physcologically it gives you a little boost to see your progress. Check out these templates to use for yourself.

Lastly, I believe working out with a partner is much better then working out alone. This is why people who have trainers tend to see much better results then people who work out alone. So find yourself a trainer, a friend or someone you met in the gym to workout with and increase the effectiveness of your workouts.

Check out these 10 great ways to improve your workout.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Fireworks in the Burgh

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July. I always take long weekends like this to rest my body from all the hard work that's been done in the gym over the last few weeks. It's important for your body to rest so take holidays like this to forget about the gym or running or anything else and rest your muscles because come tomorrow, the hard work begins again!


Anyway, I took in the fireworks in Pittsburgh yesterday from one of the greatest city views IN THE WORLD. On top of Mt. Washington, you can overlook the entire downtown Pittsburgh area including Heinz Field, PNC Park and the tons of bridges Pittsburgh has to offer.

The best part about the 4th of July on Mt. Washington is that when the fireworks are shot off from the Point in Pittsburgh where the Three Rivers meet, you actually look down to the fireworks. Its a unique view for a great American tradition.

Enjoy a couple minutes of the action.

video

Thursday, July 01, 2010

EOD - Wall Ball Toss

Today's Exercise of the Day requires two things; a medicine ball and a wall. With the Wall Ball Toss we get a nice dynamic, power ful exercise with uses movements in the legs, core and shoulders/arms. The Wall Ball Toss can be added in on any day of your exercise week because it fits into the legs, upper body and core categories.

I normally like to end my workout with these exercise because finishing with a power movement will keep your muscles active for the rest of your day. I try not to end routines with anything stationary.

Once again we have my co-worker Audrey demonstarting this exercise.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Client Profile - Becky

It's Wednesday, which means the 2nd installment of Client Profiles. Today, I'm profiling Becky. Becky came to me about 7 weeks ago when realizing after 10 years of marriage she wanted to get back to the shape she was in when she got married. Her husband is a former personal trainer himself so for me I knew I'd have to be on my game or else he would call me out!!

I am proud to announce that Becky has lost 10 pounds already and 2 sizes on her pants. Take a look.


What I am most proud of from training Becky is that when we first started she had some severe back pain everytime we did any exercise that involved twisting or bending. Through stretching and strengthening the correct muscles, we have all but eliminated that back pain.

Becky has lost weight and looks great because she has been dedicated to her workout schedule and most importantly her diet. Only once in the 7 weeks we have been training has Becky had something to eat that I didn't like. Besides that she doesn't drink as much as she used to and is eating the correct foods at the right time. She rides the stationary bike at least 4x a week and trains with me 3x a week. It has been a winning combination.

I look forward to continuing to train Becky and see her lose another 10 pounds in the coming weeks. Here are a  couple of videos of Becky in action!



Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Unique Way to Train

There is a new way to workout sweeping all fitness freaks out there. It's called CrossFit. From what I understand about this unique way of training, CrossFit is all about working the endurance of muscles. You take 3-4 exercises and do them consecutively for an extended period of time.

I have come across people who will do 10 pull-ups, 20 push-ups and 25 sit-ups in a circuit routine for 20 minutes without stopping. It's very intense and your muscles will be burning after the first 5 minutes. This type of routine definatly is a cardio workout, making your heart pump a lot of blood to the muscles which increases your heart rate, burning calories and helping lower your blood pressure.

By using a little resistance to your muscles the CrossFit can also build the endurance and strength in your muscles. Constant sets of 12-20 repititions (or 25 repitions in the case of sit-ups) is a great way to build the endurance in your muscles. If done in a powerful quick motion, muscular endurance can help atheletes of every sport.

Check out the CrossFit website and try out one of their routines. If the weight being used it too much for you, lower the weight and do the same amount of repititions. The weight isn't as important as the reps and the time required.

Monday, June 28, 2010

EOD - Face Pulls

As any one of my clients will tell you, Face Pulls are one of my favorite exercises. It doesn't matter your strength or size, face pulls are great for everyone and here is why.


The Face Pull works the upper back and back of the shoulders (rear deltoids). These muscles are very underused by everyone. Just typing on my computer right now, I'm using the front of my shoulder and completely ignoring the back of the shoulder. Almost everything we do in life happens in front of us, not behind us.


Therefore, most people acquire what is called protracted shoulders, meaning if you drew a line from shoulder to shoulder it was look like a "C" instead of the straight line it should be.

Face Pulls work the back of the shoulder, strengthening the muscle we never use, straightening up our posture. It is a very important exercise for people who sit all day at work in front of a computer. It is also important for those individuals who want to increase the weight on their bench press because the stronger the back of your shoulder, the more weight you will be able to push forward.

To do a face pull, find a cable machine and take a rope grip, putting it at a height just above your head. With a slight bend in the knee and while leaning backwards just a tad, pull the rop towards your nose, keeping your elbows above your shoulders.

Take a look at the video.....

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Client Spotlight - Amanda

I'm starting a new feature on my website today called Client Spotlight. Each week, I will spotlight someone I am training and show their progress, what it is that motivated them to start training and what exercises they are doing to get to their goal. I will try to provide before and after pictures so you can see the results of hard work.

Today's spotlight is Amanda. She came to me because she is attempting to get a job with the government and will need to pass a PT test in order to be accepted for the job. When Amanda first showed up at the gym, she couldn't do a push up and could barely do a sit up. She had never worked with weights before and if you ask me, she seemed frightened of them at first!!

The before.....


