Strength training

New Fitness Reviews - Dolph Lundgren's Fitness Autobiography & Theraband CLX Loops

Train Like An Action Hero - Be Fit Forever

Dolph Lundgren: Train Like an Action Hero - Be Fit Forever—his autobiographical training guide—is out in a brand new edition, featuring weekly training programs with photos of each exercise, menu planners, guides to equipment and gear, stories from his life, and fantastic photos from behind the scenes of Hollywood action movies.

I have always liked Dolph Lundgren, from his debut as Rocky's opponent, his dating Grace Slick, and his current projects as writer and director. He is an academic (always close to my heart), a Fulbright scholar with a Master's in Chemical Engineering, served in the military as an officer, and is an internationally renowned black belt karate champion. Now, at 60, Lundgren has revamped his book for his peers, the older generation.

"[Y]ou are the star of your own life. Play it well and enjoy the movie."

DOLPH’S SPECIAL TIPS:
1. Briefing: The reasons you need to get fit
2. Mission: Personal training and health philosophy
3. Weaponry: How to best combine strength exercises, cardiovascular, and flexibility training
4. Special Ops: Stick to your goals even while away traveling
5. Fuel and supplies: The best foods and supplements to build your body
6. Fit forever: Stay in shape for the rest of your life!

Like Joseph Pilates, Lundgren was a sick child, with croup, asthma, and allergies. He also was bullied, and part of his fitness journey was simply being able to breathe. His father was bipolar (like my mom) and abusive. Lundgren was sent to live with his grandparents in the country, and that is probably what saved his life.

Lundgren promotes a holistic approach that includes strength training, cardio, stretching, and relaxation. He suggests meditation, breath work, and even legs up the wall! The workouts are pretty basic - a back body day (pull), front body day (push), and arm/shoulder day, and then a full body circuit workout for when you don't have time to separate parts.

Most of the exercises are gym and equipment-based, so if you want bodyweight-only exercises, this is not the book for you. My biggest issue with his approach to fitness is the classic, No Pain, No Gain mentality. He even asks readers to compare their measurements to the classic body builder Steve Reeves!

All in all, Train Like An Action Hero is worth it for the photos, the basic information, and Dolph Lundgren's stories. And the information he gives is sound and useful.

2018-03-06 06.25.29.jpg

Theraband CLX Consecutive Loop Bands

I LOVE the new Theraband CLX Consecutive Loops! My Black loop is arranged around Dolph Lundgren's book in the above photo. These bands are so useful, and are the first resistance bands I have tried that I believe really could replace weights.

Yes, you heard me, the CLX bands can actually replace weights for FASTer Way To Fat Loss or even Dolph Lundgren's workouts!

They come in 6 levels, ranging from Beginner to Elite, and are created with unique reinforced loops that give the user greater control and freedom when using the bands. The resistance levels pretty much match the standard Therabands.

But it is the loops that make the difference! The 5' band has loops built into it every few inches, and each loop can fit a hand, foot, arm, or leg. You can work many things at once! If you have a door anchor, you can literally do any resistance cable exercise. Want a longer band? They sell a 25' roll!

I used my black one for a strength training session a few days ago, and was able to do resistance squats, lunges, chest and shoulders, and all arm work, And then I was able to lay down and use it for hip and glute work. The bands are strong and it just really works!

The best part is TheraBand’s free CLX Exercise App, which guides you through a ton of different exercises, showing exactly where to place your hands and feet. With the CLX being as small and light as any resistance band, now there’s no excuse for skipping a workout! You can carry a few for different exercises.

Why Women Should Think About Lifting Weights

weights-646497_1280.jpg

Why women should think about lifting weights

(a sponsored post)

Lifting weights can often fell like a male dominated activity. We still tend to associate the weight area of a gym with the large bodybuilders who are trying to bulk up and get as muscly as possible. But what about for the average woman – should we all be hitting the weights?

Weight lifting can be daunting and women often ignore it as part of their exercise regime. You always hear stories like, ‘lifting makes women bulky,’ or ‘it’s bad for your joints.’ The reality is these are all silly stereotypes that are keeping too many women from experiencing the profound benefits of resistance training.

When you sit down to list your fitness objectives, you may be surprised to learn that that strength training will not only help you reach them, but may reach them faster than performing cardio exercise alone. There are plenty of fitness blogs out there that will all talk about the benefits of lifting weights. Sites like Fitness Drum who use personal trainers to offer insights and advice all discuss the importance of lifting weights for anyone looking to get healthier.

