Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Dangers of Deep Squats

In 1961, Kari Klein, from the University of Texas, published a paper showing that deep squats loosened the knee ligaments (J Assoc Phys Ment Rehabil, 15: 6-11, 1961). Based on this study, the American Medical Association recommended against deep squats. This paper caused several generations of American men to practice 'curtsy squats' and leg presses in the gym. Since then, many well-controlled studies showed that deep squats-when practiced correctly-strengthened and stabilized the knee joint. These studies showed that the forces on the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments in the knee decreased as the knee flexed.

Performance goals should determine squat depth. Squatting to parallel builds the quads best, while squatting lower puts greater loads on the glutes. People with healthy knees can do deep squats, but they are not recommended for people with arthritis or chondromalacia (sore kneecaps).

(National Strength and Conditioning Association Hot Topics Reports, 2009)

Did You Know?


Meaty and filling, as a stand-in for beef they can slash up to 400 calories from a meal. They may
also protect against breast cancer by
helping to regulate a woman's estrogen levels.

Try this: Sauté sliced mushrooms and shallots until tender. Add a splash of white wine and cook until evaporated. Serve over roasted fish or chicken. Or try grilled steak, mushroom, and green bean salad.


A surprisingly good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Those are the fats that lower the bad-
for-you cholesterol (LDL) and raise the good-for-you kind (HDL).

Try this: For a healthy on-the-go snack, pack a handful of walnuts with some dried figs and a few anise seeds. (As the ingredients sit together, the anise releases flavor.) Or try corn salad with feta and walnuts.

Question of the Week:

Q: Should I train my abdominal muscles every day? Also, how many repetitions of crunches should I optimally perform?

A: You should treat your abdominal muscles like any other muscle group, which means you shouldn't train them every day. Your abdominals, like all of your other muscle groups, need recovery time between workouts.
As with any resistance training exercise, you ideally want the last few repetitions to be difficult to complete.
Performed correctly, 10 to 25 repetitions for one to three sets of abdominal exercises provide a more than adequate training stimulus. If you can perform more than 25 repetitions of an abdominal exercise, you are most likely performing the repetitions too rapidly or with improper form.
You can increase the challenge and intensity of abdominal exercises by using added resistance, moving more slowly or performing the exercises on a slant board or exercise ball so that your head is at a lower elevation than your legs.

Bryant, Cedric

"A CHAMPION lets nothing interfere with theri priority - becoming the best they possibly can become"

-Scotty Kessler

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spring-Clean Your Exercise Routine

Ditch: Old walking or running shoes

Instead: Invest in a new pair of kicks, because worn-out soles are a quick path to injury.
Write the purchase date on the tongue or side of your shoes and let your weekly mileage be your guide. If you walk or run 10 miles per week, replace your shoes every 12 months; 15 miles, every 8 months; 20 miles, every 6 months; 30 miles, every 4 months.

Ditch: Your freebie pedometer

Instead: Spend $20 to $25 for a better-quality one.
A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine tested nearly 1,000 low-end pedometers and found almost three-quarters of them were inaccurate-with most of them overestimating step counts.

Ditch: Lightweight dumbbells

Instead: Use heavier weights that challenge you, says Tim Davis, director, Peak Performance in New York.
Your body has an amazing ability to adapt quickly, so if you don't regularly increase the weight
you're lifting, you'll eventually plateau. Lift as much as you can, as long as it isn't painful and you feel in control throughout the move.

Ditch: Sipping only when thirsty

Instead: Drink 4 to 6 ounces of water for every 15 minutes of
Sweating away even a tiny portion of your body weight can doom your workout by making your heart beat faster and causing you to feel weak and tired.

Ditch: The idea that more is better

Instead: Focus on the quality, not length, of your workout, Davis says.Instead of walking or biking at one speed for an hour, halve your workout (and burn the same amount of calories) by doing sprint intervals-30 seconds to 2 minutes at a very fast pace, followed by 2minutes at normal pace.

Ditch: That old cotton T-shirt

Instead: Go high-tech and invest in workout clothing made from wicking fabrics.Why?
Synthetics do a better job of keeping you drier and cooler while you exercise (but you knew that already).

Excerpted from contributing writer Judi Ketteler February 11, 2008

Stretches of the Week:

Seated Glute Stretch
Target: Gluteus Maximus

Lying Pretzel Stretch
Target: Gluteus Medius & Gluteus Minimus

Lying Illiotibial Stretch
Target: Tensor Facia Latae

Lying Prirformis Stretch
Target: Piriformis & Quadratus Femoris

Thursday, February 10, 2011

3 Types of Exercise You Need to Stay Fit

1. Cardio

In order to lose weight and keep it off, I recommend exercisingaerobically for six hours a week at a moderately high intensity, which I define as vigorous activity with very deep breathing. This may sound like a lot, but you can break up those six hours however you like. Cycling or walking for an hour six days a week would do it, or you could exercise on an elliptical trainer or swim for 75 minutes five days a week. Although you may not be ready for six hours right off the bat, aim as high as you can when you begin. Make your first goal 90 to 150 minutes per week, the minimum amount for disease protection. If you're very overweight or have any medical conditions, check with your doctor before increasing activity.

