Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Post-Workout Recovery

Intense workouts require proper nutrition for muscle recovery and
repair. Doing activities like weights or resistance movements use
primarily glucose (sugar) for fuel. Now this glucose comes from the
bloodstream but is also stored in the muscle and in the liver (glycogen).
More intense training depletes the muscles worked of its stores of
glycogen which most be replaced in order for the muscle to recovery
properly and be ready for the next workout. The ideal time to begin
re-fueling the muscle glycogen is within an hour after the training
session is over. In order to do this we must consume some easily digested
carbohydrate foods within an hour after training. The following are some
examples of foods to eat within an hour after training:

Protein shake with some fresh fruit
Endura electrolyte recovery drink 2 scoop in 16 oz water
Fresh fruit
Yogurt with fruit (Chobani Greek Yogurt)
Whole grain cold cereal with fresh fruit
Cooked cereal with fruit or fruit butter

Tom Mantos
(732) 219-9636

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Creed to Live By

For some, the holiday season is a time for reflection so I leave you with these thoughts by Nancye Sims until the new year.

Don't undermine your worth by comparing yourself to others.
It is because we are different that each of us is special.

Don't set your goals by what other people deem important.
Only you know what is best for you.

Don't take for granted the things closest to your heart.
Cling to them as you would your life, for without them life is meaningless.

Don't let life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future.
By living your life one day at a time, you live up all the days of your life.

Don't give up when you still have something left to give,
Nothing is really over . . . till the moment you stop trying.

Don't be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect.
It is this fragile thread that binds us together.

Don't be afraid to encounter risks.
It is by taking chances that we learn to be brave.

Don't shut love out of your life by saying it's impossible to find.
The quickest way to receive love is to give love;
the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly;
and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.

Don't dismiss your dreams.
To be without dreams is to be without hope;
to be without hope is to be without purpose.

Don't run through life so fast
that you forget not only where you've been,
but where you are going.

Life is not a race,
but a journey to be savored every step of the way.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Five Components - Part Three - Flexibility

Working to improve your flexibility increases the ROM (range of motion) of your joints and your muscles which can help improve posture, reduce muscle soreness/stiffness and relieve stress. Equally important is its ability in reducing the risk of injury and the potential of improving performance. A well devised stretching program, (one that encourages improved flexibility without contraindicating other joints) should be included daily as part of a complete program.

Fred Fornicola

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Holidays

For some, the holiday's can add stress to an already crazy schedule and finding time to work out is the last thing on your mind, but in truth, it should be the first. Exercising just 10-15 minutes a day can help reduce - and in some cases, even alleviate - the stresses of the season. The simple task of performing bodyweight squats, crunches, pushups and some plank holds can add a new found energy to both mind and body.

Now, I know most people are questioning this idea - thinking that how can that little bit of exercise really be helpful? Well, instead of wondering, give it a shot. Are you afraid I'll be right and that it doesn't take a lot of time to benefit from such little amount of work? I don't know where the industry went wrong but they did when they imposed parameters on what someone needs to improve their health.

My philosophy is simple - work hard and efficiently on a consistent basis and make safety a priority. Remember, a little of something beats a whole lot of nothing any day! - Fred Fornicola

Happy Holidays......

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Five Components - Part Two - Cardiovascular

Cardiovascular conditioning improves the efficiency of the heart, lungs and circulation and it also uses calories to help with weight management (body fat reduction).

The benefits of having a strong heart include increased endurance, decreased heart rate (resting and active), increased HDL levels, and increased bone density. In addition, there is a positive link between increased cardiovascular endurance and reduced risk of coronary heart disease. It also allows one to perform better by enabling a greater recovery rate from intense exercise and daily activities. If you can recover quicker and more efficiently you are able to perform more work – i.e. favorable activities.

Next time: Flexibility Training

Fred Fornicola

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Five Components - Part One - Strength

There are several benefits that come with a properly designed resistance program, such as injury prevention, personal appearance, and improved physical performance. The act of becoming stronger is accomplished by implementing a safe, sensible and productive strength program that is well advised and monitored. Strength training is probably one of the best insurance policies in helping reduce injuries associated with sports and daily activities.

There are, of course, physiological benefits as well. Resistance training can enable you to increase muscle size and strength as well as increase tendon, ligament and bone strength. And let’s not forget to mention a boost in self-esteem and confidence that can certainly give an individual that “mental edge”. There is also the probability of improved physical performance and appearance. Research indicates that unless we strength train regularly we lose more than ½ pound of muscle every year after the age of 25 so strength training does help prevent muscle loss that normally accompanies aging (a concern for us “older athletes”). Regardless of your age, a solid resistance program will benefit everyone.

If you are sedentary and loss ½ pound of muscle each year after the age of 25 then that can result in a ½ percent reduction in basal metabolic rate. A reduction in BMR (BMR is the amount of energy (in calories) your body needs just to sustain its basic life processes) means we are less able to use food for energy and therefore have the potential to store more body fat, but with the inclusion of resistance training, in particularly with a high level of effort and at a fast pace can improve metabolic efficiency so you can be stronger, healthier, leaner and in better condition. This approach will benefit any individual, age not withstanding.

