If you want to take your guns to the next level consider adding in band training. Those flat circular bands you see in the MX4 Area of the club are serious training tools! These bands provide the advantage of increasing resistance throughout the range of motion to challenge your muscles in a different, yet complimentary way to free weights or machines.
There are a number of ways to trains biceps with bands from the most simple which is just standing on the band with feet spread and holding the upper loop of the band on both or one and handing and curling up and down. You can also stand with one or two feet in the center of a band and grap the two looped ends and curl the end/ends up to pump up those biceps. Another option is to attach band handles to the band to allow you to use even more resistance. Standing on one foot in the enter of the band will give less resistance than standing with two feet spread apart.
You can also attach a band to an immovable object like a post or even a door using a door holder (see www.resistancebandtraining.com to purchase one of these. Another option to create more length is to attach a band low and behind you and then loop another band through this band and attach handles to the band on both ends. With your back to the anchor grasp the handles and step forward to create some level of tension in the band keep your fee in a split stance and head-up. Do a bicep curl with the handles and as you fatigue take small steps back to do drop sets. This exercise emphasizes the stretched position of the bicep comapred with the single band bicep curl described above.
You can also get an incredible tricep workout using bands using the set-up described above with handles attached to the bands. In this case turn your back to the anchor grasping the handles with elbows held high by the sides of your heads. Brace the core while in a split stance and keep the elbows high and motionless then extend your elbows - wow does that create a pump and burn!
To see exactly how to set-up and perform these incredible bicep and tricep exercises using flat circular bands and handles check out this video from resistancebandtraining.com: https://youtu.be/mF-FbNSPF2Q
Saturday, March 31, 2018
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Seasonal allergies to pollen and mold seem to getting more and more prevalent each year with progressively more severe symptoms in sufferers. Treating allergies with nutrition and nutrition supplements can have big advantages over using medications.
Allergy medication most commonly comes in the form of Antihistamines, and there are some big problems with long-term use of these medications. It is now known that prolonged use of antihistamines decreases levels of acetylcholine which is a key neurotransmitter involved in memory and other important functions. In fact, antihistamine use increases the risk of senility, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
What are Allergies Anyway?
Allergies are abnormal immune reactions to specific agents (proteins) known as antigens/allergens, which include many substances such as foods, drugs, pollens, dust mites, animal danders, feathers, along with many others.
Allergies may also develop when an otherwise innocent substance has significant contact with an already inflamed surface (known as sensitization). For example, when sick with a respiratory illness, respiratory surfaces are already inflamed and substances present at this time may be “remembered” as being foreign. This can also occur with chemical substances known as “haptons” which are combinations of self and non-self which can lead the immune system to attack the self.
Since there are multiple pro-inflammatory substances involved with allergies it is rare to obtain adequate control with single products/medications. The most potent chemical mediators in allergies and asthma are leukotrienes. Some leukotrines are one thousand times more potent than histamine as stimulators of bronchial constriction and allergy.
Interestingly, many medications that reduce one inflammatory pathway actually boost leukotrienes. For example, Aspirin and other NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs like Ibuprofen) result in the production of excessive levels of leukotrines in sensitive individuals although they decrease prostaglandins associated with inflammation and thereby relive pain. So long term they can create a much more severe problem.
Asthma is linked to allergies and can be a severe and life threatening condition. Do NOT try to self-treat Asthma – see a physician!
Strategies for Allergies
Try to avoid allergens by using air filters, regularly cleaning all surfaces and vacuuming and keeping your air-conditioning system on while regularly changing filters to filter out as many allergens as possible. Remember your car cabin filter as well, and take showers and wash clothes after being outside for long periods of time.
Change your diet to reduce inflammation. Dramatically reduce your intake of refined carbohydrate – sugar and starch which drive insulin which drives inflammation. At the same time increase your intake of low glycemic, organic fruits and vegetables such as berries, broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, etc. These plant foods contain polyphenols which are potent anti-oxidants and help to reduce inflammation and allergies without side effects.
Increase your intake of Omega 3 Fatty Acids from cold water fish such as Alaskan Wild Salmon and/or take an Omega 3 Supplement such as Krill Oil. Omega 3 fatty acids will always reduce inflammation if taken in sufficient dosages so this should be a primary strategy for allergy sufferers because they produce many side benefits. The only exception is people taking any type of medication to thin blood and reduce clotting like Coumadin. In this case the combination can be dangerous!
Nutritional Supplements for Allergies
There are several highly effective nutrition supplements for allergies including some key herbs.
