Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Maximize your glutes!

Two keys to looking hot in your bikini this summer are toning your thighs, and sculpting a whiplash inducing booty. Lunges and deadlifts are great, but the squat is where it's at for all of your bikini sculpting needs.  

In addition to targeting the glutes and quads better than any other exercise, squats are a great way to burn tons of calories. You tone and firm your body, while losing weight and unwanted body fat.

Master the basic squat, as seen in the video, by doing three sets of 10-15 repetitions three times each week. Don't try to do too much weight at the beginning, the form is very key to getting the most out of the exercise, as well as preventing injury.

Once you have mastered this,  you are ready to step up your game and can move on to more advanced exercises like burpees, also known as squat thrusts.

For more workout tips and ideas on getting glutes you can bounce loose change off, check out "Get Your Butt Ready for Summer" and "Sculpting the Perfect Body". Also, feel free to email me at bob@bobwellsfitness.com with further questions or concerns.

Now, get squatting! A tighter, firmer you awaits.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bodybuilding for the Masses
   by Bob Wells, CPT, PES

Bodybuilding instantly conjures up negative images, many times of oversized, cartoonish looking men and women. Or what passes for women, as some of you might be thinking. There are no doubt myriad hulks and hulkettes out there, but these outliers overshadow and distort what bodybuilding is truly about. 
Proper bodybuilding will enhance your flexibility, increase your strength, improve your cardiovascular conditioning, and dramatically alter your body composition, making you leaner and tighter. You will look and feel better.

Courtesy: bodybuilding.com
In my experience as a coach and trainer, I have yet to have a client or athlete claim that they need to be fatter, weaker, and less flexible. Still, negatively ingrained attitudes about the dreaded b word--bodybuilding--abound. I hope to introduce a great, challenging, brief workout that begins to change your mind about bodybuilding and gets you leaner and fitter in the process.

Ok, let's get started. The workout will consist of eight exercises, that incorporate the entire body. There is only 1 set of each exercise, ranging from 10-20 repetitions, with only 60-90 seconds rest between each. The workout, including warm up, will be done in less than 30 minutes.  

Begin with a 5-10 minute warm up, I prefer the bike and some light stretching. You want to get your muscles warmed up, but not too tired. Good luck! 

1. 15 reps squats
2. 12 reps pull-overs
3. 15 reps bench press
4. 10 reps standing barbell press
5. 10 reps bent over row
6. 10 reps standing barbell curls
7. 15 reps stiff-legged dead lifts
8. 20 reps crunches

As you can see from the video, the workout is very challenging, albeit brief. Feel free to reach out to me at bob@bobwellsfitness.com with questions about how to progress the workout or incorporate it with existing ones. Enjoy the leaner, stronger you!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Training for your First (or Fastest) 5K
    by Bob Wells, CPT, PES

CREDIT: Susan Eastman
Summer is not only beach season, it is also 5K season. The distance (3.1 miles) is very manageable and the race preparation can be a great addition to your gym training. There are events every week, so you don't have to stress about not being able to get into one. So,whether this will be your first 5K or 100th, I have a program for you.

Whether you are ready to get off of the sofa, or if you have been running and you are ready to get your feet wet with your first 5K race, then this program will get you to the finish line, safely and quickly, in six short weeks.

6 week 5K training program
1 Rest 3 miler 2 miler 3 miler Rest cross train 4 miler
2 Rest 3 miler 2 miler 3 miler Rest cross train 4 miler
3 Rest 3.5 miler 2 miler 3.5 miler Rest cross train 5 miler
4 Rest 3.5 miler 2 miler 3.5 miler Rest cross train 5 miler
5 Rest 4 miler 2 miler 4 miler Rest cross train 6miler
6 Rest 4 miler 2 miler 4 miler Rest Rest 5-K

If you have been doing races for a while, and you want to upgrade your program and your results. Try this three week training program to take your race to the next level.

