Strength Training or Cardio?

Let me ask you a question to prove my point…
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You’ve probably noticed that there are 2 types of people who exercise regularly:

PERSON #1 – Believes Strength Training Is The Key To Burning Fat, Building Lean Toned Muscle And Transforming Your Body.

AND

PERSON #2 – Believes That Cardio Is The Ultimate Key To Losing Fat, Building Lean Toned Muscle And Transforming Your Body.

Now… strength training is great and it’s definitely effective for building muscle. However, I’ve met a few strength athletes that can lift heavy weights, but can’t walk up a flight of stairs without losing their wind.

You don’t want that, do you?

NO! I didn’t think so If you’re anything like me or my clients, you want to develop a lean body that looks great and performs great!

On the other side, cardio is great for burning fat, if it’s done correctly. Which is why cardio is not the enemy and must be viewed as another piece of the body transformation puzzle

Eat Clean. Train Smart. Expect Results.

Jax

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Simple Exercise Rules

Simple keys to exercising properly

1. Start now. Get moving; do some exercise and do it right away.
How long will you wait for your transformation to begin?
This week? This month? Decide NOW or you’ll be reading this again next year!

2. Mix it up. Mix calorie-burning exercise (“cardio”) with muscle-preserving exercise (weight training).
My clients get a mixture of metabolic cardio and resistance training every session!
You should too! You must get out of breath, your muscles must fatigue and ache, and you should long for your next very short break!

3. Build up to 5 hours (slowly). Gradually work your way up to 5 hours of total exercise per week.
That’s less than 45 minutes of activity a day!
You can aim for your 10,000 steps a day or
Choose a 30 minute HIIT session.
Any activity will get you closer to your fat loss target.

4. Progressive overload. Track what you do, and challenge yourself to do a little more, or a little better, every day”
Don’t stick with the same exercises, the same weights routine or the same weekly routines.
Your body adapts in just a couple of weeks – don’t waste your workout time! PROGRESS!

5. As long as you do those 4 things, you’ll lose fat quickly and for good. You’ll build some strong, shapely muscles too. You’ll be able to eat more without regaining body fat. You’ll have more energy, feel great and look fabulous.

Jax Allen

Do Pilates and Bring Your Grand Mother….

Joan chooses Pilates for her Well being.

Joan chooses Pilates for her Well being.

Get Moving and Bring Your Grand Mother…..

‘Pilates Past 50’ sessions from JaxAllenFitness.com

“I have some older clients who can articulate their spine better than someone 20 years younger, and their fluidity of movement is expressed in a balanced body that moves confidently through space.”

To reverse the effects of aging in seniors Jax stressed that a, flexible spine, focused mind, strong core, legs and feet were essential to balance any body that is to move gracefully and youthfully.

Pilates focus on balance, flexibility, breathing and strength are some of the methods’ key concepts that help oil the joints and condition the body and mind to reverse the effects of ageing.

British journalist, broadcaster and politician Joan Bakewell is now in her seventies and has been doing Pilates for over a decade. Pilates, she says ‘ I want stability.’

Bakewells senior Pilates workouts gives her “a tremendous sense of well-being.” Pilates addresses almost all of her functional needs at this stage in her life. “I didn’t want exercises that left me puffing and red in the face, nor did I want to pound machines.’

‘What I wanted was Subtlety, thoughtfulness and at my own place in a quiet and peaceful setting.”

Jax Allen offers Pilates and other fitness training to combat the effects of ageing, stress and improve well-being in Cheltenham and Gloucester for everyone no matter what age or ability level.

Twitter  @jaxallenfitness      Facebook  Jax Allen     Blog  www.JaxAllenFitness.com

Girls Need Muscle Too!

Why Girls NEED Muscle too!
When you start on a fat loss program, what do usually do? Make a bee-line for the cardio equipment in order to start burning calories? Drop your calorie intake to create a calorie deficit for fat loss to occur? Drop your carbs completely? Because everyone knows low carb diets work.
If this sounds like you, you’re making some big mistakes.

The best way to guarantee that you not only lose body fat but stay lean year round is to actually switch the focus from purely fat loss to one of lean muscle gain. It’s something many women still worry about.
So let’s go over the reasons you need lean muscle and how it’s going to help you get the body of your dreams – and then keep it.

