First and foremost, if you have any type of physical fitness exercise routine, pat yourself on the back. Albeit, walking, cycling, doing house chores, weight lifting or other fun physical activities–it ALL counts as movement!
Keep in mind that the latest guidelines posted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018) recommended amounts of physical activity (150 minutes per week) and strength exercises (two days per week). Oh, and good news, exercise bouts can and should be in increments of 10 minutes or more!
Okay, let me get off of my educational exercise soap box. Okay, I’m going to assume you have some type of routine going to your local gym or home gym. Perhaps you walk on the treadmill, maybe you do some strength exercises (e.g., bench press, squats, etc.) and finish up with some core exercises and cardio in cycle class. You probably look super focused and like you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
Good news! This is great! Even better news! There’s a way to work EVEN SMARTER at the gym.
DID YOU KNOW?
Most of us are roaming around this earth with one or more muscle imbalances?
It is extremely common. What do I mean by muscle imbalances? Well, we often overuse and underuse muscles as a result of repetitive (un)movements in our daily lives. This results in super tight and lengthened muscles. Sometimes, good ol’ fashioned genetics can pass down muscle imbalances, too. Chronic muscle imbalances often lead to future physical challenges later in life.
WHAT IF…. you could identify your muscle imbalances AND revise your exercises to help you strengthen weaker muscles, increase flexibility in tighter muscles, and potentially alleviate nagging pain(s) you’ve had for days, months, or even years?
I’m serious. Months and years. Knowing and working on your muscle imbalances WILL ROCK YOUR WORLD.
Contact me [email@example.com] to schedule your posture and movement assessments TODAY. This is one of the best investments you will ever make in yourself or a loved one. This can be done virtually or in-person. It’s painless. It’s easy. All you need is me and one of our smartphones. The results will have lasting effects on your life FOREVER. Guaranteed!
And the best part is that from here on out, you’ll understand the WHY to your WHAT’s at the gym!
Of course it’s hard to get up early when you go to bed late. Early morning workouts are sooooo much better when you set yourself up for success.
3 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success
- Eat a balanced meal the night before.
- Oh, and better yet, try setting out your gym clothes the night before.
- Begin your calm and peaceful evening routine earlier in the evening so you’re ready to go to bed at a decent hour.
- Bonus! Figure out what you’re going to eat for your early morning pre-workout snack the night before. (Try some of these overnight oats recipes.)
Life can be full of excuses…
Something came up. I’m tired. I’m hungry. Traffic is bad.
Good news! It doesn’t have to be! Many of us are busy with schedules that get more and more unpredictable as the day unfolds.
The number one excuse for lack of exercise and physical activity is time.
The trick is blocking time off for yourself every single day. Whether it’s 5 minutes or 50 minutes, make sure to protect this time with all your might. Purposefully identify it and protect it.
Not it’s time to ask you a very important question. Why NOT try early morning workouts? Please don’t say, “I’m not a morning person.” Wait. Have you tried working out in the morning at least 3 times?
Yes? How did it go?
No? When will you do it?
Did you know?
And on top of that…
A research team of a California-based biotechnology company 23andMe, attempted to uncover the genetic predisposition of morning and night people. (N=89,283)
“The researchers found that after taking into account the effect of age and sex, morning people were likely to have lower – and thus generally more healthy – BMI, or body-mass index, a measure of the ratio between height and weight.” (source: www.theguardian.com, 2017)
Personally, I despise BMI (Body Mass Index) as a number to focus on when it comes to your health and wellness. It’s merely a ratio between your height and body weight and can easily be off-set for muscular individuals who may not be very tall.
After probing a bit deeper, I came across a study that found exercising 30 minutes on 3 mornings per week caused people between the ages of 40 and 60 years old to experience a 10% drop in blood pressure throughout the day.
Now that’s what I’m talking about! Read more about the benefits of early morning (and evening) workouts here.
So go ahead. Set your alarm.Go to bed early and hit the gym in the morning!
DURATION: 7 weeks
START DATE: Monday, March 13, 2017
END DATE: Sunday, April 30, 2017
WHO SHOULD SIGN UP:
This Accountability Group is open to former Best Body Countdown participants and ANYONE who wants to learn, grow, and increase their daily fitness, nutrition, and wellness accountability. Our group is perfect for anyone who needs an extra nudge of accountability and support from a trustworthy, reliable, and knowledgeable certified fitness professional. You can participate from anywhere!
Our Accountability Group will help you stay committed to your health, fitness, nutrition, and healthy living goals. This is about building a health conscious community of like-minded people who are open to learning and filled with a desire to improve their fitness.