After about 4 months of training with me 3 times a week, I am extremely proud to announce that Amanda can now do 20 push ups (a complete push up, not a 1/2 push up) and over 50 sit ups consecutively. She is now a gym rat who I can not get out of the gym to rest. There will be days Amanda is here, runs, lifts a little bit and then does a spin class or some other aerobic class. I've created a monster!!

The after.....


What I enjoy most is that Amanda wants to know what every exercise does, which muscle groups it works and why. She challenges me to really know my stuff which makes my time with her a lot of fun.

Take a look at these awesome push ups!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

EOD - Stability Ball Hamstring Curls

Today's exercise of the day comes as a request from my mom of all people. She has some knee problems and her doctor (and her son/trainer) told her she needs to work her quads and hamstrings. So I told her to do the hamstring curl machine. However, for someone who is not used to using machines or someone who does not need to use more then bodyweight, those machines can be pretty uncomfortable. So she asked me for a different way to work the hamstrings and so here I am now about to explain the Stability Ball Hamstring Curl.

 
One of our group fitness instructors at the gym, Megan, does a great job explaining the exercise in this video so I won't go into much detail in words.

I will say that this exercise forces you to use a little bit of balance which in turn uses stabilizer muscles that machines just can't get. For anyone with knee issues, using stabilizer muscles is critical because it can stabilize the knee joint causing less pain for use in every day activities.

The hamstring is one of the most underworked muscles in the human body. Most of our power comes from the hamstring, yet we tend to only focus on the quad. A strong hamstring, means a strong knee and a strong, healthy leg.

Hamstrings also can tighten up and are the cause of most lower back pain. So take the time before and after everyone of your workouts to stretch the hamstrings by sitting on the ground, lifting one leg straight in the air and pulling the leg towards your face with your hands, keeping your leg as straight as possible the entire time. Here is another stretch for your hamstrings you can do anytime at your desk.

As always, let me know if there is a certain exercise or muscle group you want to be on the exercise of the day. Enjoy the video and thanks to Megan for her great explination.

Monday, June 21, 2010

EOD - How to Practice Your Pull-Up

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Strength is measured to me by push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups. I don't care how much you can bench press, or how much you can bicept curl. Now of these three strength judging exercises, the one that is most often passed over is the pull-up. There are many reasons for this.


Push-ups and sit-ups can be done anywhere. You can do them at home, in your office, in the park or wherever you are. In order to do pull-ups you need some sort of bar to pull up on. The other reason is they are probably the hardest of the three strength exercises to accomplish.

There are ways to work your way towards a sit-up, such as doing crunches first. Or you can practice a push-up by placing your knees on the ground. Today, I'm going to show you how you can practice a pull-up by using the Smith machine that can be found at just about every gym in the country.

Here is a good article on why using machines are NOT the best way to go and the advantages of doing a bodyweight workout vs. a weighted workout.

This video below is quick and to the point. To practice the pull-up, pleace the Smith Machine bar halfway up the rack. Then grab the bar and extend your arms to a locked position while you are hanging underneath the bar. Place your heels on the ground. Now pull your chest towards the bar while keeping your shoulders aligned with your hips, knees and ankles in one straight line.

Enjoy the video. Tomorrow I will get into a great exercise for a very underworked but very important muscle: The Hamstrings

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Relaxing Weekend of Exercising

I know that the word 'relaxing' to everyone means laying low, maybe sitting on the couch watching TV with some good food.

To me, relaxing means doing what I did this weekend. Friday late afternoon I went for a 3-mile run. It doesn't get any better then running on Grandview Avenue in Mt. Washington which overlooks the skyline of Pittsburgh.

Saturday consisted of my ice hockey game in which I had a goal and two assists (we lost 5-3 though). There is absolutely no workout like playing ice hockey. I was physically drained after the game, but I felt great. That afternoon I spent 'relaxing' at the pool, but I went on a few waterslides, which can be quite a workout in itself.

Sunday I played tennis against my buddy DJ. He kicked my ass 6-0, 6-1, but the lateral movements in tennis and the constant running was a demanding workout and a great way to start my Sunday. Then it was back to Sandcastle for a few more slides. Let me tell you, jumping over the waves in the wave pool can be an intense workout.

Now that's a great 'relaxing' weekend full of fitness. More people should get out and exercise on the weekend. Take a day or two off of lifting weights and just go out and do something that challenges your body and your lung capacity.

It's Sunday night and I feel completely refreshed now and ready to start my resistance training again tomorrow.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Exercise of the Day and Client Spotlight - Inner/Outer Leg

Today's Exercise of the Day is how to work the inner and outer parts of your legs called the adductors and abductors. There is that weird looking machine in the gym you see where people sit down and spread their legs as wide as possible and then push in or push out. That works your ad and abductors, but it's just not a comfortable machine.

These two exercises that my client Beth demonstrates for us in today's video are much more comfortable to do and involve dynamic movements (more then just isolating one body part), so it is functionally better for you to do these two exercises.

The first one is called a side or lateral lunge. Hold some kind of weight (dumbbell, plate or kettlebell) in your hands with your arms locked stiff and between your legs. Then lunge to each side. Whichever side you lunge to, bend that knee, keeping both of your feet facing forward. NEVER LET THE KNEE GO IN FRONT OF THE FOOT. With the opposite leg, straighten the knee to almost a locked position, feeling the stretch on the inner portion of the straightened leg.

The second exercise is called a lateral tube walk. This can be done with or without an ankle band. Beth is doing it with an ankle band. All you do is get down into a squat position and walk laterally in each direction. Again, never let your knee bend in front of your toes, keep your feet facing forward and STAY DOWN LOW. You should feel this exercise in the outer portion of your leg and the outer side of the hip.

