Tag Archives: fitness programs

New Study Shows The Benefits Of Working With A Personal Trainer

20150625_151816  Over the course of my career in fitness, it has become obvious to me the benefits that come from using a personal trainer, especially when it is combined with a proper nutrition plan. Clients lose fat, look better, feel healthier and have increased energy. As you can see from testimonials page, my clients also see that benefit.

While I see these benefits on a daily basis when working with clients, a recent study conducted by supplementcritique.com to gauge consumer perceptions of personal fitness trainers reinforces that. The study found that an overwhelming number of people are satisfied with their experience when they worked with a personal trainer. The survey, conducted in the United States, targeted consumers that currently workout at least three times a week.

Key Takeaways:

  •  83% of people that have used a personal trainer were satisfied with the results.
  •   Experience is the most important factor people consider when choosing a personal trainer, with 35% of respondents stating this was their most important consideration

Satisfied Customers

Of those surveyed, 56% of respondents who exercised three times or more per week stated that they had used the services of a personal trainer in the past. Of those that had used the services of a personal trainer as part of their workout regime, a whopping 83% were satisfied with the results, underlining the value that personal trainers bring to those looking to achieve their fitness goals.

1  Of those respondents that had not used a personal trainer in the past, there was a clear understanding of the benefit of using a personal trainer as evidenced by the fact that 68% of respondents believed that working with a personal trainer would help them reach their fitness goals.

Experience Matters

Consumers were asked what the most important factors they would consider when hiring a personal trainer. 35% of respondents said that the experience of the personal trainer was the most important factor followed by 27% of people saying that personality and likeability were most important. 26% of respondents cited cost as being the most important factor they would consider when choosing a trainer to work with.

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Education

The study asked respondents what they thought was the education level of the average personal trainer. 61% of those surveyed believed that the average personal trainer has less than a college degree. 15% believed that the average education level was high school, while 46% believed that the average personal trainer had some college. 38% believed that the average personal trainer had obtained a college degree. I found this part of the study interesting as I have a B.S in Sports Management from ASU.

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What is striking about this study is the satisfaction level that people have when they work with a personal trainer. Working with a personal trainer that you can connect with is far more likely to lead to you having success while also increasing your enjoyment level.

The study was conducted in April of 2015 in order to understand how personal trainers are perceived in the marketplace by consumers who make fitness a part of their daily lives. You can view the entire survey by clicking here.

Utilize this information to make an informed decision when hiring a personal trainer and make sure
they address your individual needs not lump you into a “program”.

Visit www.fitnesspropelled.com or simply give us a call @ 480-522-7874 with any questions on getting started with your own training program.

3 Exercises to Boost Your “Oblique”, Ab Centered Workout to New Heights

By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

imagesDespite the cold, we are all still seeking a defined abdomen. Throughout our sculpting process we work the rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus as well as the often forgotten about obliques. In our newest video we showcase 3 “Oblique” centered exercises that will help you transform those love handles into a defined lower abdomen. Why focus on “Obliques”? Performing the correct oblique exercises, improves the form, function and definition of your core muscles.

Obliques (internal / external) serve as stabilizers, and are engaged in almost every compound lifting movement and almost every physical activity. This pair of muscle is located on each side of the rectus abdominis.

External obliques run diagonally downward and inward from the lower ribs to the pelvis, forming the letter V. You can locate them by putting your hands in your coat pocket.

  • External obliques originate at the fifth to twelfth ribs and insert into the iliac crest, the inguinal ligament, and the linea alba of the rectus abdominis.
  • The external oblique muscles allow flexion of the spine, rotation of the torso, sideways bending and compression of the abdomen.

Internal oblique muscles are a pair of deep muscles that are just below the external oblique muscles. The internal and external obliques are at right angles to each other.

  • Internal obliques attach from the lower three ribs to the linea alba and from the the inguinal ligament to the iliac crest and then to the the lower back (erector spinae).
  • The internal obliques are involved in flexing the spinal column, sideways bending, trunk rotation and compressing the abdomen.

