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Not really a fitness related or personal training blog today, just something i read in the papers that was interesting. This information might also come in handy if you should find yourself faced with one and are not fit enough to run away.
There are few things in nature than a sex crazed elephant. When a male goes into “musth” his testosterone levels will soar and he will attack any human who gets in his way. Domesticated elephants in India are often starved until the madness passes, but scientists in the Estosha national Park in Namibia have developed a more humane method of control, says BBC online. After recording the low rumbling call of a female in heat, they use it to influence the direction of males on the rampage. This noise is almost inaudible to humans, but elephants can sense it from miles away by feeling the vibrations in their legs and by laying their trunks on the ground. When the team from Stanford University buried speakers in the earth and played the recorded sound the response of males was “intense and directed”. The technique could be used to steer dangerous elephants away from villagers.
Many people doing resistance training focus most on lifting heavier weights and feel that it’s vitally important to push to failure, or until you can’t do any more weight or push it up one more time. This training to failure has it’s place, but what’s more important, especially for the ladies doing weights in their personal training sessions (that’s all of them then) is volume of work. Volume is the total amount of repetitions performed in a session or the total amount of weight lifted in one session (load). Some definitions include volume as the amount of work done in a week, month, or some other defined period. There is a strong relationship between volume and achieving goals.
So it’s much better to do 4 sets of squats to the point where it becomes really hard for the last few (loss of form) than to do 2 to total failure so that you can’t do any more at all, and then lose motivation or are too tired to do any more. This volume of sets is also very important in the toning and hypertrophy aspects of resistance training. Many people in the gym or class or at home do 1-2 sets of an exercise, but in effect for toning you should be doing 2 to 6 sets on a given muscle group and doing this 1-3 times a week. Within your own time frame and life balance, the more the merrier of course.
Remember to have a look at our fact sheets on all of this on the knowledge page and if you can’t do it on your own then you could always enlist the help of a personal trainer!!
There are lots of different types of resistance training, and as we home personal trainers know it’s not just about going to the gym and doing weights; resistance can be applied in lots of different ways.Over the next few blogs I’ll be looking at a few of the more common ones..
Free weights; these can be barbells, dumb-bells, or medicine balls, as well as lots of other gizmos and gadgets out there on the market. Free weights are called this because they are moved by your muscles in open chain exercises, where the weight is free to move about on the point of resistance. A good example of this would be a chest press, where you push up a pair of dumb-bells up while lying on a bench. The weights are not fixed to an immovable object (like a wall, machine or the earth) but are free to move around as you push them up. The staple of the home personal trainer, these free weights have the advantage of being proprioceptively enriched. This just means that they require a lot more co-ordination and control not just from the main muscles pushing the weight but also from the stabilisers and helpers (fixators and synergists as they are known in the trade). In this way free-weights not only challenge the muscles but also the brain and the way it communicates with the muscles, providing balanced training . This type of exercise is more functional (we do these movements in every day life) and therefore more effective for most people. The only disadvantage of free weights is that the learning curve can be quite steep, so beginners need to be monitored to ensure correct technique and form; this is why they are really good for personal training at home.
A new study today shows that starting exercise in middle age can give you the health benefits and prolonged life of someone who has been exercising from a younger age, and these benefits were as big or bigger than those gained by stopping smoking-so a lot!
Swedish researchers from Uppsala University monitored more than 2,200 men from the age of 50. They found those who increased activity levels from 50 to 60 ended up living as long as those who were already exercising regularly by middle age. Public health experts said the findings showed it was never too late to start exercising. The team asked the men about their activity levels at the start of the study in the early 1970s, when they were aged 50. The men were put into three groups – high levels of activity, moderate levels and sedentary. High levels was classed as those who did at least three hours of sports or heavy gardening each week. Moderate was said to be the equivalent of several hours of walking or cycling, while people who were classed as sedentary spent most of their free time watching TV. Their exercise habits were then reassessed at the age of 60. The team found that those who were doing high levels of activity at the age of 50 lived 2.3 years longer than sedentary men and 1.1 years longer than those who reported medium levels of activity – once a range of factors such as weight, alcohol intake and smoking was taken into account. But interestingly the researchers found that those who increased their activity level to high – whether they were in the moderate or low group – from the age of 50 to 60 also lived the longest.It was not clear what effect reducing activity levels during this period had, the British Medical Journal report said.