Interactive Group Texts & Check-ins (via GroupMe app)
Interactive Closed Facebook Group
Group Fitness Challenges
Goal Setting & Accountability Activities
Fitness, Nutrition, & Wellness Tips & Tools
Access to Certified Personal Trainer
We will heavily rely upon online and mobile technologies for communication, accountability, support, and motivation! (e.g., Facebook, GroupMe, MyFitnessPal, Endomondo, SuperTracker, Fitness Blender, SworkIt, and more!)
$12 per week
($84 total for 7 weeks)
Partial payments accepted. Ask me how to set this up.
DON’T THINK ABOUT IT. BE ABOUT IT!
In the spirit of Valentine’s and celebrating the power of individuals and complementary couples, we wanted to highlight two of the best exercise couples. These aren’t any type of couples–they are SUPER SET couples!
What’s a super set?
“The superset system uses two exercises performed in rapid succession of one another.”
Couple 1: Bench Press + Push Ups
This is an example of “performing two exercises for the same muscle group back to back.” Completing exercises in this format improves muscle endurance and size. If you want to kick it up a notch, try adding one or two more exercises targeting the same muscle. Using the example above, you could add a Dumbbell Chest Press and Resistance Band Chest Press.
Couple 2: Squats + Dead Lift
This is an example of “performing two exercises back to back that involve antagonist[, or opposing,] muscle groups.” Performing super sets in this manner allows you to place a higher load on target muscle(s) in each exercise. While one muscle group is working, the other is resting.
Want to learn how to integrate super sets into your workout routine? Contact us today!
Source: (National Academy of Sports Medicine, 2014)
This infamously happens when I train one of my clients. Recently, my client sent me a few articles about what she believes is happening to her sinuses when she performs various exercises. And of course, I looked a bit more into it. Here is what I found.
What Is It?
It’s called exercise-induced rhinitis (EIR). The root word is rhino, meaning nose, and the suffix, itis, meaning inflammation. In other words, exercising can inflame your nose.
What are the Symptoms?
When you stop to think about it, it makes sense to experience rhinitis when performing physical activity. Increased blood flow and oxygen to your nasal passages may negatively impact your sinuses and cause airborne irritants such as mold and pollen to get into your system and result in congestion, sneezing, runny nose, itchiness, and watery eyes. Basically, EIR is annoying and you should add tissues to your list of essential items to bring to your workouts!
What Does the Research Say?
A 2006 research study examined EIR in adults “with and without nasal allergy who exercise regularly to determine the prevalence and nature of nasal symptoms induced by indoor exercise.”
Forty percent of participants indicated that indoor EIR negatively impacted physical activity. This more frequently occurred in individuals with nasal allergies. Likewise, outdoor EIR occurred in 56.1% of the total population–with participants with nasal allergies reporting more rhinitis (71.6% vs. 41%).
The study concluded that EIR “commonly occurs in athletes regardless of underlying nasal allergy.”
What does this mean? Well, if you already have nasal allergies, you are more likely to experience EIR compared to folks who do not already have nasal allergies. However, EIR is fair game to all of us.
Causes of EIR
There is limited research about the causes of EIR. Your guess is as good as mine and the next researcher. Check out with Livestrong.com writer, Matthew Lee, found out about the causes of EIR.
How to Manage EIR
In a nutshell, the most natural and drug free way to manage EIR is to carry a small pack of tissues during your workouts. However, some folks may want or need to take antihistamines. (Silvers, 1992)
Whatever you do, do NOT let a runny nose hold you back from your BEST workout! Pack some tissues in a sweat proof container and get to it! Happy training!
Okay. So there was Black Friday. Then we had Small Business Saturday. Today is Cyber Monday and tomorrow is Giving Tuesday.
Why not invest in a consultation, fitness assessments, and personal training sessions for YOU and give the gift of fitness and wellness to a loved one?
Review our services. Decide what is best for you. Propose a fitness and wellness package unique to you. We love customizing our services!
Good news! We work with local (Woodbridge, VA ) and long-distance clients!
Make sure you check out the 52-Day Best Body Countdown. Pre-registration is open through Jan. 4. The countdown starts Jan. 19!
Contact us today to get started!
photo credit: writetribe.com
One of our newsletter subscribers travels a lot for work and asked us for advice about eating healthy and maintaining some sort of fitness regimen when on the road.
Here are a few tips I shared with her.
- Stay away from fast and fried foods as much as possible!
- ALWAYS order a salad with dressing on the side.
- ALWAYS request a microwave and fridge in your hotel room and USE THEM for quick, healthy meals and snacks (e.g., oatmeal, Greek yogurt, bottled water, fruit, egg whites, hardboiled eggs – boil them in coffee machine)
- Find a local grocery store and purchase a few things to keep in room and purse
- Identify healthy “go-to” meals at healthier restaurants such as Panera,
- ALWAYS schedule time to use the hotel gym AND use it!