2. Strength Training

Strength training will increase your muscle tone, which requires more calories to maintain than fat; therefore, your body will burn a greater number of calories as part of its daily upkeep-even when you're sleeping. Strength training also reinforces the skeleton, helping to stem bone loss. You'll want to start with a variety of exercises, using either free weights or machines, that work the
major muscle groups: abdomen, back, arms, shoulders, and
legs. And you'll want to begin with weights that are challenging but not so heavy that they force you to compromise your form.
Ideally, work up to doing strength-training exercises two to three
times a week.

3. Functional Fitness

Being "functionally fit" means having the strength and agility to get through daily life with ease-from toting an armload of groceries to reaching for a coat in the back of a closet. Functional fitness also makes other types of exercise easier and helps protect you against injury. The exercises that improve functional fitness are primarily stretches, crunches, and other resistance exercises that you do with orSit upwithout weights. As a group, they increase your core strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination, as well as improve your posture and help you move more gracefully. They take so little time, you should really do them every day, but if that's impossible, do what you can.

Excerpted from The Life You Want: Get Motivated, Lose Weight, and Be Happy; Simon & Schuster. Copyright (c) 2010 by Bestlife Corporation

Muscle of the Week:

3 Moves that target your glutes

1) Squats

Stand with feet shoulder width apartBend the knees, keeping the knees behind the toes. Press into the heels and stand up.Repeat about 2-3 sets of 8-16 reps.

2) Lunges

Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
With one foot take a step forward. Knee should be at a 90 degrees angle with knee above the toes.

3) Step-Ups

Get a box about knee high. With one leg, step onto the box, slowly pushing through your heel. Then step down slowly. Repeat with the same leg or alternate.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Walk Stairs Two at a Time to Burn More Calories

Most weight-loss experts advise people to walk the stairs and avoid elevators. What's the best way to burn calories during a stair climb? Jinger Gottschall and colleagues from the Pennsylvania State University found that walking every other step with alternating feet burns more calories than walking one step at a time. People move faster and use more power during alternate step climbing. Stair climbing is an excellent exercise that can be included easily in a physically activity program.

(Journal Strength and Conditioning Research, 24: 2558-2563, 2010)

Onion Dip for Veggies

Do you get tired of the same snacks, and sometimes you need to just change it up. Dips are nice that way. You can still get your veggie in, but you can do it by dipping them in something yummy and healthy. Here's a new take on an old-favorite. Enjoy!

-1 tsp olive oil
-1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
-1 cup VOSKOS nonfat Greek Yogurt
-1/2 cup fat-free mayo
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-1/4 tsp garlic powder
-1/4 tsp onion powder
-1/4 tsp white pepper
-1/8 tsp smoked paprika

Sauté thinly sliced onions in olive oil over medium heat until starts to brown. Combine onion with remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Either serve immediately or keep in fridge. Each servings is roughly 1/4 cup. Serve with fresh veggies.

Calories 54; Calories from Fat 7.0; Total Fat 0.78g; Cholesterol 2.5mg; Sodium 310.06mg; Total Carbohydrate 6.65g; Dietary Fiber 0.53g; Sugars 2.7g; Protein 4.19g

Question of the Week:

Q: Does any proof exist that exercise can help a person live longer?

A: Absolutely. One of the largest study measuring fitness
ever conducted found that exercise will indeed help a person live longer.

Led by Dr. Steven Blair of the Institute of Aerobics Research in Dallas, the eight-year study evaluated the fitness and mortality levels of 13,344 men and women. Researchers involved with the study found that exercise reduces the death rate from all causes, particularly cancer and heart disease.

Physical fitness was measured by each subject's performance on a standardized treadmill test - a test which is designed to accurately assess aerobic fitness (the most commonly accepted indicator of physical "health"). Based on the test results, the subjects were then grouped by gender into 5 categories ranging from least to most fit. The results of the study showed that the higher the fitness level the lower the death rate, after the data was adjusted for age differences between the subjects.

Compared with the most-fit subjects, individuals in the least-fit category had death rates 3.4 and 4.6 times higher for men and women respectively. The differences in mortality rates held relatively constant even after obvious causal factors, such as smoking and cholesterol level, were considered. For both men and women, the largest drop from one fitness category to another was from the least-fit to the next most-fit group. Expressed as deaths per 10,000 person-years, the age-adjusted death rates for men and women in the sedentary category fell from 64 and 39.5 to 25.5 and 20.5 respectively in the next most-fit group, a decline of more than 60 % for men and 48 % for women.

The implication of Blair's findings are extraordinarily significant, particularly for a sedentary individual. On a major scale, this study documents the fact that a modest amount of exercise can and does go a long way. The equivalent of walking 30 min a day is all that is required to move from the most sedentary category to the next most fit category.

Bryant, Cedric


"You can't make a great play unless you do it first in practice"

- Chuck Noll