Cardio workouts will always form the foundation of any fitness plan however lifting weights is the perfect way to progress and help you become fitter and healthier.

Although many people consider weightlifting only a means to add size, when contrasted head-to-head against cardiovascular exercise, resistance training comes out on top in the battle to burn calories. A HIIT programme combining some type of weight lifting will really help you burn calories.

There is also some added advantages to lifting weights. After a session of strength training, you continue to consume additional oxygen in the hours and even days that follow. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. When your body uses more oxygen, it requires more caloric expenditure and an increased metabolic rate. In essence, your body is still working hard when you’re not exercising.

Lifting weights will also help in everyday life. Being that little bit stronger will make those daily tasks seem so much easier. Carrying those shopping bags no longer has to be a struggle. Opening that jar of sauce no longer has to be a struggle.

Strength training greatly improves sleep quality, aiding in your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake less often during the night. A study published in the International SportMed Journal suggests that morning resistance training or high intensity training greatly affects the quality of sleep and lengthens the time of sleep the night after training. Strength training is also strongly associated with improved heart disease.

To get these kind of benefits you don’t need to be lifting really heavy weight every day. Any personal trainer or fitness instructor can design a program that will help you achieve these benefits. Start off just lifting very light weights once a week and slowly progress at your own pace – you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve!

Fitness Falsehoods, Celebrity Edition

Muscle_posterior_labeled.png

Fitness Falsehoods Abound In the World of A-List Celebrities

If you think that regular folks like us have issues with our bodies and fitness, you have only part of the story.

Just when I thought I had heard all of the brain-exploding double speak and craziness in the fitness world, one of my pilates clients pointed me in the direction of the latest "Spring Break Edition" Goop newsletter, courtesy of the lovely and talented actress, Gwyneth Paltrow. This issue features an interview with her uncertified fitness trainer, Tracy Anderson.

"Lynda, you have got to read this week's Goop. Seriously, Tracy talks about puréed food as being pre-digested. You'll love it!"

Here are just a few of the myths I found in this interview.

1. Crash Diets Are Fine - IF You Also Workout Every Day

Q. We know crash dieting isn't ideal, but is there a safe and effective way to speed up the loss of 5-10 pounds?

A. Of course there is, but I'm not a fan of this, as I really want people to learn how to plan. Everything you choose to put your body through has a direct impact on your health, appearance, and mental function. For example, I do not advocate people juicing to drop a quick five pounds if they cannot yet show up regularly for their workouts. Otherwise, you will lose five pounds and then gain eight to 10 pounds back the next week. [I bolded that.]

So drastically reducing calories and food consumption is only OK if you also exercise? There is NO EVIDENCE that exercising while fasting or juicing will help keep that weight off once you start eating again.

FACT: You are better off eating a balanced diet, exercising, and slowly losing the weight (1-2 pounds per week) in a way that is maintainable.

2. Puréed Food Is Pre-Digested and Helps Weight Loss

I created a pureed menu years ago as an alternative to juicing so that people could have access to more nutrient-dense, freshly-made foods that are pre-digested but still fiber-filled. Pre-digested food slows the digestive process without stopping it.

This is the infamous "Baby Food Diet" that was floating around a few years ago. Puréed food is easier to digest (that's why we give it to babies), but is not "pre-digested".

FACT: Frankly, vomit is pre-digested food. We have all watched momma birds go off, eat food, and return to the nest to vomit the pre-digested food into their babies' mouths. I will just leave that for you to think about.

Adults should eat whole foods, unless they are sick.

3. You Are NOT OK Just The Way You Are

If something is out-of-balance with my health or in my body, I don't believe in embracing it—I believe in fixing it. This is a tough conversation for all of us to have with ourselves, and a hard middle ground to find: It's easy to alternate between wanting to accept ourselves as we are, full stop, and then becoming obsessive, or seeing this as an exercise in vanity.

Somehow, this idea that we can fix obesity, illness, and other imbalances in our bodies simply through good old hard work is still floating around. This view ignores other important factors, such as endocrine (hormonal) imbalances and environmental and emotional factors.

FACT: Negative judgment promotes negative body image and self image. It does not promote a healthy body weight and fitness level. Love yourself!

