Wednesday, October 29, 2008

You're Not Too Old or Too Out Of Shape

I have a personal training client who started out as a real novice. She'd never participated in sports or been very active. She works hard (because she knows she has to or I'd fire her as a client :-) ) and in the few months she been working with me, her fitness level has improved tremendously.

Unfortunately, she can be a whiner. (I'm not telling tales out of school; it's actually kind of a running joke.) The other day I wanted her to finish up her workout with a bodyweight circuit rather than cardio intervals. You'd have thought I'd suggested she run a marathon.

Anyway, one of my gym members happened to be finishing up her strength training and I asked if she wanted to do the circuit with my client. I thought it might help the client to have some company in her "misery". I also hoped that the fact that the member was 77 years old and was willing to give it a go might decrease the whining.

These are the 4 exercises in the circuit:

* Prisoner Squats
* Standing Medicine Ball Shoulder Press
* Lying Hip Bridge
* Mountain Climbers

To make it a little easier, I set my GymBoss for 20 second intervals (rather than 20:10 Tabatas). So, they did as many Prisoner Squats as they could in 20 seconds (with good form, of course), rested 20 seconds, did 20 seconds of Standing M.B. Shoulder Presses, rested 20 seconds, etc.

They both completed the circuit 4 times straight through and got a great cardio workout in just shy of 11 minutes.

The kicker? Janet, my 77 year old member, asked me to review the circuit with her because she wanted to do it again today! Go Janet!

Here she is in action...

Prisoner Squat

Medicine Ball
Shoulder Press

Lying Hip Bridge

Mountain Climbers

Tell me again why you're not exercising regularly.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Forget The !@#$% Scale!

Prepare for a rant.

This morning, on a private forum I belong to, I saw a post from a woman upset by the fact that she's only lost 2 1/2 pounds a month even though she's been been faithfully following the exercise and nutrition program she's on.

It's understandable that someone who is only eating 1500 calories of healthy food and regularly engaging in challenging workouts would be frustrated at those results, if that were the whole story.

But it's not.

The poster also reported that...

* she's gone down 2 dress sizes

* her body shape has changed and she's lost lots of inches

* loads of people are commenting on her new body

She used the words frustrated, despair, fed up, and despondent to describe her feelings about the number on the scale. She went on to say that she was sure that she could have lost the same amount of weight by sitting on her butt and just dieting.

She probably could have lost 2 1/2 pounds in a month just through eating right. I'm the first person to remind members, clients and anyone else who will listen that you can't out-train a bad diet but there's no way her body would look as good as it currently does had she skipped the exercise. (And that's not even going into the other mental, physical and emotional benefits of regular workouts.)

I honestly don't understand why women insist on getting hung up on the scale.

If you're overweight, isn't your bottom line goal to get smaller? To improve your body composition (less fat, more muscle)? To fit into clothes you haven't worn in a while? To take pressure off your joints and internal organs? To comfortably sit in theater and airplane seats, etc.

If that's happening, why obsess over the number on the scale?

This woman is doing great.

She's down 2 sizes and lots of inches!

Loads of people are noticing her improvements!

Why would she possibly be "despondent"?

Although it may sound like it, I'm writing this not just to beat up on this forum member. I hear the same thing from people far too often and it frustrates and confuses me.

When you get down to it, would you rather be a size 18 and weigh 125 lbs. or a size 6 and weigh 140?

Forget the scale.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Try This Upper Back Stretch

A lot of women hold their tension in their upper back.

Here's a post I recently ran across on fitsugar that might help.

After all those push-ups and side-arm raises you do, I'm sure your shoulders and upper body could use a nice stretch. This one is really easy to do, and it targets your upper back instantly. All you need is a sturdy chair with four legs. If you're at work or sitting just on the couch, why not give this a try?

* Sit on the very edge of a chair. Separate your feet so your knees are a little wider than your shoulders.

* Lean your torso forward and bring your arms inside your legs. Wrap your hands around your calves and try to reach your fingertips in front of your ankles.

* Use your hands to gently pull the torso though your legs to open your shoulders and stretch your upper back.

* Hold there for 30 seconds then lift your torso up to a seated position.

Let me know what you think of this stretch. - Mickey

Friday, October 24, 2008

68 Year Old Grandma Chases Down Thief

Another Reason To Get and Stay Fit. Yea, Janet!

