The body is an amazing thing. It is designed to take care of itself. Now, we all here that fiber is good for lowering cholesterol. True, but how? I thought I would share a simplified answer so you simply don't have to take this fact without some clarification.
Fiber is essentially the indissoluble part of plant. When in our intestines, it is hard for the body to pass it through. Think about some old oatmeal sitting in a bowl. It gets thick and VERY hard to clean. It's like this in our intestines. So, the body will use something to help it pass in the form of bile.
Bile is made in the liver and stored in our gallbladder. Think of bile as a lube to help the body pass the fiber through our system. Kind of like oil! It kind of coats the mass, helps to break it down and slide through more easily.
The amazing think is bile is made from cholesterol! The cholesterol is pulled form our bloodstream and turned into bile, and passed to the gallbladder where it waits until needed.
As you can see then, adding fiber into the diet will help lower you cholesterol as it is pulled from the bloodstream. Now, this is obviously and over simplification, but should give you an idea of WHY the doctor says eat more fiber!
Eat your fiber!
So I have been trying to keep working out hard, but have been feeling a little unmotivated. This weekend, I went and purchased some more protein, as well as Epic's test booster as well as fat burning stack. They were really a package deal, so it saved me money.
Anyway, when I lose motivation I often do this. Try out new products. Why? For me, THIS is motivating! Trying something that can possibly help me break a plateau! It very often works. Perhaps because the supplement is a good product, but perhaps it may simply be a placebo effect! What I do know, is when I spend money on a product it often FORCES me to stay on track! Simply put, I work harder BECAUSE I don't want to waste my money.
Yes, this cannot be the foundation of you fitness program. The basics means hard work and determination along with a good plan. Still, if you need a quick kick, look into changing up your supplement plan. THIS may be just what you needed!
So life sometimes get's in the way of my workouts. I mean, it is life. This weekend I was asked to go to Chicago for a meeting of Freemasons, something I am very involved in. Still, I was pretty busy and didn't get my normal workouts in.
Still I did do what I could. I took the steps instead of the elevator, and when I woke up I got some push ups, sit ups and chair curls in. Chair curls? I simply used a chair in my room as my resistance and lifted it up and down.
Is it the perfect workout? Absolutely not! Was it better than nothing! Absolutely! For me, the key is to do the best you can. Life WILL get in our way, but we still must live! Do the best you can, but never, EVER, give up!
One of the things I often see with people that are trying to get into the fitness lifestyle is that they often fall into what I call the "all or none syndrome." Starting a new journey into a healthier lifestyle can be challenging. Oftentimes, it forces people to TOTALLY revamp their daily lives. From sedentary to working out. From staying out all night to going to bed earlier. From eating poorly to making better food choices.
What I caution people on is trying to avoid the all or none syndrome. You do NOT have to do everything perfectly when starting out. Admit to yourself that there WILL be bumps in the road.
Now most people that start out are truly energized. They WANT to make the proper changes. That is great! Still, it is imperative to realize that if something occurs that alters your plans on this new healthier lifestyle, to roll with the punches and not allow it to sabotage your success.
If you had a workout planned and had to work overtime, don't let this small bump destroy things. Simply move the workout to the next day and move on. If something comes up and you cannot eat the perfectly planned meal you prepared, make the best choices you can under the circumstances. Don't just say to heck with it and eat a McDonalds, but instead pick the healthiest options you have available. Perhaps a healthier sandwich at Subway,
Remember, the fitness lifestyle is not a quick fix! It is not something you do for three months and then walk away. No, this is a lifetime commitment. When something throws a wrench in your plans, simply accept it and move ahead. What you cannot allow to happen is that since you missed workout you then decide to let things snowball and eat bad, stay out late and fall back into bad habits! Accept the realities of life, but ALWAYS keep moving forward!
When I first met Michael, he came to me looking to get into better shape as he was 283 lbs, was on blood pressure medications, and had a family history of heart problems. Simply put, Michael realized that he needed to make some life changes to protect his health.
Michael and I sat down and put a plan together which included a proper diet, cardio, stretching, and strength training! What I can say about Michael is that he did everything I asked and more! He immersed himself into the fitness lifestyle.
One of the things he always enjoyed was hiking, so we included this into his training regimen along with the other components. Ironically, when Micheal advised his doctor that he had hired a trainer and that he was including strength training, his doctor indicated that all he really needed was cardio. Still, Michael continued with our plan, and he was soon down 20 lbs. As he continued to drop fat over time, his doctor finally admitted he should continue with the plan as he was making great progress. Eventually Michael lost 50 pounds and was off of his blood pressure medications. Michael is now down to a healthy 212 pounds and in September or 2014 climbed to the top of Mt. St. Helen's! A week later, he completed his first half-marathon!
Michael's story shows what can be accomplished through a good training program, and a strong desire to succeed!
Michael on top of Mt. St. Helen's
So I was thinking about the way we train. I think the biggest problem with the way most people train is that they do what they like, but don't do much of the things they don't. For instance, if you love to jog, but hate strength training, generally we jog much more than train with weights! The same thing happens the other way around as well. I suppose that is just human nature!
Still, for overall fitness, should we do it the other way around? I mean we are better runners because we love to do it! Still, shouldn't we focus more on what makes us healthier overall?
