Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Sets the stage for a swifter postpartum recovery
Helps vagina to regain tightness after childbirth
Improves vaginal wall thickness
Increases natural lubrication
Improves bladder control
There is little doubt that the personal trainer industry is in a boom. Just ask Google, where searching for "become a personal trainer" yields somewhere around 35 million returns. There is also little doubt that the industry is well represented online - websites that deal with nutrition, bodybuilding, and health crop up almost every week. And if you are a personal trainer, you should take notice: client expectations are rising and being a technically savvy trainer is no longer an option. It’s a requirement.
Thus, TrainSync was born.
The whole thing started when world-class athletic trainer Paul Balsom started searching for a tool that would help him make workout programs for his clients.
Trainers like Paul Balsom set the gold standard for the industry. He has experience as a decathlete and bobsleigh team member for Great Britain, was involved with the English Premiership Rugby League both as a player and head of strength and conditioning. He has also coached some of the world’s greatest Olympic athletes, sprint coaches and conditioning coaches. And for the past few years, he has been working to make his gym, The Athlete Factory, one of the most sought after in Canada.
Paul tried several applications that advertised routine building for clients. As he muddled his way through them, he decided that something much more simple was in order and got in touch with the nerdiest people he knew.
"The programs I tried were good at what they did - to a point," Paul tells us. "The problem was that so many of the existing program builders only allow you to select from a library of pre-made excercises and routines. I wanted something that was simple, and let me enter anything I wanted. When I couldn’t find it, I decided to make something."
In the end, his goal was simple: make an app that would allow him and his gym’s coaches to create, track, and manage training programs for all of their clients with ease.
Paul’s vision has just become a reality with TrainSync now entering it’s beta. TrainSync makes it easy to enter all of your clients, custom tailor routines for each of them, and watch them get checked off as they complete the tasks.
"Ease of use - that was key for me," says Paul. "I have tremendous respect for my coaches, they are all world-class individuals and trainers. But they aren’t computer science grads - they want something simple that just works."
That could explain why, at first glance, that TrainSync might seem light in the features department. It really focuses on just making programs for clients, but, as Paul explains, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
"We are starting with program creation, but have plans that would have us encompass more of the business aspects of the industry down the road," says Paul. "We are looking at schedules, gym management, and even billing - but our clients are calling the shots, and we’re listening to them to find out what they want next."
Even with that modest approach, when you peel back the layers of the current offering there is a lot to like even early on. What’s most intriguing about TrainSync right now is the interaction available between trainers and clients. Programs are delivered to your clients email, and is compatible with all mobile devices (and good old fashioned desktops). Both trainers and clients can make notes on any session, and clients can check of exercises as they are completed (Physiotherapists take note!) This kind of interaction goes a long way to letting your client know that you’re watching their progress, and can’t be found in any other application like this. Clients are saying that the simple fact that the routines are presented as a tasklist makes them want to check off the exercises and really goes a long way in giving them a sense of accomplishment when all the little boxes are checked off.
It’s only the beginning too. The guys tasked with creating the piece of software have been paying very close attention to their beta testers and giving them what they want. They are also of the mind that the trainers who use the software should be the voices that guide development.
Currently, because the application is still in beta testing, you can sign up for a completely free account that gives you unlimited clients during the beta. After the beta, the free account will limit you to 3 clients. Still - what a fantastic way to show you what the software is capable of and might even give you some ideas of what you need in the future. And finally - the 3-client version will always be free, making TrainSync a huge resource for those of us either starting out in personal training, or constantly building food and workout routines for ourselves and a couple friends; one that requires no investment whatsoever.
To say that Paul and his team have created a wonderful tool for personal trainers is an understatement. They have made it easier for personal trainers to navigate the increasingly competitive and transient nature of their business and given them a tool to help their customers realize just how much they need them. Personal trainers are adapting to the needs of their 45 million some odd customers by working in their homes, offices and different training environments every day. TrainSync is trying to help them out.