Muscle Tissue Is Metabolically Active

Lean muscle is calorie hungry. The more muscle you have, the more energy you’ll burn every single second of every single day – even when you’re asleep.
This is a big reason why men seem to have a much easier time losing body fat compared to women. Men are quickly able to burn up excess calories due to their greater lean muscle mass, so they easily create a calorie deficit.
Building lean muscle will not only boost your fat loss results, but it’ll be the best way to prevent future fat gain as well. The higher your metabolic rate is, the less strict you’ll have to be with your daily diet in order to stay leaner long-term.

Muscle Tissue Safely Stores Carbs.

Lean muscle acts as a carb storage house. If you don’t have much muscle and aren’t using what you eat the surplus immediately gets stored as body fat.
If however you work out regularly, the energy stores on your muscles are ready to be refilled. This means that the excess carbs you eat will first go to the muscle tissues for storage before you begin to store fat.
So by having more muscle, and working out more often, you can eat more carbs on a day to day basis.
If you dislike low carb dieting, building more muscle is your solution.

Muscle Tissue helps regulate blood sugar levels.
(Increase your insulin sensitivity)
This means that your body will be better able to regulate its blood glucose levels and when you do eat carbohydrates, you won’t get a blood sugar spike followed by a crash.

This can help to decrease your risk of diabetes as well as decrease the chances of fat gain over time.
If you aren’t instantly storing carbohydrates you eat as body fat (like you will if you have poor insulin sensitivity or ‘insulin resistance’), this makes it easier to sustain the lean figure you’re after.

Muscle Tissue Makes You Stronger

Finally, adding more muscle makes you strong. If you want to improve the quality of your life and make day to day functional movement easier, building more muscle is the best way to do this.
Have more muscle mass and you’ll be able to do the activities you enjoy, you’ll be more active on the whole. This increases your daily calorie burn, making weight control a doddle.

Summing up, if you want to see noticeable changes taking place in your body, week in week out, step away from the cardio machines and focus on some strength training. Building more lean muscle mass through a proper metabolic resistance training program is the number one way to

1. lose fat initially
2. combat fat regain

So ditch the cardio machines.
Follow a plan that will speed up your metabolism AND build some sleek sexy muscle.

That’s where real, lasting results are found.

Are you are still relying on cardio ?

5 Reasons to Get Strong

5 Reasons to Get Strong

1. Whatever your sport, be it running, cycling, swimming or a bit of everything, being strong will make you better at it.

Walk into your local gym and tell the instructor that you’re a runner. Chances are you’ll be given a program designed to improve your endurance. It will almost certainly involve light weights and lots of repetitions.

The problem is that any form of endurance activity involves literally thousands of repetitions. There’s no way you can replicate that in the gym. The best way to build endurance for running, cycling, or swimming is to go running, cycling and swimming. Then you use the gym to improve the aspects of fitness not covered by your activity training.

Think of it this way: When you’re on your bike, each pedal stroke uses a certain percentage of your maximum strength. As you get stronger, the percentage of strength used on each pedal stroke goes down.

In this way, strength contributes to your endurance by improving the efficiency of each pedal stroke. It means you’re able to do the same amount of work with less effort, or more work with the same amount of effort. Being strong makes you more economical.

You can also forget about the myth that strength training will make you “muscle bound” and inflexible. Simply lifting weights through a full range of motion can improve your flexibility as well as, or even better than, typical static stretching.

2. You will build a core of steel.

Contrary to a lot of the training advice out there, you don’t need to do anything on a Swiss ball, a wobble board or any of the various balance devices in your local gym to strengthen your “core” muscles.

And the core is a lot more than just the abs. It’s the collection of muscles that help to stabilize the spine. For our purposes, let’s define the core as the muscles of the trunk and hips — basically, anything that isn’t the head, arms or legs.

Someone who can perform a standing overhead press with their bodyweight and deadlift twice their bodyweight — which are reasonably impressive numbers  for a drug-free, genetically “average” trainee — will have developed a very high level of core strength simply by focusing on getting stronger in both exercises.

In fact, core muscle activation that is similar to or higher than that achieved by exercising on an unstable surface can quite easily be achieved with ground-based free-weight exercises like squats and deadlifts [1].

