October Fitness Challenges

It’s a brand new month and it’s also my Birthday Month (and Birthday Week!).  And just for that, I figured it was time to throw down another fitness challenge.
October is one of my favorite months….if not my favorite month.  The weather is basically perfect.  Not too warm, not too cool.  It’s a great time to get outside for activity: walk, run, hike, bike.  I run my boot camp classes outside through the entire summer – rain or shine.  And sometimes it can get so ungodly hot (thank goodness for shade and water!) that it’s almost unbearable.  But once October hits I am so happy to be outside for fitness.  And the smell and the colors of October are just compliments to the crisp air.
You have two Challenge options this month (and I would recommend popping outside to complete them):
  1. Spooktacular October (Guns, Buns, Abs)

october fit challenge calendar

2.  Awesome October (Arms and Abs)

october2These are great little workouts to get you moving all through the month.  You can do one or the other, or you can do both.  If you do both, make the rest days correspond with each other so that you’re not constantly exercising.

If you already have a fitness routine, throw one of these challenges into the mix.
Have fun!
~FB

Muscle Memory

Muscle Memory (or Muscle Science) is a phenomenon whereby it is much easier to regain lost muscle mass than it is to put on new (initial) muscle mass.

Shrinking muscle or losing gains is a fear that many gym goers and lifters fear.

  1. Back when I was in college I broke my ankle pretty severely.  I spent 12 weeks on crutches and lost most of the muscle in my calf.  In fact, the muscle had diminished so much that I would play with it and watch it fling back and forth like a pendulum.  Once I was “back on my feet again” (literally), I was surprised at how quickly I regained the muscle in my leg.
  2. When guys walk back into my gym after taking months off from their training, I watch as their gains increase quite rapidly and their muscles grow so quickly, it’s like they never even stopped.

The reason:  The arc of building muscle size and strength lies in your nuclei.  Nuclei control protein synthesis.  The more nuclei you have, the more protein you are able to turn into muscle.  The first effect training has on your muscles is not actually growth; it’s to create more nuclei, which eventually facilitate the development of more tissue.

Screen-Shot Muscle

Via

Further, our muscle fibers have satellite cells which donate myonuclei.  The myonuclei allows the cells to grow larger.  Once your muscle fibers get bigger, more myonuclei are required because they can’t regulate that size fiber any longer.  They have reached their maximum limit or myonuclei domain.  Resistance training induces permanent physiological changes to your muscle fibers.  The first time you begin strength training, your muscles adapt and become bigger and stronger, which is facilitated by increasing the muscle nuclei (aka myonuclei).

Muscle

Via

Myonuclei are permanent.  Although it was widely believed that once muscles started to atrophy, the cell death, or apoptosis, occurred and the myonuclei were removed. However, current studies have shown that the myonuclei still exist even after period of not training or inactivity.  Previously untrained muscles acquire newly formed nuclei by fusion of satellite cells preceding the hypertrophy.  Detraining or inactivity leads to atrophy, but not loss of myonuclei,  The elevated number of nuclei in muscle fibers in a hypertrophic episode would provide for muscle memory and long-lasting effects of training.  Because they are still present, these cells skip the process of creating new myonuclei, allowing atrophy and gains to occur at a faster rate than the initial gains.  By skipping the first step of satellite fusion and nuclear donation, new nuclei increases new muscle protein synthesis.

Just like riding a bike…

When muscles shrink due to inactivity (i.e. when training is stopped for a significant amount of time), it is much easier to rebuild that lost or shrunken muscle.  And it takes less  time to rebuild that mass, than it took to build it initially.

New myonuclei in muscle fibers are added before any major increase in size during overload.  Old and new nuclei are retrained during severe atrophy.  The myonuclei are protected from the high apoptotic activity in inactive muscle tissue.  So, even as muscle shrinks, the nuclei remain present.

If you are someone who has never trained before, then you do not have the accumulation of myonuclei, but it is easy to get, since basically everything we do is a stress.  Unlike someone who is already training, who will find that it becomes harder and harder to stress the muscle out.

And although you may lose the muscle, you don’t lose the myonuclei.  Any myonuclei accrued from previous training remains in the muscle fiber.  So, even though your muscles have gotten smaller because you haven’t used them, you still have the results of your previous hard work – this being the myonuclei – so you can bounce back fairly easily.

