For many of the women I train, pushups are their worst enemy. They are not shy about letting you know their dislike of them either. Just trust me on that one. The main reason people don’t like pushups is the same reason I don’t like fixing things. I’m not very good at it.
But they are one of the best exercises you can do for your entire body. Therefor, we do a lot of pushups in my boot camps. I often get asked about how to be able to do more pushups or move from doing pushups on the knees to pushups on toes.
I present to you the Grease the Groove technique. Terrible title, effective method. We will use it for pushups, but you can apply it to any exercise you want to get better at. Pullups, presses, burpees, etc… it will help you get better at all of them.
I learned the Grease the Groove (or what the cool kids call GTG) technique from a former Soviet Special Forces trainer named Pavel Tsatsouline. He had the revolutionary idea that if you want to get better at something, you should probably practice it. Weird huh? Here is the equation he came up with:
Specificity + frequent practice = success
So here is how to be able to do more pushups. First you need to know what the maximum number of pushups you can do is. For this example we will use 10 pushups. Several times a day you would drop down and knock out 4 pushups there, 5 pushups here. All throughout the day, but the key is to never get to the point where it is a struggle to do the pushups. You want to train as often as possible throughout the day, while still being as fresh as possible.
How about changing from knees to toes? You can still use the GTG method, but with a twist for the knee pushups. Because knee pushups do not properly mimic the toe pushups, you need to try something different. Switch from knee pushups to doing pushups at an angle. You could use a bench, a wall, etc… to practice your pushups. You can start at a 45 degree angle and start working your way down from there. Apply the same GTG technique with the angled pushups.
The basic premise is that you are strengthening the neural pathways through something called synaptic facilitation. Remember that, it might be on Final Jeopardy one day.
Big words aside, this is a straight forward and effective way to get better at something. Pick out an exercise you are weak in, apply the GTG for 6 weeks, and I bet you will get great results. After you set a new personal record, drop me a line and let me know!
We recently talked about the benefits of sprinting, now we will talk about how to actually go about adding sprints into your routine.
Variety of sprints
When people think about sprints, they picture people running. Running sprints is an awesome exercise, but not the only way. You can sprint using any cardiovascular exercise you can think of.
Here are few to choose from:
-biking (or stationary bike)
-arm crank ergometer
So even if you have bad knees, you can get the benefits of sprinting with one of these forms of cardiovascular exercise. If you find a steep enough hill, a fast walk may be your all out effort.
There are few things you have to be careful about when you begin a sprint training program.
1. Always warm-up thoroughly
Sprints place a large demand on your body and if you aren’t properly warmed up, you could easily get injured. Make sure you go through a full body warm p and that you break a light sweat before beginning.
2. Avoid doing too much, too soon
I recently went out and ran a bunch of sprints after not doing them for awhile. Feel free to do exactly that if you enjoy pain. And falling into chairs, instead of sitting in them. Slowly integrate sprints into your current program.
3. Listen to your body
If you feel sharp pains (not just the pain from sprinting) you need to stop and find out what is going on. Could be poor footwear, an injury, muscle imbalance, etc… You know when something is off with your body, you need to get it taken care of before continuing.
4. Give it a rest
You don’t want to sprint on back to back days. It’s like going to back to back Justin Bieber concerts. Yeah it is awesome, but human ears are not meant to handle the high pitched screams on back to back days. Sprinting is awesome too, but your body needs recuperation before sprinting again.
5. Doctor’s clearance
If you have any heart issues or other health problems that would be negatively effected by intense exercise, go to your doctor first. Boring advice, but can be life saving.
Adding sprints to your training
Choose your sprint exercise from the list above or whatever form of cardiovascular exercise you are doing now. You will be using something knows as Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). RPE is basically a scale from 1-10, with 1 being the absolute least taxing thing you could do and 10 being “I will die if I do this much longer”.
