Thursday, April 27, 2006

What Comes First: Cardio or Weights?

The short answer is Weight Training. You'll burn more blood sugar which means tapping into fat reserves more quickly during cardio. It's safer too. Exhaustion from cardio can lead to sloppy lifting, which increases risk of injury.

If you're not doing high intensity with either, then it's not as important which comes first.

There are scenarios where it makes more sense to do your cardio first. If your plan is to do running intervals on the treadmill and your lifting routine for that day is all machine-based, then I recommend doing the treadmill intervals first.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Do You Do Legs?

Alright guys - it's gone on long enough. You actually need to 'do legs' in the gym if you want to gain muscle weight. I know what you're thinking, 'Nah - I just want the chest and back and...'

That's fine. But here's the real reason you don't train legs: it hurts. You got very inflexible over the past 10 years. That inflexibility makes it very uncomfortable to do 'high value' exercises like Squats, Deadlifts and Lunges.

Hmm - I bet when I said those exercise names you thought of those huge dudes on Strongest Man competitions - the guys with their knees wrapped and wearing shorts from Runner's World...

I promise you that if you do a Squat or Deadlift, you won't feel compelled to wear short shorts.

Jokes aside, Squatting and Deadlifting for fitness are important if you expect to be tossing your toddler around the house. They keep your back loose. It's not about putting 225 lbs on the bar and going 1/2 way down. Try an empty bar and slowly progress up to 65 lbs after 2 weeks. Trust me, you'll feel it plenty.

Problem areas the Squat and Deadlift can fix:

IT Bands - thick ligamentous bands that run the outer length of your leg, from hip to ankle. Tight IT Bands lead to tight lower back.

> Squat or Deadlift by keeping your toes pointed straight ahead. This forces your IT Bands into a longer range of motion and stretches them out over time.

Ankles/achilles - if you cannot squat without lifting your heels, your ankles/achilles are tight.

> Squat or Deadlift with an empty bar to that point where your heels want to lift. Pause here - give them time to loosen up. Aim to go a fraction lower on the next rep.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Weigh-in Twice Daily

The old rule-of-thumb for weighing-in is once per week. This way you won't be discouraged by up-and-down fluctuations. But it is not often enough to reinforce the committment you made - to finally lose those extra pounds. If you are serious about losing weight, then you need to remind yourself of that committment twice a day by getting on the scale. Here's what you need to do:

1. Buy a scale and put it in or near your bathroom (always use same scale).
2. Make a weigh-in chart and post it on the wall at eye-level when on the scale. The chart should have an AM & PM column with 30 rows for each day of the next month.
3. Weigh-in completely naked (no socks) when you wake up, right after you go to the bathroom.
4. Weigh-in again before you go to bed, after you go to bathroom and again, completely naked.
5. Repeat for at least 21 days, or until you reach your target weight.

Why weigh-in so much? Because you need to be more in-tune with what's going on with your body. Inevitably, you'll weigh more at night, so compare your night weights to each other and your morning weights to each other. Eventually, you'll notice how different foods effect you and what impact exercise or an active day has on your weight. This is powerful knowledge that will help you take control.

Each step up to that scale reinforces your pledge to make change.

Great - that's how to weigh in, but how do you actually lose the weight? In order of importance, here's how:

1. Calorie-counting - don't eat anything you can't count - and count everything - even the skim milk in your coffee. After 2-3 weeks, you won't have to count anymore because you'll know precisely how many calories are in most of the foods you eat.
2. Exercise - you don't have to go hard necessarily, just get into a routine. Much more on this another time.
3. Food choice & portion size - why 3rd? Because it goes hand-in-hand with #1 If you're counting calories, then you're going to become pretty economical about your choices.

About Me

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NY, New York, United States
I'm 34 years old, the proud father of 2 beautiful children and husband to Jennifer, a beautiful, smart, and very caring woman. I'm an athlete - someone that was blessed with the ability to move fast and fluidly past, around, up and over my opponents. But, my body now reminds me that those days are numbered. I'm the Founder of Agile Fitness, a company dedicated to helping others achieve their fitness goals. Resume: - Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist ('96). - Bachelor of Arts & Science, University of Delaware, ('95) - Masters in Business Administration, Baruch College Zicklin School of Business ('01)