Category Archives: Sports

5 SURPRISING WAYS TO USE THE TREADMILL

treadmill, exercises, full body, workout, fitness,

For all you treadmill junkies…..

Sometimes, mileage simply doesn’t matter.

There’s a reason it’s nicknamed the ‘dreadmill’: The cardio machine, though reliable, can seem to some to be a bit dull, a bit one-dimensional. But according to group fitness instructor and full-time treadmill coach David Siik, this machine is what you make of it, and a little creativity is all that it takes to take your treadmill session from boring to body-changing. Watch the video to see him demonstrate these moves during a late-night rooftop session, and then follow the tips below to integrate them into your own repertoire.

(1) Side Shuffles: “I recommend people keep their speed between 2.5-4.0. Going too slow actually makes it more difficult for a lot of people. Starting out in a fast walk, grab onto the front of the treadmill with your left hand and turn clockwise into the shuffle. Hold on until you feel comfortable and eventually you’ll be able to use no hands, which is better for your form. Just keep your shoulders up pushing off with the leg on the back of the treadmill. It also important to do both sides the same amount of time as the push-off leg does more of the work.”

(2) Plank With Push-Offs: “On a Woodway treadmill, get into DYNAMIC MODE. Push the ON button and before doing anything hold down the + and the – speed buttons simultaneously until the treadmill flashes and beeps (you will feel the belt disengage). You are then ready to start. With your feet on the floor behind the treadmill, get into a plank with your elbows on treadmill, or get into a straight-arm plank with hands on treadmill (this will be a slight incline plank). Then get up onto your hands if not already (into a push-up position with feet still on floor) and begin pushing the treadmill forward, like a bear crawl. Be sure to keep the length of push very small and compact. This is a very advanced exercise and requires good shoulder strength and stability. An easier way to do this is to drop to your knees, put one hand on side of treadmill and simply push the treadmill forward 5 times with one hand, then switch and push off with other hand 5 times. First-timers should try it this way. You can alternate between a short set of push-off crawls and stationary incline plank.”

(3) Mountain Climbers: “Set the treadmill to Dynamic Mode. This is the reverse position from the plank set above: Your feet are set about in the middle of the treadmill with your hands on the floor in a push-up position. Make sure your arms are straight down underneath your shoulders. Gripping the belt with your toes, begin mountain climbing, pushing the treadmill away from you.”

(4) Pike: “Set the treadmill to Dynamic Mode. Again, this is the reverse position from the plank set above: Your feet are set about in the middle of the treadmill with your hands on the floor in a push-up position. Make sure your arms are straight down underneath your shoulders. Gripping with your toes, simply pull the treadmill backwards as your hips raise, eventually rising to top and into pike position. If you have good stability and strength you can hold at the top for a few seconds and gently return to first position (pushing the treadmill forward as your body straightens back out). This is also a great opportunity to do a few decline pushups after you return to straight arm plank.”

(5) Self-Propelled Sprints: “Get into Dynamic Mode again. Add a little incline of 3-8%, grip the handles in the middle of the treadmill and begin running while pushing/holding onto the treadmill with the hands. Be sure to keep your shoulders up and your body closer to front of treadmill (instead of extending your arms and compromising your back). I recommend a person does only 30 seconds or less of sprinting, then walk it out, then repeat as desired. They are very difficult and simulate pushing a sled, as you must push you own body weight! An important thing to remember is that the more incline you keep, the easier you actually make it (gravity helps you move the treadmill). The most difficult way to do this is on a 0% incline.”

For full article by Sheila Monaghan please visit http://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2013/10/treadmill-moves

DO THIS NOW: DEEP WATER RUNNING

deep-water running

The fittest bodies don’t resist this unsung hero of training.

What do dancers, ball players, pregnant women and runners all have in common? They utilize the pool. Specifically, they take advantage of the cardio and cross-training benefits of deep water running. “Ballerinas, basketball players—I’ve had them all in my pool,” says deep water running coach and founder of Blue Ocean Swimming, Robert Valentin. 

Unlike shallow water running, where athletes run across the bottom of the pool, deep water running offers no impact whatsoever. In fact, you don’t even want to move from your initial starting spot. “With deep water running, the goal is to stay stationary,” explains Valentin. “Instead of mimicking land running motions in the water, in deep water running you run with a straight leg. You want your body to be really tall; your core should be tight, shoulders in line with your hips, knees relaxed and toes pointed like a ballerina,” says Valentin. “People naturally close their fists, but you want to keep them open. This allows you to get the most resistance possible.” 

A typical deep water running session consists of four gaits: a four-foot stride “power walk,” three-foot stride “run” (which simulates running on flat ground), a two-foot wide “uphill” and a one-foot wide “downhill” (quick flutter kicks). Think of your hip as the centerline: You’re trying to move your arms and feet past the centerline, forward and backward, depending on the stride length. Meaning, a two-foot stride would require moving your arms and legs two feet back and forth past your hip. 

Constantly fighting against the water’s resistance while trying to stay tall and increase your cadence during each gait is anything but easy. “Deep water running quickly reveals imbalances,” says Valentin. “Any weakness in your core, glutes, hamstrings or hips will translate to the pool. You’ll find yourself drifting forward, backward or from side to side.” To combat this, it’s essential to wear a flotation device, which helps keep you afloat, making it easier to maintain proper form. 

 

For runners in particular, “not only can you get your heart rate up just as much as on land, but the cooling effect of the water also helps you recover faster,” says Valentin. Fighting to keep good posture in the pool will also carry over to the concrete. “You’re fighting the resistance of the water, just imagine how that would benefit you when you’re up against air.” 

Below, Valentin shares a sample workout:

Warm Up:

1 minute power walk (count and maintain the same cadence every 15 seconds)

45 seconds flat run (count and maintain the same cadence every 15 seconds)

30 seconds uphill (count and increase the same cadence every 15 seconds)

15 seconds downhill (count and maintain the same cadence every 15 seconds)

Set #1:

Uphill 45 seconds x 15 seconds rest, repeated four times (increase each set’s cadence number by 2)

Repeat above set going downhill (1-foot strides, hands sideways, slicing past the hips)

Set #2:

1 minute flat run x 30 seconds uphill x 30 seconds downhill, repeated twice (hold a steady cadence on the 1-minute runs and get faster every 10 seconds on the 30-second run)

1 minute power walk recovery

Set #3:

50 seconds uphill (getting faster every 10 seconds) x 10 seconds rest, repeated three times

Cool Down:

Easy power walk

For full article by Brianna Wippman please visit http://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2016/12/deep-water-running

WHY GRIP STRENGTH (REALLY) MATTERS

grip strength

It’s one of the strongest predictors of good health.