This is assuming you are a beginner at sprints. If you have more experience, you can increase the volume of the training. Where it says “resting”, that does not mean stop. If you are on a bike for instance, it just means you keep pedaling slowly.
Sprints for fat loss
Do 2 sprints at a 6-7 on the PRE scale for 30 seconds, resting 1 minute in between.
Next do 2 sprints at a 8-9 on the PRE scale for 30 seconds. Rest 2 minutes in between each sprint.
Finally do 1 all out sprint for as long as you can. If you make it to 30 seconds, you will be doing really well. This should be approaching that 10 on the PRE scale. Awful. Just in case you thought it might not be.
If you were performing sprints to get faster, you would increase the rest periods until you were fully recovered before starting the next sprint.
If you wan to get a day’s worth of work done in 4 minutes, this is your workout. All out effort (PRE of 10) for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, repeat for 8 total rounds. If you do this one correctly, you will be wiped out in 4 minutes. This will challenge you mentally as well as physically.
Somebody has to do something about this Usain Bolt guy, he’s dominating. Maybe it’s you? No, it’s not you sorry. But you can channel your inner Usain and get your bolt on. See what just happened there?
If you are the running type, the track is a great place to do a sprint workout. You don’t have to look at a watch, just run for distance.
400 meter sprints
Try this one for a tough, but efficient workout.
-Sprint 1 lap (on most tracks that is 400 meters), walk 1 lap. Repeat this pattern until you have sprinted 4 laps and walked 4 laps. Each lap you sprint should be the absolute fastest you can do it. Great fat burning and cardiovascular system challenge there.
100 meter sprints
If you are looking to improve your speed, try this workout. If the track is not marked, I would recommend you put up a cone to mark your distance. 100 meters is 1/4 of a lap.
-Sprint all out for 100 meters, finish walking the lap, sprint again when you get back around.
This is a good way to gradually build up to your top sprinting speed. You will do 30 slow reps (steps, pedals, strokes, etc…), then 30 medium reps, and then 30 all out reps. Upside, you will feel like a race car, going through it’s gears. Downside, you do have to have the ability to count to 30.
There are hundreds of different sprint workouts you can do, these are a tiny sample. Don’t get caught up in the details if they are overwhelming you. Just get out and do something as fast as you can! Whether it is running, spinning, cranking, swimming, or whatever it is you choose to do, it is exhilarating and exhausting in a good way. Your body fat will go down and your level of performance will go up. Go forth and sprint.
Not sure if you know this about me, but I’m not a big fan of running. Particularly, long distance running. The main reason? It hurts and I get bored. If I am going to run, I prefer to do sprints. It also hurts, but it is over much quicker and has some awesome benefits that long distance running does not.
Benefits of sprinting
1. Accelerated fat loss
You may burn more calories overall with running, but sprinting has been shown to burn more fat. A big part of this fat loss is caused by this fancy term, excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). EPOC is the body’s way of getting things back to normal after you have wreaked havoc on it. This process takes an enormous amount of energy, which means you are burning calories even after the workout is over.
Some people call EPOC ”after burn “. I mainly just tell people it is Tupac’s little brother. Don’t worry, they don’t laugh either.
2. Legal drug use
If you keep up with sports, you have probably heard of illegal HGH (Human Growth Hormone) use amongst athletes. This is your chance to get some legally! HGH and testosterone are both produced during anaerobic exercises, such as sprints. These both help you restore muscle tissue and build lean muscle. Preserving tissue and building muscle are very important, particularly as we age.
3. Better race times
If you are a runner, you can really improve your race time by mixing sprints in. If you always train by running slow, guess what you will be? Slow right? Sprints will help increase your aerobic performance overall.
4. Shorter workouts
I touched on this earlier, but sprint workouts are over pretty quickly. If you are pressed for time, sprints are a great addition to your exercise routine.
