Category Archives: Fitness

Don’t forget to train your posterior chain!

One of the key things that often prevents people from developing functional strength vs mirror muscles / beach muscles is neglecting the posterior chain.

Basically these are all the muscles on the back side of you, the ones you don’t see in a mirror.  Part of it is likely just a out of sight, out of mind issue.

But the other part is those muscles are a little harder to train, especially without at least some equipment.  As a result a lot of home workout programs manage to do a decent job working the anterior chain (muscles on the front of you) but neglect the posterior chain.

The reason they are harder to train is in general these muscles work the “pulling” side of things, where as the other side of them is the push.  Using your weight and the floor gravity can help give you resistance for pushing exercises, but it is a little harder for pulling.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is strength training is all about balance.  Each muscle has an opposing muscle, your quads to your hamstrings, your biceps to your triceps, etc.  One pushes, the other pulls.

When your workout stresses one side and neglects the other you risk injuries doing ordinary things.  In the “real world” most things involve rotation.  If you throw a ball one side of your body pulls, the other pushes creating a rotation.  Same for shovelling, racking, pretty much anything.

When those muscles are unbalanced you have a strong muscle attempting to work with a weaker one, and it can’t keep up.  This can lead to pulled muscles in your back, hamstring, it can cause knee injuries, etc.

We already live a fairly anterior chain dominated lifestyle.  A lot of people spend pretty much their whole day using their glutes and hamstrings as something to sit on and little more.

So don’t neglect the posterior chain, it is vital for athletic performance as well as injury prevention.  It might not be as easy to train, and the aesthetics of it might not be as important if you are just looking to look good, but it’s a vital part of proper training and getting the best results you can.

The trouble with machines for strength training…

Pretty much anyone that is serious about fitness will tell you free weights are better then machines, yet machines still take up a huge chunk of gym space.

In one sense they are easier and safer to use, they keep the weight on the track it needs to be on for you, allowing you to safely do the push or the pull without worrying about it slipping, tipping, falling on you or anything else that could injure you if you lose control of it.

The trouble is you train the “big” muscles, but not the stabilization of them, which is very important in injury prevention.

Think of it like upgrading a car, if you hook the car up to a track and increase the engine power all is good and the car flies down the track. But as soon as you take it off that track you are going to be in for a crash as the steering, stabilization and breaks aren’t able to cope with a much more powerful engine.

Machines can have their place, but just because a exercise is safer to do does not mean it is safer for you in the long run. Properly developing stabilization is just as important as developing strength when it comes to safe training.

Carb Free, Fat Free….

One of the subjects we talked about at yesterdays workshop was nutrition, and diet fads.

Let’s start with Fat Free.

In the mid 70′s heart disease was a big problem.  So after some research the issue was found to be too much fat in peoples diet.  This is when the recommendation to eat less fat started, so what happened?

Heart disease went down, but people got fat.

The trouble was removing the fat from foods makes them taste bland, so to keep those foods in production since that’s what everyone wanted we got fat-free versions that replaced the fat with sugars (carbs) to get them tasting good again.

So now we’ve realized that carbs are what makes people fat, so those have become the new enemy for dieters.

The trouble wasn’t “fats” though, it was certain types of fats.  Fats are a required part of your diet, they are a necessity in your body absorbing certain vitamins and provide long term energy as your body processes them slower then carbs.

That said, their is a difference between cooking food in bacon fat vs Olive Oil (Also a fat).  Omega-3, Omega-6… things foods are now advertising as containing are fats.

Anyways, carbs are the same.  We need them.  There is something called a ketogenic diet which is basically carb free and can cause a lot of weight loss…. calling it a healthy way to eat however…

What has really caused us trouble is the high amount of processed food we eat.  And, coincidentally a lot of that processed food is carb based.

Broccoli, bananas, apples, carrots… those are carbs.  Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are as well.

If you want a decent way of looking at carbs and whether they are good or bad the “GI Index” is a good place to start.