3 week 5K training program
1 Rest 3 miler 5x400 3 miler Rest 3 miler 5 mile run
2 Rest 3 miler 30 min tempo  3 miler Rest 3 mile pace 6 mile run
3 Rest 3.5 miler 6x400 3 miler Rest rest 5-K

CREDIT: CBS/Los Angeles

A 5K can be a great way to have fun, support a worthy cause, or simply spice up your training. Whatever your primary motivation, these programs will help you complete the race safely and quickly. 

For more training resources, check out Runner's World or Hal Higdon's website. To find a schedule of 5K races in the USA, click here. For a schedule of international 5K races, click here

Good luck and have fun! For more information about races or how to train for one, please feel free to email me at bob@bobwellsfitness.com 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How to Stay Focused and Fit Year Round

We have all taken at least one ride on the merry-go-round of fitness. We work like crazy, get in ridiculously great shape for a wedding, class reunion, or summer vacation. We feel amazing! We look amazing! Then we inexplicably veg out--put back on all the weight and/or fat that we have worked so diligently to get rid of. We tell ourselves that we have earned it, only to subsequently stress over how we are going to get back into amazing shape for our next big event. 

With work and family, who has the time, or the energy to pile on any extra stress? Here are three ways to stick to your workout program and look great year round, while keeping stress levels more manageable.

1. Cheat wisely. This refers to compliance to your dietary program. According to Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition, "100% nutritional discipline is never required for optimal progress. The difference, in results, between 90% adherence to your nutrition program and 100% adherence is negligible."

"So you can allow yourself “10% foods” – foods that break rules, but which you’ll allow yourself to eat (or drink, if it’s a beverage) 10% of the time. Just make sure you do the math and determine what 10% of the time really means. For example, if you’re eating 6 meals per day for 7 days of the week – that’s 42 meals. 10% of 42 is about 4. Therefore you’re allowed to “break the rules” on about 4 meals each week."

2. Buddy up. I once heard a colleague say that your level of health and fitness can be predicted by taking the average exercise and nutrition habits of the five people that you spend the most of your time with. If you are trying to get to a higher level of fitness, then work out with and hang out with people the next level up, and who will challenge you. 

In the real world, if you desire to become a high level executive at your company, you are not seeking out career advice from your interns. You want someone who has been there to help you do the same. This strategy also applies with your fitness. You will learn strategies and tips to increase your fitness, but more importantly you will learn to live the lifestyle of those who are at a higher level of fitness.

3. Keep your eyes on the prize. This is arguably the most important, and perhaps the most difficult, one to follow. To succeed you need to be reminded everyday of what is important to helping you reach your fitness goals. If you are looking to lose weight, or get back into a dress or pants that you could wear in high school or college, then take pictures that represent your goals. Put one in front of your refrigerator, one in front of your cabinets, one on your bedroom door, and one on the door leading out of your house. This way you are constantly reinforcing what the priority is. 

Think about this when you are out, or considering food or drink options. Is that second or third mimosa worth it? Extra slice of pizza? That extra dessert?

