Get Ready to Hit the Slopes

from the American Council on Exercise

There are several ways to begin a sports-specific training program. The simplest way is to include several new exercises in your regular workout schedule.
For example, performing wall sits that require you to ''sit'' against a wall will help build up the isometric strength needed for the tuck position in skiing. Squats and lunges will build lower body strength for skiing tough terrain like moguls.

Exercises to work your abdominals are essential in creating a solid ''core'' for balance and agility.

It is important to train your body to withstand and absorb the impact associated with skiing. Plyometric movements, such as hopping from side to side, develop muscle power and strength as well as improve agility.

A great way to integrate these elements into your existing routine is to create a circuit training program, which involves rapidly moving from one exercise to the next. You can set up a circuit in any large room, or at your club's aerobic studio.

Try these stations to help you gear up for the slopes: use the slide for lateral training, perform one-legged squats to develop balance and strength, and use a step-bench platform to improve power.

To improve agility, create your own slalom by running between cones.

Click here to read and download the whole article at the American Council on Exercise.

Fit Facts are reprinted from ACE FitnessMatters magazine. Permission granted.


Stand Tall: Corrective Exercise for Your Upper Body

by Cary Raffle

One of my clients called it "The Wall Street Roll." You know the look, shoulders roll forward, they may seem shrugged, in some cases the head is forward and the back of the hands face forward instead of towards the side of the body.

Some of this may be inherited, but most of it comes from sitting hunched over a keyboard all day. Your shoulders get pulled around in front of you and they just don't go back to where they belong. Down the road, you might experience pain or injury as a result. Common problems include rotator cuff injuries, tendonitis and even headaches. At a minimum, you're not really working the right muscles when you train in poor postural alignment.

The corrective exercise strategy for this posture in pretty straightforward: stretching the muscles that pull the shoulders forward and strengthen the muscles that pull them back. Click here to link to a mini program that you can incorporate into your exercise routine. It is very important to use proper form with these exercises, so please pay careful attention to the notes in the program and let me know if you need some help with them or want a more in depth and personalized program.

Stay away from exercises that are going to make this worse. Earlier editions of this newsletter have covered the "ban" on behind the neck pulldowns, upright rows and behind the neck shoulder presses. Do these exercises over time, and you can kiss your rotator cuff goodbye. You generally also want to avoid incline chest press, front and side raises and overhead shoulder press, depending on the severity of the posture. In some cases, biceps curls - especially hammer curls - can cause pain if the biceps tendon is inflamed where it attaches to the shoulder. If you missed this report or want a refresher, scroll down.

Cary Answers 5 Nutrition Questions

Here they are, based on what I've seen and heard from clients and members over the past few weeks. Names are not named to protect the innocent.

When Should I Eat?
Always eat breakfast. Whether you're trying to lose weight or gain muscle, it is the most important meal of the day. Your body is starving and will look to your muscles and internal organs for energy, so you can't lose fat or gain muscle.
Have a big meal 3-4 hours before working out, a snack about 60-90 minutes before. You can't workout as hard or as long without nutrition.
Don't eat or drink supplements while you're working out. It takes energy away from your muscles and sends it to your stomach to digest what you're eating.
Eat a snack or light meal within about an hour after exercising to replenish the lost energy and help your muscles begin to repair and rebuild.
What about fluid intake?
Have about 2 cups of fluid in the 2 hours before exercising, about a quart during an hour of exercise, and a cup 30 minutes after.
Drink two cups of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after exercise.
Water is the beverage of choice when the exercise or athletic event lasts less than an hour; when it lasts longer, beverages with carbohydrates and electrolytes are beneficial (such as Gatorade). But make sure that you've tried these before the day of the big race or game because they don't agree with everyone.
How many calories do I need?
For men and non-pregnant women: Recreational Athletes need about 15-17 calories per pound; Endurance athletes range from 16-23+ calories per pound; Strength athletes need up to 28 calories per pound. To lose weight, reduce daily calories by about 500 and you'll drop about a pound a week.
For a calculator that lets you plug in you actual activities and food intake and create a personalized plan, visit www.mypyramid.gov.
How much protein do I need?
For endurance training, 1.2-1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight; for strength training, up to 1.7 grams per pound. Consuming more protein is not beneficial and may be harmful. (According to the American College of Sports Medicine, American Dietetic Association and Dieticians of Canada joint position stand).
What's the best supplement?
If you are already getting enough nutrition from your current diet, you don't need a supplement. If you are getting enough protein from real food and add a supplement, you could be adding unnecessary calories. The question should be what nutrients do I need and what is the best way of getting them. (Usually that's real food). Want a great fat burner and muscle igniter? Have a cup of coffee or green tea for the caffeine.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, so if you had eggs for breakfast and a turkey sandwich for lunch you've already had plenty of amino acids.
Creatine has been shown to have some beneficial effects in short term strength, but the FDA recommends checking with your doctor and not exceeding recommended dosages.