So yet again a new study has shown what we at Diets Don’t Work have secretly known for ages. Many (the majority in fact) of our personal training clients in London, Windsor and Ascot only start exercise when they get a personal trainer, and many of them are in their 40’s and 50’s. In fact we have many PT clients who are actually older than this, all the way up to 84! One of my own clients, GM, is 64 and can do 2 sets of push-ups, tons of squats, and has recently done a fashion photo shoot for Bruce Oldfield! and a fine plank for 2 minutes. Not only is it too late to start exercise, but the older you are the greater and more visible the gains and progress will be. For a younger person getting fit might mean losing a bit of weight, getting less breathless going up the stairs or being able to run for 20 minutes. For an older client it can be the difference between needing a helper to do the weekly shop to being fit and able to carry 6 bags up the hill and back home. It also prevents the onset of osteoporosis, prevents falls and injuries at work and at play, improves sex life (a lot) and gives mental stability and well being. In other words it can make a huge difference in quality of life. So if you lack motivation then you might just benefit from some one on one personal training, we have lots of experience with the more mature client. If you don’t believe me have a look at our success stories page; hardly any of these clients are under 40.
If you are exercising to lose weight then be aware that some sports are more suitable than others, although all exercise will help if you are eating well. New research shows that certain forms of exercise cause participants to feel more hungry than others, with the result that calories burned off are more likely to be replaced. Swimming in cold water for instance, tends to make people crave high fat foods like biscuits, while mid to low intensity exercise like walking has little or no impact on appetite. On the other side of the coin running on a hot day actually suppresses hunger. The findings, said Dr David Stensel of Loughborough University (who led the research) are related to the production of the appetite hormone ghrelin, which is suppressed by certain types of exercise at certain temperatures and stimulated by others.
“The body tends to respond to exercise so it can do it more efficiently in future” said Dr Stensel, and this helps to explain why running encourages your body to lose fat, as they will do it better next time if you have a lower body weight. Swimmers though, especially those who swim in colder water, encourage their body to keep a layer of fat as an insulator, just like a seal.
Note if you are a swimmer and swimming is the exercise that you like don’t give up, as if you eat well and swim it’s still likely that you will begin to change shape and tone up, but just try to keep it varied and include some other sports in your routine, especially resistance training, and also some outdoors jogging if you can.
This new research also validates the great success that we have at Diets Don’t Work with home personal training. As often as possible we train clients outdoors, and in winter this burns lots more calories as your body has to work harder to maintain it’s core temperature. As the weather gets warmer the outdoors personal training makes clients hot and sweaty, and so encourages their body to lose fat.
Losing your temper can be fatal says the Daily Mail. Doctors in the US have discovered that feelings of rage can triger potentially lethal irregular heart rhythms. This also ties in with other scientific findings that stress caused by major events, from the loss of a world cup to war, can also cause a rise in rates of heart attack. “when you put a whole nation under sudden stress, sudden death will increase said the research from Yale University. In the study 62 adults were fitted with defibrillators to monitor irregularities in heart rates. They were then subjected to high levels of mental stress. The tests showed a clear link between the stress and irregular heart beats. Furthermore those who got the most angry were 10 times more likely to sufer cardiac arrest in the 3 years after the test.
Again the study comes as no news to the personal trainers at Diets Don’t Work. We see the indirect and direct results of stress very day in our clients. More often than not the more successful they are the more they tend to have problems with sleep, body image, stress and eating. The good news is that the structured exercise provided by personal training coupled with healthy eating tips and all round encouragement really helped battle these stresses.
