Posts Tagged ‘Health’

I cannot not even estimate how many times I’ve heard some form of the phrase “I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to bulk up,” from females who are either interested in starting an exercise program, or who have an exercise program but aren’t liking the results they’re seeing.  So is it true?  Are you really going to bulk up when you do resistance training?  Girls this article is for you, and I’d like to take some time today to explain why you shouldn’t worry about “getting too big.”  Tomorrow I will give you some incredibly important reasons to use resistance training in your work outs.

If I could give you a one word reason as to why women will not bulk up like guys do it would be: Testosterone

What is testosterone? 
Testosterone is  hormone that promotes muscle growth.   The brain sends a signal for testosterone to get released from the testes (men) or the ovaries (females).  When this happens, the released testosterone travels through the blood stream and into the surrounding tissues, including the muscles.  When the testosterone reaches the muscles it has an “anabolic” or muscle-building effect.  Without getting too scientific about it, your testosterone levels have a very direct effect on the growth of your muscles.

Resistance Training and Testosterone:
One of the reasons that people associate working out in the gym with muscle growth is that resistance training causes an increase in testosterone levels, which in turn leads to the aforementioned anabolic effect on the body’s muscles.  According to The National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, men experienced a significant rise in blood-testosterone concentrations following a high-intensity resistance training bout.  NSCA also found that the heavier the resistance, the more testosterone produced.  After 2+ years of resistance training with very heavy weights, men saw a noticeable change in their testosterone levels.

Why women shouldn’t be afraid use resistance training:
The next time you walk into your local health club or rec center, take notice of where all the women are at.  For the most part, you’re going to see a lot of women doing cardio and a lot of women doing some kind of mat exercises like abdominal work or stretching.  There will be some exceptions of course, but you will see only a very small percentage of women in the weight room.  One common reason for this is what I referenced earlier, a fear of getting bulky when their goal is to lose weight and lose inches.  The reason women SHOULD NOT worry about this:  According to Bill Kreamer in Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, women have about 15 to 20 times less testosterone than men.  15 to 20 times LESS testosterone is a HUGE difference.  If you are also careful to keep your sets in a normal 8-12 rep range, you will ensure that resistance training does not greatly spike your testosterone levels.

That’s all for tonight.  Check back tomorrow as I will give you some important reasons to start doing resistance training as soon as possible if you want to reach your goals.

Thanks for reading!

Adam Reeder, cPT
Adam@GetFunctionalTraining.com
Facebook
Twitter

Advertisements
Coffee

Image via Wikipedia

There is a very common belief that coffee, or more specifically the caffeine that coffee contains, is bad for your health.  From cardiovascular risks to stunted growth, people have a lot of ideas about how caffeine is harmful.  Today, I’d like to address these ideas, as well as show you some potential benefits that you can gain from consuming caffeine responsibly.

First of all, here are some common beliefs related to caffeine:

#1: Caffeine is addictive.  Most experts do not consider caffeine to be addictive.  If you abruptly stop taking caffeine, there is a good chance you will experience some withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, but these tend to only last for a day or two.

#2: Caffeine keeps up you up at night.  This one can be true, but if you consume caffeine properly, there’s no reason it should have any effect on your sleep schedule.  Caffeine typically leaves your body relatively quickly, within about 7 hours after consumption.  This means that as long as you’re not consuming caffeine late in the evening or at night, you should be fine.

#3: Caffeine causes adverse side effects to your cardiovascular or bone health.  Again, this one CAN be true, but as long as you consume caffeine responsibly, you’re not at any greater risk.  As long as you limit your caffeine intake to about 300 mg per day (about 3 cups of coffee), studies indicate that you’re not at any greater risk for osteoporosis, high cholesterol, increased heart rate, or cardiovascular disease.

So now that we’ve cleared up a few common misconceptions about caffeine, let’s take a look at it’s potential benefits.  The most obvious benefit of caffeine consumption is an increase in your energy levels.  Here’s some other interesting things to note, from WebMD.com:

1)  “A growing body of research shows that coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers, are:

  • less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia
  • have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes

‘There is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health,’ says Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.”

2) “In a study of about 130,000 Kaiser Permanente health plan members, people who reported drinking 1-3 cups of coffee per day were 20% less likely to be hospitalized for abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) than nondrinkers, regardless of other risk factors.

And, for women, coffee may mean a lower risk of stroke.

In 2009, a study of 83,700 nurses enrolled in the long-term Nurses’ Health Study showed a 20% lower risk of stroke in those who reported drinking two or more cups of coffee daily compared to women who drank less coffee or none at all. That pattern held regardless of whether the women had high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and type 2 diabetes.”

3)  Caffeine has also been shown to improve anaerobic performance (strength training)!

So while I will stop well short of telling you to drink a pot of coffee everyday to keep the doctor away, it is clear that caffeine’s negative effects are largely blown out of proportion.  Consume caffeine responsibly, and you can potentially lower your risk of several diseases, improve your strength, and of course, increase your energy.

That’s all for now!

Adam Reeder, cPT
Adam@GetFunctionalTraining.com

For my first blog post, I wanted to write something that is somewhat different than what you will typically see here.  In most of my posts, you will find exercises, or videos, or nutrition advice.  This being the first entry, however, I wanted to address personal training in general as well as give you a feel for my philosophy towards training.

Today’s fitness world is flooded with devices, equipment, fads and tools that all promise to give you not only the best workout you’ve ever had but also the beach body you’ve always dreamt of.  The big problem that I have with this is that all too often, we as trainers get sucked into this type of marketing.  We end up looking for that “perfect toy” that’s going to make all of our clients thin and fit while making us the most well known trainer in town.  The goal as a trainer goes from making the best possible impact on our client’s lives to putting together a bunch of exercises that look cool or extraordinary just because it somehow makes us look “better” as trainers.

Too often we confuse challenging or intense with complicated and confusing.  We try to find things that nobody else has ever seen before, rather than the things that are going to be most helpful to our clients.

Well, I say that needs to end…. today.   Sure you may get a few people interested in training just because of all of your neat, new exercise toys, but the best way to build your own clientele through positive word-of-mouth feedback is VERY simple: help your client achieve positive results.  Whether you single-handedly made up the exercises or you pulled them off of JoeBlow’s YouTube account, your clients, and therefore the people that your clients will refer you to, do not really care where the exercises are coming from; they are interested in getting great workouts and producing great results.

Success as a trainer should not be taken from how many people say “Wow! I’ve never seen that exercise before!” or “Well he’s using the [insert training device/tool], it must be a great workout!”  We as trainers need to judge ourselves based on the improvements being made by our clients. By keeping personal training client-centered, we will be able to not only build our business in the most effective way possible, but more importantly, we will be able to truly have a positive impact on the lives of our clients.

I hope this has given you some insight as to how I approach training.  By no means am I saying that workouts should be easy, or that some more complicated exercises are not effective.  I’m simply saying that we as trainers need to focus our attention on making our clients better.   If that means doing an entire workout of body weight squats, push-ups, and pull-ups, then so be it.

Adam Reeder ACSM cPT
Adam@GetFunctionalTraining.com