Exercise Articles



change word cloud on a vintage slate blackboard

Adaptation is at the Core of Continual Change

Your Red Deer personal trainer will teach you that your body adapts to everything, if you're progress is stuck subtle (not drastic) change is the key to continual progress.

Your body adapts to everything, if you’re progress is stuck subtle (not drastic) change is the key to continual progress.

This may surprise you but when it comes to changing your body I feel you could dial it down to one key concept that will outperform and make more sense than any other. Your body is a master of adaptation, your job is to provide stimulus to which it must adapt.

You may wonder why tonnes of our clients are losing weight and bodyfat by eating more (sometimes in excess of double what they were eating before coming to see us), while the world seems to consistently agree that eating less or portion control is the answer. In truth both are right for the simple fact they both force the body through a process of adaptation. Eating less or smaller portions limits the body’s resources, forcing the body to adapt by finding a way to supplement the resource deficit internally. Unfortunately this isn’t sustainable; you simply can’t create energy without energy. If you’re not convinced next time you fill up your car note the number of kilometres you travelled before requiring a fill and the number of litres of fuel you purchase. Now each subsequent time you fill up your vehicle I want you to travel the same number of kilometres but put 1L less fuel in than the previous refuelling, keep repeating this process. Oh and by the way, please register for roadside assistance as I’m convinced you may require it in the near future.

The above example may seem silly, but essentially any form of restriction on your body whether it be food intake, water intake or restful sleep essentially has the same effect. Lucky for us our body is much more adaptive and resilient than our vehicle so you won’t be stranded as quickly. My point is; it’s not sustainable.

By comparison, when you begin eating more a different kind of adaptation occurs. The initial assumption is that you would gain weight or bodyfat. This can be true if you’re consuming the wrong fuel. We could compare this to our cars again as a mixture of fuel and air, our vehicle requires both in specific amounts and in changing conditions depending on whether you are accelerating, decelerating, or what the air temperature is. We can generalize our body in the same way with one radical exception. Some foods actually require more energy to digest than can be extracted, creating an energy deficit. To a personal trainer this is an ideal environment. You will ultimately benefit from the nutrients from the food but without any physical effort on your part, you can burn more energy than you took in. You can see now the consistency of both examples is that additional energy is required by the body, and why both mechanisms may achieve a similar end result. Those eating more just tend to be happier, have more energy, and find it easier to sustain long term, but then I guess those feelings are a matter of personal preference.

This is just one example of the body’s ability to adapt. Exercise functions in a similar way. If you have a pattern of exercising on the same days, for the same amount of time, using the same exercises, at approximately the same weight or resistance there is little for your body to adapt to. As a result there is little progress. By changing just one of those variables in each workout your body has no choice but to make progress because it must adapt. Now this is usually where our good work ethic get’s us into trouble. A flash of inspiration (like a New Year’s resolution) makes us leap forward and change a whole gambit of things. Our “willpower” subsequently breaks down after a short period because the required adaptation is too much all at once, the body resists. It’s hard for us to believe but often the same or better results will be achieved with baby steps, implementing things at a pace that makes you say, think and feel that, “it’s no big deal.”

If you’re serious about reaching your goals once and for all remember that losing just 1lb/week adds up to 52lbs this year, these would be great results for anyone and are absolutely achievable. Determine your target than work backwards choosing the “no big deal” babysteps, even if it means you can only handle exercising 5 minutes a day to start. (Ex. An average new year’s resolution may last 17-25 days and average exercise might be 1 hour/day=25 hours of exercise. Just 5 min/day would be the equivalent of 30.75 hours of exercise over the course of a year, and no one will stay at 5 minutes for ever. This is why the tortoise won and so will you.)


How long should my workouts be?

TRAINING_WEB-17This is an age old question and one that’s been greatly under debate for many more years than I have been a personal trainer in Red Deer.

First you should understand how your body works. It is a perfect machine bent on adaptation, it adapts to everything. You expose yourself to harmful chemicals and it will do it’s best to adapt, filter and survive; if it becomes overloaded you feel the negative effects of that exposure. This may seem like a drastic example for an article on exercise but it’s not really; you see your body deals with exercise much the same way.

