Serial Trainer











{January 5, 2011}   Kettle Calling the Pot..belly?

Some of you have read my “Poor Man’s Gym” and I wanted to update some exercises for those of you that don’t have access to a home gym and want to tear it up at home. I cannot stress the importance of kettle balls and bands enough. If you want a nice, toned look..these two items will help you obtain it and even more so if you combine them with calisthenics.

Now, some of you are sitting there with that “deer in the headlight” look and wondering what the heck that big word, calisthenics, means:

calisthenics: are a form of dynamic exercise consisting of a variety of simple, often rhythmical, movements, generally using minimal equipment or apparatus. They are intended to increase body strength and flexibility with movements such as bending, jumping, swinging, twisting or kicking, using only one’s body weight for resistance. [from the ever famous Wikipedia!]

I’m including a picture that will give you some ideas for kettle ball exercises. You can YOUTUBE them and find tons of them. I guarantee that they will kick your butt!

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{January 3, 2011}   For Women Only!

So my most popular post is “Happy National Chest Day” and I thought I’d expand on this one because there are so many people interested in it, but I don’t think there’s enough information out there for women that want to tone up and have no real guidance. The common scenario I get is: “I’ve just been doing my boyfriend/husband/brother’s routine” and I ask, “How’s that going for you?” and they say, “I don’t know, I don’t like it too much” to which I respond, “So are your goals to look like your husband/boyfriend/brother?”

I get the oddest looks to that question. But it makes sense, doesn’t it? Anyone that doesn’t ask what your goals are before designing or suggesting a workout regimen for you needs to NOT be designing your workout regimen.

Most women want a lean, sexy look so that they can fit into their tops and feel confident. They don’t want “big guns” and a “chiseled chest” in most cases. So why on earth are they doing chest presses at max weight for 5-10 reps? It doesn’t even take the stand six weeks to see that you’re looking more bulky and your scale numbers are going up.

One thing I like to recommend to my female clients is Pilates. Integrating Pilates moves into your workouts helps strengthen your core muscles and improve your posture. I also suggest some Yoga moves or classes. Stretching the muscles and improving your balance is also very important. If you mix up your routine to include a little of those two types of exercises, you’ll find that your body will take on some very nice results.

Now, let’s hone in on key problem areas for women and address them!

“The Bra Stuff” — The floppy skin that hangs over your bra. Oh c’mon let’s keep it real! How many times have you gone to put on your bra and a form fitting shirt only to see what didn’t fit, muffin out a little?

How to fix it: Cardio. 30-45 mins and lat pull. A good way to find your right weight is to do a few reps. The last five should be the hardest ones and give you just a little struggle. It’s best to have a trainer (if you belong to a gym) do an orientation with you so we can watch your posture and form. In most cases this is a free service offered by your health club. The purpose of the orientation is to tell us if you’re using the right muscle groups, if you’re compensating with another and most importantly, it helps us protect you from pulling muscles or injuring yourself.

If you don’t have a trainer it’s best to invest in a mirror. Watch your form and be sure that you do your research into exactly how that exercise should be done.

“Soft Fluffy Shoulders” — If your neck slopes down in an hourglass form into your shoulders, this is you.
Some people naturally carry their weight differently than others. That’s just the way it is. Nothing to be ashamed of. How your shaped is your own special look and you cannot change your body shape, only how it looks. If you’re curvaceous, that’s ok! If you’ve got narrow hips, that’s OK too! You can accent different areas of your body to draw attention to where you want it. In this case the “Fluffy Shoulders” is frustrating to females that feel like their built like a football player…gear and all.

How to fix it: Cardio. (some of you are starting to get the hint that there’s a pattern to this by now) In order to accentuate the beautiful line of the neck and sexy shoulders. There are a few exercises that can enhance the look but the key is to be careful that you do them correctly or else you’ll end up with an even bulkier look.

Shoulder Raises: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. You should have two light dumbbells in your hands with palms facing down. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly as you raise your arms in front of you to chest level, inhale again as you bring them down and then repeat but bring your arms out to either side (again, to shoulder level). A good hint is to do this exercise slowly..count 1-1000, 2-2000, 3-3000 etc..up to 5-5000. Do a set of 12-15, rest and repeat 2 more times. Be careful not to use your neck!