"We really are going in the opposite direction of a lot of the online fitness trends," says Paul. "There are so many sites that promise you a workout routine that a ‘personal trainer’ has made for them. It’s rubbish, and short term thinking. We are trying to make a tool that helps personal trainers build their business, not replace them."
Deciding on what your goals are, is maybe the single most important part of a program. If you don't know where you're going, how will you know how to get there and if you've arrived? Different goals need different methods and protocols to achieve them. Are your goals: absolute strength, relative strength, explosiveness and power, jumping ability, muscle size, muscle endurance, cardio endurance, or joint stability? Some of these are prerequisites of the other but some are somewhat of a trade off at more elite levels. So, let's discuss a few of them.
Muscle Size Gain (Hypertrophy)
If your program is just to get really strong then there are going to be elements of everything in your program but muscle size and strength must be your main goals. First, let's discuss how to make a muscle bigger. For a muscle to get bigger there are a few things that must take place. The muscle cell must be activated and fatigued. The methods to do this are called the Repetition Method and the Submaximal Method. You're taking a weight that you can move 5-12 repetitions. With the Repetition Method the weight you choose should push you to failure within the repetition range of 5-12. The reason for going to failure is this, your body activates smaller muscle cells before larger ones. When you need more force or the smaller ones get fatigued it activates bigger and bigger muscle cells. These bigger cells produce more force but fatigue quicker. So, if you are not going to failure then those biggest muscle cells are not being activated or fatigued because they are only activated at the very end. This method however is strenuous and shouldn't be used much by less experienced people. The Sub-Maximal Method will be your method of choice. It is the same principle only you will stop just short of actual failure. For example, you might stop with 8 when you could have actually done 10, but not 16. It must still challenge you.
Absolute and Relative Strength
For muscle strength the most effective method is the Maximum Effort Method. This is not for a beginner and someone should have a few years of weight training experience prior to using this method. That is not to say you cannot get stronger using the Repetition Method and or Submaximal Effort Method alone, however once you have the experience, the most effective method, once again is the Maximum Effort Method. The Maximum Effort Method is when you lift the most weight possible for one repetition. This method is used once a week. Two things should be realized when using this method. First, you must switch exercises frequently (once a week preferably). The change needs to make the exercise different but still keeping it close enough to the main movement you want to train so that there is high transfer of the training effect. Second, this is a training max, not a competition max. What this means is this, during a competition your heart rate elevates and you feel adrenaline. This helps you lift more weight, however after competition you are worn out from the adrenaline. During training you should keep your heart rate normal and not psych yourself up. So the actual 1 repetition max, in training, turns out to be about 90% of what you can do in competition, which is where you want to be for strength training. But, since you aren't psyching yourself up to lift the weight there is less chance of suffering from neurological fatigue.
Explosive Power and Jumping Ability
Plyometrics are a great way help produce more force in a short amount of time which a necessary to be able to jump well. There is an explosive strength deficit (ESD) between the maximum amount of force you can lift with no time constraints and a movement (i.e. jumping) which only allows a short time to generate force. The ESD for jumping is around 50% of maximum force without time constraints. "In principle, there are two ways to increase the force output in explosive motions- to increase maximal force without time constraints or decrease ESD. The first method brings good results at the beginning of sport preparation," (Science and Practice of Strength Training). However once achieving a good amount of muscular strength one must also work to lower ESD. An example of someone who does not do this is the very strong person in the gym but he can't jump very well. This is because there simply is not enough time to access all that strength but with plyometrics it will lower ESD and allow you to tap into more of that strength. Although absolute strength is a prerequisite to jumping ability, after that another prerequisite following it is speed strength. This is accomplished by using the Dynamic Effort Method. This method improves the rate of force development and explosive strength. In this method one uses a non-maximal load with the highest speed possible. Typically around 50% of maximum is used with many sets possibly 6 to 12 sets of 1 to 3 repetitions moving as fast as possible.
