Get the most from your training program – Part 3

Previously in this series, we have discussed the first 2 ways to get the most from your training program, which were: 1. Show up for your appointment; and 2. Listen to your Coach. Now we will discuss the 3rd and final point: Put In A Maximum Effort.

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In order for you to stimulate changes in your body through exercise, you have to force your body to attempt things it is not able to do in its current condition.  This means you need to workout at or near your existing capacity in order to stimulate increases in muscular size and strength.

In other words, the intensity of your workout must be as high as possible.  Intensity is defined as the percentage of possible momentary effort being exerted.

For example, if you can perform 8 repetitions with 50 pounds in a certain exercise, and you never attempt a 9th repetition, why would your body ever alter itself?  It won’t, because it has no reason to.

However, attempting that 9th repetition will send a signal to your brain that your current strength levels are insufficient to handle this amount of stress.  Your brain will then instruct your body to go through the chemical processes necessary to build up those muscles to a new level of strength and size, so you can handle that level of stress in the future with no threat to your survival.

This is the same type of process your brain and body go through when you expose yourself to the sun.  If you haven’t been out in the sun for a while, your brain will perceive your exposure as a threat to your survival, because you could actually die from over-exposure to the sun.

To prevent this from happening, your brain instructs your body to protect itself by forming a suntan.  Increased muscular strength and size are the exercise equivalent to a suntan.

Training with a low level of intensity-that is, well below your existing capacity-will do little or nothing to make your muscles grow bigger and stronger.  It’s like trying to get a suntan by standing in front of a 60 watt light bulb.

Each set you perform should be a maximum effort, taken to a point where you cannot continue with proper form.  This is called training to failure.

Once you reach a point of muscular failure, you have done everything humanly possible to stimulate an increase in muscular size and strength in those muscles-and you don’t have to do it again.  When you train like this, one set of each exercise is all you need.

Taking an exercise to the point of muscular failure “flips the switch” and turns on the muscular growth process.  And, just like turning on a light switch, once you turn it on, you don’t have to stand there for 15 minutes flicking the switch on and off.  Once it’s on, you’re done.

So there you have it – you only have to do 3 things to get the most out of your training program, and your Fitness Coach will take care of everything else.  That’s not to much to ask – is it?

And if you you don’t have a Fitness Coach yet, you have 2 choices:

1. Try to do everything yourself, like go get a college degree in Exercise Science, do your own program design, supervise your own form, encourage yourself, hold yourself accountable, etc.

OR

2. Get yourself a team of qualified Fitness Coaches working for you, by clicking HERE.

It’s up to you!

Get the most from your training program – Part 2

In our last post, we talked about the importance of committing to attending your scheduled workouts (on time!) consistently in order to get the best results possible from your training.  Today in Part 2 of this series, we will discuss the second thing you need to do to get the most from your training program – listen to your Coach.

Having a Fitness Coach to supervise your workouts is different than just having a personal trainer.  A trainer’s job is to take you through a workout; the job of a Coach is to help you be the best that you can be.

All of the top athletes in the world have a coach.  Think about that for a moment – people who are already so highly skilled that they are the best in the entire world at what they do all have a Coach.  Why do you think that is?
 

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I believe the answer is accountability.  A good Coach will always get more out of you than you can get out of yourself.  And the only way you can repay your Coach for their efforts is to perform at your best!

In a fitness setting, some of the other benefits of having a Coach include:

  • Making sure you are exercising safely
  • Monitoring your form to make sure you get the most benefit from the exercise
  • Encouraging you to put in a maximum effort
  • Recording your workouts and making adjustments as needed
  • Designing a program for you that gives you what you need, not just doing what you like

And studies consistently show that just having somebody watch you during your workout causes you to work out harder.

So make sure you listen to your Fitness Coach – they are there to help you be the best that you can be!

 

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Do these 3 things to get the most from your fitness program

It takes a certain level of commitment to start and maintain a fitness program long enough to see some good results.  Beyond that, good results  can only be kept if you continue training consistently-the phrase “use it, or lose it” applies here.