These exercises should be done every time you do your legs routine and I promise you will be sore for 2-3 days following these exercises because these are muscles that are very under worked. However, they are extremely important in protecting the knee from being hurt and they help runners run faster. It will also help define the inner thigh that soo many women ask me about.

I want to thank Beth for demonstrating these exercises.

Enjoy the exercise, enjoy your weekend and as always, let me know how it goes.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

EOD - The Woodchop

Today's Exercise of the Day is the Wood (or Ax) Chop. This exercise is one of my favorite exericises to work the core. It consists of pulling a weight from either up high or down low and twisting your core to take the weight to the opposite side and height.

Our core is the most important part of our body as far as strength is concerned. A strong core means a strong and healthy person. When I say core it shouldn't be preceived that I am talking about having 6-pack abs or a washboard stomach. Your abdominal muscle are only a couple muscle in a group of over 30 muscles that surround your midsection from underneath your rib cage to your pelvis including the lower back.

The WoodChop Exercise is great because of the twisting motion of the exercise. It works the oblique muscles which are to the left and right of our '6-pack' muscles. It also works parts of the Lattimus Dorsi muscle. Take a look at the Lat here.

This exercise can help your golf swing, your basketball shot, your slapshot, baseball swing or anything else where you need to twist your torse in order to perform an exercise. It also gives your lower back to support it needs for all the pressure put on your lower back by everyday activities.

I decided it was about time I personally demonstrated an exercise so here I am demonstarting the Woodchop.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

EOD - The ARNOLD


Today's Exercise of the Day is named for the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He used this exercise to help him develope his shoulders when he was in his bodybuilding days.

Now don't think that this exercise is only for those people looking to get 'big'. This exercise is great for the shoulders because it takes place in all 3 planes of motion, the transverse, frontal and sagittal planes. It developes all parts of the shoulder for a more well-rounded shoulder workout.

This exercise combines all the shoulder raises and rotator cuff exercises into one movement to hit all parts.

Here is a great website that describes some great shoulder workouts and explains how the shoulder works.

Taken straight from Arnold's bodybuilding website, the site describes the exercise like this:

Arnold Presses

Purpose of Exercise: To develop the front and side deltoids, with secondary stress on your triceps. This exercise is very similar to Dumbbell Shoulder Presses save for a far greater range of motion. The Arnold shoulder press or sometimes just called Arnolds is an exercise named after Arnold Schwarzenegger who invented the movement.

Execution of Exercise: Take hold of a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing you, starting with the bells on either side of your collarbone, press them overhead until your arms are fully extended. As you push the bells overhead rotate them 180 degrees in a smooth and continuous motion until at the finish position your palms are facing away from you. Lower slowly under control and repeat.

Hockey

In my opinion, there is no better exercise then playing hockey. I run 3-5 miles every now and then, lift weights every day, play football, softball, kickball, tennis, raquetball and many other sports, but nothing gets my heart racing and the sweat pouring off of me like a hockey game.

I believe part of the reason is the lateral movements needed to ice skate. It's a very un-natural movement for humans as we tend to constantly move forward and backwards. Never really side to side. So when I skate, I am constantly using muscles that rarely get any work.

I have tried lateral lunges, ice skater simulation cardio machines and many other exercises in the gym to try and build my endurance for hockey but it is really tough. It's no wonder an average hockey shift is 30-45 seconds. That's it. It's a quick burst of energy then back to the bench to recover.

My hockey team finally won a game this weekend. We won 2-0. We have a great goaltender and a bunch of great guys on the team. We started off the season slow but I think we are finally putting it together. I play center and here is a picture of me taking a faceoff. I'm lower then the other guy because of all the squats I do, I can hold that position longer and lower then he can which helped me win this faceoff.

I LOVE THIS SPORT!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup of Fitness

I finally got internet back at my house after nearly two weeks without it. I'd been posting from work which is why you never saw a weekend post from me. I will continue EOD's starting tomorrow.

For today, I'm going to put a World Cup theme considering the World Cup just began. In my opinion, the most fit and best built athlete in the world is Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal. Watch him over the next month and you will see how great a soccer player he is as well as a great bodybuilder.



Check out a short and sweet article on his fitness routine here.

Soccer players normally aren't as built in their upper body as Ronaldo is considering their sport is all about running, endurance and the use of their legs. But Ronaldo is different.

Friday, June 11, 2010

EOD - The Power Clean

To end the week, I wanted to go with a more advanced move for the Exercise of the Day. The Power Clean is advanced because it requires multiple muscle groups to work together especially the posterior chain of the calves, hamstrings, glutes, lower back and upper back.

The Power Clean is a great exercise for atheletes looking to achieve more power, faster speeds and a lot of strength. This exercise is a combination of a bunch of movements, all of which someone wishing to do a Power Clean should feel comfortable doing on its own before performing the full Power Clean.

Once again I have recruited my co-worker Audrey to demonstrate this exercise. She does a great job of explaining every movement. The Power Clean consists of a deadlift, an upright row, a front squat and finally a shoulder press (NOTE: Audrey does not demonstrate the shoulder press portion because it is optional for this exercise).

If you have ever watched the Summer Olympics you see power-type lifts where Olympians lift ridiculous amounts of weight over their head. For the average Joe's out there, I would suggest started to Power Clean with whatever the amount of weight is that you can do sets of deadlifts.

Enjoy the video and even if you aren't in the physical condition yet to do these, this video is broken down into each part of the exercise and everyone can try all of these seperately.

video

Thursday, June 10, 2010

EOD - The Exercise Band


Today's Exercise of the Day deals with the Exercise Bands which are those rubber band, multi-colored things with handles that you see at the gym. The color of the band determines the amount of resistance each band will give you. Normally, yellow is the easiest and black or grey are the hardest. All you really have to do is look at each band. The thicker bands will provide more resistance then the thinner bands.

