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Monday, October 29, 2012

Success at Obtaining Fitness Goals (Part 4)

Here is "Part 4" in Brad Covington's blog on becoming successful at obtaining your fitness goals.  Be sure to go back and check out his introduction, part 1, part 2, and part 3.


The next topic we will discuss on being successful at the gym is nutrition...the most vital portion of any fitness program.  There a 2 different mentalities when people join the local gym/fitness center:
  1. I am working out, I can eat whatever I want. 
  2. I am working out, I can’t eat anything and must restrict my diet.

These two trains of thought are both wrong. First it is not strictly about calories, it is about the right calories.   Not all calories are created equal.  For example, a piece of cake is not going to have the same effect on the body as a piece of grilled chicken or cup of broccoli.  So, it is not simply about “counting calories” as much as it is about “eating clean”, as we in the fitness industry like to put it.

What does that mean exactly?

For starters, take all refined sugars out of your body, it is the enemy.  Refined sugars are simply wasted empty calories that the body will turn into fat.  They will make you feel sluggish, unfocused, and unmotivated.

Second, make sure to take out all of the saturated fats in your diet. What that means is stop frying your foods and, instead, bake them, broil them, grill them.  Just don’t fry them!!!  It also means getting leaner meats and not as much red meat.  Add more fish and chicken, which are low in saturated fat.  Fish have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids that will aid in your fat loss.

Also, that means we need to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies.  Be careful with the fruits though, they still have sugar in them, just not refined sugars.  Eat as many veggies as you can stomach!!  Remember, you are what you eat from your head down to your feet. Remember that one, it is true!!!

Last but not least, leave all of the processed food alone.  If it is processed, it is full of sodium and artificial chemicals that help with the preservation and increase the shelf life.  Have you ever been to France?  Have you noticed there are a lot of smaller people, not a lot of overweight individuals and all they do is eat pasta and drink wine?!  How can this be?  There food is not processed like the food in the good ole USA!!!  So stay away from it and you will see your fitness goals approach faster then you ever thought possible!!!

I almost forgot. Drink your H2O (water) ladies and gentlemen!!!!  If you do not drink enough water, your liver will not metabolize fat as efficiently as it should because it will be taking on some of the function of the kidneys.  So, you are not letting the liver do its job (fat metabolism) because it is doing the job of the kidneys. In fact, most people will retain 5-15lbs. of fluid because 95% of America is walking around dehydrated.   Don’t forget your caffeine intake.   For every 8 oz. of caffeine you consume, you will need to take in 16 oz. of water to replenish the fluids you lose through dehydration because caffeine is a diuretic.  To calculate the amount of water you need per day, simply take your body weight and multiply it by 0.66.  Remember, this does not take into account your caffeine intake throughout the day!!!

Stay tuned for "Part 5"!  If you need assistance with tackling your nutritional habits, schedule an appointment with our nutrition specialist here at PROMATx Health Club.  We will help get you on the right track!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Success at Obtaining Fitness Goals (Part 3)

Continuing on with our guest blogger series on fitness goals, here is Brad Covington's "Part 3".  If you missed previous entries by Brad be sure to check out his introduction, part 1, and part 2.

CONSISTENCY
 
The next part of the blog in this series is about consistency.  There are going to be times when you will have great workouts and times when you won't have good workouts, but you still have to show up.  Workouts are a lot like life - you have to mix in the good with the bad, but you still have to be present to experience both.

One of the worst things you can do, especially when you first start a workout program, is to not show up.  You have to be consistent with what you are doing or it will not work.  It takes 21 days to change a habit, so even if the first part of your workout is simply to show up and do a light workout, that will suffice.  As you begin to develop your habits and you feel your energy levels, strength, and endurance begin to increase, then you should gradually start to increase your intensity, frequency, and duration (commonly known as the F.I.T.T. Principle).

However, if you start and you are here one day this week and maybe three times next week and then don’t even bother showing up at all the third week, you are doomed for failure.  So, how can you become more consistent?  I am glad you asked.  The first thing I would do if I did not have any fitness experience is to meet with a qualified fitness professional and have them make up a plan for me.  You can pull anything off of the internet, but does that make it right for you?  Probably not.  Does the program set a baseline fitness level for you?  Take into account your medical history?  Does it take into account your fitness experience?  Having the right plan developed for you and your needs is vital for you to start and maintain your fitness program.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions either.  Many people stop working out because they feel silly for doing exercises on the main floor.  Guess what?  Most people do exercises wrong anyway, so don’t sweat it.   If you are unsure about something, ask one of the fitness professionals at your club, they will be more than happy to show you the proper way to use the machine or perform an exercise.  Remember, if you learn to do an exercise incorrectly, you will continue to do it wrong and will more than likely end up getting hurt.  If you learn to do it right, you will continue to do it right and have better results and enjoy your experience a whole lot more. 