Fitness Propelled’s: 3 Exercises to Boost Your “Oblique” Workout on the Bosu Balance Trainer

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwykHkwvwl0

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Sources:

  • Google Images

6 Must Do Exercises for a Well Defined Lower Back

lower-backBy: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

Including lower back exercises into your overall workout program are the cornerstone for building an impressive physique and prolonged functional fitness. With a focused approach on the lower erector spinae, the section of muscle that covers the thoracic spine promotes good posture and a pain free lower back. Before we get into the 6 exercises that will forever be included into your lower back program, let us look at the anatomy of the “Lower Back”.

                                                Lower Back Anatomy
The Erector Spinae muscle actually consists of three columns of muscles, the Iliocostalis, Longissimus, and Spinalis, each running parallel on either outer side of the Vertebra and extending from the lower back of the skull all the way down to the Pelvis. The Erector Spinae provides resistance that assists in the control action of bending forward at the waist as well as acting as powerful extensors to promote the return of the back to the erect position.

For more information on the iliocostalis, longissimus and spinalis please visit: http://www.musclesused.com/erector-spinae-2/

6 Exercises for a Well Defined Lower Back

1) Stiff Leg Barbell Good Mornings:

Good am

  1. Set up a bar (with sufficient weight) on a rack that best matches your height.
  2. Step under the bar and place the back of your shoulders (slightly below the neck) across it.
  3. Hold on to the bar using both arms at each side and lift it off the rack by first pushing with your legs and at the same time straightening your torso.
  4. Step away from the rack and position your legs using a medium, shoulder-width stance.
  5. Keep your head up at all times and maintain a straight back.
  6. Lower your torso forward by bending at the hips until it is parallel with the floor.
  7. Elevate torso back to starting position.

2) Deficit or Incline Deadlifts

deficit dead lifts

  1.  Start by standing on a platform, 1-5 inches in height.
  2. Make sure that your feet are hip width apart.
  3. Bend at the hip to grip the bar at shoulder width, allowing your shoulder blades to protract.
  4. Lower your hips and bend knees until your shins contact the bar.
  5. Look forward, keep chest up and back arched, and begin driving through the heels to move the weight upward.
  6. After the bar passes the knees, aggressively pull it back, bringing your shoulder blades together as you drive your hips forward into the bar.
  7. Lower the bar by bending at the hips and guiding it to the floor.

3) Prone Hip Extensions on a Core Ball

prone hip e.

  1. Lie on your stomach on the core ball. Place hands (or elbows and forearms) on ground. Legs extended, toes touching floor.
  2. Extend hips by contracting gluteus muscles and lifting your feet up and off the ground.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise.

4) Bulgarian Split Squat

Bulgarian split squats

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm’s length next to your sides, your palms facing each other.
  2. Stand in a staggered stance, your left foot in front of your right. Set your feet 2 to 3 feet apart.
  3. Place just the instep of your back foot on a bench. When you’re doing split squats, the higher your foot is elevated, the harder the exercise.
  4. Your front knee should be slightly bent.
  5. Brace your core.
  6. Drop on your planted foot bending through the waist, keeping your core braced and trunk tall. Return to standing and repeat for your set number then switch legs.

5) Wood Chops with Medicine Ball

wood chops

  1. Start with the feet a little wider than hip distance apart, keeping the knees slightly bent, and bring the medicine ball to your left shoulder.
  2. On an exhale, pull abs to spine, and “chop” the ball down diagonally across your body toward your right knee.
  3. Emphasize the rotation stemming from your torso.
  4. Control the ball back up to the starting position. Repeat for your set number and change sides.

6) Alternating Supermans

supermans

  1. Lie face down on a mat with your arms stretched above your head (like superman)
  2. Raise your right arm and left leg about 5-6 inches off the ground
  3. Hold for 3 seconds and relax.
  4. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

Be sure to connect with us & utilize our FREE fitness resources!