Bands are a great way for a beginner to start learning the effects of resistance training. I also use bands when I am introducing a new exercise to a client as a way of making sure they have the right posture and positioning for the exercise. Bands are most common for rehabbing an injury, most commonly the shoulder and ankle.

This article here explains in good detail why band training can be more beneficial then weight training for some people. I suggest incorporating band work into your workout. The video below shows a lat pulldown. But any exercise can be done with a band. Whatever the movement you would do with a free weight or weight machine can also be done with a band.

Bands can be purchased just about anywhere now. I've seen them at Dick's, Target and Sports Authority. You can also purchase them online at Amazon.

Try it out, let me know what you think and enjoy the video.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

EOD - The Plank


Most people have heard of the plank. But are you doing the plank correctly? Are you holding it long enough? What does it really work?

Well, the plank might be the best exercise for the core out there today. It doesn't require weights and can be done in your office, at home, in the gym or anywhere you have a flat surface. Today's video shows the side plank and the front plank. I like this video because it also describes how to do a plank push-up from the side.

Planks stabilize the core muscles, which are the muscles in the middle part of our body from the hip up to the ribs, both in our stomach region and the lower back region. The stronger your core, the better you will be at EVERYTHING else in life. Everything starts from your core.

In addition to what this video shows, there is the reverse plank where you put your forearms on the ground which your back side facing the ground and your heels on the ground. Then lift your hips off the mat and keep your toes pointed towards the ceiling. Another progression for planks is an unstable surface. If you can hold a front plank for 90 seconds or longer, then progress to where you are using a stability ball underneath your arms. This will give more of a squeeze to the abdominal area.

I like to try and have my clients hold the front plank for 60-90 seconds and the side and reverse planks for 30-45 seconds.

Enjoy the video!

Strasburg-Mania


Unless you don't watch any news whatsoever, you heard that the Washington Nationals debuted the most talked about pitcher maybe ever in MLB history in Stephen Strasburg. Now, I'm not going to speak about his remarkable debut or his ridiculous curveball and fastball. But what I will talk about is a big reason why the kid got to be where he is.

Strasburg was not highly recruted for college ball. In fact, most players of his caliber are drafted after high school. He wasn't and ended up at San Diego State with the legendary Tony Gwynn as head coach. Strasburg was fat, he could only hit the 80's with his fastball and couldn't even run sprints with his team.

When he finally found the weight room that year, he began his progression into the pitcher he is now. The following is an excerpt from a CBSSportsline article by Scott Miller on April 28, 2009


"Strasburg's is the most fun kind of legend, because it's grown from the ground up and taken nearly three years to germinate. He was not heavily recruited while at West Hills High School in suburban San Diego, partly because his fastball wasn't even a training-wheels model of what it is today and partly because, back then, he mostly was viewed as a slacker.

It was SDSU pitching coach Rusty Filter, now in his 17th season on the job, who saw some potential when Strasburg was in high school.

"I thought he was average," Gwynn says. "I really did. Rusty was the one who assured me we should take him."

"Just to set it right, we have to convince Coach Gwynn on everybody," Filter says, chuckling. "He threw 86-to-90 with a good breaking ball, so it wasn't like there wasn't much to work with already.

"I felt like he could have some impact in middle relief."

The early days weren't pretty. Strasburg was overweight, out-of-shape and mostly spent his first few days of conditioning at the school throwing up. Filter told him he was soft, wouldn't compete, wouldn't make it, "everything negative I could say."

There wasn't much verbal reaction from Strasberg, but there was the best kind of reaction. He worked. And worked. And that, combined with his intelligence -- he's already got 30 hours completed toward a degree in public administration and is on track to graduate in 3½ years -- has been a splendid combination.

Despite the hoopla, Strasburg keeps his focus on his college team. (US Presswire)

"I've always had confidence in myself," he says. "You're not going to wake up one morning and start throwing the ball eight, 10 mph. higher than you were. I've worked, day-in and day-out."

He was the team's closer as a freshman and joined the rotation last year. His fastball velocity jumped as he got leaner and stronger, from the low-90s as a freshman to the mid-90s that spring to 98 in the summer before his sophomore season while pitching for the Torrington (Conn.) Twisters of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. He first hit 100 during the fall of his sophomore year.

"I've had numerous requests for his workout program," Filter says. "It's incredible. I've probably had 50 of them this year. Grandmas for their grandsons. From parents. From kids. It's been an array of people."

Filter, not interested in attaching himself to Strasburg's success, doesn't respond.

"I'm not going to do that," he says. "It's the same program for every pitcher on the team. He has some things he does, but it's baseball. There are no secrets."

For the full article, click here

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

EOD - The Butt Blaster


Those of you who train with me most likely know that I have an exercise I call the Butt Blaster which I normally incorporate into a leg workout. Today's Exercise of the Day is a compilation of exercises that shape your backside. Almost all women at the gym ask me how they can shape their butt and this video shows a few basic exercises. The exercise where you push your leg almost straight up in the air behind you is what I consider the true 'Butt Blaster'.

Now for guys, working out your glutes is extremely important because not only is that where most of your power comes from in a squat but it is also the muscle group that can help give you power in most athletic activities such as ice skating, swinging a baseball bat or a tennis racket.

If these exercises in this video are too easy for you, consider using resistance bands until the resistance is suitable for your strength.

