3 Ways to Change Your Workouts to Improve TODAY

There are so many of us out there that have been working out the same way for years, or even decades! We’re comfortable doing it this way, we may or may not be seeing results, but at least we’re doing SOMETHING! Why change it now? Because our bodies are bored! If your body adapts to the way you’ve been doing things, then you stop improving or gaining the desired results. This is why programs such as P90X have been successful—every 30 days, right before your body plateaus, the workout regimen completely changes so your body continues to learn and grow.

Image: fitday.com

Image: fitday.com

Eventually, we all plateau. Our body changes because of the stress it is under. In terms of working out, this means we change based on the frequency, duration, or intensity of our workouts. If we don’t work out enough, or intensely enough, we see negative results in our bodies, and vice versa for seeing positive results. However, our bodies are incredible at adapting and becoming more efficient at movements it recognizes over time. Once our bodies adapt to certain movements or exercises, they do not become as stressed anymore and stop improving like when we first started—we have plateaued.

 

We also depend on mental stimulation to work out, or enjoy said exercise. If we are doing mindless hours of cardio or going to an exercise class that we are not excited about, then we lose motivation and begin making excuses to avoid the workouts. How many of you out there are going on long walks, or putting that exercise DVD on in the morning, and merely exercising because you know you must do something? There are so many different options out there to get your exercise in. It’s time you find something that you enjoy! If your mind doesn’t support what you’re doing, then eventually you will quit.

Image: airfitnow.com

Image: airfitnow.com

Our advice for getting over the plateau:

  1. Switch up the type, intensity, frequency, or duration of your workout. If you always wake up in the morning and take a spin class, try going to a high intensity interval training (HIIT) class instead. You are going to begin using muscles that may have been dormant during your spin classes and will immediately start to see incredible results in both your strength and stamina.
  2. Not sure which new workout to try? If you’re in Atlanta, try joining Class Pass (https://classpass.com). This gives you the ability to try almost 50 different studios/classes each month to find what really speaks to you. Have you been hesitant about trying a yoga or pilates class? How about a weight training session? This could be the perfect opportunity to switch things up!
  3. Talk to a friend! Find out what workouts he or she is doing and join them at their gym or class and have them come to yours as well! Working out and exercising is always better with a friend and helps you both stay accountable as well. Who knows, you may end up loving their routine more and switching up your style altogether!

 

The bottom line is don’t just work out to work out. Do it because you enjoy what you’re doing! We have too many options to get bored or stagnant with your exercise routine. Use our 3 tips above to switch things up this week and enjoy reaping the benefits of your body growing and improving like it did when you first started exercising.

Do you have other tips and tricks you use to keep your body guessing? Comment below or let us know so we can start incorporating them as well!

How to Burn More Calories During Your Workout!

When it comes to working out and exercising, most people either focus on cardio, such as running or biking, or the “glamour muscles.” What are these glamour muscles, you ask? These are the ones that may look good by the pool, but are not necessarily helping you hit your health goals. The glamour muscles include the biceps, triceps, shoulders, and core (or abdominal muscles). While these muscles are important, there are other areas to focus on for even better results.

 

We’ve all heard the saying, “Never skip leg day!” However, there are still lots of people who would rather do bench press and curls than squats and deadlifts. Here is why training your legs and other large muscle groups is so important:

  1. The bigger the muscle, the more it will burn. Without getting into too much of the science and physiology, our cells and the cells in our muscles have little energy converters known as mitochondria. These mitochondria are said to be the “powerhouse” of our cells and help convert oxygen and calories into energy, both during workouts and during rest. The larger a muscle is, such as your hamstrings as opposed to your triceps, the more mitochondria are present. The more you work and strengthen those larger muscles, the stronger the mitochondria become as well. The stronger the mitochondria are, the more efficient they are at burning calories. So, you can train your biceps and triceps and strengthen a small percentage of mitochondria to burn calories, or train massive muscles like your legs and back to exponentially increase your fat burning capabilities!
  2. There is no such thing as “spot reduction.” You cannot only do bicep curls and expect to only burn calories in your arms. Although you may strengthen the bicep muscles by focusing on specific exercises, calories burn at an even rate around the entire body. Most people do not have a problem with the size of their muscles. Rather, they have a problem seeing those muscles because of excess calories and fat. So, instead of trying to develop your abdominal muscles by only doing sit-ups, train the larger muscle groups in your legs and burn more calories and fat that are surrounding your stomach!
  3. We are foundational creatures! As long as we’re upright, all our strength and power comes from our legs. Even if you’re training your upper body, you still depend on a stable base and foundation. To neglect our base and foundation is to only set yourself up for injury or improper movement down the road. This holds true for our back and posterior as well. To keep ourselves upright and in proper alignment and posture, we must focus on what is known as the posterior kinetic chain. The posterior chain consists of the back of our neck, our entire back, our glute muscles, the hamstrings, and the calves connecting to our heels. By strengthening this chain, we prevent hunching forward and improper posture and structure. Remember, only with proper structure do we see proper function!

devolution_posture

Interview with Dan FitzSimons from BodyFitz Personal Training

We just had the opportunity to interview the owner and lead personal trainer at BodyFitz Personal Training, Mr. Dan FitzSimons. Dan and I jumped into some great topics and controversies surrounding weight training and the importance of using a certified personal trainer.

