Category Archives: Articles

A Safe and Balanced Workout

Deb Brown, NSCA-cpt, cwc, cns

January will be here before you know it! As you consider your fitness for the upcoming year, make sure you are using safe and proper techniques in your exercise program.  There are many things to consider as you start a new workout program; or if you have been working out for awhile and are not seeing results.

Make sure to have a properly balanced program: a good program will include not only cardiovascular work, but also strength training, flexibility work, core work and balance. It is important to work all of these components for the best results. Also, it is critical to work opposing muscle groups. For example, pushing muscles and pulling muscles work together in our bodies and both must be addressed. We all spend quite a lot of time driving and working at our desks. This creates tension in the muscles of the neck and back due to the “forward lean”. It is important to balance out that tension with the appropriate exercises to help avoid a chronic issue or injury.

Be aware of intensity issues and proper progression. People often start working out on their own, hitting it really hard in a spurt of enthusiasm. This can lead to injury and then getting side-lined. There is no reason that you cannot reach your fitness goals without doing a high intensity workout all the time. If you injure yourself or even get too sore, it is counterproductive. If you are constantly sore from your workouts, your body is struggling to cope with inflammation, which is not healthy. Constant and severe soreness also leads to withdrawal from regular exercise.

Proper progression means to start out where you are TODAY and slowly, but steadily increase intensity. You have to give your bones, joints and muscles time to adjust to the challenge of the exercise. Warming up properly before any exercise is critical, as is stretching afterwards.

The variety of exercises is also very important. If you are continually doing the exact same movements, your body adapts accordingly and you will cease seeing gains. You want to be moving your bones and joints in different planes of motion to mimic how we move throughout the day. If you keep doing the same thing over and over, you could set yourself up for repetitive strain injury.

As you can tell, there are multiple facets that go into designing a safe and balanced workout. If you would like to learn more about how we can set you up with an appropriate fitness program, please give us a call to schedule a free consultation.

Everyday Eating Decisions and Your Health

By Deb Brown, NSCA-CPT, cwc,cns

Everyday eating decisions affect your overall health in a big way. We are all very busy and often this leads to grabbing whatever is easiest and most convenient, regardless of nutritional quality.  This leads to an intake of foods high in calories, salt and saturated fats. These foods also tend to be low on fiber and nutrients. Eating on the run also tends to mean a lower intake of fruits and vegetables, which contain very important nutrients. All of this encourages weight gain, an unbalanced intake of nutrients and a lack of sustained energy. With a little thought and planning, you can decide to eat better on a daily basis, leading to greater energy and health. Here are some eating situations we all encounter every day and some ideas on how you can make the best decisions:

  1.  Out at a restaurant with friends/family – Skip the bread, appetizers, dessert and if possible, alcohol. Just have an entree consisting of a lean protein and healthy vegetables. Practice good portion control: eat until you are satisfied and then STOP eating! Get the rest bagged up for tomorrow’s lunch.
  1.  Running errands – plan your day and bring a cooler filled with healthy snacks and a healthy lunch. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water.
  1. Late night hunger – avoid getting hungry later at night by eating a good dinner and making sure you are getting enough calories throughout the day. Try to eat something every 3 or 4 hours.
  1. Busy and stress-filled workdays: pack a healthy lunch and snacks that you will look forward to eating. Include some healthy and delicious treats that you love such as small amounts of dark chocolate, tasty yogurt or fresh berries. Eating healthy does NOT mean eating dull and boring foods.
  1. Watching TV/Movies – mindless eating can really get you into trouble here! Have some healthy snacks available and put a specific portion into a bowl to enjoy.
  1. At home: eat a good breakfast which includes healthy portions of protein, carbohydrate and some fat. Make sure your house is stocked with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that you can grab when on the run. Whole grain crackers/bread, low-fat cheese, hummus, peanut butter, Clif Bars and hard boiled eggs are some good grab-and-go staples.

If you are wondering where to begin, first analyze your current eating patterns and look for places where you can make healthier eating decisions. Start by keeping a food log for just 7 days and then you can see just what you are putting into your body.  Little dietary changes that you can make throughout the day really do add up over the course of a week, month and year.