Don't forget the gluteal muscles connect your lower back to your hamstrings, so strengthening these muscles will not only help with people who have back pain and knee pain, but it will help runners, jumpers and many other different type of athletes.

Enjoy the video.

Radio Interview

My interview with Bill Murphy on the fitness industry is now streaming live on the internet. Check it out here. This is a great show my buddy Bill down in Florida is doing. This is my first of hopefully many appearances on his show.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

BeanTown


I'm on my way up to Boston for my buddy Avi's wedding. I'm looking forward to seeing all of my high school friends again and the crew from BBYO. The wedding is on the Cape where I've never been before so that's one more thing to look forward to.

Monday I will be flying back to Pittsburgh so I might not get a chance to put up an EOD, but if anyone has an exercise they would like to post, let me know.

I'm very excited to see the Flyers win last night because that means one more hockey game guarenteed next week. This series looks like it is shaping up to go 7 games which would be great for the NHL. The Flyers looked real good and seem to be getting all the bounces which is always a positive come playoff time.

Have a great weekend everyone. Hopefully Sunday's weather is better then today's in the northeast.

Friday, June 04, 2010

EOD - Frog Squat


First off, sorry for not posting an EOD yesterday. My internet went out at my house (stupid Verizon!). Anyway, I brought my computer to work so I can post an EOD today.

Today's Exercise of the Day is the FROG SQUAT. Sounds weird, right? Well, it looks weird too when you are doing it. You actually look like a frog about to jump off a lilly pad. Anyway, the frog squat is a great exercise for those people trying to tone their hamstrings, thighs and butt. There are no weights involved.

To do the frog squad, you just get down into a position like a catcher in baseball. Then bend you back and put your arms just on the inside of your leg around the knee area and your hands almost in a prayer-like position. Your feet are slightly turned outward (a little different from a regular squat). Then just stick your butt in the air and bring it back down. It should just be your hips that are rotating, not your back.

WARNING: If you have any type of knee problems, this squat is NOT for you. But if you are looking for a great toning exercise and get sick of doing squat after squat after squat, this could be a fun variation. Make sure to do it in the middle of the gym so when you stick your butt in the air, everyone can see how nicely shaped your behind is!!!!

This video explains it really well.

Radio Interview

I did an internet radio interview yesterday with my good friend Bill Murphy. Murph as we call him, started his own 30-minute daily show on just about every topic you can think of. It is truely a great idea and a great program. He is featuring me next Tuesday for Fitness. Here is a link to his show. Check it out. I'll put up a reminder post on Tuesday as well to check out my interview on his show.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

One of the Best Ever

Sorry for the double-non fitness related posts this morning but this one is close to my heart.

Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement last night. Griffey was one of my first idols in baseball I had growing up. There was always Cal Ripken, which was obvious being from that area, but Junior was one of my favorites that never played for my team. I had a poster of him on my wall growing up that read, "In Jr. We Trust"

I will never forget his rediculous catches in centerfield and how it always looked like he was having sooo much fun playing the game. I will never forget the catch he made against my Orioles one evening in the old Kingdom. He leaped up against the wall and caught the ball with his wrist turned completely around. It actually broke his wrist but it was the best catch I have ever seen in my lifetime. If that catch were in a World Series, it would have been better then Willie Mays' catch from years prior. Here is a picture of that catch.

ken griffey jr. catch in kingdom Pictures, Images and Photos

Griffey had the sweetest swing EVER in the game. No one can argue that. He leaves the game with the 5th most home runs of all-time and ZERO, zilch, nada talk of him ever using steroids or HGH. That in itself is unheard of in today's game. He will go into the Hall of Fame in 5 years as one of the games all-time greats and I will be there in Cooperstown with my buddy Phil.

Congratulations on a great career Junior and here's to hoping you stay in the game in any shape or form. The MLB is sooooo much better with Ken Griffey in it, then without him.

The not-so-Perfect Game

If anyone didn't see what happened last night in the Tigers game, the Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga had a perfect game going into the ninth inning and with two outs, the umpire blew a call at first base calling the runner safe when he was clearly out costing Galarraga the perfect game.

A couple thoughts here.
No. 1 - This is going to bring an uproar about how baseball should have instant replay. I think I am one of the few against instant replay. One aspect of baseball that I love the most is the human judgment. Balls and Strikes are the ultimate human judgment call in sports and I love it. Yes, Jim Joyce cost someone one of the rarest feats in all of sports.......but let me make this statement. If a ground ball to third base went through the legs of the third basemen and that was the only runner to reach base then well, its not a perfect game. So while the umpire absolutely blew the call, he made an error. No different then the third basemen or anyone else making an error to nullify a perfecto. Sucks for Galarraga, but don't institute replay into the game because the umpire blew one call. They get 99.9% of the calls correct.

No. 2 - Anyone else realize that we almost had the 3rd perfect game of the season and the 4th in less then a calendar year? That's unheard of. Are the pitchers getting better? Is the steroid era over? We have a pitcher, Jubaldo Jimenez, with an ERA under 1.00 in JUNE.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

EOD - Push Ups


Today's Exercise of the Day is the Push-up (this one's for you Ryan). I love this picture by the way.

There are 3 exercises to me that determine a person's muscular strength; the pull-up, the sit-up and the push-up. If you can push up your own body weight which is essentially what a push-up is, then to me you are a strong person.

The basic push-up consists of positioning your shoulders straight over your wrist and bending your elbows outwards until your chest (not nose) hits the ground, then pushing back up until your arms are fully extended. From your heels to shoulders are always in a straight line. Do not sink your hips or push your butt into the air. The push-up works your chest, triceps and shoulders, even a little bit of your back. Check out this website on push-ups.