Sources:

  • 3 Exercises for A Strong Lower Back -by Mehmet Edip
  • Musclesused.com
  •  Google Images

6 Result Driven Exercises to Sculpt Your Back

By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

The back is often forgotten about as a necessary section of the body to train. With a predominant focus on arms and abs, it is quite easy at times to forget about our back musculature. The real question at hand is why you would not dedicate equal time to focus on your back? A sculpted back showcases aesthetics and is also crucial for maintaining proper posture, muscular synergy and a well-developed core.   Not only does a workout program focused on our backs emphasize the points listed above, but back strength is functional. Functional back exercises range from rock climbing, loading heavy objects, and opening the door for your lovely date or marital partner.

Before getting started with our 6 Result Driven Back Exercises, let’s take a look at the anatomy of the back.

  • The lats and trapezius (aka traps) span the largest area, running from the base of the neck all the way down to the hips. They make up the bulk of the back’s muscle mass and generate the most force. The traps are not just the humps on top of your shoulders, they also dominate the inner part of the upper back.
  • The rhomboids, infraspinatus, and teres are smaller muscles that run diagonally across the width of the upper back. Aesthetically, they add definition and distinct cuts behind the scapula (your shoulder blades). They are typically targeted while working the lats and traps (via rows, pull-ups, etc.).
  • The erector spinae runs vertically in columns along the vertebrae and makes up most of the muscle in the lower back. It is a critical element in all-around core strength.

Exercises: (3 sets for 15 repetitions), progression set add weight, reduce rep #.

1) Bent over barbell rows

6 Result Driven Exercises to Sculpt Your Back

Primary Muscles: Trapezius in conjunction with you lats, abdomen and gluteus.

  1. Hold a barbell in front of your body with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder width.
  2. Tighten your core, straighten your back, and drop your torso down to 60º.
  3. Powerfully contract your back and biceps, and pull the barbell upwards into the top of your core. Hold for 1 second and return down to a full extension. Repeat.

2) Bent-over one arm dumbbell rows

Bent-over one arm dumbbell rowsPrimary Muscles: Middle back, lats, biceps, shoulders

  1. Place your left knee and left hand firmly anchored on a flat bench. Your left hand should serve as support for your body.
  2. Maintain a tight core and flat back, contract your lats and biceps, and slowly row the dumbbell upwards until it is above your torso.
  3. Hold 1s and slowly lower the dumbbell to a full extension — you should feel a stretch throughout your upper back. Repeat.

3) Renegade dumbbell rows

Renegade dumbbell rowsPrimary Muscles: Lats, deltoids, pectoralis major, rhomboids, infraspinatus

  1. Assume push up position with two dumbbells (neutral grip)
  2. While keeping your core tight and back flat, powerfully row your right arm up until it is slightly above your torso. Do not rotate your body.
  3. Hold the contraction for 1 second, return to the bottom, and repeat for the opposite arm.

4) Military Grip Lat Pull Downs

Military Grip  Lat Pull DownsPrimary Muscles: Lats, trapezius, posterior deltoids, middle back, erector spinae

  1. Find a lat pull down machine with interchangeable clips. Place two hand grips on it.
  2. With palms facing one another, lean back 70 degrees and pull down sliding your hands alongside your rib cage, then repeat.

5) T Bar Rows

T Bar RowsPrimary Muscles: Middle back, rear delts, traps

  1. Place a loaded barbell in between your legs. You can either use a narrow-grip cable attachment and place it under the bar, or directly hold the bar with a stagnated grip.
  2. Drop your torso down to 45°, tighten your core, and maintain strong posture, keep your lower back stiff and do not let it arch.
  3. Contract your lats and traps and pull the bar up into your chest. Hold the contraction for 1 second and slowly release the bar back down to the ground. Repeat

6) Back Extensions

Back Extensions

Primary Muscles: Erector spinae, iliocostalis, longissimus, spinalis

  1. Prop yourself up on a back extension machine with your arms crossed. You can also do this on a stability ball.
  2. Without arching your back, slowly bend your torso forward until it forms a 45º angle with your legs.
  3. Squeeze your lower back and raise your body back up to starting position. Repeat.