“Gravity” — Does this need further explanation? In order to give you a lifted look, doing chest presses in a slightly angled position works the chest to give you your own “wonder bra” effect. You can do this on a bench or on a fitness ball. If you this is your first time, start on a bench because the fitness ball will throw off your balance. You can use your dumbbells, bands or barbell. I usually prefer to train female (and male) clients with bands because there is equal resistance throughout the motion and it’s harder to cheat.

Start with your hands at chest level, take a deep breath and exhale as you push upward. Your arms should make a large arc, hugging motion as you bring them upward, then meet in the middle above your chest. Give an extra squeeze and then release to repeat. If you’re trying to tone the muscles and not bulk up, do the same repetitions/sets as the previous exercise.

“Got Cleavage?”Who doesn’t want a nice cleavage when wearing V-Neck shirts or the cute babydoll tops that are all the fashion?

How to fix it: Push-ups!..and Cardio. (did you think you were getting away with it??)

Push ups can be done several ways. Arms wide for more chest isolation and arms closer to work them triceps! Try changing it up and do three sets, working up to 20. Once you get more advanced, try doing them at an incline by raising your feet on a chair or bench, you can also do them with your hands on a dynadisk or fitness ball (be careful!). I also throw in a change here and there by having clients keep one hand on an elevated surface (like a book or small ball) then alternate each rep from side to side. Get creative and challenge yourself. Push-ups work more than your chest and triceps, so you’ll start seeing the difference in your posture as well.

There’s a lot more I can put in here but I’ve decided to break it up. Stay tuned for part 2 and give me some feedback or questions!



{December 22, 2010}   Ch’Arms…? Seriously!?

So..Ch’arms. I sat down one morning and heard Rod Ryan of the Buzz (94.5 in Houston) and he was ranting about these things. I couldn’t help but go and look into this. They are Spanx..for your arms. I’m *almost* speechless.

Almost.

But that would be like asking me not to breathe..and well..that’s not gonna happen anytime soon!

If you have 29.99 to buy Ch’arms, you have dues for a health club membership or a payment on some kind of exercise equipment. It will certainly buy you a kettle ball or fitness ball. And guess what? Push ups are free, ladies.

Have we seriously entered into the realm of DENIAL? Stuffing yourself into spanx and ch’arms like a sausage is nearly ridiculous. Now, ladies, we’ve all bought “control top” pantyhose..what happens?  Everything gets held in there and ….drumroll….gets muffin topped elsewhere. Honestly, what is the point!? Body Spanx?

Stop.
Just….stop.

Accept that you’re beautiful. You’re real. You’re working on issues, don’t try to hide them in stretchy body trampolines. At least carry some scissors in case your blood stops flowing.




I stopped picking up a lot of the fitness magazines that I used to love. Let me tell you why:

My first reason is that they are cutting back on the quality of information and recycling it in future issues. I remember picking up a magazine that I won’t name (not so much into slander these days, sorry) and seeing beautiful depicted anatomy pictures. You have to know what you’re working on in order to know what you’re doing, folks. I don’t expect you to know all the “big names” of muscles but it’s nice to physically see how that anatomy works.

Is it just me or are people too trusting these days? Let me get on a little soap box about this before I continue ..

You go to a health club. You decide you need some help..you ask for a personal trainer. You walk in for your first session and your personal trainer shows up and is maybe 19. Maybe. Male or female, they have a great body. Pause.

How many 19 year olds DON’T have a great body??  Ask them what THEY ate for lunch and it’ll probably be something like “Subway 6 inch sub with chips and a diet coke” or..even worse…”Pizza”. Now ..before panties get in a bunch, this is not the BIBLE of scenarios but this is typical. I’m 37 years old. If I eat a subway sandwhich with chips and a coke everyday for lunch, I’m gaining at least 5lbs by the end of the week.

Let’s also point out that they work in a health club. They train people all day. That’s moving around, demonstrating exercises and running back and forth between protein bars. It’s the same concept as The Biggest Loser. Those people spend their day being active in a controlled environment with cooked meals. It’s an amazing transformation and they work VERY hard, but the average person doesn’t achieve those kinds of results for a reason. Note that you shouldn’t be discouraged by this NOR should you use it as an excuse. It’s just a reality check.