When you exercise your body adapts, it increases heart rate and respiration in an effort to supply more oxygen to the muscles doing the work. It will utilize stored glucose to produce more energy and when those supplies run short will look elsewhere for ways to create fuel. As muscle fibers reach work capacity and begin to exhaust they begin to break down chemically into waste products like lactic acid. Your body through circulation works diligently to clear this waste at the same rate at which it is created, when it’s unable to keep up you “feel the burn” strength lessens and you become fatigued. If you push through beyond the point of discomfort pain increases, as pain increases so does damage to the working tissue and it’s ability to protect and support the tissues around it. An injury becomes more likely the further you push as the body’s tolerance for any unexpected circumstance is compromised. (ex. Suddenly running on uneven ground.)

When you stop exercising your body repositions it’s resources to increase repair and new construction. Each time you push your physical limits during this “down time” your body will replace resources like glucose, repair damaged tissues and in an effort to be more prepared next time, make them a little better. This is the real magic of exercise, after every single workout with adequate recovery your body will in fact be a little different than it was before.

Now I know what you’re thinking, if I workout harder and longer I can cause more adaptation or change after every workout. In the most simplistic manner this looks to be true, but there is a factor of diminishing return. When your tissues become compromised or “damaged” beyond a certain point you greatly increase your need for recovery but this doesn’t yield greater adaptation, just longer recovery. Further understand that during recovery because abundant additional resources are needed for repair these resources must come from somewhere, both from consumed fuel sources and often other systems such as the immune system. This is why if you’re feeling under the weather and then complete a really hard workout you might find yourself sick within the next day or so.

When it comes to workout duration there isn’t a right or wrong answer, but here’s something further to consider. Effective workout duration is equally influenced by fuel consumption, ability, and efficiency or intensity.

What this means is that if you’re eating poorly in the case of consuming processed foods or not eating enough your effective workout duration will be shorter because of diminished incoming resources for recovery.

If you are unfamiliar with the performance of the selected exercises inefficiency will lead to faster physical exhaustion and quicker damage to the affected tissues, meaning your workout duration will need to be reduced.

Even back in these days you might be surprised to know I only trained about 30-45 min, 4 days/week with an additionally 30 min of low intensity cardio each day while dieting for a show.

This probably isn’t what you want to look like, but you might be surprised to know that even back in these days I only trained about 30-45 min, 4 days/week with an additionally 30 min of low intensity cardio each day while dieting for a show.

Finally, and the biggest variable factor is intensity. The lower your intensity the longer your workout will need to be, the higher the intensity the shorter it will be. Now here’s where this get’s weird. Our body is so perfect that there is a variable also to intensity, in that our subconscious mind will regulate our perceived intensity. In an effort to explain think of it like this, if you plan to workout for 60 minutes and do so on a regular basis your body adapts to this, it will limit your ability to maintain a certain intensity to ensure that you can complete the 60 minutes. Your body, by regulating your intensity, basically ensures that you will be able to perform in some capacity for that duration. Inversely if you choose to workout just 30 minutes your body will regulate in the same way, because the duration is less it will begin to allow more effort to be expended in that duration knowing that it doesn’t need to preserve resources accordingly for survival.

This is a very general explanation but in the end it all comes down to our body’s basic function to ensure survival. It will sub-consciously regulate your ability to perform in an effort to give you the best chance of survival if this were an emergency situation it’s really about that simple.

So in the end there isn’t really a set duration anyone should workout, high-level athletes generally have developed metabolic systems to be able to survive longer training durations. The average adult will be notably less, which is why all of our exercise programs generally focus on a 30-minute duration. We know in terms of capacity this will be very effective for nearly everyone. People are always surprised to learn that in my peak training days for the nationals I still used to only train about 30-45 minutes, 4 days a week.

Hope this helps, more isn’t better, smart training for the best results!

 


How Often To Take A “Rest” Week

While for some people, making sure they stick to their workout program tends to be top concern.  For them, it’s a matter of taking less rest and doing more work.

For others however, the situation is reversed. If you’re someone who naturally likes to workout and is very motivated, you might just need to periodically remind yourself to take time off.

Going to the gym is almost like a habit – you do it without fail and over time, this can actually come back to hinder you.

Rest is an integral part of progressing with any workout program and if you aren’t taking enough rest, you’ll be in for problems ahead. Eventually overtraining, burnout, or injuries will occur, which will set you back, if not take you out for months at a time.

But how often should you take time off? Let’s go over a few factors to consider.