Be sure to connect with us & utilize our FREE fitness resources!

Sources:

  • Bryan DiSanto – 13 Killer Back Exercises To Chisel Out A Defined, V-Shaped, Undulating Back
  • Google Images

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3 Lower-Body Exercises to Improve Running Efficiency

By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

Running is a total body kinetic chain exercise; however, we know that sustaining and enduring through a run, holds a primary focus on the core and lower body. Greater strength does equal greater endurance.  In order to build what is now commonly referred to as functional strength as applied to running technique we need to emphasize low body conditioning with a focus on lower back strength, core strength, and the gluteus.

Below are three exercises to add to your overall lower body strength training routine.

 Exercises:

  • Supine Core Ball Leg Lifts:

Why do it: Builds lower back strength; towards preventing back injury. Boosts core strength and efficacy.

How to: Start by lying in the supine position (on your back) on a workout mat. The legs should be straight and the palms should be face down under the buttocks. This will assist the pelvis with leverage as you initiate the leg raise. Next, with the feet together squeeze the core ball w/ your heels and inner thighs lifting the legs approximately 15 to 20 inches off the ground. Slowly lower the legs to the starting position and repeat the exercise. Emphasize breathing out as the legs go up.

 

  • Supine Core ball Figure-4 Glute Bridge:

Why do it: Your glutes help stabilize your hips while running. This exercise is designed to wake up your gluteus and create a backside that is both strong and supportive of the upper bodies load.

How to: Lie face up with your arms pressed into the floor by your sides, knees bent, heels on top of the ball. Cross your right ankle on top of your left thigh, turning your right knee out to the side. Press your left heel down into the ball and raise your hips up as high as you can (focus on using your glutes to lift your body, not your hamstrings). Hold for 1 count and then slowly lower. Integrate this exercise into your total rep/set progressions and repeat with the right leg.

 

  • Internal Rotation Leg Press:

Why do it: This move works your abs, hip flexors, gluteus, quadriceps, and inner thighs to help you develop strength that will support your strides.

How to:  Lie faceup with your hands behind head. Bend your knees 90 degrees and flex your feet. Internally rotate your legs, pressing your knees together and turning your heels out to the sides as far as you can. Brace your abs in tight and lift your upper back off the floor. Extend your legs out into a wide ‘V’ position at about 45 degrees, pressing out through your heels. Bend your legs and squeeze your knees back together, keeping your upper back lifted, to return to the starting position.

 

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Sources:

– Brendan Brazier – Endurance Training and Nutrition

– Jessica Smith – The Ultimate Strength Workout for Runners

 

Why Integrate heart rate training into your running program?

ImageBy: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled (CPT/CIFT/TRX II)

I am a runner; however I am not one with a strap tightly fastened across my chest. However, more recently as I progress in my running distances and pace, I wanted to garner an understanding of the basic rationale for wearing a heart rate monitor while running. Heart rate monitors are not essential tools for training, but when used properly, they can be a valuable training aid.

Wearing a heart rate monitor while running provides an indicator of exercise intensity. A heart rate monitor, therefore, allows you to monitor and control the intensity of your running. Starting runners often make the mistake of not sufficiently varying the intensity of their running pace. A heart rate monitor can help you accomplish this variation through monitoring.

To do this, you first need to determine your individual heart rate response to running intensity. Step one is to determine what is called your lactate threshold heart rate. Lactate threshold is a moderately high running intensity — the highest intensity that can be sustained without significant discomfort. At exercise intensities below the lactate threshold, your breathing is controlled. When you exceed lactate threshold intensity, there is a sudden increase in breathing rate.