Myths of the Core: The Big 3

by Cary Raffle

Abdominal exercises and equipment have become about the most over-hyped thing in fitness today. People crave the looks of a 6-pack, and talk about a strong core, but these aren't necessarily one in the same. We can all agree on the benefits of a strong core including the ability to generate more power, to work more efficiently, to improve posture and prevent low back pain. Let's look at a few myths.

Myth #1 - Stong abdominals = strong core. Not necessarily. There are 29 muscles that make up the core, many of them are not abdominal muscles. The sidebar to the left summarizes the various muscles and muscle groups, including leg and back muscles. A strong core is really about the ability of these muscles to work together, a process of neuromuscular coordination. Think of the muscles as a 29 piece orchestra. Your brain is the conductor, and your central nervous system is the conductor's baton signaling each muscle.

Myth #2 - Crunches and situps are great core exercises. Partly true. But they work on the most external abdominal core muscles - primarily the rectus abdominus (that's the 6-pack muscle) and external obliques, so you'll miss the inner core muscles. In cases of low back pain, core strengthening is very important - but crunches may be the wrong exercise and actually make the problem worse.

Myth #3 - A six pack is a sign of a strong core. Not at all. A six pack is the sign of low body fat and a well worked rectus abdominus. Its what's beneath the 6-pack that counts.

How should you train your core?

An ideal program will include a base of core specific exercises, and integrate core training into your other exercises in a progressive program. The training program included in your July/August newsletter included 6 great core exercise (click here) , a great place to start. For the rest of your program, you'll want to progress so that your body becomes increasing unstable and required your core to do more work. Here's an example of how to progress a couple of exercises:

1. Seated
2. Seated on Stability Ball
3. Standing
4. Standing on One Leg
5. Standing on Balance Board (difficulties vary).
6. Standing on Balance Board Alternate Arm; Single Arm
7. Single Leg on Airex Pad
8. Single Leg on Airex Pad Alternate Arm; Single Arm

1. Machine
2. Barbell
3. Dumbell
4. Dumbell Alternate Arm; Single Arm
5. Standing Cable
6. Standing Cable 1 Leg
7. Stability Ball
8. Stability Ball Alternate Arm; Single Arm
9. Stability Ball Single Leg

Finally, you'll want to progress to exercises that require you to stabilize as you're moving - walking lunges with a step up to balance, or some more advanced equipment like Kinesis.

Weight Loss Plateaus and Pitfalls

from the American Council on Exercise
Hitting a plateau? It's like running into a wall when, after a few months on a weight-loss program, you suddenly stop seeing results. It's not uncommon. Unless you continually update your program to reflect changes your body has already experienced, you can almost be guaranteed to plateau at some point.

Weight-loss woes

The first thing you should do upon hitting a plateau is try to determine the cause. Could you be eating more calories than you think?
As you lose weight, your metabolism slows down because there is less of you to fuel. While a diet of 1,800 calories per day helped you lose a certain amount of weight, if you've hit a plateau, maybe 1,800 calories is not the amount you need at your current weight.

Exercise your options

This leaves you with two options: Lower your caloric intake further or increase the amount of time you spend being physically active.

