Sometimes it’s Good to be Rigid

Sometimes it’s Good to be Rigid
03 Oct

What Does Rigid Mean?

If you call someone rigid it means they are severe and inflexible in their thinking in some way. Like a high school teacher that sends you to detention even if you were late because you saved an old lady walking across the street from being run over.

 

When it Comes to the Human Body is Being Rigid or Flexible Better ?

When it comes to the human body we think of rigidity as a bad thing too. Or is it? Recent trends in fitness and health would lead you to think so. With a new yoga class opening up every week it seems like attaining flexibility is all the rage. How much flexibility is too much though?

While gaining mobility and being able to move your joints comfortably in their normal range of motion is good; it is actually possible to be too flexible. This is where a good strength program to supplement your mobility work comes in.

Having flexible joints but no strength in the muscles that surrounds them is not a good thing. You need to be able to use those muscles within your newly gained range of motion. Adding resistance training strengthens those muscles and can even increase bone density and strengthen connective tissue.

So Why Do I Need to be Rigid?

Lastly a good strength trainer will teach you to keep your body rigid in the right way while lifting to protect your spine and joints. Eventually you’ll learn to use this strength and rigidity every day while standing or sitting and when you ask your body to work hard it will respond properly preventing possible injury. So you see, being rigid isn’t always a bad thing!

Happy strength training,
Jesse

“Walk Softly and Carry a Big Barbell”

“Walk Softly and Carry a Big Barbell”
12 Sep

Did you know..?

Teddy Roosevelt was a weak, frail, and asthmatic as a boy? It was Teddy’s father’s idea to “build his body” and built exercise equipment and forced young Teddy to run through town while having asthma attacks to theoretically force air into his lungs. 

 

This was probably extremely painful and grueling, however Teddy eventually grew up to be a strong, adventurous man, known for his daring extreme adventures. As president his foreign policy was summed up by his quote. “Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far.”

 

What he meant was to be diplomatic but have strength in case things go wrong. I think this advice could serve us well through daily physical activities. My modification of Teddy’s philosophy illustrates my point. To walk softly takes control and poise. Not flopping around like a sack of potatoes. 

 

 

Your body is designed to work together as a whole not as individual muscles. To walk softly uses much more strength and motor control than to just let your limbs flop and stomp around. And to carry or lift a heavy barbell you need even more strength and control.

 

A good trainer will use cues like “screw your feet in, spread the floor, and break the bar,” to coach you to keep tension and control while lifting safely. This advice works in any activity not just lifting heavy. 

 

Take standing for example…

Instead of letting your shoulders roll forward, your belly stick out and sag, and locking your knees. Try rolling your shoulders back tucking your chin in, and belly and engaging your hips by slightly screwing your feet into the floor. 

 

Give it a try or ask a trainer to help you with your form and posture. So remember when lifting, walking, standing, whatever you do. Walk softly and carry a big barbell!

-Jesse

Skinnier Isn’t Always Better

Skinnier Isn’t Always Better
15 Aug

Skinnier Isn’t Always Better

 

I know you all have seen the models on the grocery store magazine shelves. For women it is the impossibly thin clothing models. For guys it’s the shredded superhero types. 

 

The real question though is, how much fat loss is too much and how much should we keep on? Just like everything there is a healthy balance to how much body fat is just right. 

 

The old rule of thumb is %15 body fat for men and %20 for women. These of course are only guidelines and what’s healthy for you could vary, but not by much. Male athletes might range from %7-13 depending on their sport. Bodybuilders can get much lower, down to %3-5 however levels that low for extended periods of time could cause kidney or liver damage. 

 

Too high body fat of course is dangerous as well, over %30 would be considered obese and bring with it obesity related diseases like diabetes and heart disease. 

 

My point is less isn’t always best. The desire for people to achieve those perfect ideals can become an unnecessary obsession. The truth is many of the images we see especially on magazine covers are heavily edited and most of those supermen we see on the big screen look different when they aren’t filming the latest sequel. 

 

Deep down everyone knows what’s healthy and what feels right for you. Your body is always seeking balance and it will tell you how much is too much or too little. If you feel great most days and have the strength and energy to move around and accomplish every feat you set your mind to then you’re probably just right! 

Your Body Is A Temple Not A Garbage Truck

Your Body Is A Temple Not A Garbage Truck
19 Jul

We have all heard the phrase your body is a temple, it also happens to be a bible verse. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you… Therefore, glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20) Whether you believe this or not the fact is the human body is truly unique in the animal world. In other words your body is a gift and you only get one, so you should probably treat it right. This is a lesson that took me a long time to learn. In my youth I used my body for many things, a garbage disposal, alcohol storage, chimney, battering ram, you name it, whether I knew I was possibly causing permanent damage to myself or not, I didn’t care.