Let Your Fitness Power 2015

Dave Brown, NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist

mtnbiking-sedonaI love April! It’s a time of renewal and looking forward. With longer days come more opportunities to get outside and enjoy the warmth of the sun. For me personally, it’s a time when I get more opportunities to mountain bike, trail run and hike on dry trails. It’s also when I start to change my workout program so I can be stronger in those activities.

Spring is when people start making plans; vacations (fitting into summer clothes), signing-up for endurance events, hiking, deciding which fourteeners they want to do over the summer, etc. All of these have one thing in common: being in better shape makes everything more enjoyable. Let’s delve into the Why!

When we exercise we’re pushing blood flow to every part of the body. More blood flow means more energy and oxygen available to the body. This process also powers our muscles during our workouts. The longer and more consistently we exercise our muscles, including our heart, they become stronger and operate more efficiently. This is what drives the possible!

EXERCISE AND MOVEMENT

Anyone who has started a new exercise program has noticed the body is initially uncoordinated and resistant to movement. Why is that? Put simply when you’re not exercising, especially after 40, you’re becoming both weaker and  less coordinated. The term Use it or lose it! could not be more true.

Fortunately for us the body is an adaptive machine. It loves to move and rewards us greatly when we do. When we start exercising, the first thing that happens is the body starts to move more efficiently. This process is called Neuromuscular adaptations. Also, the body never uses one muscle when performing exercises. Many muscles must be able to move together in concert for efficient movement.  If you’re pushing weight while standing in an upright position, your chest, shoulder and tricep muscles work to push the weight, but if we can’t stabilize the weight with our abdominals we’ll have a tough time.

Let’s take an example of running. Most people think about just the legs working, but there’s so much more going in. We have muscles in our hips and inner thigh that help stabilize the knees. Our abdominal and back muscles must also work to stabilize our upper body. A properly designed workout program takes all of these factors into account to build a stronger runner.

THINGS BECOME POSSIBLE

When we are stronger and can move better new things become possible. The hike we once thought impossible happens. The 5K or cycling event that was once just a dream is now a reality. On vacation, you have the strength and energy to experience more, making for a more enjoyable trip.

My favorite stories from clients are when they experience new things due to their increased fitness. That can be you in 2015! All it takes is getting started.

Resistance Training for Endurance Athletes!

Dave Brown, NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist

iStock_000012456861MediumAre you a runner, cyclist, mountain biker or tri-athlete looking for an edge and interested in injury prevention? Have you avoided resistance training because you were afraid you would increase body weight, be too sore to train or it could reduce performance? There is a growing body of evidence and research that shows the benefits of resistance training for endurance athletes. Now that we are entering the off/lower volume season, it is the perfect time to introduce resistance training into your regimen.

Injury Prevention – As endurance athletes we have one of the highest rates of muscle imbalances because our sports move us in one direction; forward. Additionally, endurance sports are highly repetitive causing the same muscles to be worked over and over while some muscles work very little. This sets up improper length-tension relationships in the muscle. Translation: increased injury rates; IT band syndrome, low back pain, knee problems, hamstring pulls.

By incorporating a well designed resistance training program and injury prevention techniques, an athlete’s compensatory movement patterns can be overcome. Additionally, if an athlete is stronger there is less wear and tear on the joints.

Better Performance – In a review of research related to resistance training and running economy, an increase of up to 8.1% was shown (J Strength Cond Res 22(6): 2036-2044, 2008). Better running economy equals less muscle involvement, lower heart rates and better times all without the need to increase VO2.

If you’re a stronger and more efficient athlete, you’ll have better power transfer and use less muscle to perform the same tasks. On a smaller scale if you develop stronger core musculature, especially along the posterior portion of the body, you’ll have better control over spinal stabilization resulting in less low and mid-back pain and fatigue.

The Complete Athlete – When developing a resistance training program for athletes, we train movements not muscles. We break down the movements involved in sport and incorporate the principle of specificity so the athlete has the most optimal strength/power transfer. There is a balance between too much and the right amount of specificity therefore we incorporate a functional training approach to develop the complete athlete; strengthen what’s weak, optimize sports specific movements and create an efficient well oiled movement machine.

