Planet Fitness: The good, the bad, the ugly.

I’m gonna do it. I absolutely hate Planet Fitness and everything that the establishment stands for. This is my disclaimer, here comes a totally fitness elitist’s perspective about a “gym” that supposedly is a judgement free zone. If you don’t feel like reading a blog, watch this video from the daily show that shows the travesty that is PF.

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/yp51yc/the-plight-of-muscled-americans

Judgement-free zone is bull!@#$. Planet asked regular members of their gyms to leave, because their physiques intimidate other members. Uhhh what? Isn’t that 90% of fitness, trying to be healthy and improving your body? Oh excuse me for actually committing to a healthy diet and consistent exercise. PF commercials get me so heated. First of all, most planet fitness members don’t even have an ounce of an idea about the incredible commitment those “lunks” have to even reach their physiques. When did our society associate being strong with being an unintelligible piece of meat? The whole scheme of PF is judging, keeping those that are not fit away from those that are so they can be comfortable, but those that are actually already fit are kicked out. What even.

Lunk alarm/noise. If you make too much noise, an obnoxiously loud goes off and interrupts every single person in the gym’s workout because of the noise, just to direct attention to the fact that someone made noise. I should have every right in the world to be able to drop my dumbells on the floor in a safe manner, what is the problem? I’m sorry, is my workout that is actually putting strain on my body, and my correct breathing while lifting is unacceptable? Sorry, let me get back to my 20 lbs bicep curls for infinity reps because having big biceps means I’m fit and girls will love me. Idiots.

WAM planet fitness pic

Equipment. PF only has machines, and no free weights. Not normally a problem, except for every single lifter that actually knows how to perform lifts. There are also no platforms, which means you can’t clean, deadlift, snatch, shoulder press, etc etc etc. Ok no problem, deadlifting, despite being one of the best lowerback and leg exercises ever created, is deemed either unsafe, or gains-ridden. They don’t have any barbells, and no squat racks. No squat racks in a gym is the equivalent of a gas station not having gas, I just don’t get it. It’s like PF wants to encourage people not to actually get fit or lose weight or eat healthy. If none of this makes you mad, they give away free pizza, bagels, and candy to help you get healthy too. Enough said.

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Leg Day

Alright so, it’s your first time lifting weights, but you don’t want to look like a rookie. Well I’m going to arbitrarily pick a leg workout to be your first workout because I love working out legs and you should too. Legs have arguably the most variety when it comes to how you can attack exercising your legs, so you can almost always google “leg workout” and find something different each page. First lets cover some ground rules:

1. Safety first. Absolutely make sure your technique while performing each exercise is correct, or else risk injury. Consult Coach Smith if you are unaware of correct form, or even asking for form advice if it’s your first time performing an exercise.

2. Light weight at first. Performing exercises with free weights requires coordination and muscle memory. You develop muscle memory by literally doing a movement many times. Translated into weight lifting: your first couple times performing an exercise should be light weight or no weight in order to: develop muscle memory and be safe.

Now that you know, Let’s begin. We are only going to cover about 3 exercises for your legs for brevity’s sake, so here we go:

The back squat. 

The back squat is one of the best exercises period. Basically, we want to follow the example in this video. Keys to success are shifting your weight on your heals, keeping your upper and lower back straight,  squatting to parallel. Do not lean forward while performing this exercise and if you do you should re-wrack the weight and try lighter weight, form is 100% critical while squatting. There are a million variations of the back squat, and even different kinds of squatting like parallel and zercher, but save them for after you master the back squat. I’ll just throw out some numbers, we will do 3 sets of 12 repetitions, with 1 minute rest in between sets.

Lunges. 

Lunges are pretty self explanatory and easy to do. You should focus on controlling your body and balancing while lunging to develop the muscle memory as well if you have never lunged. For more of a challenge, you can hold dumbells in your and or hold a weight plate after regular lunges become pretty easy as well. The goal should be to keep your back as straight up and vertical as possible throughout both the downward lunge, and then the retraction back to standing. Alternate which leg goes forward and almost touch the opposite knee to the ground, and boom, you’ve got lunging down pat.