Granny Janet Lane runs teenager to ground over snatched pension
The Times
Simon de Bruxelles

It was an unequal chase: a 68-year-old grandmother against a teenage thief who had just run off with her bag.

The bag-snatcher had no chance.

Janet Lane was sitting on a park bench when three teenagers grabbed her handbag containing £100 in cash, her mobile phone, an umbrella, a first-aid kit and a present that she had just bought for a friend.

What the thief did not know was that Mrs Lane had won the Yorkshire cross-country championship as a schoolgirl in 1953 and had kept herself in shape ever since.

As he and his two accomplices ran away, Mrs Lane set off in pursuit, chasing them 100 metres across a park and into the grounds of a hotel. Despite wearing sandals, the 5ft 6in (1.68m) tall grandmother managed to catch up and grabbed one of the youths by the collar. The youth, aged about 15, dropped her bag and begged to be let go. All three escaped empty-handed.

Mrs Lane, a retired nurse, said: “Those boys saw a little old lady and thought I was easy pickings, but there was no way I was going to sit there and let them get away with it. I was so angry when they took it. I had been to collect my pension and I had water rates to pay with that money.

“My first reaction was, ‘They are not having my bag'. I used to be a very good runner when I was younger so I just got up and ran after them.”

Mrs Lane, a divorced grandmother of two, had her bag stolen as she sat on a bench near the Riviera International Centre in Torquay, Devon.

She said: “I had my shopping bag with me by my side and I turned around, looking for my friend, Sue, who would be coming around the corner. The boys came up to me and asked for a cigarette but I said no. They must have been checking if I had anything worth stealing. They must have come back and I felt a whooshing movement and I saw a boy in a grey hooded top take my bag.”

A spokesman at the Inglewood Hotel, in Torquay, where Mrs Lane chased them to ground, said: “There was quite a commotion outside as the lady ran by chasing the boys. Her shouting alerted two waiters who were putting up decorations and they tried to stop them as well.”

However, Devon and Cornwall Police warned members of the public against following Mrs Lane's example. A spokesman said: “Generally, for safety reasons, we do not actively encourage this kind of behaviour, as you never know what could happen. But we understand this woman is a former cross-country runner and did not feel able to let it go.”

The police are continuing their inquiries.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

5 Things I Learned From Jillian Michaels by Margarita Bertsos

I recently ran across an article that contained some good advice from Jillian Michaels. While I disagree with her that running melts the pounds off, based on how I've seen her train on The Biggest Loser, I'm not sure that her complete thoughts were printed.

Why don't I think running is the key to losing weight? If it's such a great fat burning exercise, why do you see so many overweight people participating in races, including marathons?

Anyway, I like the rest of Jillian's comments so here's the article.

For the original post, with all the live links:
5 things I learned from Jillian Michaels
by Margarita Bertsos

I met Jillian Michaels yesterday; she's one of the trainers on The Biggest Loser--and my new favorite person.

Here's what she had to say.


I told Jillian that some of my habits--flushing rice down the toilet so I won't eat it, bringing my own high-fiber bread to brunch--stirred some controversy on the blog. "Why?" she asked. "Why should we apologize for the practices that help us manage the symptoms while we deal with the real reasons we eat? I pour candle wax on my food at restaurants," Jillian admitted. "Not wanting to 'waste food' is a poor excuse for ending up far worse off later on, dealing with all the health problems that come with obesity." (Here are a few restaurant do's and dont's to help you maintain your healthy eating goals while dining out.)

2.) RUN.

I asked Jillian if running really is the best form of cardio for weight loss. "Absolutely," she said. "There are lots of great ways to get your heart rate up, but if you want to see the pounds melt off, running is the fastest way. But I get that not everyone is built for it--knee problems, tight IT bands, heel spurs; I get it." Whatever you do, she said, "Don't forget the weights! The more muscle you build, the faster your metabolism will run."(What's better running outdoors or on a treadmill?)


"You don't watch the Olympics and think, Hmm, I should swim for 6 hours a day like Michael Phelps, do you? But you might think about joining a pool and swimming a few times a week," she said. That's what Jillian wants people watching TBL to think, too: "If these people can lose ten pounds in two weeks, maybe I can lose ten pounds in a couple of months." She adds: "I want people to realize their own potential; I meet people all the time who never thought of themselves as athletic, but now? They truly are athletes."