 

The Intensity Of Your Workout Program

First, consider the intensity of your workout program at hand. The more intense a workout is, the more demanding it’s going to be on your system and the more rest and recovery you’ll need.

For those who are training hard 4-5 times per week, a one week break every 10-12 weeks would be a very good idea.

On the other hand, if you are only exercising hard 2-3 times a week, along with 1-2 lighter workout sessions added in, you can go longer before taking time off.  4-6 months should be more appropriate.

 

Your Lifestyle

Next, also consider your lifestyle. Are you looking after your sleep needs or does your busy schedule only allow for 6-7 hours per sleep each night?

Likewise, do you suffer from high levels of stress thanks to a demanding career? Or, are you more carefree and relaxed?

Those who are keeping tabs on stress and sleep will recover better from week to week, thus they may be able to go longer before having to take time off.

Those who aren’t, they can expect to need time off at regular intervals throughout their training.

Listen to your body. If it feels like it’s begging for time off, chances are you should give it this.

 

Your Nutrition

Finally, also look at your nutrition. If you are dieting, using a lower calorie intake than normal, this also places extra demands on your recovery ability.  As such, you’ll need to not only lower the intensity of your workout program, but also take rest more frequently as well.

For those who are eating in a surplus of calories, they can do the opposite. They’ll have plenty of fuel to train hard and keep recovering day by day.

So keep these quick points in mind.  Scheduling some time off every few months – or as needed – is an important part of seeing ongoing progress.

 


How-to Plan a Successful New Year's Resolution

How-to Plan a Successful New Year’s Resolution

ny-picNew Year’s is one of my favourite holidays of the year. Kind of an odd ritual when you think about it; time doesn’t stop, the world doesn’t suddenly change overnight, yet we generally have an entirely new outlook on the days ahead. Our perception of this even leaves us supercharged and full of vigour, a focused energy to strive toward new goal, dreams, ambitions, achievements. This is a massive time of growth for the fitness industry.

One statistic I came across suggested that only 12% of people who set New Year’s resolutions will reach them. By the end of February more than 60% of resolutions have been abandoned and by the end of June this swells to over 80%.

I can’t imagine that any of us look ourselves in the mirror and think, “I’m excited about setting this goal knowing that I’m going to fail.” Yet the likelihood of this reality is significant. I hope with each column I write, at any time of year, that many more of you will be empowered to beat the statistics.

There is an acronym that as a Red Deer personal trainer I’ve used for effective goal setting for a long time; this New Year’s I’d like you to set a SMART goal. Here’s the Breakdown on what SMART stands for and how to use it.

Specific – All goals must be as specific as possible, written down and reviewed often. It’s not enough to say, “I want to lose weight and tone up.” A specific goal would be, “I am going to lose 30lbs, 3 pant sizes and be able to run 10kms by the end of April.”

Measureable – Define how you will measure and how often you will measure. For the above goal this individual should commit to weighing on Fridays, trying on the goal pants at the end of each month and ever week to two weeks completing a long distance run to see how progress is coming. By tracking weight, if they can fit into the pants and recording running distances they have effective measurement metrics to know whether they are progressing to their goal.

Attainable – This letter in the acronym can be interpreted differently. In my interpretation of attainable I teach that each goal must be reverse engineered. Attainability is dependent upon breaking it down into short periods of weeks or days and outlining the baby steps you will need to complete in each of these micro periods to reach your goal. These micro-periods play to our emotional side making commitment easier because it doesn’t feel overwhelmingly long. For example based on our above goal to lose an average of 2lbs per week one suggestion would be to complete about 45-75 min/day of cardiovascular activity, this will also help with the secondary goal of running 10km. Each micro-period might be one week where it will be important that at least 5 of the 7 days I complete 45-75 minutes of sustained cardiovascular exercise. Just checking that off my list each day will be a small victory that feels good reinforcing me to greater likelihood of reaching my final goal.

Realistic – This point in your goal setting is a point of review. Your goal must be realistic in the sense that it must fit your current lifestyle habits; or that you’ve planned for an appropriate period of time and baby steps to adapt to it. People often say they lack willpower but this is inaccurate. Emotionally if we become discouraged or resentful toward a goal it’s our body protecting itself from us trying to force it to adapt to fast. A realistic goal is one that encompasses a pattern of adaptation that you will find reasonable comfortable and manageable. For instance if you know you need to complete 45-75 minutes of cardiovascular activity per day starting at what’s comfortable (say 10 minutes) and adding 2 minutes every 3rd day may seem like no big deal at all. This would be my definition of a realistic plan for reaching your goal.