5. Not as stressed
Cortisol is the stress hormone that goes up when you get stressed, either physically or psychologically. Continuous high cortisol levels can lead to belly fat storage, chronic inflammation, lowered bone density, and a host of other nasty things. Runners who do 45 minutes plus of cardio tend to have these high levels of cortisol. One way to explain the person who runs 60 miles a week, but still has a big belly.
Definitely not telling you to stop running. My goal is to get runners and non-runners alike to start sprinting. My next article will cover how to actually do different kinds of sprints.
FYI-sprints can be done by people with joint problems.
I am very excited to have a post today from a friend of mine, Dr. Patty Long. She owns and operates Long Chiropractic in Meridianville,AL. The thing I respect the most about Dr. Patty is her holistic approach to taking care of her patients. She makes sure all the wellness bases are covered with her patients, not just traditional chiropractic care.
This post will show you exactly what I mean.
The 5 Essentials to Maximized Living
As a health care provider, my intake paperwork asks all of our new patients what their health goals are and how they expect to achieve their goals. The majority of the answers usually entail “to be healthy” by “eating less,” “make that scale go down,” or “exercise more.” Granted all of these things are noble goals and steps toward being healthy, but none of them can stand alone. To truly have HEALTH, you have to strive for Maximized Living.
Maximized Living constitutes 5 Essentials of Health
1. Maximum Mindset:
You have to adopt a positive mindset, one of success. One of my mentors says it best when he says, “Quit your stinkin’ thinkin’.” Your mindset helps form your limiting beliefs. Examples of limiting beliefs would be:
“My parents had this disease, so I will, too.”
“I’m too old.”
“I can’t afford to eat right.”
“I hate to exercise.”
“I can’t look the way I want to.”
“I’ll never feel good again.”
Because your subconscious believes every word you say, you need to say only positive things to yourself. Speak positive affirmations daily, and have them include all areas of your life. Make them positive, detailed, personal, and specific. Rather than saying “I hate to exercise,” you can say “I thrive when I exercise because I feel strong, energetic, and healthy.” Squash your limiting beliefs by changing your words to ones that support you for who you are, “wonderfully and gloriously made.”
You also need to know your “why.” It is hard to stay motivated when you don’t know your reason to do things and make change. You need to know your compelling reason to take control of life in order to succeed. Simply wanting to look good is typically short lived, but wanting to have energy to participate in your kids lives takes your reasons outside of yourself. You are more likely to succeed when it isn’t about you and you alone.
Work on these principles and around the corner you will come face to face with your success.
2. Maximized Nerve Supply:
A good corrective care chiropractor can help maximize nerve supply!
Your nervous system controls every cell, tissue, and organ in your body. In order to have maximum nerve supply, you must realize that your health is dependent on the stability and function of your central nervous system. This intricate system is directly influenced by the position and integrity of the spine.
Your spine should have three perfect curves from the side and should be straight from front to back. Whenever the spine is in optimal position and alignment, the nervous system functions at a higher level because the spinal cord is encased by the vertebrae that make up the spine.
Spinal correction is necessary whenever there is abnormal positioning within the spine or abnormal/lack of movement in the spinal segments. When the spine is corrected, restoration of nerve function naturally follows. Spinal correction is not just about pain relief. There are far greater neurological effects, improved organ function, increased range of motion, improved performance, and a much improved ability to resist injury.
Your nervous system cannot be replaced! It is essential that you dedicate the time necessary to be certain that you are participating in your spinal health.
3. Maximized Quality Nutrition:
Nutrition fuels your body. It will either build the cells for improved function or cause inflammation and destruction of the cell. The old adage, “You are what you eat” has always held true.
Maximized Nutrition isn’t about the latest fad diet, but tried and true lifestyle changes regarding nutrition to obtain a lifetime of optimal health. It is important to realize that our busy, fast food lifestyles will not dictate a bright healthy future. Be committed to quality nutrition, and your cells will love you for it!
4. Maximized Oxygen and Lean Muscle:
Breathe! Exercise! This is the key to maximized oxygen and lean muscle. Activities such as Yoga help to oxygenate the tissue by teaching you how to breathe, an activity that we were much better at when we were young children than we are as adults.