It measures how fast your body absorbs a specific food.  If you absorb it too fast your blood sugar spikes causing your body to release insulin.  Insulin combines with blood sugar to store it as body fat and get your blood sugar back down.

With some processed foods it spikes it faster then we are really meant to deal with, insulin is released in high levels storing it and then your blood sugar falls bellow where it should be.  When your blood sugar gets low your brain gives you a craving for sweet foods to get it back up.  End result is weight gain.

Food should be plant or animal, thats what we are designed to eat.  The farther it gets processed away from that the worse it likely is for you.

To close here is a very simple rule to judge if you should eat something.  If it is mostly carbohydrate, but no fibre, it’s probably a bad idea.  Fibre and sugars are almost always food together in nature, unless the fibre is removed in processing.  Fibre helps your body regulate the speed it absorbs sugars, without it things get absorbed faster then they should.

Safety in Fitness: Strength Training

Today I want to talk a little about fitness programs, and the safety factor involved.

Now people train for very different reasons, and that is something that needs to be taken into account.  A body builder is going to have a very different training routine then a power lifter, or olympic lifter despite the fact that they are all weight training sports.  It’s no different then a sprinter vs a marathon runner.

The other side of this is where strength training is done, not for competition within strength training, but as a supplement to other activities.  In this case the goal is not necessarily to get bigger, lift as much as possible, but rather the prevent injury in other activities.

For us our fitness program is just that.  It started as a way to get our members in great shape and prevent injuries.

We are not a kickboxing themed aerobics class, and we will never run that in our facility.  Our program is a athletic Strength and conditioning program, designed to get people in shape in a way that makes them strong, lean, agile and resistant to injury.

This effects the way we train, and explains a lot of why we do things the way we do.

As an example of what I mean, in “real life” be it sports, martial arts or simply shovelling your drive way, strength is rarely applied equally from both sides straight on as it is in a weight lifting environment.  It is applied with movement, and rotation plays a big part of it.

So this is reflected in the way that we train.  Too often athletes and non-athletes try to rely on body building or powerlifting exercises alone.  And while these exercises are great and can be very beneficial the body works the way you train it.  If you train everything in 1 dimensional motions its hardly surprising that when you apply that strength in a 3-dimensional “real world” activity it can lead to injury.

It’s sort of like putting a race car engine in a car without steering, breaks and balance to go with it.  Too much power without those and you’re going to crash. An F-1 car is a amazing vehicle… unless you take it off-roading.

Learn more about our fitness program here: http://www.innovativema.ca/fitness-program/

 

Balance in Strength Training

This is a pretty simple concept in Strength training, but one that is easy to neglect, so I wanted to take a minute to look at a couple of ideas.

The first is that muscle groups work opposite each other.  For example your biceps bend your arm and your triceps extend your arm.  Or rather one set pushes, the other pulls.

Balancing push / pull exercises is very important in preventing injury and maintaining a healthy body.  If one group gets disproportionately strong in relation to it’s opposing group it’s only a matter of time before something gets injured.

The second concept is that outside of a gym environment most “real world” activities are not straight pushes or pulls, but involve rotation.  Throwing a ball, swinging a bat / golf club or even shovelling the driveway are rotational movements where one side pushes, the other pulls.

Again, this is a common cause of injury if the muscles involved are not trained for this.  So not only do pushing and pulling exercises need to be balanced, but training those muscles to work in more dynamic situations is also important for injury prevention.

And the third part of this is stabilization muscles.  Or rather the muscles that help stabilize you’re main muscles as they do heavy work.  To see what I mean compare doing a pushup on the floor vs with your hands on a exercise balls or a suspension set up (gymnastic rings, TRX, etc.)

Imagine taking a race car engine and sticking it in a economy car without upgrading the tires, steering, breaks and weight distribution… It’s a crash waiting to happen.

Same thing when training, a large number of injuries come from not properly training those stabilization muscles.  This is one of the biggest problems of using machines for strength, they take the stabilization aspects out.

Make sure to attend our free workshop on Feb 20th, 2017 for more important nutrition and fitness tips: http://www.innovativema.ca/student/signup.php?type=02-2017-HFW-1030am

Sometimes stubborn is all it takes.