Time – The final step for creating an effective goal is finalizing a timeline. Based on the steps above you should now have a pretty definitive plan for what you want to do, broken down into what you need to do, that’s then broken down into the baby steps that will make it all a reality. The timeline could really read deadline, and it needs to be taken seriously. Set a defined date with a real risk and reward that waits for you, and don’t let yourself off the hook. Plan a special event with your spouse or friends, plan to wear the new pants that are 3 sizes smaller, tell someone about it or write a basic contract as a form of greater commitment and accountability.

Effective goal planning takes a little time. I suggest you don’t complete your SMART goal plan all in one sitting. Just jot everything down quickly completing each step, then come back to it later that day or the next and review and revise.  Review and revise one more time and you will be amazed at how much easier the little ideas and details will come that will ensure you know what you need to do, how you need to do it, and it won’t seem nearly as daunting. As a final step visit us on facebook and tell us your New Year’s resolution and deadline. J www.facebook.com/personaltrainingreddeer


Why working out at home doesn’t work

melissa jeans afterFor me this year marks 23 years of working out, and yet even I’ve never been successful at regularly working out at home. Maybe that seems obvious to most, after all spending most of my days in a gym you’d think there would be no need to ever work out at home. However look at it this way, imagine working a full day in your office and then at quitting time instead of leaving you go to the washroom change into your gym clothes and then began to exercise for another hour in your office or lobby. I’m sure like most people the roar of engines and tires squealing out of the parking lot would have you thinking twice about staying at work longer for the sake of exercise.

Logically working out at home makes sense, it’s comfortable, it’s easily accessible, once you have the equipment there’s no additional cost, you can play whatever music you want, have the TV on, seems like a sure fire recipe for success. Yet treadmills and exercise equipment across the country are more often used to display drying clothes than for exercise.

Truly there is a simple reason why working out at home doesn’t usually work. It’s likely not what you think either, it’s not because you are lazy, it’s not because you get distracted by other things, it’s not because it’s so much easier to hold the couch down (well maybe a little bit but those are the secondary factors not the primary in my opinion.)

The main reason working out at home doesn’t work is because of our psychological connection to home. It’s safe, it’s a place of comfort, and it’s our retreat to escape everything else in the world. In an unrelated conversation this past weekend a very good friend of mine referred to his home and family as a “fortress” a place that stands up to the stresses of life and where we feel as though we can be free of it all, or at least it should be.

Now we all know we need to exercise because it’s good for us, but with all the demands in our life it’s easy to be tired, worn out and not feel like exercising. Essentially because of the other demands of life this tags a kind of negative emotion to exercise which worsens over time.

So when inspiration strikes we attack or home exercise regime with vigour which unfortunately quickly fades. Our underlying subconscious negative attachment to the extra effort required to exercise reminds us that our home is about safety, comfort and an isolation from the stresses of the world, soon our programming takes over and holding the couch down becomes a much more positive aand desired activity than dusting off the treadmill or the gym equipment.

This is why gyms work and why personal trainers work even better, because psychologically it appeals to a different type of programming. People attend public gyms for exercise, but in reality the subconscious programming of a relaxed social environment that is safe is the real reason most people keep going beyond the initial inspired weeks. Fortunately within this social environment exercise is both acceptable and expected and looking a little sweaty and unkempt is ok too. Working with a personal trainer takes this a step further, while fun and social interaction is still one of the top statistical reasons people work with a trainer long term the psychological attachment to the responsibility of showing up for a set appointment is what allows people to fast track their new habits. Of course the results of working with a personal trainer are also generally better because of the knowledge and accountability also provided by the trainer. Food for thought before committing to the costly purchase of a home gym.

 

Cabel


Even back in these days you might be surprised to know I only trained about 30-45 min, 4 days/week with an additionally 30 min of low intensity cardio each day while dieting for a show.

How long should my workouts be?

Even back in these days you might be surprised to know I only trained about 30-45 min, 4 days/week with an additionally 30 min of low intensity cardio each day while dieting for a show.

This is an age old question and one that’s been greatly under debate for many more years than I have been a personal trainer in Red Deer.