Running/Jumping/Explosive movement.

Kind of explains itself. Using your legs in a more strenuous way than simply walking will be a workout for your legs, simple right? One possibility is to stand in an athletic position, and then jump as high as you can, maybe 10 ten times. Then wait one minute, and do it again. Or, you can switch do intervals on a treadmill, sprinting for 30 seconds and then walking for a minute and going back and forth. You can perform the backsquat without a barbell and perform the same exercise. Again, google is a great tool to find out exercises for any given muscle group, but literally using your legs in a more than typical way will be enough to workout your legs. Try and find a plan or set of exercises to do before going to the gym, perform those exercises or as much as you can, and then enjoy the gracious gift that that delayed onset muscle soreness will provide you with the next day. Congratulations, you just made progress to a healthier, fitter you!

Get Sixpack Abs now with this new…! no.

It’s all fake, irrelevant, not tested, unhealthy in some other way, or just another name for a supplement barely changed enough to meet FDA standards. Note – some of what I’m saying is my opinion, but I hate this myth as much as “I don’t want to workout because I don’t want to get big and bulky”.Whatever targeted ad, pop-up, TV commercial or Dr. Oz spiel is saying this is the new shortcut to sixpack abs, is wrong, plain and simple.

YES, the supplement in question could be positive, have good health effects, or otherwise be harmless to your body. BUT, the truth of the matter is seeing visible abs is a result of excess body-fat or lack of body-fat. I could be 6’4 and 220 pounds strong. I could be able to 100 sit-ups in one minute flat and not break a sweat. I could have the strongest, battle-tested core in the whole world. But if my body-fat, very literally the fat on my body is too high, it will be covered with a layer of fat. Forget about all of the supplements, pills, powders, magic fruits, fairy tales, fireside stories and personal testimonies. Like everything else in fitness, there are no shortcuts. Denying that there are ways to help your fitness progress would simply be ignorant and naive, but truly the motto for fitness is there is nothing to it but to do it.

Like Muscle and Fitness’s website says, spot reduction is a myth, a unicorn, santa clause, it’s not real. Just like I can’t expect to have an upperback rippling with insane muscle definition just from doing pullups, I can’t expect to be able to do crunches or situps and magically see washboard abs. Muscles definition or lack of definition is a visible testament to many competing and combining factors. Are you eating too many calories, are you or are you not exercising? Have you been blessed with genetics of the gods? Are you getting enough sleep?  Focusing on the things outside of the weight room and training will get you to the sixpack abs you want in combination with exercise. Yes, doing 100 situps and crunches and knee raises and blah blah blah will develop the abdominal muscles so at least you have them. Eating a whole Dominoes pizza and staying up til 2 am will not help your sixpack-in-waiting. End rant.

 

Check out more fitness myths here: http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/abs-exercises/7-myths-about-six-pack-abs/slide/7

A rather biased (and long) look at Energy Drinks

Ever wondered what the difference is between coffee and an energy drink is, or why it’s socially acceptable to drink coffee but energy drinks get a bad rap? Brown University’s website defines energy drinks as “beverages like Red Bull, Rock Star and Monster, which contain large doses of caffeine and other legal stimulants like guarana and ginseng.

Referencing WebMD, Guarana is an ingredient derived from the seeds of a South American tree, and is high in caffeine.  MedicalNewsToday.com states that Ginseng is an herb found naturally that is thought to provide an energy boost, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce stress, promote relaxation among other things.

To me at least, that doesn’t sound like the terrible monster the media makes energy them out to be. In extremes, energy drinks can be dangerous, nobody can refute that. I am not here today to preach about the health benefits of drinking energy drinks, BUT. because of the ingredients, I think they can help you gain both a mental and physical edge, resulting in improved performance for your stressful situations. For those of you that are aware of your sensitivity to stimulants, I want to first, briefly discuss caffeine and its effects, and after, show that, situationally, energy drinks can give you the boost you need in your lives. Now, let’s dig into caffeine.