Next time: Cardiovascular Conditioning

Fred Fornicola

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Five Components of Health and Fitness - An Introduction

The following information is based on my 30+ years in the field of health and fitness and what I've discovered to be the "tried and true" of what it takes to becoming physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually "fit". These components are the bricks to the foundation and will be lightly elaborated on over the coming installements. For now, here is your introduction to the Five Components to health and Fitness.

Becoming healthy and fit is a very personal journey and in developing a sound fitness program, a person has many things to consider. Getting “in shape” goes beyond the physical and should include mental, emotional and spiritual needs and goals as well. This personalized program has certain requirements then to help achieve those goals and after carefully evaluating ones medical history, current situation, goals and expectations, a program can be built on these five factors that I feel are needed for complete fitness.

Strength Training
Cardiovascular Conditioning
Flexibility Training
Proper Nutrition

In the next installment I will take an overall look at strength training.

Fred Fornicola

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Fueling Up Your Workout

The fuel systems being used for high intensity resistance and cardio training are different than they are for just cardiovascular or strength activity of lower intensity. Basically, intense training uses glucose for fuel - some of which is from the bloodstream - and the rest is used from glycogen stores (sugar) in the muscles and liver. Lower intensity activity primarily uses fatty acids for fuel which we generally have plenty. Muscle and liver glycogen have limited stores so we must make sure we fuel them properly for maximum performance. I am splitting up the times to eat in case you have limited time in the morning before you train. Here are some
sample meals you can eat before higher intensity workouts:

30-60 minutes before:
*Fresh fruit
*Yogurt with fresh fruit
*Endura electrolyte drink
*Protein shake with fresh fruit

2 hours before:
*Whole grain pancakes topped with fruit butter (apple)
*Multi grain cereal with fresh fruit
*Cooked cereal with fresh fruit
*Apple with Smart Balance peanut butter
*Van's organic waffles with peanut butter and some fruit butter

Next time: Fueling Post Workout for Maximum Gains

Tom Mantos

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Incline Interval Training – Just One Approach

Many people today are leaning more towards interval training to augment their conditioning programs – and for good reason. Interval training allows for many positive aspects when done safely, efficiently and with a high level of effort or intensity. When done properly, there’s a high output of energy which can enhance the cardiovascular system, help reduce body fat, improve athletic and recreational performance and improve anaerobic/muscular strength. Interval training is generally short in duration (lengthy sessions are impossible, actually) and does not need to be done more than one to two times per week. Interval training can be done in many ways using an assortment of modalities and as much as it is a solid means of training, it can have its pitfalls as well. Too often people abuse interval training – not realizing that such high levels of out put done for too many repetitions or too frequently can lead to overtraining or injury. Obviously, then, a person needs to approach interval training judiciously. For the sake of being somewhat concise, today I will only discuss one running approach that I have found to be beneficial in a number of ways.

This recommendation is nothing new under the sun (like most things aren’t) but a lot of individuals don’t place enough value on the benefits of the activity of incline or hill running. One of THE major advantages that I have found in performing incline/hill sprints is the reduction in compressive forces of the joints and soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments) as opposed to running flat surfaces. There also is a less likely risk of becoming injured (even with a high output of energy) because stride rates (speeds) are reduced. Incline/hill sprints will give the lower extremities (legs/hips/hamstrings/calves/shins) a very good strength workout and will also stimulate the cardiovascular/cardio respiratory systems – and don’t be surprised how much the torso, abdominals and low back come into play as well.

Here’s a little “down and dirty”, quick interval workout that can be done on a treadmill, a hill (or an elliptical if it allows for an incline). Please keep in mind that this is just one of hundreds of ways to utilize incline/hill work. First, do an easy warm-up such as a light, ½ to a mile jog to get the blood flowing. Once you are ready to start your incline/hill work, set the speed and incline so that you can perform a 30 second hard run with a 30 second recovery that allows you to complete 10 solid reps with the last few reps being a good, solid challenge (your running form should not be compromised). For example, if you run a comfortable warm-up for ½ mile at a 10 minute mile pace (MMP) with a zero incline, bump the incline to 7 or 8 and push the speed so that you are running between 8:30 and 8:45 MMP. Once you complete the 10 reps, rest for 60 seconds. Now, using the same incline and speed, perform a 20 second sprint with a 10 second recovery for 3-5 reps. Depending on your warm-up time, this workout can be completed in under 20 minutes.

Should you choose to take this workout to the great outdoors, walk/jog to your destination – which should be a hill or sizeable hill - and perform a 30 second sprint then up the incline and walk brisk back to the start position, turn and do another rep until all 10 are complete. In this manner, you will get more rest due to the walk back but that will simply enable you to go at the hill harder so when it’s all said and done, the difference in the benefits will be nominal. After this segment is done go back to the bottom of the hill and do a 20 second blast up the hill walk for 10 seconds, sprint for 20, walk for 10 seconds etc. until 3-5 reps are completed. Don’t worry about walking back down the hill – just keep moving forward.

Interval training should leave you taxed, but not completely exhausted. Working yourself to a point where you can’t finish the repetitions in good form or you are flat on your back is not, I repeat, not a productive approach to improving your health and fitness. Consider taking one or both of these workouts for a ride as a change of pace to your lower body and conditioning training and remember to use interval training as just another tool in your overall fitness program.