Fit Tips

Importance of Proper Form When Strength Training

August 8th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

I am a stickler on proper form!

In both my classes and sessions, you will hear me correcting my clients form as needed. You’ll see me demonstrating proper form, you’ll even occasionally hear me tell a client to drop down a “click” in their weight to maintain proper form.

This article from the NFPT blog explains why proper form is so important.

I’m sure we’ve all witnessed it before, and we may even be guilty of doing this ourselves – improper form and technique when attempting to lift heavy.

Sure, the only way to increase muscle mass is by lifting heavy but what’s the point if you’re going to have sloppy form? Not only can we potentially cause injury to ourselves or clients with improper form, but we’re not working the intended muscle groups with improper form either. When strength training any area of your body, having proper form and technique is crucial to make sure you’re working the intended muscle groups that you want to develop and grow.

There are several factors that play important roles when strength training.

Prevent Injury

One of the most important reasons to maintain proper form during weight lifting exercises is to prevent injury. When we lift a heavy weight, this can cause the body to become misaligned, and that can place your tendons, muscles, and joints in positions that can potentially cause strains or tears. Rule of thumb here is to lower the weight if you have to sway your body in order to lift the weight. You want to avoid lifting by swaying your back to gain momentum.

It is always better to lift lighter weights with proper form than to lift heavy weight with sloppy form.

For example, if you’re performing bicep curls with dumbbells, and you have to swing your whole body into the exercise to lift the weight- then this is a sign that the weight is too heavy and you should find a lighter weighted dumbbell.

Muscle Targeting

Proper form also ensures correct muscle targeting. Going back to the bicep curls, if we’re swinging our whole body into the intended bicep curl movement, chances are that our bicep is not getting worked, and you’re working more of your shoulder girdles and core. By doing this you can potentially cause injury to the intended muscle that you are trying to work and strain other areas in the body that aren’t intended to be worked, with the example of bicep curls.

Proper Breathing Techniques

One area I’d like to discuss also is breathing. Proper form helps to ensure proper breathing techniques during our reps and sets. This is essential for weight training exercises because it helps to generate more force and reduce the chance of heart problems, aneurysms and severe increases in blood pressure. When you use the correct form you will be able to breathe the air in easier, and you will be able to focus on the exercise at hand with much greater detail. Rule of thumb here is to inhale just before the positive (lift) and exhale after the negative (lowering the weight) and keep this pace for each rep of each set.

Everyone likes to use heavyweight in the gym, but in order for us to lift the maximum weight, our muscles need to be in the ideal position to generate force. When movements become unaligned, muscles are placed at awkward angles decreasing functionality. By maintaining proper form you will be able to lift heavier that will be noticed with visible results in a shorter timeframe.


Pitfalls to avoid when replenishing fluids this summer

August 8th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

What to Drink When You’re Dehydrated

Staying hydrated regulates body temperature, allows your heart to work more efficiently, prevents headaches and muscle fatigue, aids digestion, and even boosts your mood. But in the heat of summer, it’s easy to become dehydrated without realizing it.

You might be tempted to try one of the many sports drinks or flavored waters on supermarket shelves, thinking they’re a step up from plain old H₂0.

What’s the truth? Consumers Report’s nutri­tion­ists took a closer look at the types of hydration drinks on the market. Here’s their verdict.

Sports Drinks
These were originally developed for hard-core athletes to replenish electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, that are lost in sweat, plus carbohydrates that muscles use for fuel. “The average exerciser needs to replace water, not electrolytes,” says Amy Keating, R.D., a CR nutritionist.

Worse, sports drinks could offset the calorie-burning benefits of exercise. “A person who weighs 150 pounds will burn around 150 calories in 30 minutes of brisk walking, but sports drinks can have about 100 calories in 16 ounces,” Keating says. Zero-calorie and low-calorie sports drinks might not have any sugar (or as much) but may have artificial sweeteners. And both types might have artificial colors or other added ingredients.

Water With Added Vitamins
There’s no need to replenish vitamins just because it’s hot out or you went for a run. And if you drink a lot of these, you run the risk of overloading on vitamins, especially if you take a multivitamin and/or eat vitamin-fortified foods, such as certain cereals. Also, read labels; some products are full of sugars.