Now for people who can't quite do a full push-up yet, there are modifications that can be done to get similar results and work the same muscle groups. First, I'd suggest doing a push-up against a wall. Put your hands shoulder wideth apart on the wall, take a step back so you are on your toes and then push your chest towars the wall and then back out keeping a straight line from your heels to your head. The first of two videos I have today is step 2 to the push-up. After you have mastered the wall push-up, this is the next step.



Now if you have mastered the basic push-up, this second video shows some different variations to the push-up which will incorporate more muscle groups into your push-up workout.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

EOD - Self-Myofascial Release (Foam Rolling)


Welcome back from Memorial Day Vacation! I hope everyone took a couple days off of exercising and gave their muscles a chance to recover and rest.

Today's Exercise of the Day is Foam Rolling. Foam Rollers are those little spongy-like tubes you see in the gym. Most people have no idea what they are used for, unless you are one of my clients then you know exactly how I feel about them.

A foam roller is actually a self-myofascial release because it releases the myofascial tissue in your muscles that cause knotting and stiffness, or even chronic pain. What the foam roller does is act as your own personal massage therapist. While there are lots of different positions and muscles you can work on with the Foam Roller, they are most commonly used on the lower half of the body.

With that said however, using a foam roller can loosen the muscles in the leg such as the hamstring and glutes which when stretched relieve pressure on the lower back. So anyone who is experiencing lower back pain should try foam rolling out the knots in your legs before automatically assuming you have a back problem.

Today's video explains how to foam roll very well, but I also really like this website as well. Enjoy, and as always if there is an exercise you want me to explain or you think should be an EOD, please let me know.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Ms. Fitness

I don't really think people understand how hard it is to compete in a Fitness or Bodybuilding competition. What those men and women put themselves through for a couple months especially the week leading up to the competition is more intense then any professional athlete out there. My friend Caresse decided a few months ago to enter a fitness competition. She only had about 3 months to prepare, which is not a lot of time at all. She worked real hard at the gym which is where I met her. I watched her workout daily and we began to talk. Because of her true interest in fitness, lifting weight, diet and supplementation, we became friend discussing her routines daily.

Let me just say that there isn't anything Caresse won't try and she is extremely hard working and gave 100% working towards this competition. I am extremely excited to report that she sent me a txt message today to report she placed 1st this weekend at the Kumite Classic at the Monroeville Convention Center.

While I wasn't able to attend the competition in person, I was able to get a sneak peak at Caresse's moves a day before the competition. Check out the video. I apologize for how dark it is but when she hits the light, what you see is a culmination of 3 months of extremely hard work.

The best part is, this was her first ever competition.

video

Friday, May 28, 2010

Heading to the Beach

I'm off to Ocean City this weekend. Can't wait to have some fun in the sun (hopefully sun). Maybe I can come back with a nice tan. Whatever you do this Memorial Day Weekend, have fun and forget about work. Enjoy yourself and be safe. I'll have some pictures from the weekend when I get back.

Exercise of the Day will continue on Tuesday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

EOD - Running

Today's Exercise of the Day is not really a specific exercise but is something some people do religiously and that is running. The video here is a documentary on some women in Washington, D.C. and how running has impacted their life.

Watch more free documentaries

Running is interesting to me. Yes, it is healthy for you in that it increases your lung capacity, lowers your resting heart rate and helps you burn calories. All of these are phenomenal.

But there are a lot of risks involved with running. Just remember what happened to the first person who ran what is now called a marathon, HE DIED on the spot after giving the message he was sent to deliver.
"The marathon is named after a town in Greece which was the site of the battle of Marathon in 490 BC. The battle was won by the Athenian army which defeated the Persians. After the victory, a messenger named Phidippides ran from Marathon to Athens, a distance of 26.2 miles, to announce the victory, after which, as the story goes, he keeled over and died. (Pretty much how most folks feel after having completed a marathon!)" ~Thank you answers.com

Running can also be extremely rough on your major joins, specifically the knees especially if you are overweight. Running short distances (3 miles or less) is the best way to go. But for distance runner, sometimes the pain can be excruciating after a long run. This is where foam rolling comes in handy. (I will have an EOD on foam rolling in the coming days). Foam rolling takes out all of the knots in your IT Band (outside of your leg) which is what causes pressure in the knee and all the pain you feel. This article in runnersworld explains a little more about running. But just remember the source. This is a website to convince people to run more.

Also, one last helpful hint. DO NOT run everyday. Your body needs rest and time to heel. Running does break muscles down and muscles need rest. Try to only run 4-5 days a week MAX. Check out this website on a 16-week plan to get ready for a marathon. Notice that they never say to run more then 4 days a week. If you do run, here is a great website to create a route and see the distance wherever you plan on running.

Lastly, don't forget to stretch before and after you run and always stay hydrated with enough water.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pitt to Rebuild Bones and Muscles

The University of Pittsburgh Medical School was given a nice $12 million gift to help treat damaged bones specifically for wounded war veterans. Part of the money also goes towards researching ways to rebuild muscle tissue. Here is the article in the Pittsburgh Tibune-Review.

The Pitt School of Medicine continues to be one of the very best in the country and this money for continued research proves that fact. It makes me proud to say I'm a Pitt alum (even though I didn't have anything to do with medicine when I was in school).

I'll be very interested to hear the results from their research in the next two years.

Bootcamp and the EOD-The Lunge

Today's Exercise of the Day is the Lunge. This is another very common exercise for both men and women at the gym. The lunge is a great dynamic movement involving the ankle, knee and hip complexes. It can work everything from the quads (front of the leg) to the gluts (butt), the hamstrings (back of the leg) and even the calves.