Don’t Stop – Once you start resistance training, don’t stop! To see the best results you should continue both concurrently. If you stop all gains will be lost.

I’m an avid runner, cyclist and mountain biker and have used these principles in my own training. With winter approaching, now is the best time to integrate a resistance program. Doing it now will set you up perfectly for when training kicks off in earnest this coming spring. It will also help keep the pounds off over the winter.

Give Dave a call at (303) 816-1426 to learn how we can develop a resistance training program to take your endurance performance to the next level. www.onthemovefitness.com

Being in great shape is awesome, but don’t lose your edge!

I got out for a hike on Hoosier Pass this weekend with the pups, Sadie and Lucky. When I’m out hiking enjoying everything Colorado has to offer is one of the times I most appreciate being in the physical shape to do it. Heading off trail is where the magic happens!

Everyone knows working out is a great thing, we see it in the press everyday. It’s when we can use that fitness to drive our outside activities and discover new things is when it all becomes worth it. This is the time we’re most likely to be the most at peace and our thoughts have the most clarity.  Exercise is Medicine (http://exerciseismedicine.org)!

Working out long-term can sometimes have a downside. We start to get comfortable because things that were hard are now easier, we’ve met some goals and maybe the workouts don’t feel as new and fresh as they once did. It’s inevitable that working out can at times get a tad repetitive (even for trainer’s). Now the brain starts with thoughts like; I’m in good shape, I can do the things I want, I’ll take a little break and get back to it later. Sadly we get out of shape much quicker than we get in shape. During these times is when you need to keep a laser focus to keep driving forward. Set new goals, pick a hike, look toward ski season, anything to keep driving forward. Just don’t stop!!! Trust me coming back after de-training is the worst because we remember what were capable of doing when stopped.

On that note, can you believe it’s almost time to start ski conditioning?

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Are You in Denial About Your Health?

Deb Brown, NSCA-cpt, cwc, cns

As personal trainers, we are on the front lines of the war against obesity and chronic health issues. A disturbing trend has emerged over the past few years: people are in denial about the status of their health. We constantly hear about how people are too busy to exercise, eat right and take care of themselves. We see people procrastinating on getting into the doctor for exams and tests they need. Many people who are striving to lose weight say they “eat healthy”, only to discover that when they keep a food journal for us, their food intake is way too much. Some people get a diagnosis of a chronic disease like diabetes and they are STILL not motivated to focus on their health. It is time to take our health more seriously! If you will not do it for yourself, do it for your family!

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you wearing a larger size in clothing than this time last year?
  • Is your stress level constantly high and if so, are you taking steps to manage or reduce it?
  • Do you rationalize being weaker then you want to be because you are “too busy with work, life, kids, etc” to pay attention to it?
  • Are you constantly putting the needs of your family in front of your own needs?
  • Do you say to yourself that you will start exercising “when x happens”?
  • Do you find the number on the scale creeping up slowly?
  • Are there activities that you used to enjoy that you cannot do because of your weight and/or health issues?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is time to take a serious look in the mirror and do a gut check. Is your health where it should be? Are you taking good care of yourself? Are you modeling healthy behaviors for your children or are you teaching them that being too busy to take care of your own health is acceptable? If you have decided that you need to make a change but are not sure how to actually start, here is what you should do:

First, talk to a trusted doctor, friend or family member. Make sure it is someone who will talk frankly (but in a supportive way) to you. Second, make a plan to address the issue. Break it down into small, actionable steps that will not overwhelm you. Third, take action. Even a small step will help you to feel better and get healthier.

No one is going to care about your health as much as you will. I encourage you to take stock of your current health situation and make whatever changes you need to make so that you can live your live at an optimal level of health. You’ll be so glad you did!

Exercise May Cure What Ails You!

Dave Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist

I was in the airport preparing to fly out to visit my brother in Maine. While walking around the concourse looking for a gift for my nephew, one of Tim Russert’s books caught my eye. For those who may not remember, Tim Russert was a popular journalist who was a moderator for 16 years on “Meet the Press”. Tim passed away in 2008, at age 58 from a heart attack. This was such a sad loss for so many reasons. As I saw the book and his smiling face on the cover, I remembered just how shocked everyone was when he passed away. While I didn’t know him, how he ate or his exercise regimen, it was obvious he had been overweight for a long time. With his age, waist size and waist-to-hip ratio, I suspect there had been warnings from his doctors. Very possibly, he was working to get in better shape, but the damage had been done.