Now back to my beef :

I understand that in order to stay in business, there has to be advertisers. But when I’m paying $4 for a magazine, I don’t want to have more than half of it be advertising …and most of all, for things that aren’t related to health! There has to be a better idea than posting 12 full page advertising ads in between “Building better abs” and “Gorgeous Glutes”.

I don’t care what the latest sexual stimulant is. I don’t care about Bat-dung based supplements. I want to see REAL people, in real fitness gear, in real life situations coming out on top. I’m tired of seeing celebrities who have money for the luxuries of 5 day a week personal trainers, on call chefs, swimming pools in their bedrooms and liposuction on “bad months” when they couldn’t do it themselves. I want to see real struggles. Fall on your face for us, but get the hell back up and show us we can too.

And for the love of all things holy, stop putting the “Increase Breast Size Cream” ads in your magazine!!



{November 18, 2010}   FREE STUFF

I’ve decided that I’m going to get this blog going again with a bang!

So what does that mean for you? FREE STUFF.

Random posters/commentors/questioners will get something free from me. It could be something as small as a water bottle or something bigger like free supplements. Maybe a T-Shirt. You get the idea. So post away!

If there are any sponsors that would like to get in on this, please contact me at serialtrainer@gmail.com



{October 15, 2008}   Houston Wellness Association

I was invited to attend this conference here in Houston but will not be able to attend (it’s a little steep for my personal budget), however, I’d like to let other people in Houston aware of it.  If you’re able to attend, it would be for a good cause:

http://www.houstonwellness.org

Thank you, once more for inviting me, Lauren!

!!! UPDATELauren very kindly offered me a press pass to this event.  I’m extremely excited to be given this opportunity and will definitely blog and let you all know how it goes!




I thought I’d do something about the scale today and I’ll explain why.  Like everyone else, trainers have issues with the scale.  No really, it’s true.  As superhuman as people think we are, there are days when we look down at the scale, scream and flail while cursing obscenities at it.  It seems to defy logical thinking to believe that you can be getting slimmer, while the scale continues to say you’ve not changed your weight at all. 

A funny little story — I weighed in last week and kept telling Lorenzo, “I haven’t lost any weight.”  He made me face away from the numbers on the scale while he weighed me and lo and behold, on HIS scale, I lost weight.  He said, “What’s wrong with your scale?”  and I had laugh.  I finally had an excuse to say, “My scale lies!”

The truth is, you can lose fat and not lose weight.  Let this sink in because it’s going to be vital to your sanity.  With all the media hype about being a size 0 and having a weight in the double digits, we (mostly women, but some men too!) will become obsessed with a scale weight.

In High School it became a real problem for me.  I was the same age/height as Alyssa Milano and she only weighed 95lbs.  I couldn’t get below 108.  I was always exercising trying to get my weight down until I got a job working for the health club and learned how to be healthy.  What scares me is that, had I not gotten that job?  I might have been in a lot of trouble.  The inspiration for me to keep going?  To make sure that no other girl has to go through that. 

I don’t want to see anyone go through the pain of staring down at the scale and thinking they’ve failed.  Look at your body. Look at your clothes and how they fit.  LISTEN to friends and family who say you’re losing or looking great. 

Embed it into your mind: Muscles weighs more than fat.  And you need that lean muscle to kick start your metabolism and to burn more calories.  The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn sitting around doing NOTHING. 

I like sitting around doing nothing!  It’s a rare moment when it happens. Knowing that my body will continue to work even when I’m not, makes me feel much better.  I don’t need to look like Arnold or Triple H — I can still be nicely toned, healthy and lean while still being efficient at the Calorie vs Fat war.

I was able to fix a huge obsession with the scale but others are still battling it. When I weigh myself, it’s just to keep myself in check.  I know that 1-2 lb fluctuation is due to minute things like water weight, etc.  But if I go higher than that, I know I need to keep a tighter reign on my calorie and water intake.  I don’t really care anymore what the scale says, I just want to look good on the outside and maintain a healthy body on the inside.

If I can do all that and my scale weight never changes, I’ll be okay with it.  And you should be, too!