"Losing weight is not about willpower--it's about moments of bravado, like the moment when you ask your waiter to take the bread away from the table right away."


When I told Jillian how much weight I've lost, she congratulated me. And then (as I always do), I added, "But I still have a long way to go." "Stop," she said. "What does that do," she said, "apart from negate everything you've already accomplished? You're being self-deprecating and disempowering, and that doesn't serve anyone-and especially not you. Be proud of what you've done for yourself."

Got it, Jillian. Thank you! :- )

What do you guys think--is weight loss about willpower? I happen to agree with Jillian and think it's NOT. It's not about gritting your teeth and finding the strength "deep within you"--I think that's B.S. and will leave many people feeling really bad that they can't find it. They key, I think, is to set up your environment and make decisions so that you can succeed even when willpower is nowhere to be found.

Margarita Bertsos

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How To Get The Most From Your Interval Training, Part 2

If you've visited No Pink Dumbbells before, you know I'm a big fan of challenging strength training and cardio intervals for fat loss.

The other day, I wrote about a member whose intensity was not high enough during the hard portion of her intervals. On Sunday, I ran into kind of the opposite scenario.

One of my male clients, who I only see once every month or so for a new workout routine, mentioned that his performance really falls off by his 3rd or 4th interval. As we discussed it more, it was obvious why- he was not performing the recovery portion of the intervals correctly.

I see this often on internet forums. Someone reports that they run at 8.5 mph for 30 seconds or a minute and they "recover" at 5.5 or 6.0 mph. Wrong.

It's called recovery for a reason.

If you are running, recovery should be a walk, probably no faster than 3.5 mph. If you are walking fast during the challenging section of the interval, slow down significantly for the easy part. If you're using a stationary bike, lower your resistance. You should be ready for your next interval when it's time to go hard again.

The challenging part of the interval should feel like an 8 or 9 on a scale of 1 to 10; recovery should feel like a 3.

If you don't allow your body to recover properly, you will not be able to push yourself as much and you will not get the best results from your session.

For a more thorough description of how to perform cardio intervals correctly, go here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hate Mail

Craig Ballantyne, creator of Turbulence Training, recently found the following threatening post on his TT members website:

Dear Craig:

I am the spokescell for Dan's fat cells. We hate you. We knew we were in trouble when Dan woke up at 4:30AM on a SUNDAY!

He did workout 1 from Hardcore Fat Loss, and we are hurting. For starters, the triple press was difficult, although we really enjoyed when our enemies, the muscle fibers, were screaming bloody murder, that made us feel good. But then, doing 20 deadlifts, we couldn't hear the muscles screaming over the shrieks of pain from my fellow fat cells.

We thought it was over, but then Dan decided to do a 4x6 3-minute arms circuit. Jeez. We know he's not in the NBA, nor does he yet deserve to be, but he was giving it his all to be among those elite TT-ers.

Finally, the intervals...oh those intervals. No treadmill for Dan today...oh noooooo...he did 30/60 intervals using burpees for the intervals. While we hate that infernal treadmill, that was the worst thing we've ever gone through.

Craig Ballantyne, we fat cells hate you. Since we are falling off of Dan's body, we are going to band together, come up to Canada and picket you wherever you go. We're sure there are many of us who have been looking for new jobs since you came around, so we will band together and make your life difficult.

We miss playing w/ Dan's kids when they would poke us and call him "Squishy".

We HATE you, Craig. We're meltingggggg!

W/ much hate.

-Dan's fat cells

There's a lot of serious fat loss going on with the TT members but there's always time for fun on the forum.

If you're interested in having your fat cells threaten Craig Ballantyne, check out

Friday, October 17, 2008

2 Quickie Circuits For You

Looking for a quick workout? Here are 2 super fast workouts that engage lots of muscles and will fire up your metabolism.

Do them when you're crunched for time or after your regular strength training session in place of traditional cardio.

You can do the circuits different ways:

* Perform 15 reps of each of the 4 exercise with no rest in between. When you've completed all 4 exercises, rest for 30-60 seconds and repeat the circuit 4-6 times.