Stay tuned next week for "Part 4" in my series.  Until then, stop by PROMATx Health Club and let our fitness professionals help you get started!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Raising Awareness for Breast Cancer

OK men.  Just because today's topic is about breast cancer, it's not just geared towards women.  Did you know, according to the U.S. Breast Cancer statistics:
  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (just under 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • In 2011, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 57,650 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
  • About 2,140 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in men in 2011. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
In other words, just because you are male doesn't mean your risk for developing breast cancer is void.  Therefore today's blog is just about raising awareness. 

With October in full swing, you probably have heard this month is "Breast Cancer Awareness" month.  Instead of haunting you with the gloom and doom of death statistics, our focus today is to just open your mind a little more.  Did you know that in 2011, there were more than 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the United States?   That means with early detection and early treatment, this doesn't have to be a deadly disease.  For a little background on risk factors for developing breast cancer, refer back to our blog from 2011.

Everyone should be aware of the risks...even if you DON'T have a family history of breast cancer.  Sure your risk may be lower if no one in your family has had or has breast cancer but almost 85% of all breast cancer diagnoses are in women with no family history!!  This is due to genetic mutations that occur through the aging process and through other lifestyle factors.  All the more reason to lead a healthy lifestyle!!

I'm sure most of us know at least one person who is battling (or has battled) breast cancer.  A co-worker, a friend, a family member.  Maybe you participated in a "Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure" event; maybe you saw a celebrity who publicized his or her battle with breast cancer; maybe you saw someone in the grocery store with little to no hair from chemotherapy wearing a little pink ribbon.  It's all around us and it's time to take notice.  Do your part to stay healthy and live a clean lifestyle.  Be sure to know your risks for all diseases based on your family history, your gender, your age, and your lifestyle.  Get regular medical check-ups to catch problems early.  Most of all be aware, be brave, and be healthy!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Success at Obtaining Fitness Goals (Part 2)

Here is part 2 in Brad Covington's series on how to be successful in obtaining your fitness goals at the gym.  If you haven't read Part 1 yet, be sure to go back and read it before reading this blog entry.

The next 2 phases of being successful that I am going to discuss are "drive" and "motivation".  Each serves as its own purpose, but both are needed to be successful.

DRIVE

What is drive?  Drive is that "inner will" to be successful; that little voice inside your head that says "yes, I can" when your body is saying "no, I can't".  Remember pain is temporary and if being healthy and in shape were easy, everyone would be doing it!!  It is hard to get into shape, it is hard to push through when things are tough.  Kind of reminds you a little of life, right?  So are you going to be successful or are you going to give up?  This is the very foundation of what drive is...don't make excuses, make results!  If you can find this inner being, nothing will hold you back and only positive outcomes are sure to follow.

MOTIVATION

What motivates you?  Find out what that is and never forget it!  Why did you start your workout program?  To feel better?  To look better?  To be healthy?  To get off your medications?  Reunion?  Whatever your motivation is...NEVER FORGET IT!  If you are doing this for an event such as a reunion, make sure there is something else behind it to keep you driving forward.  As long as you have motivation and a reason, everything else will fall into place.

As you read this series you will start to see how all of these topics are closely related and one leads to the next.  That is the point...to see all the factors involved in becoming successful and making the lifestyle changes you are looking for.  If you ever have any questions, please let us know.  That is why we are here!!

Good luck and stay tuned for part 3.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Success at Obtaining Fitness Goals - Introduction

Continuing on with our guest blogger series this month......

My name is Brad Covington and this is the introduction to my fitness blog series on how to be successful in obtaining your goals at the gym.  A little background information on myself, I have been in the fitness industry for 17 years and been training for 16 years.  I graduated with a B.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Kentucky and also was the Fitness Director at World Gym here in Lexington for three years.

From there I was a co-founder of PROMATx and we started out doing in-home personal training and contracted out personal training for several local facilities in Lexington, Georgetown, and Richmond.  In October, we will have been in business for 11 years, with the last 9 years here at our current location on the corner of Winchester Rd. and New Circle Rd. at PROMATx Health Club.