The first option is less desirable because you may not be able to get sufficient nutrients from a diet that is very low in calories, and it is difficult to stick to it for very long. It is much better to moderately reduce calories to a level that you can sustain when you reach your goal weight.
The same is true for exercise. Trying to exercise for several hours per day to burn more calories is a good way to set yourself up for failure. Not only does this type of regimen require an enormous time commitment, it is hard on the body, making you more susceptible to injury and overuse syndromes.

To help balance the intake with the expenditure, a good rule of thumb is to multiply your goal weight by 10 calories per pound, and add more calories according to how active you are.
Another means for getting you off the plateau is strength training. Muscle is much more metabolically active than fat; therefore, the more muscle you can add, the higher your metabolism will be.

Get off the plateau

If you've stopped losing weight, the key to getting off the plateau is to vary your program. The human body adapts to just about any circumstance or stimulus; vary your program and you'll likely find yourself off the plateau and back on the road to progress. click here for a downloadable reprint of the full article from the American Council on Exercise.

Ace FitFacts are reprinted with permision from the American Council on Exercise.


I recently attended a series of seminars and completed a certificate in Corrective Exercise Strategy for the Low Back, and will be sharing some of that information below along with an illustrated program for core and corrective training.

Beware ...the Arched Lower Back

Poor posture, especially while weight lifting, is a set-up for a back injury. Injury can be immediate, or cumulate over time. There are for different postural distortions that are most common in people with lower back pain, all of which we look for when we conduct a squat assesment:
- Excessive forward lean at the shoulders/head
- Low Back Arches
- Low Back Rounds
- Assymetrical weight shift at the hips.
...the desk job In my experience with typical gym members, the arched lower back is the most commonly seen problem. If you think about your jobs - sitting at desks hunched over computers all day long - it is not surprising that the hip flexors and lats get tight and the glutes, hamstrings and deep abdominal core gets weak. The lower back muscles can tighten as a result. Pain results, sometimes caused by muscle and ligament strain, sometimes nerve impingement, and sometimes by damage to a disk.
...poor weight lifting technique Lifting weights with an arched back is a recipe for disaster, especially overhead lifting. Ditto for pulling exercises. When the spine is in an arched position there is pressure on the disks which can easily lead to herniation or ruptures. Your powerful pectoral muscles or shoulder muscles may be able to handle the weight, but your disks can't.

Want to lift more weight safely without arching your back? Strenghten your core.

Core and Corrective Training Program for Arched Lower Back

The following are some general guidelines and a training program that applies to most people, a more specific program might be developed following a fitness assessment.

Stretch With an arched lower back, the typical tight or overactive muscles are the hip flexors/quadriceps, latissimus dorsi and erector spinae (lower back).

Strenghten The gluteus maximus, hamstring and core stablizers muscles are underactive and need to be strenghtened and activated. Traditional abdominal crunches can actually work against you here - they can train the external abdominals to active before the inner core muscles.

Click here for an illustrated guide to core and corrective exercises that you can incorporate into your training program.


Improving Your Flexibility: "Reciprocal Inhibition"

If a muscle is tight the opposite muscle is probably weak and extended.
by Cary Raffle

If you're looking to improve your "flexibility" stretching alone may not be enough. When a muscle is tight chances are that the opposite muscle is, in a sense, all stretched out and weak. Your quadriceps and hip flexors may be tight from sitting all day long, which puts them in a constantly flexed position. The compensation is that your hamstrings and glutes are weak and extended. Your pecs and front delts tighten as they turn in to work on the computer or drive, and your rhomboids and lower traps get all stretched out. They might even feel sore. As your inner abdominal core muscles become weak, your lower back tightens and arches putting pressure on your spinal cord and disks. We think of muscles as agonists and antagonists, working in pairs. When a muscle becomes tight, we think of it as being "overactive." If you're only dong stretching of the tight and overactive antagonist muscles, you're missing half of the equation - the weak antagonists.

Many of my clients are familiar with training techniques that we use to work on these problems, especially targeting exercises that strengthen weak antagonists. In fact, many typical office workers should minimize or avoid many exercises altogether because they target overactive muscles. If you've got big, tight calves like me, you probably don't need to work them but you might want to work the tibialis in front of the leg. If your knees turn in, you don't need to work those tight inner thighs but you will want to work on your abductors, gluteus medius and maximus.