Strap on your heart rate monitor and jog for two to three minutes at a very comfortable pace. Then increase your pace moderately and sustain the new pace for two to three minutes. Continue this pattern, noting your heart rate at each pace, until you reach a pace at which your breathing rate spikes. You are now above your lactate threshold. Your lactate threshold heart rate is the heart rate you noted at the preceding pace.

Heart rate-based training involves targeting different heart rate zones in different workouts. The most popular zone system is the following:

Zone 1

Active Recovery

<80% lactate threshold heart rate (LT HR)

Zone 2

Aerobic Threshold

81-89% LT HR

Zone 3

Tempo

90-95% LT HR

Zone 4

Sublactate Threshold

96-99% LT HR

Zone 5a

Lactate Threshold

100-101% LT HR

Zone 5b

Aerobic Capacity

102-105% LT HR

Zone 5c

Anaerobic Capacity

>106% LT HR

Each zone holds its own benefits and is appropriate for different types of workouts. Zone 1 is so light it barely qualifies as exercise, and is appropriate on days when you are especially fatigued from prior days’ running and for “active recoveries” between high-intensity intervals. Zone 2 is very comfortable and quite useful for building aerobic fitness, fat-burning capacity, and endurance. Running in Zone 2 more than in any other zone is recommended.

Zone 3 is just a bit faster than your natural jogging pace — that is, the pace you automatically adopt when you go out for a run without even thinking about the intensity. It is useful for extending the benefits of training in Zone 2. Zone 4 is a running intensity that requires a conscious effort to go fast but is still comfortable. It is close to the intensity that is associated with longer running races, and should be incorporated into your training in moderate amounts to get your body used to that intensity.

Zone 5a is your lactate threshold intensity. It is more stressful than the lower zones, so you can not do a lot of running in this zone, but it is a powerful fitness booster, so you will want to do some Zone 5a running each week. The typical Zone 5a workout contains one or more sustained blocks of Zone 5a running sandwiched between a warm-up and a cool down. For example: 10 minutes Zone 2 (warm-up), 20 minutes Zone 5a, 10 minutes Zone 2 (cool-down).

Zone 5b is very intense, but when incorporated into your training in small amounts it will elevate your running performance significantly. Zone 5b is too intense to be done in sustained blocks, so instead it is incorporated into interval workouts featuring multiple short segments of fast running separated by active recoveries. For example, you might run 5 x 3 minutes @ Zone 5b with 3 minutes @ Zone 1 after each Zone 5B interval.

Zone 5c covers everything between the fastest pace you could sustain for a mile or so and a full sprint. It is incorporated into very short intervals and should be used very sparingly in your training because it’s so stressful. You will not want to make the mistake of avoiding it, though, as it is a great way to boost speed and running economy.

The content above contains some basic guidelines for using heart rate to monitor and control the intensity of your running. The biggest limitation of heart rate-based training is that, while heart rate is a good indicator of running intensity, it is not a perfect indicator. Heart rate is affected by a number of other factors, including fatigue level, sleep patterns, psychological state, hydration status, and diet, which make it somewhat unreliable in certain circumstances.

For example, while heart rate tends to be lower at any given pace on a treadmill than it is outdoors, running at any given pace actually feels easier outdoors, and one can also sustain higher heart rates outdoors, possibly for psychological reasons. The relationship between heart rate and running intensity also changes continuously as your fitness level changes, so you need to repeat the lactate threshold test frequently to keep your target zones accurate.

Many experienced runners, including elite runners, train without heart rate monitors, instead they rely on a combination of perceived exertion and pace to monitor and control the intensity of their workouts. The success of these runners is proof that a heart rate monitor is not needed to realize your full potential as a runner.

The most comprehensive indicator of running intensity is perceived exertion, or how hard running feels. Perceived exertion attributes for not only heart rate but also all of the other physiological and psychological factors that influence exercise intensity. You will always want to pay more attention to how hard running feels than you do to your heart rate when running.