Caffeine, is found naturally in kola nuts and cocoa beans, as well as other types of food.  It is a stimulant, meaning “an agent that produces a temporary increase of the functional activity or efficiency of an organism” according to Merriem-Webster.com. Is it addictive? WebMD.com says “regular use of caffeine can cause mild physical dependence” BUT “doesn’t threaten your physical, social, or economic health the way serious addictive drugs do”. So, in our case, it’s not likely to cause us any problems. No surprise, It’s the most common ingredient in energy drinks, but how much exactly is in them?  In a comparison of two articles by energyfiend.com and popular science.com, A 24 ounce monster energy drink would have 320mg of caffeine in it.  In contrast, “Starbucks brewed coffee would have anywhere from 300 to 480 mg of caffeine with 24 ounces of coffee”.  The amount of caffeine in energy drinks is not some absurd number that the media tries to portray it as, and for a regular coffee drinker, it shouldn’t present any problems.

However, in high concentrations, caffeine can cause sleep disturbances, anxiety, restlessness, etc etc etc. But did you catch the key phrase? In high concentrations. In high concentrations, alcohol can severely impair your motor skills, cause blackouts, and result in alcohol poisoning. In high concentrations, fast food can cause obesity and as a result, Heart disease and stroke, High blood pressure, and Diabetes. In high concentration, vitamins and supplements can cause unnatural behavior in the body, counteracting natural body processes too much and leaving the immune system weaker in its defenses against invaders. So to conclude, the caffeine content in energy drinks is in a reasonable range, and when consumed, can provide you with energy you may need. So let’s move on to why people REALLY drink energy drinks.

 

Let’s just say for example, I have 2 or 3 cans a day of monster Energy Drink. After 2 years of drinking these on the regular, I couldn’t possibly be affected by the caffeine and other ingredients anymore right? Although I probably have a tolerance to some ingredients by now, my brain knows that I’ve had an energy drink. I associate these drinks with increased energy, quicker reflexes, and better athletic performance. If I drink one before practice, I now know the outcome is that I will perform better, and as a result of thinking it, I will do it. Similar situation, I’ve just drank a red bull before I started writing this speech. I also associate energy drinks with more mental focus and better memory. Even though I’m not affected much by it physically, I think that I will be able to focus on this speech, and as a result, I do stay on track and thoughts seem to flow fluidly. But, it turns out that energy drinks are not just placebos, they have real, tested results in both mental performance and physical performance.

Let me introduce a study done about the effects of Red Bull on the human performance and mood by the Psychology Department of the University of West of England. They conducted 3 different studies with 36 different volunteers, and assessed “reaction time, concentration, memory, subjective alertness and physical endurance. I quote “When compared with control drinks, Red Bull Energy Drink significantly improved aerobic endurance and anaerobic performance on cycle ergometers (ergometer being a tool used to measure work done by a muscle or group of muscles). Improvements in mental performance included choice reaction time, concentration, and memory which reflected increased subjective alertness. These consistent and wide ranging improvements in performance are interpreted as reflecting the effects of the combination of ingredients”. In a study done by Dutch scientists on literature about energy drinks from 1996 to 2006 concluded that cognitive ability is positively affected by the combination of caffeine and other ingredients in these drinks.

Still not convinced? Think about this. Both the ncaa and the Olympic committee ban the use of stimulants during their events. Stimulants, of course increase energy and efficiency of the operating body, and just happen to be the most common ingredients in energy drinks. Two organizations of this stature would not ban a group of supplements if they did not think it gave you an advantage over those who did not take them. As students and athletes, we have this advantage at our fingertips, and it goes by the name of RockStar, Amp, Monster, and RedBull, all of which can be bought at Sheetz, and can be called upon on demand.