Plant Waters
Labeling on certain coconut, maple, cactus, and other trendy plant waters suggests that these drinks are more hydrating than water or a more natural alternative to sports drinks. There’s not much truth to the hydration claims, but they are lower in sugars. Coconut water has about 40 to 65 calories and 9 to 14 grams of sugars in 8 ounces; cactus and maple have about 25 calories and 5 grams of sugars in 8 ounces.

Ice Tea
Brewed tea has negligible calories and contains antioxidants that may improve heart health and lower the risk of cognitive decline and type 2 diabetes.

But when it comes in a bottle, tea might not have any of these benefits. Many bottled ice teas are nutritionally on a par with soda—containing loads of sugars. Diet ice teas will be low in sugars and calories, but they may have artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose.

Instead, look for ice teas labeled “unsweetened.” “You can add stevia and get far fewer sugars than in many presweetened versions,” Keating says.

If you want antioxidants, brew up a pitcher. “Bottled teas are very low in antioxidants compared to freshly brewed tea,” says Joe Vinson, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Scranton, whose lab has analyzed a variety of teas. But the antioxidants dissipate over time. “We found that once brewed, the antioxidant content went down about 10 percent a day,” Vinson says. So don’t make a bigger batch than you can drink in a day or two.

Homemade Alternatives
Do-it-yourself flavored waters are a healthy and tasty alternative to bottled drinks. Start with a large pitcher of ice water and add sliced fruit. Or try the idea below from Chad Luethje, executive chef at the Red Mountain Resort in southwest Utah.

Ginger-Peach Cooler
Add 2 quartered peaches (or another stone fruit) and about 2 inches of peeled ginger root, thinly sliced. Fill a pitcher with water and stir gently. Add fresh lemon verbena leaves or lemongrass stalks, if desired.

By Consumer Reports

 


The Best Workout Ever, According to Science

August 6th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

It seems like every other week there is a new study touting the best way to work out.

Since my clients are reading these, I like to check them out too. Imagine my smile when I read a “top 10” article and found that several of our “DBM” moves were included.

1. Dumbbell Front Squats
Set your feet hip-to-shoulder-width apart. Holding dumbbells above your shoulders, elbows bent and close to your sides, inhale as you sit back deeply while keeping your chest high, into a squat. Exhale and press the floor away to come back to stand.

2. Dumbbell Shoulder Presses
Start with the dumbbells in your hands, fingers facing forward, just above your shoulders by your ears. Soften your knees. Inhale, then exhale as you press the ‘bells above your head, together but not touching. Resist the weight as you bring them back down.

3. Bentover Rows
Begin bending down by sending your hips back so your torso is hinged at the waist; lightly bend your knees. Let the weights hang in front of your legs, fingers facing them, but don’t allow your shoulders to droop forward. Inhale, then exhale as you row the barbell up, pulling your shoulder blades together at the top. Slowly lower it back to start.

4. Dumbbell Squats 
With dumbbells on your shoulders, squat slowly to the floor. Exhale as you push up to standing. Repeat, slowly down, pushing up and breathing throughout.

6. Wide-Grip Pull-ups (assisted if needed)
On a bar or assisted pullup machine, place your hands so they are each 6-8 inches beyond your shoulder width, fingers facing away from you. Inhale, then exhale as you pull your body up, chin above the bar. Inhale as you lower down with control.

Read the complete Men’s Journal article here


Why strength training is important for all student athletes

August 6th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Strength training has become such an integral part of an athlete’s training regimen over the past several decades that you would assume it is universally accepted as standard operating procedure.

However, there still appears to be a fairly large contingent of well-meaning coaches who are recipients of push-back regarding strength training’s efficacy and overall benefits. Whether the concerns stem from uninformed parents/guardians, misguided coaches or athletic directors, or antiquated gender stereotyping and misconceptions, strength training still receives a bad rap in some small, restricted circles.

If you are a strength training advocate, and facing the friction of any of the scenarios mentioned above, here are some evidence-based, documented, tried-and-true facts on why strength training should be a mainstay for all athletes — male and female — in every sport.

