Category Archives: Fitness

Functional Fitness Training with Fit Balls

Functional Fitness Training with Fit Balls

Fit Balls, Swiss Balls, Physio Balls and Exercise Balls! Call them what you will, we all know what you’re talking about – those big blow up balls of different sizes and colours you have always wanted to try but never had the chance. They are becoming a favoured tool of the personal trainer, the ‘must have’ piece of equipment for the home studio, and an essential item for complete programming for the development of core strength and reduction and termination of lower back pain.

Because of a sedentary lifestyle, most people have poor posture. The muscles of the trunk are no longer able to support the body in the most efficient way possible. Because of external support from a chair, couch, car seat, etc., the neuromuscular system has “forgotten” how to maintain posture easily and efficiently. This usually leads to breakdown, pain and dysfunction.

I have found that using a Fit ball is a very effective way to correct postural alignment. Exercises on the ball can be very mild or extremely challenging depending on the needs of the client. By balancing on the ball, the client now has no other support to rely on except his or her own body. The body will automatically call on the righting and equilibrium responses, facilitating a coordinated effort of the postural muscles. The client unconsciously finds a way to balance on the ball with the least amount of muscle use possible, therefore reinforcing positive movement patterns.

Fit Balls are one of the most effective exercise tools to improve and develop spinal, pelvic and shoulder girdle stability. Total core stability is achieved along with improved posture and an increased awareness of your own body – the way it moves and the way it is designed to move. An enhanced kinesthetic sense is discovered and refined, allowing you to ‘feel’ your own actions and be able to adjust incorrect positions and movements performed throughout the exercises.

Fit Balls add variety to create new and challenging demands on the body in a number of different planes. Just about any exercise done in the gym can be performed using the Fit Ball. We all know how important variety is to every program. Not just from the point of view of changing the stimuli to allow for continued adaptation but to enhance motivation. Without it, the likelihood of adhering to our current exercise program and achieving our goals is somewhat slim.

Available in a number of sizes, from 45cm to 75cm in diametre, the right size Fit Ball is determined by your height and more importantly your leg length. While sitting on top of the ball, with calves perpendicular to the ground, your thighs should be parallel and at 90-100° with your knees and your body weight evenly distributed over both feet. This is your correct postural position. Imagine a straight line starting from your ear, travelling through your shoulder and stopping at the centre point of your pelvis. This visual connection will help you adjust and maintain correct postural alignment in the initial stages of learning with the Fit Ball.

Implementing the use of a Fit Ball recruits your ‘stabilizer’ muscles to establish and maintain a solid platform from which you develop strength, endurance and correct postural adaptations. They encourage the contraction and stimulation of deep muscle fibres within the trunk including external and internal obliques, rectus and transverse abdominals and the erector spinae and quadratus lumborum. I’m sure those of you who have sought professional advice for lower back pain and postural correction have heard of these muscles before. The relationship between the abdominal and lower back muscles is crucial to core stability, yet neither should be the sole focus of any particular training session.

When using the Fit Ball it is possible to reach muscular exhaustion without showing any normal signs of physiological fatigue due to the high involvement of stabilizing muscles and joint structures. Rotate exercises between the upper and lower regions and the trunk. This guarantees complete recovery of all muscle groups to allow each muscle to be utilized with maximum efficiency and productivity.

As with all exercise, the quality of the movement is more important than the quantity of exercise, repetitions or sets performed on the Fit ball.

The Fit ball is a great tool for the personal trainer to use. Clients enjoy using the ball, and it also promotes body awareness, improves balance and coordination, and reinforces proper spinal alignment along with a great new and challenging stimulus for your brain, as well as your body!

As a health and fitness professional for over 10 years, Daniel has personally trained more than 4000 people, on 4 continents towards the achievement of their fitness and lifestyle objectives using his unique holistic and functional approach to lifestyle enhancement. Daniel is a true leader and innovator in the industry. Daniel draws from an academic background in Human Movement, Exercise Science and Sports Management in Australia & also holds a Diploma in Massage Therapy, & Certificates in Workplace Health Promotion, Personal Training (ACSM) and Australian Training for Fitness Professionals (ATP), Golf Fitness & Conditioning, Postural Analysis, Weight Management & Fat Loss.