This instructional video on lunges comes from the Pittsburgh Bootcamp for Women. If you are female and looking for an intense week of training, check out this website. If anyone has done this in the past or plans on taking part in this bootcamp, let me know and I'd love for you to post a review on it.

Also, I've heard some people say that lunges are not good for people age 55 and over. While a lot of men and women of this age do begin to have knee problems which could prevent someone from doing a lunge, I have yet to find any evidence that lunging isn't good for people of all ages.

Obviously there are precautions you should take. If you feel any discomfort in the knee, do not lunge. If you recently had surgery on your knee, leg extensions and leg curls are a much better option for you. The rest is explained in the video. Also, here is a good article on some exercises you should never do.

If anyone has any questions on an EOD or would like instruction on a certain exercise, please comment on any of these posts. Enjoy today's video.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

EOD - The ABS

Today's Exercise of the Day consists of working the most talked about muscle on both men and women......ABS

Everyone wants defined abs or to lose that gut. But it's not as easy as doing a million crunches or holding that plank for 5 minutes at a time. Getting defined abs is more about diet then anything else. If you have been working your abs at the gym for months and don't see any results, maybe it's time to change your diet.

While decreasing carb intake will help shed a few pounds and I have seen this work on myself included, decreasing your carb intake is dangerous if done incorrectly. On average, a person's diet should contain of 60% carbohydrates. That's a lot. So someone saying I'm not going to eat carbs is depriving their body of a lot of essential food for energy. While I'm not a dietician, I'm suggesting if you want to cut carbs, don't cut a lot of carbs, just cut a small amount. If you aren't seeing the results you want with your abs, play around with your diet. Everyone's body reacts differently to different foods.

On to the exercise. These are exercises that make your abs stronger which is what I am all about as a trainer. This video, courtesy of Turbulence Training describes why we should be working our abs and a few exercises to include in your everyday routine.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Supreme Court Ruling

If you didn't hear on SportsCenter or CNN, today the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the NFL consists on 32 seperate teams and is not one single entity. This stemming from a lawsuit against the NFL by a former hat company which was dropped by the NFL a few years back.
I don't have all the specific details on the lawsuit itself but the ruling definately changes a lot of things concerning sports as a whole. Only baseball has anti-trust exemptions. This means that the NFL, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, etc. can not control the respective teams in their league. If all 32 NFL teams want to work as a whole and only produce Reebok hats, they can. But say the Cowboys or Steelers (probably the 2 most popular NFL teams) want to sell Steeler or Cowboy hats made by Nike or some other company, then they are allowed by law to do this. It will be interesting to see what this leads to in the future but needless to say, today is a huge loss for everyone major sport in this country (except for baseball of course)


Here
is the link to the ESPN story

Here is the official ruling for the Supreme Court

EOD

Welcome to another workweek. Today's Exercise of the Day is all about the basics of a squat. Squatting is the best exercise anyone can do, hands down! If squatting properly you are working out all of the major muscle groups in the leg including the gluts, hamstrings, quads and calves. It involves movement in three major joint complexes, the hip complex, the knee and the ankle.

A lot of people I talk to tell me they don't squat because they have knee problems. Well here is the truth. A squat shouldn't bother your knees at all if done properly. In fact, squatting will only strengthen your knee. The main reason most people feel knee pain during squats is because they are sitting far enough back into the squat.

My co-worker at Gold's Gym Audrey is doing the demonstrating in this video and explains the squat really well. She is one of the best trainers I work with and one of the strongest women I've ever lifted weights with, especially when it comes to lower body workouts.

Enjoy the short video and starting squatting today.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm a Chef!

I decided to make some sushi tonight from scratch and it actually worked. I bought sushi rice, seawood, fish, eel and wasabi. It worked like a charm. Enjoy the picture. I enjoyed the food. I'm going to have to make sushi more often. It is my favorite food and one of the healthiest foods in the world.



It's no coincidence why the Asians live to be the oldest people in the world. They have a steady diet of fish and rice, two incredibly good foods for you. Add in some cucumber and avacado as are in sushi and it doesn't get much better then that.

I've got a great Exercise of the Day for you on squatting tomorrow. So stay tuned.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Google and a Great Sports Weekend


Anyone else see that www.google.com turned its google logo at the top of the page to an actual Pac-Man game marking the 30th anniversary of the legendary game? First off, it's been 30 years.....holy crap! Here is a great blog about what Google using their logo as a game did to America yesterday. Also, anyone see about the new GoogleTV. It's a great concept and I think it will be very successful. Here is a link to their demo video. AOL always said they wanted to make an impact on America like the telephone and the television. Well now two of America's greatest inventions are connecting to one another which I believe is a brilliant idea. It's like a universal remote. We love All-in-One devices and now we can use our TV's for shows, the internet, as a webcam (like a telephone) and sooo much more. It's a Universal remote to life.

On to a great sports weekend. Great hockey action this afternoon with the Habs and Flyers playing game 3 and you heard it hear first, the Blackhawks will sweep tomorrow and might even sweep the Stanley Cup Finals. They are leaps and bounds better then San Jose who is by far better then both Montreal and Philly.

NBA intrigue as well this weekend. I loved Paul Pierce's comments about sweeping Orlando. Why shouldn't he be confident? They detroyed the Magic twice in their own building. Now, can Superman make Paul eat his words? I doubt it.