A Scottish GP has called for chocolate to be taxed in the same way as alcohol and cigarettes to tackle increasing levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Dr David Walker, a GP in Lanarkshire, said many people eat their entire daily calorie requirement in chocolate, on top of their normal meals. The doctor said chocolate used to be seen as a “treat” but had now become an harmful addiction for some. He will put his proposals to colleagues at a BMA conference in Clydebank. Dr Walker said that a 225g bag of chocolate sweets contained almost 1,200 calories – almost half the recommended daily calorie intake for a man – and could be eaten incredibly quickly. He warned that many people were consuming this amount of chocolate on a daily basis, as well as their normal meals, and were unaware of the harm it was doing.
This new proposal is unlikely to work in our humble opinion here at Diets Don’t Work. Historically making something more expensive that is perceived to be an addictive substance as stated in the article just makes it more expensive, not any less desirable. It’s a typically one sided approach; government should instead take a more balanced look at why everyone is getting more fat. Perhaps looking at the large number of schools who have no compulsory sports or PE lessons, have sold off playing fields and have an under staffing problem in the sports department are larger issues. Being fat is not just because of chocolate, but is a much more complex issue, involving lots of factors. The key is to have a balanced lifestyle with enough good nutrition and exercise to allow you to have the odd treat here and there.As personal trainers we advise clients to try and follow the 80/20 rule, so that for 80% of the time you are really good, which alows you to be less good for the other 20% of the time. We specialise in weight loss through personal training and good nutrition and it works very very well!
The second type or resistance training we will look at this week is fixed path resistance machines.Weight machines can be a good choice, especially if you’re just getting started with strength training. In fact, many beginners start out using machines because:
On the other hand, machines do have disadvantages such as:
Of course, not all weight machines are created equally and many gyms now offer a variety of machines including plate-loaded, free motion and cable machines which can offer more variety and more functional training. These types of machines often have a higher learning curve and require more skill and coordination than the average machine. Sometimes with personal training at homea combination of the two methods can be really effective, so the client would do 2 sessions at home with their personal trainer and then go to the gym or leasure centre for a session on more stable machines on their own; this allows them to do more resistance while not under expert supervision.
When it comes to strength training, most of us stick to the usual free weights and machines or, if we’re feeling adventurous, we may try the cable or free motion machines at the gym. What you don’t see a lot of is work with resistance bands or tubing. We’re often confused about what resistance bands do and how to use them, but they’re a great way to workout while you travel or add variety to your usual routine.
Some of the perceived downsides of resistance bands include:
Some of the pluses:
Many of these benefits mean that for the sort of home personal training that we do at Diets Don’t Work resistance bands are perfect. With one on one training the trainer can also manually adjust the tension during each phase of the exercise to ensure an even resistance through the full range of the movement.They are also open chain (see the free weights blog) and so challenge lots of different muscle groups
The life expectancy gap is closing according to new research in America, and husbands can expect to live as long as their wives in as little as 2 generations.Traditionally men have had a shorter life expectancy than women due to to stresses imposed by jobs in industry, soldiering and other masculine pressures; men also tended to be more resistant to health advice. But with the West broadly at peace, jobs in heavy industry in decline and more men taking better care of themselves, male life expectancy is starting to increase at a faster rate. In 1981 British men lived to an average age of 70.8 and women to 76.8, a difference of 6 years.
Now the difference is just over 4 years, with women expected to live to 81.5 and men to 77.2. Scientists in Atlanta predict that if the trend continues then the gender gap will have vanished for all people born after 2035.
Of course you can also hugely increase your chances of living longer by stopping smoking,having a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularly. One of our success stories (Nick) has seen his calculated biological age fall by 15 years over the course of 2 years of personal training with us at Diets Don’t Work. This is worked out by his yearly health check and ECG for his health insurance, it’s not just a figure that we made up!!