 

When I’m not training people at the gym, I drive a garbage truck for a living. There are some truly nasty things that go into that truck but that is what it is designed for. Yet even a garbage truck gets regular maintenance, oil changes, repairs and even gets washed when it’s dirty. I am willing to bet for many people their cars get regular check ups more than they do.

 

The problem I had in my youth is that I didn’t think my body was worth caring for more than a garbage truck. Deep down maybe I didn’t think I was worth being taken care of. I never thought I would live much father past my thirties. Now the thought of being 80 or older some day makes me realize if I don’t take care of what I have now, I won’t have much to work with then. Have you ever wondered why there are some 80 year olds that can barely walk and yet there are others that run marathons and power lift? There truly is a secret to a longer healthier life and that secret is maintaining your strength and endurance now so you can enjoy better health later. There is even scientific evidence that you can maintain and even build muscle and bone mass into your golden years.

 

You may think you are too far gone and you’ve taken on too much garbage but your body truly is a temple. The human body is highly adaptable, it’s up to you if you want your temple to be a frumpy little wooden hut with a pile of trash hidden in the basement or a grand, beautiful, well built cathedral.

Don’t Take Anything For Granted

Don’t Take Anything For Granted
14 Jun

If you were to only have one piece of sage advice to give someone what would you say? My advice would be: “Don’t take anything for granted.”

You have been given one life, one chance to influence the world and the people you meet. One life to spread the gospel, lead others to health, save another person’s life, raise a family, you name it there are many of the big reasons you were put on this earth, you may have one big mission to complete or many small ones.

 

 What I have learned is that we should never take anything for granted.

This goes especially for how we take care of our bodies. In my youth I didn’t understand this. At times I practically used my body as a battering ram. To me my body was just a tool to use. I never thought of the long term effects some of my bad habits and activities would have.

Realize the Truth…

Whether it was poor posture, dangerous activities, or poor diet, I did more harm to myself than I knew by taking my body and my youth for granted. It was only as I got older and lost some of my youthfulness that I realized I needed to take better care of myself. By then I had a few nagging old injuries and pains that I used as excuses not to exercise. Only after training a variety of other people each from different backgrounds with different strengths and weaknesses did I realize that all of us are broken in some way or another. The lesson to be learned is that we should never take what we have for granted.

 

I believe one of my missions in life is to help people heal.

Maybe you have bad knees, but your arms are still good. Maybe you have a bad heart but your lungs are in top shape. Maybe its your back or shoulders that ache but your legs are as strong as ever. Whatever your physical condition, I’m betting you still have something that works! So take what you have and work with it, and never take it for granted or you might just loose that too!

Change is Good!

Change is Good!
15 Mar
Perhaps you have heard someone say “people don’t change”. The truth is you can change, at least some things anyways.
As a personal trainer it’s my job to help people change themselves for the better. Healthy changes in life are good for you. Things like changing the way you eat, or how much exercise you do, maybe changing your busy schedule to make more time to better yourself. These are all changes that you can control. I know how hard making some of these healthy changes can be; I wasn’t always as fit as I am now. So perhaps I can share a few things that I have learned about making positive changes.
First, you need to know you have to change. Whether your doctor told you to change something about your health or you noticed its on your own, it’s the first and most obvious step.
Next, you need to be willing to change. Knowing you need to do it and actually being willing to can sometimes be a big step.
Third, you need to learn how to change it. Maybe it’s high blood pressure or being overweight or perhaps too weak in certain areas of your body that you need help changing. Finding the information to help you can be as simple as one click, phone call or visit to your local gym.
That leads me to the next point of getting help. A lot of us want to do things on our own. I thought I could lose weight and get in shape by myself but the process went ten times faster once I got the help of well informed professionals.
Lastly, you need to stick with it. If your’e in the process of making a big change in your life, often times sticking with it can be the hardest part. Sometimes deep down you might not want to make the healthy changes and whether you know it or not, you can sabotage all your efforts. So stick with whatever plan you are on and never give up! By staying positive and always moving forward you can’t possibly fail.

Stop Trying to be Perfect!

Stop Trying to be Perfect!
22 Feb

Sometimes it seems like the world is full of perfect people.

There’s perfect family photos on social media, perfect bodies on magazine covers, or the perfect lives of the people within them. Most days I feel far from perfect myself, just like I’m sure you do as well. What we often forget is that some people only share the perfect moments and those pictures of perfect people in the magazines are more often than not heavily edited and staged. 

