Mix Fitness's Blog


The Basics of Using Free Weights

Posted in Uncategorized by mixfitness on February 18, 2010
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Man performing the overhead tricep extension.

Resistance training is an effective method of training the muscles, joints, and bones. Both dumbbells and plate-loaded bars are types of free weights. When you incorporate free weights into your workouts, your personal fitness improves.

Benefits

Progressive resistance training increases lean muscle which leads to improved metabolism. The American College of Sports Medicine cites reductions in body fat, increases in bone density, modest reductions in blood pressure, and improved blood lipid profiles as benefits to resistance training. Athletes, in all sports, train with free weights to improve performance. And, when performed correctly, resistance training is safe for people of all ages.

Characteristics

While free weights fall under the umbrella of resistance training, they have a few unique characteristics. Free weights can be used anywhere. They mimic real life, or functional, movement. Meaning, your limbs move more freely in a natural motion. Using dumbbells and weighted bars require more skill than using weight machines. Stability is required to control the weight since it is not fixed. Some exercises, especially those when the dumbbell or bar is lifted over your head, require a spotter.

Exercises

Dumbbells can be used to train all the major muscles of the body. Upper body exercises include the chest press and flyes to work your chest. For your back, do one-arm rows. The military press is an example for your shoulders. Bicep curls work your biceps. Overhead extensions target your triceps. Examples of lower body exercises are squats and lunges. Simply hold a dumbbell in each hand to add extra resistance.

Misconceptions

Many women believe working out with free weights will make them bulky. Because of this notion, women either shy away from lifting or lift insufficient amounts of weight. However, women do not have the levels of testosterone necessary to develop large muscles comparable to those of men.

Getting Started

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends resistance training 2 to 3 days per week. Allow 24 to 72 hours between days for muscle recovery. At least one set of 8 to 12 reps per muscle group is advised by the ACSM to improve muscle tone and endurance. The amount of weight lifted should fatigue your muscles. After your first month, build up to three sets per exercise.

Jillian Michaels Gets Sued: From A Trainer’s Perspective

Posted in Uncategorized by mixfitness on February 11, 2010
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Jillian Michaels is being sued for false advertising.  If the name doesn’t ring a bell, she’s one of the personal trainers on the TV show “The Biggest Loser.”  Michaels endorses the diet supplement Jillian Michaels’ Maximum Strength Calorie Control as well as other supplement products.  “Sadly, Michaels has decided to exploit her fame and goodwill by collaborating with Thin Care and Basic Research to promote a weight loss supplement that purportedly will cause weight loss by itself, without any additional effort on the part of the consumer,” the lawsuit alleges.  The plaintiff is seeking to prohibit the sale of the product as well as damages.

Before you start calling the plaintiff names, consider that these products exist because people do buy them.  There are those that truly believe there is a miracle pill.  Many people respect Jillian for the work she’s doing on the reality TV show.  So, why not trust her when she says a supplement will help you lose weight?

My biggest issue with this is Michaels has stepped outside of ethical practice for personal trainers.  Respectable trainers do not recommend supplements.  It is outside our scope of practice.  We know that pills do not cause you to lose weight.  It is the job of nutritionists and registered dieticians to prescribe foods.

Many fitness professionals are members of the group IDEA Health and Fitness Association.  The IDEA Code of Ethics for Personal Trainers states, “As a member of IDEA Health & Fitness Association, I will be guided by the best interests of the client and will practice within the scope of my education and knowledge. I will maintain the education and experience necessary to appropriately train clients; will behave in a positive and constructive manner; and will use truth, fairness and integrity to guide all my professional decisions and relationships.

‘Always be guided by the best interestes of the client.

Remember that a personal trainer’s primary responsibility is to the client’s safety, health and welfare; never compromise this responsibility for your own self-interest, personal advantage or monetary gain.

Recommend products or services only if they will benefit the client’s health and well-being, not because they will benefit you financially or occupationally.'”

I believe Jillian knows better, but money talks.  The take home message:  Weight loss pills DO NOT work.  Do not buy them.  Do not believe anyone, even if it’s your personal trainer, who suggests using them.

Check out my blog: The Truth About Weight Loss

Healthy Body Fat Percentages

Posted in Uncategorized by mixfitness on January 20, 2010
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I just read an article that was promoting a workout routine in which a client had “literally lost 100% of their body fat.”  This is not only extremely unlikely, but completely irresponsible of the author!  Please, I beg you, if you see these programs being advertised, run.  We’ve all heard the message that fat is bad.  So, now we’re pursuing ways to lower our body fat percentages.  And, with the obesity rates in America, we should be concerned about losing fat.  But, to the point where you have none is ill-advised.  Having some fat is good.

Lots of research is being done about the benefits of having fat.  What we know is that fat cushions the organs, helps regulate body temperature, contributes to metabolism, and provides an energy source for the body.  Fat also is the home for the hormone adiponectin.  Adiponectin is a beneficial hormone which reduces cell inflammation and improves HDL, the good cholesterol.  It’s when there is too much fat that it causes problems.

So, what is a healthy body fat percentage?  Well, it differs between men and women.  The American Council on Exercise (ACE) provides this table.  Women should be in the range of 21-31%.  Men, 14-24%.  Notice the classification of “essential fat.”  Yes, some is essential.  Even athletes are encouraged to have body fat.

Please look to reputable sources like ACE and the American College of Sports Medicine for recommendations about fitness.  For more information about fat and losing weight, read these posts.

Diet: A Four-Letter Word

Interesting Facts About Fat

10 Weight Loss Tips

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