Outside of a rehabilitation setting, much of what passes for core training represents wasted time that could be much better spent getting stronger.

If you train with me you know that I very rarely ask you to do old fashioned ‘crunches’ or sit-ups.  The bio-mechanics training I completed this year reinforced my beliefs that to effect real improvements in core strength bracing exercises like Planks, Bridges and Pillars are the way to go.

3. Strength training will improve your appearance.

The vast majority of people who take up exercise are not doing so because of their health. They are doing it because they want to look and feel better. And that is exactly what strength training is going to do for you.

If you’re a woman, you are no doubt concerned that even the thought of pressing, pulling or squatting a heavy barbell will turn you into the female equivalent of the Incredible Hulk.

The main reason this isn’t going to happen to you is hormonal. Where size and strength are concerned, testosterone is undoubtedly the “King Kong” of all the anabolic hormones. And women don’t have as much of it as men.

But the relatively small amount of muscle you gain will make a big difference to the way you look. Muscle takes up a lot less space than fat. So instead of getting bigger, the exchange of fat for muscle will make you look smaller and shapelier.

“If tone is the goal,” writes Mark Rippetoe in Practical Programming,  “strength is the method.”

If you’re a guy, strength training will leave your clothes feeling tighter in all the right places, especially across the chest, shoulders and arms. As your back and shoulders get broader, you’ll create the illusion of a narrower waist. Not only will you feel strong, you will look it as well.

4. As well as looking better on the outside, you will become healthier on the inside.

Some people appear perfectly healthy from the outside. But on the inside they display early signs of insulin resistance along with a cluster of characteristics that can increase their risk of type II diabetes and heart disease [2].  See my other articles on

Syndrome X  and Metabolic Sydrome.

As the name suggests, metabolically obese, normal-weight individuals have a normal weight based on traditional criteria. However, their blood sugar and insulin levels are far higher than would be expected based on their weight alone. They look fit on the outside but are fat on the inside.  I call them TOFI – Thin Outside – Fat Inside.

And you won’t be surprised to hear that one of the best ways to beat metabolic obesity is with a combination of strength and endurance training [3].

Both forms of exercise improve insulin sensitivity. But each one works in a slightly different way. When you train with weights, you gain muscle. And it’s this extra muscle that helps to clear any excess sugar from your blood.

Endurance training, on the other hand, enhances glucose uptake independently of changes in muscle mass, increasing both the number and function of glucose transporters. These help to transport sugar from the blood into the muscle.

5. You will be able to quantify and measure your progress.

I encourage you to weigh and measure every training cycle. Photos are the best way to see where you are with your training.

Training for strength is satisfying, mainly because your progress is a lot easier to quantify. You are able to see the progress you’re making in the form of more ‘weight on the bar’.

This will give you a totally new sense of focus and direction. Going to the gym will be something you get excited about. Each workout will become a challenge to be conquered rather than another chore to add to your ever growing to-do list.

The terms “strength training” and “resistance training” are often used interchangeably. But they’re not the same thing. Strength training isn’t strength training unless it’s making you strong.

 

References
1. Behm DG, Drinkwater EJ, Willardson JM, Cowley PM. (2010). The use of instability to train the core musculature. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 35, 91-108
2. Dvorak, R.V., DeNino, W.F., Ades, P.A., & Poehlman, E.T. (1999). Phenotypic charcteristics associated with insulin resistance in metabolically obese but normal-weight young women. Diabetes, 48, 2210-2214
3. Poehlman, E.T., Dvorak, R.V., DeNino, W.F., Brochu, M., & Ades, P.A. (2000). Effects of resistance training and endurance training on insulin sensitivity in nonobese, young women: a controlled randomized trial. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 85, 2463-2468
4. Morton SK, Whitehead JR, Brinkert RH, Caine DJ. (2011). Resistance training vs. static stretching: effects on flexibility and strength. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25, 3391-3398

 

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Why Crossfit May NOT Be Good For You

Why Crossfit May Not Be Good For You

I found this and thought you should have a read….. a few interesting points about who Crossfit is aimed at, how hard you should train and do the coaches have enough training?  Anyone can ‘Beast’ a client  not many can ‘Coach’ clients……

This discussion seems to make sense to me – Coach Boyle is very respected in his field and in the industry as a whole.