I plan to take in the Pirates-Braves game tonight. Can't wait to see the newest MLB young phenom Jason Heyward. Great seeing the Buccos featured on TWIB (This Week in Baseball) this morning. TWIB is still my favorite TV show (it airs on Fox every Saturday during the baseball season), and no one knows it is on. There are no sponsors, no opinions, just facts, great insider interviews and great highlite reels.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday, May 21, 2010

EOD - The Vertical Jump

The exercise of the day today is a little different. This one is a dynamic movement which helps give power to your legs. It is a standing vertical jump (Box Jump) onto a platform, step or whatever level-raised surface you can find.

This is a great exercize for active people who want a spring in their step for whatever sport they play. This is the drill most used by NFL scouts to determine how athletic a player is. Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow had a ridiculous vertical jump which helped him move up in the draft all the way to the first round even though his throwing skills as a QB were lacking. I bet he practiced this exercise a lot.

The video (click here) for this exercize is courtesy of one of my clients, Beth. Her husband is a football coach at a local high school here in Pittsburgh and this is a player on his team which after seeing this jump should get some scholarship offers next season when he is a senior. Maybe it will be Pitt!! The jump is the first 30 seconds of the video. The rest are football drills which college coaches will use to determine how valuable this athlete could be for their team.

Have a great weekend everyone and remember a glass or two of red wine is actually good for you so have a glass of wine with your dinner tonight!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hockey

Just got back from my hockey game. Yea, we lost 11-1. At least I was the one who scored the 1. Wasn't a pretty goal, but it counts.

I hate losing, but it was nice to get back on the ice for the first time in two weeks. My team has a few quality players and a good goaltender. We will pick it up. I know we will get better.

As for the NHL, big win tonight for Montreal. I still think this series is going 7, which would mean a third straight game seven for the Canadiens. Montreal didn't play their normal game today to win. They actual played aggressive hockey. They beat the Pens and Caps by sitting back on defense, blocking shots and taking advantage of the few scoring chances they got. Tonight they were on the attack the entire night and it actually worked for them.

Jacques Martin is my former boss when I worked for the Florida Panthers. I believe he is a fantastic head coach. He made some great coaching changes for the game tonight and it showed. As much as I love the Caps, he outcoached Boudreau in the first round and it showed. He figured out how to neutralize the best two players in the game. Hal Gill has a lot to do with it but Jacques is the one who put Hal Gill in the right position.

Exercize of the Day (EOD)

Too many times in the gym I see people workout without stretching first. Stretching is a huge part of workout out, getting stronger, losing weight and just being a healthier person.

Now most people think stretching is getting into a certain position and holding it for a few seconds. This is called static stretching and is great, but it doesn't prepare you for a workout. Static stretching is great AFTER your workout.

Prework stretches should be ACTIVE, meaning your muscles are moving, not sitting still. These are called active or dynamic stretches. The reason for this in simple terms is that if you warm up by being still, your muscles will be still and it will be harder to activate them when you lift a weight or start running. When you use active stretches you are actually preparing each muscle to lengthen and then contract which is exactly was is done with resistence training. (Sports Fitness Advisor)

Here is a video of some active/dynamic preworkout stretches. Obviusly you don't need to go as far as the man in the example, but attempting a slower variation is recommended before your workout no matter if you are about to get on a cardio machine or about to do resistence training.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What's on TV?

With the NHL Playoffs winding down and the fact that I don't find the NBA that intriguing to watch, baseball is now the sport on the most in the evenings. However, I have a serious problem with ESPN carrying the Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, Cubs, Mets and Dodgers constantly. Mainly the Yankees and Red Sox.

Now I understand they are the two most popular baseball teams in the country and that they probably drive ratings which is why they are always on. However, ESPN would do the game a baseball a favor if they put on some Marlins games or Royals games. Maybe a Diamondbacks game or Pirates game. AND, I don't want to see the Royals playing the Yankees. Give me Pirates-Diamondbacks. Give me Marlins-Braves.

I want to see the future of the game as well as the All-Stars. We all know that come October we are going to see these perrenial playoff teams. Let us see the rest of baseball during the regular season.

Exercise of the Day - Kettlebells

Kettlebells have been around for a while but recently they are becomming more and more popular for everyday use at the gym. At my gym, we got a set in about a month ago and we are continuously learning how to use them. Here is a great video instruction on some basic kettlebell exercises.
Try this out at home if you have a kettlebell. If not come into Gold's Gym in downtown Pittsburgh and I'll give you a crash course lesson.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ping Pong Balls, Jewish History and some Gym Time

Wow, what a crazy day. Not that I follow the NBA that much but I am a Wizards fan when push comes to shove. And my Wiz got the No. 1 pick in the draft tonight which means Welcome to D.C. John Wall!!! Now if only we could sign LeBron. (ESPN Article)

Tonight begins the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. It is the day that God gave the Torah to the Israelities in the desert. I went to an even at the JCC (Jewish Community Center) tonight as I try to get more involved in the Jewish Community. I learned a lot tonight such as you are supposed to eat dairy tonight. There are many theories on why this is the case but I don't buy any of them so I won't get into it now.

I need some help from everyone with this next topic. I started a class at the gym last week. It is called Power Lunch and I run it like a bootcamp for 45 minutes. The gym I work at is downtown so I figured I'd get business people on their lunch break. Last week I offered the class for free so everyone could see what it was all about. I had 10 people show on Tuesday and 8 on Thursday. However, today not a single person showed up. It seems no one wants to pay even the small $10 a class fee I am asking. Any suggestions on how or what you think I can do to make this class a success. I still want it to work out as I think it is a great cheaper option to have a personal trainer. I can charge up to $60 a session for 1-on-1, so I thought in a group setting, I could charge a lot less and get more people involved.
Hopefully all of you brilliant marketing/PR minds out there can suggest something for me.