For years, there were a half dozen or so strong predictors of how likely someone might be to develop cardiovascular disease, including whether he or she carried weight in the midsection versus in the legs, if there was a family history, if he or she smoked, and the list, they say, goes on.

But relatively new-ish research suggests there’s one more pretty significant predictor that we shouldn’t overlook: grip strength. In a study published in the Lancet, researchers found that grip strength is a simple and powerful way to predict one’s risk of death and cardiovascular disease. (The study also showed that grip strength is an even stronger predictor of death than systemic blood pressure.) Physicians and researchers reason that if one’s grip strength is weak, it’s very likely other areas of the body—read: your heart—are weak, as well.

Which is not good news for most people including Millennials, who, according to a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Hand Therapy, have significantly weaker hand grips than their 1985 counterparts. (Participants for the study were under 30 years of age for men and between the ages of 20-24 for women.)

Like many conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, weak grip strength can be improved through simple and consistent exercise. “Grip strength goes beyond simply being able to hold a dumbbell for a longer set of reps,” explains Matt Delaney, a Tier X coach at Equinox’s Columbus Circle location. “Improving your grip strength can serious change your overall health for the better.”

Beefing up your grip strength is relatively easy, says Delaney. “You can easily incorporate strengthening exercises into your regular gym routine.” For example, Delaney recommends Farmer’s Walks or walking lunges with dumbbells or kettlebell swings to increase grip strength while exercising. Or, he adds, work it into everyday tasks. “The same tools you use in the gym, you can also mimic in real life. Carrying grocery bags to your car as opposed to using a shopping cart is similar to carrying dumbbells. Or, something as simple as carrying a laundry basket up and down the stairs can help bump up grip strength over time.”

Increasing grip strength can also significantly improve your workout intensity, adds Delaney. “When you have a stronger grip, you can hold onto a pull-up bar longer, which means you can crank out more pull-ups.” It also equates to being able to hold heavier weights during exercises like walking and static lunges or squats as well as Farmer’s Walks. “Grip strength is one of those small but often overlooked things that you can improve that can affect your health in major ways.”

For full article by Blake Miller please visit http://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2016/11/grip-strength

THE DECK WORKOUT

deck workout

Do this strength-and-mobility sequence (from fitness manager Ted Gjone) at your summer share.

Squeezing in cardio on your summer share is a breeze—running on the beach, swimming in the ocean and biking down the boardwalk are just a few available options. But if you also want to strength train while you’re on holiday, you should look no further than your own body and that beautiful deck behind your house. “This workout is comprised of functional, performance-based movements that test your balance, improve your mobility and strengthen everything you want (shoulders, back, arms, abs, glutes, legs) without the need for any equipment,” says its creator, Ted Gjone, fitness manager at Equinox Brookfield Place in New York City.

Perform this workout as a circuit, moving from one exercise to the next with little or no rest between each, two or three times a week. Start with as many reps as you can (aim for at least 8 per exercise), and then increase that number as you progress. Do 2 or 3 sets total, with 1:00 to 1:30 minutes rest between each.

1. Bulgarian Split Squat

Stand in front of lounge chair (or bench) with feet hip-width apart, hands fisted under chin, elbows by sides. Place ball of right foot on top of lounge chair behind you, and then squat down, keeping back tall and bending knees until right knee taps ground; push through your heel to return to start. Do 10 to 15 reps, switch sides and repeat.

2. Pistol Squat

Stand on a short wall (or bench), balancing on your left foot, with right leg hanging off the side and arms extended at shoulder level in front of you. Keeping chest up, abs engaged and shoulders down, squat, bending left knee, as you begin to lift extended right leg straight out in front of you. Slowly return to start, lowering your arms down to sides, and kick right leg slightly behind you. Do 10 to 15 reps; switch sides and repeat.


3. Skater Hops

Stand with feet hip-width apart, elbows bent by sides. Jump over to left with left leg, lifting right leg slightly behind you as you swing right arm in front of you; left arm behind you. Immediately jump right leg over to right, swinging left leg and right arm behind you; left arm in front. Continue jumping from side to side for 20 to 30 reps total (10 to 15 each side). *Note: Start with smaller hops, getting bigger as you go.


4. Staggered Push-Ups

Start in push-up position (legs extended behind you, abs engaged, back flat), with your hands staggered—right hand in front, under shoulder, left hand back, with fingertips in line with right wrist. Bend elbows behind you, lowering chest toward floor, maintaining a straight line from head to toe. Push back up to start. Do 10 to 15 reps; switch hand positions (left hand in front; right in back) and repeat.


5. Superman Back Extension with Arm Variation

Lie face-down with arms extended overhead. Keeping gaze down and core engaged, slowly lift both your arms and your legs toward the sky (as if you’re flying like Superman). Once you reach your maximum height, extend arms out to sides at shoulder level, and then send them all the way behind you, lifting chest even higher. Reverse motion back to start. Do 10 to 15 reps.

6. Single-Leg Bridge

Lie face-up with right foot on the edge of a bench (or short table), left leg extended diagonally toward sky and arms extended out to sides with palms up, hands in line with hips. Press into foot and squeeze glutes as you lift hips toward ceiling, until you form a diagonal line from shoulders to toes. Lower back down to start. Do 10 to 15 reps; switch sides and repeat.

7. Dead Bug with Straight Legs

Lie face-up with legs extended over hips, arms extended over shoulders. Engage abs as you slowly lower right arm and left leg toward ground, keeping both straight (like a dead bug). Return to start and immediately repeat on other side; lowering left arm and right leg. Continue alternating for 10 to 15 reps each side (20 to 30 total).

For complete article by Lindsey Emery, please visit http://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2016/07/deck-workout

IN DEFENSE OF BASEBALL PLAYERS

medicine ball, baseball, workout

Sluggers are not slugs—this is their intense workout secret.