* Do them Tabata style. Perform as many reps as you can (with good form, of course) in 20 seconds. You then get 10 seconds to rest and get set for the next exercise. Repeat the circuit 4 times. You'll see how intense an 8 minute workout can be.

* Choose other work/rest interval times depending upon your fitness level. If you're a workout pro, you could perform all 4 exercises for 1 minute each with no rest in between. Then, rest 1 minute and repeat. Total time 10 minutes. If you're a novice, play around with different times to see what works for you. Results come from challenging yourself, not from specific interval times.

To get the best workout and to avoid having to keep your eye on a watch or clock, use some kind of timer with an alarm. For around 20 bucks, you can't go wrong with the GymBoss. I use mine all the time and I love it. If you want access to a ton of quickie workouts with a built in timer, check out BodyBot.

Try these and tell me what you think.


Prisoner Squats
Pushups / Incline Pushups
Lying Hip Bridge
Plank Lift

Plank Lift: Start in a Plank position then lift your butt up in the air. Pause. Return to Plank position. These are the only photos I could find and they call it "Dolphin Pose" (and she doesn't seem to be coming all the way back down to the plank position).


K.B. or D.B. Swings
Pushups - Incline, Standard, Decline or T-Pushups
Alt. Reverse Lunge
Spiderman Climbs

Remember to always warm up properly.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The New OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Dieting

Obsessive Compulsive Dieting - that's the catchy phrase Brad Pilon has coined to describe the behavior of many Americans who are interested in losing weight. Brad's book, Eat Stop Eat offers a different solution to dropping pounds - intermittent fasting. If you're a person who hates trying to plan and prepare 6 meals a day or refuses to measure and log every morsel that passes your lips, this approach may be for you.

Brad appeared on The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet yesterday. He held his own but, unfortunately, the other panelists were extremely narrow minded and parroted the misinformation we've been fed for years. And, as usual on these shows, there was not enough time for Brad to discuss his own research and that of the other studies done on fasting.

I know we've all been brainwashed into thinking that missing a meal will cause our metabolism to screech to a halt and go into "starvation mode" but the research (contrary to the woman on the show) does not bear this out. You also will not lose muscle while fasting as long as you are strength training on a regular basis.

I think the one panelist may have had a valid point about fasting being easier for men than woman. That being said, multiple female TT Transformation contest winners have used Eat Stop Eat.

Anyway, you can see the clip of Brad appearance here.

The show also filmed a Green Room Exclusive, where the discussion continued after the show.

If you're looking for a less obsessive way of dropping fat, I recommend you check out Eat Stop Eat. Brad didn't just invent some new diet to scam the masses. In the book, he explains the benefits of intermittent fasting, debunks the many weight loss myths and discusses the scientific research in plain English.

Now he just needs to post a new photo on his website. I was really surprised at how much thinner Brad looked on Mike and Juliet than in his picture.

Update: Here's a link to Brad's thoughts on his TV experience:
The Nutrition Help Blog

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Did Tony Send You?

If you're looking for the post Tony Gentilcore referenced in his blog, it's here. It also contains a link to my original comments from September 22nd on the subject.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, October 10, 2008

How To Get The Most From Your Interval Training

Yesterday, a member told me she planned to do 12 intervals on the treadmill. I usually follow Craig Ballantyne's recommendation of 6 intervals although, occasionally, I'll do a couple more. But 12? No way. I told my member that if she was capable of doing 12 intervals, she wasn't working hard enough.

The member explained that she wanted to increase the number of intervals because her previous session didn't feel like a good enough workout. That time, she ran at 5.5 mph for 35 seconds and and recovered for 85 seconds at 3.7 mph. I told her to slow her recovery speed down to 3.5 but to increase the challenging part to at least 6.0.

Later she reported that she ended up completing 8 intervals - running at 6.3 mph and recovering at 3.5 mph. There's no way she could have made it through 12 intervals at that intensity.

If you're thinking that you'd keel over trying to do that workout, it doesn't matter. The great thing about cardio intervals is that the intensity is relative to the individual exerciser. There are people for whom that workout would be far too easy and others who will never be able to work at that level.

It's about challenging yourself, not about competing with someone else.