There's also a whole area of hands-on stretching that uses the principle of reciprocal inhibition, called neuromuscular stretching or PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) or contract-relax. In this technique, the 'stretchee' activates the antagonist muscle to resist against the stretch, then relaxes as the 'stretcher' gently extends the tight muscle. This isn't something to try on your own or with your workout partner, as there is potential for overstretching and injuring a muscle without proper training.

Two final points on stretching: You should always warm up before stretching. Your muscles respond better when warm, there are actually enzymes released that make the stretching (as well as your workout) more effective. Second, stretch your tight muscles don't waste time on the muscles that aren't tight. It may feel nice but if your quads are tight as could be, chances are that your hamstrings aren't and you don't need to waste your time.


What are you Training For?

Different weight levels, repetitions and sets cause your muscles to develop or "adapt" in different ways. Here's a rundown of what these are all about, we'll review the way to train for these specific goals in the article below.

Strength is the ability of your neuromuscular system - your brain, nervous system and muscles working together - to generate force. A big part of strength is neurological. (We've all seen someone who doesn't look very big but is very strong).

It is helpful to think of two kinds of strength. Maximal Strength is the type of one repetition strength that powerlifters train for. Endurance Strength is the ability to produce force over prolonged time, important for marathoners and most of the rest of us.

Hypertrophy means getting bigger muscles. Fast twitch muscles fibers typically hypertrophy more than slow twitch or endurance muscle fibers. Weight training programs for those seeking hypertrophy need to target the fast twitch fibers. There is also a neurological component, as the nervous system needs to establish a connection to the maximum number of muscle fibers in order to get them working and growing.

Power applies to generating the maximum amount of force in the shortest period of time. The brain, nervous system and muscles work together to hit a baseball out of the park. Training for power generally involves quickly moving both heavy and light loads.

How Many Sets and Repetitions Should I Be Doing?

An exclusive to Your Fitness Newsletter by Cary Raffle.
Gym Science - Ask the guys in the gym how many sets and reps to do and you'll get almost any answer. You'll hear about people who "got big" doing this and didn't get big doing that, or their own personal experience. Or that "it doesn't really matter because everyone is different," and you need to do "change it up" periodically. They may have stories of a body builder they know, but most of us aren't body builders and don't spend the time, follow the diet or take the supplements and risks that a body builder might to achieve results.
Exercise Science - As an alternative, you could turn to a large body of scholarly research on exercise programs published in peer reviewed journals in which all kinds of people - from young athletes to normal healthy adults to the elderly - were tested and results were compared. The studies considered the different goals, summarized to the right, and are fairly consistent in their findings and lead to the following recommendations. The following recommendations for sets and repetitions are from the National Academy of Sports Medicine:

Endurance Strength1-3 sets of 12-20 repetitions @ 60-70% of 1RM* w/0-:90 rest
Maximal Strength3-6 sets of 1-12 repetitions @70-100% of 1RM w/:45-5:00 rest
Hypertrophy (size)3-5 sets of 8-12 repetitions @70-85% of 1RM w/0-:60 rest
Power3-6 sets of 1-10 repetitions @30-45% of 1RM &/or up to 10% of body weight w/3:00-5:00 rest

*1RM=1 Repetition Maximum

We all have a different mix of the 3 muscle fiber types, different diets, and our bodies respond differently to training, however, these have been proven to produce the desired results among thousands of people studied in research. Within 4-6 weeks, your neuromuscular system adapts to a particular workout or training regimen, and you experience a diminishing return on your efforts.

For best results, most people should Periodize their training and cycle between 2-3 different phases of training - or different progressions of weights/sets/repetitions within the same phase - on a 4-6 week basis. An added benefit to Periodization is reduced risk of injury; doing the same workout on a long-term basis is similar to working on an assembly line and increases the risk of repetitive motion injuries. For an article about periodization, scroll down through my weblog.

For those of you who would like to read a very detailed and scientific review of this subject, click here to download a copy of the American College of Sports Medicine's Position Stand: Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults.