First you should understand how your body works. It is a perfect machine bent on adaptation, it adapts to everything. You expose yourself to harmful chemicals and it will do it’s best to adapt, filter and survive; if it becomes overloaded you feel the negative effects of that exposure. This may seem like a drastic example for an article on exercise but it’s not really; you see your body deals with exercise much the same way.

When you exercise your body adapts, it increases heart rate and respiration in an effort to supply more oxygen to the muscles doing the work. It will utilize stored glucose to produce more energy and when those supplies run short will look elsewhere for ways to create fuel. As muscle fibers reach work capacity and begin to exhaust they begin to break down chemically into waste products like lactic acid. Your body through circulation works diligently to clear this waste at the same rate at which it is created, when it’s unable to keep up you “feel the burn” strength lessens and you become fatigued. If you push through beyond the point of discomfort pain increases, as pain increases so does damage to the working tissue and it’s ability to protect and support the tissues around it. An injury becomes more likely the further you push as the body’s tolerance for any unexpected circumstance is compromised. (ex. Suddenly running on uneven ground.)

When you stop exercising your body repositions it’s resources to increase repair and new construction. Each time you push your physical limits during this “down time” your body will replace resources like glucose, repair damaged tissues and in an effort to be more prepared next time, make them a little better. This is the real magic of exercise, after every single workout with adequate recovery your body will in fact be a little different than it was before.

Now I know what you’re thinking, if I workout harder and longer I can cause more adaptation or change after every workout. In the most simplistic manner this looks to be true, but there is a factor of diminishing return. When your tissues become compromised or “damaged” beyond a certain point you greatly increase your need for recovery but this doesn’t yield greater adaptation, just longer recovery. Further understand that during recovery because abundant additional resources are needed for repair these resources must come from somewhere, both from consumed fuel sources and often other systems such as the immune system. This is why if you’re feeling under the weather and then complete a really hard workout you might find yourself sick within the next day or so.

When it comes to workout duration there isn’t a right or wrong answer, but here’s something further to consider. Effective workout duration is equally influenced by fuel consumption, ability, and efficiency or intensity.

What this means is that if you’re eating poorly in the case of consuming processed foods or not eating enough your effective workout duration will be shorter because of diminished incoming resources for recovery.

If you are unfamiliar with the performance of the selected exercises inefficiency will lead to faster physical exhaustion and quicker damage to the affected tissues, meaning your workout duration will need to be reduced.

Finally, and the biggest variable factor is intensity. The lower your intensity the longer your workout will need to be, the higher the intensity the shorter it will be. Now here’s where this get’s weird. Our body is so perfect that there is a variable also to intensity, in that our subconscious mind will regulate our perceived intensity. In an effort to explain think of it like this, if you plan to workout for 60 minutes and do so on a regular basis your body adapts to this, it will limit your ability to maintain a certain intensity to ensure that you can complete the 60 minutes. Your body, by regulating your intensity, basically ensures that you will be able to perform in some capacity for that duration. Inversely if you choose to workout just 30 minutes your body will regulate in the same way, because the duration is less it will begin to allow more effort to be expended in that duration knowing that it doesn’t need to preserve resources accordingly for survival.

This is a very general explanation but in the end it all comes down to our body’s basic function to ensure survival. It will sub-consciously regulate your ability to perform in an effort to give you the best chance of survival if this were an emergency situation it’s really about that simple.

So in the end there isn’t really a set duration anyone should workout, high-level athletes generally have developed metabolic systems to be able to survive longer training durations. The average adult will be notably less, which is why all of our exercise programs generally focus on a 30-minute duration. We know in terms of capacity this will be very effective for nearly everyone. People are always surprised to learn that in my peak training days for the nationals I still used to only train about 30-45 minutes, 4 days a week.

Hope this helps, more isn’t better, smart training for the best results!

 


4 Laws of the Squat!

4 Laws of the Squat!

How would you feel if you were doing an exercise over and over again and not getting the results you wanted?

Do you know what I mean?  Everyone claims there is one great exercise which will tone this and firm that and after countless reps, sets and weeks at the gym, results are average at best.

Now, before I go on, how would you like it if you could spend less time doing an exercise, do it with superb form and watch the body pretty much sculpt itself!

Sound good?

Well, here’s the deal. The world claims that the squat is the supreme exercise in the gym for a great body and a firm bum, yet women and men seem to never be quite happy with theirs.