The body can tolerate years of abuse and is amazing in it’s ability to keep chugging along. Not surprisingly, there is a breaking point, sometimes with catastrophic outcomes. For many of you reading this, you may have noticed some changes in yourself or a family member. Often we use rationalizing phrases like, “My stress is normal”, “We’re getting older and slowing down”, or “It’s just an extra 10 pounds”, while failing to realize the signs had been there for months or years and we just chose to ignore them. So, where will your health be in 5 or 10 years if you keep ignoring it?

The most common reason we hear why people either can’t get started or maintain exercising is because they don’t have time. Busy, busy, busy seems to be the mantra these days. We’ve all heard the saying, ‘No one on their deathbed wished they had worked more’. If you don’t make time for yourself no one else is going to. You have things you want to do now and in the future; dreams you want to make come true. That’s all for naught if you are physically unable to do those things.

There are many reasons to make a change. One of the most important is so we can move and function better. When you can move better, you can do more and the possibilities are endless, but you have to take the first step. Before you know it, that step turns into a run. Stop! Look at yourself in the mirror. Do you like where you are physically and emotionally? Could you have more energy, be less stressed, wish you could participate more fully in life?

I leave you with a comment made by Dr. Emrah Duzel, director of the Institute of Cognitive Neurology and Dementia Research at Germany’s University Hospital Magdeburg, “When you exercise, you change 20 things at the same time. There’s no medicine that can achieve that.”

Are you ready to make a commitment to change your life? We’re here to help. Give us a call at 303.816.1426 to find out how. On The Move Fitness is a Personal Training Studio located in Conifer dedicated to helping you Move Better, Feel Better and Be Better.

What Are You Waiting For?

mtnguy

As a Personal Trainer, I am mystified as to why so many people are willing to become unhealthier by the day. We have a population in the United States that continues to gain weight, eat poorly, exercise too little and are becoming less and less functional. By functional I mean people can’t move! Parents can’t play with their kids, which are memories of fun that will never happen. Grandparents can’t get in and out of the floor to play with their Grandkids. People can’t hike, ride bikes or ski anymore. More kids are overweight than ever. More and more people are suffering from metabolic risk factors; high blood pressure, large waistline, high triglycerides, high blood sugar leading to diabetes. In many of these cases prescription medicine is needed, often for life. Frankly, this saddens and worries me greatly for future generations.Hope is never lost and things can change. But, they can only change when someone decides, truly decides, they want change to happen. No excuses. We have to reach what I call A Point. For change to occur, there is going to have to be sacrifice. We don’t like that as humans, we want what we want and we want it now. But, think about it, we get unhealthy because we aren’t willing to make sacrifices, so to get healthier we’ll have to make sacrifices. We’ll have to eat out at restaurants less, we’ll have to workout when we are too tired or just don’t feel like it. We may have to tell friends, “No I can’t go out tonight”. Life will be different, life will be better!

By making changes, small changes, over time, things will be different. You can go on that hike with your kids or grand kids and create unforgettable memories. You’ll be able to ski again. Maybe run that first 5K or start biking again. By dropping weight you will be able to buy those cool new jeans you haven’t been able to fit into. I guarantee you will have more energy and less stress.

How do I know this? Well, for one, I’ve been overweight before. I’ll never forget the day I decided to change for good over 16 years ago. I also get to see our clients make inspirational changes every day. Change is tough, but anything worthwhile is. No matter the goal, when people start moving better and feeling better everything becomes possible. Our stresses are still stressful, but no longer impossible. Making better food choices become easier. Participating in life becomes a mantra.

So where do you start? Just get moving. Start working out, go for a walk around the block, take a short hike. Momentum will start to build and you’ll be unstoppable. Will everything go smoothly? Not a chance. But if we keep doing what we’ve been doing we’ll get the same result. Right now, write a goal down and take one action toward that goal. That one small step is how greatness begins!