Think of them as the “magnificent seven” reasons to strength train.

1. It helps reduce the incidence or severity of injury
2. Improvements in overall flexibility
3. Healthy, efficient body composition
4. Increased resting metabolism
5. Packing the power
6. Increased bone mineral density
7. Improved glucose metabolism

Strength training is, unquestionably, one of the most effective avenues available to us for enhancing numerous aspects of physical health and performance-related variables. In addition to the positive physical outcomes mentioned, there also is evidence of mental health benefits including decreased symptoms of depression, increased self-esteem and self-concept, and improved cognitive capabilities.

With all of those key ingredients to athletic success and an improved quality of life in place, the case for engaging in a safely administered, comprehensive, year-round, progressive strength training program is on rock-solid footing.

Read the complete article by Ken Mannie here.


The Hidden Mental and Physical Benefits of Exercise

July 26th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

As You Work Out…
Your lungs are getting stronger. When you do cardio, your brain sends signals to them to help you breathe faster and deeper, delivering extra oxygen to your muscles.

Your motivation is at its peak. Thanks to a flood of endorphins, which trigger the classic runner’s high, you feel psyched and energized.

You’re fighting flab. During typical cardio exercise, your body taps mainly fat for fuel.

FIT TIP: Push yourself to go harder. The more intensely you do aerobic activity and the longer you do it, the more efficiently your body uses oxygen, and this boosts its fat-blasting power throughout your workout.

Within One Hour of Exercise…
You’re protecting yourself against colds, flu, you name it. Exercise elevates your level of immunoglobulins, which are proteins that help bolster your immune system and ward off infection. “Every sweat session you do can help strengthen your immune function for about 24 hours,” says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise.

You’re feeling zen. Mood-enhancing chemicals, like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, flood your brain for a couple of hours post-exercise and for up to a day if you’ve competed in an endurance event, like a marathon. Stress? What stress?

You’re blasting calories, even at rest. For every 100 calories, you burn during your workout, you can expect to burn 15 calories after.

FIT TIP: To turbo-charge your calorie-incinerating quotient, strength-train at least twice a week. It will charge your metabolism so that you’ll continue to burn calories for up to 38 hours, according to a study from Ohio University in Athens.

Post-Workout Benefits

Within One Day of Exercise…
You’re adding lean muscle. If you did a strength-training routine, your muscles are now starting to rebuild themselves and repair the microscopic tears that come with lifting weights. Preliminary research shows that women respond to and recover from resistance training faster than men.

Your heart is healthier. One sweat session lowers your blood pressure for up to 16 hours.

FIT TIP: A vigorous workout is especially heart smart.

You’re a quick study. You’re super alert and focused post-exercise. That’s because a good workout increases the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain.

Within One Week of Regular Exercise…
Your risk of diabetes goes down. The more you work out, the greater your sensitivity to insulin. That, in turn, lowers your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Your VO2 max, a measure of your endurance and aerobic fitness, has already increased by about 5 percent.  You can go a little harder and longer than you could before.

FIT TIP: Step up your routine and your results will be even better. Plus, you can burn more belly fat by doing intervals rather than keeping a steady pace.

You’re slimmer. Cutting 500 calories a day through exercise and diet will help you drop one pound a week.

Long-Term Benefits of Exercise
You’re getting stronger. Those fifteen-pound weights don’t feel quite as heavy, because your muscular endurance is starting to increase. Ten reps is no longer a struggle.

You’re blasting belly fat. After four weeks of regular workouts, your body is ditching flab and gaining muscle. Overweight people who took part in a four-week program of moderate aerobic exercise in an Australian study reduced ab fat by 12 percent.

FIT TIP: To trim your tummy, do fewer crunches and more planks: Begin on all fours, hands under shoulders, knees under hips, then lower forearms to floor and extend legs straight behind you, balancing on toes. Keeping abs engaged and back flat, butt slightly raised, hold for 30 seconds; do 10 reps three or four times a week.

You’ve got more brainpower. Working out activates growth-stimulating proteins in the brain that may help form new cells there.

FIT TIP: The more challenging your workout, the stronger your mental muscle. Aim for 30 minutes of vigorous cardio at least three days a week.