When training is resumed, muscles are able to grow rapidly because the initial stage of adding nuclei is skipped and, once the nuclei are roused, they can set about synthesizing protein pretty quickly.

Muscle memory is also why physiologists recommend filling your muscles with as many nuclei as you can while you’re young.  Building muscle gets harder as you age, whereas maintenance is easy.  The type 1 fibers dominate when you get older, and the type 2 fibers (the fast-twitch fibers) tend to wane, but they’re still there.

So, get to the gym and take advantage of building myonuclei while you can.  And just as importantly, if you’ve been pumping away for a while, afraid to take a break because of fear of loss of gains, go ahead and rest.  It takes a very long time to lose the gains you’ve worked so hard to accrue.  And, as per my recent post, Rest Days are just as important in attaining your goals.

~FB

Why I Don’t Offer Meal Plans Online

IHT_MealPlan
I see it all the time; online “trainers”, celebrity or otherwise, offering their meal plans or nutrition advice, or  “…for just $99.99 you can have access to exactly what I eat in a day/week/month…”.
These tags drive me crazy and you’ll soon find out why.
There are so many of these online trainers who will guide (read: tell you) exactly what to eat per his/her typical day, or worse, push keto or some drastic fad or diet on readers.
Here is why I don’t offer online meal plans and why what these online gimmickers are doing is dangerous: NO TWO CLIENTS ARE THE SAME.
So how dare I (or anyone else) treat them the same?  What a 115 lb Instagram trainer eats in a day (or tells you what she eats in a day) will more than likely not be sufficient for most people who are watching her videos or subscribing to a website.  There is no personalization, no background, no medical or health history provided by the “client” – there is simply only a way to pay.  These are all important factors in prescribing a healthier diet in proper nutrition, or weight loss plan.  Individualization is a key component.
I must acknowledge that each and every client is unique.
In addition, I cannot have a preconceived notion of my clients.  I must recognize the individuality.  I need to be able to approach my clients with an open mind so that I can understand their specific and individualized needs.  I also need to understand what contributed to their present state or desire to change their eating habits.  Is there an underlying medical condition?  What is home life like?  Are there any financial contributions to unhealthy eating (can the client not “afford” better quality or healthier foods)?  These are questions that may need to be asked.  And going hand-in-hand with this approach is my understanding of how I can best assist them.
Because is client is different, what works for one person, may not offer the same success for another.  Client A may need better information/education about nutrition, whereas Client B may require full-on support and step-by-step guidance.  As a professional, I have to be humble enough to recognize when a client may need to be referred to a different professional altogether (doctor, psychologist, dietitian, etc.).  Although my clients are coming to me for my expertise, my expertise just may not be enough, and as such, clients who I believe may have disordered eating, health or medical issues, etc. must be referred to the proper practitioner.
Another step in my individualization is having my clients keep a food journal, as well as completing a basic health questionnaire.  How can I assess and provide knowledgeable information if I do now know my clients.  How can an online trainer purport to provide meal plans for clients/followers/readers/Googlers if they do not know each member of their audience.
As a Personal Trainer, I am not qualified to give my clients nutritional or diet advice.  As with any other trainer, it is considered out of my scope of practice.  As a Nutrition and Weight Loss Coach, however, I can provide nutrition advice and guidelines, parameters for healthy eating, support, coaching, etc.  And I certainly recognize the importance that each of my clients is unique and will therefore have unique, if not specific needs.
NWL
In addition, my clients will receive personal, one-on-one coaching from me.  I will work with each of them to discover what approach is best for them, and we will work together to create the best program suited to their individual needs.  You don’t get that with random, generic, online meal plans.  They will also get check-ins with me – whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or more or less.  My clients can ask me questions any time and a personal response will be guaranteed.  And since I am certified in both nutrition and fitness, I can also work with clients to design an exercise program that will work for them to ensure it fits their means and lifestyle.  Just as it is with nutrition, understanding that not all fitness levels are the same is just as important if my clients want to see results.
It is truly important to not lose that human touch and to recognize that each person’s needs are unique.  When it comes to health, it’s time to step away from the ease of the internet and to understand why our clients are coming to us, where they need help the most, and offer them the guidance, understanding, and support that a computer – or $99.99 – won’t provide them with.
~FB

August Challenges

It’s been a little while since I have posted any challenges, and with the start of a new month just around the corner, I figured…..why not!

