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High-Intensity Workouts and the 6 Damaging Effects it has on our Metabolic System

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

High intensity training has reached an all-time high in popularity, mostly because it provides people what they want = results! As a trainer, I constantly hear about high intensity training and all the questions that surround it. Is high intensity training right for me?, is it damaging to the body?, will it help me get that chiseled Tony Horton six pack? Personally, I am a non-believer in the “high-intensity” model and feel that it has narrowed the general public’s view on understanding effective training options. Such options include specific cardiovascular programs with regulated HR monitoring, anaerobic conditioning programs built for hypertrophy / muscle development and core conditioning programs to name a few.

While “high intensity” programs often do deliver the results it is important to understand that these programs can also lead to the following six types of metabolic damage which could keep you from reaching your fitness goals:

1) Elevated blood lactate:

When muscles involved in exercise can no longer meet energy demands through aerobic metabolism they will tap into the ATP-PC and Glycolysis energy pathways to produce ATP anaerobically (without oxygen). One by-product of anaerobic metabolism is lactic acid, which can accumulate quickly during high intensity exercise. The Onset of Blood Lactate (OBLA), commonly called the lactate threshold (LT), is a physiological marker that indicates an elevation in blood acidity, which can inhibit energy production and the ability to do physical work, leading to fatigue. When you feel that burning sensation in your muscles, it’s an indication of OBLA and a sign that it is time for a lower-intensity active recovery interval.

2) Acidosis:

Anaerobic exercise also elevates levels of hydrogen ions (H+), both of which increase blood acidity reducing the levels of oxygen and other nutrients available for aerobic energy production. In extreme cases acidosis can cause severe damage to muscle tissue resulting in a breakdown of muscle protein called myoglobin. When myoglobin is broken down and subsequently enters the blood stream this could ultimately lead to rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis can inhibit normal function of the kidneys, potentially leading to hospitalization or possibly death, so it is extremely important to listen to your body and not push physical exertion past your normal comfort levels.

3) Gluconeogenesis:

Protein is normally used to repair tissue damaged during exercise and promote the growth of new muscle. Carbohydrates are converted to glycogen and used for ATP production during anaerobic exercise. Fatty acids require oxygen and take longer to convert to ATP, making them an inefficient energy source for high intensity exercise. When high intensity exercise lasts for extended period of time, the body will convert protein to ATP in a process callused gluconeogenesis, reducing the amount of protein available for muscle growth. The process of converting amino acids (the building blocks of protein) to ATP elevates levels of ammonia, further increasing blood acidity and the risk of acidosis.

4) Increased levels of human growth hormone (HGH):

When muscle damage occurs due to exercise,  the body will produce higher levels of HGH to repair this damaged muscle. This is the metabolic response that most body builders hope for because this increase in HGH can lead to an increase in muscle size. So if your goal is to add lean muscle mass, this is a good thing and one of the most important benefits of high intensity training. But if your goal is to simply lose weight, then all of that high intensity exercise could be having an opposite effect, increasing both muscle size and net bodyweight. One thing to keep in mind is that as you add lean muscle mass, you can increase your resting metabolism, elevating the amount of calories you burn at rest.

5) Increased glycogen storage in muscle tissue:

High intensity exercise frequently relies on muscle glycogen to produce ATP. As a result of extended exposure to high intensity training, muscles become more efficient at storing glycogen for future use. But it’s important to note that when stored in muscle tissue, one gram of glycogen holds approximately three to four grams of water. If weight loss is your goal then training your muscles to store glycogen (and water) may have an impact on the scale that you weren’t hoping for. Remember that weight is one number, but body composition may be a more important measure of overall health.

6) Over-training:

Excessive exposure to high intensity exercise without sufficient rest periods can lead to Overtraining Syndrome (OTS). Signs of OTS include reduced immune system function (leading to lingering colds or flu-like symptoms), elevated heart rate, sleeplessness, increased irritability, weight gain (despite exercise) and a significant decrease in physical performance. It can take anywhere from 24 to 96 hours to fully recover from a metabolically demanding high intensity exercise session.

We know that “High – Intensity” training is here to stay, however, it is important to know the impacts that certain styles of training can and does have on our bodies. It’s always best to be informed.