Fitness and Health

Fitness and Health

For most of us from the government schools, PE (physical education) was in the school curriculum. So we had no choice but to comply and treat it as one of the school subjects. For the outdoor initiated, the PE lessons were great as it gave many an outlet for all the youthful hormones to exert themselves. For those of us who dread PE (including myself), our main thoughts were more like “what is the use of PE when it doesn’t improve our exam scores.” We were so wrong then. Read the rest of this entry

Yoga for Eyes, A Special Meditation

Yoga for Eyes, A Special Meditation

If you want to use yoga for eyes there is a special meditation you can do. This meditation is specifically designed to improve myopia (near sightedness). We must, however, include the cautionary that success in the meditation depends upon the individual.

The individual must be at a certain level of awareness in Yoga. This is a tricky cat, because many people teach just the postures, and include little or even no instruction on how to handle the mind and spirit. Thus, a person might be able to do advanced postures, but still not have enough spiritual awareness to use the meditation to fix the myopia. Read the rest of this entry

Join 24-Hour Fitness Clubs – Best Way To Keep Fit

Join 24-Hour Fitness Clubs – Best Way To Keep Fit

If you want to have and keep a healthy well-toned body, a good gym or health club can offer you a variety of equipment and services to help you meet your goals. But remember that not all fitness clubs are equal.

You want a fitness club that’s in it for more than your cash. It should be fully committed to health and quality service so that you see positive results as quickly as possible. It should offer an informed professional staff that can guide you through your workouts and show you how to use new equipment. And it should offer a variety of programs that focus on different aspects of fitness and health. Having a professional nutritionist on staff is another important feature you should look for.

One health and fitness club you can count on is 24 Hour Fitness, with have five types of clubs to meet your unique needs. The Ultra Sport club offers all the amenities and is set up for every type of workout you can imagine, from basketball and volleyball to saunas and spas. You can even sharpen your rock climbing skills. There’s a kids’ club, so you won’t have to hire a baby-sitter and a complete juice bar for dietary health. After your workout, you can get a wonderful massage or visit a tanning booth. 24 Hour Fitness’ Super Sport Clubs include many of the same amenities, without the massage or rock climbing. Similar to the Super Sport, the Sport Club doesn’t offer tanning. The Active club type focuses on the basic – weight training, cardio workouts, sauna, steam room, and a kids’ club. Finally, the Fitlite club offers a complete cardio workout and some group classes.

Operating since 1983, 24 Hour Fitness is the biggest privately owned and operated fitness center chain in the world with over 385 clubs. For years, they’ve maintained a expert staff to help their clients get the most out of their exercise program, and they use qualified nutritionists to complement working out with great advice on the foods you should – and should not – eat.

Signing up to a new club only to find that they have incomplete facilities and gaps in their equipment offering is a real disappointment and a waste of time and money. You won’t be disappointed at 24 Hour Fitness. They maintain state-of-the-art fitness equipment for every workout need. You’ll never have to stop your workout because the equipment broke down, and you won’t have to wait until a machine becomes available to get the exercise you need.

They offer team sports facilities and group classes to help you learn new skills and enjoy your friends at the same time. 24 Hour Fitness classes cover a wide range of exercise interests, such as pilates, strength training, aerobic workouts, yoga, and water workouts. Their worldwide instructor team includes over 7000 professionals, and 24 Hour Fitness keeps them up on the latest techniques by offering in-house training for Group Trainers.

You can choose from a range of membership types to meet your schedule and your budget at 24 Hour Fitness. Four types of all-club memberships give you privileges at facilities everywhere, and three different one-club options allow for savings, great workouts, and short-term fitness programs.

Since they have facilities all over the world, travelers will want to take advantage of the Passport Program, where you can workout at other private fitness centers as part of your membership in 24 Hour Fitness. All you need is your 24 Hour Fitness Passport Program ID and a reasonable fee to get a great workout at any Passport Program member’s facility.

In 2000, 24 Hour Fitness made a bold move when they entered into partnerships with five world-famous athletes to advocate fitness and make fitness a way of life for all of us. Representing the qualities 24 Hour Fitness values (determination, hard work, persistence, and a positive attitude), these sports super stars are role models and living proof of the benefits of exercise and good health. Lance Armstrong, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, Andre Agassi, and Jackie Chan signed on to represent 24 Hour Fitness and bring good health to the people.

In 2004, 24 Hour Fitness became the first official fitness center sponsor for U.S. Olympic Teams, offering grants to help Olympic hopefuls follow their dreams and upgrading Olympic Training Centers across the country. Their commitment to good health is clear.