One of the best features that BodyFitz incorporates into every one of their training sessions is the individualized nature of each workout. This is not a cookie-cutter workout where every age or body type is doing the same thing. At BodyFitz, it’s about your personal goals and the strength and health goals you want to achieve. Whether it’s based around you being able to play tennis better or being able to lift your groceries with ease, the trainer will create a program that is perfect for you:

 

Personal training, and weight training in general, has been around for decades, but not everyone has tried it. A common misconception with weight training or lifting weights is that it’s a young person’s game–the thought that once you’re over a certain age, weight lifting is more harmful than beneficial. This notion or idea could not be more inaccurate. As Dan explains in the next clip, weight training is an incredible way to improve your health and function at any age:

 

A major component of structural chiropractic care here at Excel revolves around proper posture and ergonomics, both in and outside of our office. We are all constantly in a slumped forward position, whether we’re checking text messages, typing at the computer, or lounging on the couch watching television, our posture is suffering. Here, Dan explains the importance of posture and how important it is to train the posterior chain (your back, glutes, hamstrings, etc.) as opposed to only focussing on the anterior (your biceps and chest, or pectoral, muscles):

 

Finally, Dan goes over an aspect of training that should be incorporated into not only every workout, but every activity or movement in our lives. Here, we go over the Spinal Bracing Sequence and how important it is to use proper breathing and stabilization before attempting to work out or lift anything in our daily lives:

 

I hope you all enjoyed this interview with Dan FitzSimons from BodyFitz Personal Training here in Sandy Springs. Please remember, you are never too old to start incorporating weight training into your regimen. At BodyFitz, it’s about improving your functional movements so you can perform every activity in your life safely and more efficiently.

Please check out the full interview below to catch even more incredible bits of knowledge that Dan and I discuss about health and weight training!

Why Mobility Training Should be Part of Every Workout!

Working on your mobility and flexibility is a crucial component to proper function and performance, be it in the gym or lifting your children and the groceries properly. When we get stuck in the same position for a long period, such as at the work desk, sitting in traffic, or sleeping improperly, we develop muscular adhesions around our joints. These adhesions restrict normal movement. Mobility training targets these joints, breaks down the adhesions, and restores proper structure and function.

 

Mobility can be incorporated into your warm-up, cool-down, or can be your entire workout for the day! Although structural misalignments can be a major cause of pain and discomfort, a lack of mobility can also cause issues and prevent you from living a healthy, well-functioning life.

I had the pleasure of working with Jenna Minecci, a trainer and mobility specialist at BodyFitz in Sandy Springs, and we targeted some problem areas that have bothered me in the past. Amazingly, we increased the mobility in my shoulders, hips, and low back in just one session!

Hip Mobility:

jenna-hip-stretch

In this mobility exercise, Jenna is using a tight resistance band to open up her left hip joint. In this position, not only can Jenna work on her hip flexors, but can also incorporate internal and external hip rotation mobility.

 

Shoulder and Upper Back Mobility:

jenna-shoulder-stretch

In this exercise, Jenna is using a lacrosse ball to help break up muscular adhesions in her shoulder blades and upper back. As you can see, she is leaning back onto the lacrosse ball and using her body weight and arm movement to help increase movement and flexibility. This is a great exercise for all athletes and can also be very beneficial for frozen shoulder patients.

 

If you are looking to increase your health, mobility, strength, and overall fitness, I highly recommend you call BodyFitz at 404-255-4008 and ask for Jenna!

Post-Injury, Low-Impact Workout Tips

Most of our patients here at Excel Chiropractic sought out chiropractic care after an acute injury, such as throwing your back out while trying to pick up the laundry, or a chronic injury, like being stuck at a desk behind a computer for 10-20 years. Whatever the reason may be, it is our goal to help you do the things in life that the pain is holding you back from.

When first starting care after an injury or accident, it is important to, if medically cleared, keep movement and exercise a priority. Here are some of our best tips for incorporating low-impact workouts into your rehabilitation:

 

Change your cardio routine

rans_lightning_recumbent_century_ride-med

Although you may enjoy walking or jogging, the impact of each step can be painful after a fresh injury. Instead, try using the recumbent bicycle or walking/jogging in a shallow end of the pool at either your house or a local gym with a designated shallow end. The recumbent bicycle is an excellent way to stimulate blood circulation, burn calories, and avoid straining your back in the process. By walking or jogging in the pool, you decrease the force and impact of each step. Also, with the resistance from the water, you get a more complete, full-body workout!

 

Increase and improve your mobility

Mixed race woman practicing yoga in park

Did you ever want to try yoga, Pilates, or tai chi? This could be the perfect chance. All 3 of these workouts help increase your cardiovascular health while also decreasing impact from traditional exercises. Not only will you increase your range of motion while your body heals, but you will build muscle and strength as well.

 

Go play in the sand

corgi-on-the-beach

Looking for a quick way to increase the difficulty of your workout? Try the same workout in the sand! Don’t live on a beach? Look up the closest sand volleyball courts and go when they’re not being used. One of the best workouts and rehab techniques for foot and ankle injuries is to walk barefoot in the sand. You use intrinsic muscles in your feet and ankles in the sand that are usually immobile when wearing tennis shoes. Also, the soft sand decreases the impact force on your joints and is a great way to transition back into normal hard surface workouts post-injury.

 

By incorporating working out and exercise back into your post-injury rehab, you help minimize the negative effects of scar tissue. The sooner you start working on your range of motion after an injury, the less time it takes to get you back to normal function. Use or share these low-impact workout tips if you, a friend, or family member has recently hurt themselves and are feeling discouraged. Good luck and be sure to let us know any other tips and tricks you’ve used!