In the fitness industry, there are many misconceptions about the sport, says Tim Geromini, C.S.C.S., a strength and conditioning coach at Cressey Performance, who regularly works with professional baseball players. “Baseball has historically not been looked at as a sport that trains with the same intensity as others.”

But Geromini takes a contrarian’s view: “Baseball players are extremely hard workers,” he says. Don’t believe him? Take Mike Trout’s need for speed; Bryce Harper’s insane balance and strength; or Jose Altuve’s fierce dedication to an exercise routine.

The sport is no walk in the park: “Throwing a baseball is the single fastest motion in all of sports,” he says. And an exercise program designed to help you sprint fast or react quickly isn’t enough. That’s why top trainers incorporate something else: medicine balls.

“Medicine ball training, when done correctly, is the biggest thing we can do in a gym setting that replicates a baseball player’s movements on the field,” says Geromini. The technique can work for you, too. After all, the goal is similar: “to be athletic, explosive, and powerful.”

To get there, complete the below workout from Geromini—which will challenge your core, arms, glutes, shoulders, and hips—before your typical weight lifting session twice a week. Leave a few days in between sessions.

Day 1:

(1) Overhead Medicine Ball Stomp to Floor: Using an 8- to 12-pound medicine ball, reach arms straight overhead, get tall, keep your core tight, squeeze your glutes, and slam the ball as hard as you can to ground. Complete 3 sets of 8 reps.

(2) Supine Bridge March: Lay on your back, legs bent, feet flat on ground, lift to a bridge position with butt in the air. One leg at a time, lift knee toward head and squeeze butt, switch legs. Complete 3 sets of 6 reps per side.

(3) Rotational Medicine Ball Scoop Toss to Wall:
Using a 6-pound medicine ball, stand a few feet from the wall, arms down by side. Load into back hip as if you are swinging a bat, and rotate through upper back. Throw the ball against the wall as hard as you can with arms down (a scoop motion), finishing as if you swung a bat. Complete 3 sets of 8 reps per side.

(4) Mini Band Side Steps: Place a mini band above your knees. With feet underneath your hips, take a step out with your left leg making sure you press out against the band and your knees don’t cave in, your right leg follows. Repeat each direction 8 times. Complete 3 sets per side.

Day 2:

(1) Recoiled Rollover Med Ball Stomp to Floor: Using an 8-pound medicine ball, start with arms by your side. Lift the ball overhead by rotating around your side like a windmill. Once you reach the highest point, get tall, squeeze glutes, slam ball as hard as you can. Then do the same on the other side. Complete 3 sets of 4 reps on each side.

(2) Bird Dog: Start in a quadruped position (on your hands, knees, and feet) with your back flat. Raise and straighten your right arm and left leg in the air without letting your body shift to the side or your back to arch. Come down and do the same thing on the opposite side. The goal of the exercises is to keep your core tight and squeeze your glutes. Complete 3 sets of 8 reps per side.

(3) Rotational Medicine Ball Shot Put to Wall: Using a 6-pound medicine ball, stand a few feet from the wall, arms up at shoulder height (think like a shot putter). Load into your back hip as if you are swinging a bat, rotate through your upper back, and throw the ball against the wall as hard as you can. Try to reach for the wall at the finish. Complete 3 sets of 8 reps on each side.

(4) Bear Crawls: Start on all fours on the ground (in a quadruped position). Lift knees off the ground and crawl forward with the right hand and left leg, then the left hand and right leg. Picture having a pot of coffee on your back—don’t let it spill. Complete 3 sets of 12 reps.

For full article by Cassie Shortsleeve, please visit http://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2016/07/medicine-ball-baseball-workout?emmcid=emm-newsletter&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email-member&utm_campaign=1025&cid=-Furthermore_102510252016

POSTERIOR PERFECT

Sculpting a high, tight rear is a precise science. Our pro translates the most compelling research into 8 streamlined moves.

The backside has always been a statement piece, treasured by the ancient Dogos people in Mali, Renaissance painters, and rappers alike. And though consistently considered a key asset of the female — and at times male (Details magazine deemed the ass, the new abs in 2011) — physique, its desired proportions have shifted throughout history. Unfortunately, the elusive, sculpted posterior of 2013 takes work, but fortunately our experts have discovered the precise formula that delivers the tight, lifted, perfectly carved posterior of which international uproars are made.

Our equation starts with the five moves scientifically proven (by studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse) to target the glutes most effectively: lunges, single-leg squats, hip extensions, step-ups and side leg lifts. We then added a little complexity and dimension to each move by incorporating the principles of mobility and stability characteristic of all Equinox programming. Finally, we applied the trusted NASM training philosophy that mandates a combination of strength and power-based exercises. Together, it’s a plan that just screams results.

“I wanted to build on the classic moves from the research, so each exercise in our workout is rooted in the biomechanical principles that make it effective,” says Lisa Wheeler, senior national creative manager for group fitness at Equinox who developed the program. “I just turned up the intensity a few notches by creating four pairs of one controlled, purely strength-based move with a more dynamic, power-based exercise, which is a much more efficient way to train.”

Watch Wheeler’s workout in the video above, modeled by LA-based group fitness and Pilates instructor Christine Bullock at the rooftop pool at The London Hotel in West Hollywood. Then, click through the slide show below for step-by-step instructions. Your circuit: Do 10-12 reps of each strength move, and 45 seconds of each power move resting for 30 seconds between each pair. Repeat 3 times.

To view full article by Furthermore Editors, please visit http://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2013/02/butt-workout?emmcid=emm-newsletter&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email-member&utm_campaign=0621&cid=-Furthermore_06216212016

The real (and surprising) reasons healthy movement matters. It’s not about busting your butt to get a gym body. It’s about being capable, confident, and free.

To most people, healthy movement = exercise. As in cardio, crunches, and fitness models. But moving your body is about so much more, like improved thinking, stronger relationships, and expressing your purpose in life. 

When most people hear healthy movement, they think exercise or fitness or looking better or weight loss.

Sometimes, vanity.

Often, fitting into social norms.

“The man” telling you what to do (or how to be).

Moral righteousness packaged as 6am Hot Detox Spin-Late Pump class or an entire weekend of Instagram-worthy self-punishment.

But healthy movement is actually more interesting, liberating, and, frankly, crucial than all that.