4. Traditional Functional Strength Training Promotes Imbalance

The brain maps muscle movements, which means that muscles get very smart, very quickly. Performing new patterns that have the same outcome but different ways of getting there is powerful. Performing new patterns of movements that all have different outcomes is messy. Performing the same patterns while adding weight leaves room for weaknesses and builds strength in an unbalanced way.

First of all, muscles don't get smart. The brain controls muscles, and I am not sure what "mapping" means in this context. In fact, this entire paragraph is meaningless.

FACT: Functional training prepares the body for movements it will have to do in daily life. For example, squatting teaches you how to sit down and stand up, which is helpful for getting up and down from the toilet. Lunging helps with stairs, walking, and kneeling to pick things up. Shoulder presses help us put boxes on higher shelves, or bags in overhead compartments.

Unless you can pay people to do chores for you, functional training is key!

5. Muscle Sculpting Is More Important Than Strength

When you just lift heavy weights with your limbs as a lever against your core there is a depletion, which causes micro-tears in your muscle fibers. Training muscles by lifting heavy weight creates a cycle of repairing, rebuilding, and ultimately, muscle growth. Yes, this creates strength—but in isolation, and in a compartmentalized way. I pair certain resistances with certain movements for certain people very carefully—after all, our muscles are tools to create incredible art with our bodies.

This makes me feel like how I look is more important than how I function. And that is just plainly false! This also equates lifting heavy weights to getting bigger, which for the majority of women is just plain wrong. Finally, the idea that we can spot-tone has been debunked time and time again over the past 30 years.

FACT: Lifting heavy weights will not make women larger. Lifting heavy weights will strengthen your muscles and your bones. Muscle is denser than fat, so it takes up a lot less space. And bone and muscle strength is crucial for avoiding osteoporosis and joint degeneration.

Lift heavy and focus on form!

 

 

Review - The Firm Zip Trainer

thefirmziptrainer.jpg

My Review of The Firm Zip Trainer

The Firm Zip Trainer is a good exercise tool. I wish the videos were better.

3/5 Stars

I am not quite sure how the Firm videos have been so popular for so long. This is the second firm equipment/video set I have received, and both had really badly done videos.

The workouts are quick and the instructors are way too perky. The instructors are good, and I suppose motivating for some people, but I don't do well with people who are way too happy and perky.

The Firm Zip Trainer is a ball made of high density foam that unzips to act as a "Step" and balance trainer, and holds a weighted ball in the center. The Zip Trainer alone weighs around 5 pounds, and it comes with a 3 pound ball that can be used separately, or placed in the center of the Zip trainer to add more weight (a 7 pound ball is sold separately).

The Zip trainer can be used like a large medicine ball, held, pressed, stretched on, stepped on, and balanced on.

the firm zip trainer

I love the Zip trainer itself, and have actually incorporated it into my Pilates mat workouts, like a weighted magic circle. I use it to add challenge to my bridging, planking, and ab exercises.

Regarding the videos, you do get a decent number of workouts, but I find the Firm workouts to be too fast and friendly for me.

If you exercise at home and are looking for an inexpensive tool to give you a bit more variety and resistance, this a great tool. If you already love the Firm workouts, you will also love these.

Shoulder Bridge Helps Ease Back Pain

Posterior_Hip_Muscles_3.png

The shoulder bridge is a highly effective exercise to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, abs, and back muscles. Add the shoulder bridge and any of its variations to your exercise routine and you will see improvements in your back strength and alleviation of back pain quickly.

The shoulder bridge shows up many times in pilates, yoga, and strength training. There is a reason why it is so popular - bridging is effective.

This video will take you through basic and advanced bridging exercises. Enjoy!

httpv://youtu.be/HWby-jYUa5I

Practicing Pilates

LyndaOpenLegRocker.jpg

Practicing Pilates is like practicing anything. The more you do it, the better it gets!

The word practice is an interesting one. Somehow in our culture we tend to think of practicing as something that comes before, to get you ready for the real thing.

You practice until you get it right.

But we use the word for some pretty important things.

Doctors practice medicine, dentists practice dentistry, and engineers practice engineering. Do they ever get it right? Does the practice ever end?

I would say no, practice should never end. There is always more to feel, find, understand, and practice.

Practicing Pilates is similar. Some days Pilates is easy and some days not so much.

Some days I can find a nuance of an exercise that changes everything, and then I am off practicing again.

Some days the workout flows and I feel like practicing Pilates has paid off, and other days not so much.

How about you? Do you have any things that you practice? And are you happy practicing, or do you feel the need to get it right?