Categorized as: Fitness

Do I need a fitness tracker?

 

           Fitness tracking is not new!  ‘Back in the day’ there were books you could buy that supplied programs (for running, weightlifting, cycling, etc) and gave you charts to track your progress… with a pen!!!  But as we moved out of the era of the chisel and stone and into the 2010+ years, fitness everything can be tracked with the touch of a button, or even by just walking with a watch on your wrist.  What do you actually need to follow, or track, when it comes to personal exercise? Why is it important… or not?

           Consistency is the key to your exercise program.  Good days, bad days and in-between days are all important for you to show up and do something!  Tracking your activity/intensity level is another way to keep that consistency going. This just isn’t for fat loss but also for strength training.   

           Some people just track ‘steps’, and if they workout in a gym that day it usually helps increase their step number.  This is your base level of tracking but should not be discounted; hit your numbers every day and see results! Remember this will give you results for your aerobic exercise.  

DO MORE THAN JUST RECORD YOUR STEPS:

 

           But those ‘steps’ are just one piece of the puzzle… how hard did you workout that day?  A heart rate monitor combined with a step, or kms, tracker will also show you how many calories you are ripping through when you are doing a heavy sweat.  The HARDER you work, or the longer the duration, the more you burn fat! So, whether it is steady state, intensity intervals or even group fitness, the heart rate monitor will reflect what you are burning.  This calorie count, along with your step count will give you some very satisfying numbers to add to your daily life.  Blazing through 750 calories and 8,000 steps is a solid justification for that glass of wine!  (life is about balance people!)

          Working with a certified personal trainer is the ultimate fitness tracker!!!  This is a person who goes through all your peaks and valleys with you and they see the progress.  Your fitness coach will know your initial struggles and the victories that you have had along the way.  There should be a fitness assessment and record of your initial fitness values. Whether is range of motion, cardio, or strength you will know ‘where you came from’ when it comes to working in the fitness centre.  If you are in Vancouver and looking for personal training please stop by our fitness facility if you want your progress charted!

         Fitness tracking is here to stay!  There is not a bike ride I go on without tracking my km’s, my average speed, and even the wattage I am pushing into the pedals.  There is not a workout that my personal trainers haven’t designed for my needs and goals. I’m addicted to the numbers and if you are into fitness you should be too!  It will keep you honest and give you the consistency you need to keep progressing. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Getting better!

Rest and Recovery

STOP WORKING OUT!! Yes you! You over-caffeinated, push-yourself-to-the-limit, closet A-type personality, fitness disaster-in-waiting. Stop it! Is this a weird thing for a personal trainer to say? Not really, and here’s why. We all love to push ourselves to the limit, in life and in fitness. But we seem to forget about the maintenance that goes along with the thrill of pushing it to the edge. This is the equivalent of taking an extremely expensive race car and racing it without a pit-stop. They do it for a car, but we can’t do it for our own bodies? Pushing yourself to the limit every day without upkeep is going to lead to injury. Period. Maybe not tomorrow, the next day, or even a year from now… but that major, or nagging, injury will come to haunt you. Unless you are one of those freak individuals (you’re not) who never seems to get injured, the Ghost of Fitness Past can stick around for a long time. So stop ripping the race car around the track and pull into ‘pit-lane’ for a tune-up. Here’s how:

Periodized Training: Have a plan and chart your plan. Recovery is important… PUT IT INTO YOUR PLAN! Your periodization should:

1. Progress things harder every week… gradually (how this is done is a 10 page article on its own) .

2. Have on ‘off week’ every four-five weeks. This off week is goal dependent, of course, and does not mean you do nothing. It just means you dial it back a notch. After this down week is over you progress through another 4 hard weeks again — just slightly more intense this time.

3. Have recovery days as well as hard training days put into your plan every week. I have put some suggestions below (yoga, massage, foam rolling) in regards to what I mean by a recovery day.

Yoga (stretch): Plan these days as part of your periodization. Can yoga be a training day? Why not?? If you are so OCD that you can’t take a rest day, then go to a yoga class. This will not only force you to stretch, but actually breathe and slow down for an hour.

Massage: The only Canadian Cyclist to ever win a cycling grand tour, Ryder Hesjedal, randomly thanked the team’s massage therapist twice in his post-race speech after winning the Giro d’Italia. That says it all right there regarding massage… go get one! I give you permission. You need it and deserve it!

Foam Rolling: The poor man’s massage. Buy a foam roller and google what to do with it. Use it pre-workout or post. It’ll hurt but you’ll love it after! (note to you A-types… you have to relax into it) Check out Gui Spiteri’s foam rolling article coming next week.