As for exercise alone: I’m not talking about long, low-intensity workouts. All of the current research shows how high-intensity, short-duration exercise increases your growth hormone, testosterone, and beta endorphins, which turn your body in to a fat burning, muscle building machine. Want proof? Compare the physique of a long distance runner in the Olympics to the physique of a sprinter… need I say more?
Not to mention studies show that cancer CANNOT live in a well oxygenated environment, exercise is more effective for depression than anti-depressants, and people who exercise actually sleep better for a longer period of time, which allows for better healing.
Remember: Exercise isn’t a choice, it’s an essential for true health!
5. Minimized Toxins:
We live in a toxic world. There are so many areas in our lives where we are exposed to disease causing toxins, from our personal care products to our cleaning products, from medication to the food we eat. You will never be able to avoid 100% of the toxins you are exposed to, but knowing where to limit your exposure is the first step to true health and wellness. I teach classes on making your home a safe haven that provides detailed information on changes that can be made.
As for a detoxification, which everyone asks me about- If you are going to perform a specific detoxification program, the smartest thing to do is to focus on the cell. There are some very specific detoxification programs that you can participate in, but no two people are alike.
You may need to focus on a different area of detox than your friends, but everyone can benefit from a daily detox that is designed to enhance your body’s natural detoxification system and remove accumulated toxins from the body.
So, that’s it… the 5 Essentials for Maximized Living. May you incorporate each Essential to lead you into a life of quality and longevity. Should you have any questions, we are here to serve!
Yours in Health-
Dr. Patty Long, D.C.
A lot of people have a goal of one day being able to run a 5K. Several of the women in our boot camps set that as a goal and have since accomplished it. Since the biggest 5K in Huntsville, the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run, is coming up soon I was asked to come up with a training program to do a 5K.
This is a very condensed training schedule, so the timeline is a little more aggressive than most are. The program will give you a good idea of how to get ready for the race though. Check it out at the link below:
The Liz Hurley Ribbon Run is an awesome race and would be a perfect starting place if you have never done a 5K. We have a team going that has walkers, joggers, and runners. If you want to join our team there is a link in that article as well.
Man I love the Olympics. Such amazing and inspiring athletes, especially when you learn about all they have done to get to that point.
I especially enjoy reading about their training methods and schedules. Even though they compete in different events, there are 6 habits they have in common that you can implement in your life.
1. Plan your workouts
Did you know some Olympic athletes plan their workouts 4-6 years in advance? That is crazy! I thought I was doing good by planning out my boot camps one month in advance.
Do you know what you are going to do before you get there or are you just winging it? When I worked in gyms I would see people do that all the time. Wander around aimlessly, do a machine here and there, go from room to room. These were people who never got results. Planning your workouts will make your exercise sessions more efficient and effective.
2. Feed your training
You can not reach your goals by starving yourself and you also can’t reach your goals by eating McDonald’s every day (despite McDonald’s being the sponsor of the Olympics). Whether your goal is to look better or perform better, you have to put the proper fuel into your body to get there.
3. Do something to get better every day
If you have a goal, there should be at least one thing you do every day to reach that goal. There is no standing still, either you get better or you are falling behind.
4. Get a coach
These are the most talented and gifted athletes in the world, why do they need a coach? I don’t care how motivated you are, how dedicated you are, or how much you think you know a coach can always make you better.
I have a degree in the fitness field, own several top level certifications, I study every day to get better at my job, and it’s still not enough. I still turn to the experts in my field to help me get better because I will slack off and I definitely don’t know it all. You need someone watching you, encouraging you, and sometimes pestering you to achieve your best. You cannot reach your potential alone.
5. Take care of your body
Top level athletes treat their body like gold, pardon the pun. Sleeping 8-10 hour with a 30-90 minute nap during the day, stretching, foam rolling, massages, chiropractic adjustments, etc… If you want your body to keep responding to the tests you throw at it, you have to take care of your muscles, bones, and joints.