Work and Your Health

I have been struck recently by the number of people I know who have high stress jobs and how it is negatively impacting their health. Alternately, I am impressed with how some people can keep their health a priority even given the demands of the work place. Current challenges in the workplace include long commutes, unpredictable schedules, difficult clients, long hours, increasing amounts of work responsibility, demanding bosses, and an overall high level of stress. Compound that with erratic eating, meals out with clients, and spotty sleep and you have a recipe for over-the-top stress and exhaustion. Here are some ideas to maintain optimal health in the workplace:

Exercise: preferably in the morning before the work day starts. Lunchtime or even after your work day will work as well. Even if you can squeeze in 30 minutes of movement after a long day, you will feel better. I cannot stress enough how a regular exercise program will help you feel more centered and grounded on a daily basis. This helps reduce stress in a big way.

Healthy eating: try to eat every 3-4 hours (small mini-meals) that keep your energy up and blood sugar on an even keel. Set an alarm on your computer or phone to remind you. Drink water and non-caffeinated beverages frequently so that you can stay hydrated. Make sure you are getting some healthy carbs, protein and fat at every meal. Do not eat at your desk if you can help it. A change of scenery is always refreshing. If you must stay in/near the office, at least try to get out of the office for a quick 10 minute walk outside.

Set boundaries: Try to get out of work at a reasonable time every night. Make appointments with yourself to workout and treat that like any other appointment. Sure, sometimes it will not work for you to get out the door on time, but you can at least shoot for 80%. Realize that you need to make yourself a priority. Your job is temporary, your health is forever. (Repeat that last line).

Realize that stress is not going away. Figure out ways to adapt and manage it. Eating properly, exercising, getting enough sleep and employing relaxation techniques will all help you to be able to manage stress. If you can, get regular massages. Get outside for some fresh air and sunshine on a consistent basis. Practice meditation or yoga for relaxation. Dedicate time to your hobbies and passions to help create a balanced life. Invest time in relationships with friends and family.

Participate in Life!

Dave Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist

cathedral-rocksI recently returned from our annual Dad/Girls trip. These are annual trips I take with just my daughters, Katelyn and Abby, that allow me to spend focused time with just them without life’s distractions. Deb does the same type of trip in July. This year we ventured a little further than usual to Sedona, AZ and the Grand Canyon. If you’ve not been, it’s a must do trip. I’m not one usually at a loss for words, but Sedona is a tough place to put into words. There’s a presence there like I’ve felt nowhere else. Likewise, the Grand Canyon is so immense that the brain can’t comprehend it.

While we were hiking the first day it hit me that trips like these are thebest reason to be in good shape. Because when you can do things like hike, bike, travel with your kids or with a friend or spouse you are Participating in Life! In doing so, you’ll experience a deep peace and satisfaction that cannot be duplicated in any other way. The memories and sites we experienced on our trip will be with us forever.

One of the hikes that stands out was our hike up into the Cathedral Rocks, one of the vortex sites. While it’s only about a mile to the top, it’s straight up the side of a mountain, all rocks, with 1076’ feet of elevation gain in that short distance. Once up there we hiked and scrambled around the rocks with ever-changing views.

While on this hike we came across a family that did not make it to the top. The Mom and kids (probably in their late teens) were both overweight and sadly the Mom was unable to even start the hike due to sore knees and steps she needed to go down. The kids started the hike, but did not seem to make the top. When we carry extra weight on our bodies, it prevents us from truly Participating in Life. I know, I was there 15 years ago, weighing 30 pounds more than I do now. There’s no way I could have done the hikes and bike rides I do today. If I had not lost the weight years ago, I can’t imagine how many of the amazing memories I have with Deb and the kids would have been lost.

You may remember we profiled Paul Colangelo’s amazing weight-loss journey in January. Paul continues to expand his limits and recently completed the Elephant Rock 27 mile off-road mountain bike ride. Afterwards he sent Deb and I an email titled Redefining Physical Limits talking about the positive impacts of being healthier. Paul is now able to participate in activities that before would have be impossible 21 months ago.

Losing weight, lowering high blood pressure or getting diabetes under control is incredible. But along the journey the true gem is being able to Participate in Life and create experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.

Give us a call to find out how your can get in the best shape of your life and start Participating in Life.