By following these three 'rules', you will be at a higher baseline level of fitness year round and always ready for the special occasions in your life. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ladies: Lift Like Hercules, Look Like Aphrodite
   by Bob Wells, CPT, PES
"But, I don't want to get big", or some variation on these words, is probably the most common protest that I hear when I train women for the first time. Popular fallacy has put such a fear of lifting weights into most of you, that you think transformation into She-Hulk will begin immediately upon commencement of any weight training program. 
That is, unless you vigilantly refrain from lifting serious weight, anything over 8 pounds usually.  Additionally, it is "necessary" to spend 55 minutes of your allotted gym hour on the treadmill or the elliptical machine. 
The truth is that, unless you are a genetic outlier, your chances of turning into Jennifer Walter's alter ego is virtually nil. What's more, opting for endurance exercise over strength may actually be counterproductive to your fitness goals, especially if you are looking to tone and firm.
So, why then, do so many of you opt for the low weight workout plan? It's the calories. Let's assume that you have only 1 hour, 60 minutes to left. What to do? What to do? Then you remember you heard somewhere, or read somewhere that in one hour on the treadmill you could burn between 500 and 800 calories depending on how fast you run. Or you could burn about 400 with an intense weight training session? No brainer, right? Cardio or bust.
Maybe not, when you consider the entire picture. First, there is what is called the "afterburn". This is the calories that your body burns even after the workout has stopped. This exact number varies individually, but the higher intensities lead to higher post exercise metabolic rates.
However, there is more than just the calories to consider. Strength training tells your body to burn a higher percentage of fat calories, for several hours after you finish your workout. According to a study done by researchers at the University of Colorado, 22% more fat was burned after a weight workout than after an aerobic one.
Strength also increases your BMR, basal metabolic rate, your baseline caloric expenditure, which makes weight maintenance an easier proposition.This makes sense, since your body has to work harder to rebuild and repair muscles.
Muscle strength is also a matter of life and death, according to Lou Schuler (author of "The New Rules of Lifting for Women") and many others. They cite a University of Pittsburgh study, which showed that the weakest women had more than 1.5 times the risk of death from any cause, compared to the strongest. 
Fitness model Jamie Eason
Instead of turning you into some Hulkette, strength training will eventually burn more calories than the same time spent on the elliptical machine or treadmill. It will burn more fat and get and keep you leaner. Last, but definitely not least, strength will keep you alive longer and enhance the quality of your life. 
So ladies, step off the treadmill, and start pumping some serious iron. Your hot new body awaits!

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

No Ordinary Joe: How Your Morning Coffee Could be Making you Fat
by Bob Wells, CPT, PES

We live in a society where success and stature are measured not just in our bank accounts, but also in how many tasks we are able to simultaneously juggle. We are judged by how many consecutive hours we can remain "awake", with no regard for the consequences of our hard charging lifestyles.

Although scientific studies have repeatedly shown how a lack of sleep is detrimental to us--cognitively and physically, we often forgo sleep, or at least the recommended eight hours. In a study published in the British journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers in Australia and New Zealand report that sleep deprivation has a variety of hazardous effects.

The results of this study demonstrate that getting less than 6 hours a night can adversely affect our coordination, reaction time and judgment, impairing them to the same level as someone intoxicated.

Such a lack of sleep also puts us at greater risk for heart disease and diabetes, and an ever expanding waistline, according to another study.

Despite our awareness about these deleterious effects, we still scoff. Sleep, ah! Instead of taking measures to ensure proper sleep, we opt to chug down our ever growing array of caffeinated drinks to keep us awake and on the go. 

However, new research suggests that these caffeinated drinks we imbibe to stay alert, may also be responsible for our lack of sleep, and all of the aforementioned problems.

During wakefulness, adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, accumulates in the extracellular space of the basal forebrain during wakefulness, increasing our propensity for sleep. This increase in adenosine decreases the activity of the wakefulness-promoting cell groups.

When the activity of these cells decreases sufficiently, sleep is initiated. During sleep the adenosine concentrations decrease, as well as the inhibition of the wakefulness-active cells, allowing the initiation of a new wakefulness period. This new wakefulness period is characterized by a feeling of being refreshed and recharged--if we sleep long enough. If not, this is where caffeine comes in.
Dr. Andrew Krystal

According to Andrew Krystal, M.D., associate director of the Duke University Sleep Disorders Center, "...adenosine does not enter the nerve cells but it binds to receptors that reside in the cell membrane .  Caffeine appears to have 2 effects: 1) blocking these receptors; and 2) diminishing the production of adenosine."

"When it blocks the receptors it directly prevents adenosine from causing sleepiness. By decreasing adenosine production at any time it decreases the sleep propensity the subsequent night."

Therefore, even a lone cup of caffeinated drink, often coffee or tea, at 7am will affect your sleep on the subsequent night, leaving you less rested, cognitively impaired, and with a greater risk of gaining weight.

Special thanks to Dr. Andrew Krystal for his time and help in reviewing the research for this article.