6. Keep their eye on the big prize, but break it up
It’s easy to get discouraged if someone rolls out the next 4 years of your life and every day is planned out to a T. It’s easy to think the task is too hard, you have too far to go, or that you won’t be able to do this. Let the end goal motivate you, but break it up into mini goals.
Some examples could be:
-do 4 workouts a week for a month
-sleep at least 7 hours per night for 2 weeks
-make it through one day without a soft drink
Those mini-goals will begin to add up and will give you the confidence to keep you on track.
I hope these Olympic habits can help you not only in your life, but to appreciate just how dedicated these amazing athletes are.
How many of you are trapped at your desk for 8 plus hours a day? Are there a lot of days you don’t even get the chance to take a lunch break, much less take time to workout? The American Heart Association recommends that you get 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 times a week at a minimum.
Pretty hard to do that when you work an exhausting and time consuming job. This is where the office chair workout comes in handy.
Before we move on, just know that you have to meet 2 requirements to do this workout:
-you have the freedom to move around a little bit
-You don’t mind people thinking you are the crazy person in the office
This workout is assuming you work 8 hours per day, 5 days a week. It also assumes you have a chair with wheels on it, just stick with me. This workout will not always be feasible, but a little something always beats a whole lot of nothing.
Here is how it works:
Set an alarm to go off every 15 minutes. Every 15 minutes you will do the exercise for 1 minute, changing exercises every hour.
Hour 1- Jumping Jacks. As an alternative, you can do chair jacks. Just do the upper body part of the jumping jacks. Don’t be surprised if people think you are drawing attention to yourself.
Hour 2- Squats. Use your chair as a guide. Feet shoulder width apart, push your hips back, keep your knees out, sit away from your knee caps, and slowly lower yourself down towards your chair. Lightly tap your chair, then stand all the way up.
Hour 3- Chair Plank. Place your forearms on the seat of your chair, walk your legs out until your body is in a nice straight line. Hold that position, make it harder by rolling the chair back and forth with your forearms
Hour 4- pushups. you can do the pushups on the floor, hands on your desk, hands on the wall, knees on the floor, hands on your chair, any option will do.
Hour 5- Push back/walk in. This is mainly where the wheels on the chair come in. Place your hands on the edge of your desk, hands shoulder width apart, explosively press backwards (if you are on carpet, don’t push quite as hard if you are on hardwood floors). Next, you will dig your heels into the ground and walk yourself back to your desk. Great hamstring workout.
Hour 6- High knees. Run or march in place getting your knees up as high as possible.
Hour 7- Reaches. Feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, lift your right heel, pivot, and reach your right arm across your body to the left side, repeat with your left arm. Make sure to pivot each time, letting your belly button lead you to the side. Make it more challenging by holding a lower squat.
Hour 8- Basketball shots. Knees slightly bent, feet shoulder width apart, we will start with the right hand being the “shooting” hand. You will pivot and step to your left, reach out with both hands, and grab the invisible ball, step and pivot back, then shoot the invisible basketball. If you have ever seen a 3 point competition, that is what you are mimicking. Alternate the shooting hands each minute, so both sides will each get 2 sets in. If you want to make it a little more interesting, this is a great way to get rid of all the balled up papers and trash around your desk.
This will net you 32 minutes of exercise every day at your desk. You can start working in crazy stuff like foam rolling, stretching, yoga, etc… later on after you fully break your co-workers in. You will find that you are more productive, energetic, and will more than likely reduce a lot of your back pain due to the decreased amount of sitting.
Have you ever heard of the Warrior Dash? It is basically a 5K with obstacles, mud, and fire. It is the most fun I have ever had in a race. A bunch of us from boot camp did the one in Tennessee last year and had a ball.