Cross-training:  Cycle,cycle, cycle; run, run, run; and lift, lift, lift. We do what we like and we keep doing what we like. Your body needs change. Not only to keep from overtraining (a very nasty word, this one) but to shock the body and progress. It also gives those overused, beat-down fibers a chance to rally because you are using them in a different way. After several months of doing your favorite sport/training, switch to something new for a short period. Cycling season is over and you still have the itch? Go hit the Grouse Grind… that’ll scratch that for you!

Sleep and recover: There is a reason that major sports teams chart all their players’ sleep patterns: the studies on recovery and performance have been backed up a million times. So you’ve done three awesome workouts this week but you are only getting six hours sleep a night? Well, we all know that isn’t enough. Your results will not progress and quite possibly will regress. Your ride time up Cypress isn’t improving but you’re training hills like a dog? Check your recovery and sleep times.

At the end of day it comes down to balancing the fine line of fitness and living the rest of your life without injury. If you choose to be the manic fitness person and just ignore the preservation of your body it will catch up with you. Honestly, this is the hardest advice to follow. It seems tough to do, but personally I try to get to my yoga on Fridays here at Rep1 and I get a massage bi weekly (schedule permitting).  Schedule the time and stick to it… your body will thank you with the results.

How To Do Chin Ups

The Why and How of Proper Chin Ups

There is nothing more impressive in a gym than a person who can rip off perfect chin ups and make it look easy. If you have spent time in a fitness facility it is something we have all struggled with at one point. The jealousy of someone who can have great form and do over 10 chin ups is something we have all known. How did that guy, or girl, make doing chin ups look so easy?? How do I do that myself? Why should I do that? Well, here’s your explanation and here’s your plan. Stick to this program and not only see your strength go up but your waistline go down!

Why you should do them:

-Chin ups are a compound exercise: more than one joint is moving and therefore it uses lots of muscles… which equals more bang for your buck! This exercise targets the latissimus dorsi muscles of your back, but also involves a number of muscles in your arms, shoulders and chest, including your posterior deltoids, triceps, biceps and lower and middle trapezius.

-They are extremely convenient and are one of the most simple (but hard) exercises to do. You also reach your max very quickly, meaning they can be used in a superset and allow you to save time.

-Fat loss: Lots of muscles involved does mean that you will burn more calories in a shorter amount of time: they increase your basal metabolic rate (you burn even more fat even when you are sleeping).

-They are one the best core exercises around as your abs are fighting the pull of your lats to keep your rib cage from flying off your chest. It is not rare to have sore abs for days after a chin up work out

Technique:

Grab a straight bar, get your feet off the floor, and lift yourself up. Don’t over think it, just do it!

There are few rules though:

1: if you are kipping, it is not a chin up

2: if you are not fully extending your arms, it is not a chin up (except if you have an injury, but then, maybe chin ups are not for you)

3: if your clavicle doesn’t touch the bar, it is not a chin up

4: if you move your legs, it is not a chin up either (you can bend your knee at the starting point, but the leg position should not change throughout the exercise)

Program: 10 chinups in 6 weeks

To follow this program you need to be able to do at least 3 chin ups. Here is how the program works, first you will be doing THREE chin ups, rest (or work on something else -hint, hint: superset), then go on to the next set: TWO chin ups, rest, then ONE chinup, rest and finally ONE chin up. On the following day, you are going to add one rep in the following manner:

Week 1

Day 1: 3-2-1-1

Day 2: 3-2-1-1

Day 3: 3-2-2-1

Day 4: 3-3-2-1

Day 5: 4-3-2-1

Day 6: off

Day 7: off

Week 2:

Day 1: 4-3-2-1-1

Day 2: 4-3-2-1-1

Day 3: 4-3-2-2-1

Day 4: 4-3-3-2-1

Day 5: 4-4-3-2-1

Day 6: off

Day 7: off

Week 3:

Day 1: 5-4-3-2-1

Day 2: 5-4-3-2-2

Day 3: 5-4-3-3-2

Day 4: 5-4-4-3-2

Day 5: 5-5-4-3-2

Day 6: off

Day 7: off

Week 4:

Day 1: 6-5-4-3-2

Day 2: 6-5-4-3-3

Day 3: 6-5-4-4-3

Day 4: 6-5-5-4-3

Day 5: 6-6-5-4-3

Day 6: off

Day 7: off

Week 5:

Day 1: 7-6-5-4-3

Day 2: 7-6-5-4-4

Day 3: 7-6-5-5-4

Day 4: 7-6-6-5-4

Day 5: 7-7-6-5-4

Day 6: off

Day 7: off

Week 6:

Day 1: 8-7-6-5-4

Day 2: 8-7-6-5-5

Day 3: 8-7-6-6-5

Day 4: 8-7-7-6-5

Day 5: 8-8-7-6-5

Day 6: off

Day 7: off

Test yourself at the end of the week 6, and VOILA you should now be able to do 10 chin ups.