Your workout at 24 Hour Fitness will be fun, easy, and personally rewarding. You’ll find a wide range of exercise options and equipment, complete modern facilities and amenities, and a professional staff to help you achieve your goals in record time.

The Final Word On Fitness For Women

The Final Word On Fitness For Women

When women are looking for a fitness program you know they’re not just looking to ‘get fit’. Anyone who understands women knows that they always have more than one reason for doing anything. As women we want to get fit, but we also want to: lose weight, halt the effects of aging, improve our tone, improve our flexibility, look younger, be more attractive to the opposite sex and even more importantly help us look attractive enough to pass inspection by other women. Read the rest of this entry

The Basic Essentials For Health and Fitness

The Basic Essentials For Health and Fitness

Staying fit and living a healthy live may be a little difficult at times, but it’s certainly not impossible. To the contrary, it is possible to change your bad habits and unhealthy ways, providing you have some self discipline and providing you’re willing to commit yourself.

In this article we’ll take a brief look at some of the most important factors regarding a healthier, fitter you.

Commitment

Commitment is without a doubt essential if you want to make the necessary changes in order to live a healthier life, particularly if you also need to get rid of any bad habits. In other words, you really need to have a sense of urgency or else you’ll probably give up at some point along the way. You’d be surprised at just how many people start eating a healthy balanced diet and begin with an exercise program, only to revert back to their old ways after a month or two.

Whatever you do, you need to avoid falling into this trap where you start and stop continuously, because not only will you be wasting your own time and effort, but you’ll also become less motivated each time it happens. In fact, don’t even start until you’re absolutely sure that it’s something you desperately want, because at least then you’ll probably have enough will power to make it happen.

Get Support

Let’s face it; trying to kick a bad habit can be one of the most difficult things in the world, so you should essentially try and make it as easy as possible to give yourself the best chance of succeeding. For this reason, it helps if you have the support of your friends and family. In fact, that’s why most programs which are designed to help people give up drinking usually revolve around some kind of support system where people are able to discuss their experiences as well as any progress they’re making.

Saying No to Temptation

Being able to avoid temptations takes a considerable amount of will power, and if you don’t have enough will power you’ll be unable to remain in control of your circumstances. Contrary to what you may believe, it’s not always easy to avoid temptations, and you’ll probably come face to face with them every day of your life. The secret however, is for you to be strong enough to say no, because you can be rest assured that the minute you give in once you’ll probably continue doing so, and before you know it, you’ll be back to your old ways.

The best way for you to achieve this is for you to try and avoid temptations wherever possible. For example, if some of your friends tend to eat plenty of fast foods, or they drink and smoke, then you’d be better off spending as little time with them as possible, at least for the time being. You should even try to avoid going to certain places that you know will tempt you into doing something you no longer wish to do.

Regular Reminders

If you’re continuously being reminded about your goals and ambitions then you’ll have far more chance of being able to stay on the right path. Ideally, not only should you constantly the reminding yourself, but you should also try to choose someone that you can trust and depend on, and then ask them to point out to you whenever you start to stray. Even though you may be totally committed, it’s easy to start backsliding without even being aware of it, and that is why it helps to have someone else looking out for you as well.

Improve Your Health and Fitness

Improve Your Health and Fitness

Over aeons of time, our bodies have adapted to cope with survival in a harsh environment. Although we achieved civilization thousands of years ago, our bodies have not evolved to adapt to this change. If we imagine ourselves back in the distant past we would have eaten less sugar, salt and fat in a year or more than we now eat in a week or less. We would have eaten a diet of meat and fish, mostly vegetable matter, fruit, berries, nuts, seeds and roots. We would only have drunk water, and may have sampled the splendour of honey. Foods would be rich in fibre, some protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals, but low in sugar, salt and saturated fats. We would have been in almost constant motion; playing, working, foraging, preparing food, but rarely staying still. (I think that it is important to remind ourselves that our body is designed to be active, but that we often think of exercise as formal, vigorous, structured pursuits. It can be easy to persuade ourselves that going swimming or playing football twice a week is enough [and so we have an excuse for driving to work and to the local shops]. And although it is great to do these things, we can stay fit and healthy without a gym membership, just by doing everyday movements; walking, cleaning the house, and gardening, and yes I shall say that well-worn phrase- leaving the car at home.)