So here you go.  I’m posting two separate challenges.  You can do one or both.

The Awesome August Abs Challenge

August Challenge

The 30 Days of Abs and Squats Challenge

30 day challenge

These challenges can be mini workouts or a compliment to your regular exercise routine.

What I love about challenges is that they are a simple, yet effective way to keep you moving almost daily (remember to take your rest days!).  If you are a newbie to exercise, it’s also a great way to begin a workout regime.  AND, you can do the workouts right from your home – if you don’t want to leave the house.

Give one or both of these challenges a-go and see how you make out for the month of August.

~FB

Day 31 – Reflect

Day 31 – Reflect

Today is the final day of this 31-Day Health and Wellness Challenge and your goal today is to Reflect. Reflect on the last 31 days, the last year, the last decade. Think about what is working for you and what isn’t. Deep reflections can really empower us to gain self-awareness and to improve and become better humans. And who doesn’t want to be a better human? If there is something in your life that isn’t working for you – change it. If things are going great, keep it up. Reflect on your relationships and your accomplishments. At the end of the day, be proud of who you are. And smile.

Be the good.

~FB

Day 27 – Combine My Workouts

Day 27 – Combine My Workouts

Today you’re challenge is to combine all the little exercises I’ve given you over the last 27 days:

1. Plank (30 – 60 seconds) x 3
2. Get some steps. It’s a gorgeous day so get out for a walk/run/hike
3. Do the Body Weight Workout from Day 14 (do it twice)
4. Do 50 Push-ups (x1 or x2)
5. Squat. Find the perfect song and squat til you drop. (Well, not really drop.)

You can always find a workout somewhere. #everydayistrainingday

~FB

Day 24 – Drop It Like a Squat

Day 24 – Drop it like a Squat

Pick a song and squat to the whole thing. (I like Take on Me by Aha, or Footloose – both great squatting songs.) Have fun.

squat

Remember to keep the weight in your heels, butt sicks back, keep knees in line with your toes, keep your shoulders lifted (you may tilt slightly). Just think of it as sitting down – without the chair.

squat-infographic.png

~FB

Day 23 – Spread Some Cheer

Day 23 – Spread Some Cheer
Smile. Say hello to those you pass. Giggle and keep it going. Leave a positive note somewhere.
 
My co-worker left me this little guy on my desk years ago…she said he reminded her of me because of the big blue eyes. It still sits on my desk and every time I look at it it makes me laugh. Little things DO count.
blue eyes
Aside from helping others have a better day, spreading cheer around is also great for your soul.  Psychologists call it “Helper’s High”.  Our brains actually release feel-good chemicals when we help someone, leading us to do more of the same.
Cheer.  Spread it.
~FB

Day 22 – Do My Abs Workout

Day 22 – Do My Abs Workout

We all have abdominal muscles.  Sometimes, we just need a little help “finding” them.  To help you get started with defining your abs, do my workout below:

30 Seconds High Knees / 30 Seconds Scissor Runs / 30 Seconds Crunches / 30 Seconds Bicycles / 30 Seconds High Plank / 30 Plank Jacks / 30 Seconds Leg Lifts (on your back) / 30 Seconds Leg Flutters / 30 Seconds Dead Bug >> Do this short workout (at least) twice. :0)

ab-workout-meme

Tip:

Don’t forget to train the rest of your body. The more muscle mass you have the higher your metabolic rate, even while you’re at rest. Do two to three full-body strength training sessions each week, making sure to take a rest day in between.

You don’t need to rest your abs, however. Because they don’t fatigue as easily, it’s OK to train your abs every day; so aiming for three to five ab-training sessions weekly is just fine.

Cheers.

Day 19 – Do 50 Push-Ups

Day 19 – Do 50 Push-Ups.

Yep. That’s right. Today your challenge is to drop and give me 50 push ups. No, they don’t have to be done consecutively.

Look, I get it. I just spent the entire 2018 year doing a minimum of 50 push ups a day – and I still freakin’ hate them. But push ups are a great exercise, and here are a few reasons why:
1. Increase Functional Strength via Full Body Activation;
2. Enhance Your Cardiovascular System;
3. Increase Whole Body Muscle Definition – and promotes HGH (Human Growth Hormone);
4. Great full-body workout.

So go ahead, get down, and start pushing.

~FB

 

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