Local Muscular Endurance
Local muscular endurance is different than cardio endurance in that, it is specific to the muscles involved. Some good examples of this would be how many push-ups or sit-up you can do without stopping. If you need to raise endurance the type of training you will use depends on the difficulty of the task. If the task is greater than 25% of your maximum then strength training will still be beneficial. For instance, doing a push-up on the floor uses about 60% of your body weight, so if someone weighed 150 pounds, 60% of that is 90 pounds, so as long as their bench press is under 360 pounds then strength training can still be beneficial for strength and endurance. The strength training can be alternated with some endurance training to further increase muscular endurance. Now, if the task if less than 25% of maximum, then absolute strength does not play much of a role and one should focus more exclusively on endurance. The typical endurance training protocol for weight training is 15-30 repetitions, 2-3 sets per body part with 30 seconds or less of rest between sets.
When doing cardiovascular training different types of training will elicit different training effects. Here is a list of the different methods: Long Slow Distance Training (LSD), Interval Training, Pace/ Tempo Training, Repetition Training, and Fartlek Training.
Long Slow Distance Training of LSD Training is most likely the method that comes to mind when thinking of cardiovascular training. The protocol here is a steady state training of 20 minutes to several hours with a heart rate no higher than 80% of heart rate maximum. However, depending on the shape of the individual they might need to train at a heart rate even as low as only 30% of maximum. But for the athlete most likely they will train between 70-80% of maximum. The benefits of LSD training include: enhanced cardiovascular and thermoregulatory function, improved mitochondrial energy production and oxidative capacity of skeletal muscle, and increased utilization of fat as a fuel. All that to say your body gets more efficient at moving for longer periods of time. So the same intensity that you used before will seem easier.
Interval Training is when you have harder interval of time between three to five minutes, however they can be much shorter, followed by an easier interval of time of the same duration. Your interval day should not be longer than what you can maintain during LSD training. The benefits of this type of training include: an increased V.O2max (or how efficient your body uptakes oxygen) and an enhanced anaerobic metabolism. This type of training should not be used until a firm base of aerobic endurance training has been established.
Pace/ Tempo Training is performed at an intensity at or slightly higher than what you would do in a competition. The intensity corresponds to the lactate threshold; so it is often called aerobic/ anaerobic interval training. You may perform this type of training steady state (the same speed throughout), or intermittent. This type of training is done for about 20-30 minutes. "The primary objective for this type of training is to develop a sense of race pace and enhance the body systems' ability to sustain exercise at that pace. The benefits derived from this type of training include improved running economy and increased lactate threshold." (Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning) Lactate threshold is when your body is doing more than you can sustain aerobically so lactate starts to pour into the blood stream.
Repetition Training (REPS) is done usually very intense for 30 to 90 seconds. Your rest intervals will be five times as long as the "rep" or work interval. "The benefits of REP training include: improved running speed, enhance running economy, and an increased capacity for and tolerance of anaerobic metabolism. This type of training is also beneficial for the final kick or push of an aerobic endurance race." (Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning)
"Fartlek Training is a combination of several of the previously mentioned types of training. A sample Fartlek run involves easy running (70%) combined with either hill work or short, fast burst of running (85-90%) for short time periods. This type of training is likely to enhance V.O2max, increase the lactate threshold, and improve running economy and fuel utilization." (Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning)
Joint stability is very important in order to stay healthy and injury free. One of the ways to build a more stable joint is by building up all the muscles surrounding that joint. As a side note, disproportional strength or flexibility on one side of a joint leads to a less healthy, less stable joint. You must build up the muscles that stabilize a joint. If those muscles are weak you won't move well, causing undue stress on the joint. One great example is this, step up on a large stair or do a lunge. Did your knee move to the inside? If so, you have unstable knees. You must work the muscles of your outer hip in order to correct the problem. There are other example like the shoulder or back. All are important to take in consideration and fix any imbalances and or weaknesses in order to stay health and have stable joints.
I hope that this article helped you first, decide exactly what are your current goals, whether they be muscle endurance, cardio endurance, muscle size, explosive power or different types of strength. And second what methods are used to get there. Because you must know where you're going in order to start going in the right direction. And you must know the right methods if you ever wish to get to your goals.