What if you can’t do 3 chin ups?

If you are not currently able to do one pull up, here are a list of exercises you can do:

Lat pull down:

the easiest one, make sure to train the grip that you will be using for the chin up.

Do 5 sets of 5 reps with the maximum weight you can use with proper form.

Negative pull ups:

use a chair, a bench or jump to the top position, slowly lower yourself, the descent should take 10seconds, then repeat 5 times

ISO hold:

use a chair, a bench or jump to the top position, hold for 10 seconds, rest for 90 seconds then repeat 5 times. I personally like this exercise better than the negative pull ups.

Band: use a pull up band to assist you in doing pull ups. You can use the same program described in this article with the band

So you can do 10 chin ups, now what?

Side to side pull ups:

if you are able to do 10 chin ups, try the side to side chin ups:

pull yourself up, then pull yourself to one side and switch. Do 3-5 sets of 5-8 reps

Weighted chin ups:

simply hold a weight with your feet or a dip belt and do 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps

One arm braced on the side:

progression toward the single arm chin. Hold the bar with one hand, and use the other hand to stabilize yourself in the door frame or the squat rack

Single hand chin-up:

grab the bar with one hand and lift yourself up 🙂

21 Chins:

Lift yourself up, then lower yourself halfway down, and repeat 7 times. After the 7th rep, lower yourself all the way down and lift yourself halfway up, repeat 7 times. When you finish the seventh rep, you do 7 full range-of-motion chins. I don’t think there is anything special about the number 7, it is probably just gym tradition, but it burns so it must be good!

Challenge:

Who will be the first person doing a set of 21 and sending us a video as proof? The first person to do so will get a high 5 from me, and a huge amount of respect from the Rep1 team!

Hockey, Football, Mountain biking, Etc…

OK….September is here!  We are all back to our busy schedules and fitness routines, hopefully we have kept up our training, or, at the very least stayed active on our summer holidays.  Thankfully I have kept up with my “in gym” training sessions, my shoulder is feeling great and I’m back playing hockey and football while continuing to mountain bike.  Now, there is nothing like on field and on ice training, but my “still” 41 year old body has managed to make it through a weekend of all three activities, which, in part, I credit to my work in the gym.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still sore, but at least I’m not broken and was able to get out and enjoy this incredible view!

Wedding Plans… Laura Odegaard

Laura had tons of things on her plate leading up to her wedding… including getting her masters!  But she did a strong push in her workouts leading up the big day and the results paid off; as you can see by the photos.  Laura rocks her workouts Monday nights with her sister Brooke (in one of the photos) and both are usually entertaining the whole gym with their humor.  Laura remembered her posture for the photos (so proud)!!!  Excellent!!  The Rep1 crew is happy for you Mrs. Odegaard!

Laura_WeddingLaura_Wedding_3

Future Cat1 Racer

This has been an amazing summer for my kids, not only has the weather been fantastic for them to be outside all day but my daughter has learned to ride her bike. My daughter, “Kitty” watches her brother, “Jackson”, get on his bike everyday and rip around. She is so envious of him. I tried to teach her to ride but it usually ended in some form of an argument. We decided to put her in bike camp to teach her how to ride properly. After her first day at camp, I went to pick her up all I could see what this huge smile across her face. She was so excited that she could ride her bike and could keep up with her brother!!

Everyday I get home from work now we are out riding!! How awesome is that… Look out here comes the future in bike racing.

Click on the link below to see Kitty riding her bike.

A Bigger Shadow

A bigger shadow of my former self went up Cypress mountain yesterday.  My legs have been in a funk for over a year and every time I road on them they just hurt.  Period.  Yesterday was the first time in a long time where they haven’t ‘hurt’!!!  But man am I slow… I think the legs are recovered but now the long road to peak physical condition begins again!  My goal is to get back to being someone to look out for at the front of the peloton… not someone falling off the back.  A structured plan is the only way to do this.  Finish the summer building up some power for the track season… race track and do some seriously long rides this winter.  Yes, embarrassing as it is… I’m training for next year!! Ha!!  See you on the road!

Sunday Morning Ride

I do have to say that one of the great things about being a personal trainer is that you get used to getting up early. On Sunday mornings when most are still a sleep my alarm rings at 4:45 am. Yes you read it correctly 4:45, I am on the rode by 5:30 and it is one of the most rewarding things for me to do, why you ask? Well, there is not very many cars on the road and it is peaceful. This weekend I was out for a couple hrs, and I took this photo in Deep Cove. It was pretty amazing!