In my years as a health and fitness coach, here’s the most important thing I’ve discovered: Developing a body that moves well is the ticket to a place where you feel — finally — capable, confident, and free.

We are all, literally, born to move.

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It’s no secret: Human life has become structured in a way that makes it very easy to avoid movement.

We sit in cars on the way to work. At work we sit at our desks for much of the day. Then we come home and sit down to relax.

That’s not what our bodies are built for, so creaky knees, stiff backs, and “I can’t keep up with my toddler!” have become the norm.

Sure, if you can’t move well, it may be a sign that you aren’t as healthy as you could be. But the quality and quantity of your daily movement — your strength and agility — are actually markers for something much more important.

In my line of work, you watch a lot of people lose a lot of weight. The results would shock you — and I’m not talking about how they look on the beach in their bathing suits (although there is always a big celebration for that).

Most often, the thing people are most excited about after they go from heavy and stiff to lean and agile is this feeling that they’re now living better. They notice they’re:

  • more energetic and young-feeling,
  • able to do things they’ve been putting off for years,
  • empowered,
  • proud of their lifestyle, and
  • free from many of the anxieties and limitations that held them back for so long.

They’re happier, but not just because they wanted to look better, and now they do. They’re happier because their bodies now work like they’re supposed to. They can now do things they know they ought to be able to do.

As humans, we move our bodies to express our wants, needs, emotions, thoughts, and ideas. Ultimately, how well we move — and how much we move — determines how well we engage with the world and establish our larger purpose in life.

If you move well, you also think, feel, and live well.

It’s proven that healthy movement helps us:

  • Feel well, physically and emotionally
  • Function productively
  • Think, learn, and remember
  • Interact with the world
  • Communicate and express ourselves
  • Connect and build relationships with others

We don’t need “workouts” to move.

Shocking secret: There’s nothing magic about a resistance circuit, the bootcamp class at your gym, or the latest branded training method.

Our ancestors didn’t need to “work out” when they were walking, climbing, running, crawling, swimming, clambering, hauling, digging, squatting, throwing, and carrying things to survive. Nor did they need an “exercise class” when they ran to get places, danced to share stories or celebrate rituals, or simply… played.

“Working out” is just an artificial way to get us to do what our bodies have, for most of human history, known and loved — regular movements we lost and forgot as we matured as a species.

We may not hunt for dinner anymore, and we may opt for the elevator more often than not.

We may move less. But movement is still programmed into the human brain as a critical aspect of how we engage with the world.

Therefore, to not move is a loss much, much greater than your pant size.

What factors determine how your body moves?

While there are universal human movement patterns, our specific movement habits are unique to us, and to our individual bioengineering.

Basically, the human body amounts to a sophisticated pile of interconnected levers:

  • Muscles are attached to bones with tendons.
  • These tendons connect to two (or more) bones across a joint.
  • When a muscle contracts, or shortens, the tendons pull on the bone.
  • That contraction and pull causes the joint to flex (bend) or extend (straighten).

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How you move is determined by the size, shape and position of all of those parts, along with anything that adds weight, like body fat.

If you’re a tall person with long bones it may be harder for you to bench press, squat, or deadlift the amount of weight your shorter buddy can, because your range of motion is much bigger than your friend’s, so you have to move that weight a longer distance with much longer levers.

(This is why there aren’t many super-tall weightlifters or powerlifters, and why great bench pressers usually have a big ribcage and stubby T-Rex arms.)

But you can probably spank your short friend at swimming, climbing, and running.

If you’re bottom-heavy and/or shorter, you may not be able to run as fast as your taller friend. But you may have exceptional balance.

If you’ve gained weight in your middle (or if you’re pregnant), you may have back pain. That’s because the extra belly weight pulls downward on the lumbar spine (lower back).

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When the lumbar spine is pulled down and forward (“lordosis”):

  • The pelvis also tips forward (“anterior pelvic tilt”), which pokes the tailbone back and the belly forward — aka Donald Duck Butt.
  • The upper/mid back may round to compensate (“kyphosis”).

The downward pull can also affect all the joints below (the pelvis, hip, knee, and ankle).

Conversely, it also works in the opposite direction, where, say, ankle stiffness can affect movement in the lower back.

If you have wider shoulders (“biacromial width”), then you have a longer lever arm, which means you can potentially throw, pull, swim or hit better.

If you have longer legs, then you have longer stride, which means you can potentially run faster. This is especially true if you also have narrower hips, which create a more vertical femur angle (“Q-angle”), allowing you to waste less energy controlling pelvic rotation.

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Some variations in movement, we are given by nature and evolution. Other variations, we learn and practice.

If you’re a woman who’s top-heavy, you may have developed a hunch in your thoracic spine (upper and mid-back), whether from the physical weight of your breasts or from the social awkwardness of being The Girl With Boobs in middle school.

Or, if you got really tall at an early age, you may have developed a habitual hunch to hide your size or communicate with hobbits like me.

Yet the structural engineering remains important. Especially if we understand how our structures and physical makeup affect our movements.

For instance:

Body fat and weight change how we move.

This is especially true if you don’t have enough muscle to drive the engine.

At a healthy weight, your center of mass is just in front of your ankle joints when you stand upright.

However, the more mass you have, especially if you have extra weight in front, the harder your lower legs and feet have to work to keep you from tipping forward.

This puts additional torque (rotational force) on ankle joints.

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Once you start walking — which is, essentially, a controlled forward fall — you have to work even harder to compensate.

Any unstable or changing surface (stairs, ice, fluffy carpet, a wet floor), requires your lower joints to adjust powerfully and almost instantaneously — literally millisecond to millisecond.

As a result, obese children and adults fall more often.

Human bodies are amazingly adaptable and clever, but nevertheless, physics can be an unforgiving master.

The good news is that this is generally reversible.

No matter where you’re starting, the more you move, the better your body will function.

When we move:

  • our muscles contract;
  • we load our connective tissues and bones;
  • we increase our respiration and circulation; and
  • we release particular hormones and cell signals.

All of these (and a variety of other physiological processes) tell our bodies to use its raw materials and the food we eat in certain ways.

For instance, movement tells our bodies:

  • to retrieve stored energy (e.g. fat or glucose) and use it;
  • to store any extra energy in muscles, or use it for repair, rather than storing it as fat;
  • to strengthen tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones; and
  • to clear out accumulated waste products.