Keep Your Motor Running: Fuel Before and After Competition

adapted from an article by Jacqueline Berning, Ph.D., R.D
Skipping meals or not eating before a workout can impair performance, and not eating after a workout or competition leaves you running on empty. Make nutrition a priority before, during and after exercise.
The Pre-Exercise Meal First it keeps you from feeling hungry and sluggish before and during exercise, and secondly it helps to maintain optimal levels of energy for the exercising muscles. A good recommendation is to eat a meal 2-4 hours before exercise. The ideal pre-exercise meal should be primarily carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fat. Carbohydrates are digested rapidly. Protein and fat take longer to digest. Pre-exercise meals high in fat can cause stomach upset, gas and bloating.
The Post-Exercise Meal Muscles are most receptive to recovery during the first 30 minutes after exercise. To completely restore muscle energy, eat within 30 minutes after exercise and then eat small meals at 2 hours and again at 4 hours. If you can't take solid foods 30 minutes after exercise, or they are not available, try drinking 2-4 cups of a sports drink or eating an energy bar, then eat more solid foods 2 and 4 hours later.
Be sure to hydrate after a workout or game. Weigh yourself and drink 3 cups of fluid for each pound lost during the competition.
The same kind of high-carbohydrate, power-packed foods are recommended for BOTH before and after exercise:
4 or more hours before AND 4 hours after
Grilled chicken/rice/fruit
Turkey sandwich/raw carrots
Spaghetti with meat sauce
String cheese/grapes/crackers
Energy bar/Sports drinks
2-3 hours before AND 2 hours after
Cereal/lowfat milk
Fresh fruit
Bagel with peanut butter
Sports drink
Energy bar
1 hour or less before AND 30 minutes after
Energy bar
Sports drink
To read the full article at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, click here.

Plyometrics: Controlled Impact/Maximum Power

The Eastern Europeans first used plyometrics in the 1970s to develop greater strength and power in their Olympic athletes. They based their programs on scientific evidence that stretching muscles prior to contracting them recruits the ''myotactic'' or stretch reflex of muscle to enhance the power of contraction. This prestretching of muscles occurs when you perform jumps one after the other.

One study found that participants in a well-designed program of stretching, plyometric training and weight training reduced their landing forces from a jump by 20 percent, and increased their hamstrings strength by 44 percent. Both of these factors contribute to reducing an individual's potential risk of injury.

A safe and effective plyometric program stresses quality, not quantity of jumps. Safe landing techniques, such as landing from toe to heel from a vertical jump, and using the entire foot as a rocker to dissipate landing forces over a greater surface area, also are important to reduce impact forces. In addition, visualization cues, such as picturing yourself landing ''light as a feather'' and ''recoiling like a spring'' after impact promotes low-impact landings.

If you are considering plyometrics, proceed with caution. Carefully considering the type of jumps selected for the program, enlisting a coach or trainer for supervision, and gradually increasing to more difficult exercises can make a plyometric program both safe and effective.

You can contact me for more information, and read the full story from the American Council on Exercise by clicking here.


Learning from Losers

For the past dozen years, researchers Rena Wing, Ph.D., and James Hill, Ph.D., tracked about 6,000 people in their National Weight Control Registry: Participants lost at least 30 pounds and maintained that for at least a year. (The average is 70 pounds off and for six years.) The successful losers didn't turn to wacky eating plans, fad diets, or extreme measures like gastric-bypass surgery. Instead, what worked was common sense-they modified their diet and increased their physical activity to change their caloric balance.

Most people who have lost weight (and kept it off) adopted these five habits. It'll be your loss if you adopt them, too:

Keep Up the Carbs Most successful losers get about 49 percent or more of the calories from carbs, about 29 percent from fat, and the remainder from protein. The key is selecting the foods rich in fiber which proviies a sense of fullness. Research shows that a diet that includes 34 or more grams of fiber daily actually drops the number of calories your body takes up from your food. Over a year, this could equal a 10-pound weight loss.