 

Trying to Attain Perfection Leads to Despair

You fill in these blanks yourself, some of these may sound familiar. “I want hair like___, I wish I had (insert body part here) like____, I wish I had as much money as____” We often think if we had those things we wished for our lives would be perfect. In reality, those people whose lives we wish we had are just as imperfect as we are. 

The Perfection Phenomenon is Most Evident is the Fitness World

 We are surrounded by perfect bodies on TV and magazines. Those perfect bodies you often see are the result of people whose job is to look that way, and what bits they have that are still imperfect are easily covered up with makeup and edits. Rather than trying to be them or be as perfect as them, why not be the best you, that you can be.

You only get one body and the better you treat it, the better it will treat you. The more fit you are the more energy you will have. Your fit body will also be more mentally healthy, mobile, stronger bones, and many more beneficial effects.
You might not be able to be perfect but you can be the best version of you!

Blessings,
Jesse 

Everyone Needs Compound Movements

Everyone Needs Compound Movements
18 Jan

Compound movements

My last fit tip I talked about why you NEED to lift. This time I would like to focus on a certain type of lifting, Compound Movements.

 

I’m someone who has struggled a lot in the past with various muscular-skeletal aches and pains. A lifetime of abusing my body in various ways started catching up to me once I reached my mid thirties. I sought out help from local professionals like chiropractors and physical therapists who helped me to alleviate a lot of pain but usually once I quit those treatments after a few months the pain would return and the cycle would begin again.

 

One reason for this cycle of pain and relief is that once I felt better I went back to bad habits. Another reason though, despite how great the treatment was I received I never advanced to a complete exercise program with a strong base of compound exercises.

 

When we trainers at NHF talk about compound exercises we are referring to what we call the big 3. The Squat, Deadlift and your pressing movements like overhead and bench press. I am a big proponent of isolated muscle movements but, without the big lifts your body will never learn to work as a whole unit. So like I said last time, you NEED to lift but sometimes you also need to lift BIG! Happy lifting!

– Jesse

 

 

What Motivates You, by 2x Client of the Month

28 Dec

MEET LINDA! If this doesn’t inspire you I don’t know what will!

What motivates a person to make a commitment to workout in a group setting with a Trainer?

In my case, it was a desire to properly increase & maintain strength & stamina; be motivated; as well as have a better quality of life, therefore feeling better about myself. New Heart Fitness (Stacey) helps me accomplish all this as well as, knowing every workout is an improvement. Working out helps manage stress; maintain a better attitude, which benefits friends & family as well as myself in knowing I’m better to be around. Working out also increases my energy; and I have become physically stronger, which enables me to have a longer, more productive life. If it hadn’t been for a neighbor telling me where & when and saying “we should do this—tomorrow at 5:30 a.m.” I probably would not have been motivated. I had tried “making myself” walk & exercise at home & just couldn’t get committed! But once I went to a few classes & found it not too intimidating, I was hooked. The accountability works for me, as well as the social. I always have a positive experience & come away feeling energized, which motivates me to continue. It takes commitment and willpower——which is like a muscle-the more you use it, the stronger it gets.

Here’s hoping you are feeling motivated and positive to get committed to fitness at any age!

Linda Brehm (74 years young!)

Are You Strong Enough?

Are You Strong Enough?
14 Dec

Strength is a relative term. What is considered strong for one person might not be strong enough for someone else. But you can never be too strong, even the strongest man in the world probably wishes he were just a bit stronger from time to time. But how do you know if you’re not strong enough? Is there some sort of list, chart, graph or spreadsheet for the average person to study and find out just exactly what is expected of them? No, there is no such list. The reason is because strength is relative.

How strong you need to be depends on what your daily physical demands are that you put your body through. The problem with many of us is that sometimes we ask more of our bodies than we were prepared for. Have you ever had one of those weekends when you were feeling extra adventurous? After a day of walking, skiing, hiking, biking, lifting, moving, climbing, you name it. Then the next day or two afterwards you could barely move or even worse had to miss work just to recuperate. I have experienced this situation far to many times in my life.

 

Some things to think about might be what are the daily tasks you have to perform. If you have a day job like mine, you might have to lift 50 pounds or more on a frequent basis. If you can lift 200 pounds that 50 would be easy.

My challenge you you is to think hard about what you want your body to do each day and week. Are you strong enough to do those things? So if you want your body to be able to do all those fun things you dream about everyday, don’t just dream about it, get up, get stronger, and do it!

Jesse