And improved body functions ensure you’ll be able to move well and:

  • climb stairs or hills
  • step over obstacles
  • carry groceries
  • stand up from sitting down, or get up from the floor
  • grasp and hold objects like a hammer
  • pull or drag things like a heavy door or garbage can
  • walk an excitable dog

The more we can do confidently and capably, the fitter we’ll be. Even better, that means we’ll do more. That leads to more fitness. And this virtuous cycle continues.

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Movement does more than just “get us into shape”.

Despite eyeglasses and iPhones, humans are still animals. We’re meant to move with the grace and agility of a tiger (or a monkey). And movement offers us a tremendous number of (sometimes surprising) benefits.

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Movement is how humans (and other animals) interact with the world.

As babies, we immediately start grabbing things, putting things in our mouths, reaching for things, and clinging to our (now less furry) primate parents.

We are tactile, kinesthetic beings who must directly interact with physical stimuli: touching, tasting, manipulating, moving ourselves around objects in three-dimensional space.

Movement helps us connect and build relationships with others.

Movement is a sensor for the world around us.

In one study, when people’s facial muscles were paralyzed with Botox, they couldn’t read others’ emotions or describe their own. We need to mimic and mirror the body language and facial cues of one another to connect emotionally and mentally.

From the puffed-chest posturing of drunken young men outside a bar, to Beyonce’s fierce dance moves, to the mating rituals like close leaning and eye contact, to the laser stare your mom gives you when she knows you’re up to no good:

Movement gives us a rich, nuanced expressive language that goes far beyond words, helping us build more fulfilling and lasting relationships, with fewer misunderstandings, disconnections, or communication bloopers.

Movement helps us think, learn, and remember.

You might imagine that “thinking” lives only in your head.

But in reality, research shows we do what’s called “embodied cognition” — in which the body’s movements influence brain functions like processing information and decision making, and vice versa.

So “thinking” lives in our entire bodies.

But even if thinking were limited to our brains, there is evidence that movement and thought are intertwined.

It turns out that the cerebellum — a structure at the base of the brain previously thought to only be used for balance, posture, coordination, and motor skills — also plays a role in thinking and emotion.

Also, movement supports brain health and function in many ways, by helping new neurons grow and thrive (i.e. neurogenesis).

Every day, our brains produce thousands of new neurons, especially in our hippocampal region, an area involved in learning and memory. Movement — whether learning new physical skills or simply doing exercise that improves circulation — gives the new cells a purpose so that they stick around rather than dying.

Thus, movement:

  • helps maintain existing brain structures,
  • helps slow age-related mental decline,
  • helps us recover if our brain is injured or inflamed,
  • lowers oxidative stress, and
  • increases the levels of a substance known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which is involved in learning and memory.

Move well, move often, get smarter.

Movement affects how we feel physically and emotionally.

People of all shapes and sizes say they have a better quality of life, with fewer physical limitations, when they are physically active.

If you exercise regularly, you probably know that kickass workouts can leave you feeling like a million bucks. (Personally I think of mine as anti-bitch meds.)

Research that compared exercise alone to diet alone found:

People who change their bodies with exercise (rather than dieting) feel better — about their bodies, about their capabilities, about their health, and about their overall quality of life — even if their weight ultimately doesn’t change.

(Now… just imagine if you combined the magic of exercise with brain-boosting and body-building nutrition!)

Find out what “healthy movement” looks like for you.

Not everyone has to be (or can be) a ballet dancer or Olympic gymnast. As a 5-foot, 40-something woman who can’t run well nor catch a ball, I’m fairly sure the NBA and NFL won’t be calling me.

But I’m also not saying that, “Well, guess I shouldn’t climb the stairs because of my Q-angle” is the way to go.

I’m saying: Today, pay special attention to how you move.

Be curious.

As you go through the mundane activities of your day, notice how your unique body shapes your movements.

How do you move… and how could you potentially move?

In our coaching programs, we work with a lot of clients who have physical limitations, such as:

  • chronic pain or movement restrictions — say, from an injury or inflammation.
  • too much body fat and/or not enough lean mass.
  • too many or too few calories/nutrients to feel energetic.
  • age-related loss of mobility.
  • a physical disability.
  • neurological problems.

You may have some body configuration that makes it easier or harder for you to do certain things.

We all have structural or physical limitations. We all have advantages. It all depends on context.

Regardless of what your unique physical makeup might be, there are activities that can work for you, and help you make movement a big part of your daily life.

Ask yourself:

How can I move better — whatever that means for MY unique body? And what might my life be like if I did?

And finding someone who can help you if you think that’s what you need.

What to do next

1. Pay attention to how it feels to move.

“Sense in” to your body:

  • When you walk or run: How long is your stride? Do your legs swing freely? Do your hips feel tight or loose? What are your arms doing? Where are you looking?
  • When you stand: How does your weight shift gently as you stand? What does that feel like in your feet or lower legs?
  • When you sit: Where is your head? Can you feel the pressure of the seat on your back or bottom?
  • When you work out: Can you feel the muscles working? What happens if you try to do a fast movement (like a jump or kick) slowly, and vice versa?

2. Consider whether you’re moving as well as you could.

Do you feel confident and capable? Ninja-ready for anything?

Do you have some physical limitations? Do you have ways to adapt or route around them?

When was the last time you tried learning new movement skills?

What movements would you like to try… in a perfect world?

3. Think about other ways to move.

If you’re working out a certain way because you think you “should”, but it’s not fitting your body well, consider other options.

Or, if your current workout is going great but you’re curious about other possibilities, consider expanding your movement repertoire anyway.

Everything from archery to Zumba is out there, waiting for you to come and try it out.

Remember: You don’t have to “work out” or “exercise” to move. And you don’t need to revamp your physical activity overnight, either.

Take your time. Do what you like. Pick one small new way you can move today — and do it.

4. Help your body do its job with good nutrition.

Quality movement requires quality nutrition.

And just like your movements, your nutritional needs are unique to you.

Here’s how to start figuring out what “optimal nutrition” means for you:

If you feel like you need help on these fronts, get it.