Within One Year of Regular Exercise…
Working out is way easier. “Your endurance and aerobic fitness can increase by up to 25 percent after eight to 12 weeks of regular training,” Gordon says. “In a year your endurance can more than double.”

Your heart rate is lower. Thanks to regular workouts, your heart is pumping more efficiently. For instance, if your initial resting heart rate was 80 beats a minute, it will have dropped to 70 or lower. The less work your heart has to do, the healthier you’ll be.

You’re a fat-melting machine. Your cells are now superefficient at breaking down fat and using it as fuel. That means you’re zapping more flab 24-7.

You’ve cut your cancer risk. In a study of more than 14,800 women, those who had the highest levels of aerobic fitness were 55 percent less likely to die from breast cancer than those who were sedentary. Women considered moderately fit had about a 33 percent lower risk of developing the disease. Exercise may also help protect against endometrial, lung, and ovarian cancer, researchers say.

You’re adding years to your life.
Fitness buffs have better telomeres, the DNA that bookends our chromosomes and protects them from damage, which can slow the aging process, studies show.

You feel fantastic. Just four months of exercise is as good as prescription meds at boosting mood and reducing depression, according to a study at Duke University. Keep it up and not only will your life be longer, it will be happier, too!

Courtesy of Fitness Magazine


Planks or Crunches?

July 26th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

While the plank and crunch both work the abs, each one does so uniquely. The plank requires an isometric contraction, or static holding, of the spine, whereas the crunch requires spinal flexion.

Primary muscles used in the crunch include rectus abdominis, the six-pack muscles, and obliques, similar to the muscles used in plank.

However, planks also activate muscles in the shoulders, glutes, and legs too. Research by The Pennsylvania State University shows that abdominal and lumbar muscles are activated more in exercises that require simultaneous activation of the deltoids (shoulders) and glutes.

I recommend plank over crunches for overall strength training.

Plank is a great core strengthening exercise to tone various parts of your body including your abs, back, and shoulders. It is one of the most complete total-body exercises there is and works multiple muscle groups simultaneously just by holding the isometric hold position for 30-60 seconds. It’s unbelievably simple and easy that almost anyone can perform, yet its super effective at developing core strength.

Here are the top 4 plank benefits:

Toned abs: Contrary to crunches that focus on the six-pack muscles (outer abdominal muscles), plank works the deep inner core muscles that function as base of the six-pack muscles. To see definitions in your abs, working the deep inner abdominal is a must.

However, be cautioned that your abs will start showing when your body fat percentage goes below 20-22% depending on your age and body type.

Stronger Back: According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), plank exercise is a great way to build back strength and reduce back pain. Because plank requires minimal movement while contracting all layers of the abdominal fascia, it is an excellent way to strengthen the core, which, in turn, helps reduce low-back pain.

Improved flexibility: Planks also increase the flexibility in posterior muscle groups by working the shoulders, collarbone, and upper back and improves their strength and flexibility. These areas are often neglected with crunches.

Better posture: During the isometric hold, deep core stabilizing muscles such as transverse abdominis and iliopsoas and other nearby muscles get contracted simultaneously to stabilize and enable the straight body alignment. This activation of stabilizing muscles improves your stability and leads to better posture.

Despite all the great benefits and hardly any hurdle to perform this simple workout, planks are not to be taken lightly. Numerous studies have found that it’s better to maintain proper form for a shorter period of time than to hold improper form for longer. The smarter and safer way to advance your planks and challenge your core is to perform more advanced planks. This forces your body to engage your stabilizing muscles, even more, to hold the isometric position and resist the urge to drop your hips.


What to Do When a Headache Strikes in the Middle of a Workout

July 18th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

So you are at the gym, in the middle of an intense workout and all of a sudden you get this pulsating headache out of nowhere. The fighter in you says you should ignore it and keep powering through. But the pain is stubborn and doesn’t relent. What’s going on?

Sounds like you’re suffering from an exertion headache—a type of head pain triggered by exercise. Exertion headaches aren’t as well known as migraines or stress headaches. But they can be just as painful, lasting from five minutes to 48 hours and putting a dent in your workout or the rest of your day.