1. LACK OF CERTAINTY. No one knows for sure what causes multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic disease that affects the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. What is known for certain is that the immune system of people with MS erodes the myelin sheath that covers and protects certain nerves, which interferes with communication between the brain and specific parts of the body. Unfortunately, no single test for diagnosing MS exists.
2. A TALE OF NUMBERS. Estimates indicate that more than 400,000 individuals in the U.S. and 2.5 million people worldwide have MS. In fact, the average person in the U.S. has a 1:750 chance of developing MS, a level of risk that is exacerbated to as high as 1:20 for a child or an individual who has MS. Furthermore, women are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop MS than men.
3. CONSPICUOUS SIGNS. The most common initial symptoms of MS tend to vary from person to person and include numbness, tingling, difficulties with balance, weakness in one or more limbs, and blurred vision. Typically, the symptoms of MS tend to appear in individuals aged between 20 and 40 years, although about 10,000 children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the disease. Whereas children with MS tend to have symptoms similar to those of adults, some children with MS also experience seizures and lethargy.
4. STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS. Currently, treatment strategies for MS focus on altering the course of the disease, treating or preventing flare-ups, managing symptoms, improving physiological function, and providing emotional support. Among the possible treatment options for MS are medications, physical therapy, support groups, plasma exchange, bowel retraining, and positive lifestyle changes, including exercising on a regular basis.
5. A PLETHORA OF BENEFITS. Exercising regularly not only enhances the quality of life of individuals with MS but also may help mitigate their MS symptoms and decrease the risk of experiencing certain MS-related complications in the future. People with MS should consult with their physician or trained health/fitness professional to determine appropriate ways for them to be physically active.
6. MUSCLES MATTER. Research has shown that individuals with MS are at particular risk for osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease, because of several possible factors, including lower levels of vitamin D and a number of mobility-related issues. In this regard, engaging in weight-bearing exercises (e.g., strength training, jogging, mechanical stair climbing, aerobic dancing, etc.) can help people with MS build and maintain their bone density, which, in turn, will help protect their bones and actually lower their risk of contracting osteoporosis.
7. WAIST MANAGEMENT. Individuals with MS often gain weight because of the heightened likelihood of a higher level of inactivity and the side effects of some common MS medications (e.g., steroid drugs used to treat disease-related flare-ups). In turn, such weight gain can intensify a person’s MS symptoms. Exercise and a sound diet can help individuals achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Many experts believe that a low-fat diet (=30% of total calories in fat), featuring a regular consumption of fish, fruit, and vegetables, 25 to 30 g of fiber daily, and plenty of fluids, can help people with MS feel better, have more energy, and be healthier.
8. BRAIN FUNCTION. Exercise has been shown to enhance cognitive functioning in individuals with MS. In fact, one major study found that people with MS who were more fit had less damage in the parts of their brain that experience deterioration as a result of MS than did less fit individuals with MS. The more fit subjects in the investigation also had a greater volume of vital gray matter, a finding that is important because of the link between gray matter and brain-processing skills.
9. THE BURDEN OF STRESS. Coping with MS can lead to undue levels of stress in the lives of individuals with MS, and their families. Living with MS can expose people to a roller coaster of emotions. In that regard, yoga, tai chi, meditation, deep breathing, simplifying life, and working with support groups can have a positive impact on the mental well-being of a person with MS.
10. PERPLEXING PUZZLE. At this time, no known cure for MS exists. Given that one person is diagnosed as having MS every hour of every day, individuals with MS face somewhat of an unclear future. Fortunately, extensive research activities to better understand the underlying mechanisms of the disease, as well as to discover new treatments for people with MS, are well underway.
Wednesday, 2 November 2016
After the success we’ve had with our two previous series of exercises, we’ve decided to publish a third one, to complete our take on posture, spine and core flexibility, stability and coordination. To recap, we previously wrote about:
Exercises to improve your posture and bring relief to your back and spine, and
Exercises to improve flexibility and movement precision of your back and spine.