Boot camp will help you get ready for sure, but now there is a new workout designed specifically to help you dominate that course!
This is a new class that will start Saturday August 11th at 8am. It will be every Saturday for 8 weeks leading up to the Warrior Dash in Warrior, AL (Warrior is near Cullman in case you haven’t heard of it) on October 6th.
5K training is pretty popular now, but no one else is offering Warrior Dash Training in this area and space is limited so sign up today!
Go here to register —>Warrior Training
You will experience:
-Obstacles course training
-Total body strengthening
-Cardio training designed to mimic the rigors of the Warrior Dash
-Mental preparation to give you the confidence to dominate any obstacle
This is a co-ed class as well, so you and your significant other can train together. The class will meet at Shelton Park in Madison and will get you ready to conquer the race. Or maybe you are just looking for some “outside the box” workouts to get you stronger, faster, and shedding fat on a Saturday morning. Either way, you will benefit from this unique class.
If you haven’t signed up for the Warrior Dash yet, use Coupon Code 12WDNTL01 by August 2nd to get a discount.
Hamster High Jump is all new to the 2012 Olympic Games in London
The 2012 Summer Olympics start today! Since I am such a big fan of the Summer Games, I came up with an Olympic theme workout for you to do around the house or at the gym.
Here’s something you might find handy if you just started exercising or decided to pick it up a notch in your current program. My patented soreness solutions. (patent pending) This is also stuff you can do to try and cut some of the soreness off at the pass. Whatever that means.
The good news about being sore? It means you are making progress! The bad news? It is no fun. So here are a few ways to alleviate some soreness:
Drink water-The trainer’s answer to everything. It does help to get rid of the toxins (like lactic acid) that are causing you to be so sore by flushing them out of your system.
Exercise-Kind of like the hair of the dog treatment for hangovers. Not that anybody in the camp is at risk for one of those, but you fight what caused your agony with more of the same. Exercise gets the blood moving and helps to work out the stiffness and soreness in much the same way that water does. If you aren’t coming to camp tomorrow, at least move around a little bit and do some stretching. Trust me, the worst thing you can do is sit around and do nothing.
Recovery shower-Also called the contrast shower. You alternate 60 seconds of hot water with 60 seconds of cold water. It causes your blood vessels to constrict and dilate, which makes the blood vessels squeeze the toxins out. I feel like a million bucks after I take one of these, but my wife makes fun of me and thinks I am crazy. If you want to try one, do about 4 rounds of hot, 4 rounds of cold, and make sure to concentrate the shower spray on the most sore areas. My biggest problem is taking a shower for 8 minutes, instead of the 3 I’m used to. Being bald has its advantages.
Dixie cupsicle massage-If you have any paper Dixie cups, fill a few up with water and freeze them tonight. When you wake up and you are speaking in tongues and wishing you had never heard of me and my stupid boot camp you can use them. Massage the frozen cup on your aching muscles and just peel away the cup as it melts. This can be a little messy, so just be ready.
Epsom salt bath- Since I don’t take baths, I don’t know about this one first hand. Some of the trainers I have worked with swear by this one though. Just spread the salts out evenly, let the water get hot, soak yourself until you are medium well.
Post workout nutrition-This is the time you HAVE to take advantage of. As soon as possible (ideally within 30 minutes) after you complete your workout you need to take in a high quality protein and some fast burning carbs (bananas, oatmeal, etc…) The ideal ratio would be 2 parts carbohydrates and one part protein. If you are going straight to work or somewhere you don’t have time for a meal, a protein shake is an excellent option. I use a high quality protein made by Isagenix for my shakes. Just add 8 ounces of water to a shaker cup, throw in the powder, shake it up, and you are ready to roll. I will also add some blueberries and/or some almond butter in there if I need an extra boost.
Foam rolling-A foam roller is what some people call a poor man’s sports massage. It is a piece of dense foam, that you roll over sore muscles to help break up lactic acid and scar tissue, which will help improve your tissue quality.