And once you arrive at the gym or training studio, what you do when you get there makes a big difference.  If you just “go through the motions”, results will be negligible.  As with most worthwhile things in life you get out of it what you put into it.  So your choice is this-are you going to just try to get through the workout, or are you going to get the most you can from the workout?

With this in mind, there are three things you can do which will serve as the foundation for a successful fitness training program.  These recommendations are based on behaviors we see in our most successful training clients.  Remember, success leaves clues-if you do what successful training clients do, you will become a successful training client.  This is why we encourage you to do these 3 things to get the most from your fitness program:

1. Show up for your appointment.

2. Listen to your Coach.

3. Put in a maximum effort.

Now, let’s go a little more in depth on point #1.

Show up for your appointment

The first, and rather obvious, thing you need to do to be successful is to show up for your scheduled appointment.  You need to develop a “no matter what” attitude toward making it in for your workouts.  Barring a debilitating illness or injury, you need to make it to your scheduled workouts even when you don’t feel like going.  What we have found is that it’s natural to have times when you don’t feel like working out, but if you can just force yourself to go, lo and behold you might (and often will) have your best day ever!  It’s a recipe for failure to wait until you feel motivated, then go workout; a much better approach is to just go, and once you get there you will get motivated as you get into the workout.

Check out what Marilyn says about showing up for your appointment:

 

In our next post, we will discuss point #2: Listen to your Coach.

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Get your brain in shape by strength training

We all know about the physical benefits of working out with weights by now-increased strength, increased metabolism, resistance to injury, etc. etc.  But more and more new research is showing that another major benefit of progressive resistance exercise is the slowing down of the adverse effects that aging has on our brains.

By late middle age, many neurological studies reveal that most of us have begun developing age-related lesions in our brains’ white matter-the material that connects and passes messages between different brain regions.

The lesions are usually asymptomatic at first.  But these lesions can widen and multiply as the years go by, causing the shrinking our white matter and affecting our thinking. Studies have found that older people with many lesions tend to have worse cognitive abilities than those whose white matter is relatively intact.

Canadian researcher Theresa Liu-Ambrose has discovered that progressive resistance exercise (i.e. lifting weights) has the greatest benefit in fighting this age-related shrinking, compared to other forms of exercise.

Dr. Liu-Ambrose and her colleagues tested women from age 65-75 using three different exercises programs- a balance and flexibility training group, a once-a-week weight training group, and a twice-a-week weight training group.  The women stuck with their training program for a year.  At the conclusion they underwent brain scans which were compared to their pre-study brain scans.

The results revealed that the women in the control group, who had concentrated on balance and flexibility, showed progression in the number and size of the lesions in their white matter, as did the once a week weight training group.

But those who had trained with weights twice per week had significantly less shrinkage of their white matter than the other women.  Their walking also improved in speed and precision more than the women in the other two groups.  These findings suggest that twicew a week weight training can beneficially change the structure of the brain, according to DR. Liu-Ambrose.

So stay committed to lifting those weights twice a week in a progressive fashion forever-in addition to looking and feeling great, your brain will thank you for it!

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26456233

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Technique of the Week: Quarters

 
As they say, “March goes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb”.  I don’t know about the lamb part, but we are definitely going in like a lion with our latest Technique of the Week, the Quarters protocol.

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In the interest of helping our clients achieve their goals this year, we are always searching for ways to make every set of every exercise a bit more productive.  One thing we know is that the point in the repetition where the most muscle growth occurs is in the fully contracted position.  This is the point in the repetition where the working muscle is fully shortened, and has contracted to the fullest extent possible under full resistance against gravity.  For example, when performing a seated rowing exercise (as seen in the below video), the fully contracted position is when the handles are pulled all the way back.  In order to reach that point while moving a heavy weight, the maximum number of muscle fibers must be recruited.  Therefore, it makes sense to spend as much time as possible at that point of the repetition.

