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Over the next few blogs we will be having a look at energy systems, which are fundamental to how we work, move, generate and use energy. It also has a direct bearing on how we burn fat, get fitter and become more efficient, all pertinent questions if you are a personal trainer or someone who wants to be fitter and/or thinner.
The human body, although massively complex and still not fully understood is in essence a machine. Our bodies, like any other machine, require energy to function; we need it to create locomotion or movement, produce force against objects, generate heat and to grow or repair tissue. This energy comes from one place, a substance called adensonine triphosphate or ATP. The food we eat and certain drinks we drink is converted into ATP, and the more aerobic exercise we do the more efficient and faster we become at breaking down our food nutritients. During activity we use up this very limited store of ATP, and we then have 3 different energy systems that regenerate it for use in our cells. These energy systens are
It is important to realise that these systems work together at all times (there is not a point at which we switch from one to another), but one system is dominant deoending on the level of effort required physically. The systems trade off endurance for power, so one will be good at powerful movements but has a very limited endurance, the other will be good at doing something for a long time but only sat a lower level of exertion. A good example of these energy systems are the following sports:
This is easier to think about if you imagine us as a clever hybrid car. Instead of 2 energy systems (petrol and electricity) we have three, one for slower longer lasting exertion, the next one for middle effort but not lasting so long, the last one is like rocket fuel but lasts for a very limited period of time.
In the next blog we will look at the rocket fuel systen, the creatine phosphate system.
If your child has an imaginary friend, don’t worry. It may be a good thing, says child psychologist Evan Kidd of La Trobe University in Australia. In a study of 44 children between the ages of four and six, some of whom had imaginary friends and some of whom did not, those who did were found to be significantly better at communicating when describing pictures in a book. It was not clear whether their fictitious friendships helped them develop communication skills, or if there was another explanation for the link. But it’s thought that the former is possible, as a pretend relationship makes the child imagine that they are someone other than themselves.
Eating fish may be good for the brain but it’s also good for the eyesight, reported the Telegraph last week. A recent survey of 3000 volunteers found those that favoured a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids found in fish were 25% less likely to have developed macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in old people. Previous research has shown that fatty acids may protect the eyes by reducing inflammation, thus preventing the formation of new blood vessels and potentially limiting the damage that oxygen can cause to the cells in the retina.
The scientists are saying that no one wants a killers heart. A third of transplant patients believe that they inherit personality traits from a transplanted organ, and they they have taken on their donors’ memories and experiences. The findings form professor Bruce Hood indicate that the tendency to confer emotional value to objects is hardwired into the human psyche, and that even the most rational of us can be superstitious. This is supported by the findings that most people would be strongly opposed to getting the heart of a murderer.
So don’t let it get that far, by making sure that you are taking care of the only properly firring ticker that you have. If you can’t do some exercise and eat reasonably well on your own then a personal trainer from Diets Don’t Work could be the way forward…
Vitamin D, the so called sunshine drug, has a powerful effect on human health. It has been shown to cut the incidence of breast and bowel cancer, it strengthens the bones, protects against heart diseasr and there is new evidence that it can significantly improve the relapse rate in patients suffering from multiple scleroses. But since this essential nutrient is made from the action of sunlight on the skin, the residents of gloomier northern climes become deficient in the winter. Taking vitamin D supplements can help, but the most effective remedy is to spend more time in the sun without wearing sunscreen. Research has shown that the skin produces 10,000 international units of vitamin D in response to 20 to 30 minutes of sumer time sun exposure. By contrast the daily dose of vitamin D supplements from synthetic sources is 400 IU, and any more of this synthetic orally digested vitamin D risks kidney damage. As usual with most scientific advice there looms a conflict of interest…..with rates of skin cancer reaching record levels experts are cautious of advising people to go out into the midday sun with no sunscreen, but even they acknowledge that limited exposure is beneficial.
“Obviously vitamin D is important for health< but the amount you need for sun is less than that that will tan or burn” says Ed Young of Cancer Research UK. “We know that casual exposure is enough for vitamin d production and recommend 10 to 15 minutes a day”
As with nearly all health warnings, nutritional advice and exercise prescription the laws of common sense apply here. As personal trainers we try to preach and adhere to a regime of moderation in all things, and this case is no exception to the rule. So just as it’s probably not the best sense to avoid all sunlight and be constantly plastered in factor 100, similarly it’s not a great idea to sit out with the frying oil on at midday in Oman. So be sensible, moderate, and above all have fun!
For the past few blogs I have looked at the benefits and history of kettlebell training, but what’s it really like? Having initially seen people doing it in gyms and thinking “that does not look that difficult” I was surprised in our training session at Premier Global how quickly the heart rate goes up. The dynamism and effort that goes into just a standard kettlebell throw is quite something and after a few goes even supposedly super fit personal trainer was pretty breathless. When combined with other more complex throws and put into a circuit format it soon became clear that the bells are REALLY hard work, and effective in challenging the muscles as well as the cardio-vascular system. It also feels quite powerful, so when you are throwing the bell it feels like a very functional movement, and the bells make you use the larger more powerful muscles in the posterior chain to generate momentum. I have now introduced many of the kettlebell moves to my personal trainer clients, all of whom are really liking it. A couple took a little time to get the hang of it, and like many of the personal trainers that attended the course with me had problems letting go of control (which is what we should be using in conventional resistance training) and allowing momentum to work. However with a bit of time and practice it came and even the fitter of my clients are getting thoroughly challenging by them. Even Wendy in Egham who does not seem to sweat has been really worked by the circuits that we are doing. There may be an issure with maintaining a neutral spine while doing the throws, as a heavier bell can encourage clients to bent over at the waist, but with the correct weight of bell to learn with, good demos and supervision at first it’s really no problem.
I have also used the bells in a few workouts of my own, and have come out of them feeling really fit, tight and strong, if that makes sense. The Kettlebells also have the benefit of being easily transportable, they are really versatile, and there are no bits to screw on of off. Lots of other people at the gym also give you queer looks and are curious as to what you are doing, which will appeal to the frustrated rock stars out there. So give it a try!