- Pack workout gear
- Walk to destinations when you can
- BEWARE of high sodium foods when eating out. Most meals when dining out are BIG sodium traps!
- Eat frequently and in smaller amounts.
- Pack healthy snacks.
- ALWAYS bring a reusable water bottle and keep it filled! (TIP: refill it for free at the hotel’s fitness center)
Enjoy this 45ish minute interval ride on-your-own at the gym. This ride requires an indoor bike with a cycle machine that shows your RPM speed. Otherwise, you need a metronome to help you gauge your cadence OR you can go old school and count the number of times your pedal completes a full rotation over a duration of 10 seconds.
70 RPM 11-12 rotations
80 RPM 13-14 rotations
90 RPM 15 rotations
100 RPM 16-17 rotations
110 RPM 18-19 rotations
0:00-3:00 | Seated Flat | 80-95RPM | Warm-Up. Gradually increase cadence. RPE 3.
3:00-5:00 | Seated Flat | 80 RPM | Stay disciplined at this cadence with light resistance. Continuation of your warm-up. RPE 3.
5:00-7:00 | Standing Flat | 70 RPM | Add enough resistance to support your weight out of the saddle. Come up to Hand Position #2. RPE 4.
7:00-9:30 | Jumps | 70 RPM | 10 seconds in and out of saddle from Seated Climb (small incline) in Hand Position #2 and up into Standing Flat in Hand Position #2. RPE will elevate to 6 because HR will increase!
9:30-13:00 | Seated Flat | 80-100 RPM | Recover. Allow heart rate and breathing to come back down. Start at lower end of cadence range. As you feel HR recover, gradually increase speed and hold at steady rate. Slow, deep, intentional breathing!
13:00-15:00 | Seated Flat | 90 RPM |
15:00-17:00 | Standing Flat | 80-90 RPM | RPE 4.
17:00-18:30 | Jumps | 90 RPM | 10 seconds in and out of saddle from Seated Climb in Hand Position 2 and up into Standing Flat in Hand Position 2.
18:30-21:30 | Seated Flat | 80-100 RPM | Recover. Allow heart rate and breathing to come back down. Start at lower end of cadence range. As you feel HR recover, gradually increase speed and hold at steady rate. Slow, deep, intentional breathing!
21:30-23:30 | Seated Flat | 100 RPM
23:30-25:30 | Standing Flat | 90-100 RPM
25:30-27:00 | Jumps | 100 RPM | 10 seconds in and out of saddle from Seated Climb in Hand Position #2 and up into Standing Flat in Hand Position #2. RPE will rise to 7/8 due to jumps!
27:00-30:00 | Seated Flat | 80-100 RPM | Recover. Allow heart rate and breathing to come back down. Start at lower end of cadence range. As you feel HR recover, gradually increase speed and hold at steady rate. Slow, deep, intentional breathing!
30:00-31:30| Seated Flat | 95-110 RPM | Option to ride at lower end of range to maintain steady cadence.
31:30-33:30 | Standing Flat | 100-110 RPM
33:30-35:00 | Jumps | 100-110 RPM | 10 seconds in and out of saddle from Seated Climb in Hand Position #2 and up into Standing Flat in Hand Position #2. RPE will rise to 7-8 due to jumps!
35:00-36:00 | Seated Flat | 80-90 RPM | Recover.
36:00-37:00 | Jumps | 80-100 RPM | Slightly add resistance. RPE 4. Complete 4 jumps up into Standing Flat in HP#2 and back down to Seated Flat in HP#2. RPE will rise to 7/8 due to jumps!
37:00-38:00 | Seated Flat | 80-90 RPM | Recover.
38:00-39:00 | Jumps | 80-100 RPM | Slightly add resistance. RPE 4. Complete 4 jumps up into Standing Flat in HP#2 and back down to Seated Flat in HP#2. RPE will rise to 7/8 due to jumps!
39:00-40:00 | Seated Flat | 80-90 RPM | Recover. Allow heart rate and breathing to come back down. Slow, deep, intentional breathing! RPE 3.
40:00-43:00 | Seated Flat | 80 RPM | Cool-down. RPE 3.
Calf, Quad, Hamstring, Hip Flexor, Shoulders, Back, Neck…
Good news! We have partnered with Nava’s Dance and Wellness Studio to offer a foam rolling workshop next month in Dumfries, Virginia.
Since I routinely integrate foam rolling into my clients’ fitness programs, I decided to offer a workshop specifically targeting foam rolling. You may have seen a foam roller somewhere at the gym and didn’t know what it was or the purpose of using it. This workshop is a great way to learn more about the what it is, why do it, and how to foam roll.