I personally have always struggled with this. I mean I love pushing myself under a heavy weight stack but have never truly enjoyed cardio. Sure I did it since I played rugby for 12 years and had to do it as a cop, but in the end, I simply did what was "necessary." I just kind of faked it!
Now however, I am 47 years old with a history of heart disease running in my family! I have realized that while I love to lift weights, I already excel at that. What will ultimately keep me alive longer is more cardio! That has become my primary focus! That does not mean I no longer lift as I most certainly do, but I have forced myself to look at the bigger picture. I have forced myself to work more cardio into my routine.
Now I have experimented with ways to make the cardio routines more "fun," such as adding boxing and biking into the mix instead of simply hitting the treadmill, but the fact remains that I had to change my focus!
If you are truly interested in overall fitness, I suggest you look at what you love to do and what you hate, and put more emphasis on the latter! THAT is what will ultimately make you a more well rounded athlete!
So the other day I was talking to a client about exercise and the way it can make you feel not only better physically, but mentally as well. My point was that studies show that exercise is AS effective as a chemical anti-depressant. Simply put, when you exercise, you just FEEL better overall!
Still, I offered the importance that improving oneself is a solitary journey. The competition must be within yourself, not comparing yourself to others! For instance, I have been training for over 30 years now! It would be foolish to say that since someone cannot bench what I do, that they are weak or put them down. NO, it simply means that while I was once in the very position they are, I have just trained longer, stuck to my goals and continued to improve.
It then occurred to me that exercising is almost like a spiritual journey! We can look to others for support and seek knowledge from them, but in the end it is OUR own journey! We must do the things in our spiritual life that make us better people. No matter what your faith, the journey is within yourself. ARE you actually doing the things necessary to make you a better Christian, Muslim, or whatever your faith, or are you faking it?
The same applies within the personal journey that is self improvement? Are you strength training, but fueling your body with cupcakes and beer? Are you doing what is necessary to truly make yourself better, or kind of faking it?
In essence, this journey applies to everything in our lives? Are you actually working to get good grades in school, or are you going through the motions? At work, do you simply show up only to wait long enough to go home or do you actually take pride in the career you have chosen? To truly improve in life, we must work toward a goal! That goal should be to be better today than you were yesterday in every aspect of your life!
There will be ups and downs and missteps in all of our personal journeys. I suppose that is the result of being human, but all I can suggest is that each of us should try to make ourselves and the world as a whole a little better than it was yesterday!
So I have been thinking about some things relative to fitness trainers, but also to anyone that is currently training or considering it. I have touched on things before such as goal setting which are very important, but here are a few other things I feel are important to consider.
First, train according to your goals and abilities. Now this may sound simple, but many people fail to do so. If your goal is to gain muscle, then too much cardio can hinder results, just as lifting super heavy can also affect the performance of someone that is planning on running a marathon. Certainly some crossover is necessary, but set a plan designed for your goals and stick with it.
As to abilities, work around whatever issues you may have. For instance, if you have had a knee replaced, perhaps heavy squatting is not the best method of training for you. Arthritis may be something else that needs to be considered. My point is that even if you have to change things up a bit, that does not mean you can continue to progress. Just because Joe Bodybuilder in some magazine says something is the best exercise for you does not mean you have to include it in YOUR routine. Chose wisely to avoid injuries.
Now, I am a big fan of old school style training with barbells and dumbbells, pulleys and the like. Why? Because when you see people in the past and those who currently train this way, you will see people that get results. Simply put, this style of training can be very successful. Still, it is not the ONLY way to train.
Falling into the newest fad of hanging straps, super gizmos or whatever is on the market today may however NOT be your best option. Again train toward your goals. This however can be a tricky issue. While I love "old school" I am always open to new ideas that may help me or my clients improve. In fact, there are some great new things on the market that not only can help you get results, but keep training interesting. Staying interested keeps you involved and can make this lifestyle more enjoyable. If we enjoy something, we are much more likely to continue doing it!
So, when it comes to new things, I suggest evaluating the product or technique and see what it really offers. If all you are getting is a new, shinier repackaged device or technique that mimics something you already have or can do, stay away from it. It is simply sucking more money from your wallet. If however, you feel it will add value to your existing workouts and provide a new challenge, go for it!
These are simply a few things one should consider if you are involved in the fitness lifestyle on any level. These few simple things to consider can be very rewarding and make training fun again!
Train Hard and Safe,
One problem many people working out forget is the necessity for change. I mean if you do the same thing over and over, you will get the same old results.
One thing that is very effective is simply changing rep speed. I do a lot of this with my clients, and there is scientific research to back up this technique. A few years back, Nautilus did a study using a 4 second positive and 10 second negative rep speed. The end result was that having a muscle under tension for 70-90 seconds yielded better results than faster rep speeds. The problem however, is that working out this way can be painful causing people to want to "go back to the old way."
Still, varying speeds can be used. I often have my clients use a simple 4 second up and 4 second down speed. This is an effective change that can be thrown into the mix to keep the body guessing. Don't be shy about change. Using a six and two count is another great routine. Use your imagination! Change is what will get your body to grow.
My last comment is a warning. If you are using slower rep speeds, you will likely have to reduce a little of the weight or resistance you are using. The increased time will certainly make things seem harder.
Change things up to change your body!