Don’t think that our person from the past would have been feasting on jumbo mammoth steaks Flintstone-style all day long either. Meat may have been in scant supply for much of the time (have you ever tried to catch a rabbit?) and women and children spent a large amount of time foraging for nuts, roots, berries and vegetable matter. Everyone would have been involved in acquiring food, and all methods of obtaining food would have used large amounts of energy; you have to cover wide areas to provide enough food for a family. Even when farming became a way of life huge amounts of energy would have to be invested in producing the fruits, vegetables and animal products. Animals too would have been reared on a diet of more complex foods rather than modern high-energy processed feeds. It is thought that their meat would have been much less rich in saturated fats and so healthier for the people consuming it.

Food production would have been part of every day life, unlike today where food arrives pre-packed, smothered in cellophane, produced days, weeks or months ago in a factory hundreds of miles away, glazed with wax, identical in size and colour to its neighbour, lacking any aroma, and likely to be lacking in nutrition. Our imaginary person would have experienced real, largely unprocessed food, and a varied seasonal diet (no strawberries at Christmas for Ms Caveperson). It is likely that they would have a relationship with what they had produced. If you ever grow your own fruit and veg you will understand how exciting it is to watch things grow, then how good it feels to harvest and prepare them. People would have wasted nothing- all parts of every fruit, vegetable or animal would be used for something, almost nothing was unusable; today in the UK one third of our food is thrown away and wasted, out of every 2 bagged salads purchased today, one will go in the bin (sounds familiar?).

Another aspect of our imaginary person’s relationship to food is the social aspect. People would have produced and processed the food together, celebrated harvests and abundant times, and eaten together as a family or group. Children would help the adults, and learnt how to grow and prepare food ensuring that they would be able to look after themselves as adults. Meal times may have been the only time when the extended family would be gathered together to swap the day’s news, gossip and stories. This way people eat more slowly, and eat less allowing their body to feel full and satisfied. Food would have produced social bonding and been a central and essential part of social life.

Life would have been hard, and still is for many people today who have to provide their own food, and so I don’t want to over-romanticise this imaginary person. However, I think that this person from the past is a useful tool for understanding what our eating and activity profile should be more like if we wish to be healthier and happier. There would have been no slouching on a sofa in front of the TV, no Chicken Dippas, micro-chips, and definitely (and thankfully) no Pringles. Our imaginary person may not even recognise these things as food.

Underneath it all we are still cave people, our bodies and brains have evolved to take nutrition from simple whole foods, we thrive on human contact and still feel the need to eat together and share food, and our bodies are healthier if we exercise consistently. We need a diet rich in whole foods, in raw foods, and home cooked foods. We should pick foods which are low in sugar, salt and saturated fat. If you are doubtful about the validity of a food, ask yourself how far-removed it is from its natural state, could you make it yourself, would it have existed a hundred years ago or more? If the answer is no then the chances are that it is not very healthy. We need to explore the excitement of foraging for food, growing it and preparing it, we need to rediscover the simple pleasures of podding peas, chopping fresh herbs, picking blackberries, and making pickles and jams.

Exploring the Mental Aspect of Fitness

Exploring the Mental Aspect of Fitness

I promote and teach the 3 phases of fitness to all my clients. Many are unaware of what the three phases entail. If you fall into this same category…let me take this opportunity to enlighten you. The 3 phases are the Mental, Physical and Financial aspects or phases of fitness. This is a concept I developed a little over two years ago and have had great success with improving client’s mindsets. Let’s look at how each of these relate to your health and fitness. Read the rest of this entry

Moderate Exercises to Fitness!

Moderate Exercises to Fitness!

Have you ever felt tired and stressed out from work and by the time you get home you see your three children running towards you asking you to play basketball with them? You refused and promised them that you will after you take you rest.
Instead of disappointing your children, why not say, “yes” after all? You will be surprised by the amount of energy you will have after that 30-minute activity.

Did you know that by exercising at a moderate pace for only 30 minutes, you would feel a lot better, mentally? It has been proven that this improves the appetite and sharpens your style in problem solving. Not only that. You will also feel that it is easier to sleep at night if you do moderate exercises even for only 30 minutes every day.