And when it comes to lifting with the intent of adding more weight to the bar, many stagnate, plateau and stall with no real impressive weight on the bar in the first place.

In order to master the squat, you must first abide by its 4 laws. If these laws are not implemented, you will either:

A)     Use the wrong body parts and not get the hips, back and legs you want

B)     Plateau and become frustrated and somewhat dejected

C)     Ruin your knees and your back thereby shortening your career and passion in a world you love. Fitness.

For Those Of You Who Want Glutes!

The butt (Glutes) has many roles in the human body. It acts as a shock absorber when landing, and it also generates power to create explosive movement, and the most appealing  one is (yes for men too!), when the glutes are toned and in proportion to the rest of your body, they look great and make you feel great when they, and you, are in shape.

But a great butt, from an esthetic standpoint is one that is a firm semi-circular shape and is fully developed right down to its attachment on the femur (You know what I mean, when the bottom part of the bum is not toned or it’s sagging and is not a “full” shape.

Using the 4 laws of squats below, you will get the glutes you want and greatly improve your strength and power

 

The 4 Laws Of Squats

You have probably heard that the squat is the best way to get a firm butt, however what if there was a way to do it that fully engaged the bum.

Right now you are probably squatting and just assuming your butt is doing the job, or at least part of it, and firming itself, yet most do not fully engage their glutes, and even more so, without abiding by the 4 primary laws of squats, many of you aren’t actually even getting the glutes to do much, if anything at all!

And if they’re sitting idle, you can be certain your knees and low back are taking the brunt of the load. This is not a good thing.

If you want the best hips The best athletes move from the hips) that will have you turn heads everywhere while keeping your knees and back safe, then you would be wise to follow the 4 laws of squats. These laws ensure you:

A)     Get the butt and back of the thigh engaged with each rep

B)     Keep your knees from being damaged

C)     Use the WHOLE bum, including the bottom part throughout each rep

Here are the four laws of squats and how they can help you attain firm butt supremacy.

Law #1:

–        Your knees should be in line with your foot

law#1 bad

law#1 good

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your knees should not “buckle” in. This disengages the glutes and is one of the primary reasons your butt will not firm up. It will not even engage much if the knees buckle in.

When the knees “track” the ankles it will at the very least engage the glute med and hopefully more which will also help make for a nice long and supple inner thigh because as you pull the knees over the foot, the inner thigh muscles will lengthen while supporting the weight.

If the knees are “buckling in” then you will have minimal glute activation, if any at all and the groin will not firm up either.

In the long run, you may also run in to knee issues along the inside of the knee.

Law #2

–        Your knees NEVER move forward on the ascent (the up phase) of a squat.

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This transfers weight to the front of the body, namely the quads, and minimizes glute activation

This might be one of several reasons many women experience bulky muscles in their quads, because they use them more than they are supposed to because they were not taught how to squat properly.

blog-8It is also a way to “cheat” the squat as you try to create momentum forward and then relying on the quads to drive you up. This will for sure lessen the work of the glutes and hamstrings as the knees take the brunt of the load.

A bigger concern if you use this technique would be the pressure on your knees.

Law #3:

–        The barbell always travels in a straight line.

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If you have weight on your bar and want to move it up and down, would you move the bar a bit forward and a bit back and add more distance to the lift? Of course not! That would be a waste of energy and extra travel that serves no purpose!

Have you ever seen a crane pick up a huge container from the ground? The container travels in a straight line and the cable (power) is always directly above it!

The truth is, a barbell that stays in line with the heels and travels in straight line while it goes up and down which challenges the hamstrings and glutes more to get the back side of you nice and firm.

When you squat make sure you “dig” through your heels (without lifting your toes up) on the up phase and keep the barbell on top of them, without compromising your back arch (making it bigger).

Although the full foot is involved, energy drives up the shin bone from the heel. This is where you need to concentrate your “heel dig”.

This brings us to law number four.

Law #4

–        The natural curve in your low back should be maintained

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Imagine applying direct force from above into a long piece of 2×4 wood that is standing upright. The wood is pencil straight and so the force goes through the 2×4 equally as the wood holds a position of power.

Now, imagine that wood is defective, kind of like some of the ones we see when we shop at lumber stores with these wicked curves in them.