A good fitness and nutrition coach can:

  • help you find activities that suit your body.
  • review your nutrition and offer advice on how to improve your diet (even if your life is hectic).
  • help you identify any potential food sensitivities that could be causing or worsening inflammation and thus restricting your movements.
For full article by Krista Scott-Dixon, please visit http://www.precisionnutrition.com/healthy-movement

How intense workouts (and overtraining) can ruin your results. Here’s how to know what’s TOO MUCH when it comes to exercise.

In the fitness industry, everyone’s obsessed with “more”. More cardio. More squats. More gym time. More calorie restriction. But if you’re not careful, “more” can lead to overtraining, injury, and illness. Here’s how to know what’s TOO MUCH when it comes to exercise.

I’ve been coaching clients for nearly 25 years and I’ve seen many of them treat their bodies like teenagers learning to drive a car.

Vroom.

Full speed ahead on killer workouts! Max effort each time! Add another hour of cardio!

Errrt!

Get hurt. Get sick. Feel discouraged.

Vroom.

Cut calories! Weigh and measure everything!

Errrt!

Lose control. Feel even more discouraged.

We see this cycle of alternatively slamming the gas, then brake, then gas, then brake with our Precision Nutrition Coaching clients.

When they decide to get moving, they go hard.

They throw everything — energy, time, resources — at their their weight loss, strength gain, or health goals. They feel invigorated and energized, high on their new workout drug.

Have you tried Workout X? they ask their coworkers.

Feel my quads, it’s amazing!

This full throttle approach seems to work for a little while.

Until… it doesn’t.

One day it’s hard to get out of bed. Shoulders and knees ache a bit. They get a bit of a cough or feel run down.

A week later they miss an easy lift. They reach for the ice pack. No big deal.

The week after, they’re dialing their chiro or physio’s office. Or lying on the couch with a back spasm that feels like giving bellybutton birth to a sea urchin.

What happened? Where did it all go wrong?

The problem isn’t the exercise, or even the intensity.

The problem is not balancing stress with recovery.

Training vs. straining.

Exercise is a stressor. Usually a good one. But a stressor nonetheless.

If you exercise intensely and/or often, you add stress to a body that may already be stressed from other life stuff like work, relationships, travel, late nights, etc.

This isn’t a bad thing. Exercise can indeed help relieve stress.

But in terms of a physical demand, we still need to help our bodies recover from all the stress we experience.

How well you’ll recover (and how much extra recovery you might need) depends on your allostatic load — i.e. how much total stress you’re under at any given moment.

In other words, those days when you were late for work and your boss yelled at you and you spilled ketchup on your favorite shirt and you were up all night caring for a sick child — and then you went to the gym and tried to nail a PR?

It’ll take longer for you to recover from that workout than it would have if you’d done it on a day you slept well, woke up to sunshine, and had a terrific breakfast.

The right amount of exercise, at the right intensity, and the right time:

We train. We learn. We get healthier and stronger.

Too much exercise, with too high an intensity, too often:

We strain. We stress. We shut down. And break down.

Mission Control: Our bodies.

Overtraining isn’t a failure of willpower or the fate of weak-minded wimps. Our bodies have complex feedback loops and elegant shutdown systems that actively prevent us from over-reaching or pushing ourselves too hard.

Two systems are at play:

  • Our central nervous system (CNS) acts like a car engine regulator. If the engine on a car revs too high for too long, it shuts down. Similarly, if we exercise too much, our brain tries to protect our muscles by reducing the rate of nerve impulses so we can’t (or don’t want to) move as much. And we certainly can’t work as hard.
  • Local fatigue, the result of energy system depletion and/or metabolic byproduct accumulation, makes your muscles feel really tired, lethargic, and weak. Using our car analogy, this is sort of like running out of gas.

Training too frequently and intensely — again, without prioritizing recovery — means that stress never subsides.

We never get a chance to put gas in the tank or change the oil. We just drive and drive and drive, mashing the pedals harder and harder.

If we “lift the hood” we might see:

  • Poor lubrication: Our connective tissues are creaky and frayed.
  • Radiator overheating: More inflammation.
  • Battery drained: Feel-good brain chemicals and anabolic (building-up) hormones have gone down.
  • Rust: Catabolic (breaking-down) hormones such as cortisol have gone up.

As a result, you might experience:

  • Blood sugar ups and downs.
  • Depression, anxiety, and/or racing thoughts.
  • Trouble sleeping or early wakeups.
  • Food cravings, maybe even trouble controlling your eating.
  • Lower metabolism due to decreased thyroid hormone output.
  • Disrupted sex hormones (which means less mojo overall, and in women, irregular or missing menstrual cycles).

Here’s the thing.

You don’t get to decide if you need recovery or not.

Your body will decide for you.

If you don’t build recovery into your plan, your body will eventually force it.

The more extreme your overtraining, the more you’ll “pay” via illness, injury, or exhaustion. The more severe the payback, the more “time off” you’ll need from exercise.

That’s a bummer. Now your car has stalled, or worse — gone backwards. Argh.

What drives people to overtrain?

Some folks in our Precision Nutrition Coaching program worry that the prescribed workouts and daily habits won’t be enough. So they add more exercise and subtract food.

What’s driving them?

1. Some depend on intense exercise to feel good about themselves.

They might tell themselves it’s “for their health” or “to get the perfect body”.

But, the truth is, many people depend on their extreme exercise regimen to feel good about themselves.

Take this client story from Precision Nutrition Coach Krista Schaus:

Early on in the program, a client’s weight went up a few pounds on a particular measurement day. I went on high alert.

I called her and could hear the treadmill rolling in the background. “Uh, what are you doing… right now?”

Turns out she was into her 40th minute of a 60 minute “post-measurement day guilt workout”.

I yelled, “Get off the *&%! treadmill… Now!”

Right then and there we made each other a promise: No more extra work. PN training program only.

She was terrified of eating more and doing less. But, after her first week of “eating more and doing less”, she lost 3 pounds.

(Before, she had been doing “everything right” and not losing a pound.)

A few months later, she’d lost 10 pounds and 6% body fat. She looked healthy, fit and amazing. People would ask for her secret.

Those intense, laborious workouts can feel good. Almost… too good.

Strenuous exercise releases chemicals that kill pain and make us happy… temporarily.