 

 

Machines vs. Free Weights

Maybe you are the type of person that comes in on the day after your season ends, or maybe you won’ be hitting the weights again until you absolutely have to. But one thing is clear, to need to get stronger, and your weapon of choice? Weight lifting. But you normally have two options, do you use free weights, or do you use machines? Both are options for increasing strength. For some of you, this may be a review so bear with me, but hopefully I can educate at least one person their weight training endeavors. Today, I will attempt to show that in almost every opportunity, free weights are a better option than machines for weight lifting. I’ll show that machines do have their uses, but primarily, you want to use free weights whenever you can, for 3 reasons. Free weights offer versatility on a rep-by-rep and exercise-by-exercise basis. Free weights require and teach balance and coordination, resulting in a more practical workout. And finally, free weights incorporate more muscles per exercise, resulting in increased strength for those muscles. First, let’s talk smith machines.

Assuming we all know the basic lifts, should we use machines at all? According to Military.com, machines are very isolated in nature, meaning they target a specific muscle. They are also a safe way to push your limits if you do not have a spotter available for free weights. If one part of your body isn’t at full strength and you can safely work only certain muscles. And, if you can’t do a full pull-up/dip, machines are a great option as well. So basically, machines are safer, and offer isolation of muscle groups, but no surprise, they do not offer the same workout that free weights can, and here is why.

Although machines have their place, they can’t measure up to the variety that free weights offer. Free weights provide versatility with each rep, set, and exercise, resulting in a better workout for your targeted muscles. Machines are on a designated path meaning every rep and set will target the exact same muscle in the same spot, over and over again. On the other hand, each free weight set could be done differently in small ways, hitting the same muscle at a slightly different angle each time. This different angle helps prevent diminishing returns, which are your muscles getting used to an exercise, resulting in less results over a period of time. An example would be shoulder raises. With free weights, more specifically dumbbells, you can literally hit every small muscle on, and surrounding your shoulder with different directional movements. On a traditional shoulder raise machine, you are exclusively limited to one movement and range of motion, hitting one area of the shoulder muscles. This versatility of movement and exercise keeps your muscles “guessing”, so they never get used to one exercise. Similarly free weight exercises help develop balance and coordination, my next point.

To be able to do a lunge, you need to have a certain level of balance. Similarly, in order to do a squat, you have to be able to squat down and not tip forward or backward. To power clean from your thighs requires balance and coordination of your whole body. See where this is going. Free weight exercises are more complex movements than just “picking things up and putting them down”. Balance and coordination are two things taught by free weights, that we use in outside of our specific sport as well. Machine exercises require neither balance nor coordination, resulting in a less practical lift. An example: You have to lift a heavy box from the ground to up above your head. Most likely, you can squat to get low enough, dead lift the weight up to your biceps, bicep curl the weight to your eye level, and then shoulder press the weight to above your head. Vwhala, you’ve just used 4 different exercises to accomplish one task requiring balance and coordination you’ve learned using free weight exercises. So, these are are not just sport specific, but they teach applicable movements and develop coordination in a way that machines cant. But one of the main advantages of free weights is that simply using free weights exercises will get your stronger, faster.

Free weight exercises recruit more muscles to be used than their equivalent machine exercise. In a study introduced by the January 2008 issue of “The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research”, “research indicated that individuals who performed free-weight exercises had a 58 percent greater strength increase than individuals who performed exercises on resistance-training machines. Additionally, participants who performed free-weight training had a 196 percent increase in balance vs. those who performed exercises on resistance-training machines”

But let’s look at a specific example, for instance, the dumb bell bench. In the dumb bell bench, you use shoulder muscles for stability and triceps and pectorals in order to press the weight off of your chest, and then you use those muscles again on the way back down to control the weight back to your chest. The counterpart sounds more like this: sit upright on a machine, grip the handles in only one designated way, and push forward with all your might. Free weights result in more muscles recruited and more calories burned, a machine sits you down, and has you perform an exercise on a designated path. The difference is very clear here; free weights recruit more muscles per exercise than their machine counterparts, resulting in greater strength gain.