Take Good Notes Most dieters typically stop bothering to write down what they eat after a few months of weight loss. But many kept a food diary for years, taking measurements and noting precise portions and calorie counts. This allows them to respond quickly to changes in their eating patterns.

Become a Morning Person In one study, 78 percent of NWCR participants reported eating breakfast every day-a habit that may help curb appetite later in the day. Research shows that breakfast eaters, especially those who start the day with cereals (a natural for fiber), have a lower body mass index than those who skip the morning meal. Plus, protein often appears in breakfast foods in its proper proportion for sating appetite.

Weigh In Routinely stepping on the scale and checking body weight is another key way to stay on the losing side. To keep that routine from becoming obsessive, don't weigh yourself more than once a week. (You might want to forgo the scale at home to resist temptation.) There are normal weight fluctuations throughout the day. To keep an accurate gauge, weigh yourself on the same day of the week, at the same time.

Keep Moving The average person in the registry is burning about 2,800 calories a week in activity." Last year, the USDA established 60 to 90 minutes as the recommended daily physical activity for those trying to maintain weight loss. Research shows that people who exercise daily on average weigh less than sedentary folks but eat more.

Click here to read the full article from Runner's World.

Behind the Neck Lat Pulldowns: DON'T DO THEM!! Here's Why.

We see people doing these all the time, often they have heard that the exercise is not recommended but continue to do them anyhow. Who recommends against these? NFL trainers, the Mayo Clinic. I'll give you a link to the sources and summarize below.

Over time, performing pull downs behind the neck weakens the rotator cuff - you probably won't feel this immediately but weeks, months or years later you'll pay a high price, According to NFL trainer Dan Riley, this exercise puts the shoulder and specifically the rotator cuff muscles in a weak and vulnerable position. The shoulders are forced to rotate externally and the shoulder blades move to the center of the body, causing the external rotator cuff muscles to pull against the tight internal rotator muscles. If you work at a desk all day long your shoulders are internally rotated and the internal rotators are TIGHT! They simply are not made to bear this weight and stress. Over time they become weaker or fibrous, injury follows, and you can kiss your rotator cuff muscles goodbye. There is also risk to the cervical spine from bringing the head forward. Plus, this exercise is not even as effective in targeting the lats as pulldowns in front of the body.

Behind the neck shoulder presses and upright rows are two other exercises that should be avoided for the same reasons. When performing pulldowns and presses, keep the weight in front of the body.

Click to view a video on proper technique from The Mayo Clinic.

So, You Want To Spot Reduce? Here's How...

Besides launching millions of sit-ups, leg lifts and torso twists, the desire for a toned and taut physique has sold a long line of exercise devices of dubious worth. Countless inventions, such as vibrating belts and ''gut-busting'' contraptions, have claimed to miraculously tighten and tone our trouble spots.

But the miracles we were expecting never materialized, and our ''spots'' remained ''unreduced.'' What's wrong with spot reduction?

Where did we go wrong? In our efforts to tone our bodies we neglected the most important factor: fat. Exercises such as crunches or leg lifts improve the tone and endurance of the muscles, but they don't burn fat. When we do exercises that elevate the heart rate, such as bicycling, walking or aerobic dance, the body will draw upon its fat stores for energy.

Alternative solutions Eating a low-fat diet and following an exercise program that combines aerobic activity and strength training is the key to changing the shape of your body.

In addition to burning calories through aerobic activity, strength training will increase the amount of muscle, which burns even more calories. But many people shun the idea of intensive exercise, scared off by the idea of five-mile runs, barbells or aerobic classes.

Thankfully, any aerobic activity that elevates your heart rate can help you burn fat and take off unwanted pounds. Many experts recommend doing at least three sessions of 20 minutes of aerobic activity per week. Ideally, for long-term weight control, you should engage in at least four sessions per week, for 45 minutes each time.

ACE Fit Facts are reprinted from ACE FitnessMatters magazine, Permission Granted.

Download the full article here, at the American Council on Exercise


Successful Weight Control: It's not just cutting calories

According to ACE, eating less, or cutting back on fat in your diet, won't keep the weight off. What you really need to do is strike a good balance between the number of calories you consume and the number you burn. And the only way to do that is to exercise. By exercising, you can lose weight while you eat more calories than if you simply went on a diet. Regular physical activity is much more effective at keeping the weight off in the long run than any diet.