By the way, these chemicals are also released when your body thinks you’re in big trouble and about to die. Their evolutionary job is to help us float away in a happy painless haze as the saber-toothed tiger is eating our arm off. So in a sense, they’re stress-related chemicals.

For some people, these chemicals become a “hit”.

Pushing their bodies to the limit and working hard becomes their drug.

2. Intense exercise gives you a sense of control over your body and life.

It’s drilled into people’s heads via popular media: If you want control over how your body looks, hit the gym (and then hit it again).

Here’s another client’s story, in their own words:

I ran 7 marathons over the course of about 10 years, each time hoping that this training round would be the one that got me thinner.

But the harder I worked, the more frustrated I got. Which I used to propel myself harder, over more miles.

The more I trained, the hungrier I was. It was a massive battle against appetite, all day long.

I never got thinner. Sometimes I gained.

I got stressed out, cold after cold after random infection, and increasingly unhappy with myself.

For me, what I needed to finally drop those last 5-10 pounds wasn’t exercise for 1-2 hours a day, it was to go harder for shorter periods of time, and give myself enough downtime to recover.

It became so much easier to achieve a slight energy deficit when my body felt more at-ease, less pushed to the limits all the time.

Muscles stayed and got stronger. Fat shrunk away.

People who overtrain often want to try hard and do their best to reach their goals. They think they’re “doing what it takes”.

If some exercise is good, more must be better, right?

3. Most people don’t know that overtraining can work against them.

Precision Nutrition clients who are overtraining are often shocked to learn they’re doing too much. Nobody’s ever told them that there’s a “sweet spot” for exercise that balances work and recovery.

Usually, people learn about the risks of overtraining the hard way — like this client from our men’s coaching program:

Last week I injured my ribs and back. Not enough to put me out of commission, and it’s not serious, but it was a real pain in the a$s.

Certain positions and actions (like sneezing) felt like a knife in my side. I had to cut certain exercises out (e.g. push-ups), and I couldn’t jump rope or sprint, either.

I still did the workouts every day, but I had to cut back on the weight (I used about 80% of what I typically use), and for the intervals, scale back the intensity.

Now here’s the interesting part: When I was done with the workouts, I felt really good, as opposed to the fall-on-the-floor wiped out feeling I usually have. And I wasn’t sore the next day either.

In fact, I’ve been really looking forward to these workouts.

I thought: Hey, this is fun!

But then I had this other nagging thought: Am I just a wimp?

Anyway, all this got me thinking: What the hell am I working out so hard every day for? Should I be killing myself?

I’m not a competitor. Nobody knows or cares how fast I run or how much I squat.

I’m starting to think I should be ending a workout feeling like “I could do that again right now if I had to.” I call that “training”.

The opposite would be pushing myself to the limit frequently, feeling completely pooped after a workout. I call that “straining”.

It seems pretty obvious I won’t make a lot of fast progress by “training”, but on the other hand, I gotta wonder: How long can I keep going if I am “straining”?

Notice that this concept of training vs. straining is a true revelation to him!

Sometimes, less is more.

Putting in a consistent good effort over the long haul is much more sustainable than cycles of “crash and burn”.

This client’s slow and steady efforts paid off — he lost 20 pounds and 10 percent of his body fat in 6 months.

More importantly, he recovered, stayed uninjured, and kept having fun.

Do what truly works.

Look, if “pump till you puke” and hours of treadmill torture worked, we’d make our clients do it.

But it doesn’t work.

So we don’t do it.

Exercise should make us feel, look, perform and live better… not crush us.

Movement should help us function freely… not incapacitate us.

What if you could leave the gym feeling energized, not exhausted?

What if, instead of doing more, you could do better?

Recovery: Overtraining antidote.

Here’s your first tip: “Overtraining” isn’t exactly the problem.

The problem is more like “under-recovering”.

Your body can actually handle a tremendous amount of work… if you recover properly and fully from that work.

Your stress-recovery pattern should look like rolling hills: For every up (training or life stress) there’s a down (recovery).

For every intense workout, there’s an equally intense focus on activities that help your body repair and rebuild.

This doesn’t mean you need to retreat to your dark and quiet blanket fort and get massages every day… although that does sound awesome.

Check out our recovery tips below.

Free your mind, and your body will follow.

When you factor in recovery as a crucial part of your training regimen, a funny thing happens.

You start to think of training completely differently.

What if you could “exercise” on a continuum — where every movement “counts”?

What if you could balance high with low, heavy with light, work with play in a natural, organic rhythm?

Here are some ways to find balance.

An effective physical activity routine incorporates:

  1. Resistance training
  2. Intervals
  3. Active recovery
  4. Fun

You can do that no matter how much time you have to devote to physical activity.

Here’s what the balance looks like in Precision Nutrition Coaching:

2016-04-What are your hours made of-3-01

Precision Nutrition Coaching clients who have the most success aren’t usually the ones who do the biggest, most challenging workouts.

Instead, they’re the ones who find small ways of getting movement whenever and wherever they can.

That includes real-life functional movement, such as:

  • Biking or walking to work (or running to catch that damn bus)
  • Walking to the grocery store and carrying your groceries home
  • Washing the car
  • Giving the walls a fresh coat of paint
  • Teaching your kids how to fly a kite
  • Shoveling snow, raking leaves, planting a garden, or mowing the lawn

When you think of movement this way, it stops becoming “a workout” (i.e. a chore, or a gauntlet you have to psych yourself up for) and starts becoming “your daily life” (i.e. something that is easy, seamless, and always with you).

What to do next.

If you’re feeling some of the symptoms described in this article, here are a few steps you can take to start feeling better.

1. Do a little self-assessment.

For some of us, skipping a workout is no biggie.

For others, taking a day off requires effort. Doing less can make you feel uneasy.

If spending more time away from your self-imposed bootcamp freaks you out, ask yourself:

  • What are you doing this for? What are your actual goals, and why?
  • How do you feel? Are you constantly in pain, tired but wired, hungry, etc.?
  • How is what you’re doing working for you? Are you getting results?

If you’re beating yourself up and not getting anywhere, maybe it’s time to take a different approach.

2. Trust your body — and listen to it.

What’s really going on under the hood?

Do a mind-body scan: Lie quietly for a few minutes and bring your focus slowly from your feet to your head. What do you feel?

Practice becoming more aware of your body cues.