Healthy Living

According to DrWeil from his nutritional website,

-“One third of Americans get 47 percent of their calories from junk foods.”

-“In real dollars, the price of fresh fruits and vegetables has risen nearly 40 percent since 1985. In real dollars, the price of soft drinks has dropped 23 percent…”

Now, what does this have to do with you? Soda offers very little nutritional benefits, while fruits and vegetables do, but you already knew that. I am here today to reiterate to some, but inform others, the importance of nutrition in your lives. Your diet impacts every part of your life, so lets discuss why. Healthier changes In your diet will positively impact your studies, help you gain, lose, or maintain weight, and will impact your personal health for the rest of your life.

So, when was the last time you had a half of a dominoes pizza and a few beers and said “Alright, time to study!”? Almost never right? Besides the very obvious effects of alcohol on the brain, your diet has bigger impact on your brainpower than you might have thought.

Fernando Gómez-Pinilla is a professor of neurosurgery and physiological science at UCLA who did an analysis of 160 studies about food and effects on the brain in 2009.

Here is his summary of his findings “Diet, exercise and sleep have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. This raises the exciting possibility that changes in diet are a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of aging” Nobody can argue that a healthy diet, exercise, and enough sleep will positively impact your life, and especially your studies. But, let’s look at a specific example of food that can positively affect your mind studies.

Referring back to Gomez-Pinilla’s study, he found that Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, walnuts, and kiwifruit “provide many benefits, including improving learning and memory and helping to fight against such mental disorders as depression and mood disorders, schizophrenia, and dementia”. Coupled with that, a healthy diet and exercise can reduce the effect of brain injury and lead to a better recovery as well”. No surprise here, the implications of a healthy diet are beneficial to your brain, which will result in better performance in the classroom. Enough about the classroom, let’s talk about how to get that beach body.

So what is the secret? You guessed it; the food that you eat will play an important role in your body composition along with other factors like exercise and sleep. First, let’s define terms. From MeriiemWebster.com Diet, is the food that you eat. A calorie “is a unit equivalent to the large calorie expressing heat-producing or energy-producing value in food when oxidized in the body”. For the sake of simplicity, calories act as fuel for the body. Your diet determines the amount of calories that you take in. Simply put, losing weight is burning more calories than you take in. Gaining weight is taking in more calories than what you are burning. Think about what you eat on a daily basis at muddy or Baker. If you replace one glass of soda, Gatorade, or lemonade with one glass of water or skim milk, you are eliminating calories from your diet.

Assuming that your caloric expenditure is the same, This tiny change after a few weeks will result in actual weight loss if you are committed to it. The opposite is true as well, as in replace that glass of skim milk or water with chocolate milk, and suddenly you are taking in a few hundred more calories a day. Although this seems like too simplistic, that is weight gain and weight loss in a nutshell. For a great resource for realistic information on weight control, food, health, and habits, the online blog “Summer Tomato” can help. The author, Darya Rose, has a phd in neuroscience, and her writing has been featured in several known publications. To sum this point up, your diet will play the leading role in weight control. This leads us to my final point where your nutritional habits affect your long term well-being.

NutritionMD.org suggests that “A healthy diet can help prevent cancer, since up to 60 percent of cancer cases are diet-related”. If that isn’t enough, they also suggest less sugar in your diet will make it less likely for you to have diabetes related health problems in the future. A diet high in sodium is linked to high blood pressure, which in turn increases the likelihood of heart disease. Not enough calcium in your diet is directly linked with developing osteoporosis, an issue where your bones turn brittle. These are just some examples of specific nutrient related cause and effects of your diet over the rest of your life, but the list goes on and on. To reiterate, multiple health issues later in life can be prevented now by examining your diet, and making small, healthier choices on a daily basis.

We’ve learned that long term changes in the food that you eat and your eating habits will help prevent heart disease among other health conditions in your future. It is not easy to pick the apple over the ice cream, but I, and many nutritional experts, can assure you that your decision has a lasting impact on your personal health.