Exertion headaches tend to happen when you’re sweating your hardest; they’re caused by increased pressure on the blood vessels in the brain. They generally occur during strenuous exercise like biking, running, or weightlifting, according to the American Migraine Foundation. Here’s what doctors say you should do if you develop one of these skull throbbers, plus how to keep them from coming back.

Dehydration
“You probably sweat more than usual during a workout, so it’s important to rehydrate with approximately 20 to 32 extra ounces of water for every hour you exercise,” says Rudman. “Especially during the winter months in colder climates. Heat is blasting all day in the home and the workplace, creating a very dry environment, dehydrating you even more.”

Reduce your intake of alcohol or caffeine
If you regularly indulge in alcohol or caffeine, it is possible that either or both are leading to some of your exertion headaches. Try reducing your alcohol intake—doing so will have other health benefits anyway.

Low blood sugar
Skipping a meal or a pre-workout snack can bring on the head pounding, too.

“The brain uses more blood sugar than any other part of the body,” says Carolyn Dean, M.D., a Hawaii-based doctor specializing in nutrition and naturopathic medicine. “Low blood sugar occurs when you are malnourished or even when you skip meals. It also occurs in individuals whose adrenal glands are depleted and can’t mount the necessary adrenaline response to raise blood sugar when it gets too low.”

Upper body tension
Your brain’s anatomical neighbors could be what are plaguing it.

“One of the reasons why exercisers get a headache after working out is because the muscles of the neck and upper back tighten up, pulling on the muscles of the head,” says Robert Herbst, strength coach and world champion powerlifter.

Warm Up
Get your blood vessels opened up before your intense workout with a solid warm-up that gets your heart pumping.

Increased pressure in your head
But what if you know you’re hydrated and well fueled for your workouts? Intense or prolonged cardio or weightlifting workouts could be to blame. Though the exact reason for it is debatable, the Mayo Clinic suggests exertion headaches may develop when strenuous exercise expands blood vessels in the brain over a prolonged period, leading to the pounding pain you feel afterward — which could last for as little as five minutes on up to 48 hours, according to AMF.

What to Do When You Feel a Workout Headache Coming On
Sometimes exertion headaches happen no matter how many precautions you take. In those instances, you can opt to take an over-the-counter pain reliever, like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) 30 minutes before your exercise sessions, to reduce inflammation and (hopefully) the tension.

Another option is to down a drink with plenty of electrolytes, like coconut water, as soon as the symptoms start. And if the pain is really bad, cut your workout short and rest until it subsides.

Headaches during or after exercise can put a real damper on your routine, but recognizing the triggers — and preventing them — can get you back on the workout wagon, headache free.


Does CBD Oil from Hemp Work?

July 18th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

The cannabis industry is growing rapidly. CBD hemp oil is one of the more popular hemp products in the health industry because of its benefits. Extracted from hemp seeds it contains tons of vitamins and minerals making it a great natural supplement. Since it is low in THC it gives you all the benefits of hemp without getting you high.

It interacts with the body through the endocannabinoid system or EDS. This system regulates the body’s state impacting your mood, sleep, appetite, hormone regulation, pain management and immune response. It’s also a natural anti-inflammatory. Modern science is becoming more aware of these benefits and is using CBD hemp oil to treat illnesses such as eczema, Alzheimer’s and type 1 diabetes. One child in Ireland was even able to treat his severe epilepsy by using CBD oil and is now over 250 days seizure free.

It has extraordinary benefits and is completely legal, shipped
all over the US and you don’t need a medical card to purchase it.

A lot of people are trying it for the first time to help with everyday problems like pain or to help you have better sleep. Tamara Pridgett, a millennial living in New York City is one of these people. She stumbled upon it, was intrigued and decided to give it a try.

Tamara is always striving to look and feel her best, but being as busy as she is can make it hard sometimes. Between balancing a new job, her own personal training business and other hobbies her health was put on hold which took a toll on her health. She came across a product by Mineral Health called “Robyn”, a type of CBD oil said to promote balance, recovery, and calmness. She began taking it to help find balance in her mind and body and found it had 3 amazing effects on her body.