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Sources:

Do Your Feet Have a Running Surface Preference?

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

I certainly think they do. Running surface differences are quite vast, from grass fields, to synthetic tracks, to the brutality of pavement. The beauty behind all of these surfaces is that the majority of them are easily accessible to us, almost anywhere in the world. However, we know that all surfaces have their own pros and cons as related the health of our feet and on up from there. I am sure that you would agree that the softer the surfaces you run on the longer your running career will last. That is why I wanted to examine my top 5 running surfaces, and what are our feet and bodies were saying to us after.

Ratings are listed as most preferred to least preferred.

1. Grass – Ahh grass, the finely cut blades of an open field, with a soft layering of compact dirt beneath. This is my clear cut preferred surface for running on. Grass also provides with the options of running barefoot, connecting with our running surfaces and making sure that we connect every step with the surface it is hitting.

Pros: Grass is soft and easy on the legs in terms of impact, but makes your muscles work hard as the surfaces vary. This builds strength and help drive improvement when returning to the road. Additionally when you find an open field, your surrounded by others who utilize the grassy area for their own recreation providing constant sources of people gazing.

Cons: Grassy plots are often uneven and can be dangerous for runners with unstable ankles. It can also be slippery when wet, runners with allergies may suffer more symptoms when running on it, and its softness can tire legs rather quickly.

 

2. Sand – If only more of it were available in Arizona. Sand offers a run with a challenge. When the sand is dry and deep, you give your calf muscles an excellent work-out without risking any impact damage to your joints.

Pros: Sand gives an opportunity to run barefoot in a pleasant environment. Running through dunes provides good resistance training and strengthens the legs. Open air with vast distances and crashing waves isn’t a bad place to settle into a constant running stride.

Cons: The pliability of sand means a higher risk of Achilles tendon injury. Also, when you run on the sand at the water’s edge, the tilt of the surface puts uneven stresses on the body.

 

3. Synthetic Track – Who doesn’t love a track that is made up of synthetic material, laid out and measured in 400 meter distances. These tracks are generally open to the public, allow runners to measure distances accurately, and focus on improving times related to desired distances.

Pros: Synthetic tracks provide reasonably forgiving surfaces and are pretty close to being 400 meters around, make measuring distances and timing sessions easy.

Cons: With two long curves on every lap, ankles, knees and hips are put under more stress than what one might be accustom to. Longer runs also become rather boring. Rat cage anyone?

 

4. Treadmill – The constant option. Treadmills are the best indoor running option for most runners. Generally, treadmills have monitors that display incline, pace, heart rate, calories burned and other data, which give us users with constant feedback. The running surfaces vary depending on make and model of treadmills.

Pros: The smooth, constant surface is generally easy on the legs, and hitting a desired pace is as easy as setting a number. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about X-factors such as animals, wind and bad weather. The constant speed and control makes a treadmill ideal for speed work.

Cons: Running on the same spot isn’t very exciting, and if you don’t concentrate on keeping up your pace, you could be thrown off the machine. Treadmill runners tend to sweat profusely as your usually cooped amongst other runners with limited air flow. Machines are too expensive for most runners, and gym memberships may be unrealistic if you are just going there to run.

 

5. Roads – Just look outside your front door and take that first step. Altough very abundant, it certainly isn’t exciting to run on something meant for commuter traffic. Concrete is primarily made up of cement (crushed rock), and it’s what most pavements and five per cent of roads are constructed from. It delivers the most shock of any surface to a runner’s legs.

Pros: Concrete surfaces tend to be easily accessible and very flat. They go on forever, and accruing mileage won’t be a hard task.

Cons: The combination of a hard surface and the need to sidestep pedestrians, can lead to injury and too much weaving.

These are my top 5, please leave your comments below and share your running surface preference below or some funny stories that have occurred to you while running on one of your favorite surfaces.