 

Michael Boyle
                       

Crossfit gyms are springing up all over the world. They are cheap and easy to open, with only a weekend certification and a few thousand dollars worth of equipment. This appeals to many in the fitness business. You can be part of a rapidly growing trend and you can do it without great expense. I am not a Crossfit fan so some might view this piece as yellow journalism. I will try to keep my personal opinions to myself and deal with what is generally agreed upon as safe in strength and conditioning.

First, a little background. To be honest, I knew very little about Crossfit until I was contacted by representatives of SOMA, the Special Operations Medical Association, in 2005. Crossfit was their concern, not mine. I was asked to come to the SOMA meeting in Tampa, Florida to discuss training special operations soldiers. At a panel discussion in 2005 I offered answers to questions asked about Crossfit and the controversy began. What follows is not from the SOMA meeting but, my thoughts since.

Major Question 1- Is planned randomization a valid concept. Crossfit is based on the idea that the workouts are planned but deliberately random. I think that the term planned randomization is an oxymoron. Workouts are either planned or random. I believe strongly that workouts should be planned and that a specific progression should be followed to prevent injury.

I sometimes plan sessions that relate to each other week to week – but not Day to Day – is this also planned randomisation.

But seriously, I know what Coach Boyle means. To be effective programmes should gradually build in frequency, intensity, duration and type of training, over the short and very long term.

 

Major Question 2- Is Training to Failure Safe? Because Crossfit is, at it’s heart, a competitive or self-competitive program it becomes necessary to train to failure. There are two layers or problem here. One is the simple question of whether training to failure is beneficial to the trainee. Some strength and conditioning experts believe training to failure is beneficial, others caution against. I must admit that I like training to failure.

However, this brings up the larger question of what constitutes failure. Strength and Conditioning Coach Charles Poliquin (another non-Crossfit fan) popularized the term “technical failure” and, this is the definition that we adhere to.

Technical failure occurs not when the athlete or client is no longer capable of doing the exercise but, when the athlete or client can no longer do the exercise with proper technique. In training beyond technical failure the stress shifts to tissues that were not, and probably should not, be the target of the exercise. The third layer of the training to failure question relates to what movements lend themselves to training to failure. In the area of “generally agreed as safe”, high velocity movements like Olympic lifts and jumps are not generally done to failure and never should be taken beyond technical failure. Is it one bad rep versus multiple bad reps? How many bad reps is too many?

It seems mad to train beyond the point of having good form (therefore safe execution of the exercise)

 

Major Question 3- Is an overuse injury (generally an injury caused by repeated exposure to light loads), different from an overstress injury (an injury caused by exposure to heavy loads). Both are injuries.

The first is overuse, the second is trauma. In my mind injuries are injuries, period.

I agree – I am always looking for ways to include mobilisations to improve movement patterns, prepare for training and get more value out of the warm-up/prep phase of every workout.  My 5 week programme gives us a chance to really focus on muscle balance, injury prevention, 3 Dimension training and recovery.

 

Major Question 4- Should adults be Olympic lifters? I don’t think that Olympic lifts are for all adults. Most adults can’t get their arms safely over their head once much less fifty times with load. The other question that begs to be asked is should anyone do high rep Olympic lifts. I know the best Olympic lifters in the world say no. With all that said believe it or not my biggest problem is actually less with the actual workouts than it is with the false bravado and character assassination of dissenters. The community can be pretty venomous when you question Coach Glassman.

 

The Crossfit community is also filled with people who tell you that injury is a normal part of the training process. I have spoken up against endurance athletes who willingly hurt themselves and to me, this is no difference than the current Crossfit controversy. I know that this will generate more controversy but, Crossfit might be the biggest controversy in strength and conditioning since HIT training.

I use HIIT as a method in some programs….

Quite different to HIT.

HIT is High Intensity Training, HIIT is High Intensity Interval Training….  I can vary the interval to build endurance before I progress the load/weigh Intensity to improve strength.

This way, beginners can work alongside experienced clients without fear of injury or embarrassment!

 

 

Hope this will encourage you to question training methods and the quality of the ‘coaching’ available to you.

 

Jax Allen Fitness