The Quarters protocol is designed to make that happen. Each repetition actually involves reaching the fully contracted position 4 times, while utilizing a progressively shortened range of motion.  This method dramatically increases the time spent in the fully contracted position per repetition, making the set way more productive-and way harder!

This technique is not applicable to all exercises, since there must be full resistance against gravity in the fully contracted position for it to work.  Your Rock Solid Fitness Coach will show you which exercises to perform using this technique.

Check out Dunedin Personal Trainer Shawn coaching the Quarters protocol:

 

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Happiness Habits

Young stress free couple enjoy the summer sun on the beach. Arms out, heads back and carefree attitudes.

Guest Post by:
Maureen Griner, Counselor, LMHC, CIMI

So what would make you happy or happier? Would it be a better job? A bigger house? What if you finally lost that last 10 lbs? Or acquired the latest tech gadget?

Research tells us while these things may bring us short term happiness they don’t really impact our overall feelings of happiness or life satisfaction. For example, an increase in income only increases feelings of happiness when it brings you out of poverty and enables you to meet the basic finances of life. Earning more so that you can buy a bigger house, a fancier car and a more brag worthy vacation doesn’t really move long term happiness levels at all!

So what does science tell us we can do to feel happier and just more at peace in our lives overall?

1. Wellness Basics
Eat well, Sleep Well, and Exercise Well
How you take care of your body can have a big impact on you feel on a day to day basis. For example, did you know that numerous studies have shown that regular exercise is just as good or better than medication at treating depression and anxiety?

2. Acts of Kindness
It is easy to get stuck in our struggles and forget that others struggle too. Interesting studies have shown that focusing less on your own happiness and instead focusing on the happiness of your collective group actually makes you happier!! I know it’s a little hard to follow, but it’s pretty easy to do something nice for those around you!

3. Gratitude
On that same note, people who pay more attention to what they have versus what they don’t have, consistently report greater levels of happiness. Unfortunately, our brains have been programmed to seek out what we are lacking or where danger may lurk. Making a concerted effort to list and share the things (and more importantly the people) that make you feel blessed on a daily basis can train your brain to change its focus.

4. Purpose
This may fall in line with the “better job” idea, but truly your purpose does not have to fall in line with what you do for a living. (Though it is obviously a happiness bonus!!) You can also find purpose in your home life, spiritual life, or even in your “hobby” life. When you have a goal that is bigger than you, it is amazing how common life struggles seem much more manageable. Trivial concerns like “do these pants make my look fat” feel so small compared to using your life to make a difference in the world!

5. Experiences over Things
Most of us like new shiny things! But buying the next new shiny gadget won’t keep your happiness levels up for long. Investing your time, energy and resources into meaningful experiences seems to have a much bigger impact on your mood. I mean when you are facing the end of your life are you going to be remembering fondly the time you bought the shiny new thing or the special times you shared with those that matter most?

6. Relationships
Honestly, you can forget everything on the list above and just concentrate on this one. The strongest correlation research has ever found with long term happiness is the strength and quality of your close relationships. Even in the face of great hardships, things like terminal illness, financial ruin, or the loss of a loved one, those whom feel loved and supported and feel like they can still give love and support seem to be able to weather the storm. The relationships you nurture don’t have to be perfect! They just need to have an essence of closeness and caring. Perhaps said best by Helen Keller:

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”

 

Technique of the Week: 260 Max Protocol

Here is a new Technique of the Week guaranteed to wake up your muscles and propel you to new heights of muscular development: the 260 Max protocol.

As everybody who reads this blog knows by now, easy workouts that only require a minimal amount of effort do not build muscle. To make progress, you have to force your muscles to work very hard, near the limits of their existing capacity. The 260 Max protocol definitely fits the bill.

To start out, for this technique we will select a weight for you that is about 20% heavier than what you would normally use for a regular set of 8-12 reps to failure. This is ok though, because you are only going to be lifting this weight once.  Then, to make a serious dent into your negative, or strongest, level of strength, you’re going to lower the weight in 60 seconds. If you’ve never experienced this, it takes some serious discipline and resolve to complete it, and you will feel a deep muscle stimulation like no other.