What are the benefits of regular exercise? It promotes self-discipline and has a positive impact how you perceive life. Exercise helps in lifting your spirits and getting you out of any depression. For first timers, it can be done for 15 minutes for 2 to 3 days a week. You can increase the time you spend once your body gets tuned up for it.

DON’T you ever force your body! If you get hurt, then stop. You can take a break from exercising for a few days and then you can start again but you need to start from day 1.

Here are some moderate exercises you can do and enjoy:

1. Do the Walking. Make use of your surroundings. You can walk your dog, with your partner or child. Encourage your family to do the walking exercise daily and you will find yourself burning calories while enjoying the surroundings and getting enough sunlight that is also good for your body.

2. Discover the wonders of Yoga. Yoga is one effective exercise that energizes not only your body but also your soul. You may want to learn even the basic yoga positions that are not too complicated but proven effective. A five-minute yoga exercise can perk you up and recharge your body with the energy you lost for the whole day. You relax and at the same time you stretch!

3. Engage yourself into sports. Play basketball, football, baseball, tennis or badminton. Many doctors have recommended sports as an effective way to stay fit and healthy. Sports can also be done in moderation. Do not take it seriously. Shooting basketball with a friend is one moderate exercise that is also considered a sport.

4. Join exercise programs at work. If you still do not have exercises programs at work, then why not start it? You can talk to your boss about it and start with your colleagues. You do not only lose calories but it is also one good way to bond with them. This can be done 30 minutes, 3 times a week.

5. Exercise while doing household chores. Gardening, raking leaves, lawn mowing, doing the laundry, vacuuming and car washing are effective moderate exercises at home. Make use of these chores to sweat and burn calories. Instead of using machines and gadgets to perform these chores, why not do it with your hands and lose some fats?

Making exercises as part of your daily routines will surprise you of how much calories you will lose. Doing these moderate exercises of the same amount every day can burn 150 calories up to 1,000 calories a day!

Obesity and Your Fitness Identity

Obesity and Your Fitness Identity

On today’s news there was a report that said the by 2050 half of the adult population will be obese, I’m not talking about a bit overweight here I’m talking about full blown obesity. This means that half the people you know in 2050 will be really fat! And you could be one of them unless you take action. This news report got me thinking about how people could do this to themselves. At the end of the day a person is obese due to the lifestyle decisions that THEY MAKE, it is not forced upon them, they CHOOSE to be obese through the actions that they take. Everyone is control of there own actions.

When personal training obese people, over time I notice a shift. This is a shift in their identity, the way they see themselves. Let me explain a bit more about identity, your identity is a set of “rules and beliefs” that you comply to and act out in your life. Here are a few examples about identity:

Take the school shootings that happen is America, the killer has a set of beliefs in their mind that everyone is out to get them, everyone hates them, everyone is evil and they hate them. They believe these things so intensely that they are forced to act upon these beliefs. What you believe tends to manifest itself in your reality. Lewis Hamilton has a set of rules that state that he must give is 110% in every race he is in. He has beliefs that say he is an excellent driver and among the best in the world. Can you imagine where Lewis would come in a race if he only put in a bit of effort each race and he thought he was a below average driver?

I personally have specific rules that state I must workout Monday to Friday, I must only eat healthy and nutritious foods. I believe that I am a fit and healthy person. The things I do conform to my beliefs, I won’t eat fast food as it breaks one of my beliefs, but I will push myself hard on every workout I have.

Think about the beliefs that you have with regards to health and fitness, take some time to do this, then write them out and see what you have, you’ll probably notice that you have been behaving true to you beliefs. I get my personal training clients to do this form time to time, it highlights areas that are holding them back.

For example I was doing fitness training with on lady client and she believed she was a fat overweight person. So we set about to change this. She started doing personal training three times a week and after a couple of months I asked her “What type of person works out three times a week?” she replied “I suppose a fit and healthy person does”, “Congratulations you are now a fit and healthy person” I said.

Through her new actions of working out regularly, that she considered being fit and healthy, she now saw herself as a healthy person and started to believe she was fit and healthy too.

She now believed that she was a fit and healthy person, as apposed to a fat overweight one, this new belief empowered her to start making healthy changes in her life towards getting slim, these changes were easy to make because they were congruent with her new fit and healthy identity. If her identity was still a fat and overweight one, making healthy changes would be hard because they would not be congruent with her identity so the changes would be rejected and she would act and do things that reinforce her fat overweight identity, i.e. sitting on the sofa eating cake.