What does your body feel like when it’s well-rested? How do you know when it needs a break?

If you’re feeling:

  • achey and creaky
  • run-down and blah
  • un-motivated
  • anxious or depressed
  • fatigued or annoyingly sleepless…

…consider changing up your workout routine.

3. Make time for recovery.

Recovery won’t happen by accident. Plan it, prepare for it and hunt it down.

Schedule that massage. Tell your friends to save the date for the citywide scavenger hunt. And block off Sunday afternoon for guilt-free goof-off time.

Whatever you do, remember that your recovery — what you do between workouts — is just as important as training.

Some ideas:

  • Go for a walk, preferably in a natural, outdoor setting. Put away your phone. Observe what’s around you.
  • Meditate. It’s easier than you might think.
  • Do yoga. Remember: it doesn’t have to be ‘hot yoga’ or ‘power yoga’ to count.
  • Go for a swim. Finish it off with a relaxing sauna.
  • Chill out in the park. Lie back on the grass and stare at the clouds.
  • Get a massage. Give the body a little help de-stressing.
  • Get it on. Yep, sex counts too. (Thanks, Precision Nutrition!)

4. Achieve the balance.

There’s time for tough workouts and time for taking it easy. There’s time for long runs, and there’s time for throwing a frisbee around.

Doing the same thing over and over again isn’t doing your body any good. Mix up your exercises, and the intensity.

If you’re not sure how much of each you’re getting, try keeping a workout journal for a week or two.

What could you use a little more of?

Where could you ease back?

Find some new ways to get active without being in the gym.

Incorporate some silly, goofy play time into your routine. See how it feels.

5. Have fun.

And there’s a reason why kids naturally run, jump, roll, and wiggle their bodies around: Fun is a huge part of how we learn to move and interact in the world. Continuing this process keeps us healthy and young.

Laughing activates the recovery system, as does even just smiling. Lighten up and loosen your white-knuckle grip on life, Sergeant Hardcore.

Here are some ideas for good old-fashioned fun:

  • Play a sport you love. Or discover a new one.
  • Actively play with your kids. Run around with them on the playground, swing from the monkey bars, climb trees, chase a frisbee, etc.
  • Dance. Have a night out with friends, or just goof off with the music cranked up in your living room.
  • Pay your pet some extra attention. Give your dog an extra run for his money at the dog park. Try some kitty yoga. (This is a thing. I’m not even kidding.)
  • Go for a hike or take a walk in the city. Explore a new neighborhood.

6. Get driving lessons.

The only message you’ve likely ever gotten about staying fit is: put the pedal to the metal. Now it turns out you’re actually in overdrive?

If you’re feeling frustrated or confused (or exhausted or stressed) — team up with someone.

Find an active friend, an interested spouse, a parent you want to spend more time with, or a local trainer/coach/sensei. Together, experiment with a fun, balanced approach to your physical activity.

Your “car” will thank you.

For full article by John Berardi please visit: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/are-you-overtraining

POSTERIOR PERFECT

Sculpting a high, tight rear is a precise science. Our pro translates the most compelling research into 8 streamlined moves.

The backside has always been a statement piece, treasured by the ancient Dogos people in Mali, Renaissance painters, and rappers alike. And though consistently considered a key asset of the female — and at times male (Details magazine deemed the ass, the new abs in 2011) — physique, its desired proportions have shifted throughout history. Unfortunately, the elusive, sculpted posterior of 2013 takes work, but fortunately our experts have discovered the precise formula that delivers the tight, lifted, perfectly carved posterior of which international uproars are made.

Our equation starts with the five moves scientifically proven (by studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse) to target the glutes most effectively: lunges, single-leg squats, hip extensions, step-ups and side leg lifts. We then added a little complexity and dimension to each move by incorporating the principles of mobility and stability characteristic of all Equinox programming. Finally, we applied the trusted NASM training philosophy that mandates a combination of strength and power-based exercises. Together, it’s a plan that just screams results.

“I wanted to build on the classic moves from the research, so each exercise in our workout is rooted in the biomechanical principles that make it effective,” says Lisa Wheeler, senior national creative manager for group fitness at Equinox who developed the program. “I just turned up the intensity a few notches by creating four pairs of one controlled, purely strength-based move with a more dynamic, power-based exercise, which is a much more efficient way to train.”

Watch Wheeler’s workout in the video above, modeled by LA-based group fitness and Pilates instructor Christine Bullock at the rooftop pool at The London Hotel in West Hollywood. Then, click through the slide show below for step-by-step instructions. Your circuit: Do 10-12 reps of each strength move, and 45 seconds of each power move resting for 30 seconds between each pair. Repeat 3 times.

 

Bring the moves with you. Download pdf instructions.

For original article please visit: http://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2013/02/butt-workout?emmcid=emm-newsletter&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email-member&utm_campaign=0411&cid=-Furthermore0411_v014112016

THE FUNCTION OF A RUNNING SHOE

The function of a running shoe is to protect the foot from the stress of running, while permitting you to achieve your maximum potential. Selecting the right shoe for your foot can be confusing without the proper knowledge.

People with low arches, called pronators, will need a shoe that provides stability. A shoe with good cushioning is important for people with high arches, called supinators.

There are three main features that you need to consider when selecting a running shoe: shape, construction, and midsole.

Shape

To determine the shape of the shoe, look at the sole. Draw a straight line from the middle of the heel to the top of the shoe. In a curve-shaped shoe, most comfortable for supinators, the line will pass through the outer half of the toes. A straight-shaped shoe will have a line that passes through the middle of the toes. These shoes are built to give pronators added stability.

Construction

Take out the insole and look at what type of stitching is used on the bottom. In board construction shoes, built specifically for pronators, the bottom of the shoe will not have any visible stitching. Combination shoes, appropriate for mild pronators or supinators, will have stitching that begins halfway. On slip-constructed shoes, you will see stitching running the entire length of the shoe providing the flexibility supinators need.

Midsole

Most of the cushioning and stability of a running shoe is determined by the midsole. A dual-density midsole provides shock absorption as well as some stability, perfect for pronators. Single density midsoles offer good cushioning but are not great at providing stability, making them better for supinators.

Keep in mind that a chiropractor can help you prevent running-related problems by assessing your gait, as well as the mobility of the joints in your feet, legs, pelvis and spine.