If you're new to the concept of intervals, here's how to get started:

After a 5-10 minute warmup, increase the intensity to a level that’s higher than what you normally do. As you get acclimated to this method of training, you want the hard part of the interval to rank about 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. (If you're using a stationary bike, increase the resistance rather than pedaling wildly. Try to stay around 80-100 rpm.)

Maintain that level for 1 minute and then lower the intensity to about 3 out of 10 and recover for 1 minute.

If after a minute, you don’t feel prepared to increase the intensity again, simply extend your recovery time. You can do 60 seconds hard paired with 60, 90 or 120 seconds recovery. As you progress, you can increase your intensity even more and perform 30 seconds hard and then recover. Personally, I found that 30 seconds easy is not long enough for adequate recovery at that intensity so I use a 60 or 90 second recovery time on those. Listen to your body.

There are no magic intervals lengths; I simply chose those above because they are easier to keep track of when using equipment. If you're doing a high intensity training session, I recommend keeping the challenging part of the interval to 1 minute or less. Going for 2 minutes or more during the hard part is considered aerobic intervals.

One interval consists of the intense portion plus the recovery time.

Try this at your next workout: Warm up, perform 4 or 5 intervals, then cool down. If you are going to do this type of workout on a day when you strength train, always do it after lifting. Change interval times and equipment regularly. Work up to 6 intervals total per session and do not do more than 3 (4, if you're an advanced exerciser) interval workouts per week.

If you're interested in better fat loss results...
If you want to continue burning more calories after your workout...
If you want to spend less time exercising...
If you want reduce your risk of repetitive motion injuries...

...give cardio intervals a try.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

3 Biggest Factors In Fat Loss by Craig Ballantyne

3 Biggest Factors In Fat Loss
By Craig Ballantyne

If you're trying to lose weight, you must know the 3 biggest factors in fat loss.

First up, is social support.

A study from Stanford University showed that social support is the #1 factor for success in female fitness programs.

I'd bet that its also important in male fitness programs - no matter how much guys would be unwilling to admit it.

And this should come as no surprise...just look at the popularity of Internet message boards dedicated to fitness and fat loss.

And while the social support can come from your spouse, family members, friends, the Internet (i.e. the Mens Health Belly Off Club) or co-workers, the Stanford study showed that individuals have a greater chance of sticking to an exercise program when they have to be accountable to an authority figure - such as a doctor, lifestyle coach, or trainer (again, use the MH Belly Off Club or other Internet weight loss club with experts).

Regardless, don't feel that you need to do this on your own. Get some social support and watch your success rate soar.

(I also encourage everyone to do a lifestyle review with his or her physician, especially if you are over 30 years of age and previously sedentary. Better safe than sorry. And it's also great to get your doctor into your social support group.).

Good communication and professional instruction will significantly increase your chances of success.

The second most important factor is nutrition.

That's right, what you eat is more important than how you exercise.
It's always tough for me to admit this, but its true. No matter how great a TT workout can be, it's no match for eating a large pizza or scarfing down a huge piece of chocolate cake. Nutrition will always have the final word on your fat loss success.

So make sure you know how many calories you are eating and have an expert check to make sure that you aren't eating something that you think is healthy, but in reality is actually an obstacle to your success.

And finally, the 3rd most important factor in fitness is exercise.

And the more customized your program is for you, the better your results will be. When you combine a great workout program with proper nutrition and accountability, you can make incredible can even feel like you are reversing the aging process.

"Hi Craig, I just have to respond to this email...I'm 55 years old and have been on TT for over a year now. I'm in the best shape of my life, have 15% body fat, can run easily 10+ mph on the treadmill, am stronger than ever, and I feel and look great (if I do say so myself). TT is simply AMAZING! So whoever thinks they are "too old"...forget about it.....never too old. If you have the commitment and desire, you can do it. And frankly, I don't accept the 'no time' excuse...there is a simple solution to the 'no time' reason...prioritize your daily activities and start thinking about your health are of no use to anyone when you're 'disable'. Enjoy life!"
Al Aiello

Start today working to get access to all 3 factors...

1) Social Support

2) The right nutrition info

3) A professionally designed fat burning workout

You can even join hundreds of other folks in the 3rd Turbulence Training Transformation Contest. It started a few days ago but you can still jump on board.

To discover the 12-week TT Transformation Contest & Prizes:

=> Click Here to Know All About the TT Contest

And please refer your friends to the contest.