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Sources:

– Top 10 running surfaces – Marc Bloom and Steve Smythe

– Google Images

Empowering youth on the Autism Spectrum with a personalized exercise program

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

I have always believed in #Contributing which states: “giving something, such as money or time in order to help achieve or provide something” – (Dictionary.com). Through exercise, I knew it would be my medium to create a special bond with young men and women on the Autism Spectrum. Having a broad career of working with youth and young adults on the Autism Spectrum as an adaptive P. E. teacher for years and as a fitness professional with specifically designed fitness programs, that have delivered resounding results, I knew this would be my avenue towards “Contributing”.

Why make a difference through exercise? Exercising is my passion and when you do what you love, you never feel as if it is work. Even better, if you can share your passions with those who otherwise would not normally engage in “exercise”, it becomes that much more meaningful. This led me to create the “Personal Power Program”. Information on this program can be found @ http://fitnesspropelled.com/personal-power-program/1281766 .

The benefits of exercise and positive effects that it has on everyone are numerous but we are just beginning to learn the effects exercise has on those on the Autism Spectrum. Below are just a few of the reasons why we must engage our youth and young adults on the Autism Spectrum into a fitness experience that works for them!

– Exercise reduces problem behaviors such as repetitive behaviors, off-task behavior, mouthing, self-injury, disruptiveness and aggression in those with autism.

– Exercise increases the release of several brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These include endorphins and dopamine, which affect our brain’s functioning.

– Exercise can help the entire body, including the brain, function at its best.

– Exercise improves attention, concentration and organizational skills.

– After just 20 minutes of exercise children showed improved behavior, thinking skills and school performance.

By sharing, liking and connecting with Fitness Propelled, we can all #contribute towards a healthier and more meaningful tomorrow.

Website: http://www.fitnesspropelled.com

Follow us on Twitter @ FPropelled – https://twitter.com/FPropelled

Like us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/FitnessPropelled

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Sources:

– Daniel Coury, MD, medical director of Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network
– Google/images

 

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

 

The Necessity of Proper Running Technique

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

Have you ever found yourself on the treadmill wondering to yourself, is my running form correct? You look to your right and one person has enormous stride length and a slight lean forward and seems to bounce off the treadmill with every step. On the left, you see someone else with arms bent at ninety degrees a loose grip, square shoulders and shorter strides. Then it all comes back to you, how am I supposed to hold myself while running?

With the popularity of multiple disciplinary movements like Minimalism, ChiRunning and the Pose Method of Running, I can only imagine how difficult it must be for the average to figure out what they should be doing. So, as to offer a helping hand let’s take a quick look into these three disciplines of running form as to provide you with an introduction to what might work for you.

Principles of ChiRunning include:

  • Relaxation
  • Correct alignment and posture
  • Landing with a mid-foot strike
  • Using a “gravity-assisted” forward lean
  • Engaging core strength for propulsion
  • Connecting the mind and body to prevent injury

Derived from tai-chi and put into plan by Danny Dreyer, ChiRunning focuses on posture, leg swing, the position of the pelvis and a forward lean.

What is Minimalism Running?

According to an article appearing in the April 2010 issue of “Running Times,” minimalist/minimalism runners believe you should be running without shoes or minimalist shoes that feature a minimal heel rise and a very thin sole.

Pros:

  • Improve your stride
  • Encourages awareness of the motion of your feet
  • Increases efficiency by placing less weight on your feet

Cons:

  • Possibility of injury from sharp surfaces
  • Stress on muscles and tendons that haven’t been conditioned for this style of running
  • Potential stress fractures, tendonitis, bruises and lacerations

 Understanding the Pose Method of Running:

Form:

1. S-like body position with slightly bent knees
2. Forward lean from the ankles to employ gravity and work with it not against it
3. Pulling or lifting feet up under the hip not behind the buttocks
4. Ball of foot landing under your body (your GCM – general center of mass)

Pose Method of Running emphasizes efficient, injury-free running taught through poses. Use the Pose Method® of Running technique to prevent injuries and to dramatically improve your running performance.

What can it do for you?

  • Reduce impact on knees by 50% (Scientifically proven)
  • Dramatically improve training and racing performance
  • Give you a competitive edge
  • Help prevent injuries
  • Help you lose orthotics for good

It is my hope in the brief introduction to these three running forms that you are better informed on what aspects you can take from one or all three styles and incorporate them into your improved running form.