Local Raw Honey – it MUST be local and must be raw because it will contain small amounts of local pollen and works by getting the body used to pollen much like an allergy shot. A Tablespoon a day is as much as you need. Many people swear by this simple and safe remedy!
Stinging Nettle Extract – this herb has a long history of effective use for allergies and freeze dried preparations seem to work the best and are best taken BEFORE allergy season even begins to put a damper on symptoms before they start – this is true of all nutritional approaches to allergy by the way!
Euphrasia Officianalis – aka “Eyebright” is an herb which name says it all – it is highly effective for eye allergy symptoms.
Quercetin – is a flavonoid contained in high amounts in apples, peppers, red wine, dark cherries and berries, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and sprouts, and raw red onions. To treat allergies taking supplemental quercetin is the way to go, and a good quercetin supplement is a product called “AllQlear” by Integrative Therapeutics and can be purchased on Amazon. It also contains “ovomucoids” from quail eggs that act as tryptase inhibitor and prevent release of histamine. Another excellent Quercetin Supplement is "Qforce" - http://www.qforce.com/ Quercetin is proven to decrease yur chance of contracting a viral illness like the cold or flu by 9 times!
Boswellia Extract – Boswellia aka Frankincense (yes the herb mentioned in the bible!) can be highly effective for allergies and other forms of inflammation including arthritis because it blocks the formation of leukotrienes! To get the benefits you must take 5-loxin which is a specific extract. Note that in some individuals 5-loxin can cause or excacerbate heart burn so it is not for everyone, but when it works it can be highly effective!
Butterbur Extract – this plant extract can be highly effective for inhibiting leukotrienes and allergy symptoms or side effects. You need to take a standardized extract with standardized levels of Petasin and Isopetasin) and free of Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids aka PA. High quality brands include Life Extension, Swanson, and Enzymatic Therapy to name a few. This product can also help many migraine sufferers and is a well-researched, proven treatment.
NAC – N-Acetyl Cysteine - helps thin mucus naturally and boost levels of the body’s most important antioxidant Glutathione – every allergy sufferer should be taking 600 – 1,200mg per day!
You will also find combination of these ingredients in particular products, and it is worth experimenting a bit because if you find the right product or combination of natural products you can find relief without sedation and without the side effects associated with antihistamines and more potent drugs like steroid nasal sprays or oral steroids.
Sunday, March 18, 2018
"The past is gone: the present is full of confusion; and the future scares the hell out of me!" - David L. Stein
Emotional resistance is anything that causes someone to stay in their comfort zone – rather than taking action towards making a change. It is unquestionably the elephant in the room for personal trainers and anyone who coaches people to make healthy lifestyle changes.
A person can want to change but at the same time be emotionally resistant to change. In fact, this common. The person knows they want to change, but their level of motivation is not as strong as their level of emotional resistance, so they stay stuck.
There are many reasons a person can be resistant to change including:
Fear of change – staying in their comfort zone is a lot less scary than trying something new!
They fall into the bad habit rut – change is hard, and habits must be replaced with other habits!
They lack confidence so are afraid they will fail
They chose short-term comfort vs long-term benefit
So what is a good coach to do?
It is all about asking the right questions and allowing a client to think without interruption. Questions like:
Why is your goal important to you now?
What makes you think you need to make this change?
What will it take for you to change?
How can I help you get past some of the challenges you are facing?
Imagine you have reached your goal – how would your life be different?
If you do not change and stay where you are or get worse how will that be?
On a 1 – 10 scale how important is it for you to make this change now?
If it is less than a 10 ask “what would it take for you to go up at least 1 level?”
The key is to be empathetic and focus on the client coming up with solutions for changing their lives instead of telling them what to do all the time!
Sunday, March 4, 2018
Lunges are a staple exercise for most gym-goers, and there are many different varieties of lunges. Most of us have been taught to keep the torso upright when we lunge. While this is not wrong per say – there is another way to perform the lunge that can place more emphasis on the glutes and hamstrings.
When you keep your torso fully upright you tend to place more load on the knees and quads – particularly if you allow your front knee to track forward over your toes. Instead try hip hinging slightly as you lunge allowing the torso to angle forward over the front thigh.
Keep the shoulders back and down. Your upper body should not slump – we want to hinge from the hip. When using dumbbells allow them to come forward ahead of the knees more. By keep hips and knees back while moving weight forward more of the load is placed directly on the glutes, and at the same time you are putting the glutes in a stretched position. Done properly there is more emphasis on the glutes and they go through a great range of motion without stressing the knees.
It is important to keep a straight line from your tailbone through the top of your head – hip hinge but do not let the spine flex or bend.
To get a good feel for the form check out this video: https://youtu.be/cEOoPcniNn4