You'll be helping them change their bodies and their lives,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Machines vs. Free Weights - The Discussion Continues

If you've spent any amount of time on exercise related websites, I'm sure you've read that strength training machines are safer and/or the best option for beginners.

Unfortunately, that's just more fitness misinformation that keeps people from getting the results they want. You can put that nugget of "wisdom" in the same file as the fat burning zone, low weight / high reps to tone and boring hour long cardio sessions for weight loss.

I am not totally anti-machine but the longer I've worked in this field and the more educated I've become, the fewer machines I use. Check out the link below for a great article on the subject. If you're not interested in the history of how people came to believe that machines are "superior" to free weights, scroll about half way down to read why they are not your best option.

Dark Side of Strength Training Machines
by James Wilson


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Does Fruit Make You Fat?

It's hard for me to believe that anyone actually thinks that but considering how the media report (or should I say distort) scientific studies, I can understand how some people could be confused.

Here's a link Tom Venuto's answer to the question. Tom gives you the scoop and explains it in plain English. You can listen to the audio or read the transcript.

Burn The Fat blog

Monday, October 6, 2008

More Freebies

From B.J. Gaddour of

The Total Body PUMP-kin Workout
"No Tricks Here" Halloween Cookbook

FREE here --> Halloween Bootcamp Gifts

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Group Workout For St. Jude 10-12-08

Sunday, October 12th at 10:00 A.M.

Join me at Hamilton Park playground in Lancaster (on Maple Avenue and S. School Lane) for a fun and challenging group workout session.

Participants have raved about how much they enjoyed the previous workouts so spread the word among your co-workers, friends and family. The pre-registration donation is $10 per person ($12 that day).

I need to have an idea of how many people will be attending so please call (717) 509-7777, e-mail me at NoPinkDumbbells at (I'm trying to avoid the spambots getting my e-mail address so you'll have to replace "at" with @.) You can also sign up in person at Body & Soul Fitness at 833 Second Street, Lancaster.

The entire workout (including warmup and cooldown) will last approximately 60 minutes. Anyone 12 and older is welcome to participate. The event will be held only if there is a minimum of 10 pre-registrants so if you’re interested, don’t wait to sign up.

If the kids in your life are healthy, this is a great way to show your gratitude and help those who are not.

This may be the last outdoor workout of the year so please consider making the time to attend. You can enjoy some fresh air, get a good workout and contribute to a very worthy cause.

Hope to see you there!

Mickey Glick
Certified Personal Trainer
Owner, Body & Soul Fitness Studio

All proceeds benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where no child is ever turned away due to parental inability to pay and no family is billed for charges not paid by insurance.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Meal Plans For Fat Loss

If you've spent anytime researching fat loss, you've probably read that you can't out-train a bad diet. Most experts now agree that nutrition is more important than exercise for weight loss (although strength training is critical to make sure that you're losing fat and not muscle).

I am sometimes asked for specific meal plans that someone can follow to lose fat. Well, right now on Mike Geary's website, Isabel De Los Rios is giving away 6 weeks of free meal plans. No catch, no obligation, you aren't even required to supply your e-mail address.

You can pick it up here --> 6 Weeks To Kickstart Your Metabolism

Obviously, Isabel's program is a general one. If you're looking for something more individualized, check out Meal Plans 101.

Using Meal Plans 101, you create your own meal plans based on your personal food choices. The software gives you options as far as nutrient ratios- high carbs, low carbs or medium carbs or high, low or medium protein amounts. It's up to you.

There is no guesswork; you pinpoint your exact calorie requirements by entering your specific data (height, weight, gender, etc) and choosing from 94 different exercise categories. As your body changes, you can easily change your data and adjust your meal plans accordingly to continue progressing.

There are over 13,000 food options so you can design lots and lots of enjoyable meals.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Women Should Not Lift More Than 3 Lb. Dumbbells, Part 2

In my original post, which you can read here, I didn't mention the specific trainer, celebrity or even the show but everybody else on the internet has so it's no secret.

Apparently, I'm not the only person appalled at the advice that Gwyneth Paltrow's trainer gave during her taped segment on Oprah recently.

Check out the posts at Oprah's own message board which is filled with exercise aficionados and fitness pros alike taking swipes at the notion that woman should never lift more than 3 pound dumbbells. As many people pointed out, most women carry purses, grocery bags, children, etc. that all weigh more than 3 pounds.