Why did I get into this field?  Because this is who I am!  I love to help people.  I love to see people grow, become more confident, healthy, happier, and more productive!  You don’t get into this business for the money, you get in to it to change lives in a more positive way.  Pretty simple...I like people and I love watching them succeed!!!

Now you know a little about me, let tell you a little about this next series and what areas I am going to be covering.   In the next several weeks I am going to tell you what it takes to be successful at the gym, not simply just going to the gym.  We will cover the following topics and show how they are all intertwined to create one common goal...SUCCESS!!!

* Discipline, Focus, Drive, Motivation, Consistency, Nutrition, Knowledge, and the FITT Principle.

So sit back, relax, and let's hone in on what exactly it takes to achieve what you never thought possible.   If you ever have any questions, please let us know.  You can reach us at info@promatx.com.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Stability Discs - How to Improve Balance & Core

So you've seen those little pillows of air in the gym.  You may have seen someone standing on them.  But what are they and what are they for?  Those pillows of air are stability (or balance) discs and you can do a variety of exercises on them to improve your balance and strengthen your core.  Just for some background information, refer back to our blog entries on balance and core.

Remember, balance exercises aren't just for the elderly.  Everyone should take some time to perform balance exercises to improve core strength and to increase strength in the ligaments of the ankles.  If you are a runner and do any trail running or compete in cross country or mud runs, balance exercises are extremely helpful since you participate/compete on uneven surfaces.  Once you master simple balance exercises you can increase the difficulty by performing the same exercises on stability discs.  Here are a few examples of stability disc exercises you can do to improve your balance and core strength.
  1. Bird Dog:
    • Get down on all fours with hands directly under your shoulders and knees under hips.
    • Place a stability disc under your right hand and left knee.
    • Lift and extend your left arm and right leg.
    • Repeat 10-15 times then switch the discs and repeat on the other side.
  2. Squat
    • Stand on 2 stability discs with feet shoulder-width apart.
    • While balancing on the discs perform a squat as low as you can go.
    • Press feet into discs and stand back up.
    • Repeat 10-15 times.
  3. Half-Kneel Run
    • In a half-kneeling position on your left knee, place a stability disc under your right foot.
    • Be sure your left knee is under your hip and right foot is under your right knee.
    • Grasp 5-pound dumbbells in each hand.
    • Sitting up tall, swing arms as fast as you can without twisting your torso.
    • "Run" for 30-60 seconds and repeat on other side.
    • Can be performed with no dumbbells in hands.
  4. Plank/Mountain Climber
    • Place a stability disc under each hand and extend legs back until you are balancing on your hands and toes.
    • Lower hips slightly so you body is in a straight line from shoulders to toes.
    • Be sure your hands are directly under your shoulders.
    • Hold this plank position for 30-60 seconds.
    • To perform the mountain climber, bring one knee into your chest then quickly switch legs.
    • Repeat for 30-60 seconds. 
  5. Curtsy Squat
    • Start with feet shoulder-width apart and hands on hips.
    • Place stability discs in front of you at a diagonal from each leg.
    • Lift right leg off the ground and step in front of left leg at a diagonal so your right foot steps on the disc.
    • Push off with right foot and return to starting position.
    • Repeat with left leg.
    • Repeat both sides 10-15 times.
As a reminder, you should be able to correctly perform each of these exercises WITHOUT the discs BEFORE adding a stability disc to your routine.  Once you've mastered the exercise then add the disc(s) and perform the same move.  A little more difficult, huh?  When balancing on the discs with your hands or your feet, try to keep the pillow of air stable.  In other words, when standing on the disc, try not to allow the toes to go to the ground or the heels...balance yourself on the disc.  You may wobble around a little bit until you become proficient with these exercises.  That's OK...just keep working at it!!

So the next time you are in the gym, try your hand (or foot) at stability disc exercises.  You'll find out just how proficient you are with your balance.  Don't worry if you fall off the discs.  Stand close to a wall or machine so you can hold on in the beginning.  Gradually work your way further from the wall/machine and let your body take over with improving balance.  Good luck!!  Don't forget...if you need assistance with these or any exercises, be sure to talk with a fitness professional.  We are here for you!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Success at Obtaining Fitness Goals (Part 1)

It's time for another guest blogger series.  This month our guest is PROMATx Health Club owner and trainer, Brad Covington.  In his 4-part series, Brad will discuss what keeps people from obtaining their goals at the gym and what they can do to be successful.