Make sure you register by September 14 if you need me to order you one.
Get driving directions!
With a last name the same as a medicinal herb known for its calming and healing qualities, Los Angeles Sparks starting center Jantel Lavender has calmed any anxiety about the void of several Sparks’ players Candace Parker, Kristi Tolliver, Nneka Ogwumike) out of commission early this season. Jantel’s stats are the best of her career in average points (15.1), rebounds (9.6), assists (1.8), and minutes (36) played per game. She has already touted five double-doubles this season. Although her additional playing time may be a result of teammate Parker’s absence from the roster, Jantel has shown the WNBA and its fans what she is fully capable of day in and day out.
As a college athlete at The Ohio State University (OSU), Jantel was the only player, male or female, to be selected Big Ten Conference Player of the Year four straight seasons (2007-08 through 2010-11). She is the all-time career scoring leader (2,818 points) at OSU and she holds the rebounding record (1,422) in the NCAA Big Ten Conference.
Originally selected by the Los Angeles Sparks as the number five pick in the first round of the 2011 WNBA Draft, Jantel Lavender currently holds the third best rebounding average per game in the WNBA at 9.6 rebounds per game—closely trailing Chicago Sky’s Elena Delle Donne (9.9 rpg) and Tulsa Shock’s Courtney Paris (10.3 rpg). She also holds the number nine slot for average points per game (15.1 ppg) this season.
On June 23, 2015, I sat down with the six foot four inch starting Sparks center after her team suffered their sixth regular season loss (Washington Mystics 84, Sparks 80). Lavender finished one rebound shy of a double-double with 18 points, nine rebounds, and three blocked shots.
We chatted a little bit about her fitness, wellness, and nutrition.
What are some of the things you do (on and off season) to take care of yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually?
That’s crazy because I actually meditate before games and…yoga helps me a lot just to be calm [and] to stay focused for the game. My regimen is usually just to meditate for 30 minutes before a game—have a quiet, calm area and just kind of reflect on what I want the outcome to be.
What is your prospective on the Los Angeles Sparks’ pre-game warm-up and collective team preparation before games?
We get a really good workout. We sweat a lot—it’s just a lot of movement trying to get your body into game motions. We stretch, but we also do movements that [mimic] some of the stuff that we’re going to see in the game and how we’re going to be defended. It’s great. It’s a good warm-up. We all get a nice sweat going so that we can be ready for the game.
For your position, what type of exercises have proven to be the most beneficial to you on-the-court? And why?
Definitely [the] weight room for sure. I’m always in the weight room. Squats—keeping my legs strong because it’s a lot of bodying and getting low to box out for rebounds. The weight room is my best friend. I love to do upper body because there’s a lot of banging in the post and to get those rebounds you’ve got to be strong. So definitely, hitting the weights hard.
What are your “go-to” healthy snacks and meals?
I love seaweed snacks from Trader Joe’s. I eat those. I shop a lot at Trader Joe’s. I eat a lot of cashews, nuts, and salads and stuff. I try to stay away from red meat. I eat chicken and fish and vegetables. I love salads and spinach. They have a place in L.A. (Los Angeles) called Lemonade. They have a series of like 20 different salads and I go there usually almost all the time for lunch. [I’m] just trying to eat healthy—sometimes I have a donut or something, but most of the time I eat healthy [and] try to stay fueled for the game.
What advice would you give high school girls basketball players who have dreams of playing professionally one day?
Definitely start lifting weights now. It’s separates you tremendously when you get to the collegiate level and professional [level]. I started lifting when I was in the eighth grade. It [provided] a tremendous difference in my speed [and] my strength when I got to those levels. People were shocked [at] how strong I was. And definitely [start] eating healthy. Just making sure you eat healthy and watch your diet. A lot of times girls think it’s not that important when they are that young, but it is. You don’t have to have a strict diet like we (WNBA athletes) do, but I think that making sure you get a salad, making sure you get a well-balanced breakfast—that type of stuff is very essential to their health. I would say the weight room is the number one thing that separated me when I was in high school.
Below are six key takeaways from Jantel’s personal fitness, nutrition, and self-care regimen.
- Set positive intentions and visualize.
- Eat healthy.
- Life weights.
- Incorporate functional and game specific movements into a dynamic warm-up.
It was very clear just how important health, fitness, and nutrition are to Jantel as she passionately spoke about her daily practices and advice for others. She smiled the entire time we spoke.
A special thank you again to Jantel for dedicating her time to speak with me after the game.
Follow Jantel Lavender on Twitter @jlav42
Washington Mystics and WNBA media credential access via Unique Starz Sports & Entertainment