This time around, we’ll concentrate on exercises for spinal and core movement and stabilization with a particular attention on the abdominal area and its importance in spinal flexion and core balance. When taken as a whole, these three series of exercises will be an invaluable resource for anyone interested in improving their overall core stability and flexibility, bettering movement and coordination and significantly lowering the risk of injury, whether we are talking about back muscles, the spine, or the abdomen, in either everyday activities or athletic performance.
It is important to pay close attention to technique and precision of performance so that both adequate strength and the desired movement patterns are developed. Wrong execution will fail to produce the desired results and may even result in injury. Additionally, some exercises are not suitable for everyone so if in doubt, please confirm with your physician to see what is appropriate for you, and use modifications whenever necessary.
Many of the exercises in this series are closely related. It is highly recommended that you follow the order established here and only advance on the next exercise after you have mastered the previous one.
The series so far:
Exercise #1: Leg Circle
Exercise #2: Roll-Up
Exercise #3: Hundred (you are here)
This series include exercises that use the abdominals in a variety of modes. In today’s exercise, Hundred, the abdominals are used in an isometric manner to maintain a position of spinal flexion while the legs are held out straight in the air and off the mat.
Exercise 3 – Hundred
Initial position. Lie on your back with the legs straight and raised at about 60 degrees (or higher if necessary to maintain pelvic stability). Gently point the feet and keep the arms resting on the mat beside the body, with the palms facing down:
Exhaling, draw the abdominals inward toward the spine and lift the upper trunk into a chest lift position. Take the arms forward to some 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) above the thighs, palms still facing down;
Inhale and drive the arms slightly down and then up on each count for a total of 5 counts with active breathing (described in the Make Sure You section below). See the illustration;
Exhale and drive the arms slightly down and then up on each count for a total of 5 counts with active breathing (described in the Make Sure You section below). Repeat this cycle 10 times or for 100 driving motions, as long as good form can be maintained. Lower the torso and bring the arms back down to the initial position.
Make Sure You:
At the start of the exhale in the 2nd phase, draw the abdominals in toward the spine to prompt use of the transversus abdominis just before using the other abdominal muscles to flex the spine, while at the beginning of the motion the shoulder flexors raise the arms;
To achieve the desired end position in the 2nd phase, focus on sustaining a firm abdominal contraction so that the lower back maintains contact with the mat and the pelvis remains steady. The hip flexors keep the angle on the raised legs, the knee extensors keep the knees straight and the ankle–foot plantar flexors the pointed position of the feet/toes. Furthermore, try to gently squeeze the inner thighs together to activate the hip adductors while stretching the legs out to create a long, arrow-like leg line;
During the 3rd and 4th phase, you need to use active breathing. During active breathing, the breath is pushed out not only more forcefully during exhalation but also with a percussive emphasis as you actively contract the abdominals and particularly the internal intercostals in stages. On the inhale, the breath is drawn in with a percussive emphasis in stages, highlighting the external intercostals. This exercise, Hundred, requires five beats during inhalation and five beats during exhalation. Each beat represents further contraction of these muscles.
Uphold a stationary deep C curve of the trunk as the arms drive in phases 3 and 4;
Use the elbow extensors to keep the elbows straight, and stretch the fingertips forward;
In phases 3 and 4, focus on isolating the movements of the arms to the shoulder joints, by using the muscles that run just below the armpits to encourage activation of the large latissimus dorsi and pectoralis major as the shoulder extensors and flexors work together to produce the quick driving movement of the arms.
Mental image: imagine you are pressing the arms down against a trampoline and they are rebounding a few inches.
The exercise Hundred offers a particularly difficult challenge to core stability since you have to maintain a constant position of spinal flexion while keeping the legs off the mat (with extended knees) as the arms repeatedly and energetically move. Because of these challenges, the exercise benefits individuals with adequate strength and skill, but it is inappropriate and potentially risky for people lacking it. As a matter of fact, most people are not adequately prepared to perform this exercise with the legs held near to the mat. By using the modifications mentioned below, you can progress slowly to a more challenging leg position.