There are a lot of determining factors to make sure you are successful when deciding to embark on a "fitter you".
  • Discipline
  • Focus
  • Drive
  • Motivation
  • Consistency
  • Nutrition
  • Knowledge
The first two I will focus on is "discipline" and "focus".   Without these two vital steps, obtaining your fitness goals will be a challenge.

DISCIPLINE

What defines who you are, what drives you, and how can you make sure to stay disciplined when you embark on your fitness journey?  The first step to help with your discipline is to find accountability.  This can come in different forms and I recommend doing all of them if you are serious about changing the current state in which you live and function.
  • Make sure to have someone you are accountable to...don't leave it to chance.
    • Hire a personal trainer, get a workout buddy, post it on Facebook or some other type of social media...anything that will have some external force to keep you accountable and on track.
    • The more accountability you have the more compliant you will be.  This will keep you on the right path to success.
  • Keep a food/exercise journal.
    • Research has shown you will lose 64% more weight if you keep track of everything you are doing.
    • Not only does it make you more aware of your caloric intake, water consumption, and consistency of your exercise patterns, it will also aid you in taking it to a more experienced person who could make modifications to your program if you reach a plateau. 
FOCUS

How can you zero in on your goals without letting life get in the way?  This is one thing that can compromise your fitness program to the point of no return!
  • Visualization will help you stay the course and stay focused.
    • What is visualization, you ask?  Get a picture that you would like to look like or a pair of jeans you would like to fit into.  Look at that picture or jeans every day.
    • This will serve as a reminder as to why you are doing the things you are doing to get into better shape.
    • When things get tough, take a look and this will serve as a reminder and help keep you focused on your goals you have set up for yourself.
  • Remember to always set goals for yourself.
    • By doing this you will again increase the level of focus and help you maintain it.
    • When you are setting goals, make sure to set up short-term and long-term goals.
    • The short-term goals will keep you focused on the task at hand while the long-term goals will make sure you stay the course.
    • Make sure the goals are attainable and realistic.  By hitting these goals it will help you vault yourself to the next goal!!
Stay tuned for more tips from Brad on being successful at obtaining your fitness goals.  In the meantime, be sure to go back and check out our blog entry on setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Burn 100 Calories - Ways to Light Your Internal Fire

We have talked before about the "Energy Balance Equation" which basically states, to lose weight you must expend more calories than you consume.  In this age of technology, people are much more sedentary because we have all the technology we need at our fingertips.  Kids spend less time outside running around and playing; adults sit in front of their computers/tablets more often throughout the day; families spend less active time together.  If you've been following this blog for a while, you should know that activating your day is important to your overall health and decreases your risk for chronic diseases.  But, other than going to the gym to workout, do you know other ways to burn calories?  Let's take a look at things you can do (from basic exercises to chores around the house) to burn an extra 100 calories.

First let me state this list is an "approximation" of calories burned and it is based on a 150-pound person.  If you weigh more than 150 pounds you will burn more than what's listed below and vice versa.  Here are ways to burn those 100 calories in the gym:
  • Biking: 23 minutes of casual cycling
  • Elliptical: 8 minutes
  • Jumping rope: 9 minutes at a moderate intensity
  • Lifting weights, vigorously: 15 minutes
  • Running: 9 minutes of running at a 6 mph pace
  • Swimming: 15 minutes moderate intensity
  • Walking stairs: 11 minutes
  • Walking: 20 minutes of walking at a 3 mph pace
  • Zumba: 11 minutes
 If you are working around the house, here are some other ideas to burn 100 calories:
  • Mowing the lawn: 20 minutes
  • Raking leaves: 23 minutes
  • Shoveling snow: 15 minutes
  • Washing the car: 20 minutes
  • Weeding the garden: 18 minutes
Finally, here are a few everyday activities you can add to your day to burn 100 calories:
  • Carrying an infant: 24 minutes
  • Cleaning, moderate effort: 26 minutes
  • Cooking: 34 minutes
  • Doing dishes: 40 minutes
  • Mopping the floor: 20 minutes
  • Playing with children: 23 minutes
  • Pushing a stroller: 35 minutes
  • Rearranging furniture: 14 minutes
  • Shopping: 38 minutes
  • Sweeping: 23 minutes
  • Walking the dog: 26 minutes
Now you really have "NO EXCUSES" to get active!!  Add a few of these suggestions into your day and help put your energy balance equation back in the right direction.

Activate Your Day!!!