Let's be clear here, sometimes 3 pounds is the right weight for starting out on certain exercises or for deconditioned folks or exercise newbies. However, saying that a woman should not increase her resistance above that is ridiculous.

Strength, fat loss and bone building all require the body to be challenged with more resistance as our bodies adapt.

You need weight bearing exercise to help prevent osteoporosis. And, how is doing hundreds of reps with a 3 pound dumbbell going to help you lift your child or grandchild, or help you get up if you fall.

"But, but...what about toning", I imagine some of you are thinking. Read this from Craig Ballantyne.

There are some knowledgeable trainers out there who believe that lower weights work better for women. Valerie Water's Red Carpet Ready is one such program. However, Valerie uses challenging bodyweight exercises, doesn't restrict women to 3 pound dumbbells, and doesn't expect her clients to work out for 2 hour sessions, 6 days a week in 80 degree heat. (Remember, we're not talking about getting in super shape for a role, this is Gwyneth's and supposedly Madonna's regular exercise schedule.)

Not to be totally negative, I do think Tracy's resistance band set-up at Gwyneth's house looked interesting and would be worth exploring more.

If you want to read what others are saying about this, check out the links below. Warning, although highly entertaining, some of the blogs contain course language so if you are easily offended stay away from the last two.

Clothes Make The Girl

Daily Spark

The Fitness Fixation

Boston Herald - Tony Gentlicore blog

I love this quote from Tony Gentlicore:

I’m pretty sure if she were still alive today, Susan B. Anthony would shit a pink dumbbell if she knew there were women still walking around with this “I’m a frail, delicate creature” mentality.

Amen, Tony.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cardio Kills?

If you been on this blog more than once you know that I prefer cardio intervals for fat loss over long duration, steady state cardio.

Here's an excerpt from an excellent article by Darin Steele that I recently came across.

The common myth that jogging is better for fat loss, fitness, & health is a strong one that is wrong;

The old school text books & simple minds say; "To burn fat, you must stay in the fat burning zone (heart rate between 50-65%) for 60-70 minutes. You don't start burning fat until about 20 minutes into the work-out. So if you do a 70 minute session, you will get 50 minutes of fat burning.

I am going to clear this up for you once and for all. You see, for fat loss, it is not about where your body gets the energy from the work-out for (slow go cardio / fat, interval / glycogen) nearly as much as it is total calories.

You see, the instant that you are done with low intensity jogging, your body is done burning calories. But, do an intense set of intervals, and your body burns calories for the 2-4 hours after the work-out. So the total amount of calories burned form intense interval far exceeds that of jogging type cardio.

Another big advantage that you get with interval cardio that most do not know about is that it changes the way your body stores your calories in the future: and in a very good way. You see most of the benefits of exercise come after the exercise is completed. It is how the body adapts and changes. Tear down muscles by weight lifting, and in the 1-2 days after, the body repairs the tiny micro tears back so they are a little bigger & stronger.

Well, cardio is much the same way. When you do low intensity jogging type cardio, your body says, "It's a good thing I had that fat there to supply energy for that work out". So it makes sure that it has plenty of fat there in preparation for the next "slow go cardio" session.

But when you do intense intervals, your body says, "It's a good thing I had that glycogen in the muscles for that interval cardio". So when it breaks down your future meals, it stores more of the carbs as glycogen in the muscles and the liver in preparation for the future "Interval Cardio" sessions. In essence, your gas tanks enlarge with useful energy. This is great for at least two reasons.

The entire article is here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Treating Depression - Exercise vs. Pills

Researchers at Harvard University have found that strenuous exercise results in a 50% reduction in the symptoms of depression. Shockingly, that’s the same amount of relief that patients experience through the use of antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy. Millions of Americans seek medical care for this problem. How often is exercise prescribed, even in conjunction with medication, in treating depression?

The mental, physical and emotional health benefits of regular exercise are too numerous to mention here and come with no troubling (or possibly fatal) side effects.

It’s been shown time and time again that regular physical activity and proper nutrition can positively affect everything from cancer risk to self esteem to diabetes. So, when will more doctors and patients stop automatically turning to drugs to treat every health issue?