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Until May 1954 the 4 minute mile was largely considered a impossible barrier. Once it was beat the record holder only held it for 2 months before 2 more had beat it.

So much of what our bodies can and can’t do is all in our heads, if we don’t believe we can do it, we aren’t going to be able to. As soon as beating the 4 minute barrier became something achievable, people started achieving it. What was once considered impossible is now the standard for high level racers.

Can you get that one last rep in? or hold that plank another 30 seconds? Probably, but you got to refuse to not be able to.

5 Steps to reach your fitness goals this year!

iStock_000016811504MediumEvery year at this time countless people set a goal to eat better, lose weight and get in better shape.  And by mid-February are back to their old habits…

I’ve been training clients for a long time, I’ve trained 100′s of people over the years and I’ve seen the difference in the people that succeed and the ones that fall flat.  So here it is, these are the top 5 things you need to do in order to maximize your chances of success.

1 – Be consistant and committed.  By far the biggest challenge for a lot of people is staying consistant.  But it’s the people that set a schedule and stick to it that get the best results.  If you plan to train Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays stick to that.  It’s very easy to find excuses to skip a day, and even easier to find excuses if you let it happen once.  Sometimes things come up, but if your health takes second seat to everything you won’t get far.

2 – Fight through the first couple weeks.  In any fitness program the first couple weeks are the hardest.  Your body isn’t used to doing it, and it’s going to object… strongly.  This is called “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness” or “DOMS”, it is the pain you get the next day after starting a new workout.  Once your body adjusts it won’t come back in the same way, but it will take a week or two.  The best thing you can do to cure it is to get moving, get the circulation going again and don’t let your muscles tighten up.

3 – Make it social.  Peer pressure is a real thing, and it works for good habbits as well as bad.  A group class will help hold you accountable once you are a part of it.  “Friend” your workout partners on Facebook, get active in online groups, don’t put up a wall that seperates your life from the gym, it needs to be part of your life.

4 – Commit to the next class, every class.  At the end of every class all you need to do is commit to the next time you will be there and stick to it.  A verbal “See you Wednesday” to someone can go a log way to keeping that commitment.

5 – Excercise & Diet, you need both.  Nothing will encourage you more then seeing great results quickly.  To get that you need both diet and excercise.  Fad diets tend to fail, and the trick is to make it a lifestyle change, not a 30-days and done plan.  Sit down with a fitness instructor or nutrition coach to look at small changes that can add up to big results.

If you are not sure where to start consider taking advantage of our New Years Special.  We will set up a one-on-one consultation to help you work out a plan for training and improving your diet.  We will also walk you through some of our excercises and movements to ensure you don’t feel lost and can safely join in with our classes.  We will include a pair of boxing gloves so that you can safely do the pad work we incorporate into our classes.  You will then have 6-weeks to train as often as you like, and if you follow the plan we set up for you in the consultation we guarantee you will see results.

To take advantage of this offer fill out the form located here and we will look forward to helping you get in the best shape of your life.

Here’s what some of our clients have said about us:

This is a great gym. After going to fitness classes for 6 months my endurance, my strength and my flexibility have all greatly increased and the pounds have come off.
- Sylvia

 

My fiancé and I have now been members for almost a full year. In that time, I have lost weight (gotta fit into that wedding dress!), made new friends and discovered that I really enjoy the MMA elements. I am continually seeing improvements in my endurance, strength and confidence. 

- Andrea

I’ve been a member of this gym for 2 years and thanks to the owner and main instructor Andrew Green, I am in the best shape of my life at age 38. When I first started I had been training at home and at some of the larger gym’s. At that time my motivation to train and fitness progress had plateaued and I didn’t know what I needed to do in order to make the changes to drive my progress.

The atmosphere at Innovative is very welcoming to newcomers and other members are always willing to help people out if they need assistance.

- Steve

Once again, to take advantage of our New Years Special and get 6-weeks training, a private consultation and a pair of gloves, everything you need to start click here.