If we apply great force from above, would that curved piece of wood support the load? Would the wood (your low back) be safe?

Unfortunately it would be in a dangerous position and may result in major damage. Or cumulative damage as you repeatedly bend it in a certain way too many times until it becomes injured.

The reason why people excessively arch their low back is because their core is not strong enough to perform a proper squat, and in order to compensate for this lack of strength, they bring their torso straighter, however, they do so at the expense of the spine.

Some individuals are actually taught that this position is natural!

So How Do I Get Stronger, Keep My Body Safe And Get a Kick *ss body?

If you follow the above 4 laws of squats you will be well on your way to a firm, fit and lifted butt and a tighter and more firm body.

Even with these 4 laws in hand, you will still need to do what the best in the world do to activate every fiber in their glutes, no matter how deep they go.

This will ensure you get the most out of your squat and the most out of your butt.

How To Engage Your Glutes, Even While Just Standing Up!

The world’s best lifters consciously fire (contract) their glutes. The do not wait for them to just fire on their own.

And I’m going to show you how to do it just like the elite.

If you stand up and widen your feet with your toes slightly open, you will be in normal squat position.

Imagine there is a huge piece of newspaper under both of your feet while you do this.

Got it! Now, without bending your knees or anything, visualize “spreading the floor” or ripping the newspaper in half with your feet.

You will be directing your feet away from each other.

Once you have this mastered, what you do next is try to open your toes even further, but without actually allowing the toes themselves to move.

This will come in the form of a corkscrew motion, which will be applied more towards the back half of the foot.

I know, it’s not as easy to explain with words on a screen. Try this visual.

Have you ever seen a movie, or even a friend, when they drop the end of his cigarette and as it hits the floor, he puts the ball of his foot on it and rotates it in and out to put it out?

You do the exact same thing, only move out, and rather than a part of your foot being off the ground, the full foot is on the ground and you’re putting it out more so with the heel of your foot.

If you can learn to master this technique, not only will you have a powerful squat, but you will also have an amazing butt, and healthy knees too!

Train smart!

By: Aaron Lipsey


Four Top Tips to Keep You Motivated

Four Top Tips to Keep You Motivated

 

1536688_634655366599819_96347844_nHey remember those New Years Resolutions? You could probably say by now the majority of people have abandoned their New Year’s resolutions. It’s true, and usually it comes with comments like, “I’m out of willpower,” or, “I’m just not motivated anymore.”

The truth is it’s almost impossible to stay motivated without clear goals, constant re-evaluation, and special attention to short term details that keep you focused and inspired to reach your desired goal. Every single person is like this, we are all wired for instant gratification, and often we’re disappointed. You can’t give up now because little do you realize in all likelihood you’ve just set the foundation for major physical change within your body. Think of it like this, if you’ve ever built a new home the anticipation is a killer waiting for them to dig the hole and pour the foundation. It feels like forever before anything happens. Suddenly when they start building the walls it’s like your house just appears out of thin air, weight loss and physical change can be a lot like this. (But that’s a whole other column.)

Create A Goal-Reward Journal

It’s critical to reverse engineer everything. Work backwards from your goal setting short term targets. These should really be no longer than a week or so apart. Set yourself small, but meaningful rewards for meeting each of these goals.

Get A Workout Buddy or Accountability Partner

Now with short term rewards in place you need a mechanism of accountability. A workout buddy or accountability partner should follow up and keep you on track with the action plan to reaching the goal. It’s not their job to determine whether you reached the short term target, they don’t even need to know. Their sole purpose is to ensure you follow through with the action plan.

Clip Some Pictures

Visualization has been proven to be effective in study after study. Find the picture of the end result and keep it where you will see it regularly. You must remind yourself why you must persevere for change and create new habits.

Think About The ‘If I Couldn’t’ Scenario

Finally, the last quick tip that tends to work incredibly well is to think about the opposite scenario – if you couldn’t workout.

So many of us find we are too tired to workout or just don’t feel like it but consider the feeling you’d have if you physically couldn’t.  When you think about it like that more often than not it’s enough to make you realize how much you value at least having the ability to workout and get into that gym for your session.

We often don’t realize what we have until it’s gone so imagining this scenario may just change your frame of mind.

These four tips can really keep you on track but only if you utilize them and revisit them often, there’s a great quote I’ve been thinking of a lot lately. “We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration.” –Frank Tibolt