Fact or Fiction: Cardio and Weight Training

I don’t want to lift weight because I don’t want to become big and bulky.

Hold the phone. You mean to tell me that in your one month experimental period of testing out a gym membership in January, you will get too big and bulky? You mean to tell me that  it is EASY to gain visible muscle mass, and you could just do it at a wim? You think that bodybuilders and fitness models tried out the gym for a few months with some basic lifts they found in a magazine, and all of sudden they had incredible physiques? If I offend someone in this blog post I apologize but this has got to be the worst and most incorrect myth in the fitness world and the bane of my fitness existence. This article will be aimed at women primarily, but men can glean some helpful information out of it as well. Here we go:

52b3650bf8a7a4d6970882c30fd649fc20840fa29465b5fdb1b72b7b33a7b5e3 from quickmeme.com

“Lifting weight will make me look like a man”

First of all that’s sexist, and second of all, no. Women fundamentally cannot gain the same amount of muscle (at the same rate) as men because of significantly less testosterone (a muscle-developing hormone, among other purposes) in their bodies. What it might do is burn calories, reduce visible fat, and instigate muscle growth. Wow look at that? Also, don’t get it twisted, bodybuilders spend their entire being trying to push the absolute limits of their physique with unreal diets and workouts that would put most collegiate athletes on their ass. Please have respect for their grind and passions because they have respect for yours. If you aren’t interested in fitness, no problem. Don’t hate those that are.

I should just do cardio because I will lose weight and gain muscle tone. 

WRONG. Running and walking, two of the most popular forms of cardiovascular activities do in fact burn calories, which could in fact make you lose weight. Riddle me this: If you lose weight and in fact reduce visible mass on your body, will you magically gain the muscle you want to be toned? In other words, if you have flabby arms and you lose 10 lbs, you will have slightly less wide flabby arms. Toning muscles implies that you have muscles to tone. Muscles are developed through use and a great way to exercise your muscles are to weight train or resistance train.  Check it out, exercising your muscles burns calories just like doing cardiovascular activity. It’s as if you are double-dipping on fitness goals by adding weight training to your exercise routines. Well you are, and rightfully so. Arm yourself with knowledge,  and then attack your fitness like you attack your dinner plate.

For another resource that revisits my points and more visit:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1779

Macronutrients: Protein and Carbohydrates

ProteinCarbsFats-yoursassyself Picture from http://yoursassyself.com/

 

Today, I will be dispelling a myth that I myself believed for quite some time about protein and carbohydrates. When discussing  nutrition, the three macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fats. For the purposes of this blog post and getting right down to the point, and I will not be not talking about fats. A portion of the fitness world is still fixated with the idea that:

Protein > Everything. WRONG

Indeed, protein is used for tissue repair, growth, immune system health, preserving lean muscle mass, and more, BUT it is not the end all be all of personal fitness. If you are trying to get stronger, build muscle, tone your body, yes. You absolutely need protein, and a surplus of protein may benefit you. This is all fact, and I am pulling my information from The University of Illinois’s McKinley Health Center’s website on macronutrients. Now we are going to stray away from fact so I can apply some logic.

Carbohydrates + Protein = PERFECT

Carbohydrates “are the body’s main source of fuel.” Simple as that. Among the other myriad of things that carbs do, they give you the energy you need for your daily life. These are easily digestible, and normally found in grain and starchy foods. Both carbohydrates and protein give you 4 calories per gram so “in theory” you could take in all of your calories from protein and have the same output as if you ate all carbs. This is a flawed approach, and here is why. If you are trying to get stronger/faster/build muscle, you need protein. You also need carbohydrates for energy for the hard work that getting stronger and faster is. Long story short, you should eat enough calories from carbohydrates so that the calories from protein are used in service of your muscles, not being burnt up for energy. Forget about low carb, forget about whatever fad diet or magic pill is being advertised. You need carbohydrates for energy, and you need protein for your muscles. A diet of both carbohydrates and protein is fundamentally required to get stronger, don’t let anyone fool you. Decide your own dietary needs, but this is a strong recommendation of mine and others out there in the world of fitness.