Heart rate monitors provide users with important data that can be used towards improving running intensity, duration and speed; just do not use it as an end all.

ImageSources:

Matt Fitzgerald -Running 101: Training With A Heart Rate Monitor

 

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9 Things to Look For in a Quality Weight Loss Program

With summer in full swing and everyone pursuing those ideal swimsuit figures, it is important for consumers to be aware of what makes up a “Quality” weight loss program. With the huge variety of weight loss programs available, how can you choose the right one that will help you lose weight safely and keep it off for good? To make your quest easier in finding the right weight loss program for you, Fitness Propelled LLC put together a list of key program elements to look for:

1. Safety. Sound weight-loss programs will encourage you to check with your healthcare provider before getting started. This visit allows your provider a chance to offer any special precautions or guidelines based on your health status and should include a screening to assess your readiness for exercise.

2. Credibility. For best results, the program should have credentialed providers such as registered dietitians, certified fitness professionals, certified wellness coaches, behavioral health specialists (licensed psychologists or counselors) and such licensed medical professionals as physicians and registered nurses. Use caution with peer-led programs. That is people who claim they have lost weight successfully. These programs can offer support and guide you through the program functions, but often don’t have a staff with an educational background in exercise, nutrition, or behavior change to offer professional advice.

3. Flexibility. Programs that demand adherence to a rigid diet or exercise plan set you up for failure. Instead, look for programs that integrate your food and physical activity preferences. For long-term success, you‘ll need to adopt lifestyle changes you can live with.

4. Realistic outcomes. “Lose 20 pounds in 1 week” is eye catching, but the truth is that permanent weight loss happens slowly. Most experts recommend a weight loss rate of ½ pound up to a maximum 2 pounds per week for lasting results. Ask to see program outcomes data regarding average amount of weight lost and long-term follow-up results. If no data is available, or they won’t share it, consider it a red flag.

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5. Self-monitoring. One study found that people who kept a daily food log lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t. Writing down what you’re eating keeps you accountable and makes you think twice about going back for seconds. Keeping an exercise record can be extremely motivating as you review your progress and see how far you’ve come. And regular weighing, whether daily or weekly, has been linked to greater amounts of moderate weight loss and less weight regain. Self-monitoring offers an objective look at how you’re doing in relation to your goals and that’s extremely helpful, especially when you hit a plateau and need to adjust your approach.

6. Sensible nutrition. Avoid programs that eliminate entire food categories, such as fruit, grains, or fats. According to the American Dietetic Association, all foods fit in a healthy diet. Plans that advocate special combinations of foods, certain foods in unlimited quantities, or are too restrictive, don’t work. Eat a variety of whole grains, colorful vegetables and fruits, low-fat dairy products and lean sources of protein and you’re on your path to a healthier diet.

7. Regular exercise. Getting active and staying active is the cornerstone to maintaining a healthy body weight. Exercise optimizes conditions in the brain for enhanced learning and decision-making. That’s extra brainpower to help you adopt healthier habits and to keep you on track. It’s also a great mood-elevator, boosts metabolism and can help counteract emotional eating. A weight loss program should encourage you to find ways to make physical activity a part of your everyday life.

8. Cognitive changes. Learning to think in new ways is essential for long-term success. A reputable program will help you replace faulty thinking patterns with positive, productive ways of thinking that support your health goals. Example: Replace “I’ll never lose weight” with “I’m learning how to better manage obstacles to healthy eating, and I’m making better choices every day.”

9. Believable claims and no pressure. Walk away from any program that pressures you to buy special foods, supplements, pills, or gadgets or promises a quick fix. There are no magic pills to “melt your fat away.” Sustainable weight loss requires a significant effort and a sensible approach, and with the right support, expertise, and guidance, you can make it happen.

Sources: ACE Fitness Idea Fitness Journal