Saturday, July 9, 2011

Check Out the Plan of Your Trainer Before You Start Training

You've seen this a lot of times in the gym.  A client comes in. The trainer starts with a lifting exercise. After a set, proceeds to the next one. No warm up or stretching? Hmmm..  Then they start to converse for a long time. No plan at all? Maybe. 

The trainer should know what to give his or her client for the day. Come on, let's all go back to the basics: warm up first, then stretching before starting with the program for the day whether its a weight loss or strengthening program.  Always remember that we all are working for the motivation, that is motivation to stick to an exercise routine that is sustainable and a healthier lifestyle. Without the proper warm up and stretching, the individual may later on suffer from an injury that may make him or her stop the program. Too much conversations between breaks also has a downfall. It lowers down the intensity of the exercises by resting too much in between sets. For body builders, the more intense the exercise becomes, the more the growth hormone is triggered and it usually lasts up the 1st 50 minutes of exercises. 

So how can you check if your trainer has actually a plan for you?  Ask these questions then;
1. Does your trainer get your anthropometrics (body weight, body measurements, body fat analysis, BMI, etc) before you start working out?
2. Does your trainer take transformation pictures?
3. Does your trainer change your program every now and then to prevent fitness plateau?
4. Does your trainer have a monthly assessment to check for improvements or lack of improvements?
5. Does your trainer recommend you to a nutritionist or if at least recommend a dietary program for you?
6. Dos your trainer recommend a lifestyle change for you?
7. Does your trainer recommend activities outside your gym t supplement your fitness level?

Working out is a commitment. The reason why we hire trainers is for us to be challenged by their knowledge in fitness every time we are in the gym. We need improvements fast and learn from them so eventually we can do our own routines on our own.

Friday, July 8, 2011

What Causes Abdominal Pain During Exercise?

Two of my clients sometimes experience abdominal cramping during crunches and while running on the treadmill. I got this answer online from Here it goes:

If you mean prevent muscular cramps that occur in the abdominal muscles while doing exercises like crunches and sit ups, the answer is not always clear since the cause of skeletal muscle cramping is not definitively known. You can experiment with making efforts to stay hydrated, for example, by supplementing your diet with bananas (for the potassium) and refueling with ergogenic drinks to replace electrolytes. These techniques don't always prevent cramping, but they are worth trying. When the cramps do occur, you should lay flat on your back, or stand up straight, and reach your arms over your head until the cramp resolves. Reaching overhead stretches the abdominal muscles and releases the cramp. If cramping continues, then it should be reported to your doctor.
If you mean internal cramping like a bellyache, this can be due to food or drinks you consume prior to exercise. Dairy, high-fiber foods, and sweetened beverages are just some of the most likely culprits, although there can be other reasons as well. A 1992 analysis during a Half Ironman competition revealed some interesting facts related to GI complaints. All of the triathletes who had eaten within 30 minutes of the start of the event vomited while swimming. If the pre-race meal (eaten anytime) had a higher fat or protein content, vomiting was more common. Hypertonic beverages (beverages that contain a higher concentration of solutes like electrolytes or sugar than that found in body cells) like Gatorade also caused more severe GI symptoms during the race, and all of the triathletes who experienced intestinal cramps had eaten fiber-rich foods in the pre-race meal. Excessively sweetened beverages can slow down the flow of fluid through the stomach, and this can cause discomfort. Ergogenic beverages that have 7% glucose tend to be tolerated well unless athletes consume excessive amounts.
In another trial, researchers studied carbohydrate loading in the days prior to exercise. One group of athletes ate the traditional pasta and rice diet, while another group ate less carbohydrate and substituted instead with a maltodextrin drink. Both groups had similar treadmill times until exhaustion, and muscle glycogen concentrations as determined by muscle biopsy, but the supplement group had fewer GI complaints.
Here are some tips for avoiding abdominal cramps that you can follow prior to working out:
    1. Avoid caffeine. 2. Limit consumption of dairy products. 3. Limit consumption of high-fiber foods. 4. Avoid any other foods that you know upset your stomach or give you gas. 5. Stay hydrated. Dehydration can slow digestion of food and cause stomach problems. Drinking 7-10 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes is recommended. 6. Beverage temperature should be between 50 and 59 degrees. 7. Avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen, products with sorbitol, fructose, or large doses of vitamin C prior to your workout. All of these can cause diarrhea or otherwise upset your stomach. 8. Avoid excessive amounts of sweetened beverages. Excessive sugar will slow down absorption of fluid through the gut during exercise and cause discomfort.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What is Golfer's Elbow?

Golfer's Elbow, also called medial epicondylitis, is similar to tennis elbow and is considered a cumulative trauma injury. It is thought that over time repeated use of the muscles of the arm and forearm may lead to small tears in the tendons which results in elbow pain and weakness. The muscles that are used to pull the hand down (wrist flexors) are located on the palm side of the forearm. These muscles attach to the common flexor tendon, which attaches to the medial epicondyle (on the inside of the elbow). When the wrist flexors are overused, the common flexor tendon becomes inflammation and painful. Such inflammation in a tendon is termed "tendinitis."