1. Better Sleep
The first time Tamara tried CBD oil was after an exhausting 19-hour day made up of training clients, working out and writing. Wanting to test the oil she took the recommended dosage for restorative sleep and went to bed. She reports that “the next morning I woke up feeling surprisingly refreshed It was the first time in more than three months that I had slept through the entire night”. As someone who wakes up often in the night, she was delighted to find she slept till morning, she even noticed that she was able to sleep better.

2. Effective Pain Management
Being a personal trainer, Tamara’s workouts are often super intense. She loves to sprint, lift weights and run half-marathons, but her recovery process has been slacking. After running a 5k and lifting weights she decided to take a dosage of CBD oil to see if it could help with the pain management she usually experiences after working out. It worked! Instead of her muscles crying out in pain it felt “like they had received a five-star message”. She was able to tie her shoes with no aching pain and felt good enough to do another workout the next day

3. Improved Focus
Being a busy women Tamara’s brain is constantly operating. She says “ I have days where I can’t focus on anything except for all my thoughts, incomplete tasks, and ending up alone”. She decided to take a dropper of CBD oil before heading to work and felt her day was a lot more productive.

Overall, Tamara enjoyed her experience and feels that taking CBD oil did have a positive effect on her body and mind. She doesn’t take it religiously but concludes “I know that whenever I’m feeling stressed or just need a better night’s sleep, I’ll be able to find balance.”

Conclusion
Tamara’s experience is one of many that shows how CBD hemp oil can be a natural remedy for many ailments. But before starting it is extremely important that you talk to your doctor and do your research to make sure that it is right for you.

Courtesy of The Hearty Soul


The New Science of Exercise

July 4th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Only 20% of Americans get the recommended 150 minutes of strength and cardiovascular physical activity per week, more than half of all baby boomers report doing no exercise whatsoever, and 80.2 million Americans over age 6 are entirely inactive.

That’s bad news, but emerging evidence shows that there are plenty of compelling reasons to start moving at any age, even if you’re ill or pregnant. Indeed, scientists are learning that exercise is, actually, medicine.

You can read the whole story here, or find it posted on the cork board in the gym, but here are some of the amazing things that happen to a body in motion.

1. Exercise is great for your brain.

It’s linked to less depression, better memory, and quicker learning. Studies also suggest that exercise is, as of now, the best way to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, a major fear for many Americans.

Scientists don’t know exactly why exercise changes the structure and function of the brain, but it’s an area of active research. So far, they’ve found that exercise improves blood flow to the brain, feeding the growth of new blood vessels and even new brain cells, thanks to the protein BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF triggers the growth of new neurons and helps repair and protect brain cells from degeneration. It may also help people focus, according to recent research.

2. You might get happier.

Countless studies show that many types of exercise, from walking to cycling, make people feel better and can even relieve symptoms of depression. Exercise triggers the release of chemicals in the brain—serotonin, norepinephrine, endorphins, dopamine—that dull pain, lighten mood and relieve stress. “For years we focused almost exclusively on the physical benefits of exercise and really have ignored the psychological and emotional benefits of being regularly active,” says Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise.

3. It might make you age slower.

Exercise has been shown to lengthen lifespan by as much as five years. A small new study suggests that moderate-intensity exercise may slow down the aging of cells. As humans get older and their cells divide over and over again, their telomeres—the protective caps on the end of chromosomes—get shorter. To see how exercise affects telomeres, researchers took a muscle biopsy and blood samples from 10 healthy people before and after a 45-minute ride on a stationary bicycle. They found that exercise increased levels of a molecule that protects telomeres, ultimately slowing how quickly they shorten over time. Exercise, then, appears to slow aging at the cellular level.

4. It’ll make your skin look better.

Aerobic exercise revs up blood flow to the skin, delivering oxygen and nutrients that improve skin health and even help wounds heal faster. “That’s why when people have injuries, they should get moving as quickly as possible—not only to make sure the muscle doesn’t atrophy but to make sure there’s good blood flow to the skin,” says Anthony Hackney, an exercise physiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Train long enough, and you’ll add more blood vessels and tiny capillaries to the skin, too.