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Sources:

– Proper running form – Jennifer Van Allen

– The Perfect Form – Jane Unger Hahn

– Chirunning.com

– Active.com

http://www.posetech.com/pose_method/pose-method-of-running-technique.html – Dr.Nicholas Romanov

 

Running, it propels us forward

By: Geoff Rubin, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

Hitting the pavement and accruing mileage is certainly a physical feat, but what is the motive behind doing it? Running is a sport which is definitely not for the meek, so what is it that drives us to put on our shoes, tie those laces and exit that front door?

The reasons to run come from a multitude of places whether it is for health reasons, physique, weight loss, accomplishments, etc. Whether it is intrinsic or extrinsic motivational factors that lead you to run, you’re doing yourself a phenomenal favor. In fact, running blasts the most calories: In a study done by the Medical College of Wisconsin and the VA Medical Center, the treadmill (used at a “hard” exertion level) torched an average of 705-865 calories in an hour. Not only are you torching the calories while running, but running boosts “afterburn”—that is, the number of calories you burn after exercise. (Scientists call this EPOC, which stands for excess post oxygen consumption.)

Additional physical benefits of running include:

– Bolsters your cartilage by increasing oxygen flow and flushing out toxins, and by strengthening the ligaments around your joints.

– Your time on the treadmill can even prevent vision loss, or so it seems. Two studies from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found that running reduced the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

– One recent study in the British Journal of Cancer calculated that the “most active” (e.g. walked briskly 5-6 hours/week) people were 24 percent less likely to develop colon cancer than the “least active” people

Additional mental benefits of running include:

– Stress-busting powers of their regular jog. “Nothing beats that feeling when you settle into a strong stride with a powerful rhythm,” says Brooke Stevens, a four-time NYC marathoner, “The tension in my neck, back, and shoulders starts to loosen up, and I can think more clearly too.”

– Running is used by mental health experts to help treat clinical depression and other psychological disorders such as drug and alcohol addiction.

– In a 2006 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers found that even a single bout of exercise—30 minutes of walking on a treadmill—could instantly lift the mood of someone suffering from a major depressive order.

Regardless of the reasons that you are hitting the concrete, trail-head or treadmill, the benefits of this readily available sport are right there for your taking.

 

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Sources:

– Womens Health – Health Benefits of Running, 2013

– Runners World – 6 ways running helps improve your health

 

Fuel Your Body Effectively Pre/Post and During Your Running Program

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

Our bodies are constantly on the go and we know the importance of what we fuel ourselves with has a direct correlation on the performance of what we can get out of it. Every fitness program emphasizes certain nutritional guidelines, whether you are looking to bulk up, lose weight, or sustain your energy levels throughout your day. Running is no different and requires specific nutritional guidelines in order to sustain pace, increase distances and derive marked improvements in speed/time. Below, we will emphasize a few critical nutritional components towards improving your “Running” program:

Before You Exercise:

Stay away from the snack if you are running for less than an hour. When needing a boost, have 100 calories of mostly carbs, like a couple of handfuls of whole-grain crackers. If you do not have time for a quick snack, drink 8 to 12 ounces of water or a low-cal sports drink such as a Gatorade G2 and get to your run. If running longer, (over 3 miles) eat a combo of protein and carbs, like peanut butter with a banana or apple and multi-grain toast (200 to 300 calories), about an hour beforehand.

During Your Run:

Consume 6 to 8 ounces of H2O or other fluids every 15 minutes to stay hydrated or every mile and a half. When running over an hour, your body will want more than water. Sports drinks give you the electrolytes, fluids, and sugar-filled carbs you need. Recommendations for sports drinks include: Coconut Water, Emergen-C Electro Mix formula. Energy gels are also potential alternatives.

When You Are Done:

Emphasize the need to refuel effectively by eating within 30 minutes post-workout.   This is when your muscles replace their power supply fastest. For example, grab an 8- to 12-ounce glass of chocolate almond milk or a combo of mostly carbs being rice cakes or pretzels, and a combination of fruits. Target your carbohydrate consumption to (75 to 80 percent) with some protein (20 to 25 percent).

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Sources:

Alyssa Shaffer – Fitness Magazine