My source for this article and more information about macronutrients can be found here: http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/macronutrients.htm

Splits and Muscle Groups

So before we all run to the weight room to begin a long career of picking things up and putting them down, we have to understand a few things. Going into anything unprepared is an ill-advised move, so why should fitness be any different? Arming yourself with knowledge and finding specific goals for yourself are the foundation of a mental database that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. In this article I’m going to primarily discuss two ideas: Weekday splits and muscle groups of the body (for the purposes of  weight lifting).

Splits

Splits is simply the fitness term for types of workout routines that you can follow, normally designed around how many days a week you want to workout. So when I say that right now I am doing a 5 day split, that means I am workout out 5 days a week with 2 days of rest (generally speaking). Most of the time, people assume that the weekends are rest days and are NOT considered when discussing splits. All in all, splits is simply how many days a week you workout. The reason for using the word split is to represent the splitting of muscle groups when considering workouts, which leads us to the next topic.

Muscle Groups

So, you want to workout but don’t know where to begin? Start right here. Picture your body in some simple groups of muscles, and this makes exercise a lot easier to deal with. I like to split them up like this:

Arms, chest, shoulders, upper back, lower back, legs, abdominals (simply put).

This way, you can have a plan of attack every time you want to exercise. Say yesterday you ran for 40 minutes, or did a tough leg workout. It would be ill-advised again to workout your legs while they are still sore from your other workout. Instead, you should focus on an unrelated group of muscles, like arms for the next workout. Also as a side note, when I say a “leg workout”, I’m talking about a workout, whether it is weight training or plyometrics, that leaves your legs feeling sore. That could be doing 6 different leg exercises, or it could be doing a coach smith bleacher workout.

Ideally, by partitioning off your body into different muscle groups, you can exercise safely and effectively workout multiple parts of your body multiple times a week. Please understand that this is an extremely basic overview of weight training ideas but building a knowledge base is key for a successful and committed relationship with personal fitness.

For more information about beginning lifts and the basics, please feel free to check out this link:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bbinfo.php?page=BeginnerWorkoutPrograms

Tips and Tricks: Juniata Weight Room

Whether you are a seasoned veteran, or a beginner trying to test the waters, the weight room is one of your closest friends in your fitness social circle. The weight room here at JC is a safe, but somewhat intimidating place to workout, especially for beginners. Let me dispel the fears about it so you can strive for your best in the weight room.

IMG_0148IMG_0147   JC’s weight room

Coach Smith – Here at JC we are lucky to have such an overqualified, passionate strength and conditioning coach (the bald, bearded fellow that runs the noon workouts). Although intimidating at first glance, he is an asset for all JC students, not just athletes. Say you want to do some leg exercises, but you don’t know the correct form for some of them? Ask Coach Smith. Say you want to train legs but you don’t know ANY leg exercises? Ask Coach Smith. Say this is your first time lifting, and you don’t know where to start and let’s pretend you can’t use the internet for ideas, what do you do? Ask Coach Smith.

Can and Cannots

Can – Wear headphones while on treadmills, ellipticals, in the mat room and racquetball rooms, and on machines. Workout at anytime the gym is open. Lift heavy weights. Lift light weights. Lift no weights at all.

Cannot – Wear headphones while using free weights, in the racks, or anywhere not listed above. Chew gum in the weight room.  Use improper form, but Coach Smith will help with that. Wear hats.

And lastly, please feel confident in your mission when you enter the weight room. Everybody is at their own level of fitness, and everybody started somewhere. Lastly, do not be intimidated by anyone, because anybody trying to improve themselves, at whatever level they may be at, is, was, and will always be respected. So now that you know your way around, you have to start sometime, why not tomorrow?