I often hear that people simply don’t have enough time to exercise. We have to take care of our families, go to work, run errands, buy groceries, feed our pets and sometimes even our neighbor’s pets! Yes, I understand that we all have responsibilities. However, what I do not understand is how you do not make time to feel better, look better and have more energy? If you think it’s impossible to squeeze a workout in over the next 16 hours (I assume an adult sleeps about eight to nine hours a day) then try some of these:
• Write down your daily schedule and cross out some activities that are unnecessary or not urgent for that day. For example, do you need to pick up the dry cleaning today? Do you really need to go to spend all that time on your computer? I promise that you will find an activity that can be replaced with at least 10 minutes of exercise. Replace that activity with a brisk walk. I have seen a guy drop down at a red light and immediately start doing push-ups. What if that is the only 10 minutes of exercise he was able to make time for that day and he’s trying to maximize the effect? Hooray for him!
• If you don’t have a full hour to dedicate to fitness, then split it up. Surely you can make room for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. Stop by GATC on your way to work and do a short weight workout, then walk, jog or take a bike ride after dinner. You get your hour in and that’s what counts!
• If you feel like more of a challenge, then do a simple circuit routine with minimal rest between sets. Do 12 to 15 repetitions of each exercise with 15 to 25 seconds of rest.
• We all have heard things like “walk the stairs instead of using the elevator, park your car further away from your job or school etc…” Those little practices can add up quickly, if we are only disciplined enough to actually do them.
We all have days when we feel tired or less energetic than normal. Nobody is expecting a new world record from you on those days and neither should you. However, that is still not an excuse to completely abandon your fitness routine. Surely you can still squeeze in some easy exercise. I believe that consistency is the key to magical results, so just stick to your plan no matter what and enjoy the journey to the new, healthier you.
Daria Matthews, GATC Member Coach
Everyone knows flexibility is a key component in fitness, but what does it actually mean to be flexible? Flexibility, as defined by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, is the ability of the neuromuscular system to allow optimum extensibility of the appropriate tissues in the right range of motion, while providing optimum neuromuscular control through that range of motion. This means allowing muscles, tendons and ligaments to work in conjunction to allow normal range of motion of a joint. This requires that the soft tissues are free of tears, adhesions (scar tissue found in tendons and fascia) and are not overly excited due to a muscular imbalance. Those first two components are common results of exercise and training or injury. The last component, muscular imbalance, is commonly due to postural deviations. For example, if we lean too far forward in our normal posture, our hamstrings must fire twice as much as normal to hold us upright.
The second part of the definition of flexibility, while providing optimum neuromuscular control through that range of motion, is not only the ability to stretch muscles and connective tissue, but the control of that movement in that particular range of motion. I have seen very flexible people not be able to do some basic movements because they possessed neither the control nor the strength to work in that range of motion. For example, if you want to lift your leg past your hips, you not only need to work your hamstring flexibility, but you also need to have the muscular strength to lift your leg above your waist level. It is that combination of neuromuscular control and strength, as well as joint stability, that defines what our joint range of motion is to be.
This means that not everyone will have the same flexibility or range of motion, due to neuromuscular, joint or genetic restrictions. Excessive or inadequate range of motion in joints leads to issues in bio-mechanics. Flexibility and range of motion are different for each individual but can be improved through activity, active range of motion exercise, passive stretching and soft tissue manipulation.
Contact Vic or one of GATC’s personal trainers for assistance in achieving your best, both in flexibility and range of motion, goals which can also result from the practices of Pilates and yoga.
Vic Spatola, Director of Personal Training
• Do most people start exercising around January with a weight loss goal in mind? Yes.
• Do most people give up their New Year’s weight loss resolutions? Yes, usually by March.
• Does weight loss happen overnight? The simple answer is, “no!”
You cannot expect to see long-term changes in your body by working out from January to March and then quitting. The key to seeing long-term changes is being consistent with your exercise and diet. Whether it is working out (read: moving your body) twice a week, three times a week or four times a week, you must be consistent with some form of exercise if you intend to progress toward making your goals a reality.
There are always exceptions to the rule of consistency. While traveling to unfamiliar areas, it may be difficult to find a place to work out. This is not a reason to not exercise, but an opportunity to try something different. You can walk in most areas, do a calisthenic workout in your room, or try whatever forms of activity are available. Here is an example of a basic calisthenic workout you can try the next time you are out of town or looking for a different routine:
1. Jog in place for 5 minutes
2. 10 push ups
3. 30 crunches
4. 50 jumping jacks
5. 20 backward lunges
6. One-minute plank hold (push up position on your toes and forearms)
7. 50 mountain climbers (push up position, bringing one bent knee in toward your chest repetitively, alternating legs)
8. 50 bicycle abdominal crunches
9. 20 dive bombers
Repeat this cycle three times with only a minute break between cycles.
The other excuse I hear is, “I’m very busy at work.” Guess what? Consistency in activity, year-round, is the number one component in an exercise program. The goal is to move your body on most, if not all, days of the week. This is why Personal Trainers make sure their clients are not only working out with them but also are working out on their own. Personal Trainers ensure accountability, consistency, and variety for their clients, leading to a commitment to those resolutions, which may just become a way of life.
There really is no excuse to be sedentary. Find an activity you like doing (or can at least tolerate!) and continue doing it throughout the year.
Vic Spatola, GATC Director of Personal Training