One additional thing to note: the contraction of the hip flexors holds the legs off the mat against gravity. Because of the attachments of the hip flexors (especially the iliopsoas and rectus femoris) onto the spine and front of the pelvis, their contraction tends to cause the lower back to arch and the pelvis to tilt anteriorly unless a simultaneous abdominal stabilization is performed (see the illustrations). Because both legs are off the mat and the knees are straight, the legs produce much greater torque. This requires a much stronger contraction of the hip flexors to keep the legs off the mat, and it is a greater challenge for the abdominals to stabilize the core and keep the lower back from arching. The closer the legs are to the mat, the greater the muscular force required to counter the weight of the legs and the greater the challenge of the exercise.
You can start the exercise by holding your legs as close to a vertical angle as is necessary to allow you to maintain a stable pelvis and lower back. Then you can gradually lower the legs as stability improves. If your hamstrings are tight, you can first practice the exercise with the legs in tabletop position or with the knees bent and the feet flat on the mat.
Hiring a personal trainer seems to be the best way to tone your body and get in shape. A trainer can show you around the gym, teach you how to use the equipment, take you through workouts, and help you come up with achievable goals and strategies, sometimes with a little nutrition coaching mixed in. But personal trainers aren’t reserved just for beginners. Trainers can also help you prepare for a competition, a race, or just overcome a sticking point. Although your personal trainer might charge you a high figure for all the personal attention, you might feel it is worth the money.
You might also face situations, where you feel that your workout is not optimum. Even though you give your best, you do not see your body reacting the way it should. It might be due to some workout secrets your personal trainer won’t tell you about. Here are some important tips you should keep in mind to improve your fitness regime and get in shape:
1. No Yoga and Pilates for Weight Loss:Yoga and Pilates are good to build core strength, but they are not the most effective means to shed those extra pounds. If you want to lose weight and burn your fat, then opt for aerobic exercises like running, swimming, etc., or some HIIT workout.
2. No Workout on Empty Stomach:Eating something before you start working out is very important. You can have a small portion of food containing carbohydrates before you hit the gym. This will fuel your workout and energize your body. If you exercise on an empty stomach, your body will not be able to sustain your workout and you will be exhausted in no time.
3. Right Gear:Don’t wear worn out shoes and random pair of shorts from your wardrobe. Get yourself a good pair of sport shoes, as it will help you in avoiding injuries to your knees and joints, and also keep your feet comfortable during your aerobic sessions. Wear clothes that are efficient in absorbing the sweat from your body.
4. Ignore Texts and Calls:When you are working out, it’s imperative to concentrate just on your session. Visualize you workout and feel the muscles exert. Your phone will just break your focus and make you lose your concentration. So, it’s better to keep your phone in the bag.
5. Post Workout Diet:You should have intake of protein after your exercises. Your muscles breakdown during workouts and grow after it, while you rest. In order to build your muscles and help them grow, it is essential to provide them with protein after your exercise sessions.
6. Intervals Help:The breaks that you take between your workout sessions will help you get better results. The breaks taken at regular intervals restore the energy of the body. If your breaks are too long, then it will spoil your momentum.
7. When Not to Attend Sessions:If you are not well or if you didn’t have enough sleep, then you should stay at home. You don’t want to overexert your body which is fighting the illness and you don’t want to spread the germs, so stay home till you recover from your illness. If you lack sleep, then your body will be exhausted quickly. So, it is best to get adequate sleep to rest your muscles, as you obviously do not want to risk injury!
8. Verify When in Doubt:If you feel that your body is not showing any results, verify your workout schedule with an expert to see what is not working for you. Maybe, it’s time for you to change your trainer.
9. Moderate Smoking and Drinking:If you want optimum results for your workout, you should regulate your smoking and alcohol consumption. If you wish to detoxify, such moderation will be very helpful.
The key to a great body is regular exercise accompanied with a healthy diet. Burning your fat and losing that flab may seem an uphill task, but achieving a well-toned body may not be that challenging, if you are disciplined and focused. On the other hand, don’t forget to have fun while you exercise and bring variations to your workout regime – it will make your workout more enjoyable and something to look forward to.