5. Amazing things can happen in just a few minutes.

Emerging research suggests that it doesn’t take much movement to get the benefits. “We’ve been interested in the question of, How low can you go?” says Martin Gibala, an exercise physiologist at McMaster University in Ontario. He wanted to test how effective a 10-minute workout could be, compared to the typical 50-minute bout. The micro-workout he devised consists of three exhausting 20-second intervals of all-out, hard-as-you-can exercise, followed by brief recoveries. In a three-month study, he pitted the short workout against the standard one to see which was better. To his amazement, the workouts resulted in identical improvements in heart function and blood-sugar control, even though one workout was five times longer than the other.

6. It can help you recover from a major illness.

Even very vigorous exercise—like the interval workouts Gibala is studying—can, in fact, be appropriate for people with different chronic conditions, from Type 2 diabetes to heart failure. That’s new thinking because, for decades, people with certain diseases were advised not to exercise. Now scientists know that far more people can and should exercise. A recent analysis of more than 300 clinical trials discovered that for people recovering from a stroke, exercise was even more effective at helping them rehabilitate.

7. Your fat cells will shrink.

The body uses both carbohydrates and fats as energy sources. But after consistent aerobic exercise training, the body gets better at burning fat, which requires a lot of oxygen to convert it into energy. “One of the benefits of exercise training is that our cardiovascular system gets stronger and better at delivering oxygen, so we are able to metabolize more fat as an energy source,” Hackney says. As a result, your fat cells—which produce the substances responsible for chronic low-grade inflammation—shrink, and so does inflammation.

By MANDY OAKLANDER and HEATHER JONES


90 Days to Awesome!

June 27th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Getting ripped takes hard work and dedication, a carefully planned diet and many hours in the gym. At times, it takes an iron will, such as when you want to cheat on your diet or skip a workout.

There’s no shortcut to getting ripped. Whether or not you can get there in 90 days depends on where you’re starting from and how much you’re willing to work for it.

Diet Is King

How much time you spend in the kitchen prepping meals with the right calorie and macronutrient content is just as important as how much time you spend in the gym. You can’t get ripped if your diet isn’t on point. Following the DBM food plan is key to seeing results from your bi-weekly strength training workout.

When you reduce your caloric intake, your body starts to burn fat for fuel. How many calories you need to eat depends on a lot of factors – your current body fat percentage, how much you currently eat, how hard you work out, etc. Get good at tracking your calories in a journal or an app. If you’re not getting the results you want, talk with me. Just remember that you don’t want to cut too many calories, which can cause you to lose muscle.

Macro Strategy

Balancing your macronutrients is key to getting ripped. Experts differ on the exact proportions, but generally, a diet that is higher in protein gets good results.

Protein is one of the most important nutrients for altering body composition it provides the raw materials for building muscle and it is more satiating than carbohydrate and fat, which can help you reduce your calorie intake for fat loss.

Choose Your Foods Wisely

You want to get the most bang for your buck at each meal and snack. Choose lean sources of protein, such as light meat chicken, fish and lean beef, egg whites, and plants. Focus on fresh vegetables which are low in calories and filling, instead of fruit which is high in natural sugar, snack on sweeter vegetables like bell peppers, snap peas and carrots.

Avoid saturated fats and get healthy fats from olive oil, fatty fish, and avocado. Choose a protein shake when you need something sweet, and avoid eating out whenever possible as it makes controlling your calorie and macronutrient intake challenging.

Advanced food prep is your friend. Always having a balanced meal and snacks ready to eat in your refrigerator makes it much less likely that you will cheat (keep a small cooler with you in the summer).

Crush the Gym

In combination with eating enough protein, strength training is the only way to maintain muscle mass while you’re burning fat. Strength training programs that are consistent, challenging and changed up every four to six weeks will get you the results you want. You also need to allow adequate time for recovery to promote muscle growth and prevent injury. Follow my program of twice a week private or semi-private sessions and use group classes as needed.

Keep your workouts simple by using compound movements like squats, curls, deadlifts, rows and pull-ups with heavy weights. These exercises work a lot of muscles at one time and build core strength. They also burn more calories while you’re doing them.