 



{August 31, 2008}   Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 small ripe banana, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter, creamy
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • banana slice and chopped peanuts for garnish, if desired

Preparation:

Set aside a slice of the banana for garnish, and put remaining banana, peanut butter, and honey in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add milk and blend until foamy. Garnish with banana slice rolled in chopped peanuts, if desired. Serve immediately.

credit: here
Makes about 1 1/2 cups, 1 serving.



{August 19, 2008}   Reduce Risk for Stroke

From Medscape.com

August 15, 2008 – A new analysis combining the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS) and the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) confirms that in addition to preventing chronic diseases such as diabetes and coronary heart disease, an overall healthy lifestyle is associated with a significantly decreased risk for stroke.

The reduction in stroke risk was driven by a reduction in ischemic rather than hemorrhagic stroke. A healthy lifestyle combining not smoking, a healthy weight, a healthful diet including moderate alcohol consumption, and daily exercise reduced ischemic strokes by approximately half in both men and women.

 

Just another reason to do something for yourself. Working out and eating healthy is the only thing *not* causing cancer these days. It’s consistently showing good. I think there’ve been enough studies to safely say you can do it and it’s FDA approved.

Taking away your excuses, one day at a time.

 

 



{August 17, 2008}   Muscle Milk, mmmmm.

One of the other products I really enjoy is Cytosport’s MUSCLE MILK. I have to honestly say, that until APEX came out with their workout shakes, this was hand’s down my favorite workout drink. I stock up on both now.

Muscle Milk is great during workouts, I feel like I maintain or sometimes even go above what I normally do without it. So it’s a nice boost without feeling weighed down. I actually drink a little before I start, a little during and then finish it off when I’m done. It doesn’t have that powdery texture that other workout shakes usually do and the flavors..wow!

I usually buy the pre-made shakes but that’s not to say that the powder form is not good, as well. I can do either. I just hate to clean the cups after, haha!  I can say that when I used Muscle Milk as my meal replacement, I felt full and satisfied until my next meal and maintained a nice pepped feeling.

The best part is, it comes in LIGHT and Regular formulas. So if you’re trying to ADD calories, it’s a great source but they haven’t forgotten us calorie counters!

Benefits of using Muscle Milk Light® Ready-to-Drink

Control your cravings: Muscle Milk Light fuels your body and helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, to stop hunger attacks in their tracks.

Good nutrition, great taste: Formulated for sustained energy and satisfaction, with a complete balance of protein and fats that promote lean muscle development.

Less is more: Muscle Milk Light builds on the proven science in original Muscle Milk, yet cuts fat and calories to promote better intelligent weight management.

3 ways to fill the gaps in your daily diet: New Muscle Milk Light RTD is available in 3 user-approved flavors, to satisfy your need for energy and your desire for great taste.

Best ways to use Muscle Milk Light® Ready-to-Drink

All-around: Integrated daily: Muscle Milk Light is a satisfying way to balance out the energy rollercoaster of your busy day at work, in the gym, or at play. Drink some mid-morning and mid-afternoon to avoid the loss of focus and fatigue that often result from low blood sugar levels.

Benefits of using Muscle Milk®

Efficient Energy Production: Lean LipidsTM are special fats that are easily mobilized for workout energy, enhance your body’s fat metabolism and promote protein synthesis, anti-inflammatory effects and mineral retention.

Muscle Growth and Repair: EvoProTM is a complex ratio of proteins, peptides and amino acids designed to replicate the amazing benefits of mother’s milk for rapid tissue growth and repair.

Best ways to use Muscle Milk®

Before: Take one serving of Muscle Milk® one hour prior to training. Muscle Milk provides the caloric energy needed for intense workouts while flooding nutrients to hungry muscles.

After: Take Muscle Milk® within 30 minutes after workouts, games or events to shift the body from catabolic to anabolic. Muscle Milk provides nutrients to kick start the recovery process.

 

I challenge you to try the Muscle Milk because I think you’ll find that it’s a nice “treat” to reward your hard workouts. I even had a friend who I was helping to lose weight via internet tell me that he loved to have one at night when he came home from a long day. He works as an architecht so there were times he wouldn’t get to workout until really late and he’d drink a shake after as his “chocolate fix” for the day. It becomes something you look forward to instead of something you try to drink as fast as you can so you don’t taste it.

 



et cetera