Tendonitis or Tendinopathy

More frequently, physicians are using the term tendinopathy to describe the typical pain of tennis elbow and golfer's elbow, which are more often injuries caused by long-term overuse rather than an acute injury causing inflammation of the tendon. The distinction is important because the inflammation of tendinitis is treated differently than tendinopathy. Inflammation from acute injury often responds quickly to medications and anti-inflammatory treatment. However, if the injury is due to of tendon tissue degeneration, treatment may be quite lengthy and will be focused on improving the strength of the tendon and rebuilding tissues.

Golfer's Elbow Causes

It is thought that overuse of the wrist extensors creates cumulative stress, and small tears in the tendon, which causes the inflammation and pain of tendinitis. Tendinopathy results when long-term overuse to the tendons continues and teh tissues begin to breakdown.

Golfer's Elbow Symptoms

Pain on the inside of the elbow, usually during or after intense use, usually indicates medial epicondylitis. Pain increases during wrist flexion and often radiates to the forearm. Because this frequently occurs in golfers, it has become known as 'golfer's elbow'.
Other symptoms of golfer's elbow include:
  • Specific pain on inside of the elbow, particularly while grasping objects.
  • Wrist weakness and pain during wrist flexion.
  • Weakness and/or pain while resisting wrist pronation

Golfer's Elbow Treatment

The first step an athlete should take if tendinitis is suspected is to stop the activities that cause the pain, rest the arm and follow R.I.C.E. method for injury first aid (rest, ice, compression and elevation). This method helps decrease inflammation and swelling as well as providing temporary pain relief. Using conservative treatment often allows the athlete to recover without any chronic problem. Tendinitis usually resolves in a few days to a few weeks.
Unfortunately, it takes far longer -- from two to six months -- to recover from tendinopathy. Many cases of medial epicondylitis become chronic problems that gradually get worse because the athlete continues activity despite nagging elbow pain.
If your elbow pain lasts more than a few days despite rest and conservative treatment, you should see a sports medicine specialist for an evaluation and, possibly, a physical therapist.
A physical therapist may use ultrasound or other modalities to help heal tendinopathy. In some cases, a splint or brace may be recommended. The general rehab protocol for medial epicondylitis will depend upon the specific diagnosis and cause of the injury but the most common rehab methods include: ultrasound, medications, massage, bracing or splinting.
The final stage of rehab for tendinitis includes strengthening and flexibility exercises. There is some question regarding the benefit of stretching exercises for tendinopathy. Your therapist will help determine the best rehab path for you, but it's important to understand that beginning any exercises before the tendon has healed may make the problem worse, so it's essential to follow your therapist or physician's recommendations.
As you begin using your arm and elbow for activities, continuing to use the R.I.C.E. method is often recommended to manage both pain and swelling. Icing the elbow for 10-15 minutes at a time will decrease the inflammation and swelling and relieve pain. Wrapping the forearm near the elbow may help protect the injured muscles as they are healing.
Because recurrence of this condition is common, return to activity should not occur too quickly, and preventive exercises that strengthen the muscles should be done consistently, even after your pain resolves.
Anti-inflammation medicines may help reduce inflammation and pain during acute phases of injury, and in chronic or intense cases, your physician may consider using cortisone medicine to help relieve the discomfort.
If nonsurgical forms of treatment do not eliminate the pain of this condition, surgery may be recommended as a final option. A hand specialist may offer advice regarding potential treatments and the possible outcomes for surgery.
Lastly, keep in mind that whether you elbow pain is from tendonitis or tendinopathy the immediate treatment should include rest. Next see if you can determine the cause of the injury and make a correction. If your elbow pain came from overuse, reduce or stop that activity, and find a substitute activity. If the pain is from poor technique or poor ergonomics, consult a coach or trainer for skills training. If you can eliminate the offending factors, you have a much greater likelihood of a full recovery.

What is Circuit Training?

Circuit training is a form of physical exercise that combines strength exercises, or weight training, with endurance exercises, or cardiovascular trainingCircuit training can be used by a single person following an exercise routine or by a group of people who rotate among training stations. A circuit training routine works out the whole body in a single session.
Circuit training is a great way to exercise without the need for equipment. An example of a circuit training rotation can include push-ups, sit-ups or other form of abdominal training, jumping jacks, and squat thrusts. In cases like this, a person does as many repetitions of an exercise as possible during a fixed time period, before moving to the next station. Between stations, there is 20 to 30 second recovery time allowed, but never more than that, as the heart rate would go down too much.

circuit training plan can also be done by using weight machines, elastic resistance, or hand-held weights. Circuit training can also follow a specific theme, such as combining different Pilates exercises or using boxing techniques. Because circuit training can be adapted to use any type of equipment available, it is often the program of choice for people who want to exercise outdoors. In a gym, a circuit training routine can include 5 minutes on the treadmill followed by an abs workout, followed by 5 minutes on a different cardio machine like a stepper or bicycle, and so on. To be effective, all exercises must be done at a high intensity.
Circuit training programs often take an average of 30 minutes to complete, and offer the same advantages as a one-hour-long regular workout would provide. This also means that circuit training is an excellent choice for people who cannot afford to spend 2-3 hours at the gym on a regular basis.
One disadvantage of circuit training is that it can be too hard to follow for beginners. People who are out of shape or haven't exercised in a long time run the risk of injuring themselves if pushing their body too hard on a circuit training program. In those cases, enlisting the help of a personal trainer can make all the difference, especially during the first few weeks of training.