Squats and Anatomical Variation Among Individuals

Squatting is one of the fundamental movement patterns everyone should train, but it is very important to understand and consider the effect that individual variations in limb length and anatomical variances can have on exactly how each person can and should squat. Everyone cannot and should not squat the same way! Many trainers and individuals try to squat in “perfect” form with feet flat, no heel lift, feet pointing forward, with back upright and straight with butt to the grass but this is not only not possible for some people – it can actually get them hurt! One of the biggest factors determining how an individual can squat is the…
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The Nitrate and Nitrite Myth: No need to fear bacon, salami, or lunch meats

Many fitness and health professionals say that bacon, ham, salami and other foods containing nitrates and nitrites can cause cancer.  However, is this really true? The original study that connected nitrates with cancer risk has since been discredited after being subjected to a peer review.   In addition there have been several major scientific reviews that found no link between nitrates or nitrites and human cancers, or even evidence to suggest that they may be carcinogenic. Last, but certainly not least, there is actually plenty of research showing that nitrates and nitrites may not only be harmless, they may be beneficial, especially for immunity and heart health. The fact is that…
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Single Leg Balance Exercise – Improves more than balance!

Standing on one leg and balancing sounds like a pretty simple test, but many people cannot manage to do it for just 20 seconds without holding onto something or touching the lifted foot to the ground to maintain balance! So who cares right?   Well, a new study published in the journal Stroke suggests that inability to stand on one foot may be the sign of some serious brain issues.   Researchers at the Center for Genomic Medicine at Kyoto University in Japan tested over a 1,000 people (average age 67) to stand with one leg raised and their eyes open for up to 60 seconds. Then – they used an MRI…
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Preventing and Recovering from Hamstring Injuries

Hamstring tears can be incredibly debilitating and have put an end to many athlete’s careers.    Once you experience one they tend to recur frequently so prevention is critical.  Of course, hamstring injuries are a problem in all walks of life from weekend warriors to professional athletes to sedentary folks. What Causes Hamstring Injury? The cause of hamstring injuries is still not well understood although there are some key suspects: Low levels core muscle strength Hamstring muscle inflexibility Quadriceps and hip flexor inflexibility Ankle inflexibility Greater quadriceps versus hamstring strength Poor running mechanics Age -- older equals more susceptible Previous hamstring, knee or pubis injury Inadequate warmup Fatigue Age and previous…
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The Pros and Cons of Training on Unstable Surfaces

Training on unstable surfaces owes most of its development to rehabilitation where it originated.   There are many unstable training surfaces including physioballs, foam pads, inflated rubber disks, and Bosu’s .   These surfaces are used on the training floors of most gyms.   The idea behind unstable training is that inconsistent motion stimulates sensory apparatus in the muscles and joints leading to increased sensory input and increased muscle activation.   In addition these movements cause muscles on both sides of the joint to co-contract.    Co-contraction occurs to some extent during virtually all movement.   When we significantly increase co-contraction the result is increased joint stability. Increased co-contractions from unstable training can be very useful…
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CrossFit: Dangerous or Effective?

Anyone who spends time Googling CrossFit will find it described as the most effective training system available while others claim it is the most dangerous training system out there.   So what gives?    The reality is that just because two gyms call themselves “CrossFit” and have CrossFit Trained and Certified Coaches does NOT mean that the experience is consistent between different CrossFit locations. There are many CrossFit locations that place a premium on client safety and carefully evaluate all clients prior to any workouts in order to understand their unique fitness level, injury potential, and movement profile in order to plug each client into programming that not only does not hurt…
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Getting Started with TRX Workouts

TRX is the most popular form of “Suspension Training” on the market, and there are a lot of advantages to this versatile exercise system.      It is inexpensive, can be done virtually anywhere, is highly portable, and can be scaled to any fitness level. That being said, you do need to understand the basics in order to get the most from TRX.  Like any resistance training workout start with the major movement patterns:   Upper Body Push Pattern, Upper Body Pull Pattern, Lower Body Squat or Lunge Pattern,  Ab Curl Pattern, Arm Curl and Tricep Extension.   1 – 3 sets at a controlled pace until you reach muscular failure is all you…
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The Health and Fitness Benefits of Cold Showers

Just talking about a cold shower makes people nervous so why in the world would anyone deliberately subject themselves to one?  As it turns out there are some very real health and fitness benefits to subjecting yourself to the cold in a deliberate process. One of the biggest benefits is building will power and emotional resilience.   When you do something you are resistant to every day you develop mental strength and discipline.    Cold showers can also train you to be more resilient in the face of stress in your life in general.   If you stick with it you will not only learn to tolerate it you will become used to…
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How much rest time should you take between resistance training sets?

One of the most common questions about weight training/resistance training is how long should you rest between each exercise set?   If you take a look at the relevant research concerning this topic there are some good answers. For a long time, researchers believed that shorter rest periods were better for increasing muscle size which was thought to occur because of increased levels of metabolic stress by not allowing complete recovery.  However, research done in 2015 shows that using longer rest periods actually results in better results for both increased muscle size and increased muscle strength.  It is thought that this occurs because longer rest periods allow a higher training…
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Ketogenic Diet Guide

One of the most popular dietary approaches is called the Ketogenic Diet.    Although it seems new the fact is that this approach has been around for many years – initially it was popularized because it was proven to be a highly effective treatment for epilepsy.  Just a warning upfront - the Ketogenic diet is NOT for everyone.    It is VERY different and it will take your body a good 2 weeks to a month to adjust to this major shift in eating patterns.  That being said once you do – you will likely feel phenomenal and notice more energy, better mental focus, and improved exercise endurance. This approach causes a…
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