One choice is aerobic exercise You'veprobably heard about exercise programs that turn your body into a ''fat-burning machine.'' An aerobic programcan help you lose weight more easily because it can stimulate your body and make it burn calories. Low-impact aerobics like walking, step aerobics and dance are your best bets. Some good no-impact aerobic activities you can benefit from include swimming, bicycling and rowing. Begin with as littleas 15 minutes of low-impact aerobics three times aweek. Gradually increase to 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity four times a week.

Strength training = weight management Your muscles burn calories during physical activity. What you may not know is your muscles also burncalories when your body is at rest. Increase your muscle mass, and you'll be increasing your body's capacity to burn calories both during activity and at rest.

Success means good eating and good exercise Follow a moderate low-fat diet and an exerciseprogram that combines aerobic activity and strengthtraining. That's the key to losing weight - and keeping it off. And remember, you can't lose weight overnight. Set a realistic weight-loss goal for yourself - like one to two pounds a week - eat healthy, get going on a program of regular physical activity, and you'll be delighted by what you accomplish.

ACE Fit Facts are reprinted from ACE FitnessMattersmagazine, Permission Granted

The NASM OPT Model: Periodized Training and Progression

Until now, most training programs have been based mainly on the experiences and goals of body builders, coaches and athletes. There's aproliferation of scientifically unsupported trainingprograms that are not designed to meet the needs of an increasingly deconditioned and injury-prone society. NASM’s Optimum Performance Training (OPT) method is a comprehensive training program based on scientific research that provides results specific to individual needs and goals.

Assessment At the center of the OPT method is the assessment. This fitness and performance evaluation assesses an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in the areas of posture, movement, strength, flexibility and athletic performance. Before embarking on a training program, it is essential to address any existing imbalances to ensure success.

Optimum Performance Training: Individualized Program Design The OPT method provides a system for exercise selection based on the client’s needs, abilities and goals. The endless choices of exercises and the unique progressions keep every program fun, dynamic and, most importantly, successful. The Pyramid of Success represents the various stages of the revolutionary OPT method. Clients will progress through the phases of training at regular intervals, with the specific phases and progression depending on goals and progress and conditioning. Most clients will cycle between 2-4 of the 7 phases, which include the following:

Corrective Exercise Training (CET) correctsmuscle imbalances, reconditions injuries, preparesbody for training, prevents training overload,enhances adaptation, improves the body’s work capacity and improves stabilization strength. In this phase, we work with fairly low intensities, repetitions can range from 15-25.
Integrated Stabilization Training (IST) improves neuromuscular efficiency, functional strength, core strength, dynamic stabilization and functional flexibility. Exercises increasing challenge the core and balance and we work with moderate intensities, repetitions can range from 12-20.
Stabilization Equivalent Training (SET) enhances stabilization strength and endurance during functional movement while increasing muscle mass, enhancing metabolism and improving stabilization strength. SET combines a stable exercise with one done in a less stable environment, such as a machine chest press and a pushup or stability ball press, intensities increase and reps range from 8-12 or 15.
Muscular Development Training (MDT) increases muscle mass for athletes such as football players and bodybuilders. We work at higher intensities with minimal rest, and reps range from 6-12.

Maximal Strength Training (MST) improves motor-unit recruitment, motor-unit synchronization and peak force. This is the highest intensity phase, reps range from only 1-5, rest period is 3-5 minutes.
Elastic Equivalent Training (EET) enhances neuromuscular efficiency and power production, especially for athletes who need to express force quickly. Similar to SET, this phase combines a strength and maximum power exercise, ranging from 5 adn 10 reps each to 3 and 8 reps each.
Maximal Power Training (MPT) increases speed strength and creates neuromuscular adaptations through an entire range of motion. Exercises use low weight, about 5-8% of body weight, but are done at very fast speed.

Click here to read more at the website of the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Optimum Performance Training and OPT are trademarks of the National Academy of Sports Medicine

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