As if that wasn’t enough, once all that is over with we will lower the weight by 50% and have you perform as many regular (2″ up, 4″ down) reps as possible to failure.  Trust me, you’ll be done after that.

And, given the proper rest and nutrition, you’re muscles will be bigger and stronger by your very next workout.  I guarantee it.

Check out the 260 Max Protocol in action:

The InBody Challenge is Back!

 

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! It’s InBody Challenge time! The InBody Challenge is back to spice things up a bit at Rock Solid and re-motivate you to gain some new muscle and lose some unwanted fat! There will be two teams captained by Fitness Coaches Shawn and Drew.
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Points will be given based making improvements on the InBody 570 Analysis and the Big 3 Workout, and the winning team will receive specialty InBody Challenge T-Shirts!

Here’s how the challenge will work: the first week you will get an InBody 570 Analysis to determine your initial body composition and health markers. You will also start your workout with the Big 3, which is the leg press, chest press, and pulldown. We chose these three exercises because they work the most amount of muscle, which in turn will give you the results that you want (building muscle and incinerating fat). The competition will go on for 6 weeks, and then you will once again revisit the InBody 570 and Big 3 workout to see how your strength, body composition and health markers have changed. Points will be given for more strength gains, loss in body fat percentage, decreased visceral fat levels, increased muscle, increased BMR, and hydration levels, as determined from the InBody 570. There will also be weekly challenges on Facebook and you can earn points for your team by completing and responding to the challenges via Facebook. Ask your Coach for more details on your next workout.

So how do you sign up? Email us right now at info@RockSolidFitnessFL.com, or call us at 727-282-1800. You can also sign up at your next workout. Signups will end Saturday February 6th, and the contest will start Monday February 8th and run for 6 weeks. Don’t miss out on your chance to get in on the competition and get results while having fun!
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Can you help me with this?

 

If you have a few seconds, I would really appreciate it if you could help me out with this.

And by doing so, you will actally be helping yourself too.

You see, at Rock Solid Fitness, we have been offering a FREE educational seminar on the first Tuesday of every month for years now. These seminars are open to the public, anybody can attend who wants to learn something about health and fitness.

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The problem is-and this is where I need your help-we are running out of topic ideas!

So if you can think of a seminar topic you would like us to talk about in the future, all you have to do is look below this post and click on “leave a reply”. Then just type your topic in the comment box, and then click on “Post Comment”.

We will then create a seminar about your topic, which gets us off the hook of thinking one up ourselves; plus you will learn all about your topic for free; plus everybody else who comes to the seminar will benefit from learning about it.

Everybody wins!

But you have to start the ball rolling-so please click “leave a reply” below, tell us your topic idea, then click “post comment”. Thanks in advance!

Technique of the week: Static Holds

We are back with another awesome technique of the week-this time, we are featuring the ever popular, world famous Static Hold Finisher.

A static hold is holding the weight in the fully contracted position of an exercise against full resistance for as long as you can.

Your muscles have strength levels: positive (lifting), the weakest; static (holding), in the middle; and negative (lowering), the strongest.

Once you have lifted a weight until you can’t lift it any more, you will still have enough strength in that muscle to hold, or lower the weight. When you don’t even have the strength to lower it any more, you have exhausted all 3 strength levels, and you’re done. Total failure.

Static holds are a technique we utilize at our Dunedin personal training studio to tap into your static and negative strength levels, in a minimal amount of time, to increase the intensity, and therefore the effectiveness, of those exercises.

If you are stuck at a certain number of reps on an exercise, throwing in a static hold at the end of your set may be the new stimulus you need to get you over the hump and get your progress going again.

Check out the static hold finisher in action:

Be sure to check back next week, when we discuss how to tap into your negative strength level.

Until then, have fun static holding!